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Local woman celebrates 95th birthday
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Thursday, January 24, 2013 Volume 122, Number 4 $1.00
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Scrap metal needed Donations help fund veterans park BY TERRY HAGERTY ASSISTANT EDITOR
Mayor Mark Bunte stood by the railroad-size car, piled high with all sorts of metal. “That’s scrap metal we’ve collected for the Veterans Memorial Park, and we are cleaning up the county at the same time,” Bunte said. “What is there will bring close to $1,000. We’ve raised $45,000 in scrap metal, so far.” Bunte was referring to raising funds for the Smithville Veterans Memorial Park, that he hopes to dedicate on Memorial Day – Thursday, May 27. See METAL, page A4 terry hagerty/times photos
Smithville, Paige and Bastrop firefighters respond to mobile home fire Jan. 16 at 1672 FM 2104. A woman and three toddlers escaped unhurt from the blaze.
A quick escape in mobile home fire on FM 2104 BY TERRY HAGERTY ASSISTANT EDITOR
A smoke detector and a bit of fire knowledge played a key part in a young woman reacting quickly during a residential fire last week near Paige. The mobile home of Eric and Ronda Thompson, at 1672 FM 2104, was completely destroyed in MORE PHOTOS aingfast-movblaze See more photos that broke from the fire on out shortly before noon page A6. on Wednesday, Jan. 16 But the couple was not at home at the residence that sits about 150 yards back from FM 2104, just north of FM 2239. As they stood by the roadside as firefighters squelched the last of the small flames that sprouted up from the smoldering ruin that was their home, Ronda Thompson credited the quick reaction of her daughter, Shaniquewa Stobb, with averting the further disaster of the loss of young lives. Stobb was in the home with three of Thompson’s younger children, who are eighth months, one and three years old. “I was in my bedroom when I heard the buzzer for the smoke detector. I was watching ‘Bubble Guppies’ with the kids,” Stobb said. Stobb said as she exited her room she saw thick black smoke and growing flames coming from the far side of the trailer. “I remembered from learning in school that it only takes about four minutes for a mobile home to burn, so I got See FIRE, page A6
School board appreciated for furthering education BY SARAH ACOSTA STAFF WRITER
January is officially School Board Recognition Month, a time to honor the distinguished members of the Smithville school district’s school board. As elected volunteers, who receive no compensation for their efforts, they continue to be dedicated to providing each student with the proper education needed for success. According to the Texas Association of School Boards, school board members are the largest group of publicly-elected officials in the state - more than 7,200 men and women serve without pay on local boards across Texas. SISD would like to acknowledge the members of its board – President Kamron Saunders, Vice President Alan Hemphill, Secretary Mike Morgan and trustees Steve McKay, Michael Goertz, Samella Williams and Howard Burns - for serving the students of Smithville. Serving as a crucial link between the community and the classroom, the board is responsible for an annual budget of approximately $17 million, 1,782 students, 254 employees and four campuses, said SISD superintendent Dr. Rock McNulty. “I appreciate the diverse background and insight that our board brings to the table when we meet,” he said. “The important and often
Firefighters donned masks in the thick smoke.
The Bastrop Fire Department assisted in fighting the fire.
See SCHOOL, page A7
Inside the County celebrates MLK Jr. with walk Science Park BY TERRY HAGERTY ASSISTANT EDITOR
MD Anderson cancer research center aims to help many BY SARAH ACOSTA STAFF WRITER
Tucked away on more than 700 acres of land beside Buescher State Park, the Virginia Harris Cockrell Cancer Research Center at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, has provided an ideal setting for cancer research since 1977. Established in 1941 by the Texas legislature as part of the University of Texas System, MD Anderson is a world-renowned See SCIENCE, page A7
James Hewitt, holding onto a cane, stood on his porch on Bastrop’s Martin Luther King Street, wearing a T-shirt featuring President Barak Obama with the U.S. Capitol in the background. “This is a real nice turnout,” Hewitt said as the last of the several hundred people, who turned out for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Walk, went past his home. “It’s beautiful that blacks, whites and Hispanics come together for this walk every year.” The walkers had just stopped at Mt. Rose Missionary Baptist Church after beginning at the Bastrop County Courthouse. They made their way to Ascension Catholic Church, Paul Quinn African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Kerr Community See MLK Jr., page A8
terry hagerty/times photo
Participants in Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Walk make their way down Pine Street to one of several church stops.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Smithville Times
FIRE from Page A1 the kids out of there as fast I could,” Stobb said. Meanwhile, fire crews from Paige, Smithville and Bastrop were on their way. A deputy with the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office had first arrived on the scene. Stobb said she took the children over toward a barn area, well away from the home. But the fast-moving blaze had completely engulfed the home within minutes, before the fire departments arrived. Still, they made concentrated efforts to douse the blaze and keep it from spreading to a nearby wooded area. The thick black plume from the blaze could be seen from Smithville and Bastrop. “When I got back here, the whole house was in flames,” Ronda Thompson said. “It was gone.” But Thompson, with tears welling up in her eyes, said her daughter had saved lives. “We taught her well and she reacted quickly,” Thompson said.
The mobile home of Eric and Ronda Thompson was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived just before noon on Jan. 16.
terry hagerty/times photos
A Smithville firefighter pulls off part of a wall at the rear of a mobile home to get at the smoldering fire.
A Smithville firefighter douses the blaze.
Water is poured into a portable holding tank.