The Frankston Citizen — Year 2013 in Review

As the Frankston and Lake Palestine areas say goodbye to year 2013, The Frankston Citizen takes a look back at some of the bigger stories of the past 12 months as follows:


Eleven candidates filed for seats on the Frankston School Board and Frankston City Council in the May 11 local elections.

The Cuney City Council held its first meeting in a year and a half on Jan. 8. Mayor Oscar Birdow has been posting agendas each month, but the council rarely has a quorum for an official meeting. Birdow said the city's business goes on as usual despite no council meetings.

A new city council for the City of Coffee City, elected in November of 2012 and seated in December, took action to remove the lobby wall in city hall, named Shellena Bivins as new municipal judge and struggled with its budget hit by falling revenues since much of southwest Smith County voted to allow beer and wine sales in the previous year.

Milano's Pizza opened in downtown Frankston in late January.

The Frankston School Board tightened security on the three campuses and decided against allowing at least some teachers to have guns at school in the wake of shootings at Sandy Hook School in New England.

The Frankston High School robotic team qualified for the state competition. Team members were Morgan Hart, Jennifer Mao and Randie Hall.


The new Frankston Elementary School and Frankston High School cafeteria and gymnasium began rising out of the ground as part of the $17.3 million bond issue passed by voters in 2010.

The Frankston firm of East Texas Trash was sold to Ameri-Tex, a garbage collection company based in Whitehouse. The new owner will pick up East Texas Trash's exclusive franchises in the City of Frankston and City of Berryville.

The Frankston Independent School District ranked significantly above state averages in the first-even State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Tests.

Indian Head Basketball Coach Robert Loper won the 800th varsity boys' game of his 38-year career on Feb. 8 when Frankston beat Gladewater Sabine by a score of 61 to 41.

On Feb. 19, the Frankston School Board called for a “tax rate exchange” election along with local elections on May 11. Although the election would not change the overall tax rate, school officials estimate the change would result in another $277,000 in state funding.

Some 15 people attended a meeting in Poynor to discuss cutting back the hours of the Post Office, which they said was preferable to closing the Poynor office.


Atwood Hats announced that the company will remodel the buildings along Main Street and the old red brick former gas station on the northwest corner of the Frankston square as a manufacturing and retail site for its felt cowboy hat business. The Frankston-based company, which ships straw and felt hats nationwide, will use its new building located at the intersection of Main and Commerce Streets as a showroom, said owner Richard Atwood and son, Brooks Atwood.

After retiring for four years to attend to his health after 20 years at the helm of the City of Frankston, James Gouger filed again for mayor and drew no opposition. Current Mayor Al Mann, who had served on the council for 24 years, had announced last fall that he would step down at the end of his term. The council election had two races between incumbent James “Butch” Fulton and challenger Billy Bussey and between incumbent Ray Harris and challenger Billy Dean.

Two seats were contested for the Frankston School Board in the May 11 election. Place 5 was being sought by Teresa Griffin, Mark Louis Chalk, J. B. Harrington, Hayley Moore Frink and Lindsey Ford. Place 1 is being sought by incumbent Bob Whitehurst and challengers Ron Porter and Michael Bruno.

The City Council of Coffee City has slashed operating expenses from about $37,000 a month down to about $16,000 a month to compensate for the loss of city sales tax revenue from liquor stores after much of Smith County went wet last fall.

The Frankston City Council reauthorized its citywide reinvestment zone that will allow Frankston Packaging to receive a tax break on purchasing new equipment for its manufacturing process.

Frankston High sophomore Raven Paul became the state powerlifting champion in Corpus Christi as she hoisted 1,080 pounds in three lifts.

The Frankston Independent School District decided to adopt 9-week grading periods instead of 6-week grading periods beginning in the fall.

Hilltop Baptist Church ordained three new deacons: Scottie Rodgers, Gerald Peterson and Gordon Folmar.


To save money, the City Council of Coffee City adopted a plan that will turn off 66 percent of the street lights in the peninsula city.

