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Trinity County News - Breakout

Council discusses Police Department

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080411 council discusses pd

TCNS staff

GROVETON — The city’s police chief, Justin Cowart, told Groveton City Council members that he has training scheduled with numerous agencies, including the Trinity Police Department, revolving around school safety and active shooter on campus.

Cowart also said that there are discussions for training with Groveton ISD.

He said that law enforcement agencies and school districts are being proactive in light of the tragedy in Uvalde.

Additionally, the department told the council that they are stopping four-wheelers and motor bikes with underage kids that are speeding and operating in an unsafe manner. Cowart said the city has issued warnings and talked to parents, but the problems continue so the next steps are for fines and impounding vehicles.

Cowart said that for the month, the department responded to 30 calls for service, executed 41 traffic stops, and issued three verbal warnings, 10 written warnings, 28 citations and made three arrests. Officers also fielded calls for animal control, five for dogs, two for cats and three animals were impounded.

In other business, the council:

•approved payment of $8,685.04 to Inframark for sewer and water, and rep Hunter Maze said the city was operating the sewer plant at 12 percent of permit levels and pumped 3,093,000 gallons of water;

•delayed action on participating in a tree program with the Groveton Lions Club until the fall;

•approved renewal of employee group insurance, which includes lower rates of $105 per employee per month, a savings of $6,000 per year;

•approved incoming County Judge Danny Martin and Justice of the Peace Richard Steptoe as city judges;

•appointed Martha Kirby to the Groveton Housing Authority to replace Karla Perkins;

•approved an ordinance declining a rate change request from Entergy; and

•discussed making three parking spaces in front of City Hall two-hour parking during business hours after some customers complained of not being able to find adequate parking. Mayor Tommy Walton will discuss the matter with the city attorney.

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Apple Springs ISD focuses on safety

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080411 aisd school safety

By Tony Farkas
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APPLE SPRINGS — As with all schools in the state, the Apple Springs ISD Board of Trustees discussed new safety protocols the state has issued in response to the tragedy in Uvalde at its regular meeting in June.

Superintendent Cody Moree said the district was ahead of the 8 ball in that, but there are new things in that all schools are required to do, and he and the board discussed Apple Springs’ plans.

“I refreshed the board on the protocols that are in place, and talked about any improvements that will be needed,” he said. “All school districts will be required to submit a safety audit by Sept. 9, mainly dealing with perimeter safety, exterior doors and things of that nature.”

Moree said the district will be doing that in the next month, while waiting for guidance from the legislature, as I believe there will be several school safety bills that will be introduced once the Legislature convenes in January 2023.

In a related matter, the board delayed action on the purchase of new perimeter fencing until there are guidelines from the state on what specifications the fence has to meet.

In other business, the board:

•discussed a grievance report filed by a parent, and board upheld decision;

•appointed a tax rate calculation officer, CFO Chase Nielsen;

•approved contracts with ESC Region 6 for internet access, student management system and payroll;

•renewed the district’s plan for being a District of Innovation; and

•discussed the upcoming budget, including compressing the tax rate.

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Donations continue to county VFDs

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080422 donations two

TCNS staff

TRINITY — With the fire risk still high because of the lack of rain, firefighters are still on alert; area agencies, including VFW Post 6899.

The post was a drop-off location for donations to help out the fire departments with drinks and snacks; the local fire departments recently picked up those donations, and organizers were able to drop off two pallets of water to local volunteer fire departments.

Organizers state that since it still hasn’t rained in many areas, donations will continue to be accepted Monday-Saturday from 2-10 p.m.

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District preps for tighter security

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080722 training 4Superintendent John Kaufman goes through training. Courtesy photo

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — The tragedy in Uvalde has given the state’s school systems even more reasons to improve security, and the Trinity district hopes to put all students’ minds at ease.

On Friday, Brian Stutes of Tactical Response Solutions of Beaumont spent the day with the district administration leadership team, training the crew from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on processes for dealing with school intruders or active shooting events.

Superintendent John Kaufman said the visit will help the district do what needs to be done to improve site security and responses.

“Our practices are good, but people after time get complacent, and (Uvalde) put fire under all of us to make security a 24/7 thing,” he said. “We need to continuously look at what we’re doing.”

Stutes led training in defensive mechanisms and first aid, and then walked through the buildings and gave suggestions for security and making sure all necessary aid items were in place.

In addition to all administrators, Trinity VFD and EMS, and both Trinity and TISD police departments went through training, Kaufman said.

“We talked through scenarios and the processes to deal with them, and then we will pass this along to teachers and other staff,” Kaufman said. “We’ve got a good start, but there are things to make it better, and we’re going to do it.”

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Board discusses conduct, discipline

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080422 school discipline

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — The Trinity ISD Board of Trustees discussed changes to its discipline matrix to make things stricter, while shoring up policies in the Student

Code of Conduct.
At its regular meeting on July 25, changes including removing warnings and detention were discussed. Superintendent John Kaufman said that instead, the district will move to in-school suspension instead of warnings on first offenses.

Cutting class and leaving the campus without permission previously meant one day of detention, now it will be one day of ISS.

Kaufman told board members that in the last school year, there were some incidents that were serious enough to justify strengthening its discipline.
“We’re going to be quite a bit stricter on first and second offenses,” he said. “Hopefully it will eliminate some problems.”

However, board members Ricky Hortman and Elaine King wanted the current policies to form a basis of comparison. The board ultimately tabled the matter until its special meeting on Aug. 1.

In a related matter, the board also tabled revisions to the Student Code of Conduct for the same reasons, which was to get copies of current policy to make comparisons.

The matter also will be taken up at its Aug. 1 meeting.

In other business, the board:

•approved all financial statements; and

  •discussed safety measures, including having all building in the district re-keyed.

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