The Frankston Citizen — Year 2014 in Review


Frankston waitress Angela Clark-Scott, 41, a mother of four, was killed on Jan. 3 in an accident on Hwy. 175 between Frankston and Poynor. She was a waitress at 7-B Ranch Restaurant.

The new gymnasium at the Frankston Independent School District opened for play on Jan. 17 as part of the $17.3 million bond issue to upgrade the campus facilities.

The new elementary school at the Frankston Independent School District was opened on Jan. 27 with a ceremony in the new cafeteria.


Frankston High School was placed in what Athletic Director Matt Nally called the “doomsday district” called 18-3A, Division II, with a new University Interscholastic League alignment. Frankston was the smallest high school in the 3A district.

Lake Palestine produced what is believed to be a new record largemouth bass and its second Toyota Sharelunker in less than a year on Feb. 1 when Casey Laughlin of Rowlett pulled in a 13.22-pound bass.

The Citizens Committee appointed by the Frankston City Council to study ambulance service to the community made its report. “Stand pat with the service the city currently has” was the advice given by the council, chaired by Steve Unk.

Three candidates for Henderson County Precinct 3 Commissioner spoke to the Henderson County Tea Party at Rockhill Baptist Church in Chandler on Feb. 7. The candidates for the March 4 Republican Party primary were incumbent Ken Geeslin and challengers Kelly Harris and George Folmar.

The City of Berryville received a $275,000 Community Block Grant to improve roads and water service in the community adjacent to Frankston.

Johnny Ward Jr. of Paris, Texas, submitted a 47.32-pound blue catfish he caught out of Lake Palestine on Feb. 8, as a new lake record bluefish.


The cornerstone was leveled at the new cafeteria and gymnasium at Frankston High School in a March 1 ceremony by the Grand Lodge of Texas and the William F. Foster Masonic Lodge of Frankston.

Kelly Harris, a justice of the peace trying to become Precinct 3 county commissioner, drew 45 percent of the vote on March 4, but incumbent Ken Geeslin drew 37 percent. A runoff was forced on May 27 because a third candidate, George Folmar, garnered 18 percent of the vote.

The LaPoynor High School Flyers lost in the regional championship basketball game in Tyler, narrowly missing a chance to go to the state tournament in Austin. The Flyers fell 85 to 69 to Grapeland.

Frankston Supt. Keith Murphy announced that he was resigning from the Frankston Independent School District to take a similar position in Melissa north of Dallas. The Frankston School Board appointed Nicci Cook as “interim superintendent” while the trustees searched for a new superintendent.

The Coffee City Police Department will still be answering emergency calls in Brierwood Bay Subdivision but will not be writing any traffic tickets or patrolling as much as it has been. That was announced at the March 10 meeting of the City Council of Coffee City after Mayor Ray Wakeman said the city has no responsibility for the streets in Brierwood Bay because he declared that these were “private roads.”

The City Council of Coffee City decided on March 10 to put on the November general election ballot a proposal to add one-quarter cent to the sales tax that would be dedicated to repairing streets.

The official dedication of the new Frankston Elementary School came in ceremonies on March 17. The dedication concluded most of the work on the $17.3 million bond issue to upgrade Frankston facilities.

Raven Paul, a junior at Frankston High School, won back-to-back state championships in power lifting at the competition in Corpus Christi.

The LaPoynor School Board has paid off its debt from the 2002 bond election with a final payment of $500,000. In 2002, voters approved $2 million for school improvements. The school district is now debt free.

Scott Chancellor, a resident of Montalba, announced that he will be opening an Edward Jones office in Frankston.

The United Methodist Church of Frankston funded $5,000 worth of “teacher initiatives” at the Frankston Independent School District.


Frankston City Councilman Billy Bussey takes the lead in trying to figure out how to repair a wash-out that closed North Garrison Street in late 2013.

Juan Vasquez of Jacksonville announced that he will open a new Mexican restaurant in Frankston called Rancho Grande, one of eight operating in the East Texas area. The restaurant will be located on Hwy. 175 just east of the Hwy. 155 intersection, formerly where the Four Seasons Flower Shop was located.

The City of Frankston began to study if it needed to relocate utility lines for the widening of Hwy. 175 expected next year, as discussed at the April 8 council meeting.

The Brierwood Bay Property Owners Association sued the City of Coffee City on April 10 over whether the streets in that Lake Palestine subdivision are public or private. The City Council of Coffee City has declared that they are private streets, but Property Owner Association President Steve Gullekson contends the streets that were upgraded have been accepted by Henderson County as public streets.

