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  • 2020-21 Hunting Season

    Scott Vaughn and grandsonCOURTESY PHOTO Scott Vaughn and grandson posing with a hog shot in Northern Tyler County October 30, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Covid-19 has had people recreating more this past year than in the last several years and with White-tailed deer muzzleloader season being over, there have been plenty of eager East Texan sportsmen wanting to show off a few bagged game animals.

    For years, newspapers have been publishing sportsmen and their game. Here recently, showcasing has been less than normal. Maybe it’s time to start showing off those game that hunters haven’t been able to brag on for some time.

    Here’s a list of a few of the harvests from East Texas, or people from the area:

    Tyler County

    1. Tina Barnes

    Tina BarnesTina Barnes - 9 point, with crossbow in Chester, TX on October 24, 2020.

    2. Dusty Sturrock

    Dusty SturrockDusty Sturrock - 9 point in Chester, TX on November 15th, 2020

    3. KimSturrock

    Kim SturrockKim Sturrock – 8 point in Chester, TX on November 8th, 2020

    4. Mark Keller

    Mark KellerMark Keller - 9 point 14.5”, spread in Colmesneil, Tx on November 27, 2020

    5. Buck Odom

    Buck Odom 2Buck Odom – Hog shot between Woodville and Chester on December 17, 2020.

    6. Nathan Vaughn

    Nathan VaughnNathan Vaughn - 8 point buck at the Diamond T Ranch in Warren, Texas on January 3, 2021.

    7. Scott Vaughn

    Scott VaughnScott Vaughn - 10 point buck in Northern Tyler County November 8, 2020.

    Polk County 

    8. Ashton Davis

    Ashton DavisAshton Davis - Doe, harvested in Texas hunters club in Soda, TX.

    9. Paul Oliver

    Paul OliverPaul Oliver - 10 Point with a 19 Inch Spread at the Texas Hunter Club in Soda, TX.

    Houston County 

     10. Hunter Burris

    Hunter BurrisHunter Burris, 9 years old from Danbury, TX holding his first deer, 7-point, on January 2, 2021 in Crockett, TX.

  • Beene wins 24-2A crown, Lady Cats qualify

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Big Sandy senior Bali Mitchell finishes fifth in the District 24-2A cross country meet last week. The Lady Cats finished second as a team and will compete in the Region III-2A Meet on Tuesday in Huntsville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    BROADDUS — Big Sandy junior Seth Beene Williams won the varsity boys race at the District 24-2A cross country meet on Oct. 28 at Jackson Hill Marina in Broaddus.

    Beene finished the race with a time of 17 minutes, 23 seconds in frigid, rainy conditions and beat runner-up Jose Jimenez of Spurger by 26 seconds (17:49). This season also is the first time Beene participated in cross country.

    “Never ran in weather like this,” Beene said. “A lot of people told me I’d be good at it and I tried it out. It’s pretty nice. I’m very competitive and I like anything that I can try to win.”

    The top two teams and top 10 individuals qualified for the Region III-2A Meet on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at Kate Barr Ross Park in Huntsville. Despite Beene’s first-place finish and a fifth-place finish from Jordan Martinez, the Wildcats finished third and will miss out on competing as a team.

    Broaddus won the boys crown with 47 points, while Spurger took second with 48. Big Sandy had 49 points — two shy of first and one shy of second.

    Beene and Martinez will compete in the region meet as individuals. Despite winning the individual title, Beene believes his best is yet to come.

    “I could’ve run better,” he said. “I’m coming off of a cramp injury, but I think I did well overall. I stretched, iced it and and rested as much as I could.”

    Although this is Beene’s first season to run cross country, he has been a member of the Big Sandy basketball program. While basketball is his first love, he is open to participate in college cross country or track and field.

    “Basketball is my first love, but I could see myself running in college,” Beene said.

    While the Wildcats missed out on a region team berth, the Lady Cats did not. They finished second to Tyler County rival Colmesneil.

    Big Sandy had top-10 finishes from Lauryn Hoffman (second), Bali Mitchell (fifth) and Lauren Hulin (eighth). Rounding out the Lady Cats’ score of 43 points was Lillian Fultz (16th) and Corynn Kaleh (22nd).

    Colmesneil won the district crown with 38 points. The Lady Bulldogs are coached by Big Sandy alumnus Trey Bullock.

