The Frankston Citizen — Year 2019 in Review

The Frankston Citizen — Year 2018 in Review

The Frankston Citizen — Year 2019 in Review

The year, 2019 was one of transition. On September 5, Jay Graham, the editor and publisher, made the decision to suspend publication of the printed version of The Frankston Citizen, established in 1910 and observed its 100th anniversary in July 2010.

Community leaders passed away and numerous other friends were also lost by loved ones.

Following is a summary of some of the events which were reported each month in The Citizen, culminating in the final Sept. 5 edition.


At their January meeting, the Frankston City Council was considering an election in May to decide if local restaurants could serve and sell alcoholic beverages. Voters had approved the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption only in 2016.

Meanwhile, boys and girls basketball teams at Frankston and LaPoynor schools began the new year with multiple games scheduled.

A second part of the widening project to expand U.S. Hwy. 175 from Athens into Frankston was expected to be completed in February. The phase begins  near Baxter and continues to just east of Loop 60 in LaRue.

First Baptist pastor Scott Wiley planned to lead another trip to the Holy Land in 2020.

Frankston and Berryville ended 2019 with increases in sales tax revenue, the Texas State Comptroller’s office reported.

LaPoynor ISD scheduled its 2019 Homecoming on Friday, Jan. 11 as the basketball team faces Groveton and Centerville.

Filing began for five council seats and the mayor’s position in the City of Frankston election scheduled for May 4. First day for filing was Jan. 16 and last day will be Friday, Feb. 15. Also expected is the option to vote for or against a  proposal allowing sale of alcohol at local restaurants.

The City of Frankston was seeking signatures of registered voters in order to put an option on the May 4 election ballot allowing the sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits in restaurants. An earlier petition got the required number of signatures to allow the city to seek more signatures to put the issue on the.ballot.

Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor announced that he would retire at the end of this fourth term. He has been the county sheriff for 14 years.

The Lenore Berry Sports Assn. will be taking signups for baseball and softball starting on Jan. 19 during Little Dribbler games at the Frankston High School gym.

The Coffee City Council unanimously voted to employ Officer Cody Welch as the department’s other full-time officer. He had been serving as a reserve officer last November.

Three sections of roadway are scheduled for improvement in Frankston this spring or summer. Basic repairs are scheduled to be done on East Pecan from West Garrison to the end of the roadway; on Reed Street from Reagan to Elm Street and on South Miller Street to the paved area at the county tax office annex on South Commerce.

In early filing, two people have filed for the mayor’s seat on the Frankston City Council. They are Alfonso Lang, a current Council member, and Gerald Hall, a self-employed resident. All Council seats are up for election on May 4. Filing deadline is Feb. 15.

Two incumbents have filed for re-election to the Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees. They are Joe Reed II in Place 6 and Jerry Jones in Place 7. No other candidates had filed so far for places in the May 4 election. Final day for filing is Feb. 15,

Former Frankston Mayor and longtime Council member Al Mann passed away on Jan. 21. He served on the Frankston City Council for more than two decades and served a term as mayor. He also served as president of the city’s economic development board.

Five Frankston Indian Band members participated in the Region 21 All-Region Bands Concert.They are Henry Suggs, Savannah Lindsey, Cullen Jones, Riley Selman and Natelie Jones. Natelie earned a seat in the ATSSB All State Band for the second straight year and will perform on Feb. 13-16 in San Antonio at the Texas Music Educators Convention.

The City of Frankston will not move ahead on a ballot initiative to allow the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks in restaurants. The city was reported to decide to cancel the plan to put the item on the May 4 ballot because of “an impossibly close timeline.”to get the item on the ballot.

Frankston. School Supt. John Allen said the Texas Education Agency has been notified and will likely investigate the district concerning a list of allegations. However, the school trustees failed to act on a motion for a resolution to seek a monitor due to a lack of a second.

Mark Slaughter has filed to return to his Place 3 seat on the Frankston City Council. Earlier two candidates filed for the mayor’s position. Filing deadline is Feb. 15. The election is May 4.

No new names had been added to candidates for the Frankston Independent School Board Trustee election set for May 4.


One of the most anticipated events in Frankston — the annual Gail McElroy Gospel Singing — will take place beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, in the Family Life Center of The United Methodist Church of Frankston. The singing is sponsored by United Methodist Church of Frankston.

