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County to end EMS contract

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Trinity Countyseal 200By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court will exercise its authority to terminate a contract with Groveton EMS.

The county had a contract with the EMS firm for $1,500 per month to provide ambulance service in the Groveton area; on May 23, the court voted to send a 90-day notice of termination to Groveton EMS citing poor service and breach of contract.

County Attorney Colton Hay said that it came to his attention that the main paramedic for Groveton EMS had a lapsed license, but the firm continued to operate. The state requires at least two licensed caregivers to be granted a basic lifesaving license for EMS crews, and Groveton EMS had been operating out of compliance for months.

Hay further said that he was told the EMS service was under investigation.

Groveton EMS was informed of lapse, and Hay said he was told that a variance had been filed with the state, which was granted May 22. However, Hay said that even though the variance was approved, the investigation continues.

“Groveton EMS is who we contracted with to serve our residents, and with the trouble (they have been having), I don’t think they’re the proper representation for us, and shouldn’t be in the position to help our residents,” Hay said. “It’s becoming more and more apparent they are not worth what we are paying them. I think our residents deserve better.”

Sheriff Woody Wallace said that he has directed his staff to no longer dispatch to Groveton EMS since they were out of compliance.

“He needs to go; the county should no longer pay him,” Wallace said. “There are lots of other agencies that can fill this need.”

Hay reminded the court that the subject of Groveton EMS came before the court months ago, and court members told them they needed to do a better job.

“Here we are again, and if anything, service has declined,” Hay said.

David Robison, owner of Groveton EMS, said on Tuesday he regrets the actions that have led to this.

Robison said the paperwork for a variance was corrected the day he became aware of it; however, the letter was sent to the wrong address, for which Robison took full responsibility for.

“I am regretful that I have let my community down,” he said. “It has been the greatest honor in my 41 years of EMS work to serve this community. I feel I have made a difference in many people’s lives, and I care very much for the people here.”

Robison said the service is still in Groveton, and still able to be sent on calls.

“I hope we can work out our differences,” he said. “We are here to help; and right now we are a legally operating ambulance service.”

Relatedly, Andre Ruby of City Ambulance of Lufkin gave a presentation of what it would cost for other firms to provide ambulance services, but the county made no decisions.

Ruby said that his service could provide an ambulance for Groveton and the surrounding area at a cost of $10,000 per month on a two-month contract.

Commissioner Tommy Park moved to send the letter, which was passed 4-1. Commissioner Steven Truss voted against it, saying his experience with them was good.

The Groveton City Council, which also has a contract with Groveton EMS, was to hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the fate of the contract.

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Joy at the end of matriculation

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Julias TidbitsAnother class of students have graduated and are looking forward to the beginning of another chapter in their life. Little do they know what lies ahead of them and tomorrow is only a day away. It is amazing you can watch your child, grandchild, or neighbor’s child graduate from high school in the comforts of your own home.

Tuesday, I will watch my last two grandchildren graduate from high school, and it will be from my daughter’s living room. If I am lucky, I might get to see some of my great-grandchildren graduate, but it will be by remote only. Thank God for technology.

•The sixth month of the year, June is named for the Roman goddess, patroness of marriage and the well-being of women. Also, from the Latin word juvenis, “young people.” The third Sunday in June is Fathers’ Day but was not declared a national holiday until the year 1972 under Richard Nixon’s administration. Lastly, most first-time marriages take place in the month of June. More about this later.

June is also the month of vacation bible schools at most churches that provide them at this time to beat the heat of July and August. Last week I told you about the VBS to be held at the Calvary Baptist Church in Trinity from June 12-16, in the evening. More next week.

Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist Church is hosting its VBS in July. The dates are July 10 through July 14, and will be held from 8 a.m. until noon. The theme is “Twist and Turns” and registration will begin soon. Watch this space for more details next week also.

First Methodist Church of Trinity is hosting its VBS in July also. Their theme is a “Food Truck Party on a Roll with God.” On July 21, the church is having a family presentation and a splash day which starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. The church is located at 131 N. Elm St., and for more information, please call Laura at (936) 594-3826.

In addition to VBS, First Methodist Church of Trinity is hosting Community Family Movie Night during the summer. Bring the family and enjoy a night out. Each movie night there are door prizes and snacks. The free movies are June 2, “Jesus Revolution;” July 7, “The Girl Who Believed in Miracles; ” and Aug. 4, “On a Wing and A Prayer”

Movies start at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. The public is invited to attend.

•People have been asking me what the new store front in the old Alco Center is going to be, but I do not know. The Pretty Daiq, I was told is going to be a daiquiri store; however, I do know that a tater sale is going to take place in the Pretty Daiq parking lot on Friday June 2, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The cost of the loaded potato and drink is $12. The address is 854 S. Robb St. and call-in orders can be placed at (936) 662-7764. This event is presented by the Circle R Trail Riders.

