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  • Students lend helping hand

    042221 Chemo Kits 1COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Members of the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FBLA and the Order of the Eastern Star worked together to collect donations for chemo bags to encourage struggling cancer patients in the Coldspring area. Shown from left: Lisa Lewis, Marissa Martinez, Neveah Piles, Ethan Manshack, Desiree McFadden, Amanda Ready, Marydith Hebert, Luc Butler and COHS Business Teacher and FBLA Sponsor Kelly Presley.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — Under the guidance of Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Business teacher Kelly Presley, COHS Future Business Leaders of America members, together with the Order of the Eastern Star, worked on a donation drive to collect items for chemo bags to present to patients struggling with cancer in the local area.

    The group created 130 handmade cards to be placed into each bag to offer words of encouragement, and collected more than 100 items to help fill the bags.

    042221 Chemo Kits 2COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY COHS FBLA member Desiree McFadden helped fill chemo bags to encourage local cancer patients.

  • Superheroes visit courthouse lawn

    super 1COURTESY PHOTO The San Jacinto County Child Welfare Board and San Jacinto County decorated the Courthouse lawn to raise awareness of child abuse in the county.

    By Judy Hester
    Secretary, SJC Child Welfare Board

    COLDSPRING — Each April the San Jacinto County Child Welfare Board, along with Child Protective Services and its parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, join hands with our local government, community groups, churches, service organizations and hometown citizens to put the spotlight on recognizing, preventing and reporting child abuse.

    It is a time to focus on ways not only to protect children but also to prevent abuse from ever occurring. This is a great opportunity for our county to make a difference in young lives, so during the month of April, residents that are concerned about the problem of child abuse are asked to wear blue.

    The Child Welfare Board's most dramatic statement concerning child abuse was the placement of a display of heroes on the courthouse lawn.

    The signs indicate "Children Need Heroes, but Abused Children Need Superheroes." Each star placed on the courthouse lawn represents a child who was abused during 2020, with the one black star indicating one child's death that tragically occurred that year.

    In Texas during 2020, there were 251 deaths with one in San Jacinto County. San Jacinto county had 205 investigations of child abuse, 76 of those being confirmed victims. This is a staggering number for our state and our county, and we should all accept the responsibility of making sure that in the future none of our children are ever included in these statistics.

    We can look away and often do look away, but the repercussions of child abuse are affecting people every day. Abused children are more likely to be substance abusers, perform poorly in school, or become juvenile delinquents.

    Millions of our tax dollars are spent annually to pay the financial price of child abuse from child protective services and foster care to the cost for court, law enforcement, hospital, medicine, and mental care.

    In 1989 a heartbroken grandmother, Bonnie Finney, took a stand against child abuse by tying a blue ribbon to the antenna of her minivan in remembrance of her late grandson, 3-year-old Bubba Dickenson.

    The body of Bubba was found bound, beaten and bruised in a weighted toolbox at the bottom of a canal. He had been killed by the boyfriend of the child's mother. Bonnie vowed to never forget the battered and bruised body of her grandson and uses the wearing of blue as a reminder to fight for the protection of all children against abuse.

    As you drive by the San Jacinto courthouse, you will notice the Child Abuse Prevention flag displayed on the flagpole during the month of April.

    Judge Fritz Faulkner and the Commissioner's Court issued an official proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention month. The Child Welfare Board decorated the gazebo on the courthouse lawn with blue ribbons to highlight the fight to end child abuse. April 25th was "Blue Sunday" and all churches in the county participated in a day of prayer for the children and families who have suffered.

    We must be the voice for our children and give them hope, courage  and love. Remember, residents are obligated by law to report suspected child abuse. If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, call 911. For all other cases in Texas, call the abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 252-5400. Let's all join hands and stop child abuse.

  • Top of the class (GALLERY)

    Academic Award Dyanne VasquestCOURTESY PHOTO Academic Award Dyanne Vasquest

    SJNT Staff

    On May 13, the Shepherd held its academic and athletic banquet, and honored students that excelled in their respective sport, as well as in learning.

    Getting through the school year, given the challenges over the past year, is an achievement all students can be proud of.

