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  • COCISD Supt steps down

    COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland R. MooreCOURTESY PHOTO COCISD Superintendent Dr. Leland Moore will resign from his post effective Dec. 31, 2020.

    Special to the News-Times

    Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD will be looking for a new leader.

    After serving as COCISD superintendent for nearly five years, Dr. Leland Moore has tendered his resignation, effective Dec. 31. Moore’s resignation was accepted by the board at the December meeting, which took place during the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, at the Jones Auditorium.

    “As I begin a new season in my life, I am ready to pursue new opportunities. I have given five years of service to the COCISD and every day of that time has been rewarding for me. My heart tells me it’s time for a change,” wrote Moore in a message to staff. “I have been privileged to serve with a great team of educators and staff who are loyal and dedicated to the children of the COCISD. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to have worked with trustees who are on a vibrant and exciting mission.”

    The Board of Trustees held its regular December meeting a week earlier than usual due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.

    After formally accepting Moore’s resignation, the board approved the appointment of education consultant and former San Augustine superintendent Walter Key to serve as interim superintendent. Also approved was the engagement of Haglund Law Firm, P.C. to perform the superintendent search.

    In other business, the meeting opened with a public hearing to present the 2019-20 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Vikki Curry gave the presentation, explaining that due to the TEA response to COVID-19, the report was essentially the same as the previous year. There were no public comments. The TAPR may be viewed on the district website at cocisd.org > District > Accountability.

    Under New Business, the board discussed and approved the following:

    Renewal of a legal services agreement with Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle P.C. 

    Extension of additional COVID-related leave to COCISD employees. 

    Adoption of a formal board resolution urging TEA to cancel the STAAR tests for the 2020-21 school year.

    A Verizon operation connectivity contract.

    The next regular meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees will be held at the Jones Auditorium on Monday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Coldspring FFA Member Awarded National American FFA Degree

    Rylee American PictureColdspring-Oakhurst alumnus and Southwestern University sophomore Rylee Rudloff earned her FFA American Degree last week.

    INDIANAPOLIS – Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year 4,136 American Degrees were awarded. Rylee Rudloff of Coldspring, who is a member of the Coldspring FFA chapter, was awarded the American FFA Degree at the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 27-29, which was held virtually.

    Rudloff was a Coldspring FFA member for four years during high school. She served as an officer of Coldspring FFA for two years, as the Vice President for 2017-2018 and President for 2018-2019. 

    Rudloff showed Market Goats and Breeding Heifers at the San Jacinto County Fair. She also showed registered Brahman heifers at Fort Worth Livestock Show, San Antonio Livestock Show, Houston Livestock Show, and the Star of Texas Livestock Show in Austin. 

    Rudloff competed in Livestock Judging for 4 years and Public Relations for three years and Greenhand Quiz one year. She received her Lone Star FFA Degree from Texas FFA in 2018. 

    Rudloff has continued her involvement in Agriculture after high school through her registered Brahman Heifers. She is currently attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, where she is studying to become a physical therapist and playing outfield for the softball team.

    Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee.

    Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

    Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention.

    About National FFA Organization
    The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook and Twitter.


    The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. A separately registered nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of trustees that includes the national FFA president, educators, business leaders and individual donors. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.

     

  • Coldspring runs past Shepherd, 73-51

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Coldspring-Oakhurst guard Duke Lawniczak (with ball) puts up a shot in traffic against a host of Shepherd defenders.

    By JASON CHLAPEK

    COLDSPRING — It was nothing new for the Coldspring-Oakhurst and Shepherd boys basketball teams when they faced each other last week in Coldspring.

    The Pirates operated out of a half-court set and got the ball inside to 6-foot-11 post Bradley Davis, while the Trojans ran and pressed. In the end, Coldspring’s full-court press proved to be too much for Shepherd as the Trojans forced 42 turnovers, including 33 steals, to run past the Pirates, 73-51, on Dec. 1.

    “We always press,” Coldspring coach Greg Devers said. “That’s our thing since we’ve always been here. Two years ago, we averaged about 99 points a game in district. Last year in the state semifinal, we pressed the No. 1 team in the state (Dallas Madison). That’s our bread and butter. We don’t like to get in a half-court game. We like to play up-tempo and take as many shots as we can.”