Last year 2,745 people used services provided by the Frankston Depot Library and Museum. On Thursday, Jan. 24, the board of directors met to approve the 2019 budget and hear an update from Library Director Sabrina Carter.

Last October the Frankston High School Classes of 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980 held class reunions. During the event, class members raised $450 to donate to the Frankston Depot Library with an anonymous donor giving an additional $50. On Saturday, Feb. 2, class members made a $500 donation to the library in honor of the Billy Bacon Family and the late Kathleen Fitzgerald, a teacher and prime mover of the library’s creation.

This week Johnny Ray Baker filed to run for the city’s mayor position. Baker joins two others who have filed to run for the Place 1 Mayor’s seat including Alfonso Lang and Gerald Hall. Filing for places on the council are Roger McDonald for Place 6 and Mark Slaughter for Place 3. Seats currently held by Elmer Birdwell, Place 2; Alfonso Lang, Place 4; and Vivian Hollingsworth, Place 5, have not had any filings thus far.

A race has also developed for the Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees. Ryan Bizzell filed to challenge incumbent Jerry Jones for Place 7 on the board. Also filing to run was Dustin Holladay for Place 2. Place 2 is currently held by Carl House who so far had not filed to return. The last seat up for election this May is Place 6, currently held by Joe Reed, II. Reed filed to return to the Place 6 seat.  The last day for candidates to file for a place on the ballot was at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.

Three seats in Berryville, including the mayor’s position, are up for election in May. So far, one person had filed. Sue Morgan has filed to return to Place 2 on the council. Place 5, currently held by Bobbie Evans and the mayor’s seat (Place 6) currently held by Ron Hewlett are also up for election.

This month Frankston school board trustees will likely decide where to put the historic clock which ran the bell system in Frankston schools up until 1972. The board took no action in the Jan. 24 meeting, but will review the item during the February meeting.

Coffee City will create a committee to explore the benefits and drawbacks to zoning in the lakeside town.

Services will begin at the new River of Life Worship Center housed in the old Veterans of Foreign Wars building across from the Frankston City Cemetery on U.S. 175 west.

Jinks Morton has turned 100 years old and friends are invited to join her Feb. 17 in celebration at the Poynor Baptist Church reception hall.

Frankston High School senior Trinity Boggs signed a letter of intent to play softball with the Trinity Valley Community College Cardinals.

Frankston’s race for mayor narrowed to two candidates after Alfonso Lang withdrew and filed instead to return to his Place 4 seat on the Council. Remaining are Johnny Ray Baker and Gerald Hall. Others filing were incumbent Roger McDonald for Place 6 and incumbent Mark Slaughter in Place 3. So far no one has filed for Place 2, now held by Elmer Birdwell and Place 5, held by Vivian Hollingsworth. Deadline for filing was Feb. 15.

There were no new filings so far for seats on the Frankston School Board. Jerry Jones and Ryan Bizzell had filed for Place 7, now held by Jones. Dustin Holladay has filed for Place 2, now held by Carl House and Joe Reed II has filed to return to his Place 6 seat. House had not filed so far. The filing deadline was Feb. 15.

At Berryville, Mayor Ron Hewlett has filed to return to the mayor’s post, Place 6 on the Council. Sue Morgan filed to return to place 2. So far, no one had filed for the Place 5 seat now held by Robbie Evans. Filing deadline was Feb. 15.

The Frankston Maidens basketball team ended its season in the bi-district round of the state playoffs with a loss to Little River Academy.

The annual Fat Tuesday Pancake Dinner will be held on March 5, sponsored by the United Methodist Men at the Family Life Center of The United Methodist Church of Frankston.

The United Methodist Women of Frankston will hold their annual Rummage Sale on March 1 at the Family Life Center.

Frankston School Supt. John Allen announced at the Feb. 18 meeting that he will not seek or accept an extension to his contract which ends in June 2021. He also told trustees that the Texas Education Agency is concerned about “inappropriate behavior” of. the board of trustees. The board took no action on the contract. The board had no comments concerning the superintendent’s announcement.

This month, Berryville Mayor Ron Hewlett said new street signs and stop signs have been ordered and should be installed over the next month on the city’s streets.

The Texas Education Agency has confirmed that it has opened a special accreditation investigation involving the Frankston Independent School District. No further details were available since the investigation is ongoing, according to media relations and social media manager Laura Callahan.

It was announced that the second annual Art Walk, sponsored by the Frankston Economic Development Board, will be held on Saturday, April 20.