    “I’m not sure if this is our first team title or not,” Bullock said. “We have very hard-working girls here at Colmesneil and I knew that they had good effort. Every coach would like for their athletes to give their best effort. I feel that’s what the boys and girls at Colmesneil do — give their best effort. A lot of these kids do volleyball or football as well. It’s a challenge dealing with injuries or running the day after a volleyball match or a football game, but through hard work they were still able to practice early in the morning. I think that’s all a coach can ask for is the best effort.”

    In addition to being the head boys and girls cross country coach, Bullock also is the head boys basketball coach and a football assistant at Colmesneil.

  • Colmesneil council accepts Davis resignation

    Colmesneil City HallPHOTO BY WENDY BENDY Colmesneil City Hall

    By Mollie LaSalle

    TYLER COUNTY – The Colmesneil City Council met for its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, with Mayor Don Baird announcing the resignation of council member Kenneth Davis.

    Davis’s resignation was effective on Sept. 10, when he notified Baird through a letter. Davis was arrested in August and charged with a felony sexual abuse charge following an investigation out of Trinity County. His resignation was accepted unanimously.

    Councilmembers held a round table discussion about a possible replacement for Davis. While many names were suggested, as of press time, no one person being considered has met the criteria for the open seat.

    All councilmembers agreed that further discussion is warranted, with members stressing the need for “some younger folks” at city hall.

    Councilmembers discussed the basketball goal on the corner of Hickory and Sutton streets once again. Baird said people have been called City Hall with complaints about it.

    The resident who owns the goal was asked on more than one occasion to remove it from its current location, which is deemed dangerous, as children are playing in or near the street at all hours.

    When the basketball goal was first installed about two to three months ago, the city contacted Texas Municipal League Attorneys about the question of liability in the event someone gets hurt. TML has stated from the beginning that the city will not be held liable for any injuries. Furthermore, the city cannot move it, and Duane Crews added that “there ought to be some way to legally move it”.

    This had been on ongoing discussion/problem for at least the last two months, with council coming up with no real solution. Continuing discussion/monitoring of the problem is the only recourse at the present time.

    Fall festival planned

    City Secretary Wendy Bendy reminded council members about the Fall Festival on October 28 at First Baptist Church. The Community Center will be opened to serve chili cheese nachos for attendees. Hayrides and other activities are planned for the event.

    Bendy also announced that as of Sept. 14, City Hall is once again open to the public, and the check-free bill pay service is operational also.

    She advised that the CD’s at Citizens Bank have all matured, except for one. Bendy also reported during the water and sewer report that there were seven leaks, one sewer tap, two meter taps, three meters turned on and three meters turned off. She also reported that water lines on Steel Grove Road are being continuously broken by logging trucks. This issue is at a stalemate for now.

    The first reading of the fiscal year 2021 city budget was tabled, pending further discussion/review, as was the matter of the basketball goal.

  • Colmesneil suspends in-person learning

    Remote Learning graphicFILE PHOTO Remote Learning graphic

    By Chris Edwards

    COLMESNEIL – As of Monday, Colmesneil ISD will forgo all in-person learning until Jan. 5 of 2021.

    The announcement was issued on Friday by Superintendent Eldon Franco, who cited potential exposures to COVID-19 since Thanksgiving break. “The cases on campus have been very minimal and have not affected large numbers. Regardless, the process that we must follow, as dictated by state and local governments, creates a great deal of worry and stress for those both directly and indirectly involved,” Franco wrote in a letter addressed to parents and community members on Friday, Dec. 11.

    Franco said that the number of cases has surged in the community, and attributed it to outside sources, and that it was expected to occur due to holiday gatherings.

    At present, the COVID numbers, countywide, include 49 active residents who have tested positive from the PCR testing and 86 active tests from the rapid, or quick testing.

    In going to the remote mode of learning, all CISD students will still be expected to participate in remote learning for the remainder of the semester by using district-provided or personal devices to access instruction.

    Students are also expected to check-in with teachers each day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, and breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided by the CISD cafeteria for pick-up from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

    “Our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy and continue the educational process,” Franco said.

    With the announcement that CISD will suspend its in-person learning, Colmesneil eatery The Rustic Grill announced that it will offer its facility and Wi-Fi capabilities to anyone in need. “We would like to help out. If you don’t have Wi-Fi at home to do virtual school please don’t hesitate to come here and do your work,” a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page stated.

    The Rustic Grill is typically closed on Mondays but will open its doors for anyone who needs to access the restaurant’s Wi-Fi to do schoolwork.

  • Longtime Tyler Countian to turn 100

    3 Old Photo FranFran with her baton and her brother with his trumpet during high school days.

    By Chris Edwards

    Each trip around the sun is a cause for celebration, but for those who hit the century mark, that achievement is definitely worthy of a big celebration.

