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Olives taking root in San Jacinto County

COLDSPRING – A popular Christmas tree grower in San Jacinto County has now added olive trees to his farm.

Skip Glasgow tells members of the San Jacinto County Master Gardeners about his new venture into the olive growing business which is reportedly becoming popular in Texas. Skip Glasgow tells members of the San Jacinto County Master Gardeners about his new venture into the olive growing business which is reportedly becoming popular in Texas. Skip Glasgow of Iron Creek Farms in Evergreen has been known for years as a Christmas tree grower and now he's planted 1,000 olive trees of four different varieties.

"The demand for olive oil exceeds its supply in the United States," Glasgow told members of the San Jacinto County Master Gardeners and others recently. "Consumption of olive oil is increasing rapidly. In the last few years there has been a 72 percent increase."

According to Glasgow San Jacinto County is located in one of the best areas of Texas for growing olive trees.

He planted his first 200 trees in November of 2010 and planted 422 more in 2012, finishing out with a total of 1,000 this year.

"The trees will begin to produce fruit in two to three years and will be in full production in five to six years after planting," Glasgow said.

He produced one gallon of oil this year from the first 200 trees he planted in 2010 which were Spanish olives.

"The trees have a shallow root system and weed control is a major issue," he said.

Yields vary, depending on the type of olives planted, climate, pests and disease, but can range between two tons per area to five tons per acre on mature trees. You can expect between 12 gallons to 50 gallons of oil per ton.

One Texas grower reported yielding one quart of olive oil per 10 pounds of olives and expects to yield 45 to 50 pounds of olives per tree.

Olive TreeOne of Skip's olive trees.Olive trees are self-fertile though production may improve with cross-pollination, Glasgow said.
Olives fresh from the tree are inedible and must be processed to be served as food or prepared as an oil.

"They taste very bitter right off the tree and need to be brined to remove the bitterness," he said.
Iron Creek Farms is located on FM 1725, 1.1 miles from Hwy. 150. Glasgow can be reached at

Coldspring-Oakhurst H.S. Air Force JROTC presents colors

Color Guard

The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Air Force JROTC presented the Colors Friday night during the game against C.E. King, one of many events the color guard participates in during community activities through out the year. An overview of their activities was recently presented to the Coldsprng-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District's Board of Trustees by Lt. Colonel Bradley Keane. See On Board with COCISD, this page. Photo by Charles Ballard.

Faculty, staff welcomed back during district meet

Coldspring-Oakhurst Superintendent Jerry GibsonColdspring-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Jerry Gibson addresses faculty and staff at the district’s convocation on Monday, Aug. 19, to kick-off the 2013-2014 school year which started Monday, Aug. 26. COLDSPRING - The Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District faculty and staff enjoyed a hearty welcome back filled with inspiration at the District's Convocation, held on Monday, Aug. 19.

COCISD's Board of Trustees President Barbara Moore started off the program by thanking everyone for their dedication and commitment to excellence in education.
"You've made it the district it is and the district we want it to be," said Moore. "You make it great."

Superintendent Jerry Gibson agreed. After giving a brief overview of his own background and introducing new administrators, teachers and staff, the superintendent spoke about the importance of every single employee working together to make the district the best it can be. Gibson said it was that very spirit he witnessed over and over again as he toured different campuses and departments.

"It takes every one of us doing our part," said Gibson as he acknowledged the successes and efforts of both individuals and departments throughout COCISD. "We're all in this together. There is no job more important than any other job.

Gibson reported that the STAAR test results had been released and every campus in COCISD had passed with the "Met Standard" rating, the equivalent to the former TAKS "Academically Acceptable" rating. While acknowledging this was good news, Gibson also stressed the need for continued diligence and improvement in test scores and accountability.

Award-winning teacher, motivational speaker and author Brad Cohen was the Convocation's guest speaker. Cohen's inspirational, thought-provoking presentation illustrated the difference one teacher can make, as he shared his experiences growing up with Tourette Syndrome. Cohen is the co-author of the book "Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had." The book was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie entitled, "Front of the Class."

Cohen discussed the difficult childhood he endured labeled as a troublemaker in school and being punished by his teachers for the tics and noises caused by TS – a widely misunderstood neurological disorder that manifested in Cohen the summer before fourth grade. When his junior high principal helped him educate fellow students in a school-wide assembly about TS, Cohen said he realized the dramatic difference education can make and he decided to become a teacher. In spite of the challenges Cohen faced with TS, the determined young man graduated from Bradley University with honors and earned his teaching certificate. He went on to be rejected by 24 different elementary schools before he was offered a position as a 2nd grade teacher. His very first year as a new teacher, Cohen was named Georgia's First Class Teacher of the Year, and remains in education 16 years later. He also began a non-profit organization, The Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation, Inc.

