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Tyler County News - Breakout

Chester mayor resigns

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Floyd PetriFloyd PetriBy Chris Edwards
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CHESTER – Long-serving Chester mayor Floyd Petri resigned on Monday, according to city secretary Annette Hickman.

She said Petri stepped down as mayor due to health reasons. Petri was serving his third term as Chester’s mayor. Chester City Council member Robert Poynter, who was appointed mayor pro-tem, will step in to serve as mayor.

Petri, who had a long career in law enforcement prior to heading the City of Chester, was first sworn into office in 2016.

During his tenure as mayor, Petri passed a resolution making Chester a Second Amendment Sanctuary in 2019. Chester was the first municipality in the state to pass such an ordinance, which was done in response to Red Flag laws.

Poynter said he is saddened that Petri has had to step down for health reasons. He called Petri a “super guy,” and said the former mayor’s gutsiness and his willingness and dedication to look out for Chester’s citizens were big reasons for him moving to Chester.

Poynter said he plans to look at some economic development opportunities for the city. “I’m going to work really hard with the city council,” he said. 

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Woodville council hears reports on community events

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Woodville City SealBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – On a three-item agenda, the Woodville City Council heard reports of some activities coming up for the public to enjoy and approved a couple of items of city business at its Monday night meeting.

The council began with the approval of a new clerk for the city’s municipal court. Mayor Paula Jones appointed Rebecca Chastain to serve in that capacity for the city.

Municipal Judge Judith Haney spoke about the process of recommending Chastain for the role. She said that both she and Jones have observed Chastain in interviews and shadowing for court tasks and agreed that she fits the dynamic of the court. Haney added that given Chastain’s experience, which includes 30 years working in the medical field, in municipal courts and in law enforcement, she will bring “a deep depth” to the city’s court. 

Chastain currently lives in Galveston and has a weekend home in Warren. With the appointment, Chastain will move to Tyler County. 

Councilmember Herb Branch motioned to approve Chastain’s appointment and new councilmember Cliff Wright seconded Branch’s motion.

Next on the agenda was an item dealing with an unbudgeted expenditure for the city. City Administrator Mandy Risinger said that the city’s animal shelter is needing a new, taller fence, as some of the dogs held in the facility have gotten away.

Risinger presented one quote for the project from Ronnie Hensarling of Twin Fencing in Woodville for $7,800. 

Councilmember Tony Greer suggested, in the name of fairness, to go out for competitive bids on the fence. Risinger agreed and asked for council’s approval to go ahead and proceed if a bid is the same or lower than the one quote received.

The council approved the expenditure for the shelter fence rebuild, with the competitive bids made.

Under items of community interest, several upcoming activities were reported.

Haney filled in the councilmembers on a series of shows booked for the Emporium Stage in the coming months. Haney said she and Sam Haney are working with the Texas Country Music Association to book acts into the venue, and the first show will be a duo act, Amy N’ Me, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 22.

Risinger spoke about next week’s citywide Martin Luther King, Jr., Day parade, which will begin on Monday, Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. at the city park and conclude at the Kirby Gym.

Dorian Maloy will be the guest speaker at the event, with the program beginning at 11 a.m. at the gym, and refreshments to follow. This year’s theme is “It Starts with Me.”

Councilmember Wright reported on a couple of things to get the community members involved. 

One event coming up is the second city park clean-up day, which will begin at 8 a.m. and last until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29. Anyone can volunteer, Wright said.

Wright also spoke about a co-ed softball team he is looking to get together for Sunday afternoons, which he said will allow community members some fun and fellowship. 

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Commissioners approve reappointments to ESD boards

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TCCommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled an agenda full of reports and appointments for various positions on various governing boards at its Monday morning meeting.

Prior to the regular agenda, the commissioners heard from two citizens during the public comments portion of the meeting.

First up, Tracy Johnston spoke about a proposed halfway house in the Dam B community. Johnston expressed concern about the issue, and about the safety of her child possibly being at risk due to such a facility. 

The halfway house, which was to operate under the name RJMFSC (Restorative Justice Ministry Family Service Center) and utilize a faith-based program to help ex-offenders had its application withdrawn by TDCJ two weeks ago.

