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FCCLA students who stepped up to help students are (starting at top, from left) Brianna Commiato, Lauren Lee, Makenzie White, Leo Conner, Audra Bolton, Samantha Smith, J.P. McLaughlin, Ryan Brister, Malacie Bolton, Grayson Robinson, Karlea Commiato, Josilin Jones, Mrs. Dubose, Easton Dyson, Collin Carlton WillieClede, Mason Jones, Sawyer Price, Rylan Thorne, Johnny Mikel, Cason Pyle and Kristin Fry.

Centerville FCCLA takes on Pre-K

FCCLA students who stepped up to help students are (starting at top, from left) Brianna Commiato, Lauren Lee, Makenzie White, Leo Conner, Audra Bolton, Samantha Smith, J.P. McLaughlin, Ryan Brister, Malacie Bolton, Grayson Robinson, Karlea Commiato, Josilin Jones, Mrs. Dubose, Easton Dyson, Collin Carlton WillieClede, Mason Jones, Sawyer Price, Rylan Thorne, Johnny Mikel, Cason Pyle and Kristin Fry. Special to the News-Standard CENTERVILLE — The Centerville FCCLA student group has adopted the Pre-K class this year. Students asked Emily Dubose, the Pre-K teacher, if she had $1,000 what would she buy for her classroom? She thought about the question and decided it would be an interactive sand table. She was then asked to go online and choose one, and being the considerate person she is, the cost of the table she found was well under the budget given. FCCLA students decided to surprise her and also bought a water table, sand and water play kits, a storage center for the play kits, and…
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Hitting 100- Shepherd Bank celebrates centennial

Special to the News-Times SHEPHERD — Peoples State Bank, the oldest chartered bank in San Jacinto County, will hit the 100-year mark in October. The event will be marked Oct. 2 by a barbecue, door prizes, giveaways and a concert with the Kenny Martin Band. The bank was originally chartered as San Jacinto State Bank and opened in Coldspring on Oct. 11, 1907. On Sept. 21, 1921, the Guaranty Bank of Shepherd assumed ownership of the bank. In 1926, it changed its name to Peoples State Bank. In 1932, the bank merged with the Coldspring State Bank, but remained in the town of Shepherd and did not open a branch in Coldspring again until 1996. A third location in Livingston was opened in 1998. The original location of the bank is where JC’s Pharmacy now stands. The bank then moved across the street to the building currently occupied by City Hall. The present location in Shepherd was opened in 1976. Since that time, it has been expanded and remodeled numerous times. The bank has grown to more…
One of the most immediate and obvious signs of the damage done by Winter Storm Uri was seen on all the palm trees planted around East Texas. None of their palm branches survived. 

Local plant expert shares how to prepare for the next 'Snowpocalypse'

One of the most immediate and obvious signs of the damage done by Winter Storm Uri was seen on all the palm trees planted around East Texas. None of their palm branches survived. by Adam Conway Winter Storm Uri was an unusual and devastating weather phenomenon that not only damaged the lives of people in East Texas, but also the plant life that inhabits the state. “Severe freeze damage and even death to immature large trees or shrubs was caused to Fan-Tex ash trees, small live oaks and Wax Myrtles, Italian Cypress, some species of palms and immature Slash and Loblolly pines,” said Brenda Swagerty, General Manager of Plants of Texas. “To help insulate our crops for the impending storm, our company spent three days prior to the storm irrigating all crops up to two times a day in order to insulate the roots, stems and foliage of all plants and trees by filling them with water.” Swagerty explained that East Texans can prevent damage to their plants and trees by watering early and often…
Angal Biano, above, the mother of a Latexo ISD student, addressed the district’s trustees and superintendent about vaping, an issue that she said is affecting district students, including her son, at a Sept. 9 meeting of the district officials.  (ALTON PORTER | HCC)

Paid leave extended for Latexo coronavirus-infected employees

Angal Biano, above, the mother of a Latexo ISD student, addressed the district’s trustees and superintendent about vaping, an issue that she said is affecting district students, including her son, at a Sept. 9 meeting of the district officials. (ALTON PORTER | HCC)By Alton [email protected] LATEXO – Members of the Latexo ISD board have approved extension of paid leave that may be taken by district employees who need to quarantine due to coronavirus virus infection. At a regular meeting of the Latexo Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, held on Thursday, Sept. 9, the trustees voted to pass a motion to adopt a “Resolution of the Board Regarding Extension of Leave for Employee Quarantine.” “This has come out across the state, of course, because we’re still fighting Covid,” Superintendent Michael Woodard said to the trustees. “And so, everybody’s putting their resolutions at different districts to benefit all employees. Some are putting in 10 days to 20 days. “I…
James White

White announces Aerospace Scholars project

James WhiteBy Chris [email protected] AUSTIN – Last week, State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) announced the launch of the High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) project, which White says will help young Texans compete in a rapidly changing, tech-dependent workforce. “Math and science are integral to educating our young Texans to compete in a 21st century high-tech global economy and ensuring our economic freedom in Texas,” he said. HAS will enable high school juniors who are selected to become a part of NASA’s plan for space exploration. Students who score high enough during the school year on assignments in the program will have the opportunity to travel to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, and implement what they have learned for a two-day stay. According to White, those who are selected to travel to the Space Center will be able to design a mission to Mars and take part in several hands-on engineering challenges, under the guidance of NASA scientists and…
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Numerous events are planned for the 74th annual San Jacinto County Fair

2021 Junior Queens Court Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — Numerous events are planned for the 74th annual San Jacinto County Fair, including a perennial favorite, the Queen Contest. The 2020 SJC Fair and Rodeo Queen, Tori Matthews, will crown the new Queen from the following contestants: Contestant No. 1, Bobbie McBride 16-year-old Junior at Texas Connections Academy of Houston, sponsored by Weiman Air. Contestant No. 2, Leah Phillips, 14-year-old eighth-grader at Shepherd Middle School, sponsored by Hempel USA. Contestant No. 3, Kaylen McAdams, 17-year-old Junior at Coldspring High School, sponsored by Coldspring Vet Clinic. Contestant No. 4, Abigail Mosley, 13-year-old eighth-grader at Shepherd Middle School, sponsored by Magnolia Academy. Contestant No. 5, Shelby Lee, 14-year-old Freshman at Coldspring High School, sponsored by Coldspring Farm & Ranch. Contestant No. 6, Layla Howton, 13-year-old eighth-grader at Shepherd Middle School, sponsored by Last Chance Feed & More.…
Apple Springs runner Dakota Campbell looks for room during the Eagles’ 48-0 loss to Ovilla Christian on Sept. 10. (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS)

Trinity County teams blanked

Apple Springs runner Dakota Campbell looks for room during the Eagles’ 48-0 loss to Ovilla Christian on Sept. 10. (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS) TCNS staff It was a tough week for football as Trinity County teams — Apple Springs and Groveton — were held scoreless in their respective games. The Apple Springs Eagles 6-man team fell to the Ovilla Christian Eagles 48-0 on Sept. 10. After a sustaining the opening drive down to the goal line of Ovilla, Apple Springs could not muster much offense, and the defense couldn’t stop the Ovilla running game. Also, the Groveton Indians lost to the Joaquin Rams 62-0 on the road. Thirty-five of Joaquin’s points came in the first half. Apple Springs is to face Huntsville Alpha Omega JV at 6 p.m. Thursday. Groveton will host Shelbyville at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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Trinity County inches closer to approved budget

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners’ Court got one step closer to approving its next budget. The court discussed budget matters and request at a special meeting on Sept. 7, but took no action. However, the court did submit its proposed tax rates, which will drop some; the proposed no-new revenue tax rate is $0.5309 per $100 valuation, and the proposed voter approval tax rate is $0.6023. In 2020, the no-new-revenue tax rate was set at $0.6340 per $100 valuation, and the voter approval tax rate was $0.6328. Additional revenue is expected, however, through a jump in property values and federal grants. Commissioners also went through each department’s budget, but again took no action. In other business, the county: approved bids for chip sealing Helmic-Apple Springs Road, Joe Bailey Road and Jim Butler Road, for a total estimated cost of $52,750; changed the name of a road in the Westwood Shores subdivision of Trinity from Winding Creek to…
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LHS principal speaks to Rotary Club

LHS Principal Dr. Paul DrakeBy Emily Banks [email protected] Dr. Paul Drake, principal of Livingston High School, spoke to the Livingston Rotary Club Thursday, providing an update on things going on at the high school. A 2001 graduate of LHS, Drake returned five years ago to become the high school principal. He touched on the variety of programs offered for students entering the work force instead of secondary education. “We have several new programs. One is cosmetology. We have eight or nine in there and they will graduate with a certificate. It’s been successful,” he said. “We have an HVAC program through Angelina College. Three students will get HVAC certification right after graduation or shortly thereafter,” he said, adding, “We have a welding program at Angelina where the students can earn certificates and we also offer welding at LHS with Mr. Sitton. “Last year was the first year of our LVN program. Seven participated and can get licensed in August following…
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City of Livingston adopts budget, approves 5.1% pay raise

By Emily Banks [email protected] Following a public hearing in which no one spoke, the Livingston City Council approved the proposed ordinance adopting its budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2021 and ends Sept. 30, 2022 during its regular meeting Tuesday. Also approved were adjustments to the budget for the fiscal year ending September 30. Council approved the proposed salary schedule for the fiscal year beginning that begins October 1. The salary schedule reflects a 5.1% cost of living/salary increase. A public hearing on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings and cleanup of property located at 154 Banks Drive was held. City Attorney James W. “Jim” Wright showed photos and video taken by City Fire Marshal/Code Enforcement Officer Josh Mohler of the grounds and the structure itself, which showed rotten studs, mold, the ceiling caving in in multiple areas and deteriorated walls. Mohler said the city has received several complaints over the…
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Polk County Commissioners Court approves building expenses

By Emily Banks [email protected] Proposed expenditures from maintenance capital outlay buildings—which are budgeted funds—for the installation of a secure transaction window for the Precinct 3 justice of the peace and an HVAC unit for the Polk County Sub-Courthouse in Onalaska were approved by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday. Based on the recommendations of Polk County Maintenance Superintendent Jay Burks, Commissioners approved a quote of $5,100 from Covenant Security Equipment for the window and a bid for $3,490 from Delta T Heating & Cooling for the replacement of the HVAC unit that recently caused damage in the office of Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent. “I’d also like to say that Jay and his department did an excellent job in getting that and got it back together in a timely manner,” Vincent said. “The maintenance department has done a tremendous job,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said. Commissioners approved a $66,177.50…
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Governor Abbott, TDEM Launch COVID-19 Antibody Infusion Center In Livingston

AUSTIN - Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), in partnership with local officials, will launch a new COVID-19 therapeutic infusion center in Livingston. The infusion center will begin accepting patients tomorrow and has been provided with monoclonal antibodies to treat outpatient cases of COVID-19 who have a referral from a doctor. This treatment is available at no cost to the patient. Local partners include Polk County, CHI St. Luke’s Memorial - Livingston, and Polk County Office of Emergency Management. “The State of Texas is continuing to expand access to COVID-19 antibody therapeutics in communities across the Lone Star State," said Governor Abbott. "This new facility in Livingston will ensure East Texans who test positive for COVID-19 have access to this free and effective treatment." Governor Abbott, TDEM, and the Texas Department of State Health Services have established and expanded antibody infusion centers in…
Coldspring quarterback Luke Monroe (No. 8) looks for the pitchback during the 18-14 Coldspring loss to Shepherd in the battle of San Jacinto County. (Charles Ballard Photos)

Pirates plunder Trojans

Coldspring quarterback Luke Monroe (No. 8) looks for the pitchback during the 18-14 Coldspring loss to Shepherd in the battle of San Jacinto County. (Charles Ballard Photos) By Charles BallardSJNT correspondent SHEPHERD — The Pirates won the “Battle of San Jacinto County” on Friday by downing the Coldspring Trojans 18-12. Coldspring put the traveling trophy on the bus with the expectations of bringing it back to Coldspring, but the Trojans missed an entire week of practice due to problems with COVID and were not as sharp on the field as previous games. Shepherd Head Coach Miles Robison said It was a heck of a game. H.D. Green, (No. 1), Junior QB for the Shepherd Pirates, looks down field for an open receiver during the 18-14 victory over the Coldspring Trojans.“We’re just glad we came out on top,” he said. “It could have gone either way, but came down to the final tick before determining the winner. This is the way the Battle of San Jacinto should be played every year. It was good to…
Wells girls first-place with Head Coach Jason Ashworth. (Courtesy Photos)

Centerville hosts tournament

Wells girls first-place with Head Coach Jason Ashworth. (Courtesy Photos) TCNS staff CENTERVILLE — The Lady Bulldogs took second and the boys team fourth during the Centerville Junior High School basketball tournament, held Sept. 9-11. For the girls, first went to Wells, who went 3-0; second, Centerville, 2-1; third, Kennard, 1-2; and fourth, Leggett, 0-3. For the boys, first went to Wells, 3-0; second, Kennard, 2-1; third, Centerville, 1-2; and fourth, Leggett, 0-3. Individual Results, Girls MVP — Gracie Hise, Wells, 17.6 points per game. 1st Team All-Tournament: Kaitlyn Collins, Wells, 5 points per game; Brooke Taylor, Centerville, 2 points per game; Peyton Noack, Centerville, 3 points per game; Makenzie Cole, Kennard, 8 points per game; Chey Anne Simons, Leggett, 2.6 points per game. Individual Results, Boys: MVP — Slade Tarrant, Wells, 14 points per game. 1st Team All-Tournament: Roy Gardner, Wells, 13 points per game; Devante Tolliver, Kennard, 10.3 points per game; Demari Tolliver, Kennard,…
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Population estimates show very modest growth

By Tony [email protected] WASHINGTON, D.C. — While some agencies claim that 2020 Census figures are skewed toward larger population centers, the estimates available for Trinity County show an estimated gain of 298. The 2020 population estimate shows Trinity County to have a population of 14,883, up from the 2010 Census figure of 14,585. Groveton, the county seat, should hit an estimated population of 1,030, down slightly from the 2010 figure of 1,057; and Trinity should reach 2,800, up from 2,697. The bulk of the county’s population is rural, and that is expected to rise to 11,053 from 10,831. However, Lonnie Hunt, executive director of Deep East Texas Council of Governments, said at a recent meeting that according to his figures, rural counties in the DETCOG area, with few exceptions, are expected to take a dip, some as much 15 ½ percent. For instance, his figures show that Trinity County population will drop my almost 1,000. Trinity County Judge Doug Page said he does not…
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Deputy arrested on drug charge

Christopher LimaTCNS staff GROVETON — A Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested on Sept. 11 on a drug charge. Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace said in a Facebook post that on Sept. 11, following a joint investigation with the Texas Rangers, arrested Christopher Lima, 40, on a charge of conspiracy to commit possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor. Wallace said he received a complaint from a resident of Walker County that witnessed something peculiar involving a deputy sheriff, and an investigation was launched. Since it was determined that the deputy was from Trinity County, the Texas Rangers led the investigation, and they came back with a warrant. “In a I believe about transparency, and I believe that we should operate that way,” Wallace said. “I encourage my officers to hold themselves to a higher standard, and criminal behavior will not be tolerated.” Wallace said that he thought this officer was doing a great job, but something happened. “I’m a firm…
The final assignment of the Tower Project involved students working together in groups to build their own towers out of pencils using the information they had learned. Shown from left are Mark Romagus, Stetson Faulkner, Landon Lane and Briar Leasman. (Photos by Courtney Bailes)

Towering above

The final assignment of the Tower Project involved students working together in groups to build their own towers out of pencils using the information they had learned. Shown from left are Mark Romagus, Stetson Faulkner, Landon Lane and Briar Leasman. (Photos by Courtney Bailes) Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — Coldspring Intermediate third-graders reached new heights during their recent study of towers in Courtney Bailes' gifted and talented class. The Tower Project was a multi-level learning adventure that engaged students with fun activities even as they investigated and converted heights, created word problems, and geographically mapped skyscrapers around the world. The final assignment of the project involved students working together in groups to build their own towers out of pencils. The team of Mark Romagus, Stetson Faulkner and Landon Lane created the winning tower with a height of 37 inches. "It is fun to turn students loose with a facilitated task and see where their…
The varsity, JV and junior high boys cross country teams placed first in the Race to the Summit CC Meet in Woodville on Sept. 11.  (Courtesy Photos)

Running for gold

The varsity, JV and junior high boys cross country teams placed first in the Race to the Summit CC Meet in Woodville on Sept. 11. (Courtesy Photos) On Sept. 8, the varsity girls were the second place team, with Isavel Bautista receiving the 10th-place medal. Junior high also came out strong with Janette placing fifth.
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Houston County adopts tax rate, budget

By Alton [email protected] CROCKETT – Houston County’s commissioners have adopted the county’s tax year 2021 property tax rate and its budget for the coming fiscal year. The members of the county’s commissioners court took the actions after offering to conduct a public hearing on the proposed ad valorem tax rate at a meeting Tuesday morning. The adopted tax rate is 53 cents per $100 of appraised property value. The commissioners had voted to pass a motion, proposing that the rate be set at that amount at a meeting held on Aug. 24. A public hearing on the rate and the budget was held at a Sept. 7 meeting. The maintenance and operations (M&O) rate, also known as the General Fund rate, which is the largest part of the overall property tax rate is 45.991 cents per 100 of property valuation. The interest and sinking (I&S), or Debt Service Fund rate, the other part of the total property rate, is 7.009 cents for each $100 of property value. “Our tax rate is going down from 53.2,”…
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Woodville adopts tax rate, budget

Woodville City Administrator Mandy Risinger gives reports to the city council. (Chris Edwards Photo) By Chris [email protected] WOODVILLE – The Woodville City Council met for its regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 13. The first items on the council’s agenda were to approve the city’s tax rate and budget for the coming fiscal year. A public hearing and workshop took place before the meeting to field any questions or concerns residents may have had about the tax rate and to discuss any budgetary matters between the city officials. Council voted to adopt a tax rate 0.3261 per $100 of valuation, which is the same rate the city currently has. The budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year includes a roughly 2% increase in expenditures. City Administrator Mandy Risinger noted a nearly 6.1% decrease in overall revenue for the city, which is primarily due to the loss in gas revenue from the closure of AmeriForge. The increase in the budget does include a 3% cost of living adjustment…
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Commissioners dismiss initial landfill concerns

By Emily Kubisch-SabrsulaSJNT staff writer COLDSPRING — Opening the meeting with public comment, Van Weldon, owner of a produce farm near the proposed landfill in the southern part of the county, wanted to know if commissioners were OK with the newest addition. The court would not return comment, citing the matter was not on the agenda, though several times Weldon stated he had filed the appropriate paperwork with the County Clerk’s office to create an action item on the agenda. Commissioner David Brandon, who wrote to TCEQ earlier this year regarding road conditions and “unwanted changes” nearby residents would endure as a consequence of the landfill, refused to give any statement or opinion when asked by Weldon. When Commissioner Mark Netunno, also a DETCOG chairman familiar with the situation, was asked if he was for or against it, stated “I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be here. If you buy a piece of land you should be able to do anything as long as it doesn’t affect…
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Board discusses COVID measures again

By Tony [email protected] APPLE SPRINGS — With area schools closing at the beginning of the school year because of COVID outbreaks, the Apple Springs ISD Board of Trustees discussed changes to policies for leave and closings. Superintendent Dr. Cody Moree said the school has been given funds for testing supplies, but at this time has not been testing. He also said that school only has authority to test staff, as testing students requires parental consent. The district had been sent 200 rapid test kits at the beginning of the year, but all were expired. “There’s your tax dollars at work,” he said. At this time, there are no new regulations from the Texas Educators Association, Moree said. Currently, there are three confirmed student cases of COVID, all of which are at home recuperating, and Moree said that hopefully cases don’t become widespread through the student body or faculty. “Losing staff would cause us to have to close faster,” he said. “We don’t have any of our…
Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Chester. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)

