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Groveton offers no-cost student meals

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Groveton ISD logo 0729 250Special to the News-Times

GROVETON — For the 2021-2022 school year, healthy meals will be offered every school day to all students at no cost. 

Typically, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals; however, the United States Department of Agriculture issued guidance that allows schools to offer meals to all students at no cost for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Each school/site or central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed upon request.

While no application or eligibility determination process is required for your student to receive free meals this school year, the income eligibility requirement will likely resume in the 2022-2023 school year. 

In accordance with federal civil rights law and USDA civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. 

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) can be found online, at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. 

To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; by fax at (202) 690-7442; or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Authorities seeking burglary suspect

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Jesse Evetts JonesJesse Evetts JonesBy Chris Edwards

TYLER COUNTY – Authorities are on the search for a Colmesneil man who is facing several felony charges, and are asking for the public’s help in finding him.

Jesse Evetts Jones, a 29-year-old man who is known to stay in and around Colmesneil, is currently wanted for four different burglary charges, including one habitation burglary charge, unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony evading. According to a Crime Stoppers bulletin released last week about Jones, he is also known to stay along FM 92, between Tyler and Hardin counties.

Jones is a white male with brown hair and stands six feet tall. His weight is described as being between 180 and 200 lbs., and he has two tattoos: a barbed-wire design on his left bicep and a cross on his left arm.

Anyone who has information about Jones’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office at 409-283-2172, or Crime Stoppers via the website 639TIPS.com, or by calling 936-639-TIPS. 

Any tips and/or calls made to the Crime Stoppers hotline are anonymous, and a tip that leads to an arrest might be eligible for a reward.

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Genealogical documents being digitized at Whitmeyer Library

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Carol Shields, the librarian for the Whitmeyer Genealogical Library at Heritage Village in Woodville, gave a recent presentation to the Tyler County Heritage Society Board of Directors on Monday morning concerning a digital archival service, Family Search, that is in the process of digitizing the library’s family records holdings.  (PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDS)Carol Shields, the librarian for the Whitmeyer Genealogical Library at Heritage Village in Woodville, gave a recent presentation to the Tyler County Heritage Society Board of Directors on Monday morning concerning a digital archival service, Family Search, that is in the process of digitizing the library’s family records holdings. (PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDS)

WOODVILLE – Currently FamilySearch, a non-profit family history organization dedicated to gathering, preserving, and sharing the world’s records, is in Woodville digitizing the Whitmeyer Library’s genealogical documents. This is a free service to the Whitmeyer Library as well as other organizations.

FamilySearch has sent volunteers and equipment to our library at Heritage Village to do the work. Our Librarian Carol Shields is assisting with identifying family related information in our library. When the project is completed, the digitized data will be made available on FamilySearch’s website, FamilySearch.org/archives. In addition, our Library will receive their free copy of the digitized data to use on our website and to make available for researchers in our Whitmeyer Genealogy Library.

The Whitmeyer Genealogy Library, which is located in the Gift Shop at Heritage Village, is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays, appointment only, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., unless Heritage Village is closed. Call for an appointment, at 409-283-2272, so the librarian is ready to assist you with your search.


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Polio survivor shares insight of past epidemic

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Judy Connelly enjoys a day working in her garden. (PHOTO BY EMILY EDDINS)Judy Connelly enjoys a day working in her garden. (PHOTO BY EMILY EDDINS)By Emily Eddins

As we, as a species, continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic, we have had time to reflect on our struggles throughout the past year. 

These perilous times have highlighted just how fragile life can be. While it was one of the greatest struggles in recent history, the coronavirus pandemic was undoubtedly not the first time our country has endured something like this. Just a short time ago, another epidemic was raging throughout the country, paralyzing thousands of children - the polio outbreak of the 1900s. Polio is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. 

This disease spreads directly from contaminated water, food, or even people. Once infected, victims face a host of symptoms, including fatigue, fever, loss of muscle, headache, nausea, and eventually face paralysis. 

