Weekend ceremony at Pat Mayse Lake marks boys’ transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts

Troop 2 Scoutmaster Mike Taylor honors Christopher Hudson by replacing his former Cub Scout neckerchief with a Boy Scout neckerchief. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Troop 2 Scoutmaster Mike Taylor honors Christopher Hudson of Paris by putting a Boy Scout neckerchief on him to replace the Cub Scout neckerchief. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

About a dozen Webelos Scouts — typically fifth-graders — gathered after dark at Camp Kiwanis on the banks of Pat Mayse Lake last weekend to observe the boys’ passage from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

The scouts came from six troops from the Paris-based NeTseO Trails Council — made up of scouting organizations throughout Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma.

The “Bridging Ceremony” symbolizes a shift from mostly adult leadership in Cub Scouts to the imparting of leadership by the boys themselves in Boy Scouts.

Friday night’s half-hour ceremony was in darkness, lit only by a full moon peeking through the clouds and by torches carried by Scouts dressed as tribal Indian leaders.

Dozens of people — family and friends — sat in the sand on lawn chairs and applauded the young scouts making the transition.

At the end of the ceremony, the Cub Scout neckerchief was taken from each boy and replaced by the Boy Scout neckerchief.

Mike Taylor of Paris, scoutmaster of Troop 2, whose members conducted the ceremony, opened the ceremony with prayer and with remarks to explain what was to happen.

“We seek to instill virtuous characteristics in each of these young men by teaching them to live the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in their everyday lives,” he said.

Adult Scout leaders “walk through this experience with them, teaching them about hiking and camping and canoeing and all the things that go with it — mountain climbing, rock climbing, and so many other things I can’t even start to name them all,” he said.

“It’s a tremendous experience, and this is a new adventure they’re going into tonight.”

A principal purpose of Scouting is to guide young men “to become fit, not just physically but mentally, emotionally, socially and most of all spiritually,” Taylor said, “and to become “effective, working citizens” in their community, their nation, and their world.

Hopefully, one day some of the pre-teens transitioning from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts will achieve the ultimate Scouting goal of becoming Eagle Scouts, Taylor said.

That’s an accomplishment that marks the individual as a leader, he said.

“It represents an accomplishment that will take them through life and open unbelievable opportunities for them. I cannot tell you how many businessmen I talk to, when they do interviews and see Eagle Scout on the resume, that candidate goes to the very top of the list,” Taylor said.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

 

Sandy Creek Bridge on CR 16590 to be dedicated in honor of Duane Allen, lead singer of The Oak Ridge Boys

DAllenPlaque

Final drawing plan of the plaque, as provided by the Southwell Co.

The Big Sandy Creek Bridge over County Road 16590 will soon receive a new name. On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 15th, the bridge will be officially renamed and dedicated in honor of country music artist and Taylortown native, Duane Allen.

The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the bridge, where a plaque detailing the location’s significance will be permanently placed and unveiled. The cast aluminum plaque is 20″ wide and 18″ tall, with a black leatherette background and will read as follows:

Award winning singer-songwriter-producer Duane Allen was born April 29, 1943, a few hundred yards from this bridge. Big Sandy Creek ran through the middle of the Allen family farm, where Duane picked cotton as a young boy. He learned to fish and swim in Big Sandy Creek. He rode over this bridge each day on his way to school. 

It was in this area that Duane dreamed the dreams that began a long and acclaimed musical journey. He learned to sing in this community. He graduated from Cunningham High School, Paris Junior College, and Texas A & M at Commerce.

Duane joined The Oak Ridge Boys in 1966, and the group went on to break musical barriers, not only across formats, from gospel to country to pop, but across borders, touring and winning awards internationally.

Allen is currently the lead singer of the Oak Ridge Boys. Founded in the 1940s (originally named The Oak Ridge Quartet), it is one of the longest-running groups in country music history. The band has lost and gained members, but it has held its current lineup for over 40 years. William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and Joe Bonsall have been together since the latter joined the group in 1973. Allen himself has been with the band since 1966, the same year he graduated from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University) in Commerce.

Ronnie Nutt, Preneed Counselor for Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home and retired Regional Director of The Texas Department of Human Resources, is a longtime friend of Allen’s, and it was he who brought the bridge dedication idea forward to Lamar County’s Commissioners Court. Since then, he said, Commissioner Lawrence Malone and County Judge M.C. “Chuck” Superville have worked hard to make his idea a reality.

“[I] just thought it was the right time to find a permanent way to memorialize his success in the music industry,” Nutt said. “…He still is introduced as Duane Allen from Taylortown, Texas and [he] always treasured the life and music values learned and taught by his family and friends of this area.”