    Shepherd coach Jeremy Bennett knew what to expect as well. He also said last week’s game wasn’t the first time his team saw the full-court press.

    “They’ve been pressing since forever and it’s nothing we haven’t seen,” Bennett said. “Every team we’ve seen has pressed us.”

    The presence of Davis is one of the main reasons why teams press the Pirates. Nonetheless, the senior post still recorded a triple-double — 24 points, 13 rebounds, 10 blocks.

    The main culprit for Shepherd’s turnovers may not have been Coldspring’s full-court press, however. It may have been the absence of point guard Trey Stacey.

    “One thing that hurt us is we didn’t have our starting point guard,” Bennett said. “That hurt us with turnovers. He was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Trase Thiessen has handled the ball for us. It hurt a lot not having him. We got after them, but not having our full roster hurt us. I’d love to play them again with my full roster. It might be a different story.”

    The Pirates led once in the contest, 13-12, late in the first quarter. But the Trojans closed out the quarter on a 6-2 run, which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Luke Monroe, to take an 18-15 lead after one frame of play.

    Monroe’s 3-pointer was the start of a 13-0 run for Coldspring (4-0), who built a 28-15 lead that would not be relinquished. The Trojans led 34-23 at the half and 54-41 after three quarters.

    Duke Lawniczak led all scorers with 37 points for Coldspring. Cameron Shaw-Rucker had a double-double with 11 points and 10 steals to go with seven assists, while Dante Eldridge chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds.

    “Practice makes perfect and I watch Trae Young a lot and the way he flicks his wrist,” Lawniczak said. “Just pray that it goes in. I like to go in the paint, but I like to take the shot when I feel like I have it. We need to play with the same energy. We’ve won district every year since I was a freshman. We haven’t lost a game in district and I pray that we can do it again.”

    Shepherd (5-2) also received 8 points and 10 rebounds from Dillen Johnson. Carlos Renovato and Christian Castillo also contributed with 8 and 7 points, respectively.

    The Pirates bounced back from their loss at Coldspring with a 56-40 victory at Madisonville last Saturday. Davis led the way with 22 points and 15 rebounds, while Johnson and Renovato had 13 and 10 points, respectively.

    Prior to last week’s loss, Shepherd’s only other defeat was a 64-53 setback at the hands of Class 5A Kingwood Park. The Pirates also have victories against defending 2A state champion Shelbyville; 5A teams Montgomery and Cleveland; and fellow 4A West Orange-Stark.

    Coldspring followed up its double-digit win with a pair of nail biting victories against 4A programs Bridge City and Orangefield last week. The Trojans defeated BC, 65-59, last Thursday and edged Orangefield, 64-62, last Saturday.

    In the win against BC, Lawniczak led with 28 points, while Eldridge recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Statistics were not available from the win at Orangefield.

    “This is my sixth year at Coldspring,” Devers said. “I like to press — 32 minutes of full-court pressing. We pressed when I was at Manvel and Stafford. I learned it from Earl Berry at Channelview. There was a year where we scored 100 points 14 times in a season.”

    After qualifying for the state tournament a year ago, the Trojans seem to be in reloading mode as opposed to rebuilding.

    “Our record the last two years is 71-9 and my junior varsity’s record is 40-3,” Devers said. “I have four returnees — all four of them start. I also have three move-ins that have helped us out as well. I have 11 guys who I can put on the court and they’re going to give 120 percent.”

    The biggest obstacle isn’t an opponent on Coldspring’s schedule, according to Devers, who’s team hosts 2A No. 1 Martins Mill at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. It’s Covid-19.

    “Our schedule changes every day and every time I receive a phone call from a coach, I think he’s going to cancel,” Devers said. “Anytime an administrator comes into my classroom, I think one of my players has Covid. We’re playing it day-by-day right now.”

  • Commissioners seek upgrades across county

    Commish 1EMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA I SJNT Representatives from the ThyssenKrupp Elevator, an elevator modernization company, along with county maintenance, discuss the costs of upgrading electrical and fire alarm components in the courthouse elevator.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    The San Jacinto County commissioners court met to discuss upgrades in the county regarding the use of census data, contract upgrades within the jail, and even modern touches to the courthouse elevator. 

