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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Grant request spurs dispute

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners were at odds with County Judge Fritz Faulkner over whether the county could extend grant funds to a private company.

At its regular meeting on May 18, the court received a request from the Lake Waterwheel Property Owners Association, which operates its own water supply for its members, for a grant of $35,256.01 to repair the aging system.

However, County Judge Fritz Faulkner was unsure if that was possible, given that the POA was not technically a non-profit, since its paperwork has not been filed, and the state Constitution banned such donations in Article 3 Section 52.

Most commissioners were of the opinion that if it were legal, it should be done, but Faulkner said that the District Attorney’s Office recommended it not be granted. However, grant administrator Judy Lankford said it was possible to grant the funds.

Faulkner said that while the grant language doesn’t necessarily ban the county from giving those funds to a private company, it still says that all applicable state laws do apply.

Still, the court sought to approve it pending an attorney general’s opinion, since there would be a new District Attorney in the county very soon; an exasperated Faulkner said his children run to their mother if he says no.

“You all have precincts, but I represent everyone in the county,” he said. “I’m all for helping them if they’re a true non-profit.”

Two commissioners were going to pool what they described and “their” money, since each commissioner was allocated a portion of a $1 million grant for such purposes, but Faulkner reminded them that the money belonged to the taxpayers, not the commissioners.

Commissioner Mark Nettuno made the motion, which was seconded by Donnie Marrs, to approve the funds pending legal reviews.

All commissioners voted to approve, but Faulkner remained opposed to the request.

A similar request from the Emerald Estates POA was approved as well, with the same stipulations that I must require a written opinion.

A request Dodge-Oakhurst Water Supply for $40,000 to upgrade a well was approved.

The funds for all projects will come from the American Recovery Plan Act funds.

•approved the canvass of votes for the May 7 constitutional election;

•approved bond renewals for the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office;

•delayed a replat of the Waterwood subdivision near Bay Hill Point over tax questions, but approved one near Whispering Pines Village;

•approved the annual service contract for an HP plat machine;

•denied a request of an employee to purchase salvage items, and instead will just recycle the items;

•approved the purchase of a tilt bed trailer from Big Tex Trailer World for $13,628.49; 

•tabled the purchase of a septic system for the animal shelter building; and

•approve a quote for the lease of 7 vehicles at $37,000 per vehicle through its lease agreement with Enterprise, with Commissioner Laddie McAnnally voting against the measure.

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SJC Sheriff’s Office hosts National Police Week luncheon

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Law enforcement officials enjoy lunch.Law enforcement officials enjoy lunch.

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Sheriff Greg Capers and his command staff sponsored a luncheon for the county’s law enforcement community of SJC in celebration of National Police Week recently.

The event was in line with the week, which established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. 

“There was a clear line between good and evil and people generally looked out for one another, and law enforcement was integrated into the community. which is the objective that District Attorney-elect Todd Dillon and I will be focusing on in the very near term,” Capers said.

He went on to praise the dedication and professionalism of the people that make up the law enforcement community in SJC.

Dillon quoted John 15: -13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.” 

Both Capers and Dillon said the community can be of great help to the police by being more mindful of their surroundings. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety has estimated that 234,000 illegals have crossed the Texas border in the month of April alone and that number is likely to increase. 

“Don’t become complacent in that we do not share a border with Mexico,” Capers said. “These illegals, many of whom have prior convictions for crimes against society, will be looking for criminal opportunities right here in SJC. 

“If you see something suspicious don’t hesitate, call 911 and let us investigate,” Capers said. “Your safety and security are our highest priority.”

Sheriff Greg Capers talks with area law enforcement officials regarding statistics during the recent National Police Week luncheon. Courtesy photosSheriff Greg Capers talks with area law enforcement officials regarding statistics during the recent National Police Week luncheon. Courtesy photos

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Students shown possibilities at job fair

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Job Fair

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas coordinated with Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD’s CTE department to put on the 2022 Youth Career Summit at Coldspring-Oakhurst High School on Thursday. 

Students from both COHS and Shepherd High School attended the event.

“It was a great day. We were so honored to host this wonderful event and to provide this opportunity for our students,” said COCISD CTE Director Jeff Eichman. “Any time we can expand business and industry partnerships and collaborate with our neighboring school district, Shepherd ISD, it’s a tremendous benefit for our students and community.”

Representatives from a variety of vocations, industries, and post-secondary education and training institutions filled the high school gym and connected parking area. Students viewed and tried out equipment, chatted with vendors, and discovered a world of opportunities for life after graduation they never knew existed. 

Demonstrations were given and materials were handed out for students to get more information if they were interested in a particular field. Becoming a lineman in the energy industry was an especially popular option.

“I smile at the number of students who have come to me in the last three days because of the summit,” said COCISD CCMR Counselor Kathryn Pedigo. “It certainly stirred the pot in a good way.”

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Pirates lauded at banquet

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Head Softball Coach Suzon Martin discusses the heart of her team during the athletic banquet on May 10. Photos by Tony FarkasHead Softball Coach Suzon Martin discusses the heart of her team during the athletic banquet on May 10. Photos by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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SHEPHERD — Some bright spots, and some low spots in many sports, highlighted the 2021-22 sports year for Shepherd High School, but through it all, the biggest highlight was the Pirates’ fighting spirit.

Athletic Director Miles Robison said at the annual sports banquet on May 10 that overall, it was a great year, mostly because of the never-say-die attitudes of the players.

“We have some great kids,” he said. “We are one of the smallest schools in 4A, at the very bottom, and the last few years these kids have come out every day and given 100 percent, and that says a lot about their character.”

Since the district has some of the best athletes in the state, Shepherd faced opponents that were tough, he said. 

“It say a lot about the kids that they’ve got their tails bent the last few years and they still show up and still deal with us as coaches, as well as compete at the level they’ve been competing at,” Robison said.

Robison praised the parents, the athletes, and the administrators, as well as giving coaches credit for motivating the students.

“We had some great successes, especially in powerlifting,” Robison. Had two state champions in the event with Lain Baker and Rudy Morales.

Athletes in individual sports were given MVP awards.

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No rain delays in prayer

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The preachers offering praise during the National Day of Prayer include (back row, from left) Douglas Jackson, Dan Darby and Dalton Currie; and (front row, from left) Marianne Rayne, Phil Herrington, Charlie Lambardino and Deral Shelton.The preachers offering praise during the National Day of Prayer include (back row, from left) Douglas Jackson, Dan Darby and Dalton Currie; and (front row, from left) Marianne Rayne, Phil Herrington, Charlie Lambardino and Deral Shelton.

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Seven pastors led the crowd that braved Thursday’s storm to observe the National Day of Prayer.

The Rev. Dr. Dan Darby prayed for the federal government; Mariann Rayne from Paul Horton United Methodist prayed for the state government; Deral Shelton from New Hope Baptist prayed for the San Jacinto County government; Dalton Currie from Evergreen Baptist prayed for first responders; Douglas Jackson from Hopewell Missionary Baptist prayed for educators and the educational system; Charlie Lambardino from Bear Creek Cowboy Church prayed for all the churches; and Phil Herrington from First Baptist prayed for the spiritually lost to open their hearts to the Gospel. 

Although originally scheduled for outside, the event, which had 42 in attendance, was moved into the FBC student building due to the weather. 

Darby said they got through got out in about 45 minutes despite seven preachers praying.

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