The LMC Musket

I want to remind you about the events occurring on Wednesday, March 2 – Texas Independence Day. This year is the 175th anniversary, in case you didn’t know.

Lon Morris College is holding a press conference at 10am in the lobby of the Wilson Administration Building, to show the rare 1839 musket that was donated to the school many years ago by the family of the late Sen. John Tower. The presentation will be repeated throughout the day every hour on the hour through 4pm.

The gun will also be shown at the schools on Thursday and there is another showing scheduled for March 10 at 11am at the First United Methodist Church.

After that, it will travel to Beaumont on April 14, where it will make an appearance at the Texas Historical Foundation’s quarterly meeting. On April 16, the musket goes to the San Jacinto Museum of History in Deer Park near Houston.

After that it might return to Lon Morris for one more public viewing opportunity before being sent to Austin, where it will be on long-term loan to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Please make a point to see it while it’s here.

Civil War

This year is also the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, or the War Between the States, if you prefer. CNHI is conducting a three-month campaign to commemorate this anniversary, in all 125 of its papers. The Jacksonville Daily Progress is partnering with our sister-papers in the East Texas group to do this project together. The campaign will start April 12. There will be daily articles and a special keepsake section that teachers can also use for educational purposes. The articles will be national and local in scope, and a lot of work has gone into this project, so I really hope you enjoy it.

KidFest

We are in full swing preparing for KidFest, which takes place on May 1 from 1pm – 5pm here at the JDP and across the street at the Norman. If you are interested in having a booth that either provides health and safety information for kids and families, or a booth that showcases your summer youth program, after-school program or your organization, while also providing a game or fun activity for kids, please contact us here at the paper. Rachel Decker is handling booth signups and I am always available to answer any questions you may have about this event.

The City of Jacksonville is partnering with us. The fire department will have a fire truck and an ambulance on hand. They will also have a tent where they will be demonstrating the proper way to put life jackets on your kids and promoting their life jacket program at the lake.

Carter BloodCare will be here with their coach, conducting a blood drive and giving away some goodies. They will also have an educational tent. Did you know, for example, that one unit of blood can potentially save the lives of as many as three adults or six babies? Carter BloodCare is the local supplier of blood to our East Texas Hospitals. I urge you to come out and support the cause and potentially save the life of one of your East Texas neighbors.

Discover East Texas

And finally, we are working on the first issue of our new magazine, Discover East Texas, which comes out May 1. It will be a quarterly, regional, recreation and tourism magazine covering eight counties: Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Henderson, Houston, Nacogdoches, Rush and Smith counties.

It will be a showcase for the people, places and things that make East Texas a special place to live, work and play. My hope is that the magazine will inspire residents of the eight counties to visit their neighboring counties on day trips, and that it will also inspire people who live outside of the coverage area, to come here for their vacations.

I have wanted to do this magazine for about 10 years and I believe in its potential to be a win-win for all of us. But I think Discover East Texas is even more viable and timely now that gas prices are on the rise and there is so much conflict going on in the Middle East. Those two factors combined are causing increasing uncertainty about our already (due to the recession) fragile economy. That inherently means people will be staying closer to home as they plan their vacations. So why not lure them here!

The magazine will contain three main feature articles on the people, places and things that are unique to East Texas. Each main feature will also have a sidebar article, a fact box, plus photos and other visual elements to make the spread as comprehensive as possible.

In addition, there will be five mini-features. These articles will fall under the regular headings of:

Eat This! – profiles locally or regionally owned restaurants, food festivals or other food-oriented venues

Sweet Dreams - profiles B&B’s, boutique hotels and cool RV parks and campsites

Kid Friendly – profiles kid friendly destinations and events

Natural Wonders – profiles our local, state and national parks as well as birding, hiking and cycling trails, etc.

Time Travels – profiles historical destinations and events

We are in the process now of creating our web site and a Facebook page. We will also be tweeting once we are further along in the process. Our editorial calendar for the three issues in 2011 has been determined, but keep in mind it is a tentative plan, pending scheduling with each of the subjects listed.

Our web site is still in the development stage, but you can check out what we do have up at this point, by going to: http://www.discover-et.com/ . We have a link up to click on our media kit and another to click on our Facebook page.

 Just please keep in mind, everything is a work in progress at this point.

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