Judges with the Missouri Community Betterment Program were in Houston on Sept. 15. 

Missouri’s Community Betterment program judges heard about Houston progress and recognized volunteers during an on-site review Tuesday.

Judges Brian Gerau of Jackson and Angela Crawford of Cuba heard from several community organizations and volunteers during presentations at the Texas County Justice Center. The judging panel later took a tour of the town.

Ben Hugenot, a student at Missouri State University, was recognized by the program with a Youth Leadership Award. Alice Wells, a longtime community volunteer, received an Adult Leadership Award.

Houston Community Betterment YOUTH spoke about their activities during the year and judges learned about their involvement in a recently launched project with Drury University to develop a 25-year vision for the community. Speaking about projects throughout the year were Makayla Koch, Erika Cooperman, Taylor Bryson and Elisa Williamson.

Other efforts outlined:

•Peter Maki about Houston Farmers Market and its progress, including adding another sale day, forming a board under the Downtown Houston Inc. organization and success in obtaining grants for shades at a downtown pavilion and creation of an annex building to house a commercial kitchen for the market.

•Scott Dill, Houston School District superintendent, concerning voters’ overwhelming approval of a bond issue to fix roofs, expand the cafeteria and connect the middle and high schools, as well as addition of a 3,000 square foot library.

•Jim Root, Houston Parks Department, on the creation of a new city park and soccer fields known as Rutherford Park.

•Bob Amburn, Doug Driesel, Laura Crowley, David Klotz and Josh York on the success of a television program, Downtown Houston After Hours, that airs each Sunday morning and the positive exposure it gives to the community.

•Associate Circuit Judge Doug Gaston on the “Constitution Project” that gives students a better understanding of democracy and puts them in the roles of lawyers, journalists and law enforcement. Birthed in Houston, the program has gone statewide.

Houston’s competitors in its population category includes Albany, Bourbon, East Prairie, Louisiana and Steelville.

Winners will be announced next month in Columbia.

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