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Trinity County News - Breakout

Trinity preteen wins reserves

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071422 preteen wins reserveChristopher Hatler won reserve champion showing his longhorn mini steer during the 2022 World Expo in Belton. Hatler won a trophies and ribbons for his efforts. Courtesy photo

TCNS staff

BELTON — Christopher Hatler, 12, brought home the hardware, a rare feat given that his was his first year showing.

The Trinity boy, son of Adam and Nicole Hatler, has won several grand and reserve champion awards in his first year, the latest being Reserve Grand Champion at the 2022 World Expo held June 22-26 in Belton.

He took the honors out of a field of eight contestants in his class.

The preferred animal for Christopher is the longhorn mini steer, a breed that originally was to be just the family livestock.

Adam Hatler said Christopher was parent-motivated into showing livestock, but he loves animals, especially cows. Still, it was happenstance the family got into it.

“We were looking for a family cow, and someone told us about this breed,” Adam said. “We went to a show, and while watching we found that’s what we wanted to do. We bought more cattle and went from there.”

Christopher signed up for show camp and had great teachers, Adam said, and picked up the process quickly.

From here, he is working on perfecting the craft, and the family is looking forward to shows this next season and expanding the herd.

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Jail issues top county agenda

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070722 jail issues

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The Trinity County Commissioners Court approved payment of accrued vacation time for jail employees who are unable to take time off because of staffing issues.

At its regular meeting on June 28, commissioners revised the vacation payout policy, which previously was not allowed. The amount will be in the area of $7,000.

However, the county added a codicil that it will pay only for hours accrued above 40, and that as a case-by-case basis.

Commissioner Neal Smith asked if the payout will be at the pay rate when the time was accrued, or at the current pay rate of the employee; County Auditor Bonnie Kennedy said its paid at the current rate.

Smith, who made the motion to change the policy, asked for the issue to remedied as soon as possible.

In related business, the court approved an agreement between DRG Architects and the county for architectural service, including completing a feasibility study to cost no more than $60,000. The study must be completed by Aug. 9.

Additionally, the court approved an agreement with Bracewell LLP for services related to issuing bonds, which is expected for the county to raise funds to construct a jail.

Bonds will not be issued until the county approves a jail design and finds out the related costs.

Fees for Bracewell are on a contingency basis, meaning it will only get paid should the county decide to borrow funds for the jail.

In other business, the commissioners:

•approved bonds for Dana Cathey and Devin Evans;

•approved personnel action forms;

•approved budget amendments to allow for the purchase of vehicles; and

•approved raising the mileage reimbursement rate to the current IRS rate of 62.5 cents per mile, up from 58 cents per mile, for the remainder of the fiscal year.Jail issues top county agenda

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Council to debate donation to wildlife rehab center

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071022 wildlife refuge donationMayor Tommy Walton said that Shasta Bergman of Circle B Farm and wildlife rehab requested a $2,500 donation at the regular meeting on June 27.

TCNS staff

GROVETON — The Groveton City Council will consider a request for a donation for a local wildlife rehabilitation center, but also will consider changing policy to include signed agreements.

Mayor Tommy Walton said that Shasta Bergman of Circle B Farm and wildlife rehab requested a $2,500 donation at the regular meeting on June 27.

The council told Bergman that the request will be considered in the budget process but going forward any monies the city gives out as donations will have to have an interlocal agreement signed with the city.

Walton said this is a new policy the City and County are working on implementing.

In a separate matter, Walton said the city has started stripping and painting the exterior of City Hall. The old paint was peeling off and the city decided to power wash and repaint the walls to do its part to beautify and clean up the city.

In other business, the council:

•approved paying a bill for Inframark for $10,142.83. Walton said the extra this month was due to equipment repairs at the sewer plant and changing out old water meters. He also said leaks in the lines are increasing due to the extreme dry weather;

•approved Ralph Bennett to continue as Mayor Pro Tem; and

•approved the July 4 Lions Club parade.

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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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