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  • 70 years and counting

    041521 anniversary 1COURTESY PHOTO Benjamin Malrey Pyle and Mary Ellen Hartman

    Couple celebrates ‘Platinum Jubilee’

    Special to the News-Standard

    GROVETON — The key to a happy marriage is to love and cherish each other completely and always be respectful of each other's differences, something Ben and Mary Pyle took to heart and nurtured — 70 years ago.

    Benjamin Malrey Pyle and Mary Ellen Hartman tied the knot after knowing each other for about seven weeks on March 23, 1951, and have been side-by-side since.

    This was in spite of naysayers; Ellen's mother was skeptical about their marriage and said, "it will never last.” The couple smiled, knowing their love would survive any of life's storms.

    Benjamin and Mary met in the home of a friend, Bettyy Scott Tripp, when Ben was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps stationed at Cherry Point, N.C.; Ellen lived at home in Alliance, N.C. with her mother and stepfather, Fairy and Nathan Miller, and worked as a stenographer.

    Ben escorted her home that evening, and they arranged for a date on the following weekend. The rest is history.

    Ellen's uncle, Saint Elmo Harper, A Baptist minister, performed the ceremony in his home in Grantsboro, N.C., and at her request, sang "Amazing Grace" in his beautiful tenor voice. His wife, Aunt Nancy, accompanied him in her sweet voice.

    Ben's best friend, Jack Wroten, a fellow Marine from Tyler, served as best man, and Ellen's friend Betty, served as matron of honor.

    The newlyweds honeymooned in historic Richmond, Va., where Ellen had lived until the age of 12.

    The Pyles have two wonderful sons, their lovely wives and one lovely granddaughter.

    The family members are Malrey Nathan Pyle, his wife, Jan, and their daughter, Madison, and Dwight Dana Pyle and his wife, Sharon.

  • Addressing critical in today’s world

    020421 addressingFile photo

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — The people of Trinity County live in a time where health care is of special importance, especially since there is no full hospital in the area.

    Imagine, then, if in a health crisis, the ambulance ends up at an address on the wrong side of the county, or across the street, or down the block.

    Proper addressing will help first responders, utility installation, mail delivery and even the tax office, and 911 Addressing Coordinator Jolynn Wars can help make sure things are right.

    “I give incoming residents addresses if there is not one already, verify existing addresses if there is one, and if I get a state error report on an address, I correct it, and notify the resident, landowner or business owner,” she said.

    FCC regulations stipulate that 911 is the universal number for emergencies, in order to increase public safety. Enhanced 911 provides addresses to emergency personnel when a call is made, or a location if the call is made from a cell phone.

    To make the system work its best, addresses throughout the county were inspected and changed, if necessary, Wars said. However, the work is not done, and not without some resistance.

    “There’s a lot of the county not done, mainly in (the City of) Trinity,” Wars said. “When (addressing) first started, it wasn’t addressed properly. The odd and even (address numbers) are swapped on almost every street. Westwood Shores is the same. There also are problems with numbers being in the wrong range of the road.”

    The problem becomes worse, since residents and business owners continue to use old address numbers, even after the new address has been posted. Also, many addresses are not posted with the correct numbers, if at all.

    “For people moving into the county, their first phone call should be to me,” Wars said. “Utilities can’t be set up, or mobile homes can’t be moved onto properties, without a proper address.”

    Posting the address numbers, especially on roadways, is very important as well, she said, as well as changing letterheads and business cards for businesses.

    For more information, or to verify addresses, contact Wars at (936) 642-3904 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Born to Be Wild (GALLERY)

    IMG 9321PHOTOS BY PHILLIP SCHMITTENRocky Raccoon here is waiting to grow up and be released back into the wild.

    By Philip Schmitten
    TCNS Correspondent

    GROVETON — Ever wonder what happens to the animals in the wild who are sick, crippled or abandoned? They end up at Circle B Farm & Wildlife Rehab in Groveton.

    This single-family crusade to care for orphaned, abandoned and injured animals from the wild is totally paid for by the Bergman Family, who takes care of the daily routine of providing and care of the 76 animals in their care now.

    They have had more than 100 wild animals to take care of in the past. Donations are always welcome from the public and much needed.

    Shasta, Rodney, Hanna and Mattie Bergman are responsible for the daily care of these animals. With Shasta working full time as the Trinity County Clerk, Hanna and Mattie pull a lot of the day to day duties.

    All wildlife belongs to the State of Texas, so if you spot an animal who seems to be lost or in trouble, call the local Game Warden and they, most likely, will contact Circle B for the rescue.

