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  • 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.

  • Groveton school board OKs improvement plan

    Groveton ISD logoFILE PHOTO - Groveton ISD logo

    TCNS Staff

    GROVETON — The Board of Trustees for Groveton ISD again approved an improvement plan for the elementary school.

    The need for the approval was because the submission form had changed; the state requires a three-year plan be in place.

    One part of the plan includes using test scores to drive instruction. Also, items were adjusted because of the affect of COVID-19.

    In a separate matter, the council denied a request for appeal from a resident of the district over a decision made regarding a student.

    No details about the incident, including the student’s name, were revealed because of privacy laws.

    The appeal was rejected because it was not filed in a timely manner, according to Board President Mark Folds.

    The decision was first appealed to the High School principal, who upheld the decision; then to Superintendent Don Hamilton, who also denied it.

    In other business, the board:

    • approved a missed school days waiver, as the district missed more days than were allowed for on the previous calendar; and
    • approved the Dec. 17 board meeting to be the date for the superintendent’s evaluation.
  • Opinion - It was the insanest of times, or something

    tony farkasTony Farkas file photo

    Having been through quite a lot of elections in my decades of newspaper work, I have to say that this year’s was without a doubt the strangest.

    Only one other time that I can recall has an election been held where a winner wasn’t immediately known was the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. You know, the one that ended a month later after a series of lawsuits.

    (If you don’t recall, look up “hanging chads” on the interweb.)

    So here we are 20 years later, and it was, as Aerosmith sez, “same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.”

    For purposes of this column, though, I’m not about the winner. I’m talking about the process, and what seems to be the new same old story.

    If you noticed anything about the election this year, you noticed that there was very little substance provided by the candidates — for every race. There was no discussion about plans, no debate about the future, not one idea or way of thinking was put forth to give us an indication of what the future would hold.

    My sister-in-law, who is liberal as the day is long, and myself, who really really is not, agree on this, which is rare as hens’ teeth.

    I see it like this: Politics nowadays is like NFL teams, with the presidential election being like the Super Bowl. However, it’s become about the teams deciding who should be the quarterback, talking about stats and the big game from years ago.

    What’s missing from this show is a game plan and, well, the actual gameplay. It’s just the two teams hollering at each other and their own teams, completely caught up in their own world.

    The other thing that’s missing from this equation is the fans. Or, in the world of politics, the people.

    These two bantamweights were arguing about who did what when, how they could have done it better, pointing out scandals and missed opportunities, and generally being disagreeable for months. There was nothing about things that need to matter — like actually playing and winning the game.

    I didn’t hear how either of the candidates would fix the nation’s problems that they’re actually supposed to care about. They’re supposed to do things about the pesky $20 trillion debt that’s handing over the heads of the taxpayers for centuries. They’re supposed to care about trillion-dollar deficits, about the borders, about, well, the people they’re pretending to represent.

    Us fans, or constituents, if you will, are mostly if not all to blame for this, because we let this happen. The difference here, though, is that if we were only NFL fans, we can leave the stadium and never come back, never buy another ticket or a piece of swag.

    With this country, though, it really doesn’t matter who is the winner; both teams will have their hands in our pockets and take more and more, all the while telling us it’s our patriotic duty to fund every scheme and plan that will just make our lives rosy and unicorns and puppies. It’s government that being done to us, not of, by or for us.

    See, we’ve become, in the manifest destiny of our country, the cardboard cutouts filling the stands, there only to give the players, our elected representatives, something to provide a sense of why they’re competing.

    We need to be more than that. We need to take back control, since that’s how this country was supposed to work. It’s gonna be tough, and will take a lot of time — it took decades to get to this point — but I truly believe that we need to be the ones in charge, not the elite few in Washington, D.C.

    We’re near a tipping point, and if we get a government that controls — not just regulates — all the aspects of our lives, it will mean the end of the American dream, in my view, since once a government gets power, it never gives it back, and since it has the power to give it to you, it has the power to take it away.