The peak of polio occurred in the United States from 1916 until a vaccine was finally approved in 1955, resulting in a steep decline in the number of cases. Thanks to the hard-working scientists in creating a successful vaccine, the United States no longer views polio as the dangerous disease it once did. In the 1950s, there was a total of 15,000 cases of polio reported, and that number dropped to less than 100 in the 1960s. Today, The United States of America has been declared polio-free since 1979. Although our country may not be affected by this ailment in today's time, the epidemic had a lasting effect on those who lived through the dangerous times.

Judy Connelly, a long-time resident of Tyler County, is one of the few lucky survivors of the ravenous disease. Judy was diagnosed with polio at the age of seven. When asked about her experience, Judy said "polio was a plague. One minute you had a headache, and an hour later, you were paralyzed. How far the virus crept up your spine determined whether you could walk afterward or even breathe. The city was completely closed down, no swimming, movies, or even church similar to today's time. I was one of the lucky ones." 

Connelly remembers the odd treatments she endured like hot steamed wool blankets that were supposed to be good for the muscles, being strapped in high-powered jets in an aluminum tank, iron lungs, and other experimental procedures. As a small child, she was traumatized by seeing her friends and family taken as victims to the disease. 

"I remember I was unable to walk when I had to go into the hospital, and my father carried me everywhere I needed to go. I also remember being able to hear the iron lungs pump life into my friends and fellow patients at the hospital. It was a scary time," she said. 

She was not expected to survive, but in spite of the odds, Connelly made a full recovery and faced no symptoms of the disease that had her in its clutches for so long. Today she enjoys working in her garden, spending time with her family, and never taking for granted the life she never thought she would get to experience.

 “Although I still deal with the symptoms of post-polio syndrome, I have never let it stop me from dancing and I encourage others to do the same when life throws them a curveball,” she said. 

While many today are still facing the effects of the polio pandemic, a lot of pain and turmoil was prevented by scientists and their pursuit of a solution to one of the nation's biggest problems. 

Although times may be tough currently, scientists are eagerly working to find a solution to our current issues and unite us through our struggles to be a more powerful and better nation. 

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Woodville veteran/musician’s service dog missing

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Daryl “Harry Cheaks” Morris with his son Aiden and wife Connie Williams and Bear.Daryl “Harry Cheaks” Morris with his son Aiden and wife Connie Williams and Bear.

By Chris Edwards

HILLISTER – To local residents and those in the area who enjoy good times and good tunes, Daryl Morris, a.k.a “Harry Cheaks” is a familiar sight – and so is his ever-present canine companion Bear.

Morris, a local musician, DJ and music producer is also a combat veteran who received the service dog two years ago through a program called the Wins for Warriors Foundation. However, for about a month, Bear has been missing, and Morris fears someone stole him. “I’ve been looking for him, hoping he’d come back around and he hasn’t come back,” he said. 

Morris’s service dog is more than just a best friend to him, Bear has also helped him overcome PTSD-associated issues and get out of his house to engage in his calling: entertaining folks as a musician and DJ. Morris said Bear was last seen on county road 4455 in Hillister, possibly at FM 1013, which crosses the road. 

Morris added that Bear, being a service dog, is extremely intelligent and friendly, and answers to verbal commands. He is a Labrador mix, mostly black with white paws. 

Morris said he has not filed a police report yet, but is encouraging anyone who might have seen Bear, or knows something of his whereabouts, to call him at 323-592-5242, or they can call the Tyler County Booster at 409-283-2516 or Woodville Police Department at 409-283-5262.

When Morris, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, looked into getting a service dog, he was placed with Bear not long after contacting the organization, which was founded by the Astros’ Justin Verlander. 

In a profile published in the March 28, 2019 edition of the Booster, soon after he returned from training with Bear, Morris said having the dog at his side has been a welcome comfort and he wanted to let fellow veterans who might be struggling know that programs such as Wins for Warriors are out to help them. 

According to information on the Department of Veterans Affairs website, PTSD is a common factor in veterans who have been exposed to life-threatening experiences. 

The website states that about 11-20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom are diagnosed with the condition in a given year. The Mayo Clinic defines a state of immobilization or being “stuck” as PTSD; when one’s nervous system is unable to return to its normal state of balance following danger or traumatic situations.

According to Wins for Warriors, the organization depends on community support, funding and help from businesses and individuals to support its goals of an impactful and sustainable veterans’ organization.

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