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Trinity County

The strength of a debate reflected in a man

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tony farkasTony Farkas file photo

By Tony Farkas

I’m sure it would be real easy to assume that I’m all about President Donald Trump, given that I’m extremely conservative in my views on all things political.

Hey, I like the guy, because his approach to politics is akin to a bull in a china shop, and I’ve felt for years that Washington needs shaking up. What I don’t do is necessarily agree with everything he does unremarked, because nobody’s perfect.

A lot of people during the president’s term also have disagreed with the president and his policies — some in a very ugly manner.

Every one of us has had that time on the schoolyard when we’ve had a shoving match — tempers flare, words exchange, sides get drawn, then nothing really happens. The level of debate in the country, particularly in the political realm, is now exactly the same way, and it’s because of Trump, and the people who disagree with him.

That’s pretty doggone sad, because now we don’t care about the future of the country; we care only about winning, and damn the consequences.

First and foremost, anyone willing to put themselves on the line to serve, whether it’s a local board like the schools or city council, or the president of the United States, deserves respect. Secondly, the office deserves respect, no matter who’s in it. Lastly, how you feel about a person does not and should not come into discussions about policy, especially at the national level.

Yet, this country has seen its leaders devolve into schoolyard shoving matches over things that are frankly ridiculous, and is covered up with hyperbole the likes of which no one has ever seen. Supporters on both sides tend to speak in supportive cliff notes without the benefit of information, and nothing of note is getting done.

The latest fr’instance is the confirmation of newly minted Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who will singlehandedly end abortion, health insurance and freedom of speech while setting a horrible rotten example to women everywhere by being a woman of faith, a mother, and wife, and a caring person who adopts children from Third World countries.

Passion is OK, especially in running a country, and differing opinions are even OKer. What’s not OK is either/or beliefs, particularly when it then devolves into name-calling, accusations, false witness, manufactured crises, or even riots, as we’re seeing across the country.

Also, some of the things we’re arguing about don’t have anything really to do with the shape of the country, like whether or not Trump will vacate the Oval Office. Let’s talk about real issues, like that pesky $20 trillion debt, or the peskier trillion-dollar deficit, or the peskierer impending doom of Social Security, and on and on. And let’s do it right and seek real solutions, not just point fingers and whinge.

Debate is key here, and there are solutions. But, as my favorite writer was fond of saying, “No one is entitled to their own opinion. They’re entitled to their own informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

No amount of screaming will solve problems. Only people willing to work and looking for real solutions will make a difference. If it takes someone with a bull-in-a-china-shop attitude to make that happen, so be it.

Yeah, he’s not part of the club that’s been in charge of the playground for so long, but he should be allowed to play, too.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Censorship in any form a terrible thing

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tony farkasTony Farkas, editor of the Trinity County News-Standard

A report in the New York Post, the only newspaper in the nation’s largest city that’s worth reading, details a connection between former Vice President Joe Biden, currently running for president of the U.S., and a Russian firm.

This connection came in the form of an email that was found on a laptop belonging to Biden’s son, Hunter. It was left for repairs in a computer shop, and subsequently forgotten, and then recovered by the FBI.

The email purportedly shows that Hunter offered to arrange a meeting between his father and an official of Burisma, an energy company in the Ukraine that Hunter worked with and for.

The upshot of this is if it’s true, then Joe Biden has some ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy, as heretofore he’s denied knowing anything about his son’s business dealings and anything else having to do with Russia.

If you’ve followed the mainstream media in any fashion, you know they circled the wagons and did their level best in discrediting the journalism of the Post, as well as Donald Trump, Russia, Amy Coney Barrett, the weather, and anything else that connected to this story. That, in and of itself, is a form of censorship, in that it flies in the face of actual journalism and instead becomes propaganda.

With few exceptions, nothing was investigated or verified, just dismissed as the latest attempt to discredit the current anointed candidate. However, the real censorship comes in the form of actual, honest-to-God removal and blocking said story, courtesy of the two most powerful social media platforms —Twitter and Facebook.

Both groups stopped any dissemination of the Post’s post, either blocking it out right or claiming it was false information. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tried some vague apology-type thing, saying that the information in the article needed to be verified, and until it was, it was deemed false and will not be allowed. Facebook hasn’t really said anything, to no one’s surprise ever. In the process of gathering news, the media company and the journalist are the ones that gather facts and quotes.

That’s the extent of their involvement. It’s up to the reader, or the watcher/listener, to decide what to think about it. When a company like Twitter decides to spoon-feed information to its subscribers, and make the determination that information doesn’t need to be available, then it’s doing a disservice, both to the spirit of freedom and to the truth.

