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Trinity County News 2

Trinity Historical society dedicates markers to Rep. Charlie Wilson and 'Wobbly Bobbly'

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111220 plaque 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Sharon Wilson Allison, sister to Charlie Wilson, reads the text of a Texas Historical Marker that was dedicated to the U.S. Representative on Saturday November 7, 2020 in Trinity, Texas.

By Tony Farkas

TRINITY — Millions of Google returns on a search, as well as a movie, might give some folks a passing familiarity for Rep. Charlie Wilson, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years.

For the residents of Trinity, though, Little Charles, as he was known, was the definition of the hometown boy who done good. Because of that, on Saturday an official Texas Historical Marker was dedicated at his boyhood home.

The Trinity Historical Society also dedicated a marker to the “Wobbly Bobbly,” the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railroad on Saturday.

Wilson was born in Trinity on June 1, 1933, and served in both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. House, representing the districts around his home town. He died Feb. 10, 2010, in Lufkin, Texas.

Susan Madeley of the Trinity County Historical Commission said that there were many accomplishments made by the congressman, particularly with funding for Afghan rebels during that country’s war with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, the subject of the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

Wilson also was a champion in business and environmental arenas as well, and was known as a consummate dealmaker.

Sharon Wilson Allison, Charlie’s sister, said she cherished the memories of her time in Trinity and her brother.

“(My family) would be so honored that you were here,” she said. “Thank you for doing this.”

Earlier on Saturday, on the southwest corner of Main and Maple streets, the commission dedicated and unveiled a marker commemorating the Waco, Beaumont, Trinity and Sabine Railroad, which was known affectionately by the people of the time as the Wobbly Bobbly Turnover and Stop.

111220 plaque 1 TONY FARKAS | TCNS Historians Jason Rose (left) and Everett Lueck unveil a Texas Historical Marker that was dedicated to the WBT&S Railroad on Saturday in Trinity, near the site of the now-defunct railroad’s home offices.

The railroad was chartered in September 1881, and was used primarily as a logging tram, as the area to this day is a large producer of timber. Over the 115.2 miles of track, passengers, mail, pulpwood, tomatoes, vehicles and oil, among other freight, was transported, according to the marker request application compiled by Jason Rose and Madeley.

It stopped operation in 1959, and the remaining engine was restored and is on display at the Galveston Railroad Museum.

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Congressman Kevin Brady looks to the next step in Washington

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Kevin BradyKevin Brady file photo - official portrait

By Tony Farkas

CONROEKevin Brady’s win in the election on Nov. 3 is like an energy drink — re-energizing the congressman to face the challenges ahead.

“I’m really thrilled to be re-elected to Congressional District 8 of the Republic of Texas,” he said. “It’s an honor, always has been. However, despite the historic economic recovery after COVID, and a vaccine deployment arriving at a record pace, there’s still more work to be done.”

Brady said his goal as Republican leader of the House Ways and Means Committee is to help defeat the coronavirus, create 10 million new jobs and create an economy even stronger than the one prior to the crash caused by the virus.

“I’ve introduced legislation that would lock in the tax relief to benefit workers and businesses; to make America medically independent from China, and we hope to leapfrog America into the No. 1 innovation nation in the world and using our tax code to do that,” he said. “That will create millions of new tax-paying jobs, and spur manufacturing and research in America.”

He also said he helped introduce new retirement legislation that will help more families, and more low-income workers, save for the future.

On a separate matter, Brady said he was proud to report that the Democratic “blue wave” crashed and burned in Texas, despite record voter turnout during a COVID crisis.

“I was proud that President Donald Trump won 230 of 254 counties in the state,” he said.
“The Texas Republican delegation faced long odds this year, with six retirements and a total of 10 races targeted by national Democrats.”

Brady said that despite Democrats predicting they would get the majority of the seats up for election, they got nothing, and it was especially embarrassing in the 23rd Congressional district, where a Texas Democrat promised a flip but did not deliver.

Brady said he felt the Democrats failed to gain any ground in Texas is because conservative legislators reflect Texas values, and that there was no way to fund the crazy ideas that Democrats put for, such as defunding police.

He also said that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to stall any legislation designed to assist families dealing with the COVID crisis was a factor.

“I’m proud that Republicans held the Texas House of representatives with no losses,” he said.

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County sets speed limit near Apple Springs

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110520 countyGoogle Maps

TCNS Staff

GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners’ Court on Oct. 27 put its foot down on drivers putting the accelerator down.

Commissioners approved setting a 25-mph speed limit on Graham Road between FM 357 and State Highway 94, which was done without debate. It was approved unanimously.

In other business, the county:

•approve the county’s investment policy, an annual undertaking, and reappointed County Treasurer B.L. Dockens as investment officer;

• approved budget amendments of $1,500;

• appointed Tom Hester as reserve deputy constable for Precinct 3;

• approved the purchase of a 2012 HAMM 3410 cab roller for Road and Bridge Precinct 3; and

• declined to discuss or act on a burn ban for the county.

