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Mr. East Texas Award Announced

Mr. East TexasThe Tyler County Dogwood Festival has announced Harold Estes of Lufkin, as "Mr. East Texas" 2016. The Mr. East Texas Award is presented each year to the East Texan that best exemplifies the spirit and quality of leadership which advances, shapes and gives direction to the growth and progress of East Texas. Festival Executive Buck Hudson stated that Mr. Estes was selected for his dedication to the growth and development of the East Texas timber industry and for his charitable support of local programs and organizations. Estes will be accepting the award Saturday, April 2, during the Dogwood Pageant.

Mr. Estes was born in the mountains of North Carolina in 1940. As the only boy in a family of four children, he was reared by a stay-at-home mom and a father who worked in construction, logging and farming. Most of his father's work was seasonal due to the harsh winters and Harold had to pitch in to help him with it. He was skidding logs down the mountain with a draft horse by the age of six, and learned how to use a chain saw and fall a tree soon after, so forestry seemed the natural choice as a profession. He dreamed of going to college, but did not have enough money even with scholarships. He was able to get a construction job in Greenland for two summers that afforded him the opportunity to go to college.

He chose to attend Mars Hill College, a small Baptist two-year school, tucked away in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. He transferred to the University of Georgia from Mars Hill in 1964 where he majored in Forestry, and later he attended a number of business classes at Georgia State University.

He met his future bride of 52 years while at Mars Hills. He had no plans of marriage, but she thought otherwise although it took her three years to finish her degree and close the marriage deal. With a sound education and a new wife, he was ready to pursue his dream of a logging business; but, one needs money for such dreams and the "hounds of poverty" were still chasing him. He took work as a forester and later as a salesman for Timberjack.

After holding a number of jobs with Timberjack, he was transferred to Lufkin as manager of their factory store. He bought the factory store and renamed it Texas Timberjack in 1984. Subsequently, he has been engaged in real estate development, scrap metal, various oil and gas activities, sawmill and wood treating, and other such business endeavors. He has also served on the board of directors for Overhill Farms, TreeCon Resources and Newton Bancshares.

He and his wife, Conni, have 2 sons and 3 grandchildren. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He loves to fish in the Kenai River in Alaska and travel with his oldest grandson. As most who know him knows, he also loves to make a deal.

Harold Estes realized his dream of owning a business in the timber industry here in the woods of East Texas, and for more than 30 years he has generously given back to the region through his support of many charities. With private funds and through The Estes Education and Charitable Foundation, Mr. Estes has supported educational scholarships in area schools, Harmony Hill Baptist Church, Mosaic Center, Museum of East Texas, Junior League, Ellen Trout Zoo, The Joseph House, Harold's House, Texas Forestry Museum, Angelina Arts Alliance, Lufkin Landscape Task Force, Marine Corps

2016 Miss Tyler County Pageant signups

Sign-Ups for the 2016 Miss Tyler County Pageant will be held March 7 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Serendipity Boutique in Woodville and again on March 15 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the County Clerks office. Cost to enter the pageant is $25 per participant, from age three to Juniors in High School. Girls wishing to participate in the Miss Photogenic portion of the pageant should bring their 5x7 photo when they sign up. There is an additional fee of $15 per photo with a limit of two per participant.

The 2016 Miss Tyler County Pageant will be held at 7 p.m. at the Eagle Summit in Woodville on April 23, 2016. For more information please call (409) 200-1866 or submit your questions via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

2016 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Princesses

Dogwood-Princesses

2016 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Princesses—Show, from left, are Courtney Crain, daughter of Chuck and Alicia Crain (Spurger); Ashlynn Whisneant, daughter of Steve and Cathy Whisneant (Warren); Mika Maxwell, daughter of John and Tori Harris (Woodville); Jaci Davis, daughter of Wayne and Lori Davis (Chester) and Shelby Tally, daughter of JB and Rhonda Tally (Colmesneil). (Photo Courtesy Hale Hughes Photography)

R.S.V.P. Members Recognized

RSVP-Honor

R.S.V.P. members recognized—Local Retired Senior Volunteer Program members were recognized Thursday with a great meal at the Nutrition Center in Woodville. These volunteers not only volunteer at the Center; but, are also involved with other service activities such as stuffing pillows for the V.A. Hospital. Thanks for your hard work!

Frank you!

