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Trinity County News - Breakout

Fundraisers feature best of county

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060922 fundraiser best featureRepresentatives from the Houston Lodge and representatives from the Joe Werner Lodge of Trinity present Dr. Arthur T. “Tom” Blackstock with his 60-year Mason Membership pin. Courtesy photo

By Julia McMichael

This weekend was beautiful but quiet. The Boys and Girls Club of Trinity fundraiser was a great success and thank you to all the people who donated to this cause, and to all the people who came out and supported this wonderful organization.

Another event held this weekend was a bake sale for the Future Business Leaders of America. They have two finalists going to the FBLA Convention in a couple of weeks. I hope they do well. I purchased a delicious lemon cupcake and a coconut cupcake, but they had many other awesome items for sale I wanted but did not need.

I wish some of these homemade bakers would enter the bake good competition at the fair in October. It is a shame that Trinity has so many culinary artists that are shy.
One such culinary genius is Lanora Ainsworth. She is so talented, and when she enters her items, she is hard to beat at anything.

Her pies — cherry, peach, blackberry, apple and pecan — are a tough act for anyone to try and match. Her jams, jellies, and candies have kept the Trinity VFW Hall afloat for years, and her cornbread or banana bread is sought after by many in and out of Trinity County. She makes a wicked pot of pinto beans, and if you are really a good friend, she may let you try her grape jelly that is made from the vines in her back yard.

It really is not fair that Lanora can cook, sew, quilt, crochet, paint, grow flowers, fruit trees and anything else she wants to do, and I cannot even grow a cactus plant. I forgive her though, as long as she calls me to be her taste tester.

Last week I told you about my friends who have a vegetable garden in their backyard and the husband, Rossel, can grow anything. They give most of their produce away, but sometimes there is too much to waste, so they try to sell some items to defray costs of watering and fertilizer.

So far, I had eaten tomatoes, salad peppers, onions, cabbage, squash, and fresh yard eggs, so I know their products are good. If you are interested in buying some fresh vegetables, call or text Angie at (936) 355-4100, and she will tell you what she has available right now and will deliver to you upon request. (Tell her Julia sent you.)

Last week I reported on Vacation Bible Schools that will take place in June and July and I will keep reminding you of their schedules as they occur. The first one is Calvary Baptist Church running June 13-17 from 6-8:30 p.m. for pre-k through fifth grades. Registration this week will be over on Wednesday, but late registration will be available on Monday, June 13, at 5 p.m. at the church. Call (936) 594-3611 for more information and details.

Every week I report on news items around town and do not have any trouble supporting fundraisers, children, churches, or other groups, but sometimes I get upset when I learn of abuse to our elderly people.

Right here in Trinity when neighbors feel they cannot change the situation, because they feel they are invading someone’s privacy, sometimes we are stupid and should re-evaluate the situation.

Dr. Arthur T. “Tom” Blackstock was found living in dire need of care and financial help by a concerned resident of Trinity on Lake Geneva Street. He was living in his rundown home, worth half a million dollars, with no water or propane gas.

Thank God for meal delivery or he may have been dead before Jan. 1, when he was placed in Trinity Rehabilitation Health Care Center for COVID-19.
Because of Marilyn Barnes, on June 4 Dr. Tom Blackstone was presented his 60-year-old Masonic membership pin for active service in the Holland Masonic Lodge No. 1 in Houston. He became a member in 1956.

Representatives from the Houston Lodge and representatives from the Joe Werner Lodge of Trinity were present for the award, as well as two longtime friends, Larry Hortman and Marilyn Barnes.

On Sunday, June 26, from 1-4 p.m., Marilyn and VFW Post 6899 of Trinity, located at 400 Caroline St., are sponsoring a fundraiser for Dr. Tom Blackstock to help with his finances to stay at Trinity Rehabilitation Center.

The fundraiser starts at the VFW Hall with a $10 barbecue plate dinner which includes a dessert, drink and a raffle ticket. There will also be a silent auction, a bake sale and a 50/50 raffle. Please come support a local resident, abandoned but not forgotten. For more information, please call Marilyn Barnes at (281) 782-2309.

