Monday, June 30, 2008
This is a reminder for the Knox County Visioning Committee Meeting scheduled for this Tuesday, July 1st at 5:30 PM. We are fortunate that Kay and Steve Pepper offered their business as a meeting place, and I took them up on it. The meeting will be held at Pepper's in Knox City and a meal will be provided.
I am hopeful that Remelle has recovered enough so that she can attend. The Real Rural Tourism Symposium was a huge success, and a huge thank you is due to Remelle.
Please make every effort to attend the meeting, as we have had, and have a lot going on.
Travis C. Floyd
Knox County Judge
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The morning of Friday, June 27th began at 8:30 a.m. in the hospitality room of the courthouse. There only seemed to be one mishap from the previous evening...Miss Windthorst and Miss Vernon were barely recovered MIA's from the Vera fiasco the night before at the tune of 1:00 a.m. They laughed hysterically about their gallivant thru the Vera dirt roads, which is better than crying or ripping someone's head off! They, by the way, had to put up with me, Tammie, and Bob Rogers in our car caravan and I might add we were lead dawgs. (...till the very end, huh Dwayne)
Let's see at 9:20 a.m., our ten to fifteen car caravan headed towards Knox City on Hwy 6 and enjoyed the Brazos River Bridge. It didn't take my carlings long to crank up the enthusiasm with a Bridges Over Knox County joke or two or three. (by the way Bob, I think I made up a new word~carlings?)
9:34 am – Knox City- We parked in front of old City Hall building and Marla Hawkins and Daveine Clark hosted. We gawked and awed at the awnings, murals and tractor art. (the Flower Power tractor to be exact) The Watermelon Festival information was shared by Mrs. Clark. Barbara Rector opened the old City Hall and many enjoyed the wall mural and dreamed of what this structure could be used for.
9:55 am - We left Knox City going east on Hwy 222 and took notice of Dillon’s, Gillespie Cemetery, Johnson’s Memorial Cemetery. 10:06 am – We arrived in Munday and parked in front of school at the centennial park. We enjoyed seeing the streetscape and church renovation for a theatre. Durwood shared a little bit about Quilt Show, Ranch Rodeo and Keep Munday Beautiful efforts. Someone noted the awards and successes of this organization.
10:33 am- We left Munday, noting streetscape and the church as we drove by, and we stayed on Hwy 222. We passed the Lake Creek Golf Course which was looking good in preparation for Saturday's womans' tournament. We turned north on Hwy 266 then right on FM 1608 to Miller Creek Lake. It was a bit windy, but that kept the skitters and heat down.
10:50 am- We arrived at the lake. An awning and refreshments were set up on peninsula thanks to Caroline Garcia and Glen Blacketer of the City of Goree. The drinks were provided by Miller Creek Ranch and the snacks were from Trainham Ice & Meat. Bob Rogers & Dick Wilberforce presented “Real Simple, Real Popular”. They described the success they have experienced in their nature tourism programs. We heard how the "turtle in the bucket story" originated and we were amazed to hear the advantages of inviting 'birders' into your area. Did I mention that this was the point in time that Miss Vernon realized she was sharing the backseat with two turtles?
11:41 am- We left for Goree- we went right on FM 266 under the overpass and parked at the Memorial Building. This was our first restroom break. Bob said, "Can I wash my hands in there?" Seems the turtle couldn't wait till we arrived in Goree. We made notice of historical sites, Domino Hall & Old Jail, while waiting. Tammie Trainham presented “Rebirth of a Town” keeping it real, using what you have, and HOW? (Interesting discussion about the cause of Goree's death)
12:15 pm – On Hwy 266 we headed toward Vera passing Hefner Cemetery and then had our breath taken away as we dropped over the bluff and crossed the Brazos for yet another time. At the intersection of Hwy 82 we turned left, then right on County Rd 3185. We arrived a little late at Leake Farms (12:45 pm) and our hosts had given up, I suppose. After two gates and a little bit of a rough road we came upon - 26,000 native plants! “Real Diversification-Real Agri-Tourism”! We didn't hear about it, but we saw it with our own eyes. No electricity and yet a fully functioning nursery with an indigenous plant population. The plants are not sold unless they are two years of age and fully acclimated. A gas powered pump watered these plants from Mrs. Paris' famous catfish tank. We met one of our hosts, Dee Winn, as we were exiting the place. And she proceeded to join us at Ranger Creek Ranch to supply us with more information.
