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Trinity County News - Breakout

Fair sets new records

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GC SteerGRAND CHAMPION SWINE - Jase Fortner, Warren FFA

By Jacob Spivey

The Tyler County Fair is an annual event that centers around the first full weekend in October. However, even if the show was on last week from Wednesday to Saturday, there were plenty of rehearsals and setups beforehand and after.

The Tyler County Fair Board puts on this program and President Bronson Grimes called this year a resounding success. One key thing that is important for me to remember is how many moving parts it takes to get something like the fair rolling. It’s so much more than a livestock show, there are programs like the Home Economics Divisions that saw big winners in baking, art, sewing, and other divisions. A favorite of mine is the Ag Mechanics Division, a growing program of our fair that sees young people show off their welding and woodworking skills to produce home-made products. And of course, no one has ever complained about how good the fairgrounds smells during the barbecue cook-off, which saw Woodville FFA hoist a trophy on Saturday night.

All-told by the time we finished the livestock auction on Saturday night more than $375,000 had been raised in support of kids between the livestock, home economics and ag mechanics auctions and the behind-the-barn sales, including a new Fair Record $109,997 that went towards the steer projects in the livestock auction, including Grand Champion Lily Read of Chester who took home $18,000.

The moments and memories make the fair so much more special than the money ever could though, and we had plenty of memories. Wins and losses can teach us so much, and we saw some of both over that four-day period in October where lives are changed. Since transitioning from County Agent to Ag Teacher, I experienced something that was a totally different kind of memory. While I occasionally had a senior or two in the 4H program, it was usually just a few, as most high school age kids transitioned to FFA. This year advising FFA members I had a whole contingent of seniors experience one of their first “lasts” of senior year with their last chance to participate in the Tyler County Fair. The memories of these young people celebrating the end of part of their childhood was certainly a special thing to be a part of.

We had numerous awards given including a new award called the Legacy Showman award, these seniors in high school had shown at each Tyler County Fair they were eligible, since they were in the 3rd grade. Natalie Standley took home the R.A. Jernigan Award for displays of leadership throughout multiple fairs. Natalie was also a Legacy Showman and exhibited the Reserve Champion Swine.

Caleb and Megan Swinney were the top cattle breeders in the county this year, putting three steers in the sale and having numerous wins in the breeding cattle divisions to secure that win for the Swinney Cattle Company when it comes to raising animals right here at home that are competitive and correct.

This was my eighth year as a member of the Tyler County Fair Board, and marks nearly 20 years that I’ve been associated with the fair in some way, and I believe that I can say with near certainty this year was one of our best. There are dozens of people to thank, but I’ll end by sharing what I believe is the most special memory I’ll cherish of this year’s fair.

I’m often proud of our young people, but I had an outside perspective this week that made me feel good about Tyler County. For the past several years, we’ve had a passionate agriculturalist named Megan Dunn serve as our fair photographer.

She has done a fantastic job, and in discussion that I hope she stays with us forever, she told me that she planned to, because Tyler County was such a special place to her. Not only because we were some of the first folks to hire her when she opened her business and trust her, but because she always enjoys how polite and welcoming the people of Tyler County are. She said it’s one of her favorite fairs because she always feels like family when she’s among us here in Tyler County.

There are plenty of voices we could listen to in this ole world that would tell us how bad things are, in the world, in the country, and even right here in Tyler County. Well, this last week, I saw the cream of the crop, the best of the best and the very future of Tyler County on display at the fairgrounds, and I can say without reservations, Tyler County is already pretty great. We’ve got great young people, fantastic volunteers, and supporters, and then when you hear from someone like Megan, you realize that it’s not just that we are good to those who are from here, but that we embrace those who come to make a positive difference. I’m proud to call Tyler County my home, and I don’t know if I could ever express how much I appreciate our county coming together to celebrate our roots and real hometown values in support of agriculture.

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Board approves calendar change

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Groveton ISD logo 250By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton ISD Board of Trustees set spring break a week later to give all students and staff the opportunity to use the break.

Superintendent Jim Dillard said that at the Sept. 26 meeting, the board moved the week from March 19-25 to March 26-April 1.

Dillard said that the original date overlapped with District UIL competitions, and many of the high school students and teachers would have to be in school to compete.

In a related matter, the board approved the application for a CTE minutes waiver.

Dillard said that CTE students have to attend 450 minutes of specialized instruction every 10 days; and it was possible that with the 4-day schedule that was approved for the second semester that students would not meet that requirement.

If that happened, it would affect funding, and Dillard said they wanted to be careful.

“Right now we are in compliance, but you never know what the state will do, so I asked to submit waiver request,” he said.

In other business, the board:

•Discussed purchase of 14-passenger bus;

•discussed Limited English proficiency. The district has 14 students who are actively in the ESL program, and 53 students who are being monitored to see if the services are needed;

•approved an agreement for shared services. The district is part of a cooperative for special education that serves two counties and seven districts, and if there is a student that needs those services, they are available; and

•added Dillard as signatory to the school’s accounts.

