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Coldspring still looking to clean up its image

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By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The Coldspring City Council continues its mission to clean up its streets and dilapidated property.

Mayor Pat Eversole said that at the June 7 meeting, council members were given updates on the status of complaints on the house on Slade Street and the two homes on Highway 150 that have been notified by the city that cleanup was needed.

None of the property owners have responded, and Eversole said that the city’s attorney will take the next step in the process. The council took no action.

In other business, the city:

  • discussed expansion of Dixie Youth League Ball Park. Eversole said the council is in discussions with a couple property owners on purchasing new property for expanding the park.
  • tabled adopting an ordinance banning helicopter landings within the city limits, as new Council Member Larry McElhaney said that he did not read over the ordinance.
  • discussed the construction of 22 RV parking spaces to be made available behind the city’s Exxon gas station;
  • discussed a request by a homeowner on Pine Avenue for paving;
  • approved paying the monthly Inframark bill of $7,081.96; and
  • swore in two council members — McElhaney, elected in May, who replaced John Benestante, who decided not to run again. Also, Benestante was sworn in as a replacement for Council Member Greg Bore, who passed away unexpectedly after his election.
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SISD welcomes new class of Pirate alumni

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Shepherd GradsShepherd High School graduates toss their caps in their air, marking the end of their high school careers. Courtesy photo by Michelle Cones-Minton

By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula
SJNT staff writer

WILLIS — In a year plagued by pandemic-related setbacks, the Pirate Class of 2021 had one more final hurdle before crossing the stage — and that was cross the county.

With recent rains making the field unusable, according to Facebook comments made by Superintendent Jason Hewitt, the call was made to move graduation from the district stadium to the Willis ISD Performing Arts Center due to continued concerns over weather.

With limited seating concerns, graduating students were allotted eight tickets each to give to family members, with the district also live-streaming the event for those unable to attend.

Salutatorian Diane Vasquez addressed her fellow students and with a heart-felt speech detailing the ups and downs of their school years together and future decisions ahead of them, ending her speech by quoting Rep. Corey Booker: “Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit.” and leaving the other presenters to hand out awards to the remaining seniors.

Several other students spoke following, giving historical recollections of the class’ shared memories and others thanking teachers and staff, with Valedictorian Sara Jimenez-Gomez extending a thank you to her mother in Spanish.

After sitting on stage, the group finally stood for one last event together, tossing their graduation caps in the air and leaving each other one last time, looking ahead to their futures.

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San Jacinto County talks trash

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CountySealSJ

By Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — The San Jacinto County Commissioners Court talked a little trash at its regular meeting on May 19.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that about 20 people from the Trails End subdivision in the southwest part of the county came to express their concerns about a proposal for an area landfill planned in that part of the county.

Faulkner said Peach Creek Environmental has put in an application with Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for a proposed landfill.

Area residents that showed up told the court they don’t want it in their back yards; however, Faulkner said that the county is not part of any of the process. Peach Creek has 2,000 acres of land purchased, and 600 acres will be part of the initial phase.

“When you put one of these things in, there’s a valid concern about water quality,” Faulkner said. “There is a membrane put down to protect water table, but it could rupture. You’re also talking about 500 trucks a day coming in through the roads, and there are concerns about property values. Also, part of the area may be in the flood plain, which carries additional concerns.”

Faulkner said it was a very informative discussion; however, the plan is only in the permitting process and there a lot of work left to do. He also said the county will look into the matter, but took no action.

“It’s people just bringing concerns to the court,” he said.

In other business, the county:

  • discussed new storage for the county’s records, which currently are stored in elections building and the basement of the courthouse. Maintenance personnel were asked to price metal buildings or seagoing containers;
  • approved purchase of track loader for $86,200; and
  • approved bonds for all employees of the Sheriff’s Office.
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Board makes it official

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Cassie Gregory The COCISD Board of Trustees voted to officially hire Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools on Thursday. Shown are (from left) Trustee Ashney Shelly, Trustee William Baker, Board Vice President Daniel Williams, Board President Paul Buchanan, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton, Trustee Barbara Moore, Board Secretary Tony Sewell and Trustee Berlin Bradford. (Courtesy Photo)Cassie Gregory The COCISD Board of Trustees voted to officially hire Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools on Thursday. Shown are (from left) Trustee Ashney Shelly, Trustee William Baker, Board Vice President Daniel Williams, Board President Paul Buchanan, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton, Trustee Barbara Moore, Board Secretary Tony Sewell and Trustee Berlin Bradford. (Courtesy Photo)

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees officially hired Dr. Bryan Taulton as Superintendent of Schools at a special meeting on May 27.

Taulton was named lone finalist on May 4, but due to state law, there was a 21-day waiting period before the Board could formally vote to approve him for the position. 

Taulton has 15 years of professional experience in public education and has served as a teacher, assistant principal, junior high principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent before taking the position of superintendent at Goodrich ISD. 

He currently teaches graduate courses at Houston Baptist University in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, specializing in school law, school business management and finance, instructional leadership and evaluation, and interpersonal communication and public relations.

At the board’s regular meeting on May 24, the board swore in two new members, elected in the May 1 general election.

Cassie Gregory Executive Administrative Assistant Cindy Elliott administers the oath of office to new school board members William Baker and Ashney Shelly during the May 24 COCISD board meeting. (Courtesy Photo)Cassie Gregory Executive Administrative Assistant Cindy Elliott administers the oath of office to new school board members William Baker and Ashney Shelly during the May 24 COCISD board meeting. (Courtesy Photo)

Other items discussed by the board include:

  • the annual review of board policy on ethics.
  • a proposal for the construction of stadium restrooms.
  • awarding the depository contract for the 2021-2023 biennium.
  • revisions to summer school supplemental pay rates.
  • the COCISD 2021-2022 compensation plan.
  • a resolution regarding ESSER III grant funds.
  • the purchase of technology devices and components.
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Students inducted into Honor Society

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060321 honor societyCOURTESY PHOTO | CASSIE GREGORY Lincoln Junior High welcomed 14 new inductees into the National Junior Honor Society on May 25. They are (back row, from left) Lane Madison, Luke McClure, Alayna Rodriguez, Tess Phillips, Averey Moss, Hayden Richards, Angel-Joy Zane and Brayden Coker; and (front row, from left) Ashlynn Holley, Avery Keel, Averi Tucker, Cali Crowder and LJH NJHS Sponsor Aimie Patrick. Not pictured are Iliana Ferman and Haley Tullos.

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Lincoln Junior High School welcomed 14 new inductees into the National Junior Honor Society on May 25. 

The NJHS elevates a school's commitment to the values of scholarship, leadership, character, service and citizenship. These characteristics are considered the five pillars of the NJHS, and have been associated with membership in the organization since its inception in 1929. 

Current LJH NJHS members performed the induction ceremony, which included the symbolic lighting of five candles to represent the five pillars. Inductees were sworn in by repeating the following NJHS Pledge:

"I pledge to uphold the high purposes of the National Junior Honor Society to which I have been selected. Striving in every way by word and deed to make its ideals the ideals of my school and of my life."

Congratulations to LJH students Brayden Coker, Cali Crowder, Iliana Ferman, Ashlynn Holley, Avery Keel, Joel Lane Madison, Luke McClure, Averey Moss, Tess Phillips, Hayden Richards, Alayna Rodriguez, Averi Tucker, Haley Tullos and Angel-Joy Zane.

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