12:45 pm- Upon leaving Leake Farms we opted to forgo the drive-by the vineyards and head straight to the chow wagon. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Ranger Creek and a presentation by Randy Walker-“Real Story of Ranger Creek”.
2:15 pm- We turned right out of the Ranch then went left @ CBar ranch gate and out on County Rd 3150. We turned west on Hwy 82 then left on Hwy 267 to Rhineland. Upon arriving at St. Joseph’s Church, Mrs. Dot Myers was our host and she gave us a tour of this famous church and shared the story of the community, “What they had, Where they were & Who they are”. It was simply majestic.
2:45 pm- We left Rhineland on Hwy 267 going north to Hwy 82 then west back to Benjamin. We made notice of the roadside park which overlooks "The Narrows" on our way. At a later time Remelle talked about how a town is using what it has- this Hwy. I almost forgot to mention that on this stretch of highway is where Dwayne forgot who was lead dawgs...sorry Sherrif Dean. I was Cole Trickle passing that villian in the Daytona of 'Days of Thunder'. My carlings made me do it!
3:05 pm-4:15 pm Back in Benjamin, everyone enjoyed some free time shopping at Redford Ranch and Santa Fe On The Brazos. We also enjoyed site-seeing at the Museum, Veteran's Memorial and then a guided tour by Wyman Meinzer at the jail and his personal homestead. We were amazed by a story about Ernest Tubbs sisters' jail time. It finally dawned on me why Bob kept the windows cracked on my car...so we wouldn't have 'steamed' turtle for dinner!
4:15 pm Back at the courthouse we were greeted with “Welcome to Benjamin-What We Are Doing With What We Have” by Sylinda Meinzer and Pam Duke. These ladies introduced the new businesses headed their way and shared about the school system. Interestingly, the highway traffic brings a lot of business to Benjamin. A presentation was given by a town historian, also.
5:30 pm- We assigned drivers and loaded ‘em up, moved ‘em out and headed to Truscott, north on Hwy 6. As we arrived in Truscott, supper was on the agenda, first things first. The community provided us with such a memorable evening. Cowboy dinner with goat-balls, too boot! How many will ever forget that? Then, after dinner the stage coach, buggy, hay ride and chuck wagon tour ensued. We were like kids at Six Flags...just ask anyone about Miss Vernon on top of the stage coach!
8:30 pm- We were entertained with songs and stories of the Old West. Bob Rogers was the MC for the evening. Featured were Mr. Tibb Burnet, cowboy poet, of Benjamin, TX and Andy Wilkinson, Artist in Residence, The Southwest Collection and Texas Tech University. Andy shared history through song and Tibb shared history through poetry.
10:00 pm Time to get along home, lead doggy. Our car on the caravan was apparently so much fun that we had two stowaways. We laughed till we cried and all was well.
Y'll come back now, ya hear?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The tour will encompass so much in Knox County and there is no way we are going to see or hear it all. I look forward to the adventure. The small part of the county that I do know about is Goree. The work seems slow, but when it's put together in a slideshow it does add up to a lot. Above is a sample of the 'goings on' in and around Goree that will be part of the tour tomorrow. See you then, Tammie
Miller Creek Reservoir (fishing, boating, camping)
Monday, June 23, 2008
June 26th, 27th, 28th
Step I: Get to know your neighborhood: What your Neighbors are Doing, What Your Neighbors are Doing and What We Could Do Together!
Focus on Crowell & Seymour
- 2 pm – Hospitality Center set up at Courthouse to greet out of town attendees, get them to their accommodations, guide if necessary, answer questions.