The band has certainly had its share of well-deserved success over the years, including several ACM and American Music awards, and a Grammy award; it also had the honor of being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2011

“[Allen] is being inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame this summer and has already been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame,” Nutt said. “We anticipate [the group's] introduction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in a year or so…”

Still, despite all the success Allen and the band have had over the years, he remains the picture of humility. Nutt shared quotes from direct conversations he had with Allen himself concerning the bridge dedication. These correspondences prove that, no matter if you move away or how far you may travel, you never truly forget your roots.

“Ronnie, thank you so much for this huge honor. There is a wonderful feeling about a small-town boy being honored with a small bridge being named for me,” Allen said. “That just humbles me to the core. My family had its heart and soul in that community, just as all of the people in that area.”

Allen always retains his modesty, even when speaking with a close friend, as evidenced in another conversation between Nutt and himself:

“…I don’t really seek applause or honors. However, when it is done the way you have done it, I have done it, I have to tell you that it humbles this old country boy’s heart and soul.”

Commissioner Malone and Judge Superville, along with other county commissioners will be present for the dedication ceremony. Of course, what kind of dedication would it be without the man of the hour?

“He is bringing his entire ten-person family of kids, grand-kids, and son-in-law from Tennessee for this,” Nutt said. “Yes, Duane will be there in his Oak Ridge Boys tour bus.”

Before the official bridge dedication, the day will begin at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial, where Allen and family will take a private tour.

“I have been sharing with him the progress on the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial since it started,” Nutt said. “…He and his family want to tour it and honor their relatives who served by making a contribution and encouraging others to continue to support this project.”

From 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the Allen family will present a bench and markers for the memorial, and will then be available to the media for questions and conversations.

Directions to the bridge from US Hwy 82 coming into Paris: take a left on Loop 286 South as you go under Loop 286 turning on access road to the left of Burger King. Proceed on Loop 286 South for approx. 2 mile or so turning left onto Farm Road 905 as you pass a big green roof Covenant Christian Church on your right. Stay on 905 until you come to stop sign then take a left on FM 905 and travel approx. 14 miles on FM 905 until you come to County Road 16590 (green sign) take a right and the Duane Allen Memorial Bridge Dedication is at Sandy Creek about 1/2 to 3/4 miles after you take the right turn off FM 905.

For more information about the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial Public Event, contact George Wood at 903.905.2711.

For more information about the Duane Allen Memorial Bridge and Road dedication, contact Commissioner Lawrence Malone at 903.782.6557.

For more information about the Oak Ridge Boys or Duane Allen, visit the band’s website at http://www.oakridgeboys.com/.

By Courtney McNeal, eParisExtra

Approval likely this summer for $600,000, 10-unit airplane hangar for Cox Field Airport

Planning is about 85 percent complete for construction of a $600,000, 10-unit airplane hangar at Cox Field Airport, an aviation planner for the Texas Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

Aviation planner Matthew Felton

Aviation planner Matthew Felton

Matthew Felton told a marketing and development subcommittee of the city’s Airport and Advisory Board that the proposal likely will be taken this summer before the five-man Texas Transportation Commission, which governs the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

“Once that vote in Austin comes, our project is actually on the board to be done,” said Shawn Napier, director of city development and engineering, who is also airport director.

Felton said TxDOT’s top priorities in approving a project are safety, maintenance, capacity and environment. The last of those concerns was cleared two weeks ago, he said.

Under a federal grant, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the costs and the City of Paris 10 percent.

“That’s a pretty good buy,” said Jack Ashmore, chairman of the Airport Advisory Board.

“That’s going to be a big step toward improvement of the airport. We have had a waiting list for hangars forever,” Ashmore said.

Napier said he anticipates TxDOT will take the project before the five-man Texas Transportation Commission this summer for approval.

“Once that vote comes, our project is on the board to be done,” Napier said.

“Hopefully, we will be hiring an engineer later this year, complete the design this winter, and hopefully start construction next summer,” Napier said. “How that plays out, we’ll see, but that’s the earliest I see it happening.”

“The grant is for $600,000 (under a grant that will pay $150,000 a year for four years), so our costs would be $60,000,” Napier said. “I think we can actually break it into two different budget years, which will help, considering where we are right now as to financial restraints,” Napier said.

“What you do the first year is pay for engineering. Our part for design and consulting will probably be $10,000 or less. The rest would come the next year when we get ready to put up our part for actually building the hangar.”

As Felton said, the planning process is about 85 percent complete, with the final environmental concerns being cleared two weeks ago.

“At the end of that planning process, we will hire a consulting engineer and start that work, and that starts the ball actually rolling for construction dollars,” Napier said.

Proposed is a 10-unit T-hangar “that is almost like a bird’s nest,” Napier said. The hangar will house five planes on each side, with dual side entry.

“If you go out there now, you can see one (a 10-unit nested T-hangar) out there, at the far west end. We’ll build something similar to that,” Napier said.

