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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Shepherd readies to light up the sky

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July 4 STOCK

SJNT staff

SHEPHERD — Preparations are well under way for the annual Fourth of July festivities put on by the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce

This event will be outside in the park next to Shepherd Community Center, and there will be a variety of vendors inside and outside of the center. 

Events start at 1 p.m. Saturday with a flag ceremony by American Legion Post 629 and the National Anthem sung by Mike L. 

Bayou Sounds — a Zydeco Band — will play during the day, with DJ/MC Jaceen Lee keeping music in the caps. There will be a volleyball tournament, cornhole, melon-eating contests and much more, including a patriotic dress competition for adults, children and pets.

The Eagle 102.3 will broadcast live from the center, all leading up to the fireworks display at 9 p.m.

For information or to become a vendor, contact the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce at (210) 995-7420 or go to http://www.greatershepherdchamberofcommerce.org/independence-day-celebration-1.html.

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Principal to attend prestigious institute

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Special to the News-Times

062223 lottSHEPHERD — Alisa Lott, Principal at Shepherd Primary School, is among the 50 educators from across Texas the Charles Butt Foundation will sponsor to attend weeklong summer institutes at the Principals’ Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education through the Raising School Leaders program.

For this summer’s institutes, preference was given to school leaders from districts that were considered rural or had a student enrollment of less than 5,000.

Creating a space for school leaders in rural and smaller districts to find commonalities, solve problems, and build a network of support is an important component of this year’s Raising School Leaders program.

Annually, the Charles Butt Foundation sponsors educators to attend training at Harvard through the Raising School Leaders program, an initiative designed to develop stronger school leaders who will enhance the quality of education across Texas.

The Charles Butt Foundation covers expenses for the attendees including tuition, travel, hotel, and other discretionary costs for a total investment of more than $10 million since the program’s inception.

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Point Blank alderman receives censure

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Censure STOCK

By Tony Farkas
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POINT BLANK — On a 4-1 vote, the Board of Aldermen for the city of Point Blank passed a resolution to censure Alderman Gary Wulf at its June 12 meeting.

The resolution states that Wulf has “developed a negative pattern of behavior by spreading unfounded allegations against the Point Blank Volunteer Fire Department,” that he was “caught up in an endless loop of personal grievances with the VFD that could never be resolved through the City Council,” and that his behavior had resulted in the waste of city management’s time, city resources and the council’s time.

Mayor Mark Wood said in a letter to the council that the city’s handling of the PBVFD issue led to more candidates than normal, meaning the city had to bear the costs of an election which had not occurred for more than two decades. The cost of the election was $10,668.27; only 71 total votes were cast; and the cost per vote was $150.26.

Wulf, a former volunteer, was terminated as a firefighter, and since then has been critical of the VFD, bringing the matter up at a previous council meeting and asking the San Jacinto County Emergency Services District to investigate.

Wulf’s concerns centered around the VFD’s ability to respond to emergencies, finances and misapplication of bylaws.

However, Wood said the council has refused to take a position in the matter, as the VFD is its own entity not beholden to the city.

Additionally, a hearing by the ESD has shown that PBVFD has performed its duties acceptably and has not breached its fire protection agreement. The ESD also does not take a management role for fire departments.

The censure resolution states that Wulf was part of “an insubordinate group, and in violation of PBVFD directives/policies, as was distorting those violations as personal and political aggressions against himself and selected individuals.”

In other business, the council:

•swore in Aldermen Mike Pagel and Mel Basham, as well as Wood, who won re-election in May; and

•approved seeking bids to replace a roof on the city’s civic center and hired a local man to do lawn care on the facility.

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County declares disaster over immigration

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By Charles Ballard and Tony Farkas
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State Rep. Ernest Bailes swings his support for the Texas Declaration of Local Disaster at the Commissioners Court on June 14. Photo by Charles BallardState Rep. Ernest Bailes swings his support for the Texas Declaration of Local Disaster at the Commissioners Court on June 14. Photo by Charles BallardCOLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court, backed by a chorus of ayes from the more than 200 people in attendance, approved a declaration of disaster for the county based on the current border crisis.

The declaration was discussed at the Wednesday meeting of the court.

Sheriff Greg Capers said that the effects of illegal immigration include increased drug smuggling and human trafficking, as well as the recent mass killing in the south of the county.

“It amounts to an invasion of the county,” he said.

In the declaration, Capers listed that there have been 3.4 million illegal entries, and of those, 1.2 million illegals have avoided capture. Also, 108 known terrorists have been found to have crossed the southern border, and 107,000 people have been killed.

Capers said that there is a marked increase in calls for service in the county, and the department does not have enough resources to handle the increase in call volume. Other counties have seen a difference with the additional funding.

The declaration states the judge has determined “that extraordinary measures must be taken to keep residents safe,” and requests the Texas governor declare existence of an invasion and take action and remove invaders, based on powers listed in the Texas and U.S. constitutions.

Capers said that the Legislature has set aside funds for equipment and overtime, and while the county may not be approved for this, it’s necessary to try.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said there was right at 200 people from community attending Wednesday’s meeting, and apparently, no one came out against the declaration.

