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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Chamber lauds county’s best

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Teddy Elliot reacts to his winning Volunteer of the Year award during the Best of San Jacinto County banquet put on by the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce.  Photo by Tony FarkasTeddy Elliot reacts to his winning Volunteer of the Year award during the Best of San Jacinto County banquet put on by the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Chamber of Commerce celebrated not only San Jacinto County’s best and brightest, but the return to pre-COVID form as well.

At the organizations annual banquet on Saturday, more than 40 winners in as many categories, from best restaurant to citizen of the year, received accolades for their efforts over the last year.

Teddy Elliot and Robert Elledge share the volunteer of the year award for 2022, while Shepherd’s Brenda Myers, director of the Community Impact Center, shared Citizen of the Year honors with Sandra Houston.

Yvonne Cones, a Coldspring Chamber member as well as president of the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce, was named Board Member of the Year.

Chamber President Barbara Justice said she feels abundantly blessed to be able to speak with the people without a mask.

She also said the chamber’s accomplishments in the past year was like “a new beginning,” and compared this year and last year for effect.

For instance, she said, last year’s Best of Banquet was a small affair for chamber members only, and focused on business size, not individual business categories, as well as a few other individual positions. This year, the Best of awards were open to all businesses throughout the county, as it was in years past.

The chamber also was able to rekindle its lunch and learn program; gave out more scholarships ($7,700) than in other years; Wolf Creek Car Show had record attendance; Christmas on the Square was back at pre-COVID levels; and the office was remodeled to provide better services.

Justice said great and innovative things will be on the slate for 2023.

Rep. Earnest Bailes also spoke about the comings and goings of this year’s legislative session.

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Child safety the ultimate concern

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GregCapersSheriffMost people today perceive law-enforcement’s role in the community as participating in a game of “cops and robbers” where we, the “cops,” assume responsibility for catching the “robbers.”

While that might have been acceptable in the past, it is no longer enough, at least, in my opinion, which is why I have dedicated myself and members of my office staff to a more comprehensive approach to law enforcement.

Toward that end, here is some information on child safety in and around your vehicles and addressing such issues as heatstroke, backovers and other dangers to children.

Heatstroke and asphyxiation

Heatstroke and asphyxiation are one of the leading causes of non-crash vehicle-related fatalities among children. Vehicle heatstroke and asphyxiation occurs when a child is left in a hot vehicle, allowing for the child’s temperature to rise in a quick and deadly manner. Heatstroke begins when the core body temperature reaches about 104°F. Core body temperature above 107°F is lethal.

As a parent, caregiver or bystander, you need to understand the children are more vulnerable to heat stroke than adults.

Prevention tips

•Make it a habit to look before you lock your vehicle to be assured that no child is left inside the vehicle.

•Keep your vehicles locked and keep your keys out of reach of your children; three in 10 heatstroke deaths happen when an unattended child gains access to a vehicle’s keys.

•Act immediately if you notice a child alone in a vehicle. Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility.


Many children are killed or seriously injured in backover incidents. A backover incident typically occurs when a vehicle coming out of a driveway or parking space backs over an unsuspecting child because the driver did not see the child.

Prevention tips

•Teach your children not to play in or around vehicles.

•Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up.

•Be aware of small children, the smaller the child the more likely it is you will not see them.

•Teach your children to move away from a vehicle when a driver enters the vehicle.

•Make sure you look behind while backing up slowly in case your child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.

•Many vehicles are equipped with rearview video or warning devices, but they cannot take the place of actively walking around your vehicle to make sure children are out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind you.

Power windows

Children can hurt themselves with power windows. Children can be injured when a window closes on their fingers, wrist, or hand. Many children have died through strangulation by power windows.

Prevention tips

•Teach your children not to play with the window switches.

•Properly restrained your children in car seats or seatbelts to prevent them from accidentally activating, power, windows, or sunroof.

•Always make sure your children’s hands. feet, and head are clear of windows before raising the windows.

•Never leave the key in the ignition or in the “on” or “accessory” position when you walk away from your vehicle.

•If available, activate the “power window lock” switch so that your children cannot play with the windows.

Seat belt entanglement

A child within reach of a seatbelt may become entangled if the child pulls the seatbelt all the way out and wraps the belt around his or her head neck or waist.

Most seatbelts have a locking mechanism that is activated when the seatbelt is pulled all the way out from the retractor. This feature is designed for a car seat installation. In instances when the locking feature activates, the child may not be able to free him or herself resulting in a serious safety situation.

Prevention tips

•Do not let your children play in or around vehicles.

•Always ensure your children are properly restrained.

•Teach your children that seat belts are not toys.

