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Tyler County News - Breakout

Booster wins several awards

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 080411 booster wins award

From Staff Reports

SAN MARCOS – The Tyler County Booster won several awards from the Texas Press Association (TPA) at its annual conference, which was held last week in San Marcos.

The categories the newspaper won in range from the association’s contest highlighting advertising design to one for feature writing.

Polk County Publishing Company publisher Kelli Barnes, who attended the conference, said of the wins, “We have a great team at the Booster. They are committed to quality community journalism and Tyler County is stronger for having a legitimate news source. Thank you, readers and advertisers, for your continued support.”

TPA, which is headquartered in Austin, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest newspaper trade associations. It represents 429 Texas newspapers, which participate in the annual contest. The contest breaks down the publications into different divisions based on circulation numbers and frequency of publication.

According to its website, the organization “promotes the welfare of Texas newspapers, encourages higher standards of journalism, and plays an important role in protecting the public’s right to know as an advocate of First Amendment liberties.”

The awards won by the Booster staff for work produced during last year’s span of eligibility for the contest are:

• Advertising – First Place (Beth Faircloth)

• Feature Writing – Second Place (Chris Edwards)

• Headline Writing – Third Place (Chris Edwards)

• Column Writing – Third Place (Chris Edwards)

• Feature Photography – Third Place (Jim Powers; Donna Hammer; Chris Edwards and Caleb Fortenberry)

Booster editor/reporter Chris Edwards said being a part of such a prestigious trade organization was “an honor in of itself,” and added that it was “beyond awesome” for the newspaper to be adjudicated as one of the best in a crowded field.

The four other newspapers in the PCPC family: the Polk County Enterprise; Houston County Courier; San Jacinto News-Times and the Trinity County Standard, also won multiple awards for their published works from last year.

The quarterly East Texan lifestyle magazine, from PCPC, also won an award in the “Best Magazine” category. It regularly features the work of several Booster staff members.

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Ivanhoe council hears grant information

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080422 ivanhoe grants

By Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – At its regular meeting held last Thursday, the Ivanhoe City Council heard a report from Mayor Cathy Bennett on the city’s updated certified estimates of its total tax value for the year.
Prior to her report, Bennett acknowledged the passing of two beloved members of the Ivanhoe community, Mary Joe

“MJ” McNeal and Kenny Evans. “We lost two dear people in a very short period of time, so we are in mourning,” Bennett said.

Bennett also told council that, in full personal disclosure, she had contracted COVID on a recent cruise, but had tested negative before returning to work.

Bennett reported on attending a DETCOG meeting Thursday, which was followed by a GLO kickoff meeting regarding the $161 million allocated for Hurricane Harvey remediation. Of those funds, $1,933,000 was allotted to the City of Ivanhoe.

Grant administrator Judy Langford was present to speak to Bennett and councilmember Skip Blackstone about projects to undertake with the money.

Bennett spoke of the importance of attending such meetings, for the networking aspect as well as the informative nature.

Langford was present at the city council meeting, as well, and outlined the process, which involves submitting the grant application and a public hearing for the mitigation funds.

“To be able to get that money, the next step is the city has to apply for it,” she said.

The resolution to apply for the grant was passed by council, and the GLO will consider its eligibility and move forward,Langford said. It has to be turned in by Nov. 16, she said.

A 14-day public comment period must follow the resolution’s passage and the identifying of an eligible project, she added. Once the GLO has the application, the process can take months, she said.

“Any mitigation projects” are deemed eligible, Langford said, when asked what kind of project qualify.

Bennett said what the city is thinking about is a grant to work on Lakewood Drive, from Tristan Dam over to Galahad Dam, which is the first priority. Then, Galahad to Camelot dams, as second priority.

If there is still funding available, the next sections would be the main entrance up to Chanticleer, according to Bennett.
In other funding items on the agenda, Bennett said that the city can utilize funds allocated to the city from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money for its one percent match of $100K on the $11 million GLO grant it was awarded last year to rebuild dams.

The city will receive another $155K of ARPA money, Bennett said. Either that money or the remaining bond funds of $390K can be used toward road construction, she added.

One project Bennett said needs addressing is work on Camelot. “We’re losing it,” she said, and said it needs to be leveled-up and overlaid. Also, the entirety of 28th and 27th streets, both, would be good projects to address.

Camelot and 28th Street would be priorities, Bennett said, but Blackstone said 27th Street would be a better choice to prioritize, due to the fire station’s location on that street, and its need for a four-inch water-line.

A motion was made to go out for bids on projects for either of the streets, along with Camelot, depending on funding.

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TCSO busy with recent arrests

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080422 tcso busy with arrestsCastro, Hayes and Rowinsky were arrested by Tyler County Sheriff's Office deputies.

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office made several arrests last week, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

Patrols in the Dam B, Spurger and Warren areas netted some felony-level drug charges and assorted other charges of individuals in separate incidents.
One incident occurred on the early morning of last Thursday, when TCSO deputies in Dam B stopped a truck for a traffic violation and identified a passenger in the vehicle as Keiosha Rowinsky, a 30-year-old woman from the Dam B/Spurger area. Weatherford said the deputies knew her from previous encounters. 