Don’t forget June 14 is Flag Day. This is the date that President Woodrow Wilson unofficially declared the day as the National Date to fly the American flag. It is still not a federal holiday.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was declared the National Anthem by President Wilson in 1931. There were many changes to the American Flag in the beginning, but it has remained the same since 1959 when the stars for the last two states, Alaska and Hawaii, were added.

The State Convention for the VFW organization takes place June 15-19 at Durant, Okla. I am a little jealous because they have a wonderful casino there. At press time, I do not know the outcome of the Wall of Honor Veterans’ and the Post 6899 of Trinity’s Fish Fry last weekend, but it looked very busy when I passed by on that day. More on that later.

Applications for the 73rd Trinity Community Fair will be going out soon, so remember first mailed back, first requests honored. Inside booths are the most desired for us old people, but outside booths are good too.

Booth spaces are still the same this year at $75 for each space for two days. The 2022 fair theme is “American Flair at the Fair.” Their flyer is awesome. See the website for details.

The flyer for the second annual City BBQ Cook-Off for the Fourth of July weekend is out now, so call Steve Jones for details at (936) 594-2507.

Sunday, June 19, is Father’s Day.

See you around town.

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Scholarships awarded to deserving students

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060922 scholarships awarded

By Jo Ann Anderson Beken

During graduation ceremonies at Groveton High School on May 27, the Groveton Ex-Students Association awarded in excess of $80,000 to 16 college students and 10 graduating seniors.

We were honored to present seven new scholarships.

A one-time scholarship in memory of W.B. Due Jr., who served on the Groveton ISD school board for more than 30 years. This scholarship was funded by lifetime memberships purchased this past year through our association. (You can acquire a two-year membership for $10. A lifetime membership is a great deal at $50. Please see our Facebook page for details on how to join.)

New scholarships were added in memory of Patrick Johnson, Marcus Williams and Darlene Pyle. These were funded by friends and loved ones of these Groveton Indians.

Darlene’s scholarship was funded by her immediate family, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Darlene served on our board for many years and was the ultimate Groveton supporter.
A scholarship has also been established in honor of George and Betty Whittlesey by their children, Randel, Karen Key and David Whittlesey, all GHS graduates. Whittlesey was a long-time teacher in the Groveton school district and Betty has served on the ex-students board of directors for many years. Their service to our community and GISD is much appreciated, and we thank their children for creating this scholarship in their honor.
We were also the recipient of the Groveton Chamber of Commerce’s generosity as they closed their doors and remembered GHS students with their donation to our scholarship account. An anonymous donor graciously donated to our scholarship fund, and we are thankful for their generosity.

We are so grateful to be able to offer these scholarships and remember and honor loved ones in this special way. Our GHS students are so fortunate to have this support from our community.

Seniors receiving scholarships are:

• Caden Alexander: Chandler, Galenor, James and Cook Memorial, Don and La’Nette Hill Memorial, John III and James E. Collins Memorial, Joseph and Patricia Hensley Memorial, Rolland, Ludie and David Smith Memorial

• Carson Antley: Will B. and Louise Dial Donalson Memorial, Walter and Olivia Bowers Dial Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Family Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Shelby Arnold: Robert and Arrie Zona Lawrence Memorial, Thelma L. Terry Memorial, W.R. and Rose Reese Memorial, Anonymous Donor

• Katie Blanchard: Clara Ferguson Memorial, Sadie Choate Memorial, George and Enda Mae Dean Memorial, Don and La’Nette Hill Memorial, Marcus Williams Memorial, Rolland, Ludie and David Smith Family Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Hayden Lee: Bobby Sam Harkins Memorial, Darwin and Robbie Creasy Memorial, Winston, Velda, and Robert Rush Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Kayley McCrory: Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary, Anonymous, Kate Atkinson Bell Memorial

• Kassie Plotts: 2022 Valedictorian, Patrick Johnson Memorial, WB Due Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Tuff Reynolds: Hugh Roy Robb Memorial, Wade Williams Memorial, Anonymous

