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Tyler County News - Breakout

Chester ISD hosts open house

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By Chuck Davidson

Chester ISD logo template 300CHESTER – With a meal provided later by the Chester Buyer’s Club on Thursday, Jan. 26, Superintendent Dr. Paul Drake welcomed about 75 community members who came to learn about the district’s facility needs and review ideas for bond propositions.

Chester ISD has served the Chester community for more than 100 years and currently has several old buildings needing major upgrades or replacement.

Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong out of Lufkin recently completed a structural assessment on all campus buildings and presented updates as to what is needed for each one. Bottom line: this audit recommends that the current high school building (not the gymnasium) and the current junior high building and old gym be demolished.

Both buildings are out of compliance with security gaps and the high school has asbestos which must be abated.

An analysis by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) estimated that it would cost more than 125% to remodel these vs replacing them. The preliminary budget for possible projects (new junior/senior high school, demolishment of the two current structures, new entry and restrooms for the competitive gym, upgraded Ag shop and cafeteria kitchen work) is more than $4.8 million, not counting soft costs like asbestos work, surveys etc.

The current Chester ISD M&O (maintenance and operations) tax rate is only .9603 (with no existent I&S, or Interest and Sinking rate), one of the lowest in the area, and the maximum proposed I & S rate would be .3 %.

Handouts were available for those present to see specific building needs and after Drake’s overview, tours were given of the facilities mentioned, led by himself and business manager Austin Odom.

Once concluded, all attendees enjoyed food and fellowship provided by the members of the buyer’s club and friends.

If you missed this open house and want to learn more about the study, call the school at 936 969 2371 or check out www.chesterisd.com.  Questions may be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Allan Shivers Library and Museum holds grand re-opening

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Allan Shivers Library and Museum administrators, staff and Friends of the Library volunteers, along with several elected officials and community members turned out on Saturday to the grand re-opening of the museum. Attendees got to see the many renovations and rearrangements of the facility that have taken place throughout the past year, including an elevator. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCBAllan Shivers Library and Museum administrators, staff and Friends of the Library volunteers, along with several elected officials and community members turned out on Saturday to the grand re-opening of the museum. Attendees got to see the many renovations and rearrangements of the facility that have taken place throughout the past year, including an elevator. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCB

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

WOODVILLE – The Allan Shivers Library and Museum held its grand re-opening, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28.

Friday evening saw a VIP event in the museum, where visitors were welcome to tour the facilities and see all the updates, both in the library and the museum. Saturday, January 28, was the grand re-opening with a reception and ribbon cutting held in the museum.

Kay Timme, director of Allan Shivers Library and Museum welcomed visitors to the festivities Saturday with a brief history of the facilities. Timme said, “we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish here” and wanted to recognize the governing board which consists of representatives from the city, county, and Woodville ISD.

County Judge Milton Powers was in attendance, along with Woodville mayor Amy Bythewood.

Timme also recognized Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall; Woodville City Administrator Mandy Risinger; WISD superintendent Lisa Meysembourg and WISD Board of Trustees member Josh McClure, for all their hard work on behalf of Allan Shivers Library and Museum.

A brief history of the library and museum: In 1962, former Governor Shivers and his wife purchased land adjacent to the school and donated it to the school district. Their intention was to build a library and museum for the children of Tyler County. Governor shivers purchased the house, which was built in 1881 by R.A. Cruse, after it was scheduled for demolition, in 1963, and had it moved to its current location with the intent to house both a library and museum. They quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be enough space. The complex was formally dedicated in October 1966, and renovations and upgrades have continually taken place over the years. The current complex contains the museum, library, children’s reading room and the newest addition, the John and Rosemary Bunch reading and meeting room.

One new addition to the facility is an elevator, which will accommodate patrons with mobility issues. The elevator was purchased and installed through a generous grant from the TLL Temple Foundation, Timme said. Extra funding from the grant is being used for re-wiring.

The complex also received a grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the amount of $10K; part of the money was put toward purchasing glass display cases in the museum, the rest was used to purchase new furnishings for the Marialice Shivers Children’s room in the library.

Timme gave a shout out to her leadership team, which took over in 2021. “We came on board and got busy”, she said. She reiterated that the library/museum is in capable hands under the team of herself, assistant director and head librarian Carolyn Williams, and museum manager Roschelle Springfield.

She also wanted to thank the Friends of the Library, and its president Felina Pence for everything they have contributed, and also the many volunteers who help.

The library was closed for two weeks for remodeling and inventory, and together with the newly renovated museum, will serve the citizens of Woodville and Tyler County for many years to come. Timme explained, “the library is a friendly and usable space, every book on every shelf was removed, catalogued, and put back; carpeting was laid. It’s been a monumental effort. A good library offers more than just books.”

She also cited Springfield’s dogged determination in getting the museum re-modeled and updated. “We handled every item in the museum, everything that was moved. There were days when everything was stirred upside down; now, it is something to be proud of.”

Kay, Roschelle, and Carolyn invite everyone to come and check out all the library and museum have to offer. The library is open Monday-Friday, 9-5, and Saturday, 10-2. You can call them at 409-283-3709 to learn more of what they offer or schedule a tour of the museum.

