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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..

  • Agent takes a step up to get back to roots

    052721 extensionCOURTESY PHOTO Stacye Tullos (second from right), the new Texas A&M Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent for Trinity County, stands with (from left) Trinity County Judge Doug Page, Cathey, Kayla Kembro, Clarissa Ashworth, and Cole Sullivan, 4-H members who were honored with Gold Star awards from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Tullos recently was promoted to the agent, having served initially as an agent for Healthy Texas.

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — Combined passions for agriculture and teaching put Stacye Tullos back to the place where she always wanted to be.

    The former Health Agent for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which dealt with educational programming in the school about chronic disease and nutrition, among other things, is now agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    “I always knew I wanted to be in something ag-based because of how I grew up,” Tullos said. “That made me who I am, being in FFA in high school. I was one of those kids who didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do until I got into high school and started in ag.”

    When it came to learning about all things agriculture, Tullos said she fell to that like a duck to water; instead of athletics or other extracurricular activities, that was her passion — her sport.

    “4-H program is part of what I deal with, and that’s where my heart is at,” she said. “I was an ag teacher for three years (prior to joining the Extension Service). I come from a long background in agriculture. My grandpa was the largest producer of rice in the state of Texas in the 70s and 80s, and he also ran cattle, grew corn and hay, and things like that.”

    Tullos said that children are her passion, especially teaching them, and with agriculture, the possibilities for kids to find something that will interest them are endless.

    “People think that ag only has to do with cattle or pigs or lambs or goats, or maybe just farming, and it’s a misconception,” she said. “I’ve seen kids so shy that when they got an opportunity to be a part of FFA or 4-H, they find themselves. There are speaking events, or sewing, or robotics, or mechanical engineering. It’s cooking and learning about food. It gives them a sense of responsibility and grow character. You’ll find some of the most exceptional kids come from ag. It’s not just county fair stuff.”

    Agriculture and its related disciplines teaches responsibility, and a work ethic, and how to create, and it teaches children how to sell themselves, not just sell a commodity, Tullos said.

    “Kids need to know how to market themselves these days, and they need to learn to earn their way,” she said.

    So in her new role, Tullos helps people with questions about starting gardens, or identifying plants, or check a pond, or eve finding out why cattle aren’t producing well or losing weight.

    “It’s everything you can possibly imagine under the umbrella of agriculture,” she said. “We have a wealth of people with knowledge that help us with that, so if we don’t know, we have the resources of A&M.”

    Tullos is replacing Armon Hewitt, who had been agent for Trinity County for about 15 years. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture services and development, and followed that with an internship in ag education with the Extension Service in Grimes County.

    After spending a few years working in human resources, Tullos made the change to teaching, and has been there since.

    “At the end of the day, our youth are our future, and if I can say I had a small part in helping them to blossom into a mature adult with a work ethic and skills to use throughout life, that’s where I live,” she said. “We have to invest in our kids, and they have to know there is someone behind them.”

  • Apple Springs Board OKs use of grant funds

    apple springs ISD logoCOURTESY PHOTO Apple Springs ISD logo

    TCNS staff

    APPLE SPRINGS — The Apple Springs ISD School Board will get to spend $808,000 of federal grant funds.

    At its regular meeting on May 10, the board approved a spending plan designed by Superintendent Cody Moree, which will take effect in mid-July, the earliest the money can be drawn down by districts.

    “This is an occasion where there’s a lot of leeway in spending protocol,” Moree said. “Typically, federal money will have to supplement what we’re already doing; this will allow us to (use grant funds for) payroll operations for a year, and take our regular allotments and put them in a fund balance to give us a cushion.”

    Moree said that $575,000 of the funds will be used for payroll.

    Other uses include $107,000 to be used on direct learning loss strategies, purchasing personal protective equipment, and replacing plumbing fixtures, such as toilets, fountains and sinks, to non-touch varieties, all necessary because of the pandemic; and $15,000 for new computer hardware.

    In other business, the board:

    • moved the regular meeting days to the second Thursday of the month from the second Monday, the first being June 10. Moree said this was because the district moved to a 4-day week, and is closed on Mondays; and
    • approved changes to school policy based on Texas Association of School Board recommendations.
  • 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 alters school schedule

    052721 centerville isdCOURTESY PHOTO Centerville ISD

    By Tony Farkas

    CENTERVILLE — The Centerville ISD Board has approved a change to a four-day-a-week schedule for the new school year beginning Aug. 9.

    The vote was not unanimous, however, as Board Member Randall Fry said he would remain skeptical of the new plan.

    At the May 20 meeting, board members Joyce Carlton, Gerald Davis, Kim Blalock and Dwayne Whittlesley showed approval for the plan presented by Principal Andja Sailer.

    Sailer said the district sent surveys to both staff and parents, and together it showed a 95 percent approval rate for the plan. Students will attend classes Mondays-Thursdays, from 7:20 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day.

    There are occasional Friday attendance required, mostly for testing.

    Sailer said that benefits of the new schedule include more time in that classroom, which gives teachers more time with the students for more in-depth instruction.

    Superintendent Mark Brown said that this will be a three-year pilot, but the program, if it turns out to be a problem, can be terminated at any time.

    Board Member Michael Brister was absent and did not vote.

    In other business, the board:

    • discussed the pending receipt of a $340,949 grant.
  • 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.

  • City to seek answers to police dilemma

    060321 city 1TONY FARKAS | TCNS City Judge Angelia Evans swears in Tommy Walton as mayor of the City of Groveton. Walton won the post in the May 1 election.

