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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Spending the day with the government

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San Jacinto County residents visit the Capitol. Courtesy photoSan Jacinto County residents visit the Capitol. Courtesy photo

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadLast week was a busy week for both Chambers of Commerce. Board members had been invited by State Rep. Ernest Bailes to visit the Capitol in Austin.

The day began with breakfast in Bailes’ office where we met others from our county. Both political parties were represented and family members were also included.

Our Sheriff and District Attorney also were there, and both had visited before and knew their way around the Capitol, which is a beautiful building although it stretches for miles.

Sen. Charles Schwertner gave us all lunch which we had in the Members Lounge. He spoke about the history of the building and both he and Bailes talked about how the Legislature got things done. The talks were informative, sometimes humorous , and questions were encouraged.

We had three other talks from a lobbyist for the construction industry, the director of the Governors Opportunities Office and a CEO from the Temple Foundation. Each gave insight into their field of expertise. We learned that our state needs more housing for the continual influx of people from other states. We heard how to volunteer for the various opportunities on the many state boards and then how to apply for a grant for assistance in the field of children’s literacy, numeracy and health.

A tour of the Capitol and gift shop came next, and we had a visit with Bailes to the Chamber where he has his seat. There were two photo ops during the day and then it was time to come home. Both Chamber presidents were present — Barbara Justice for Coldspring and myself for Shepherd — with members of our boards attending too.

It was a very special day which included us being presented with Senate Resolution No. 151, which proclaimed Feb. 16 as San Jacinto County Day. This was a celebration of the gathering in Austin of residents and business leaders of our county. The one I received will be displayed in Shepherd City Hall after the next Council meeting.

One final word on the day. The traffic in Austin is, in my opinion, worse than Houston, due mainly I think to the rapid growth of the city and the need to expand most highways to accommodate the traffic. Hopefully it will improve once the road works are completed.

•Shepherd Chamber held a ribbon cutting for Daiquiri to Go on Saturday. There are so many flavors to the daiquiris, and food is also available. This building is also part of the Family Restaurant located at 2700 S. Byrd in Shepherd. Call (346) 988-5059 for more information.

•I was very fortunate to have some time talking to our Sheriff recently. Most people know him as the chief law enforcement officer in our county, but I like to show our readers that we have some remarkable people in our area who are much more that a title in the newspaper.

Greg Capers says he comes from a family with a strong presence in law enforcement. His wife, father, uncle, cousins were or are all peace officers. But apart from being immersed in it most of his life, he also loves the country, keeps cows and horses and when he had time, coached softball and baseball teams of young people.

His memories of his own youth, sleeping on his grandmother’s porch with four or five of her quilts were he said, “some of the best night’s sleep I’ve had.” Though he grew up in Spring, the trips to this area bred a strong love of our county and he started work at 18 with TDCJ at the Ellis Unit.

He rode a horse as a field boss at 19 years old and then decided to make the law his life. He knows it’s an all-day, all-night job, but he still has time for his family. His two daughters are both dedicated to their work, and he has two grandchildren and another is on the way.

Greg Capers leads a full, active and at times a dangerous life but he loves his it. Thank you, Sheriff, for giving me some time during your busy day.

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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Overtime extension sought

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — San Jacinto County’s jail Capt. Denise Bradshaw gave the County Commissioners’ Court an update on jail staffing, and asked for some more funding at a recent meeting.

Bradshaw said the jail still is short five people to be fully staffed; however, the night shift is fully covered and no overtime would be needed, but the day shift still needs manpower.

She also said that prisoners from Trinity County have brought in $122,000 for November and December; the current jail population is 119 out of a 136 capacity.

The county previously approved $10,000 for overtime as an incentive to keep jailers hired while attempting to fill the ranks; however, the court could not act since the item came up in public forum instead of as an agenda item.

In other business, the commissioners:

•denied amending criminal court jurisdiction to allow county judges to hear misdemeanor criminal cases;

•appointed members to the SJC Emergency Services District;

•approved payment for ballistic shields, which will be reimbursed 100 percent through a grant;

•approved agreement for tracking services for the Affordable Care Act;

•approved a variance on a two-acre tract of land in the Isaiah Kerby Survey;

•declared computer items as salvage;

•approved David J. Waxman Inc. as grant administrator for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for roadwork. The grant has a $75,000 county match, and administration services will run $35,000;

•approved an agreement with the city of Shepherd for its police department to use Sheriff’s Department radio system;

•approved the purchase of a Komatsu motor grader to replace a grader that was returned;

•approved a lot split in the Fostoria Subdivision;

•set April 14-15 as days for collection of tires;

•amended the mileage reimbursement policy; and

•approved a contract with Rebel Contractors for grinding and stabilization of roads.