The Frankston School Board dealt with the possible problem of the water line connecting Lake Palestine to Dallas running under the new ball fields being built on the hill along Hwy. 155 north of town.

Farm & Ranch Store at 119 E. Railroad in Frankston closed its doors this month after 28 years.


The Rev. David Urban of Panola was named the new pastor at The United Methodist Church of Frankston succeeding the Rev. Doug Howell, who became pastor of First United Methodist Church in Marlin after nine years in Frankston.

The Three Points Property Owners Association dealt with a wall issue raised by Lemoyne Whitesides at its May 6 meeting.

Two incumbents were defeated in the Frankston City Council elections. Challenger Billy Bussey beat incumbent James “Butch” Fulton, and challenger Billy Dean defeated incumbent Ray Harris.

Incumbent Bob Whitehurst and first-time-candidate Hayley Frink were elected to the Frankston School Board in a field of eight candidates. Voters also approved the “tax rate exchange” measure by a vote of 257 to 178.

Jensen Elsie Anderson was named valedictorian and Tiffany Nicole Forester was named salutatorian of the Class of 2013 at LaPoynor High School.

Elizabeth Harrington was named valedictorian, and Jarrett Locke was salutatorian of the Class of 2013 at Frankston High School.

The Frankston Garden Club held its first garden tour on May 25.

East Texas Medical Center in Tyler announced that it will be pulling out the ambulance that it had stationed in Frankston for the past six years because of cuts in ambulance service by the Affordable Care Act. Actually, the cuts were required due to Sequestration, a condition which was the result of failure by a majority in Congress to come to an agreement on funding for the that service, and others, unrelated to the Affordable Care Act, research shows.

A ten-month on-going discussion of the stacking of tires behind Kar Kare Auto Shop on Hwy. 175 East came to an end at the Frankston City Council when Councilman Billy Bussey moved the issue be dropped. The vote was unanimous.


Plans for a septic ordinance stalled on first reading before the City Council of the City of Coffee City on June 10, but two other readings were planned.

The Frankston School Board learned that the budget for the coming year had been much easier to draw than the previous two years, as presented by school administrators. The tax rate remained unchanged.

Palestine Regional Medical Center announced that it will provide ambulance coverage for Frankston after ETMC pulls its ambulance out of Frankston in mid-July. But the Palestine hospital said it would not station an ambulance in Frankston as ETMC had done.

Head Football Coach Matt Nally was promoted to athletic director at Frankston High School. Former Athletic Director Robert Loper will remain as head basketball coach.


East Texas Medical Center in Tyler pulled its ambulance out of Frankston on July 15, and the emergency service was being handled by Palestine Regional Medical Center in Palestine. The Frankston Volunteer Fire Department stepped up its efforts to provide trained first responders for medical emergencies until the ambulance from Palestine could arrive.

The trustees on the Frankston School Board were named the “best in East Texas” by the Region VII Education Service Center in Kilgore.

The Soda Shop inside Maxwell Pharmacy reopened for lunches on July 19.

Ken Lim of Dallas purchased Brenda’s Country Kettle on Hwy. 155 North in Frankston.


Races began to develop for the Nov. 5 election of one seat on the City Council of Coffee City.

The Frankston City Council decided to keep the tax rate the same as the previous year even though the effective tax rate would have allowed the council to raise its rate slightly.

With the closing of the mail sorting center in Tyler and with all Frankston mail now being sorted in the Dallas area, Postmaster Lupe Tyer said this week that current day’s mail will not be available until noon each day since the mail truck from Dallas is not arriving in Frankston until about 8 a.m.

Enrollment was up in Frankston and LaPoynor schools. Frankston's first day enrollment was 771, compared with 748 last year. LaPoynor had 492 students, compared with 477 last year.

Four candidates sought Place 2 on the City Council for the City of Coffee City in the Nov. 5 election. They were Adam Gonzales, Lee David Mitchell, Lauren L. Savage and Sandy Atteberry.


