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GP recognized for conservation efforts

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Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll Lumber and Diboll Particleboard have been awarded the Resiliency Award for conserv-ing energy to help protect the Texas grid during last year’s winter storm. Accepting the award on behalf of Geor-gia-Pacific are (from left to right) Danny Wright, Diboll Lumber Plant Manager; and Pat Aldred, Vice-President of Composite Panels. Courtesy photoGeorgia-Pacific’s Diboll Lumber and Diboll Particleboard have been awarded the Resiliency Award for conserv-ing energy to help protect the Texas grid during last year’s winter storm. Accepting the award on behalf of Geor-gia-Pacific are (from left to right) Danny Wright, Diboll Lumber Plant Manager; and Pat Aldred, Vice-President of Composite Panels. Courtesy photo

DIBOLL—Georgia Pacific’s Diboll Lumber and Diboll Particleboard have been recognized for their efforts to help conserve energy following one the region’s most severe winter storms in February 2021. Enel X, an advanced energy services company that provides smart value-added services and solutions that enable businesses and communities to create, store, use, and manage energy more efficiently, has awarded the two local building products facilities with the prestigious Resiliency Award. 

East Texas is known for its warm and humid weather. Summers are hot and for the most part winters are mild, but last year that weather pattern took an unpredictable turn when a winter storm blew through the region dumping snow and ice while causing widespread power outages. Energy demand climbed to record levels for the season, putting extreme pressure on the Texas power grid system. In an effort to protect the state’s power gird, Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll mills chose to significantly reduce its power consumption.

“Georgia-Pacific was chosen for the Enel X Resiliency Award for reducing their energy load over the four-day emergency period to help the grid,” said Joel Obillo, Head of Demand Response for Enel X North America. “We appreciate their efforts to go above and beyond during critical times when it is needed most to help their local communities. This award is one way we can show our appreciation for those who are making a difference.”

Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll Lumber and Diboll Particleboard plants relied on back-up generation for several days to maintain power to critical infrastructure systems to minimize impact on the Texas grid. 

“It was an operational challenge, but we understood the significant positive impact our efforts would have on the area and the state of Texas,” said Danny Wright, Diboll Lumber Plant Manager. 

The two Georgia-Pacific plants have participated in the Enel X energy conservation program for many years, but this is the first time the facilities had to rely on backup generation for multiple days. 

“We usually reduce our energy consumption during the heat of the summer periodically for a couple of hours to help alleviate demand on the grid,” said David Thelen, Area OSB/CP Manager. “Despite the operational interruptions, doing our part to protect the power needs of our communities is the right thing to do.” 

Extreme weather events, like storm Uri in February, are becoming all too familiar. According to Obillo, companies can help protect the state’s ability to keep the power on. 

“Demand response efforts, like Georgia-Pacific’s Diboll plants demonstrated last year, are a great example of how companies can help stabilize and build a more resilient grid.”

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Suspect wanted by Livingston Police

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The Livingston Police Department is investigating the burglary of a vehicle, occurring in the parking lot of a local business. The vehicle seen in these photos capture the suspect’s vehicle. Those with information on the owner or location of this vehicle are asked to contact the Livingston Police Department at 936-327-3117 with reference case number 220502739.

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Exchange student speaks at Rotary

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Daniil Rusanyuk and Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran stopped to talk after the meeting. Photos by Brian BeschDaniil Rusanyuk and Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran stopped to talk after the meeting. Photos by Brian Besch

By Brian Besch
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 A special guest speaker highlighted Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club. Recent Livingston High graduate and Ukrainian exchange student Daniil Rusanyuk, along with his host mother, Kelly Shepard, spoke to those in attendance.

The pair gave insight on the challenges the war in Ukraine has placed on Rusanyuk’s family, as well as the obstacles for furthering his education.

“Everything was all good until February. February hit, and it was like a disaster,” Shepard said of the war beginning. “He has been accepted to college, but now he has a problem with financial aid. He cannot even apply for financial aid unless he has asylum or refugee status. He cannot get that status until he gets everything approved by the government, and we know how long the government takes.”

An A/B honor roll student in his senior year at Livingston, Rusanyuk has been accepted to attend school at Stephen F. Austin University, However, the school in Nacogdoches has a few demands before he begins classes.

“SFA will not allow him to start school until he has a bank statement showing $30,000 in it. They want a full year of tuition,” Shepard said. “We were hoping we could get by with one semester of room and board, which would be about $15,000, but no, they want the whole $30,000.”

There is currently a GoFundMe account for Rusanyuk (see bottom of article), which will remain up until they can apply for financial aid. His parents are not able to send money currently. His mother has escaped the country to Italy, while his father returned to the capital city of Kiev.