Restoration efforts undertaken on Mt. Zion church

Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Chester. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB) By Chris [email protected] CHESTER – The oldest church still standing in Tyler County has been undergoing a facelift, and there are plans to fill the church with worship soon. Mt. Zion Baptist Church, which is located on Hwy. 287, in Chester, was built in 1845 at Mt. Hope, and in 1870, it was moved to its present-day location. The restoration efforts begun in October 2019, and according to Lisa Wappler, who has helped spearhead the efforts, it has taken longer than initially anticipated, due to the problems associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Wappler said that the majority of the work done to the church has been by family members of those who are buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery, which is located behind the church building. The land that was donated for the purpose of that cemetery, according to Wappler, was given by her great-great grandfather, Joseph Peters. “As children, many of us remember going to church…
Petalz will hold its grand opening Wednesday. This sign from Glover’s was found on top of the Blue Duck. (Photos by Brian Besch | PCE)

Planting new roots - Petalz relocates to downtown Livingston

Petalz will hold its grand opening Wednesday. This sign from Glover’s was found on top of the Blue Duck. (Photos by Brian Besch | PCE) By Brian [email protected] Many of the buildings in Livingston’s old downtown on North Washington Avenue have sat vacant for years. In the last few months, however, those dark windows are beginning to fill with light, as businesses have moved in to help revive the area. One couple, Jeremy and Andrea Buie, have plans for Petalz by Annie, Fain Theater, and The Plumber in Livingston. Petalz has moved locations and found a home at the corner of Polk and Washington. “Glover’s Hardware was the original building,” Jeremy said of the boutique’s new site. “Before that, the original slab of the building was built to be the Fain Theater. Someone across town built another theater and it was bigger than this. So, Fain said, ‘I’m going to go over here and build one bigger.’ He built one bigger and put the guy out of business and this was bought by the…
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Massage therapist arrested on sexual misconduct charges

Jonathan Paul Sensat By Chris [email protected] CROCKETT – An investigation of sexual misconduct at a Crockett massage parlor led to an arrest on Monday. According to Crockett Police Chief Clayton Smith, investigators with CPD, along with Houston County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested 48-year-old Jonathan Paul Sensat at his home in Belott. Smith said that the arrest was the conclusion of a month-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, some of which occurred while Sensat was giving massages at the Crockett business. It was also discovered that Sensat’s license to practice massage therapy has been expired. A search of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation database shows his license as having expired on August 31, 2020. Smith added that Sensat is also a licensed Texas Peace Officer but is not currently employed by any law enforcement agency. In their investigation, Crockett Police investigators interviewed multiple victims who gave…
U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told members of the Trinity Peninsular Chamber of Commerce he dreaded seeing a headline such as the one in the Houston Chronicle state the Taliban was cheering U.S. troop withdrawal. (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS)

U.S. facing uncertain future

U.S. Rep Kevin Brady, R-Texas, told members of the Trinity Peninsular Chamber of Commerce he dreaded seeing a headline such as the one in the Houston Chronicle state the Taliban was cheering U.S. troop withdrawal. (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS) By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — The situation in Afghanistan has left the United States less safe, as well as seen as an unreliable partner to its allies around the world, according to U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. Brady held an informal roundtable discussion at the Trinity Peninsular Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday in Trinity. “For a country as great as ours, this is a shame, and this is a day that will live in infamy, the day we surrendered to the Taliban,” Brady said. “We betrayed our allies, both locally and internationally, we left Americans behind. Russia and China are cheering this, as we just gave them a foothold here. There was no reason, or no political boast that was worth this. Brady said that while there was no…
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HCHD directors adopt 2021 tax rate, approve budget

By Alton [email protected] CROCKETT – Members of the Houston County Hospital District board held a hearing and special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 31, adopting a lower ad valorem tax rate for the district. The new rate will be levied later this year, and the directors also approved the district’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22. The board members, who held the hearing and meeting, at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in Crockett, unanimously voted to pass a motion made by Place 5 Director Roy Langford and seconded by Place 6 Director Rhonda Brown, adopting the proposed 2021 property tax rate, which is 13 cents per $100 of appraised property value. The 2021 adopted rate is 1.315 cents, or 9.18%, lower than the 2020 adopted rate, which was 14.315 cents per $100 of appraised property value. The action to approve this year’s tax rate was taken after members of the HCHD board discussed the matter and heard a presentation given by county Tax Assessor-Collection…
Mark Meysembourg is shown presenting donations totaling over $19,000 collected during fundraisers this past year to National Commander James “Bill” Oxford from the Department of Virginia. Donations from Texas alone totaled approximately $35,000. Also pictured to the left of Mark is the Department of Texas Commander Bret Watson. On the right is the National Auxiliary President, Nicole Clapp from the Department of Iowa.  Looking on is National American Legion Riders Chairman Mark Clark from the Department of Missouri.

Woodville veteran participates in Legacy Run

Mark Meysembourg is shown presenting donations totaling over $19,000 collected during fundraisers this past year to National Commander James “Bill” Oxford from the Department of Virginia. Donations from Texas alone totaled approximately $35,000. Also pictured to the left of Mark is the Department of Texas Commander Bret Watson. On the right is the National Auxiliary President, Nicole Clapp from the Department of Iowa. Looking on is National American Legion Riders Chairman Mark Clark from the Department of Missouri. Special to the Booster Mark Meysembourg of Woodville and a member of Woodville’s American Legion Post 299, participated in this year’s American Legion Legacy Run. The Legacy Run was started by the American Legion Riders (ALR) which is a post run program made up of veterans and spouses who are also motorcycle enthusiasts. This year’s run started on August 22 in Rogers, Arkansas, ending 5 days and 1,400 miles later at the National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Donations…
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PCSO arrests Livingston man for child pornography

Jim McLainFrom Enterprise Staff Jim Olin McLain, 42, of Livingston, was arrested Wednesday on several counts of third-degree felony possession of child pornography. Detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office began looking into McLain on August 26, after numerous images and video were discovered on electronic equipment belonging to him, according to Captain David Sottosanti, an investigator with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. The videos and images depicted young children displayed in numerous sexual acts. Detectives obtained a search warrant for McLain’s residence as well as an arrest warrant for him. He was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail without incident. According to Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons, his office works tirelessly to protect children by using the latest investigation technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil online predators. Lyons urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the Internet and take…
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Afterschool enrichment program to begin

Jose Vazquez is project director and F. Sunnie Frazier is site project director of a new afterschool enrichment program at Livingston Junior High School that is being funded by a grant in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas. Photo by Emily Banks WootenBy Emily Banks [email protected] An afterschool enrichment program at Livingston Junior High School will soon be underway and is being funded by a grant through the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Center in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Deep East Texas. The opportunity has been awarded to Livingston, Crockett and Nacogdoches. Worth $750,000, the grant will be distributed over five years and will fund a project director and core subject tutors. The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century CLC is a program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and…
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Countdown To Tragedy

Countdown to the moment of the attack on the twin towers on 9/11/2001 during a ceremony held to commemorate the event held Saturday at Tyler County Courthouse in Woodville. (Jim Powers Photo)
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Sept. 11 – A look back locally

By Emily Banks [email protected] Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that occurred at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa., flags throughout Polk County could be seen flying at half-staff. Stunned office workers all over town huddled around televisions and radios to hear updates on the catastrophe. Although it was occurring thousands of miles away, it may as well have been here, as one could feel the quite pall that fell over everyone as shock and disbelief gave way to tears and anger. Some may think that Polk Countians had nothing to worry about in conjunction with the attacks, but regardless, numerous precautions were underway locally that fateful Tuesday. Although none of the school districts in Polk County closed or dismissed early that day, several campuses in the Livingston ISD were under a self-imposed lockdown. Prayer vigils open to the public were held at Central Baptist Church, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church…
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Blaze claims Houston County mother, son

CROCKETT – A housefire that occurred last Tuesday in Crockett resulted in the deaths of a mother and son. According to Crockett Fire Chief Jason Frizzell, firemen responded to a call of a structure fire at 105 McLean Drive at 5:31 a.m. When they arrived, the residence was “heavily involved in fire,” Frizzell said. “We rapidly began a search of the interior, as well as an offensive attack, to extinguish the fire,” he added. They discovered 44-year-old Shelly McDaniel and her son dead inside the residence. Crockett Fire Department was assisted on the blaze by the volunteer fire departments of Latexo, Lovelady as well as personnel from the Houston County Fire Marshal’s Office, Crockett Police Department and Houston County EMS. There is no word on a possible cause for the blaze at present. The fire department has turned over the investigation to the State Fire Marshal’s Office due to the city fire marshal being out on medical leave. Frizzell, on behalf of the fire department and the city…
Bad Sneakers, Houston’s own Steely Dan tribute act, will appear in Woodville at the Emporium Stage on Sunday, Sept. 12. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BAD SNEAKERS)

Steely Dan tribute act playing Woodville show

Bad Sneakers, Houston’s own Steely Dan tribute act, will appear in Woodville at the Emporium Stage on Sunday, Sept. 12. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BAD SNEAKERS) By Chris [email protected] WOODVILLE – As proprietor of the namesake Wild Bill’s Grill, Bill Spurlock is known for serving up tasty meals (with enormous portion sizes) around Woodville. There is, however, another side to Spurlock that is rooted in the intricate, yet smooth, jazz-rock sounds of a certain band that took its name from a William S. Burroughs novel. As part of the band Bad Sneakers, Spurlock knows the music of Steely Dan like the back of his hand. Spurlock, who is an ace singer and guitarist, fronts the band, which is a tribute act named, naturally, after one of “The Dan’s” classic songs. Bad Sneakers will play a show in Woodville on Sunday, Sept. 12 at the Emporium Stage, located at 216 W. Bluff. The show begins at 5 p.m. Sam Haney, of the Emporium, said the show will be a surefire, can’t miss…
Lamont Green

Arrest made in ATM theft

Lamont GreenBy Chris [email protected] SPURGER – A Houston man is currently incarcerated in the Tyler County Justice Center on multiple charges, including felony theft. Lamont Green, 28, was one of several individuals on the scene of the Citizens State Bank in Spurger when deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were patrolling and discovered the subjects running from the back of the bank. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, the incident occurred at 2 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 3, when the deputies on patrol observed two dark passenger cars following one another closely, pulling into several different parking lots and moving around town. Weatherford said that a short time later, the deputies saw a third vehicle, which was followed by a white Ford pickup truck, make a quick turn into the bank’s parking lot, and the other vehicles they had observed pulled up and parked just south of the bank, while additional vehicles continued to drive past the bank…
Pirate partners are featured in monthly Shepherd School publications and online. (Courtesy Photo)

Partnership helps schools

Pirate partners are featured in monthly Shepherd School publications and online. (Courtesy Photo)Special to the News-Times SHEPHERD — Shepherd ISD would like to join up with individuals, businesses and companies to help empower and educate all students for success in society. By becoming a Pirate Partner, individuals have the opportunity to support the district and the students in the community. The proceeds go to the Shepherd Blue and White Scholarship and for staff appreciation. Shepherd is a school district with an unwavering commitment to excellence and embraces the responsibility to create a space where everyone feels confident to perform at their very best and we want the community to help us achieve this. There are different levels of partnership, costing from $100 to $500. For information, contact Brooke Rhoden, SISD Parent and Community Liaison, at (936) 628-3396 ext. 4005 or [email protected]
Numerous pot plants were seized, and six arrests made, during a drug bust on Thursday and Friday near Trinity. (Courtesy Photo)

Sheriff’s Office investigates drug houses, shooting

Numerous pot plants were seized, and six arrests made, during a drug bust on Thursday and Friday near Trinity. (Courtesy Photo)TCNS staff TRINITY — The Trinity County Sheriff’s Department labored over the weekend investigating a shooting and complaints about drug use and manufacturing. Sheriff Woody Wallace said that on Sept. 2, a man was shot three times after three men began shooting at each other on Camp Branch Road east of Trinity. Wallace said on Facebook that they found the victim, whose name has not yet been released, at a house that reportedly is connected with methamphetamine use. The victim was Lifeflighted to a hospital for treatment. The other people involved in the shooting have not yet been identified, as the investigation is continuing. Following the shooting reports led law enforcement officials to a complaint of suspicious activity in four homes in the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Cherry Creek in the Lake L subdivision. Wallace said that officials found four houses with…
Sam Rayburn waterways suffering from Giant Salvinia.

Clean, drain, dry: How to protect your favorite East Texas bodies of water

Sam Rayburn waterways suffering from Giant Salvinia. By Adam Conway Lake Sam Rayburn is suffering from an invasive species of plant known as Giant Salvinia. This plant not only disrupts swimming and fishing but is also an obstacle for local fish and birds trying to use the lake’s native plants for food and shelter. According to Cody Turner, Environmental Specialist from the US Army Corps of Engineers, treatments such as biocontrol weevils and aquatic herbicides are used to try to eliminate the plant. Biocontrol weevils are released into areas where Giant Salvinia is present. These insects eat away portions of the plant. Turner explained that they also lay their eggs in the same area, and their offspring eventually eat the plant as well. By spraying aquatic herbicides and releasing biocontrol weevils, the US Army Corps of Engineers helps mitigate the spread of Giant Salvinia. To assist the US Army Corps of Engineers, Turner stated that visitors of Lake Sam Rayburn should use a simple…
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Legal legend Umphrey dies

Walter UmphreyBy Chris [email protected] BEAUMONT – Walter Umphrey, an attorney of international renown and philanthropist, died on Tuesday at the age of 85. Sources indicate that Umphrey died in Beaumont. He owned Timberline Ranch in the southern end of Tyler County, and donated his time and money to numerous causes and public works in the region. In a statement from his widow, Sheila, Umphrey was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. “He was my best friend and the love of my life for 63 years,” she wrote. “I’m broken-hearted, but it’s for the best,” she added, before explaining his diagnosis. Umphrey was the founding partner of the Beaumont-based Provost-Umphrey Law Firm, and he was named “Lawyer of the Year” in 2012 in personal injury litigation. Terry Allen, the county’s chief juvenile probation officer, wrote on Facebook that she and her husband, Kenneth, moved to Tyler County in 1989 so that he could work for Umphrey on Timberline Ranch. “We have lived at…
Representatives from Tyler County Farm Bureau were on hand at Monday night’s meeting to present Woodville ISD with a $500 donation to go to school supplies. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)

WISD board discusses new year, proposed budget

Representatives from Tyler County Farm Bureau were on hand at Monday night’s meeting to present Woodville ISD with a $500 donation to go to school supplies. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB) By Chris Edwards WOODVILLE – The start of a fresh school year and planning the upcoming budget were among the topics discussed at the regular monthly meeting of the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees on Monday night. Before giving her monthly report, district superintendent Lisa Meysembourg spoke about the WISD Strong Start program, an initiative the district adopted, Meysembourg said, out of necessity to apply for ESSR funding. The Strong Start program rolls out a series of guidelines and recommendations set in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders and guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA.) Meysembourg said the guidelines set forth in WISD’s plan cover COVID prevention, mitigation and sanitation techniques. Currently, the state is under an executive order from Abbott prohibiting entities from…
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Arrest made in baby’s death

Thomas Allen JanczakFrom Enterprise Staff Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Thomas Allen Janczak, 22, of Livingston, Thursday night. Janczak was charged with capital murder and is being held in the Polk County Jail under a $1 million bond. The arrest was made in conjunction with the death of Janczak’s one-month-old child. Polk County Detectives received information of the infant arriving at the Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands in November of 2020. After doctors determined the severity of the injuries the infant was transported to Texas Children’s Hospital Downtown where he died from blunt force trauma 12 days later. “Due to the severity of the crime of capital murder, these investigations require months of detectives conducting interviews, gathering evidence and consultations with professionals in the medical field, to obtain concrete evidence for prosecution. There is no way to predict how much time a police investigation will take,” Captain David…
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Groveton closes campuses

Special to the News-Standard GROVETON — All Groveton ISD campuses were closed Friday based upon the number of students and staff members who were ill, showing symptoms, and testing positive for COVID-19. The facilities will remain closed until Tuesday, Sept. 7. According to a letter to students and faculty from incoming Superintendent Jim Dillard, GISD had only 12 students and two employees who tested positive for COVID-19 during the first full week of instruction. However, in the second week, the numbers of cases increased by more than four times that amount. Dillard wrote that the action is an inconvenience for many people, but the number of positive cases indicates that action must be taken, as the health and safety of students and staff are of utmost importance. The 10-day period will allow infected individuals time to self-quarantine and recover, while allowing the cleaning staff an opportunity to deep clean the facilities. Additionally, no remote instruction will be provided by…
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Groveton school tax burden dips slightly

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Groveton ISD Board of Trustees approved a tax rate that is lower than that of the last fiscal year, meaning property owners will see less on the bill. The board approved the measure, as well as the certified tax rolls for both Houston and Trinity counties, at its regular meeting on Aug. 23. Superintendent Don Hamilton said there will be very little change in the budget from last year as well. ESSER grants helped keep budgeting needs low, which means the proposed tax rate is .9401 per $100 valuation, down from the current rate of .9664 per $100, he said. Hamilton said it will be about 6 cents per $100 less for property owners. He also said that the money used to give raises would be offset by a decrease in staff due to positions not being filled. In other business, the board: •approved the district improvement plan for 2021-22; •approved a notice of intent to file for additional ESSER funds; •discussed continuing a federal policy of…
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LISD tax rate, budget approved

Ben Davidson LISD CFOThe Livingston Board of Trustees approved the budget, tax rate and additional leave for Covid-19 in a meeting Monday evening at Creekside Elementary. The 2021-2022 proposed budget was presented by Livingston ISD Chief Financial Officer Ben Davidson. General fund revenues for 2021-2022 are projected at $40,207,901. Expenses are expected at $39,018,461 and LISD is anticipating a budget surplus at the end of the year. The funds are to be rolled into fund balance and earmarked for use to extend the initiatives funded by the ESSER program. Food service revenues are projected at $2,940,750 with expenses budgeted at $2,739,134. Debt service revenues and expenses are thought to be at $4,490,000, while instruction is budgeted at $22,174,705 with a 2% midpoint raise for all staff. The overall budget decreased from last year, as certain expenditures will be paid from federal ESSER funds. Dr. Brent Hawkins SuperintendentDavidson also presented the LISD tax rate history,…
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LISD to close for four days

From Enterprise Staff Livingston ISD will close the week of Labor Day, Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins announced via email Wednesday. “The trajectory of the COVID-19 virus-positive cases has caused teacher staffing issues for our district. Monday, Sept. 6, is Labor Day and is an LISD school holiday. Livingston ISD will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 7 through Friday, Sept. 10, due to the staffing shortage from COVID-19 positive cases,” Hawkins said. “There will not be regular instruction on any campuses or remote conferencing instruction for COVID-19 positive students during the closure.” All district instructional facilities will be closed Sept. 6-10. Angelina College dual credit classes will be held online during the LISD closure. LHS extracurricular activities will continue as long as they can be sustained by non-COVID positive staff. A free COVID-19 testing clinic will be available on the Livingston High School campus for staff and students from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday through Friday.…
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East Texas Tribe Wins Major Victory in Federal Court

Judge rules in support of Naskila Gaming, against state’s effort to shut facility down. Press Release (Livingston, TX) – After five years of litigation, the United States District Court in Beaumont ruled this week that the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas may legally operate its Naskila Gaming electronic bingo facility near Livingston, saying that such gaming is permissible under the Tribe’s 1987 Restoration Act. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Keith Giblin is a major victory for the future of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, the hundreds of people employed at Naskila, and the economic stability of the East Texas region. For years, the State of Texas has worked in court to close Naskila Gaming, even as tens of thousands of Texans, dozens of civic groups, and elected leaders from both parties have expressed strong support for allowing the Tribe to operate the facility. “This ruling affirms that we have a legally sound right to support our Tribe by operating Naskila Gaming,” said Nita…
Susie Hammond receives the 2020 Do-Gooder of the Year award from Texas Forest Country CEO Nancy Windham for her efforts to help the area during the COVID crisis. Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS

DETCOG sets $21.5 million budget

Susie Hammond receives the 2020 Do-Gooder of the Year award from Texas Forest Country CEO Nancy Windham for her efforts to help the area during the COVID crisis. Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Deep East Texas Council of Governments will spend about $21.5 million dollars in the next fiscal year in its mission to assist the counties in the area. The budget was approved by members at an Aug. 26 meeting, which was held in Groveton. DETCOG meetings rotate through counties. Executive Director Lonnie Hunt said the budget reflects a 30.26 percent rate for indirect costs — administration, finance and IT — which is the lowest it has been in years. “Most of this is very similar to last year,” he said. The budget reflects revenues of about $21.7 million. Separately, Hunt discussed problems that he felt occurred in the U.S. Census, which impacted all counties except Nacogdoches, Polk and San Jacinto negatively. Those figures show that Polk County…
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OISD closes due to COVID numbers

From Enterprise Staff Families in the Onalaska Independent School District were notified Monday that all campuses in the district will be closed until Tuesday. All extracurricular activities, games and practices will be suspended until 3 p.m. Monday. The decision was made due to the rising number of students and staff members who are currently ill with COVID-19, demonstrating symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 or who have experienced possible exposure, the letter from Superintendent Anthony Roberts states. “The health and safety of our students, staff and families is our main priority and the data indicates that we must take this action to curb the current trajectory,” Roberts said. “I understand how difficult this closure will be for many of our families and our students, so I assure you this decision was not made easily. Our hope is that this closure will allow COVID-19 positive individuals time to isolate and recover, while also allowing those who have experienced possible…
Corrigan was named as one of the 21 cities in Texas where officers stopped an average of over 500 drivers each. (File Photo)

Corrigan ranks high on places for speed traps in Texas

Corrigan was named as one of the 21 cities in Texas where officers stopped an average of over 500 drivers each. (File Photo) Corrigan has made the news in a Houston newspaper for being a place where one might be stopped by flashing lights. The north Polk County town was named as one of the 21 cities in Texas where officers stopped an average of over 500 drivers each. The article tells of a man who is stopped on Highway 59, on his way to Houston from his parents house. He complains that the speed limit drops from 75 to 40 miles per hour “in a matter of seconds.” He said an officer was waiting at the point where the limit changed, and the driver left with a parting gift that would cost $200. After an analysis of traffic-stop data from more than 2,500 police departments, the newspaper determined Corrigan officers among the most aggressive in the state. It stated that Corrigan’s 12 police officers stopped 8,100 drivers — nearly 700 per officer. Corrigan Police Chief Darrell Gibson said…
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Cypress logs donated for cabin

Twenty-two cypress logs from some acreage along the Trinity River bottom were recently donated to the Polk County Heritage Society in conjunction with the restoration of the Jonas Davis log cabin at Heritage Park. David Parker, a longtime resident of Dayton, generously made the donation from his property on the edge Dayton.“He has been tremendous. He’s just an amazing man. He does so much for Dayton for the betterment of the community. He loves log cabins,” Patrick Swilley, a member of the Polk County Heritage Society, said of Parker. Swilley and Gary Davis, a member of the Polk County Historical Commission, made several trips to Parker’s property along the Trinity River bottom to retrieve the cypress logs and haul them to Livingston. Tree-trimming and limb removal earlier this summer kicked off the multi-step project at Heritage Park. Located in the 500 block of West Church Street, Heritage Park is home to the W.T. Carter and Bro. Locomotive No. 5, the Jonas Davis log cabin and the…
Rep. Brian Babin

Babin calls for Biden’s removal

U.S. Rep. Brian BabinBy Chris [email protected] WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Woodville) called for President Joe Biden to be removed from office. Babin released a statement following the events in Afghanistan on Thursday, when attacks in Kabul resulted in the deaths of more than 170 people, which included 13 U.S. servicemembers. An ISIS affiliate has reportedly claimed responsibility for the incident. Despite the attacks, the president has committed to continuing the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Babin referred to Biden as “an unserious clown” in his statement and said that the president’s “harmless gaffes and blunders” have now given way to the deaths and injuries of servicemembers and “imperiled thousands of Americans and Afghan allies stuck in Kabul.” The congressman, who represents Texas’s 36th congressional district called the situation in Kabul “a full-blown humanitarian crisis and hostage situation of historic…
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Daycare fire impacts Colmesneil

Daycare Fire Damage 300By Emily Eddins COLMESNEIL – With all the changes that Colmesneil ISD has implemented this year, some parents are feeling overwhelmed and confused. It is hard to find places they trust to watch their children while they are busy. Parents and local businesses have been trying to work together in order to establish a new normal. However, one Colmesneil business will no longer be able to assist in the care of these children due to a recent fire. On the early morning of Sunday, August 8, the Colmesneil Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call that would leave an impact on the community, indefinitely. The structure fire destroyed Little Bulldog Country, a local childcare service in the heart of Colmesneil. The business operated as a childcare center focused on helping small children develop social skills and early education all while parents were able to work and provide for their children. The once-thriving business has now shut its doors indefinitely with no…
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Repairs underway in Livingston's Heritage Park

The much-needed repairs are finally underway at the Jonas Davis Log Cabin in Livingston’s Heritage Park. Located in the 500 block of West Church Street, Heritage Park is home to the W.T. Carter and Bro. Locomotive No. 5, the Jonas Davis Log Cabin and the Heritage House. A multi-step project is underway at the park in which the roof of the cabin—which had been taken over by resurrection fern—will be replaced and other repairs made. Heritage Park is maintained by the Polk County Heritage Society. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten
Latexo ISD officials and administrators, along with representatives of one of their contractors, the Berry and Clay commercial construction company, broke ground for the school district’s $5 million bond project last Thursday. (ALTON PORTER | HCC)

Ground broken on Latexo ISD bond

Latexo ISD officials and administrators, along with representatives of one of their contractors, the Berry and Clay commercial construction company, broke ground for the school district’s $5 million bond project last Thursday. (ALTON PORTER | HCC) By Alton Porter [email protected] LATEXO – Latexo ISD officials and staffers are set for contractors to begin constructing facilities planned for the district’s $5 million bond project. The Latexo Independent School District Board of Directors, Superintendent Michael Woodard and others held a ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday morning, Aug. 19, to kick off initial aspects of the bond project. The project will include construction of a multi-purpose facility, which will be used as a gymnasium and a community events venue; a cafeteria/dining room for elementary school students; and a career and technical education (CTE) classrooms unit for high school students. “We’re excited to get started—to finally get the fence up and start some…
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Tyler County Commissioners set proposed tax rates

By Chris [email protected] WOODVILLE – Tyler County officials got down to business on Monday morning in a regular meeting to set proposed tax rates for the county. The first proposed tax rate on the brief agenda for Monday’s meeting was to set the proposed rate for the county’s general fund. Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock recommended adopting a rate of $0.6492, which, he said, would cover the increases of retirement and longevity pay. That proposed rate would represent a 2% increase to the budget, according to Sturrock’s estimate, but a decrease to the current tax rate. County Judge Jacques Blanchette wanted to clarify what the officials were discussing and voting on in adopting the proposed tax rates. “For clarification, it’s just putting it out there to let the public know what the thinking of the court is at this point; not that we’re setting it today,” Blanchette said. The proposed tax rate for the general fund was approved with a 3-1 vote with Pct. 1…
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Thanks for the assist

The Shepherd ISD Transportation Department shows appreciation to Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers, as well as Corporal Chris Koonce of CVE Nacogdoches County and Trooper Linley Clark of San Jacinto County. These Troopers take great pride in their work, public safety and the betterment of all communities. DPS Troopers are always there to lend a hand and help us grow into something better. The officials dedicated time and knowledge to help the district grow and further its goals for the future and providing better transportation for students. Courtesy photo
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Kennard ISD closing campus due to COVID 

By Chris Edwards KENNARD – Kennard ISD is the fourth East Texas school district to cancel classes due to COVID outbreaks. A letter from KISD superintendent Malinda Lindsey, which went out on the morning of Wednesday, August 25, states that KISD will resume classes on Wednesday, Sept. 1. “Based on attendance rate over the last few days, we feel it is in the best interest of our students and staff to close the district for deep cleaning and disinfection,” Lindsey said in the letter. KISD is releasing all students early today, at 1 p.m., due, according to Lindsey, to a large number of students who are ill. “We are taking this very seriously. The health and safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance,” Lindsey said. The letter noted that in addition to a large number of ill students, there are also staff members who are sick with fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea, and the positive numbers of COVID cases continues to rise. In addition to classes, all of the district’s…
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VFW Post 6899 kicks off its fall scholarship programs

Special to the News-Standard TRINITY —Commander Dan Murphy of the VFW Post 6899 and Auxiliary announces the start of this year’s Veterans of Foreign Wars scholarship programs. One of the VFW objectives is to help the young people in Trinity County meet their educational goals. Students in our local area schools — Trinity, Groveton, Centerville, Apple Springs and home-schooled — students can compete in the “Voice of Democracy” and “Patriot’s Pen Essay” contests and win thousands of dollars. Scholarship money is awarded at four different levels: the local, district, state and national. The 2021-2022 theme is “How can I be a good American?” for the Patriot’s Pen Essay (Grades 6 – 8). The theme for the “Voice of Democracy” (Grades 9 – 12) is “America: Where do we go from here?” For the VOD, the students compete by writing and then recording a 3-5-minute audio/essay expressing their views of this year’s theme. Local, district, state and national scholarships are available, with the largest…
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Livingston Home Burglarized

HOME BURGLARIZED - Numerous units from the Livingston Police Department responded to a home in the 1200 block of Brinwood Place that was burglarized Monday afternoon. The homeowners returned home to discover a suspect taking weapons from the residence. The suspect fled on foot and has not been apprehended. All of the weapons were recovered near the scene. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten
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One killed in two-vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 59

Special to the News-Times SHEPHERD —A two-vehicle crash on U.S Highway 59 on Saturday claimed the life of a Liverpool man. According to reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Phillip Marone, 57, was pronounced dead at the scene the crash, which occurred three miles south of Shepherd. The report indicates that at 2:14 p.m., a 2003 Ford Expedition, driven by Marone, was traveling southbound on U.S. 59. A 2020 Mazda M3, driven by Coby Duncan, 22, of Shepherd, was traveling northbound. Marone’s vehicle suffered a tire blowout on the left rear of the vehicle causing it to roll across the center median into the northbound lane, striking the Mazda on the driver’s side. Marone was pronounced dead at the scene by San Jacinto County Justice of the Peace Harris Blanchette. Duncan was transported to HCA Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Additionally, there were multiple passengers in the Mazda: Maria Garcia, age and address unknown, was transported to HCA Hospital for…
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City of Groveon looks to next fiscal year

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The City of Groveton looks to enact an extremely modest hike in its tax rate for the FY 2021-22 budget. Currently at .9341 cents per $100 of property valuation, the city is looking to enact a .9479 cents rate. The numbers were discussed at a special budget meeting on Aug. 9. Mayor Tommy Walton said that increase only will raise an additional $7,000 in additional revenue for the city, or about $13.80 per $100,000 valuation on a home. “We’re going with what is called a voter approval rate, the highest rate we can charge before having to put a referendum before the voters,” he said. The small amount of revenue is because the city’s tax base is so small, but won’t become official until it is approved at the next meeting, Walton said. That number could change as well between now and then. Walton said the proposed budget includes cost-of-living raises for city employees get modest, which will vary from 1 to 3 percent. The city also hopes to…
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San Jacinto County resident honored

Special to the News-Times SHEPHERD — The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department honored an Shepherd man for his assistance in solving a burglary case. Brenda Myers, executive director of the Community and Children's Impact Center, said Teddy Theodore Elliot’s efforts helped stop numerous thefts from the center’s thrift shop. “Each time Deputy Brian Cosme would respond to take statements, Teddy was always delighted to assist by reviewing all the videos and putting them on a sim card for the deputy,” Myers said. “Every time he would tell each and every customer how he helped solved a crime in our community.” Myers said Teddy is a very kind and much-loved person in the community and is always helping others, so because of that, she contacted the Sheriff’s Department and asked him if there was a recognition process for this. “(Cosme) reached out to Sheriff Greg Capers and with no hesitation, they made arrangements for Teddy to be picked up in a patrol car and escorted to the Police…
Pictured are (from left) Timothy Skinner, GP Camden Plywood Shipping Forklift Operator; Andrew Krenek, Groveton Ag Science Teacher; and Luther Cockrell, Groveton ISD Maintenance representative. (Courtesy photo )

Building a Better Future

Pictured are (from left) Timothy Skinner, GP Camden Plywood Shipping Forklift Operator; Andrew Krenek, Groveton Ag Science Teacher; and Luther Cockrell, Groveton ISD Maintenance representative. (Courtesy photo ) Special to the News-Standard CORRIGAN — Georgia-Pacific is helping students build a better future by contributing to schools’ building and trades and Future Farmers of America programs. Recently, the local building products company provided plywood to the students at Groveton Independent School District to build various projects, including feed troughs and deer stands. The students sell their crafts to the community and, in return, raise funds for their FFA chapter. This is just one of many East Texas schools receiving GP products like plywood, lumber and particleboard each year for school projects. Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based…
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Coldspring trooper honored

Special to the News-Times AUSTIN — The Texas Public Safety Commission along with Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw presented one Medal of Valor, the highest honor and award bestowed by DPS, two Lifesaving Awards and two Director’s Awards to department personnel at the PSC meeting on Aug. 12 at DPS Headquarters in Austin. The Outstanding Women in State Government Award also was presented. “These awards exemplify the bravery and dedication that our employees exhibit on a daily basis within DPS,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “I’m pleased to recognize each of these men and women for their service and commitment to the state of Texas.” Sgt. Rae Lee, a member of the Highway Patrol Crash Team in Coldspring, received the 2020 Outstanding Women in State Government Award. The award was created by the State Agency Council, which hosts the Outstanding Women in State Government Awards every two years. The 2020 awards ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19. Lee is…
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Trinity ISD Board inks OK on dress code

Tattoos cause concern for one board member By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — The Trinity ISD School Board approved an employee dress code, but not before the policy regarding tattoos was questioned as being discriminatory. The new policy was being discussed at a special meeting on Aug. 9. Superintendent John Kaufman the purpose of the code is for the staff, especially teachers, to project a professional image. “That’s my whole objective of this policy,” he said. “I want everyone to dress professionally, to look professional.” Board Member Ricky Hortman said that he had issues with the policy, because in this day and age, tattoos are mainstream. “We’re going to discriminate against people who have tattoos? A person can’t be professional if they have tattoos?” Hortman asked. “I would hate to lose a … teacher because of a tattoo. We have lots of other issues than to worry about this.” Hortman said times are changing, and other entities, such as police departments, are…
Vicki Shelley, elections administrator for San Jacinto County, provides an example of the new process for casting ballots. Photo by Tony Farkas/SJNT

San Jacinto New process for voting in place

Vicki Shelley, elections administrator for San Jacinto County, provides an example of the new process for casting ballots. Photo by Tony Farkas/SJNT By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — In order to comply with state mandates, as well as fulfill a mission of voting integrity, the San Jacinto Elections Office has implemented a new voting process. Elections Administrator Vicki Shelley said the county has completed a conversion of its voting machines from DRE — direct record electronic — to PVR — print vote record. Shelley said that previously, voters went to a touch screen voting machine, make their selections, get to the end and review them, and then press cast, which would record the vote. It was a one-step process. Now, it is a two-step process, she said; while the voter still will cast votes using the same touch screen setup, instead of casting the vote electronically, it will instead print the votes onto a special, elections-office-only brand of paper. “It will print out…
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Trinity County Sheriff warns of future funding crises

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace told the Commissioners’ Court that unless something is done, there will be a population problem at the county jail. At a budget workshop during the regular Commissioners’ Court meeting on Aug. 10, Wallace said there were two areas of his budget that needed additional funding — the jail and vehicles. Wallace said that even though the office contracted with Enterprise Fleet earlier this year, all vehicles are on back-order, and he believes the county should put in additional funds for purchases — at least $125,000 — even if they continue with the lease program. Currently, the fleet of Sheriff’s Office vehicles are averaging 200,000 to more than 300,000 miles driven, he said, and they need 10 patrol vehicles and two transport vans. Wallace also said that all of the jails this county contracts with to house prisoners has informed him that they cannot take any more. Also, most counties are looking to…
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Crash claims life of Trinity resident

Special to the News-Standard TRINITY — One person died and one injured as law enforcement officials on Tuesday worked to investigate three separate vehicle accidents in Trinity County. James Golden, 75, of Trinity, died as the result of a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 94 about 2 1/2 miles east of Trinity. According to DPS reports, a 2000 Ford pickup was traveling eastbound on 94 collided with a 2021 Dodge pickup, which was traveling westbound, at about 5 p.m. Golden, the driver of the Ford, reportedly drove off the roadway to the right, overcorrected back to the left and traveled into the westbound lane where it was struck by the Dodge. Golden was transported to Huntsville Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the Dodge is identified as Richard Herring, 31, of Conroe. Herring was transported to Conroe Regional Hospital for treatment. Later on Tuesday, a two-vehicle crash occurred at about 6:50 p.m. on FM 356, about 2 1/2 miles south of FM 355. Reports…
Dorothy Harris, president of the Houston County Depot Museum board, recently showed museum visitors—in addition to many other items—a former Crockett Fire Department fire truck that was the main vehicle used to extinguish a fire at the former Crockett Hotel in 1973 and is now on display at the museum.ALTON PORTER | HCC

Re-opened Houston County museum welcomes public

Dorothy Harris, president of the Houston County Depot Museum board, recently showed museum visitors—in addition to many other items—a former Crockett Fire Department fire truck that was the main vehicle used to extinguish a fire at the former Crockett Hotel in 1973 and is now on display at the museum.ALTON PORTER | HCC By Alton Porter CROCKETT – The Houston County Depot Museum is back open and invites the public to come visit the historical items exhibition facility, view its display items and learn about the history of the county. Dorothy Harris, president of the museum’s board of directors noted, in an interview with the Courier, that it was closed over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and structural damage caused by February’s severe winter storm. However, the museum reopened for its 2021 season July 9. It is open Friday and Saturday each week, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. “We’ll be open until it turns cold; that could be November or December,” Harris said. “We’re not open in the winter…
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Lecture series returning to Heritage Village

Dr. Adrian Van Dellen By Chris Edwards WOODVILLE – A series of lectures is returning to Heritage Village with an event scheduled for Thursday, August 26. Dr. Adrian Van Dellen, DVM, will present a lecture and samples from his photography exhibit which is focused on black bears. The title of the presentation is “Recovering the Louisiana Black Bear to Southeast Texas.” The lecture series began in 2019 and had to enter hiatus last year due to COVID-related restrictions. Lecture topics have ranged from a music and lecture presentation about Susana Dickinson to a lecture from Ray Hensarling focusing on the King Ranch. According to a news release from the Tyler County Heritage Society, Van Dellen’s photographic passion tells the tale of black bears, which are scientifically known as Ursus Americanus Luteolus. There are 16 species of black bears, with two of them native to East Texas in the past. Van Dellen joined a photography group that visited a natural black bear reserve, and he was able…
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Goodrich ISD postpones classes one week

Goodrich ISD students will start school one week later than originally planned following action taken by the Board of Trustees during an emergency called meeting Saturday. The decision comes after several employees have tested positive for Covid-19. As of Monday morning, eight employees have been confirmed positive for the virus, according to school sources, with some among that number including administrators. The 2021-22 school year is now set to begin Wednesday, Aug. 25, while an open house is scheduled for the Monday two days before. The school district will interview four candidates for its superintendent position and could have a lone finalist named as early as Thursday at a regular board meeting. Once that person is named, state law requires a 21-day waiting period until he or she could be hired. Goodrich ISD is strongly recommending all staff, students and parents who enter the campus to wear masks. They also encourage those who are sick to remain at home.
RESTORING OUR HERITAGE The Jonas Davis Log Cabin in Heritage Park is the beneficiary of a $35,000 gift from The Smith Family Foundation given to the Polk County Heritage Society to repair and refurbish the roof of the cabin which has been taken over by resurrection fern. (l-r) Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins; Heritage Society Member Molly Anderson; Robert Smith, representing The Smith Family Foundation; Samantha Legg, Smith’s personal assistant; Heritage Society Member Patrick Swilley; and Heritage Society Member Ruth Hollenbeck. Not pictured: Fred M. Smith, representing The Smith Family Foundation. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