Of the ones that were for the measure, Coldspring resident Linda Almaguer said that after attending a town hall meeting recently, she was shocked to find out there are cartel members operating in the county.

She also was concerned that because people want to do bad things, she was in danger of losing her rights, and the Sheriff’s department needed manpower, equipment and communication.

Sandra Griffin said that illegal immigration was a large problem in this state, and laws are not being enforced. The county and the state needs manpower, guns and the Texas spirit to fight.

State Rep. Ernest Bailes said border security is an important issue, a was a big part of what the Legislature dealt with in this year’s session.

“We’ve set aside the funds, please take advantage of this,” he said. “That’s as simple as it gets.”

Capers said after the meeting he was pleased with the community support for this document of law enforcement, but the people of San Jacinto County need to educate themselves on what their elected officials are dealing with.

“I am glad it was a unanimous decision on the part of the Commissioners,” he said. “It will be now up to the Governor to sign it and then we can get moving on enforcing the law, with the correct amount of personnel and equipment.”

In other business, the commissioners:

•proclaimed June 19 as Juneteenth;

•approved combining the 911/permitting officer and the environmental officer positions, which will become effective Oct. 21;

•approved seeking bids for pickup trucks for the environmental/permit office;

•approved extending an agreement with Tyler Technologies through the end of June;

•approved releasing payments in relation to the local buyout grant program;

•approved a payroll deduction form for PHI Air Medical for insurance regarding air ambulance service;

•approved the purchase of a drone for the Office of Emergency Management for $5,899;

•approved the lease for a Chevy Tahoe for the Sheriff’s Department, with McAnally abstaining. Commissioner Donnie Marrs was absent; and

•discussed using Recana Security Solutions to alleviate jailer staffing issues and set a workshop for June 28 to discuss options.

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Group helps children suffering from storm losses

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The picnic provided by Sylvia Scott catering was a hit. Courtesy photosThe picnic provided by Sylvia Scott catering was a hit. Courtesy photos

DidYouKnow ColumnHeadWe had some serious storms over the last week or so. However, we have been fortunate not to have had horrendous damage as has happened in other states recently.

One organization in our area has helped through their members to support the smallest people affected by tornados and destruction of their homes. I am writing about Quilts for Kids that volunteer group based in Coldspring, founded by Linda Deeter and LaDonyce Hamilton.

Quilts for Kids is a national organization with chapters stretching out across the country. Our local group, a 501c3 non-profit, was asked for help when disaster struck the town of Wynne in Arkansas. The quilters shipped 90 quilts to a church there for distribution. They sent another 90 quilts to Yuma for the same reason.

Do you know that every law enforcement officer, VFD and EMS in our county carries their quilts with them when they are out at work? This is so any child who is injured, or in a crisis, may be comforted by one of the quilts specially made for kids.

The quilts are made only from 100 percent cotton. They accept donations for new material and of course money donations are always welcome for materials, batting and postage. Newborns to 22 years old may be recipients for the beautiful quilts made with love.

The quilters love what they do and welcome other quilters. If you wanted to learn about quilting call the Red Barn in Coldspring to ask for information since classes and retreats are part of LaDonyce’s work. She has a wonderful area specially arranged with sewing machines in the sewing room which is decorated with beautiful quilts.

The group thanks all those who have sponsored their efforts. They appreciate everyone who helps them in this worthy work.

Call the Red Barn Retreat at (936) 653-8222.

•If you want to become a member of either Coldspring or Shepherd chambers of commerce, you can do so by going online and filling out the form. Or call the chamber if you wish.

This next week Nixon Adult Day Care will have ribbon cuttings from both chambers. Located in Shepherd, the day care will have an Open House on Friday from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. To ask for information call them at (936) 628-1200, located at 931 N. Byrd Ave. in Shepherd.

•Shepherd Library was sad to see part time assistant Crystale Thompson leave. She has been a creative and energetic worker in the library and was a great addition.

Director Terri McIntyre has had volunteer to help since she left but this has not closed the gap left by Crystale. I am happy to say she will soon have a new part-time assistant. Last week interviews were held with the group of applicants and the City Council will vote on the best choice for the position. Look for more details on this next week when we have the name of the new person in the library.

The library is getting ready for their summer program. Don’t forget to enroll your child when it is time to travel back to the dinosaur age, to just to begin the journey. The Time Machine is being built to carry travelers back to different ages.

Call (936) 628-3515 for information.

•Recently we had a small picnic outside for some friends. About 20 people ate picnic food with the favorite being the banana pudding dessert, although the chocolate cake was scrumptious too. Sandwiches, both hot and cold, fruit salad, selections of fixings for some hot sandwiches and more were all catered by Sylvia Scott.

This is a local business and I have used Sylvia several times to cater events. She served the food and drinks, cleared them away afterwards and everyone loved her food. If you need her for a family reunion or some other event, call her at (713) 299-1524.

Vendors for July 1 Independence Day event may sign up on line or call me at the chamber number. Spaces are $20 . This is a great time for non-profit organizations to give out info on their work, get a table for this inside the Community Center.

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.

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