• Camely Shuford: Groveton Chamber of Commerce, Robb Stevenson Memorial, W.I. Stevenson Memorial, Anonymous
Hannah Spurgeon: Barney Callahan Memorial, Band Boosters, Don and La’Nette Hill Memorial, Kate Atkinson Bell Memorial, PD and Florene Johnson Hamilton Memorial, WR and Rose Reese Memorial

College students who were awarded scholarships are:

• Caitlyn Antley: Don and La’Nette Hill Memorial, Winton and Quinton Lawrence Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Jordan Brooks: Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Javier Chavez: Bobby Sam Harkins Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Hannah Dial: Sadie Choate Memorial, Clifton and Annie Reynolds Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Canaan Dillard: Sadie Choate Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Emily Ecord: 2021 Valedictorian, Reba Anderson Memorial, Bobby Sam Harkins Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Meredith Ecord: 2019 Valedictorian, Reba Anderson Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary, Rolland, Ludie and David Smith Memorial, George and Betty Whittlesey Honorary

• Zachary Fisher: Bessie Mae Key Memorial, David and Corrie Benton Memorial, Jerry Don Reynolds Memorial, Rolland, Ludie, and David Smith Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Haley Lightsey: Groveton Ex-Students Association, C.E. and Luna James Memorial

• Kadee Johnson: Wade Williams Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Lindsay Jones: Winton and Quinton Lawrence Memorial, Mildred Barnett Smith Honorary

• Charles Austin McKinney: C.E. and Luna James Memorial, Mervin, Hazel, Lynn Ray Smith Memorial, Wade Williams Memorial

• Cole Sullivan: Lois Turner Holden Memorial, William and Edna Skains Johnson Memorial

• Lena Taylor: Sadie Choate Memorial, Barney Callahan Memorial, Darlene Pyle Memorial, Wade Williams Memorial

• Teagan Torregrossa: Groveton Chamber of Commerce, Thelma L. Terry Memorial

• Megan Turrentine: Lois Turner Holden Memorial, W.G. and Beulah Ellisor Rosser Memorial

Congratulations and best wishes to all of these Groveton Indians who are pursuing higher education. Thank you to all of the donor families for honoring or remembering their loved ones in this powerful way.

Jo Ann Anderson Beken is president of the Groveton Ex-Students Association.

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Space needs becoming critical at Groveton Library

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060922 groveton libraryThe first day of the Summer Reading Program at the Groveton Public Library had seven children and six adults in attendance. Courtesy photo

By Cathy Czajkowski

Groveton Library

Our town needs a new library building. Your librarian is seriously and sincerely looking for a new building to house our growing library.

We have 116 active patrons who come to our library. These are patrons who check out books. This total does not include the people who just come to use the computer to print forms that they are required to have for social security, child support, etc. We have around 100 visits to our library each month.

Our library is very important to this community, and I am pleading to anyone who has or knows someone who has a lot or a house or a building that might be just right for our library to move into. Please call me if you have any ideas.

Donations of $30.81 to our new library building fund brings our total to $2,166.38. Please put your change in the donation jars at McClain’s Hardware, Monica’s on Main Resale, One Stop Grocery and Pizza, Pruitt’s Auto, and Susie Q’s.

Thank you to these businesses for their support. Thank you to everyone who drops their pennies in the jars. Your librarian has a new goal of $5,000 by the end of the year for our new building fund.

The Children’s Summer Reading Program has started and we have 14 registered children as of June 1 and we had seven children and six adults for the first Story Time on June 2. Our theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.”

There are so many different creatures and fish and plants in the sea and we are only going to barely touch the surface but we are going to learn and have so much fun. Your librarian is excited.

This program will be available for 4 to 12 years old. Anyone at any age is welcome to come to the library but only those registered will be in the reading competition. If anyone would like to come and read to the children, please call the library. We have a few reading times open for the summer. These story time days will be on Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m.

World Ocean Day is June 8 and that goes right along with our theme for the Summer Reading Program.

Texas Workforce Solutions will be in the library on Tuesday, June 21, from 1-4 p.m. This is such a wonderful program for anyone who needs employment assistance. There are many programs that they can help you to access for training and employment.

