Escaped inmate in Grayson County quickly located and detained

Andrew Pruitt

At approximately 7:20 pm on Feb. 10, 2019, Grayson County inmate Andrew Pruitt, a 23-year-old white male, escaped from the Low-Risk Detention Center at the North Texas Regional Airport. He was wearing an orange jail uniform and no shoes. A perimeter was quickly set up around the facility with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies. He was located about 10:30 pm still inside of the perimeter area.

Grayson County, in a press release, thanked local agencies that assisted including Denison PD, Pottsboro PD, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Gunter PD, Texas DPS, Grayson College PD, Southmayd PD, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9 Tracking Team.

Pruitt is currently in the Grayson County Jail in downtown Sherman. Escape while Arrested/Confined will be added to his current charges. The investigation is still ongoing.

Howe Police Report: 21-year-old arrested for furnishing alcohol to minors

On Saturday, February 2 at 1:25 am, Howe police officers responded to a party at a residence in the 700 block of North Collins Freeway after seeing what appeared to them to be minors on the property consuming alcoholic beverages. Numerous people fled on foot as the officers arrived.  A 21-year-old female resident claimed responsibility for providing alcohol to everyone at the party, including the minors.  She was arrested and charged with Furnishing Alcohol to Minors.      

Howe man arrested for assault

Howe Police Report:

On January 24 at 7:11 pm, Howe Police Cpl. David Morris and Officer Kilbourn arrested a 36-year-old Howe man for Class C Assault FV and outstanding Van Alstyne Police Department warrants after being dispatched to a disturbance at a residence in the 800 block of Maple Street.  The arrestee’s spouse was also cited for Class C Assault FV.

On Jan 24 at 10:23pm, Cpl. Morris and Officer Kilbourn were dispatched to Valero at 100 N. Collins Freeway in reference to a report of skimming devices being found on three gas pumps. Officers previously recovered two skimmers from the Valero’s pumps on December 10, 2018. 

Lee Joy Smithart, 1933-2019

Lee Joy Smithart

Lee Joy (Cartwright) Smithart, 85, beloved mother, passed away January 24 at Texoma Medical Center.  Lee Joy was born November 08, 1933 in Wapanucka, Oklahoma to Ida and Wm. McKinley Cartwright.

Lee Joy graduated early from high school in 1950 from Wapanucka.  While in school she played basketball and worked part time at the local drug store.  On December 27, 1952 at the Sherman First Baptist Church, she married Don Smithart, after he returned home from serving in the Army during the Korean war.  They were married 29 years when Don died at an early (50) age on May 29, 1982.

During their marriage they lived in Atoka, OK, Burbank, CA, Oklahoma City, OK, Boise, ID, Denison, TX and Howe, TX.  Lee Joy had a long career in the banking and accounting field.  Working at Grayson County State Bank and then Johnson & Johnson, Inc.  where she retired in 1993 after 25 years of service.  After retirement she worked part time at the J & J Credit Union and at the Grayson County Courthouse in the County Clerk’s office. 

She was a deeply religious woman and was a founding member of Harvest Time Assembly of God in Sherman and was still attending faithfully until her health deteriorated.  She also served on the Howe City Council and Planning and Zoning Board for several years.  She proudly served the community by serving on election days for many years at different polling places in Grayson County. 

Lee Joy was the “go to” person for any family history.  She knew all dates/days/names.  Everyone depended on her for information about the Cartwright and Smithart families.  That will be sorely missed. 

Lee Joy was proceeded in death by her parents; sisters Shirley Cartwright, Mary Ruth Cartwright, Marguerite Lowry, and Betty Haines.  Brothers C. W. Cartwright, J. R. Cartwright, and Odell Cartwright.

She is survived by sister Annette Roark of Ada, Ok, Nelda Joplin and husband Wayne of Ada, OK, and brother Jerry Cartwright and wife Janie of Tushka, OK, daughter Debbie Royston of Howe, sons Randy Smithart and wife Arlene of Irving, Texas, and Tim Smithart of Howe.  Grandaughters Kara Royston of Anna, Claudia Smithart of Dallas, and Grandson Donald Smithart and his wife Elizabeth of Greer, SC.  Great grandson Charlie Royston-Johnston of Anna, TX and Adalee Teachey of Greer, SC.  Also her special 4-legged companion Hannah Belle.  In addition she is survived by brother-in-law Clyde Haines of Woodinville, WA and childhood friend and sister by heart Abbey Green Deaton of California.

