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  • Board discusses PD’s outreach efforts

    040121 COCISD PDCOURTESY PHOTO BY CASSIE GREGORY COCISD Police Chief Roosevelt Joseph and his team gave a year-in-review presentation at the COCISD school board meeting on Monday, March 22.

    By Cassie Gregory
    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The highlight of the March 22 COCISD Board of Trustees meeting was the yearly report given by COCISD Police Chief Roosevelt Joseph and his team of officers.

    They reported on the year's events and outreach programs that have been implemented to build relationships with students, families and the community.

    "A lot of what we've been doing is to foster the relationship between the public and police officers," Joseph said. "This has been a tough year with all of the things going on around the country. We are community based — that's what we are all about."

    Some of the programs include Cops Who Care at the beginning of the school year, where officers give away free backpacks filled with school supplies, and Shop with a Cop at Christmas, which helps to provide gifts for students in need at Christmas.

    "We don't want any child to wake up on Christmas morning without a gift under the tree," Joseph said.

    The department also works with organizations and other police departments to acquire equipment, technology and software at no cost to the district. Recently, hey were awarded a grant for a sophisticated report-writing system that has cut down on the time it takes to record reports and has greatly increased the security of confidential information. Another grant provided equipment designed to teach students about the danger of vaping, and they also received new radios as a donation, saving the district $12,000.

    "We work very hard every day to make this a safe environment, and we are going to continue," Joseph said.

    Also at the meeting, Coldspring-Oakhurst High School advanced culinary arts students served a delicious meal to board members and staff under the direction of Chef Joel Casiday. The selection included chicken and dumplings, mixed greens salad and a fresh, multi-berry crisp topped with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

    The meeting began with the pledges of allegiance led by Coldspring Intermediate students.

    Interim Superintendent Walter Key introduced and thanked the culinary arts students, followed by a presentation given by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Vikki Curry and campus principals on benchmark scores.

    In other business, trustees approved:

    • •The adoption of pre-kindergarten instructional materials to be implemented in the 2021-22 school year.
    • •The TASB Localized Policy Manual Update 116.
    • •Recommended revisions to board policies.
    • •A digital learning agreement with Apex Learning.
    • •The purchase and installation of a paint booth for Coldspring-Oakhurst High School.
    • •The purchase of interactive televisions.
    • •Participation in the Region 7 purchasing cooperative.
    • •Construction of a tennis court.
    • •Proposals for facility projects.
    • •To temporarily delegate hiring authority for contract personnel to the superintendent.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees is set for 6:30 p.m. April 26 at the Jones Educational Complex Auditorium.

  • Buying a drone can cost more than one might think

    IMG 2242CALEB FORTENBERRY | TCB File photo of Tyler County Booster reporter, Caleb Fortenberry, flying a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) while on a video production job in Conroe, Texas in March, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Every Christmas the Booster receives letters to Santa from children in the Tyler County region. This year a surprising number of children wished for drones.

    Parents should consider the amount of laws to be followed before the drone can be launched into the air.

    Before a recreational flyer can actually launch their drone, they must register it through the (Federal Aviation Administration) FAA. Not only do you have to pay for the registry, you must display the registration number on the drone and keep the proof of registration on your person while flying.

    Now, the exception is weight. If the drone weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams) then there is no need for registry. Still, those drones are few and far between.

    weight applicibility FILE PHOTO Courtesy of the FAA website.

    There are several penalties not only on the federal level, but also through the state to be aware of. According to CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT of GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 4. EXECUTIVE BRANCH, if you take photos or video someone else’s property with intent to conduct surveillance, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If any image or video is kept, distributed, or displayed it is also a Class C misdemeanor and each image is a separate offense.

    But that’s not all, the property owner of the photos taken can enjoin a violation or imnent violation of $5,000 for the capturing of images and $10,000 for displaying, distribution, or use of the images.

    So, a child’s $40 drone that a parent buys for Christmas could ultimately lead to larger costs. Those are just charges through the state. The FAA is constantly tracking down on violations made. And each violation fine gets worse with less laws followed.

    If your child is older and the goal is to get into a photography business, do your research. There are far more laws and requirements and fees to face. You may live in an area where the airspace restricts drone flights. That could be problematic for finding a place to fly recreationally.

    You can own and operate a drone legally, but there are many repercussions that parents can face from the ignorance of a child. Be smart this Christmas, plan ahead, follow the law, and if you do get your child a drone, supervise the flights.

    You can read more about Texas drone laws at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/GV/htm/GV.423.htm and federal regulations at https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/

  • Chamber hosts Christmas party for final 2020 function

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE The Polk County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Christmas party last Friday for its final quarterly meeting of 2020.

    By Jason Chlapek

    The Polk County Chamber of Commerce conducted one more quarterly get together last week.

    The Chamber hosted a Christmas party complete with hot cocoa, cookies and coffee. It was the final quarterly meeting of 2020.

    “We normally have quarterly membership luncheons and (Friday) was the Christmas party,” Chamber director Janet Wiggins said. “We had cookies, hot chocolate and coffee. This was a time to relax and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. This is the second year that I’ve put this on.”

    Wiggins has been the Chamber director since September 2018. She enjoys hosting quarterly meetings for her members.

    “It’s great to see your members and share with them what’s going to happen for the upcoming year,” Wiggins said. “It’s fun to visit and your members are important.”

    Wiggins said the quarterly meetings in 2021 will take place in March, June, September and December. She’ll release the dates in the near future.

  • Christmas angels in Kennard (video)

    IMG 8447TONI BROWNING | HCC The anticipation was almost unbearable as the crowd waited for the Kennard Volunteer Fire Department parade to appear down the main street on Saturday, Dec. 5. Lights in the distance could be seen flashing, sirens could be heard and children eagerly asked parents how much longer they had to wait. The parade, when it appeared, did not disappoint anyone.

