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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024


Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Teenage suicide a crisis

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GregCapersSheriffIn my 4 decades of law enforcement there were few things more disturbing to me than when I was involved in investigating teen suicide.

Suicide continues to be a serious public health problem in the United States. Depression, self-harm and suicide are rising among Americans where suicide is the second leading cause of death between the ages 10–24.

Additionally, according to the Jason Foundation, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.

Typically, there are signs and symptoms that indicate that a teen might be contemplating suicide. Oftentimes, teens who contemplate or carryout suicide attempts have a mental health disorder of some sort.

In fact, about 90 percent of teens who commit suicide are dealing with a mental health challenge. Most teens do not spend a long-time planning suicide. It often will occur after an event or circumstance that may leave them feeling like they have failed, or after having experienced a loss or some other traumatic event in their life where they have no control.

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide rates among males in 2021 was four times higher than the rate for females. CDC also reported the following statistics: 52.8 percent of suicides were caused by firearms, 27.2 percent were caused by suffocation, 12 percent were caused by poisoning and 8 percent by other means.

If you see signs that your child’s mental health is under threat, be aware. Here are some things you can do to help identify and hopefully prevent suicide.

•Maybe your child is just having a bad day, but when signs of mental health problems last for weeks, don’t assume it’s just a passing mood. Nine out of 10 teens who took their own lives we’re struggling with mental health issues that were unknown to the parents.

Teens who haven’t been diagnosed with any mental health conditions may still be at risk. Many teens who attempt suicide do not understand mental health issues, but in most cases, they will give signs that they are considering suicide. Therefore, you should be prepared to seek professional help as soon as you suspect there’s a problem.

•Listen, even when your child is not talking. Don’t be surprised if your teen turns away when you first raise the subject of mental health or suicide. Keep in mind that, even if your child is silent at first, actions may speak louder than words. Watch for major changes in your child’s sleep patterns, appetite, and social activities.

If your child is struggling more than usual with schoolwork, chores or other responsibilities, these are additional signs you shouldn’t ignore.

•Realize your child might be facing suicide risk you’re not aware of. Many parents wonder: Could this really be happening to my child? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Young people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, income levels die by suicide every year.

In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people 10 to 24 years of age. Loss of a loved one, bullying, in person or online, discrimination, rejection or hostility due to gender identity or sexual orientation, racism, family history of suicide, or mental health difficulties can become a reason for a suicide attempt.

•Get professional help right away. If your teen appears self-harming, or you sense they are at risk for attempting suicide, take them to the emergency department of your local hospital. Immediate action is critical when things have reached a critical point.

If you see signs of suicidal thoughts but don’t sense an immediate crisis, you still need to act. Reach out to your school administration, your church, your pediatrician or local mental health providers who treat children and teens. Explain what you’re seeing and hearing and schedule a mental health evaluation.

•Remove or secure guns you have at home. Do the same with medications. Half of youth suicides occur with firearms and suicide attempts with firearms are almost always fatal. By far, the safest option is to remove guns and ammunition from your home when your teen is struggling with thoughts of suicide.

A home safe storage is the second-best option. Guns are not the only means of suicide your child might seek out. Prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs can pose hazards during a suicidal crisis. Keep medications locked away whenever possible.

As is the case for firearms in the home the same holds true for alcohol. Removing alcohol from the home will eliminate the potential for misuse.

•Talk to your teen about mental health and suicide. Don’t wait for your teen to come to you. If your teen is sad, anxious, depressed or appears to be struggling, ask what’s wrong and offer your support. Pay attention to what is not said.

If your teen is thinking about suicide, he or she is likely displaying warning signs. Listen to what your child is not saying and watch how he or she is acting. Never shrug off threats of suicide as teenage melodrama.

•Monitor and talk about social media use. Keep an eye on your teen’s social media accounts. While social media can give teens valuable support, it can also expose them to bullying, rumors spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and peer pressure.

If your teen is hurt or upset by social media posts or messaging, encourage him or her to talk to you or a teacher. Feeling connected and supported at school can have a strong protective effect.

