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Plane crashes on highway

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Courtesy photo  A Beechcraft airplane made an emergency landing after suffering a power failure on Thursday on U.S. 59. During the landing, the plane struck a vehicle; however, no injuries were reported.A Beechcraft airplane made an emergency landing after suffering a power failure on Thursday on U.S. 59. During the landing, the plane struck a vehicle; however, no injuries were reported. (Courtesy Photo)

SJNT staff

SAN JACINTO COUNTY — No injuries were reported in a plane-vehicle crash that occurred at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 59.

The accident had the southbound lanes approximately four miles north of Cleveland closed for several hours.

According to information provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, at approximately 2:15 p.m., a Beechcraft BE36 fixed-wing aircraft was traveling from Jennings, La., to Junction, Texas, when the aircraft reportedly suffered a power failure.

The aircraft completed an emergency landing on US 59 and struck a 2004 Toyota SUV, which was traveling south, with its landing gear. It then came to rest in a nearby field, the report states.

The pilot, identified as 37-year-old Kendall John Krielow of Thibodeaux, La., and two passengers were not injured.

The driver of the SUV, identified as 51-year-old Towhid Aziz Chowdhury of Katy, also was not injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted, and the crash remains under investigation.

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Students compete for bookmarks

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Students Compete For Bookmarks

Special to the News-Times

 SHEPHERD — Shepherd ISD started a bookmark contest at the Shepherd Middle School library six years ago, which has blossomed into the competition it is now. 

Students love using bookmarks, and grew to love the contest just as much; they enjoy seeing a bookmark that they or someone they know created being handed out through our own library. 

Every student has the opportunity to participate. We ask them to follow simple rules: Make your bookmark about reading or books, make them colorful, If you use a quote give the author credit but have fun creating them. 

This year we invited everyone from the Administration building, the MS administration, the Technology Department and the Special Education Department to judge our bookmarks.

Each of the first-place winners will get 25 copies of their bookmarks to share with their families and friends plus a gift certificate to spend at our book fair.

The rest of the bookmarks we put out for students in our library.

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FCCLA hosts food drive

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Shepherd ISD FCCLA students prepare gallons of milk for distribution. (Courtesy Photos)Shepherd ISD FCCLA students prepare gallons of milk for distribution. (Courtesy Photos)

SHEPHERD — Shepherd ISD hosted a breakfast mobile food drive for the community, and the Shepherd High School FCCLA students helped by volunteering to pack and load the food.  

Thanks to the Houston Food Bank for supplying the food so that we were able to give it out to the community.  

SISD is grateful for these students; this program provides an opportunity for students to learn and grow into valuable members of society. They develop life skills as they get immersed in activities that are outside of their comfort zones.  

Volunteering is more than spending one’s time actively participating in selfless acts or activities that benefit other people. It has a greater impact on society as a whole. Volunteers are of great help to the community as they immerse themselves in a pool of opportunities.

FCCLA students help load cars with food from the Shepherd ISD food drive.FCCLA students help load cars with food from the Shepherd ISD food drive.

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Volleyball players honored

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On Friday night, not only were seniors Kristi Hinze, Jordan Watkins, Valentina Beiza and Hope Counseller, but all four had amazing plays and contributed to the win in the fifth set. Crista Hinds had the best night of the season with several kills in the last two points, one of which hit the 10-foot line. As a whole these girls played as a team and earned every point we scored, giving the Lady Pirates a 3-2 win over Hamshire-Fannett. On Oct. 19 against Livingston, Celine Orozco, Kortlyn Goodson and Jordan Watkins played great, but it was not enough and Shepherd lost against Livingston in 3. (Courtesy Photo)

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County upbraided for benefit policy

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

COLDSPRING — The first meeting of the San Jacinto County Commissioners’ Court in the new fiscal year started with a departmental bang.

At the regular meeting on Oct. 6, Grant Goodwin, a staff attorney with CLEAT – Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas — told the court that a policy that took effect Oct. 1 potentially could put the county in legal trouble.

The county during its budget negotiations recently adopted a use-or-lose policy for vacation and holiday time for the Sheriff’s Department

“The county enacted something that will nullify a lot of people’s earned holiday and vacation time,” Goodwin said. “I’m sure it sounded good from a budgetary standpoint by getting rid of unfunded liability, but this has to be paid out under the law.”

The fact that the county has forced its employees to use comp time first has erased the value of vacation time, he said.

“Officers are banking large amounts of holiday time because they have to work those holidays being as you are understaffed and remain understaffed,” Goodwin said. “Based upon these actions, you may have a lot more openings in your department if you keep going in this direction.”

He also said that CLEAT does not like to get involved in litigation, but this is a very important matter, in that the county has reneged on its promise to officers who have earned their time off. 

“In doing so, you’re telling them you don’t care,” Goodwin said. “You might as well vote to defund your department and go out and be officers yourselves, because you have a lot of officers who will be discontent.”

Deputy Sheriff Omar Shiekh, who has been with the county for six years, said he has done his fair share for the county and deserves the things he was promised.

I’ve seen a lot of false and broken promises, and it seems to stem from you all,” he said. “You need us, and you throw us under the bus time and time again. This is ridiculous. The animosity you have toward the sheriff, I don’t know what it is or what it’s about, it’s unfair. Making budget cuts to hurt the Sheriff hurts us. Your decisions are pissing us off every year.”

Having only two months to use the banked time is ridiculous, Sheikh said.

“It’s a staffing problem, not a management problem,” he said. “We don’t want to fight, but we will, if you want to.”

Goodwin said that some officers have between 700 to 1,000 hours on the books because of working mostly holidays.

“Forcing them to use comp time is the key,” he said. “You’re telling them you don’t get vacations in this county, and if that’s the case, then CLEAT will have to step in, and I’m encouraging you to look at this seriously and come up with a formula for employees to use their time.”

Following an executive session later in the meeting, the county voted to extend the deadline for using banked holiday and vacation time to October 2022.

In a separate matter, the commissioners adopted the criteria for redistricting.

Given the county population based on the 2020 Census was 27,404, the ideal size per precinct is 6,851. Precinct 3, for example, has 7,443 people, so the county will need to change district boundaries.

The law dictates that precincts must have equal population, plus or minus 10 percent, and not be discriminatory toward minorities

In other business, the county:

  • waived the rental fee for annual Christmas family event, whereby area churches provide food and gifts to families in need;
  • approved the adoption of the Texas Indigent Defense formula;
  • tabled a lease renewal agreement with the state for housing state agencies DHHS and Family and Protective Services to research rental rates and look at a new agreement;
  • approved a website package with the Texas Association of Counties;
  • approved a resolution authorizing support for Cleveland Senior Citizens meals on wheels;
  • approved a licensing renewal for Tyler Odyssey Software;
  • approved a cooperative agreement with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension;
  • proclaimed Oct. 3-9 as National 4-H Week;
  • approved bids for road work materials;
  • approved an increase in the cost of trash stickers; and
  • approved a declaration of county equipment as salvage and surplus.
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