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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Council hears VFD complaints

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FireFighter StockStock Photo

By Tony Farkas
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POINT BLANK — The majority of the Jan. 9 meeting of the Point Blank City Council was taken up by a discussion regarding the Point Blank Volunteer Fire Department.

Gary Wulf, a former department volunteer, claims the city is in trouble because of the events that have transpired over the last few months.

However, Mayor Mark Wood said the issues at the VFD were an internal affair, one that the city has no stake in, since the VFD is a volunteer organization, and volunteers can leave or be removed at any time.

Wood also said the VFD still is responding to calls.

Among the issues claimed by former members of the VFD, the chief and assistant chief met privately to amend the group’s bylaws, and when existing VFD volunteers voiced objections, they were let go or demoted.

Additionally, the ex-firefighters say they have been reprimanded for arriving at emergency sites ahead of EMS crews, which violates PBVFD procedure as per a verbal order.

At its regular meeting on Dec. 12, council members heard from the PBVFD leadership about the dismissal of several firefighters and other complaints that have been levied against VFD.

The VFD told the council it has proceeded as it always has since its inception.

In other business, the council:

•approved resolutions for the receipt of a Community Development Block Grant rant from the Texas Ag Department for several projects;

•designated Kelly Hoot and Mel Basham as grant signatories; and

•discussed the creation of a committee to investigate community affairs, such as parades, for Point Blank. City gave her blessing to conceive a plan and present it to the council.

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Area student selected as Texas All-State Musician

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Special to the News-Times

Luc ButlerLuc ButlerLuc Butler, a member of the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Band, will perform with the Texas All-State Band in San Antonio on Feb. 11 at the Henry B. González Convention Center as part of the 2023 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention.

Luc was chosen for this honor through a competitive process held this year across the state at district, region, and area levels. Luc plays clarinet at school under the direction of Trent Graves, who is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, a 14,000-plus member organization headquartered in Austin.

This is Luc’s second time performing as a member of a TMEA All-State organization. This is also his second instrument with which to achieve this honor.

Luc is the grandson of Suzanne Butler.

High school students selected to perform in the all-state concerts have competed through auditions to qualify at the state level. All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive; 1,875 students are selected through a process that began with over 70,000 students from around the state vying for this honor to perform in one of 18 ensembles.

Texas Music Educators Association sponsors the Texas All-State competition. This competitive process begins throughout the state in auditions hosted by 33 TMEA Regions. Individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part.

From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete against musicians from other areas in eight TMEA Area competitions. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group.

Only the top 2.6 percent of musicians who initially audition become All-State musicians.

All-State students participate in four days of rehearsals directed by nationally recognized conductors during the TMEA Clinic/Convention. Their performances for thousands of attendees bring this extraordinary event to a close.

For the All-State concert and conductor information, go to the Performances section of www.tmea.org/convention.

Founded in 1921, Texas Music Educators Association is an association of over 14,000 members dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. Go to www.tmea.org/convention for more information.

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Instructor honored

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COCISD Education Foundation (COEF) President Suzanne York honored the memory of her son, late actor Jason Murphy, by providing funds for the purchase of UIL One Act Play stage pieces for competitions.COCISD Education Foundation (COEF) President Suzanne York honored the memory of her son, late actor Jason Murphy, by providing funds for the purchase of UIL One Act Play stage pieces for competitions.

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Fine Arts benefactor and COCISD Education Foundation President Suzanne York was honored at the Lincoln Junior High One Act Play performance of “Lafayette No. 1” on Jan. 10.

In recognition of York’s support of the COCISD Theater Arts program and in memory of her son, the late actor Jason Murphy, Theater Arts Instructor Amanda Kendrick announced that there will be a permanently reserved seat in Murphy’s name at all future COCISD Theater Arts public performances.

Earlier this school year, York donated funds in memory of her son to the Speech & Theatre Arts Dept. at COCISD for the purchase of UIL One Act Play stage pieces for competitions.

“We are so grateful for Mrs. York’s contribution. The stage pieces are great,” Kendrick said.

Jason Murphy was a working actor in Los Angeles in commercials, film, and improv stage work. Award-winning and beloved by his alma mater, Pepperdine University at Malibu, he was memorialized by a standing-room-only crowd at the university in 2017.

As president of the COEF, York has a passion for providing enhanced educational opportunities for students. She encourages individuals to make dedicated contributions to any COCISD department of their choosing through the Education Foundation.

“Contact Cassie Gregory at COCISD,” said York. “All monies go directly to student enrichment in classrooms, including dedicated gifts in memory of a loved one.”

Gregory may be reached at (936) 653-1138 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The dreaded traffic stop

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GregCapersSheriffTraffic stops aren’t a thing to be feared, but there are some things that will make the event easier for everyone. Here are some areas of interest that will broaden your knowledge of interacting with law enforcement in a routine vehicle traffic stop.

Many of us, myself included, have experienced a vehicle traffic stop, whether on the streets of our neighborhood or on a fast-moving highway. It’s important to note that traffic stops are not always for a potential violation of the Texas Transportation Code. Often they are performed to call attention to a potentially hazardous condition with your vehicle such as an under-inflated tire, a vehicle door not closed completely, or smoke emanating from the vehicle, etc. Things that if not brought to the attention of the driver could result in a more serious condition.

