The Frankston Citizen — Year 2017 in Review


The year began on a tragic note with the death of Joy Lookabaugh on Jan. 1. Lookabaugh helped to raise countless area kids with her day care, Joy's Playschool, on Main Street in Frankston. She owned and operated the business for 40 years.

Berryville city leaders celebrated the long-awaited approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to permit the city’s newest well to go on line. The city waited for 18 months for the approval from the state agency.

The Coffee City police department expanded in January of 2017 by adding a paid part-time officer. The police force would continue to expand during the year. Also in January, the Coffee City Council approved the purchase of a new ‘olice vehicle.

Frankston's Smokey Joe’s Hickory House was given a top state honor when Texas Monthly Barbecue, a product of Texas Monthly Magazine, rated the restaurant’s onion rings, fried zucchini and fried mushrooms as “Best Fried Sides in Texas.”

Frankston's Emily Cook was selected to be a member of the Association of Texas Small School Bands All State Band. Cook’s success was only the third time in the school’s history that a student from Frankston was named to the All State Band. Cook plays the French horn and is co-drum major for the band.

The Coffee City Council appointed Terry Cooper to the vacant Place 2 spot in January. Place 2 was left open after the death of Bud Dueling in late 2016. Cooper is the manager of Fat Dogs in the city.

Frankston city leaders began the process of renovating the “witch hat” elevated water tower in January. The initial process involved hiring the city’s engineer to oversee the project.

Berryville Water Supervisor David Malone announced that he would be resigning from the job at the end of the month. Berryville appointed long-time employee Dave Groome to take over as supervisor.

Frankston council voted down a proposal to expand the Frankston Mobile Home Park Community. The park’s owners said they were interested in expanding the property behind the Spring Market and Dollar General Stores and adding between 30-40 mobile home rental units. The council voted against the expansion with some on the board saying that they appreciate the new ownership at the Frankston Mobile Home Park Community but they worried about what the property would look like down the road after it was sold.

Frankston schools were second out of 103 districts in Region VII for the Texas Education Agency rating system in 2017 even though the scores did not count. The TEA will begin implementing the new rating system this year, but Frankston’s scores were still something to be proud about.

Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor announced that homicides, burglaries, thefts, assaults and other crimes were down in 2016 as compared to previous years.

Brierwood Bay resident Rubye Putnam passed away on Jan. 20. She was 102 years old.


Jim Dwyer was elected president of the Frankston Depot Library and Museum board during the annual meeting in 2017. Joe Tindel, who had served as president for several years, took the vice president seat.

The Mighty Frankston Indian Band broke records in solo and ensemble competitions winning a total of 56. The band also had the highest number of state qualifiers in its history.

The Frankston Indian varsity basketball team won its first district game in February and marked the 100th win for past head coach Damien Bates.

The Frankston Future Farmers of America held its 2nd annual Labor and Merchandise Auction to raise funds for the program. Students created 40 items that went up for sale and raised $12,144.

The annual Gail McElroy Community Gospel Singing had musicians and singers from all over the area to perform in order to raise funds for the Frankston United Methodist Church’s Teacher Initiative Program.

Berryville began looking into a recycling program for its residents by speaking to Clayton Vickers form Ameri-Tex Services in February. The city would go on to have a clean-up in late summer and has single stream recycling at the city offices.

The Frankston Garden Club assembled 50 miniature bouquets that were later donated to Meals on Wheels.

A damaging storm brought down power lines and damaged homes on Monday, Feb. 20.

LaPoynor schools began the process of becoming a District of Innovation. One of the main drives behind LaPoynor’s decision to seek the designation was the late start of school as mandated by the state. LaPoynor would go on to become a District of Innovation before the 2017-2018 school year began.

Poynor City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem W. L. Bonds died on Feb. 22. He was 77.  