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Shepherd discusses calendar

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The Shepherd seventh-grade girls basketball team placed in consolation in the district tournament. Photo by Tony FarkasThe Shepherd seventh-grade girls basketball team placed in consolation in the district tournament. Photo by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — After a year under a hybrid schedule to determine if a four-day week is viable, the Shepherd ISD Board of Managers is considering whether to keep it at four days or to return to a regular five-day schedule.

Superintendent Jason Hewitt said during Thursday’s board meeting that a recent survey commissioned by the district had 435 responses from staff members, parents, students and community members, and offered three calendars to choose from.

However, Hewitt said the board may want to discuss the matter more, and possibly even send out another poll.

He did say that some things to consider are the fact that Shepherd is surrounded by school districts that have moved to a four-day week in order to attract and retain quality teachers, which means Shepherd could possibly lose teachers.

“We have 14 classes covered by folks in the NSpire Program, or by paraprofessionals and long-term substitute teachers,” Hewitt said. “My fear is that since 85 percent of the people working here drive into Shepherd, we could lose teachers.”

Hewitt also said that how they pay teachers is helpful, since at this time they pay more that surrounding districts, but a four-day district closer to a staff member would be just as attractive.

Board President Yvonne Johnson said that it was important for the district to make sure parents are surveyed; she has children attending school as well, and understands both sides of the issue.

The board will study the matter, and could at a later date schedule committees for further discussion.

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Local youth scrambles to the win at Fort Worth Stock Show

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Layla Howton picked up a calf in the annual Calf Scramble. Courtesy photoLayla Howton picked up a calf in the annual Calf Scramble. Courtesy photo

Special to theNews-Times

FORT WORTH — Layla Howton, a member of San Jacinto County 4-H, caught a calf during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo’s Calf Scramble on Feb. 1, earning a $500 purchase certificate for a show heifer and the chance for up to $16,000 in scholarship awards.

Howton’s parents are Amber and Jackie Howton of Shepherd. Her award was sponsored by Peter and Kristen Martin.

Howton will use the purchase certificate toward the cost of a heifer that she will raise and exhibit at next year’s Stock Show. Exhibitors that submit monthly reports and a final essay may be eligible for scholarship awards that can range between $500 and $16,000.

One of the Stock Show’s most iconic and popular events, the Calf Scramble gives 20 students an opportunity to catch 10 calves during one of 23 performances of the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo held Jan. 13 through Feb. 4.

Those not catching calves receive a pair of Justin Boots courtesy of the iconic Western footwear maker. Justin Boots and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are overall underwriters for the legendary Calf Scramble Program.

Since the Fort Worth Calf Scramble began in 1987, the program has distributed almost $4 million to nearly 8,000 Texas students providing funds for the purchase of their beef or dairy heifer and more than $3.6 million in scholarships has been awarded to more than 1,600 students in recognition of their hard work and completion of the program.

With rodeo in Dickies Arena, livestock shows, equestrian competitions, shopping, food, carnival midway and more, the scene at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is the place to be every January and February. Come be a part of the western lifestyle experience that’s tightly woven into the fabric of Fort Worth – January 12 through February 3, 2024. Go to www.fwssr.com or follow on social media @fwssr.

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Garden Club gets hands on help at high school

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Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Garden Club visited Coldspring-Oakhurst High School on Feb. 2.

The group enjoyed a tour of the Ag Facilities and a hands-on experience of what goes on in the high school CTE classrooms.

Students in Advanced Floral Design paired with 20 members of the Garden Club for a tour of the high school facilities. The visitors were introduced to the Coldspring FFA Chapter and learned more about the program from the Coldspring FFA Officer Team and were each able to participate in the creation of a Bud Vase arrangement to take home.

Students in Advanced Floral Design assisted them step-by-step through the process and answered any questions they had along the way.

Floral Design Instructor Ashlie Taylor said the garden club members were impressed with the courses offered to COHS students and the skills that are being taught in the floral design program.

“They were very grateful for the opportunity, loved their flowers, and said they looked look forward to another chance to tour our greenhouse later in the spring,” Taylor said.

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