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Trinity County News - Breakout

City fields water questions

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Trinity City SignBy Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — Not much was posted for a vote, but the Trinity City Council had a long meeting on Thursday as they had a full house of city residents requesting information on the ailing water system.

City Manager Steven Jones said that the questions came during public information, and he and the council answered all questions as well as attempted to dispel misinformation.

Jones said that currently, the city is moving in two directions to resolve problems, one of which is relieving the city from the burden of a boil water notice.

Trinity is currently under a boil water notice, which was issued Nov. 10 

In an emergency meeting on Dec. 2, the council approved using grant funds under an emergency basis to connect water from the Trinity River Authority to all portions of town. Work began shortly thereafter, and Jones said it should be completed by this weekend.

“This will supply to the entire town from TRA sources, and will also give us time and room to improve the city’s separate well system,” Jones said. “Once we get on TRA water, we’ll see a huge increase in quality; there won’t be blending from two different sources.”

Jones said the second avenue is that the city has rebuilt the chlorinating system at the city well site in an effort to remove any contaminants. He said they are working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality daily on the issue.

“These kinds of things happen when there is an aging infrastructure,” Jones said.

He said 1/3 of the city’s water system needs to be replaced, and they are trying to maintain the system as best as they can in the meantime.

In all, the city has been approved for more than $6 million in grants to accomplish its goals regarding the water system, and Jones said the city has done its due diligence and is waiting on the funding agencies to release funds.

The work the grants covers is sewer line improvements, engineering plans, a new water tower, a new ground storage tank, a new water lift station and water line replacements.

Jones said another issue born of the water problems is informing residents, as the city website and social media is limited in its reach. The city staff currently is researching a better system of notifying the public of problems.

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Spreading reading and holiday spirit

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Screen Shot 2021 12 13 at 10.28.46 AMChristmas holidays are here. We are very excited about the upcoming holiday festivities. 

The library will have a booth at the Hometown Country Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 11. We will have paperback books for sale. Plan to come and buy a book or two to put in your Christmas stockings. If you have a preference for a certain author, then please let your librarian know. 

We have many books donated and can probably fix you up for your reading needs. All proceeds will go towards the new Library Building Fund.

Groveton Methodist Women has graciously donated $150 towards the Library Building Fund. We are humbled and thankful for their donation. There are donation cans in some of our businesses in town. The total collections from these jars for the past two weeks were $100.58. Our total donations so far $455.28. 

If you happen to be in these stores, please drop your change and it will eventually add up to our new library building. The businesses that have graciously allowed us to put donation jars are McClain’s Hardware, One Stop Grocery and Pizza, Pruitt’s Auto Parts and Susie Q’s. Please support these businesses and support our new library efforts. 

Your librarian will keep you posted on our advancing total every two weeks. There will be more fundraisers in the future and they will be announced here in our news column.

•There has been a lot of interest in starting a Friends of the Library group. This group would help your librarian with fundraising for the anticipated new library.  If you would be interested in joining this group, please call or come by the library and get the information you need to join.

The library will have a Christmas open house on Friday, Dec. 17, from 5-6 p.m. Please come and visit your library and have some cookies and punch. Everyone is invited.

•We have so many activities to offer at the library. If you can think of something you wish for us to offer, please let your librarian know. This is your library and we would not be here if not for our patrons. 

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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Alumnus becomes a full-fledged Aggie

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Chance CokerBy Jo Ann Anderson Beken
Groveton Ex-Students

We want to celebrate the college graduation of another Groveton graduate, Chase Coker, GHS class of 2017. Chase was a member of our state play-off baseball team and was selected as an all-state baseball player. 

He will receive his degree in Sports Management on Dec. 17 from Texas A&M. We are so proud of him and wish him much success as he graduates from college. Congratulations to Chase and his family.

• A memorial donation has been received to the Reba Anderson Memorial Scholarship fund from Jo Ann Anderson Beken and Tim Coker in memory of W.B. Due. He was a positive, prominent presence as they grew up in Groveton and influenced much of their lives. His contributions to the Groveton community are far reaching and appreciated.

• It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Groveton. Our little town is looking forward to Christmas as lots of planning and work has gone into the Groveton Hometown Country Christmas. It will happen on Saturday, Dec. 11, on the Square in the downtown area. 

Vendors, performances, a car show and a parade are all part of the celebration. Santa Claus will also be there for pictures. Thank you to our Groveton Community Association, made up of many ex-students and their supporters, for their vision, planning, and hard work to make our little town shine during this special time of year. 

The downtown decorations are beautiful and are enjoyed by all who drive through town. Thank you to all who have made worked so hard to make this happen. You are appreciated.

• You could be the next member of the Groveton Ex-Students Association, if you have not joined yet. Biannual dues are $10 and lifetime dues are $50. PayPal is $51.80 (or use family and friends to save fees or add a couple of dollars to cover fees). 

Send payments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail to P.O. Box 70, Groveton TX 75845. Associate memberships are available for those who did not graduate from Groveton High School but want to be a member of our association and show their support. 

