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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

County commissioners extend burn ban

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062622 burn ban extended

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court extended a burn ban for another 30 days at its regular meeting on Wednesday.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said he issued a burn ban for a week, which expired, and then the next day after consulting with the fire marshal it was extended for another week; however, the county had receiv ed a little bit of rain.

Commissioner Donnie Marrs, echoing sentiments from all commissioners, said the little rain they’ve had isn’t enough to make a difference.

Faulkner was hopeful, however, saying that historically speaking, when the county passes a burn ban, it usually rains.

In other business, the county:

•approved creating a permit process for utility companies boring under county roads;

•approved an agreement with the UTMB regional WIC program for office space;

•approved a resolution authorizing the Texas Department of Agriculture Texans Feeding Texans home-delivered grant program, in the amount of $12,000;

•approved an $8,500 settlement agreement with Vivian Smith for damages done from a tree falling from county land on a trailer she owned;

•approved hiring former DPS Trooper Michael Lyons as a reserve deputy;

•approved the purchase of a motor and valve body for a patch truck in the amount $30,562.77;

•approved the subdivision revision in the Bay Hill area of the Waterwood subdivision;

•approved a late bid for laydown work and asphalt work from Washburn Paving;

•approved a $1,000 donation from Best Friends for the animal control center;

•tabled discussion regarding the passing of an animal control ordinance;

•approved the purchase of a maintainer for Precinct 1 Road and Bridge for $317,440.16;

•approved the declaration of desks and computer equipment as salvage; and

•approved $45,000 in America Rescue Plan Act funds for work on the county animal shelter.

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City moves forward on chief position

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Police GraphicBy Tony Farkas

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SHEPHERD — After a non-attended public hearing on establishing a City of Shepherd Police Department, the Shepherd City Council moved forward by approving the department and the creation of a chief of police position.

City Clerk Debra Hagler said the city is planning to have the department staffed and in operation by Dec. 1. 

Additionally, she said a new police chief should be hired and appointed at the November meeting.

The city does own a police vehicle, and already has purchased a lot of the necessary equipment but is looking to purchase a second vehicle. Hagler said it’s just a matter of dealing with the red tape to get Texas Commission on Law Enforcement approval.

Council Member Yvonne Cones expressed concern about funding, but the city has the funds budgeted, Hagler said.

In other business, the council:

•approved an ordinance denying Entergy Texas’s intent to change rates;

•approved submitting a grant application to the Texas General Land Office for the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Regional Allocation Program for water system improvement project;

•tabled a road maintenance request from Shantal Pope at 2400 E. Beverly for more information;

•approved a request from Cassandra Schaver to allow the Drill Team to use the Community Center for a fundraiser on Dec. 9 for four hours with fees to be waived;

•took no action on requests from Augusto Estrada to have an RV on his property, and a manufactured home variance request from Hershel Ebarb;

•tabled a discussion on a request from Lisette Gaytan to install a 1993 Single Wide Wingate on her property for more information;

•approved a request from Johnny Watson to install temporary RVs on his property to house a team of security people to protect his business that has been burglarized three times within a weeks’ time; and

•approved the hiring of Sissy Prigmore as the Municipal Court prosecutor on an as-needed basis for a fee of $200 per month.

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County breaks ground on new center

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San Jacinto County dignitaries break ground for a new Innovation Center.  Courtesy photo by Ray McCoppinSan Jacinto County dignitaries break ground for a new Innovation Center. Courtesy photo by Ray McCoppin

SJNT staff

COLDSPRING — San Jacinto County commissioners, dignitaries and residents celebrated a groundbreaking on Thursday for a new Innovation and Emergency Operations Center.

The shelter is located at 255 Live Oak St. in Coldspring and is an Economic Development Administration/DETCOG and San Jacinto County project grant-funded Project using EDA funds, American Rescue Plan Act funds with a county match, according to information from County Commissioner David Brandon.

This is a multi-use facility that will serve as an Emergency Operation Center, ag training area, with economic development breakout rooms and broadband communications.

Brandon said that when a disaster occurs in San Jacinto County can have all the support services in one location, such as FEMA, the Small Business Administration, Workforce Solutions and many more. Resources such as Army Corps of Engineers, USFS/TFS and many other federal and state agencies will be utilizing the facility alongside congressional and legislative members and staff. 

The operational side will be separated from the shelter building for privacy and safety reasons, since residents affected by some disaster could be sleeping there. The Red Cross can set up at either location and food, water and ice distribution can be staged at the shelter leaving the EOC building and parking open for needed response and recovery services.

At the event, County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that with the help Of Lonnie Hunt, director Of DETCOG, Christi Sullivan, grant writer who prepared the original grant, and Bob Bashaw with DETCOG, who is the current grant administrator, the process was begun. 

After extensive work by the court working on the plans and trying to keep it under budget, we contracted with Timberline Constructors of Lufkin to build the building, which is a 10,000 square foot facility, Faulkner said. 

The grant includes a $400,000 county match which the county acquired from a tax note, for a total initial budget of $2 million. However, the effects of COVID and the economy has pushed the costs to $2.9 million.

