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Tyler County News - Breakout

County races headed to runoffs

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N1206P36001CBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – Election Day on Tuesday brought an end to an exciting campaign season for the primaries with just one of the contested races.

The races for County Judge, as well as Treasurer and Commissioner Pct. 2 and Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 will all go to runoff elections in May.

In the Republican primary race for county judge, Melissa Riley received 1,612 votes over Milton Powers’s 1,555 and Richard “Kooter” Shaw, Jr.’s 815 votes. Riley will face Powers in the runoff.

The winner of the runoff will face Democratic challenger Wesley Whitman in the November General Election. The race for County Treasurer, which drew two opponents against incumbent Leann Monk is also headed to a runoff. Monk earned 1,540 votes to Elizabeth Grammer’s 925 votes and Maegan Rains Odom’s 1,354. Monk and Odom will face each other in the runoff.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock earned 372 votes over Johnny Mitcham’s 221, Doug Hughes’s 293 and Herbert Morrell’s 130.

Sturrock, the incumbent, will face Hughes in the runoff.

The race for Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace was the only race to draw a clear winner on Tuesday night’s unofficial results.

Mike Hughes received 580 votes; Michael G. Maness got 291; Richard “Trey” Grammer received 118 and Jim Kibodeaux 58.

In the race for Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace, incumbent Jim Moore received 383 votes. His challengers Henry E. Sawyer, Jr. received 370 and Jason Hicks 168.

Moore will face Sawyer in the runoff.

At the statewide level, at press time, the projected winner of the gubernatorial races were incumbent Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’ Rourke, who are expected to face-off in November.

Two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared to be headed to a runoff, with his challengers George P. Bush and Eva Guzman neck-and-neck behind him.

Congressman Louie Gohmert was trailing in fourth place.

Candidates must receive more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election.

Of the unofficial vote numbers tallied on Tuesday night, 1,921 of those were from voters who took advantage of the early voting period to make their voices heard at the polling place.

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Tyler County native encourages young people

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Charles Cade stands in the performing arts center named in his honor. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLES E. CADE Charles Cade stands in the performing arts center named in his honor. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLES E. CADE

By Chris Edwards
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HOUSTON – Charles E. Cade encourages young people to “never give up on your dreams.”

The career educator, who grew up in Hillister, is the namesake of the Charles E. Cade Performing Arts Center at Meyerland Performing Arts Middle School, which is part of the Houston Independent School District.

Having a nice venue for talented students to perform in many artistic disciplines was one of many goals Cade had as assistant principal of the school, which was formerly Johnston Performing Arts Middle School (renamed to Meyerland in 2016).

Cade said “it was definitely an honor and pleasure growing up in Hillister.” He attended middle school and high school at Scott High in Woodville, and was an all-around athlete for his entire high school career. He said he also received an excellent education, and his parents instilled the importance of a good education in him.

He said growing up as a member of the Church of Christ also helped him to become who he is today. “My greatest joy growing up in Hillister was being a member of the Hillister Church of Christ,” he said. 

Cade said he wants to encourage all young people to keep God in their lives and pursue higher education. He encouraged all area high school seniors to apply for the Cade and Whittie Academic/Athletic Scholarship, which will be awarded in June. 

Cade said that anyone who wishes to apply for the scholarship can contact their high school counselor.

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Children of the Court announced

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Children of the Court 

The 79th Annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival is pleased to announce the Children of the Court to Her Majesty the Queen for 2022. Pictured, left to right:  Lillian Rose Fuller (Woodville), daughter of Heath and Hannah Fuller;  Melody Faith Read (Warren), daughter of Billie and Stephanie Read;  Ring Bearer West Wilkinson (Colmesneil), son of Luke and Samantha Wilkinson;  Scepter Bearer Finn Collier (Spurger), son of Bryan and Tiffany Collier;  Crown Bearer Jase Woodrow Davis (Chester), son of J.R. and Amber Davis;  Cora Larua Elrod (Woodville), daughter of Brad and LaLa Elrod; and Kennedy Lee Conner (Woodville), daughter of Joseph and Lauren Conner.