    I hope this election, if nothing else, opened a few eyes to the trap we’re about to step in.

    Tony Farkas is 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..

  • Tigers clinch playoff berth (VIDEO)

    110520 trinity 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Trinity Tiger wide receiver Jamarian Hall runs through trouble during a Friday, Oct. 30, game against the Westwood Panthers. Trinity won the game 34-28.

    By Scott Womack
    TCNS Correspondent

    TRINITY — The Tigers entered the 2020 season with one goal, to advance to the playoffs. A 34-28 victory over the Westwood Panthers made that goal a reality.

    The victory was accomplished by a strong running game by Trey Goodman, who contributed 285 rushing yards and one passing touchdown; a defense that made timely stops and intercepted Panther passes three times, one resulting in a touchdown; and special teams that was able to recover an attempted onside kick that sealed the victory for the Tigers.

    The Tigers struck early with a 66-yard touchdown run by Goodman on just the second play from scrimmage. However, the Panthers were able to control the ball on their opening possession for a 15-play touchdown drive to take a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.

    Westwood scored early in the second quarter and take a 14-6 lead. With 2:24 left in the first half, Goodman was able to pick off a Panther pass and return it to the 24-yard line giving the Tigers a chance to even the score before halftime. Two plays later the Tigers gave up the ball on an interception.

    A timely stop by the defense forced the Panthers to punt. With just 25 seconds left in the second quarter the Tigers had one last opportunity to score. The Tigers needed one play for Goodman to find the end zone from a 35-yard run. Adding the 2-point conversion, the Tigers and Panthers entered halftime tied at 14.

    The Tigers took the lead for good on their opening possession of the third quarter when Goodman found Jamarian Hall for a 32-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers next offensive possession resulting in a T.J. Jaramillo interception on the Tiger 14-yard line. On the Tigers third play, Goodman broke free for a 78-yard touchdown run giving the Tigers a 28-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

    110520 trinity 1TONY FARKAS | TCNS Trey Goodman (No. 3) finds room for the Trinity Tigers’ opening drive score, scampering 66 yards on Friday, Oct. 30, in Trinity. The Tigers downed the Westwood Panthers 34-28.

    Trinity then drove to the Panther 28 yard line, but turned the ball over to the Panthers on a fourth-down run that came up short. An incompletion, a Raymond Balli sack and an interception returned 21 yards for a score by Romero Lopez gave the Tigers a commanding 24-14 lead with 6:47 left in the game.

    The Panthers made the game interesting by taking just over two minutes to score and another touchdown with just 1:09 left to play. Leading by 6 points, the Tigers lined up for a Panther onside kick, and with the recovery, the Tigers special team was able to seal the win.

    The win puts Trinity into the 2020 playoffs. The Tigers will end the regular season on the road against the Crockett Bulldogs, the winner of which will enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. With a win the Tigers will own their first winning regular season and district winning record in several years.

    Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.; once all the games become final, the Tigers will know their playoff opponent.

     

  • Trinity County approves contract with Groveton EMS

    trinityFILE PHOTO - Trinity County courthouse

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court now has a new contract with Groveton EMS for ambulance services, but not without some discussion as to the nature of the $1,500 monthly payment.

    While both the county and Groveton EMS agree that ambulance service is needed, the county on Nov. 10 approved a $1,500 monthly stipend, while the EMS service sought a contract that was based on a fee for services.

    Grover Worsham, who owned the service and sold it to current owner David Robison, said he understood Robison’s position, but the real issue was getting the ambulances to run.

    Robison initially asked for the contract to read fee for services as it would benefit the organization in the long run; his argument was that the language made the difference between a vendor relationship and a dependent relationship. However, County Judge Doug Page said the contract will read subsidy based on advice from County Attorney Joe Warner Bell.

    In the end, both sides agreed that it would be best to end the negotiations and approve the contract. The previous contract expired in December 2019. This contract will last seven years with a 90-day right of termination.

