Lady Cards begin playoff tournament

softball 5By Benny Rogers/TVCC Sports Information

The Region XIV Tournament begins today in Corsicana on the campus of Navarro College. The Lady Cardinals are scheduled to play the final game of the day at 5:30 p.m., taking on Galveston Community College.

Coach Ashley Johnston’s Lady Cardinals, in the tournament for a third straight year, carry at 30-23 record into today’s game. Galveston, ranked No. 8 nationally, is 42-15.

The Lady Cardinals fell 8-0 to Galveston earlier this season.

If the Lady Cardinals win, they would play Friday at 5:30 p.m. If they lose, they would play at 12:30 p.m. Friday.

The tournament concludes Sunday with the top two teams advancing to the national tournament.

Today’s game will be webcast (audio) at Broadcast student and Cardinal football kicker Sam Fowler will call the game.

Food programs make sure kids don’t go hungry over the weekend

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

By Michael V. Hannigan

Picture this:

It is Monday morning at the local elementary school and a third grader — an 8-year-old girl — walks into the cafeteria for breakfast. She goes through the line getting as much food as she can and then wolfs it down as quickly as possible when she gets back to a table. Then she goes through the line again and gets more food and eats it as fast as possible. She then finishes the last of the food off her friend’s plate. … Eventually, she eats enough that it overloads her stomach and she has to run to the bathroom to be sick.

Strange behavior? Not for someone who hasn’t eaten for two days. The sad truth is some kids don’t get to eat between leaving school on Friday and returning Monday morning.

It is a scene school administrators in Henderson County were used to seeing, but thanks to the work of some dedicated people it is becoming less common.

Working in Tool

I first heard the scenario described above almost three years ago from David Bullock, a member of Cedar Creek United Methodist Church. He said the same kids who gorged on Monday often tried to sneak food home on Friday.

“Friday and Monday are 40 percent of the week. How can you learn anything if you’re sick or worried 40 percent of the time?” David was quoted as saying in a 2011 article in The Monitor. 

According to the Texas Hunger Research Project, “Almost one-in-five Texas households (18.8 percent) are food insecure, and over one-in-four (28 percent) children live in households that struggle to afford food.”

David’s church fights the problem through the brown bag program. Each Friday, church members put together bags of kid-friendly food — items that don’t need refrigeration or cooking and that are easy to open — and deliver them to Tool Elementary School.

The school’s administrators make sure the food gets to the right students.

Currently, the church is delivering 17 bags each Friday … although there have been as many as 20 at times.

Working in Malakoff

In Malakoff, a similar program is run by Faith in Action Outreach. 

FIAO, which also runs a food pantry and clothes closet, started out last year delivering to just Malakoff but expanded this year to include Eustace and Cross Roads.

FIAO Secretary Teri Caswell said the group now delivers 30 bags to Malakoff Elementary School, 30 bags to Eustace Elementary School, and 20 bags to Cross Roads Elementary School each week.

Working in Athens

In Athens, the Backpack Program does the same thing for 78 students across the district.

The program is administered by AISD parent liaison Yadira Chairez, with Eastern Hills Church of Christ actually picking up and storing the food.

“(The program) started three years ago when we saw the need. … When we saw the kids taking food off of other people’s plates on Monday mornings,” Chairez said.

The Athens Backpack Program is run through the East Texas Food Bank.

“The kids are really excited. They are not having to scrounge for food anymore,” Chairez said.

She explained that sometimes the kids might not be going home for the weekend, they might instead be going with a grandparent or an aunt and the program makes it so they don’t have to worry about food.

“Unfortunately for some of our kids, the meals that we serve them here might be the only good meal they have during the day,” said Athens ISD Superintendent Blake Stiles.

How to help

Between the three programs, 175 students aren’t going hungry over the weekend. What can you do?

Donations of money are always accepted, of course. In Athens, $149 will sponsor a child for an entire year.

Beyond that, however, think about donating some time to one of these groups. The community’s need is often greater than the number of hands lined up to help. Contact any of the group’s below to see how you can join the fight.