Heritage Park Cabin repairs to begin soon

RESTORING OUR HERITAGE The Jonas Davis Log Cabin in Heritage Park is the beneficiary of a $35,000 gift from The Smith Family Foundation given to the Polk County Heritage Society to repair and refurbish the roof of the cabin which has been taken over by resurrection fern. (l-r) Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins; Heritage Society Member Molly Anderson; Robert Smith, representing The Smith Family Foundation; Samantha Legg, Smith’s personal assistant; Heritage Society Member Patrick Swilley; and Heritage Society Member Ruth Hollenbeck. Not pictured: Fred M. Smith, representing The Smith Family Foundation. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten By Emily Banks [email protected] The Jonas Davis Cabin in Heritage Park is about to undergo a substantial facelift thanks to the generosity of The Smith Family Foundation. “Mom and Dad put together this foundation way back in the 90s because they loved education, culture, art, churches and they wanted to make sure that the people in the…
DISTINGUISHED HIGH SCHOOL PARTNER Unfurling a banner that states that Stephen F. Austin State University recognizes Livingston High School as a Distinguished High School Partner during a kick-off ceremony Friday are (l-r) LISD Board Member Kevin Wooten, Livingston High School Principal Dr. Paul Drake, SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon and LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

LHS selected for SFA distinguished program

DISTINGUISHED HIGH SCHOOL PARTNER Unfurling a banner that states that Stephen F. Austin State University recognizes Livingston High School as a Distinguished High School Partner during a kick-off ceremony Friday are (l-r) LISD Board Member Kevin Wooten, Livingston High School Principal Dr. Paul Drake, SFA President Dr. Scott Gordon and LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten By Emily Banks [email protected]> A kick-off ceremony was held Friday to formalize an agreement between Livingston High School (LHS) and Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) that will have far-reaching implications for local students for years to come. LHS is one of 12 East Texas schools to be included in SFA’s Distinguished High School Program. Through the program, top-ranking LHS graduates will be automatically eligible for scholarships worth up to $20,000 at SFA as a result of a new partnership between the schools. “We appreciate you coming on this special day,” LISD…
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One killed in two-vehicle crash near Shepherd

Special to the News-Times SHEPHERD — A Goodrich man died following a two-vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 59 about one mile south of Shepherd. Jaime Ortega, 47, of Goodrich, was pronounced dead at the scene by San Jacinto Justice of the Peace Harris Blanchette following the Aug. 11 crash. According to information from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 59 occurred at approximately 1:05 p.m. Reports indicate that a 2021 Dodge pickup traveling southbound swerved out of the lane and collided in the rear with a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe that was stopped on the improved shoulder. The driver of the Dodge, Melissa Smith, 37, of Cleveland, suffered minor injuries. There were two passengers with Smith — a 14-year-old male an 11-year-old female, both of which suffered only minor injuries. All occupants in the Dodge were transported to HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe. A passenger in the Hyundai, Francisco Becerra, 47, of Shepherd, was taken to HCA Houston…
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Coldspring discusses old audit

By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — On its way to getting caught up, the City of Coldspring finalized its audit for FY 2016 at its regular meeting on Aug. 2. Molly Abele of the auditing firm of Axley & Rode said that it was giving an unmodified opinion, meaning there were little to no problems with the city’s finances. Mayor Pat Eversole said that city audits were behind because of several problems over past years, but Axley & Rode has essentially done yeoman’s work getting the past-due audits completed. Mayor Pro Tem John Benestante said that in regard to some of the operational deficiencies, he will draft policies to ensure that the city maintains proper record-keeping and retention. He also said that deficiencies will continue to appear until later audits, which will reflect any changes the city will make. In other business, the city: approved a new nuisance ordinance dealing with dilapidated property or items; discussed fencing at the Dixie Youth Ball Park; approved a…
A little water from a firehose keeps the bad cool during marching practice.

Ready to play - Trinity Marching Band season also starting

A little water from a firehose keeps the bad cool during marching practice. By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — It’s almost time for Friday Night Lights, which means not only will there be the sound of pads clashing, but there will be musical entertainment as well — just as much anticipated as the game. The Trinity Tiger Marching Band will take the field on Aug. 27 for the first performance of this year’s halftime show, and Team Captain and Senior Zoey Gray is looking forward to it. This year, the band will play “Rise of the Phoenix,” a compilation of several classical pieces arranged by Doug Moore, Drum Major and fellow Senior Andi Hickman said. Andi said the group started drills last week after two weeks of band camp, and will perform in front of a crowd at first home game on Aug. 27. The two seniors believe the band will do extremely well this year. “We have a very young band this year — about half of the band are sophomores or younger,” Andi said. “We have about eight…
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Alabama-Coushatta Principal Chief dies

Chief Herbert G. Johnson Sr.From Enterprise Staff Herbert G. Johnson Sr., Principal Chief of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, died Monday after a brief hospital stay. He was 79 years old and had served as Mikko Choba Skalaaba since Jan. 1, 2020. “It is with profound sadness that the Tribal Council of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas reports that the Tribe’s Mikko Choba Skaalaba passed away,” Debrina Sylestine-Dirden, the Tribe’s communications director, said. A member of the Beaver Clan, Johnson served his people in many capacities throughout his entire life. He was twice elected to the Tribal Council and worked as the Tribal security director for over 21 years. He was elected as the Tribe’s Second Chief following the passing of the then-Principal Chief—Mikko Colabe III—the late Clem Sylestine in 2019. A deacon and elder at the Indian Presbyterian Church, Johnson also served on the Big Sandy ISD Board of Trustees for 48 years. Johnson was born on April 3, 1942 on the…
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Emergency Management reports uptick of COVID cases - Update

By Chris Edwards TYLER COUNTY – Tyler County’s Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe reported “a major uptick in COVID-19 cases” throughout the county. Jobe said that during the last two weeks, the county has gone from 0-3 active cases per day to more than 35 actives. However, Jobe said his office has had no confirmation as to whether these cases are of the new delta variant of the virus. Jobe’s office also began providing updates on active case counts again. As of last Thursday, the county has 91 active, up from the previous week count of 38. Since reporting began last year, Tyler County has had 1,453 confirmed cases of COVID, with 1319 recoveries and 43 deaths. Jobe said the sort of tests needed for variant type are requested and performed by labs at the state’s request, but it is, he said, safe to assume they are of the Delta variant based on its widespread nature. Nationwide, the delta variant, which was first identified in India, is rapidly spreading. In an Associated Press…
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San Jacinto County Commissioners seek to balance out sheriff’s budget and policy

By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula SJNT staff writer COLDSPRING — Settling into the hot August temperatures, tensions inside the courtroom matched the temperatures outside when proposed policy changes at the hands of the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Office were addressed head-on by local business members. Wrecker redistribution Prior to the agenda item, during public comment, several old-guard wreckers from the county, including GW Wreckers and East Texas Towing, spoke on behalf of historical practices, citing a 2008 policy in which the wreckers and previous Sheriff’s Office came together to get approved by the court, in which wreckers purchased permit rotation numbers that enabled them to buy into a rotation that the Sheriff’s Office used to distribute business between the entities. Chief Tim Keen took the microphone, addressing the proposed changes that seek to remove the buy-in system altogether, citing that Sheriff Greg Capers doesn’t want to continue with the current system. The Sheriff’s Office…
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Trinity County Commissioners, sheriff spar over pay raises

By Tony Farkas [email protected] GROVETON — A request for pay raises for dispatchers and jailers by Sheriff Woody Wallace touched off an argument over timing and budgets. At the July 27 meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners’ Court, Wallace had submitted requests for four employees, currently making between $9-$10 per hour, to be paid $14 per hour. While initially against the raises, the county relented and approved a $12 per hour rate, but not before tempers flared. “We’re taxing the people, we might as well pay our people better salaries,” Wallace said. “Is there any opposition to that, or do we want to defund the police by not funding them properly? Because that’s what we’re doing.” Wallace said that neighboring counties are paying $14 per hour, and his employees are looking elsewhere. However, the county had just commissioned a salary study, which was to be incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, which becomes effective Oct. 1, two months away. Commissioner…
Dr. Terra Smith

COCISD welcomes new administrators

Dr. Terra SmithSpecial to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst ISD School Board met the districts newest administrators at its regular meeting on July 26. Dr. Terra Smith is the new COCISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Smith has served as a high school social studies teacher, dean of instruction, a secondary assistant principal, an associate principal, a middle school principal, and a central office administrator within the Houston area. During the 2020-2021 school year, she worked as an independent education consultant with Houston-area school districts. "Professionally I have been in the field of education for 17 years," Smith said. "I earned a bachelor’s degree in History and master’s degree in Teaching from Trinity University in San Antonio. I earned my doctorate in Education from the University of Houston, and my dissertation topic was the importance of the campus principal as an instructional leader in building instructional capacity in…
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Accident victims identified

Special to the News-Standard TRINITY — While the details surrounding the July 23 death of two men near White Rock City Marina remains unknown, they have been identified. Bruce Devlyn Sutton, no age given, of Point Blank, and Eric Franklin Womack, no age given, of Trinity, were found dead. The bodies of the two men were recovered Friday after officers responded to a caller reporting a body floating on a private lake near the marina, according to police reports. Deputies and game wardens retrieved the body, and officers noticed what appeared to be vehicle tracks leading into the water. Game wardens were able to use the sonar on a boat to locate a vehicle submerged in about 12 feet of water. A second man was discovered inside the truck that was pulled from the lake by a wrecker service. DPS Troopers were called to investigate, and Justice of the Peace Lyle Stubbs pronounced the two dead at the scene. The investigation continues, and autopsies were ordered to determine the cause of death,…
Jessie White at the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony last week.

Hometown pride in the Hall of Fame: Tyler County native Jessie White proves every step can be a teachable moment

Jessie White at the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony last week.By Chris Edwards Soft-spoken and insightful, Tyler County native Jessie White is the type of man who exudes kindness and intellectual depth. “It can happen,” he said. With one simple three-word sentence, White referred to the limitless capacity all humans possess to achieve things toward their betterment. “I’ve never allowed barriers to stop me,” he said. White, who was just named to the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame “hasn’t changed in 64 years,” according to his wife, Wanda, but beneath his calm, gentle demeanor is one of the greatest coaching minds the southeast Texas region has known. White tends to eschew labels such as “legend,” though, and said it even sometimes angers him when people refer to him in such ways. White, who grew up in Warren, has worked for 40 years at West Brook ISD, where he led the Lady Bruins to more than 350 wins…
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Rain both blessing, curse

Wet year can lead to wet problems By Tony [email protected] This year has shown to be wetter than average, as anyone with a familiarity with The Farmer’s Almanac can tell you. According to the almanac, rainfall for the year was to be above normal in our neck of the woods, but below normal in the north. September and October will be cooler than normal, with rainfall below normal in the north and above normal in the south. The data for San Jacinto County, according to the National Weather Service, shows that to date, 33.13 inches of rain has fallen. The annual average is just less than 51 inches. Additionally, the wettest day was on April 30, on which 4.62 inches of rain was logged. The wettest month was May with a whopping 13.69 inches. In all, 84 of 200 days so far this year have had rainfall; the average is 94. April and May will be cooler and rainier than normal. Summer will be cooler than normal, with the hottest periods in mid-June, mid- to late July, and mid-August, the…
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Groveton offers no-cost student meals

Special to the News-Times GROVETON — For the 2021-2022 school year, healthy meals will be offered every school day to all students at no cost. Typically, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals; however, the United States Department of Agriculture issued guidance that allows schools to offer meals to all students at no cost for the 2021-2022 school year. Each school/site or central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed upon request. While no application or eligibility determination process is required for your student to receive free meals this school year, the income eligibility requirement will likely resume in the 2022-2023 school year. In accordance with federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color,…
Several of Shepherd ISD’s FFA members took the microphone during the Student Recognition portion to congratulate students on their summer achievements through the program. (Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula )

Shepherd Board, community meet face-to-face

Several of Shepherd ISD’s FFA members took the microphone during the Student Recognition portion to congratulate students on their summer achievements through the program. (Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula ) By Emily Kubisch-SabrsulaSJNT staff writer SHEPHERD — Holding its first completely in-person board meeting since the pandemic began last year, the Shepherd School Board met for a final summer round-up in preparation for the upcoming school year to discuss plans for the growing district. The district boasts 100 percent online enrollment this year, which added 1,031 new students. With school slated to start back up on Aug. 11, Dr. Jason Hewitt will resume the State of Shepherd Facebook Live programs. The July program took place after going to press, but upcoming live streams will be announced via the Shepherd ISD Facebook page. Parents, guardians, and community members will be able to ask questions and receive live updates about changes across the district. Cabinet reports Taking the…
Trinity County Sheriff’s Office deputies examine a vehicle that was pulled from a private lake at the scene where two men were found dead. (Courtesy Photo)

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office investigating deaths

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office deputies examine a vehicle that was pulled from a private lake at the scene where two men were found dead. (Courtesy Photo) Special to the News-Standard TRINITY — The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of two men. The identities of the two men are not being released at this time. The bodies of two men were recovered Friday after officers responded to a caller reporting a body floating on a private lake near White Rock City Marina, according to police reports. Deputies and game wardens retrieved the body, and officers noticed what appeared to be vehicle tracks leading into the water. Game wardens were able to use the sonar on a boat to locate a vehicle submerged in about 12 feet of water. A second man was discovered inside the truck that was pulled from the lake. DPS Troopers were called to investigate the crash. The investigation continues, and no other details are available at this time.
Members of the Houston County Historical Commission, pictured with the Houston County Commissioners, were presented a Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission for their outstanding service during Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting.  (ALTON PORTER | HCC)

Houston County government supporting summer events

Members of the Houston County Historical Commission, pictured with the Houston County Commissioners, were presented a Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission for their outstanding service during Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting. (ALTON PORTER | HCC) By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Houston County government officials have shown that they have been and are in support of summer concerts and other performance events in the county by granting funds to entertainment sponsors. Members of the county’s commissioners court voted to approve requests for funding from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund to three entertainment sponsorship organizations at a regular meeting of the court Tuesday, July 27. The commissioners approved granting $3,000 to Salmon Lake Enterprises LP to assist in covering expenses incurred by putting on the Camp Rock Fest (Pitmasters Edition) held in Salmon Lake Park, in Grapeland, this past weekend. In addition, the commissioners granted $2,000 to…
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Authorities seeking burglary suspect

Jesse Evetts JonesBy Chris Edwards TYLER COUNTY – Authorities are on the search for a Colmesneil man who is facing several felony charges, and are asking for the public’s help in finding him. Jesse Evetts Jones, a 29-year-old man who is known to stay in and around Colmesneil, is currently wanted for four different burglary charges, including one habitation burglary charge, unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony evading. According to a Crime Stoppers bulletin released last week about Jones, he is also known to stay along FM 92, between Tyler and Hardin counties. Jones is a white male with brown hair and stands six feet tall. His weight is described as being between 180 and 200 lbs., and he has two tattoos: a barbed-wire design on his left bicep and a cross on his left arm. Anyone who has information about Jones’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office at 409-283-2172, or Crime Stoppers via the website 639TIPS.com, or by calling 936-639-TIPS. Any tips…
Carol Shields, the librarian for the Whitmeyer Genealogical Library at Heritage Village in Woodville, gave a recent presentation to the Tyler County Heritage Society Board of Directors on Monday morning concerning a digital archival service, Family Search, that is in the process of digitizing the library’s family records holdings.  (PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDS)

Genealogical documents being digitized at Whitmeyer Library

Carol Shields, the librarian for the Whitmeyer Genealogical Library at Heritage Village in Woodville, gave a recent presentation to the Tyler County Heritage Society Board of Directors on Monday morning concerning a digital archival service, Family Search, that is in the process of digitizing the library’s family records holdings. (PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDS) WOODVILLE – Currently FamilySearch, a non-profit family history organization dedicated to gathering, preserving, and sharing the world’s records, is in Woodville digitizing the Whitmeyer Library’s genealogical documents. This is a free service to the Whitmeyer Library as well as other organizations. FamilySearch has sent volunteers and equipment to our library at Heritage Village to do the work. Our Librarian Carol Shields is assisting with identifying family related information in our library. When the project is completed, the digitized data will be made available on FamilySearch’s website, FamilySearch.org/archives. In addition,…
The Johnson family¬—Aaliyah, 14, Stormi, 8, Herb Jr. and Victoria—celebrate Aaliyah’s and Victoria’s inclusion in the newly released PBS book “American Portrait: The Story of Us, Told by Us.” Both women shared about their creative pursuits in the book. The Johnsons are residents of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

Creative expression runs in family

The Johnson family¬—Aaliyah, 14, Stormi, 8, Herb Jr. and Victoria—celebrate Aaliyah’s and Victoria’s inclusion in the newly released PBS book “American Portrait: The Story of Us, Told by Us.” Both women shared about their creative pursuits in the book. The Johnsons are residents of the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten Local mother, daughter featured in PBS project By Emily Banks [email protected] The talents and interests of a mother and daughter from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation were spotlighted when they were both featured in an ambitious storytelling project conducted by the Public Broadcasting Service, or PBS as it’s more commonly known. In January 2020, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, PBS launched the storytelling project, American Portrait, inviting people across the country to participate in a national conversation about what it means to be an American today. The result is “American Portrait: The Story of Us,…
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Standoff ends peacefully

Anderson By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — A 36-year-old Houston resident was arrested Friday after a lengthy standoff in the 200 block of West Cedar Avenue in Coldspring Christopher Edward Anderson, 36, is facing a charge of murder in the July 20 shooting death of Tonya Davis, 44. Police reports indicate that early on July 20, police were called to an apartment complex on Ella Boulevard in Houston, after being called by the teenaged son of the victim. Davis suffered at least one gunshot wound, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Forced entry was found at the scene; Anderson and Davis had been in a relationship and recently separated, the report states. Harris County Sheriff’s Office investigators processed the scene, and an arrest warrant was issued for Anderson. Reports indicate Anderson went to his parents’ home in Coldspring, and HCSO deputies with the homicide unit, the warrants unit, as well as the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office and Texas Rangers, went to the…
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Trinity County tends to nuisances

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners’ Court will be on the side of Trinity Cove’s POA in helping abate some nuisances located within the subdivision. At its regular meeting on July 12, the court set a public hearing for Aug. 10 into a list of 12 properties in Trinity Cove that have been deemed public nuisances. County Judge Doug Page said the county had taken this matter up about 1 ½ years ago, under former County Attorney Joe Warner Bell, but did not finish the matter. Bell was defeated in a subsequent election, and the matter went dormant. The current attorney, Colton Hay, said that it needed to be revived, and the commissioners agreed. In other business, the county: approved bids for the sale of tax resale properties submitted by the County Appraisal District; approved the deletion of Crabapple Lane from the county’s 911 addressing map; approved the purchase of body cameras for the county’s four constables, and signed an agreement with…
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Centerville ISD applies for funding

By Tony [email protected] CENTERVILLE — The Centerville ISD will once again seek funding to help students in the district who have been identified as socially disadvantaged. The CISD Board of Trustees held a public hearing at its regular meeting on July 15. Superintendent Mark Brown said that for Title I funding, which is to be used for socially disadvantaged students, the district is applying for $42,920, which will be used to fund enrichment programs to reach children identified as disadvantaged, as well as for stipends for teachers in high-needs areas. Title II funds are used for teacher training and recruitment, and Brown said the district is applying for $6,986. The funds help keep qualified teachers and administrators in a district that has less economic opportunities for funding. In the past, the money was used to pay teachers in science and math because those areas are harder to recruit and retain, Brown said. Additionally, the district will seek Title IV funding,…
Jenkines joins Latexo ISD as elementary principal

Jenkines joins Latexo ISD as elementary principal

Jenkines joins Latexo ISD as elementary principalBy Alton Porter LATEXO – Kathryn Mattox Jenkines has been hired by Latexo Independent School District officials to serve the district as principal of Latexo Elementary School. District Superintendent Michael Woodard introduced Jenkines and the district’s five custodial staff members at a board meeting Thursday, July 15, and the Latexo ISD board of trustees approved the hiring of the new principal. “I’m excited for this opportunity to be back in the community that I grew up in and graduated from Crockett High School,” Jenkines said. “I’ve been gone for a long time but happy to be back. According to the district’s website, Jenkines has worked in child welfare prior to becoming an educator, and she worked in various capacities at Madisonville Intermediate School. “We’re looking forward to having you here and think you’re going to do a great job,” Latexo ISD Board President and Position 5 Trustee Kelly Nicol told Jenkines. The custodial…
Judy Connelly enjoys a day working in her garden. (PHOTO BY EMILY EDDINS)

Polio survivor shares insight of past epidemic

Judy Connelly enjoys a day working in her garden. (PHOTO BY EMILY EDDINS)By Emily Eddins As we, as a species, continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, we have had time to reflect on our struggles throughout the past year. These perilous times have highlighted just how fragile life can be. While it was one of the greatest struggles in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic was undoubtedly not the first time our country has endured something like this. Just a short time ago, another epidemic was raging throughout the country, paralyzing thousands of children - the polio outbreak of the 1900s. Polio is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. This disease spreads directly from contaminated water, food, or even people. Once infected, victims face a host of symptoms, including fatigue, fever, loss of muscle, headache, nausea, and eventually face paralysis. The peak of polio occurred in the United States from 1916 until a vaccine was finally approved in 1955, resulting in a…
Daryl “Harry Cheaks” Morris with his son Aiden and wife Connie Williams and Bear.