    Jail Update

    Captain Rosa Bass stood before the court asking for a three-year addendum to a current contract with NCIC Inmate Phone Communication services, which currently ends in 2022. The three-year extension comes with the company implementing the service of sorting through inmate mail in-lieu of jail staff. This will help alleviate man-hours spent inspecting mail, as well as relieves potential tensions between staff and inmates regarding mail-related complaints.

    The services will come at no additional cost to the county aside from a contract extension. The company has already installed kiosks in the cells that allow inmates to place grievances and commissary requests, and will allow them to view mail. Inmates also have limited video communication services, which have been offered and heavily utilized since Covid has stopped visitations. According to jail staff, since implementing the video services earlier this year, inmates have been calmer and less disciplinary action has been taken.

    Family and friends can contact the jail directly to set up video visitation and messages, which are still monitored by staff. With the main change being to mail services, anyone seeking to send mail to inmates will send all correspondences to a central sorting location instead of the jail- all mail sent to the jail will be returned to sender. The exceptions include attorney mail and bonafide press-releases.

    On Dec. 9 of this year, the jail was set to be fully staffed and in compliance with The Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

    After months of review and pending the final contract, the board entered into an agreement to purchase seven plain work trucks with no after-market specs, but with full-maintenance through Enterprises’ Fleet Lease Program. The trucks will be leased for around $38,000. Under the contract, the trucks will run in the county for 12 month or until they reach 15,000 miles, at which point the county will decide to purchase, replace, or retain the equity from the vehicle.

    Enterprise will also remove several currently existing vehicles that are older models or have higher millage to help offset the cost of the new fleet, as well as provide the county with a six-month update on their vehicle usage and equity.

    Other business

    The San Jacinto County Courthouse is currently working to plan and receive bids to modernize the elevator. Some features on the elevator will be grandfathered in per Texas Historic Commission guidelines, but other features like the fire system will be renovated.

    The county is also in the process of hiring a firm to assist with using 2020 Census data to potentially redistrict areas and determine what economic and social needs residents could benefit from.

    To help streamline legal paperwork filed in the county, the court voted to transfer all registrar duties from the Justice of the Peace for all precincts to the county clerk. In the past there has been confusion between the county and state regarding precincts handling paperwork outside of their jurisdiction, which creates backlogs in certifying things like birth and death certificates. While all able parties will be certified countywide to handle all paperwork, ideally the County Clerk will act as the main authority.

    Commissioner’s court meets every first and third Wednesday of the month at 9 a.m. in the Emergency Shelter in Coldspring, across from the courthouse. Public comment can be made at the beginning of the meetings.

  • Did you know?

    did you knoePHOTO BY YVONNE CONES The Coldspring community center is open for operation.

    By Yvonne Cones

    Did you know that Coldspring Community Center is open for business? This is the center at 101 E. Cedar Ave. near the courthouse and not the community shelter recentlybuilt.The Coldspring Center was created by a small group of residents who saw the need for a meeting place for the community. It is 65 years old.

    Beside it, a piece of land was developed into a beautiful garden by San Jacinto County Master Gardeners. It is the perfect place for small weddings (80 guests approx.), parties, events, anniversaries, and meetings.The Garden Club has been meeting there for two months or so, socially distanced and masked, and it is very affordable. For a full day, the cost is $150; $90 for half a day with a deposit of $250.

    This is fully refundable after leaving the premises in good condition. Call 936-433-6783 or go to Facebook.

    Things are moving along even with the pandemic. Workforce Solutions will hold a virtualjob fair on Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are looking for employers who want to hire people and also people who will host sites for applicants.

    Some will be able to use library computers, but some do not own a computer and cannot get to a library and will need help. Call Misty Spears at 936-327-5421 ext 5634.

    I wrote before about the webinars and courses run by the Small Business Development Center. They held a webinar for business owners this week on “Cyber Security For YourBusiness.”

    These subjects come round on a regular basis, so call and ask for details. On Oct. 28 the title is “Restaurant Reality - Digital Age of Marketing.” These webinars are free. Go to their website to register.

    K & C Fleur - Creative Cooking are based in Shepherd and deliver delicious meals to your home in the area. Their Facebook pages show some tempting photos of the meals they serve, they specialize in Cajun cuisine and salads.