    Academic Award Dyanne Vasquest
    Academic Award Dyanne Vasquest
    Academic Award Winner Christian Castillo
    Academic Award Winner Christian Castillo
    Athletic Trainers of the Year. David Benkowski and Graycie Weaver
    Athletic Trainers of the Year. David Benkowski and Graycie Weaver
    Baseball MVP Dillen Johnson
    Baseball MVP Dillen Johnson
    Basketball MVP Brad Davis
    Basketball MVP Brad Davis
    Cross Country MVPs Dillen Johnson and Grace Ramos
    Cross Country MVPs Dillen Johnson and Grace Ramos
    Fighting Heart Award Winners Jackson Ellingburg and Shelby Dean
    Fighting Heart Award Winners Jackson Ellingburg and Shelby Dean
    Football MVP Brice Major
    Football MVP Brice Major
    Gary Corn Memorial Award Winner Autumn Phillips
    Gary Corn Memorial Award Winner Autumn Phillips
    Gary Corn Memorial Award Winner Walker Windt
    Gary Corn Memorial Award Winner Walker Windt
    Girls Basketball MVP Grace Ramos
    Girls Basketball MVP Grace Ramos
    Madison Smith Cheer MVP
    Madison Smith Cheer MVP
    Most Athletic Dillen Johnson
    Most Athletic Dillen Johnson
    Most Athletic Female Cheyenne Lowrance
    Most Athletic Female Cheyenne Lowrance
    Powerlifting MVPs Lain Baker and Shelby Dean
    Powerlifting MVPs Lain Baker and Shelby Dean
    Softball MVP Kaylee Barlow
    Softball MVP Kaylee Barlow
    Tennis MVPs Kristi Hinzie and Valentina Beiza
    Tennis MVPs Kristi Hinzie and Valentina Beiza
    Track MVPs HD Green and Grace Ramos
    Track MVPs HD Green and Grace Ramos
    Volleyball MVPs Kristi Hinze and Jordan Watkins
    Volleyball MVPs Kristi Hinze and Jordan Watkins
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  • Trojans hold banquet for athletes (GALLERY)

    Cross Country MVPsCOURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Cynthia Shehane and Michael Trejo were both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Trojan and Lady Trojan Cross Country MVPs.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School 2020-21 Athletic Banquet was held on Thursday.

    It was a celebration of Trojan and Lady Trojan athletes from last year and this year, since the 2019-20 banquet was canceled due to the pandemic.

    Congratulations to all of the coaches and athletes for another great year of athletic excellence!

    Baseball MVP
    Baseball MVP
    Easton Dean was named Trojans Baseball MVP. Last year's MVP was Trevor Vaughn (not pictured).
    Boys Basketball MVP
    Boys Basketball MVP
    This year's Trojans Basketball MVP is Duke Lawniczak. Last year's MVP was Jacoby Bishop.
    Boys Track MVP
    Boys Track MVP
    This year's Trojans Track MVP is COHS senior Jared Curry. Last year's MVP was Curtis Parker (not pictured).
    Cross Country MVPs
    Cross Country MVPs
    Cynthia Shehane and Michael Trejo were both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Trojan and Lady Trojan Cross Country MVPs.
    Girls and Boys Powerlifting MVPs
    Girls and Boys Powerlifting MVPs

    The 2019-20 Lady Trojans Powerlifting MVP was Andie Seagraves and the Trojans MVP was Caleb Monroe. This year's MVPs are Kynadee Benestante, Cynthia Shehane, and Hayden Richardson. (Shown from left:

    Girls Basketball MVP
    Girls Basketball MVP
    Alexis Moore was named this year's Lady Trojans Basketball MVP, (pictured). Last year's MVP was Shaniya Gilbert.
    Girls Track MVP
    Girls Track MVP
    Miya Ellis is this year's Lady Trojans Track MVP. Last year's MVP was Shaniya Gilbert (not pictured).
    Golf MVPs
    Golf MVPs

    The 2019-20 Trojans and Lady Trojans Golf MVPs were Tagen Coulliette and Maci Strickland. This year's MVPs are Tagen Coulliette and Izzy Doggett. (Shown from left: Golf Coach James Smith, Tagen…

