Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Tyler County News - Breakout

CISD board addresses ‘Gender Queer’ controversy

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Bulldog Colmesneil logoBy Mollie LaSalle

COLMESNEIL – At its regular monthly meeting last Monday, the Colmesneil ISD Board of Trustees addressed a letter from State Representative Jared Patterson (R-Frisco). 

Patterson, who represents Texas’s 106th Congressional District, sent the letter via e-mail to every superintendent in the state requesting that all school districts sign an attached pledge stating that they will not knowingly partner with, purchase from, or associate in any way with a vendor who has supplied pornographic materials to schools, nor allow pornographic materials to remain on campus. 

In his letter, Patterson said school children across the state have been exposed to material such as Gender Queer: A Memoir, which is a graphic novel. This book has become a hot button issue both nationwide and in the state of Texas among parents and Republican officials. 

The novel has been shelved in multiple Texas school libraries, but “sadly, we don’t know how many children across Texas have been exposed to this obscene material, or others like it,” Patterson added.

Patterson stated “this book, or anything similar, is absolutely inappropriate and should be removed from public school library shelves immediately.” Superintendent Eldon Franco commented that this should be “a parental issue”, and to his knowledge, “we don’t have anything of this sort” in the school’s library. He also said “I wouldn’t want my children reading it”. 

Board member Kenneth Adaway asked “do we have any say on what teachers have in their classrooms?” All members present voted to sign the pledge sent by Patterson.

The next item up was passing a resolution honoring State Representative James White for his work. White recently resigned his seat in the state House of Representatives to run for the statewide office of Agriculture Commissioner in an unsuccessful bid.

The board wanted to thank him for always being there, taking care of his district and schools. Franco said “He supported us, we want to support him, we should appreciate him as a board”. Board members unanimously approved the resolution honoring White.

Another item on the agenda discussed was hotly debated at a special called meeting on Feb. 7. Local resident John England had gone before the board with the possibility of the district purchasing his property which is adjacent to the new tennis courts. The property is a four-bedroom house on two acres of land. The house has had a lot of remodeling work done, with more planned, and the appraised value is worth

 considerably more that what England is asking for it. Kenneth Adaway said “if we can afford it, we need to go ahead and purchase it”. The board approved the proposal to purchase England’s property.

Elementary School Principal Yvette Carlton presented her monthly report to the board and was excited to announce that the elementary campus will have their first open house in two years on March 22 and will also have a spring book fair. Enrollment for Pre-K through sixth grade is up in March, from 256 to 259 students. Carlton announced her intent to retire at the February meeting.

Junior High/High School Principal Walter McAlpin informed board members that the UIL film kids made it all the way to the state semi-finals with their documentary about Coach Sergio Ramos: this achievement put them in top twelve in the state out of 1A-4A. Colmesneil’s team was the last 2A school left standing, all other qualifiers being 4A schools. FFA members are competing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo again this year and are gaining great experience. 

McAlpin has also recently announced his intent to retire from his position at the February board meeting.

Athletic Director Cody Day gave his report on spring sports programs; track, powerlifting, softball, baseball and tennis are front and center. 

The high school track teams placed first among all 2A schools at the recent Deweyville meet; the softball/baseball programs are performing well; the Tennis team has a district meet March 31, and the Powerlifting teams, both boys and girls are performing well. The girl’s powerlifting team competed at the state meet in Corpus Christi last week.

  • Hits: 1014

Moore to perform at Emporium

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

mooretoperformBy Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – The Emporium Stage in downtown Woodville is hosting country singer/songwriter Randy C. Moore.

Moore, a veteran performer and musician, is currently based out of East Texas, and is a familiar sight and sound to audiences in the region, wherever live music is featured. He’s played around Tyler County at Wild Bill’s Grill in Woodville and at the Rustic Grill in Colmesneil.

The show at the Emporium will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10. “Wild Bill” Spurlock, who plays in the Steely Dan tribute act Bad Sneakers and is the namesake proprietor of Wild Bill’s Grill, will open the show.

Moore was recently inducted into the European Country Music Hall of Fame, alongside fellow American act and pop country superstar Carrie Underwood.

Tickets are $20 for reserved seats and general admission is $15. For tickets and other inquiries, call 409-283-3822 or 409-200-4759.

Moore will also perform for St. Patrick’s Day at Wild Bill’s Grill in Woodville from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • Hits: 194

WISD superintendent speaks to council on May bond election

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Woodville ISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg addresses the Woodville City Council about the upcoming WISD bond election. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Woodville ISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg addresses the Woodville City Council about the upcoming WISD bond election. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – The Woodville City Council heard a presentation from Woodville ISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg about the upcoming WISD bond election.

Meysembourg spoke to the council during its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening during the portion of the meeting allotted for public comment. 

WISD is bringing a bond election to the voters on May 7. The district is looking for a $47.85 million bond to build a new building for Pre-K through fifth grade students, as well as renovations and additions to the WISD vocational-ag shop.

Meysembourg has presented a series of town-hall meetings for WISD taxpayers, with one scheduled for March 28 at the elementary school campus. She presented an informational flyer to Mayor Paula Jones, the councilmembers and those in attendance, which specified how the bond will affect tax rates.

At present, the M&O (maintenance and operation) rate for the levy on WISD taxpayers stands at $0.89 per $100 of assessed values and would remain the same after the bond. There is no I&S (interest and sinking) rate, but the bond would bring that to $0.46, which would bring the total tax rate to $1.35 per $100 of values, which is an estimate based on market conditions.

