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Trinity County News - Breakout

Groveton looks to ramp up security

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070722 ramp up security

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The bulk of discussion at the June 27 meeting of the Groveton ISD Board of Trustees centered around increasing security.

Superintendent Jim Dillard said that every school in the state of Texas is receiving new guidance from TEA and the Texas School Safety Center, which are working with the Governor’s Office, and they have created new directives for public schools to follow.

Dillard said the Groveton district was ahead of the curve, having already been in the process of doing that.

“A term being thrown about is hardening, because our schools are seen as a soft target, and I believe that the GO and TEA wants that to happen,” Dillard said. “That means exterior doors and perimeter fences need improvement, and that officials need to be more vigilant and actively monitor events inside and outside the buildings.”

He said that while schools are security-minded on a daily basis, but believes that schools in Texas have been complacent, and most of the efforts have been on COVID — keeping people safe from germs —forgetting about everyday threats of active shooters.

“We are replacing doors at the elementary school, we are replacing interior locks among other efforts,” Dillard said. “Our main job as educators is to keep kids safe.”

In other business, the board:

•approved the Gifted & Talented Program and ESL Program evaluations, run by Susan Kitchens. Dillard said the programs are in excellent shape;

•renewed contract with Axley and Rode for audit services;

•approved an agreement with ESC District 10;

•added Board Vice President Steve Ecord as a signatory for checks; and

•discussed construction projects.

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Board talks safety

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070722 board talks security

By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — The Trinity ISD Board of Trustees discussed summer maintenance projects, which includes changes and improvements to school security.

At its regular meeting on June 28, the board received a report about all projects. Superintendent John Kaufman said that while he could not discuss details, there will be increased attention to security issues in light of the tragedy at Uvalde.

Additionally, the roof at Trinity High School is being replaced. Kaufman said work started on Tuesday and will take four weeks to complete.

Other projects include concrete being poured at the middle school for a bus lane, and the remaining carpet in all classrooms and offices will be removed and replaced with tile.

In other business, the board:

•discussed preliminary STAAR results, showing the district is back to pre-COVID levels. Final results will be available in August;

•approved renewing health insurance through Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Kaufman said it went to a regional model, and premiums went down $15 a month individually, which will save the district $34,000 a year;

•approved ESC Region 6 region contracts, and discussed a grant that was awarded which will be used to pay for those contracts;

•gave annual approval for the food service contract; and

•tabled a discussion regarding a guardian program.

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Locals earn college honors

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063022 locals earn honors

Sam Houston State University

HUNTSVILLE — The students listed on the President’s Honor Roll at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville are undergraduates who have achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average in all work attempted while enrolled in not less than 12 semester hours.

The local students earning the honor for the Spring 2022 semester are:

• Groveton: Javier Chavez

• Trinity: Katelyn Brooke, Eryn Eaton, Timothy King, Emily Roberts

The students listed on the Dean’s List of Academic Honors at SHSU achieved a grade point average of at least 3.5 out of a perfect 4.0 in all work attempted while enrolled in not less than 12 semester hours.

The local students earning the honor for the Spring 2022 semester are:

• Groveton: Javier Chavez, Matthew Davis, Kasey Drinkard

• Trinity: Cergio Alfaro, Katelyn Brooke, Amanda Broussard, Eryn Eaton, Heather Ellis, Santa Gonzalez, Gabriella Kaufman, Timothy King, Olivia Kitts, Emily Roberts, Kayla Wheeler, Mario Zavala

UT Tyler

TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler announced the students who were named to the spring 2022 Dean’s List.

To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must have completed 12 or more semester hours of undergraduate college-level credit in the awarding semester with a grade point average of at least 3.75. To be considered for this recognition, a student must qualify as a matriculated student pursuing a first bachelor’s degree.

The local students earning the honor for the Spring 2022 semester are:

Groveton: Jennifer Hernandez

Trinity: Kevin Dunk

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Kindness In Action

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063022 kindness in actionA great turnout for the 2021-2022 Groveton Lions Club Banquet. Photo by Philip Schmitten

By Philip Schmitten
TCNS correspondent

GROVETON — When caring people join, roll up their sleeves and take action to make their community better, it’s a beautiful thing — and an incredible feeling for everyone involved.

That’s Lions.

Being a Lion is about leading by example, building relationships, and improving the world through kindness. It’s 1.4 million caring men and women serving together so they can make a lasting impact and change more lives.