The county sought the services Of Langford Community Management grant administrators in order to gain approval to utilize American Recovery Act funds to cover the budget overruns, Faulkner said.

“The project will support long-term solutions that will improve the county’s ability to respond efficiently to future disasters and help recovery efforts from the devastation Of Hurricane Harvey,” he said. “Once completed, the project will serve as the centralized disaster response center for several economic development entities and will increase regional capacity to support job retention and creation.”

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Early voting to start Monday

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SanJacEarlyVoting

SJNT staff

Early voting for the Nov. 8 general election will begin on Monday, Oct. 24, and will run through Nov. 4.

These midterm elections will be for the Texas governor and other state offices; State Senator; and for a replacement for retiring U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady of Conroe, who had represented District 8 for years.

While most local races were decided in the May primary election, there are several that will be on the ballot. San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner is facing a write-in challenge from Shirley Brandon; Shepherd Mayor Charles Minton will face Charles “Tony” Riffe; and Yvonne Ryba Cones, Hayden Irwin and Susan Daniels are vying for two at-large spots on the Shepherd City Council.

Based on redistricting, San Jacinto County is now represented by State Sen. Charles Schwertner, who also is up for re-election.

For information, contact the Election Administrator’s Office at (936) 653-5804.

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Never too early to plan for Christmas

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Coldspring Chamber held a ribbon-cutting for JLA Realty. Courtesy photosColdspring Chamber held a ribbon-cutting for JLA Realty. Courtesy photos

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadChristmas is coming. Both Chambers are organizing their events, both feature entertainment and a Parade. 

Coldspring has vendors booking their spaces around the Courthouse Square, so if you want to mark your spot, call the Chamber to reserve it. The theme for the Parade is “A Gingerbread Christmas.” Of course, everyone may choose their theme if they want to change it. Coldspring has its event on Dec. 10. Go to www.coldspringtexas.org .

Shepherd will change the venue for its event from the Community Center to Gazebo Park, which is the park beside Shepherd Library. Santa will have his place in the Gazebo and the stage area will be occupied by Karaoke Joe, our DJ Joe LaBlanc. Vendors may use the form from the website and parade entries will also find a form there. 

As a new addition we are going to form a Community Choir for Children. They will sing Christmas carols and songs at the event. If you are interested, call the Chamber number. Singers up to 14 years are welcome and there will be rehearsals on Saturdays to get the choir ready for the day, Dec. 3. We will give the dates for these soon when we have some singers. www. greater shepherdchamber ofcommerce.org .

•Coldspring held two ribbon cuttings this week. First were Jeri Bailey and Christie Davis of JLA Realty. Jeri and Christie have an office in Livingston but are locals in our county. They deal in all forms of real estate, know the area very well and are well experienced in all aspects of real estate. Call them at Christy, (281) 622-0145 and Jeri at (281) 659-5492. You can call in at their Livingston office at 137 Old Mill Center. The office number there is (936) 960-0600.

The second ribbon cutting was also for a company with the name of Davis. Darryl Davis & Son Electric LLC handle all forms of electrical work. They are local, 140 Pine Harbour Drive in Coldspring, and can be reached at (281) 622-1879. If you look at the photos of the ribbon cuttings, you will notice that Christie Davis is next to Darryl and is his wife. Two ribbon cuttings in one family in one day.

•On Oct. 19 at 9 a.m. at Coldspring-Oakhurst High School , Texas Workforce Commissioner Julian Alvarez will talk and explain about Jobs & Education for Texans. In short, JET is a program which gives grants to eligible entities, such as Texas Independent School Districts, public junior, state or technical colleges and much more. If you want to attend, call ASAP to (936) 653-1138. This will be an interesting and valuable talk for those in this field.

•Coldspring VFD ‘Fire Fest’ is set for Oct. 29 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Coldspring Shelter. This event will have a gun raffle; tattoo raffle; music and dancing; door prizes; and at 2 p.m. a Kids Costume Contest. Of course there will be a barbecue cookoff and a Silent Auction too. What a program. This is a fund raiser for the Fire Department who are also offering free fire alarm sign ups and free safety activity packets for kids. This sounds like a great event for the family.

•The SJC Democratic Party ‘Postcard Writing Committee’ met on Saturday and spent time getting their message ready to send out. 

•Last time to remind you of the Wolf Creek Car Show on this weekend Oct. 15-16. The Chamber is expecting a large crowd and has many vendors and entries for vehicles of all types. Come out and enjoy the day looking at the cars, trucks and bikes on show. Buy a fabulous T-Shirt featuring this show and enjoy food from the vendors.

• The new Animal Shelter is not open yet and the existing one is full. Some of the dogs are in perfect health and ready for a new home. One in particular is Sassy, a year-old female, spayed, vaccinated, heart worm free, vertical sweet and friendly. She weighs around 45 pounds or so. If you want to know more, call Sandra Houston at Wagging Tails Rescue at (281) 450-3676.

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 secretary of the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce.

Davis & Son Electric LLC had a ribbon cutting at Coldspring Chamber.Davis & Son Electric LLC had a ribbon cutting at Coldspring Chamber.

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