Frank You!

Angela "Angus Beef" Bumstead turned heads when she stopped by Woodville driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a 27-foot long hot dog on wheels! She surprised her grandmother and Woodville resident, Bobbie Dengler, and mother, Lauren Bumstead, who had both never seen the vehicle before. Upon arriving in Bobbie's driveway, Angela blasted the jingle horn that sings "Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener", while her partner Owen "Oweenie" Stone greeted Bobbie and Lauren through the Wienermobile's PA speaker system. Texas marked Angela's twenty-fourth state of her year-long tour that will end in June. Frankly, she is having a "bunderful" time. Upcoming college graduates are encouraged to apply to be a Wienermobile driver or "hotdogger" before January 31 on oscarmayer.com. Fans of the Wienermobile can download the smartphone app to see the full calendar of events. Frank you!

Iconic Soda Fountain closes after 52 years

Iconic Woodville Soda Fountain Closes—After 52 years, Jarrott’s Ole Time Soda Fountain (now in Dogwood Pharmacy) has closed. Generations of Tyler County folks have sat at that soda fountain, eating the delicious sandwiches, ice cream and drinking coffee while chatting with friends. (Emily Waldrep Photo)Iconic Woodville Soda Fountain Closes—After 52 years, Jarrott’s Ole Time Soda Fountain (now in Dogwood Pharmacy) has closed. Generations of Tyler County folks have sat at that soda fountain, eating the delicious sandwiches, ice cream and drinking coffee while chatting with friends. (Emily Waldrep Photo)

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville community staple since 1952, Jarrott's Ole Time Soda Fountain closed its doors on January 22 after Jeff Terry, owner and pharmacist at Dogwood Pharmacy, said it had been losing money and customers for months.

Terry bought Dogwood Pharmacy, formerly known as Jarrott's, in April of 2015. At that time, the fountain located inside the pharmacy was already losing profit, but Terry fought to keep it up and running.

"It was losing money before I bought it in April," Terry said. "It kept going downhill. Tammy's Diner moved in, which really hurt us, and then Blue Bell really hurt us with their problems. "

After the fountain couldn't get ice cream, and new eateries started popping up all over town, Terry said that no one would have been able to keep it running due to the lack of customers. Marie Bowen, former fountain employee, had been employed at the fountain for three years and said she had seen firsthand the decline in business, customers and revenue coming in.

"The first year I worked here, it was booming," Bowen said. "We had business all the time. The counter was full at lunch time, and we stayed open until 5 p.m. It just started to go downhill. When Jeff took over, we weren't even making enough money at the fountain to pay my wages, but he kept it open anyway."

Terry tried to reduce hours at the fountain to keep it running, but found he was still taking too great of a loss and had to make the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the fountain.

"We were only getting three customers in here a day," Bowen said. "The community didn't support us."

But, Terry says that the fountain may not have seen its last days, and is rooting for the fountain to re-open.

"I would love for someone to come in here and rent out the space and continue to run the fountain independently," Terry said. "They would have to do something different, but anyone who wants to come in to take it over would be welcome. I'm not sure how much I would charge for rent, but it would be very, very, very little."

All of the equipment and the bar itself will remain right where it is, waiting for someone to come along and breathe new life into the business. Terry even said he would allow someone to extend the fountain to make it bigger, so that more products could be offered.
Until then, the fountain will remain closed, but untouched.

"It's hard to say what happened to our customers and regulars," Bowen said. "We have so many places to eat in town, but our sandwiches are good, and no place in town makes shakes and malts like we did."

Bowen says she wants to send a message to the community that may be angry about the fountain closing.

"You should have supported us more," she said. "You should have been here every day, and come in like you did the first year I worked here. I am going to miss everyone, it was like a big family. But it is unrealistic to run the fountain when we have no business."

Terry said she thinks the fountain could live again, if someone would come in and take it over and add some things to the menu, extend the space, and offer more advertising.

"We tried our best to keep it open and we kept it open for as long as we can," Bowen said. "If it were me, I would have shut it down too. We needed the counter full every day to keep it open, we needed customers."

Terry says even though the fountain may be closed, Bowen will remain right where she has been for the past three years, just working in the pharmacy and gift shop section of the store.

If you are interested in running the fountain independently, stop by Dogwood Pharmacy and talk to owner Jeff Terry.