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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024

OLDER SPORTSMEN HAVE MORE FUN

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

Tyler County News - Breakout

Rotary Club hears about US Space Force

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Emily Gazzaway spoke to Rotarians.  MOLLIE LA SALLE| TCBEmily Gazzaway spoke to Rotarians. MOLLIE LA SALLE| TCB

By Mollie LaSalle

WOODVILLE – The Rotary Club of Woodville hosted guest speaker Emily Gazzaway last Wednesday, who spoke about her military career, which began in 1995 when she enlisted in the Air Force.

She retired after 27 years as a Chief Master Sergeant. She didn’t spend the entire 27 years in the Air Force; In December 2019, her final position was as the senior enlisted aide to the nations very first chief of space operations.

Gazzaway explained, “the Space Force’s mission is to secure the nations interests in, from, and to space. Space is woven into the fabric of our everyday life, nearly everything we do touches space. Space Force exists to defend American interests as well as those of our allies”.

The US Space Force was established December 20, 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed. Space Force is the first new branch of the armed services since the creation of the Air Force in 1947. The US Space Force was established when it was determined that space was a national security imperative, combined with competitors in space, it was clear that there was a need for a branch of the military focused on pursuing superiority in space.

While the US Space Force is fairly new, the Department of Defense has been working in space since the onset of space exploration; in turn, the US military is faster, better connected, more informed, and more precise due to its ability to harness space effectively. Access to, and the freedom to operate in space is vital to our national security and economy. Military and civilian guardians who work for the Space Force protect and defend American interests in space to ensure that our military, our allies, and our people have the ability to harness space whenever and wherever they need it.

The Space Force is a separate and distinct branch of the military, but it is located at the Pentagon, along with the other branches. It is organized by the department of the Air Force, similar to the way the Marines are organized by the department of the Navy. The Chief of Space Operations serves as the senior uniformed officer responsible for organization, training, and equipping all organic and assigned space forces serving in the United States and abroad. The chief of space force operations is a member of the joint chiefs of staff, and functions as a military advisor to the secretary of defense, the National Security Council, and the president.

 

Space Force is organized, trained and equipped to: provide freedom of operation for the US in, from, and to space; conduct space operations; and protect America’s interest in space. It also provides freedom of operation for the US in, from, and to space, provides prompt and sustained operations, protects America’s interest in space, deters aggression in, from, and to space, and conducts space operations. Space Force manages launch operations at the east and west coast space launch deltas. Maintaining space dominance and superiority is an emerging capability needed to protect US assets from attack.

The US Space Force is the smallest of the armed services, with roughly 8,600 personnel. It operates 77 spacecraft across programs such as GPS, military satellite communications, spaceplanes, US missile warning systems, surveillance networks, and the satellite control network. US Space Forces have been a part of every conflict since the Vietnam War. The Persian Gulf War was often referred to as the first space war.

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Vendors offer variety for festival

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Tricycle STOCK

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – For many of the visitors, both out-of-towners as well as residents, the Dogwood Festival offers more than the opportunity to relish in the coronation of a new Dogwood Queen, after all, there is also a variety of food, crafts and other goods available.

For the Western Weekend and Queen’s Weekend portions of the annual festival, vendors fill the courthouse square and hawk their wares. Lori Benthall, who serves as the vendor chair and president of Tyler County Texas Business Women, which coordinates the festival vending, said this year there will be all kinds of good stuff available to festival goers.

Benthall said that the money raised from vendor fees goes toward a scholarship fund, which is available for any Tyler County senior girls to apply for. She said that in 2023, TCTBW raised $7,000 from the vendor fees, but “this year I want to beat that goal,” she said.

During the two weekends (March 30 for Western Weekend and April 6 for Queen’s Weekend), the vendors are open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Benthall said that many favorites from years’ past have already signed up. “There’s all kinds of food. It’s just unreal as to what we’ve got,” she said.

This year, festival favorite foods, such as funnel cakes, shrimp-on-a-stick and fried Oreos will be joined by vendors selling barbecue, tacos, gyros and a hibachi-style food truck.

As far as crafts go, Benthall said all manner of homemade goods, from soaps and jewelry to customized tumblers and knives will be available. There will also be games for kids, as well as bounce houses and a mechanical bull. “We’ll have all kinds of stuff for the kids to do,” she said.

Along with the food and craft vendors, there will also be opportunities for nonprofit organizations to set up. For nonprofits wanting to participate, the point of contact is Tyler County Clerk Donece Gregory, who can be reached at 409-283-2281.

“There’s still some room for vendors, especially for Western Weekend,” Benthall said.

The vendor fees are $45 for one weekend or $75 for both, for crafts and other goods. For food vendors, the fee is $150 for each weekend. Interested vendors can email Benthall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or can call her at 409-377-2161.

