2019

Here is a look at some of the people, places and things that appeared on the pages of the Houston Herald during 2019.

 

JANUARY

 

•Earleen Holder, the long-time leader at Progressive Ozark Bank in Houston, announces her retirement.

•Houston’s Phoenix Theater is highlighted in a feature story. It has one of only nine drive-in screens still in operation in Missouri.

New airport hangar

Numerous men work last January on and around one of two new hangar buildings being constructed at Houston Memorial Airport. 

•A trial date is set for Andrew J. Vrba, 19, for his role in a brutal Texas County murder case from December 2017. Vrba is charged with first-degree murder and will stand trial in August 2020.

•The Texas County Food Pantry announces a major remodeling project that will result in changes to almost every aspect of the facility’s building on East Highway 17 in Houston.

•Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey shares caseload statistics from 2018. Once again, property crimes, theft and assaults lead the way.

•An ice storm hits the Ozarks.

Ice sign

A street sign in Houston bears a thick coat of ice after a winter storm last January.

•Construction progresses on a new hangar at Houston Memorial Airport.

•Numerous officers with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and Houston Police Department have their heads shaved in honor of a county dispatcher who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

•Clydie Evans Sr. dies at age 87. For nearly 50 years, he operated the funeral home that bears the family name on Grand Avenue in Houston.

•Texas County prosecuting attorney Parke Stevens Jr. is deployed to Afghanistan. He is a reserve officer with the U.S. Marines.

 

FEBRUARY

 

•Houston City Administrator Tona Bowen and the city council reach a mutual agreement for her to step down from the position.

•A Texas County woman is charged with a felony after a 3-year-old boy allegedly ingested methamphetamine inside her house.

•With a 52-42 win over Cabool, the Houston High School boys basketball teams ends a 42-game South Central Association losing streak dating back to 2013.

State Farm's new home

Workers attach roofing material last February to a building being constructed at U.S. 63 and Holder Drive that would be the new home to Houston’s State Farm Insurance branch.

•Long-time trout angler Steve Williams is highlighted in a feature story. He will attend his 50th straight opening day of trout season at Montauk State Park.

•The City of Houston Fire Department announces that its 2008 Pierce Saber pumper truck (purchased last November from a department in Iowa) is ready for service.

•Construction progresses on a building at U.S. 63 and Holder Drive that will be the new home of Houston’s State Farm branch.

Fire truck pump test

Watched by City of Houston Fire Department Chief Robbie Smith, assistant chief Jon Cook sprays water from the department’s Pierce Saber pumper truck while testing it on Westwood Drive last February.

•A feature story highlights what things were like in Houston during February 1979.

•Raymondville Fire Department Chief Mike Jackson discusses challenges faced by his department.

•Owner Mike Brannan reopens his Ozark ReSale Company home goods store at a location in downtown Houston. The original location was destroyed by flooding in the spring of 2017.

 

MARCH

 

•Authorities arrest 17 people in a drug roundup conducted by members of South Central Drug Task Force, with help from the Texas County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Houston, Licking and Cabool police departments.

1920s couple

Taneasa Hayes and Evan Buse show off their 1920s attire during the annual Houston Area Chamber of Commerce banquet last March.

•Houston’s retiring mayor Don Tottingham received the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award during its annual banquet.

•A Springfield man is killed when his single-engine airplane crashes in a field near Summersville.

•Doug Lane is named the new CEO at Intercounty Electric Cooperative.

•Two men are rescued when their truck is swept away by high waters in Roubidoux Creek at Upton.

•The Houston High School softball team begins its first-ever spring season after playing its last fall game in 2017.

•A trio of Houston High School baseball team pitchers – Braedin Groff, Sterling Jackson and Connor Wilson – combined to strike out a state record 26 batters in a 12-inning game Mountain Grove.

 

APRIL

 

•Voters approve the Houston R-1 School District’s $6 million bond issue for a new gymnasium and the City of Houston’s one-cent sales for the police, fire and parks and recreation departments. Authorities said voter turnout was very low.

•The City of Houston Fire Department’s Junior Firefighter program is highlighted in a feature story.

TCFP awning

Last April, workers install part of a segment of the new awning over the walkway in front of the Texas County Food Pantry.

