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Church makes way for highway
Foretold demolition comes to pass for Greater St. Paul

LATONIA — William Davis was returning his school bus to the bus barn after his early morning pickup on May 1, when he saw the heavy equipment tearing into his church. He called to tell Karen Woodard who lives across highway 36 from Greater St. Paul Baptist.

"I just got up and ran down to the road," Woodard said. "It didn't take him any time to go through that sanctuary — a lifetime of memories and hard work in 30 minutes."

Parishioners have known for months that the church would be demolished, and they were told that contractors would alert them to the scheduled date, but that warning didn't come. So, when Davis saw bricks falling and wood splintering, he called fellow church members. Seven people made it to the parking lot in time to mark the passage of an era.

"That church has been the cornerstone of the community for a long time," Woodard said. "When people didn't have anywhere to go, couldn't afford to go anywhere, funerals for people who couldn't afford anything... Truly, it's going to be missed. You can't help but shed a few tears. We're going to be turning 65 in a few months, and that's the only church we've ever known."

Davis, who is chairman of the

deacons of Greater St. Paul, is philosophical about the demolition.

"They got it all down now," he said. "We talked to the guy who done it, and he hate to do it. A church ain't one of his favorite places to tear down, but he got a job to do. It's hard, but we come out alright. We're just going to another building, another sanctuary. It's all about the people and loving one another, because God going to be in the midst of us. We just going to have to move on.

"I tell our people all the time, don't hang your head. It ain't no happy day about it. It being gone make you feel kinda sad especially when I look out my door," he said. Davis' home is directly across from the church.

"My wife looked out the window and went to crying," he said.

Woodard said that when the church was demolished, the contractor left his excavator and talked to them.

"He was a nice man. He let us come over and take more pictures, and he let us take some bricks. We are going to try to get them incorporated in the new church."

The Texas Department of Transportation is widening Highway 36 from Port Freeport to Highway 59. The current highway is four lanes, and construction will widen that to include a center turn lane. The highway department estimates the project will be finished in Brazoria County at the end of 2025.

The widening of the highway has been talked about for 20 years, and finally, in January, the heavy equipment, safety barriers and the dirt work began on the stretch between Brazoria and West Columbia.

Located at 21050 N Highway 36, Greater St. Paul Baptist Church's congregation celebrated 102 years in October. Four months later, they spent a weekend moving everything out of the building in preparation for demolition.

Woodard said, "I can see out to the church from my porch. It's going to seem strange to look out and it's not there. It's a lifetime of memories and hard work from my aunts and uncles how they worked."

Damon ISD leader again state finalist


DAMON — Damon ISD Superintendent is once again in the running for Superintendent of the Year from the Texas Rural Education Association.

David Hayward and the Damon ISD board of trustees were notified he was one of six finalists for the honor. In June 2022, Hayward was recognized as a finalist for superintendent of the year by TREA.

"Our very own David Hayward is among the six finalists," said board president Helen Noble. "He's

conscious decision to support our community."

The award - winning Sweeny FFA cook-off team will be preparing the meal of down-home chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes. The Sweeny High School floral design team will be crafting the table centerpieces.

Christie said the chamber tried to incorporate as many local businesses and organizations as possible in the event.

The evening is a black and white theme and guests are encouraged to dress accordingly.

A silent and live auction will round out the activities. Auction items include a utility wagon donated by Phillips 66, a one-night stay with free breakfast or lunch from TripL RV Park and Dark Roast Co. and a round of golf for four at West Brazos Golf Center.

Tickets for tables are $1,250 (gold), $1,000 (silver) and $750 (bronze). Individual tickets for members are $50 and non-member is $60.

The event will be from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, May 11 at the Sweeny Community Center, 205 W. Ashley Wilson Road, Sweeny. For information or tickets, call 979-548-3249.

Chamber event incorporates best of Sweeny

The Sweeny Chamber of Commerce is highlighting the best of its community at its annual member banquet set for Thursday.

"We're bringing it back to Sweeny," said banquet chairperson Kari Schroeder.

Chamber president Nina Christie will talk about changes in the city including the new hospital build, the Sweeny North industrial park and several new businesses headed to town.

"We're going to highlight everything uniquely Sweeny and we're going to update on all the positive changes in town," Christie said. "After the pandemic, it's taken some time to build things up. The chamber made a

imagines flying cars, skyscraper buildings, robots and more advanced technology than we have now, she said.

Fuerte hopes to be a writer because she really likes her journalism class and getting to write for the school newspaper, she said.

Her mother, Roxana Paredes was very excited about her daughter's achievement.

"It's good, she's been drawing for a long time," she said.

The two students' artwork will be featured in the May issue of Time for Kids magazine, a spinoff of Time magazine for children from 8 to 13 years old. It covers a wide range of topics, including science and technology, history and culture.

These girls always put their heart into their work, Smith said.

"These girls are extremely, extremely mature, and they do take their work seriously," she said. "I was really impressed with their ability to think about things that may be culturally relevant 100 years from now."

The students' artwork can be seen at

Magazine features Sweeny students' futuristic visions
Teens' artwork depicts Time cover in 2123

SWEENY — Two talented junior high students from Sweeny will have their artwork featured in Time for Kids magazine.

Abby Huffman, 14 and Erandy Fuerte, 13, both students in Delia Smith's journalism class, were selected from a pool of submissions by students from all over the country. Almost 50 were from Sweeny, Smith said.

In honor of Time magazine's 100th anniversary, students were asked to design a cover of the magazine for the year 2123. During their journalism class, Smith's students were given the option of the assignment and only a few other students participated, Fuerte said.

"We didn't have to do it, but I wanted to push myself," she said.

Huffman and Fuerte jumped at the chance to showcase their artistic skills and submitted their illustrations to the magazine.

Huffman's illustration was a detailed drawing of a cyborg's neck and head with the caption "Cyborg of the Year."

A futuristic city was the setting for Fuerte's illustration, which depicted a school building surrounded by flying cars and robots.

Both girls write for the school paper, while Fuerte does a lot of the writing, while Huffman sticks with the graphics, Smith said.

Huffman's mother, Melissa, is extremely proud of her daughter's accomplishment, she said.

"Abby has been drawing her whole life. She gets it from her dad, and they're all really good," she said.

Abby Huffman, said that she might go into journalism when she gets older.

Fuerte enjoys drawing and is grateful for the opportunity to showcase her talents, she said.

"I really never thought I'd get picked, but it just brought me a lot of joy," she said.

When she pictures the future, she