Saying Goodbye to an Ellis County Icon

Image: Doris Mitchell was an icon in Ellis County. She changed the lives of so many residents. The Italy community is a better place because she was here. The Italy community is not the same now that she is gone.

When someone passes away, the loss is felt by their family and friends. Other times when a person dies, because they are well known and loved throughout Ellis County, the loss is magnified.

Karen’s Korner – Sometimes Knights wear shorts

I think that most of you that truly know me will admit that I am very outspoken. There are times that after the fact I regret opening my mouth. But there are other times I need to say things and have chosen to do that in a Karen’s Korner column. I appreciate Neotribune for allowing me to do just that. Just to set the record straight these are always MY opinions and nothing else. You have the right to agree or disagree with me and can read or not read these columns.

A Veteran’s daughter’s memories

Image: Mike Maida was a proud Marine who was wounded on Hill 660.

Growing up in the Maida household consisted of strict discipline, forced sharing with two sisters, garden veggies, fried bologna and war stories to name a few. My mother met my father in San Diego during WWII. She was from Italy, Texas stationed at Camp Pendleton in the Navy – he was a Marine from Syracuse, New York that had been wounded on Hill 660 and was also at Pendleton. Daddy was born in the country of Italy and had come to America when he was a year old.

Restoring my faith in humanity

In my 64 years on this earth, God has blessed me beyond measure. His goodness is very evident. One of my special blessings is my best friend, Donna Cate. She is always there when I need something or someone. I try to do the same for her. We don’t talk every day – we don’t have to. We laugh together and we cry together. One of the sweetest things she has done for me is share her life and family with me including her four amazing grandchildren. I thank God for Donna Cate.

October is a tough month

Image: Rodney Shaw was a Gladiator through and through. He died tragically in October of 1990.

October is a very tough month for me. In October of 1990, I lost one of the most important people in my life to a drowning accident. My life has never been the same since that night in October. Losing Rodney Shaw changed my life forever. I miss his smile, his laugh, his jokes and our serious conversations about something or our daily discussions about nothing at all. The truth be told, I miss everything about him. But, at least I know what happened to him and could get closure by attending his funeral. I have friends that have not been given that opportunity to grieve like I did.

It is for you to decide

My mama taught me many things as I was growing up. Several of her lessons I learned the hard way via a plum tree switch or her hand. Others she drove home in other ways via things like grounding. Needless to say she was strict.

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Is following the law important?

It is my choice to attend city council meetings. I have been doing that for a very long time. I like to hear things first hand. I try to keep up with what is going on and be informed. Because of this, I hear things that sometimes cause red flags to go up. Other times, something might be said that hits home with me for various reasons. The latter happened at a council meeting recently, hence the reason for this writing.

Karen’s Korner – Just my opinion

Image: This sign on Park Street has been leaning for several months. Children must go around it to pass on their way to school. Not sure what the wire is that is tied around it.

It has been a while since I have written one of these. My opinion is way too strong on a lot of things. I recognize that is one of my faults. But, on the other hand, sometimes, things need to be brought to light to fix them.

Karen’s Korner — Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is a very touchy subject and understandably so. Government entities, municipalities and even non-profit utility corporations can exercise eminent domain when they need to “take possession” of someone’s land for public use. But, there are legal guidelines that must be followed for this to happen.

For or Against

Right now the voters in Italy and surrounding area will decide to approve or decline a property tax increase for our fire department. I would not ask a doctor to save my life without the proper equipment and I will not ask our fire personnel to do that either.

A special thank you

As Americans, we are blessed to live in the greatest country on earth where freedom is one of our biggest blessings. This freedom is one of the most expensive luxuries we have. It was paid for with the lives of members of our Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. These men and women have given us so much without expecting anything in return. The least we can do is to say “thank you”.

Relay For Life of Central Ellis County Changes Location

The Relay For Life of Central Ellis County will be held on Friday night beginning with the Survivors’ Reception at 6:00 p.m. The event was originally scheduled to be held at the Waxahachie Sports Complex on Hwy 287 and Broadhead Road. Due to the possibility of storms, the event will be held at the Waxahachie 9th Grade Center, 275 Indian Drive in Waxahachie.

Leaving a legacy of life lessons

Image: The late LaWanna Graf and her daughter Jenny at the 2007 Relay for Life event.

Jenny Graf has learned many lessons, some through diligent study and hard work and others through life experience. Her mother, LaWanna Graf, was the best teacher anyone could have and left her with a legacy of wisdom and life lessons. LaWanna shared that rich legacy with her daughter – one Jenny treasures every day.

Learning to overcome adversity

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David Nance is no stranger to adversity or illness. Growing up as a child, his family did not have much money so he learned very early that anything worth having was worth working for and to have it you had to work for it. He also learned the hard way from personal experience that life can deal some difficult blows.

Missing campaign signs

Image: Signs at the corner of S. Ward Street and Park on Tuesday morning, May 10, 2011.

Over the last few weeks, if you drive around Italy, you would see signs announcing the candidacy of several people. Candidates ask permission to place their signs in yards all over town. Several years ago, Italy Neotribune did an article about the legality of such signs. 