Summer remodeling at Frankston schools as part of the $17.3 million bond issue was just completed in time for the start of classes this fall.

Monarch Water Supply, which serves Coffee City and much of Lake Palestine, has announced it is seeking a 15 percent rate increase on Jan. 1 and July 1, 2014.

With declining oil and gas reserves, the LaPoynor Independent School District is no longer considered a “rich” Chapter 41 district by the state, announced Supt. Sherry Douglas.

Carpenter Cross Baptist Church in Flint named five new elders: Dewayne Martin, Timmy Burris, Bob Fontenot, Don Russell and Shannon Davis.

The Frankston Police Department added three tasers to its non-lethal tools this month.

The City of Coffee City gave Sept. 12 as the deadline to begin enforcing the exclusive trash pickup franchise within the city limits.

The City Council of Coffee City formally killed the septic ordinance that was being considered after Mayor Ray Wakeman said the ordinance would have no teeth in it if the city could not get Monarch Water Supply to cut off water to violators.

At the request of Police Chief Darren Goodman, the Frankston City Council passed an ordinance regulating “perpetual garage sales.” Chief Goodman said the sales could be used to dispose of stolen items.

The Frankston Volunteer Fire Department purchased a first-responder ambulance from South Anderson County First Responders to help fill in the gap in ambulance service for the city.

David Southerland, a former Baptist minister, has been named the new administrator of Frankston Health Care Center by owner Daybreak Ventures of Denton.


The Frankston City Council names Gary Thomas as the new municipal judge replacing Sue Tarrant.

The Coffee City Economic Development Corporation recommended to the City Council of Coffee City that Farm-to-Market 3506 (also called Roller Coaster Road) be fully annexed into the city limits.

The Frankston High School Band received a II rating at marching competition in Longview.

An anonymous gift of $50,000 was given to the LaPoynor Independent School District.

Three injuries occurred at the 38th annual Square Fair in downtown Frankston on Oct. 26.

Paul Diepenbruck was named pastor of First Baptist Church of Poynor, a church in which he was “saved, baptized and surrendered to the ministry.”


Adam Gonzales won the seat on the City Council of Coffee City in the Nov. 5 election over Lauren Savage, Sandy Atteberry and Lee Mitchell. Gonzales received almost 48 percent of the vote.

The water began flowing over the spillway of Lake Palestine on Nov. 2 following six inches of rain the previous week, but even though Lake Palestine is full and the Neches River below it is in flood stage, Anderson County Agricultural Agent Truman Lamb said that the Texas drought is not yet over.

The Greater Lake Palestine Council was told that the water line to pump from Lake Palestine to Dallas will not be ready to operate until at least the year 2025. Kathy Berek, project manager, spoke to the council and outlined the $2.3 billion project.

Councilman Billy Bussey pushed to have the City of Frankston name a citizens' committee to study the ambulance problem in Frankston. The council authorized Bussey to put together a committee.

The Frankston School Board heard plans for a school “wall of honor” that may be established by the fall of 2014.

A Neighborhood Watch program was organized through the efforts of Councilman Eugene Brooks and three meetings attended by some 30 interested persons.


When the University Interscholastic League reorganized in December, Frankston became a Class 3-A school, but it was still among the smallest in its class. LaPoynor will be a Class 2A school under the new alignment.

The newly formed Neighborhood Watch dealt with the problem of old and new addresses on houses in Frankston which makes it difficult for emergency responders to locate the home quickly. At a city council meeting, Police Chief Goodman said he would take the lead in finding a solution to this problem.

Lipstick & Rouge is the name of a new store opened in Frankston by Donna Kite.

Frankston Middle School won district in the academic University Interscholastic League competition, and Frankston Elementary School was second in its district.

Councilman Bill Bussey named the citizens' committee to study the ambulance problem in Frankston. The committee is comprised of Mike Dennis, Austin Thacker, Dan Wicker, Steve Unk, Bill Johnson and June Brown. The committee's first meeting was to have been at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Austin Bank.