Register & count; assign drivers
- 4 pm- Welcome everyone, quick overview of what we are going to see, do, accomplish
- 4:10 pm – Introduce car pool drivers
- 4:15 pm- Load ‘em up, move ‘em out
- 4:45 pm- Arrive Crowell Activity Center
Carolyn Henry will tell story of why, how, how funded and how operating. Compare to our need and opportunity for meeting place in County.
Stacy Henry – will present story of Pease River Partners and their Tourism and Conservation partnership, private land and 12,000 acre Teacup Mountain Wilderness Area
- 5:15 pm – walk across to Crazy Lady Trading Post – presentation by Rusty and Malinda – Putting it all together – Story of their combined, store, catering location, lodge, hunting outfitter, processing plant and now resident taxidermist
- 5:45 pm- leave for Longhorn Steakhouse
- 6:05 pm- arrive, dinner, presentation on Destination Dining
- 7:05 pm- leave for Comanche Springs
- 7:15 pm – tour & presentation by 3RF and Seymour EDC Director and Chamber Director on Science and Tourism
- 9 pm – 9:50 pm – sky viewing
- 9:55- 10:30 drive back to Courthouse
June 27th Friday
Step II: Discover Your Own Assets! Use What You Have, Where You Are, Who You Are; Keep It Real & Keep It Simple!
- 8 am- Hospitality Room at the Courthouse – Coffee & Morning Snacks
- 9 am- Tour details; assign drivers
- 9:15 am- Hit the road!
Hwy 6 to Knox City
Note Brazos River Bridge
- 9:30 am – Knox City- park in front of Old City Hall building
Marla Hawkins will host : Awnings, Murals, Tractor Art, Watermelon Festival, renovation of old City Hall
- 9:45 leave KC
Note Dillon’s, Gillespie Cemetery, Johnson’s Memorial Cemetery
- 10:05 am – Munday- park in front of school- Karen Longan will host- streetscape, school park, old church renovation to theatre, Quilt Show
- 10:20 am- leave Munday- note streetscape, church as drive by
Stay on Hwy 222, go under overpass of Hwy 277, note Lake Creek Golf Course
Turn on Hwy 266 then right on FM 1608 to Miller Creek Lake
- 10:40 am- awning and chairs and refreshments are set up on peninsula; Bob Rogers & Dick Wilberforce will present on “ Real Simple, Real Popular” Nature Tourism programs
- 11:15 am- leave for Goree- right on FM 266 under overpass, park on side of Memorial Building – restrooms inside- may visit Domino Hall & Old Jail while waiting-Tammie Trainham will present on “Rebirth of a Town” keeping it real, using what you have, HOW?
- 11:30 – Hwy 266 toward Vera – note Hefner Cemetery
@ intersection of Hwy 82 turn left, then right on County Rd 3185
- 12:05 pm – Arrive Leak Farms- Todd Leak will host - 26,000 native plants- “Real Diversification- Real Agri-Tourism”
- 12:35 pm- leave Leak Farms, left @ Leak gates, 1 mile west, 1 mile north to Vineyard, 2 miles back to Hwy 82, turn West
Note Vera cemetery, church, community center
W side of Vera Hwy 82 curves left, stay right, dirt road to Ranger Creek Lodge
- 12:50 pm – lunch at Ranger Creek- presentation by Randy Walker- “Real Story of Ranger Creek”
- 2:15 pm- left @ CBar ranch gate out on County Rd 3150- turn W on Hwy 82 then left on Hwy 267-to Rhineland- St. Joseph’s Church- Mrs. Dot Myers will host tour of famous Church and story of the community “What they had, Where they were & Who they are”
- 2:45 pm- leave Rhineland, Hwy 267 North to Hwy 82 West-
- 2:50 pm- The Narrows – scenic view- RF tells story and invites to see Benjamin- “Real Town using what it has- this Hwy”
- 3:00 pm- Hwy 82 West to Benjamin-
- 3:05 pm – arrive Benjamin-Court House - shopping, refreshments, reception – Redford Ranch, Santa Fe on the Brazos, Museum, Veteran’s Memorial
- 4:00 pm- Dennis Duke- “Welcome to Benjamin-What We are Doing with What We Have”
- 4:15 pm- What We Saw- Impressions, Reflections, Comparisons, Ideas
- 5:15 pm- “Our Heritage, Our History, Doing it Our Way” – introduction to Truscott, TX
- 5:30 pm- assign drivers and load ‘em up, move ‘em out
- 6:00 pm- arrive Truscott- Group I: Stage Coach & Wagon Rides & Tours, Group II: Truscott Brine Lake
- 6:45 pm- Switch groups I & II
- 7:30 pm- Cowboy Dinner at the Community Center
- 8:30 pm- Songs & Stories of the Old West- MC Bob Rogers; featuring Mr Tibb Burnet, Benjamin, TX and Andy Wilkinson, Artist in Residence, The Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University
- 10 pm- Get along Home!
