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Trinity County News - Breakout

GOP holds forum

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Neal Smith addresses the county members gathered at the GOP candidate forum in Centerville on Thursday. Courtesy photoNeal Smith addresses the county members gathered at the GOP candidate forum in Centerville on Thursday. Courtesy photo

Special to theNews-Standard

CENTERVILLE — The Trinity County Republican Party held its first Candidate Forum on Thursday at the Centerville High School gym.

The voters and candidates were treated to a variety of soup and sandwiches, provided by the TCRP and Republican Women of Trinity County, before listening to the speeches by the candidates.

Two additional forums will be held — Jan. 18 at the Groveton Courthouse Annex, and Feb. 1 at the Trinity High School Cafeteria.

Both events open at 6 p.m. for food and a chance to meet and talk with the candidates before the speeches at 7 p.m.

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New year, new chief

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By Tony Farkas
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TRINITY — For more than 60 years, Trinity Fire & Rescue has responded to fires and accidents with at least one member of the Huffman family, including Chief Wayne Huffman.

In 2024, the streak ends with Huffman’s retirement, which took place Dec. 31.

Newly minted Chief Keith Johnson said there probably isn’t a more dedicated public servant.

“He has given more hours than anyone I can think of to the city of Trinity, Trinity County and this department,” Johnson said. “He has been an asset, and a lot of knowledge is leaving us.”

Huffman got on the fire department in 1964, joining his brothers H.L and Hayne. At the that time, the pumper trucks currently housed in the department museum were in use.

Since then, he earned an advanced firefighter certification, and served as the department’s chief for the last two years following the death of his brother Hayne, who was chief previously.

In addition to being a firefighter, Huffman was a carrier with the U.S. Postal Service for 43 years; a deputy with the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department; director of the Trinity County Emergency Corps; and for more than 50 years, served on the Trinity City Council in all positions, including Mayor Pro Tem and Mayor.

Following in those footsteps will be a difficult task, Johnson said.

However, Johnson said he currently is the chair of the Trinity Ex-Students Association scholarship committee; vice president of the Trinity Economic Development Council; president of the Clapp Cemetery Association; and also serves as a Justice of the Peace.

Johnson began his fire department journey in 1982, and over the years has served as firefighter, training officer, department secretary, and even drill captain. He has been assistant fire chief since 2021.

His certifications include master firefighter and instructor.

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Here’s to hoping the new year improves from the old

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Julias TidbitsThe year 2023 was a good, bad, and ugly year for the whole world. The weather, COVID, flu, wars, and politics dominated the last couple of months and the same conflicts will probably abound for the next coming months.

I am going to bury my head in the ground and report only upcoming new, happy events.

By the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, decorations, and lights probably will all be gone. New Year parties and resolutions will be a thing of the past, but dieting will be the main goal of most people over 40 in the next few months.

I am hoping the weather will not be like last year and we will not have to put up with no electricity this winter. However, no worries today — it’s blackeye peas, cabbage and sausage day. Happy New Year everyone.

I do not mind the cold weather if the sun shines and the outside does not look dreary. I understand that we do have to have some frost to kill the pesky insects that bite us in the spring, but I still don’t like cold and wet weather. Kudos to whoever invented OFF.

•January and February usually are quiet months of entertainment, but Trinity County does have an abundance of activities in the city, schools and surrounding areas, so get ready for winter sports, blood drives, Valentine events, and 2024 galas.

The Trinity High School boys and girls varsity soccer team players have been listed on Facebook and I will be listing the schedule soon.

TISD winter break is over Jan. 4. Students return to school to attend classes on Monday at their regular time on each campus. The following week the students are on holiday for MLK’s birthday on Jan. 15.

•The first meeting for the Trinity Lions Club in 2024 is Wednesday at the Chamber building on Stadium Street at noon. For more information, please call Charles Payne at (281) 705-7675.

•VFW Post 6899 will host the Ed and Maxie Dance on Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. Following the dance, there is a poker tournament at 5 p.m. For more information, please call Marilyn Barnes at (281) 782-8309.

•The Trinity Historical Society meeting for the 2024 new year is Jan. 15, at 2 p.m., held at the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Building on Stadium Street. Renew a membership and make plans for celebrating Trinity’s heritage in 2024. For more information, call Daina Baker at (936) 581-1478.

•First Methodist Church of Trinity hosts its month Family Dinner with Friends on the third Tuesday of the month, Jan. 21, from 4-7 p.m. Music, food, games, and fun all for a donation at 131 N. Elm St. in the Fellowship Hall. For more information call Laura at (936) 594-3826.

•The Trinity County Crime Stoppers Gala is the next major fundraiser to be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Trinity Community Center. The 13th Annual Cowboy Mardi Gras hosted by the TCCS invites the public to attend a ribeye steak dinner provided by Ray Goodrum and his chuckwagon staff; BYOB and dance to the music of Kevin Carter and Friends from 8 p.m.-midnight.