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Approval given for homecoming

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groveton texas city limits 250By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton City County gave its approval to close the downtown area for a homecoming celebration at its regular meeting on Sept. 26.

Groveton Mayor Tommy Walton said that Tim Coker with the Groveton Ex-Students Association asked the council to close downtown Oct. 21 for a street dance after the football game, something that is done every other year at homecoming. 

The group also asked to allow consumption of alcohol, which also was approved; the  Council asked that Porta Potties and garbage receptacles be provided and that cleanup occur afterwards. 

The city will provide security. 

In other business, the council:

•discussed an issue involving animals;

•discussed information from Chief Justin Cowart, who showed that in August the Police Department had 44 calls for service, 44 traffic stops, 14 verbal warnings, took 10 reports, issued 30 citations and made 3 arrests. Additionally, the department is making use of reserves and requiring 16 hours of on time with the city per month;

•discussed an Animal Control report, showing there were 22 calls and 14 dogs and eight cats were transported to shelter;

•approved payment of $5,437.50 to Inframark for sewer and water services. Mike Brown reported an average flow of 63,000 gallons per day of sewer and total water pumped was 3,500,000 gallons for August; 

•approved and ordinance declining rate changes for Entergy;

•approved a resolution to make available $100,000 from savings for street paving;

•adopted Trinity County News-Standard as newspaper of record;

•adopted Citizens State Bank as depository; 

•adopted a tax rate of .9479 per $100 property valuation, which is same as last year; and

•adopted the FY 2022-23 budget of $1,777,046.

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School security still a priority

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Sarah King representing Calvary Baptist Church, Diana Baker representing Presbyterian Church, Yvonne Hasting representing First United Methodist Church and Lynn Copley representing Trinity Fellowship. Courtesy PhotosSarah King representing Calvary Baptist Church, Diana Baker representing Presbyterian Church, Yvonne Hasting representing First United Methodist Church and Lynn Copley representing Trinity Fellowship. Courtesy Photos

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — Trinity ISD School Board members continue to enhance school safety. 

At its regular meeting on Sept. 26, the board authorized an increase of school guardians on each campus, as well as other improvements, which include shatter-resistant film for exterior windows and better camera coverage of campuses.

Superintendent John Kaufman said the vote for guardians was not unanimous; Board Member Maggie Trevino voted against the measure because she doesn’t want armed teachers.

Kaufman did not say how many guardians there are or how many were approved, but did say there will be a sufficient amount on each campus.

“I feel comfortable that with guardians and police, the kids’ safety will be very well maintained,” he said.

The board approved updating security camera systems, replacing older cameras and providing coverage for all blind spots. Additionally, license plate cameras and cameras covering exit/entrance areas have been added, as well as higher resolution cameras and increased storage capacity.

Kaufman said the district is going above and beyond new state standards regarding campus safety.

“We had a walkthrough with police and board members, and identified areas we needed to shore up,” he said. “That included the camera system, enclosing areas with fencing, panic buttons in each room and looking at adding shatter-resistant film windows.”

In other business, the board:

•Discussed an upcoming meeting with Sen. Robert Nichols which will be held in Trinity and include all school superintendents in the county. It will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 12, and discuss legislative issues facing schools;

•recognized TMS Beta Club, who raised funds for blinds for classroom doors;

•approved a code of conduct for food service, which focuses on banning preferential treatment to relatives;

•approved filing a waiver to not have a specific class for economics;

•approved a request from the Walker County Appraisal District for new offices;

•gave annual improvement to the school investment policy;

•approved final budget amendments for the 2021-22 budgets;

•approved the purchase of new computers for administrators; and

•approved hiring a new pre-K teachers because of larger student population.

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Loving the fair weather and fair friends

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092922 juliaDr. John Kaufman (back row, from left), superintendent of Trinity Schools, spoke at a recent Lions Club meeting with Orrin Hargrave, Steve Richardson, and Bill and Kim Connell; and (front row, from left) Charles Payne, Dr. Garry Reece and the Rev. John Goodwin. Photo by Julia McMichael

Julias TidbitsWell, it’s here. The 73rd Trinity Community Fair will be history next Sunday. The Queen will be crowned, the animals will be sold, and the students will be happy for their school holiday, the carnival games, and exciting rides. The fun will be long gone for another year, but as for me, I still have plenty to do before my year ends.

In October there is an event on every Saturday of the month, and in November, the most anticipated event coming up is deer season. Deer season opens the first weekend in November, and on that day, Saturday, Nov. 5, the Boys and Girls Club’s Bingo Extravaganza Fundraiser is being held at the VFW Hall on Caroline Street at 1 p.m.

However, my biggest event is the Founders Day Celebration on Nov. 12, at the Trinity Community Center next to McDonalds from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Then my next event is the TPCC Christmas Show on Dec. 3, downtown on East Main Street. The theme for this show will be “Trinity, 150 years of Christmas Past”.