The Post’s writers and editors did their jobs correctly, as far as anyone can tell. So, then this is nothing more than running interference for the Bidens on the part of the Twitter people. My brand of journalism, as well as my ethics, don’t allow for that, and that used to be the case for media in general. You, the reader, need to make your own decisions on what to read, what to believe, and where you get that information.

Sadly, that has fallen by the wayside, and the large, national media chains have embraced partisanship and social justice. This is completely in line with the future envisioned by Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Not so much the future that our Founding Fathers sought to create by securing rights to free speech and freedom of the press. Liberty is what we make of it, not what our leaders tell us it is. We need to remind them at the ballot box.

Tony Farkas is editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Clip from Presidential Debate in Cleveland Tuesday September 29, 2020.

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Family takes over local blueberry farm

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One of Garnet and Tim Freeman’s children ponders on which peach she wants to eat on a sunny day. (Photo by Jason Chlapek/TCNS)One of Garnet and Tim Freeman’s children ponders on which peach she wants to eat on a sunny day. (Photo by Jason Chlapek/TCNS)

By Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TRINITY — Reconnecting with family led Garnet and Tim Freeman to an unlikely, but satisfying, second life in East Texas — one that involves blueberries.

Garnvet is originally from California, and Tim from Virginia; Tim was in the military and the family traveled around.

At one point, they decided to move to Texas, as Garnet’s mother lived here; they purchased the Thomas property on Highway 94, moved the family of five children and a grandchild in, as well as Garnet’s grandmother, and “now we’re all in one house.”

Buying a farm was a logical progression for Garnet, as she said she is into holistic health and knowing where food comes from. 

“We came here, fell in love with the place,” she said. “My kids were running up and down the blueberry rows.

“I’m very big on sustainability and growing my own food, and not worrying about chemicals and pesticides,” she said. “Also, I love nature — I’m always barefoot and outside, and 90 percent of the week I’m wearing tie-dye. I like to be out in nature.”

The move to offering their crops to the public wasn’t in the cards at first, though.

“We were looking for our own sustainable place; weren’t even sure we were going to do a U-pick, but then everything started to grow,” Garnet said. “We ended up with buckets full of blueberries, our freezer is full of blueberries, and I said, ‘We’re going to have to open up because we can’t eat all of them.’”

Not opening a blueberry farm to the public was ironic, Garnet said, but said they were glad we opened up.

“So many people who have come here have shared stories about this place, and had we not (opened), we would have missed out on so many things,” she said.

Blueberries and blackberries can be picked for $4 a pound, but only are available during the short season, which lasts from the last week May to the first week in July.

Garnet said they do have weekly egg pickups, and people can message us to get on the list.

“We brought our chickens; it’s like Brady Bunch chicken edition,” she said.

Along with the holistic approach to eating, Garnet said she also is a doula — a woman who provides guidance and support for expecting mothers.

“A doula is a sacred birth space keeper, and I help mothers who are pregnant, in labor and post-partum, to empower them and help them be confident while birthing children,” Garnet said. “A mother will never forget what her births were like; my job is to keep that experience as loving, as peaceful and as sacred as I can for her.” 

The u-pick nature of the farm is as far as the Freemans plan to go; Garnet said her husband wanted to retire, but owning a farm is the opposite of that.

“There are no plans to go mainstream with this,” she said. “I want to keep everything local. I’m all about home, family, friends.”

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GISD cafeteria serves up nutritious cuisine

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Yvette Davis prepares the cookies for desert for the GISD lunch menu.Yvette Davis prepares the cookies for desert for the GISD lunch menu.

From Staff Reports

Students who attend Groveton ISD can bet meals are going to be good and nutritious.

Child Nutrition Director Debbie Wilson and her staff of eight dedicated assistants make sure that more than 265 students eat a good breakfast and more than 400 enjoy their lunch. Wilson has been with GISD for 34 years working in the food service department.

“We work hard to follow state nutrition guidelines, while making it a favorite of the students.” Wilson said. “We try hard and fix things the students will likely o increase our participation.”

Cook Joyce Punch stated, “We’re here for the well-being and nutrition of the students.”

During the Covid-19 shut down, the school cafeteria prepared lunches for all the kids on the bus routes. They dropped off lunches and homework packets. 

The students in town could come by the cafeteria and pick up a grab and go bag during school hours. Also, the home schoolers are eligible to come by, even now, and pick up a “grab and go bag.”

The ladies that make it happen in the GISD cafeteria.

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