    Centenarians are becoming more common nowadays, with all of the advances in healthcare and nutrition available. According to the most recent numbers from the Census Bureau, there are around 97,000 centenarians in the United States, and nearly 573,000 around the world.

    Yet, still, many of those who reach 100 years young are not without some complications. Longtime Colmesneil resident Frances Ellen “Fran” Wyche is the exception. Wyche, who recently moved to Zavalla, to live with her son on his small farm, still finds a great deal to enjoy from life and activities to keep her mind, body and spirit young and free.

    Wyche will celebrate her 100th year on Monday, Jan. 18, and according to her younger sister Mary Ann Kittell, of Colmesneil, she has kept busy all of her life.

    Wyche was the first-born child of Herman Walton and Ila Lee. Her father, a WWI combat veteran, had started his family in Detroit, where he had returned after the war to re-settle into his old job as City Electrical Engineer.

    4 young Fran 011420A young Fran Wyche.

    Her father was always encouraging of her pursuits growing up, and chief among them was twirling. According to Kittell, their father managed to find the best twirling teachers and even fashioned her batons in his metal shop, perfecting balance and innovation.

    Wyche was also the first to use a fire baton, which features materials at each end with a chemical mix to ignite blue, yellow, green and red at the right moment.

    She spent her childhood growing up in the Beaumont area, and became the state baton-twirling champion in 1939. Later, she won the national title. Her little brother Tommy was no slouch as a twirler, himself, and took the second-place honors toward the state title in 1939.

    Kittell, who is nearly 89, herself, remembered when she and her sister, their parents and other siblings moved to Texas. She recalls it like it was yesterday. “There was no electricity out there in, and it was a shell road. We lived off the old Highway 90 in Amelia,” she said.

    Wyche’s talents and lust for life and adventure took her far outside Southeast Texas. After years of ballet and tap dancing, she came home from Baylor to perform in shows that promoted the sale of war bonds and other benefits at the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II.

    She married her high school sweetheart, who was a U.S Air Corps pilot, and traveled around the country, as well as into Okinawa, Japan and through China, and beyond. After spending time in Beaumont and Houston, and raising her son, Robin, and surviving two husbands, she worked a variety of jobs, including a stint as a receptionist at NASA. She also managed her brother’s restaurant in Colorado for a time, and later returned home to be with her aging mother and to help her sister at the BBB with public relations and memberships for a decade.

    When she moved to Tyler County in 1974, she joined the Round Dance club at the Opera House and helped out as a hostess at the Friday night dinner dances and for many other occasions, her sister noted.

    2 Drum Major FranFran as a drum major in high school. Her talent for performing took her far when she was young.

    Last year, Wyche moved from her home on Frog Pond in Colmesneil to Zavalla, where she enjoys being around the animals on her son’s farm. “She’s always loved horses,” said Kittell.
    Kittell said Wyche still enjoys her half-mile walks each day and enjoys visiting with neighbors and gardening. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are frequent visitors, and although her eyesight is dimming, her mind is still sharp, and she enjoys reading and watching television, and good conversation.

    She also still looks much, much younger than her years. Kittell joked that she could still pass for her little sister. “She was my baby sister until she turned 90,” Kittell said with a laugh.
    Although the pandemic has curbed most celebrations, Kittell has put forth a challenge to Booster readers to surprise her sister with cards to commemorate her milestone.

    1 Fran Wyche Recent 011421A recent photo of Fran Wyche

    Anyone who would like to wish this remarkable lady a happy birthday can send a card by way of the Tyler County Booster. Just send them to Frances Ellen Wyche c/o 205 West Bluff, Woodville, Texas 75979.

    NOTE: All photos are provided courtesy of Mary Ann Kittell

  • Tyler County cross-country runners place at Regional meet

    11JASON CHLAPEK | PCPC Spurger Pirates Colton Fredieu and Luis Jimenez cross the finish line.

    BY CHRIS EDWARDS

    HUNTSVILLE – Tyler County was well-represented at the UIL Region 3 Cross-Country Regional Meet.

    The meet, for the 2A through 6A conference schools, was held Nov. 9-10 in Huntsville at Sam Houston State University, and found teams from Spurger; Colmesneil; Warren and Woodville competing in the 2A and 3A events, respectively.

    For the Spurger Pirates, the boys placed in eighth, overall, with 223 points.

    In the girls’ two-mile run, Katy Curry came in 55th place with a time of 15:36.60 and Jillian Leasman placed at 111th with a time of 18:34.50.

