Right of way acquisition for the Texas 42 widening project between White Oak and Kilgore could start as early as this year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
This week, Gregg County threw in its portion of required right of way funding. County Judge Bill Stoudt said commissioners Monday unanimously approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to provide a little more than $2.8 million total over two years that will go to right of way acquisition and utility adjustments.
“It’s such a major thoroughfare between Highway 80 and Kilgore,” Stoudt said.
Total project cost is estimated at $46 million, with 80 percent of the cost covered by federal funding and the state providing most of the rest of the funding, TxDOT reported. After right of way of acquisition, a contract is estimated to be awarded for the construction work in April 2024.
“The connectivity for Gregg County — it’s really important for what this will do,” Stoudt said, explaining the widened road will connect White Oak from U.S. 80 to Kilgore and Interstate 20 with Harrison Road. TxDOT also is widening Harrison Road. (The City of Longview and Gregg County also chipped in funding for right of way acquisition on that project.)
“(Texas 42) has been one of the most highly unsafe stretches of road we’ve had in Gregg County for years because it’s only two lanes,” Stoudt said.
Stoudt said getting the project to this point was a five-to-10-year process, with the state requiring a 10 percent match toward the right of way costs. The project has been in the county’s five-year capital plan budget for the past few years, Stoudt said.
The county’s funding comes from its unrestricted fund balance of about $36 million, which has been used to help a variety of road projects move forward.
Kilgore High School students, staff, faculty and community members gathered at the KHS flagpole Wednesday morning to bow their heads in prayer for this year’s “See You At The Pole” event.
Beginning at 7:15 a.m., the event called on students to organize a prayer rally in front of their schools and offer prayers for safety and spiritual strength on their campuses.
On Wednesday, KHS student speakers read aloud some of their favorite Bible verses, including James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
After each Scripture reading, students formed small groups alongside teachers to pray for “students all over the world, friends and classmates who aren’t here” and many other topics.
After the conclusion of prayer, students shared donuts and friendly conversation before making their way inside KHS as the school day began.
According to SYATP.com, “See You At The Pole” began in 1990 when 10 Burleson, Texas students gathered to pray at night at area schools. Their actions were shared at a conference in June 1990, and other students were encouraged to participate. Over 45,000 students at 1,200 campuses in Texas and three other states joined in on the event in September 1990.
“Twenty years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September,” the website reads.
The event now has an international reach with students participating in countries around the globe.
The Kilgore Economic Development Corp. board of directors welcomed a new director and elected officers for the 2021-2022 fiscal year at its Sept. 21 meeting. Bobby Beane, Vice-President, retired from the board after his second term.
The complete list of officers for 2021-2022 is President Bob Davis Jr., Vice President Jeff Stone, Secretary Ricardo Viloria, Assistant Secretary Bryan Johnston and Director Brad George.
Robert R. “Bobby” Beane will retire as a board member at the end of September after serving two three-year terms, with his second term as assistant secretary. He was first appointed to KEDC’s Board in October of 2005, and served two terms ending September 30, 2011, with three years as vice president and two years as president before rejoining the board in October 2015.
“Having the opportunity to serve on the Board has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” said Beane. “KEDC continues to have a very positive impact in Kilgore’s future.”
Beane purchased Kilgore Insurance Agency, Inc. with partner Jack Ward in 1981. He subsequently purchased Jack Skipper Insurance Agency, Bolt Insurance Agency and Roy H. Laird Insurance Agency.
He currently serves as president of NTX Insurance Group, Inc., which has branches across the North Texas area. He has received leadership awards from several national insurance companies.
His service to the Kilgore community includes membership at First Baptist Church, where he is a member of the Deacon Body and has been a Deacon Body Officer, Adult Sunday School teacher and Trustee. Beane is an active member of the Kilgore Area Chamber of Commerce, where he has held several leadership positions including president. He was the Kilgore Citizen of the Year in 2007.
He is married to Jacki Brantley Beane and have two children and two grandchildren.
Bob Davis Jr.
Bob Davis Jr. was re-elected president of the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors.
This will be Bob’s first year in his second term as a board member and third year serving as president.
Davis has worked in the supply chain sector of the oil and gas industry for more than 38 years and is the co-owner of Bob Davis Sales, Inc., a wholesale distributor of products used in the drilling and production of crude oil and natural gas. The company, founded by his father in 1978, represents 18 companies and provides sales, distribution, and technical support for the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. Bob attended the University of Central Oklahoma.
Davis has lived in Kilgore since 1990 and has served on and chaired many local boards and civic organizations including Kilgore United Fund, Kilgore Area Chamber of Commerce, Kilgore Community Crisis Center, Kilgore Oilpatch Kiwanis Club, and Kilgore College Foundation Board. He was a co-founder of the East Texas Oilmen’s Chili Cook-off in 1992.
He is married to Holly, who works with him at Bob Davis Sales. They have four children and four grandchildren. He is a member of St. Luke’s Methodist Church.
