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Jordan seizes silver at World Championships

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Amanda Jordan runs in part of the duathlon event in Spain for the World Championships.  PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA JORDANAmanda Jordan runs in part of the duathlon event in Spain for the World Championships. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMANDA JORDAN

‘Coach Jojo’ ranked eighth in the world

By Chris Edwards
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IBIZA, SPAIN On Sunday, Amanda Jordan, a Fred resident who is widely known and beloved as a coach and teacher at Warren ISD, sealed the deal on what folks back home have already known for years: that the spunky young woman is one of the world’s greatest athletes.

Jordan competed in a duathlon event in the World Championships, which was held last weekend in Ibiza, Spain. Her event was a run-cycle-run competition, in which she ran a 10K, biked a 40K race and then ran a 5K. The end result was a second-place finish for Team USA in her class, and an eighth, overall, in the world.

Jordan’s success has qualified her for a spot in next year’s World Championships, which will take place in Townsend, Australia, and success in those games could place another feather in her cap: qualification for the Olympic games, which will be held in August 2024 in Paris.

Before she travelled to Spain, a surprise pep rally took place at the Warren Junior High gymnasium, in which family, friends and colleagues packed the venue, and some took turns speaking about Jordan’s inspiring nature and her grit and determination.

Her success in the World Championships is all the more impressive given a health struggle she has been dealing with. “That 10K time I ran was the second fastest in the world in my division,” she said. “Not bad, especially with a tumor on my artery.”

Jordan said the issue has caused her difficulty in walking for the past seven weeks, yet she said she was able to travel “out here and [do] the dang thing, and my artery didn’t rupture. Praise God!”


Last year, Jordan was clocked as the second fastest runner in the nation, when she qualified for her performance in the World Championships.

“God sure has blessed me with strength to overcome so much pain and so many obstacles,” she said. “I am beyond excited!”

Jordan added that she wanted to thank everyone back home for all of the “amazing support.” “I appreciate you all so much,” she said.

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Four suspects arrested in post-prom mass shooting

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By Chris Edwards

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JASPER – Four suspects are now in custody in the Jasper County Jail following a mass shooting that occurred after a prom party on Sunday, April 23.

The four suspects arrested last Friday were Tracy Hickman, Cameron Hartsfield and Tyler Porter, all aged 19 and Cheston Hartsfield, 18. All suspects are from Newton, according to Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman.

Cameron Hartsfield was arrested in Woodville, and according to Woodville Police Department Captain Jathan Borel, the arrest came through interagency coopration. Borel said that Hartsfield was located and arrested without incident.

Woodville Chief of Police Mike McCulley said the suspect was in Woodville, hiding out with a friend. “We were fortunate there were no retaliatory measures against this kid because he was obviously involved,” McCulley said.

Newman said in a press release that an ongoing feud is believed to be the cause and motive of the incident, in which 11 individuals were injured.

Cameron Hartsfield and Porter have both been arraigned and both have a $4 million bond set, while the other two have not been arraigned, at press time.

Both men are charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and five counts of engaging in organized criminal activity.

According to the initial report by the Jasper Police Department, investigators discovered that the incident, which occurred on Bevil Loop, on County Road 263, resulted in a home and vehicle struck by gunfire, in addition to the individuals who were injured. Investigators deduced that two or more vehicles were exchanging gunfire in a chase along the road.

“This was a senseless act of violence that turned what should have been one of the last/best nights to be a senior at Jasper High School into a horrific life altering experience,” a Jasper Police Department representative said in a statement to media.

In an open letter to the Jasper community, JISD Superintendent John Seybold wrote that additional security measures were put into place throughout the school district, beginning last Monday.

McCulley said that Cameron Hartsfield had been arrested in Woodville before the shooting on a shoplifting complaint, and it was discovered he had a stolen pistol on his person.

He was arraigned on a separate stolen firearm charge in Tyler County when he was arrested Friday, before being taken to Jasper.

McCulley added that Cameron Hartsfield was also arrested about three months before during a traffic stop, and found to be in possession of a stolen firearm.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is encouraged to contact Newman’s office at 409-384-5417.

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Woodville Officer struck during stop

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MoveOverSlowDown STOCK

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – An incident on the night of Saturday, April 29, has the Woodville Police Department reminding the public about the state’s “Move Over/Slow Down” law.

According to Woodville Police Captain Jathan Borel, Officer Zach Zachary was conducting a traffic stop on South Magnolia, near Modica Brothers.

In the area where Zachary instigated the stop, there is a narrow shoulder and a ditch, and while the motorist did a good job of pulling over, Borel said, an individual struck Zachary and his patrol car.

Zachary was reapproaching the vehicle to give a warning, Borel said, and his back was turned to the traffic flow.

While Zachary and the vehicle only sustained minor injuries and damage, Borel said it is extremely important for motorists to remember the slow down and give awider berth to law enforcement or any emergency vehicles who are at work on the side of the road. Borel said this is especially important for motorists who might have impaired visibility, as was the case with the driver who struck Zachary. He said the lights from Zachary’s patrol car made it difficult to see.

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper came out to work the scene, and Woodville PD also had assistance from the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office on site.

The statewide “Move Over/Slow Down” law was originally passed in 2003, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), but originally, it did not include service utility vehicles. That was amended in 2019, to include TxDOT vehicles, tow trucks, garbage/recycling vehicles and others, along with police, fire and EMS vehicles that are stopped on the roadside, with emergency lights activated.