    Courtney Taylor who runs the business with her husband is very community-minded and will hold a Cancer Awareness Benefit at Shepherd Gazebo Square next to the Fire Station on Oct. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. You can order on line or call 936-252-2736.

    Saturday, Dec. 5, will be Shepherd's Christmas Event. This year we hope to make it the best ever with the help of the community and Children’s Impact Center, Pastor Branch, and his church, and Shepherd ISD.

    The Impact Center will kick off the day with a Chili Cook-Off and will hold various contests for Best Dressed Pets, as well as adults, in Best Christmas Dress-Up, Best Sunday Best, and Children’s Dress ups. There is a lot more being planned.

    Contests for Best Decorated Business and Vehicle are also on the list. Call 936-499-2632 or 936-628-6397.

    Entry forms are available at the Impact Center Resale Shop and from Shepherd Chamber.

  • Fast start, press lifts Big Sandy

    IMG 2454BRIAN BESCH I PCE Alexis Thompson of Big Sandy drives to the basket. She had 22 points Friday.

    By Brian Besch

    LEGGETT - The Big Sandy Lady Cats established a large early lead and coasted to a road victory Friday night, beating the Lady Pirates of Leggett, 83-15.

    The Wildcats grabbed a 33-0 lead before Leggett was able to connect on a free throw late in the opening period. The first quarter was a festival of layups off of turnovers. The Big Sandy press smothered Leggett, robbing them of most possessions before the Lady Pirates could set up an offense.



    “We get in a rush when they start pressing,” Leggett coach Terri Barlow said. “We get in a rush and just throw the ball away. It is just simple little mistakes that we keep making over and over. I feel like we are going to be OK during district. These are tough teams that we are losing to like this.”

    Leggett has scheduled non-district games versus schools as big as Class 4A to prepare for district. They are currently 1-5, but have yet to play a school from Class 1A.

    To this point, Barlow said she likes the speed that her team possesses, but says they struggle with turnovers.

    “I told them to hold their heads up and not to worry about it and keep playing hard,” Barlow said. “It is an important game, but the most important games are the district games. I don't mind getting beat, but I just told them to not give up and keep working. When you quit on me, that is when you are a loser. If you keep playing hard, you are still a winner.”

    Erika Hansen led the Lady Pirates with seven points. For Big Sandy, sophomore Alexis Thompson had 22 points and freshman Faith Geller had 20. Savanna Poncho added 14 points, Baili Mitchell had 12 and Savannah Hoffman scored 11.

    “I thought early in the game we came out and played well,” Big Sandy coach Ryan Alec said. “We tell the kids when the ball is tipped, you have to play well early. You have to set a precedent in the beginning of the game. Our press had a lot to do with that. As the course of the game progressed, I thought our decision making wasn't as good. I think a lot of that was probably from fatigue. In the first half we did a good job of executing on offense and finding open people. We got turnovers and capitalized on those turnovers and was able to get some layups out of it.”

    Big Sandy has performed well of late, though fighting to keep a consistent roster for various reasons. The Lady Cats were only able to suit up seven girls Friday.

    “Defensively, I felt like we could have done a better job of keeping their best player in front of us,” Alec said. “We had a plan of trying to get the ball out of her hands and I thought at times we were successful in doing that. Other times, we let her split us and get to the basket. It was good preparation for us because once we get into district, we have Broaddus that has good guards and West Sabine.”

  • Leggett grinds out victory

    IMG 2522 BRIAN BESCH I PCE Jacoby Sells scored a game-high 21 points Friday in Leggett’s win over Big Sandy.

    By Brian Besch

    LEGGETT - The Leggett Pirates took an impressive 43-36 win over the Big Sandy Wildcats Friday night in Dudley Dickens Gymnasium.

    Leggett secured an early lead in the match largely behind the first-quarter scoring of Chase Parrish, who had 11 points through the first eight minutes.

    “We just came to play and we had a game plan,” Leggett coach Sean Edwards said. “We wanted to slow it down on them and I knew if we played good defense and controlled the tempo, we would win. We just had to run our half-court offense and grind it out.”

    The Pirates showed plenty of hustle on defense, frustrating the ‘Cats offensively. At the half, the home team held a 21-14 advantage.