- 10:30 arrive Court House
June 28th, Saturday
Sell Your Hometown…..without Selling Your Soul
Assessing, Soul-searching, Planning, Developing & Marketing in Your Hometown
- 8 am- Meet any carpoolers- Hospitality Room – coffee and breakfast snacks
- 8:30 am – travel to Stanfield’s Big Honker Lodge – Knox City-
(8 am- Hospitality center at Stanfield’s open with coffee and breakfast snacks)
- 9:00 am- Welcome by Mayor Jeff Stanfield – Owner Stanfield’s & Big Honker Lodge
Presentation on Stanfields, largest waterfowl outfitter in United States and the role of tourism business in a community and the community’s role in the tourism business
- 9:45 am - Assesment Team Report and Recommendations – “What’s real, real simple, real honest and your real opportunities” Facilitated Discussion
- 10:45 am -What’s really going on- What we did with what you have- What works- What doesn’t!
- 11:45 am -Resource Team – “What you really need, What we really can do to help.”
- 12:30 pm – LUNCH
- 1:15 pm- Let’s Do Something- Putting it all together-for real.
- 2:00 pm- Heading Home! Start your own Real Rural Success Story!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Real Rural Tourism Symposium Registration Form
June 26, 27, & 28, 2008
Knox County, Texas
To register, please print out and mail form with payment by check:
City, St, Zip:________________________________________
Register for all three days and evening events:
$50/person x ______people =________
Register for specific day and/or evening event:
Thursday June 26th $20/person x ___ people = ____
Friday June 27th $20/person x _____ people = ____
Friday Evening June 27th $20/person x____ people = ____
Saturday June 28th $20/person x ____ people = ____
Payment amount enclosed: $______________
Please mail form to & check:
Knox County Visioning Team
P.O. Box 77
Benjamin, Texas 79505
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I’m including a copy of the Governor’s white paper on that for you. While it clearly is focused on our State’s cities and their economic development issues, it addresses many of the same concerns we have in our rural areas. I want to see a Rural Competitiveness Council, appointed by the Governor from rural community, education and industry leaders with agency support personnel from programs like Workforce, TDA, TxDOT, TDHCA, TPWD and ORCA who would identify and address those issues and needs that are crucial to a goal of insuring a sustainable economy in rural Texas. This kind of statewide initiative and government support is I think vital to provide the tools and leverage a group like KCVC needs to have a real impact at home. For instance, if we are going to address through the new Competitiveness Council the “disconnect between school curricula and workplace demands” then we need to consider the workplace demands of rural businesses and the limitations of staff and funding in rural schools in relation to any proposed changes to our educational curricula. Or, if the City leaders are looking at the concerns of resource availability (energy, water) and energy development for our urban population, we also need to consider the effects of their development plans on the rural areas where the resources will come from, energy is generated from. I met with the ORCA staff, Rural Innovator’s Forum and members of the Governor’s policy staff about this idea, concern while in Austin. I will present the idea for their support to the ORCA Board next week.
