Department to receive grant

Greenwood/Slidell Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $47,367 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

The funding can be used for training and support operations and to purchase safety and rescue equipment.

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Bomb threat leads to grand jury indictment

A grand jury indicted a woman who called in a bomb threat last month to the Wise County Courthouse.

On the morning of Feb. 14, Shauna Lee Teague, 41, of Greenwood, allegedly called in the threat.

Shauna Teague

She was indicted with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony that carries a two to 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000.

Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said a 911 call was received from a pay phone at Walmart around 9:30 a.m.

“A woman said her boyfriend was upset and had put a bomb in the Wise County Courthouse,” Hoskins said. “She refused to give his name or her name.”

The courthouse was evacuated and investigators searched for a bomb. The building was deemed safe later that morning.

Teague was identified using surveillance video from Walmart and arrested the same afternoon.

She was scheduled to appear in court that day for probation violations. The state and her attorney had reached an agreement. Those charges are still pending.

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Citizens fought good fight

I just wanted to openly tell my neighbors in the Greenwood area, who were members of Texas Citizens For a Safe Future and Clean Water, how much I truly appreciated their support these past six years, during our long fight against The Railroad Commission of Texas and Pioneer Exploration, Ltd, and their permitting of a commercial salt water injection well in our immediate area. You all know who you are, and I’m proud to know, and be associated with, each and every one of you.

When we started our fight six years ago, we stood completely alone. We received no support from anyone, including the Wise County Messenger, our state representative, Phil King, or our state senator, Craig Estes. In fact, not only were we not supported, but in certain cases just mentioned, they worked against us for quite some time. We were called names by our fellow citizens, and in some cases ridiculed, until they too finally realized what we were stating was the truth.

Still, through it all, we stuck together as a small group of citizens and neighbors against overwhelming and incredible odds, and we finally won our case in the Appeals Court in Austin. After winning our case and handing The Railroad Commission their worst defeat in decades, the RRC could not allow that defeat to stand, and they took our case to the Supreme Court of Texas where a decision was finally handed down March 11 siding with the RRC’s position and reversing our winning appeals court decision.

Basically, the Supreme Court of Texas decided that “public interest” means, at this time, whatever is good for the oil and gas industry is good for the public interest of Texas citizens, and no other circumstances or safety concerns can or do really matter. I guess that wasn’t a great surprise to any of us since approximately 60 to 70 percent of the re-election campaign funds for most of our judges and legislators comes from the oil and gas industry.

We all can stand tall because in the six years since we started our fight we taught thousands of other Texas citizens the truth about these so-called salt water injection wells and the fact that they are, in actuality, liquid toxic waste injection dumps that contain over 27 different types of toxic waste, including benzene. We taught people that they do poison private water wells and stock tanks in the area, along with lowering property values around them by about 50 to 80 percent, along with possibly causing many other public health risks. We let “the cat out of the bag,” and the truth is now out there, thanks to our efforts in this long fight.

Hopefully, sometime in the near future, our Texas Legislature will do what is right to protect our state’s citizens from this liquid, toxic waste and change some of our present laws. All of us really do want them to “drill here, drill now”, but we just want the oil and gas industry to do it in a safe manner for all concerned and not just in the cheapest way possible for oil and gas with the overall public safety, for generations to come, be damned.

Jim Popp

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Tiffany McLain and James Crisp Jr.

Tiffany McLain and James Crisp Jr.

Tiffany McLain, daughter of Roger and Rachel McLain, all of Krum, will marry James Crisp Jr. of Greenwood, son of James and Pam Crisp Sr. of Rhome, June 11, 2011, at Greenwood Baptist Church.

The bride-elect is a graduate of Krum High School and is a senior at Midwestern State University where she is studying special education and early childhood through sixth grade education.

The prospective groom is a graduate of Aubrey High School and is a volunteer firefighter with the Greenwood/Slidell department.

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Court rules against group fighting injection well

It appears a group of Greenwood residents have lost their six-year battle to keep a commercial injection well out of their neighborhood.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Texas Railroad Commission, essentially paving the way for Pioneer Exploration to build a saltwater injection well near the intersection of County Roads 2625 and 2735.

