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Tyler County News - Breakout


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070722 dixie vogue makes vogueDixie Jarrott, the namesake proprietress of Dixie’s Vintage Vogue in Woodville, celebrates with family, friends and staff on Saturday morning, as the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce ushered in the new antiques emporium with a ribbon cutting event. The store is located where Jarrott and husband George owned and operated Jarrott’s Pharmacy for many years. Photo by Jim Powers

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Rotary begins new year

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063022 rotary begins new yearA new slate of directors is installed to begin serving the new Rotary year for the Woodville Rotary Club. Pictured left-to-right are: Roschelle Springfield; Chris Edwards; Joyce Wilson; Sarah Stephens; Jo Thomas; Lisa Meysembourg; Lee Mann and John Wilson. Photo courtesy of Ruth Talley

From Staff Reports

WOODVILLE – The Woodville Rotary Club rang in its new year last Tuesday evening with an installation banquet in the St. Paul’s fellowship hall.

Rotarian Fred Sullivan welcomed everyone present and served as emcee for the event. Sullivan installed John Wilson as the new president for the club. Wilson succeeds Paula Jones as the club’s president.

Wilson is joined on the Woodville Rotary board of directors by Lee Mann, who is vice president; Lisa Meysembourg, secretary; Jo Thomas, treasurer; Sarah Stephens, service projects chair; Joyce Wilson, membership chair; Roschelle Springfield, New Generations chair; Chris Edwards, public image chair and Sullivan will serve as Rotary Foundation chair.

Sullivan gave a recap of much of the Woodville club’s history, including a time when it hosted the annual conference for District 5910.

During the conference, Sullivan said, many Woodville residents opened their homes to Rotarians who were in town for the event.

Also of note, the club has produced two District Governors who have led the Rotary District, which encompasses 36 clubs – J. Wood Fain (in 1955) and outgoing DG, Dr. Jerry Springfield, who is also a past president of the Woodville club. Another Woodville Rotarian,Gilbert Wright, was appointed DG, but died before assuming duties, Sullivan said.

Dr. Springfield spoke, as well, and recounted much of his year as the district’s leader. He said he was especially moved by the response a Ukrainian flag bearer received at the recent Rotary International conference in Houston – a standing ovation.

During Wilson’s speech, he gave some of his personal history with Rotary, and said that it is truly the members who run the club, and that Rotary is all about its motto, “service above self.”

The Woodville Rotary Club meets at noon each Wednesday at the Pickett House. The first meeting for the new year for the club will be on Wednesday, July 13, where Wilson will outline his goals as president.

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Davis appointed CISD interim supt.

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063022 davis appointed

By Mollie LaSalle

COLMESNEIL – Colmesneil ISD held a special called meeting Monday evening for the purpose of selecting an interim superintendent.
Eldon Franco tendered his resignation via email to board president Kris Lindsey June 23. Franco was hired as superintendent in June of 2020.

He resigned to “pursue his retirement”. His resignation was effective immediately.

Board members met to hire a replacement, and the lone candidate presented himself to the board at Monday’s meeting.

Dr. Scott Davis introduced himself and laid out his plans for the future of the district, should the board decide to hire him. Davis began his 28-year career in education as an English teacher in Lockhart. He moved on to become the principal then superintendent at Lamesa and also was the superintendent at Rusk for several years. In 2018, he was hired as superintendent at Crosby ISD, and was immediately put to the test that October as Crosby ISD found itself in a state of financial exigency. Budgetary layoffs loomed, as 130 staff and workers were laid off due the previous administrations mismanagement and overspending on construction projects and surplus staff. This move cut $5.2 million in payroll expenses at the time.

The FY 2020 audit for Crosby ISD showed that the district had met TEA’s minimum recommendation for fund balance totals. The audit also found the district with two years of positive and improving funds. Davis’s move to slash spending, layoff staff and workers, and implement a solvency plan had come to fruition.

Davis retired from his position at Crosby in 2021 and moved with his wife Kristie to Livingston. He currently works as a consultant for various school districts. Presently, he is the lead consultant at La Pryor ISD, which is 20 miles form Uvalde. He has been helping with recovery efforts following last month’s mass shooting in Uvalde.

Davis added that his top priority is to take care of CISD. “I am not going to embarrass this board. I want to give kids hope and control. I want to take Colmesneil into the future. We have got to move the ball forward. I believe in honor, integrity, and doing what you say you are going to do.” Incoming high school principal Stephanie Smith added “we need a leader who will move us forward, we are ready to jump off and do great things.”

Retiring high school principal Walter McAlpin also echoed that statement: “We need a healer, someone to heal the mistrust, someone with integrity to heal all the things that have gone wrong; whatever it takes to take us to the next level.”

Following Davis’s speech, the board went into executive session, and ultimately voted to hire him as Colmesneil ISD interim superintendent, effective July 1.

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Ivanhoe council holds plan workshop

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063022 ivanhoe council workshop Each phase of the plan, with the street repairs, is estimated to cost the city an upwards of $3.3 million per year.

By Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – In a specialcalled meeting of the Ivanhoe City Council on Wednesday, June 22, the city voted to adopt a resolution to accept a comprehensive plan for the city.