•Long-time Houston High School baseball coach Brent Hall gets his 300th win.

•The Houston High School softball team scores 7 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Mountain Grove 13-12 and clinch the program’s first-ever South Central Association championship.

•Success first-grader Harper Wood recites 89 consecutive digits of Pi to win a district contest at Success School.

Fire hydrant test

Water shoots across Main Street in front of the Texas County Administrative Center as City of Houston water department workers Bob Richards, left, and Dustin Hartman test a fire hydrant last April.

•New Houston mayor Willy Walker and new city council member Michael Weakly are among city officeholders sworn in.

•More than 1,200 Christians participate in the annual “Carry The Cross” event.

•Census data indicates Texas County is among 52 Missouri counties to lose population in the past year.

 

MAY

 

•The City of Houston completes construction of a splash pad at Westside Park south of the municipal swimming pool.

•Lucas Bailey becomes the first Houston High School student in history to earn three gold medals at the State Music Festival.

•A feature story highlights the Wing of the Fire Dragon Club, whose members conduct mock Medieval combat while dressed in period-correct attire.

Wings of the Dragon

Weapons in hand, members of the Wing of the Fire Dragon Club gather last May at Emmett Kelly Park in Houston.

•Bucyrus resident Levi Stallcup receives special recognition from the Missouri State Highway Patrol for his actions during a March water rescue in Texas County.

•A Houston business – Online Metal Supply – announces it will expand to a 30,000 square-foot building at the Houston Industrial Park.

•The Houston High School tennis team wins the Class 1 District 9 championship.

•With very limited participation and attendance because of cold, wet weather, the second annual Grand Festival takes place in downtown Houston.

•The Houston High School baseball team wins the Class 3 District 10 championship. It’s the team’s first district title since 2007.

District champs

The Houston High School baseball team celebrates a district championship last May.

•Plato graduating senior Caeden Hathaway becomes the fourth boy in his family line to achieve the rare feat of perfect attendance during all 12 grades of public school.

•Organized and hosted by Houston’s American Legion Post 41, the inaugural Armed Forces Appreciation Day event takes place at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

 

JUNE

 

•A bomb, drugs and a stolen assault rifle are found in vehicle during a traffic stop in Licking.

•A large collection of figurines and other items depicting renowned clown and former Texas County resident, Emmett Kelly, are donated to the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce by a woman from Salem.

•The Houston Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the inaugural two-day “Show Me Smash” demolition derby in the arena at the county fairgrounds.

Show Me Smash heat

As a big crowd watches, cars mix it up during a heat at the inaugural Show Me Smash demolition derby last June in the arena at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce fairgrounds.

•Alumni from Houston and Cabool high schools face off in a football game in Cabool.

•Perfect weather greets attendees of the 68th annual Raymondville Picnic.

•With the recent hiring of two new deputies (Glynn Bramwell and Patrick Kelley), the Texas County Sheriff’s Department attains a full roster of 10 road officers.

Raymondville Picnic 2019

During ideal weather conditions, a large crowd gathered last June for day two of the 68th annual Raymondville Picnic.

•Cabool High School is the only Texas County school to receive a perfect score in the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s annual school bus inspection program.

•Two Texas County 4-H Shooting Sports members sign scholarship paperwork to shoot for college shotgun teams.
Kaitlyn Davis, home-schooled student from Summersville, will shoot for Hannibal-LaGrange University in Hannibal, and Cabool High School graduate James Scott, will shoot at Missouri Valley College in Marshall.

•A major clearing project is carried out on a property in the area of Walnut Street, Cedar Street, Second Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Houston where Ross Lumber Co. formerly operated.

 

JULY

 

•Houston’s second annual Independence Day parade occurs on Grand Avenue downtown.

•A nine-week long major remodeling project is completed at the Houston Walmart.

•A Raymondville man files paperwork to run a business in Missouri’s new medical marijuana industry.

•Six orphaned baby skunks are rescued by a woman living in northwest Texas County and are taken in by a wildlife rehabilitation specialist in Hartville.

•Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey discusses the effects of methamphetamine and the changes surrounding the drug over the years.

Rob's tour

Rob Harrington, economic development director for the City of Houston, gives a tour last July of quarters slated to become the Piney River Technical Center on Spruce Street.

