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Jefferson's Opera House Theatre Players celebrate Christmas with "USO" style show

JEFFERSON — Jefferson’s Opera House Theatre Players got a merry start to the Christmas holiday by hosting two full house performances of its second USO style show, “It’s a USO Christmas” last week in Jefferson.

Performing a two night show at the Jefferson VFW Post 10373, the members of the Texas Opera House Theatre Players brought back fan favorite characters of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball for, “It’s a USO Christmas.”

The TOHP first tackled a USO style show in July for a patriotic themed Independence Day production.

The performances featured songs, skits and comedy, brought together by Director Marcia Thomas.

“This show fashioned a Christmas-themed musical and skit revue around some famous names played by some regular and new Players recruits,” Thomas said. “One of the new faces for this production was a Frank Sinatra sound alike that hails from another city. He goes by the name of ‘Gozz’ and he’s got the closest Sinatra sound to be heard around here in years.”

The Players’ Lisa Daye returned for this show as Grace Allen while Joe Todaro again portrayed Bob Hope.

Jane Maddox returned to reprise her much-acclaimed impersonation of Marilyn Monroe in some of the songstress’ most famous songs including “Santa Baby”. Thomas again portrayed Marilyn Maxwell, one of Bob Hope’s favorite blondes during his years performing USO entertainment to U.S. troops.

To find out more about the TOHP or to volunteer in their next production, visit their website at www.jeffersonoperahousetheatreplayers.com

City of Marshall announces new criteria for Small Business Grant program

The city of Marshall approved a revision to the Small Business Grant program criteria this week.

Stormy Nickerson, city spokesperson, said that as there is still ample money available through the program, the city decided to alter its criteria to best accommodate businesses with only one or two employees.

The grant program provides a one-time reimbursement of up to $2,500 to companies who have purchased equipment, supplies, software, PPE, and faced financial hardship to adapt their business to state and federal guidelines after March 1, 2020.

New qualifications include:

Businesses must have five or fewer employees. The previous requirement stated the business must have three or more employees.

Businesses must have been open and operating since January 1, 2020.

Locally owned small business with a storefront inside the city limits of Marshall, Texas.

Businesses must be sales-tax producing.

The grant application must include paid receipts with explanation of the purpose of the purchase.

The city of Marshall encourages businesses to apply again if they were denied previously due to the number of employees.

The new application is available at the Community and Economic Development Office at City Hall or online at https://www.marshalltexas.net/DocumentCenter/View/1062/Small-Business-Grant-Fund-Updated-1215.

For more information, contact, Shameia Ruffins, Community Development Coordinator, at 903-935-4453.

TxDOT plans safety projects in Harrison, surrounding counties for upcoming year

Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT, has revealed plans for safety lighting to be installed at area highway intersections as well as safety cable systems to help prevent head-on accidents.

According to Marcus Sandifer, TxDOT public information officer for the Atlanta District, eight intersections in the northeast Texas area will receive improved lighting systems during the upcoming year. The plans were approved this month.

One of those intersections scheduled for lighting additions is in Harrison County and the other is in neighboring Marion County. The intersection scheduled for improved lighting in Harrison County is State Highway 43 at Farm-to-Market Road 2625. The one in Marion is at FM 248 at FM 2683.

“Nighttime lighting systems at the intersections that will have energy efficient LED lighting and will better illuminate the roadways,” Rebecca Wells, Director of Transportation Operations for TxDOT in Atlanta, said in a statement. “The LED lights are brighter and more cost efficient than our old lighting systems.”

Sandifer noted that work on the projects should begin in March and take about a year to complete.

Sandifer noted that a new safety cable system will be erected in the highway medians on U.S. Highway 59 to help prevent head-on collisions. Plans were approved in November for the cable barriers to be installed over the next few months along six areas of U.S. 59 in Harrison, Marion, Panola, Bowie and Cass Counties.

“Head-on accidents caused by vehicles crossing the median on divided highway systems can be some of the deadliest,” Sandifer indicated. “A new safety cable system being installed in the median between opposing lanes of traffic hopes to drastically reduce the likelihood of these type accidents.”

