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Residents concerned about halfway house

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HouseBy Chris Edwards
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DAM B – A facility in Dam B that is setting up as a halfway house for ex-offenders has caused many residents in the area to ask questions and pose concerns.

The facility, which bears the name “RJMFSC, No Lost Cause,” will, according to one of its spokespersons, provide a faith-based approach to helping parolees get back on their feet. The facility will be based out of a property that was once a motel and restaurant east of the four-way stop that marks the intersection of US 190 and FM 92.

The acronym stands for Restorative Justice Ministry Family Services Center and was established as a non-profit in 2003 by John Morrison. “No Lost Cause” is the name of the program which will be used to rehabilitate parolees in the program, according to a Facebook post from Doneal Nicholson, who will work as an on-site manager. 

RJMFSC once operated a mediation center in Woodville when Morrison was chairman of the non-profit of the same name. According to Nicholson, the site in Dam B had not been used in 15 years, but a donation helped with much of the remodeling work that needed to be done to the property. 

“We have tried to get them to talk to us…they won’t talk to us,” said Glen Kenney of the Dam B Community Watch Group (DBCW).

The DBCW invited representatives from the facility to its monthly meeting, which took place on Thursday, Dec. 16, but no one from RJMFSC appeared. Kenney said the group has a list of questions pertaining to the facility, which have yet to be addressed.

Ron Goodwin, who serves as executive director for the statewide Restorative Justice Ministries Network (RJMN) said that the statewide organization serves in an advisory capacity for localized organizations and facilities like the one opening in Dam B. 

Goodwin said that he advised the facility’s principals to put together a town-hall type meeting as soon as all “the ducks are in a row” concerning the licensing and legalities of the facility’s operation.

“You want to make sure that the public’s safety is assured,” Goodwin said. 

Goodwin also added that with the facility’s possible success, transparency with the community is key. “The success upon that project will depend upon how involved they are with community,” he said.

Goodwin said that with faith-based programs such as the residential model that the facility plans to utilize, recidivism rates have continued to drop. “It’s smart justice,” he said.

Rev. James Edwards, who is listed as chairman for the non-profit, stressed that the program is still in its infancy, and all of the work that has been done thus far was made possible entirely through donations. 

“We want to make sure the requirements set forth by the state are in place,” Edwards said. 

Edwards explained that he, and the other organizers of the RJMFSC want to involve the community, once it is all set up.

“When everything is lined up, I want to be able to come to the [DBCW] and show them what we want to do and to be able to answer any questions they might have,” he said.

Both Edwards and Goodwin said that some of the information put out on social media about the facility was done prematurely, and Edwards emphasized that all of the necessary paperwork is not in order to open its doors.

One question that DBCW posed about the halfway house pertains to the type of offenders who would be eligible for the program. Edwards said that all parolees who are interested in participating will have to meet some requirements and be a part of a faith-based organization.

Another factor that has been expressed publicly by DBCW is the fact that both Nicholson and Morrison are ex-offenders, both of whom were convicted of sex crimes. Morrison, who established the non-profit prior to his conviction, is listed on public records as a point of contact for the non-profit, but not on its most recent available 990 EZ form from the IRS (its 2019 filing).

Edwards said he understood the apprehension concerning the role of ex-offenders in the facility, among the other concerns, but said that in prisons, many offenders take part in faith-based programs and continue to volunteer in such programs following parole.

Edwards said he has been involved in prison volunteering and ministry since 2008 and sees the goals of the Dam B facility as serving a need in the area. 

“I’m involved in this because this is what the Lord put in my spirit to do,” he said.

Edwards also addressed the perceived lack of transparency from the community. He said he was only now aware of some of the questions and concerns from the DBCW group. 

“What we’re trying to do, I want it all to be clear as glass. Nothing will be swept under the rug,” he said.

Goodwin said that community involvement is paramount but will take time. 

“Reassuring the community just takes time, but with the community efforts to support and help, it would open a lot more hearts,” he said.

Edwards said that once the facility is operational, volunteer opportunities will be available to members of the community. He also said that for anyone interested in volunteering, contributing donations or with questions, can email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 409-489-2022.

DBCW has also posted, publicly, its concerns and questions concerning the facility on its Facebook page and has opened up the conversation to the community to gather its thoughts.

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City of Woodville gives go-ahead to mural project

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City of Woodville Logo 300By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – At its regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, the Woodville City Council gave a go-ahead to a project that promises to add some visual stimulation to the city park.

 City Administrator Mandy Risinger brought up the topic, and said that several years ago, the idea of painting a mural on the park’s retaining wall was proposed. Risinger said the Tyler County Art League was also approached about helping with the endeavor.

 Municipal Judge Judith Haney, who also heads up TCAL, spoke about the project, and said that the organization had looked at grant funding sources in the past to help make the mural a reality.

Haney said ideally, it would be nice to have the wall painted in time for Dogwood Festival next year and suggested soliciting community involvement. Any kind of slogans or concepts that represent the community would be fair game for the mural.

She said that in the future, the Art League would be glad to help maintain the mural. 

Risinger said the addition of a mural “would be a really nice addition” to the park.

 The council approved TCAL to move forward in getting information out to the public about the project and getting the community’s involvement.

 Prior to the meeting, a swearing-in ceremony took place, with Haney administering the oath of office to Clifton Wright; Joyce Wilson and Herbert Branch.

 Wright, who began his term as Alderman, Place 3, takes the place of longtime councilmember Janice Weatherford, who opted to not run for re-election.

 Wilson and Branch are both returning to serve new terms, and Wilson was also chosen at the meeting to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem.

Other Business

• Council approved an addendum to its co-op gas supply contract.

• Risinger reported to council on the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, which is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2022.

• The city has begun its annual audit, Risinger said.

• City offices are closed Dec. 23 and 24 for Christmas and on Friday, Dec. 31 for New Year’s Eve.


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Ham radio group elects new officers

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Ham Radio

The Tyler County Amateur Radio Association elected new officers for 2022 at Calvary Baptist Church, Thursday evening, Dec. 9. Pictured (L-R) are President Kurt and V.P. Leah Hollier, and Secretary Chuck Petri. The TCARA and the Amateur Radio Emergency Services met jointly for a potluck Christmas dinner which had about 40 in attendance. The TCARA meets every first Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Nutrition Center, 201 Veterans Way in Woodville, and visitors are welcome. For more info contact Petri at WD5TYL.org.  Photo by Michael G. Maness


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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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