Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

San Jacinto County News - Breakout

HOSA students hold blood drive

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

A COCISD student donates blood during a drive organized by the Health åof America group at the school. Courtesy photoA COCISD student donates blood during a drive organized by the Health åof America group at the school. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Health Occupations Students of America organized and ran a blood drive on Aug. 30.

The event was held in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.

The community and COHS staff and students gathered together to donate 63 units of blood, which amounts to up to 185 lives saved.

Kaitlin Cook, Health Science Instructor, said the district is incredibly thankful that these individuals took the time out of their day to come save a life.

“I believe it shows what selfless and inspiring students we have in our district,” she said.

  • Hits: 189

Congressman to hold regular meetings

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadState Rep. Ernest Bailes held a breakfast meeting on Aug. 28 at his office in Shepherd. Elected officials from the area were invited for coffee and kolaches and everyone had a chance to speak about their area and what was happening there.

Questions and answers as well as an exchange of information made this a really good gathering. Ernest Bailes liked the outcome so much he suggested we do it on a regular basis.

He said he was pleased at being able to ask officials from each precinct, including Sheriff Greg Capers and Emergency Manager Coordinator Emmitt Eldridge, for how he could help us.

Thanks to Ellie Berry, assistant to Bailes, for taking the photo of the occasion.

•Coldspring Chamber of Commerce will hold their next quarterly lunch on September 19 at noon at Coldspring High School. Lunch will be provided by their Culinary Department.

Seating is limited and you must register beforehand, there will be no walk-ins, and the cost is $13 in advance. President Barbara Justice will give the State of the Chamber address. Call (936) 653-2184 to register. The students always produce wonderful meals, this is a lunch to remember.

•The City of Shepherd has a Police Chief and two additional full-time officers who form Shepherd Police Department, which is housed in the old City Hall building. Chief Clint Headley has also formed a group of reserve officers to help cover the area 24 hours.

Constable Ray Atchley is still on the job, he is part of the Sheriff’s Department, while Chief Headley serves the City of Shepherd only. There will be a swearing-in ceremony of all the officers on Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Shepherd Community Center.

As a sign that police work is not all about catching the bad guys, Clint recently found a homeless man sleeping in a ditch. After checking the old man had no warrants or ever been in trouble, he took him to the Star of Hope Shelter in Houston.

•Guess who showed up at Shepherd Library? After making an appearance at Coldspring Library, Dolly Parton came to bring attention to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Well, not the flesh and blood Dolly but a life-size cutout of her. She still made everybody happy with her smiling face.

The books sent to the children each month are specially chosen to encourage their interest in books and reading. Different authors, carefully vetted, have written books for each age group. Parents read the stories to their little ones and gradually the children want to learn to read for themselves.

Call your local library for details. The program is doing well and has 181 children from 0-5 years old registered since the program started here last year.

Call Shepherd Library at (936) 628-3515 or Coldspring Library at (936) 653-3104.

•Brenda Myers and her team are organizing a fundraiser for the future Impact Emergency Crisis Center in Shepherd. This Center will house for up to 30 days those in crisis. This could be a family who lost their home to fire, something which has happened at least twice in recent history.

Mothers with children who are seeking help from an abusive situation are also examples of those who will be helped when this Center is opened. The ‘BBQ Cook-Off Boo Bash Benefit’ will take place on Oct. 20-21 at the Shepherd Community Center.

DJ Joe LeBlanc will create the perfect atmosphere as always with his music and Jon Dameron with the Awesome Bootleg Country Band will rock the house. Apart from the Boo Bash BBQ Contest, there will be a Wicked Witch Chili Cook Off and a Dracula’s Kiss Cocktail Contest.

For more information go to the Facebook page for the Impact Center or call Brenda at (936) 499-2632.

•I love to introduce people to our readers who serve our state or county but are rarely recognized for their work. Betty Russo is a hard-working regional representative for the Office of The Governor of the State of Texas.

Her area is economic development and tourism. She covers 49 counties on the Gulf Coast and East Texas. You can imagine this means she does a lot of driving. She holds workshops and gives talks as well as communicating with the many organizations who need information and help in these areas.

Betty lives with her husband in Coldspring. Their grown children are close, and the younger son is building his own plane. They have three grandsons. They moved there in 1996 and her first job in this county was with the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce as the office manager.

She moved into the economic development of our area when she was doing this job and went to Polk County EDC and from there, she worked her way to the Office of the Governor.