Anderson County Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Dickson said that the bond money approved by voters in November of 2016 would be distributed to each precinct by summer and pledged that all the work would be distributed equally throughout Precinct 3.

The Lake Palestine Resort expanded in March adding an enclosed swimming area on the lake and a boardwalk and additional boat slips.

Frankston’s Buck Atwood was presented the highest rank in Boy Scouts. Atwood was pinned an Eagle Scout after his project to repair an aged cemetery on the property of the UT Health Center in Tyler.

United Country Real Estate Lake Palestine, located in Coffee City, was awarded the sixth ranked franchise in the company’s network of nearly 500 offices. The award was announced in March of 2017 based on results from 2016.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church celebrated its 20th year on March 8.

Coffee City takes action to curb the game rooms that began moving into the city after they were closed in neighboring Smith County. The council looked at a draft ordinance by Mayor Pam Drost.

Friends of Michelle Story Stutz began a fundraising effort for the 1990 FHS graduate. Stutz was diagnosed with leukemia.

Frankston's Larue Ashley celebrated her 102nd birthday with friends and family at Twin Oaks Health and Rehabilitation in Jacksonville.

Frankston, like LaPoynor, began considering becoming a District of Innovation. Frankston's board, which consists of parents, teachers, administrators and business leaders, approved the plan in December and will present it to the school board this month.

Flat Creek Marina just off of FM 315 on Lake Palestine underwent major renovations before the summer.

Lade Ford Senior Master Technician James (Butch) Hefelfinger retired from the dealership at the end of March. Hefelfinger had worked at the dealership for 45 years.

Neches High School graduate Chad Cooke returned home to headline the annual Neches Heritage Day Festival. Cooke and his band are based in Houston. He has had success as a performer and songwriter.

One of the biggest luxury ranches in the area went on sale this year. Barefoot Ranch. located on Hwy. 175 between LaRue and Baxter, has been the site of a nationwide economic summit and has hosted some of the world’s richest people.

The Frankston Little Dribbler Junior Girls team and the Major boys team headed to the National Tournament.


Austin Bank was named among the 2017 Best Companies to Work for in Texas for the ninth consecutive year.

The Frankston Masonic Lodge honored Kay Randle and the Rainbow House Food Pantry with the Community Builder Award on April 8.

Coffee City resident David Jenkins was appointed to fill the Place 1 seat during the April 10 meeting of the council. Jenkins lives in the Highsaw Addition.

Frankston High School Ag Student Laney Kirk was able to leave the Houston Livestock Show with money to purchase a heifer after fighting her way through the Houston Calf Scramble.

Nancy Sommerville on Garrison Street was named the Frankston Garden Club’s April Beauty Spot. The garden club also installed new officers for 2017 during April.

Misty Evans, an Austin Bank employee and Frankston High School graduate, was promoted to senior vice president.

The Frankston Junior Girl Little Dribbler team won second place at the national competition. The team included Wila Davis, Kammie Waites, Bailey Ball, Grace Bird, Haley Pizano, Addi Loebig, Faith Ferris, Desirae Hatton, Titianna Mata, Kaysie Nabors and coaches Ashton Loebig and Kevin Davis.

The Henderson County Sheriff's office and fire marshal closed two game rooms during a surprise raid in April. Both game rooms corrected the fire marshal citations and re-opened in about a month's time.

The Frankston Rainbow House held its 4th Annual I Can Walk For Hunger Walk-A-Thon. Jerry Jones and Mark Faulkner both walked six miles during the event.

The First Baptist Church of Frankston celebrated the opening of its new multi-purpose building designed for the church and community. The building also includes a new student ministry center and Sunday School rooms. Hundreds attended the dedication  ceremony of the 10,300-square-foot building on April 30.


LaPoynor Independent School District honored past coaches Curtis Corley and Duane Nichols with the opening of the school’s new gymnasium. The dedication was followed by an alumni basketball game to benefit the Class of 2017.

