Blacklands Cafe

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce economics professor Dr. Dale Funderburk says, while drivers are happy that gasoline is under $3 per gallon, if oil prices continue to fall it could have a bad effect on the energy-driven Texas economy.

Hayley Hasik, graduate assistant with the East Texas War and Memory Project at Texas A&M University-Commerce, says  one of the most satisfying things about interviewing veterans on their memories of serving the country is giving their families copies of the interviews that they can share for generations to come.

Commerce ISD superintendent Blake Cooper says the booming Texas energy industry, boosted in a major way by the controversial practice of fracking, may mean a boost in funding for Texas public schools when the state legislature meets year.  But he's not taking that for granted.

A bluegrass tribute album to country music legend George Jones by Commerce-based Grammy-Award winning music producer and musician Brad Davis is in the running for a Grammy Award.  And Brad will be the music director of a proposed network TV revival of the legendary Louisiana Hayride.  Plus, he has a new recording and tour in the works with Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters.

Commerce City Manager Marc Clayton says an inspector representing the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) visited the shelter and gave positive comments to Clayton, with a favorable formal report expected soon.  Following the recent controversy concerning the shelter, a complaint had been filed.  Mayor Dr. John Ballotti acknowledges that he made an error in not allowing citizens to speak concerning the shelter at the council's most recent meeting, and says if they appear at the next meeting, November 18, they'll be allowed to speak.

Hunt County United Way

The Executive Director of the Hunt County United Way, Frances Dalbey, says Early Childhood Intervention offered through the state Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MHMR) program is one of the most overlooked services supported by United Way.

Commerce ISD

A recent Dallas Morning News article said the results of the latest STAAR tests for Texas schools are disappointing.  Commerce ISD superintendent Blake Cooper says while the Commerce ISD made significant gains, it still has "room for improvement."

Cooper Review

Cooper Review editor Cindy Roller says the city has torn down four abandoned, dilapidated houses and plans to tear down at least four more.  Cindy also discusses a project to restore the history of Cooper High School and the Delta County candidates in Tuesday's election.

Hunt County Historical Commission chairman Carol Taylor discusses the fiddling history of the Greenville Municipal Auditorium, where this weekend's Bob Willis Fiddling Festival will take place.  And Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss discusses plans for Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce associate professor of astronomy and the director of the University Planetarium, Dr. Kent Montgomery, discusses the 1977 event when the "Big Ear" radio telescope in Ohio picked up the strongest ever signal from an unknown source in space, lasting more than 70 seconds.

Texas A&M University-Commerce Alumni Relations director Derryle Peace says besides the annual homecoming celebration, it's also the University's 125th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of desegregation at A&M-Commerce, then East Texas State College.  Events include a bonfire and fireworks Friday night at 9, a parade Saturday morning at 10, and the homecoming football game with McMurry at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Pennington Group

Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, recently announced a policy of unlimited vacation for his employees, provided they do their work.  Dallas business consultant Randy Pennington, an alumnus of East Texas State University, says whether this will work depends on the culture of the company, but it's likely to become more common in the future.

Pud Kearns with Housewarmers of Greenville looks ahead to the Bob Wills Fiddle Contest in downtown Greenville, the weekend of October 31-November 2, and also has tips on the best Halloween pumpkin patches around Hunt County.

Commerce Public Library director Nan Clay says the library now offers Family Literacy Night activities on Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m., in addition to General Equivalency Diploma (GED) classes at the same time.


Hunt County Historical Commission chairman Carol Taylor says the Greenville Municipal Building, and the Municipal Auditorium inside, will be 75 years old this Friday, October 24.  The city of Greenville is planning a major observance of the event next week.

Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss says the annual Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, December 6 this year, rather than the traditional Thursday evening.  The parade will be preceded by a holiday fair on the downtown square in the afternoon.  And Paul says a Fall Market is being held Saturdays on the Fix and Feed parking lot.

Northeast Texas Children's Museum

Commerce Mayor Dr. John Ballotti says the city has developed a localized page of information on the Ebola crisis.  And the mayor says the popular "Halloween on the Square" event will be on Halloween Night, Friday, October 31.