Next on the public comments portion was Allen Fitts, the general manager of internet radio station KZXL. Fitts asked the commissioners for permission to use the county’s electricity and the courthouse lawn to broadcast during the Western Weekend and Queen’s Weekend parades during the Dogwood Festival. Fitts’ request was on the agenda and approved unanimously.

The commissioners approved the reappointments for board members to several of the Emergency Service District boards in the county. 

The reappointments of the following ESD directors were passed in a series of separate agenda items:

ESD #1 – Richard Coker, Lana Cox and Jill Dinger

ESD #2 – Jack Walston, Karl Hammond and Raymond Wooten

ESD #3 – Yvonne Goss and Tamberly McCullough

ESD #4 – David Norton and Randy Gibson

ESD #5 – Ronald Willmon

ESD #6 – James Alfaro, Kenneth Lewis and Raymond Holland

ESD #7 – Lance Seamans and Wade Skinner

ESD #8 – Bob Fisher and Mike McDonald

The commissioners also approved a vacancy to be filled with the county’s AgriLife extension service by Shannon Benton. Extension Agent Jacob Spivey and administrator Sheila Harris introduced Benton, who will begin in the position on March 1, to the court.

Spivey said that Benton will be a good fit for the program and noted that the position had been vacant since December of 2019.

Another agenda item during 3 Monday morning’s meeting, brought to the court by Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock, approved the county to hire Charles Kimbrough, an attorney, for guidance on how to regulate sexually oriented businesses within the county.

Sturrock said that while the county cannot stop such businesses from operating, it can, by statute, regulate them, with enforcement through the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office.

The court also approved the hiring of another attorney for another topic of counsel. Bob Bass, of Allison, Bass and Magee, was approved to provide guidance and documentation that will allow the county to create tax abatement plans and guidelines.

Transportation infrastructure info shared

Under the regular agenda item allowing for comments by court members pertaining to matters of county government, Sturrock informed the court of a meeting he recently attended.

The meeting was for the Deep East Texas Rural Transportation Planning Organization, on which he serves. He shared a map and information from the meeting about the Interstate 14 project.

He said the TxDOT district in which Tyler County resides has no remaining funding set aside for the project.

Another project he spoke about pertaining to the county regarded to a stretch of US 69 on the south end of the county, which would be affected by the I-69 project. Sturrock reported that by the request of the public, the trees along the stretch will be left in place.

Redistricting supplemental and final order approved

In a special-called meeting held two weeks ago, the commissioners approved a supplemental and final order that adopted revised boundaries for the county’s redistricting purposes.

The redistricting, which was adopted on Nov. 12, 2021, for the voting precincts, needed changes to be made, due to “various changes in the underlying election precincts,” which were required to conform election precinct boundaries to the new county commissioners court precincts, according to the order.

The affected voting precincts, according to County Clerk Donece Gregory, were Pcts. 1, 2, 16, 17 and 18. Election precinct 1 is in the commissioners’ court precinct 1. Election precincts 2 and 18 are within Pct. 2. Election precinct 17 is in Pt. 3 and 16 resides in Pct. 4.

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MLK Parade and Activities canceled

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MLK Day
The MLK parade and activities has been CANCELED again due to the high increase of active Covid cases in Tyler County. We are concerned about our fellow citizens, so we’ve canceled this year. Thank you for your time and support. 
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Sleep in Heavenly Peace delivers

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SleepInHeavenlyPeace

From its inception date of September 23, 2020, the Woodville chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace has delivered 297 beds to children in both Tyler and Jasper counties. 

Those totals comprise 59 delivered from Sept. 23, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, and 238 in all of 2021. 

SHP is looking forward to see what 2022 has in store, and wishes to thank everyone who have volunteered and/or donated to the cause. All that  the organization does is from the generous donations and volunteer efforts. 

Anyone can be a part of the work that SHP is doing.

SHP is inviting anyone interested in volunteering to come and join them this coming Saturday, Jan. 8 for the chapter’s next build from 7:45 a.m. to noon at the old McClures furniture building across from the Intermediate School on Hwy 69.  502 N. Magnolia, Woodville. 

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