The case of the Railroad Commission vs. Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water and James G. Popp centered around the Railroad Commission’s interpretation of “in the public interest” when considering the application of an injection well. The citizen group argued that the commission had not considered the traffic dangers that the increased tank truck traffic on county roads would pose to the area.

The supreme court ruled that the commission, in this context, does not have to consider traffic safety factors in its decision. The action reversed a 2007 appeals court decision that had ruled in favor of the citizen group.

Popp, whose home is located next door to the injection well site and is chairman of the citizen group, said he was surprised by the ruling.

“It’s good for oil and gas – that’s what the public interest is,” he said.

In the opinion published by Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, the court points out that the Railroad Commission is charged with permitting injection wells for the disposal of oil and gas waste and must consider what is “in the public interest.”

“The [Railroad] Commission is directed to consider a number of other factors, all of which has to do with the protection of natural resources and the regulation of the oil and gas industry,” Jefferson wrote.

Popp said he plans to speak with the group’s attorneys this week to consider what to do next.

“It seems like it is out of our hands,” Popp said. “The supreme court has ruled, and we’re law-abiding citizens.”

He said it was likely the group would seek a rehearing before the Texas Supreme Court, but he acknowledged that those are rarely granted.

Pioneer filed an application for a permit to build a commercial saltwater injection well in the spring of 2005. The citizen group was formed to protest the application.

After the Railroad Commission approved Pioneer’s permit in February of 2006, the group filed a lawsuit, claiming Pioneer had made errors in the original application, was given extra time by the Railroad Commission to correct those errors and had not considered the traffic dangers as part of the public interest.

In December of 2006, 126th District Judge Gisela Triana affirmed the Railroad Commission’s decision to issue the injection well permit. In 2007, an appeals court reversed Triana’s decision, and the Railroad Commission appealed that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

Popp said that since the case has been in court, no work has been done at the well site.

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Thursday fire destroys home

Thursday fire destroys home

THE SPARK - A fire that is believed to have started in the carport of a home off County Road 2644 spread and destroyed the entire structure just after 11 Thursday night. The home's two occupants and their two dogs and two horses escaped without injury. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Before the slew of fires that plagued the county Friday, two Greenwood men lost their home in a blaze the night before.

Just after 11 p.m. Thursday, Greenwood-Slidell, Decatur and Alvord fire departments responded to a single-story brick house fire on County Road 2644.

One of the home’s occupants awoke to the sound of smoke alarms. He ran down a smoke-filled hallway and saw flames shooting from under the back door by the carport.

He asked to not be named.

The home’s second occupant was not at home at the time.

The fire rekindled shortly after 7 Friday morning, and Greenwood-Slidell, Decatur and Alvord departments responded again.

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Bill insult to women’s suffrage

March is National Women’s History Month in America. Women’s history is the culmination of the struggle for recognition of women in America that actually began with the Woman’s Suffrage Movement and Susan B. Anthony in 1837 when she asked for equal pay for women teachers and then was later tried for illegally voting. In a mighty effort that spanned almost 200 years, it took till 1981 for the U.S. Congress to establish March as a month to recognize these women among many and their contribution to this great nation of ours.

It’s unbelievable that Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas GOP legislators chose to celebrate this month by letting the first house bill to be heard on the floor to be HB 15, the sonogram bill.

The sonogram bill, one of five given “emergency” status directives by Perry in order to speed consideration by lawmakers, requires doctors to perform sonograms on women before performing abortions, to explain in detail the results of the sonograms, and to offer video and audio from the sonograms to the woman affected by the choice to terminate a pregnancy.

In a sneaky tactic, the State Affairs Committee decided not to take testimony on the bill itself, but to hear from witnesses about the general ideas of the bill. The State Affairs Committee bypassed the traditional way of using formal written testimony for a bill and brought up the bill themselves. Why? Because that’s a way of taking testimony without risking a record filled with incorrect witness forms. No mistakes, no points of order, no debate on the floor and the bill is voted on.

Importantly, the GOP backed down and the traditional way of hearing testimony, with witness forms, potential mistakes and all, became the rules of the new game. When asked about why he agreed to hear it in committee the traditional way, Rep. Bryon Cook, the Corsicana Republican who chairs the State Affairs panel, said he was just trying to be efficient with the testimony and wasn’t trying to pull a fast one. Asked about it a day later, he was being judicious by saying, “This is a place where tradition is very important.”