    The boys had six runners compete in the three-mile run. Jose Jimenez placed at 24th with a time of 19:26.80. Luis Molina Jimenez came in 53rd place, with a time of 20:26.70, and Colton Fredieu came in right behind at 54th with the same time. Nicholas Wilson got a 65th place finish with a time of 21:12.20; Bryce Oseguera got the 100th place finish with 25:01.80 and Coby Anthony got the 104th place with 25:32.90 on the clock.

    The Colmesneil Bulldogs’ cross-country runners put a team of six girls in the two-mile run and Treston Horton running in the boys’ three-mile event. Horton placed 66th with a time of 21:20.20.

    For the girls, Katherine Vargas-Martine placed 18th, with 14:39.40; Alyssa Mabry came in 37th with 15:04.70; Bernice Pittman placed 87th with 16:47.30. Erin Frazier got 97th place with a 17:05.20; Karen Vargas-Martinez got 113th with 18:41.20 and Katelyne Guerrero placed 115th with a time of 18:48.

    The Warren Warriors cross-country boys had a team consisting of Jerrod Yeagin (#42, 18:21.70); Eli Carrell (#105, 20:46.40); Arturo Bustamante (#118, 21:26.50); Jonathan Lee (#126, 22:02.80); Jerry Don Brinkley (#133, 23:01.30); Juan Lianes (#137, 23:45.90) and Corley Dilbeck (#138, 24:03.70.) They placed 15th in the three-mile event with a total of 378 points.

    Abby Carroll from Warren also ran in the 3A girls’ two-mile run and finished 24th with a time of 13:57.70.

    The Woodville Eagles were represented in the 3A girls’ two-mile run with a ninth-place finish for a team of seven Lady Eagle runners.

    Here are the results for Woodville individual runners at the meet: Kristina Nash (#60, 14:55.50); Brittany Lilley (#63, 15:00.30); Raegan Frantz (#71, 15:23.30); Ryleigh Stewart (#85, 15:23.30); Aubrianna Torres (#96, 15:50.40); Ashley Davis (#118, 16:35.30) and Kenadi Frauenberger (#129, 17:28.20.) The Lady Eagle runners accumulated a combined 258 points.

  • Wilkinson commits to Rich Mountain

    SPORTS Sunnie Wilkinson 012621PHOTO COURTESY OF COLMESNEIL ISD ATHLETICS Colmesneil Lady Dog (and soon-to-be Rich Mountain Buck) Sunnie Wilkinson at bat.

    By Chris Edwards

    COLMESNEIL – Lady Dogs softballer Sunnie Wilkinson announced her commitment to play for the Rich Mountain Bucks last week.

    Wilkinson, a senior, announced the commitment on social media. “I am honored and blessed to announce my commitment to further my education and play softball at the University of Arkansas, Rich Mountain,” she said.

    Wilkinson, who is set to graduate Colmesneil High School this year, as part of the class of 2021, plays short stop, left field and centerfield for the Lady Dogs under Coach Kayla Day.

    She said she wants to thank her coaches, family and friends to help her further her goals, both on the diamond and in the classroom.

    The Rich Mountain campus is located in Mena, Arkansas and is part of the University of Arkansas system.

    The school’s softball program was added to its athletic offerings in 2020, under the direction of Coach Tracy Nealy, a 34-year veteran of coaching various softball programs.

    Currently, Wilkinson and her Lady Dog teammates are prepping for the coming season. They began practice the second week of January and are scheduled to play the Groveton Lady Indians at home at 5 p.m. on Feb. 16 to kick off the season after scrimmages with Onalaska, Corrigan, Hudson, Woodville and Huntington.

  • Wreck claims young Colmesneil woman

    blue light 73088 960 720FILE PHOTO Blue Light

    By Chris Edwards

    SAN AUGUSTINE COUNTY – A multiple-vehicle crash in San Augustine County left a young Colmesneil woman dead, another seriously injured and a community in mourning.

    According to the crash report from the Texas Department of Public Safety, on Tuesday evening, at approximately 5:45 p.m., a Kia passenger car was northbound along FM 1277, and failed to yield to the right-of-way from a stop sign and headed into the path of an eastbound vehicle on state highway 103. The driver of the Kia was identified by DPS as 18-year-old Lacy Reynolds of Colmesneil, and she was pronounced dead at the scene by a San Augustine Justice of the peace. A passenger in the vehicle, Kaitlyn Byrum, 17, of Colmesneil, was transported via helicopter to a hospital in Tyler.

