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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Board tends to maintenance, supplies

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072822 sisd 4Teachers across the Shepherd School District participated in a mentoring program. Research-based strategies will be used to help support the new teachers in the district.

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — The Shepherd ISD Board of Managers discussed ongoing maintenance projects, the largest of which is a new parking lot for the primary school.

The update came as part of the regular meeting held Thursday.

Other projects include refinishing floors of two gymnasiums.

The district also will providing school supplies, with the exception of backpacks, to all students.

Superintendent Jason Hewitt said the supply program started last year as a response to COVID.

“When the pandemic hit, we thought this would be the best way to help out,” he said. “We had some federal funds, and earmarked that for this program.”

In other business, the board:

•discussed receipt of the Carl D. Perkins Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Federal Program grant;

•approved the student code of conduct for the new school year;

•approved T-TESS appraisers and the appraisal calendar for 2022-2023;

•approved the call for the trustee election. Hewitt said the district is governed by both a board of trustees and a board of managers, and the trustees sidelined until the district is released from its conservatorship. However, the election process still must be followed;

•approved a joint election with San Jacinto County, and appointed Elections Administrator Vicki Shelly as early voting clerk;

•approved policy updates submitted by TEA;

•approved expenses for an EDpact LLC teacher incentive allotment consultant;

•approved the quarterly financial report; and

•approved application for renewal of the district’s droupout recovery program, which allows the district to work with students during non-traditional hours to help get them a diploma.

072822 sisd 2Brooke Rhoden introduces student volunteers.

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Meal program to continue

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072822 school meal program

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — The Shepherd School District will continue with the Community Eligibility Provision meal program, providing meals to students at no cost.
The CEP is offered under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, and again for the 22-23 school year.

Schools qualifying to operate CEP serve 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 approach reduces burdens for both families and school administrators and helps ensure that students receive nutritious meals.
For information please contact Randy Milton at (936) 628-3396 ext. 4016 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Adjunct educators sought

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072822 COCISD Adjunct Educator

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD is offering a way for college graduates to become adjunct educators in the district for the upcoming school year.

If someone has a bachelor’s degree, they may become a COCISD teacher without the traditional credentials at no cost. The starting salary is $40,000 per year with a full benefits package.

Positions are available in grades pre-K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The district will provide extensive professional development and support.
Interested individuals may apply at www.cocisd.org/jobs.

For more information contact COCISD HR Coordinator Candy Yeager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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New K-9 shows worth

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072822 canine worthDuna, a narcotics dog with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, searches a vehicle. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — A San Jacinto County K-9 assisting in a crash investigation was able to expose illegal substances which led to a felony arrest.

The animal named Duna, out in the field for the first time, found drugs in a vehicle involved in a major crash on Friday.

According to Sheriff Greg Capers, deputies with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Division were on patrol on U.S. 59 in the Shepherd area, riding as a 2-man unit with Duna, a narcotics dog.

The deputies were alerted major crash on U.S. 59 just south of FM 223, and they responded to assist with the crash investigation and provide first aid.

While on the scene, the deputies assisted a trooper from the Texas Highway Patrol who was interviewing driver regarding the circumstances of the crash. The narcotics deputies began to notice inconsistencies with the driver’s story that raised their suspicion of possible illegal activity, Capers said.

Duna was deployed — for the first time on a roadside incident — and went around the exterior of the vehicle, and alerted at the open driver’s window of the vehicle, which led to an interior search. Deputies discovered a substance known to be THC wax, Capers said.

After performing field sobriety tests on the driver, who was not named, was arrested for driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance.

“I want to congratulate Duna on her first deployment on duty after being certified,” Capers said. “She is an asset to the Sheriff’s Office in an effort to combat the trafficking of narcotics in and through San Jacinto County.”

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Coldspring seeks expert to help with grants

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072122 grant expert

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council is looking for experts to help administer various city grants as well as seek more.
Mayor John Benestante said he wants to request proposals for other parties to be the administrator of these grants, such as the current American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Benestante said that grant administration is a lot of work, so the council, at its regular meeting on July 11, approve soliciting bids from five firms in the area, as well as anyone with experience that is interested in the position.

“I want to turn this over to someone who does it professionally,” he said. “This will give us some separation of duties.”

In a related matter, the city continues to use ARPA funds to extend its sewer system to FM 2025, and Benestante said the city is earmarked for another $641,000 to finish the project.

“My goal is to give everyone in town sewer service,” he said. “There is no cost difference for what the sewer plant is processing now and if it processes at 100 percent; currently, the plant is operating at 70 percent.”

In other business, the council:

•discussed two pieces of property the city has deemed nuisances have been cleaned and are finally in compliance with city ordinances;

•appointed Jennifer Manuel as alderman for Position 5, as the position was not on the last city ballot;

•accepted the 2018 and 2019 audits by Axley and Rode, which were approved with no discrepancies;

•approved a memorandum of understanding with Coldspring Youth League;

•approved salary range and qualifications for an office clerk, and the city is now seeking resumes for a person who will work 30 hours a week for a salary range of $20,000-$28,000, depending on experience;

•approved a $4,000 bid for flooring replacement in City Hall;

•approved an agreement with San Jacinto Special Utility District regarding meter reading;

•accepted a 30-foot right-of-way at EastTex Environmental from Sarah Brumley;

•discussed changing speed limits in city to 35; and

• discussed grease trap sampling requirements.

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