So I guess Texas leaders forgot about the tradition of women and the rights they fought for here in America. So much for women suffrage! In addition, children in Texas are having to overcome a less than average education, no healthcare and less food to eat so I’m only left to assume that with the current state congress, life begins at conception and ends at birth.

So what does Texas have in mind to celebrate National Women’s History Month next?

Tracy Smith

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Willie Clyde Cole

Cole WillieFuneral for Willie Clyde Cole, 85, of Greenwood was March 3 at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home with Bob Ross officiating. Burial followed at Greenwood Cemetery.

Cole died Tuesday, March 1, 2011, in Decatur.

Born Feb. 11, 1926, in Martha, Okla., to Walter Samuel and Nettie Mae (Bledsoe) Cole, he married Jessie Mae Hardee Sept. 6, 1947, in Decatur. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II on the U.S.S. Hopewell and was a member of Greenwood Church of Christ.

Cole was preceded in death by brothers Milliard Cole, Bob Cole and George Cole; and sister Lucille Grimes.

He is survived by his wife; sons Sammy Cole and Clyde Cole, both of Greenwood; sisters Ruth Phillips of Corsicana and Edna Windsor of Florida; granddaughter Courtney Fletcher and husband, Chris, of Greenwood; grandson Bodie Cole and wife, Shannon, of Greenwood; great-grandchildren Mylee Fletcher and Cash Cole, both of Greenwood; and nieces and nephews.

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Woman arrested for bomb threat

A bomb threat caused the evacuation of the county courthouse in Decatur Monday morning and later led to the arrest of a Greenwood woman.

Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said Shauna Lee Teague, who court records also list as having the last name of Gordon, 41, was arrested Monday afternoon for making a terroristic threat of a government entity.

Hoskins said a 911 call was received from a pay phone at Walmart around 9:30 Monday morning.

“A woman said her boyfriend was upset and had put a bomb in the Wise County Courthouse,” Hoskins said. “She refused to give his name or her name.”

Decatur police, Wise County Sheriff’s officers and the Decatur Fire Department evacuated the building and searched for a possible bomb.

Wise County Commissioners were meeting on the third floor when Sheriff David Walker was called out of the room. A few moments later, he came in and told everyone that they needed to leave the building due to a bomb threat. Once everyone was evacuated, officers began searching the entire building.

Courthouse employees, lawyers and citizens who were scheduled to appear in court stood on the sidewalks outside businesses on the square. A florist delivering Valentine’s Day flowers to the courthouse had to turn around when met by officers on the sidewalk outside the courthouse.

Around 10:30, the building was declared safe and everyone was allowed back inside.

While the search was going on, Hoskins said officers were sent to Walmart to try to figure out who made the bomb threat call. The officers were able to view surveillance video.

The video proved successful, and the suspect turned out to be very close.

“Through surveillance, we found a lady there [at Walmart] who was on the phone,” Hoskins said. “We watched her walk around the store, buy a drink, walk outside, get in a flat bed pickup and drive off as a passenger. We gave that information to our patrol officers, and we happened to find a pickup that matched the description parked at the courthouse.”

Around 11:15 a.m., a woman was found matching the clothing description, and she walked out of the building to the truck seen in the video. At that point, Hoskins said officers detained Teague.

Teague had been scheduled to be in district court that morning for a motion to proceed with adjudication.

According to district court records, Teague was indicted for credit card or debit card abuse and two counts of possession of a controlled substance by fraud in December of 2008. In April of 2009, she pleaded guilty to the charges in exchange for five years of deferred adjudication and five years of community supervision.

In February of 2010, court records indicate that Teague was indicted on two counts of forgery of a financial instrument. Two months later, prosecutors filed a motion to proceed with adjudication on the 2009 conviction. It was that motion that was expected to be resolved at Monday’s court hearing.

Terroristic threat of a government entity is a third degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

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White disappoints taxpayer

I’ve lived and voted in Wise County Precinct 1 for almost 18 years. In these years, I’ve dealt with most of the various elected officials that represented me.

In all of my dealings with elected officials, only two have ever outright lied to me, and all but one has been respectful when we spoke. My present county commissioner, Danny White, is the one politician guilty of both of the infractions I mentioned.

Last spring, I called Mr. White and asked point blank, “When is my County Road 2625 scheduled for paving?” Mr. White responded, “The spring of 2011.” I was very relieved when I heard him tell me that.