    “We are licensed by the State of Texas to care and house these wild animals, with the goal of returning them to the wild when they are ready,” Shasta said.

    They care for just about all wild animals; they have had foxes, skunks, possums, rabbits, squirrels, deer and raccoons. The care and feeding of these animals takes some effort, but the Bergmans love what they do. Their goals are to have a sanctuary where the public can visit to see and learn about animals in the wild.

    They rescue animals from all over the area, going as far as Texarkana. At the present time there are a lot of animals going hungry due to overpopulation —the deer, rabbits and squirrels are fighting for food and starving from lack of nourishment.

    Shasta Bergman summed to up when she said, “Circle B Farm & Wildlife Rehab is dedicated to caring for orphaned and injured wildlife, with the sole intent of being able to release each animal back into the wild, where they belong.”

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  • Brady to retire from House

    Kevin BradyFILE PHOTO U.S. Representative Kevin Brady

    Special to the News-Times

    THE WOODLANDS — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, announced he will end his tenure as a Congressman at the end of this term.

    Brady made the remarks during The Woodlands Economic Outlook Conference, held online on Wednesday.

    The 13-term Representative of the Eighth District, which includes Trinity and San Jacinto counties, told those attending the conference about his decision to retire.

    “I set out to give my constituents the representation you deserve, the effectiveness you want and the economic freedom you need,” he said. “I hope I delivered. It’s a remarkable privilege to work for you in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

    Brady said he was proud to have worked with the President and lawmakers from both parties to redesign America’s broken tax code, reform the IRS, pass the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, reform America’s retirement system, end the unfair ObamaCare individual mandate and its harmful taxes, and sign into law a historic national ban on surprise medical bills.

    “The Tax Cuts lifted millions of Americans out of poverty, and gave hope to so many the old tax code had left behind,” he said. “America recaptured the title as the most competitive economy in the world, bringing manufacturing jobs and investment back home to America from overseas.

    “And we preserved my first success as Chairman: negotiating for Speaker Paul Ryan an end to the 40-year ban on selling U.S. crude oil overseas,” Brady said.

    Brady said he works with some of the most dedicated people in the nation — people who are talented, hardworking and serious about their responsibilities — in both parties, and after 25 years in the nation’s capitol there hasn’t been a problem that can’t be solved.

    “I love this job, and thanks to incredible lawmakers I’ve worked with in Congress and the White House, I’ve been fortunate to do big things for our country, bigger than a small town boy from Rapid City, South Dakota whose father died when young, with all five of us children raised by a remarkable single mom, could ever dream of,” he said.

    Brady said his decision to retire does not have an ulterior motive.

    “Is this because I’ve lost faith in a partisan Congress and the political system? Absolutely not,” he said. “Given the times, I’m sure some will say, ‘It’s Trump’s fault.’ Nonsense.

    “As you may not know, because House Republicans limit committee leadership to six years, I won’t be able to Chair the Ways & Means Committee in the next session when Republicans win back the House majority,” Brady said. “Did that factor in? Honestly, some. But as I see it, our committee leader term limits ensure lawmakers who work hard and effectively have the opportunity to lead, to bring fresh ideas to our committee work. In my view, it’s a good thing. And the great news is that our Ways & Means Committee is incredibly talented. I’m confident about its future.”

    Brady said that in the end, he will leave Congress the way he entered it, with the absolute belief that we are a remarkable nation – the greatest in history.

    Despite what the media and social media bombards you with each day, we are not the hateful, racist, divided nation they peddle,” he said. “They are dead wrong. Turn off that noise and you’ll hear the true heartbeat of America. We remain the most charitable nation on the planet. We are a nation so valued that a million military men and women have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms and opportunity.

    “Look at yourself; look around at your friends and our community,” he said. “We come together every day voluntarily to feed the hungry, house the homeless, rescue our veterans, race to help our neighbors in a natural disaster, and more. We do this without a single thought about the color of our anyone’s skin, their religious beliefs, or the circumstances of their birth. We volunteer, we give from our pockets and our hearts, we care for each other. Because that is who America is.”

    Brady said the country remains a work in progress, but it’s what makes America special.

    “Every parent, every generation, is determined to leave a nation for our children — and others — better than the one we inherited,” he said. “As a result, the American Dream is still alive and well for anyone willing to work for it. That is why I remain optimistic about our country, because I have faith in our people. I’ve seen up close how remarkable you are, and while I am leaving Congress, I am excited about our future.”

    Brady thanked his supporters for what he called many unbelievable opportunities to lead, including becoming only the third Texan in history to chair the House Ways & Means Committee, and saved his most heartfelt appreciation for his wife, Cathy.

