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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

Finding solutions

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San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers gathers area law enforcement officials to discuss common issues and goals. Courtesy photoSan Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers gathers area law enforcement officials to discuss common issues and goals. Courtesy photo

Sheriff, leaders discuss state of county jails

Special to the News-Times

LIVINGSTON — East Texas law enforcement leaders got together recently to discuss common issue, particularly the state of county jails, in hopes to find solutions.

Sheriff Greg Capers of San Jacinto County hosted the first of many East Texas-and-beyond sessions with sheriffs from across Texas. 

While no specifics were discussed, Capers said the exchange of ideas was a crucial to the search for remedies.

“We as chief law enforcement officers within our respective counties are experiencing many of the same issues,” Capers said. “If I can share my experiences, problems and remedies with my counterparts, and conversely, become able to understand some of their issues and concerns, it’s a win-win.”

Law enforcement in today’s environment has become increasingly more visible to the general public and therefore more political, Capers said. 

“I don’t mean to suggest that’s a negative; in fact, on the contrary, I find it helpful when I am able to gain the attention of our political leaders in Austin or in Washington as I have done only recently here in San Jacinto County with our Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who was quite eager to gain a better understanding of jail issues here in Texas,” he said.

Capers said that if law enforcement agencies can stay ahead of the many issues they face providing for the safety and security of those we were elected to serve, as well as provide a united front, then it is essential to receive input from everywhere.

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School board honors efforts

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Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Joel Casiday presented COHS senior Ethan Manshack and commended him for winning the SkillsUSA state championship in the Restaurant Services category at the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on April 25. Courtesy photoCulinary Arts Instructor Chef Joel Casiday presented COHS senior Ethan Manshack and commended him for winning the SkillsUSA state championship in the Restaurant Services category at the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on April 25. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees recognized students and staff at its regular monthly meeting on April 25.

Before the meeting, Coldspring-Oakhurst High School Culinary Arts students served trustees and staff in attendance a delicious meal of bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts, roasted asparagus, garlic mashed potatoes with fresh croissants and key-lime parfaits for dessert.

The meeting began with Awards and Recognitions. Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Joel Casiday presented COHS senior Ethan Manshack to the board with a commendation for winning the SkillsUSA state championship in the Restaurant Services category. 

Manshack will now advance to nationals this June in Atlanta. 

“If he makes it to the world championship, it’s in Shanghai this year,” Casiday said with a laugh. “Y’all might want to start budgeting for that now.”

In other business, the board:

• approved a proposal for HVAC installation;

• approved revisions to board policy regarding facilities names; and

• approved a shared services agreement with Conroe Regional Day School Programs for the Deaf for the 2022-2023 school year.

The next meeting of the COCISD Board of Trustees will be May 23. All regular school board meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the Jones Educational Complex, unless otherwise posted.

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FFA places in district

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Shepherd FFA members that competed recently in district include (bottom row, from left) Jordan Cutaia, Gage Murphy, Mason Palazzo, Thomas Barton and Garrit Burton; (middle row, from left) Tangela Yates, Lori Schoppe, Bethany Hassler and Jasmine Skinner; and (top row, from left) Hunter Goodman, Baylee Windt and Krysten Neal.  Courtesy photoShepherd FFA members that competed recently in district include (bottom row, from left) Jordan Cutaia, Gage Murphy, Mason Palazzo, Thomas Barton and Garrit Burton; (middle row, from left) Tangela Yates, Lori Schoppe, Bethany Hassler and Jasmine Skinner; and (top row, from left) Hunter Goodman, Baylee Windt and Krysten Neal. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

CROCKETT — Shepherd FFA members placed in several competitions while one member was elected to the district board.

The group attended the Sam Houston District FFA Convention in Crockett on April 25.

Thomas Barton was elected to the 2022-2023 Sam Houston District Officer Team as sentinel. He also placed sixth in Senior Prepared Public Speaking in Plant Science. 

Additionally, Garrit Burton placed second in Senior Prepared Public Speaking in Animal Science and advanced to Area competition to be held next month. He also placed third in extemporaneous speaking contest. Thomas 

Representing the Shepherd FFA and Sam Houston District in Star Chapter Farmer in Placement will be Burton and Star Chapter Farmer in Agribusiness will be Barton. Hunter Goodman will be representing Shepherd FFA and Sam Houston District in Star Lone Star Farmer in Agribusiness

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Local election day is Saturday

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Vote GraphicBy Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two constitutional amendments dealing with property taxes will be on the ballot of the May 7 election, along with any contested city and school board races for each county.

Early voting ended May 3; on election day, polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those places include:

• Elections Administration Building, 51 E. Pine Ave., Coldspring

•Shepherd Community Center, 10251 State Hwy 150, Shepherd

• Evergreen Community Center, 7550 State Hwy 150 W, Coldspring

• Bear Creek VFD, 11550 FM 1725, Cleveland

•County Precinct 4 Annex, 221 Boat Launch Road, Point Blank

• Oakhurst Fire Department, 990 US Hwy 190, Oakhurst

• New Hope Baptist Church, 13200 FM 2025, Cleveland

Of the amendments, Proposition 1 will benefit individuals with an over-65 or disabled exemption on their property.

