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  • Ivanhoe awarded $11.4m

    Cathy Bennett lakeCHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Ivanhoe Mayor Cathy Bennett stands in front of the remnants of Lake Ivanhoe. Its dam was severely damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

    Funds will go toward flood mitigation projects

    By Chris Edwards

    IVANHOE – For a city that has seen its fair share of progress in its short life as an incorporated city, last Friday was a red-letter day for Ivanhoe.

    On that date, Ivanhoe’s mayor Cathy Bennett, along with the state’s land commissioner George P. Bush and state Senator Robert Nichols announced that the state’s General Land Office (GLO) approved a funding amount of more than $11.4 million to go to the city toward flood mitigation projects, which will improve the city’s drainage infrastructure.

    Bennett said when she received the good news, she was “extremely elated.” The money will go toward several projects in the city that, with its budget, could have not accomplished, she said.

    Multiple flooding events, going back to 2015, and the Hurricane Harvey disaster in 2017, have damaged parts of Ivanhoe’s dams, and in the case of the Lake Ivanhoe Dam, breeched it, and caused severe erosion on the face of the dam. Lake Ivanhoe was reduced from a 22-acre lake to a body of water the size of a pond. That dam will be reconstructed, along with the Camelot Dam.

    Along the Tristan Dam, the road level will be raised to match the level of the dam. Recent storms have exceeded the lake’s capacity of its emergency spillway. This has presented a hazard to first responders, as well as the public, travelling along Lakewood Drive during and after storm events.

    These projects are a few of the major infrastructure works to be undertaken with the funding within the city.

    According to a news release from the GLO, the scope of the work to Ivanhoe’s infrastructure will, in the long term, increase the city’s resilience to any future disasters and reduce the long-term risk of loss of life and damage to property.

    “Since 2015, 140 Texas counties have received a Presidential disaster declaration,” said Bush. “The need is extensive, and this first round of mitigation funding is geared directly at helping communities that are majority low-to-moderate income and lack the resources to fund their own mitigation projects. The GLO is proud to help communities across Texas increase public safety, prevent property loss and minimize hardship on residents,” he added.

    The grant carries a 1% match, which Bennett said the city still has money in its bond fund to cover. There are many in the community asking questions on social media about the coming windfall and the timetable of the work it will cover, and to that end, Bennett has scheduled a town hall meeting at the Ivanhoe City Hall for Saturday, June 5 beginning at 10 a.m. She said the meeting will address the myriad of questions that residents, as well as city officials, may have, including the timetable of the project and how the funding is awarded.

    Bennett has invited the engineer working on the project, the city’s grant administrator and also the GLO grant manager to participate. The town hall meeting will be livestreamed on the official City of Ivanhoe Facebook page and YouTube site. For anyone who might have questions to bring up at the event, but cannot attend, Bennett is encouraging them to email her at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their name, address and question. Bennett invited the citizens to read the grant application, which the city has posted to its website, in full, at https://cityofivanhoe.texas.gov.

    Ivanhoe’s grant award is part of more than $2.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earmarked to protect Texas communities affected by Harvey and other severe floods going back to 2015.

    Nichols made a statement last week in support of the grant funding, and noted that within Senate District 3, more than $105 million of the overall funding was awarded. Neighboring Jasper County was approved for $29.4 million, which will go toward projects in the cities of Jasper and Kirbyville.

    “This grant money will be key in protecting infrastructure that we have, and it is also going to be helpful in our economic future,” Bennett said.

    One bittersweet note occurred as the city’s grant award was announced on Friday. Jack Brockhouse, who served as the mayor of Ivanhoe for a term before Bennett was elected in 2014, died. Brockhouse lived on Lake Ivanhoe and had hoped to see it return one day, Bennett said.

  • New officers take bite out of crime in Ivanhoe

    riley dogCHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley with Yaya.

    By Chris Edwards

    IVANHOE – Much like the animated bloodhound in the 1980s named McGruff who reminded kids to “take a bite out of crime,” there are some canine law enforcers who are doing just that in Tyler County.

    According to Deputy Marshal Michael “Mike” King with the Ivanhoe Marshal’s Office, the three recently added canine deputies to the department’s ranks are “earning their kibble.” The canine deputies, named Yaya, Baby and Duke, have, in the short time they’ve been active on the streets, netted three felony charges for possession of controlled substances and one of the canines (Duke) is certified in explosives detection.

    Both Yaya and Baby are certified narcotics detection dogs and are the canine counterparts of Chief Marshal Terry Riley and King, respectively.

    The human officer counterparts (K9s) and the dogs both endure rigorous testing and training on an ongoing basis in order to protect and serve their communities. Along with narcotics detection and explosive identification, the dogs are also extremely useful in search-and-rescue operations and pursuing fleeing suspects.

    Riley and King also recently attended a canine first-aid course, which allows the dogs to be life-flighted by Hermann Memorial Life Flight if they are seriously injured in the line of duty.

    2PHOTO COURTESY OF IVANHOE MARSHAL’S OFFICE Ivanhoe Deputy Marshal Mike King with Baby.

    Yaya was obtained last November by Riley and trained by Ivanhoe resident Michael Hadnot. More recently, Warren resident and businessman Neil Alderman sponsored the narcotics training of Baby. Alderman said he learned during the last election cycle that there were no narcotics dogs working in the county, and said he wanted to ensure there were canine officers available to help out the different school districts in the county, along with other law enforcement agencies in tackling the drug issues facing the area.

    The Marshal’s Office reported that it has responded to 130 calls for service, assistance or criminal activity for each month since the beginning of the year, and the presence of the canine officers has helped immensely.

    Along with the canine officers, Riley recently added another officer to the department, longtime Tyler County lawman Jim Zachary, who will serve as a Deputy Marshal.

    Zachary recently retired from his post as Pct. 4 Constable, which his son, Zach, won in the last election. “With the addition of Deputy Zachary, the Marshal’s Office personnel has over a combined 100 years of law enforcement experience,” Riley said.

    The Marshal’s Office has also forged working relationship with other agencies, including the DEA Narcotics Task Force. According to King, although it is small in number, the Marshal’s Office of Ivanhoe is a full-service law enforcement agency capable of handling everything from traffic incidents to serious criminal violations, all on a small operating budget.