    In other business, the county:

    • canvassed the county votes from the Nov. 3 General Election;
    • approved $332,106 from the October check register;
    • approved a budget amendment moving $7,952 into the general fund;
    • approved issuing a county credit card to Sheriff Woody Wallace;
    • approved disbursing Family Protection Fee funds to three county agencies;
    • approved the sale of surplus equipment;
    • approved bids for the sale of tax resale properties from the County Appraisal District; and
    • approved a resolution authorizing $35,000 in county funds as part of a Community Development Block Grant, a project sponsored by the Deep East Texas Council of Government, for the improvement of regional radio communications infrastructure.
  • Trinity County citizens eager to vote

    101520 votingPhoto by Tony Farkas | TCNS Trinity residents wait outside the city Fire Department on the first day of early voting for the 2020 general election.

  • Trinity Historical society dedicates markers to Rep. Charlie Wilson and 'Wobbly Bobbly'

    111220 plaque 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Sharon Wilson Allison, sister to Charlie Wilson, reads the text of a Texas Historical Marker that was dedicated to the U.S. Representative on Saturday November 7, 2020 in Trinity, Texas.

    By Tony Farkas

    TRINITY — Millions of Google returns on a search, as well as a movie, might give some folks a passing familiarity for Rep. Charlie Wilson, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years.

    For the residents of Trinity, though, Little Charles, as he was known, was the definition of the hometown boy who done good. Because of that, on Saturday an official Texas Historical Marker was dedicated at his boyhood home.

    The Trinity Historical Society also dedicated a marker to the “Wobbly Bobbly,” the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railroad on Saturday.

    Wilson was born in Trinity on June 1, 1933, and served in both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. House, representing the districts around his home town. He died Feb. 10, 2010, in Lufkin, Texas.

    Susan Madeley of the Trinity County Historical Commission said that there were many accomplishments made by the congressman, particularly with funding for Afghan rebels during that country’s war with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the subject of the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

    Wilson also was a champion in business and environmental arenas as well, and was known as a consummate dealmaker.

    Sharon Wilson Allison, Charlie’s sister, said she cherished the memories of her time in Trinity and her brother.

    “(My family) would be so honored that you were here,” she said. “Thank you for doing this.”

    Earlier on Saturday, on the southwest corner of Main and Maple streets, the commission dedicated and unveiled a marker commemorating the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railroad, which was known affectionately by the people of the time as the Wobbly Bobbly Turnover and Stop.

    111220 plaque 1 TONY FARKAS | TCNS Historians Jason Rose (left) and Everett Lueck unveil a Texas Historical Marker that was dedicated to the WBT&S Railroad on Saturday in Trinity, near the site of the now-defunct railroad’s home offices.

    The railroad was chartered in September 1881, and was used primarily as a logging tram, as the area to this day is a large producer of timber. Over the 115.2 miles of track, passengers, mail, pulpwood, tomatoes, vehicles and oil, among other freight, was transported, according to the marker request application compiled by Jason Rose and Madeley.

    It stopped operation in 1959, and the remaining engine was restored and is on display at the Galveston Railroad Museum.

  • Trinity ISD OKs distance learning plans

    110520 trinity isdCOURTESY PHOTO - Misty Coleman was named professional employee of the month, Keri Dobbs the paraprofessional employee of the month and Ben Stubbs the support employee of the month at the Oct. 26 Trinity ISD School Board meeting.

    By Tony Farkas

    TRINITY — The Trinity Independent School District board approved a distance learning plan, while at the same time approving a plan to get students back into the classroom.

    Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman said the state approved its learning plan on the first go-around, which was rare.

    However, Kaufman said that with the board’s approval, he hopes to have everyone back in class by the end of the semester. The plan is to start with one or two grades per campus, wait two weeks, and bring back two more.

    Currently, 65 students use distance learning throughout the district, which has about 1,200 students.

    “We’ve had a non-success rate of 64 percent of students doing remote learning,” he said. “That’s alarming, especially when there’s a 14 percent non-success rate for face-to-face.”