Because of a shortage of police officers, the Frankston City Council rehired former Police Chief George Folmar to work on a part-time basis. Folmar is also pastor of Hilltop Baptist Church in Berryville.

The main entrance to Frankston High School changed from the east side to the west side of the building following the completion of the new cafeteria and gymnasium and remodeling of offices in April.

The Mighty Frankston Indian Band brought back a superior trophy in sight reading from the regional band competition. This was the band's first superior rating in more than a decade said Director Heather Chitty.


Stacy Edwards was named valedictorian and Melody Avalos was named salutatorian of the Class of 2014 at LaPoynor High School.

A leaning wall that was separating from the building has forced the LaPoynor School Board to close the school's auditorium on May 15.

Incumbent Ken Geeslin won the runoff election on May 27 for the Republican Party’s nomination as commissioner of Precinct 3 in Henderson County. Geeslin received 983 votes to 700 votes for challenger Kelly Harris, who was justice of the peace for Precinct 3 and did not seek re-election in order to run for commissioner. In the November general election, Geeslin will face Larry West, who was unopposed for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Leah Landry has been named valedictorian, and Cheyenne Gideon is salutatorian of the Class of 2014 at Frankston High School.

Dr. Larry Lummus retired at the end of May after 37 years of being Frankston's dentist. He sold his practice to Dr. Brad Tucker, who is moving here from Colorado.


Texas Department of Transportation highway planner Vernon Webb said the project to widen Hwy. 175 between Frankston and Athens “looks pretty favorable.” Webb said a number of persons had been working to get this long-delayed project funded, including Highway Commissioner Jeff Austin Jr. of Jacksonville and State Sen. Robert Nichols of Jacksonville.

Micah Lewis, deputy superintendent of the Longview Independent School District, was named “lone finalist” for the position of superintendent of the Frankston Independent School District at a June meeting of the Frankston School Board.

The City of Coffee City has filed a countersuit against the Brierwood Bay Property Owners Association that contends that the annexation of the subdivision into the city was not legal two years ago. The property owners of Brierwood Bay sued the City of Coffee City in April after the city declared that the subdivision’s roads were private and would not be fully served by the Coffee City Police Department.

Developing Partner Dan Crouch said that there were tentative plans to build a hotel and restaurant on Lake Palestine at the site of the former Schambach Ministries facility in Dogwood City.

The LaPoynor School Board voted on June 5 to take down a leaning brick wall in the school district's aging auditorium.

The Frankston City Council voted on June 10 to designate the entire Pipes Street Subdivision on the east side of town as commercial to pave way for the sale of the land to a retail developer who plans to build at 12,000 foot store adjacent to Dollar General on Hwy. 175.


The new store coming to Frankston at the end of 2014 will be a Walmart Express, company officials confirmed the first week in July. The store will be opened in early 2015, a spokesman said.

Mark Bostick stepped down after 14 years as a trustee on the Frankston School Board, and Joe N. Reed, who has served on the board before, was named to take his place.

A group of citizens appeared before the Frankston City Council to express their concerns about the coming of a Walmart Express store to Frankston.

The Frankston Economic Development Corporation decided to break an impasse over the final stretch of sidewalks to be redone in downtown Frankston. The project to redo the sidewalks at the northeast corner of the square where Main and Commerce Street intersect had been delayed because of dispute over who should remove an old gasoline tank underground. The corporation's board decided to pay for the cost itself so the project can go forward.

Former Frankston Mayor Al Mann announced that he will seek the post again in the May 2015 election.

Cody Newton, a resident of Frankston and a graduate of Neches High School, has been named local president of Austin Bank in Frankston.

Donnie Lee of Bullard has been hired as the new principal of Frankston High School.

The decline in oil values has caused the total taxable value of property in the Frankston and LaPoynor Independent School Districts to decline.


Christie Hanks has opened a new flower shop on West Main Street in downtown Frankston that is called Petal Pushers.

Paul Lohr, a resident of Dogwood City who has been building a 60-foot pontoon boat called the Neches Queen to sail on Lake Palestine next spring, said he had received his captain’s license from the State of Texas.

The Frankston City Council approved a plan by Councilman Billy Bussey to repair the washout that has closed North Garrison Street. Bussey told the council on Aug. 12 that he thinks the repairs can be done for $6,255.

Two races developed for the LaPoynor School Board in the November general election. The Place 2 seat is a contest between incumbent Kyle Riley and challenger Ronnie Dunn. The Place 5 seat will be decided between incumbent Ryan Reynolds and challenger Patrick DeBusk.