You can make a donation and help a Groveton graduate realize their dream of a college education. Please consider helping your community and our organization in this way. 

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

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Trinity celebrates Christmas season

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The Trinity High School Marching Band leads the way of the annual Christmas parade.The Trinity High School Marching Band leads the way of the annual Christmas parade.

trinity celebrates christmas season 01By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — A full slate of entertainment, a well-attended parade and double the vendors added up to one amazing Christmas celebration.

Organizer and Trinity Peninsula Chamber President Julia McMichael said the attendance, especially around noon and the time of the parade, was exceptional. 

“It was real big,” she said. “I think the venue is better, which means a lot more people.”

Along with the lighting of the city tree, musical acts and Santa meeting with the children of all ages, there was a beauty pageant sponsored by the chamber.

The winners of the Little Miss Snowflake Pageant are:

• Miss Snowflake — Madison Howard 

• Snowflake Princess — Rylee Bennett 

• Snowflake Duchess — Paxton Edwards 

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Old Red Schoolhouse in Trinity

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old red school house

Submitted by the
Trinity County Historical Commission

“Old Red” Schoolhouse is located in rural east Texas in Trinity near the Trinity River between Huntsville to the south and Crockett to the north. 

The Trinity County School District constructed an all “red” brick school building in about 1912 on the corner of Robb (State Highway 19) between Jefferson and San Jacinto streets, although there is conflict about the date: it could be anywhere from 1913 to 1915. 

The school is located at 100 W. San Jacinto St.; the property was transferred by John B. Barnes and Jacob S. Wetmore, agents representing Mrs. E. Evans, for one dollar to Trinity County Judges under the old county school system. 

“Old Red” is a fine pre-World War I brick school building. It has several outstanding internal and exterior characteristics preserved and intact. The total square footage is 9,420. The building is a two-story structure utilizing load-bearing masonry walls. 

The first floor consists of a concrete slab on grade, and the second floor is a wood deck over wood  floor joists that are supported by the bearing masonry walls. The roof framing is wood, and the roofing is stamped metal shingles. 

Construction apparently got under way in 1911 and apparently was completed in 1913. It served as Trinity’s only school building until 1928. The first contractor went bankrupt while installing the building’ s 36-inch thick concrete slab foundation and had pylons extending deep into the ground to a layer of hard clay. 

The exterior walls are 12 inches thick and are composed of three layers of interlocking bricks. The building was built in Egyptian style to keep the building cool in the hot East Texas climate — in the form of a T to capture wind from any direction. 

The original wooden windows were designed to that the wind could directed into the building, after first being cooled by the massive brick walls. located on the walls also could be opened or closed, depending on  wind direction, to ensure that air would flow throughout the structure. The building has 91 windows. 

A ground floor boiler room was constructed in 1928. 

Over the years, the Trinity school system used, maintained and refurbished the building. The original wood frame swing windows had rotted and had been replaced with aluminum. 

Also, the brick and red mortar seemed to weep, which may have prompted the Trinity Independent School District to paint the exterior a yellow color in 1960s. 

The City of Trinity and TISD Trustees in March 1993 attempted to condemn and demolish the old brick schoolhouse; however, in April 1993, a San Antonio-based engineer found that “Old Red” was structurally sound and he rated as a nine based on a best value of 10. 

The news got out into the community, and the potential demolition dismayed local residents, so in May 1993, residents formed “The Old Red Building Committee” and were successful in having the City of Trinity condemnation order rescinded on Aug. 5, 1993. 

About 125 donors provided financial support for the preservation of “Old Red.” Knowles Architects of Tyler examined the structure in 1997 and in their June 23, 1997, report, stated “Old Red” was structurally sound, though the roof needed some minor repairs. 

Renovation started, and the joints were re-pointed with a mortar compatible with the original historic brick. At this time, the yellow paint was looking bad, with whole areas devoid of paint and other areas “requiring a howitzer to remove the paint.” Workers tried sand and water blasting an area, and immediately realized that what little brick glaze remained would not survive.

In the spring of 2000, a painter was contracted to restore the brick to the original red brick and mortar The aluminum replacement windows were replaced with wooden frame windows that replicated the visual and utility swing/tilt characteristics of the original windows. 

The interior of the building is mostly intact and a concerted effort has been made to retain the significant features. The interior stairway is to be rather unique in design has been without change. The  basic corridor design has been retained and that includes both width and location. 

The materials used in the interior have been retained, including beaded wainscot, pressed metal ceiling panels and plaster walls; the doors and transoms and the “borrowed light” windows. 

The floor plan configuration includes classroom areas on the outside walls, a central area with two unique staircases and a theater. To the volunteers on the Trinity Committee, the interior paint that needed removing appeared to be patch-painted, using a variety of paint types.

“Old Red” has educated five generations of school children. It was converted to the Middle campus in 1988 after a high school campus was built east of Trinity.

The Trinity County Historical Commission helps identify and preserve historical sites and helps to preserve the heritage of Trinity County.

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