    Kaufman said students that have failed in the first six weeks could either come back for face-to-face learning, be homeschooled, move to a virtual learning environment, or transfer to another district for virtual learning. Students who maintained passing grades will remain in virtual learning until the third six weeks, and plans are to then start phasing them back for face-to-face instruction.

    “Face learning is more productive, and has a social aspect that kids need to have,” Kaufman said. “We need to get them back to the classroom. I understand about how parents feel about the safety of their children; but our mitigation efforts at the schools have been very good. We’re taking every precaution to keep our kids safe.”

    However, students can remain on virtual learning can remain there if there’s a verified medical condition that would require that separation, Kaufman said.

    In other business, the board:

    •approved moving the November meeting to Nov. 16, when election results will be canvassed;

    •approved resolutions for the Trinity County Appraisal District; and

    •discussed all board members meeting their continuing education credits.

  • Trinity Schools affected by COVID

    trinity isd logoFILE PHOTO - Trinity ISD logo

    TCNS Staff

    TRINITY — The High School and Junior High in Trinity are now going through the state required procedures of quarantine and contract tracing as one student and one employee have tested positive for COVID-19.

    Letters were sent out Thursday to parents.

    Superintendent John Kaufman said these are the first positive cases in the district this year.

    “We have completed our contact tracing on the two individuals and notified the appropriate parents,” Kaufman said. “A deep cleaning was conducted on all classrooms and common areas associated with the two positives.”

    Kaufman said TISD will continue to follow the protocol established in its reopening plan and CDC guidance.  

    “Trinity ISD is committed in providing a safe environment for all our students,” he said.

    Due to privacy requirements, the district did not release the names of the individuals or any identifying details.

    According to the letter sent out to the district, based on the information that was gathered, it has been determined the end of the 14-day incubation period for anyone possibly exposed on campus to the student/staff member is Nov. 25.

    The release also states that while the district does not have reason to believe that those who were not in close contact with the infected individual have reason to be concerned, residents are admonished to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, and to follow district guidelines regarding contact with any positive-testing person.

    Anyone within the Trinity ISD community that begins experiencing any symptoms in a way that is not typical is encouraged to contact a physician. Anyone who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 is requested to notify the school nurse at (936) 594-2090.

    The release states the district continues to monitor the situation and will provide additional information as needed. Questions or concerns can be directed to (936) 594-2090, or information will be available at Trinityisd.net.

  • Trinity to replace some sewer lines

    111920 trinity 1TONY FARKAS | TCNS Justice of the Peace Hayne Huffman (right) swears in (from left) Clegg DeWalt, Wayne Huffman and Chris Dennis at the Nov. 12 Trinity City Council meeting. The three were re-elected to their posts on Nov. 3.

    By Tony Farkas

    TRINITY — Christmas came early to the Trinity City Council in the form of a $275,000 no-match grant that will help replace some aging infrastructure.

    At its regular meeting on Nov. 12, the city discussed a grant that Police Chief Steven Jones said was initially denied.

    “Council Member Bubba Smith and I were in Lufkin to discuss it, and we were told that we did not get the grant,” Jones said. “… I got a call out of nowhere recently that said we did get the grant, and we have a confirmation email.”

    Engineers will now begin work on replacing a sewer line that runs between Trinity Memorial Hospital and Rockdale Street. He also said it has zero match.

    In other business, the city:

    • •approved the canvass of votes in the Nov. 3 election of city officials, and swore in returning council members Smith, Clegg DeWalt and Chris Dennis, Mayor Wayne Huffman, and Municipal Judge Lyle Stubbs.
    • •re-appointed Billy Goodin as Mayor Pro Tem;
    • •approved changes to persons allowed to handle the night depository bag;
    • •approved $1,500 in Hotel/Motel funds for the Christmas at the Crossroads event; and
    • •approved receipt of the city audit for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Auditor Dianne Sollock informed the council that the audit has an “unmodified opinion,” which is the best outcome, and also said that the city’s financial picture is improving year to year.