    “She is a true angel (you have no idea), who made all this possible and is the best thing in my life … ever,” he said..

  • Brookshire Brothers pharmacies offer COVID-19 vaccine

    BrookshiresFILE PHOTO Brookshire Brothers logo

    Special to the News-Standard

    LUFKIN — As distribution of the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine begins at a rapid pace, Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy is proud to be one of the first retailers in the nation to offer the vaccine, as it becomes available.

    To maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a governmental partnership with large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies and regional chains — including those in retail and grocery chains — to further increase access to the vaccine across the country — particularly in traditionally underserved areas.

    Brookshire Brothers is honored to partner with HHS and the states of Texas and Louisiana in offering COVID-19 vaccine.

    The vaccine will be available in a phased approach, with the first doses being offered to healthcare workers and residents of long-term health care facilities, followed by essential workers and other high-risk individuals. It is expected to be available to the general public by spring or early summer of 2021 and will be administered at no cost to patients.

    At the Tuesday, Dec. 22, Trinity County Commissioners’ Court meeting, Emergency Management Coordinator Richard Steptoe said that the Brookshire’s in Trinity has secured 40 vaccinations, and the Brookshire’s in Groveton has secured 10.

    “Ensuring access and affordability of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs. The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.”

    Many pharmacists, such as the ones who work at Brookshire Brothers, are trained to provide immunizations and are already important immunizers in their communities. Pharmacists have been heralded for playing a vital role in the public health response to COVID-19 by counseling patients and expanding access to childhood vaccinations during the pandemic. By working with these partners, the federal government will rapidly expand access to COVID-19 vaccines.

    “This is consistent with our commitment to being a trusted resource for our communities. Pharmacists and their staff are some of the most accessible healthcare professionals in the nation, and we stand ready to help increase access and convenience for people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once it is approved and available to us,” said Laura Edmundson, Director of Clinical Pharmacy Programs at Brookshire Brothers.

    For more information, visit BrookshireBrothers.com/pharmacy.

  • Centerville enjoys successful season

    041521 baseball 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Groveton right fielder Reese White beats the pickoff back to first base during the Indians’ 19-1 win over Apple Springs on April 6.

    Special to the News-Standard

    CENTERVILLE — On March 23, Centerville pulled off a 14-1 win against the Apple Springs Eagles.

    Starting pitcher for the Bulldogs was Aydn Self, squaring off against the Eagles’ Dakota Campbell. Self went five innings with five strikeouts, and giving up one run; while Campbell pitched four and picked up seven strikeouts, while allowing 11 runs.

    Closing pitcher for the Eagles was Daniel Johnson, who gave up three runs with one strikeout.

    For the Bulldogs, Self went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles and five stolen bases; Logan Villanueva went 2-for-3 and three stolen bases; and Weston Dial, Ty Havard, Anthony Commiato, Ethan Rutledge and Logan Whittlesey each contributed hits as well.

    The win put Centerville’s record at 4-1 on the season.

    On March 16, Centerville downed the North Zulch Bulldogs 13-12.

    On March 12, Centerville downed the Richards Panthers 13-11 in extra innings.

    The Bulldogs and Panthers were tied 11-11 at the bottom of the sixth. Neither team scored in the seventh; in the eighth, Travis Thorne was on base after a walk, and lead-off batter Aydn Self clobbered a homer to bring the Bulldogs score up to 13.

    Starting pitcher Self went five innings and recorded five strikeouts.

    Logan Villanueva, Weston Dial, Travis Thorne and Logan Whittlesey each contributed hits in the win.

     

    Scores roundup

    Apple Springs

    April 12 vs. Wells, 3-2 win

    April 9 vs. Centerville, 20-0 loss

    April 6 vs. Groveton, 19-1 loss

    April 1 vs. Douglass, 29-0 loss

    Centerville

    April 9 vs. Apple Springs, 20-0 win

    Groveton

    April 9 vs. Douglass, 10-9 win

    April 6 vs. Apple Springs, 19-1 win

    Trinity

    April 9 vs. Tarkington, 16-1 loss.

  • City sets fireworks date

    trinity txFILE PHOTO Trinity Texas

    By Tony Farkas

    TRINITY — July 3, a Saturday, will be the day for Trinity’s Fourth of July celebration.

    The Trinity City Council approved the Saturday date at its regular meeting on Thursday.

    Based on Mayor Wayne Huffman’s recommendation, the council agreed that should weather cancel the show, it will be done the following Saturday, July 10.

    The council also approved expenditures recommended by the Trinity Economic and Industrial Development Corp., part of which will benefit the holiday display.