The Frankston Independent School District Wall of Honor included four new names this year. Included on the district’s Wall of Honor were Heath Pickard, James Bloxom, Carl Cook and Troy House.

Frankston High School Principal Donny Lee announced that he was the lone finalist for the position of superintendent at Oakwood Independent School District. Lee said his final day in Frankston would be June 30. He was also named the Region VII High School Principal of the year.

Cely and David Elmore announced they would be the new owners/ operators of Cotton's Corner in Berryville. The couple purchased the grill and convenience store business in May. In December, the Elmores said they would have to close the doors.

The Frankston Mighty Indian Band earned straight “1s” from the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest. The award amounted to a mini sweepstakes trophy for the band.

The softball season came to an end for the Frankston Maidens when they fell to Grandview 6-4 in the state playoffs.

Top LaPoynor graduates were Laci Logan as valedictorian and Misty “Lizzie” Warren as salutatorian. The class graduated on May 26.

Frankston Independent School District trustee incumbents Bob Whitehurst and Hayley Frink both won re-election on May 6.

The Frankston Garden Club chose Rae Roberson’s home as the May Beauty Spot.

Brushy Creek’s Lois LaRoe passed away May 6. LaRoe was instrumental in bringing the Piatigorsky Foundation classical music concerts to the Brushy Creek area.

The Frankston Garden Club celebrated its half-century of service with a park garden dedication on May 11.

Jerry Jones was elected by the Frankston ISD Board of Trustees to serve as its president on May 15.

Landowner Terrance Jackson announced that wild turkeys could be restored in the area with the cooperation of other landowners south of Frankston.

Frankston Elementary Students Mariyah Hatton and Styphen Naranjo were named the Indians of the Year. Ava Reed was named the Frankston Middle School Indian of the Year.

Hunter Ramsey was named valedictorian of the Frankston Class of 2017 and T. J. Brumley was named salutatorian. They both addressed the class at commencement exercises on May 26.

Frankston Mayor Sharyn Harrison announced that she would be stepping down on May 19. Harrison, who had just been sworn in for her second term as mayor, said she needed to resign for her and her husband's health after an argument with another councilman following the May meeting.

Boogie Krajca was presented the Overall Male Player of the Year Award during the athletic banquet on May 22. Trinity Boggs was named the Frankston Overall Female Player of the Year.

The Frankston Bass Fishing Team made it to state competition in only its third year. Members of the team included: Ryan Fitzgerald, Garret Bean, Hunter Ramsey, Jacob Bizzell, James Landry, Cash Gideon, Braden Clakley and Caden Loebig.

Coffee City police and fire departments held the Mayfest Car Show and Fishing Tournament on May 20.

At commencement ceremonies for Frankston seniors Halyn Erica Willis was presented the 53rd Annual W.E. Hoke Moore Award and Dale Merlin Kummer was presented the 76th Annual Jeff Austin Award.


Frankston Packaging was honored for its devotion to safety by the Texas Department of Insurance.

Cat Hill unveiled her decorative fabric stained glass at the Kathleen Cook Fitzgerald Museum. Hill said creating the windows was her way of giving back to the community.

Pastor John Thomas and the Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church were awarded the Copeland Award for distinguished evangelism at the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Like Berryville, residents in the City of Frankston began to utilize single-stream recycling when a bin was placed next to the museum. Since the first bin was installed, Ameri-Tex Services has now placed a second bin for recycling.

Pat House’s yard on Reagan Street was named the June Beauty Spot by the Frankston Garden Club.

After approving the hiring of a paid part-time officer earlier in the year, Coffee City councilmen gave the nod to hire a paid full-time officer in June.

People began to speak at school board meetings after a number of the coaches, including athletic director Jonny Louvier announced resignations. Six people spoke in June and were followed by an overflow only crowd addressing the school board in July.

New head basketball coach Scott Albritton was announced on June 22.

