Linda Ballard

Never judge a book by its cover nor the price when it comes to the gift of teaching. And what a gift it is to be able to hone in on that skill of piquing another’s imagination to teach life-long lessons, especially to youth.

Kilgoreite Randy Randel now has his second book release, called “Sand Castles”, in his hands and available to the public. “Sand Castles” is an imaginative adventure that shows kids that they are all the same despite their background. It is not just another Jack and Jill-type book in simplicity. He has carefully woven morals in with a story involving ten-year-old William who loves sand castles and dreams of going to one. His dream comes true, but not without turns and twists and lessons along the way. The book is written for ages 8-12 but don’t let that stop you from picking it up.

Randy’s first book called “The Whojiwhajits” topped Amazon’s list the first week of its public debut.

Randy said, “I wrote the first book for my grandson. and we kind of forgot about it until we found it in the closet. It was still in manuscript form. The first publisher we submitted it to was at Atlantic Publishing. They snatched it right up and told me they would accept everything that I wrote.”

Four more books are in the works for this prolific author. Randy is also very excited to get the next one released. It’s called “Tut & Tut: With Nuttin’ in Kommon.” Its release date is April 2020. You can purchase the books through Amazon, Books-A-Million, B. Dalton, Barnes & Noble and Target. The books can also be found at the Kilgore Public Library and the Kilgore Intermediate Library.

If interested in getting an autographed copy locally or setting up autograph sessions, you may reach the author at

IF YOU saw the lights on late at Laurie Day’s Hair Salon on Wednesday evening, it was for reason. She was cutting the hair of fraternal twins. Six-year-olds Brianna and Aubrey Long wanted to donate their hair to “Wigs for Kids.”

Owner of the salon Laurie Thrower said, “This is not the first time I have donated hair to ‘Wigs for Kids’, but it is the first time I have had twins willing to share their hair with other kids, so I am just as excited as they are about this adventure.”

The girls were like any other girl their age, giggling and watching as Laurie prepared the station and equipment needed. They had their mother, Shasta Weinberg and a friend, Zoey Vasquez, with them in case they needed support. But the hair-cutting was done quickly and the girls were flipping their new “do’s” like it was the grandest thing that had ever happened.

Laurie said, “I don’t charge for the haircuts when it is donated and I choose ‘Wigs for Kids’ because they take hair for kids to make into wigs and give it to families with children needing wigs for free.”

“Donations must be 12 inches long,” she explained. “The hair must be clean, dried, wrapped in tissue and placed in a Ziploc bag. I add a $1 for each donation and then mail it to Ohio. The cut and other preparation is my part of the donation and I do it in honor of a daughter-in-law that passed away due to cancer. If the girls want to receive a recognition letter after the hair is received, they can go online and fill out the paperwork.”

Aubrey, Brianna, and Zoey acted like it was an everyday adventure and were in and out of the salon in a blink of an eye.

IT’S A FAT TUESDAY Gumbo Cook-Off at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church on Tuesday, February 25. If you have a world-famous gumbo recipe, they would love for you to share a pot with them. They will be celebrating the beginning of the Lenten season with a traditional Fat Tuesday Feast and crowning the Gumbo King or Queen. It starts at 5:30 p.m. and is free. If interested ,contact Richelle Rathbun at 903-371-3499 if you would like to submit your gumbo for the cook-off. If you are not interested in the gumbo, pancakes will be served, too, and Richelle needs some extra hands. If you can flip a pancake, give her a call.

THE STAFF at Willow Rehab & Nursing are saying, “Let the Good Times Roll.” It’s time for Mardi Gras and they are bringing the French Quarter to their facility on Tuesday, February 25, complete with Mardi Gras masks, beads, and of course tasty food. You can feast upon delicious pancakes and indulge yourself on a variety of sweet treats. It’s happening from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at 1901 Whippoorwill Lane.

IT was a tradition in many societies to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during the Lenten season — this coming Tuesday is going to be fun! It’s Mardi Gras, y’all!

MARCH will be here soon enough and a March Madness Fundraiser is in the works for SonShine Lighthouse Ministries as they attempt to raise $31,000 in 31 days with matching funds doubling all donations. Tax-deductible donations can be sent by March 31, 2020 to SonShine Lighthouse Ministries, P.O. Box 436, New London, TX 75682

May His Love and Laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or 903-984-2593.


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