She was very loved and will be dearly missed.

Graveside services will be held at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at the West Hill Cemetery in Sherman.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 29t from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Waldo Funeral Home. Arrangements are under the direction of Waldo Funeral Home in Sherman.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Texoma Regional Blood Center in Sherman, TX in her name.

The online register book may be signed at

“Summit Hill Elementary” – School Board selects name of new school

It took two minutes and 58 seconds for the Howe ISD School Board to discuss and act upon a name for the new primary school. The result was “Summit Hill Elementary School.” Much of the near three minutes was silence as board members seemed to distance themselves from the naming of the new location located near the new Summit Hill development west of US Highway 75.

“I’m going to pass on this one because this is a community and a board decision,” Superintendent Kevin Wilson told the board.

Board member Janie Finney made the first request of Summit Hill School with Clint Catching suggesting using the term “Elementary” in the name. Board member Mark Abner asked about putting together a committee which Wilson said was an option, but he stated a determination from the committee would need to be made by the February school board meeting.

Finney then requested that the board go with “Summit Elementary” rather than Summit Hill Elementary which prompted Board President Greg Akins to say that he preferred Summit Hill Elementary due to its location.

Akins then asked the board members whether they wanted to appoint a committee or to go ahead and name the building. After a long pause, board member Brad Anderson made a motion to name it Summit Hill Elementary. Josh Vincent second the motion and the motion went unopposed.

At no time during the discussion was it brought up to name the building after someone. Only Freddy Holcomb and J.W. Hall were present audience members outside of the reporter. None made comments during the discussion which was not open for public discussion.

Those on social media after learning of the name suggested that perhaps more time could have been put into something with such significance.

One member that was present in the audience thought that the school should have at least held discussions to honor former Howe ISD educators and administrators such as Wyline Pool, Arthur Boyle, or Steve Simmons.

The ISD has made it well known that their position at this time is to not name buildings after people. In fact, the ISD has only twice named buildings and each time was in honor of a superintendent. Charles R. Thompson Gymnasium was named in honor of the longtime superintendent in the 1970s and the high school library is named in honor of Dr. Wayne King.

Howe has had one other school not carrying the name Howe. It was the Marshall-Bean College (which was not a college, but a school) located at the present site of the administration office. It was named for the two donors of the property, W.H. Bean and Captain Marshall.

Soon afterward, a former Howe Student Matthew Mariano put together a petition to name it “Steve Simmons Elementary”. The petition received over 500 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Steve Simmons was inducted to the Howe Hall of Honor by the Howe Area Chamber of Commerce (selected by the community). His plaque reads: Steve Simmons came to Howe in 1987 as a coach for Howe ISD. His motivating nature has inspired a couple of thousand kids and adults to be highly motivated, truly dedicated as well as rough and tough. Perhaps no one in Howe’s history has held so much pride and love for their community and the children of Howe. He served as the elementary physical education instructor for Howe ISD for 31 years. As well as his work with children, he’s also been a varsity football, powerlifting and baseball coach and junior varsity basketball coach. As a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Howe, his faith is unquenchable. It is only a matter of time before something in this town is named Steve Simmons something.

Steve Simmons at the 2013 Howe Community Pep Rally. Photo by Monte Walker

Grief Support Group offered by Home Hospice of Cooke County

Home Hospice of Cooke County is pleased to announce the next four-week series of Support Groups starting on January 22, 2019. Each week the group shares and discusses their experiences in coping with loss. The group will meet in the Home Hospice Office at 505 W. Center Street in Sherman, TX.

We are pleased to offer two sessions on Tuesdays starting January 22th and continuing through February 12th. To provide options to meet during the day we are offering Mornings from 10:00 am to 11:30 am or if you prefer, Evenings from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

“Experiencing the loss of a loved one always leaves a void in our lives” said Nancy Jackson with Home Hospice. “As we go through grief and mourning we change in many ways. It becomes a journey and it is our journey with no right or wrong way to progress. We find that sharing with others who have experienced the loss of a loved one can make our healing easier. Come and join us as we support each other.”

To register for the support group, please contact Vikki Redden at 903-868-9315. If you’d like information on individual counseling, please contact Dennis Noblett at 903-868-9315. Home Hospice of Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties is a 501(c)(3) community-based non-profit hospice. Our mission is to provide the best care and support enhancing the Quality of Life of our patients and their families. To learn about other community outreach programs offered by Home Hospice, please visit or visit our Facebook page at