  • David Bullock, Cedar Creek United Methodist Church, 469-383-4318
  • Teri Caswell, Faith in Action Outreach, 903-880-2906, email
  • Yadira Chairez, Athens ISD, 903-677-6900, email
  • Eastern Hills Church of Christ, 903-675-3975

Walmart is also running a contest to award $3 million to food banks … log on Facebook here, and vote for the East Texas Food Bank.

PWC announces Volunteer of the Year

Gayle Robinson (left) was recently honored recently as the Pinnacle Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented by Daryl Daniels, PWC President, at the April Membership Meeting. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Gayle Robinson (left) was recently honored recently as the Pinnacle Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented by Daryl Daniels, PWC President, at the April Membership Meeting. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Pinnacle Women’s Club press release

The Pinnacle Women’s Club recently announced Gayle Robinson as its Volunteer of the Year.

Pinnacle Women’s Club President Daryl Daniels said, “I am very proud to honor
Gayle Robinson as our outstanding Volunteer of the Year. Thank you, Gayle, for all you do.”

Robinson is a charter member of the Pinnacle Women’s Club and has served as President, Vice President, Social Chairman, Sunshine Chairman, twice as Fundraising Chairman, twice as Garage Sale Chairman, twice as Fashion Show Chairman, and Parliamentarian. She has continued to volunteer for the club by delivering meals with the Meals on Wheels program.

Anyone who has played golf with Robinson knows she is an excellent golfer and has a true love for the game. She has been involved working for the association from Secretary to PGA Tournament Chairman. She has also served as President of the Central Texas Women’s Golf Association.

Robinson is now serving her third year as the Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation Co-President which produces the Annual Air Show and Golf Tournament. During this three years, the foundation has raised over $75,000 for veteran’s charities.

Pinnacle Women donates to CASA

PWCPinnacle Women’s Club (PWC) recently donated $1,000 to the Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA). The CASA organization provides independent, highly trained volunteer advocates for children in the custody of Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. They empower volunteers to advocate for the children’s best interests, to insure that their needs are met, and to secure a permanent, safe and nurturing home as soon as possible. Their goal is to get children out of the foster care system quickly. Pictured are Lee Ann Millender (right), CASA Executive Director, and Patsy Dehn, PWC’s Philanthropy Chair. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Texas Parks and Wildlife recognizes TFFC

Many young anglers catch their first fish at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, making it the best place to play catch in Texas. (Larry D. Hodge, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center)
Many young anglers catch their first fish at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, making it the best place to play catch in Texas. (Larry D. Hodge, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center)

City of Athens press release

For years, the City of Athens, has attracted fishing enthusiasts to its many freshwater fishing sites. Now Athens is being recognized by Texas Parks and Wildlife for its Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. The magazine calls the center the best place in Texas to “play catch.”

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center maintains a 1.2 acre stocked fishing pond where children are taught how to bait a hook and cast a line. As Texas Parks and Wildlife says, “Many young anglers catch their first fish at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.” Bait and tackle are furnished for visitors and no fishing license is required.

Children and adults who are visiting the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center can also walk a wetland trail, watch a daily dive show, take a tram tour, and explore 300,000 gallons of aquariums teeming with native Texas fish.

Located 75 miles southeast of Dallas, the city of Athens provides an array of activities for any family vacation. Athens has scuba and zipline opportunities, as well as one-hundred wooded acres belonging to the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society. “Athens is the perfect destination for families looking to explore the outdoors and experience nature at its best,” said Sherri Skeeters, tourism coordinator for the City of Athens Department of Tourism.

Bordering the Texas Lakes Trail and Texas Forest Trail regions, the natural beauty of the Athens countryside is a great escape for those looking to get away this time of year. The City of Athens Department of Tourism is also offering a wide variety of local coupons and discounts for those who visit this month. Coupons range from local restaurants to popular hotels, making this spring the perfect time to come and enjoy the East Texas countryside at an affordable rate.