Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Commissioners begin budget process for county

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Trinity Countyseal 200By Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLDSPRING — Jail staffing and pay rates were the main topics of discussion during the first San Jacinto County Commissioners Court budget hearing on Wednesday.

Following the court’s regular meeting, Chief Tim Kean said the Sheriff’s Department needs assistance to alleviate the problem of staffing at the jail.

Kean said that there’s 25 jailer positions budgeted, but only 14 are filled; jailers are working 14-hour days 6 days a week, and it’s creating a safety situation.

“We need to hire 11 jailers, and we don’t have any resources to attract people,” he said. “Everybody else around pays more than us. We have not had a jailer application in months; nobody will apply because we don’t pay anything.”

Kean said that since the jail is bringing in close to $1 million a year for housing prisoners, that money could be dedicated to the jail; however, County Judge Fritz Faulkner said those funds go into the general fund, and since the jail budget is more than $2 million annually, they’re getting all of the income.

He proposed raising jailer pay $3.52 per hour for licensed jailers, $2.52 without. That gets things to $20 per hour for jailers.

A second option would be to hire outside staffing.

Pat Marion of Recana Secure Facilities his firm either could fully man the facility or provide assistance with hiring and retention.

“We can provide eligible applicants, get them hired and licensed, and we will take a $5,000 commission with a 30-day guarantee,” he said.

The county is opening itself up for potential litigation, or it could be shut down by the state, if it doesn’t solve its issues soon.

Kean said that while Recana did not give any specific figures, he said in previous discussions that it could cost $300,000 per month if the firm ran the jail.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner did not think that paying for another company to run the jail was a viable option.

The court took no action, but did direct Kean to have an action item regarding pay raises placed on the next agenda.

For the Elections Administrator, Vicki Shelly said that recent legislation requiring more hours to vote on the last two days of early voting will cost the county additional funds, but did not have any additional figures.

She said she wanted the county to be aware of the change for their budgeting.

In other business, the court:

•approved an interlocal agreement with NG911 Public Safety Answering Point Service;

•approved IRS tax inflation adjustments for medical reimbursement accounts to $3,050;

•approved automobile liability coverage with Texas Association of Counties;

•approved a materials hauling bid with MSR Transport;

•approved bond renewal for County Judge Fritz Faulkner;

•approved raising the credit card limits to $5,000 for Constable Sam Houston and the District Attorney’s Office, and issuing a second card to the DA;

•transferred a 12,000-pound wench to Precinct 2 Road Department;

•approved seeking bids for police vehicles; and

•took no action on changing its reimbursement policy.

  • Hits: 492

Luttrell introduces modern VA measure

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

morgan luttrell portraitSpecial to theNews-Times

WASHINGTON, D.C — Congressman Morgan Luttrell, R-Texas, introduced the Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act recently.

Luttrell, who serves as chairman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the legislation would create a universal standard for contractors to use when transmitting Disability Benefits Questionnaires.

“Veterans shouldn’t be facing roadblocks and cutting through red tape to receive the benefits they have earned from the VA,” Luttrell said. “When I speak to veterans in my district, and across the country, they always express the urgent need for more productive care.”

Luttrell said this legislation is a step in the right direction to streamline the claims process for veterans, VA employees, and veterans’ private providers.

Disability Benefits Questionnaires are standardized forms used by the Department of Veterans Affairs, private physicians, and contractors to perform disability examinations in support of a veteran’s claim for disability compensation as a result of a service-connected injury or illness.

Current practice does not require VA contractors, who perform disability exams, to submit DBQs in a format that can be easily read by the VA’s claims automation software. Additionally, there is currently no convenient online portal that a veteran’s private physician can use to submit a DBQ.

As a result, automation is more error-prone and VA employees have to manually read and input DBQs from outside providers, which contributes to the growing backlog of disability claims and results in longer wait times for disability compensation from the VA.

The Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act would create a universal standard for contractors to use when transmitting DBQs. The standard would require them to be readable by an automated program to simplify the claims process.

It also would require the VA to submit a plan for a convenient, online portal that veterans’ private physicians could use to complete DBQs. The Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act would make DBQs more convenient and useful, allowing VA employees to focus on claims processing activities that require human intervention, such as rating claims and weighing evidence, rather than menial processing tasks.

  • Hits: 305

Ribbon cut for new crisis center

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The Coldspring Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at Nixon Adult Day Care Center. Courtesy photoThe Coldspring Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at Nixon Adult Day Care Center. Courtesy photo

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadSoon our county will have its first Crisis Center for people in need of a safe place after b being in troubled situations. The Community & Children’s Impact Center acquired a house in Shepherd, and when it is remodeled will provide a valuable resource in emergency situations.

Families who have lost their homes through fire or flood, mothers with children who need to find a safe place and others, will be able to come to this new center until they can be re-situated, Brenda Myers, founder and executive director of the Impact Center, says she has had volunteers from the community come to help get the place up and running.

SAAFE House and CPS have been consulted and Brenda says they are looking for contributions to help. Office supplies, hygiene supplies, food and donations for overhead expenses will be welcome. Trained and certified staff will be there, and the house is being decorated to accommodate adults and children.

This is a huge step forward for our community. Brenda has recently helped families who lost everything to fires. The resale shop has kitted out women who have fled from dangerous relationships. This Crisis Center will be a very welcome addition for many. To contact Brenda, call at the resale shop or call her at (936) 499-2632.

•Shepherd Library held a sleepover at the library this week. Titled “Sleepover for Stuffies,” children brought their stuffed animals to spend the night. When they arrived the next morning to collect their Stuffies, they found the little rascals had got out of bed and roamed around the place, climbing all over the Time Machine which will be in use for the summer program.

Some had got into the fridge or cabinets, while others squeezed in with the books. One fell asleep over a puzzle he tried to put together. All in all, they were gathered up by their small owners and taken back home.

The sleepover was a big success. Look at the Shepherd Library Facebook page for more photos.

Director Terri says the new part-time assistant, Allison, is a huge help as are the volunteers who work there. Kudos to Alli, Misty and Johanna and all. Call the library at (936) 628-3515.

•Nixon Adult Day Center became a member of both Coldspring and Shepherd Chambers this week. The ribbon cuttings were held at the facility in Shepherd where the Center held an Open Day complete with a delicious light lunch for everyone.

The Center had closed over the COVID pandemic and opened again for adults needing a safe, comfortable and creative place to stay for the day. Friendly staff look after everyone and art classes, games and other opportunities are available for anyone who wants to take part. It is located at 931 N. Byrd Ave. and can be reached at (936) 628-1200. Ask for Manager Kim Willet.

Nurse Rachael Lee is there to serve and look after the clients. The center offers 3 meals a day, nursing service, daily activities and transportation. Services are free through these insurance providers; Amerigroup, Molina and United Health Care.

The Center appreciates community support. If you would like to volunteer, donate art and crafts supplies, school supplies, balls for football, soccer, basketball etc. Board games and landscaping equipment are also asked for.

•The SJC Dog Rescue Shelter held an adoption of Emma this week. Emma is a sweet black Labrador who found a loving family. Kevin and Susan Rogers with their son Duncan watched as Constable Sam Houston chipped Emma so she can be located if she gets lost; however, she seemed to be very happy to be going to her new home.

Constable Sam can be reached at (281) 450-9007 for more information. There are many dogs waiting for a new family at the Shelter.

•Carson Anderson asks for support for her VFD 1839 in Cleveland where she is an auxiliary. They are holding a raffle with some exceptional prizes. First is a Winchester Model 190 22LR, a Walker Mod PPK-522 handgun, a Stihl chainsaw and a custom made cornhole game.