Woodville veteran/musician’s service dog missing

Daryl “Harry Cheaks” Morris with his son Aiden and wife Connie Williams and Bear. By Chris Edwards HILLISTER – To local residents and those in the area who enjoy good times and good tunes, Daryl Morris, a.k.a “Harry Cheaks” is a familiar sight – and so is his ever-present canine companion Bear. Morris, a local musician, DJ and music producer is also a combat veteran who received the service dog two years ago through a program called the Wins for Warriors Foundation. However, for about a month, Bear has been missing, and Morris fears someone stole him. “I’ve been looking for him, hoping he’d come back around and he hasn’t come back,” he said. Morris’s service dog is more than just a best friend to him, Bear has also helped him overcome PTSD-associated issues and get out of his house to engage in his calling: entertaining folks as a musician and DJ. Morris said Bear was last seen on county road 4455 in Hillister, possibly at FM 1013, which crosses the road. Morris added that Bear, being…
The Dixie Youth Ballpark in Coldspring is looking forward to sprucing up the area. (Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula)

Coldspring City Council looks to stiffen nuisance ordinance

The Dixie Youth Ballpark in Coldspring is looking forward to sprucing up the area. (Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula) By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council, looking to clean up derelict and unkempt properties within the city, is strengthening its rules as well as its enforcement. The city had originally demanded the property owners at 210 Slade St. and two pieces of property in the Park Place addition clean up their properties; however, the demand was made through an ordinance which only dealt with substandard structures. The city is now looking to create an ordinance that would be more appropriate, including dealing with junk storage, leaky exterior pipes, certain types of waste discharge, and grass and tree growth, as well as other issues. The ordinance, which was discussed at the city’s regular meeting on July 19, also would ban the accumulation of abandoned or derelict vehicles, unless it’s for a business such as a scrap yard. The ordinance also…
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Apple Springs looks to boost test scores

By Tony Farkas APPLE SPRINGS — STARR test scores for the Apple Springs ISD were higher than the state average, but could be better. The ASISD Board of Trustees discussed the results at its regular meeting on July 8. Superintendent Cody Moree said that the district’s overall scores were lower than normal, but on par or slightly better than the state averages. He said that the math scores were exceptionally good. However, he said that the results, coming off a year where education was interrupted because of the pandemic, should not have been used. “My opinion is that none of the state's scores should have been published this year,” he said. “If anything, they should have only been used as diagnostic information moving forward.” Moree said the district’s mitigation plan for the future is comprehensive, and includes an emphasis on curricular vertical alignment, longer instructional periods in core subjects, a district-wide reading and writing initiative and the hiring of a dedicated…
The U-Haul in which Davidson led authorities on a chase.  (Photos courtesy of Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace)

‘U-Haul Bandit’ chase ends in Tyler County

The U-Haul in which Davidson led authorities on a chase. (Photos courtesy of Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace) By Chris Edwards TYLER COUNTY – A four-county chase in a U-Haul truck ended in Tyler County, and a Desoto man is in jail following the incident. According to a social media posting from Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace, the chase lasted two hours and began early in the morning on Saturday, July 17, in Angelina County. Ronny Dwight DavidsonWallace said that the chase began before 3 a.m., and the driver, later identified as 43-year-old Ronny Dwight Davidson, drove the moving vehicle through Trinity County, where he struck a deputy’s patrol unit, spinning it around and doing extensive damage. “While you were sleeping, a U-Haul bandit led officers on a two-hour long chase,” Wallace said. The chase continued, at a speed of around 80 mph through Polk County and ended in Tyler County at around 5 a.m., where deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were able to deploy…
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Livingston Walmart closes doors for “sanitizing”

One of the county’s busiest stores closed its doors Friday with thepromise of re-opening Sunday.Around 2 p.m. Friday, a few of the final Walmart shoppers left thestore and shoppers attempting to enter were told they no longer could.Livingston Police were on hand to assist Walmart employees withinforming customers that the store had closed until Sunday at 6 a.m.Sanitizing and restocking were the reasons given for the closure topatrons at the front door.Livingston Police and Walmart employees both said they were notnotified of the closure until Friday morning.The Enterprise has been informed that an outbreak amongst employeescould be the reason for a shutdown of about 40 hours, but that has yetto be confirmed.Management at the store would not comment on the situation, and theEnterprise was instead directed to a website for media requests, whichwas not returned by press time Friday.
Mark Collins, playing the part of George Washington, spoke to attendees at Friday’s conference. (ALTON PORTER | HCC)

Constitutional sheriffs’ conference held in Crockett

Mark Collins, playing the part of George Washington, spoke to attendees at Friday’s conference. (ALTON PORTER | HCC) Hargrove encourages attendees to stand up for their rights By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Houston County Sheriff Randy Hargrove and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office hosted a public conference last Friday, themed “The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope.” Joint-presented by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) and HCSO, the event featured and was headed up by Richard Mack, a former county sheriff in Arizona and founder of the CSPOA and was held in the Crockett Civic Center. Other speakers included Mark Collins, who acted out a role as special guest and the nation’s first president, George Washington; former sheriff Brad Rogers, of Elkhart County, Indiana; and attorney Michael Peroutka, of Maryland, known as a defender of the Constitution. Conference attendees were welcomed and thanked for being at the event by Houston County Judge Jim Lovell…
Pastor Kevin Hicks speaks to the Chester City Council on Monday night. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL G. MANESS)

Chester plans community watch program

Pastor Kevin Hicks speaks to the Chester City Council on Monday night. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL G. MANESS) By Michael G. Maness CHESTER – Chester welcomed members of the Dam B Community Watch (DBCW) at their council meeting Monday evening, July 12. Representatives from the group included CW President Johnny Page and his wife Nancy; Secretary Jan Johnson and husband Lawrence and Glen Kenney, who serves as the group’s public relations. Chester Mayor Floyd Petri and Mayor pro-tem Robert Poynter have taken point on planning a community watch group for Chester, and Poynter will be the council’s lead. Pct 2 Constable Casey Whitworth will be the lead law enforcement officer, saying he was honored to help in any way. Johnny Page pointed out that the sheriff’s office said the CW lowered the calls by 75 percent. The Dam B Community Watch Group has been operating with great success for five years. They do patrols but stressed that they do not do any law enforcement, such as stopping vehicles. That was…
Toppled monuments in Magnolia Cemetery. (Photo by Chris Edwards )

Vandalism reported in Magnolia Cemetery

Toppled monuments in Magnolia Cemetery. (Photo by Chris Edwards ) By Emily Eddins As a tight-knit community, it is part of the job of the citizens to take pride in our county and all its unique and historical attributes that it has to offer. These key features from past descendants have had such a significant impact on Tyler County; it is only fair that we treat them with respect and kindness. Recently, concerned citizens have noticed a lack of appreciation for our area and believe that this issue is overdue for concern. Magnolia Cemetery, which is located in the heart of Woodville, is a resting place for many of Tyler County's loved ones. While the groundskeepers do their best at keeping the property maintained, especially the new and more accessible sections of the cemetery, many citizens are disturbed at recent degrading activities that have been taking place on the grounds, causing an upset in the community. One of the most remarkable parts of the cemetery is the ancient graves of…
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Trinity Council talks more grant work

By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — The Trinity City Council began planning for the use of grant funds it received to help shore up its infrastructure. Mayor Wayne Huffman said the city received a $35,000 grant to assist planning the work, which will be paid for by a separate $4.2 million grant for work on parks, water and wastewater services, drainage and streets. Carlos Beceiro of GrantWorks facilitated the discussion, Huffman said. In a related matter, the city tabled a request to seek bids for grant administration and engineering services related to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program. Huffman said the council did not have enough information about the grant, so action was delayed. He also said the HMA grant was a gamble, in that the city would be required to put up certain fees, which would not be reimbursed should the grant request be denied. In other business, the city: appointed Council Member Clegg DeWalt as the city’s representative on the Deep East…
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Landfill opposition growing in Cleveland

By Tony [email protected] CLEVELAND — A proposed landfill in the southwest part of San Jacinto County, opposed by area residents, is now being panned by neighboring counties. On June 21, the Cleveland City Council, at its regular meeting, unanimously approved a resolution opposing an application by Peach Creek Co. for a landfill seven miles northwest of the intersection of Highway 59 and State Highway 105. While the intersection is within the Cleveland city limits, the landfill would be located in San Jacinto County. Area residents have attended several meetings of the San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court in protest of the landfill over the last several months. Among the complaints registered include the possibility of contamination of ground and surface water, as well as access roads not included in the permit application. According to the resolution, the Cleveland City Council will oppose the application because the city is directly downstream from the landfill site. The…
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Trinity County Treasurer Arrested

Bob Dockens By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — A Trinity County elected official was arrested Friday for an outstanding warrant. County Treasurer Bob Dockens was arrested on a warrant for a Nov. 11, 2020, traffic citation that was issued in Corrigan. The charge was for passing a stationary emergency vehicle. Police reports indicate that Dockens did not show for a scheduled court date on the citation, and an arrest warrant was issued on May 18. The Corrigan Police Department contacted the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office while doing a warrant sweep, and Dockens was arrested by Trinity County Constable Mark Cole. Sheriff Woody Wallace said his office was notified Friday morning, but since Dockens was attending a meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners’ Court, he was allowed to finish the meeting and then quietly left with officers for booking. Wallace said that it was his understanding is that someone in Dockens family took care of the charges in Corrigan; the Sheriff’s…
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San Jacinto County celebrates July 4

Beating out the chance of rain, residents from San Jacinto County gathered outside of the Shepherd Community Center to celebrate Independence Day with funnel cakes, face painting, and plenty of family activities at the 2021 Shepherd Independence Day Celebration. Photos by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula
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New COCISD super setting priorities

By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — Newly minted Superintendent Bryan Taulton is now taking control of Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD, and is setting priorities for the coming year. At its regular meeting June 26, the COCISD board approved changes to the student dress code and staff dress guidelines for the 2021-22 school year. Communications Coordinator Cassie Gregory said that as part of Taulton’s plan, enforcement of dress codes and codes of conduct will be a top priority for the coming year, as student appearance is directly related to attitude and learning. Part of the code addresses masking in the wake of the pandemic; the police states masks are optional for all students. Other items included are shorts, with the exception of biker shorts or Spandex; and leggings are allowed, provided a shirt or sweater is of skirt length. Items that are prohibited include revealing clothing, bare midriffs, sagging pants, pants with Velcro or snaps on the side, clothing that shows visible…
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Groveton Council changes police chief pay

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Groveton City Council approved a pay range for its police chief, but it took prodding from Interim Police Chief Daniel Kee to get his pay adjusted to the new rate. Mayor Tommy Walton suggested a rate of $18 per hour for a new hire, and then after a year of service the rate would be raised to $20. Walton also said that the council intends to seek applications for another 30 days before making any decision on replacing John Raiford, who resigned in May. Additionally, the city plans to allow any new chief to fill the open position, leaving the city’s law enforcement at one full-time officer and reserves. However, Interim Chief Daniel Kee asked about the rate he is being paid, which is not $18; he also said that his 10 years of working for the city should mean his pay should be raised to $20 per hour. He also questioned why the city decided to extend its search without discussing it with him. “I’ve been back there cleaning up the office,…
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Groveton ISD discusses grant funds

By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — The Groveton ISD Board of Trustees discussed a third round of grants for the district at its regular meeting June 26. Assistant Superintendent Jim Dillard said the money needed to be spent on certain items, which include $219,000 in funds for construction of items involving social support for students. The funds are being released under the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants, part of the American Rescue Plan. He also said a survey sent out into the community had 59 responses, and showed there was a need for technology updates and instructional materials. A survey of the staff showed a desire to pay the teachers more money and building repairs. Additionally, new technology would be a benefit, he said, as well as hiring two additional counselors to have one assigned to each campus. Dillard said that at the time, no plans have been made for using the money. In other business, the board: approved the district’s…
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Trinity ISD Board discusses academic performance

By Tony [email protected] TRINITY — As with many school districts this year, Trinity found that while most STAAR test scores came in as expected, there were some areas that were surprising. Superintendent John Kaufman said that overall he and the principals were happy with the scores, but did say they’re not where they should be. The scores were discussed at the June 26 meeting of the Trinity ISD board. The Elementary grades did well generally, he said; third grade was at 65 percent meets or masters in math, and at about 47 percent meets or masters in reading. Also, one grade in Middle School was struggling in math, and the High School was able to come out at 2018-19 levels, the last year tracked because of COVID-19. Kaufman said he attributes the scores to the pandemic, as remote learning is not as effective as it could be, and unforeseen closures, such as the week before Christmas, the week of the winter storm, and starting school late because of weather. “We had some…
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Livingston teen dies after jumping from vehicle

A Livingston student was killed when Houston police say she jumped outof a moving vehicle after an argument Monday night.Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to reportsof the crash that occurred on I-45 between FM 1960 and Richey Roadaround 8 p.m.The deputies said that the 15-year-old incoming freshman at LivingstonISD had an argument with her mother. She was killed after jumping outof the vehicle and struck by an unknown car that fled the scene.Livingston ISD released a statement via social media regarding theincident Tuesday afternoon.“We lost an LISD student this week,” the statement said. “In timeslike this, we are reminded just how precious life can be and howfragile each of us truly is. It is sad when our district loses amember of its family. It is even more tragic when such a young lifeis taken away from us. We extend our thoughts and sincere condolencesto the family.”The girl was pronounced dead on the scene. Reportedly, a witness whosaw the teen jump…
American legion post 629 salute the flag and the empty chair for those heroes who did not return. (Courtesy Photo)

Good times at great celebration in Shepherd

American legion post 629 salute the flag and the empty chair for those heroes who did not return. (Courtesy Photo) Editor’s Note: The following story is being run in its entirety as part of it was inadvertently left out of this week’s edition of the San Jacinto News-Times. The SJNT regrets the error. The Independence Day celebration in Shepherd on July 3 was a big success. We were blessed when it did not rain. Surprisingly it was forecast to rain for most of the day and although it rained close to us, we were not rained upon. Humidity was high but everyone enjoyed the volleyball and cornhole tournaments. The latter continued late into the evening and we are grateful to the City of Shepherd for working on the overhead lights, and for Commissioner Donny Marrs for loaning us his portable Lights. The event opened with the American Legion Post 629 performing a Flag Ceremony in which all who fought for our freedoms were honored, especially those who did not return. This was symbolized by a…
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Shepherd Council sets priorities

SJNT staff SHEPHERD — At a special study session on June 22, the Shepherd Board of Aldermen began setting priorities for the grant funds the city received, as well as discussed proposed projects that may end up being funded in an alternative manner. City Secretary Debra Hagler said that while no action was taken at the meeting, the city began focusing on smaller projects that can be completed quickly, such as sewer lines and streets that have no infrastructure running beneath them. “It was only a brainstorming session,” she said. Financial advisor Bill Blitch offered some resources to the board, which could provide the city with low interest loans, as well as discuss issuing certificates of obligation for some immediate funding. The city of Shepherd received a $4.2 million grant in May, and hopes to shore up the city’s infrastructure, particularly relating to water, wastewater and storm drainage. More detailed information can be found at the city’s website, www.shepherdtx.org.
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Shepherd prepares to celebrate Independence Day

SJNT staff SHEPHERD — After the pandemic shutdowns, the Fourth of July celebration scheduled for Saturday promises to be exciting for everyone. Sponsored by the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce, events will kick off a 1 p.m. with a service by the American Legion Harold G. Davis Post 629. Events scheduled for the day include: Face painting Games Patriotic dress contests for youth, adults and pets Vendors Volleyball and cornhole tournaments Live music And, of course, the day will cap off with a fireworks extravaganza at 9 p.m. Vendors can still sign up, and forms are available at the Library, City Hall or the Impact Center Resale Shop. More information can be obtained by calling (210) 995-7420 or (936) 499-2632.
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Trinity County to see two Independence Day celebrations

News-Standard staff The cities of Trinity and Groveton will hold individual celebrations for the Fourth of July — Trinity’s on Saturday and Groveton’s on Sunday. Both will have events that will make for a great afternoons. On July 3, Trinity will host a barbecue cook-off, a car show, games for kids of all ages, music and vendors, culminating with a fireworks show when the sun goes down. The third annual Car Show, hosted by the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 103 Stadium St. The inaugural Beat the Heat BBQ Cook-Off, being held at the Trinity Community Center, 604 S. Robb St., kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Organizer Steven Jones said he is actively seeking tasters for the judges. He can be reached at (936) 662-2319 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. The also will be games, bouncy houses, music, entertainment and vendors, as well as fireworks.…
Trinity County Commissioners (from left) Tommy Park, Neal Smith, County Judge Doug Page, Mike Loftin and Steven Truss stand with Charlene Martin, a specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on June 22 as the county proclaimed June as Elder Abuse Prevention Month.  (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS)

Trinity County to seek grant assistance

Trinity County Commissioners (from left) Tommy Park, Neal Smith, County Judge Doug Page, Mike Loftin and Steven Truss stand with Charlene Martin, a specialist with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on June 22 as the county proclaimed June as Elder Abuse Prevention Month. (Photo by Tony Farkas/TCNS) By Tony [email protected] GROVETON — In the wake of the reception of unanticipated funds, Trinity County will now seek to hire its own grant administrator to help manage all of its grants, as well as seek new funds for county projects. The County Commissioner’s Court approved the measure at its June 22 regular meeting. The position will answer to County Treasurer Bob Dockens, who said that if everything works as it is supposed to, there could be some good-sized checks coming to the county. The county decided to hire it own, instead of using grant writing services, in order to save funds. Dockens said that in the course of their researching a grant-writing…
State Representative Trent Ashby named to Texas Monthly "Best Legislators" list. (Photo courtesy Ashby's Office)

Ashby named to Texas Monthly’s best legislators list

State Representative Trent Ashby named to Texas Monthly "Best Legislators" list. (Photo courtesy Ashby's Office) By Chris Edwards AUSTIN – Like anything else in the Lone Star State, legislative sessions are given to their own, unique traditions. One such tradition that has become a standard is Texas Monthly’s list of best and worst legislators, in the wake of the Lege’s sine die. District 57’s own Trent Ashby, who represents the state House district that encompasses Houston, Trinity, Angelina, Leon, Madison and San Augustine counties, found himself given kudos from the magazine recently. Ashby is one of 10 named to the best list, and he called the recognition “an honor,” but said the credit really belongs to his family and constituents. “[They] allow me the privilege to serve in this capacity,” Ashby said. “My mother instilled in me a belief at a young age that public service was a noble calling and that those entrusted with public office must serve with integrity, humility and a…
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Board OKs raises

TCNS staff CENTERVILLE — The Centerville ISD School Board is loosening the purse strings a bit, just in time for the next school year. Superintendent Mark Brown said the board approved a new teacher salary schedule at its regular meeting on June 17. Brown said the board OK’d the measure, one that extends the pay scale from 20 years to 25 years, and gives a 2 percent increase across the scale. In other business, the board: discussed new updates to school policies based on recommendations from the Texas Association of School Boards. No action was taken, as it was only an initial hearing, Brown said; and approved the hiring of Cheryl Sterret as a math teacher for the elementary school. The Centerville ISD School Board meets the third Thursday of the month, changing the meeting date from the third Monday, at 7 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for July 15.
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Company bringing broadband to Houston County

By Chris Edwards CROCKETT – The topic of high-speed internet service in rural areas has been one of statewide, as well as national concern. Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill penned by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) and Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) that will increase access to, and the adoption of, high-speed internet throughout the state. That legislative item was prioritized as an emergency item in the 87th Legislature. Federally, President Joe Biden has made rural access to high-speed, or broadband, internet a focal point of his infrastructure package, with a proposed $100 billion allocation to expand rural internet access. One network has been up for about five months in the Houston County region. Ruralink, a provider, whose mission statement is “connecting the unconnected,” is expanding its network to cover more aras. “Right now we’re covering from the high school to the west, outside of the loop and a little bit inside the loop,” said Dan Clapp, a marketing…
Members of the Kennard ISD board of trustees, Superintendent Belinda Lindsey and Business Manager Cari Parrish met Thursday, June 17, and addressed grant application items and other matters in preparation for upcoming school years. Alton Porter Photo.