 

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Rotary hears from Interact students

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Pictured left-to-right: Woodville HS Principal Rusty Minyard; Madison Wainwright; Sydnie Odom; Savannah Ludewig; Keegan Welch; Emma Odom; Interact Sponsor Janay Wigley and Rotary club President John Wilson.Pictured left-to-right: Woodville HS Principal Rusty Minyard; Madison Wainwright; Sydnie Odom; Savannah Ludewig; Keegan Welch; Emma Odom; Interact Sponsor Janay Wigley and Rotary club President John Wilson.

By Mollie LaSalle

WOODVILLE – Woodville ISD’s Interact Club officers were the speakers at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Woodville, last Wednesday at the Pickett House.

Rotarian and WHS Principal Rusty Minyard introduced the students and let them do the presentation.

The Interact officers present were Sydnie Odom, President, Madison Wainwright, Vice President, Savannah Ludewig, Secretary, Keegan Welch, Treasurer, and Emma Odom, Public Relations. Interact Sponsor, Janay Wigley, was also in attendance.

The Interact club officers did a great job of re-capping their school year so far. The seniors take part in Senior Sunrise, Senior Parking Spot Painting, and Red Ribbon Week, to name a few. They highlighted accomplishments by the sports teams, debate team, which went to state competition again, and the band, which is up to 42 members since two years ago, when there were only 18 members. Students are eagerly awaiting and preparing for One-Act Play competition. Winter break this year is Feb. 20-24.  A lot is happening at WISD.

Fellow Rotarians wished Fred Sullivan a “monumental” Happy Birthday at the meeting. Sullivan’s son Steven was his guest at the meeting, coming all the way from Washington state to help his dad celebrate his big day.

The Woodville Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at Noon at the Pickett House.

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Spurger firefighters recognized

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SVFDBy Robin Gail Wooten

SPURGER – The Spurger Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) held its inaugural Fireman’s Banquet and Recognition Night last Sunday, Jan. 22.

With more than 70 people in attendance, including County Judge Milton Powers, who opened the event and gave the closing benediction.

Powers expressed his gratitude to all the men and women who give their time and talents to serve the Spurger Community.

Retired Chief Ellis Jones was honored for his 17 years of service as chief of the SVFD, along with another five years serving as a fireman. Jones said “I’m most pleased with the members of the SVFD always working as a team, a family, even in tough times we all remained united with one another”.

New SVFD Chief, Allen Benton, was honored for 40 years of service.  Chief Benton responded to 42 fire calls out of a total of 64 calls in 2022.  Benton stated, “I’m looking forward to 2023 to be another year to expand our knowledge, training, and equipment to be able to keep serving our community”.  Chief Benton shared that in the beginning, “they were lucky if the department’s three trucks worked properly when they arrived at a fire, to now having a fleet of six trucks in great shape and fully equipped, including jaws of life”.

The new Assistant Chief, JC Wilson, was honored for his 35 years of service and received the Dedication of Service Award after responding to 54 calls in 2022.  Wilson reminisced how the firefighters had to work on the trucks themselves to keep them running in the early days.

Henry Sawyer Jr. was honored for 40 years of service, and he recalled the old fire station located where the Spurger Beauty Shop is currently and the one truck in service had a peace sign painted on the back and had to be pulled to get it started. “I’ve been on the department all these years because I enjoy helping others,” Sawyer said.

Fireman of the year was awarded to Jacob McFarlin, graduate of Angelina Fire Academy and recently obtained his EMT Certification. Other members acknowledged for years of services were, Robert “Pete” Perkins for 35 years of service, Tony Ross, and Derrick Gray for 20 years of service.

Asst. Chief Wilson’s daughter, Kelly Jackson, is a six-year veteran of the fire department and the first female member until last year when Caitlin Richard joined the department.  These two women organized the event to recognize all members for their dedication and support to the Spurger Community.

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Chester ISD receives audit results

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Chester ISD logo template 300By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – Chester ISD Board of Trustees President Wade Read called the board’s monthly meeting to order at 6 p.m. on Monday, with six of the seven trustees present along with several district employees and consultants.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m., not a record but a fairly long executive session for the two new members of the board.  David Rainey presented the audit report for the year ending August 31, 2022 finding all in good order, with the “unmodified opinion” which is the highest level given.  Linda Murphy then gave a very detailed update on the district’s 2021-22 annual report highlighting testing results, financials, accreditation, post-secondary numbers, HB 3 goals along with ESSER info.  Both reports were approved as submitted.

Principal Kym Capps reported that current enrollment is 214 with attendance rate of 95.45 percent.

Supt. Dr. Drake highlighted the need to reorganize the district’s SHAC committee along with results from the school policy review resulting in board approval of the changes aligning school policies with current practices.

The consent agenda was approved after business manager Austin Odom’s report as were the minutes for two meetings and changes in signature cards.  The state update 120 was approved and the board reappointed Dale Clamon to serve on the Tyler County Appraisal District board of directors.  They also passed a resolution approving the potential engagement of Leon Alcala to serve as bond counsel. Texas Tech was approved to serve as the provider of credit by exam, at no cost to the district.  The board also approved the hiring of Golf & Herrington to do the district’s annual financial audit.  They went into executive session at 7:40 and returned with no further action taken.  The next board meeting is set for Feb. 13.

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