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Tyler County’s Dogwood Festival planned

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Allie JarrottPHOTO COURTESY OF THE TYLER COUNTY DOGWOOD FESTIVAL DIRECTORS The current, reigning Dogwood Queen, Allie Jarrott.

BY CHRIS EDWARDS

WOODVILLE – The directors for the annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival have met and set in motion preliminary measures to produce the annual festival.

Last year’s festival was postponed and re-tooled due to concerns with the pandemic, and instead of taking place over the course of three weekends in March and April, was limited to one date on the second weekend in June, still, the 77th annual Dogwood Festival was celebrated in Woodville. It was only the second time in the festival’s history that a drastic change had to be made. Throughout America’s involvement in World War II, the festival was cancelled.

The festival’s executive director Buck Hudson, now in his 30th year of being associated with the festival, said that last year’s festival was the most challenging of any to produce, but that it was important to have the event for the youth of the county, and to uphold the tradition.

According to a news release from the festival directors, the event has, for more than 80 years, allowed Tyler Countians the opportunity to “[pay] tribute to the glories of spring and the lovely dogwood trees.”

Hudson and the directors announced that they are planning the full and traditional range of Dogwood activities, which will begin with Festival of the Arts weekend, on March 20-21, followed by Western Weekend on March 26-27 and concluding with Queen’s Weekend on Saturday, April 3.

Along with all of the fun events that comprise those three weekends, the directors also announced the traditional historical play will commence. “This year’s historical play will go back to the very beginnings, as this is the 175th anniversary of Tyler County,” according to the news release.

The theme for the festival, overall is “We are Tyler County: A Celebration of the Beginning.”

At present, the selection process is underway to choose the new Dogwood Queen for 2021, with the first round of selection planned for Thursday, and subsequent rounds scheduled for Feb. 11 and 25.

According to the directors, the contestants will be evaluated on the basis of beauty, poise and personality through individual interviews conducted by the Kingsmen Committee.

The current, reigning Dogwood Queen is Allie Jarrott, who is the daughter of Cody and Joanna Jarrott of Woodville.

She was a senior at Woodville High School when she was crowned and is now attending Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

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Help available for small businesses

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1 SBDCCHRIS EDWARDS | ETN Woodville businesswoman Tammy Rucks, of Tammy’s Pizza and Party Palace, chats with Christina Cole, of the Angelina College Small Business Development Center, at an open house event in Woodville hosted by the SBDC and the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce.

BY CHRIS EDWARDS

WOODVILLE – On Thursday evening, the Angelina College Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce, hosted an open house event, at the Nutrition Center in Woodville. The event was a networking opportunity to showcase the variety of services the SBDC has to offer for small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations.

According to Dianne Amerine, director of the center, funding from the CARES Act allowed the SBDC to hire three independent contractors to assist its regular staff and to help conduct events such as Thursday’s open house.

Amerine said the SBDC and the Chamber both agreed the event would be a good method for local businesspeople to network and learn about the services that are available. “We decided this would be a good opportunity to get the word out,” she said.

The consultation services available to businesses are free and confidential and range from creating comprehensive plans to assistance with debt restructuring, financial analysis, as well as marketing. According to a one-sheet provided to attendees of the event, the college’s SBDC, which is under the Texas Gulf Coast Network of Small Business Development Centers, the advisers working to help businesspeople through Angelina College’s center have more than 100 years of practical business experience to assist local entrepreneurs.

“If a business was impacted by COVID, the SBDC can help them,” Amerine said.

Anyone who is interested in seeing what the SBDC can do for them can contact the center by phone at 936-633-5400 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Weatherford named to Burke board

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Bryan Weatherford 020421 copyMUGSHOT Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford

By Chris Edwards

WOODVILLE – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford was named to the Burke Board of Trustees as an ex-officio, or non-voting, member.

The Burke network services the 12-county deep East Texas region, serviced by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) and provides mental health services. Weatherford, along with another law enforcement leader, Sheriff Jason Bridges of Nacogdoches County, were named to the board, with appointments resulting from Senate Bill 632 of the 86th Texas Legislature.