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Election 2020

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Michael Kelly is registered to vote on Tuesday by alternate election judges Della Lyons and Mary Rhoden at the Groveton High School precinct. (Tony Farkas Photo)Michael Kelly is registered to vote on Tuesday by alternate election judges Della Lyons and Mary Rhoden at the Groveton High School precinct. (Tony Farkas Photo)

Staff Reports

Although the presidential election has been forefront in most news as well as most minds, other races in Trinity County were decided in Tuesday’s election.

But other than races on the national and state level, as well as the Trinity Hospital District, most county-level races were unopposed, and the general election only solidified the win.

The county did go overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump, giving him 5,427 votes, and only 1,290 for challenger Joe Biden.

In the race for the District 8 seat in the U.S. House of Representative, incumbent Republican Kevin Brady garnered 5,387 votes in the county, while Democrat challenger Elizabeth Hernandez picked up 1,157.

The vote totals reflect only Trinity County votes.

On the state level, Republican Trent Ashby, incumbent District 57 House member, gained 5,445 votes in the county, while challenger Jason Rogers, a Democrat, picked up 1,112 votes.

For the Trinity Hospital District Position 2, incumbent Randy Karnes picked up 1,050 votes, while challenger Claudette Loper garnered 785. For Position 4, incumbent Laura Huffman received 1,143 votes, and challenger Jerry Coma got 674. For Position 6, incumbent Carlyn Bluis received 838 votes, but was upset by challenger Steve Hancock, who picked up 1,085. For Position 8, incumbent Keith Johnson, running unopposed, received 1,662 votes.

The unopposed county race results were:

•411th Judicial District Judge: John Wells, 5,551

•258th Judicial District Judge: Bennie L. Schiro, 5,630

•County Attorney: Colton Hay, 5,682

•Sheriff: Woody A. Wallace, 5,614

•County Tax Assessor/Collector: Nancy Due Shanafelt, 5,619

•County Commissioner Precinct 1: Tommy Park, 1,500

•County Commissioner Precinct 3: Neal Smith, 1,249

•County Constable Precinct 1: Jeremy Alexander, 1,492

•County Constable Precinct 2: Mark Cole, 1,499

•County Constable Precinct 3: Carl Casey, 1,265

•County Constable Precinct 4: Brian McMullen, 1,389

All vote results are unofficial until canvassed by the Trinity County Commissioners’ Court.

In the Trinity city election, Mayor Wayne Huffman was re-elected handily with 428 votes. For Council Position 1, incumbent Clegg E. DeWalt, running unopposed, received 465 votes. For Position 2, Jason “Bubba” Smith was re-elected with 242 votes, outlasting Johnny L. English with 156 votes and Evan Arnold with 192. Chris Dennis was re-elected to Position 3 with 450 votes.

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Groveton looks to beautify downtown and spur economic development

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grovetonmanPhoto by Tony Farkas | TCNS Groveton Mayor Byron Richards points out some of the plans for renovating the sidewalks in the downtown Square. The city has received a $980,000 grant and will begin work Nov. 30.

By Tony Farkas

GROVETON — An almost $1 million grant will help city officials tidy up the Square, with metal railings, new sidewalks and some new lighting.

Mayor Byron Richards said the city has been working on the Groveton Downtown Revitalization Project for nine years.

“We submitted grant applications over a period of six years and didn’t really land one, seeing them go to bigger cities. We didn’t think we had a chance at it,” he said. “After the sixth year, we got word that the city will receive funds from the Transportation Alternatives Set-aside Program.”

Richards said the city signed a contract for $980,000, but was $67,000 short to complete the project; that money will come from our Economic Development Corporation. Construction will be done by Ti-Zack Concrete Inc., and the project is slated to start Nov. 30. It’s projected to take six to seven months.

The project will feature new sidewalks around the Square, which also will provide handicapped access. There will be lighting throughout the project, as well as safety railings.

“These sidewalks and curbs are a trap, and can cause falls,” he said. “This allows anyone disabled or not to have access to downtown businesses. The whole purpose of the project, as I envisioned it nine years ago, is to update the area and give the city a new look.”

Groveton has been stagnant for years, the population has declined, and big businesses that wanted to come in were turned away, Richards said.

“We’re trying to look to the future,” he said. “With the population that’s moving to this area, East Texas finally is being recognized as a good place to live, to raise a family. We’re trying to move the city forward as best we can.”

This project is one of many projects that have been undertaken in recent years, which includes renovations to the city’s sewers and water system, courthouse work, highway and sidewalk construction, numerous upgrades and even work on the courthouse and annex. All told, it’s more than $23 million spent on beautifying the city, Richards said.

Along those lines, there will be a commemorative brick paver section right on the corner, and laser-engraved brick pavers will be sold for $25. Contact Richards at City Hall for information.

“We need new economic activity in this area,” he said. “There is a new Family Dollar coming; a manufacturing company taking over the old sewing machine plant. We need new sources of sales tax and real estate taxes coming into the city, and hopefully draw more retailers in.

“We’re takin’ an old girl and dressin’ her up, and we have hope for the future that Groveton will grow,” Richards said.

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