    “Defense is always No. 1 and it's a tradition — it's always defense,” Edwards said. “We cut down our turnovers and that was a good thing, but we just have to learn how to finish games. It's the most perfect game we have played all year long.”

    The Wildcats played a better second half, slowly chipping away at the deficit. They took their first lead in the game with 4:30 remaining in the fourth quarter at 32-31 just after Parrish fouled out. 

    “I thought Leggett played great and played with a lot more intensity than we did,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said. “They executed better than we did, and offensively, we turned the ball over. When we got good looks, we couldn't make anything.”

    Jacoby Sells scored 14 points in the second half to help put his team back on top. For the night, he had 21 points and Parrish had 19 points for the Pirates. The Wildcats were paced by Kaden Foster with 11 (nine in the second half) and Weston Mayer, who had eight points.

    “Even with all of that with the turnovers and as bad as we played, if we make our free throws late, it's at least a one-possession game or maybe we even win it,” the Big Sandy coach said. “It was one of those nights where we didn't do anything to help ourselves win. In all honesty, and I just told the kids this, we didn't deserve to win that game. Even if we would have come back and won it, we didn't do enough. Every loose ball and every rebound, they seemed to get, and those are effort things.”

  • Oklahoma authorities arrest former Coldspring resident

    Marcus MorseCOURTESY PHOTO Former Coldspring resident Marcos Morse was arrested in Guymon, Oklahoma last week on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Morse had a pair of warrants out of Polk County for those crimes.

    By Jason Chlapek

    A suspect with outstanding warrants in Polk County and Coldspring ties was brought to justice Wednesday evening in Oklahoma.

    Marcus Morse, 23, was arrested by the Guymon Police Department in Guymon, Oklahoma. Morse had two warrants from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

    At approximately 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, the GPD received a call from the PCSO that they had warrants for Morse’s arrest. GPD officers attempted to serve the warrants to Morse at his residence, but he wasn’t there.

    They learned that he was working at Seaboard Foods in Guymon, and they went there to make contact. GPD officers made contact with Morse an hour later and informed him of his warrants.

    Morse was placed in handcuffs and taken to the back of a patrol unit where he was transported to the Texas County Detention Center without incident. He was awaiting extradition to Polk County at press time.

    One Polk County resident who is pleased that justice was served is Hope McWhorter. Her 14-year-old nieces were the victims.

    “My nieces will get justice from this monster,” McWhorter said.

    Morse graduated from Coldspring-Oakhurst High School in 2015 and worked at the San Jacinto County Jail at one time. McWhorter said that she and her family took him and his family under their wing.

    “We took them in when they were living in a shelter in Houston,” she said. “We got his baby brother graduated when their mom ran off on them. My husband took (Marcus) under his wing and took him to work on pipeline with him. We also helped him financially. There is so much to list.”

    McWhorter said the incidents took place in October. Morse left for Oklahoma shortly after.

    “I would encourage kids to speak up if this is happening to them,” McWhorter said. “People will protect them. Listen to your kids or any kids if they’re trying to talk to you.”

  • Point Blank discusses drainage problems

    Screenshot 2020 11 17 20201116 122303 2 pdfCourtesy photo - 2020: A Google Map view of the Forest Cove subdivision from the year 2020.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POINT BLANK – Point Blank city council aldermen decided to table an agenda item regarding the Forest Cove subdivision during last week’s city council meeting on Nov. 9 at the Point Blank Civic Center.

    The issue regarding Forest Cove is its drainage. The subdivision was platted in 1979.

    “The drainage has been happening since it was first platted,” Point Blank Mayor Mark Wood said. “Forest Cove has a rough infrastructure where the roads are not in good shape. You’ll see that throughout the city.”

    Wood and other council aldermen are going to research the problem before coming to a consensus on what to do. The decision could be made by next month’s city council meeting, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

    During the month of October, Point Blank made a profit of $9,631.71. The city’s net operating income is now $6,382.80.

    The sales tax revenue compensation for the month of October was $8,284.01. Wood doesn’t know if these types of numbers are permanent or temporary though.

    “We made money during Covid because the people who own lake houses either moved up here or spend more time here,” he said. “I don’t know if the growth is permanent, but you don’t see houses for sale. It’s an interesting phenomenon that I didn’t anticipate.”