Erwin Dabbs searched for answers to the pointless destruction of headstones at Dabbs Cemetery on June 21.

Edgar Rodriguez was named the new Frankston High School Principal.

The Frankston Assembly of God church celebrated 100 years of ministry to the community on July 2.

Frankston Councilman Alfonso Lang has promised more to come but in July the city held its first large item trash drop off.

After heavy rains during a roof renovation, Berryville City Hall was flooded and had to move the meeting on June 13 to the water department. After renovation, the city hall was reopened in July.


Veteran pastor George Folmar became the pastor of the Lakeside Baptist Church, a building that had sat vacant north of Frankston for a number of years.

The Coffee City council approved expanding the police force to include two full-time officers and one part-time officer. The move doubled the police force which had only been a chief and about 15 reserve officers at the start of the year.

Frankston Ag student Laney Kirk began training the new heifer she won from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Calf Scramble earlier in the spring.

The William Foster Lodge No. 312 in Frankston installed new officers on July 8.

Patriots joined at the Frankston United Methodist Church for the annual Patriotic Celebration on July 2.

Work to Frankston's elevated water tower was underway in July but behind schedule due to contractor setbacks.

Johnny Wheeler, owner of Wheeler Auto, announced that he would be closing his business on the square in Frankston. Wheeler had owned the business since 2005. He also resigned from his seat on the city council saying that he would need to make a move as well.

After consulting with a lawyer, the Frankston City Council said that it was not responsible for the runoff and damage to property east of Garrison Street. Water erosion has divided the property with a large and impassable ravine and the city has struggled with the problem for a number of years. Mayor Pro Tem Eugene Brooks asked the schools to help with the runoff at the July board of trustees meeting.

Frankston water department employee John Whitley was bitten by a copperhead snake while reading water meters. He was taken to the hospital by Supervisor Michael Hatton and was back on the job shortly afterwards.

Parents, teachers, administrators and a television reporter all addressed the Frankston Board of Trustees in July, upset about teacher turnover. Some spoke asking for the board to terminate the contract for superintendent John Allen and others spoke in favor of Allen.

Ann Maxwell traveled to Latvia to play in a handbell choir.


The Frankston Economic Development Corporation began discussing an art festival that is set for this spring.

The monthly music and dinner event in Poynor celebrated its 15th year on Aug. 3.

The Frankston Riding Club concluded its 2017 summer series by giving awards to the winners of each age group.

Rose and Darrell Boling celebrated 50 years of marriage on Aug. 6.

Kevin Chase was named interim head football coach and interim athletic director. He was later named head football coach and athletic director.

Henderson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin announced his crews have replaced a mile of culverts on county roads in the past six years.

The Lenore Berry Sports Association announced that a Frankston first, soccer, would be held this fall at the ballparks.

An assisted living and memory care facility will open in the old Frankston Healthcare building sometime this year. Senior Executive Director Cindy Guzman said more information will be available as the opening nears.

The Frankston City Council aimed to make street numbers correct and visible with an ordinance passed on Aug. 8. The ordinance was a way for the city to “politely ask people to comply” with using their 911 addresses.

Pine Lakes Realty opens on the square in Frankston. Owners Barbara and Shaun Simpson said they aim to revitalize downtown.

The Frankston School Board hired an investigator to look into claims of harassment lodged against Superintendent John Allen and a teacher. The investigation was concluded a month later and found no evidence of harassment from Allen.

Vivian Hollingsworth was chosen by the Frankston City Council to replace Johnny Wheeler.

Frank and Jean Duncan celebrated 55 years of marriage.

The City of Frankston announced a $2 increase for water and sewer customers to help save money for the city’s aging infrastructure.

Coffee City approved its game room ordinance which had been in the works since spring.

Local artist, Sarah Thacker, had a 12-piece show at the River Oaks Square Arts Center in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Frankston schools opened the doors to the largest enrollment in a decade on Aug. 28.