•Never let your children lie down or sleep on the vehicle seat instead of being properly restrained. This can result in your child becoming entangled.

Trunk entrapment

Children are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. If you leave your children unattended, in or near a vehicle, it may not be long before they are playing in it.

Hide and seek is a game where a vehicle trunk could be a target for an unsuspecting child’s hiding place. As of Sept. 1, 2001, automobile manufacturers are required to equip all new vehicle trunks with a “glow in the dark” trunk release inside the trunk compartment.

If your vehicle is older, and does not have the “glow in the dark” trunk release, ask your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with this truck release mechanism

Prevention tips

•Teach your children that vehicle trunks are not areas for playing.

•If your child goes missing or is late returning home from playing around your vehicle don’t hesitate to check your vehicle trunk immediately.

•Lock your car doors and trunk and be sure keys and remote entry devices are out of sight and reach of your children.

•Keep the rear fold down armrest closed to prevent your children from climbing into the trunk from inside your vehicle.

•Trunk Entrapment has similar risk to heat, stroke and asphyxiation; even in cooler temperatures, your vehicle can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Outside temperatures in the mid-60s can cause a vehicle inside temperature to rise above 110 degrees in a matter of minutes.

In conclusion, it’s my hope that you will find the information I am providing helpful, and I look forward to sharing more of my knowledge and experiences, and the knowledge and experiences of my senior law enforcement professionals with the community of San Jacinto County and beyond.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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Banquet honors the best

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LaShonda Carr was honored with a Pineywoods Nurse of the Year award. Courtesy photoLaShonda Carr was honored with a Pineywoods Nurse of the Year award. Courtesy photo

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadColdspring Chamber will have the Best of San Jacinto County Banquet on Saturday to be held in Jones Hall at the Jones Complex.

The awards will be presented to the winners voted Best and will receive recognition in the newspaper as well as on the Chamber website and other locations. Call the office if you want to enjoy this special evening. Time is short and no tickets will be sold at the door.

The evening begins at 6 p.m., there will be a silent auction and a photographer will be there to record the occasion.

•CABMA will host the annual Trash and Treasure Garage Sale on Feb. 25. Vendors who want to hold their sale round the Courthouse in Coldspring should reserve their space as soon as possible. Cost is $10 which also includes your sale being put on the map which will be available at local stores.

The deadline to have a sale put on the map is Feb. 17. The event runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Call (936) 653-2332 for information.

•Shepherd Library held its first Tea Party of 2023 on Thursday. Ladies were able to borrow a hat for the delightful gathering with different teas being available, as well as sandwiches, cookies and assorted goodies.

A Trivial Pursuit game about the subject of tea was conducted by Director Terri McIntyre and caused a lot of amusement from the guests. The library raffle is showing most of the prizes to be won inside the library, tickets are $2 each or S5 for three. Tickets will be on sale outside some local stores on Friday and Saturday.

The library can be reached at (936) 628-3515. The drawing will be held on Feb. 10.

•This week I met Amanda Maggio, who is a program coordinator with AccentCare of Belcher Street in Cleveland. She was very happy after awarding LaShonda Carr, LVN of Woodland Park, the Pineywoods Nurse Award Nurse of the Year. The prize is a seven-night trip to Panama in a 5-star hotel. LaShonda won’t be going alone since the prize includes a partner.

Maggio also talked about the online Auction in Antigua, which is a fundraiser for prizes for the nursing profession. The prize trip is a seven-night stay at St. James Bay Antigua Resort & Spa. You can bid on this at www.pineywoodsnurseawards.com, or you can go to Facebook where you can also donate to this worthy cause.

Maggio gave me information about the upcoming Mobile Mammogram coming to Cleveland on Feb. 1.

In honor of World Cancer Day, The Rose as the mobile center is called is hosted by AccentCare at 400 E. Belcher St. If you are uninsured, are at least 35 years old and have a mammogram order from your primary care physician, you may qualify for financial assistance.

Call (936) 433-5376 to talk to Amanda Maggio.

•Have you heard of Linda Deeter? She is the next subject of my San Jacinto County residents who work to make life better for those in need.

Linda is known as an award-winning artist. She loves nature which is one of the main topics of her art. She is also a webmaster for several local organizations where she has an opportunity to show her artistic ability. Linda says that her paintings celebrate God.

“I preserve on canvas what God gave,” she said.

Recently she painted a large backdrop for her church’s Nativity scene. She had to climb a ladder to paint the top half. But, of all the things she does, Linda’s greatest passion is for Quilts for Kids. With her friend LaDonyce Hamilton, who owns quilting center The Red Barn, Linda started the Coldspring Chapter for Quilts for Kids.