Ever since Helen Keller inspired us to champion the cause in 1925, we’ve served and advocated for the blind and visually impaired. Nearly a century later, this long-standing mission continues unhindered.

Groveton Lions have donated four scholarships to GISD students this year and have big plans for next year.

In the past, Groveton Lions Club has been involved with Eye Exams for the pre-K thru first-graders. Next school year, with the cooperation of Groveton ISD and the school nurse, the local Lions will offer exams to the entire district.

These exams show more than eyesight problems, they also can detect early illnesses that can affect the entire body. A year ago, a girl was diagnosed with eye cancer and the early warning saved her life.

The Rev. Jack McMahon, Lion club coordinator for the SPOT Eye Screening Program, (SIGHT for KIDS) said, “The sooner we can get the kids the ability to see, the sooner they can start to learn faster.”

The club documents any problems we find and then turn the results over to the school nurse for follow-up action. The Lions Club pays for the eye appointments and even purchases glasses for those who can’t afford them.

Nearly 1 billion people live with vision impairment that could have been prevented or can be corrected — $14.3 billion is needed to treat existing cases of refractive error and cataracts worldwide. Unaddressed distance vision impairment in many Iow- and middle-income regions is four times higher than in high-income regions.

Lions Clubs are a world leader in the effort to prevent avoidable blindness, and are diligently working with local partners to help provide the local capacity building, training, medications and treatment needed for those with eye diseases and to provide disability rehabilitation and education for all.

Since 2002, Lions Clubs International Foundation has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Vision to implement the largest-known school-based eye health program, Sight for Kids. The program mobilizes Lions and eye care professionals to provide comprehensive eye health services in low-income schools, currently in seven locations throughout the world — Thailand, Philippines, Kerala, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Florida and Kenya.

The program provides teachers with training to deliver eye health education, perform a visual acuity test and screen for common eye conditions. Students identified with potential vision impairment or eye ailments are referred to healthcare providers for evaluation.

This program has had a tremendous impact in communities worldwide:

• 42 million students screened around the world

• 500,000 pairs of eyeglasses provided to children in need

• 600,000 students treated in the U.S.

• 200,000 teachers engaged in the U.S.

The Groveton Lions Club also sponsors the Fourth of July Celebration held at the Y every year. It sponsors bake sales and community service activities such as building a ramp for a local citizen who needed one.

We sponsor an annual golf tournament and hold adult health fairs with eye screening for those without insurance, plus many more activities that help the community — as our motto says, we serve.

We are looking for dedicated folks to join our group, which meets at noon on the first and third Thursdays of each month from September to June at the Groveton Senior Citizens Center.

Everyone is invited to attend any of our meetings to see what it’s all about.

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State pushes school cafeteria safety plan

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063022 cafeteria security guardMiller pushing to get security officers in every Texas school cafeteria during mealtimes.

Special to the News-Times

AUSTIN — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced he is initiating a plan to tap existing resources, as well as to seek additional resources, to ensure that security officers are placed in every Texas school cafeteria during mealtimes.

Miller said that such an effort should be part of any larger plan to improve school safety at both the state and national levels.

“Twenty-three years ago, when this modern-day madness began at Columbine High School in Colorado, the killers targeted the school cafeteria with bombs,” Miller said. “When the bombs failed to detonate the murderers opened fire with their guns. School cafeterias remain a large point of vulnerability in any school.”

Miller said he directed my staff to begin the process of determining what federal funds can be utilized for the program.

“We must make sure that cafeterias and lunch periods are part of the safety conversation at both the federal and state levels,” he said. “It is my hope that this program can move forward now, as federal or state legislative action may be over a year away.”

Miller said he will encourage the legislature to revisit House Bill 1009, which allows Texas school districts to appoint marshals to guard school premises; while most larger Texas high schools have some form of on-campus security, most Texas elementary schools do not.  “This makes no sense, especially considering the recent tragedy at Robb Elementary as well as the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly a decade ago,” he said. “Our elementary school students are our most vulnerable students. We must do everything we can to ensure their safety and security.”

Miller said he plans to work with both Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud, Texas 27 — the only Texan serving on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee — to develop strategies at both the state and federal levels.

“Our children’s safety should be our only priority as we move forward from these dreadful and tragic circumstances. I welcome anyone who is willing to work with us at the Texas Department of Agriculture to seek solutions to this large and complex problem. We owe it to our kids to get this right.”

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