Don’t forget Father’s Day on June 19. We have plenty of books for sale that would make great presents for your special man.

The library will be closed on Monday, June 20, in observance of Juneteenth.

We have a retired teacher that teaches ESL (English as a second language) classes to anyone who is interested. This is a free service provided at the library for our community.

The library offers copy services and fax services and Notary Public services.

If you are aware of any person that is homebound and cannot get to the library but would like to have books to read, please call the library. We will work on a time for delivery and pickup of books if someone shows interest. This is your library. Please let me know how I can be of service to you.

Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.

Story time is at 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. ESL class is at 2 p.m. Friday

The library phone number is (936) 642-2483, and the location is in the rock building just east of the courthouse.

Cathy Czajkowski is director of the Groveton Public Library.

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Cosmetology graduates two

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060922 cosmetology graduatesHailey Bergman and Maddie Nash, recent Groveton ISD graduates, have passed the written portion of the state cosmetology exam. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Standard

GROVETON — Two graduates of the Groveton ISD Cosmetology Program have become one step from being licensed cosmetologists.
Hailey Bergman and Maddie Nash passed their Cosmetology State Board Written Exam on May 31, the culmination of many hours of studying and taking many practice tests before the big day. 

The next step is the four-hour long practical exam in Houston, which the two are now getting ready for. Once passed, the two will be fully licensed cosmetologists, and will be able to enter the work force without schooling or debt.

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Jail needs top of county priorities

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060922 jail needsThe Trinity County Jail is at the end of its useful life, leaving county officials with a quandary of what to do for the future. Photo by Tony Farkas

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Trinity County Jail is a product of another age, and its inadequate size, failing systems and overtaxed use has become a problem, one of proper law enforcement for the Sheriff’s Office, and one of costs for the Commissioners’ Court.

The jail was built in 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration. Under current jail standards, it can house only seven prisoners, but has held more in the past.

County Judge Doug Page said that the average daily prisoner count hovers around 50 prisoners a day, 43 of which are housed in other facilities. Female prisoners are moved to the Montgomery County Jail, and the county has contracts with Walker, Grimes, Houston and Falls counties for the other prisoners.

“We’re paying anywhere from $38 to $45 per day per prisoner to house inmates,” Page said. “From October 2021 to April, we’ve spent $271,500 out of a budgeted $400,000. Any given year we spend one-quarter to one-half million dollars housing prisoners out of county. That is just for housing; it does not include transportation costs.”

On Facebook, Sheriff Woody Wallace there is a possibility that the daily rate charged by other counties is expected to increase to $55-$75 per day within 2-5 years, increasing increase costs to more than $1 million per year.

Wallace also said there are other issues with the current facility, namely that it has cast iron sewer pipes that are failing.

Additionally, his dispatchers are doubling as jailers, and all are working 12-hour shifts, and about 50 felony warrants and 75 misdemeanor warrants are being held because of the space issues.

A needs assessment performed by the Texas Commission on jail standards describes the current jail as having one separation cell, three single inmate cells and one cell with a capacity of three.

In order to operate at all, the jail has been granted eight variances from minimum jail standards set by the state, according to the assessment. Those variances include square footage of cell space, no day room, inadequate ceiling height, insufficient number of exits and improper stairway width.

The assessment also states that population trends show that criminal activity will only grow in the next 40 years; by 2040, the county will need at minimum 48 jail beds.

Page said the county needs a jail. The assessment recommends construction of a 96-bed facility.

Toward that end, a committee was formed, and recently the architectural firm DRG was hired and will be meeting with county officials including Page, Wallace and County Attorney Colton Hay.

The questions of cost and size remain.

“We need to determine if we can we afford it, and where does it go,” Page said. “Our jail budget is $845,000; we can add a little bit to that and operate a 72-bed jail. The kicker, though, is paying for the construction. However, if something isn’t done, then state can take over and that would be costly.”

Page said the county will know more soon.

“We’re addressing the problem as fast as we can,” he said.

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