    TEIDC President Neal Smith said the board approved the payment of $9,300 for the fireworks display.

    Additionally, TEIDC will pay the city’s match portion of $75,000 for a grant that will allow the city to install sidewalks on city streets.

    Smith also told council members that the industrial park it purchased last year has billboards, which should be paying some sort of lease to the city. However, he is not aware of any such payments made as of yet.

    In other business, the city:

    •turned in signed contracts with the Trinity River Authority, to ensure the city’s water supply for about 30 years. In addition, Glendale and Trinity Rural municipalities have expressed interest in buying water from Trinity, and contracts will be available at the next meeting; and

    •Set May 1 as the date for the city election.

  • 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.

  • Congressman Kevin Brady looks to the next step in Washington

    Kevin BradyKevin Brady file photo - official portrait

    By Tony Farkas

    CONROEKevin Brady’s win in the election on Nov. 3 is like an energy drink — re-energizing the congressman to face the challenges ahead.

    “I’m really thrilled to be re-elected to Congressional District 8 of the Republic of Texas,” he said. “It’s an honor, always has been. However, despite the historic economic recovery after COVID, and a vaccine deployment arriving at a record pace, there’s still more work to be done.”

    Brady said his goal as Republican leader of the House Ways and Means Committee is to help defeat the coronavirus, create 10 million new jobs and create an economy even stronger than the one prior to the crash caused by the virus.

    “I’ve introduced legislation that would lock in the tax relief to benefit workers and businesses; to make America medically independent from China, and we hope to leapfrog America into the No. 1 innovation nation in the world and using our tax code to do that,” he said. “That will create millions of new tax-paying jobs, and spur manufacturing and research in America.”

    He also said he helped introduce new retirement legislation that will help more families, and more low-income workers, save for the future.

    On a separate matter, Brady said he was proud to report that the Democratic “blue wave” crashed and burned in Texas, despite record voter turnout during a COVID crisis.

    “I was proud that President Donald Trump won 230 of 254 counties in the state,” he said.
    “The Texas Republican delegation faced long odds this year, with six retirements and a total of 10 races targeted by national Democrats.”

    Brady said that despite Democrats predicting they would get the majority of the seats up for election, they got nothing, and it was especially embarrassing in the 23rd Congressional district, where a Texas Democrat promised a flip but did not deliver.

    Brady said he felt the Democrats failed to gain any ground in Texas is because conservative legislators reflect Texas values, and that there was no way to fund the crazy ideas that Democrats put for, such as defunding police.

    He also said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to stall any legislation designed to assist families dealing with the COVID crisis was a factor.

    “I’m proud that Republicans held the Texas House of representatives with no losses,” he said.

  • Covid-19 regional update

    N2103P48004CFILE PHOTO Covid-19

    By ETxN Staff

    Polk, San Jacinto, and Tyler Counties

    In the Trauma Service Area designated H, which includes Polk, San Jacinto and Tyler counties, the amount of hospital bed usage by COVID-19 patients is down to 10% as of Wednesday, April 21, according to figures from the state department of health services. 

    Of the ICU beds available, 14% are being used as of Wednesday by COVID-19 patients. 

    The figure for daily cases reported as of Wednesday was 13 and the cumulative totals for the trauma region are 11,591 cases reported since reporting began in 2020, and 698 total COVID-related fatalities.

    Since reporting of active cases ceased in early March, concurrent with the lifting of Gov. Greg Abbott’s mandate, Tyler County reported 1,213 total cases and 34 deaths since March of 2020 when the county’s first confirmed case was reported."

    Houston County

    According to emergency management coordinator Heath Murff, as of April 30, the total number of Covid vaccination doses that had been administered in the county was 10,431.

    He added, “6,500 of those have been first doses; 4,633 of those are fully vaccinated people.

    “Houston County Emergency Management has hosted three vaccinations clinics, and we have vaccinated 600 citizens.”

    Murff said DSHS staff members “used to give us information daily, as far as, how many cases we had, how many active cases we had, how many recoveries we had, all that kind of specific (information) for Houston County, and they quit doing that.”

    ET COVID CHART

    **More information for up-to-date numbers can be found at:

    https://txdshs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/ed483ecd702b4298ab01e8b9cafc8b83

     

  • Election time

    groveton elec 4MARLENA STUBBLEFIELD | TCNS Dwayne Alsbrook and Autumn Dial attend the drawing ceremony for ballot placement on Monday at Groveton City Hall. The two have filed for candidacy for the two council positions up for election on Groveton City Council. The election will be held May 1, 2021.