Meysembourg explained in her presentation that if voters approve the bond, the tax rates for WISD taxpayers would still be among the lowest in the region.

Housing Authority wavier passed

Among its slate of regular agenda items, the council approved a resolution for the city to approve the Woodville Housing Authority’s wavier of payments in lieu of property taxes.

WHA, as city administrator Mandy Risinger explained, is HUD-funded, and exempt from paying city taxes, however, each year, the entity makes a payment to the city “as a show of good faith to support the community,” Risinger said.

The payments vary depending on the occupancy of the housing complex.

Waxman contract approved

Council approved a contract between the city and David J. Waxman, Inc., for the firm to act as a grant administrator for the procurement of a CDBG grant to repave Temple Street. 

Lesley Waxman, of the Waxman firm, spoke to the council, and thanked them for approving their services. Aside from approving Waxman’s services as a grant administrator, two other agenda items dealt with the CDBG grant. Waxman spoke about a resolution by the city to adopt civil rights plans and policies pertaining to the CDBG grant program. 

Councilmember Herbert Branch inquired about the language of the civil rights plans and policies and said that in his experience of the city utilizing grant writers, he’d never seen such a policy. Risinger explained that it was a policy stating that the city would operate fairly in its practices with regard to the grant procurement, which is already a factor in all of its transactions, but the name had changed.

That resolution, along with a third, to designate signatories for contractual documents and fund requests concerning the grant, were approved.

  • Hits: 427

Auditor addresses ARPA controversy

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

ARPA Breakdown

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – During Monday morning’s meeting of the Tyler County Commissioners Court, County Auditor Jackie Skinner made two presentations, one of which provided a breakdown of how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were allocated.

The county received its first allotment of the ARPA monies last year, the first of two disbursements. The first one was received last July, in the amount of $2,104,766. The second round will arrive this July.

The funds, which were allocated through a federal grant program, were designated to address emergency needs relating to losses stemming from the pandemic.

Skinner made the presentation so that the public could see the documentation as to how the funds were distributed. She used commissioners court minutes, emails and other documents to demonstrate the timeline and the fund distribution. 

On some Tyler County-centered social media pages, posts have expressed concern about how the monies were disbursed, particularly with the distribution of $3,500 checks from the ARPA funds to elected officials.

All county employees were awarded premium pay from the funds, but the social media controversy hinges on the legality of giving the money to elected officials. 

According to a certification of funds statement from Skinner, the funds can be used to support public health expenditures, address negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic, replace lost public sector revenue, provide premium pay for essential workers and to invest in infrastructure

Skinner said that County Judge Jacques Blanchette had asked the commissioners to table the item during an August 30, 2021, meeting for further study, as he had reservations about awarding the money to officials. Skinner said there was no communication from Blanchette about those reservations or about asking for legal opinions until after the fact, nor was anything said in commissioners court about anything being illegal at a Sept. 13, 2021, meeting.

Before she began the presentation, Skinner referenced the classic TV show Dragnet, and said she wanted to present “only the facts” with the information to follow. 

Skinner said that last year when the county became aware of the funds, there was no understanding or knowledge of what the funds could be used for. “We wanted to get a jump on being ready to function and use this money to the best way we knew how,” Skinner said.

Skinner outlined the process from the commissioners approving a resolution to apply for ARPA to the acquisition of the funds, and how they were disbursed.

Skinner referenced a call from District Judge Delinda Gibbs Walker, during which Walker said Blanchette had alleged that Skinner had illegally allowed the officials to receive premium pay from the ARPA funds.

The interim ruling on ARPA funds, Skinner, said, provided no guidance stating that elected officials were not eligible.

“If I at any time I felt I was committing a criminal act, I never would have allowed it to happen,” Skinner said.

Following Skinner’s ARPA presentation, Pct. 4 Commissioner Buck Hudson spoke about the ARPA controversy, as well as Blanchette’s absence from the Commissioners Court meetings.

“I’m very disturbed at the way things have gone…I do know that empty chair there speaks volumes,” Hudson said.

Hudson also referenced the “bull crap” on Facebook being posted regarding the ARPA monies. “There really was no clear point on it,” Hudson said.

In further comments on Blanchette’s absence, he said “Why is this chair empty? It has been for three months, practically.”

In Blanchette’s place during Commissioners Court meetings, Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall has officiated.

Other Business

During its Monday meeting, the Commissioners Court also approved the following items:

  • Amending the county’s subdivision regulations to include a retainer for engineer review and filing fees.
  • The creation of a budget line item for subdivision

application filing fees.

  • The application of a variance for Caney Pines, a subdivision located on Morrell Road in Chester. The variance will affect lot #5 of the subdivision.
  • The approval of joint election agreements and ratification of contracts with other political subdivisions for an election to be held on May 7, namely the Woodville ISD for a bond election.
  • The appointment of Tyler County Historical Commission officers Chuck Davidson (chair); Kay Timme (vice chair); John Gazzaway (treasurer) and Barbara Worsham (secretary).
  • Hits: 637

A Toast to Texas

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Kids Singing

Heritage Village hosted its annual Texas Independence Day celebration, “A Toast to Texas,” last Wednesday, which commemorated the time and date in 1836 when a group of delegates gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign a Declaration of Independence from Mexico, which set forth the creation of the Republic of Texas. The event has been celebrated at Heritage Village each March 2 with a toast of locally sourced spring water. County Judge Jacques Blanchette was on hand to speak and give the toast, and the children from St. Paul’s Episcopal School sang songs about Texas. (Jim Powers/Tyler County Booster Photos.


  • Hits: 367