Thursday, May 22nd - Attended the Governors Training for all appointees to state boards and commissions. While I’ve done the Open Meetings Act and Ethics and Financial Disclosure type sessions that were required in this, I was amazed and honored to be in the company of these leaders and volunteers. I never really realized, and I bet you’ve not thought about it either the sheer number of committed volunteers necessary for our state to function at all. Even when Texas was formed and our constitution written, most people here didn’t trust government. I mean they really didn’t trust government, so much so that not one single, solitary Texas state agency or department is run by the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Legislature or its Executive Director. So, for the 238 state agencies no matter how big or small, we have in Texas, every single one has an unpaid, appointed Board of Directors or Commissioners who set policy and ultimately are responsible for the programs, money and actions of every employee. YIKES! Knowing how hard it is to get a volunteer for a day, for a speech, to serve on a Community board, it restores my faith in my fellow citizens to imagine 1,500 – 1,800 people willing to take on that kind of obligation, much less file their financial statement as public record and agree to understanding they can go to jail if they get a Christmas present from the wrong person. I’ve met a lot of these people too, and most like me, are not all that impressed with the idea of being important, don’t really get an ego boost from hobnobbing with each other and sure didn’t need anything else to do, they just care. Sometimes we need to be reminded we are not alone; other folks do care and are working for our children’s future too. Even the one’s we might not agree with.
Friday, May 23rd- met with TPWD, TDA and ORCA staff members about community development, planning, infrastructure, park and beautification grant and loan programs for our region. Reviewed new guidelines, new programs to share with our towns, EDC’s, Chambers, County.
Judge Floyd was the MC and did an admirable job, even with the joke Brenda told him not to tell. I was also glad to have Barbara and Dwayne who sat with Charlie Stone, the Director of the Office and Rural Community Affairs at lunch, have the opportunity to get acquainted with him and vice versa. Those folks need to know those of us actually working and living in rural communities and what we are doing.
One of the upshots from that was in Austin the following day. Charlie asked me if our YEDay was something that could be implemented state wide if the funding were available. What a compliment! And, yes we are going to follow-up on that!
One suggestion I’d really like to see the KCVC follow up on from YEDay, from Knox City High School, a “clearing house” for summer jobs, internships, shadowing with those businesses here in the County who will be looking for skilled employees in the future. Great idea!
The student’s reaction to Darryl Birkenfeld’s workshop on Leadership and Getting Involved was the biggest surprise of the day for me. They were all over it and retained all the points he had made about not only the importance of community leadership development, why its important and why teens need to be engaged in that process, but even the fine details like keeping minutes for follow up and staying true in action to what the group said was its goals. This is an extraordinary group of individuals turned out here in Knox County! I really think Stacy’s message followed them into this workshop and got them focused where they might have thought it didn’t really apply to them, without his remarks and the map activity to hook them into the idea of seriously considering the idea that they might be here for the next 50 years.
The area we could have improved on was the career opportunities and preparation workshop. Two of our presenters were unable to attend and that also meant some of the really good materials we had secured didn’t arrive either. This is just going to happen, we were fortunate to have volunteers on hand to pick up the slack. We were able to cover a lot of good information on jobs they either didn’t realize were available in Knox County or didn’t realize were such good jobs. Saw some light bulbs go on, and most encouraging had about 15 kids who asked to be on a mailing list for career search information or internship, job shadowing opportunities. After YED I began to put together more of my own resources, activities to have on hand, so next time this will be the most dynamic workshop.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
This is a reminder of our scheduled Visioning Meeting this Thursday, at 5:30 PM at the Benjamin Courthouse Assembly Room. Some food will be provided, so you can come directly from work.
We are fortunate to have Joe Franco, president and managing member of the Texas Rural Development Associates, a private for-profit limited liability company, make a presentation on "Practical Solutions to Housing Challenges". Come and join us in trying to find some practical solutions for our housing problems in Knox County, as well as reports on other activities the Visioning Group has planned. Looking forward to seeing you.
Travis C. Floyd
Knox County Judge