Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Knox County Parenting Fair '08

May Meeting

Visioning Partners,

This is a reminder of the scheduled Visioning Meeting this Thursday, May 1st at 6:00 PM at the Truscott Community Center. I am looking forward to going to Truscott and visiting with our friends and partners in that community.

If you have any agenda items, please let me know.

Travis C. Floyd
Knox County Judge

Real Rural Tourism Symposium Update

Upon meeting with several of the presenters and support folks, we can update you a little on who’s committed to coming, tours and events.

Right now:

Real Rural Tourism Conference
June 26th-28th
Knox County, Texas

  • Outdoor Adventures & Education: Bob Rogers
  • Real Ranch Guest Hosting: Mike & Debbie Arrington
  • What’s good for the Bird is good for the Cow: Jim Bill & Debbie Anderson
  • 10,000 people in a 2,000 person town? Jackie McPherson
  • Road Races, Ranch Roads and Cow Trails: Genora Young
  • Hunting Big Time for Real & How to get ‘em to Town when they're not Hunting: Rusty & Malinda Moore
  • European “Wanna be a Cowboy” guests: How to make them yours: DeeDee Autry
  • Sand hill Cranes, Playa’s, Churches and the Mercantile; How to translate them into real profitable tours: Darryl Birkenfield
  • Art From the Ruins: Putting your history on Tour: Kim McKinney
  • The Elko story; a Real Cowboy Success: Chuck Milner

We are developing tours to Truscott, the Brine Lake, and Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, our new Museum, Rhineland Church, Miller Creek, Ranger Creek Ranch and more entertainers are coming too…including Andy Wilkinson, Midnight on the Water and Chuck Milner who are all REAL GOOD.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Paradise in Knox City, Texas

March 29-
Celebrating in Knox City! Aka Paradise

The Chamber of Commerce celebrated the completion of their very impressive downtown awning project, and recognized the hard work and perseverance of their volunteers at their Annual Banquet Saturday night.

This year’s theme was Living in Paradise. Lots of leis, flowered sundresses and Hawaiian shirts were in evidence in spite of the cold weather. Now that’s commitment. I had to compromise with a few flowers for flavor and long pants and undershirt for comfort! We all enjoyed the tropical atmosphere and menu, featuring shish kebobs and every fruit known to be good eatin’.

Congratulations go to Marla Hawkins as Knox City’s Most Appreciated Citizen. I got to jump right in on the celebrating as I enthusiastically endorsed the parallels of our small hometowns and the image that comes to mind from the word paradise. I met lots of local folks who had not known about the Visioning Teams work and commitment to preserving and improving our paradise. It was even worth driving 3 hours back from one wedding shower for the kids, presenting the program at the banquet, then driving back to the top of the panhandle for another on Sunday! Well, it will be if the JP in Memphis County is understanding.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring's Amazing Graces

by Remelle

I am regularly amazed by the rich gifts of this old country. There are at least three reminders, as reliable as my own alarm clock, this time of year which can be counted on to reawaken my appreciation and blow away the blasé attitude the end of winter feeds.

The first is so routine we often fail to notice, much less remark on it. There is no more beautiful sight anywhere than sunrise over a juniper ridge, sparkling on the first blades of new grass or
playing off the water and sand of the Brazos or Wichita Rivers. We are routinely so busy lining out our first appointment on the cell phone, fussing with the kids in the car, or scanning the horizon for highway patrolmen as we speed into the day that we fail to even notice this daily gift. For others sunrise just comes at such an inconvenient time! Fortunately, we’re blessed with a second chance for wonder. The consolation prize that can be seized an hour or so before sunset when the light is kindest, washing everything with a glow that makes the wheat look greener and thicker, the new calves softer and the coat of a horse shiny as new satin. If we can’t find time and thought to appreciate at least one of the two, perhaps we deserve to be punished with incarceration in a concrete jungle, stuck in a traffic jam, listening to a political talk show at those naturally glorious times of day.

The second awe inspiring gift of this home between the rivers is its rich renewal each spring. At the end of an over-washing brown winter, especially after a fall drought like this last one, which leaves us all looking at a cover of broom weed, counting down to the last hay bale and wondering if we’ll ever again see green comes the first spring rain. Without fail this country blooms overnight with renewed vigor, startling even the seasoned observer with the speed it turns green. Grass and crops seem to grow inches overnight. Old cows change from gnarly to glowing. Cantankerous customers on the street downtown grin and greet each other with renewed faith in God and mankind. Even wild hogs and white tail deer grazing on your crop land start to look good for a little while. My personal favorite season marker is little boys making wildflower
bouquets for Mom. When Daddy takes time to cut the leaves off the bottom, tie it with a string from the cake sack and hunt up the Pepsi bottle to hold them, his patience and appreciation renewed as surely as the land by a little rain and the smell of growth and freshly turned dirt, only the crustiest of curmudgeons is left without a tear in the eye and catch in the throat.

The surest renewal of my own awe comes with the city visitors, most often escapees from the concrete jungle, I host each spring. They are truly amazed by the most mundane of activities and sights assigning great value to the rarity of our prairie, our dark skies, a bird song or the strutting of an old turkey. If you haven’t seen this world of ours through the eyes of an outsider, invite one soon and regain your own wonder!

