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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Eagle Scout has big plans

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081122 eagle scout big plansLt. Charles Dougherty, Chief Deputy Tim Keane and Sheriff Greg Capers stand with Ronnie Charles Jr. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — When not cracking the books in the 11th grade of Shepherd High School, Ronnie Charles Jr. can be found fishing, hiking and camping with his family, or enjoying some Gospel tunes at his local church.

At the completion of the recent Sheriff’s Achievement Award Ceremony, Ronnie told the assembled law enforcement personnel what were his plans for his obviously bright future.

The recently minted Eagle Scout said he plans to complete his undergraduate university education as a pre-med student at Mississippi State and then on to Harvard Medical where he plans to complete his MD.

After an internship and residency — perhaps at Baylor in Houston — Ronnie said he hopes to return to his hometown of Shepherd to “give back to the community of family and friends that’s originally gave so much to him over the years.”

Sheriff Greg Capers complimented the youth on his drive and determination.

“As someone who has dealt with DNA over the years, I am convinced you must come from a very high-quality parents,” he said. “I look forward to meeting them in the very near future.”

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District plans for safe school year

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081122 district plans safe school yearVolunteers help package school supplies that will be given to all students prior to the new school year. Courtesy photo

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — Safety is an important matter, but it’s a challenge that Shepherd schools will meet in the coming year.
During an online presentation last week, Superintendent Jason Hewitt said that while the school was progressing in its safety measure, it, like many other schools, became complacent in its enforcement the events in Uvalde, however, brought every district’s attention to safety.

Hewitt said the district observes five layers of school safety — emergency management, staff training, exercises, hardware/software and positive school culture. During the presentation, Hewitt outlined how the district observes each layer.

For all visitors to the different campuses, entrants must be let into the building, then present ID and be placed into a database. All classrooms will remain locked, all campus and facility gates will be locked, and SISD has partnered with DPS for providing a more visible presence, Hewitt said.

Each campus also is under a security audit, and after the events of Uvalde, the state required a door audit, which was done by the Shepherd School Police Department and the SISD maintenance staff.

Hewitt said the district also is adding cameras to entrances, security lighting at all schools, rebuilding the threat assessment team and recreating the emergency operations plan with updated policies or procedures.

All teachers and substitutes will be trained in child maltreatment responsibilities, bullying prevention, suicide awareness, food allergy management, trauma-informed care and cybersecurity. The police force has received additional training as weall, Hewitt said.

The superintendent touched on other areas of improvement, which include a new parking lot at the primary school; refinishing of gymnasium floors; high school bleachers repaired and motorized; and new intercom systems and the middle and high schools.

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Vocational programs available

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081122 vocational programs

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD offers Career and Technical Education programs of study within the agriculture, foods and natural resources, architecture and construction, arts, audio/video technology and communications, business, marketing, and finance, education and training, health science, hospitality and tourism, law and public service, manufacturing, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics career clusters
Admission to these programs is based on open enrollment.

The district will take steps to assure that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in all educational and vocational programs.

It is the policy of COCISD not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or handicap in its vocational programs, services or activities as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

For information about your rights or grievance procedures, contact the Title IX Coordinator at (936) 653-1175, by mail at 14210 State Hwy 150 West, Coldspring, TX 77331 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; and the Section 504 Coordinator at (936) 653-1178, by mail at 14210 State Hwy 150 West, Coldspring. TX 77331, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Libraries combine forces for literacy

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081122 libraries combine

Special to the News-Times

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program is available to all children of San Jacinto County.

Coldspring and Shepherd libraries have partnered with The Dolly Parton Imagination Library to benefit children in San Jacinto County, with Coldspring Library as the host coordinating site.

Any child who resides in zip codes 77331 (Coldspring), 77359 (Oakhurst), 77364 (Point Blank) and 77371 (Shepherd) and is between the ages of 0 and 5 is eligible to participate.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children, from birth through their fifth birthday
For a $25 annual donation, the county’s libraries and the Imagination Library will mail 12 books directly to a registered child’s home. The child must reside in San Jacinto County and be registered by an authorized adult.

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted more than 182 million free books in the United

States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland.

To build a strong culture of reading for young children and increase early literacy in San Jacinto County, the libraries are seeking donors to contribute to our project.

Please stop by either the Coldspring or Shepherd library to pick up an enrollment form. Donations to the program can also be made in person at the library.

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Breakfast, lunch will be free for students

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081122 free school lunch

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD once again will provide all students with free breakfast and lunch for the 2022-23 school year.
The meals again are available under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

Campuses that qualify to operate the Community Eligibility Provision provide breakfast and lunch to all children at no charge, and eliminate the collection of meal applications for free, reduced-price, and paid student meals. This new approach reduces burdens for both families and school administrators and helps ensure that students receive nutritious meals.

All COCISD campuses including James Street Elementary, Coldspring Intermediate, Lincoln Junior High, and Coldspring-Oakhurst High School will continue to participate in the CEP program.

Students who have opted to participate in one of our online learning options will also be provided free breakfast and lunch through daily curbside pick-up.

For additional information please contact Amanda Dunaway with COCISD Child Nutrition Department at (936) 653-1107 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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