Shepard describes her new addition to the family as intelligent, a strict scheduler and very goofy. He speaks English, German, Italian, Russian and Ukranian. He has a J-1 Visa that most exchange students receive. Rusanyuk is trying to have that changed to an F-1 Visa, which would allow him to pursue an education. He has filed for temporary protective status, given when a country is unable to handle the return of its nationals safely. His J-1 Visa is set to expire on the last day of August.

“If we don’t have anything by Aug. 31, I don’t know what to do,” Shepard said. “Because, if he goes back to Ukraine, he’ll join the war. In January, they (Ukrainian officials) came knocking at his parents’ door, looking for him. He had to show proof that he was in the U.S. studying. That’s why I’m trying to keep him here as long as I can.”

Ukraine has a law in place during war that does not allow men aged 18-60 to leave the country, instead requiring them to participate.

Rusanyuk grew up playing ice hockey, finished musical school two years ago for piano, and enjoys activities like fishing. He played tennis and took part in theatre at Livingston High. He hopes to study construction in college, eventually going back to Ukraine, starting a business with his father, who is also in construction, to help rebuild the country.

To contribute to Rusanyuk’s college until he is able to receive financial aid, go to gofundme.com and click on the magnifying glass. Provide the name Kelly Shepard or the name Daniil Rusanyuk in the space provided and you will be taken to his page.

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Traffic on U.S. 59 north of Corrigan to be detoured

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From Enterprise Staff

Motorists can expect to experience a two-lane traffic pattern for up to eight months on a construction project on U.S. 59, north of Corrigan.

Beginning May 23, traffic on U.S. 59 from just north of Piney Creek to just north of Old Highway 35, southbound traffic will be detoured into the northbound inside lane during daytime operations. This traffic pattern will continue up to four months during daytime work hours.

Once work is completed on the southbound side, northbound traffic will be detoured daily into the southbound inside lane during work hours. This traffic pattern will remain in place for approximately four months, until project completion.

Vulcan Materials Asphalt and Construction LLC out of Conroe will serve as contractor for the $6.2 million construction project that will reconstruct and improve the safety of the roadway. Completion of the project is set for January 2023, weather permitting.

Message boards and signs alerting motorists to the detour are in place. Motorists should stay alert, reduce speed and obey all traffic control in the area. Remember, traffic fines double when workers are present. For statewide road conditions and closures, visit drivetexas.org.

Other upcoming TxDOT activity

The Texas Transportation Commission met Thursday in Austin and approved more than $1.1 billion in new construction projects statewide, with more than $179.1 million approved for the nine-county Lufkin District.

Polk County was approved for $172.8 million, earmarked for the construction of the Corrigan Relief Route. James Construction Group LLC of Baton Rouge, La. will serve as contractor for the project. The project will bring U.S. 59 to interstate standards with construction of new U.S. 59 northbound and southbound lanes with controlled access that will be constructed on the west side of Corrigan.

The seven-mile project will include overpasses at the United Pacific Railroad, U.S. 287 and Union Springs Road; entrance and exit ramps will be added at U.S. 59 tie-ins and at the U.S. 287 overpass. The project will be built to promote public safety, improve emergency evacuations, and support freight transport. No timeline for completion has been set.

“Studies for this project began in the 1990’s and since was identified as a top priority for development,” TxDOT Public Information Officer Rhonda Oaks said. “We are excited to be able to begin this much needed upgrade around Corrigan. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid to late summer.”

A bridge replacement project was approved for $458,032.40 in Polk County that is designed to replace bridge and approaches on Kelley Road at Bluff Creek. Cross Plus Construction LLC of China Spring will serve as contractor for the project. No timeline for completion has been set.

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Community invited to attend PowWow

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Tyler County Booster File PhotoTyler County Booster File Photo

From Enterprise Staff

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas will celebrate its 52nd annual PowWow June 3-4 and is inviting the East Texas community to join tribal citizens for food, music and dancing, as well as the opportunity to learn more about Native American culture.

A PowWow is a social gathering of tribal nations and the Alabama-Coushatta PowWow began in 1966. The PowWow also serves as a homecoming for tribal members who live away from the reservation.

Spectators will enjoy Native American dancing, cuisine and arts and crafts. Tribal dancers and singers coming from throughout the United States and Canada will compete for prize money.

“We look forward to welcoming our friends and neighbors to our reservation for this year’s PowWow,” Ricky Sylestine, Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “This is a great opportunity to witness beautiful tribal dances and music and to learn about our culture and traditions. Our tribe loves to come together with our community for this event.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Reservation is located between Livingston and Woodville. The PowWow will be held at the tribe’s Reservation Ballpark and admission is $7 per day, but free for guests ages 6 and younger. Seating is limited, so those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Gates will open at 2 p.m. on June 3 and at noon on June 4. Alcohol will not be allowed at the event. For more information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in the state located on approximately 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Deep East Texas. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation.

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