Nature Tourism

Preserve Our Prairie Home-
March 25th

We hosted Jarid Manos, founder and Director of the Great Plains Restoration Council and his new assistant on a tour of significant bird and wildlife habitat and nature education sites in Foard and Knox Counties. I’m always refreshed and recommitted after seeing how these folks, and our other urban neighbors, seem to value this beautiful place we live in, often it seems more than we do. GPRC has committed to sponsoring our Real Rural Tourism Symposium, June 26, 27, 28. Jarid will also share the stories of the Prairie Park put together and maintained for public use by this small private non-profit, successfully saving the last of the native mid & tall grass prairie of the region. GPRC will also be hosting with a Youth Summit for disadvantaged urban and reservation children on the Corps of Engineers property in July with tours into Knox County.

Ag Diversification Tour

Immediate Impact Economic Development-
March 24th

I brought our Texas Dept of Ag Rural Development Specialist, Amy Lowrance over from Vernon for a personal Ag Diversification Tour of our county to acquaint her with opportunities for Farmers and Ranchers to diversify in Knox County, to assist farmers and ranchers and get her expert opinion on ideas coming from my own familiarization tour hosted by Visioning Committee member Lyndle Reeves and the Brazos Valley Young Farmers.

I also launched my favorite Local Economic Impact Plan … acquainting her with the treasures produced and sold in our small businesses. She contributed greatly, with ideas and useable info on the proposed projects we toured, and in immediate and direct economic development incentives for several local businesses ,circulating her personal dollars through our economy after discovering a couple of places like Dillon’s Greenhouse and then seeing Pepper’s eclectic collection after I innocently took her in for a refreshing cold drink! If you haven’t taken a fresh look around the County’s downtown areas, you owe it to yourself to do so. We have both unique collections and a solid staples base. Both need our support if we want to assure access to goods and services in our hometowns.


March 20 – Housing, Housing, Housing- It is the one recurrent theme in every conversation I’ve had here in Knox County. Learned a lot more about the actual market, availability, demand and supply of homes for rent or sale, building lots, and challenges to new construction in Knox County with Marla Hawkins. She was also a great source of info on the Knox City Chamber of Commerce, their programs and projects. Of course there is always a trade-off…mine was agreeing to speak at the Chamber Banquet.

4 Winds RC&D Annual Meeting

Inspiration goes further if you add perspiration--
March 27th

I spoke at the 4 Winds RC&D Annual Meeting over in Seymour. Decided to talk about heroes, what makes one and whether their effort is worth it. Seemed most appropriate in a room full of folks who are hero’s, dedicating as so many of you have, their own time and assets to planning, implementing and staying the course long-term to build a better life for their family, friends and neighbors and insure that it will still be available to our children and grandchildren.

An impressive list of projects including ones in our Knox County communities was presented by Darren Clark. It is always interesting to hear what others are doing, and be inspired with an idea that will address a challenge at home.

Speaking of being inspired, Seymour’s a good place to go for it these days. I visited some of their recent impressive improvements and toured the sites and heard the plans for projects underway with John Studer, the EDC Director. I’ve known John for years, and for the first four or five years he worked on some of the BIG ideas he had, even I thought he was crazy. Now through his persistence, Seymour is hosting guests at one of the most important archeological sites in the United States, and partnering with major universities to fund it. On the 24th of this month, 6 p.m., you can learn all about it, see the fossils for yourself and hear all about this new educational project , and tourist draw, in our region. The University of Houston and Houston Museum of Natural Science will present the program. You are even invited to bring your own fossils and learn what you have found!

Seymour also hosts an extremely successful Agricultural Day which shines a spotlight on Ag related businesses and activity and introduces hundreds of visitors every year to modern Agricultural practices and related diversified Ag industry partners and Rural Community Partners. That happened on the 15th.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

KCVG Met in Goree

Knox County Visioning Group Meets
Thursday, April 10th

Have you had a “vision” of what you might want your home town or Knox County to look or be like? The Knox County Visioning Group has been meeting monthly since April of 2005 to do just that- to discuss their “Visions” of what Knox County could be. Fifteen members met at the Goree Community Center on March 10th to continue discussing their vision for Knox County. Members were present from Goree, Knox City, and Munday and the meeting was hosted by members from Goree. The group takes turn meeting in five communities in our county, Benjamin, Goree, Knox City, Munday and Truscott.

Committee reports were presented, there are three vision committees who have done research to see what businesses need and things that would benefit our county.

The “Scoop” was presented and discussed from Remelle Farrar, who is hired by the Visioning Board to work on helping this group of people fulfill some of our “Visions”. Items discussed:

  • The first Knox County Tourism Conference, which is scheduled for June 27, 28, and 29th.

  • Ag Diversification

  • Housing for Knox County- some of the different funding sources for families to purchase or rent affordable housing through programs such as through USDA loans and Section 8 Housing, as well as, working through our local banks.

  • A follow up survey on the Job Fair that was held in February.