"It's about the power of one. All it takes is one person to make a difference," said Cohen at the Convocation. "My challenge to you is to be that one person that makes the difference in the life of a child."

A challenge summed up by Superintendent Jerry Gibson as he outlined the mission of COCISD and encouraged teachers to see their students not just for what they are, but for what they can be. Every goal and every decision should be based on what's best for the students.

"The needs of the students come first," stated Gibson. "We do it for the children. When we start teaching from the heart, we never know the lives we might save."

Marine supports veteran's causes by walking

Marine Eddie Gray (right) visits with Precinct 4 Constable Alvin Wyatt on his walk through San Jacinto County last week.Marine Eddie Gray (right) visits with Precinct 4 Constable Alvin Wyatt on his walk through San Jacinto County last week.POINT BLANK – An inactive duty Marine, who is walking the entire country's perimeter to honor and support veterans across the nation, was in San Jacinto County last week.

Eddie Gray, 38, visited with San Jacinto County Sheriff David Clark in Oakhurst and later with Precinct 4 Constable Alvin Wyatt before leaving on foot for Onalaska where he was scheduled to visit with some veterans before continuing his journey which started five years ago in Montana. So far he's walked through Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico and now Texas.

Gray said he will go through Louisiana and make his way along the Gulf Coast to Jacksonville, Florida where he will turn north.

Last month he was in Bryan-College Station and Huntsville before making his way here.

"I know what I am doing is extreme but I respect all veterans and troops because they are sacrificing something for this country. This is my sacrifice for them," Gray said.

Gray was medically discharged in late 2000 after a car wreck that broke his sternum. The Montana native said he came close to death several times after the accident. He required major surgery as well as therapy as he watched friends get sent off to battle, several of whom died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They call it survivor's guilt," he said. "I should be there. It bothers me a lot."

On his trip, Gray carries a 100-pound pack that's equipped with water, food, clothes, weapons and other essentials.

Traveling mostly at night and sleeping during the day, Gray said he has been side-swiped by passing cars at least six times and has endured three knee surgeries because of the toll the walk has taken on his body.

He said he has never wanted to quit. "The first few weeks you get a little bit of that feeling, but I don't have a quitting bone in my body he said. Gray said his diet consists of canned tuna, Spam, Vienna sausages and dry cereal. He is able to restock his pack because of donor support along the trip.

While he was visiting Oakhurst he was treated to a bath and food at local church before getting back on Hwy. 190 at Point Blank with the help of Constable Wyatt.

"I was very impressed with Gray," Wyatt said. "What he is doing is tremendous."

Gray left his hometown of Ashland, Montana in April 2008, beginning his 12,000-mile walk around the continental U.S.

"I just want to shine a light on the hurdles returning service members must surmount to get adequate medical treatment," he said.

"Most of the people I've met are genuinely good. And knowing how good people are helps me stick with the walk," Gray said. He expects to finish his walk in Billings, Montana, where he hopes to be greeted by Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger.

County Celebrates 143 Years

County Celebrates 143 YearsVeterans of the American Legion Harold G. Davis Post 629, Camilla, hosted the 143rd birthday celebration of San Jacinto County Saturday, Aug. 17 with a bike ride which took them to Huntsville where they placed a wreath at the foot of the 67-ft. tall statue of Sam Houston. Before moving to Huntsville, Houston had a country home named Raven Hill, located about two miles off FM 946 north of Oakhurst. Following the bike ride, barbecue was served at the American Legion, music by the Rebel Download Band was played and an auction was held to help raise funds for the San Jacinto County Historical Commission.

County Celebrates 143 Years

27 students participate in first arts, crafts camp

Artist Jody Stewart demonstrates art shapes to students participating in the Coldspring Area Art League’s free arts and crafts camp Thursday, Aug. 15.Artist Jody Stewart demonstrates art shapes to students participating in the Coldspring Area Art League’s free arts and crafts camp Thursday, Aug. 15.COLDSPRING – Coldspring Area Art League (CAAL) sponsored its first free arts and crafts camp for children Thursday, Aug. 15.

CAAL members shared their love of art with school age children for the day, teaching them about art composition, shapes, contrast, light and shadow, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, drawing, sculpting, jewelry, collage, finger painting, puzzles, masks and other activities.

All the students took finished artwork home.

CAAL members participating included Mary Nicklow, Beth Ireland, Patricia Blaikie, Sue Ferguson, Jody Stewart, Genie Vargas-Denny, Lisa Shewmaker, Linda Deeter and volunteer Kelley Mills. All art supplies and lunch was provided and 27 students participated with a waiting list.

The event was held in the fellowship hall of Coldspring United Methodist Church, Coldspring.