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Tyler County News - Breakout

Decisions made on senior nutrition program

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Russ and Nancy Pilgrim of Pilgrim Insurance Agency present a donation of $950 to Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher for the county’s senior nutrition program.  CHRIS EDWARDS | TCBRuss and Nancy Pilgrim of Pilgrim Insurance Agency present a donation of $950 to Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher for the county’s senior nutrition program. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCBBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – On Monday, the commissioners voted to terminate the county’s agreement with Tyler County Hospital as a provider for the senior nutrition program.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher spoke about the success of the program since it was reinstituted in January and said the hospital has been great to the county as meal providers for the program, but the demand has been high. Blacksher said with the county taking over the meal preparation aspect, the price per meal can lower to two to three dollars. The agreement with TCH will end on April 1.

Blacksher also reported that the county will get an $80K reimbursement for the program, which will be put toward the food and employees.

“It’s not about the food,” Blacksher said. “It’s about the community.” He said the meals served at the Nutrition Center are done with a suggested donation cost to patrons.

The court also accepted a donation of $950 from Hochheim Prairie Insurance from Russ and Nancy Pilgrim, of Pilgrim Insurance Agency.

In another agenda item on Monday morning’s meeting of the commissioners’ court, the county also approved changing the status of the nutrition program employees to full-time, beginning on May 1.

Kenney addresses commissionerson VFD support

During the public forum portion of Monday’s meeting, Glen Kenney of ESD #5, approached the commissioners

and County Judge Milton Powers about funding for the county’s volunteer fire departments.

Kenney said that perhaps funds from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds could go toward supporting the VFDs.

Kenney said he’d spoken with Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall on the matter, and Marshall had voiced support.

He said that although he was representing the county’s ESD #5, all of the VFDs need funding assistance. “Volunteer firemen are a special breed, they do it for nothing,” Kenney said.

A need that Kenney said Dam B VFD currently has is for a building to house its pumper truck, which is currently stored at the fire chief’s house. He said that some VFDs in Tyler County have expressed a need for emergency standby generators.

Deputy Academy tuition support approved

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford spoke on behalf of the county supporting police academy tuition for existing employees who would be an asset to the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department.

Weatherford praised TCSO investigator Chase Nalley and County Treasurer Leann Monk for taking the lead on drafting a contract for the measure.

Weatherford said TCSO does not need any additional monies to be able to provide the tuition support but brought the matter before the commissioners. The assistance comes with a three-year contract for the applicants to serve in Tyler County.

Weatherford said the county will fully pay for two individuals to attend the 2023 fall semester of a local police academy. Applicants must submit an essay detailing as to why they should be considered a recipient; along with at least three letters of recommendation from county residents and be able to pass a comprehensive background investigation and complete a board interview.

Nalley spoke about the good the assistance would bring. “New applicants in law enforcement are down and retirements are up,” he said. “We need to be proactive in retaining our officers here in Tyler County.”

Any interested individuals can visit Monk’s office, in person, at 100 West Bluff, Room 103, in Woodville.

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Inaugural ‘Celebrate the Arts Festival’ happening Saturday

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031623 art festival

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The inaugural Celebrate the Arts Festival is happening this Saturday, March 18 in the downtown art district in Woodville.

The event will last from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will allow the public to see artists in various mediums at work. Judith Haney with the Tyler County Art League said that there will be lots to see, with artisans showcasing their individual mediums. It is, as Haney said, an extension of this weekend’s Festival of the Arts out at Heritage Village. The events and demonstrators at the Village are more focused on a specific time period, celebrating pioneer crafts and fine skills, whereas the Celebrate the Arts Festival will focus on modern artistic expressions, from painting to clay, Haney explained.

Along with art stations for the kids, including face-painting,

Haney said there will also be some art available at discounted rates, or cheaper than the paintings would be for sale in the gallery.

Attendees can also come and see the TCAL Gallery, as the reception for the TCAL spring show, which focuses on celebrating the season, will be commensurate with Saturday’s festival. Haney said the reception will be informal, and gallery visitors can see the pieces on display, grab a glass of punch and check out the gallery’s offerings.

For artists and crafts creators who wish to participate, there is still room. Haney said there is no fee to take part in the event, and anyone interested can come and set up between 9 a.m. and 9:45 in the Art District, located at 210-216 West Bluff. Anyone interested can call Haney at 409-200-4759.

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It's Dogwood Time In Tyler County

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Dogwood Royalty – Reigning Dogwood Queen Kirby Wright (left) visited with 2023 Princesses Kaylee Tolar of Chester; Ella Hatton of Spurger; Natalie Standley of Warren; Savannah Ludewig of Woodville, and Gracen Lindsey of Colmesneil at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Woodville last Wednesday. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCBDogwood Royalty – Reigning Dogwood Queen Kirby Wright (left) visited with 2023 Princesses Kaylee Tolar of Chester; Ella Hatton of Spurger; Natalie Standley of Warren; Savannah Ludewig of Woodville, and Gracen Lindsey of Colmesneil at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Woodville last Wednesday. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCB

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – With a proclamation made in the Tyler County Commissioners Court on Monday morning, the Dogwood Festival Executive Director and Pct. 4 Commissioner Buck Hudson uttered those familiar words to signify the beginning of Dogwood time in the county.

