Commissioners court recognizes Hope 4-H for its championship accomplishments

By Ben Woods

The Cass County Commissioner’s Court recognized the Hope Cass County 4-H Forestry Team as state and southern regional champions during last week’s meeting.
Judge Becky Wilbanks presented each member of the of 4-H team with a certificate of congratulations after reading a proclamation recognizing their recent accomplishments. 
“I wish I had a certificate for all the parents too, because they put in so many hours into this club,” said Wilbanks. 
Assistant Director of the Hope 4-H club, Brian Whatley, spoke before the court about the contest and his appreciation for the help. 
“Our whole 4-H club is not just Kildare and Linden, our club members represent each of the four precincts -- we are county-wide,” said Whatley. “In 1957 Ted Elders started this woodlands contest in Cass County and it was in conjunction with Marion County and Upshur County, so we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the woodlands contest that Mr. Elders started long ago, and that is an honor for us. 
“We have had a great year and it is an awesome opportunity to work with the families and youth in the county … and we can’t do what we do without the support of the judge and commissioners and all the other county employees, because it takes that to make it work.”
This forestry season began with the Hope 4-H McLeod FFA Forestry Invitational, where the team placed third, with Andrew Harp and Joshua Whatley in a tie for sixth place individually overall.  
Team members competed in the Red River Army Depot Invitational as well, placing first with Andrew Harp receiving third place individually overall. At the Marion Cass Soil and Water Conservation District Contest, the team placed first with Tymber Reust named the high point individual.  
Joshua Whatley was high point individual at the Stephen F. Austin Invitational CDE. The team placed first with a score of 266 at the State Forestry Contest at Stephen F. Austin University, with Andrew Harp the high point individual.
At the Southern Regional Forestry Contest in Ashdown, Ark., the team placed first with Joshua Whatley the high point individual.
“We raise all of our funds and we do a lot of traveling, but it’s all worth it and we appreciate it and I am thankful to be able to work with all of the kids,” said Whatley.
In other business, the court approved a contract between the county and KOFILE, a company that restores historical documents. 
The $84,878 used to pay KOFILE will come out of the archival and preservation fund that is accumulated from fees at the courthouse. 
“This is for a project that has been completed by KOFILE -- they have restored the beginning of our historic vitals, it looks very nice. I invite everyone to come and view it,” said Cass County Clerk Jamie O’Rand.
The court also approved a bond for Aaron Whitehead to act as limited deputy tax assessor-collector.

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