    Lady Trojan MVP
    Lady Trojan MVP
    The 2020-21 Lady Trojan MVP is Alexis Moore. Last year's MVP award went to Shaniya Gilbert (not pictured).
    Softball MVP
    Softball MVP
    The 2020-21 Lady Trojans Softball MVP is Cami Fussell, who also made 1st Team All-District. The 2019-20 MVPs were Harlie Ritchie and Cheyenne Tyson (not pictured).
    Tennis MVPs
    Tennis MVPs
    Jonathan Buchanan was the 2019-20 Tennis MVP, and Cori Amszi was the Lady Trojans MVP. This year's MVPs are Reagan Roberts and Crystal Ramos (pictured).
    Trojan Fighting Heart Award
    Trojan Fighting Heart Award

    The Trojan and Lady Trojan Fighting Heart award is given each year to the athletes who show the most dedication, perseverance and hard work, all while maintaining a positive attitude and good team…

    Trojan MVP
    Trojan MVP
    The 2020-21 Trojan Athletic MVP is Duke Lawniczak. Last year's MVP award went to Jacoby Bishop (not pictured).
    Varsity Football Captain's Award and MVP
    Varsity Football Captain's Award and MVP

    Hayden Richardson, shown left, was given the Defense Captain's Award for 2020-21, Trevor Vaughn was awarded the Offense, (not shown). The 2019-20 Captain's Award winner was Jayden Whitten. This…

    Volleyball MVP
    Volleyball MVP
    This year's Lady Trojans Volleyball MVP is Alexis Moore. Last year's winner was Marissa Martinez.
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  • Trojans, Pirates begin playoff quests

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | SJNT Coldspring-Oakhurst guard Duke Lawniczak (with ball) dribbles in the paint against Shepherd post Bradley Davis during a game between the Trojans and Pirates earlier this season. 

    By Jason Chlapek
    SJNT staff writer

    COLDSPRING — The road to San Antonio begins tonight and tomorrow night for the Coldspring-Oakhurst and Shepherd boys basketball teams, respectively.

    The Trojans, defending Region III-Class 3A champions, face Van Vleck at 6:30 p.m. today at Friendswood High School in a 3A bi-district contest. Coldspring (16-3) is the runner-up out of District 23-3A.

    The Pirates begin their playoff journey Friday when they face Lumberton at 7 p.m. at Warren High School. Shepherd (13-13) tied for third with Hamshire-Fannett, but is the No. 4 playoff seed out of 21-4A.

    The Trojans and Pirates are both limping into the postseason. Coldspring lost two of its last three contests, including a 58-54 setback at the hands of Anderson-Shiro in last week's regular season finale.

    Shepherd has lost three in a row, including a 65-40 defeat against district co-champion Huffman Hargrave in last week's regular season finale. Bradley Davis and Dillen Johnson led the Pirates with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | SJNT Coldspring-Oakhurst guard Jared Curry (left) and Shepherd guard Christian Castillo chase down a loose ball during a game between the Trojans and Pirates earlier this season. 

  • VFD trading up on vehicles

    042921 new trucks 1TONY FARKAS | SJNT Firefighter Clint Jones puts a shine on the new First Responder vehicle for the Coldspring Volunteer Fire Department.

    By Tony Farkas

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Volunteer Fire Department is getting new vehicles to help its mission

    Emmitt Eldridge, CVFD fire chief, said the City of Coldspring saw a need with a growing population to have more vehicles to respond to medical calls.

    Currently, the FD has three ambulances, one being repaired after an accident.

    “This county is growing,” Eldridge said. “We do have a First Responder program in the county, but the city started one, and we told them we need some vehicles. It’s a wonderful thing, seeing all the entities in the county getting together to provide the residents with what they need.”

    The first vehicle the department received is a first responder/transport vehicle, meaning it can both arrive at a destination ready to aid, or transport firefighters to where they are needed.

    The department also received a small brush truck from the county Emergency Services District Board.

