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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Hunters win contest

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Special to the News-Times

Area youth hunters received awards in the annual Tu-MiIe Sportsmen’s Association Big Buck contest.

The association supports youth outdoor activities in Walker, Trinity, Grimes, Madison, Houston, Polk, and San Jacinto counties. 

In the last five years, the association has donated more than $200,000 in outdoor sporting equipment and scholarships to more than 600 youth participants. 

The 2021 Big guck Contest awarded over S20,000 in cash and prizes this year. 

• Grand Prize Winner of a 2021 Polaris 450: Scott Whitehead of Richards 

• Largest Buck and Trinity County Champion ($1,500): Joe Sinski with a 158 B.C. 

• Ladies Division and Grimes County Champion ($1,000): Kerri Gilchrist with a 139 7/8 BC 

• San Jacinto County Champion ($500): William Boyce with a 155 3/8 BC 

• Madison County Champion ($500): Brandon Wood with a 120 6/8 BC

• Largest High Fence ($500): Garland Spivey with a 201 5/8 BC 

• Largest 8-point Buck ($500): Jake Dixon with a 143 BC 

In the Youth Division: 

• Boys Largest Buck and Walker County Champion ($1,000)• Colton Harding with a 1477 BC 

• Girls Largest Buck ($500): Mackenzie Dixon with a 102 5/8 

• Boys Largest First Buck (.243 Ruger American Rifle): Nathan Garner with a 111 7/8 BC 

• Youth Drawing: Benjamin Wells of Montgomery, .243 Ruger American Rifle 

Special thanks to Jimmy and Shawn Harding of Walker County Hardware for serving as the contest’s main registration headquarters. 

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Honoring the country

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Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Senior Harllie Davis recited the award-winning essay she submitted for the VFW Voice of Democracy competition at the VFW Post 1839 awards banquet in Cleveland on Friday, Feb. 25.Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Senior Harllie Davis recited the award-winning essay she submitted for the VFW Voice of Democracy competition at the VFW Post 1839 awards banquet in Cleveland on Friday, Feb. 25.

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Senior Harllie Davis has been awarded the 2022 Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy scholarship by Cleveland’s VFW Post 1839. 

The Voice of Democracy Program has been the VFW’s premier scholarship program since its inception in 1947. Each year students compete at the post, district, state, and national levels by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. This year’s theme was “America: Where do we go from here?”

Accompanied by COCISD College, Career & Military Readiness Counselor Kathryn Pedigo, Davis recited her award-winning entry at the Post’s awards banquet on Feb. 25, where she was presented with the scholarship. 

“Harllie has worked tirelessly since the beginning of her senior year to find financial resources to help fulfill her dream to attend college,” Pedigo said. “I’m very proud of her!”

Davis plans to attend Sam Houston State University in the fall. 

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Walking in bigger shoes

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Coldspring Intermediate fifth-grader Isabel Sanchez learned what a day in the life of a school principal is like on March 24.  Courtesy photo by Paula McClendonColdspring Intermediate fifth-grader Isabel Sanchez learned what a day in the life of a school principal is like on March 24. Courtesy photo by Paula McClendonSpecial to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Coldspring Intermediate School fifth-grader Isabel Sanchez learned what a day in the life of a school principal is like on March 24. 

CIS Principal Paula McClendon said the principal-for-the-day experience is one of the incentives students may purchase using points they acquire by reading books in the Accelerated Reading program. There are a variety of options available for purchase with the points, and students really look forward to saving up for their choice of treasure. 

“Isabel used some of her AR points to purchase a Principal of the Day coupon,” said McClendon. “During her day she visited James Street Elementary to read to students and worked with JSE/CIS Library Aide Betty Hopson at the book fair.” 

She was also able to participate in classroom “walkthroughs” to observe teachers in action, just like a real principal. The entire experience was a great way to find out what a career as a campus administrator might be like.