Felton came up to attend the TxDOT Aviation Conference in Dallas from Wednesday through Friday “so he came up a day early to meet with us,” Napier said. Napier, airport manager Jerry Richie and PEDC member Stephen Grubbs, who is on the subcommittee, may also attend that conference.

In addition to answering questions about the city’s proposed hangar construction, Felton made observations about the city’s plans to market Cox Field Airport for economic development.

“At Cox Field, you’re lucky to be land and pavement rich,” Felton said of a significant edge the airport holds over neighboring cities it is competing against.

“You’re not lacking for any pavement to bring your aircraft in, and you’re not lacking for any land. But that also presents a challenge for you in maintaining a lot of pavement.”

Felton didn’t have many suggestions about the city’s hopes to market the airport. TxDOT deals more with the funding aspects of airport development, he said.

About the subcommittee’s interest in putting promotional material on a table at this week’s aviation conference, Felton wasn’t too encouraging.

“I don’t want to sound too negative, but most people walk by those and don’t really notice them,” he said.

“The most marketing I see at these conferences are people trying to market their services to airports. It’s not the other way around,” he said.

He did encourage the subcommittee in its efforts to put together a pamphlet with the advantages that Cox Field has over other airports.

“And I would encourage you to be very open in getting everyone in the public knowledgeable about what you have out there at the airport,” Felton said.

“A lot of people are thinking:

‘That’s my tax money going toward that, and I will never use it. I’m never flying out of that airport. It’s just a tool for the rich to be able to fly their airplanes.’

“It behooves you to educate your residents to understand the asset they have there. Reach out to your civic clubs, hold events out there, whether it’s a cancer walk or whatever, just to get people out there and realize they have an airport,” Felton said.

“That your airport does not lack in space and property is a great thing. It can be a pain sometime when you have to maintain it, but you’re not lacking for anybody who would like to come in and needs space, or needs a hangar, and wants to start up a business,” he said.

Ashcroft said that’s exactly what the newly created Airport Advisory Board subcommittee is trying to do.

“We are working at coming up with the pluses and minuses. We are trying to get something we can sell to the world — another Campbell Soup, another Kimberly Clark,” Ashcroft said.

Felton said fly-ins are good for making the public aware of an airport’s value.

“We run out of parking space every fly-in we have, but we ran out of sponsors. People think you can do these things free, but fly-ins cost money,” Ashcroft said.

“Last year was the first year in 15 years we didn’t have a fly-in,” he said.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

Police department prepares to enforce City of Paris smoking ban

Police Chief Bob Hundley

Police Chief Bob Hundley

Halfway through a 30-day grace period for the city’s recently amended smoking ordinance, the Paris Police Department has not received a complaint about any violation, Police Chief Bob Hundley said Tuesday.

The “warning only” grace period expires on April 23. As of that day, violations of the ordinance subject the violator to a minimum fine of $50 plus court costs.

“We have conducted training sessions for our officers to make sure they understand the ordinance, and we would like our citizens to have a good understanding of the ordinance as well,” Hundley said.

“We ask that all read the complete ordinance which is available on the city web site, www.paristexas.gov,” Hundley said, but he issued a press release outlining most of the anticipated violations.

“The department asks for your cooperation as the grace period ends. As with any ordinance, officers are looking for voluntary compliance with the law,” the police chief said.

“If there is a refusal to comply with the statute, citations can be issued. Refusing to sign the citation can result in the person’s arrest.”

Signing a citation is just a promise to appear in court and answer the charge and the signature is not an admission of guilt in any way, Hundley noted.

“The department will treat a complaint concerning the smoking ordinance with the same seriousness as any city ordinance violation,” he added.

“There may be times in which the offender is gone from the location by the time officers arrive, just as what happens occasionally with other offenses. In those cases, complainants will have the option of providing the officer with enough information for a complaint to be filed.”

Citizens may call Hundley as 903.737.4100 for more information.

The ordinance defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, weed, plant or other combustible substance in any manner or form.

However, e-cigarettes, also known as vapor cigarettes, were specifically excluded from the smoking ban.

While the smoking ban is wide-ranging, here are some exceptions:

Smoking is allowed in a tobacco retail shop “that is primarily engaged in the sale of tobacco, tobacco products, or smoking accessories; provided that establishment does not allow or employ persons under the age of 18.”

With the owner’s consent, smoking also is allowed in a bar, so long as it does not employ anyone under the age of 18 and so long as the bar does not open up into a food establishment, hotel, motel, “or any other establishment where smoking is prohibited.” To meet the definition of a bar, more than half of a business’ sales must be alcoholic beverages.

Smoking also is allowed in private clubs, but the definition cannot be construed under the ordinance to include restaurants open to the public.

The ordinance also does not prohibit smoking in a private residence unless it is used as a child care, adult day care, or health care facility.

