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Trinity County News 2

Groveton splits on the court

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112323 trinity basketballLady Indian Emma Alexander looks for a shot surrounded by Trinity players. Lady Tiger Mariah Lewis puts up a fast-break layout. Chanston Holland (No. 10) looks for room for the shot. Photos by Tony Farkas

TCNS staff

The Lady Indians traveled to the Wells Tournament this past weekend, losing two and winning one.

On Thursday, Groveton played Bullard and lost 59-17. Leading scorer was Kiki Smith with 8, followed Laney Peterson with 5 and Marie Gonzalez with 3.

On Friday against Zavalla, the Lady Indians won 43-38. Leading scorers were Smith with 27, Emma Alexander with 9 and Laney Peterson with 4.

On Saturday against Cushing, the team lost 36-19. Leading scorers were Smith and Peterson with 6 apiece, and Stormie Hensley with 5.

On Nov. 14, the Lady Indians downed county rival Trinity 46-18.

Top scorers for Groveton were Smith with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals; Peterson had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.


The Lady Tigers won one and lost three during the Shepherd Tournament last week.

Trinity lost to Dayton, Westfork, and Lufkin JV, but downed Goodrich 34-27.

Head Coach Ashley Sustaita said the team played two solid games and two not-so-good games.

Top players include Olivia Mills, Bree Davidson, Yazzmyne Thompson and Mariah Lewis.


During the Lady Bulldogs homecoming against Zavalla on Nov. 11, the girls lost 68-13. Kate Rogers scored 10 points and Taylor Barton scored 3 in the effort.

On Friday against Colmesneil, the Lady Bulldogs posted their first win of the season with a score of 39-24. Kate Rogers scored a career-high 29 points, while Malacie Bolton scored 7 points and Taylor Barton chipped in 3 points.



The Bulldogs lost a close match against Zavalla 68-65 on Nov. 11. Iain Kendrick led the Bulldogs with 27 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; while Brayden Watson had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists. Wyatt Clede had 7 points, 12 rebounds and 1 assist. 

On Nov. 14, Centerville hosted Richards, losing 71-58. Kendrick had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist; Brayden Watson had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals; and Colton Brasuell had 12 points. 

The Bulldogs defeated Colmesneil 60-51 for their first win of the season on Friday.

Down 11 going into the fourth quarter, Centerville put together a 25-point run, 19 from Iain Kendrick, while holding Colmesneil to just 5 points.

Kendrick finished with a career-high 29 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals; Brasuell had 9 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals; Watson had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals; Clede had 8 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. 

Apple Springs

The Eagles fell to Spurger 59-50 on Friday.


The Tigers lost their opening tilt against Grapeland on Friday 63-51.

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VFD battles house fire

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112323 house fireTrinity VFD firefighters battle a blaze in the Lakewood Subdivision in the early morning hours of Nov. 14. Courtesy photos

TCNS staff

A home in the Lakewood Subdivision of Trinity was damaged after a fire broke out in the early morning hours of Nov. 14.

Trinity Firefighters responded to the fire with four trucks and 14 firefighters, finding the fire was at the back of the residence. The 356 Volunteer Fire Department also responded to assist with water supply and manpower.

Assistant Fire Chief Keith Johnson said the fire was under control in approximately 20 minutes with units staying on scene for 2 hours putting out hotspots.

The structure sustained major damage to the rear of the residence, however, no one was injured, and units were back in service at 7 a.m.

Because of the damage, the cause was undetermined.

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Three injured in two crashes

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112323 crash 2A 2022 Dodge Ram pickup overturned after attempting to make a curve on FM 3188. Courtesy photo

TCNS staff

Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers are investigating a crash on Farm-to-Market Road 3188, near the 680-mile marker, that occurred Wednesday.

Reports indicate that at approximately 8:40 p.m., a 2022 Dodge Ram pickup was traveling northwest, and the driver failed to negotiate a curve safely and traveled into the ditch, where he struck a tree and overturned, causing the driver to be ejected.

The driver, 45-year-old James Morroe of Trinity, was transported to Memorial Hermann for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

This is an ongoing investigation.

On Nov. 14, Trinity firefighters responded to a major accident on State Highway 19 and Roberts Place.