The cost is $25 per person. Tickets are on sale now, and for more information, call Larry Grant at (936) 662-1502 or Rick Villarreal at (936) 577-4383. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the silent auction begins at 5 p.m. and ends when the live auction starts at 7 p.m. Auctioneer is Rick Villarreal.

•At VFW Post 6899 on Caroline Street Feb. 2, a drawing will be held for a portable generator before the Bingo session that starts that night at 7 p.m. Raffle tickets are on sale now. The raffle tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. For more information, call Marilyn Barnes at (281) 782-8309.

•The Boys and Girls Club of Trinity will announce plans for the Fifth Annual February Valentine’s Day Dinner and Dance next week. Watch this space for details.

This event will take place Feb. 10, the same weekend as the Lovelady Fest. The Lovelady Love Fest takes place Feb. 9-10. You can attend both events, 15 minutes away, and savor a whole weekend for love and entertainment, supporting your community and our children in both counties. For more information, please call David Lavassaur at (936) 594-0778.

The Boys and Girls Club event runs from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 10 at Trinity Community Center. Tickets will go on sale shortly and the cost is the same as last year, $50, which provides dinner, music, door prizes, live auction, silent auction, cake auction and beverages. Tables for you and 8 friends are $400 to dine and wine. Julia McMichael is taking reservations for tables currently. Call (936) 537-8171 to RSVP.

•The first quarter blood drive for the community is pending and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church which is always held in the parking lot of Brookshire Brothers. Look at this space for time and date.

First Methodist Church of Trinity hosts their month Family Dinner with Friends on the third Tuesday of the Month. The dinner this month is from 4-7 p.m. Jan. 21. Music, food, games, and fun all for a donation at 131 N. Elm St. in the fellowship hall. For more information call Laura at (936) 594-3826.

See you around town.

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County approves new jail positions

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Trinity Countyseal 200By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court approved five new full-time positions for the jail, but not without concerns about the underlying costs.

At its regular meeting on Dec. 26, the court was informed that the jail was granted a variance to house up to 15 inmates instead of seven, which would help save money as the county would not have to pay to have them housed in other facilities.

However, with the additional prisoner count, the Sheriff’s Office needs an additional four jailers to meet state standards, which prompted Commissioner Neal Smith to say that any savings realized by moving inmates back to Groveton will be erased by the costs of hiring new employees.

Smith also said he was under the impression the jail only needed two additional employees.

“The only good thing to come from this is (Sheriff) Woody (Wallace) has four more people to boss around,” he said. “I don’t think all the costs are being considered. It will be a washout.”

During his monthly report, Wallace said the jail was averaging 54 inmates a day, and problems with court cases being reset keep the jail population up.

He also said that he has a problem sending Trinity County money to other counties.

“We are paying for other people’s jails,” Wallace said. “If we want to do the county a service, we need to be in the inmate business.”

Smith expressed his frustration with the court system, and even said the county should treat inmates like the governor does immigrants — ship them off to Austin and turn them loose.

However, Smith made the motion to approve the new positions.

“I want it said we won’t save any money,” he said. “Woody, you got your way again.”

In other business, the county:

•tabled action on selling Mack trucks and purchasing new vehicles for the Road and Bridge departments;

•approved applying for grants including homeowner reconstruction assistance, purchasing generators, and equipment for the Sheriff’s Office;

•approved an increase in the mileage reimbursement rate from 65.5 cents to 67 cents; and

•declared material from a demolished building as surplus to be sold.

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Council, residents discuss police

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groveton texas city limits 250By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Groveton City Council discussed the future of the city Police Department at its regular meeting on Dec. 18.

David Robison questioned the council about the department’s status and questioned the cost of having the Sheriff’s Department covering the City. He expressed concern that the town is not being patrolled.

Mayor Ralph Bennett pointed out that constables assist patrolling school zones and said the department will be staffed in the future.

Robison also said that residents are “suffering” under the weight of water bills, and suggested the council members voluntarily forego their compensation of a discounted water bill as well as the Mayor’s monthly compensation of $500, as an act of good faith to the residents.

The council, later in the meeting, renewed the annual compensation, but took no action on the police department..

In other business, the council:

•discussed a Black History Celebration in February 2024 with the Trinity County Historical Commission, to be held at the Groveton ISD Auditorium;

•approved payment of $6,661.13 to Inframark for water and wastewater services for November, and discussed the month’s operations;

•discussed a proposal from Larry Jones with Texas Rebuild LLC for a lead and copper service line inventory project at a cost $14,065;

•discussed the City Library’s annual stats, and the upcoming move to its new facility;

•approved a municipal maintenance agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation and the City of Groveton;

•renewed the annual compensation for the Mayor and council members for 2024;

•discussed developments at the Fiscal Planning Committee meeting held on Dec. 11; and

•discussed the impending retirement of City Secretary Donna Dial, which will be effective Feb. 9, 2024, after 22 years of service.

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