Smoking is expressly prohibited in all restaurants, including outdoor seating and serving areas. Under the ordinance, a bar operating inside a restaurant is considered a restaurant.

SMOKING PROHIBITED IN ENCLOSED PUBLIC AREAS:

A.    Aquariums, galleries, libraries, and museums.

B.    Areas available to the general public in businesses and non-profit entities patronized by the public, including but not limited to, banks, laundromats, professional offices, and retail service establishments.

C.    Bingo facilities.

D.    Bowling alleys.

E.    Child care and adult day care facilities.

F.    Convention facilities.

G.    Educational facilities, both public and private.

H.    Elevators.

I.     Gaming facilities.

J.     Health care facilities.

K.    Hotels and motels.

L.    Lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes, and other multiple-unit residential facilities.

M.    Polling places.

N.    Public transportation vehicles, including buses and taxicabs, under the authority of the City of Paris, Texas and ticket, boarding, and waiting areas of public transportation facilities, including bus, train, and airport facilities.

O.    Restaurants.

P.    Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways, and other common-use areas.

Q.    Retail stores.

R.    Rooms, chambers, places of meeting or public assembly, including school buildings, under the control of an agency, board, commission, committee or council of the City of Paris, Texas or a political subdivision of the State, to the extent the place is subject to the jurisdiction of the City of Paris, Texas.

S.    Service lines.

T.    Shopping malls.

U.    Sports arenas, including enclosed places in outdoor arenas.

V.    Theaters and other facilities primarily used for exhibiting motion pictures, stage dramas, lectures, musical recitals, or other similar performances.

SMOKING PROHIBITED IN ENCLOSED PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT:

Except as otherwise provided, the smoking ban also includes enclosed public places of employment, including but not limited to common work areas, auditoriums, classrooms, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, elevators, hallways, medical facilities, cafeterias, employee lounges, stairs, restrooms, vehicles and “and all other enclosed facilities.”

“This prohibition on smoking shall be communicated by employers to all existing employees within five days of the effective date of this ordinance and to all prospective employees upon their application for employment,” the ordinance says.

According to the ordinance, the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of a public place or place of employment where smoking is prohibited shall:

  1. Clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) in that place.
  2. Clearly and conspicuously post at every entrance to that place a sign stating that smoking is prohibited. The following wording may be used: “NO SMOKING, CITY ORDINANCE, ARTICLE 3, CHAPTER 17. VIOLATORS FINED UP TO $2,000.”
  3. Clearly and conspicuously post on every vehicle that constitutes a place of employment under this Article at least one sign, visible from the exterior of the vehicle, stating that smoking is prohibited.
  4. Remove all ashtrays from any area where smoking is prohibited by this Article, except for ashtrays displayed for sale and not for use on the premises.

 OUTDOOR PUBLIC AREAS WHERE SMOKING IS PROHIBITED:

  1. In or upon all city parks, playgrounds, trails, ball fields, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, sports complexes or other city owned or city controlled outdoor recreation centers, and in or within 30 feet of all other outdoor playgrounds.
  2. Within 30 feet of outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited, so as to prevent tobacco smoke from entering those areas.
  3. In or within 25 feet of any entrance, doorway, operable window, air duct or ventilation system to any City building or facility.
  4. In outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants and within 30 feet of those areas.
  5. In all outdoor arenas, stadiums, sports fields and amphitheaters. Smoking shall also be prohibited in and within 25 feet of bleachers, grandstands, restroom facilities and concession stands serving these facilities.
  6. In, and within 30 feet of all outdoor public transportation stations, platforms, and shelters under the authority of the City of Paris.
  7. Within 30 feet of the point of service in all outdoor service lines, including lines in which service is obtained by persons in vehicles, such as service that is provided by bank tellers, automatic teller machines, parking lot attendants, and toll takers.
  8. In outdoor outdoor common areas of apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes, and other multiple-unit residential facilities, except in designated smoking areas, not to exceed 25 percent of the total outdoor common area, which must be located at least 30 feet from outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

City of Paris seeks volunteers to serve three-year terms on city commissions

gavel to orderIt’s nearing that time of year again, if you are a resident of Paris and would like to make a difference by volunteerig your time and knowledge by serving a 3-year term on one of the city’s boards or commissions.

The City is accepting applications for positions on the Airport Advisory Board, Band Commission, Building and Standards Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Housing Authority, Library Advisory Board, Main Street Advisory Board, Paris Economic Development Corporation, Planning & Zoning Commission, Traffic Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The deadline to submit an application to be considered for a position is May 30, 2014.  City Council will begin the appointment process at their meeting of June 9 and conclude the process at their meeting of June 23.

For more information or to obtain an application, please contact City Clerk Janice Ellis at (903) 784-9248 or at jellis@paristexas.gov.

You can also visit the City’s website at www.paristexas.gov and download the application.

Charles Richards, eParisExtra