According to information released by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, if an individual currently has an over-65/disabled exemption on their home, the proposal will provide a reduction on school district property taxes.

There are 1.8 million over-65 exemptions and 180,000 disabled exemptions in the state; on average these households will see a $110 reduction the first year and $125 reduction in the second year, and the reduction will continue to grow each year.

This amendment will become effective as of January 1, 2023, if it passes.

Proposition 2 will increase the homestead exemption by $15,000.

If this amendment passes the state homestead exemption on home values for school district taxes will increase from $25,000 to $40,000. On average, the 5.67 million homesteads in Texas will see a $175 savings in their school district tax bill at the current average statewide school property tax rate.

This amendment will be effective as of January 1, 2022, if it passes, so homeowners will see the savings when they receive their property tax bill this fall.

Other races in San Jacinto County include:

•On the ballot in the Cleveland ISD, LaDerrington Baldwin is facing off against incumbent Willie Carter for the Cleveland ISD Board of Trustees Position 4; for Position 5, Sharica Lewis is running against incumbent Amanda Sandoval Brooks.

•On the ballot in the Willis ISD, the district is looking to issue $143,045,000 in bonds for school improvements, $62,565,000 in bonds for improvements to the athletic stadium, and $19,390,000 for a natatorium.

•Coldspring has city and school board elections on its ballots; John Benestante is running against incumbent mayor Pat Eversole, while Dianne Griffith us running unopposed for District 2 and Nichole Gatewood is running unopposed for District 4.

For COCISD, incumbent Tony L. Sewell is running against Roosevelt Joseph for Position 3, and incumbent Berlin Bradford is running unopposed.

For those living in the district but outside the city limits, that ballot will include only the school board elections.

Right on the heels of the Saturday vote, a runoff election for state offices will be held May 24.

The races on that ballot include state offices only.

For those in the Democratic party, the ballot contains four races: Michelle Beckley and Mike Collier for lieutenant governor; Rochelle Mercedes Garza and Joe Jaworski for Attorney General; Angel Luis Vega and Janet T. Dudding for Comptroller of Public Accounts; and Sandragrace Martinez and Jay Kleberg for Commissioner of the General Land Office.

For Republicans, those races include: George P. Bush and Ken Paxton for Attorney General; Tim Westley and Dawn Buckingham for Commissioner of the General Land Office; and Sarah Stogner and Wayne Christian for Railroad Commissioner.

Early voting runs from May 16-20, and ballots can be cast from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Elections Administration Building in Coldspring.

On May 24, polls will be located at the Elections Administration Building, Shepherd Community Center, Evergreen Community Center in Coldspring, and County Precinct 4 Annex in Point Blank.

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Shepherd looks to grow more than students

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Coach Cedric White and Lisa Courvelle present the award-winning powerlifting team to the Shepherd ISD Board of Managers. See more award photos on page 3A. Photos by Tony FarkasCoach Cedric White and Lisa Courvelle present the award-winning powerlifting team to the Shepherd ISD Board of Managers. See more award photos on page 3A. Photos by Tony Farkas

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

SHEPHERD — The Shepherd ISD Board of Managers gave its consent Thursday to a plan that will allow employees further growth, creating its own labor pool of teachers in the process.

At its regular meeting, the board began to approve the measure even before the presentation, as Board Secretary Melodee Arrendell said they had read the information packet and was excited about the program.

The district will partner with Indiana Wesleyan University to offer a pathway for student teachers, teacher’s assistants and others to gain credit for work hours, as well as offer low-cost classes, with the goal of moving toward a degree and teacher certification while still working within the district.

Assistant Superintendent DeAnna Clavell said it’s conceivable that participants in the program can gain a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate for around $40,000.

The program dovetails with the District of Innovation Plan, which also was approved by the board and is set to begin in May.

Superintendent Jason Hewitt said that the district is considered a District of Innovation, and a plan for that must be approved every five years.

The plan includes using a calendar that allows flexibility for staff development; class size; instruction days; installing a behavior coordinator; probation periods; student transfers; and allowing a district to remove people exhibiting unruly behavior during meetings or events.

In other business, the board:

• discussed the JROTC program receiving certification from U.S. Armed Forces, which will provide funding for the program;

• approved a contract renewal for Tammie Hewitt as director of Elementary Teaching and Learning;

• approved a student summer work program; and

• approved credit by examination assessments for the Spanish programs.

J.J. LeBlanc and Deborah Sublett hand out awards to UIL Academic award winners.J.J. LeBlanc and Deborah Sublett hand out awards to UIL Academic award winners.

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