My vehicle was wearing out way before its time, as several have done in the past, but I knew I could hold on until then to replace it. With various repairs, I could push it to its limits. I looked forward to the days when I could travel down my road without the fear of my vehicle dying because the battery cables had worked their way free from literally vibrating loose as I traveled up and down my county road. I thought to myself, “gone would be the days of having to air up my tires every day because of stone bruises and potholes and oversize chunk rock.” Apparently, I was wrong!

A few days ago, after another frustrating, rough county road day, my husband contacted Danny White for an update on the schedule for paving and was told, “I got beat up pretty bad on my budget, and it’s just not gonna happen this year. I can’t guarantee it next year either.”

My husband responded, “There sure are going to be a lot of disappointed people.” To which Danny White responded in a typical political fashion, “I don’t believe I ever promised anything. I know I didn’t use the word promise.”

OK, Mr. White, you never “promised,” I’ll give you that, but what do you have to say about your lack of advocacy skills for the taxpayers of Precinct 1? After the long years of paying taxes, that have increased annually without any return, I’m tired of waiting.

Traditionally, voters of Precinct 1 have little patience for a non-productive county commissioner, and they show it at the polls. I think White needs to start looking for a new job, and Precinct 1 constituents need a better advocate who’ll fight for the budget money needed to take care of us. In the meantime, there will be no more apathy, and we’ll be watching you Mr. White!

I might also add that it’s kind of strange that the only three-mile section of our county road that hasn’t been paved yet, is the three-mile section where the residents live that supported your opponent in the last election almost unanimously and where your former opponent himself resides. Could this be a dirty type of political payback, Mr. White?

Tracy Smith

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Joseph Robert England

England JosephFuneral for Joseph Robert England, 93, of Greenwood was to be 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at Greenwood Church of Christ with Bob Ross officiating. Burial is at Greenwood Cemetery.

England died Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Decatur.

Born Oct. 11, 1917, in Greenwood to Felix Johnson and Danny Brewer England, he retired from General Dynamics after 32 years of service. He married Wilema Howard Dec. 24, 1941, and served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. England was an aircraft assembly man, farmer, rancher and a member of the Greenwood Church of Christ.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Alma Allen.

England is survived by his wife; sons Robert Thurman England and wife, Janie, of Denton and Terry Don England and wife, Pat, of Ponder; sisters Nina Robinson, Marie Hill and Fern Mann, all of Decatur; grandchildren Wesley Don England and wife, Rhonda, Paige Wells and husband, Todd, and Joel England; great-grandchildren Randall England and Taylor, Tate and Ryder Wells.

Pallbearers were to be Wesley England, Todd Wells, Joel England, Harold Ray Robinson, Rick Duwe, Roland Walker, Wayne East and Frank Robinson.

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Joseph England

FUNERAL for Joseph England, 93, of Greenwood is 11 a.m. Saturday at Greenwood Church of Christ with burial at Greenwood Cemetery. Family visitation is 6-8 tonight at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

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Joseph England

SERVICE for Joseph England, 93, of Greenwood is pending at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.

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Joseph England

SERVICE for Joseph England, 93, of Greenwood is pending at Coker-Hawkins.

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Republicans ruined state finances

Our Texas budget is facing its biggest crisis in Texas history. Despite a $27 billion shortfall, Rick Perry and the GOP campaigned that Texas was in better shape than any “so-called” liberal states.

The truth is that Texas owes more debt per citizen than California as a result of the Republicans’ short gain approach to our state government. Texans need to wake up and see what Republican leaders have actually done for us.

As a consequence of Texas’ financial disaster, funding for public schools will be slashed, dangerous criminals will be released early from prison, there will be massive cuts to Medicaid payment for doctors, which means they will see fewer patients, college tuition will continue to skyrocket and major transportation projects needed for economic growth will grind to a halt.

Republicans have been playing a Ponzi scheme with the resources handed to them by Democratic leaders like Anne Richards, Mark White, Bob Bullock and Pete Laney, but the scheme is up this session because the money is all gone. As Bill White said, you cannot just harvest and never plant.

Under Republican leadership, funds have been directed and redirected to cover things they were never intended to cover. For example, the fuel tax that is designed to pay for road construction and maintenance is raided to cover numerous other programs that are in no way related to road construction.