When you first see the sheriff’s vehicle, pull over quickly and safely, letting the officer know you understand and are complying. Use your signal and pull as far to the right shoulder as you can. Your goal is to make it clear that you understand what is required of you.

After the vehicle stops

•Always be calm and polite during a vehicle traffic stop. Just like you, the deputy is just doing a job for your safety and the safety of the public at large.

•Roll down your window, turn off the engine and place your hands on the steering wheel. If it’s nighttime, turn on your interior lights. Do not reach for documentation, driver’s license, vehicle info, etc., since deputies are trained to spot drivers reaching for hidden items or trying to hide items, and it is likely your actions may be misinterpreted. You might be reaching for your registration, but for all the deputy knows, you might be reaching for a weapon.

•Upon request, show the deputy, your driver’s license and proof of insurance.

•If the deputy asks to look inside your vehicle, you can refuse to consent to the search. However, if the deputy believes your car contains evidence of a crime, your consent is not needed to search it.

•If you are suspicious that the deputy is not really a deputy (such as if you were pulled over by an unmarked car), ask politely to see the deputy’s photo identification and badge. If you still are unsure, you can ask the deputy to call a supervisor to the scene.

•If you are in possession of a firearm, whether in the vehicle or on your person immediately notify the deputy of the weapon and indicate where the weapon is.

Leaving the vehicle

You should not get out of your vehicle unless asked. Be mindful of the deputy’s concern for safety as well, so communicate that you understand what is being asked of you and avoid any threatening words or movements.

If the deputy asks you to exit the vehicle, you should do so calmly and carefully, with no sudden movements. If the deputy has a reason to believe you are armed, the deputy can pat down your outer clothing. If the deputy finds something suspicious, the deputy can reach in and grab the concealed object. Please keep in mind that the deputy is trained to remain in a position that will enhance the deputy’s safety as well as your safety and the safety of others. The deputy’s actions and communications are not intended to offend you.

Citation or arrest

If you receive a traffic citation, keep in mind that signing and accepting the ticket is not an admission of guilt. Arguing with the deputy is unlikely to change the outcome during the traffic stop. Instead, you can contest the ticket in court at a later time.

If you are arrested, even if you believe the arrest is unfair or unjust, do not challenge the deputy’s action in the field. Arguing and fighting with the deputy will only cause problems. You have the right to challenge the deputy’s action in court.

If you believe one of my deputies has acted improperly or violated your rights, or the rights of others, my office has procedures in place to address your concerns, so please feel free to contact me personally for a speedy and just resolution to your concerns.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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The fun comes back around

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The San Jacinto County Courthouse contains a museum in the basement.The San Jacinto County Courthouse contains a museum in the basement.

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadWe are back in the swing of things here in San Jacinto County. On Jan. 2, a large crowd visited the Coldspring Courthouse to see the swearing in ceremonies of the newly elected officials. Judge Fritz Faulkner performed the ceremony for each one and he also invited J.P. Greg Magee to speak on his retirement.

Magee is a well-known figure in our county. He has been in law enforcement for more than 40 years both as a rookie police officer and then to a judge. He told funny stories about his retirement and also one about J.P. “Red” Blanchette, who was sitting near him. Greg and his wife Betty are looking forward to taking time off to travel and relax after both of them have spent their lives working in law enforcement, one way or another.

Greg Magee decided to amuse the crowd by taking off his jacket and then his shirt. Underneath was a custom T-Shirt with his new message to everyone. It says, “The Legend Has Officially Retired. If You Want to Talk, You’ll Be Charged a Consulting Fee.” The photo of him wearing this T-shirt was taken in the basement of the Courthouse.

•Did you know there is a museum in the basement? It has grown considerably over the years. Dale Everitt with the Historical Commission started to hang photos of his family and others from past wars. Then uniforms and artifacts of all kind were donated and are now displayed throughout the basement. They are well worth a look.

The Historical Commission provided wonderful refreshments after the swearing in ceremonies. Carson Anderson and Barbara Magee worked hard at making it welcoming and it was a great idea to end the morning in such a happy (and delicious) way.

•On Thursday, Coldspring Garden Club held the first meeting of 2023. We were treated to a wonderful presentation from Beth Miller who talked about how to propagate African violets. By the end of the presentation everyone there was given a leaf in a small container filled with perlite and shown how to keep it till more leaves grow from the “mother.” It was a most interesting session and Beth is an excellent instructor. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Go to the Coldspring Garden Club online for more information. The club meets every first Thursday of the month at the Coldspring Community Center at 1:30 p.m.

•Coldspring Chamber will hold the ‘Best of San Jacinto Banquet’ on Jan. 28 in Jones Hall. Tickets are $25 each before the event and $30 at the door. Please call the office to buy tickets. Go to the website at www.coldspringtexas.org for more information. This is a special event to celebrate the businesses who have been voted by the public as the best. There will be a silent auction and wonderful food.

Just a reminder. The Reagan Dinner will be held in Coldspring Shelter on Feb. 4. The San Jacinto Republican Party host this event and special guest this year in radio talk show host Michael Berry. Tickets are $75 each, a VIP pass costs $100. You can buy them online.

Contact the Shepherd Chamber at (936) 628-3890 or the Coldspring Chamber at (936) 653-2184.

Yvonne Cones is president of the Greater Shepherd Chamber of Commerce, and secretary of the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce.

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