City of Paris airport advisory commission studies possibilities for September Fly-In at Cox Field Airport

This aerial photo of Cox Field’s improved main runway, which got a new surface in recent months thanks to a grant, was taken from a plane flown by airport advisory commission chairman Billy Copeland.


At a recent meeting of the City of Paris’ airport advisory commission, a tentative date of Sept. 22 or Sept. 29 was approved for a Fly-In at Cox Field Airport.

Both dates fall on a Saturday..

A subcommittee of Ray Ball, Jeanna Scott, Jack Ashmore, Shannon Barrentine, and airport manager Jerry Richey came up with the dates.

The group also offered several entertainment possibilities that included offering airplane rides on a B17 or B25, at a cost of $450 to $500 per ride, plus tour rates.

Commission chairman Billy Copeland suggested investigating what it would cost to get them here. Copeland also suggested looking at the Devil Dogs as an alternative.

The subcommittee also discussed contacting a DC3, the Bird Dog Flyers, the remote control people, an acrobatic pilot,  sky divers, a ride simulator, EAA, and a T-28.

The subcommittee discussed parking and utilizing the city’s trolley to transport people across the runway area. Parking would be free, and the committee discussed the possibility of getting an organization to oversee the parking.

To help bring out a crowd, the commission discussed handing out tickets to individuals at the fly-in and having hourly drawings for door prizes.

Ball discussed the possibility of offering sponsor placement on advertisement banners, T-shirts, etc., with different levels of sponsorship.

Those attending September’s Fly-In will find improved runways at the airport, thanks to improvements financed by a grant.

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West Paris resident may be able to swap with city for a vacant lot on which she can build a new home



City attorney Kent McIlyar

An 81-year-old woman who lives in sub-standard housing in west Paris has been approved for new home construction financing through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

But there was a problem.

It was determined she cannot rebuild on her existing lot because it has been designated floodway under the updated FEMA flood plain map for the City of Paris.

However, the story ends well.

Rachel Edwards and Resource Management of Paris — the local grant administrator for the 2012 HOME Grant Program — identified a vacant lot nearby that the City of Paris recently took possession of because no sufficient bid was made for it in a tax foreclosure sale by the sheriff’s department.

If the Paris City Council agrees Monday night, the taxing authorities for the City of Paris, Lamar County, Paris Junior College and Paris Independent School Distridt will trade lots with the woman — acquiring her lot in the 1700 block of Walker — plus $1 — in exchange for the foreclosed vacant lot in the 1500 block of Walker.

“The new home … will add value to the neighborhood and will add value to the current tax base,” city attorney Kent McIlyar said in a agenda briefing sheet for city council members.

“The city will accept the (woman’s present) property … for drainage purposes and will dispose of the existing small structure,” the city attorney said.

The lot she would receive has an appraised value of $4,320. It was seized by local taxing authorities in 2004.

If approved, the resolution authorizing the exchange of lots will be effective immediately.

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Grooms proposes adding fourth deputy fire chief, abolishing training officer position



Fire Chief Ronnie Grooms

Paris fire chief Ronnie Grooms is proposing to reorganize his department by doing away with the training officer position and creating a fourth deputy chief to handle those duties.

The Paris City Council will be asked Monday night to approve an ordinance to accomplish the change.

The training officer works an eight-hour shift, 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, and his pay is actually slightly above that of a deputy fire chief.

“However, the position is not within the fire department chain of command structure and therefore has little supervisory authority,” Grooms said in an agenda briefing sheet included in the council members’ agenda packet.

“By abolishing the rank of training officer and adding another deputy chief position, the chain of command issue will be corrected, and greater flexibility will be provided in maintaining the duties assigned,” Grooms said.

Currently, the department’s deputy chiefs each supervise one of the three shifts, each of which works 24 hours on and 48 hours off — an average of about 56 hours a week.