Betty says she loves her job. She meets many interesting people and the aim is to create incentives for businesses and tourism. This includes work with the Film Commission who need places to film their shows, documentaries, etc. Betty is the most interesting person to talk to and she has a wealth of knowledge of this part of our state. It was a pleasure talking to her.

The new phone number for Shepherd Chamber of Commerce is (210) 995-7420. The old number is phased out.

Contact the Shepherd Chamber at (210) 995-7420 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: 259

Two honored for academics

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Kelvin Hernandez received the National Hispanic Recognition Award and Thomas Barton garnered the National Rural and Small Town Award. The two are Shepherd High School students. Courtesy photoKelvin Hernandez received the National Hispanic Recognition Award and Thomas Barton garnered the National Rural and Small Town Award. The two are Shepherd High School students. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

SHEPHERD — Students Thomas Barton and Kelvin Hernandez of Shepherd High School earned academic honors from the esteemed College Board National Recognition Programs.

These programs celebrate students’ hard work in high school and showcase their strong academic performance.

The academic honors for rural area, Black, indigenous, and/or Latino students are an opportunity for students to share their strong academic achievements and, in turn, capture the attention of colleges and scholarship providers actively seeking to embrace a diverse pool of talents.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our students and recognize them for the great work they’ve been doing. We’re proud of their strong academic performance in the classroom and on College Board assessments like the PSAT” said Tomell Walton, the SHS Academic Dean. “There’s so much that makes our students unique, and receiving this honor reinforces this as an asset for their future.”

The criteria for eligible students include having a GPA of 3.5 or higher; PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10 percent of assessment takers in each state for each award program or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade; and they must attend school in a rural area or small town, or identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino, or Indigenous/Native.

Eligible students are invited to apply during their sophomore or junior year and are awarded at the start of the next school year in time to share their achievements in high school as they plan for the future. At the same time, colleges and organizations using College Board’s Student Search Service can connect directly with awardees during the recruitment process.

  • Hits: 392

$18M budget approved

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

coldspring Sports logoBy Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees approved its 2023-24 budget at its Aug. 28 meeting, one that includes a lower tax rate.

The new tax rate will be .7823, or $78.23 per $100,000 valuation on property within the district. By comparison, last year’s tax rate was .9221.

According to figures provided by the district, on an average home worth $220,000, the new tax rate will mean a savings of approximately $480.

The total revenue for the district, based on its approved budget, is expected to be $18,152,609, while its expenditures are expected to be $19,951,606.

In other business, the board:

•approved its annual commit fund balance;

•approved San Jacinto County Extension Agent Michelle Moss as an adjunct professor;

•approved the student and employee handbooks, and updates to board policy;

•approved the district development plan;

•approved an optional flexible school day program, which is aimed at dropout prevention;

•approved a district facility use program, such as gym and fields;

•appointed a committee for facilities assessment, preparing the district for any future growth; and

•extended Superintendent Bryan Taulton’s contract to July 2026.

  • Hits: 338

Sept. 1 sees new laws go into effect

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive


The Texas Tribune

AUSTIN — More than 770 new laws passed by the Texas Legislature this year went into effect Friday, impacting everything from health care and education to public safety.

Sept. 1 is the traditional start day for laws passed during a regular legislative session, though some can have their effective date delayed in order to be fully implemented and bills passed by a two-thirds margin can go into effect immediately.

Here’s a look at some of the big ones:

•New school safety requirements: House Bill 3 requires an armed officer at every school campus in Texas and mental health training for school staff that interact with children. The armed person can be either a peace officer, a school resource officer, a school marshal or a school district employee, according to the law. School districts that can’t meet this requirement can claim a “good cause exception” but must find an alternative plan.

The law, passed in the first legislative session after the school shooting in Uvalde, also gives the Texas Education Agency more authority over school districts to establish robust active-shooter protocols. Those that fail to meet the agency’s standards could be put under the state’s supervision.

The state will give each school district $15,000 per campus and $10 per student, a figure that many school officials say isn’t enough. In addition, lawmakers have allocated $1.1 billion to the TEA to administer school safety grants to the state’s more than 1,000 school districts.

•Limiting the power of big cities: House Bill 2127 prevents cities and counties from enacting local laws that go further than what’s allowed under broad areas of state law. The Republican-backed law is the culmination of a years-long effort to rein in progressive policies in the state’s bluer urban areas.