To make matters worse, the fuel tax has not been indexed for inflation since 1991. So, we have a 1991 revenue model funding a 2011 construction cost model. No business can run that way, and neither can our state.

For that reason, and many other similar reasons, the gig is up. There is not enough money to shuffle around and fill budget holes anymore, and as a result, school funding will be gutted, prisons will be closed and essential Medicaid services will be eliminated.

Even border security is getting gutted by Republicans despite their assurances to voters in the last few election cycles that border security was a priority. In addition, the governor’s “rainy day” fund is now being raided to cover other budget holes, so shouldn’t that tell Texans that it’s raining?

It’s time Texans change the oil that is running the car; stop relying on bumper sticker politics and believing those politicians that say they are conservative all while wrapping themselves in the Constitution and the flag. We Texans are about to suffer more than ever before, and since there hasn’t been a Democrat in power for more than 10 years, only Republicans are to blame.

Wise County citizens, I know you care about things that affect you like schools, affordable insurance, electricity, college tuition, safer streets, a sound financial infrastructure and adequate Medicaid health services for loved ones, just to name a few – so please start taking a look at voting for Democrats to send to Austin in 2012. In the meantime, wear your boots, and don’t forget to bring your umbrellas.

Tracy Smith

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Perry misuses state money

With the state Congress going into this next legislative session with the largest budget shortfall in state history, Gov. Rick Perry on Dec. 31 announced a $4.5 million investment of taxpayer dollars to a friend’s company. This happened no more than two months after the award program called the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, managed by the governor’s office, became a campaign issue in the governor’s race of 2010.

The governor had already awarded Convergen Lifesciences Inc. half the money in mid-August, the day the contract was signed, and the remainder at the end of the year. Perry acknowledged the grant as an investment (a.k.a. a risk that may not return taxpayer money).

The company awarded this grant is led by Austin entrepreneur David Nance, who is a major contributor to the Perry campaign fund and has been on multiple state advisory boards to the Perry administration.

At the time that Convergen was awarded the grant, Nance was found to have ignored or sidestepped lower reviewing panels. Nance’s application for grant money was not handled by the usual channels for approval. Initially, an Austin-area screening board rejected the application. Then Nance took his application to another board focusing on Life Sciences, a 17-member statewide advisory board, made up mostly of Perry appointees, and asked Alan Kirchhoff, Perry’s director of economic development at the time, to intervene.

Kirchhoff has since resigned his appointed position. But apparently he still has a powerful influence as a lobbyist to the governor’s office because he was hired by Mr. Nance, and they are now pitching another investment idea to state officials meant to benefit Nance’s company.

Meanwhile, the fish rots from the head down. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus approved the $4.5 million investment when the advisory board Nance manipulated recommended it.

During the time of the re-election campaign for governor when this was first discovered, Perry denied any wrongdoing, but he continued his resistance to offer contract details before the Nov. 2 election. Then three days after the election, Perry released the contract after first contending it should be kept secret.

Facing a $24 billion budget shortfall, the legislature this month is expected to debate whether to continue economic incentives, such as the technology fund, and whether Perry should continue to manage hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives. While I acknowledge that these grants are supportive in boosting research for Texas universities, I can’t help but ponder whether Perry is using the incentives to reward friends and donors of private corporations, and so should you.

Tracy Smith

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Ruby Wyatt

MEMORIAL service for Ruby Wyatt of Greenwood is 2 p.m. today at Greenwood Baptist Church.

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Smaller classes are key

A state law that has been on the books since 1984, when Dallas businessman Ross Perot spearheaded the school-reform movement in Texas, is on the chopping block as lawmakers look for solutions for our massive budget deficit. This particular law holds most elementary school classes to no more than 22 students for every teacher.

Republican legislative leaders and Republican State Comptroller Susan Combs are lobbying to ease the limits on class size in public schools while using the argument that it will save hundreds of millions of dollars while giving school districts more flexibility in educating their students. Several teacher groups and state congressional Democrats counter argue saying that it will reverse academic gains in elementary schools and force the elimination of up to 12,000 teaching jobs in Texas. Combs noted that this change would save hundreds of millions a year – primarily through elimination of thousands of teaching jobs.