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Asbestos removal scheduled for Willis Motel

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Red Cross recognized – John  and Mary Annette Stagg, two longtime volunteers with the American Red Cross, accept a proclamation recognizing Red Cross month in Woodville from Woodville Mayor Amy Bythewood. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCBRed Cross recognized – John and Mary Annette Stagg, two longtime volunteers with the American Red Cross, accept a proclamation recognizing Red Cross month in Woodville from Woodville Mayor Amy Bythewood. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCB

By Mollie LaSalle
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WOODVILLE – A public hearing was held to discuss the status of the abandoned Willis Motel, which has a new owner as of January 2024. The new owner has contacted a company to begin removing the asbestos from the property beginning March 25, weather permitting. Once all the asbestos is removed, the demolition of the property will commence, again, weather permitting.

Mayor Amy Bythewood issued a proclamation declaring March to be American Red Cross month. In the proclamation she said, “ whereas American Red Cross heroes volunteer their time, give blood, take life saving courses, and provide financial donations to help those in need, and whereas the American Red Cross tirelessly helps when disaster strikes, providing the comfort of a helping hand, providing 24 hour support to members of the military, veterans, and their families and they work to prevent and alleviate human suffering, our community depends on the American Red Cross with donations of money, blood, and time to fulfill its humanitarian mission.”

Council moved on to the consent docket, and first up was the approval to the 2024 Consumer Price Index Adjustment to Municipal Telecommunications Right-of-Way Access Line Rate. Council approved this item.

Council next considered Resolution No. 20240311, a resolution of the City Council of Woodville, Texas establishing that the Tyler County Dogwood Festival and all activities related to said event serve a public purpose and authorizing the city administrator to execute an interlocal agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the temporary closure of state right of way for annual activities related sponsored by the festival. This is basically saying that the city has the ok from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to close parts of highways 190 and 69 during Western Weekend and Dogwood Weekend for the parades, which have been occurring since the 1940’s.

The calendar was packed full of upcoming events. Every March, the city sponsors its citywide cleanup, and it is going on now through March 22. The Woodville Methodist Church will have a chili cook-off, Sunday, March 17, and the next weekend kicks off the Dogwood Festival, with the Festival of the Arts weekend at Heritage Village. March 23 will feature the Festival of the Arts, and on Sunday, March 24, the Village will host their annual Dinner on the Grounds from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Western Weekend is up next, beginning on Friday, March 29 with the Lions Club rodeo at 7 pm, and Saturday will be the trailride parade, beginning at 2 p.m., with the rodeo starting at 4:30 that day. March ends with Easter Sunday church services and celebrations.

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The Spirit of Texas

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Heritage Village in Woodville celebrated its annual “Toast to Texas” Texas Independence Day celebration. Tyler County Judge Milton Powers led in the toast, which commemorated the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Judge PowersMOLLIE LASALLE | TCB

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Businessman, civic leader Grissom dies

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By Chris Edwards
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Lonnie GrissomWOODVILLE – Lonnie Bee Grissom, Jr., a Tyler County native and businessman, died last week at the age of 63.

Grissom died on Tuesday, Feb. 27. He was an entrepreneur in the timber industry and made his mark on the community with his North American Procurement Company (NAPCO), of which he served as owner and president. The company, his obituary noted, created jobs and opportunities for many individuals, and Grissom “always had a heart for the people of Tyler County.”

Former Woodville mayor Jimmie Cooley said Grissom was “always working on a deal for Tyler County,” and added that she will miss him and his phone calls.

He prided himself in being a lifelong resident of the county, save for four years he was away for his service in the Army.

Grissom, who was born in Woodville, and graduated from Kirby High School in 1979, grew up with the timber industry around him. His father, Lonnie Grissom, Sr., was a wood dealer for Temple Eastex, and his grandfather, Otis, also worked in the business.

He was stationed in Germany during the Cold War years for his military service. “My oldest daughter was born in Germany. This was the only time I have lived outside of Woodville,” Grissom said in an interview in 2013 for Discover Tyler County.

Following his Army stint, Grissom moved back to his hometown and worked at an electric motor shop, which he later bought. He also worked on logging crews, and, eventually, he and the late Buddy Wilkinson launched G&W Enterprises, in 1986. The two men were business partners for more than 20 years.

Grissom, through the years, owned eight different logging-based businesses in Tyler County. He started NAPCO in 2003.

As a community leader, Grissom supported many causes, and served on several boards, including the Rotary Club of Woodville, of which he served a stint as president; he served on the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees and as a director for the Lower Neches Valley Authority. He also served on the board of the Texas Forestry Association.

Grissom was active on social media where he dispensed wisdom and occasional photographs of the scenery from his Golden Pine Ranch, located in the Harmony community. He often expressed concern over the future of the county’s economic sustainability.

“I am disappointed that young people are having to move away from [Tyler County] to find work,” he said in the aforementioned interview.

In tributes posted to social media, other community leaders remembered him. Former Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash said “I will miss you, my friend. Folks will never know all you did or tried to do for the people of Tyler County.”

Lonnie Hunt, who serves as the executive director for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) said he was sorry to hear of Grissom’s passing and added “he will be greatly missed.”

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