Joining the board Oct. 1 as a director is Brad George who has worked in the supply chain sector of the oil, gas, chemical, farm and mining industry for 18 years. He operates his family business, Geonix Oilfield Products. The company, founded in 2003, provides products, supplies, and services in the various industries in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico.
George is a Kilgore native who attended Kilgore Public Schools, graduating in 1998. He attended Kilgore College, graduating in 2003 from Stephen F. Austin University. He returned home to join his father as they opened their business in Kilgore and has been instrumental in the growth of the company which includes a location in Nixon.
He is also a partner of Pumps Plus, a company that provides chemical pumps, valve repair, and other services to industry. Since opening in Kilgore in 2012, the company has grown to open 2 additional locations in Nixon and Pecos.
George is a member of the Kilgore Area Chamber of Commerce and supports Kilgore High School Athletics, Kilgore College Athletics, Kilgore Education Foundation, Kilgore High School FFA and Kilgore Football Booster Club.
He and his wife Christy live in Kilgore, and have two children, Kennedy George and Trace George.
Kilgore College will once again honor former standout athletes, coaches and contributors at its annual Hall of Fame Weekend Oct. 29-30.
A benefit golf tournament is set for Friday, Oct. 29, and Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced during a luncheon at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in the Devall Ballroom on the Kilgore campus.
Entry fee for the golf tournament is $75 per player. Tickets to the luncheon are $20 each.
Hall of Fame members will also be recognized during halftime of the KC versus Trinity Valley football game 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium in Kilgore.
“I always look forward to the Hall of Fame event because it is one of the most inspirational and motivational events of the year,” said Staci Martin, athletic director. “It is such a hard task to narrow down all of the great student-athletes and contributors who have come through our doors over the years to select a few outstanding people each year to honor.”
The golf tournament will be a two-man scramble at Tempest Golf Club in Gladewater.
Also, the college is looking for hole sponsors for the golf tournament or any business for door prize donations.
For more information, contact Kristan Propes at (903) 988-7537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is also available at www.kilgore.edu/halloffame.
The newest inductees for the Hall of Fame for the 2021 season:
Gary Robinson. Robinson played football at KC from 1972-73 under head coach Charles Simmons and assistant coaches Jim Miller, Brodie Campbell and Allen Wikenfeld. Robinson played linebacker at KC, and then was signed by Howard Payne University to play football. After college, he was a graduate assistant at HPU from 1974-75. After leaving HPU, he served 30 years in the Texas public school system as a football coach at Duncanville, Nacogdoches, Cushing and Alto high schools.
1981 KC Football Team. Head coach Jim Miller and assistant coaches Marion Turner and Jim Prewit led the 1981 Rangers to an 8-2 season, earning a Texas Junior College Football Conference Co-Championship.
Men’s Basketball Player
Ron Bayless. Bayless played for the Rangers from 1989-91 under head coaches Roger Schnepp and Shawn Scanlan. His sophomore season under coach Scanlan’s leadership, KC went 25-5 and 14-2 in Texas Eastern Conference play. After KC, he was recruited to play at Iowa State University where he played two seasons from 1991-93, averaging 12.9 points per game with a 46 percent field goal percentage.
Alexandra “Alex” Bowman. Bowman played for the Lady Rangers from 2001-03 under head coach Scotti Wood and assistant coach Cortina Jones, compiling a 41-22 record. Her sophomore season, she averaged 10.1 points per game and was named All-Conference and All-Region. After KC, she played for Stephen F. Austin State University from 2002-05 and now coaches girls’ basketball at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Houston.
Dr. Jack Robberson. Robberson served as the team doctor at KC (for football and basketball) for many years and was a proud KC athletics supporter until his death in 1989.
Spirit of Excellence Awards
Steve McCarty. McCarty played on the 1961 and 1962 football teams under coaches Carl Ellis and Darrel Shaver. Signed to KC out of Alto, he started at lineman on both offense and defense. Following KC, he was recruited to play at SFA where he eventually had to retire from football following injuries to his shoulders. After SFA, he was head coach at Beaumont South Park, West Orange Stark and Nacogdoches high schools. His reputation and success at Nacogdoches led to his hiring as athletic director at SFA where he established himself through the 1990s and early 2000s as not only one of the top athletic administrators in the Southland Conference, but also across the entire south region. In 2005, McCarty was named to the South East Texas Coaches Hall of Honor, and in 2018, McCarty was inducted into the NJCAA Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.
Gene Powell. Powell played football at KC from 1951-52 under coaches Woodrow Johnson, T.A. Scott and Claude Owens. His freshman year, the Rangers were 9-2, winning the Texas Rose Bowl Championship. After KC, he continued his education at Lamar University until he graduated in 1955. In 1955, Powell started working in the oil & gas industry at Oil Well Supply. He continued his employment there until he ventured off on his own in 1963, operating under the name Gene Powell and E-Tex Well Service. In 1982, Gene Powell and E-Tex Well Service became known as Gene Powell Investments, Inc., where he continues his success today.
The Spirit of Excellence Award is for former KC athletes or coaches who have carried on the Ranger tradition of excellence to achieve an impressive level of distinction in his or her career field.