The meeting, with a brief agenda, came after a workshop on the plan, which was developed by GrantWorks, and examines potential issues facing Ivanhoe for the fiscal years 2022-32. Councilmembers weighed the information and suggested a series of changes to put forth.

The plan encompasses phases for each point of focus, and addresses a series of suggested infrastructure repairs and improvements. Each phase of the plan, with the street repairs, is estimated to cost the city an upwards of $3.3 million per year. The plan, as councilmember Tommy Morris said, can be modified to fit what the city needs to do and what the budget will allow. The estimated amounts for the repairs, Mayor Cathy Bennett said, far exceed the city’s budget at present.

C.D. Woodrome said the budget expectations according to the plan’s phases for roadwork are “unrealistic,” but going into the plan, as it was drafted, it will be helpful for potential grant funding in the future to show what the city is planning. “There’s a lot in here we won’t be able to do anytime soon, but maybe over a 10-year period, we can get the vast majority of it done,” Morris said, before recommending to accept the plan’s roadwork phases section.

On a section pertaining to recreation and open space study, councilmember David Herrington outlined the information given, and said that while some of the goals put forth could serve the city well, the bulk of them associated with the city plan on property and resources not associated with the city, but with the Ivanhoe Property Owners’ Improvement Association, do not make sense. Herrington suggested most of the goals be omitted from the plan or made into points of discussion for the city to have with the IPOIA in the future for strategies.

The plan, which covers what the city’s needs are, according to GrantWorks’ findings, are out of sync, budgetarily, with what the city’s revenue projections are, as Bennett and some councilmembers noted.

One idea that was discussed in regard to expanding the city’s revenue was to amend ordinance pertaining to alcohol sales. Morris said that that would have to fall under special events, as most of the city is zoned for residential property and not commercial.

With all of the suggestions as the workshop progressed, councilmember Skip Blackstone said it would be advantageous to look at the plan as a living document that can be modified. Herrington suggested that the planning forecasted by GrantWorks’ plan, particularly with the graphical representations, could be paired with the maps of projects the city’s engineers have put forth, for comparison as to what the city is able to do with grant funding already.

“We’re at a very crucial time,” Bennett said, and referenced the $11.5 million grant for dam repairs and rebuilding, as well as two other substantial grants.

Burn Ban passed

During the special meeting, Bennett declared a burn ban within the city limits, which council approved.

Bennett said the ban, especially with regard to fireworks on the Fourth of July holiday, will have to be addressed if the weather permits.

The drought conditions have made open flames potentially problematic. Bennett said she was hopeful there will be rain before the holiday. Councilmember Will Warren pointed to weather forecasting, which showed potential for rainfall during the coming week.

­She and councilmembers discussed the annual fireworks display the Ivanhoe Volunteer Fire Department puts on.

Bennett contacted Rowland Priddy, Ivanhoe VFD Assistant Fire Chief, who said there would be personnel on the scene, with trucks and equipment, for the fireworks display, which is scheduled to go as planned

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Commissioners vote for burn ban

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063022 ratify burn ban

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In a special-called meeting of the Tyler County Commissioners Court, on Monday morning, county officials voted to ratify a burn ban.

Widespread lack of rainfall in the region has triggered burn bans in several counties, including Angelina, Liberty and Orange. Along with the restriction of outdoor burning, a disaster declaration was also ratified. The declaration, which County Judge Jacques Blanchette ordered pursuant to local government code 418.012, cites the imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life resulting from the countywide drought conditions.

Blanchette originally issued the declaration on June 22, and it was two parts: the disaster declaration and the burn ban.

The disaster declaration is good for a period of no more than seven days from the date of issuance.

Blanchette wanted to clear up any confusion residents may have about the ban. “Under the disaster declaration, is where you enact the order to restrict outdoor burning. They transferred the authority of all decisions regarding the burn ban and use of fireworks to me,” he said.

Blanchette added that he is hopeful the weather will prove favorable this week for the ban to be lifted and for the Fourth of July holiday to be celebrated.

“I am in full hopes that the weather conditions will be favorable with rain that is predicted in the forecast to suppress the concerns for restricting the use of fireworks,” he said.

Although the sale of fireworks was approved for the holiday season, in Tyler County, in a previous Commissioners Court meeting, commissioners voted to rescind that order.

Blanchette wanted to make the public aware that the fireworks decision is a separate decision from the burn ban and disaster declaration. A burn ban does not automatically mean a fireworks ban.

He added that the approval for fireworks to be used is under his discretion, and he will determine on July 2, by 6 p.m., whether or not to allow their use, depending on the conditions.

“We want to support all of the celebration activities that can safely be carried out without posing any kind of concern for loss or property or life within Tyler County,” he said.

According to statute, an offense committed under the burn ban is a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $500.

Volunteers Recognized

During Monday morning’s meeting, the county’s Veterans’ Service Office volunteers Joe McIntyre; Ruth Stewart; Brian Smith; Wende Adkins; Larry Adkins and Scott Mitchell were recognized for their many years of service.

The group of volunteers are drivers for the van service that transports veterans to and from the Michael DeBakey VA Hospital in Houston.

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