    The driver of the other vehicle involved in the fatal crash, identified as Joe Worry, a 37-year-old San Augustine man, was transported to CHI St. Luke’s Hospital in Lufkin for treatment. There is no report on Worry’s condition, but sources indicate that Byrum has undergone tests and is showing some improvement.

    While investigators with DPS were investigating the crash, a Freightliner tractor truck semi-trailer was eastbound and, according to the report, took evasive action to avoid the crash, and left the roadway, striking a parked pickup truck.

    The news of Reynolds’ passing sent shockwaves through her hometown. The 18-year-old recent graduate of Colmesneil High School was involved in the community and a myriad of extracurricular activities in school. She was the 2019 CHS Homecoming Queen and represented Colmesneil as a Dogwood Princess last year.

    Reynolds was attending Stephen F. Austin State University, majoring in business, where she’d recently been named to the President’s List. Her mother, Chrissy Reynolds, in a public social media post following the crash urged everyone to pray for Byrum, her cousin, and stated that although the family’s “hearts are completely shattered,” the family and friends know that Lacy “is walking those streets of gold.”

    Several events that were scheduled for CISD were canceled or postponed in light of the crash. The crash remains under investigation by DPS.

  • WWII vet Netherland dies

    WWII vet Hermon NetherlandCOURTESY PHOTO WWII vet Hermon Netherland

    By Chris Edwards

    COLMESNEIL – Longtime Colmesneil resident and World War II hero Hermon Netherland died last Friday. He was 94.

    Netherland had lived on Lake Amanda since retiring from Texaco in 1985. He was a war hero who participated in almost every major campaign of the war in the Pacific as a part of the U.S. Navy. Netherland, who was born on April 21, 1926, in Enterprise, Louisiana, was raised in Port Arthur, and signed up to join the service at the age of 15. In an interview in 2019 with a regional publication that published an issue focused on WWII veterans in the area, Netherland recalled how he was encouraged to sign up at such a young age after a friend who was his same age joined, a fact that did not make his father happy.

    Netherland said he spent a year wearing his father down, and at 16, he was able to be enlisted, in 1942, at the height of the war.

    He was qualified in service as both a signalman and a frogman and was involved with several dangerous invasion campaigns. He was present for the invasions of Guam, Sai Pan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the Philippines and the Marshall Islands. At Iwo Jima, he was hit by a mortar, which left shrapnel in his back, some of which remained in him, and resulted in nagging pain throughout the rest of his service years.

    After his discharge, he worked at the Texaco refinery in Port Arthur for many years, and following retirement, he and his wife Velma moved to Colmesneil. He was known as a friendly, soft-spoken man who was always willing and ready to lend a helping hand. In spite of his illustrious record as a combat veteran and his tall, imposing frame, many remember him as an incredibly kind, interesting and giving man. He enjoyed the comfort of his home on the lake, and outdoor pursuits, such as fishing, hunting and gardening, and he was a devoted, highly knowledgeable collector of antiques, jewelry, art and motorcycle memorabilia.

    Netherland’s minster, Dr. Keith Bellamy, of the Woodville Church of Christ said that in spite of all that Netherland had endured and his record of combat duty, he had told him once “I don’t hate anyone.”

    Scott Mitchell, who ministers at the Warren Church of Christ and volunteers to drive the VA van to appointments at the Houston VA Hospital, was a friend of Netherland’s and called him “a rare breed that most will never understand or could live up to.”

    “He’s one more of the ‘greatest generation’ to leave this world,” Mitchell wrote on Facebook.

    Last year, Netherland’s close friend and neighbor Kirsten Hardmant put out a call on social media to help gather donations to get him a powered lift chair, as it was getting harder for him to get up from his old recliner. Although many donations came through, when Mann Furniture owner Lee Mann got wind of the effort, he donated a lift chair to Netherland. The older man was a friend of Mann’s from church, and although the funds were more than sufficient to purchase such a chair from Mann’s business, he would not hear of it, and insisted donating the chair to his friend. Both Mann and Netherland then suggested that the money be put toward a Warren family whose home had burned down.

    Hardmant said at the time that although Netherland “sometimes needs a little help,” he rarely asked for it, and was always more concerned with others.

    She said that often when Netherland would go out to enjoy breakfast at the Bulldog Country Café in Colmesneil, he would be “like a magnet,” and many men and women would come up to him and thank him for his service and want to talk to him and would often buy his breakfast.

    Bellamy said that at Netherland’s request, there will be no service for him, but at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 28, there will be a gathering at the Woodville Church of Christ to honor those who helped to take care of him.

    Netherland was preceded in death by his wife, Velma, and daughter, Sharon.