Supporters say the law is needed to provide businesses with relief from a growing patchwork of local regulations. Critics say it kneecaps local officials’ ability to govern and does away with much-needed local ordinances like mandatory water breaks for construction workers.

Cities have already sued to block it, and a Travis County judge has found it to be unconstitutional. But the law was still allowed to go into effect. Its full impact — what it allows cities to do and what it blocks — will be decided in the courts in the coming months and years.

•Redefining fentanyl deaths: House Bill 6 classifies overdoses from fentanyl as “poisonings,” which means any Texan who provides someone with a fatal overdose of the opioid could face a murder charge. The measure is part of a series of new laws aimed at the opioid crisis in the state, many of which seek to get tough on people who are selling or illegally importing fentanyl.

•Addressing the power grid: House Bill 1500 changes aspects of how electricity can be bought and sold on the state’s main power grid, with an aim toward getting more on-demand power such as natural gas-fueled power plants built.

Changes include creating a financial tool, known as an ancillary service, that will pay power generators that can produce power within two hours and run for at least four hours to help smooth out supply during high-demand times; requiring new power producers that connect to the grid starting in 2027 to be prepared to produce a set amount of power during times of high demand; and requiring companies to pick up the tab for building new transmission lines that connect power generators to the grid if costs go above a certain amount.

•Targeting “rogue” district attorneys: House Bill 17 allows the courts to remove district attorneys for official misconduct if they choose not to pursue certain types of crimes. The Republican priority legislation was pushed as a way to rein in progressive prosecutors who had spoken out against pursuing abortion-related or election crimes. The law will also likely restart marijuana prosecutions in several counties.

•Restricting trans athletes in college sports: Senate Bill 15 prohibits transgender athletes from competing on college teams that match their gender identity. The law extends an existing restriction on K-12 athletes that requires students to play on a team that matches their sex assigned at birth.

•Regulating sexually explicit performances: Senate Bill 12 aims to restrict certain drag shows and other performances from being shown in front of children. But a federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked it from being enforced, saying it likely violates the First Amendment.

A final judgement is expected from the judge in the coming weeks. Texas is likely to appeal the decision. The law aims to criminalize businesses that host sexually explicit shows and performers who wear certain prosthetics and dance suggestively in the presence of minors.

•Restrictions on transition-related care for children: Senate Bill 14 prohibits transgender youth from receiving puberty blockers and hormone therapy. Medical professionals who prescribe these two transition-related treatments, used to treat gender dysphoria and alleviate associated mental health issues, will lose their license to practice. The law is being challenged in court.

•Changes to university tenure policy: Senate Bill 18 solidifies university tenure policies into state law, placing more power over tenure approval and dismissal policies in the hands of lawmakers rather than individual university systems. The law does not go as far as the original legislation, proposed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, to eliminate tenure at all public universities.

•Assistance to rural sheriff’s offices: A priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Senate Bill 22 allocates $330 million in support for rural sheriffs, in return for hiking the pay for sheriffs, deputies and prosecutors. A grant-based system monitored by Texas’ comptroller will determine eligibility by a county’s population size.

•Banning COVID-19 mandates: Senate Bill 29 bans the state from enacting mask mandates, vaccine mandates or business and school closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In 2020 and 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott imposed these restrictions at the urging of U.S. and world health officials as a way to rein in the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and protect particularly vulnerable Texans from contacting the virus.

Many conservatives opposed the restrictions, saying they were needless or overused. The new law makes exceptions for certain entities, such as prisons, hospitals and assisted living centers or nursing homes.

•Creating a new business court: House Bill 19 will create a new judicial district with jurisdiction to hear cases involving businesses across the state, as long as the value for actions being disputed exceeds $10 million. The judges for the district will be appointed by the governor and serve two-year terms.

Supporters of the bill said it would help reduce court backlogs, ensure that judges hearing business cases have expertise on complex civil business litigation and help Texas maintain its economic strength. Opponents argued that the Republicans who dominate the Legislature passed the bill as a way to allow businesses to avoid having their cases heard by judges in big cities who are elected by Democrats.

The bill became law on Sept. 1, but it will take another year for the court to get started.

•Speeding up housing developments: House Bill 14 allows third-party review of building applications if cities and counties fail to issue building permits within 15 days. The law is intended to speed up the local development process to build homes and apartments more quickly. Studies show that longer regulatory processes for housing permits drive up home prices and rents.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/08/31/new-texas-laws-september-2023/.

  • Hits: 670