With the A&M-Commerce Lions football team ranked in the NCAA Division II top 25 for the first time since 2001, Athletic Director Ryan Ivey says the game Saturday night against West Texas A&M may draw 8-9,000 fans, and the homecoming game November 1 against McMurry may attract an even bigger crowd.  And Ryan says the artificial turf of the new varsity softball field is nearly complete, and some fall games may be played on it soon.

The Commerce Public Library is sponsoring "Teen Read Week"  this week, and tonight (Thursday, October 16), the library hosts a teen art workshop from 6-8 p.m., with the focus on collage making.  Amy Stark of the library is our guest on the Blacklands Cafe.

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce economics professor Dr. Dale Funderburk says another dip in consumer confidence is holding back the economic recovery. 

And Dale discusses a recent article in which the low cost of housing is given credit for much of the relatively good economy in Texas.

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Commerce Mayor Dr. John Ballotti says the long-running city street improvement project is nearing its completion, with the last phase on West Neal Street south of the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus well underway.  The mayor says the dedication of a memorial at the Gen. Claire Chennault house on Monroe Street has been delayed until March, when TAMU System Chancellor John Sharp can attend.  And Mayor Ballotti says a Mexican restaurant is preparing to open in the downtown building most recently occupied by Buck's Barbecue.

Cooper Review editor Cindy Roller and Echo Publishing graphic designer Luis Noble discuss the annual Worldwide Photo Walk, which is being observed in downtown Sulphur Springs at 4 p.m. on Saturday. 

Commerce family practitioner Dr. Rick Selvaggi says ebola virus is very virulent, but because it is not an airborne virus and because of the advanced health-care system in the U.S., it is very unlikely to spread widely here.  But Dr. Rick says it's not impossible that some strain of flu could become pandemic, as the terrible flu outbreak of 1918.

Hunt County Master Gardener Dr. Stephanie Suesan Smith says it's time to start getting gardens ready for the winter.  The Master Gardeners, Hunt County Agrilife Extension and the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library present "The Art of Gardening: Goblins in the Garden" at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Outdoor Learning Center, 2311 Washington Street in Greenville.

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Dr. Kent Montgomery, associate professor of astronomy and director of the Texas A&M University-Commerce Planetarium, says a total lunar eclipse occurs between 4 and 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, and those who'd like to get a good view of it are welcome at the A&M-Commerce observatory on County Road 4208, just east of Highway 50, south of Commerce.  Also, current Friday night shows at the Planetarium are "Exploding Universe" and "Perfect Little Planet."

The Hunt County United Way recently added Raffa, an organization that provides a variety of support services to women in Hunt County, to the list of organizations it assists with funding, according to United Way Executive Director Frances Dalbey.

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce associate professor of counseling Dr. LaVelle Hendricks has organized a "Buy Local, Support Commerce" campaign Oct. 5-11.  The University, the Commerce ISD and the city of Commerce are all supporting the campaign.  LaVelle says a similar campaign is planned for the spring.

Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss says the Chamber has recently welcomed several new businesses as members, including a construction and remodeling company, Mass Con, and J&R Storage, which will offer insulated storage buildings.  Paul reports that the owner of Lulu's restaurant has bought Los Mochis Mexican Restaurant and will move Los Mochis into the former College Corner and El Charro building on Lee Street.  And Paul says the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus will perf

Texas A&M University-Commerce

Texas A&M University-Commerce Athletic Director Ryan Ivey says A&M-Commerce athletes have contributed nearly 2,000 volunteer hours to the community in the past year.  Ryan says the new athletic academic complex in the Field House is nearing completion.  The athletic department's next major facilities objective is an renovation of the weight training facilities in Whitley Gym.

Commerce ISD superintendent Blake Cooper says enrollment is up by 35 students this school year.   About 90 students have transferred into the school district, he says.  Blake says he is conferring with State Representative Dan Flynn about proposing a change to Texas law that would allow home-school students to take elective classes at Commerce High School and other public high schools in Texas.