Eight baseball teams will be competing in the 2019 Keno Fitzgerald Memorial Classic starting Feb. 28.

Two Frankston Maiden basketball players made the district list this year and others are set to be announced for honorable mention. Abbie Ramsey was named to the First Team All District and Tia Billingsly was named Second Team All District. Honorable mention honors will be announced later.

LaPoynor Independent School District has been awarded a Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant to expand their current welding program with the addition of more equipment to enhance the


Cindy Guzman, senior executive director for the Frankston Assisted Living Center, said the process to renovate the building and opening it to residents has been a “roller coaster ride.” Guzman said she still does not have a set date for the opening of the center but said the work is ongoing and that she is hopeful for state licensing in the next few months.

It’s music in the old-fashioned country style featured at the monthly Poynor musical on Thursday, March 7, at the Poynor Civic Center. The music will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Most of the cities in the area are starting off 2019 with sales tax gains. February payments from Texas Comproller Glenn Hegar show that almost all municipalities in The Frankston Citizen coverage area reported an increase in February, compared to the same time period last year.

The City Berryville’s second city-wide clean-up day is set for Saturday, March 23, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Coffee City Economic Development Corp. has decided to sell the business center strip mall it purchased in 2015. Board members voted unanimously to sell the center during a February meeting.

The City of Coffee City will investigate potential costs in zoning the city after hearing a report from a committee established to investigate the idea. The committee report was given the Council at the March 11 meeting.

Frankston Little Dribblers All Star teams competed at the Regional Tournament at LaPoynor Schools. Pictures of the various teams were displayed in the March 14 edition of The Citizen.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will take public comments and requests for a public meeting on a proposed permanent concrete batch plant that has made an application to be located on SH 155 south of Frankston.

Banker and cattleman Herbert Preston Riley, 92, died on March 15. Riley was a businessman, retired banker, property owner and veteran who called Poynor and Frankston his home his entire life.

The City of Frankston set a bulk item trash pickup on April 9 and 10.

The deadline to register to vote or to change an address on a voter registration card will be Thursday, April 4. Both the City of Frankston and the Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees will have elections on May 4. Early voting will begin April 22 and go through April 30 at the Frankston Courthouse Annex.

The Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees on Monday, May 18 approved a school calendar for the 2019-20 school year. Assistant Supt. Nicci Cook said the calendar is similar to the one used in 2018-19.


The Frankston Art Walk is shaping up to be an even larger event than last year’s inaugural event. This year the Art Walk will feature 23 artists 12 craftsmen, two photographers and two authors when it kicks off on Saturday, April 20, in downtown Frankston.

Frankston educator J.C. Hicks passed away on Wednesday, March 27 at the age of 99. Hicks was a longtime educator for the Frankston Independent School District retiring at the age of 50 in 1970. Hicks became superintendent of Frankston schools upon the death of Supt. A.B.Awalt after having coached and served as high school principal as well as teaching bookkeeping, business law and typing. He was active in civic work and was chosen “Man of the Year” by the Frankston Lions Club.

Public support was asked for the 170-year-old Olive Branch Cemetery, located east of the Brushy Creek Community.

The City of Frankston holds it annual large item trash pickup on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10. City staff will collect items from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both days.

The semi-annual Book Sales has been scheduled for Saturday, April 13 by the Frankston Depot Library. Later, due to bad weather, the outside book sale was moved to April 20, weather permitting.

GeoJan Wright is the new mayor Coffee City. She had been appointed as Mayor Pro-Tem last month and took over the mayor’s post after then Mayor Pam Drost announced on April 8 that she planned to resign at the end of that night’s meeting.

Coffee City alderman Don Weaver remains on the board of the Coffee City Economic Development Corp. after a motion to remove him failed for lack of a second during the April 8 Council meeting.

The Coffee City Council took no action on a proposal to zone portions of the city at the April 8 meeting. They had learned that the first step would be to develop a comprehensive plan  which would likely cost the city around $8,000.

Artists, photographers, craftsmen and authors shared their work during the Frankston Art Walk on Saturday, April 20. More than 40 artists were expected to display their art and crafts at the second annual event.

The Frankston City Council purchased what council members described as “an essential machine” for the water and sewer department. On April 9, the council approved purchase of a Mongoose Jetter at a cost of $53,335. The machine is crucial for unclogging sewer lines. It would replace an older machine which was aging and had maintenance issues.