KISD officials preparing for ESSER II grant funds

Members of the Kennard ISD board of trustees, Superintendent Belinda Lindsey and Business Manager Cari Parrish met Thursday, June 17, and addressed grant application items and other matters in preparation for upcoming school years. Alton Porter Photo. By Alton Porter KENNARD – Kennard ISD officials are finalizing the district’s application for its 2020-2022 federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) grant funds and preparing to receive the grant, according to district Superintendent Malinda Lindsey. Lindsey informed members of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees at a meeting Thursday, June 17, that “we have received our allocation for ESSER II application; we are working on that.” “While our allotment is $555,000, a portion of that will be taken up to offset funds we will get, Lindsey explained. “So, we don’t know exactly how much we will have to spend in addition.” During the recognition part of the meeting, the trustees and Lindsey…
Tania Davis, 14, a Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church attendee and Crockett High School ninth grader, was named 2021 Miss Juneteenth Queen June 12 at a Juneteenth pageant in Crockett - ALTON PORTER | HCC

Crockett hosts annual Juneteenth celebration

Tania Davis, 14, a Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church attendee and Crockett High School ninth grader, was named 2021 Miss Juneteenth Queen June 12 at a Juneteenth pageant in Crockett - ALTON PORTER | HCC By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Crockett’s 35th annual Juneteenth Celebration, themed “Justice for All,” was held, with events being held beginning Thursday, June 10, and rising to a high point with a parade, an official ceremony and a Fun Day Activity taking place Saturday, June 19. The Crockett celebration “is a cultural awareness project, sponsored by the Groves Educational Foundation,” according to Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher, the Juneteenth coordinator, and Groves Educational Foundation chief operating officer. Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the day in 1865, June 19, when union soldiers arrived in Galveston and spread the word to Texans that President Abraham Lincoln had issued an Emancipation Proclamation calling for the end of the enslavement of Black…
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Colmesneil mayor Baird resigns; Crews appointed mayor

Don Baird and wife Barbara By Mollie [email protected] COLMESNEIL – After serving 19 years, and one year into his ninth term as mayor, Don Baird submitted his resignation to the Colmesneil city council at a special called meeting on Monday June 21. Baird was a city council member when the late E.B. Sheffield approached him and asked him to consider running for mayor. Baird had no conceivable thoughts of running for the office, but after a lot of discussion back and forth, he changed his mind and in 2002, he ran and beat the incumbent mayor 2-1. Baird accomplished many things while in office. He has been a part of the many grants the city has been awarded over the years, and he is most proud of his partnership with Mike Marshall in the creation of the Emergency Service District #7, Colmesneil’s first Volunteer Fire Department. Baird explained, “Mike Marshall told me if he got elected (Commissioner Pct #3) and he ever got any money, he would help me get the Fire…
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Multi-county chase leads in Tyler County arrest

By Chris Edwards WARREN – A parole violator from Colorado was arrested in Tyler County, right near the Tyler/Hardin county boundary. The arrest came after a pursuit that spanned four counties. Gregory A. Sawin, a 45-year-old Denver, Colo., resident, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 2 p.m., according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. Weatherford’s office was made aware of the pursuit of Sawin at 10:30 a.m. that morning when Hardin County deputies were in pursuit of a BMW passenger car on US Highway 69. Gregory A. SawinWeatherford said the pursuit began in Orange County, and proceded through neighboring Jefferson and Hardin counties. The vehicle stopped on a private road just inside of Tyler County, and Sawin fled, on foot, into a wooded area, just south of Warren. Reportedly, the chase reached speeds in excess of 120 MPH, and began when law enforcement in Orange were conducting a welfare check on an allegedly suicidal person. Weatherford said that several…
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Cleveland man holds police at bay -Three-hour standoff ends with arrest

Special to the News-Times CLEVELAND — A 39-year-old man threatening to shoot himself was taken into custody by San Jacinto County Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday morning. According to a press release from Sheriff Greg Capers, the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call shortly after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday stating the suspect was in the yard of a residence in the 200 block of Rayburn Street in Cleveland. The report indicates the man, who has not been identified, was holding a long rifle threatening to hurt himself. Sheriff deputies and DPS troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety spoke with the man’s girlfriend, who told police her boyfriend said he was tired of living and threatened to hurt himself. Deputies contacted the man, who was pacing back and forth armed with the rifle; the suspect reportedly was making statements he wanted to harm himself and wanted to commit suicide by cop, the report states. He also said he was suffering from depression as well as other mental health issues…
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Salmon Lake Park rebuilding after storm

Salmon Lake on Monday ready to re-open (Photo courtesy of Carly Foster) By Chris Edwards GRAPELAND – When the rains came down overnight on the first of the month, they came and came to Grapeland and the surrounding area and washed-out roads and caused creeks to overflow. One of the parts of the area that sustained serious damage was the Salmon Lake Park, which is the home of the popular Salmon Lake Park Bluegrass Festival and an attraction for out-of-towners and locals looking to get away and seek some rest and relaxation in the summer months. The Salmon Lake dam burst during the period of heavy rain, and according to the National Weather Service, an estimated 11 inches of rain fell during the storm. Many features of the park sustained damage, including the stage, and the water wheel and mill were destroyed, as they were washed up against the stage, according to the park’s owners. The damage also necessitated a temporary closure to non-resident guests. It was re-opened on Monday,…
The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Class of 2021 celebrated the end of their high school years with a jubilant toss of their hats at graduation on Saturday, June 12. (photo by Cassie Gregory)

Trojans march onward

The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Class of 2021 celebrated the end of their high school years with a jubilant toss of their hats at graduation on Saturday, June 12. (photo by Cassie Gregory) Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremony was held on Saturday. Faculty, staff, families and friends gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of these graduates who have gone through so much in their school years. This is a class that saw some of the most tumultuous times in school — and state — history, including Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the record-breaking freeze of Winter Storm Uri. But through it all they faced the challenges with courage and determination to press on, with positive attitudes and good humor in spite of the obstacles. Congratulations Class of 2021. You have overcome and we are so proud of you. You will not be stopped.
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Coldspring still looking to clean up its image

By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council continues its mission to clean up its streets and dilapidated property. Mayor Pat Eversole said that at the June 7 meeting, council members were given updates on the status of complaints on the house on Slade Street and the two homes on Highway 150 that have been notified by the city that cleanup was needed. None of the property owners have responded, and Eversole said that the city’s attorney will take the next step in the process. The council took no action. In other business, the city: discussed expansion of Dixie Youth League Ball Park. Eversole said the council is in discussions with a couple property owners on purchasing new property for expanding the park. tabled adopting an ordinance banning helicopter landings within the city limits, as new Council Member Larry McElhaney said that he did not read over the ordinance. discussed the construction of 22 RV parking spaces to be made available behind the…
Shepherd Grads

SISD welcomes new class of Pirate alumni

Shepherd High School graduates toss their caps in their air, marking the end of their high school careers. Courtesy photo by Michelle Cones-Minton By Emily Kubisch-SabrsulaSJNT staff writer WILLIS — In a year plagued by pandemic-related setbacks, the Pirate Class of 2021 had one more final hurdle before crossing the stage — and that was cross the county. With recent rains making the field unusable, according to Facebook comments made by Superintendent Jason Hewitt, the call was made to move graduation from the district stadium to the Willis ISD Performing Arts Center due to continued concerns over weather. With limited seating concerns, graduating students were allotted eight tickets each to give to family members, with the district also live-streaming the event for those unable to attend. Salutatorian Diane Vasquez addressed her fellow students and with a heart-felt speech detailing the ups and downs of their school years together and future decisions ahead of them, ending her speech…
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White not seeking reelection

Rep. James White (File Photo) By Chris Edwards Tyler County’s own James White (R-Hillister), who has represented House District 19 in the state legislator, announced last week that he will not seek reelection. White made the announcement in an interview with a television news station. His current two-year term ends next year, and in comments to the Texas Tribune, he said he is considering a run for a statewide office, just as long as “the people want me to pursue that.” White has served in the House since 2010, when he was first elected. Prior to that, he was an educator in Woodville ISD. In his time as a state representative, redistricting has shifted the landscape of his district, and while he lost three of the four counties in his original district, he gained four new counties to represent. District 19 comprises Tyler, Jasper, Newton, Hardin and Polk counties. White said that he will “definitely consider joining the statewide field,” and cited his qualifications and…
Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley spoke about his late Deputy Marshal Chuck Marshall and helped to dedicate the Charmaine South Park to him. EMILY EDDINS | TCB

Honoring a local hero - Ivanhoe park renamed in Marshall’s memory

Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley spoke about his late Deputy Marshal Chuck Marshall and helped to dedicate the Charmaine South Park to him. EMILY EDDINS | TCB By Emily Eddins IVANHOE – When Ivanhoe Deputy Marshal Chuck Marshall died last year, his passing left a huge hole in the community. Last Wednesday, June 10, dozens of Ivanhoe residents and well-wishers gathered to honor Marshall’s memory with the renaming of the city park in his honor. Marshall was a vital member of the Tyler County community. He loved his job and worked diligently to ensure the safety of the population. When he was not protecting and enforcing, he had a passion for making people smile. Marshall especially loved young children, the future of the community that he cherished so much. which is why it is so fitting that the city decided to name the Charmaine South Park after him. City Marshal Terry Riley presented Marshall’s family with a letter from Gov. Greg Abbott officially renaming the park to Chuck Marshall…
Architect Speaks

Presentation outlines possible infrastructure projects

Architect Ben Miller made a presentation before the Woodville City Council on a series of proposed pedestrian infrastructure projects. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB By Chris Edwards WOODVILLE – The Woodville City Council, at its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening, received a presentation on some possible future projects. Ben Miller, who works as a landscape architect with Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong, spoke about a series of three proposed pedestrian traffic improvement projects for the city. The funding for the projects, if awarded, will come through the Texas Department of Transportation from federal funding earmarked for building any kind of non-vehicular transportation infrastructure. “Luckily this year, in this particular call for projects, towns of under 5,000 have a special pot of money set aside for them, so I think you are all well-suited to get these funds,” Miller said. The three projects Miller outlined in his presentation include improvements along North Beech Street and two…
Chesswood Baptist Church has plans to be back in their building off Highway 59 by July 1. Photo By Brian Besch | PCE

Chesswood Baptist set to reopen July 1

Chesswood Baptist Church has plans to be back in their building off Highway 59 by July 1. Photo By Brian Besch | PCE By Brian Besch There are big plans at Chesswood Baptist Church, as pastor Col. Howard Daniel says they will soon move back into their building just three months after it was decimated by fire. July 1 is the targeted move-in date to 4357 U.S Highway 59, where there will be offices, restrooms, a nursery and exercise room. Last week, construction crews painting, putting in electricity and walls and spreading a new parking lot. Also included is a room for worship that holds a capacity of 15 pews. That room is a temporary fix for Sunday mornings. On Dec. 25 and beyond, it will only be used for Wednesday and Sunday nights. That is because there is a goal for the church to hold services in a newly completed sanctuary by Christmas Day. Daniel admits that it is an ambitious goal, but work on the facility has been steady since the fire March 24. "The cause of the fire was never…
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Binnion receives 10 years deferred

Eli Binnion By Emily Banks [email protected] A sentencing hearing was held June 3 in the 258h Judicial District before the Honorable Judge Travis E. Kitchens Jr. for Eli Binnion, 22, of Livingston in Cause Nos. 26,265, sexual assault of a child, and 26,266, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Binnion pleaded guilty to the offenses on March 14, 2019, and has been in the Polk County Jail since that time. The sexual assault of a child offense allegedly occurred on July 2, 2018, at the Hampton Inn in the 200 block of Commerce Lane. Binnion was 19 at the time and the alleged victim was 14. The aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury stems from an incident that occurred on September 2, 2018, while Binnion was incarcerated in the Polk County Jail in which he allegedly punched a jailer more than once with a clenched fist and fractured his jaw. On the charge of sexual assault of a child, Binnion was placed on deferred adjudication probation for 10 years…
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San Jacinto County talks trash

By Tony [email protected] COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court talked a little trash at its regular meeting on May 19. County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that about 20 people from the Trails End subdivision in the southwest part of the county came to express their concerns about a proposal for an area landfill planned in that part of the county. Faulkner said Peach Creek Environmental has put in an application with Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for a proposed landfill. Area residents that showed up told the court they don’t want it in their back yards; however, Faulkner said that the county is not part of any of the process. Peach Creek has 2,000 acres of land purchased, and 600 acres will be part of the initial phase. “When you put one of these things in, there’s a valid concern about water quality,” Faulkner said. “There is a membrane put down to protect water table, but it could rupture. You’re also talking about 500 trucks a day coming in…
Cassie Gregory The COCISD Board of Trustees voted to officially hire Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools on Thursday. Shown are (from left) Trustee Ashney Shelly, Trustee William Baker, Board Vice President Daniel Williams, Board President Paul Buchanan, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton, Trustee Barbara Moore, Board Secretary Tony Sewell and Trustee Berlin Bradford. (Courtesy Photo)

Board makes it official

Cassie Gregory The COCISD Board of Trustees voted to officially hire Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools on Thursday. Shown are (from left) Trustee Ashney Shelly, Trustee William Baker, Board Vice President Daniel Williams, Board President Paul Buchanan, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton, Trustee Barbara Moore, Board Secretary Tony Sewell and Trustee Berlin Bradford. (Courtesy Photo) Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees officially hired Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools at a special meeting on May 27. Taulton was named lone finalist on May 4, but due to state law, there was a 21-day waiting period before the Board could formally vote to approve him for the position. Taulton has 15 years of professional experience in public education and has served as a teacher, assistant principal, junior high principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent before taking the position of superintendent at Goodrich…
Former Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 President George Crowson, left, and Vice President Bobby Hutcherson, right, were recognized and presented plaques in grateful appreciation for their many years of dedicated service and personal commitment to the district and county fire departments by Houston County Firefighters Association President Michael Sessions, center, and other association members.

Houston CountyESD2 members informed about its future software, website

Former Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 President George Crowson, left, and Vice President Bobby Hutcherson, right, were recognized and presented plaques in grateful appreciation for their many years of dedicated service and personal commitment to the district and county fire departments by Houston County Firefighters Association President Michael Sessions, center, and other association members. By Alton [email protected] CROCKETT ­– Members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) are considering making some software adjustments to the website they’re having developed. The ESD2 members heard a presentation given by Keith E. Tate, of Emergency Solutions, Inc., based in Whitehouse, who is offering to make the upgrade adjustments to the district’s future website at an ESD2 board of commissioners meeting Thursday, May 27. Tate was asked to make the presentation to the ESD2 members and introduced by former ESD2 Board Secretary Roy Langford, who…
ALTON PORTER | HCC Ten CHS graduating seniors were recognized at the school’s second academic signing day ceremony Wednesday, May 26. The college-bound students, from left to right, are: Jayron Daquon Wooten, Aaliyah Trishell Price, Sha’Driauna Hackett, Alexis Cheyanne Goolsby, Adrianna Gayle Juares, Jacob Walker, Carina Villegas Quintero, Rodrigo Hidalgo, Jennefer Cruz and Shatavia Rodgers.  (Alton Porter/HCC Photo)

CHS seniors recognized on academic Signing Day

ALTON PORTER | HCC Ten CHS graduating seniors were recognized at the school’s second academic signing day ceremony Wednesday, May 26. The college-bound students, from left to right, are: Jayron Daquon Wooten, Aaliyah Trishell Price, Sha’Driauna Hackett, Alexis Cheyanne Goolsby, Adrianna Gayle Juares, Jacob Walker, Carina Villegas Quintero, Rodrigo Hidalgo, Jennefer Cruz and Shatavia Rodgers. (Alton Porter/HCC Photo) By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Crockett High School administrators continued a new tradition they started in March, recognizing 10 graduating seniors who have been accepted for enrollment at universities colleges and a vocational school. Crockett Independent School District Superintendent John Emerich and CHS Principal Deborah Revels recognized the college-bound students at the second installment of the school’s recently established scholastic signing day ceremony held in the Andrew J. Hopkins Activity Center dome on the school’s campus Wednesday, May 26. The students, who…
After a long-awaited opening, the popular restaurant franchise Chick-fil-A began serving customers Thursday.

QUICK DELAY FOR CHICK-FIL-A ON OPENING DAY

After a long-awaited opening, the popular restaurant franchise Chick-fil-A began serving customers Thursday. Customers not chicken of the wait in line After a long-awaited opening, the popular restaurant franchise Chick-fil-A began serving customers Thursday. The response from Polk County was strong, as the drive-thru line flowed out onto Highway 190 and back to Discount Tire. “We are super excited about it and have been looking forward for a long time to be here in Livingston,” restaurant operator Justin Belcher said. “Just to see some of the familiar faces and be here and bringing the brand of Chick-fil-A to Livingston is what we have been looking forward to. It has been exciting.” The Livingston Police Department had officers stationed at the restaurant and on Highway 190 to keep the flow of traffic moving. They would also have a presence in the area Friday. “Chick-fil-A is always looking for an opportunity to serve markets and cities and towns as much as possible,” Belcher said.…
Zane Lattner and Emma Ivie, both of Polk County, participated in the recent Texas Junior High State Rodeo finals. Zane and Emma are both members of the Region 5 junior high rodeo team. Zane participated in tie down calf roping and the ribbon roping with his partner Steely Rae Franklin.