    By Toni Browning

    The feel-good Christmas movies are already available on your television, cooler weather is here, hot chocolate is being enjoyed, Thanksgiving has passed, children and teachers are looking forward to holiday breaks and the friendly town of Kennard has recently enjoyed their annual Christmas celebration! Are you feeling warm and cozy yet?

    Kennard residents have long been huge supporters of Christmas cheer, fun and worship. This year, the town celebrated the Christmas season at the Crossing Over the Cochino’s 33rd annual Christmas and Trade Days event. The “Angels over the Pines” themed event was held Saturday, Dec. 5.

    The fun started with a house decorating contest named, The Angel’s Spirit. Everyone in Kennard was encouraged to decorate their homes to be judged.

    Video of the Kennard Tree Lighting

    The Christmas tree, placed near the city sign, was festively decorated by school children to symbolize the hope, love and true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ. Community members also helped decorate the tree with homemade or store-bought pinecones and angels. Coming together at the annual tree lighting helps residents show and feel community support.

    Cool clear skies made the day of the festival perfect as vendors filled the sides of the road with their wares and food. Each year items such as woodwork, crafts, gifts, garage sale items and food are sold. Tummy warming gumbo was on offer by the Tabernacle of Praise Church.

    The 4th Annual Fire in the Hole Chili Cook-off fund raiser benefiting the Kennard Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) invited local chili cookers to showcase their best recipe in the hopes of winning over the tasting judges.

    As if this all-day fun were not enough to get you in the spirit, the KVFD sponsored a huge lighted parade that began at 6 p.m. The parade is touted to be the largest in Houston County!

    Festival goers enjoyed floats, vehicles, wagons, horses, motorcycles, bicycles, 4-wheelers, police cars and many fire trucks from around the county.

    Christmas is a time for children. Some children’s families may not be as fortunate as others. Several community members collected toys that will be given to local children. New, unwrapped toys were dropped off at Fellowship Hall (formerly Country Church Café), Curry’s Grocery and the Citizens National Bank in Kennard.

    Another donation opportunity featured a Husqvarna Z254F zero turn mower. The funds from the tickets sold will help host the event in 2021.

  • Christmas shopping

    Are you guys planning on shopping last minute or is Christmas shopping a priority before it gets too busy?

  • Rotary Club Makes annual Christmas deliveries

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Rotary Club of Livingston delivered gifts and meals to 10 families last Thursday as part of the club’s Empty Stocking program.

    By Jason Chlapek

    As long as Janet Wiggins can remember, the Empty Stocking program has been a Rotary Club of Livingston tradition.

    “I’ve been in Rotary since 1992 and we’ve had it since then,” she said. “We go through the Empty Stocking program, which is headed up by Angela Figgs, and she gives us the names of needy families.”

    While Wiggins has been with Rotary since 1992, she’s not certain when the club began its participation in the Empty Stocking program. Rotarians made their annual deliveries of gifts and food to 10 families last Thursday.

    “I love seeing the faces of the children when the gifts are delivered,” Wiggins said. “It’s such a reward to be able to help someone who may be in need. It’s always been a reward for me.”

    Beginning in October, Rotary Club of Livingston starts collecting funds for the Empty Stocking program. Two weeks prior to delivery day, Rotarians split into groups and buy gifts for the children in the family of which their group was assigned.

    On delivery day, club members gather at Brookshire Bros. to pick up a box of food for their assigned family. In year’s past, 20 families were selected by Rotary Club of Livingston.

    But with Covid-19, only 10 families were chosen. The club also has seen a decline in attendance and service project participation since the pandemic, which meant less volunteers to deliver to families.

    Wiggins also is the director of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, which has the 12 Days of Christmas program. With that program, Wiggins and her group go to the houses of 12 families and deliver gifts to them for 12 days.

  • Trinity gets the spirit (VIDEO)

    IMG 3741 copyTONY FARKAS | TCNS Trinity residents enjoy the mild weather during the downtown Christmas celebration on Saturday December 5, 2020.

    By Tony Farkas
    Julia McMichael

    TRINITY — Vendors sold their goods and Santa was singing; children were laughing and bells were ringing.

    Baked goods and dancing and sleighs full of bling, these were Trinity’s favorite things.

    On Saturday December 5, 2020, Trinity residents were treated to its annual Christmas celebration, although organizers had to make some changes to accommodate social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly cancelling the parade of lights.

    However, Julia McMichael of the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce said the event was wonderful.

    IMG 3762TONY FARKAS | TCNS Misty Dowdell dances with 4-year-old Alexis Adkisson while Santa serenades the crowd with Christmas carols.

    “We had more than 200 people,” she said. “Vendors said they made money and had a steady stream of people.”

    McMichael said the day was excellent, full of sunshine and fun, and people wore masks and were cautious.

    “We wanted to have something to lift the spirits of the community, and we did that,” she said. “Vendors said they had pretty good traffic and were looking forward to next year.”

    Since there were no contestants in the ugly sweater contest, there were two other sets of awards given: cutest baby and best costume.

    In the cutest baby contest, first place went to 4-month-old Aria Suttle, second place was Christi Ann Harrelson, and third went to Caroline Suttle.

    For best costume, there was a three-way tie for first — Tiffany Sanchez and Natalie and Jesus Reyes; second went to Delilah Poehl; and third place also was a tie — Carolyn and Valorie Cleveland.

    imagejpeg 1001COURTESY PHOTO Santa’s sleigh, which was parked this year due to COVID restrictions, still was a hit with Trinity residents.