“While speaking with the occupants of the vehicle, deputies learned that Rowinsky had two active arrest warrants issued in Hardin County,” Weatherford said.
She was taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County Jail; charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of a prohibited substance inside a correctional facility. 
Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe set Rowinsky’s bond at $40,0000.
In another incident, in Spurger, on the night of Friday, July 22, TCSO deputies made an arrest of a Warren man, 63-year-old Ernest Hayes, Jr., on a narcotics charge.

The deputies stopped Hayes for a traffic violation on FM 92, and while speaking with him, after instigating a stop, observed a small, clear plastic baggie appearing to contain a crystal-like substance, according to Weatherford.

“As Hayes exited the vehicle, deputies retrieved the baggie that was laying partially visible under Hayes’ leg,” Weatherford said.

A search revealed four additional baggies, containing a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamine. 
Hayes was arrested and transported to the county jail.

His bond was set by Jobe at $7,500.

Another arrest was made in the Warren area of a suspected burglar, on the night of last Wednesday, July 27.
TCSO deputies patrolling around Warren were made aware of a suspect trespassing on a property located on FM 1943 west.

When deputies made contact with the suspect, whom they identified as a 35-year-old man, Oseas Castro, whose last known address was in Tyler, they learned he’d been in the area for a few days and working for a roofing company.

He was recently fired from the roofing job, Weatherford said.
Deputies had responded to another call earlier that day about a burglary, three miles from where they found Castro.

That burglary occurred at a camphouse in the Hickory Creek Hunting Club, and water, food and ammunition were stolen.
Video camera footage identified Castro as the suspect who entered the camphouse, Weatherford said.

He was taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County Jail, and charged with burglary of a habitation.

Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford set his bond at $10,000.

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WISD welcomes new ag teachers

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072822 new ag teachers

From Staff Reports

WOODVILLE – The officers of the Woodville ISD Future Farmers of America chapter recently held an ice cream social meeting to meet and greet two new teachers to the district’s ag department.

Duane French and Haylon Powers have joined the WISD agricultural science ranks. French grew up in Tyler County and graduated from Woodville High School. Powers will be in his first year as an ag science teacher.

He was a District and Area officer and a Texas FFA Ambassador while in school.

The new faculty members also attended the FFA State Convention earlier in the month with the student officers.

The officers who attended the State Convention are: Lauren Gressler; Emma McClure; Sara Sheppard; Alyssa Johnanson; McKenzie Perkins; Eric Garcia and Shelby Duarte.

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Lions host ‘Bikers Against Child Abuse’

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072822 bikers against abuse

By Michael G. Maness

WOODVILLE – Woodville Lions heard Ms. French of BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse, at their Thursday evening meeting at the Lions Den on July 14.

BACA is in most states and several countries and dedicated to supporting children from 5 to 17 who were victims of child abuse. They work with District Attorneys, Child Protective Services, CASA, and more.

“Ms. French” is her biker name, has been at this for years and is president of the Beaumont chapter that has about 25 members covering several counties. Because of her age and size, she just transitioned from a Harley to a Trike—she is less than five feet, yet large in spirit.

One must go through a lot of checks, including an FBI NCIC background check and over six months of training to get a patch on the back of their “kutte,” pronounced “cut.” The kutte originated from the club leather jackets that were “cut” in the summer to be cooler, the collar and sleaves removed, so the members could still wear their earned patches and other emblems. They look like a vest, only broader in the shoulders.

Like many biker groups, they are a family. Ms. French admirably outlined how they bring the child into their family: “once a BACA child, always a BACA child.”

When a child is adopted, BACA gives the child his or her own kutte. They are also given a special BACA teddy bear. One little girl wore her kutte to school and play and all around; she felt like she belonged, like part of a big family—and she was. She was BACA now.

One little 10-year-old boy was scared to come outside. After a few meetings with BACA, playing, crafts, support—listening, affirming—the little one ventured outside. Always having someone to listen to and “be there” for him, the life-giving affirmation invigorates.

BACA’s first-class brochure and website BACAWorld.org outline the history, vision, and teamwork with local law enforcement and the court social services. They are on-call, too. They confidently publish: “We do not condone violence or physical force in any manner, however, if circumstances arise such that we are the only obstacle to preventing a child from further abuse, we stand ready to be that obstacle.”

A child has to have gone through the legal process and be in legal custody. As all know, abuse is a life changer. Law cannot protect 24/7, and many children cannot afford therapy. A primary goal of BACA is to help the child feel safe, protected, because then they “are more capable and likely to tell the truth regarding their abuse. Threats made by an abuser are offset by the presence of dedicated and protective bikers that have now become family.”

Their code of honor includes standing with the child at their home or in the court or anywhere needed. As Ms French said, there was a sight to see with a little girl’s hand wrapped around the beefy finger of a big hairy biker—safe!

Not long ago, a young girl who was a victim in her early teens had to go to court when she was 22. Often, feelings regress to the trauma, the fear, the torment, and nightmares return. The now young woman struggles to gather her courage. No problem!

BACA backed her up in court, even willing to stand by her side as she was on the witness stand—once a BACA child, always a BACA child.

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