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Personnel, county residents plead for Sheriff Office pay raises

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — Sheriff Greg Capers, as well as most of this department, along with county residents, put forth an impassioned plea to the San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court on March 23 for more pay, as Capers said his staffing levels have dropped significantly and is creating an emergency situation in the county.

Charissa Arizpe, a resident of the county, said that in her eyes, heroes are first responders, the military, veterans and single moms, but she is deeply concerned about the state of the Sheriff’s Office.

“We are in incredibly dangerous times, and the very heart of our nation is under attack,” she said. “Law enforcement is the first line of defense.”

Arizpe said that staffing issues have been a problem for a long time, and pay levels are at the heart of it. She cited two deputies that recently left employ because of higher wages at the Coldspring-Oakhurst school system.

“I would say today that we are in an emergency situation that calls for immediate action,” she said.

She also said that consideration of raises comes at the right time, since the county begins budget deliberations in May.

“We can all agree that the safety of human life should be at the top of the county’s priority list,” Arizpe said. “The county has grown 10.62 percent since the last census, and we have failed to meet that grown with providing suitable members of law enforcement.

“In short, we have been measured and found wanting,” she said.

Arizpe pointed to the recent shooting death of Deputy Neil Adams, who was killed while working a second job to make ends meet.

“How is it that men and women in this county are asked to work in an area that involves life and death for pay that is the equivalent of working at Hobby Lobby?” she asked.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that the county doesn’t give raises in the middle of the budget year, but is considering using grant funds for raised. He also said that when raises are given, they’re usually given to all employees, not just one department. 

As he was about to be questioned, Faulkner denied any more comment from Arizpe, saying she had her turn.

Capers said that as of last week, he is down 20 positions; Faulkner pointed out that the sheriff has the positions, just no applicants. However, Capers said that pay scales at other entities has made it extremely difficult to hire new employees and keep existing ones.

“We’re in an emergency right now,” he said. “Our jail can technically be shut down because we don’t have the correct manpower.”

County Commissioners to a man commiserated with the crowd, even asking them if they had complained to the school board about what they’ve done in hiring away deputies and having a tax rate that supports it.

County resident Sheena Bass told commissioners that was beside the point.

“Don’t talk about things that shouldn’t be talked about,” Bass said. “Talk about what we’re requesting for our police force, for our families, for our children, for their protection.”

While no action was taken on a motion by Commissioner Donnie Marrs pushing a $2,000 raise, Faulkner said they will have to seek an opinion from the Attorney General on whether the county can spend its money as they see fit.

In other business, the county:

•approved transferring $156,250 in grant funds to PB&SC Water for improvements;

•tabled a vote on an engineer for construction of a new Sheriff’s dispatch office;

•approved Langford Engineers for administration of a hazard mitigation grant;

•approved hiring Bleyl Engineering for work on the hazard mitigation grant;

•approved designating a printer as surplus;

•approved the rehire of Charles Doughtery for the SJCSO;

•approved amending buyout guidelines to use pre-Harvey valuations;

•tabled a request for funds for the Trinity County Food Bank; and

•approved $4,256 for underground electrical service to be run to a proposed animal control center.

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Miracles - High schoolers become angels

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The Lady Pirates and their charges gather for a game.The Lady Pirates and their charges gather for a game.

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — The Lady Pirates pulled off a miracle on the mound, but not during a game.

The “Mound Miracles” team consists of players that may never otherwise have the opportunity to feel what it’s like being the one on the field getting cheered for. 

Shepherd ISD, the Shepherd community, and the Shepherd Youth League have come together to make sure every child is awarded the opportunity to be included. All people, including those with a disability, have value and are respected and welcomed. 

Shepherd Intermediate School Assistant Principal De Richardson and her husband, Justin, have not only brought this opportunity to the district, but have been the best coaches these kids could ask for. We hope this sets the foundation for many, many more years to come.

Shepherd ISD would like to give a big thank you to the Shepherd High School varsity softball team and Coach Suzon Martin and her staff for coming to help out with the Shepherds Youth League-Angel Division.

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