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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Shepherd begins grant paperwork

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PaperWorkBy Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — The city of Shepherd has begun the paperwork for the $4.2 million grant, starting the process to begin work on its infrastructure.

At the regular meeting od Dec. 13, the county approved resolutions that will set signatories, provide for adherence to Civil Rights policies and all necessary startup and policy documents.

City Secretary Debra Hagler said the red tape has been cut, and the city hopes to get started.

In May, the city received $4,200,000 for its Citywide Sewer Infiltration and Inflow Mitigation Project, which will assist with ongoing drainage issues throughout the city by replacing sewer lines, replacing or reconstructing sewer manholes and raising and hardening a lift station.

The city developed a scope of work in order to qualify for the money, which is part of the Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund.

The project will encompass approximately 46,872 linear feet of sanitary sewer line replacement, trench safety, connect new main (or new manhole) to existing manhole (or existing main), main line cleanout, connect service to new main, remove existing manhole with standard manhole replacement, driveway repairs, highway and railroad bore, replace one sewer lift station, elevate and rehabilitate 18 manholes, and associated appurtenances.

In other business, the city:

•amended its manufactured home ordinance to remove a requirement for stamped engineer designs for dirt pads;

•approved the abandonment of an alleyway to allow for a property sale;

•appointed Mark Porter as Mayor Pro Tem;

•reappointed Harris Blanchette as municipal judge;

•gave the annual approval for the city’s investment policy;

•approved the city holiday schedule; and

•filled a vacancy on the EDC board with Kurt Stowers.

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Fallen officer honored

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Todd Dillon (left), Assistant District Attorney, stands with David Pfluger, Sheriff Greg Capers and  Penny McElhaney, during a ceremony that proclaimed Dec. 21, 2021, as Deputy Bryan Pfluger Day in San Jacinto County. Courtesy photoTodd Dillon (left), Assistant District Attorney, stands with David Pfluger, Sheriff Greg Capers and Penny McElhaney, during a ceremony that proclaimed Dec. 21, 2021, as Deputy Bryan Pfluger Day in San Jacinto County. Courtesy photo

County Judge Fritz Faulkner issues a San Jacinto County proclamation establishing Dec. 21 as  “Deputy Bryan Charles Pfluger Day” 

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — San Jacinto County law enforcement personnel came together last week to honor of their own, fallen in the line of duty.

Sheriff Greg Capers and Assistant District Attorney Todd Dillon  joined together to call attention to one of San Jacinto Counties beloved heroes, the late Deputy Bryan Pfluger, who on Dec. 21 two years ago gave his life in the service of the residence of this county. 

Capers said he recalls only too well the unfortunate events leading to the demise of this “unsung hero.” 

“It was late into the end of watch shift in 2019, just four days before Christmas, when Brian Pfluger was responding to a burglary call where it was reported that someone was being confronted, which heightened Pfluger’s concern for the safety and well-being of the occupants of the residence,” Capers said.

A second unit also was responding to the same call; there was an unfortunate accident between the two responding units. Pfluger’s vehicle struck the second unit while attempting to avoid a collision, which resulted in his vehicle rolling over ejecting Pfluger. 

The other responding deputy, who was unharmed, immediately called for an ambulance; EMTs arrived within minutes to a horrifying scene and began administering CPR while rushing to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Pfluger was unable to regain consciousness and subsequently passed away from his injuries. 

“Deputy Bryan Pfluger had only recently shared some of his anticipation for what was to become his young son Cadeyn’s second Christmas,” Capers said.

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Point Blank aims to curb rental nuisances

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RentalBy Tony Farkas
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POINT BLANK — A problem that arose withing the last year has spurred the Point Blank Board of Alderman on Dec. 13 to regulate short-term rentals within the city.

Beginning Jan. 1, any property used as a short-term rental, such as found through AirBNB or VRBO, will need to be licensed through the city.

Mayor Mark Wood said the ordinance was in response to complaints received over the last year regarding parties, loud noise, parking and even drug use.

“We’re trying to get complaints under control,” Wood said. “The (renters) are treating these things like resorts.”

Wood said he did not know how many vacation rentals were in the city, but the council came up with about 12, all of which must obtain licenses through the city as part of the city’s hotel occupancy rules.

“This problem appears to have grown because of COVID … up until last year this wasn’t an issue,” he said. “We want someone that’s responsible that will react quickly when there’s a problem and get it under control.”

Wood cited a recent example from the Forest Cove subdivision, saying there’s no place to park, and when there’s a party, the parking irritates the residents.

The ordinance becomes effective Jan. 1. Once licensed, violators will face fines for complaint calls.

In a separate matter, the board approved the outside audit from Carr Riggs Ingram, which showed only one item in deficiency — the inclusion of depreciation of streets, which has been fixed.

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Change does a reader good

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Café attendees dig into their orders. Courtesy photosCafé attendees dig into their orders. Courtesy photos

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — Students often get stuck in a reading rut. Either they read the same books over and over or they just do not know what to read next. 

At Shepherd Intermediate, librarian Erin Goad hosted a “book-tasting” event as a way to help her students overcome “the rut” through the discovery of new authors, genres and series. 

With the help of library aide Stacy Watson, the library team transformed their space into The Reader’s Cafe and outfitted it with cafe tables and a hearty serving of books. They also created the ideal reading environment by adding touches of soft lighting and soothing music. 

While at the cafe, students were invited to enjoy book orders served to them by the team. After which, students were given additional opportunities to discuss and trade their books with fellow table mates. 

Fifth grader Brooklyn White said she liked trading the books and even if a book wasn’t to her taste.

“I could still recommend it to a friend,” she said. 

As the event came to an end, Goad said, “This really engaged our students and introduced them to a wide array of books. Many of the books we recommend were checked out and students left the library talking about all the cool facts and characters they had just discovered.”

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Middle school band wins accolades

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121621 band

Special to the News — Times

SHEPHERD — Twelve students at Shepherd Middle School have qualified for Regional Band spots after auditioning on Dec. 7.

This is the most students the school has had qualify for the band in at least 10 years.

The band performed Saturday at Tarkington Middle School, which featured all students who qualified for the region band from Shepherd, Coldspring, Splendora, Tarkington, Trinity and New Waverly. 

Region Band qualifiers from Shepherd include:

Katelyn Solorozano — clarinet fourth chair; Alvaro Villaverde — clarinet ninth chair; Serrenity Douthitt — bass clarinet first chair; German Morales — bassoon first chair; Isabelle Hooper — alto saxophone second chair; Alexander Osorio — alto saxophone third chair; Latania Salinas — tenor saxophone first chair; Brooke Bassett — French horn first chair; Ruben Andrade — French horn third chair; Josylin Clark — trumpet sixth chair; Addyson Morgan — trumpet eighth chair; Ariel Uriegas — trumpet ninth chair; Ashlynn Hill — tuba fifth chair.

Alternate was Wyatt Evans — percussion.

• On Dec. 6, members of the Shepherd High School Band auditioned for Regional Band.

Qualifiers who also are area-bound are:

Ashley Gonzalez — oboe second chair; Bryce Myers — bassoon first chair; Marsybeth Manjarrez — alto third chair; Ronnie Charles — fourth chair; Cole Russell — French horn sixth chair; Trinity West — tuba sixth chair.

Qualifiers are:

Marcelino Beiza — alto fifth chair; Angela Burns — trumpet 10th chair; Eddy Cantera — trumpet 13th chair; Jose Beiza — trombone ninth chair; Ethan Skinner — flute 11th chair; Josie Gallardo — clarinet 15th chair; William Hollingsworth — tuba ninth chair

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