20th Annual Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Weekend

Written by Kay Hubbard.

A Legendary Panola County Tradition Honors Legendary Musicians

One of the busiest weekends on the Panola County calendar is coming up August 11-13. Chamber of Commerce President Tommie Ritter Smith and her staff work all year to prepare for the huge Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Weekend, a three-day extravaganza packed with activities surrounding the induction of new TCMHOF members. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event. It is also a year that the staff is experiencing an extra measure of stress regarding the location of the two main events. The new Performance Arts Center at Carthage High School was scheduled to be finished in time to host them, but the venue’s completion date is still uncertain. Fortunately, the community now has access to the Civic Center, where the events will be held if the new venue is unavailable.

Leah Hanks

Written by Kay Hubbard.

A Servant Minister with a Missionary Heart

People in ministry often credit certain scriptures that most inspired them to become pastors. But there are also scriptures that people can point to and say, “Wow! That totally describes my pastor!” Congregant admirers of Associate Pastor Leah Hanks of First United Methodist Church in Carthage can name several of those:

Tommie Ritter Smith & the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame

Written by Kay Hubbard.

A Visionary Chamber of Commerce President Fulfills Her Dream of a Lasting Legacy for Legends of Country Music

How fortunate for all of us in Panola County that the Chamber of Commerce hired a visionary like Tommie Ritter Smith as its President and Chief Executive Officer back in the early 1980’s. And how fortunate for Tommie that the first visitor she met as director was Howard Rosser from the East Texas Tourism Association in Longview.

Carlton Shamburger

Written by Shelbye Almeida.

A Vocation of Salt and Light

Jesus said that as believers, we’re supposed to be the salt of the earth, and to breathe life into the profession to which we are called. To preserve and enhance the lives of others, as well as to emit a beacon of light while we’re here on earth, is our true vocation. When thinking about these words embodied in a person, my mind immediately goes to an extraordinary person, Carlton Shamburger.

Charlie Woods Memorial Fishing Tournament

Written by Kay Hubbard.

Celebrating the Life of a Big Keeper

“Charlie Woods knew and loved everyone, and everyone knew him and loved him,” says Charlie’s good friend Harley Wilson of  Beckville. “Every time we would go out to eat, even out of town, someone he knew would come by the table and talk to him.  He never forgot a name or a face, or the names of everyone’s children and family members.” Harley’s wife Nita adds, “And anytime you were ever around Charlie, you were going to be laughing. He was always cutting up and was just naturally fun and funny. He was also a magnet for children; they all loved him and wanted to be around him.”

A Foundation for the Future

Written by Teresa Beasley.

Keeping Panola College Strong

When paying for college, every dollar counts, and the Endowed Scholarship program at Panola College benefits almost 100 students each year. Inside the Martha Miller Administration Building, along the hallway that leads to President Greg Powell’s office, are engraved plaques honoring the 136 individuals, families and organizations that have donated money to create Endowed Scholarships. Looking at these plaques is like a walk down memory lane in the history of the College and the community it serves. Some are in memory of sons and daughters lost too soon. Others honor people and organizations that have had a positive impact on the College and the community, including churches and corporations and their employees who have banded together to create scholarships.

Panola County Emergency Preparedness Coalition

Written by Kay Hubbard.

Working Together for Disaster Readiness

The local hospital, the Police, Sheriff’s, and Fire Departments, area schools, nursing homes and home health agencies, Emergency Medical Service providers, and other public entities all deal with some sort of crisis or disaster, small or large, every day, and all of them have good procedures in place for managing these crises. But what if there were a sudden mass casualty disaster that caused

Carthage Gideons

Written by Kay Hubbard.

Living Out Their Faith For a Lifetime

For a combined total of 82 years three Carthage men have been faithfully living out their deeply held religious convictions through membership in an organization that means the world to them. Herb Hudson, Dennis Smith, and Louis Bramblett are still highly involved and venerated members of the Carthage Camp of Gideons International, an organization of approximately 275,000 committed to a twofold purpose: Christian witness through personal testimony and the massive distribution of Bibles throughout the world.

Kimberly Ferguson

Written by Kay Hubbard.

In Passionate Pursuit of Dreams & Crowns

How many little girls all over the nation have watched the Miss America Pageant throughout the years and pictured themselves on that big stage in a beautiful gown, hearing their own name called and having someone place that beautiful jeweled crown on their head!! It’s a dream that one young Carthage woman has been pursuing for months, and she is a third of the way toward achieving it, having won a local pageant as Miss Twin Rivers. The next challenge will be competing for the Miss Texas title on July 1, and of course the new Miss Texas will compete in the Miss America Pageant in September.


Written by Gina Sue Bradley.

Back to School Reflections

August escorts in the first day of school, ready or not! With that thought, you may be humming the Four Tops’ “Back to School Again” in your head, or maybe “The Wheels on the Bus;” some parents may be singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” But no matter your response, back-to-school beckons in August.