Real Estate Agent Donna Douglas was named a Five Star Agent for the fifth time.

Crystal Woodard became the new secondary principal at LaPoynor schools.


Frankston Boy Scouts opened the annual Pinewood Derby to all during a special event on Sept. 9.

The Brushy Creek Arbor hosted its 147th annual homecoming on Sept. 3.

Bella Vista announced that the 20-acre lake front property along Hwy. 155 in Dogwood City has opened its event center.

Coffee City and Berryville Fire Chief Chris Moore spoke at the annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5073 and its auxiliary.

Work was completed in Highsaw in Coffee City with grant funds to improve the roadways. Road work was done on a portion of Highsaw, Pinedale, Deval and Royal Forest.

After three months and no formal resignation letter, the Frankston City Council moved to vacate Sharyn Harrison's seat and named Eugene Brooks as the city’s new mayor. Harrison resigned in the spring but never turned in a written resignation. Brooks had served as mayor since she left the office. The council also approved Elmer Birdwell to take Brook’s open seat.

Robert Dickerson announced he was retiring from his Farmer’s Insurance Group Agency to spend time with family, travel and continue to ranch. He had owned the business since 1979.

The 42nd Annual Square Fair was held with royalty being Little Miss Averie Campbell, Little Mister Jaxon Campbell, Tiny Miss Blake Campbell and Tiny Mister Wyatt Clyde Welch.

Austin Bank’s Natalie Henderson was promoted to Retail Office Manager in Frankston.

The Frankston Indian varsity football team won the “game that counts the most” when they beat All Saints at Jeff and Opal Austin Stadium for homecoming.

Liberty Bell and Kaden Loebig were the Frankston seniors chosen as homecoming queen and king prior to kickoff on Sept. 29.

Jerry Beard, who has announced the floats at the annual Square Fair Parade for years was surprised to be the Grand Marshall during the city’s annual festival on Sept. 30.


St. Charles Borromeo Food Pantry was the recipient of two grants announced in October. The grants included one from the Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative Charitable Foundation and the other was from the East Texas Food Bank -- FY18 Infrastructure and Capacity Building Grant.

Working with information provided by the Frankston Police Department after a routine traffic stop, Henderson County sheriff deputies closed two game rooms and made numerous arrests in the Coffee City area.

Lilia Pizano’s yard was named the Frankston Garden Club Beauty Spot for the month of October.

Texas Parks and Wildlife reported finding giant salvinia in the Saline Creek area of Lake Palestine.

Country Chapel Church in LaRue held a fish fry fundraiser for 18-year-old Kelsey Ingham who is diagnosed with Cystic Fybrosis.

With the Frankston school district drafting a resolution against game rooms in September, the Frankston City Council also began the process of limiting them in the city with an ordinance that was adopted in December.

The Frankston Independent School District began the process of forming its first-ever clay target shooting team.

LaPoynor schools found themselves under fire for displaying a Christian flag on its campus. A letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation led to the district moving the flag to a utility pole along the highway. Several speakers defended the district’s decision to display the flag at subsequent meetings.

Troy House, a longtime FISD employee and bus driver, was honored by the district with a special bus ride along his old route and a visit to the schools. House passed away a few weeks later on Oct. 30 in Tyler.

LaPoynor trustees named the band hall in honor of Ronnie Day who taught at the school for 36 years.

The Frankston Water Department announced that water bills can now be paid with a credit or debit card online.

Frankston elementary and middle school students were treated to a BMX stunt show to kick off Red Ribbon Week.

Paul and Venessa Cherry were the evangelists and musicians for a revival at Hilltop Baptist Church in Berryville Nov. 5-8.


Judy Burks celebrated 50 years working as the church secretary at First Baptist Church of Frankston.

The boys and girls coaching staff squared off in the Coaches Against Cancer benefit game of volleyball.

Mickey Harper was reunited with a class ring he lost in Palestine due to connections on Facebook.