Out of four seats up for election, only one race developed for the council in the City of Coffee City. Incumbent Ruthie Seward will be challenged by Michal Reavis for the position.

Both Frankston and LaPoynor School Districts saw increased enrollment on the first day of school this year. Frankston had 786 students, up from 771 last year, and LaPoynor had 508 students, up from 492 last year.

Tambien Limited Liability Corporation has announced that negotiations were underway for the location of a second Walmart Express in the Lake Palestine and Frankston areas. This location involves land along Hwy. 155 in Coffee City adjacent to the Dollar General Store. The corporation was formed nine years ago by Mel Renfro and John Graham in Coffee City.


The Frankston City Council voted for the third time to raze the former Austin Medical Building on Murchison Street and appointed a citizens committee to determine what should be done with the property.

A newly organized Houston company has filed an application to build a natural gas-fired generating plant for peak periods of electrical use at a site four miles south of LaRue. Halyard Energy Henderson, LLC, is seeking a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge emissions.

The Mighty Indian Marching Band will go to Florida in May 2015 to perform in the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

The Frankston City Council heard citizen Alan Bussey argue for spending $45,000 to remodel the former Austin Medical Building.

Nominees are being sought for the new Wall of Honor to be built at Frankston Independent School District, said Katrina Holmans, community relations director.

The LaPoynor School Board hired an architect and began planning for a school bond that would build a new junior high in an election next May.


The widening of Hwy. 175 between Baxter Community and east of Poynor will begin in early 2015 after funding for the $71 million project was approved, announced the Texas Department of Transportation.

The 39th annual Square Fair chose Halyn Willis as the first Miss Square Fair. Named Little Miss and Little Mister Square Fair were Austin Forson and Hudson Bristow. Selected as Tiny Miss and Tiny Mister Square Fair were Vivian Vinzant and Max McGuffey.

After being closed for a year by a washout that undercut the road, North Garrison Street behind Country Kettle was reopened for traffic.

Walmart begins hiring for its neighborhood market store to open in January on Hwy. 175 East in Frankston.

The citizens committee appointed by the Frankston City Council to study possible uses for the former Austin Medical Building reported back that it could find no obvious use for the property.

The Coffee City Community Center came a step closer for final completion with the addition of a $35,000 kitchen facility paid for by the Coffee City Community Development Board.

Jason and Brianna Burgamy have opened Brick’s Tire and Lube at the intersection of Hwy. 155 and Hwy. 175 in downtown Frankston. Jason is the grandson of Brick Burgamy, who built the gas station there in 1952 and operated it for decades.


Incumbents won the local elections in the Nov. 4 general voting. Ken Geeslin was re-elected commissioner of Precinct 3, Henderson County. Ruthie Seward was re-elected to the City Council of Coffee City. Two incumbents, Kyle Riley and Ryan Reynolds, were re-elected to the LaPoynor School Board.

Coffee City voters approved by a narrow 102 to 93 the addition of a quarter-cent retail sales tax to be dedicated to street repairs in the Nov. 4 election.

A Texas State Historical Marker was dedicated on Nov. 8 at the Poynor Cemetery.


The City Council of Coffee City in a split vote approved a tentative plan for the Coffee City Economic Development Board to purchase a strip shopping center along Hwy. 155 for $150,000 as proposed by Councilman Don Weaver. Voting against the motion was Councilman Adam Gonzales.

Along with its annual newsletter, the Brierwood Bay Property Owners Association is conducting an opinion poll about whether the subdivision should try to de-annex itself from the City of Coffee City. The matter will be discussed at the 10 a.m. Jan. 21 annual meeting of the association at Lake Palestine Resort banquet hall.

Frankston Middle School won the district University Interscholastic League academic competition for the second straight year.

After advertising for bids, the Frankston City Council on Dec. 9 awarded a bid of $6,257 to East Texas Oil Field Construction for tearing down the former Austin Medical Center building on Murchison Street. The vote was 3-2 with Councilmen Eugene Brooks, Mark Slaughter and Billy Bussey voting in favor and Councilman Billy Dean and Johnny Wheeler voting against. The vote ended a four-year discussion on the council about what to do with the building that was deeded to the city after the medical clinic moved out of it.

After 30 years in the insurance business, David Coker retired and sold Coker Insurance to Jessica Tatum.

The LaPoynor School Board selected the third set of drawings submitted by its architectural firm as the plan to replace the junior high school in a May bond election.