Two years ago, Republican Sen. Dan Patrick tried to push a similar law through by pushing an “average” class size rule, but it failed. Sen. Patrick argues that in upper-level grades, Texas doesn’t have such laws, and it shows no effect on student learning.

Meanwhile Democratic Sen. Royce West uses studies showing that smaller classes were important for student achievement, especially in the elementary grades. In 2000, The Rand Group Study found that progress was being made in Texas elementary schools citing smaller classes as a key factor in improved scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

In 2009, taxpayers paid about $93 million to administer standardized tests to Texas students, nearly 10 times the cost of just nine years earlier. At that ratio, by 2011 it should cost well over $100 million. I’m guessing that since standardized testing was a Republican-sponsored law, they won’t begin to see failures with it and wouldn’t want to save money there instead would they?

The next state legislative session begins in January, and we need to tell lawmakers that Texas can’t afford to do things that will reverse the progress we’ve made in our schools. We need to tell them to leave educating our children as a priority and find other means to address the Perry administration’s budget shortfalls.

Tracy Smith

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Robinson reaches century mark

MILESTONES - Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday with a party for 130 guests. She has lived in Wise County most of her life except for a couple short stints away. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With a memory as clear as a bell, one of Wise County’s oldest residents turned 100 Nov. 11.

Nina Robinson was born in Wise County and has only left twice for very short amounts of time.

“How does it feel to be 100?” Robinson said. “Well it’s no different than 65.”

Born Nov. 11, 1910, in Greenwood, Robinson lived on a farm just outside town with her parents and four brothers and sisters. Her parents farmed corn, cotton, peanuts, maize and lots of garden vegetables.

“I can remember the first time our daddy ever brought home bologna,” she said. “We thought it was so good. Prepared mustard and peanut butter. That was three things we really did go for.”

In the fall, the peanut thresher would come for the peanut crops, and Robinson remembers people swarming the house to enjoy her family’s hospitality.

“Goodness, I don’t know how many people we’d cook for,” she said. “They’d even spend the night out on the edge of the pasture, and they’d eat supper and breakfast with us. I’ll never forget one man, he was singing off out there in the dark. Prettiest song. Oh, it was so good.”

On her eighth birthday, Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended, and she remembers having a house full of company. The men were sitting in the yard while the women were in the kitchen cooking.

“I caught on to the fact that something unusual was going on,” Robinson said. “I kept hanging around and found out that the war had ended. I wanted to hear more about that. I’d stop and listen to the men.”

Robinson said she has always been curious how the men knew the war was over so quickly, but speculates they probably received word through telephone by people who had first heard the news through telegram.

Nina’s grandfather fought for the North in the Civil War, while her future father-in-law fought for the South. However, Nina’s grandfather died before she was born, so she never had the chance to hear stories of his days in the Union army.

When living near Greenwood, Robinson was close enough to walk to school, but when they moved to the community of Sycamore, she and her siblings walked four miles to school. The church they attended was closer.

She went to school as long as classes were offered, which was through the ninth grade. Thirsty for knowledge, Robinson chose to repeat ninth grade. The teacher was fond of her and let her teach the smaller children.

“I went as long as they were teaching,” she said. “I loved school.”

Robinson met her husband, Claude, when he came to her house to visit his brother who was married to her sister. They married in 1934.

Their first child was born a year and a few days after they married.

In late 1941, the Robinsons packed up and moved to Vacaville, Calif., where Claude worked in the shipyards. They planned to save up enough money to move back home and become self-employed farmers. The year before, they had purchased some land, so her brother took care of it while they were gone.

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Robinson was busy with her young children, so she didn’t leave the house much, she said. However, she noticed changes within her town.

“They were shipping all the Japanese people out of the town,” Robinson said. “They were shipping them to Arkansas. They had great big open trucks. The Japanese people were standing up in the back of those trucks, just one right after the other. Took them all out of the town.

“They had some of the neatest little homes and gardens and the prettiest yards. They just dumped them in those trucks and took them right out of there like cattle. Oh, that was pitiful.”

Robinson’s brother was drafted into the Army the following year. Instead of losing the farm they bought in 1940, the Robinsons chose to move back to Greenwood.

“We wanted to farm when we got back because we already had the three little children and (Claude) almost had to go to the Army,” Robinson said. “He went to town one day thinking that was the day they would send him off, and they found out we were on the farm and had our own equipment and everything.

