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Spurger students obtain workforce certifications (VIDEO)

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Screenshot 2021 02 18 page0001 pdfCOURTESY OF AMANDA HATTON Spurger FFA welders passed their state test and now hold a certificate to weld. Five received multiple levels of certifications.

By Caleb Fortenberry

SPURGER – The Spurger ISD board of trustees met last Thursday on February 11, 2021 to discuss regular agenda items and recognize students for getting certified in welding and floral knowledge.

The meeting began at 7:02 PM with Ag teacher of 43 years, Ken Cauthen, and Ag/Floral design teacher Amber Conner boasting of the students’ success.

“These rascals work, and I like ‘em,” said Cauthen, “We need some people that are workers in this world.”

Cauthen’s inspiring speech explained further his ideals of how education is sometimes gained through work rather than books. “You cannot learn out of a book… We can look at all the pictures in the world, but you got to put your hands on something.”

Eleanor Holderman presented the Tyler county historical commission (TCHC). She spoke of many of the legendary Tyler County historical figures, specifically Dr. Josiah Wheat one of the first pioneers to settle on the Neches River, Fannie Jenkins, the last operator of Sheffield’s Ferry, and Henry Gainer, the first black pastor in Texas.

The group donated a flag to the school campaigning their #wearetylercounty promotion for the 175th anniversary of Tyler County April 4th, 2021.

Spurger ISD Superintendent, Morgan Write spoke to the board about the school’s goals and how they have been utilizing the Deep East Texas College & Career Academy (DETCCA).

Write explained the students, “can get an Associates when they leave High school,” and they are encouraged to take those courses.

Any student is eligible starting their Freshman year, but to continue, they must take the TSI exam.

Welding, Automotive technology, Criminal Justice, and Cyber Security are the degrees listed on the Career & Technology (CT) Education program. However, there are more certifications and schools to come. “There’s a fire school coming in the fall,” said Write.

The school also has ties with the Texas Workforce Commission that have certifications in Paramedic and Nationally Registered EMT.

Write also mentioned the Drop-Out Program that DETCCA offers, saying there were now night classes being offered for High school drop-outs up to the age of 24. Welding and CDL certifications are offered through the program.

Elementary Principal’s Report

“Enrollment is pretty steady,” said Elementary principal Jason Drake. Drake mentioned he went to five students’ homes that had attendance issues, with a majority of them not answering the door.

Drake also reported that the Elementary placed second in UIL, but noted it wasn’t easy to get to that position.

“This a rough year,” said Drake, “I went through seven observations this week. Our teachers are rocking it. I’ve been impressed.”

High school Principal’s Report

High school principal Amanda Hatton spoke before the board on several topics. Chic-fil-a becoming the popular fundraising activity, where all proceeds go back to students. On a non-health food day, Hatton brings Chic-fil-a sandwiches to the school and sells them for $6 per sandwich. She encouraged board members to join them and purchase some for lunch.

Hatton also spoke on a less than orthodox way of finding enrolled students who have been absent and with 36 remote learners, the probability of students not attending class can be higher.

“These kids have just disappeared on us,” said Hatton, “Usually we shut off their access to their computers to get the students to get in contact with us.”

Students have all been given Chromebook computers and internet hotspots in the event of necessary distance learning.

She also briefed the board about College, College and Military Readiness (CCMR) saying they had, “Seven students Due to take a Microsoft test.”

The school also now has instructional partners, which is a company that works with rural schools.

The instructional partners are being used to help with learning gaps.

“They help us where we need so teachers can continue to grow,” explained Hatton, “We developed a plan to address the gaps that we’ve been seeing.”

Other Business

  • The review board needs a new member, with one stepping down. They get paid and miles paid for.
  • Spurger received an ExxonMobil grant of $500 donated to each campus for math and science. “It can be used accordingly, but for math and science specifically,” said Write.
  • After two year of waiting for a $25,000 security grant, the school will receive updated security devices. “We will have cameras on the perimeter.” Said Write. The bathrooms will also have smoke detectors installed that can detect E-cigarette vapors.
  • The TEA will have a presentation over the 20-21 accountability on February 24 2021.
  • Boys and girls are finishing up basketball. There will not be any scrimmages or practices the following week due to quarantine issues. If there are two more wins, Spurger could be in the playoffs in Huntington.
  • Spurger will not have a baseball team this year due to low participation. However, the students that do want to participate will be covering fundamentals throughout the year.
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Tyler County deputies make arrests in Spurger area

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Richard Lyles Scott Sanford 2MUGSHOT Richard Lyles and Scott Sanford

By Chris Edwards

SPURGER – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford reported that his office has been busy lately in the southeastern end of the county.