•Monitor medications. Although it’s uncommon, some teens might have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or a dose changed. But antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicide risk in the long run. Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with suicide and the use of antidepressants for a better understanding.

If you’re child, a loved one or anyone you know is the need of immediate help with suicide issues, the following are excellent sources for you to use in any life-threatening scenario or if you just wish to expand your knowledge on the subject.

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached by dialing 988 or at www.988lifeline.org; the Jason Foundation can be reached at (800) 273-TALK or www.JasonFoundiation.com; or in cases of emergency, call 911 and my office will assist you.

Greg Capers is Sheriff of San Jacinto County.

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Chamber heralds new members, new events

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Ernest Bailes receives award from Coldspring Chamber board members at the capitol in Austin. Courtesy photoErnest Bailes receives award from Coldspring Chamber board members at the capitol in Austin. Courtesy photo

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadHello March. What is in store for us this month? Trinity River Food Bank will celebrate their first anniversary in Coldspring on March 14. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. guests may tour the facility, enjoy a light lunch while supplies last, and have fun.

There will be free books and goodies for children and the Reading and Resource Van will be there so guests can see inside. Trino the Mascot will be there too. Located at 201 Highway 150 Suite A, all are welcome to come and share in the celebration.

•Coldspring Chamber welcomes new members Jennifer Hoff from JLA Realty and Deborah Black from Avon Cosmetics. The Impact Center from Shepherd is also a new member. Ribbon cuttings are slated for this coming week for the first two businesses, and a date will be announced soon for the Impact Center.

Shepherd welcomes new member Will Hall Towing and Shepherd Super Store. There will ribbon cuttings for them this coming week as well as a Grand Re-Opening for Texas Glam Girlz. If you would like to see more of last week’s new business in Shepherd, you can find information about Daiquiri to Go on Facebook. Go to Family Restaurant Daiquiri To Go.

•San Jacinto Republicans announced the new date for their fundraiser Reagan Dinner. It will not be on April 1 as previously announced, instead it will be on April 29 from 5-9 p.m. at the Coldspring Center Shelter. Chairman Dwayne Wright assures everyone it wasn’t an April Fool’s Joke.

The guest speaker Michael Berry has had surgery and needs time to recover. This event will have a tremendous live auction. Items include a Kimber Special Edition two-tone Rapide 1911 .22; a Henry 25th Anniversary Edition .22; and a Sig Sauer .22 Pistol and Range Pack. There are many other items and you can go to the www.sjcgop.com web site for more information.

Everyone who attends will have VIP status and the evening begins earlier so that photos can be taken with the guest speakers. Food will be catered by American Private Chef Phillip and barbecue comes from the award Republican winning team.

•San Jacinto County Democratic Chair John Michael Adams has changed the meeting dates back to the third Thursday of the month, starting in March. Meetings will be held in Coldspring Community Center at 6 p.m. Democrats can enjoy a Wine Down on April 29 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. in Huntsville at 22409 Augusta Place.

Guest speakers at this event will be Gilberto Hinojosa, who is the Texas Democratic Party Chair. With him will be Dr. Carroll G. Robinson, President of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats. Tickets are available at www.secure.actblue.com/donate/sanjacwinedown .Tickets begin at $50 each. Questions? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

•On Feb. 23 it was Deputy Neil Adams Day celebrated on the Courthouse Square in Coldspring. Dale Everitt opened the proceedings, and the ceremony was a moving way to recognize the man who so many people knew and loved.

The Rev. Dalton Currie gave the prayers, with the American Legion Commander of Post 629, Sheriff Greg Capers and Constable Roy Rogers speaking about Neil and how important he had been to our county. His widow DeeDee Adams and her family, with friends surrounding her, were able to see and feel how much Neil Adams meant to our community as well as to them.

The National Anthem was sung during the ceremony and the poignant sounds of Taps ended it. The day was sunny and warm and a picture of a Sheepdog rested beside a photo of Neil which declared “I am the Sheepdog Adams. Protect the flock, confront the wolf.”