    Wood also discussed how the city determines how much money to spend on street repairs per subdivision. He also talked about the outdated POA assessments.

    “The POAs were set up in the 1970s and they have never upped their assessments,” Wood said. “There’s not a property tax base in Point Blank either. What we do is set a budget for what we think we can spend on streets for the fiscal year. We had a really good year last year and we try to spend it based on the percentage of miles in each subdivision.”

    The actual street mileage for the North Woods subdivision is 4.57 miles, Governor’s Point is 4.07 miles, Forest Cove is 2.574 miles and the remainder of the city is 4.925 miles. Last month, the city spent $500 on street repairs (Forest Cove $79.75, Governor’s Point $126.09, North Woods $141.58, rest of city $152.58).

  • San Jacinto County law enforcement think fast in July stop

    San Jac SheriffsCOURTESY PHOTO San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers (center) presented Life Saving Awards to Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston (far left), deputies Stephen Countz (second from left) and Jonathan Cortez (second from right), and Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley for their bravery in a fiery rescue on July 23.

    From Staff Reports

    A quartet of San Jacinto County law enforcement officers were recently honored for their heroism and bravery during a traffic stop in July.

    San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers gave Life Saving awards to a pair of his deputies and two of the county’s constables for their fast action in saving the life of a suspect who was on the run from several law enforcement agencies. San Jac Sheriff’s deputies Jonathan Cortez and Stephen Countz, Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley and Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston all received the life-awards.

    The suspect, who’s name was not released, had a known gang affiliation and was in pursuit of several agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Walker County Sheriff’s Office before he came into San Jacinto County while driving east on State Highway 150. The suspect was driving a stolen pickup truck and was suspected of human trafficking.

    The pursuit started in Montgomery County on IH-45 before traveling east on SH 150 through New Waverly and crossing into San Jacinto County. Once the pursuit reached San Jacinto County, the chase went on for 4-5 miles before the suspect lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and hit a tree before bursting into flames.

    Atchley and Cortez were first on the scene before Countz and Houston arrived, and the four officers devised a plan to get the suspect out of harm’s way and put the fire out of the vehicle. Countz held the suspect at gunpoint as he had a loaded weapon and Atchley, Cortez and Houston tried to open a door to the truck.

    As flames grew while waiting on nearby volunteer fire departments to arrive, Atchley jumped in his truck and turned it around Houston and Cortez, with great risk to their own personal safety, began to tie a tow strap to the door of the suspect’s truck as Atchley jerked the window section of the door away from the post so they could remove the suspect from the interior of the flaming inferno while Countz held cover for officer safety. All of this was performed in a matter of a few seconds as the fire then engulfed the interior of the truck.

    The suspect was taken to Conroe Regional Hospital for treatment before Homeland Security took him into custody.

  • San Jacinto County turns out the vote

    SanJacelectionCOURTESY PHOTO Most of San Jacinto County voted “Red” or Republican in the 2020 election.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    SAN JACINTO COUNTY - San Jacinto County saw a little more than 65% of registered voters turn out for a mix of Election Day and absentee voting with an overwhelming majority participating in early voting at one of the 10 polling places within the county. 

    Overall, residents casted roughly 80% of votes for the current president Donald Trump with just under 20% for former vice-president, Joe Biden. Other elections followed similar voting trends, including the closely-watched race for senator between republican incumbent John Cornyn and democratic hopeful MJ Hegar, as well as State Representatives, Railroad Commissioner, judges positions and most other races that ran both democratic and republican candidates.

    For the City of Shepherd, Mayor Charles D. Minton will serve his second term along Lee “P.K.” Wesley Jr., who will act as a City Alderman. Yvonne Ryba Cones also earned a spot on the Shepherd City Council.

    Coldspring also voted to re-elect Pat Eversole as mayor, with 58% of the vote being cast in her favor.

    For a full list of election results for the county, please visit http://www.co.san-jacinto.tx.us/page/sanjacinto.Elections. Please note that as of press time, results are unofficial and are subject to change as provisional ballots are counted.

