Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Houston County News - Breakout

CISD hears report on TAP system, other updates

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

CrockettISD logoBy Jan White
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CROCKETT – Education of staff and students was at the forefront of the Crockett Independent School District Board meeting which took place on Monday, November 14.

After hearing updates on the replacement of two scoreboards in the High School gym, updates on the contract with BookNook, the online tutoring service for students, and approval of the “Rooms” communication app for teachers and parents, the meeting turned to the Superintendent’s Report.

The first item discussed was the passing of the State Security Audit. The Security Audit is conducted unannounced and examines protocols regarding locked outside and inside doors in the schools as well as other security measures. With heightened awareness of school security after the Uvalde incident, Superintendent John Emerich was glad to announce that the schools passed the audits.

Trustees also heard an update on the ESSER, ESSER2, and ESSER 3 funds. Because the resources are ‘specific use’  funds, the school can only use them on designated items. This included the purchase of a couple of buses and student transport vehicles for the schools, and several aides for the campuses.

A lengthy report was heard on the schools’ TAP system. TAP is the acronym for Teacher Advancement Program. The program encourages teachers and school leaders to exercise  “best practices” and to strive to become more effective for their students continuously. Through support provided by master teachers and mentors, a classroom observation process, and participation in weekly “cluster” meetings, teachers worked toward goals specific to their students while simultaneously increasing the value of their instruction.

Assistant Superintendent Brian Aiken gave an update on the 2022-23 Accountability that “grades” schools based on their performances. Aiken also presented the Effective Schools Framework (ESF) for Crockett Junior High and Crockett Elementary Targeted Improvement Plan, which the Trustees voted to approve.

In other business, the Trustees accepted a $1,500 donation from the J.B. and Kathryn  Sallas Foundation to the Elementary School as well as a donation from Vulcraft for the metal used in a trailer-building competition held at the school.

Trustees approved the purchase of a new score table for the dome. The current table is outdated and too small to hold the people needed. It was proposed to purchase a larger digital table which will allow the school to ultimately sell ads that should offset the cost of the table.

Approval was given by the Trustees to change the company the District deals with regarding their bonds. Emerich explained that he and Mrs. Scroggins had built a good relationship with the individual at Live Oak where they previously did business. The broker moved to Frost Bank with one of the stipulations being that he be able to continue to do business with schools. There is no cost associated with the move.

The final business item was to change the date of the March 2023 meeting to March 20 due to scheduling conflicts.

  • Hits: 128

Sandies cheerleader to perform at Disney World

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Sandies cheerleaders

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

GRAPELAND – Shaylie Rice, a member of the Grapeland Junior High cheerleading team, will represent Varsity Spirit in the 2022 Orlando Thanksgiving Tour at The Walt Disney World Resort on Nov. 22-25. Cheerleaders and dancers invited to perform at the event are part of a select group of individuals chosen from Varsity Spirit summer camps across the country.

Varsity Spirit is a leader in cheerleading, dance team, band apparel, and educational camps, clinics, and competitions, celebrating over thirty years of honoring educational camp standouts. Only twelve percent of the cheerleaders and dancers earn the distinction of participating in a performance of this caliber.

Of the opportunity, Rice said, “I am so thankful to be nominated as an All-American Cheerleader for Grapeland Junior High. I never thought in a million years I would get this award. I am so excited to be able to march and dance in the Thanksgiving Parade at Disney with my family by my side. Thank you to everyone that donated money toward making this trip possible for me.”

  • Hits: 79

Approval given for salary increases

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

City Crockett LogoBy Jan White
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CROCKETT – At the City Council meeting on Nov. 7, council members voted to approve the additions and updates to the Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual. The pay plans and salaries for positions with the Police and Fire Departments and city workers were budgeted and approved during a previous meeting. However, since those increases required a tax rate change, there was still a window of time where the new tax rate could be contested, and if so, it would have to be voted on by public ballot. Because the 90-day period passed with no dispute, the council was able to approve the pay increases listed in the Personnel Manual. Also approved was the appointment of Rick Gilson to a Utility Supervisor position to help with the workload distribution of the Utility and Sewer Department.

Other agenda items included the purchase of a used 2003 Motorgrader from Precinct 2, which had acquired a new motor-grader, and approval of surplus items to be auctioned online or scrapped.