The law requires drivers to move over a lane or to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement or service vehicles. Additionally, according to Texas Transportation Code 545.157, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour on thoroughfares with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour.

Violations of this law can result in a fine of up to $200, and the fine increases to $500 if there is property damage. If violators cause bodily injury, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.

According to a statistic from the DPS, troopers have been involved in 65 stationary crashes where either the trooper or their vehicle was struck while stopped on the side of the road, between 2016 and 2020.

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I’ll see you in a work zone

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RoadWorkAhead Stock

By Rhonda Oaks
Texas Departmentof Transportation

I have good news and bad news. The good news? In 2022, traffic fatalities in TxDOT work zones declined 16-percent from 2021. That is the first decline since 2018 and it makes me think the TxDOT safety message just might be getting through to some drivers. But the bad news is there were still 205 people who lost their lives and another 788 seriously injured in work zones in 2022. In the nine-county Lufkin District, there were 223 traffic crashes in work zones that resulted in three fatalities and 11 serious injuries.

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, and TxDOT is calling on motorists to make safety a priority in our work zones.

All of us have had to slow down or stop in road construction at one time or another. Many of us drive through a work zone daily. They require extra attention on our part, and most of us just want to hurry up and get through the slow construction traffic. I know impatience and frustration can get the best of us as we sit in a single lane of traffic waiting for a lead car to make the turn-around.

The next time you are caught in that situation, imagine what it would be like if you spent your day working a couple of feet away from moving traffic. Our employees love their jobs, but road construction and maintenance are not for the faint of heart. You must be tough, committed and be able to concentrate on your work as well as keep one eye open for distracted drivers.

In 2022, work zone fatalities included not just drivers and passengers, but 27 pedestrians, two cyclists and one worker. Why did these needless deaths occur? The leading causes were speeding, distraction and unsafe lane changes. I’ve caught myself doing all three things as I enter a work zone. You have too.

Work zone and worker safety are top priorities for TxDOT, but truth is, statistics show that motorists and their passengers are more likely to die in a work zone. That’s enough information right there for us all to change our driving habits.

Work zones are challenging, and they can be dangerous. While the decline in fatalities is encouraging, one life lost is too many. There are a few things every driver should know and observe when entering a work zone.

•Slow down. Observe the work zone speed limit. It is there for a reason. We already know the safest speed for work zones. One motivator for following those suggested speed limits is that fines double when workers are present.

•Pay attention. Don’t drive distracted. That means put the phone down, put both hands on the wheel, and watch that car in front of, behind, and beside you.

•Keep one eye out for our workers. They are easy to spot. They wear safety gear that is reflective and includes hard hats. They wear those things because they want to get home safely just like you do.

•Don’t tailgate. Give yourself plenty of room. A work zone is no place to be in a hurry and rear-end crashes are common.

National Work Zone Awareness Week has been around since 2000, so we should all be familiar with the do’s and don’ts., but TxDOT continues to work to educate motorists on the challenges of driving through work zones.

The Move Over/Slow Down law has been successful at helping us do just that. If you don’t know about it or have forgotten it, let me help you.

•The Move Over/Slow Down law is intended to help protect roadside crews and first responders, and to reduce the number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our roadways.

•The law requires drivers to move over a lane or reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when they approach a TxDOT vehicle, law enforcement, emergency vehicle, tow truck or utility vehicle stopped with flashing lights activated on the side of the road.

•Failure to heed the Move Over/Slow Down law can result in fines of up to $2,000.

So, the next time you enter a work zone, please observe the Move Over/Slow Down law. Watch out for our workers and watch out for ‘those’ drivers who aren’t paying attention. Seems like we encounter them everywhere we go. No doubt, I’ll see you soon in a work zone and I sure hope you aren’t one of ‘those’ drivers.

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SHSU receives grant funding to combat nursing shortage

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HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State University’s School of Nursing (SON) has received a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) as part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund. The program will utilize the funds by hosting three major events this summer in an effort to address shortages in the state’s nursing pipeline, particularly the shortage of nursing faculty and simulation simulators heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Texas has the second-highest nursing shortage in the country,” said Devon Berry, director of SON. “This is all about building our capacity to meet head-on the needs of the workforce shortage that exists in the state.”

SON will hold the Simulation Educator Summer Institute as its first major event. Nursing simulation provides an opportunity for students and qualified nurses to practice responding to realistic clinical situations and assess their performances afterwards.

“We will bring in educators from all over the Greater Houston area to The Woodlands Center and work with Avkin, the industry-leader in wearable simulation technology,” Berry said. “We will be providing educators with advanced training through a three-day workshop.”

The second event will be the Preceptor Training Summer Institute, a two-day workshop. Preceptors are licensed clinicians that help students learn the nursing role.

“Similarly, we will be bringing in preceptors that work with our School of Nursing from all of our area clinical sites,” Berry said. “For the third major opportunity, we will be working with a design firm to create models for what we refer to as shared-employment between academic and practice settings.”

An academic-practice partnership, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, is a mechanism for advancing nursing practices to improve the health of the public. Such intentional and formalized relationships are based on mutual goals, respect and shared knowledge. An academic-practice partnership is developed between a nursing education program and a care setting.

THECB has dedicated $8.5 million of GEER funding through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to alleviate the nursing faculty pipeline challenges that exist in the state.

The request for applications for the grant was published in November and the applications were due at the end of the same month. The grant period will conclude on Aug. 31.

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