Competing with deer season for male volunteers during this time is tricky. I have to offer guns as raffle ticket prizes, deer leases rentals, 50 or more bags of corn, deer feeders, and every type of camping and hunting supplies you can think of to even get our gentlemen friends to talk to me or other women. The guilt trip about killing “Bambi” doesn’t work, never did. However, the need to cull out the overpopulated deer animals is necessary, so the men folk are equipped to handle that endeavor.

•Speaking of animals, I love reading the Old Farmer’s Almanac each year, because I learn something new and different about mother nature and animals. For Instance, did you know that cows, horses, cats, dogs, and insects’ behavior can forecast the weather? A lot of information is mythical about this, but local folklore, and farmers believe animal behavior says more about the weather than meteorologists.

Centuries ago, farmers and others observed animal behavior and recognized patterns that corresponded to weather events. These observations were passed through generations as advice, which survive today as adages. Can cows forecast the weather? Many weather adages involve cows because they were common animals on farms.

For Instance, if a cow stands with its tail to the west, the weather is said to be fair. If a cow grazes with its tail to the east, the weather is said to turn sour. If the bull leads the cows to pasture, expect rain, if the cows precede the bull, the weather will be uncertain.

Some of the information may not be true, but it is fun to read about. There is some truth here about farm animals. They graze with their tail toward the wind so that if a predator sneaks up behind them, the wind will catch the scent of the predator and prevent attack.

Here are some more animal indicators to forecast rain: Expect rain when dogs eat grass, cats purr and wash, sheep turn into the wind, oxen sniff the air and swine are restless, when cats sneeze, it is a sign of rain, and when cattle lie down in the pasture, it indicates early rain. 

(Source: The Old Farmer’s Almanac)

True or not, the cricket’s story is most interesting about counting their chirps as a thermometer, and the woolly bear caterpillar predicts weather with different colored sections of its body. Next issue you need to know how birds fit into this weather folklore, and I will be happy to relate this information to you then.

•Last week at the Trinity Lions Club Meeting at the Chamber, Dr. John Kaufman, Superintendent of TISD was the guest speaker. It was comforting and surprising some of the information he imparted to us. I would really like to print all four pages of his notes, but unfortunately space is limited in this issue.

However, I will print most of his report in my up-coming tidbit articles. Here are some highlights I would like for the Trinity Community to know where your bond money and major renovation to all campuses and sports facilities was spent.

•Secured entrances on all campuses.

•Many other security improvements to all campuses.

•New locker rooms, new track, new band hall, new choir room.

•New tennis courts, and additional bleachers to athletic stadium.

•Turf field added, improved lighting inside building.

•Improved roads and parking area at the elementary and high school.

•Removed all carpet out of rooms and replaced with tile.

•New roofs on all buildings, new marquee in front of the elementary school.

•Constructed overflow parking area for additional bus and vehicle fleet.

•Created an additional overflow parking area at the stadium.

•Provided cover parking for all school vehicles and buses to preserve their interior and exterior.

•Bus fleet is in very good shape with the most recent purchase of a new 72-passenger bus and a 30-passenger bus.

•Applied for a government grant to receive electric buses and charging stations. TISD will know in October if they will be awarded this grant. The grant is $800,000.

I will report next week about employees, insurance, mental health counselors, class size and about our industry-based certificates list. I was glad to know we have soccer added to our sports curriculum.

I love soccer. All my children played soccer in their school sports’ life. Most of them reached blue and gold level soccer status. Soccer moms know what this means.

My great granddaughter is going to play soccer for North Carolina University when she graduates. So, I am glad Trinity is investing in this program for students because it is not only fun to watch, presents another avenue to obtain scholarships, and is great exercise for them as well. All children can play soccer regardless of size or stature.

•Recap of community events for October and November:

Oct. 7, TISD Homecoming Night at stadium

Oct. 15-16 Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church dinner and festival

Oct. 15-31, First United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch

Oct. 22, SAAFE House Purse Bingo Fundraiser at the VFW Hall

Oct. 29, “Wall of Honor” tailgate fundraiser at Schillbillies

Oct. 31, “Treats on the Street” Halloween Party on Elm Street

Nov. 5, Boys and Girls Club Bingo Extravaganza at VFW Hall

Nov. 11, Veterans Day National Holiday

Nov. 12, Trinity Sesquicentennial Celebration

Nov. 12, Veterans Appreciation Banquet at Burning Hope

Nov. 21-25, TISD Thanksgiving Winter Break

Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day

I am waiting a few more issues before I report on December activities, so please text me about any Christmas cantatas, festivals, parties, school functions, or other community happenings. Anything you want me to announce for Dec. is needed soon. My number 936-537-8171 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photos by Julia McMichael

Dr. John Kaufman (back row, from left), superintendent of Trinity Schools, spoke at a recent Lions Club meeting with Orrin Hargrave, Steve Richardson, and Bill and Kim Connell; and (front row, from left) Charles Payne, Dr. Garry Reece and the Rev. John Goodwin.

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