  • San Jacinto Sheriff’s office makes moves

                                   From left, Larry Pohlmeyer, Tim Kean and Charles Dougherty all have new positions at the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office. Kean was promoted from lieutenantof the detective division to chief deputy, Pohlmeyer was promoted from sergeant of the detective division to lieutenant of the same division, and Dougherty moved from the Criminal Investigation Division to patrol.

    By Jason Chlapek

    SAN JACINTO COUNTY — A trio of deputies with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office moved into new positions earlier this month.Tim Kean was promoted to chief deputy to replace Dan Todd, who retired after a 35-year career in law enforcement, including the last five with the SJCSO.

    Sergeant Larry Pohlmeyer was promoted to lieutenant of the detective division — the same position Kean held prior to his promotion — and Charles Dougherty moved to patrol from the criminal investigation division.“It’s going from a piece of the pie to the whole pie,” Kean said of his promotion. “I never had a big aspiration to do that. It just worked out that way through the years.”

    Pohlmeyer, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, has been with the SJCSO for three years. He was previously with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 32 years.

    “It’s a fresh drink of water to be here (in San Jacinto County),” Pohlmeyer said.Dougherty has been with the SJSCO for two years and in law enforcement for seven. He’s split his time between patrol and CID.

    “There’s a good group of guys here and I’ve had the pleasure of working with all the shifts,” Dougherty said. “It’s a little different environment when I went back from CID. I’m back here on patrol and it’s good to be back working with these guys. They’re good guys. We have a lot of good plans and ideas that we’re going to try to bring forward and hopefully have a successful future for this county, this department and this agency.”

    Kean also has plans for SJCSO moving forward.“We’re going to try to bring a much better service here for the people who live in this county and make do the best we can with what we have because we don’t have a very large budget,” he said. “We’re going to squeeze every bit we can out of every dollar.”

  • Shepherd city meets for election results

    Shepherd CityEMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA Yvonne R. Cones gets sworn in as a city alderman following the Nov. 3 elections.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    SHEPHERD - Brenda Myers, Executive Director of the Impact Center in Shepherd, addressed the council regarding ordinance violation fees she had received while trying to build a free-standing restroom near the center.

    Myers, who is being fined for failing to obtain a building permit which would ensure the structure is up to ADA standards, (a water and electric permit had been obtained prior), claimed she was given bad information when she asked what permits she would need. Per city ordinance, buildings that have not obtained all proper permits prior to construction will be fined double the original cost. Myers, along with several members of the crowd, pleaded with the council to drop the violation fees.

    After several minutes of discourse, a vote to dismiss the fine was reached, with the possibility of having the Shepherd Economic Development Cooperation (EDC) determine if they are able to help with the permit fees, since the restroom may serve public use. The Impact Center, located in Shepherd, is a 501c3 non-profit that provides relief programs to several surrounding counties.

    Update to voting results

    At 4:30 p.m., shortly before the Tuesday monthly council meeting, election results for the City of Shepherd were certified, with Mayor Charles P. Minton serving his second term as Mayor, unopposed. Lee “P.K.” Wesley Jr., who had won a majority of the votes and was set to take on an alderman position, was discovered to be ineligible to hold the position due to an old conviction on his record.

    Despite having served his term and taking care of all associated matters, according to Texas Election Code, a felony conviction leaves individuals unable to hold public office without a governor pardon, something the board and Wesley did not know until after the election. Since the offense occurred in Louisiana, he would need a pardon from that state’s governor to serve in Texas.

    The city’s attorney, Larry Foerster, spoke with the Secretary of State in Texas in an attempt to find a legal way that would allow Wesley to serve, citing overwhelming support from his community as a testament to his character, but was unable to find an initial solution. With two positions open for city alderman, Yvonne R. Cones will fill one, and if they are unable to find a course of action to instate Wesley, a special election will be held to fill the second.

    Both the legal entities for the city and Wesley encouraged the audience to reach out to representative Earnest Bailes and Robert Nichols to try and change the current law that makes felons ineligible to hold public office.

    Other Business

    With money left over from not holding a July fireworks ceremony, the Chamber of Commerce and Impact center are seeking to combine their holiday events for a Christmas fireworks show and parade on Dec. 5 with the parade starting at 6 p.m. Two job vacancies will be posted to the city’s website, one for a temporary front office position and the other for the public works department.

    The November Food Bank Drive will happen on Nov. 20 from 4-7 p.m.

