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Countywide Christmas celebration scheduled

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ChristmasCelebratoin Stock

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – This week might see an increase in turkey and dressing consumption among most folks, but right around the corner, next week to be exact, is the countywide Christmas celebration.

There are a lot of events on tap for the weekend of Friday – Saturday, Dec. 2-3, and according to Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holly Wells, there are some new (and fun) features to add to old traditions with the Chamber’s annual Christmas celebration.

Wells spotlighted the “Jolly Jeep Jingle” Jeep show, which will take place on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Courthouse Square. Also, according to Wells, a “battle of the beards” contest will take place on Friday, in addition to a full slate of fun for the whole family, around the Courthouse Square.

The “Battle of the Beards Christmas Edition Santa Beard Contest” will determine who in Tyler County has the best Santa beard, Wells said.

All beards are welcome, and participants can register at www.tylercountycoc.com.

Another contest that will be new to the festivities is the “Ugly Sweater Contest,” which will also be judged on Friday, along with the beard contest.

The Friday festivities, which will last from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. will include the vendors, and a whole realm of fun on the courthouse grounds, including a full array of Christmas lights, an appearance by Santa Claus, a live Nativity scene, bounce house for the children and Christmas selections played by area high school band students.

For the Jolly Jeep Jingle is a showing of vehicles, devoted exclusively to Jeeps. The Chamber is calling all Jeeps to be a part of this inaugural event.

For participants, the entry fee is a new, unwrapped toy donation, which will go to the county’s Child Welfare Board in its efforts to deliver toys to children who are in need of a jolly Christmas.

There will be a prize to the best-decorated Christmas Jeep, and while plans are still being finalized on some of the festivities, those who take in the Jeep show on Saturday can stroll downtown shops and vendors along the Courthouse Square after enjoying the Rotary Club of Woodville’s annual Pancakes with Santa breakfast at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church fellowship hall, which begins at 8 a.m.

Along with the Jolly Jeep Jingle, the Chamber is looking for some interested musicians to jam out on the Courthouse lawn during the event and has an open invite to pickers and singers to come and join in the fun, as sound will be provided.

During the Saturday fun, there will be a cookie sale in the Wesley Center at the Woodville Methodist Church, beginning at 1 p.m. and a sneak peek of the reinvigorated Allan Shivers Library and Museum, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Museum will also be open to the public on Friday, as well.

There will also be Christmas fun on Saturday evening out at Heritage Village, with the annual Twilight Tour. Gates will open at 5 p.m. for that annual event. Out in Ivanhoe, the city’s awesome lighted boat parade will begin at 6 p.m.

The Chamber is actively looking for food and craft vendors for both days of the event. Vendor spaces are available for the cost of $40 for one day or $70 for both days for food vendors and $25 for one day for craft vendors, or $40 for both days.

The spaces are 10’x10’  and a 10’x20’ can be obtained for double the price. For food vendors, they are required to get the $10 food permit from the City of Woodville, and payment and registration can be obtained through the Chamber’s website, www.tylercountycoc.com. Food vendors can choose to pay separately on the website, and the Chamber will acquire a permit on the vendor’s behalf, to be issued the day of the event.

According to the Chamber, vendors need to be aware that electricity may or may not be available, so please prepare your booth accordingly, especially if you are set up for Friday evening as it will be dark.

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Schools subject to audit

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112822 school audit

By Tony Farkas
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GROVETON — The junior high/high school campus is relatively safe from intruders based on an audit conducted recently by ESC Region 6.

Superintendent Jim Dillard informed the Groveton ISD School Board at the regular meeting on Thursday that when the audit was done, and as soon as they were on campus, they were stopped by administration.

He told the board that ESC Region 6 will hold an audit at a later date for the elementary school campus.

The audit was part of an ongoing focus on school security, and schools across the state are complying with new requirements from the state, which include audits.

Dillard said there will be new ones coming from the next session of the Legislature.

In other business, the board:

•recognized the efforts of the girls’ cross country team in reaching the state tournament;

•discussed the district’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas rating, which was the highest score of 100, or superior; and

•discussed the method of evaluation of the superintendent, whose contract is up for review in December.