Frankston School trustees took action April 15 to allow any school board member to contact the school board attorney. Previously only the board president could confer with the attorney.

Early voting began on Monday, April 22 to select two places on the Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees and all seats on the Frankston City Council. The early voting would end on April 30 prior to the May 4 in-person election.

The annual Rainbow House Walkathon benefitting the food pantry at The United Methodist Church of Frankston was to be held on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is held at the high school track and participants are asked to donate 10 cans of food or $10.


Voters in the Frankston Independent School District and the City of Frankston went to the polls on May 4 to select school trustees and city officers.

It was rodeo time as the 57th annual LaPoynor Open Rodeo was held on May 3-4 at the Billy Westbrook Arena at the school.

The Frankston Indians baseball team was in the state playoffs opening against Troy at Franklin.

Frankston High School’s Brink Bizzell headed to state May 10 after finishing in second place in pole vault at the regional track and field meet.

Neches kicked off its 27tth annual Neches Heritage Day Festival on May 11 featuring a parade, live entertainment and lots of fun festival activities for all ages.

Ryan Bizzell and Dustin Holladay won seats as trustees for the Frankston Independent School District, defeating incumbents Jerry Jones and Carl House. Trustee Joe Reed II won re-election to Place 6 in the May 4 voting.

Also on May 4, Gerald M. Hall was elected Mayor of Frankston in a race with Johnny “Ray” Baker. Place 2 Council member Elmer Gene Birdwell won over challenger Steve E. Dixon. The race between Eugene Brooks and Alfonso Lang ended in a tie and the city was waiting to see if any remaining provisional ballots would break the deadlock.

The historic William Foster Lodge No. 312 celebrated its 150-year anniversary on May 4 hosting many state dignitaries and friends.

Veteran Frankston High School Indians basketball coach Robert Loper, one of Texas’ most winning basketball coaches, was to be inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame on May 18. Neches High School standout basketball player Vicki Barrett-Castleberry was also due to receive the honor in San Antonio.

Two Frankston High School athletes were honored as Overall Most Valuable Players for boys and girls at the annual All Sports Banquet on May 13. They are Boogie Krajca and Abbie Ramsey. Other top awards went to various other athletes for specific honors and sports achievements.

With the addition of a provisional ballot, Alfonso Lang was elected to fill the Place 4 seat on the Frankston City Council. He and Eugene Brooks had been tied in voting on May 4, prompting an inspection of provisional ballots to break the deadlock.

Top Frankston graduates selected the “one who made a difference” among teachers at the annual honor banquet on May 9.

Frankston’s Brink Bizzell finished sixth in pole vault and Boogie Krajca finished fourth in long jump at the state track and field meet in Austin on May 19.

Frankston School trustees elected Bob Whitehurst as president of the Board of Trustees. Junior Mascorro was elected as vice president and Hayley Frink as secretary.

After swearing in ceremonies for newly-elected Council members, including new mayor Gerald Hall, former mayor Sharyn Harrison was selected as Mayor Pro Tem.

New officers were installed and accomplishments of Frankston FFA members were recognized during the annual banquet and auction on May 18.

Valedictorian Alyssa Elton and Salutatorian Bailee Norfleet speak to 56 Frankston High School graduates at Commencement on May 24. The Jeff Austin Award went to Dylan Willis and the W.E. (Hoke) Moore Award went to Trinity Boggs.

Valedictorian Austin Dunn and Salutatorian Alyssa Jackson spoke to the 29 graduates of LaPoynor High School at Commencement on May 24.

Successful Frankston baseball coach Sonny Perry, longtime FISD superintendent Jerry Gideon, and teacher and driving force behind the Frankston Depot Library and Museum Kathleen Fitzgerald were enshrined on the Frankston Independent School District Wall of Honor during a special ceremony on May 26.


The 11th annual Mikey Jones Memorial Fish Fry was held on Saturday, June 8 to benefit the Mikey Jones Scholarship Fund for Frankston and LaPoynor seniors who plan to enter the trade field.

On Tuesday, June 11, the Frankston City Council voted to ban smoking in public places.

Assistant Supt. Nicci Cook was appointed as acting superintendent at the June 11 special meeting of the Franksotn ISD Board of Trustees in the absence of Supt. John Allen, on paid adinistrative leave.

The annual Patriotic Celebration was held on June 30 , at the United Methodist Church of Frankston Famuly Life Center.


