Tuesday, January 11, 2011 0 comments

New Year's resolutions

Did you make any New Year's resolutions?

Many people pick resolutions relating to exercising more, eating healthier, etc.

One of my resolutions revolves around posting more regularly to this blog, where I will be sharing photos, videos or anything I think will be of interest to people in our community.

Here is a link to USA.gov's list of popular New Year's resolutions with links on how to get started — such as managing stress, finding a better job or saving money.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 0 comments

Rainbow photos from readers

Rainbow photos, unfortunately, don't always look so awesome when they print in the newspaper - especially if they are printed in black and white.

So I wanted to share a couple of rainbow photos that were submitted by readers on Aug. 31.

This first rainbow picture was taken by Cheryle Evans.

This rainbow photo below was taken by Tammy Campos.

Thursday, August 26, 2010 0 comments

Why I love small-town community festivals

One of the favorite things I enjoy covering for the Herald-Press is festivals - especially the small-town festivals. There's something about going to a community, talking with the people you know, seeing all of the crafts made by people like you and me, and supporting a good cause, like a local community center.

Both Neches and Montalba have festivals each year that fit in this group. While Neches hold its annual Neches Heritage Day festival the first weekend in May, the Montalba Fall Festival is held in the fall on the last Saturday in September (Sept. 25 this year) on the Montalba Community Center grounds on Texas 19.

The Montalba Fall Festival organizers are gearing up for their festival and especially want to get the word out about the arts & crafts vendor spaces that are available. Booths are 10x10 feet. Booth spaces are $20 a booth until Sept. 22. Late entries will cost $25. To reserve a booth or for more information, call Christy Woolverton 903-549-3462 or email christyw79@aol.com.

The festival, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will start with a parade at 10 a.m. Other activities will include a children's pet contest, live auction, arts and crafts, exhibit show, chocolate pie contest, a men's cake baking contest (really good entries last year!) and more. The winning pie and cake will be auctioned at the live auction. All proceeds go directly to the Montalba Community Center & Volunteer Fire Department. For more information contact Jill Hamil at 903-549-2384.

As always, the Montalba Volunteer Fire Department will be selling barbecue dinners and stuffed potato plates as a fund-raiser. Meals include a drink and homemade desserts. For more information, call Cookie Wilbanks at 903-549-2537.

For the exhibit show, categories will include produce, home canning, arts, crafts, & needlework with many classes in each category. There also will be a special “youth section” for the youngsters to show the things they have accomplished this past year. Everyone welcome. Guidelines and show times may be obtained by calling Lucia Gramme at 903-549-2181.

The ladies from the Montalba Community Improvement Association have handcrafted a queen-sized quilt to be given away in a drawing during the festival. This has been the association's main fundraiser for over 40 years. Donations are $2 eachor three for $5. Purchase these the day of the festival, or in advance at Montalba General Store and area banks including Capital One Bank on the loop in Palestine. You need not be present to win. Call 903-549-2384 with questions about the quilt drawing.
Saturday, February 27, 2010 0 comments

Tall snowman

Phillip Davis submitted this photo of a giant snowman made by family and friends in the Bridgesville community near Elkhart Tuesday after the Anderson County area received its second snowfall this month. The tallest man in the photo is 6 feet 2 inches tall, which makes the snowman about 10 feet tall.

More snow photos can be found on the Palestine Herald-Press Photo Gallery.
Saturday, February 06, 2010 0 comments

Dogwood Trails brochure available

The 72nd Annual Dogwood Trails Celebration in 2010 will be held in Palestine the last two weekends in March and the first weekend in April.

The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce has the Dogwood Trails Celebration brochure available in on its website, if you want to take a sneak-peek of the upcoming events (or click the logo to the left to download it!).

It looks like there is something for everyone during the three weekends — Dogwood Trails Parade, Palestine Community Theatre's production of "Little Women," the Old-Time Music & Dulcimer Festival, tours of historic homes, "gingerbread and coffee" at the historic Pilgrim Church, the "Gatherin' Steam Dogwood Bicycle Ride, events at the Texas State Railroad and a lot more!

You can find entry forms for several events including the parade and the bike ride on the Forms section of the Chamber website.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010 0 comments

VIDEO: Spirit of Mardi Gras at St. Philip's

This is a video taken at the Spirit of Mardi Gras fund-raiser held Jan. 27 at St. Philip's Episocopal Church. In the video, Episcopal Church Women member Mary Kolstad explains how the fund-raiser has changed over the years from chili to jambalaya.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 0 comments

My favorite stories from 2009

While working on contest entries for the Associated Press Managing Editors competition for newspapers, I did a search on the Palestine Herald-Press website for stories I had written in 2009. At the time, I didn't think I had very many stories "worthy" of the contest, but upon looking back, I came up with a few gems (in my opinion).

Now, it necessarily wasn't my writing that made these stories special to me, but more the subject matter I was given to write about. These are stories that truly touched my heart. Click the links below to read the stories.

Here's a look at my favorite stories I wrote in 2009 that I am especially proud of:

“Journey for a Cure” — This is a story about a California family (Bill and Victoria Strong) stopping in Palestine, Texas on their 5,000 mile journey across the country to raise awareness for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which has crippled their 20-month-old daughter Gwendolyn. The family details the extensive care necessary just to keep their daughter alive while informing the public about this devastating illness. Before the end of the journey, the family introduced their daughter for the first time to her 104-year-old grandfather in Mississippi (a Palestine native).

“Every 15 Minutes” — This is a feature about the "Every 15 Minutes" program designed to teach teens about the dangers of drunk driving. Using an intense, interactive “mock accident scene” and sobering program Every 15 Minutes stresses the shocking statistics that one teen dies in the United States every 15 minutes due to an alcohol-related wreck.

“Keeping Hope Alive” — This is the story about a woman who has not given up hope despite the fact that her 19-year-old son has been missing for four years. After the case turned cold, this mother committed herself and her efforts to reopen the investigation into her son's disappearance.

“Birdwell Talks About Surviving Pentagon Attack on 9/11” — This story is a feature on Lt. Col. (Ret.) Brian Birdwell, who spoke to the Palestine Independent School District faculty about his horrific experience during the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11. Birdwell was in the Pentagon when the plane crashed into the building. In his speech,the visibly scarred veteran describes his emotions then and now. Birdwell endured 39 operations over a four-year period for the burns he received on that day. He and his wife founded Face the Fire Ministries Inc., which was established to assist burn survivors and wounded servicemen and women and their families.

“Competition helps woman find strength to battle cancer” — This is a story about Mimi Burch, a woman who drew strength from her horse-riding competition to get her through the darkest days of her breast cancer treatments. A week after finishing her radiation therapy, Burch competed in a five-state competition not expecting to win, but to show that she wasn't going to let cancer take over her life. She won the competition.

Courtesy Photo: Bill and Victoria Strong try to cherish every moment they have with their daughter Gwendolyn, who suffers from SMA, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Gwendolyn turned 2 years old in October, a major milestone for a child with SMA. Keep updated about the Strong Family on the GwendolynStrong.com website.

—— Cheril Vernon, Community Editor, Palestine Herald-Press