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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

City OKs budget, tax rate

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City Of ShepheardBy Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — The Shepherd City Council gave its blessing to the next budget, which contains funds for exploring the creation of a police department.

At its regular meeting on Sept. 12, the council passed a budget with general fund expenses of $711,000 and revenues of $712,000.

Additionally, council members approved a tax rate designed not to generate any new revenue. The new rate is 0.17674, or 17.674 cents per $100 of property valuation, down from 20.14 cents from last year’s budget.

City Clerk Debra Hagler said the city is looking into a police department.

“It’s not started, but we’re in the exploration stage,” she said. “The city feels that it’s time to get extra police coverage.”

Funds for a police department would come from grants, and amount to $180,000.

As part of the budget, the utility fund expenses were set $968,000; up slightly from last year expenses due to the city project of installing new water meters.

Also, the $115,000 Economic Development Council budget was passed.

In other business, the council:

•tabled a measure to install signs in the Cherry Creek subdivision;

•tabled a decision on a request by Guendy Overturff to create a parking area on Knighton;

•took no action on several variance requests for lack of representation;

•approved a variance for a manufactured home for Rolondria Web on Seals Avenue;

•approved an ordinance denying rate increase request by Entergy;

•contracted for water assistance program Great East Texas Community Action Program’s water assistance, which provides funds for qualified residents; and

•approved an audit on FY 2021.

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Shepherd Public Library hosting free workshops

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Special to the News-Times

ShepherdPublicLibrary graphicSHEPHERD — October is National Financial Planning Month, and the Shepherd Public Library will be hosting free financial education workshops.

The workshops will be facilitated by Regina Walker, a former graduate of Shepherd ISD and is a certified financial education instructor. Regina and her business partners with World System Builder are on a National Financial Literacy Campaign to educate 30 million families by 2030. 

Their focus is to educate families on how money works and to help families build a solid financial foundation. Licensed professionals will show you how to implement what you are learning.

Workshops will be held from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 11-27 on each Tuesday and Thursday. All workshops have specific topics and may be attended as desired.

•Workshop 1: Building Savings and Wealth

Learn to identify your goals, the Financial Foundation mindset, learn the Wealth Formula and how it helps, and comprehend the effects of time and inflation on your assets.

•Workshop 2: Increasing Cash Flow and Debt Management

Learn 23 ways to increase your cash flow, and learn to understand, control, and reduce debt.

•Workshop 3: Preparing with Proper Protection

Learn how to property build a financial house, the value of property protecting assets and liabilities,  how to read a life insurance policy and its importance and understand how life insurance has evolved over the years.

•Workshop 4: Your Health and Wealth

Learn strategies to transfer and preserve your wealth, ensure your last wishes are prepared and carried out, and understand the inevitability and impact of medical expenses.

•Workshop 5: Understanding Asset Accumulation Strategies

Learn how to build wealth and grow your money and understand various investment strategies.

•Workshop 6: Fulfilling Long-Term Goals

Understand various retirement plans (IRA, 401k, 403b, 457b and annuities), understand Medicare supplement plans and long-term care, and learn to preserve wealth for generations to come.

For more information, contact the library at (936) 628-3515.

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Trojans celebrate homecoming

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James Street Elementary student Kyler Ritchey was thrilled to be greeted by Coldspring-Oakhurst High School football players and cheerleaders as he arrived at school on Friday, Sept. 16, in honor of Homecoming Week.. Photo by Feather WilsonJames Street Elementary student Kyler Ritchey was thrilled to be greeted by Coldspring-Oakhurst High School football players and cheerleaders as he arrived at school on Friday, Sept. 16, in honor of Homecoming Week.. Photo by Feather Wilson

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — COCISD Trojans celebrated Homecoming last week, with everyone moving to the theme of “We Got the Beat!”

The week kicked off with Manic Monday. Students and staff wore their best 80’s neon color block outfits. Monday evening was lit up with this year’s Community Bonfire featuring performances by the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School band, cheerleaders, and Trojanettes Drill Team.

Tuesday’s them was Groovy Tuesday with 70’s apparel, Wednesday was go Western Day, Throwback Thursday was Boy Bands and Girl Groups from the 2000s, and Friday was Rock the Bulldogs with red, black and white rock n’ roll or spirit clothing.

On Friday morning, COHS football players and cheerleaders greeted James Street Elementary and Coldspring Intermediate students as they arrived at school, an inspirational morning for everyone.

COHS students enjoyed the second Annual Trojan Tailgate at the high school on Friday afternoon. Free popcorn, snacks, snow cones, and various games and entertainment were provided. 