Coffee City to seek person to fill Place 1 seat on the Council.

Frankston ISD has benefitted with $12,659 in energy savings since signing a contract with Ideal Impact last winter, school trustees were told July 22. Business Manager Randi Westbrook said the district has saved $9,500 in electricity and $3,160 on natural gas since the program begin in December 2018.

The Rev. Dr. Matt Thomas was appoimted as pastor of the United Methodist Church of Frankston. He will also be the minister at the Brushy Creek United Methodist Church.


Edward McDaniel was appointed by the by the Coffee City Council to fill the Place 1 seat left vacant after GeoJan Wright took the mayor’s seat.

The Frankston Mighty Indian Band will march under the guidance of new band Director David Robbins when they take the field on Aug. 30.

The City of Coffee City will hold its own Texas National Night Out on October 1 this year. Last year, the city joined Frankston with its police and fire fighters for the state-wide event.

The Poynor Country Music event came to an end after celebrating its 17th anniversary.

On Aug.11, Ruth Tindel, the wife of former Citizen publisher Joe W. Tindel Sr. and longtime tax assessor-collector for the Frankston ISD,  passed away. Her fumeral service was held on Sunday, Aug. 18 at The United Methodist Church of Frankston and burial followed in the Tindel Family plot at the Athens Cemetery.

The Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustees approved a $9.2 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year on Monday, Aug. 12. The budget included increases in instructional spending, extra curricular activities, salaries and facility improvements while decreasing the tax rate by 12 cents per $100 valuation. Changes in funding, with more money being paid from state revenue, a person with an average market value home in the district will pay about $60.65 less this year compared to last year.

Doug Hicks became the new fire Chief for the Frankston Volunteer Fire Department. Hicks had served for the fire department for eight years. His promotion was announced during the Frankston City Council meeting on Aug. 13 after Chief Scottie Rogers stepped down. Rogers had served as the chief since 2001.

The Frankston City Council adopted a resolution to allow the economic development corporation to pursue a grant to place a sidewalk along Hwy. 155 from the downtown area north of the school. Economic Development Board President Jim Dwyer said with the resolution the group could seek grant funds from TxDOT in a Safe Routes to School program.

The Frankston Mighty Indian Band will travel to Florida where they will perform in a parade and also play a musical score for a Disney movie this November. On Monday, Aug. 19, the Frankston Board of Trustees approved the band trip which was planned last spring. Fifty-one students and 11 chaperones will take part in the trip which will happen the week before Thanksgiving.

The 2019 Frankston Indians football team began scrimmages in preparation for the first game on Aug. 30.

TxDot reports that he Hwy. 175 widening project from Poynor to Frankston is expected to be completed this fall. Work is continuing in the eastbound lanes. Workers are preparing a level-up between CR 4236 and CR 300 and flex base operations are ongoing between Cemetery Road and CR 300.


For 109 years, The Frankston Citizen newspaper has created and distributed a weekly newspaper covering events and stories about the area. This week (Sept. 5) it will suspend publication. Publisher Jay Graham announced today (Sept. 5) that the paper is, at least for the time being, closing its doors. Graham said the decision has not been made lightly, but that a number of factors has contributed to its suspension. "I have been looking for someone to take over this paper for two years now and cannot afford to keep publishing it any longer," Graham said. Former Publisher Joe Tindel is engaged in an effort to continue the paper's services to the community.

A 117-year-old building across from the Frankston City Park on Commerce Street will now be the home of a candle factory. Illusion Wax Works, formerly located in Ben Wheeler, was purchased by Monica and Brooks Atwood and this week began making candles to ship across the United States and around the world. Monica Atwood has been working along side the former owners since Feb. 1, and has learned the art of combining just the right amount of color and scent to create quality candles.

Square Fair is quickly approaching. This year's fair will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, following Frankston homecoming on Friday, Sept. 27, when the Indians take on Winona. The deadline for entries for this year's fair royalty and for those wanting to have a booth will be on Friday, Sept. 13. Square Fair is the annual festival event in Frankston that takes place all day in the city park.

(No further issues of the Weekly Newspaper were published after the issue on Sept. 5.. However, a website, The Frankston Citizen Online was published until August 1, 2023 and its archives are included in this website. Copies of The Frankston Citizen newspaper thru Sept. 5, 2019 may be available at the Frankston Depot Library for research and reference in-house at the library. )