“It’s Dogwood Time in Tyler County,” Hudson said, and the annual three weekends of the festival kicks off this weekend with the Festival of the Arts at Heritage Village in Woodville. Both Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19 will feature plenty of exhibits, live music and great food on Sunday’s Dinner on the Grounds.

Also, in keeping in with tradition, Heritage Village Director Ofeira Gazzaway is inviting the public to come and check out an exhibit in the special exhibits room located behind the museum gift shop, featuring memorabilia from festivals past, and coronation gowns from former Dogwood Queens.

Saturday’s offerings will include the Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Dancers who will entertain from the stage at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Tribe will also have Indian tacos and fry bread for sale.

Author Michele Fortenberry will read from her children’s book Emu Blues at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the gift shop porch.

The Dinner on the Grounds event, on Sunday, will last from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., with Tyler County Heritage Society volunteers cooking up and serving a smorgasbord of tasty, home-cooked food.

In addition to the festivities, the Pickett House restaurant will begin expanded hours for Friday and Saturday on March 17.

Patrons will now be able to catch dinner at the famous restaurant, with its mouth-watering fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, turnip greens and other incredible fare available from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Prior to the dinner, there will be a church service held inside the Cherokee Church and conducted by Hope United Methodist Church, and Alabama Coushatta Princess Aionna Morena will deliver the Lord’s Prayer in Indian sign-language.

The music line-up for Sunday includes Jason Birkner; Ky Holloway; Rocky Ellis and Lane Stinson, who will all play on the Village Green Stage.

Some of the exhibits include a buggy display in the Village Buggy Barn and a quilt show inside the Fiber Arts Building. The gate to the Village opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday and the festival goes until 3 p.m. The cost of admission for the Dinner on the Grounds is $10 for adults and $5 for children, age 12 and under. The tickets can be purchased from any TCHS board member; at Sullivan’s Hardware or at the Tyler County Booster office.

Also this weekend for Dogwood, the festival’s entertainment committee announced that it would like to invite all of the little princesses to the annual Royal Tea, which will take place on Sunday, March 19 on the lawn of the Village Street Bed and Breakfast, located at 201 N. Village Street in Woodville.

The tea will offer a chance for young girls to meet the Royal Court, take photos with the Princesses and Ladies in Waiting, and make their very own sash.  Each little princess will also receive a crown.  Tickets are available at the door for $20.

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New councilman Neal sworn-in

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chester logoBy Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – Chester Mayor Robert Poynter swore in new Councilman Joe Neal at the council’s regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening, Mar. 6.

Neal grew up in the area and looks to help. Councilman Austin Odom submitted his resignation earlier in the week, effective Mar. 6, as he had recently moved outside the city limits.

Poynter was able to confirm that the grant for the playground has been completed and work will be begin near the first of May.

Nick Hoelscher, an engineer from Goodwin, Lasiter and Strong, was present to facilitate the opening of bids for two GrantWorks projects. Rather frustrating to the council, both bids again came in over the grant limit, and that despite Hoelscher’s clear orders from Poynter for them “not to waste our time” with submitting any bids over the grant.  Those grants for a street and the Ballpark Loop improvements were tabled so that Hoelscher and Poynter could work with GrantWorks on another bidding process.

Surprisingly, and to the council’s pleasure, the past-due list only had three. City Secretary Balela Mahaffey reported that all the others were in good stead with several following their respective plans to catch up. That was the lowest number of past-due bills in recent memory.

Cheryl Neal asked about developing a Facebook page for “new comers and old timers” in order to keep the community aware of events. Poynter mentioned the city page, his page and Chester Chat.

In other business, the council quickly passed the financials and the minutes to the previous meeting.

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Judge Haney retires

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Retired STOCK

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Long-serving Woodville Municipal Judge Judith Haney is retiring from her position with the city on Friday, March 10.

Haney has served the city since being sworn-in Dec. 4, 2007. She succeeded another long-time public servant, Judge Alva Cook. As the municipal judge, Haney has been responsible for a variety of duties. From presiding over the city’s municipal court to writing arrest warrants and conducting hearings for city matters, Haney has served the city.

During her tenure, she also served as city judge for the City of Ivanhoe for several years and stepped down last year from those duties.

Aside from her role as the city’s magistrate, Haney has had long careers in service to the public, as an educator and school administrator, and more recently, as the visionary behind the downtown Woodville Arts District. She and her husband Sam have volunteered and run the Tyler County Art League Gallery and the Emporium for the Arts as non-profit entities with the purpose of promoting a wide variety of artistic expressions in Tyler County.

Haney’s replacement is another beloved community leader with a background in education, Sergio Ramos. Ramos, who was appointed to assist Haney in January, by the Woodville City Council, was appointed by council at its last meeting to take over as the full-time regular city judge effective Friday.

A celebration honoring Haney is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 16 at the Wesley Center of the Woodville Methodist Church, located at 200 N. Nellius. City Administrator Mandy Risinger said the public is invited to come out and honor her. “Please join us for a retirement celebration to honor Judge Haney,” Risinger said.

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