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Tyler County News - Breakout

Grant-funded projects, health dept. fees discussed by council

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071422 grant road projects

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Woodville City Council got down to business in its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening, and approved measures to move forward on a couple of grant-funded street improvement projects.

The first item on the agenda was a resolution to authorize an advanced funding agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the city for two blocks of sidewalk improvements along US 69, stretching from the Exxon station to Dogwood Street.

The project was one of four submitted by the city for consideration, and the only one awarded funding, of $269K, according to City Administrator Mandy Risinger.

Risinger said the project was the first time the city had applied and received funding for such an undertaking and said it might bode well for the future for other possible projects.

For the next item on the agenda, council heard a presentation from Susan Stover, who works with David J. Waxman. The Waxman firm is working as the grant administrator for a CBDG grant-funded project for street improvements on Temple, from Peach to West Dogwood.

The city was awarded $350K for this project, and Stover briefed the council and Mayor Paula Jones on the definition of Section 3 businesses.

By the federal definition, courtesy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Section 3 businesses include at least 30% of full-time employees who are low and very low-income individuals, who receive housing assistance.

Stover said the city will have an opportunity to reach out to Section 3 businesses when it goes forth with the project. She said this is “a recommendation and a goal, but not a requirement.”

The council also approved a resolution to authorize signatories for the project. Jones, Risinger and City Secretary Terri Bible are the signatories.

Next on the agenda, the city approved an increase in the health department’s fees. The proposed increase, which was given to council, for consideration, by health inspector Colin Bishop, called for a 20-25% increase.

Bishop sent the proposal for consideration last month, and it was discussed, and tabled pending consideration and research.
Risinger and Bishop both noted that there had been no increase in the department’s fees since 2017, and even then, it was a minor raise.

Risinger said she had reached out to other cities in the region to see what their fees are for health department services, and said she discovered that most cities of Woodville’s size do not have their own health deparments. Many of them, she said, utilize county services, or work in cooperation with another health department.

Currently, the health department’s fees are “well under what anyone around us is charging,” Risinger said.

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Chester raises city salaries

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071422 chester pay raises

By Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – Chester approved a small raise for its employees at a special called session on June 6.

As a part of the federal grant process, at that same meeting they approved a slate of civil rights policies including citizen grievance procedures, excessive force, code of conduct and other fair-housing policies.

At the council meeting on July 11, held in lieu of their regularly scheduled meeting which fell on July 4, the presence of new Director of Public Works Gerald Couthran included discussions and approvals for new tools and secure storage.

City Secretary Balela Mahaffy outlined and secured new signature guidelines for the Grantworks administration as it progresses and gave options for new playground equipment.

Mayor Robert Poynter facilitated a rather brisk meeting that approved with minimal comment the previous minutes and the current financials. They were excited to get some of the grant money moving into projects soon, and they will be seeking guidance as to whether some of it can go to park and property security measures.

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County awards bids on road projects

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071422 bids on road projects

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – During its regular monthly meeting, the Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled a lengthy agenda.

Following the routine approval of the minutes from the previous meeting and the monthly reports from various county offices, the commissioners opened and subsequently awarded bids for several road improvement projects located in Precinct 2.

Pct. 2 Commissioners Stevan Sturrock brought the items before the court, which included the opening of bids for projects on county roads 2100 and 1100, with work to be done for the length of a half mile along 2100 from the intersection of FM 256 and CR 2100. The work on CR 1100 is for improvements for 1.3 miles from the FM 256 intersection on that county road and six-tenths of a mile from the CR 1100 and CR 1010 intersection.

The firm Gulf Coast was awarded the bids on two of the projects, and no action was taken on the bids received for the 1.3 mile stretch on CR 1100.

In other business, the commissioners also voted on the following items:

• The bid from Garner for the county’s emergency standby services was awarded.

• The county wavied a 60-day waiting period for county benefits for Matt O’Neal, who began employment with the county’s Juvenile Probation department on Wednesday. O’Neal, as County Treasurer Leann Monk noted, has worked for the county’sAdult Probation department since 2007.

• An agreement was approved between the county and Sam Houston Electric Co-Op to use the county’s fairgrounds as a staging site for any contract workers hired to work in the event of a disaster.

• The county approved a property tax exemption for the W.T. Colmesneil House Library and Museum in Colmesneil.

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Names released in housefire tragedy

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071422 names released from house fire

By Chris Edwards
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WARREN – Last week, a housefire in the Warren area resulted in two fatalities and one resident hospitalized.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, a call came in at approximately 4 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5, of a housefire on CR 1400, in the Warren area. When Tyler County Sheriff’s Office deputies, along with firefighters with the Warren Volunteer Fire Department, arrived on the scene, they found the house, a mobile home structure, fully engulfed in flames.

“Deputies observed an adult female with severe burns and a female child, approximately three-years-old, appearing to be uninjured, outside the home,” Weatherford said. Additionally, the deputies found out soon after that there was an adult male and a 15-month-old baby still inside the burning structure.

The names of those who perished in the fire were later identified by family members as Jacob Robert Jones and his son Jacob Joshua Jones. Jacob Robert Jones’ fiancé and the children’s mother, Amber Boyett, is currently in critical condition in a Galveston burn unit.

The couple’s three-year-old daughter was reported as unharmed and had been placed with family members.

Due to the extreme heat and flames, the firefighters were unable to make entry into the home.

Warren firefighters, along with help from the Ivanhoe and Woodville VFDs, were able to fully extinguish the fire and locate the two bodies inside.

Boyett was flown to a hospital in Houston for treatment of her burns.

Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers ordered an autopsy be conducted on the two deceased individuals, and Riley Funeral Home transported them to Forensic Medical Management Services of Texas in Beaumont.

Weatherford said that along with his agency, the State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

Friends and family members have begun fundraising efforts for both funeral expenses, as well as an effort to assist with Boyett’s hospitalization expenses.

To donate to either fund, for which monies are being collected via GoFundMe, go to the link: https://gofund.me/17494808 or https://gofund.me/a1be39e7.

Boyett’s sister, Catherine, who launched one of the online fundraisers provided a list of clothing sizes needed for the survivors and added that donations for Boyett and her daughter can be delivered to the Express Mart in Warren.

Amber wears a medium-size shirt; size 7 pants and size 8 shoes. Her daughter Railynn wears a 5t and a size 10 in shoes.

Catherine Boyett noted that any donations will be greatly appreciated.

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Meysembourg named ‘Superintendent of the Year’

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070722 superintedent of year

From Staff Reports

WOODVILLE – Woodville ISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg received news of a high honor last week.

Meysembourg was named “Superintendent of the Year” for the Region 5 educational service area. Meysembourg, who came to lead WISD in 2019, after serving as superintendent with Schulenburg ISD, was named the top administrator for the year out of more than 30 school districts.

Region 5, according to its website, services the school districts of Tyler, Newton, Orange, Jefferson, Jasper and Hardin counties, as well as High Island ISD, Hull-Daisetta ISD, East Chambers ISD and Liberty ISD. Together, the service region covers approximately 87,000 students and more than 6,100 educators.

A post on the Woodville ISD Facebook page stated “the staff at WISD is so proud and excited for our boss.”

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