    Trinity County cities and schools to hold elections 

    By Tony Farkas

    As the county creeps out from under a blanket of snow, business resumes, and that includes the business of the respective governments in the area.

    For this year, that means city and school board elections, all scheduled for May 1.

    In Groveton, Superintendent Don Hamilton said that three people have filed for election to the Groveton School Board: incumbent members Benny Abshier and Board President Mark Folds, and newcomer Sam Shanafelt.

    Early voting will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 19-23 and April 26-27 at the School Administration Building, 207 N. Main St., in Groveton.

    At the City of Groveton, two incumbents — Acting Mayor Ralph Bennett and Council Member Tommy Walton — have filed for the mayor position, which came open due to the passing of Mayor Byron Richards.

    For the two remaining council positions up for election, six residents have filed: Chris McFarland, Philip Schmitten, Autumn Dial, Dwayne Alsbrook, Mark Taylor and incumbent Council Member Robert Smith.

    Early voting will take place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. April 19-27, with April 20-21 set aside for voting from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Ballots can be cast at Groveton City Hall, 115 W. Front St.

    groveton elec 2MARLENA STUBBLEFIELD | TCNS Council Member Tommy Walton (right) and Acting Mayor Ralph Bennett will face off in a spring election for the position of Mayor of Groveton. Early voting for the May 1 election is scheduled for April 19 at City Hall.

    In the City of Trinity, both the city and school district will not have to hold elections, as only incumbent members of their respective boards have filed for candidacy.

    For the city, Mayor Pro Tem Billy Goodin and Council Member Phillip Morrison are unopposed, and will resume their positions for the next term.

    For the Trinity ISD School Board, incumbent members Judy Bishop and Elizabeth King also are unchallenged and will retain their posts.

    School districts in Apple Springs and Centerville do not have elections scheduled.

  • Entertainment replaced with McCarthyesque lecturing

    N1511P12003CFILE PHOTO

    By Tony Farkas

    I grew up as a dependent of a man who spent 20 years in the military, and as such, bounced around the world a bit.

    Part of that time, I lived in an area that had no television, and that was during some (or most, depending how you count) of my most formative years. What I did have, though, was an Air Force Base where movies cost 75 cents to get in (50 cents for the matinee).

    While school was in, my viewing was limited to the weekends, but summer was a free-for-all.

    Mind you, this was in the dark ages when there were no VCRs, DVDs, DVRs, iPads or Pods, or anything that was handheld. You physically attended a screening in a theater.

    (Another benefit of the dark ages, though, was the serials and cartoons that were shown before the main feature. That, and the Star-Spangled Banner played before each movie, and Lord help you if you didn’t stand and remove any caps you were wearing.)

    There were many movies consumed, and all were enjoyed, even by someone as young as me, who didn’t quite understand a lot of the adult themes, but all of them were appreciated for one thing — they were transportative.

    I was Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon.” I was Joe Kidd in Eastwood’s movie of the same name. Kier Dullea and myself were one and the same in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I still know all the lyrics and parts to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Who didn’t want to be Billy Jack, fighting oppressive jerks like Bert Freed?

    The thing about the movies I saw, and oh so many others, is they were enjoyable precisely because they told me a story, one that could absorb me into it. Some of them even had a moral, like in the case of Billy Jack, but the story was crafted well enough that I came away feeling that something did need to be done about the oppression of people who were different, but I wanted to be Billy.

    Hollywood in its heyday did that for everyone. In the early part of the 20th century, Hollywood helped people deal with the stress of two world wars, countless battles, poverty, the Depression, you name it, in the same manner it did me — by telling a story.

    People could be Fred Astaire dancing, or Errol Flynn swinging through Sherwood Forest, or Clint Eastwood chasing down Scorpio, or any number of things.

    Nowadays, though, Hollywood doesn’t tell stories. Hollywood lectures, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes blatantly, but all the time pushing an agenda.

    Evildoers such as Scorpio, a madman, have been replaced by corporations who exist only to exploit the masses, or police officers who hope to bring about their own brand of justice on either the poor, the African American, or the alphabet people.

    In an effort to promote equality (assuming, of course, that there’s massive inequality), instead of telling a compelling story to show us why things were right, we’re clubbed over the head about how we’re wrong.

    (That, of course, usually means middle class white people, because we’re always wrong.)

    Television, the little brother to the movies, is the same. Entire stations are dedicated to pushing a social agenda (watch Bravo or The CW sometime). The difference remains; we’re not changing minds with compelling drama and thought-provoking stories. We’re clubbing people with an endless stream of ham-fisted “truths” that, frankly, accomplish the opposite. I’ve stopped watch shows that care more about the message than the story or characters (“Supergirl” is a prime example).