Call Carson at (936) 653-2091 or call in at the Courthouse basement Office for Indigent Health Care. Tickets are $5 each.

Don’t forget to come out to Shepherd Independence Day Celebration on Saturday. Volleyball will be at 9 a.m., the vendors may set up around 10 a.m. with the opening ceremony with the American Legion at 1 p.m. Food, music and games throughout the day with contests and competitions and fireworks at 9 p.m.

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.

  • Hits: 345

Coldspring, Shepherd win grants

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Grants folders STOCK

Special to the News-Times

AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D., announced the Texas General Land Office approved $128,208,664 in regional mitigation funds for 19 infrastructure projects to improve streets as well as water and drainage facilities last week.

The funds were allotted to the cities of Aransas Pass, Coldspring, Corrigan, Dayton, Freeport, Hitchcock, Iowa Colony, Katy, La Marque, Palacios, Pearland, Richwood, Rosenberg, Shepherd and Texas City, and the counties of Jefferson, Liberty and Waller.

Through the Regional Mitigation Program, the GLO enabled local prioritization, which will have a tremendous impact across multiple regions.

“Locally led prioritization of mitigation projects is important because it strengthens critical infrastructure and protects communities against the impacts of natural disasters,” Buckingham said. “At the Texas General Land Office, we are not only helping those in need, but also supporting our communities as they grow.”

The city of Coldspring was awarded $631,000 for sewer system improvements, to be used for the survey, design, and construction of a sewer collection system, and upgrade its Pea Patch Lift Station.

The city of Shepherd will receive $1,964,000 for water system improvements. The project includes construction of a new water production system, water distribution lines, and drive access.

Texas GLO Regional Mitigation Program Council of Government Method of Distribution (COG MOD):

The Texas General Land Office allocated $1,166,997,000 in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Regional Mitigation Program to reduce the risks and impacts of future natural disasters.

HUD defines mitigation as activities that increase resilience to disasters and reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of loss of life, injury, damage to and loss of property, and suffering and hardship, by lessening the impact of future disasters.

HUD requires that at least 50 percent of total funds must be used for activities benefiting low- to moderate-income persons. For more information, please visit recovery.texas.gov/mitigation.

  • Hits: 451

Red Cross hosts disaster workshop

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Disaster STOCK

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The American Red Cross, in collaboration with the San Jacinto County Office of Emergency Management, is hosting a Community Disaster Workshop at the Coldspring Community Shelter.

This workshop aims to equip community members with the knowledge and resources necessary to respond swiftly and efficiently during emergencies. Attendees will gain valuable insights and have the chance to network with individuals who share a common goal of ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.

The event will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 19 at Coldspring Community Shelter, 121 Live Oak St., in Coldspring. Lunch will be provided to those who register.

A variety of important topics will be presented, including:

•understanding local hazards and their potential impacts;

•how to sign up for emergency alerts and where you can go if you need to evacuate;

•creating effective emergency plans for households and businesses;

•building emergency supply kits and maintaining essential resources;

•developing communication strategies during disasters;

•local and national volunteer organizations that provide trained volunteers and much-needed supplies, and how you can help;

•San Jacinto County peak hurricane season information, planning, and preparedness, emphasizing teamwork between local, state, and federal partners;

•volunteering opportunities with the American Red Cross; and

•Q&A session with emergency management professionals.

To secure a place at the event, fill out a registration form at https://forms.gle/1ishtyMhBjGohuHD7. Please note that spaces are limited, and registration closes on July 1.

Your presence and contribution to this workshop are vital, as a collaboration and collective action are the key ingredients to building a resilient community.

  • Hits: 332

Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /home/easttexasnews/public_html/templates/gk_news2/html/pagination.php on line 18

Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /home/easttexasnews/public_html/templates/gk_news2/html/pagination.php on line 34

Notice: Undefined offset: 2 in /home/easttexasnews/public_html/templates/gk_news2/html/pagination.php on line 34