  • SJC deputies nab suspect with 13 lbs of meth

    Drug BustCOURTESY PHOTO Six Ziploc bags containing a total of 13.40 pounds of methamphetamines was discovered by San Jacinto County Sheriff’s deputies during a traffic stop conducted outside of Shepherd on Dec. 28. The discovery led to the arrest of Jorge Luis Baca Cuevas of Mexico.

    By Jason Chlapek

    SHEPHERD — A Mexican resident is behind bars after a routine traffic stop turned into a drug bust last week.

    Jorge Luis Baca Cuevas was stopped at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 28, after San Jacinto County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a routine traffic stop on U.S. Highway 59 just outside the Shepherd city limits. Baca Cuevas was stopped because the driver’s side tail lamp on his Honda Civic was not illuminated.

    During the stop, Baca Cuevas was identified through his Mexico-issued identification card. The deputy who conducted the stop had suspicion of criminal activity taking place.

    After receiving consent to search the vehicle, six Ziploc bags containing a crystal-like substance were discovered. The substance in the bags all tested positive for methamphetamine.

    “He picked up 13 pounds of meth in Pasadena and was on his way to Chicago, but we stopped him on a traffic violation in our county,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.

    The meth weighed a total of 13.40 pounds and was worth approximately $500,000. Baca Cuevas was charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance penalty group one, greater than four hundred grams.

    “I’m just glad that half a million dollars of narcotics have been taken off the streets,” Capers said. “This makes it safer for children.”

  • Todd hangs it up after 35-year career

                                   Retiring San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dan Todd (left) receives a plaque of appreciation from Sheriff Greg Capers during a retirement ceremony for Todd on Oct. 2 in Coldspring. Todd retired after a 35-year career.

    By Jason Chlapek

    SAN JACINTO COUNTY— When Dan Todd left the Houston Police Department after 30 years in 2015, he didn’t expect to get back in law enforcement.He had the opportunity a few months later to join the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department. After five years with the department, Todd is riding out into the sunset — again.

    Todd’s 35-year career came to an end on Oct. 2. A reception for the Point Blank resident took place that day at Paradise Grille in Coldspring.

    “When I came up here and built a house thinking I was going to retire, but after six months, I missed it and went to work for Sheriff (Greg) Capers,” Todd said. “I believed ineverything they were doing.”Todd held the title of Chief Deputy at the SJCSO. Capers talked about his retiring Chief Deputy as well.“Dan was a real good officer,” Capers said. “He has the highest integrity and I trusted him. That’s the reason why he was my chief. I wouldn’t appoint anyone to be my chief if I didn’t fully trust them. I’ll miss his humor. He’s a cut-up and he brought a lot of laughter, fun and joy to the office.”Todd talked about his career as well. He did “a little bit of everything” during his 30 years with HPD and five with SJCSO.

    “In HPD, I was with the SWAT containment team, instructor at the academy, undercovernarcotics, I was everywhere. I moved all over,” Todd said. “At the sheriff’s office, I ran calls, I took complaints, I worked in the jail, in the streets, undercover — I did everything.”Todd enjoyed the multiple hats he wore during his career. He said it comes with the territory.“That’s what you’ve got to do when you come into a police job,” Todd said. “You’ve got to be almost like an actor. You’ve got to adjust and go with it and do it the best you can.”Todd had a viewpoint on citizens during his career. He plans on hanging on to that viewpoint in retirement.“There’s only two kinds of people — good and bad,” Todd said. “That’s the way I looked at it my whole career. I don’t care what color you are, just whether you’re good or bad.”

    Capers made a few promotions to fill Todd’s spot. Tim Kean moves from lieutenant of the detective division to chief deputy, Larry Pohlmeyer moves from sergeant of the detective division to lieutenant, and Charles Dougherty goes back to patrol.As for Todd, he has plans for his retirement. He’ll do a variety of activities.“I’m going to travel a little bit,” Todd said. “I want to travel to see my daughter in North Carolina and I have a bucket list of places I want to travel to. I’m going to mix it up. I also like running cows and I’ll do a little fishing. Last time I fished every day for six months and I got tired of fishing. I didn’t think you could get tired of fishing, but if you do it all the time, you do.”But, like last time, he might decide to go back.