    This is not to say that those issues don’t deserve attention. They do. We as a country are entirely too fractured to not take things seriously. That can be done through the media of television and movies, but as long as there’s the club, and not the carrot, all that’s accomplished is the loss of viewers.

    Besides, Bruce Lee and Harry Callahan can make things happen.

    Tony Farkas is the editor of the Trinity County News-Standard. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Entrants sought for event

    IMG 5144001FILE PHOTO

    Special to the News-Standard

    TRINITY — The city of Trinity is seeking entries for its Beat the Heat BBQ Cook-Off to be held in conjunction with the annual July 4 celebration.

    The cook-off will be held at The City of Trinity Community Center, 604 S. Robb St., on July 3, a Saturday.

    The IBCA-sponsored event boasts a $20,000 guaranteed cash payout for a $250 entry fee. The deadline for entries and payments is July 2.

    Cash payouts will be given for first through 10th places in all three IBCA meat categories — chicken, pork spareribs and brisket.

    There also are additional jackpots:

    •Friday Night: Chef’s choice and margaritas (two events), $25 entry per event, 100 percent payout.

    •Saturday: Beans and Bloody Marys (two events), $25 entry per event, 100 percent payout.

    Payouts will be given for first through third places, and will be determined by number of entries.

    Junior Pitmasters of America is sponsoring a youth beef steak cookoff as well. Entrants must be between the ages of 7-17, must be able to trim, season, cook and present steaks unassisted, and must supply a prep table, seasonings and cooking utensils, and food gloves.

    Entry fee is $25, and there will be payout for first through third places.

    A fireworks show will be held at dusk on Saturday, July 3.

    For information or online registration, go to www.cityoftrinity.com, or by calling Steven Jones at (936) 662-2319 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Entry forms are available to submit by mail or fax as well.

    Cook-Off Schedule

    Friday, July 2

    3-6 p.m. Tray pickup

    6 p.m. Head cooks meeting

    7 p.m. Chef’s Choice turn-in

    8 p.m. Margarita turn-in

    Saturday, July 3

    10 a.m. Bloody Mary turn-in

    11 a.m. Bean turn-in

    Noon Chicken turn-in — two (2) separate 1/2 fully jointed chicken halves (to include breast, wing, thigh and drumstick.)

    1:30 p.m. Pork spareribs (9 individual pieces)

    2:30 p.m. Kid's Que meat pick up

    3 p.m. Brisket (9 slices)

    3:30 p.m. Kid's Que turn-in

    Awards for both Kid's Que and IBCA BBQ time to be determined.

  • Fatal Trinity County crash claims Groveton woman

    police lightsFILE PHOTO Police lights

    By Chris Edwards

    TRINITY COUNTY – A Groveton woman is dead following a multiple-vehicle crash that occurred near Groveton on the evening of Wednesday, March 31.

    According to Sgt. David Hendry with the Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS troopers responded to a three-vehicle crash, which involved one of their own, about six miles west of the Groveton city limits on SH 94.

    According to the preliminary investigation, a Mack truck towing a pole trailer was eastbound and a DPS Chevrolet patrol vehicle was westbound at approximately 6:45 p.m. The trooper in the patrol vehicle, Brady Germeroth, of Crockett, identified a movingviolation on another eastbound vehicle and made a U-turn.

    As Germeroth was attempting to re-enter the eastbound lane of the highway, the driver of the Mack truck drove over into the westbound land and struck a Jeep Wrangler head-on. Both the truck and its accompanying trailer crossed back over into the eastbound lane, striking the back right side of the DPS vehicle, and continued off the roadway where it overturned onto its passenger side and caught fire.

    The driver of the Mack truck, 35-year-old Chad Deford, of Livingston, was not injured in the crash, neither was Germeroth. The driver of the Jeep, 53-year-old Melanie Painter, of Groveton, was transported to Crockett Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased a short time later, according to Hendry. The crash remains under investigation.

  • Going out on top

    cole 91COURTESY PHOTO 17 year old Groveton Senior, Cole Sullivan, took the honors BACK TO BACK of winning Overall Reserve Supreme Continental Heifer at both Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. 

    Livestock master ends career on a high note 

    Special to the News-Standard 

    TRINITY — Cole Sullivan is no stranger to success both in and out of the livestock show ring.  

    At the age of 8, he purchased his first show heifer named Sadie. Since that time Sadie has produced multiple Trinity County Fair and Youth Livestock Show Grand Champion steers as well as prize-winning show heifers.  