Thanks to all of the campus administrators and staff, departments, and clubs for their hard work in making the day great. Special thanks to COCISD Board President Paul Buchanan for providing the music, and the COCISD Education Foundation (COEF) for their awesome cookie decorating station.

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Tragedy claims life of public servant

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By Tony Farkas
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Joe HickinbothamJoe HickinbothamPOINT BLANK — City Alderman Joe Hickinbotham was killed in a tragic accident on Sept. 15, according to reports from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Charles Dougherty said that at around noon, a neighbor called 911 and told officials that Hickinbotham was mowing his yard, and after a while, she heard yelling. She went to the area and reported the lawnmower had fallen over and trapped Hickinbotham underneath. 

The 60-inch zero turn mower then caught fire, and bystanders were unable to remove Hickinbotham from under the mower, Dougherty said.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Christina McGee ordered an autopsy, and Dougherty said it could take 8-10 weeks for results.

Point Blank Mayor Mark Wood said that on behalf of himself, City Secretary Kelly Hoot and the Point Blank City Council, they are sending prayers and heartfelt condolences to Joe’s family. 

“There are no words that can adequately express what Joe meant to the entire community,” Wood said. “He was a fair and decent man. Joe’s humor, intelligence and calm demeanor was a great inspiration. We all benefited from his input. He was also my friend, and our weekly meetings were a joy to me. We will all miss him and have an emptiness in our hearts by his absence.”

According to the obituary submitted by Cochran Funeral Home, Hickinbotham was born in Pampa, where he began his love of all things Texas. He spent most of his childhood in Texas but graduated from Washington high school in Kansas City, Kan., in 1968. After graduation, Joe enlisted in the Navy where he served from 1969 to 1973. 

After earning his associate’s degree, he began a 34-year career at Phillips Petroleum Co. He started in the Kansas City refinery and later transferred to Bartlesville, Okla., to be in Applied Automations. In the early 2000s, he moved back to Texas as the Director of Safety and Health U.S. Marketing.

Hickinbotham became an adjunct professor at Lone Star College teaching math after retirement, and many of his students were veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life. Most recently, he was active in his community by being on the City Council and was president of the Northwoods Property Owners Association. 

Hickinbotham was proud of his service to the country and his Indian heritage as a member of the Choctaw Tribe. 

Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Cochran Funeral Home, 212 Old Groveton Road South, in Onalaska. A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the funeral home. A graveside service for family and invited guests will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Houston National Cemetery.

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Stadium dedicated to public servant

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COCISD Board Trustee Berlin Bradford received a plaque to commemorate the naming of Trojan Field at Berlin Bradford Stadium in his honor. Bradford has served the COCISD  students and community for over 57 years, as a teacher, coach, and school board member. Photo by Cassie GregoryCOCISD Board Trustee Berlin Bradford received a plaque to commemorate the naming of Trojan Field at Berlin Bradford Stadium in his honor. Bradford has served the COCISD students and community for over 57 years, as a teacher, coach, and school board member. Photo by Cassie Gregory

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — In a touching dedication ceremony, former COCISD coach, teacher, and current school board member Berlin Bradford, who has given six decades of service to the district.

Bradford was presented a plaque by Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton, COCISD Board of Trustees President Paul Buchanan and Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Principal Dr. Matthew Bess to commemorate the renaming of Trojan Stadium to Trojan Field at Berlin Bradford Stadium.

The ceremony was held between the first and second quarter of the Homecoming Game on Friday. Coach Bradford and COCISD administrators walked to center field as Announcer Jeff Eichman read the dedication.

“Tonight, we honor Mr. Berlin Bradford for over 57 years of service to Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD and the Coldspring community. Mr. Bradford dedicated 33 years to the district while serving in the classroom as a teacher and coach beginning in 1964. 

“In 1998, Mr. Bradford was elected to the COCISD Board of Trustees where he has served for the past 24 years.

“This past May 23, the COCISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to rename Trojan Stadium in honor of Mr. Bradford. Tonight, we present him with a commemorative plaque that reads:

“Let it be known that on this day, the 16th of September in the year 2022, Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Stadium shall henceforth be known as Berlin Bradford Stadium in appreciation of his 57 years of service and dedication to the students and staff of Coldspring-Oakhurst Consolidated Independent School District and the Coldspring-Oakhurst communities.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to officially welcome you to Trojan Field at Berlin Bradford Stadium. 

“Thank you, Mr. Bradford, for your continued service.

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