    Eldridge said the department will receive a similar vehicle, an F-150, from San Jacinto County, which will arrive in July; also, the county and the Texas Forestry Service, through a grant, will provide the department with a large brush truck in the near future.

    “Before getting this vehicle, we had a ‘03 F-450 that had a lot of issues,” he said. “Every year, it seems we get more grass fires, and with the truck we had, we couldn’t get anywhere.

    “Last year, before receiving the vehicles, the company had to walk three miles to fight a brush fire in the woods, with only the hand tools they could carry, because the vehicle could not make it,” Eldridge said.

    In order to show the new direction of the Fire Department, the logo has been changed slightly to reflect the Coldspring mascot, the Trojan.

    “We are big on community, going to schools and doing education, and implementing an explorer program,” Eldridge said.

    He said the department is very appreciative of the city and county.

    “Everything the county and city has done for us has been tremendous,” he said.

  • West: GOP needs to engage

    051321 west 1TONY FARKAS | SJNT Lt. Col. Allen West, leader of the Texas GOP, tells the crowd at the San Jacinto Republican Party meeting how to keep non-conservative values from taking over the state of Texas.

    By Tony Farkas

    COLDSPRING — The state’s GOP party leader said the state is facing a Marxism that is based on racial divisiveness, and Republicans have to go on offense and speak out.

    “The only way we win is to make sure that Texas remains the strong, constitutionally driven state that it is,” Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.), said. “We are in an ideological civil war, and we need to put on the full armor of God and the full armor of understanding — who we are and what we believe.”

    West spoke to a gathering of the San Jacinto GOP Party on May 5. He was elected to the position in 2019.

    “We live in a constitutional republic; we’re supposed to be governed, not ruled by orders, edicts, mandates and creeds,” he said. “You are blessed to be in this country, in this state, but in the blink of an eye you can lose it. Now is the time to destroy progressive socialism — a cancer that is trying to destroy the greatest state that God’s ever known.”

    West said that by explaining the party’s constitutional conservative principles, its Judeo-Christian faith, its belief in strong families and individual responsibility, accountability and freedom, things can eventually change, and in Texas, that was evident in the last election.

    “By presenting the facts about police defunding and other issues such as open borders, we found that many people in the Rio Grande Valley agreed, and for the first time in a long time, the valley was flipped to red,” he said. “Zapata County for the first time in 100 years is now a Republican County, and just a few weeks ago, we swore in a young, Hispanic woman by the name of Jennifer Longoria-Thatcher as GOP chair.”

    Warriors understand that battles aren’t won on defense, but on offense, and the time has come for conservatives to stop allowing the “progressive, socialist left” to dictate the narrative, to own the message in a place like Texas, West said.

    The results in Zapata County can be replicated, he said.

    051321 west 2TONY FARKAS | SJNT Lt. Col. Allen West cuts up with San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers at a meeting of the San Jacinto County Republican Party.

    “One of the things I plan to focus on is something we haven’t done as Republicans, and that is local elections,” West said. “They have the least amount of voter participation; if you can convince five of your friends to come out and vote, you’ll raise those percentages. (In the local elections) this past Saturday, more than 70 percent of these woke, critical-race-theory school board members got sent home.”

    West said that other successes include Lubbock, which became the largest sanctuary city in the nation for the unborn, and in Austin, voters got rid of tent cities.

    “In Kerrville, an incredible thing happened; a young man by the name of Roman Garcia is now a member of the Kerrville City Council and he won with 57 percent,” he said. “He is 19 years of age. We can connect with the younger generation.”

    West also exhorted the area pastors to get out and fight the racism and Democratic ways of thinking, to not put faith on the back burner in favor of a government agenda.

    “Change the minds of young people,” he said. “Get people to understand that your skin color does not define you.”

    West pointed out that Texas is gaining two congressional seats in the House, and states with liberal governors pursuing liberal agendas have lost them, such as Michigan and California.

    Because of that, he noted that people from those states who move to Texas need to be engaged.

    “Let them know how special Texas is,” West said. “Let them know that no other state in the nation fought for its independence all by itself. Let them know that when they come to Texas, they need to be part of Texas, not make it like where they came from.”