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Trailride a Western Weekend tradition

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WesterParade 001Riders in last year’s Western Weekend parade. (JIM POWERS | TCB)

From the Dogwood Festival Publicity Committee

WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend is coming up on March 25-26.  This is the second weekend of the three weekend-long festival, and its roots run deep.  In 1958, 75 horseback riders formed on Highway 190 West at the Dickens County Line Store and rode to Woodville in time to join the Dogwood Festival Parade.  This was the beginning of the now famous Western Weekend.  This tradition continued for 10 years.  Due to the increasing numbers of horseback riders who were coming to Woodville to join the Parade, the Trail Bosses of the various Trail Rides requested a parade of their own. 

As a consequence, the first Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend was held on March 23, 1968.  In addition to the Western Day Parade, the day’s activities included a special show at the 4-H and FFA Arena near Woodville with performances by riding clubs and drill teams. 

A Western Teenage Dance and Western Adult Dance were held that evening.  The regular Dogwood Festival was held the following Saturday, March 30, 1968.  The Western Trailride Parades at one time included more than 1,500 horses and has featured famous groups and celebrities. 

In an attempt to garner more participation, The Western Weekend Parade has now evolved to include floats and tractors.  FFA Chapters across the area, 4-H Clubs, area feed stores, and any other businesses are encouraged to participate. 

Contact Martin Spurlock, director of Western Weekend, for more information.   To complete parade entry forms, go to the Tyler County Dogwood website at www.tylercountydogwoodfestival.org. 

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Williams addresses commissioners on hospital staff shortage

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CommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In its regular meeting last Monday, the Tyler County Commissioners’ Court got to work on a full agenda, mostly consisting of routine measures to consider.

One item on the agenda was a presentation from Tyler County Hospital’s CEO Sondra Williams. Williams came before the court to address the plight TCH has faced with an employee shortage for an extended time period.

Williams said the hospital was thankful for the funds the county had previously approved to address its operational expenditures. Last August, the commissioners voted to approve financial assistance for the hospital out of COVID relief money in the amount of $650K to pay for contract employees.

Williams said the short staffing has been a “significant change” in the hospital’s operations through the pandemic.

“We have always tried to run on the minimum level of [state requirements],” Williams said, and added that the pandemic created a need for contract workers for the hospital to operate.

Williams said the hospital has 102 full-time employees, and as of last week is down to 86 employees. “The hospital is in a really bad spot for staffing,” she said. Overall, the hospital’s full-time staff has dropped 16% since March 2020, she said.

The hospital’s operating costs, Williams said, include $35,356 to stay open per week, and projected $1.8 million per year as operating costs.

Williams outlined the different departments, and how the staff numbers have decreased during the pandemic, which she referred to as a serious problem.

“The hospital operates on a shoestring budget,” Williams said, and added that small hospitals are at risk. “We’re trying to get local people back home to work for the hospital,” she said.

Williams outlined some of the methods TCH uses to recruit, including advertising on social media, regional newspapers and in medical trade journals.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock motioned to allocate $852,000 to the hospital for a second allotment toward contract medical expenses from the county’s federally allocated ARPA monies.

Other Business

Sturrock addressed an item on the agenda that had previously drew conversation and questions on social media. The item concerned the legal options of regulating sexually oriented businesses.

The court approved the engagement of Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado, Acosta LLP to provide guidance to the county on this topic.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall said that as far as he was aware there are no sexually oriented businesses operating within the county or attempting to open. Sturrock expressed the same sentiment, but added that the topic has been one of conversation among other counties, and he wished to bring it before the court, should it arise in the future.

The commissioners also approved the renewal of a grant application for routine maintenance for the Tyler County Airport.

Marshall reported on the topic, which had not been addressed for two years, due to questions and concerns about entering in a commitment with TxDOT Aviation for 20 years. Marshall said he has examined the conditions of the grant program and saw no problems.

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