•Former Houston mayor Don Tottingham dies after a lengthy bout with cancer.

•A story highlights the events since the arrest of former Texas County Sheriff James Sigman in July 2018.

•The 109th Old Settlers Reunion and 69th Texas County Fair occur in Houston. Groups of professional motorcycle jumpers and freestyle bicycle riders put on two wild shows in the arena at the chamber fairgrounds.

Cody goes wild

Wisconsin FMX leader Cody Cavanaugh all but lets go of his Honda 450 motorcycle while soaring high above the arena at the county fairgrounds during a performance in Houston last July.

•The “Walmart Heart” program recognizes 6-year-old Summersville resident Eli French in an event at the Houston Walmart Supercenter.

•Texas County Memorial Hospital adds a 3D mammography unit.

•A military-replica airplane crashes in a wooded area near Houston and the man flying it goes uninjured.

 

AUGUST

 

•Property owners in an area near Texas County Memorial Hospital approve the formation of a community improvement district (CID) and the implementation of a quarter-cent sales tax to aid the hospital in completing a surgery center project.

•The Bank of Houston is purchased by Summit Bancshares of Chesterfield.

•Landmark Bank is bought by Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff, Ark.

•A farm in the Cabool area owned by Fred and Beth Klug is recognized as a Missouri Century Farm.

•County resident Joe Neal, founder of The Barn Savers, disassembles a 1870s era cabin in the Old Success area of Texas County. The hand-hewn white oak logs from the structure (that was originally a family dwelling) will be used in construction of an office in Mansfield, Ohio.

Barn Savers man and his son

The Barn Savers founder Joe Neal and his son, Noah, stand last August next to an 1870s era cabin in the Old Success area of Texas County. Hand-hewn white oak logs from the structure (that was originally a two-story dwelling) would be used in construction of an office in Mansfield, Ohio.

•Bucyrus resident Virgle McCown is highlighted in a feature story after placing second in the senior men’s division at the annual National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Tournament in Wichita Falls, Texas.

•Mineral Area College announces plans to offer general education classes in Houston and accommodate area students in the state A+ program that assists with higher education costs. Classes will be in new space created as part of the Piney River Technical Center on Spruce Street in downtown Houston (in the old Lee building).

Big bust

Dozens of guns, 2.5 pounds of meth and $46,000 cash were among the items seized in a major drug bust orchestrated last August by the Texas County Sheriff’s Department.

•Law enforcement authorities seize 105 guns, $46,000 cash and drugs with street values exceeding $100,000 in one of the biggest busts in Texas County history.

•Houston’s Evans Sports is purchased by local residents Jeff and Jennifer Gabel.

 

SEPTEMBER

 

•Houston hires Scott Avery as its new city administrator.

•The City of Cabool sues it biggest employer, DFA, over alleged damaging discharges into the city’s sewage treatment system.

•The Missouri Department of Conservation conducts a handgun workshop for women at the Big Piney Sportsman’s Club.

Gun gals

Shooting coach Mike Kane, left, points toward a target during a women’s handgun workshop last September at the Big Piney Sportsman’s Club near Houston.

•The Houston Community Foundation announces the formation of the John and Naomi Montgomery Scholarship Fund, a $600,000 endowment that is expected to provide about $24,000 annually in scholarships to Houston High School students.

•The Durham Co. adds a new, state-of-the-art metal cutting machine to its Houston plant.

Jail garden men

Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey, center, stands last September inside the resurrected jail garden with jail administrator Tim Garnica, right, and assistant administrator Andy Edwards.

•A feature story highlights the resurrection of the Texas County Jail Garden.

•A story features Texas County resident Traci Enfield and her daughter, Alex, and their Lazy E Rabbitry venture.

 

OCTOBER

 

•Gentry Construction Co. Inc. of Houston company is hired as construction manager for a $6 million Houston School District plan to build a new high school gymnasium and make improvements on campus.

•The Houston Herald earns 24 awards in the annual Missouri Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

Chance runs

Houston senior running back Chance Mitchell advances the ball during the Tigers’ senior night win over Mountain Grove in October.

•The City of Houston receives a $250,000 federal Land, Water and Conservation Fund grant for the construction a new municipal swimming pool.

