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Chester ISD welcomes Dr. Paul Drake aboard

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Chester ISD’s new superintendent Dr. Paul Drake signed his contract to begin his term starting in January. His son Paxton and wife Briana stand next to him. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KATIE LOUGHNER)Chester ISD’s new superintendent Dr. Paul Drake signed his contract to begin his term starting in January. His son Paxton and wife Briana stand next to him. (PHOTO COURTESY OF KATIE LOUGHNER)By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – Dr. Paul Drake signing his contract as Chester ISD Superintendent was one of the key moments of Monday night’s board meeting. 

The meeting was attended by several folks from the faculty and the community, along with Drake’s wife Briana and son, Paxton. 

Chester ISD Board of Trustees President Ray McKnight handled Drake’s signing right after the prayer and pledges and approval of the consent agenda. 

Drake’s contract begins Jan. 3, 2022 and runs for three school years. Another highlight was to accept the recommendation from interim superintendent Katie Loughner to open up the campus next semester as COVID cases have declined from 11 the first six weeks to one the current six weeks; board accepted this with stipulation that if cases reach five at any time the campus will close down again. 

A bid from 4A Septic Construction Company was accepted (1 of 3) for upgrades to the baseball field fencing and dugouts. Another new action was agreeing to pay workers who sell tickets at home games, $15 per game. 

Loughner gave an overview of the Special Education co-ops MOU and the districts and campus’s improvement goals both approved by the board.  She did report that current enrollment is 216 and mentioned that 33 football players will get to go to the state’s 1A six-man football championship games this week. One other highlight:  Monday Dec. 12th was the first day 100% of the staff was on campus for this school year. 

The next board meeting was set for Jan. 17, folllwing a short executive session. 

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Christmas In Tyler County 2021

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CITC Pancake Breakfast 2021 002Saturday morning’s Breakfast with Santa event, an annual Tyler County Christmastime tradition hosted by the Woodville Rotary Club, was a tasty and fun event for youngsters and adults, alike. It was one of several Christmas events that took place last week. (JIM POWERS | TCB)

CITC Pancake Breakfast

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New Chester councilmember sworn-in

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Chester Mayor Floyd Petri (R) swore in new councilman Wes Whitworth at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, Dec. 6. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL G. MANESS)Chester Mayor Floyd Petri (R) swore in new councilman Wes Whitworth at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, Dec. 6. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL G. MANESS)

By Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – Chester Mayor Floyd Petri swore in new councilman Wes Whitworth at their regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday evening, Dec. 6. 

Unusual circumstances and a bout with Covid kept Whitworth from being sworn in earlier after the election, and Petri then appointed to fill his own spot. 

Petri was thrilled to inform the council that as of 4 p.m. that very day, their specialists who had helped the city write the grant informed him that Chester had receive both the $350K general grant and the $70K infrastructure grant. That was such great news, and they will be working out soon what they will be able to do with those grants. 

Kim Glawson submitted a petition to the council to have Ashby to appear in Woodville

WOODVILLE – Rep Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) is inviting the public to come out and meet him next Monday, Dec. 13 at Magnolia Bar and Grill in Woodville.

At the meet and greet for Ashby, which is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., constituents have the opportunity to meet their new representative in the state House of Representatives. Ashby represents House District 9, which encompasses Tyler, Polk, Trinity, Houston, Angelina and San Augustine counties. 

Tyler County was formerly a part of HD-19, which was represented by James White (R-Hillister), who is running for state agriculture commissioner in 2022. 

The recently drawn House and Senate districts have been signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. The redistricting process happens every 10 years after new census data is released. The new districts will be used for the first time in next year’s primary and general elections, barring any court interventions.

A Lufkin area resident, Ashby has served in the lower chamber of the state legislature for five terms, which began in 2013. He currently serves as a member of the House Committees on Appropriations and Transportation. 

Ashby was recently named as one of the 10 best legislators in the state by Texas Monthly magazine, an honor which he shares with his predecessor, White, who was named to the list following the 86th legislature in 2019.

During the last legislative session, Ashby co-authored the broadband bill with Sen. Robert Nichols, which was prioritized as an emergency item and passed with near unanimous support in both the House and Senate.

Texas Monthly also noted Ashby’s priorities in the last session of creating new funding streams for drug courts and reducing regulations of water slides.

In the Texas Monthly profile of Ashby, it noted that his drive to work on issues such as rural broadband instead of “fighting about wedge issues such as transgender kids and abortion” set him apart from many GOP legislators.

The event at Magnolia is free to attend.

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Countywide Christmas celebrations begin

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Christmas Tree Stylilized 300By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – Even though the forecast for the coming days doesn’t suggest anything close to a scene from an Irving Berlin song, it will, by Thursday, look a lot like Christmastime in Tyler County.

Several noteworthy Christmas celebrations take place this week, including the annual Twilight Tour at Heritage Village, the Woodville Rotary Club’s Breakfast with Santa and the Chamber of Commerce’s countywide celebration.

The Chamber’s theme for this year’s “Christmas in Tyler County” celebration is “Bring Back Traditions,” and that will begin on Thursday and continue through Friday. 

“Let’s all gather to show the true meaning of Christmas in Tyler County,” said Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holly Wells.

The fun slated for Thursday includes the “Mistletoe Market,” which will take place inside the Emporium Stage in downtown Woodville, beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be a movie screened on the square, “Polar Express.”

Attendees to the film screening are invited to bring blankets and chairs, and children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. 

The Mistletoe Market will continue on Friday, with shopping available inside the Emporium from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. that day. At 6 p.m., Santa will appear on the courthouse square and at 6:30 p.m., the tradition of lighting up the square will commence.

Some of the other events being sponsored by the Chamber include a Christmas cookie contest, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse square.

Participants can enter online at the Chamber’s website, tylercountycoc.com.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, the Rotary Club of Woodville will host its popular annual pancake and sausage breakfast event, “Breakfast with Santa.”

This event begins at 7:30 a.m. and takes place inside the fellowship hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Tickets to that event are $6 for adults and $5 for children.

Also slated for Saturday is the annual “Twilight Tour” celebration at Heritage Village, which lasts from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. In addition to a decked-out Village, attendees to this event also have the opportunity to visit the Clyde Gray House Museum, which will be decorated for Christmas.

If all that was not enough, the Chamber is also hosting a Christmas decorating contest, which is open to all Tyler County residents and businesses. 

The theme of the contest is “Back to Traditions,” in keeping with the overall theme of the celebration this year. The registration period for entrants ends on Sunday, Dec. 5, and judging will take place from Dec. 8 – 12.

There will be winners in both categories, business and residential. For anyone interested in entering, check out www.tylercountycoc.com/christmasintylercounty.

Boat parade next weekend

The annual Christmas Boat Parade in Ivanhoe is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11. It will be the eighth year for the popular event.

The organizers said they are hoping to have a record number of participants this year, and are encouraging everyone who wishes to participate to get some lights for their boat and come and join in the fun.

The boats will gather in front of Tommy and Patsy Morris’s dock at Charmaine South at 5:30 p.m. and the parade will commence at 6 p.m.

After the parade, there will be festivities in the Community Center, which will include photos with Santa. 

Anyone wishing to participate in the boat parade can register by calling or emailing either Mayor Cathy Bennett: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 409-429-6752; or Suzy Fortenberry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 409-504-4804.

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