The LaPoynor Junior High boys' basketball team won the district championship with an undefeated record.

The Frankston Cardinal football team won the Anderson County Football League Junior Division Championship.

Layla Coats, the Frankston Mighty Indian Band feature twirler, received a first division superior rating on her twirling solo at UIL solo and ensemble competitions.

The United Methodist Women announced that one of the favorites of past Harvest Dinners, the dressing, would be sold as a fundraiser.

The television show, American Pickers, announced that it was looking for more Texas collectors to visit for the program. A few years ago, the show featured Steve Smith and his family.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5073 stopped most of its weekly activities including bingo and the Friday dances. Commander John Davis said the Post is in danger of closing and said fundraisers are needed to keep the Post open.

Julie Wiggins and Grant Fisher were named the 2017 LaPoynor Homecoming King and Queen during a ceremony on Nov. 10.

The Frankston Indian 8th grade football team had a perfect season with a 7-0 record. The middle school teams were treated to a special meal at Dairy Queen for all of their hard work.

Sue Tarrant was recognized by LaPoynor schools for all of her support of the district on Nov. 10.

Frankston and LaPoynor schools honored veterans with assemblies for Veterans Day.

Catelin Jones and Deven Blunt were named the 2017 Frankston Indian Band Sweetheart and Beau during halftime of the final season game on Nov. 10.

Guys Changing Lives (GLC) offered a free Thanksgiving meal to the community in the city park on Nov. 18.

Rev. Michael Fraley, pastor of the United Methodist Church of Frankston had a daily devotion featured in the magazine The Upper Room.

With work finally completed on the Frankston elevated water tower, the city met with the contractor and decided that the company should have some financial penalties due to delays.

Area businessman Rick Casey was killed in a single-vehicle auto accident on FM 837 after a tree fell on his truck. Casey was a member and past Grand Master of the Frankston Masonic Lodge and was involved with the Tyler Area Builder's Association.

Cherry Lane, a shop offering an array of items and a unique shopping experience, opened on the square in Frankston.

Dalton Jones and Emily Cook took part in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of the Great American Marching Band.


Evan Drachman and Richard Dowling performed a classical concert in Brushy Creek to celebrate the life of Lois LaRoe who was instrumental in bringing the Piatigorsky Foundation shows to the area.

Frankston schools received a perfect 100 score on the state financial rating (FIRST).

Judy Starr logs more than 100 miles swimming in the pool.

Taylor Kirkpatrick celebrated his 22nd birthday by asking people to donate food gift cards to be distributed to families who have loved ones in the hospital.

Henderson County Commissioner Ken Geeslin outlined the new reflective signs going up in Precinct 4.

The Frankston Indian varsity basketball team won the consolation championship at the Great East Texas Shootout in Brownsboro.

Frankston middle school placed second and the elementary placed third at the academic UIL competition.

Edward McDaniels was named the Coffee City Firefighter of the Year. Police Chief Scott Medcalf was awarded the Policeman of the Year in Coffee City.

Austin Bank honored Marty Lindsey and Shaunna Nolen for their 20 years of service to the bank.

The City of Frankston seeks more fire fighters by giving them an incentive of not having to pay the minimum water or trash bills if they sign up and serve.

The Frankston District of Innovation committee unanimously approves the plan to present to the Board of Trustees. The plan will be considered by trustees this January.

The Frankston City Council renewed its exclusive trash pickup contract with Ameri-Tex Services for five more years.

Berryville adopted an ordinance to address game rooms in that city.

Frankston High School provided the largest single Rainbow House donation in its 10 year history collecting and delivering 4,771 food items.

Frankston senior point guard Baylee Williams signed a letter of intent to play basketball with Hesston College in Kansas.

Vince Alibrando won the Tyler Bass Club Championship on Lake Palestine in December with an amazing winter 27 1/2 pound string.