New Castle News

Hot Topics

April 21, 2012

Family, friends observe Kenzie Houk’s birthday

NEW CASTLE — Kenzie Marie Houk would have been 30 years old on Friday.

She died on Feb. 20, 2009, at the age of 26, shot in the back of the head as she lay in her bed.

She was eight months pregnant. Her unborn son died with her.

Kenzie had lived in a New Beaver Borough farmhouse with her fiancé Chris Brown, his son, Jordan, and her daughters, Jenessa and Adalynn, when the shooting occurred.

A Lawrence County judge last week ruled Jordan, 14, as delinquent and responsible for Kenzie’s death. He was 11 years old at the time of the incident. He remains in juvenile custody.

Kenzie’s family and friends will gather at her grave tomorrow at Parkside Cemetery in Shenango Township for an annual birthday party and balloon launch in her memory.

 The gathering typically is celebrated with music, memories and messages.

“We began this when the girls were young,” said Kenzie’s mother, Debbie Houk. She and her husband, Jack, are raising their granddaughters.

“They wrote messages that they wanted to give to their mother and tied them to a balloon. The balloons were filled with helium and let go. We’d watch them float up and away.”

 Houk said the family has gathered in this celebration of her daughter’s life each year since 2009.

Usually it is on Kenzie’s birthday. This year, however, they agreed to move the celebration to Sunday.

Houk and her mother, Dorothy Burns, visited Kenzie’s grave yesterday morning to decorate it with birthday balloons.

She returned with Jenessa, 11, and Adalynn, 7, last night, and Adalynn placed a picture at the grave. There also are yellow roses, Kenzie’s favorite flowers.

Houk said the family visits the graves of Kenzie and her son frequently.

“We live only a few minutes away,” she said. “We often just drive through, past Kenzie’s grave, on the way to and from places.”

She said the girls often shout out “Hi, Mom!” and “Miss ya, Mom!” as they pass.

“They miss her. They always will,” Houk said. “Just as I do.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hot Topics
  • Our Opinion: New study suggests problem with some state shale gas wells

    A recent study of leaks from shale gas wells raises more questions than it answers. And because of the growing presence of shale gas wells in Pennsylvania, it’s essential that both government and industry provide clarity.

    July 9, 2014

  • 08.jpg Gaming board asked to take a chance here

    Lawrence County deserves a chance, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was Thursday. All seven board members, their staff, hearing officer Linda Lloyd and 200 to 225 others attended the board’s public hearing at the Mahoning Township Community Center.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casino.jpg Area residents, groups to speak at casino hearing

    Some 55 individuals and organizations have registered to speak tomorrow at the Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort Public Input Hearing. The list was released yesterday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, which will conduct the hearing at 10 a.m. at the Community Center in Mahoning Township on Route 224.

    May 7, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Austintown racing complex anticipates fall opening

    Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course will open in the fall. No specific date has been set, but work is progressing on several fronts on 186 acres in Austintown, Ohio. The site — less than 30 miles from New Castle — is accessible from Ohio Routes 46 and 11 and Interstate 80.

    May 7, 2014

  • gavel.jpg Holdout property owners file for injunction

    Holdout landowners are asking Commonwealth Court to declare that forced pooling violates the state constitution.

    May 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Holdout landowners retain Pittsburgh attorney; ask hearings be postponed

    A Pittsburgh attorney is asking that next month’s hearings on forced pooling be postponed. Atty. Omar Abuhejleh also filed a motion with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Friday allowing the affected landowners to formally intervene in the case filed by Hilcorp Energy Co.

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dangers of fracking the topic at Villa Maria

    Public health concerns about fracking must be addressed, a nurse practitioner told approximately 150 people at Villa Maria on Thursday.

    April 26, 2014

  • Bobosky.jpg Gas holdouts unconvinced of safety

    When Suzanne Matteo and her husband, Martin, bought their house on four acres in Pulaski Township they had a plan. They would grow a huge vegetable garden, raise lots of flowers and a few chickens and enjoy the fresh air and quiet.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

    More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed. They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg Hilcorp seeks to force drilling on reluctant landowners

    A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling. Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Summer is a perfect time for a good read. Where's your favorite place to spend off time with your nose in a book?

Relaxing on the couch
On a bench in the park
By the pool
At the closest beach
I don't have time to read
     View Results