The two-vehicle collision sent both drivers to the hospital, and the southbound lanes of 19 were closed for approximately 35 minutes to remove the vehicles from the roadway.

Reports indicate that Melinda Hernandez, 54, was driving southbound on 19 when John Michael Zaleski, 19, pulled out in front of her vehicle.

Trinity Police Chief Daniel Kee said Zaleski may not have allowed enough time, and the two vehicles collided.

112323 crash 2The investigation is continuing.

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Senate approves school choice, finance package

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SchoolChoice STOCK

By Richard Lee
Senate correspondent

AUSTIN — Parents could apply to receive up to $8,000 in state money to offset private education costs under a bill approved by the Senate late Thursday night.

Members also gave approval to a bill that would put $5.2 billion more into public education in the upcoming biennium, including money to raise teacher pay across the state.

Bill author and Education Committee chair Sen. Brandon Creighton of Conroe said this sweeping legislation will empower parents and put record amounts of funding into state public education.

“This bill is a transformative initiative to enrich the educational landscape of our state, creating education savings accounts for students that need options to be successful,” he said. “Children with their unique challenges, strengths, aspirations, and needs deserve an education tailored to their individual requirements as determined by their family.”

SB 1 would take $500 million in general revenue and create more than 60,000 education savings accounts worth $8,000 each. Parents could use these funds to help pay for private school tuition, pay for private tutors, uniforms, transportation and other approved costs.

Ninety percent of these slots are set aside for students from low and middle-class socioeconomic backgrounds or those with a disability; the last 10 percent would be available to any parent in the state. Should demand outstrip available slots, ESAs will be assigned via lottery.

The program will be administered by the office of Comptroller and money would go directly from these accounts to approved education providers. Creighton said the bill has additional and robust anti-fraud measures under strict state oversight, calling the bill’s provisions the most stringent of any program in the nation.

The bill was amended by Lubbock Sen. Charles Perry, who raised concerns that his small, rural districts feel the funding lost by even one student leaving. His amendment would grant each district with a student population less than 5,000 compensation of $10,000 for 3 years for each student that leaves public education because of the new ESA program.

SB 2, also by Creighton, allocates more than $5 billion in state funding to education, including a new “teacher retention allotment” that is equivalent to an across-the-board teacher pay increase of $3,000.

Rural teachers, whose salaries, said Creighton, can lag their urban colleagues’ by tens of thousands of dollars would get an additional $7,000 through the new allotment. The bill also expands the teacher merit pay system, that allows districts to identify their best educators and pay them more, and would increase the basic allotment by $75.

It would give schools more money for school safety, both on a per-student and per-campus basis. According to Senate Finance Chair and Houston Sen. Joan Huffman, passage of this bill would mean a 30 percent total increase in state public education funding this session.

“The commitment to public education is irrefutable,” Creighton responded.

While school finance isn’t on the special session call yet, Gov. Greg Abbott has said once he is sent a school choice bill to sign into law, he will open the session agenda to public school funding legislation.

The Senate also approved three other bills on the special session agenda Thursday, all of which have previously passed the Senate at least once. They are:

•SB 7, by Galveston Sen. Mayes Middleton, which would ban private employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment.

•SB 4, by Pleasanton Sen. Pete Flores, which would increase penalties for human trafficking along the border.

•SB 11, by Granbury Sen. Brian Birdwell, which would create a new state trespassing offense for entering the country illegally from a foreign country and permit peace officers to arrest those they see breaking this law.

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Officers investigate car crash

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TCNS staff

TRINITY COUNTY — The Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers investigated a crash involving a commercial motor vehicle on State Highway 94 at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 2262, that occurred on Oct. 3.

The preliminary crash investigation indicates that at approximately 9:14 a.m., a 1999 Peterbilt truck tractor semi-trailer was traveling southwest on SH 94 and navigating a left turn onto FM 2262.

The driver of a 2010 Toyota Camry, also traveling southwest, disregarded the no-passing zone to go around the Peterbilt and struck the trailer as it was turning.

The driver of the Peterbilt, 36-year-old Sean Halek of Lufkin, was not injured.

The driver of the Toyota, 47-year-old Neisa Mejia of Lufkin, was not injured. Mejia was cited for disregarding a no-passing zone.

There is no additional information available.

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