Last week, TCSO made two arrests in two separate incidents, which resulted in multiple charges, including narcotics possession and stolen property.

Last Monday, when deputies with TCSO were patrolling in the Spurger area in the late afternoon, they stopped a Ford Expedition on a traffic violation along County Road 4426. According to Weatherford, when deputies made contact with the driver, identified as Richard Lyles, a 40-year-old Kountze resident, they learned his driver’s license had been expired since 2012.

When they searched his vehicle, they discovered a Remington 552 rifle and were notified that Lyles was a convicted felon, which, under statute, makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm. Also discovered in the search was a small, clear plastic baggie containing a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamines.

The deputies took Lyles into custody, and transported him to the Tyler County Justice Center, where he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm; possession of controlled substance and no driver’s license. He later bonded out with his bonds set at $10,000 by Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe. Before Lyles left the jail, a Woodville woman was arrested when she arrived to pick him up.

According to Weatherford, deputies saw Keiosha Rowinsky, a 29-year-old Woodville woman, drive into the Justice Center parking lot. They knew from previous encounters that she did not have a valid driver’s license and made contact with her. She admitted to the deputies she did not have a valid license and was placed under arrest.

Deputies located two loaded syringes in her jacket pocket and purse, both of which field-tested postiive for methamphetamines.

Several other items of drug paraphernalia were found inside her vehicle, Weatherford said, and she was charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving while license invalid. She later bonded out of jail on $5,000 bonds set by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.

The second incident Weatherford reported about in Spurger happened the next day, when deputies were patrolling in the early morning hours along County Road 4420. When the deputies on patrol approached CR 4426, they discovered two sets of small lights shining throughout a clear-cut section of the woods, according to Weatherford.

The deputies then made contact with two individuals, whom they identified as Scott Sanford, age 39, of Silsbee and Rusty Mathis, of Spurger.

Sanford was holding a Remington pump-action 30-06 rifle, and both men had small spotlights. “While checking the information on the rife, deputies learned that the rifle had been reported stolen in a late 2020 burglary that occurred in Colmesneil,” Weatherford said in a press release.

Sanford was taken into custody and charged with theft of a firearm. At press time, he remains in jail with a $5,000 bond set by Jobe. Weatherford said he could face additional charges.

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Woodville’s Wise signs with Sul Ross

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DQuincyWise021121PHOTO COURTESY OF WOODVILLE ISD D’Quincy Wise, seated – center, on signing day. Wise signed on to play for the Sul Ross University Lobos.

By Chris Edwards

WOODVILLE – For high school athletes hoping for the opportunity to test their mettle at the collegiate level, the first Wednesday of February is a day of anticipation, as it is National Signing Day.

One Woodville High School senior has signed on to play college football last Wednesday. D’Quincy Wise, who played both ways for the Eagles as a tackle, during his high school career, will go on to play for the Sul Ross University Lobos.

The 5’11”, 285-lb. senior is set to graduate in May, is planning to major in kinesiology, and has a goal of becoming a coach.

Upon signing with the university, Wise wrote on social media that he is “blessed to commit to Sul Ross and become a person on and off the field.”

Sul Ross is located in the west Texan locale of Alpine, and their athletics program is part of the American Southwest Conference West division, which also includes schools like McMurry, Hardin-Simmons and Texas Lutheran. Wise will play under the direction of Lobos head coach John Pearce.

As an Eagle, Wise was part of a powerhouse team for his last season, which found them achieving bi-district champion status and finishing third in UIL 3A Division 1. Wise also played basketball for the Eagles and competed in the shot-put event in track and field.

He was named the Defensive MVP in district when all-district honors were named. In 2019, he was named first team defensive tackle.

A social media post from Woodville ISD congratulating Wise stated “We can’t wait to see you on the field as a Lobo.”

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Triple D hosts Warrior Bonfire event

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Warriors 020911PHOTO COURTESY OF JUDY LEWIS Participants and volunteers of the Warrior Bonfire hog hunt event.

By Leann Monk

WARREN –  With so much of what’s happening in the world today being negative, it’s nice to see something good happening right here in our own backyard. Tyler County and its people have long been known for their hospitality and big hearts. No matter what the need, Tyler County folks always rise to the occasion.