In Harrison County, cable barriers will be placed, starting 1 mile south of FM 1997 to FM 1793; and from FM 1186 to the Panola County line. In Marion County, the cable barrier will start from Cass County line to 2 miles north of State Highway 49. In Panola County, the cable barrier will start from the Harrison County line to Loop 149.

Wendy Starkes, area engineer for TxDOT in Marshall explained that the safety cable system has three to four strands of ¾-inch high tension cable that are supported by metal posts.

“The cables are suspended up to 30 inches above the ground and are intended to catch vehicles in the median before they get into oncoming traffic,” Starkes stated in a press release. “Although no system can prevent all crossover accidents, this new cable system looks very promising in preventing most and has been tested to hold back even a semi-truck when hit at a glancing blow.”

Work on the project is expected to begin in February 2021 and take about 18 months to complete, Starkes said.

Sandifer pointed out the advantages the new cable system has compared to the typical concrete median barrier.

“The primary advantage is cost—concrete barriers can cost more than twice as much, so funding for this type project can go more than twice as far in erecting safety barriers,” he noted. “The cable system also has more give, slowing the vehicle down more gradually and is less likely to cause vehicles to ricochet back into traffic.”

Another plus is the maintenance. Starkes said the cables rarely ever break during crashes and the posts are easily replaced to quickly repair the system.

Sandifer said H.V. Caver Inc., of Atlanta, was awarded the contract for the project with a low bid of $4.4 million. Highway Intelligent Traffic Solutions, Inc. of Cedar Hill, was awarded the contract for the safety lighting projects with a bid of $1.1 million.

Marshall PD releases information surrounding Sunday fatality accident
  • Updated

On Sunday at around 2:15 a.m. the Marshall Police Department was notified of a one vehicle crash that occurred just inside the city limits of Marshall in the 6100 block of Elysian Fields Avenue.

Preliminary investigation indicates that a pickup truck travelling north on Elysian Fields Avenue into Marshall crossed over the southbound lane and left the roadway on the west side of Elysian Fields Avenue where it struck a tree.

The sole occupant and driver of the vehicle, Zachary Garcia, 28, of Marshall, was deceased at the scene of the crash.

This accident remains under investigation by Marshall Police Department traffic division. Chief of Police Carruth and the Marshall Police Department would like to offer their deepest condolences to Mr. Garcia’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.

Two county offices closed to public due to COVID-19 exposure
  • Updated

Two county offices recently closed to the public due to COVID-19 exposure, County Judge Chad Sims confirmed.

“Right now, we have two offices that are closed, the tax office and the district clerk’s office,” he informed. “There are people in those offices working; we just have them closed to the public.”

District Clerk Sherry Griffis and County Tax Collector/Assessor Veronica King both announced last week that they were closing their offices due to COVID-19.

“Certainly we’ve had some cases of people that have been exposed. We just want to be overly cautious and certainly not expose the public,” Judge Sims said Tuesday. “These are both elected officials that run those offices, and the operations of those offices are at their discretion.

“Certainly, I support their decision either way,” he said. “Their concern, as is mine, is for the safety of our staff and the public, of course.”

Judge Sims said while those two offices are temporary closed to the public, the county doesn’t have immediate plans to close the courthouse, as a whole.

“We know the virus is out there and we’re asking our folks and the public to be extra cautious,” the county judge said. “We want to try to operate as normal as possible and still be safe.”

King, tax collector/assessor, said the Marshall office will reopen on Thursday. Office hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed for lunch from noon to 1 until the 2021 new year.

“I urge everyone that can to please mail in their vehicle renewals and tax payments or utilize the outside dropbox,” said King.

“It is very important that I protect the office staff, as well as the citizens of Harrison County,” she said.

Anyone that needs immediate in-person assistance prior to the Marshall office’s reopening to the public Thursday can visit the Hallsville or Waskom tax offices.

Last week, district clerk Sherry Griffis noted on the District’s Facebook page to email sherry@co.harrison.tx.us, if there was an emergency matter for her office to address.