    Cole has continued his journey in agriculture with high-quality livestock, but has found his niche in the Limousin breed, gaining prominence by winning local, state and international shows. Cole competes with the largest breeders from all over the United States and, of course, locally in Texas. Cole’s vision for success is a big and bright as Texas. 

    Setting goals  

    As a family, the Sullivans traveled all over the United States during the year in order for Cole and his brother, Jack Cutter, to compete.  

    Livestock showing isn’t for the faint at heart — it’s early mornings and late nights, physical labor with no vacations; Cole will tell you, though, his vacations are in the showring with his show family and friends.  

    Even though this year was difficult — a national pandemic, livestock shows cancelling or rescheduling repeatedly— still, Cole racked up an impressive record. When cattle were purchased, raised and bred for specific time frames and shows cancel, Cole and his breeder had to regroup.  

    “God always has a plan so trust him,” Cole said. “I let Mother Nature work her course, and in the end, I couldn’t be prouder of myself and decisions that I made back in the fall.”  

    Cole decided to show Skittles and Barbara for his last run. Skittles, so named “because she literally was crazy and I have tasted every color of the crazy rainbow with her,” proved a challenge, and Cole said he didn’t think the purebred Limousin would ever get halter broke or show ready.  

    cole 2COURTESY PHOTO When hand shakes were taken over by fist bumps on Champion selections!

    One day, though, it just clicked, and Skittles ended up being phenomenal, winning Grand Champion Limousin at both Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. She also went on to win Overall Reserve Supreme Continental Heifer at both shows.  

    Cole also won Showmanship at Houston with her, the one he didn’t know if he would ever step into a ring with. 

    Consistency, hard work, dedication, collaboration and compassion are a few words that seem to come up around Cole in regard to success in the agriculture and livestock industries. He is most proud to have been able to travel so many miles with family and friends over the years and will continue to raise high quality show cattle for future exhibitors.  

    “We are the voice of agriculture,” Cole said. “It can’t be lost or forgotten. Value your worth and work ethic. Don’t let the negativity drive the positivity away. If you want something, don’t settle for less.” 

  • Groveton continues mask policy

    Groveton ISD logoFILE PHOTO Groveton ISD logo

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — the Groveton ISD School Board intends to leave well enough alone by keeping masking requirements in place through the end of the school year.

    At the board’s regular meeting on March 22, the board took no action regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s order removing any restrictions connected with the coronavirus pandemic.

    Superintendent Don Hamilton said the state gave schools an option regarding masks only, making it a school board decision.

    “(A handout from the state) shows that as boards consider their mask policies, one thing to be aware of is the risk for litigation and grievances for COVID-19-related claims,” Hamilton said. “This is a hot topic — half the people want to do away with it, half the people want to keep it.”

    Hamilton said he spoke with School Nurse Virginia Redden, who pointed out the district was nine weeks away from school being out, and that the students and teachers have done too well to change.

    Board President Mark Folds said he could go either way, but since the district has been doing so well, he did not see a reason to change, and the board could take up the matter at a later date.

    In other business, the board:

    • •approved the purchase of a new school bus from Longhorn Bus Sales;
    • •approved changes to school policy based on recommendations from the Texas Association of School Boards;
    • •approved the school calendar for the 2021-22 school year;
    • •approved keeping the District of Innovation description, and appointed a planning committee; and
    • •discussed contracts for teachers.
  • Groveton Invitational Baseball Tournament

    031121 baseball 1TONY FARKAS | TCNS Reece White makes contact with a pitch during the Groveton Invitational Tournament on Thursday. Groveton won its two outings, 9-1 over Trinity and 5-2 over Normagee.

    Thursday Results

    Groveton 9, Trinity 1

    Groveton 5, Normangee 2

    Warren 5, Trinity 3

    Diboll 8, Normangee 4

    Diboll 13, Warren 2

    031121 baseball 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Kaleb Coots brings the heat against a Normagee batter during the Groveton Invitation Tournament on Thursday.

  • Groveton native competes in cowboy competition series

    020421 hunterCOURTESY PHOTO

    TCNS staff

    A Groveton native is set to compete in the Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, a reality competition broadcast on the INSP Network.

    Hunter Arnold, a rodeo cowboy and horse trainer, will be one of 14 people on the program, which is scheduled to air Feb. 24.

    According to a release from the network, Season 2 of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown boasts a diverse group of 14 cowboys (men and women) from all across the country compete for a life-changing prize.

    Arnold said he was approached at the Professional Bull Riders Finals in Las Vegas by some of the show’s producers.

    “They asked if I would like to try out for the show, and I told them that I definitely would be interested,” he said.