The bill promotes cooperation between local mental health authorities and law enforcement by appointing sheriffs or sheriffs’ representatives, to their local governing boards as non-voting members.

“I am honored to have been elected to serve as a Burke Center Trustee,” said Weatherford. “This position will allow me the opportunity to represent not only Tyler County, but all 12 counties in the DETCOG region.”

According to a news release from the Burke organization, Weatherford was appointed to represent the smaller counties of the region and Bridges will represent the larger ones.

“I want to make sure the citizens of Tyler County and East Texas continue to receive the necessary mental health care treatment,” said Weatherford.

The Burke network was established in 1974 as the Deep East Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, which is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees.

The network has grown from a small organization, which offered limited services, into a major behavioral health provider, which serves more than 5,000 people annually, through a variety of services, according to its website.

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Birthday message discovered on Toledo Bend

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Pardue NotePHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SABINE PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE The note that arrived at Toledo Bend.

Fred boy’s balloon, message travel 100 miles

By Chris Edwards

TOLEDO BEND – A three-day journey of a birthday balloon over the course of a hundred miles resulted in a heartwarming story shared by the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Thursday, Jan. 28, deputies with the agency in Sabine Parish were called out to a residence on Toledo Bend lake in reference to a discovery of a handwritten note.

The note, which the caller said had turned up on their property, stated it was from a five-year-old boy in Fred, named Bryan Pardue, and gave instructions to call the boy at a number written on the note, if found.

PardueBryan Pardue

Sabine Parish Sheriff Aaron Mitchell shared the story to the department’s Facebook page and said that further investigation revealed the note was originally attached to a Happy Birthday balloon, and released on Pardue’s birthday, which was on Monday, Jan. 25. The note and balloon had travelled 100 miles from Fred, which sits in the extreme southeastern part of Tyler County to Sabine Parish, which sits along the western borderline of Louisiana and Texas. Deputies called the number and talked to the boy’s great-grandmother.

Mitchell said the deputies asked the great-grandmother to send them a photograph of the boy, and that he was “so happy” his note was found.

When the story was shared to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook, it was shared more than 1,500 times as of Monday and resulted in a swell of birthday wishes for Pardue.

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Weatherford named to state jail standards commission

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Weatherford 01 14 21FILE PHOTO Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

By Chris Edwards

AUSTIN – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, who just recently began serving another term has another reason to celebrate: an appointment from the governor.

Last week, Weatherford was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to serve as one of the nine-member Commission on Jail Standards. He will fill an unexpired/vacated position that was occupied by Dennis Wilson, the Sheriff of Groesbeck County. Wilson’s term ends on Jan. 31.

Weatherford will begin serving his six-year term on the commission, once he is confirmed by the state senate.

He is looking forward to serving in that capacity, in addition to his duties as Tyler County Sheriff.
He said it is exciting to him, personally, that East Texas voices are able to be heard in Austin, but above all, he wants to make sure that he does the job.

“I want to make sure that I do a good job on representing our county in the aspect that the jails are running up to the standards set forth by the Commission,” Weatherford said. “I’m really excited about this appointment,” he added.

The Texas Commission on State Jail Standards serves as the regulatory body for all of the county jails in the state, as well as privately operated municipal jails. It was created by the state legislature in 1975 to implement a statewide policy for all jails under its jurisdiction to conform to a minimum standard for the care and treatment of inmates, as well as the construction, maintenance and operation of jails.

Weatherford has served and protected Tyler County citizens for 30 years in various capacities. He worked first as a police officer for the City of Woodville, then as a Justice of the Peace and most recently as Sheriff, after he was elected to his first term in 2013. Weatherford and his wife Ashley, who serves as the Director of Curriculum/Federal Programs for the Woodville Independent School District, are both Tyler County natives.

Public service runs in Weatherford’s family, as his brother Brad is a Texas Ranger with the Texas Department of Public Safety and one of his sons, Tyler Bryan, is employed as a DPS State Trooper.

Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers will administer the Oath of Office to Weatherford at a later date.

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