The council also voted to renew its lease with the Crockett Merchant’s Youth Baseball. Because the organization was formerly associated with the Little League, the lease with the city needed to be renewed. The renewed lease has a five-year term. City Administrator John Angerstein commended the Youth Baseball organization for being good tenants and told the Council that the Merchant’s Youth Baseball had spent some of their own time and money on improvements. Councilman Mike Marsh also thanked Joe Smoldas for being instrumental in helping make the baseball organization a success.

Diane Rhone, Courtney Yarbrough, and Elouise Wooten were reappointed as members of the Building and Standards Commission, and the council appointed Shannon Harris and Charles Arnold to replace retiring members, and assigned Scott Sheley as an alternate.

In other business, the council voted to allow the closure of Milam Avenue to accommodate a request by The Gathering Place. The local organization asked that Milam Avenue from North Fifth to North Fourth Street be closed on Nov. 20 from 5 to 9 p.m. so they can hold their Fall Festival in the downtown park across the street from City Hall.

  • Hits: 185

Public hearing on solar farm canceled

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Houston County Seal 1280x640By Jan White
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CROCKETT – What looked to be a lively public hearing on the creation and designation of a Reinvestment Zone in Houston County for two solar farms has been tabled. According to Judge Jim Lovell some changes were made by the investors to the proposal, so the public hearing was canceled.

During the open comment section of the meeting, however, there was a discussion over the effect on land values and fire safety issues.

In other business, the court approved Jesse Johnson for a part-time custodian position at the Senior Citizens Center, Delman Orme as a Community Service Officer, Josh Bobbitt as a part-time advanced heavy equipment operator for Precinct 4, and the promotion of Matthew VanEgmond from Deputy to Patrol Sergeant Sheriff’s Office.   

The court also authorized the removal of the budget item for the Ratcliff Area Repeater, decrease in the budget item for the Lovelady Area Repeater, adding a budget item for a console for the Sheriff’s Office/Dispatch, and approved the purchase of a Grapeland Area Repeater, to be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Grant Fund (ARPA).

After a lengthy discussion, the court voted to amend the Houston County Fixed Asset Policy to require transfers of fixed items of $500 or more between departments to have Commissioners Court approval.

Also approved was a policy that the purchase of any vehicle will be for the replacement of a current vehicle in inventory, except as authorized by the Commissioners Court.

  • Hits: 175

McCreight wins hotly contested JP race

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

ElectionResults Stock Photo

Jan White and Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. andThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CROCKETT – Republican Candidate Mike McCreight became the newly elected Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace in the only contested race in Houston County. Democratic Candidate Kevin “KJ” Johnson and McCreight spent the better part of the last year and a half garnering support from the community, but on Tuesday night, Nov. 8 at 10 p.m. with over 90% of the votes in, McCreight bested his opponent by a more than 1,600 vote lead.

McCreight said about his victory, “It’s a weight off my shoulders. It’s been a long road. We’ve both worked hard, me and Kevin, and it’s a weight lifted off both of us. I’m excited and confident in my abilities to do the job. I plan to stay on at the Sheriff’s office until Judge Black’s term ends.” He continued, “I just want to thank everybody who came out and voted and put their faith in me. I’m going to do a good job for them.” When asked what he would say to the votors who supported Johnson, McCreight responded, “Give me a chance, and I’ll do my job and treat everybody fair.”

Johnson responded to the outcome by saying, “My grandfather always told me that a fighter rests between rounds, but a warrior never stops fighting until the battle is won. I’m a warrior. I might have lost this fight, but the battle is still not over. God has something in store for me. Whatever it is, I’m ready. I don’t consider myself a loser. I’m a community leader, and I’m going to continue to be a community leader and remain a staple in the community.”

As of Nov. 4, Election Administrator Cynthia Lum had reported that 3,764 Houston County residents turned out to vote, generating 27% of the early voting results. The information did not include absentee ballots submitted, as these weren’t confirmed until election night. The data was generated starting on October 24. Early voting totals were as follows: Crockett – 3,764, Grapeland – 247, Kennard – 113, and Lovelady – 168. Lum stated that they had a “fantastic early voting turnout for the November 8 mid-term election that surpassed the total turnout for the 2022 March Primary.”

In statewide elections, the nationally watched gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic Party nominee Beto O’Rourke was called at press time in favor of Abbott winning a third term.

Houston County voted 77.6% in favor of Abbott’s re-election bid and 21.6% for O’Rourke. Libertarian candidate Mark Tippetts earned 22 votes. In other statewide races, Attorney General Ken Paxton also won a third term, defeating Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick won re-election over challenger Mike Collier.

  • Hits: 204