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — The Groveton City Council delayed action on changing the salary of the police chief, in light of the fact that the city has to replace John Raiford, who resigned May 14.

    Mayor Tommy Walton said the resignation was effective immediately. Daniel Kee was appointed interim chief at an emergency meeting on May 14.

    “He did not leave on bad terms,” Walton said. “It was time; he stopped attending meetings, and his reports reflected no activity, and I think he just got tired.”

    The city is budgeted for two officers, and currently is using reserve officers and Kee for patrol until hiring is done. Walton said sheriff covers for the city as well.

    At its regular meeting on May 24, Walton said he was considering $18 to $20 per hour for a pay scale; however, Council Member Joe Don Kennedy asked to delay any action because the matter needed more discussion, and the city at this time did not have a chief.

    Council Member Autumn Dial said that she has been investigating the matter, and Groveton is about $10,000 under pay scales offered by towns of similar size.

    Walton said in order to hire a chief, there needed to be some sort of plan in place.

    Kee warned the commission that the call volume after hours is pretty high, and that would be a detriment to hiring someone.

    “You can’t salary someone and call them out 24 hours a day,” Kee said. “Salary is based on a 40- to 50-hour week, and 3 in the morning isn’t salary time. You need to pare down your expectations.”

    Kee also said the city needed to decide who will hire a replacement officer — the city or the newly hired chief.

    “It appears you’re tabling this to discuss the issues,” Kee said. “I encourage you to please discuss it to the fullest. I’m in limbo in the meantime.”

    In a separate matter, Maretha Lawrence asked the council to be more aware of some of the things it does, as an event during the city election could be construed as racist.

    Lawrence said that during the vote, there were two black women serving as election judges at the city polling station, and someone made a point of saying that should not be allowed to happen.

    “I started not to say anything, but I felt it was a racist statement,” she said. “To me, that was saying you can’t trust two black people.”

    Walton said that the statement that was made was not meant to be racial, but was a request for equal representation in election judges.

    Lawrence said she expected the council to address it, and not change out one of the election judges for a white person, which was the damaging action.

    “There’s nothing that can be done about it now, but I want to put that out there so next time it can be addressed properly,” she said.

    In other business, the council:

    • approved a $8,641 payment to Inframark for water and sewer operations;
    • discussed the flooding issue on West First Street due to the large amount of rain received;
    • delayed action on paying $28,963 to stock a fire truck for the Groveton Fire Department, expected to arrive in 2022;
    • delayed action of approval of changes to the city’s weed ordinance; and
    • re-appointed Angelia Evans as city judge.
  • 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.

  • County attorney helps save infant

    060321 hayCOURTESY PHOTO Trinity County Attorney Colton Hay walks away from a one-vehicle crash, where he and others helped rescue an infant that was in the vehicle.

    News-Standard staff

    GROVETON — Trinity County Attorney Colton Hay can add lifesaver to his resume, having come to the aid of an infant following a car crash on May 25.

    The wreck occurred on State Highway 94 west of Groveton at about 5 p.m.

    According to police reports, the driver, James Christopher Gambrell Jr., 29, was driving his vehicle in an unsafe manner during a rainstorm, hydroplaned, and rolled the vehicle into a ditch.

    Hay said he witnessed the event on his way home from work,

    “We went over to the car, me and a few other people, and someone hollered, ‘There’s a baby in here,’” Hay said. “I carry a sledgehammer in the car for trailer hitches; we looked, found the child, and broke the back window.”

    Hay then called law enforcement officials on his cell phone to report the event.

    The car had come to a stop upside down in about a foot of water, with oil and other fluids leaking from the car, reports indicate. Hay, who recently became a father for the first time, climbed into the car to get the baby out.

    Hay said the car was filled with many items, such as computers and tools, which made entering the car difficult.

    “I shimmy into the car through the back window; the driver was wedged in the car, part in front and part in back,” Hay said. “I got to the baby; it looked to be about a year old. The car seat was flipped over, because it was not attached properly.”

    Hay said the child was crying and moving her arms and legs, and had a small abrasion on her cheek.

    “I unhooked her as carefully as I could from the seat, cradled her as best as I could, and shimmied out,” he said.

    Reports state the child was taken by ambulance to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver was arrested for driving with license invalid with a previous conviction, and other charges are pending.

    Hay said that with the help of other passers-by who witnessed the crash and stopped to help, they were able to help the child.

    “I just had a baby, and holding her was like holding mine, and we got her out and we all were ecstatic,” Hay said. “It was beautiful to see people to come together from all walks of life and save this girl.

    “It was an emotional experience,” he said.

  • County to investigate insurance options

    CountysealFILE PHOTO Trinity County seal

    TCNS staff

    GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners’ Court delayed action on renewing its health benefits with the Texas Association of Counties to allow questions about plan availability are answered.

    County Attorney Colton Hay had asked if there was a second option that could be offered that had a higher deductible but lower premiums, to be offered to people who would prefer that type of plan.

    County Treasurer Bob Dockens said there was, but there also was a danger of the county losing its grandfathered position on health care plans, which will mean much higher premium costs.

    Dockens will schedule a discussion with the county’s TAC representative to get clarification on options and county’s grandfathered status.

    In other business, the county:

    • approved a hiring recommendation from the county’s Internship Committee;
    • approved the purchase of a new recording system for 911;
    • approved the countywide transition to Microsoft 365 for the county’s email needs;
    • approved the purchase of several vehicles for Precinct 4 from the Texas Forest Service;
    • approved the hiring of a structural engineer to evaluate the needs for a new maintenance building;
    • approved a resolution regarding 1115 Medicaid waivers.
  • 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.