For the fourth year, Cody and Judy Lewis, owners and operators of Triple D Ranch and Event Venue in Warren, hosted the annual hog hunt for the Warrior Bonfire Program. With the help of countless community members, volunteers and donors, this weekend was one for the record books.

According to hunting guide and Warren Hunting Lease president, Cody Stewart there was a record 14 hogs harvested during this year’s hunt. Stewart stated how proud he was of the efforts of the 45 to 50 volunteers that helped out on the hunt, “without these guys helping and volunteering out here, this hunt would not be possible. It’s hard work.”

Assistant Guide, Colter Stewart, 11-year-old son of Cody, rode with his dad throughout the two-day hunt ready to do whatever the senior Stewart needed.

Colter was tasked with “remembering the spot” when his dad pointed out a good area for the men to hunt; and according to Cody, he did his job well. While Colter was assisting his dad in the lease, his brother Briar, 14, was busy back at the camp skinning the hogs. To the Stewarts, this is a family event, and they could not be prouder to be a part.

The saying is “it takes a village” – and that is certainly the case for this event. It would appear that all of Warren seemed to participate in some way.

The Warren Little Dribblers provided desserts while others donated money, corn, gas, food, coolers and time. The 10 Warriors left Triple D knowing that the people of Warren, and the surrounding areas, support them and the sacrifice they made for their country.

One Warrior who participated in the hunt was Doug Shreve, from Hockley, Texas. He is an Army veteran after 20 years of service.

“This hunt means that I get to come together with other vets and not worry about what’s going on in the world. The hunt, well that’s a plus,” Shreve said.

Shreve joined the Warrior Bonfire program in 2018. During this hunt, Shreve harvested two hogs.

Also at the hunt was Graham Golden, from Hot Springs, AR. Golden served as a sniper in the Marines and was shot and injured during his third deployment to Iraq. Golden has been a part of the Bonfire Project for five years and although he lives in Arkansas, hosts an event on Lake Sam Rayburn once a year. “This program means so…” Graham said, stopping mid-sentence. “The bonfire program means camaraderie. It means that I get to be around people who understand me and that I can let my guard down a little bit. You see when I’m at home, I don’t do people. I don’t do public. But when I’m here… I get to let go,” Graham said.

The mission of the Warrior Bonfire Program is to “provide opportunities that improve the lives of enemy combat-wounded veterans—Purple Heart recipients—on their lifelong journey of recovery and healing. They create activity-based, small group retreats that foster healing, build support communities, and transform lives.”

“I just can’t thank the Warriors enough for coming back, for trusting us to take care of them.”

Judy Lewis commented when asked about her thoughts on the men she hosted. She went on to say, “I’m also thankful that Justin Lewis and Ryan “the Dolphin” Gooseman, the liaisons between the Bonfire Program and us, keeps thinking of us and our community. They could take these guys anywhere but say Tyler County is the only place with this kind of hospitality.”

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Police pursue, apprehend nude car thief

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Tyler County Sheriff OfficeLOGO Tyler County Sheriff Office

By Chris Edwards

WOODVILLE – A Jefferson County woman is in the custody of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office following a police pursuit that began in Dam B and ended in Woodville.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, on Monday, at approximately 7:25 a.m., a 911 call came in, reporting a nude woman standing on the side of the road. Deputies with TCSO and EMS headed toward the location, FM 92 North at county road 3715, as the caller had reported. The caller, who was a female passerby, told dispatch that she had stopped to check on the naked female subject, and in the process, a log truck driver had also stopped.

While the deputies were heading to the location, the subject jumped into the driver seat of the vehicle and drove away with the caller’s two grandchildren in the backseat. The woman had reportedly offered the woman, who complained of thirst, a bottle of water, and when she went to open her trunk is when she took off with the car and children.

Weatherford said that two minutes later, the deputies received word that the suspect dropped the children off at the Dam B Jiffy Mart at the intersection of FM 92 and US Highway 190. Weatherford said the two children were returned safely to their grandmother.

The deputies were soon able to locate the stolen vehicle westbound on 190, and traveling at speeds of up to 95 mph.

TCSO deputies and officers with the Woodville Police Department pursued the vehicle throughout the city of Woodville, and the pursuit ended on Wheat Street, right before 8 a.m.

The suspect was identified as 28-year-old Lacie Cole, of Orange, and was taken into custody.

During the pursuit, one eyewitness said the suspect was seen in the Walmart parking lot, where she backed into a patrol unit. Reportedly, she also traveled into opposite lanes of traffic during the chase.

Cole was later evaluated at Tyler County Hospital, and according to Weatherford, the case is under investigation.

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