•News alert. Prayer in the Park group is planning their annual event to be held at the end of summer, and if you would like to participate in this event, please call Karen Dixon at (936) 581-6531.

•We have a new produce stand in Trinity, and it is on the corner of FM 356 and 120 Emory Street next to Sudsy Duds. They are open Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and they have many fruits and vegetables for your pleasure. (They used to be located at the corner  of Lake L.) My Trinity Fruit Stand is presented by Edwin Dario Enriquez, and he promises to provide fresh produce daily.

On Wednesday, the Trinity Lions Club will hold its monthly business meeting at noon at the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Building located at 103 Stadium St., and the public is invited to attend.

At this meeting we will be deciding on our June and July projects before the next President’s term begins, which is Charles Payne. We would like to help the Martin Senior Service Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity during these two months, so please call me if you would like to participate at (936) 537-8171.

I hope you all have a happy summer, and I am looking forward to telling you about new events and activities coming up soon.

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Reading program starts

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GrovetonLibrary GraphicOur Children’s Summer Reading Program will be starting on Thursday, June 1, and will continue through July with our end of the summer party on July 28. Your librarian is very excited to see how much our program grows from last year. Our theme is “Bee Kind.” If you have children or know of any children who would enjoy our summer program, please tell them to call the library at (936) 642-2483 or come by the library during our working hours.

We are honored to have Dallas and Wall’E coming to the library on Tuesday, June 6, to read to the children. Wall’E will be 6 years old on July 4. Wall’E was found at the U.S. border wall, hence his namesake. He was rescued and is now a Certified Therapy Dog who loves to read to children. Your librarian is excited to have Dallas and Wall’E in our library.

Our Summer readers will also have extra activities such as greeting card classes. We have greeting cards for sale at the library for a fundraiser. The cost is $1 per card. Please remember this when you need cards and support your library. We will have Father’s Day Cards for sale coming in the future.

•Texas Workforce Solutions representative will be here in the library on Wednesday, June 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. This is a service provided for anyone who needs help with employment opportunities.

•In regard to book donations, the library will not accept any books from individuals until after we move to the new location. Your librarian is in the process of boxing books getting ready for the move. We appreciate your understanding.

•Our New Building Fund balance is $5,293.88. We are still collecting pennies for our 1 Million Pennies Fund Drive. I get so excited every time someone brings me a baggie of pennies. It is the little things that add up. Thank you everyone.

•The library has received a few volumes of the “Journey to Jubilee, Groveton, Texas.” These books were donated to be used for a fund raiser and are for sale at the library. They will be for sale at $50 each.

•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. The library will be closed from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, 2023.

Story time is at 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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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Honor and Glory

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The awards and accolades for Groveton Sports are on display. PHOTO BY TONY FARKASThe awards and accolades for Groveton Sports are on display. PHOTO BY TONY FARKAS

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The boys and girls of Groveton ISD’s athletic squad were lauded for their work in the last season at a banquet on May 22.

Athletic Director Matthew Woodard said it was his goal coming into the position to have all sports reach the playoffs, which the teams and athletes accomplished.

Some of the highlights include:

•The boys basketball team had its first winning season in 10 years.

•The boys powerlifting team went to regionals, after not have a team since 2010.

•The softball team, undefeated in district, went to the regional semifinals, where they lost to the team ranked No. 3 in the state.

•There were 52 academic all-district nominations and eight state qualifiers for the Groveton Indians and Lady Indians.

Woodard said the work isn’t done; the next stop is winning a state championship

Turn to page 2B for more photos.

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New mayor takes reins

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The city’s first African American mayor, Ralph Bennett, was sworn in by Justice of the Peace Richard Steptoe. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LISA ROGERSThe city’s first African American mayor, Ralph Bennett, was sworn in by Justice of the Peace Richard Steptoe. PHOTOS COURTESY OF LISA ROGERS

TCNS staff

GROVETON — The May 22 meeting of the Groveton City Council was more significant than most, but not because of the agenda.

Ralph Bennett, formerly the city’s Mayor Pro Tem, and who served as interim mayor following the death of Byron Richards, was sworn in as the first African American mayor in Groveton and Trinity County.

Bennett, who was elected during the May 6 election replacing Tommy Walton, said it was a historical event for the county.

Billy Jones was appointed to the council seat formerly filled by Bennett, and will serve 1 year, the balance of Bennett’s council term, and then face his own election.

Long-time Council Member Steven Casper was appointed as Mayor Pro Tem.

Additionally, re-elected Council Members Autumn Dial and Robert Smith were sworn in.

In related business, the council approved continuing compensation for council members, which is a discount on city services.

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