  • Historical markers in Knox County such as the First Christian Church in Benjamin, which was built in 1909 and is the oldest building in constant use in the county. It’s always good to learn something new about Knox County- Do you know where “ The Narrows” are in Knox County? I certainly didn’t. Or did you know that there are over 20 historical sites in Knox County, 13 of which are Cemeteries?

Come to the next Visioning Meeting, May 1st, at 6 pm at the newly remodeled Community Center in Truscott and the visioning group will be glad to share with you the location of “The Narrows” along with other interesting information about our county. Come join us and share your “Vision” for Knox County!

Debbie Welborn

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April Meeting

Visioning Partners,

This is a reminder of the Visioning Meeting scheduled for Thursday April 10th, at 6:00 PM at he Goree Community Center. If ou have any agenda items you want addressed, please send them to me or contact me. I'm looking forward to seeing you again.

Best Regards,
Travis C. Floyd
Knox County Judge

Kick-Off Event

The 'Get Acquainted Community Events' were successful! We had newspaper ads, flyers up and co-sponsors……but nothing brought folks out like personal invitations from you. Our meetings went as follows:

Thursday – February 7th-
9 am – 10:30 am Coffee break- City Hall-Knox City
11:30 – 1 pm Soup and Sandwich Lunch – First National Bank – Munday
3 pm – 4:30 pm Drinks and Goodies- Courthouse, Benjamin
Monday - February 18th-
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - Enchilada Supper - Goree Memorial Building
Coming Soon-Rhineland and Truscott

Our neighbors were invited to come out, get acquainted and learn what we are doing and what they can do to help. We wanted folks to see this as neighbors working together, not some “expert” we brought in here who’s going to try and tell us what we need and what to do! A sure recipe for disaster! These get-togethers were an opportunity to introduce our first Community Support Events! These events WERE also a great opportunity for us to meet new folks, introduce our Visioning Team and LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.
About 90 people attended. Every single person who came had thoughts, ideas, suggestions and/or concerns and weren’t shy about expressing them. What I really loved was listening in on the conversations that were going on between other members of the Visioning Team and our guests. I think the “parties” allowed folks to talk about subjects they wouldn’t have brought up in another context, like just meeting at lunch or on the street or at a ballgame, giving them a venue for serious concern and goal sharing.

Our Image~

Have you seen our great new visuals designed by Kacy? We’ve had a ball finding ways to make our point, plant a seed and define our purpose IMMEDIATELY with just one glance through an invitation, handout, business card or advertisement. We will be consistently repeating our message with 2 visuals appropriate for everything we’re doing right now. The first is high impact with an old building façade, crumbling structure and dark windows asking “Need a fresh outlook?” offset by our Knox County Visioning Group Logo, a rider watching the sun come up across the canyon and distant prairie, clearly savoring the new dawn! The second shows an opening doorway, with a glimpse of the beautiful natural prairie beyond “Opening the door to new possibilities ….” Again offset by our rider clearly preparing for the new dawn.

What a blessing to have the talents of a professional artist at our disposal and the capability to print this quality locally! One more surprising example of what we have and what we can do without leaving home!

No two week wait here, business cards, oversize postcards and handout brochures with our introductory story, invitations and advertisements are ready to go! These are meant to be USED. If you’d like to have a supply of business cards, or handouts to share with your contacts, please let me know. The more people can identify the Visioning Group as their own friends and neighbors, the more legitimate and trustworthy the invitation, the more we will accomplish.

Munday Lions Club

Our very first community presentation netted nine new volunteers willing to work with the Visioning Committee, host a presentation, introduce the concept to their own group etc.!

Director's Update: January 31, 2008

And we’re off! Wow! What an exciting start out the gate we’ve had! That’s my best description of the last two weeks. It’s felt just like shooting out of the starting gate at the horse races, all excitement and full speed ahead as I’ve finally gotten to join you in racing toward our goals. We have been welcomed with open arms, encouragement and positive anticipation by everyone in every place we’ve ventured in Knox County. Folks are excited and anxious to work with the Visioning Team and it has been INVIGORATING AND UPLIFTING to experience the spirit and love our citizens have for their hometowns, to see what they are doing, have accomplished and are ready to commit to Knox County’s future.

You have laid an excellent foundation of inclusion and planning and anticipation. Expectations are HIGH for what we can accomplish together. Most encouraging no one has asked what the Visioning Team is going to do FOR THEM, but what they can DO to work with us. And, the list I’ve already received of goals being worked on, challenges being addressed and dreams expressed is enough on it’s own to draw a map that would lead to a treasure hunter's bonanza. Now comes the real fun, getting from one landmark to the next, there will surely be some potholes and detours coming up, but what an adventure we are on!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're Coming To Your Neighborhood:

Watch your newspaper and check out our weekly column, "Building a better tomorrow, together, today" by Remelle Farrar, Community Development Director. If you have any questions call us at 459-4121 or email us at Remelle@srcaccess.net

Join us at our working group meetings where you can express your opinion, share your ideas and impact Knox County's future! Meeting times and locations to be announced here on this blog.