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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County to lose some GLO grant subsidies

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Contractors pours cement for the parking lot of the Innovation Center on Friday morning. Courtesy photo by Mark WoodContractors pours cement for the parking lot of the Innovation Center on Friday morning. Courtesy photo by Mark Wood

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — Because of a drop in applications, San Jacinto County will lose some grant funding from the Texas General Land Office for purchasing property damaged during Hurricane Harvey.

The County Commissioners Court on Friday approved an amendment to a contract with the GLO at its regular meeting.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said the county was awarded $11 million for recovery, and after a push by the GLO, 111 applications were received. After doing due diligence on the applications, many dropped out, and the county has a little more than 40 applications.

County officials asked for an extension in the application process; however, when the GLO looked at the information, it was determined the county would never spend the full $11 million, but $8.8 million only, which includes demolition, Faulkner said.

The GLO wanted to revise the contract and put the funds back into the grant pool.

“The request came from the GLO, not us,” Faulkner said. “They won’t release funds until contracts are signed, and cannot get more applicants since the deadline has passed.”

Commissioner Mark Nettuno said the county was giving back $2.9 million; Commissioner David Brandon added that the county can’t reapply for returned money.

In other business, the court:

•approved another $10,000 for overtime for jailers until positions are filled;

•approved the purchase of software which will link certain county offices;

•proclaimed Feb. 23 and Deputy Constable Neil Adams Day;

•accepted the resignation of Precinct 4 Constable Alvin Wyatt;

•appointed Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Brian Cosme as constable to replace Wyatt;

•approved a memorandum of understanding with the Shepherd Police Department for communications;

•approved designating county equipment as salvage;

•approved a lot split for 60 acres in the Berry Beasley Survey for the Allen Estate; and

•approved an agreement with the Texas Division of Emergency Management for office space.

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Shepherd seeks input on schedule

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SHEPHERD — Shepherd ISD administrators are seeking community input to a possible switch to a full-time 4-day week.

Because of feedback offered previously from staff, students, parents, guardians, and the community, a 4-day calendar has been created.

Administrators say the move is needed in order for the district to be competitive in the job market, as it offers an incentive that is attractive to recruit and retain quality staff, particularly since East Texas has much larger districts offering more salary than SISD can afford.

Additionally, surrounding districts have adopted 4-day instructional weeks which allow them to fill positions with highly qualified teachers, aides, bus drivers, etc.

Other benefits the schedule change offers is improved student and staff morale, improved student and staff attendance rates and a decrease in disciplinary issues.

In the future, the district will host a “hybrid” town hall-type meeting through Zoom, and a digital attendance area at SISD.

More information about the survey and 4-day weeks can be found at shorturl.at/mnqzN.

The 4-day Academic Calendar 2023-2024 Survey can be found at http://ow.ly/4U7n50N1ZAy.

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County honors fallen hero

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The family of Neil Adams stands with Sheriff Greg Capers.  Photo by Charles BallardThe family of Neil Adams stands with Sheriff Greg Capers. Photo by Charles Ballard

By Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLDSPRING One year after the tragic death of Deputy Constable Neil Adams, family, county residents and law enforcement personnel came together in honor of this local hero.

Thursday, Feb. 23, was proclaimed Deputy Neil Adams day in San Jacinto County.

The Rev. Dalton Currie offered prayers, and Sheriff Greg Capers and Constable Roy Rogers spoke about Adams to the assembled crowd.

Adams died Feb. 23, 2022, while working a second job as a security guard in PlazAmericas Mall in Houston while he was attempting to arrest a mall patron who was threatening a store employee.

While Adams and the suspect were engaged in an altercation, the suspect took Adams’ pistol and shot him.

Adams was San Jacinto County’s Environmental Officer, also served as deputy constable for Precinct 1 Constable Rogers. He started as a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Office, and then attended the Police Academy in 2012. He returned and went on patrol for the Sheriff’s Office, and in January 2020 began as the environment officer.

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