A surprise diagnosis and fight for survival

Image: Leddie McDonnell and Jill Talamantez

In the summer of 2005, Leddie Lackey of Maypearl was excited to have the summer off. She was raising her two children on her Teacher’s Aide salary, so big elaborate vacations were not in her plans. She had the summer off from her job, so she planned a road trip with her best friend, Jill Talamantez, to Minnesota to visit Jill’s family.

Quilting for a Cause

Image: Suzzy and a cherished gift — “I love old hand quilted quilts. The quilt I am holding, a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt, was given to me by my uncle after my Aunt Barbara died after a long illness from a Lynch Syndrome related cancer arrising in the urinary track.”

When Suzzy Crowell met and married her husband, Steven, she had no idea that they would one day return to live in his home town of Italy, Texas, but that is exactly what happened. They fell in love and married in 1980.

Relay For Life Planned

The Relay For Life of Central Ellis County is set for May 20-21, 2011. Last year’s event raised $130,000 for the American Cancer Society and there were 701 participants on teams. This year’s goal is 750 participants and $150,000. At present there are 232 participants and $23,055 raised.

A Cancer Diagnosis and the Journey for a Cure

Image: Homer and Kayrene Uehlinger

When Homer Uehlinger and Kayrene Thompson married in 1969, they had dreams like most other young couples. They wanted to continue to love each other and start a family. They hoped to spend their lives together, raise a family and then retire to enjoy their golden years.

Memories and Memories and More

It is strange how my mind works sometimes. I can be rocking along and a memory come to mind for no apparent reason. Sometimes something specific will cause one to surface. I have different reactions to memories. I am very fortunate to have been allowed to build such a vast bank of memories from the people that God has blessed me with. Some have stayed for a very long time – others were only in my life for a short period.

A single tear

I know one of the ways I can tell that God loves me is by the people He has placed in my life. I have been blessed to have loved and been loved by so many quality people. I think part of it is because I was born and raised in Italy. We have truly good people here that care about each other and you see it more during adversity than you do at any other time.

Tradition Restored

Everyone that knows me at all knows that tradition is very important to me, especially when it comes to Italy High School. I guess “once a cheerleader always a cheerleader” does apply to me. I love my Gladiators and Lady Gladiators and love Italy tradition.

Karen’s Korner – Italy Gladiators – a winning tradition

I hope everyone enjoyed reading the articles about the 1940 Italy Gladiator football team. That must have been an amazing ride for the coach, players and fans. On September 17, 2010, Italy will play Hubbard at Willis Field for Homecoming. Before the game the surviving five players from the 1940 Gladiators will be honored – 70 years have passed but their legacy lives on.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #13

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his thirteenth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #12

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his twelfth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #11

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his eleventh article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #10

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his tenth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #9

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his ninth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #8

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his eighth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #7

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his seventh article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #6

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his sixth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #5

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his fifth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #4

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his fourth article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #3

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his third article of the season.

1940 Gladiators – A Winning Tradition #2

It has been 70 years since the 1940 Italy Gladiators were undefeated and unscored on. Bill Bryant was a graduate of Italy High School and the Sports Editor for the Italy News Herald. The following is his second article of the season.

Italy Gladiators – a winning tradition

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As a 1968 graduate of Italy High School, I am proud to tell anyone where I went to school. I love our tradition here. I also love football and have supported the Gladiators during good seasons and not so good seasons. I am not one that judges the success of a season by the win and loss record. I know some people do though. I love football and support my kids.

A Heroes’ Reunion

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Danny Neil, a graduate of Avalon High School, had known Ronnie Compton, a graduate of Italy High School, all his life. Their parents were friends so the boys had grown up together and knew each other very well. After graduation from high school, however, the friends lost track of each other.

Italy’s Field of Dreams

Recently I saw an article on Neotrib about the IYAA honoring George Scott, Bob Tipping, Bob Burch and Bobby Itson “because they promoted youth sports and fitness, helping to bring our community closer together through victory and accomplishment.”

A postage stamp to save lives

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I began participating in The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in 1998. There were several people in my family that had died of cancer. I also had several friends and family members that were fighting the disease. Little did I know when my participation began at that first Relay in Minnesota, that I would be diagnosed with lung cancer eight years later. From that time, Relay took on a whole new meaning for me.

A Story of Unwavering Faith and Survival

Image: Alysa Kirton

When Alysa Kirton’s mother passed away from cancer, she hoped then she would never be faced with the disease. But her hopes were dashed in 1994 when the doctor told her she had breast cancer. If that news was not bad enough, the doctor also told her that she would need a mastectomy.

Mixed Emotions

Something happened last week that has impacted my world with mixed emotions. For some reason, only known to God, my friend Beverly Hamilton, left this earth and went to be with Him. I have mixed emotions about her passing. I am sad yet happy.

Time to quit

Sometimes people work much longer than they should because of their age or health concerns. I know it must be hard to make that decision. I have done some soul searching the past few weeks and have had to make a very hard decision that I will share with everyone.

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A special wish for one of my kids

Image: Ryan Ashcraft — Happy 16th Birthday, Ryan.

For the life of me I cannot understand why some young people become so special to me, but it just happens. Out of the blue, a kid will come along that just gets to me. Several years ago Rodney Shaw was that kid. We bonded from the first time we met — he ended up being like a son to me. Since he passed away in 1990, there is an empty spot in my heart.