    Arnold said wasn’t really sure what to expect, but wasn’t surprised that we had challenges involving ranch work, day work and roping cows.

    “I had put myself in the mindset to be ready for anything,” he said. “When I headed into this competition, I just tried as hard as I could, and gave it my all.”

    Screen Shot 2021 02 01 at 9.16.36 PM

    Arnold has garnered 100 buckles and 20 saddles in roping and rodeo competitions, and has trained more than 100 horses, many of which have gone on to qualify for the World Series of Team Roping.

    “I’ve lived in Groveton for 24 years; I went to elementary, middle and high school in Groveton, and graduated in 2014,” he said. “My Agriculture teacher, Mr. Fortenberry, helped to teach me how to rope. We’re still neighbors today.”

    •In the second season of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown, viewers will watch 14 contestants undergo a series of physical and mental challenges that will test them individually and as teams. The last cowboy standing will walk away with a prize package that includes a herd they can take to market, a Rawhide Portable Corral, an Arrowquip Q-Catch 87 Series Cattle Chute, the coveted Ultimate Cowboy Showdown belt buckle, and a lifetime of bragging rights.

    Ultimate Cowboy Showdown shows at 8 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Feb. 24 on INSP.

  • Groveton project making good progress (VIDEO)

    121720 sidewalk updateTONY FARKAS | TCNS Groveton Mayor Byron Richards shows one of the areas designated for personalized pavers, part of the city’s downtown revitalization project.

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — The project to renovate and replace downtown sidewalks is proceeding rapidly.

    Mayor Byron Richards said that the project should be completed around the end of March.

    “The’ve got quite a bit done, and should have not problem finishing on time,” he said.

    Crews started on the east side of the Square, replacing sidewalks and adding handicapped access and railings; Richards said because of the season, and because there were retail outlets on the west side, work there would begin after the end of the year.

    The west side of the street will be a two-tier setup when completed, and there will be 18 old-style lights placed around the area. Colored contoured cement will be added around the sidewalks for some style and contrast.

    “We’re trying to keep the old town charm, while showing that we’re progressive,” Richards said.

    A new feature to be added will be personalized pavers, and room on both sides of the Square have been added. Richards said that orders have been sparse; however, the deadline is Feb. 28, 2021, and there are 450 spaces available.

    In order to secure a spot, there are order forms available on the city’s website — cityofgroveton.com — or by calling the city at (936) 642-1122.

    With the renovations, “maybe we can get some more businesses to move to the Square,” Richards said. “After TxDOT redid the street, we get a lot of traffic, and we want to make the city impressive.”

  • Groveton rocked by mayor’s death

    mayorCOURTESY PHOTO Mayor Richards of Groveton

     
    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — Mayor Byron Richards of Groveton passed away on Monday from complications due to COVID-19.

    Funeral services are pending.

    Mayor Pro Tem Ralph Bennett said that Richards died last night, but he was not aware of it until he received a call at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday from a fellow City Council member.

    “This is a shocking development,” Bennett said. “It’s hard for me to believe that he’s gone. We were aware he had possibly contracted the virus, and he had taken himself and his wife to CHI St. Luke’s Hospital in Lufkin.”

    Bennett also said that Richards contacted him Monday afternoon.

    “He told me over the phone that he wasn’t going to make it,” Bennett said. “It was a hard phone call to get. I’m still shook by it.

    “He thanked the secretaries for the job they’ve done for the city, and thanked the Council for backing him 100 percent,” Bennett said. “He said that I would do a good job for the city.”

    County Judge Doug Page, who also serves as the county’s Emergency Management director, called the news shocking.

    He said that Richards found out he had contracted the virus on New Year’s Eve.

    “As long as we’ve been dealing with the coronavirus, it’s the quickest I’ve heard of it taking someone down,” Page said. “It’s hitting close to home, and we will react appropriately at the county level.”

    Bennett said Richards’ wife, Sandi, also had contracted the disease, but has improved and been taken home.

    Bennett described Richards as a very humble man who was extremely passionate about Groveton.

    “The projects with the downtown renovations and changes with the water well, Richards was adamant about getting that done for the betterment of the community,” Bennett said.

    Bennett said the city plans to carry out all current projects.

    “We shouldn’t lose any continuity in those. I have a good idea of what to do,” he said. “It was always a dream for the council to bring about change the city, and the mayor was the perfect face for that.”

    Bennett said he will assume mayoral duties.

    Page said the county will continue to follow all state edicts regarding COVID-19.

    He also said there will be a free coronavirus testing from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Thursday at the Volunteer Fire Department in Trinity.