Polk County duo to represent state

Zane Lattner and Emma Ivie, both of Polk County, participated in the recent Texas Junior High State Rodeo finals. Zane and Emma are both members of the Region 5 junior high rodeo team. Zane participated in tie down calf roping and the ribbon roping with his partner Steely Rae Franklin. Staff Reports Zane Lattner and Emma Ivie, both of Polk County, participated in the recent Texas Junior High State Rodeo finals. Zane and Emma are both members of the Region 5 junior high rodeo team. Zane participated in tie down calf roping and the ribbon roping with his partner Steely Rae Franklin. Emma participated in the barrels, poles, goats, breakaway roping and ribbon roping. There are 10 regions covering the state of Texas and the top 10 members in each event from each region come to the state finals to represent their regions. Out of 100-plus participants in each event at the finals, the top four performers are taken to the National Junior High Rodeo finals to represent the state. This year, the…
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Trinity High School graduates senior class

TONY FARKAS | TCNS Valedictorian Hunter Cassidy addresses the crowd and assembled students during the Trinity High School Graduation on Saturday at Sam Houston State University. 72 cross the stage By Tony Farkas HUNTSVILLE — “I LOVE YOU, JIMMY” rang out, along with other exclamations of praise and congratulations, laughter and not a few tears, after the Trinity High School seniors’ processional. THS held its graduation ceremony Saturday at Sam Houston State University’s Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum in Huntsville. In all, 72 students tossed the mortarboards as they were declared graduates by Principal Brittaney Cassidy. Salutatorian Emilio Cleveland thanked those in attendance for being there for the students’ final steps in their high-school careers, and the first steps into bright futures. “The start of this year was different than any year we have experienced,” he said. “It was the first year back from the pandemic, and we had to adapt to the new life at school. Luckily, the faculty…
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Trinity takes off the mask (GALLERY)

COURTESY PHOTOS | DEBBIE OGDEN Case Robinson was very happy to show off his trophy and ribbon, won in the Houston Rodeo art contest. By Tony Farkas TRINITY — The Trinity ISD Board of Trustees is taking off the mask — optionally. At its regular meeting on May 24, the board approved making mask use optional, effective immediately, said Superintendent John Kaufman. “This was on agenda before the governor’s mandate,” he said. “We felt that with the availability of vaccinations, it was time to relieve some of the requirements.” Staff, students and visitors now have the option to wear masks. In a separate matter, Kaufman said he was given permission to begin researching the district use of school uniforms. Kaufman stressed that this is the beginning of a process, and any implementation of a policy is a long way off. “I will start by formulating a parent survey of five or six questions, and later send that out throughout the district,” he said. “We’re a long way off at looking at that; it…
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Taking the next step

Courtesy photo | Martha Mericle Groveton ISD seniors celebrate their commencement with the traditional tossing of the mortarboards at the High School graduation on Friday. By Tony Farkas GROVETON — The Groveton High School on Friday celebrated the first post-pandemic graduation in style, and said farewell to 63 seniors with righteous pomp and circumstance. Family and friends cheered and hollered in the red-bedecked gymnasium, as the event was moved from the stadium due to weather, and the excitement was palatable. After a recitation of negativity that many students may feel, Valedictorian Emily Ecord said that students can be so focused on reaching the final goal that they lose sight of the importance of the individual moments. “It undermines the value you have in yourself, and the value you have in each of your peers,” she said. “Those moments make up your life.” Ecord also thanked the many people that have helped her find those moments throughout her high-school career. Salutatorian…
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Schools to create grant plan

FILE PHOTO Groveton ISD logo TCNS staff GROVETON — The Groveton ISD Board will schedule a public hearing on how to best spend a $2.19 million grant, and will appoint a committee to brainstorm possibilities. Superintendent Don Hamilton said that the Texas Association of School Boards put out a resolution on the ESSER III grant, which requires publication of the districts use of funds; Groveton decided to do it as a board agenda item that will allow public comment. “We’re looking at $2.19 million, broken into two parts,” Hamilton said. “The first will be 2/3, or $1.43 million, and the second part will be 1/3, or $727,000. We’re working on how to spend that money.” Hamilton said that incoming superintendent Jim Dillard will assemble a committee to decide how to best utilize those funds, which will be presented at the public hearing. “We’re looking at the grant requirements, what is allowed, and what will be the best fit,” he said. “We have until late July to get application in.” In other…
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FFA honors participants

COURTESY PHOTO American FFA Degree recipients are Jace Stout and Mallory Stout. Special to the News-Standard TRINITY — Trinity FFA held its end of the year banquet May 20 at the Trinity Community Center. Ag teacher Tristan Pedersen said that with the challenges that this year brought, the members stepped up and did not let it slow them down, going above and beyond to make this one of the greatest years yet. The 2021-2022 Trinity FFA officers installed at the banquet are President Haden Coleman, Vice President Zoe Hawkey, Secretary Allie Ancira, Treasurer Kayla Kembro, Reporter Graci Robb and Sentinel Alivia Wallace. Awards Chip Hart Top Hand Award — Haden Coleman Honorary FFA Members — Brittaney Cassidy and Shaun Stout Outstanding Service Award — Mike Burk Star Greenhand — Kayla Kembro Star Chapter — Allie Ancira Star Lonestar — Haden Coleman Top Junior FFA Member — Preston Riddle Beef Proficiency — Haden Coleman Goat Proficiency — Eryn Eaton Sheep Proficiency — Kaitlynn Medcalf Swine…
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County to investigate insurance options

FILE 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;…
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City to seek answers to police dilemma

TONY 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…
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Students receive accolades

TONY FARKAS | TCNS Students gathered to be recognized for their achievements. Academics, sports accomplishments noted with plaques, scholarships By Tony Farkas TRINITY — Athletic Director Patrick Goodman said the students and athletes of the school needed to be recognized for their efforts after such a tumultuous year, which teachers and coaches did at the annual awards ceremony, held Thursday. Thousands of dollars in scholarships and numerous awards were given to the students that excelled throughout the year. Goodman also brought back the tradition of naming athletes who went above and beyond — the Tiger Heart Award — which went to Zoey Grey and Emilio Cleveland. He also started an all-around athlete award, which went to Cynthia Sizemore and Treylin Goodman. Other awards include: UIL Academic Results District Brooke Kelley, first place Ready Writing; Emilio Cleveland, third place Computer Apps; Diego Lewin, fourth place Computer Apps; Hunter Cassidy, third place Current Issues,…
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Students inducted into Honor Society

COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Lincoln Junior High welcomed 14 new inductees into the National Junior Honor Society on May 25. They are (back row, from left) Lane Madison, Luke McClure, Alayna Rodriguez, Tess Phillips, Averey Moss, Hayden Richards, Angel-Joy Zane and Brayden Coker; and (front row, from left) Ashlynn Holley, Avery Keel, Averi Tucker, Cali Crowder and LJH NJHS Sponsor Aimie Patrick. Not pictured are Iliana Ferman and Haley Tullos. Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — Lincoln Junior High School welcomed 14 new inductees into the National Junior Honor Society on May 25. The NJHS elevates a school's commitment to the values of scholarship, leadership, character, service and citizenship. These characteristics are considered the five pillars of the NJHS, and have been associated with membership in the organization since its inception in 1929. Current LJH NJHS members performed the induction ceremony, which included the symbolic lighting of five candles to represent the…
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San Jacinto County talks trash

FILE PHOTO San Jacinto County Seal By Tony Farkas COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court talked a little trash at its regular meeting on May 19. County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that about 20 people from the Trails End subdivision in the southwest part of the county came to express their concerns about a proposal for an area landfill planned in that part of the county. Faulkner said Peach Creek Environmental has put in an application with Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for a proposed landfill. Area residents that showed up told the court they don’t want it in their back yards; however, Faulkner said that the county is not part of any of the process. Peach Creek has 2,000 acres of land purchased, and 600 acres will be part of the initial phase. “When you put one of these things in, there’s a valid concern about water quality,” Faulkner said. “There is a membrane put down to protect water table, but it could rupture. You’re also talking about 500 trucks a…
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Board makes it official

COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Executive Administrative Assistant Cindy Elliott administers the oath of office to new school board members William Baker and Ashney Shelly during the May 24 COCISD board meeting. Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees officially hired Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools at a special meeting on May 27. Taulton was named lone finalist on May 4, but due to state law, there was a 21-day waiting period before the Board could formally vote to approve him for the position. Taulton has 15 years of professional experience in public education and has served as a teacher, assistant principal, junior high principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent before taking the position of superintendent at Goodrich ISD. He currently teaches graduate courses at Houston Baptist University in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, specializing in school law, school business management and…
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Annual car show granted weather delay

FILE PHOTO Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — Weather is responsible for another delay, this time the annual Car, Truck and Bike Show sponsored by the Coldspring Area Business and Merchants Association. CABMA’s Car Show Committee voted to move the event to July 31. According to information from the meeting posted on the group’s website, vehicle owners will not show the cars in rain, and musicians and DJs will not risk damage to their equipment. Sponsors for the event, Bourland Land Surveying, Paradise Grille, Bear AC & Heating, Farm Bureau Insurance and Matticks Real Estate, have been contacted and have agreed to the delay; however, the food purchased for the event will not be used, and it is non-refundable. Vendors that have been booked for the event will not be charged to set up on the new date, and were allowed to set up Saturday if they so chose. In the release, members stated it was a very hard decision to make as a new board, and that some people will be disappointed, but…
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Polk County commissioner decides not to spray for mosquitoes

FILE PHOTO Mosquito on human skin By PCE Staff East Texas has received its fair share of spring precipitation throughout the past few weeks. In Texas that usually means the heat and everyone’s favorite insect to hate — the mosquito — are right around the corner. For many, the mosquitoes are already here, along with millions of their friends. So why is Commissioner Guylene Robertson parking the truck that sprays for mosquitos down Precinct 1 county roads? As it turns out, she also isn’t too fond of the insects. Yet, through conversations with commissioners from Polk and surrounding counties, she found that they aren’t spraying either. Health effects are the main reason, as pesticides can cause both acute and chronic problems. Acute health effects appear shortly after exposure to some pesticides and can include skin and eye irritations, headaches, dizziness and nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing, mental confusion and disorientation. “The times have changed environmentally, and…
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PCSO seeking public’s assistance in locating burglar

COURTESY PHOTO Security camera footage of suspect By PCE Staff A burglar spotted in the act on security camera has been arrested, while another suspect remains at large. The Polk County Sheriff's Office received a call Tuesday from a citizen who was alerted by his home security cameras. Two male subjects were inside a building on the victim’s property, located near Mangum Road. The complainant provided an accurate description of the offenders as deputies responded to the area. Deputies and detectives quickly arrived on scene, located signs of forced entry into the building and observed several items of value placed by the door. After conducting a search of the area, one of the suspects seen on the complainant's security camera was located and detained. He was immediately identified as Gary Eugene Penton, Jr. and found to be in possession of an item stolen from the complainant's property. Penton, 47, of Livingston, was arrested without incident and booked into the Polk County Jail on…
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Mother and son arrested

COURTESY PHOTO Confiscated narcotics By PCE Staff A mother and son were charged with felonies after the search of their residence on the north end of Polk County. On Tuesday, officers with the Corrigan Police Department, assisted by deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Precinct 3 Constable’s office, executed a search warrant and arrest warrant at the residence of a person described as a “known drug dealer” in Corrigan. After a lengthy investigation, officers were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Eric Emerson, 39, of Corrigan, for delivery of marijuana. Officers were also able to obtain a search warrant for his residence in the city limits of Corrigan. Upon arrival to the residence, Emerson met officers on the front porch, at which time, he was taken into custody without incident for the arrest warrant. Officers entered the premises and were met by a woman identified as Laurie Stephens, Emerson’s mother. Stephens, 60, of Corrigan, was said to be uncooperative with…
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New online jury system in effect

COURTESY PHOTO Over 100 people arrived for jury duty at the Polk County Commerce Center Monday. While this is the second jury selected since jury trials have resumed following the pandemic, this was the first jury selected using the district clerk’s office’s new online jury system. By Emily Banks Wooten The Polk County District Clerk’s Office has begun using an online jury system, having recently partnered with Tyler Technologies Inc. The jury selected Monday for a trial in the 411th Judicial District was the first one selected using the new online jury system. “It went as well as I expected it to, considering we’d never done it live before,” Polk County District Clerk Bobbye Christopher said. “Out of everybody that we polled, everybody thought it went well and thought it was easy. “The new jury summons has a different look and will arrive in an envelope from this office,” Christopher said. The new jury summons will have a link to the jury e-response portal. You may also access the…
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Former SHSU player relishes alma mater’s national title

EMILY BANKS WOOTEN | PCE Nancy and Joe Hollis, proud alumni of Sam Houston State University, show off an SH metal sign, a gift from a granddaughter, that hangs on one of the covered porches of their log home. By Emily Banks Wooten When the Sam Houston State University football team clinched the NCAA FCS National Championship with its 23-21 victory over South Dakota State University May 16 in Frisco, fond memories came flooding back for local residents Joe and Nancy Hollis. Joe played football for SHSU when the Bearkats squared off against Middle Tennessee State University in the Dec. 1, 1956 Jaycee Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind. in which the Bearkats won 27-13. In those days, the Refrigerator Bowl was the equivalent of the National Championship, Joe said. “After that, we played in the Christmas Bowl in Natchitoches, La. in 1958 but we lost,” he said. “Joe’s 1956 team and this year’s team were the only football teams at Sam Houston that were undefeated,” Nancy said. “Other teams…
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Caught on camera

MUGSHOT Steven Beaird By PCE Staff LIVINGSTON - The use of surveillance video helped stop a burglary while in process at a Livingston residence, leading to the arrest of an Onalaska man. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a homeowner May 13, stating his building was being burglarized. They could see the suspect on remote surveillance video. Deputies responded to the residence near Mangum Road, but the suspect had left the scene by the time law enforcement arrived. The complainant was able to provide a description of the suspect. Deputies and detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, along with assistance from the Polk County Fire Marshall, responded to the location and began to search the area near the residence. Deputies quickly located the suspect in a thick wooded area near the Mangum address. The suspect, Steven Beaird, 30, was detained and immediately identified. After further investigation, several items of stolen property were recovered and Beaird was…
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County attorney helps save infant

COURTESY 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…
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HCHD directors settle debt with county

ALTON PORTER | HCC Operations Supervisor Cassandra “Cassie” Gallaway, above, of Houston County Emergency Medical Services, presented a report on the ambulance services providers services to patients in the county last month to Houston County Hospital District board members at a meeting Tuesday, May 18. By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Members of the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors approved a board’s Negotiations Committee proposal to make a partial reimbursement payment of $150,000 to county government to settle a debt the hospital district owed the county. The HCHD directors took the action at a meeting Tuesday, May 18. In approving an agreement to make the partial reimbursement, negotiated with county officials to settle the debt, the directors passed a motion, made by Place 6 Director Rhonda Brown and seconded by Board Vice President and Place 4 Director Dr. John Stovall. The motion was offered to approve the “negotiated settlement with Houston County for ten months…
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CISD’s SHAC actions cut back due to COVID, but not totally halted

ALTON PORTER | HCC Six members of CISD Superintendent John Emerich’s Superintendent’s Student Cabinet, pictured above, shared comments about their experiences on the cabinet at a board of trustees meeting Monday. By Alton Porter CROCKETT – The usual activities of Crockett ISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) were curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic during the 2020-2021 school year, however, the council was still able to take a few policy-related actions and kept tabs on health-related issues, according to Superintendent John Emerich. In his monthly report to the Crockett Independent School District Board of Trustees, at a meeting Monday, Emerich explained that the district’s SHAC is an advisory committee, and its purpose is for members to “look at health-related things and bring recommendations to me. “They had their last meeting of the year” recently and there was “a couple of big items from that meeting. “Obviously, there were a lot of things this year that we were…
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Agent takes a step up to get back to roots

COURTESY 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…
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Centerville alters school schedule

COURTESY 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…
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Groveton celebrates athletes

TONY FARKAS | TCNS Powerlifting Coach Mitchell Wheat displays a plaque to be placed with other school sports honors for the lifters who qualified for state. By Tony Farkas GROVETON — State qualifiers in cross country and powerlifting. District placing in numerous sports, such as track and volleyball. Grit, determination, heart. These and more were celebrated at the Groveton ISD athletic banquet, held May 17 at the school. Athletic Director Richard Steubing said the banquet was the first one in the five years he has been with the district, and the participants — coaches and players included — would be recognized. The coaches all provided accolades to the students, saying that regardless of the wild ride the year was because of weather and COVID cancellations and quarantines, every player showed a competitive spirit worthy of the Groveton Indians. Girls Basketball Coach Rogelyn Andrews said the first thing she thinks of when she thinks of her players is determination, since the team…
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Anti-mask mandate mandated

FILE PHOTO Gov. Greg Abbott Special to the News-Times AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday issued an executive order prohibiting governmental entities in Texas — including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities, or government officials — from requiring or mandating mask wearing. Public schools may continue to follow current mask-wearing guidelines through June 4. After June 4, no student, teacher, parent, or other staff member or visitor can be required to wear a mask while on campus, according to a press release from the governor’s office. However, in San Jacinto County, the governor’s action will have no effect, as both the Coldspring-Oakhurst and Shepherd districts had already voted to remove masks. Shepherd Superintendent Jason Hewitt said that in April, the board voted to remove masks after a survey of the staff and community showed masks should be removed. Cassie Gregory, information officer for COCISD, said that board had made masks optional previously.…
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San Jacinto County to receive grant funding

FILE PHOTO Shepherd logo Funds to improve drainage and sewer infrastructure for the city of Shepherd Special to the News-Times AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, Texas Sen. Robert Nichols and County Judge Fritz Faulkner announced the Texas General Land Office approved funds for flood mitigation projects in San Jacinto County and the City of Shepherd. These infrastructure projects will directly benefit residents in a majority low-to-moderate income area that faced repetitive storm damage in 2015, 2016, 2017 with Hurricane Harvey, and 2019. The City of Shepherd received $4,200,000 for its Citywide Sewer Infiltration and Inflow Mitigation Project, which will assist with ongoing drainage issues throughout the city by replacing sewer lines, replacing or reconstructing sewer manholes and raising and hardening a lift station. Shepherd Mayor Charles Minton said the city is excited about the grant, which will go a long way to improve its sewer plant and lines. “I believe this is…
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Trojans hold banquet for athletes (GALLERY)

COURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Cynthia Shehane and Michael Trejo were both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Trojan and Lady Trojan Cross Country MVPs. Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School 2020-21 Athletic Banquet was held on Thursday. It was a celebration of Trojan and Lady Trojan athletes from last year and this year, since the 2019-20 banquet was canceled due to the pandemic. Congratulations to all of the coaches and athletes for another great year of athletic excellence!
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Ivanhoe awarded $11.4m

CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Ivanhoe Mayor Cathy Bennett stands in front of the remnants of Lake Ivanhoe. Its dam was severely damaged during Hurricane Harvey. Funds will go toward flood mitigation projects By Chris Edwards IVANHOE – For a city that has seen its fair share of progress in its short life as an incorporated city, last Friday was a red-letter day for Ivanhoe. On that date, Ivanhoe’s mayor Cathy Bennett, along with the state’s land commissioner George P. Bush and state Senator Robert Nichols announced that the state’s General Land Office (GLO) approved a funding amount of more than $11.4 million to go to the city toward flood mitigation projects, which will improve the city’s drainage infrastructure. Bennett said when she received the good news, she was “extremely elated.” The money will go toward several projects in the city that, with its budget, could have not accomplished, she said. Multiple flooding events, going back to 2015, and the Hurricane Harvey disaster in 2017, have…
Country Willie

Regional legend Country Willie to perform at Camp Street

PHOTO COURTESY OF COUNTRY WILLIE EDWARDS Singer/songwriter Country Willie Edwards is scheduled to perform Saturday night at Camp Street Café in Crockett. By Chris Edwards CROCKETT – Country Willie Edwards is a name well-known to many music lovers within the East Texas region. Edwards, a singer-songwriter, whose sound harkens back to the days of troubadours such as Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams, will appear at the Camp Street Café, in downtown Crockett, on Saturday, May 29. The show begins at 8 p.m. Edwards is currently promoting his latest record, Midnight Cowboy, a 14-track collection that was recorded at Encore Studios in Nacogdoches with Heath Perritt engineering. On the album, Edwards’ deep, bass-baritone vocals and acoustic guitar mastery is joined by his longtime drummer/percussionist Thomas Oliver. Edwards and Oliver fill up an astonishing amount of sound space for just two musicians, both on record and in live performances. Edwards’ vocals, which are tuneful and resonant, are…
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DETCOG five-year transit plan summarized

ALTON PORTER | HCC Mark Cunningham, above, of DETCOG, presented a summary of the entity’s five-year transit coordination plan for residents in its 12-county region who have transportation needs or know of available services. By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Staff members of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments & Economic Development District (DETCOG) have held public meetings in the 12 counties the entity covers, including Houston County, to offer and receive information on transportation needs and services in the region. The meetings drew small attendances, according to DETCOG Regional Disaster Economic Recovery Coordinator Mark Cunningham, who came to Crockett last Tuesday, May 18, to present the Deep East Texas Regional Public Transportation Coordination Five-Year Plan and collect information from Houston County residents who have transportation needs or know of available services. Low turnouts at the meetings is not stopping DETCOG staffers from attempting to spread information…
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New building, new business

PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILIP SCHMITTEN By Philip SchmittenTCNS correspondent TRINITY — Got a hankering for something sweet to start your day? Then just mosey over to the newly opened Spitfire Donut Shop in Downtown Trinity for the freshest donuts in town. Dyna Hout and Pat Sokol are co-owners of the recently opened sweet shop. They own Spitfire Convenience Store in Pennington, as well. "We love Trinity and thought that it needed us," said Pat Sokol. “We hired local employees from Trinity and are doing what we can to help the local economy.” They offer breakfast, lunch and anytime smoothies. The hours are 4:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILIP SCHMITTEN Chrissy Stephens picks out a donut for a customer at the Spitfire Donut Shop.
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Apple Springs Board OKs use of grant funds

COURTESY 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…
Academic Award Dyanne Vasquest

Top of the class (GALLERY)

COURTESY PHOTO Academic Award Dyanne Vasquest SJNT Staff On May 13, the Shepherd held its academic and athletic banquet, and honored students that excelled in their respective sport, as well as in learning. Getting through the school year, given the challenges over the past year, is an achievement all students can be proud of.
052021 suspect

One arrested in murder case

MUGSHOT Emmanuel Smith By Tony Farkas CLEVELAND — Two people have been arrested in the April 22 shooting death of a Cleveland resident. Emmanuel Smith, 20, a resident of the Porter/New Caney area, was arrested in Montgomery County in connection with the shooting death of Clay Heard. A second suspect, who was not identified at this time, is currently being held in Montgomery County Jail on drug charges. Detective Gary Sharpen of the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Office said that the two men were found in the Home Depot parking lot in Conroe and were arrested by tactical officers of the Houston Police Department and agents of the Department of Homeland Security. Heard, who is from Cleveland, was found shot in the head in a ditch in south San Jacinto County, and police began investigating the death as a homicide. Over time, SJCSO detectives, Texas Rangers, Houston Police, Homeland Security and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation. The arrest involved a tactical…
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FFA hands out honors

CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO The 2020-21 Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter Banquet was held on Thursday, May 13. Special to the News-Times COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter celebrated a year filled with firsts, lasts, and hope for the future. At the FFA banquet on Thursday, 2020-21 Coldspring FFA President Brelynn Ellisor opened the emotional evening. "We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this a successful year," Ellisor said. "The hard work and dedication of each member has played a role in making all of these accomplishments possible." The invocation was led by FFA member Cinco Bailes, followed by a meal prepared and served by Mary Gray Catering with assistance from the FFA Booster Club. The 2020-21 FFA officers — Ellisor, Vice President Camilla Fussell, Secretary Kimberly Blackmann, Treasurer Kylie Curri, and Reporter Kaylen McAdams, with Advisor Ashlie Taylor — presented the year's awards and scholarship…
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Police arrest sexual assault suspect

MUGSHOT David Lynn Turner of Houston Special to the News-Times The San Jacinto and Montgomery County Sheriff’s offices are seeking potential victims in connection with an ongoing sexual assault case. According to a release from Multi-County Crime Stoppers, on May 4, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation into allegations of sexual assault made by several victims describing similar incidents. During the investigation it was learned that the suspect, David Lynn Turner of Houston, targeted several of his victims through various social media platforms and dating apps. The release states Turner, a former reserve Texas Peace Officer in Harris County between 2012 and 2015, is alleged to have driven the women to remote locations in San Jacinto and surrounding counties under the guise of "Ghost Hunting," where he would then force himself upon the women in various ways. As a result of the investigation, Turner was…
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WISD lifts mask mandate

CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB WISD Business Manager Cody Jarrott discusses information for the board members to look at about possible salary schedules for the next school year. By Chris Edwards WOODVILLE – The Woodville ISD Board of Trustees had a host of achievements to recognize among the faculty, staff and student body at its regular Monday night meeting. Prior to moving the meeting to the board room in the WISD Administration Building for the regular agenda items, the meeting began in the community room in the cafeteria to accommodate the large audience of students, parents and well-wishers. The board recognized WISD athletes Kesean Paire and Linus Mannino for their achievements at the UIL State Track and Field Meet. Paire won the gold medal in the wheelchair shot-put event and Mannino took home a bronze medal in the high jump. Lady Eagle powerlifter Natalli VonEssen was recognized for her achievement of placing eighth in the state in her sport. Two WISD Speech and Debate competitors,…
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GISD trustees honor students and retirees

ALTON PORTER | HCC Four Grapeland ISD trustees, from left to right, Josh Goolsby, Brad Spisak, Ryan Richie and Allen Cheatham, were administered the oath of office to begin new terms by Business Manager Julie Martin at a meeting Monday. By Alton Porter GRAPELAND – Honoring several Grapeland High School (GHS) students for their outstanding scholastic and athletic accomplishments this semester and two retiring teachers for their years of service as educators were the highlights of the Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) Board of Trustees special meeting held Monday, May 17. In recognition of GISD excellence, the trustees, high school administrators and staff members introduced and commended GHS’ 2021 graduating class valedictorian and two salutatorians, members of the boys basketball team, and the girls golf and softball teams for their outstanding performances. In addition, the two retirees were recognized. The GHS Class of 2021 valedictorian is Cierra Espinoza, and the…
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Fiddling champ to appear at Camp Street

COURTESY PHOTO Ridge Roberts By Chris Edwards CROCKETT – With the availability of live music returning to the hungry ears of the public as the threat of COVID wanes, Camp Street Café has a couple of shows lined up for the remainder of May, and this weekend the venue will host a world-class fiddler. Ridge Roberts, a 17-year-old North Texas native who won the World Champion Fiddler title in 2018 in Crockett, will play his album release show at Camp Street on Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m. The album he is promoting is titled Lone Star Fiddler and was recorded last year in Nashville. According to Roberts’s bio on his official website, the album “pays homage to his deep Texas roots….and gives a big tip of the hat to the musical pioneers and legends of the past.” Roberts has been fiddling since he was seven years old, when his father, John, taught him the basics. Along the way, he soaked up and researched fiddle tunes and the styles of the old masters of Texas fiddling. Roberts will be…
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School seeks help and sponsors for program

FILE PHOTO Centerville ISD logo Special to the News-Standard CENTERVILLE — Centerville High School's Project Celebration Committee is seeking partnerships in the community for an after-graduation celebration. The goal of this event is to provide an exciting party that is free of alcohol and drugs, where students can celebrate their achievement in a truly safe environment. Further, this is an all-night event that keeps students off the roads on an evening that traditionally has a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents. The entire evening will be free to the graduating seniors and their dates. Students will enjoy many activities, music, dancing, games, food and prizes. This is the last big event for seniors before they graduate. The Project Celebration Committee works to raise the funds necessary and gain the donations needed to pull off this event. Although monetary help is requested from many individuals and organizations; this community-directed event to keep our children safe is…
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Lit team heads to state

COURTESY PHOTO Kayley McCrory Special to the News-times GROVETON — the Groveton High School Literary Criticism team, earned its sixth consecutive trip to the state contest, with junior Kayley McCrory advancing as an individual. The team is coached by Jeremy Gentry. In a non-COVID year, the whole team would have qualified, as they would have earned the wildcard slot for being the highest second-place team in the state after the regional contest; they were the second highest team in the state, beating the first-place teams in three of four regions. The UIL Literary Criticism Contest is a 90-minute test in which students are assessed on their knowledge and application of college-level literary analysis, as well as a familiarity with authors and thematic concerns of the Western literary canon. The test consists of four parts: knowledge of literary terms and literary history; the UIL reading list (different authors are selected each year); ability in literary criticism; and the required…
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Group raises funds for scholarships

TONY FARKAS| TCNS Heather Stenson serves up a heaping tray of crawfish to a customer at the fourth annual crawfish boil fundraiser for the Trinity Community Fair Association, held Friday at the Trinity Community Center. By Tony Farkas TRINITY — Hot crawdads, smooth drinks and great tunes help put kids through school. The Fourth Annual Trinity Community Fair Association Crawfish Boil Scholarship Fundraiser, held Friday at the Trinity Community Center, netted $10,600 for scholarships. Even with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser ended up being the largest event to date, with the TCFA selling 900 tickets, or 90 tables, and feeding about 1,200 people, according to organizer Tally Jo Stout. Stout said that every kid that shows at the Community Fair and generates $600 in the sale — be it through livestock or construction trades — gets a scholarship. That amounts to about 35 a year ranging from $250 to $750. “The TCFA is investing in you, whether you go to college…
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Praise for prowess

COURTESY PHOTO Troy Fortenberry accepting award from Rep. Ernest Bailes By SJNT Staff Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Trojan Troy Fortenberry receives a recognition from the State Legislature, presented by Rep. Ernest Bailes, noting his participation in the State Track Tournament, held May 6-8 in Austin. Fortenberry, the lone high-school student participating from San Jacinto County, placed ninth in the Pole Vault with a leap of 12 feet 6 inches.
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West: GOP needs to engage

TONY FARKAS | SJNT Lt. Col. Allen West, leader of the Texas GOP, tells the crowd at the San Jacinto Republican Party meeting how to keep non-conservative values from taking over the state of Texas. By Tony Farkas COLDSPRING — The state’s GOP party leader said the state is facing a Marxism that is based on racial divisiveness, and Republicans have to go on offense and speak out. “The only way we win is to make sure that Texas remains the strong, constitutionally driven state that it is,” Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.), said. “We are in an ideological civil war, and we need to put on the full armor of God and the full armor of understanding — who we are and what we believe.” West spoke to a gathering of the San Jacinto GOP Party on May 5. He was elected to the position in 2019. “We live in a constitutional republic; we’re supposed to be governed, not ruled by orders, edicts, mandates and creeds,” he said. “You are blessed to be in this country, in this state, but in the blink of an eye you…
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COCISD settles on single candidate

COURTESY PHOTO Dr. Bryan Taulton SJNT staff COLDSPRING — On Tuesday, May 4, the Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Dr. Bryan Taulton as the lone finalist for the position of COCISD Superintendent. Dr. Taulton is the current superintendent of Goodrich ISD. Due to state law, there is a 21-day waiting period before the board can officially hire Dr. Taulton. The board is scheduled to meet about the matter May 27. According to Taulton’s LinkedIn profile, he currently is the superintendent of Goodrich ISD in Houston, and had previously been an adjunct professor at Houston Baptist University. He holds a Ph.D. in education administration and supervision, which he obtained in 2014.
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Commissioners seek more county improvement

FILE PHOTO San Jacinto County seal By Emily Kubisch-SabrsulaSJNT staff writer COLDSPRING — Reports of residents not respecting private or public property when holding events that may require security spurred a county law enforcement professional to seek a remedy. Precinct 2 Constable Ray Atchley took advantage of public comment during the regular County Commissioners’ Court meeting to address county gatherings. Atchley said that recent events in Shepherd were held and have made some residents miserable. While law enforcement has attempted to stay within their authority while respecting the rights of both parties — those having the event and those potentially filing the complaint against the coordinators — with no oversight, the resources to help maintain public safety are not always available to law enforcement. Atchley asked the court if they would consider passing a resolution to give law enforcement more authority to enforce restrictions should they become necessary, and he…
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Council set on cleaning up the town

FILE PHOTO Coldspring town hall sign By Tony Farkas COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council is making bold moves to clean up the city. At its regular meeting on May 3, council members approved starting the process to have the property owners of three properties within the city remedy the violations of the city’s nuisance law. According to Mayor Pat Eversole, one property is an abandoned home on Slade Street, and the city has received complaints from neighbors about it being an eyesore and dangerous. The remaining two, both on Highway 150, are vacant and full of parked cars and litter, Eversole said. The properties and complaints have been turned over to the city’s attorney to start the process for remediation, and the for the attorney to contact the landowners. In other business, the council: discussed a draft ordinance to ban private and civil helicopters landing within the city limits, which will come up for approval at the next council meeting; discussed a planned ballpark…
NEWS Evans mugshot

Evans issued another charge

MUGSHOT Dr. Kerry Evans By Chris Edwards WOODVILLE – Longtime local physician Dr. Kerry Evans was handed down another charge for sexual abuse of a child. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Evans turned himself into the Tyler County Jail on Saturday, May 8 at 7 a.m. that morning. Evans turned himself in regarding a warrant out of the Tyler County District Court for a first-degree felony charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child. Evans, a 52-year-old Colmesneil resident, is currently out of jail on a pre-set bond amount of $100,000, according to Weatherford. Evans was first handed down two indictments in July 2019 for continuous sexual abuse of a child and multiple counts of indecency with a child by contact and indecency by exposure, which range from first-degree to third-degree felonies. According to those indictments, handed down by the District Court, Evans is accused of having sexual contact with two minors, one of whom was younger than 14 and another who was…
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Warren lifts mask mandate

COURTESY PHOTO | TERRY BABINO The Warren ISD Tribe Tribute for April went to Gladys Mitchell from the WISD Food Services Department who was praised as being a model employee and "cooking from the heart". (Left to right front row) Scott Mitchell, Tammy Heriard, Gladys Mitchell, Stephen Mitchell, Dr. Tammy Boyette (Left to right back row) Kimen Johnson, Clay Brown, Steve Moore, Rocky Burks, Burt Moore, Billie Read. By Caleb Fortenberry WARREN – At its most recent monthly board meeting, the Warren ISD board of trustees voted for the mask mandate to be lifted, it passed. After Gov. Greg Abbott made Executive Order-GA 34 allowing school boards to determine their school’s mask policy, many schools in Texas jumped to remove the policy. The board voted to make masks optional effective Monday May 17, nearly seven days before some graduation ceremonies will take place. COURTESY PHOTO | TERRY BABINO UIL District, Regional, and/or State Qualifier Honorees (Left to right front row) Dr. Tammy…
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New officers take bite out of crime in Ivanhoe

CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley with Yaya. By Chris Edwards IVANHOE – Much like the animated bloodhound in the 1980s named McGruff who reminded kids to “take a bite out of crime,” there are some canine law enforcers who are doing just that in Tyler County. According to Deputy Marshal Michael “Mike” King with the Ivanhoe Marshal’s Office, the three recently added canine deputies to the department’s ranks are “earning their kibble.” The canine deputies, named Yaya, Baby and Duke, have, in the short time they’ve been active on the streets, netted three felony charges for possession of controlled substances and one of the canines (Duke) is certified in explosives detection. Both Yaya and Baby are certified narcotics detection dogs and are the canine counterparts of Chief Marshal Terry Riley and King, respectively. The human officer counterparts (K9s) and the dogs both endure rigorous testing and training on an ongoing basis in order to protect and serve their…
NEWS Graphic for Treehouse Daycare story

More concerns arise over daycare center

FILE PHOTO By Chris Edwards CROCKETT – A series of videos shared to social media alleging incidents of abuse at a Crockett daycare facility have parents and residents voicing opinions and concerns. Paola Mendez, a former employee of Treehouse Academy, who also had children under the facility’s care, has shared video that she obtained, which was taken by surveillance cameras at the facility. Mendez said that her two-year-old son had been crying and behaving strangely at home, which began an investigation into the facility last year, and resulted in criminal charges against three past employees, which ultimately was no-billed by a Houston County grand jury in early December. The former employees – Shaquill Johnson, Sekelthia Jackson and Sabrina Griffin – were charged in April and May last year with abandoning or endangering children. Mendez said that the videos she posted to Facebook were not among the evidence presented to the grand jury last year. The surveillance footage Mendez…
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Prayer warriors met for Crockett prayer day event

ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett Mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher led in prayer at the observance of the National Day of Prayer. By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Local Christian leaders and church members, supported by governmental officials and business representatives, hosted a prayer gathering on the Houston County Courthouse lawn Thursday, May 6. It was “the seventieth observance of National Day of Prayer,” said Minister Charlana Kelly, who served as emcee and welcomed attendees to the event. “Can you believe that? Seventy years. That’s awesome. “I won’t be around actually if it goes this far, but wouldn’t it be great, 170 years? And the only way that can happen is passing this gift that we’ve been given to pray onto our children and our grandchildren and our great grandchildren. “And that’s the thing … the Lord said: ‘If you will teach these things to your children and your children’s children, then you’re going to be blessed. And so, let’s continue our commitment to pray every day for our leaders…
NEWS KISD Trustees

Kennard ISD election results canvassed, accepted

ALTON PORTER | HCC Kennard ISD trustees being sworn-in at Thursday’s meeting, pictured from left-to-right, are continuing Board President Rebecca Parker, Jo Smith and Kenneth Dowdy. By Alton Porter KENNARD – Members of the Kennard ISD board of trustees canvassed the district’s May 1 election results and approved and accepted them at a regular meeting of the board Thursday, May 6. After the canvass was completed, the board’s reelected and newly elected trustees were administered the oath of office and the six trustees present elected officers to lead the board during the next 12 months. Trustee Brijesh Patel was absent. Board President Rebecca Parker, who received 67 votes, was reelected to continue serving on the board, and Kenneth Dowdy, who received 66 votes, and Jo Smith, who received 58 votes, were newly elected. All three were administered the oath by Carolyn Harrison, administrative assistant to Kennard Independent School District Superintendent Malinda Lindsey. Harrison also…
NEWS CISDTrustees

CISD election results canvassed, trustees sworn in

ALTON PORTER | HCC Longtime CISD trustees Roy E. Johnson, center, and Karen Norman, right and newly elected trustee Gerald Colter, left, were sworn-in to begin their new terms on Monday. By Alton Porter CROCKETT – Two longtime members of the Crockett ISD board of trustees and one newly elected member began serving new terms on the school board at a special meeting Monday. The two trustees who were already on the board—Vice President Roy E. Johnson, who represents District 3, and Secretary Karen Norman, the representative of District 4—were unopposed in their bids to continue serving on the board. So, they did not have to run for reelection, and members of the board canceled the May 1 election to fill the District 4 position at a Feb. 22 meeting and canceled the election for the District 3 position at a March 29 meeting, therefore, Johnson and Norman were automatically re-seated on the board. Gerald Colter, a Crockett High School graduate, Texas Department of Transportation retiree and…
LHS decade reunion

LHS decades reunion

COURTESY PHOTO The last planning meeting for the Livingston High School All-Decades Reunion was in June of last year. After being postponed due to the pandemic, the event is back on for Aug. 14. A planning and reorganization meeting is slated for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Pueblo Viejo. By PCN Staff Event organizers said they are thrilled to announce that the Livingston High School All-Decades Reunion is back on for Aug. 14. Initially scheduled for last year, the event was postponed multiple times due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the value of friendships and how much we’ve missed that fellowship,” Patricia Snook said. “So many have been asking when are we doing the reunion. Let’s get this done!” A reorganization and planning meeting is slated for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Pueblo Viejo and everyone interested is encouraged to attend. “Plans have gotten somewhat cold from the postponement so we need everyone to attend this meeting,” Snook said.…
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Former Police Lieutenant indicted by Polk County grand jury

MUGSHOT Gabriel Phillip Moore By PCN Staff A former Onalaska Police Lieutenant who was arrested in July of 2020 has been indicted by a Polk County grand jury. Gabriel Phillip Moore, 44, was indicted on the Class A misdemeanor offense of official oppression, which is punishable up to a year in the county jail and $4,000 fine. Moore was arrested by the Texas Rangers in July after they began an investigation in May of 2020. He was later released after posting a $2,000 bond. The Magnolia resident worked at various police agencies in Polk, Montgomery, Chambers, and Harris County since 2002. The victim spoke to the Enterprise in an exclusive interview, saying he sought assistance from the chain of command. When he believed no action was taken, he contacted the Texas Rangers. A few weeks after the arrest, Moore was fired from his position in a city council meeting and Onalaska Police Chief John Maddox was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. Maddox…
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Office of Emergency Management urging vaccinations

FILE PHOTO - Coronavirus By PCNS Staff President Joe Biden set a goal Tuesday for 70% of the country’s adult population to receive at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot by July 4. Polk County is well on track for that mark when considering those who are 65 years of age and older. Of that age group, 67.80% in Polk County have been vaccinated with at least one dose, and 57.63% have been fully vaccinated. The totals aren’t as impressive amongst younger adults. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, 14,540 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 10,612 people in Polk County have been fully vaccinated. There have been 24,102 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the county. The Polk County Office of Emergency Management has a total case count of 3,282 locally, with 1,493 of those confirmed positive, 1,789 probable and 136 cases that are active. They are still encouraging residents in Polk County to get vaccinated and remind all that…

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