“They said, ‘You go back home. You’re worth more there to the world than you are in the Army.’ I never was so happy in my life.”

Back in Greenwood, Robinson’s WWII experience was far from over. One morning, about 200 soldiers marched through her front yard on their travels across the country.

Her family gathered at the front door, and she let the little kids watch. Some of the soldiers waved back. At one point, a few soldiers came to the house to borrow some fresh eggs, she said. Robinson didn’t know where they were going or where they came from.

In 1948, Robinson paid a $5 deposit for electricity for the first time. When she moved to Decatur in 1997, she received a $5 check from Wise County Co-op for her deposit.

“It was wonderful to get electricity,” she said. “We bought an ice box and a washing machine. We bought it all.”

The Robinson house was always brimming with people, and the couple were known for their generosity.

“I remember as I was growing up, people in need always came to mom and daddy because they knew they would get help,” said daughter Connie Pruett. “It might be milk and eggs, or a little bit of money or whatever they needed. They always got some kind of help. They were more or less pillars of the community.”

Robinson still cooks three meals a day, something she is known for.

“She’s fed a lot of people,” Pruett said. “She’s such an old-timey cook with the staples. Lots of bacon grease, beans, corn bread and lots of potatoes. Everybody wanted to come to my mom and dad’s house to eat.”

In 1989, Robinson encountered the toughest hurdle of her life when her daughter died at the age of 48.

“That’s about the hardest thing you’ll ever go through,” she said. “Life has been good to me most of the time. When you lose a daughter, it’s rough. And your parents and your husband and your sisters. There’s a lot of them already gone.”

To get through the rough times, Robinson turns to prayer.

“Pray and pray and work and pray while you’re working,” she said.

At the center of Robinson’s life is family. She lives in a duplex with her daughter and sees her family regularly. She has four children, seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and three step-great-granchildren. Her 91-year-old sister just renewed her drivers license.

“I don’t know how people live without families,” Robinson said. “I love my family.”

Robinson rarely leaves the house nowadays because her hearing has diminished, but she keeps plenty busy.

She has an expansive quilt collection which has been displayed at recent birthday parties. Robinson also crochets and is an avid reader.

The only television Robinson watches is sports, Pruett said. She loves the Dallas Mavericks, Cowboys and the Decatur Eagles. Robinson also knows all the names of the Texas Rangers.

Robinson has been a Baptist since she was 20 years old but has stopped going to church because of her hearing.

“If you ever lose your hearing, you lose a lot of living life, but it’s still worthwhile,” she said. “If I want to know badly enough, I’ll make them tell me.”

In her 100 years of living, Robinson said the secret to aging so well is her outlook on life.

“I’ve always been satisfied with life, or tried to be content,” she said. “I just make the best of everything, I guess. I love still being here if I’m not a burden to anybody.”

When she goes to visit her granddaughter Robin Stout, who lives in Robinson’s old farmhouse, she said it feels normal and natural.

“I’ve done it all my life. This road from (Decatur) to Greenwood just seems like mine.”

Pruett touts her mother and siblings as good, strong people.

“Mom grew up and stayed in the Wise County area, and we are all doing the same thing,” Pruett said. “There’s no place like home, I guess.”

Posted in News0 Comments

Miscalculations put budget in bind

In November of every year, traditionally Susan Combs, the Republican state comptroller, estimates revenues for the fiscal year. Last year’s estimate was $1.9 billion off compared to what was actually collected Sept. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2010. As a result, Texas continues to build on its billion-dollar budget shortfalls, and Texas will yet again borrow from the feds adding to the national trillion-dollar deficit as well.

To give perspective to Ms. Combs’ miscalculations, her overestimates exceeded the total amounts spent by universities such as UT-Austin, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of Houston, University of North Texas, UT San Antonio and Tarleton State University combined. The estimated tax revenue for this next year can be found here:

These projections are likely to be overestimated yet again, which will result in another budget shortfall for 2011.

Is this really what Texans voted for with the Republican leadership? Bill White predicted this would happen, but did anybody listen? Keep voting red, Texas. My granny always said, “It’ll come out in the wash.”

Poor Granny; she was always so optimistic.

Tracy Smith

Posted in Letters to the Editor0 Comments




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