The Crockett Area Chamber of Chamber Commerce recently led a Saturday day-tour of Crockett for a Houston chapter of the Red Hats Society. Executive Director Jeannie Julian (right side of bus door) welcomed the Red Hats Society at the Crockett Civic Center on Saturday morning, adorned in her own red hat. The tour included viewing the Myrtis Dightman Statue in front of the Porth Ag Arena and the Sam "Lightning" Hopkins Statue and Blues Mural on Camp Street. After leaving Camp Street, the group toured the Downes-Aldrich House on South Seventh St. Alsoincluded on the Historic Home Tours was a viewing by bus of the J.C. Miller House, the Warfield House and the Monroe-Crook House. (Photo Courtesy of Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce)
By Robert Neel, Reporter
Fran Miles often prays for an exciting day, and on Thursday, Aug. 28 a routine trip to a meeting of the Houston County Historical Commission turned into quite an eventful day for her and her husband, Cecil.
The couple's single story elevator ride to the basement of a local bank turned into a 20-minute adventure when it malfunctioned.
"The doors just would not open and let us out," Cecil reported.
"We pushed a button that called 911 and was told help was on its way. It took a long time to get help and we thought they may have forgotten about us," Fran said.
With help of numerous firefighters, police officers and bank employees, the couple was rescued and proceeded to the meeting.
Cecil and Fran took the stairs after the meeting adjourned saying, "We've had enough excitement for one day."
By Robert Neel, Reporter
When the Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 25, Superintendent Terry Myers reported on the first day of School.
Myers enthusiastically described meeting the kids as he visited every classroom in the district.
"The kids were excited; the teachers were on task; and the principals on cue," he said.
As business got underway, Assistant Superintendent Wendy Tullos made a presentation on the 2014 Academic Ratings. While Crockett ISD received an overall rating of "Improvement Required," it "Met Standards" on Student Achievement, Student Progress and Closing Performance Gaps. It failed to meet standards only on Postsecondary Readiness. Elementary, junior high and high school campuses all met standards.
Crockett High School earned distinctions in Academic Achievement for Reading, Mathematics and Social Studies.
Crockett Junior High School (CJH) Principal Judy Leediker presented members of the board with shirts to celebrate the achievements of the junior high school. These shirts already are being worn by teachers and staff.
CJH earned distinctions in Academic Achievement for Mathematics, Top 25% Student Progress and Postsecondary Readiness.
Leediker said, "No other school in the county achieved more than one distinction and we got three."
CJH tied for second place in Student Progress when compared to similar schools in the state.
In other business:
• A public hearing was held on the 2014-2015 school budget and tax rate. No public comments were heard.
• Myers discussed the success of the backpack program.
• Myers stated that East Texas Youth Association has obtained liability insurance for its use of school property.
• The 2014 Certified Tax Roll was approved. Taxes are expected to generate $437,035,530 this year, which is about $11,000,000 more than last year. The additional revenue is due to increased land evaluations and not higher tax rates, Business Manager Gail Hanson explained.
• The 2014-2015 CISD budget was approved. The budget is up about $13,000,000 over last year.
• The 2014-2015 tax rate was approved. The rate of 1.25 is unchanged from last year.
• The 4-H organization was approved as an extra-curricular activity.
Ten members of the Grapeland FFA chapter recently returned from participating in their state convention in Fort Worth. The chapter received a Gold rating, the highest rank a chapter can earn. Grapeland was the only Division 1 school in Area 9 to earn this ranking.
By Sherry Driskell, Reporter
History is what you feel and see as Daniel D. Walling sits down at a "tuck away" seat of an ice cream parlor table from his father, Otto E. Walling, People's Drug Store of Grapeland.
"Soda Skeet, Soda Jerk or Drug Store Cowboy is what I was called in the beginning of my career," Daniel Walling said.
As a teenager he started working in the drug store serving ice cream and found an interest in the practice of pharmacy.
After graduating from Grapeland High School, Walling went to the University of Texas School of Pharmacy in Austin, and received his license in 1951. Before he could use his license, Walling enlisted in the United Sates Air Force and served four years. He later returned with his wife Elaine to Grapeland.
Walling and his wife have two daughters, Laura and Teresa. Laura Walling went to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches and after graduating from there went to Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS where she is the director of recreational sports.
Teresa Walling Bennett started working for her father as a teenager and has continued with the family business.
"Teresa is the straw boss and manager,"Walling said. Teresa and husband Allen have two daughters, Mollie and Laura, and live in the home Walling spent most of his younger years.
In his 63 years of being a pharmacist, Walling said he has seen breakthroughs in medicines for mental health, heart disease, infectious diseases, cancer and many other illnesses that are effective in curing and controlling diseases.
With all the state and federal government control in the practice of pharmacy for prescription drugs, the cost of medicines increasing rapidly and insurance companies not adjusting their payments to cover the inflated drug costs with the result that those of us who are primarily dependent on prescription sales find it difficult to cover the cost of business, Walling said.
"For this reason of not making profit and the governmental and insurance companies' interference, along with the 85 years of age, I have decided to officially close", Walling said.
Walling also said he has enjoyed being in front of the public to talk to and see the faces of his customers, not in a chain filling prescriptions and only telling the customer the information they need about the medicines.
In 1927 Wade L. Smith sold "People's Drug Store" to Walling's father which was located a few buildings south of the present location and the name was changed to "Walling's Drug Store" on Oct. 1 of the same year, Walling explained.
In 1963, Otto Walling purchased the building where the business in now located, and in 1965 Walling and his father began a partnership business. At the passing of his father in 1973 Walling became the sole owner of the drug store and changed the name to "Walling's Pharmacy" in 1974.
The Grapeland Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a special mid-morning coffee on Friday, August 15 (tomorrow) at 10 a.m. at Walling's Pharmacy to honor of the years of service to the Grapeland and surrounding communities.
On Saturday, Aug. 30, Walling's Pharmacy will be closing its doors, an icon with over 87 years of service with three generations of a family-owned business service to customers and a community.