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Sex offender indicted on new charge

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112822 Billy BakerBy Chris Edwards
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FRED – A Fred man was indicted by a Tyler County grand jury on a sexual assault of a child charge last week.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, investigators with his agency have been investigating the case against Billy Wayne Baker, a 49-year-old Fred man. Weatherford said the TCSO investigators were able to obtain and compile enough evidence related to an allegation of aggravated sexual assault of a child against Baker to present the complaint to the office of Lucas Babin, Tyler County District Attorney.

Babin presented the case to the grand jury on Nov. 10, and the jury chose to indict Baker. Baker was arrested and booked into the Tyler County Jail on the felony charge.
Public records show that Baker is already a registered sex offender. According to the Texas Department of Pubic Safety Sex Offender database, Baker was convicted of an aggravated sexual assault charge in 2003 of a 14-year-old female. He is listed as a “low” level offender; required to verify his registration particulars annually with the DPS for life.

Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers set Baker’s bond at $350,000. Along with the bond amount, Powers set numerous bond conditions that Baker must comply with,

Weatherford said. Records show that Baker had bonded out of the jail.


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Educators recognized by Rachal foundation

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Educatioin Stock

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Prior to getting to business on a short regular agenda on Monday night, the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees recognized seven WISD instructors who were named recipients of grants from the Ed Rachal Foundation.

WISD Board President Jimmy Tucker named the following teachers: Melanie Spivey; Kayla Conner; Tammy Myers; Mandy Livingston; Kelly Abernathy; Paula Willmon and Tracy Wilson as recipients.

The grant, whose namesake stipulated that his estate be used exclusively for the benefit of charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes in Texas, is a first for WISD faculty, Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said.

Meysembourg said “it is a real honor” to have teachers in the district receive the grant.

Also before the regular agenda, Eleanor Holderman spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting.

Holderman, who challenged WISD board member Josh McClure for his seat in the midterm election, addressed the election’s outcome, and said that she would be available to WISD as a volunteer and community advocate for the district’s vision.

Under regular agenda items for action, the board voted to approve a budget amendment to cover legal fees incurred through the litigation concerning the May bond election.

The amount of $92,652.86 was passed as a budget amendment for this purpose, with all board members, except McClure, voting in favor.

During her report to the board, Meysembourg said the district would sell the bonds on Wednesday and receive funds on Thursday.

The bond-funded new elementary school campus is still in the design process, Meysembourg said. “We’ve had multiple meetings on both [the elementary school and the CTE building},” she said.

“We’re really close to finalizing those plans to share with staff,” Meysembourg said, and added that by December, there will hopefully be renderings available.

During Monday’s meeting, the WISD board also approved the following:

• The appointment of Lisa Shaw to serve as a WISD representative to the Allan Shiver Library and Museum advisory board was made.

• The re-appointment of McClure to the Allan Shivers board was made.

• The appointment of Bryan Shirley to serve on the district’s Safe and Secure Schools Committee was made.

• Gil Tubb was re-appointed as WISD’s representative to the Tyler County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

• A memorandum of understanding was approved between WISD and UT Health to provide pediatric behavioral health services at no cost to WISD.

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Volunteers fill boxes for ‘Operation Christmas Child’

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By Mollie LaSalle

WOODVILLE – The pace was fast and furious at First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center last Wednesday evening as children and adults packed and prepared 600 brightly decorated shoeboxes for “Operation Christmas Child”.

According to Kathy Cruse, the coordinator of the effort,

“thisis our second year to participate in this ministry; last year, we packed over 450 shoeboxes, and tonight, we expect to pack 600.” The shoeboxes will then be taken to First Baptist Church in Colmesneil (which also participates) and from there, they will be sent to Beaumont, then to Dallas for their final destinations.

Cruse said that all of their shoeboxes usually get sent to South America. National collection week for the shoeboxes takes place the week of Nov. 14-21.

Operation Christmas Child was started by Franklin Graham in 1993 through Samaritan’s Purse, which partners with the local church worldwide to share the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations. Since its inception, almost 200 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received a shoebox. The boxes are age and gender specific, and are filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items and delivered to children in need around the world. In 2021, more than 10.5 million shoeboxes were collected throughout Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Reverend Graham adds, “Every box is an opportunity to reach a child with the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to provide God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, go to www. samaritanspurse.org

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