•Long-time Raymondville residents Verlin and Faye Beasley are highlighted in a feature story. He’s an award-winning forester and she’s a member of the Branson family (after which the southwest Missouri entertainment hub is named).

•Firefighters from seven area departments participated in a training event conducted by the Missouri University Fire and Rescue Training Institute in the former GAMO parking lot in Houston.


•A 67-year-old Licking woman is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her mother following a multi-agency investigation alleging extreme neglect.

•In an event including six of its original 10 members, the Piney River Quilt Guild celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Original Quilt Guild members

Six of the original 10 members of the Piney River Quilt Guild gather during an event last October celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary in the fellowship hall at the Houston United Methodist Church. From left, Arlene Williamson, Gail DeMoss, Kim Bailey, Beverly Flowers, Pat Rice and Mary Ellen Gentry.

•Grant funding from Healthy Schools Healthy Communities helps the City of Houston add equipment at two city parks.

•The Houston High School football team beats Liberty for the first time since 2005 and earns a home game in the first round of the district playoffs for the first time since the same year.

 

NOVEMBER

 

•The Houston Schools campus goes under lockdown after a juvenile boy is found to be in possession of a gun at the high school.

•The Texas County Food Pantry receives a huge food donation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church sent an 18-wheeler from its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, loaded with of 28 pallets of non-perishable foods.

•The first season of cross country racing at Houston High School since 1985 concludes with sophomore Hunter McKinney finishing 14th at the Class 2 District 9 championship meet and earning the right to run at the state championship meet. He finished 108th in a field of 173 at state.

Frozen Jr.

Members of the STARS Foundation, a regional arts organization, perform in “Frozen Jr.” last November at the Melba Performing Arts Center in downtown Houston.

•The Houston School District introduces its new wood-burning boiler unit that will heat the high school and middle school buildings.

•Firefighters from four area departments responded to a huge middle-of-the-night blaze that destroys an old mill and feed store at Highways B and 137 in Raymondville. Some personnel remain on scene for more than 11 hours.

Activity at the fire

Firefighters and other emergency responders work at the scene of a blaze in November that destroyed an old building in Raymondville.

•Houston High School senior Lane Revelle earns a weightlifting scholarship from Missouri Valley College in Marshall.

•The Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Taste of Christmas occurs at businesses around town.

 

DECEMBER

 

•Texas County government and Texas County Memorial Hospital engage in a dispute over unpaid bills involving Texas County Jail inmates.

•Security Bank of the Ozarks announces construction plans for its new Holder Drive location in Houston.

•A huge crowd attends the holiday bazaar sponsored by the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce.

Tristan vs. the little guy

HHS senior Tristan Leier shadows Eminence senior Daylen Harrison during a Tigers game in November in Hiett Gymnasium.

•The annual Shop With A Hero program that benefits children in Texas County occurs at the Houston Walmart Supercenter. Organizers said about $15,000 was raised and more than 150 kids participated, with each enjoying a $100 shopping spree with help dozens of area law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, 911 staff members, Missouri Department of Conservation representatives, park rangers and jail corrections officers.

•Houston’s annual downtown Christmas parade occurs at night.

•Houston High School sophomore Devon Sawyer is highlighted in a story after earning an honorable mention award for playing bass clarinet at the Missouri All-State Band Auditions.

•The Houston City Council approves a contract that will lead to a municipally-owned system to provide high-speed internet to local residents and businesses.

•City of Houston Fire Chief Robbie Smith discusses the importance of keeping chimneys clean to avoid catastrophic “flue fires.”

Gold coin

This $50 gold coin worth almost $1,400 was dropped into a Salvation Army Red Kettle at the Houston Walmart during December. It was wrapped in a piece of paper bearing a holiday message.

•Texas County Memorial Hospital hosts an open house event at the new location of its Hutcheson Pharmacy in a building on U.S. 63 that was formerly occupied by the Mercy Clinic. TCMH CEO Wes Murray said other departments would also move into the space in early 2020, including the practice of Dr. William Wright, the walk-in clinic and the home healthcare operation.

•The Texas County Food Pantry names Laura Crowley as its new executive director.

•A $50 gold coin valued at almost $1,400 is dropped into a Salvation Army Red Kettle at the Houston Walmart.

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