With four deputy chiefs, Grooms would assign one of them to work an 8-to-5 Monday through Friday shift with training officer duties. The other three deputy chiefs would do what the Paris department’s deputy chiefs have historically done.

The deputy chief handling the training duties would receive additional “assignment pay more commensurate to the duties and responsibilities required.”

Grooms said the new structure would give him four individuals to choose from for the training duties instead of “having to promote whoever makes the highest on a promotional exam.”

“This also allows for better cross-training and reassignment of duties, should the need arise,” Grooms said.

Chapter 12 of the City of Paris code of ordinances would be amended to define the composition of the Paris Fire Department as the fire chief, assistant chief/fire marshal and 49 members classified as follows:

  • 4 deputy fire chiefs,
  • 12 fire engineers,
  • 6 firefighter drivers, and
  • 27 firefighters.

Vance Woodard, who has been the department’s training officer for the past several years and was fire marshal before that, has opted to switch to fire engineer.

The ordinance would become effective upon passage. With a “super-majority” approval of five or more of the seven council members, it would go into effect immediately.

Mayor AJ Hashmi is out of town and will miss Monday’s meeting.

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Crime Stoppers, Reno police seek help in identifying weekend robber of Reno convenience store



Lamar County Crime Stoppers and the Reno Police Department are asking for help from the public in identifying a man who robbed the Reno Quick Stop convenience store last week.

A man described as Caucasian and 30 to 40 years old came into the store about 6:30 p.m. Saturday and brought a drink to the checkout stand.

“According to reports, while waiting for his change from the clerk, he jumped on top of the counter and removed an undisclosed amount of cash from the register. After taking the cash, the male fled the store on foot,” said Curtis Garrett, public information officer for the Paris Police Department and a spokesman for Crime Stoppers.

The man was caught on store surveillance cameras. He was wearing a black or dark colored shirt, blue jeans, and a straw or tan gardening style hat. He was also described as having a medium build (5’7” and about 150-160 lbs).

If anyone has any information on this crime, they are urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Persons with information about this, or any other crime can contact Crime Stoppers 24 hour’s day- 7 days a week and remain anonymous, four different ways:

  • By phone at (903)785-tips (8477)
  • By going online and logging onto and submitting a tip there. Persons can also get more information about other featured crimes.
  • By text message- by adding “tip120” in front of your message and sending it to “crimes” (274637).
  • And now smart phone users can submit a tip by downloading and using our new mobile app called TipSubmit. Visit our website for details.


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City council will vote Monday whether to rename street through Red River Valley Fairgrounds for local country singing star Gene Watson



Gene Watson

The Paris City Council is expected Monday night to approve renaming the two-block main thoroughfare of the Red River Valley Fairgrounds after local country music star Gene Watson, who grew up in the Paris area.

Watson, who is celebrating his 50th year in country music, is an annual attraction at the Red River Valley Fair. His next date here is Tuesday night, Sept. 25.

“A number of local citizens have suggested that the City of Paris should honor country music artist Gene Watson by naming a local street for him,” city manager John Godwin said.

“Specifically, it has been requested that that portion of Northeast Sixth Street that lies wholly inside the fairgrounds be renamed Gene Watson Street. We agree that this seems like a worthwhile step, particularly as he is a frequent visitor and popular participant at the annual fair,” the city manager said.

“No addresses exist on this specific segment of the road, so there will be no inconvenience or requirements for change except two city street signs, which will be manufactured in-house. We’ll have this done for when he comes here in September and make some kind of deal of it.”

Born Gary Gene Watson on Oct. 11, 1943, in Palestine, Texas, he was raised in Paris in a musical family.

He first worked as a professional at the age of 13.

Among his hits are “Paper Rosie,” “Farewell Party,” and “Nothing Sure Looked Good on You.”

In 1981, after moving to MCA Records, his recording of “Fourteen Carat Mind” gave Watson his first U.S. country No. 1 song.

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