This is a national organization, but the two women created their own non-profit so that their quilts could be distributed locally instead of being sent to the HQ in Pennsylvania. The quilts are for children who are ill, in hospital or in a crisis in their lives. Quilts are given to first responders in our area, all law enforcement officers have quilts and so does the Children’s Hospital in the Woodlands. Quilts are free.

The quilting group are in Linda’s words “an awesome group.” They donate their time and materials which must be new since many sick children are vulnerable to infection.

If you want to know more about this group, go to Facebook page called Coldspring Quilts for Kids.

Linda is a very modest lady who tried to dissuade me from writing about her. However, by talking about her volunteer work, she has allowed others to know about this heartwarming work. The group has made and given away 2,100 quilts so far.

With her husband of almost 57 years Gerald, they enjoy the beauty of our area and the many friends they have made over their years here.

•Linda and I are members of SJC Women’s League, another fine group which works to give away the money made from their fundraisers. The next one will be the annual Style Show which is always a very enjoyable event.

Sadly, members are asked by President Kay Capers to remember in their prayers Sylvia Roesler, who just lost her husband, Gene, and her sister, Linda Winkleman (also a member), who is in the ICU in hospital.

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 a member of the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce.

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Luttrell visits district

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U.S. Rep. Morgan Luttrell tours the Walker County Storm Shelter.  More photos on page 5A. Courtesy photoU.S. Rep. Morgan Luttrell tours the Walker County Storm Shelter. More photos on page 5A. Courtesy photo

SJNT staff

LIVINGSTON — Newly elected 8th District Congressman Marcus Luttrell was hosted by VFW Post 8568 on Wednesday for his first town hall meeting since being sworn in.

The meeting was attended by about 100 community members that included local officials; chief of the Alabama Chousatta Tribe,  Donnis Battise, and Herb Johnson, Jr., tribal public relations; Escapees; the Polk County Republican Club; San Jacinto Republicans; and numerous veterans.

Among the issues discussed were congressional finance expenditures, including an increase in the long-term capital gains rate being considered; the border; and term limits.

Luttrell spent the last week traveling throughout the district.

On Jan. 17, Luttrell joined the Cy-Fair Chamber of Commerce meeting and handed out his first Commendation to Julie Peterson for her service as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

On Wednesday, Luttrell also made a stop by the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and presented a Commendation to Kati Krouse for her service on the Board of Directors.

On Thursday, Luttrell visited Conroe City Hall, a Lake Conroe Area Republican Women’s meeting, and the Walker County Storm Shelter.

While in Washington, D.C., Luttrell led a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to address his dereliction of duty and the crisis at the Southern border.

He also received his committee appointments this week — the House Armed Services Committee,

Luttrell said he would be back in the area in a few months.

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School to open daycare

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Clark Addison, Jeanna Roberts and Thomas Barton discuss their adventures during the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp. Photos by Tony FarkasClark Addison, Jeanna Roberts and Thomas Barton discuss their adventures during the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp. Photos by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — The Shepherd ISD Board of Managers on Thursday gave its blessing for the district to begin the process of creating an early learning/daycare center on a Shepherd ISD campus.

At its regular meeting, the board discussed creating a center in five unused classrooms at the Primary School. SPS Principal Alisa Lott said the facility will not just be a daycare center, but will focus on development while providing activities both inside and outdoors.

The center should house about 20 infants and 28 toddlers, mostly coming from the teachers in the district.

Assistant Superintendent DeAnna Clavell said the district will need about $100,000 to $150,000 to prepare the area, which will include enhancing security, constructing an awning and sidewalks, installing a play area and acquiring the proper state licenses.

Clavell also said that Workforce Solutions will partner with the center and provide funds for salaries and some training, and there are other grants available for training and building needs.

The center would employ six infant care and four toddler care specialists, as well as a director, all of which will need to be licensed.

The center would charge a tuition, and Clavell said after a few years they should realize $269,000 in revenue; however, the center most probably would operate at a loss, but the center should be viewed as an investment in the district’s staff and students.

However, she said that only district staff would be eligible to use the facility, and it would not be open to the general public.

Clavell said that if the building is ready and passes any necessary inspections for licensing, it’s possible to have a soft opening by July 10.

In other business, the board:

•discussed a concern from a Little Dribbler coach about padding on the walls behind the goals in the Middle School gym, as he injured both his wrists running into a wall during a game;

•discussed the collection of delinquent tax payments for the 2021-22 year, which amount to around $248,000 of $587,000 in delinquencies;

•discussed setting workshop to set board operating procedures; and

•approved the purchase of replacement Chromebooks.

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