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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024

OLDER SPORTSMEN HAVE MORE FUN

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

Tyler County News - Breakout

Colmesneil Elementary student launches canned goods drive

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Miles Food pantryMiles Settlocker is celebrated by the volunteers of Heavenly Blessings Food Pantry in Colmesneil, as well as his teacher Shelley Rhodes (second from left). Settlocker’s gathered donations of close to 1,300 canned goods will go toward addressing food scarcity in the area. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB

By Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – On the morning of Thursday, Dec. 8, a truck from Colmesneil ISD made its way up US 69 to drop off a packed bed of canned goods at the Heavenly Blessings Food Pantry, at Tejas Road Baptist Church.

The person responsible for this large donation, which amounted to nearly 1,300 cans, was Colmesneil Elementary fourth-grade student Miles Settlocker.

Settlocker, the nine-year-old son of John and Dena Settlocker, was touched and inspired when he read about displaced people in war-torn Ukraine. He wondered about what he could do to help people in his own area who might be experiencing food shortages, according to his teacher Shelley Rhodes.

Rhodes said that Settlocker developed the idea for a canned food drive, for all of the elementary grades to participate. He made a flyer and passed it out to all of his fellow students two weeks ago, she said, and with each daily count of the donated goods, he would comment about how many more people the donations could help.

The classes made it competitive, as well, with the class that drew the most donations (Pre-K) earning a reward of a picnic.

When Settlocker, who came over in the truck with Rhodes, arrived at the food pantry on Thursday morning, they hauled with them close to 1,300 individual canned goods. Volunteers were amazed at the number of donations and spent a good portion of the morning unloading the boxes full of non-perishables into their storeroom to be ready for donating.

“It was a very selfless act on his part,” Rhodes said. “The whole focus was helping others. I was very proud of him.”

 

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A toast to the judge

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Judge Blanchette Gathering

For 16 years, Jacques Blanchette has served Tyler County as its judge. Blanchette was honored for his dedication to the people of the county with a surprise party on Monday afternoon at Venue on the Square in Woodville. Blanchette, who entered to a roomful of friends, family and visiting dignitaries, was humbled by the effort. He said he is not entering the “retiree” category, but the “former” classification. Blanchette is shown above left with wife Leeza on his arrival to the party. Photos by Chris Edwards | TCB

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New Chester ISD board members sworn-in

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Chester ISD logo template 300By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – The Chester ISD Board of Trustees held its final 2022 meeting with Vice President Wade Read calling meeting to order at 6 p.m., with five of the seven board members present.

After prayer and pledges, with no public comments, Superintendent Dr. Paul Drake administered the oath of office to Calvin Bittick and Jessie Gay, both elected on Nov. 8. The board then acted to reorganize the Board of Trustees, with Brian Martin to serve as president; Wade Read, VP and Shona Neal, secretary. All the positions on the board were effective immediately.

Austin Odom, business manager, gave update on revenues and expenses, facility upgrades, plus a mid-year budget review. Principal Kym Capps then reported that enrollment is currently 211 and Chester stu-dents have an 95.6 % attendance rate.

She also mentioned that 68 adults attended the Thanksgiving luncheon, which was outstanding, and that Chester will host the Jan. 29 UIL events for elementary and junior high, with Feb. 11 of next year being prom night.

Drake distributed a drug testing regulation report for them to review and act upon next year.

The consent agenda was approved without comment and the one action item, to accept a donation of $2,600 from the Chester ISD Athletic Booster club for the purchase of a baseball pitching machine was approved.

The board went into executive session at 6:28, returned at 7:15, and adjourned. The next meeting is set for Jan. 23, 2023.

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Bythewood sworn-in as new Woodville mayor

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Woodville’s new mayor Amy Bythewood (center) is administered the oath of her office by City Secretary Terri Bible (left) as Bythewood’s mother Toni Cook holds a family Bible for Amy. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCBWoodville’s new mayor Amy Bythewood (center) is administered the oath of her office by City Secretary Terri Bible (left) as Bythewood’s mother Toni Cook holds a family Bible for Amy. MOLLIE LA SALLE | TCB

By Mollie La Salle
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WOODVILLE –  The City of Woodville has a familiar name at its helm again, with the swearing-in of a new mayor on Monday night at the meeting of the City Council.

Amy Bythewood took the reins as Woodville’s mayor after being sworn-in by city secretary Terri Bible. Bythewood is the second member of her family to serve as the city government’s leader. Her late husband Ben served as mayor from 2008-2014.

Bythewood’s mother, Toni Cook and her grandson Braden (aka Mr. Blue Eyes) assisted with the swearing in, holding Bythewood’s grandmother’s Bible at the ceremony.

Kelly Dillard was sworn to begin another term as Alderwoman Place 2, and Mike Cabaniss was sworn-in as Alderman Place 4.

Joyce Wilson was nominated mayor pro-tem by Kelly Dillard and seconded by Lee Mann. She was unanimously approved by council to continue in the position.

Bythewood wasted little time in calling the meeting to order and getting down to business. Council members discussed nominating someone as a small city representative to the DETCOG Board. City Administrator Mandy Risinger advised council that “the city was notified prior to Thanksgiving that based on the 2020 census numbers, Woodville has fallen below the threshold for representation on the board, with a population below 2,500, and does not get an automatic seat. The board does have three smaller seats for populations fewer than 2,500, and Lonnie Hunt with DETCOG recommended we submit a nomination for filling a seat.”

Alderman Cliff Wright was nominated to the DETCOG board by Dillard and seconded by Cabaniss; his nomination was approved. Risinger further explained that although the city does not get a vote on the board, city representatives are welcome to attend any and all DETCOG functions.

The county is represented by Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher, who is a member of the DETCOG board.

At this point, council adjourned to executive session (at 6:11) and returned to regular session at 6:28, with no action to report. Council was unanimously adjourned for the evening at 6:29 pm.

 

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Blacksher appointed to head-up meals program

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TCCommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE –  In its final regular meeting of the year (as well as the final regular meeting of County Judge Jacques Blanchette’s tenure) the Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled a lengthy agenda on Monday morning.

Commissioners voted to authorize Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher to serve as the director for the county’s senior citizens’ activity and congregate meals program.

Blacksher has taken the lead on the program since the previous provider pulled out at the end of the last fiscal year. The item put before a vote also authorized Blacksher to negotiate and execute a contract with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, as approved by the court.

“Right now we went to negotiate [with Tyler County Hospital],” which will cook the meals for the service, Blacksher said. The cost to the county is estimated to be around $62,735, Blacksher said, based on an average of 42 meals served per day. The contribution from DETCOG to the program would come at $80,815.87, annually, broken up between salaries, food and supplies.

Blacksher said it would be advantageous to start up at 30 meals, at a cost of $36,183 to the county. Before COVID, he said, the county was averaging 42 meals per day with the program.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the county paying for start-up costs for the program from the county’s general fund contingency for miscellaneous expenditures.

TxDOT trees controversy addressed

Ellen Buchanan, of the Big Thicket Association, spoke about the recent TxDOT four-lane expansion project along U.S. 69, which factors into both Tyler and Hardin counties, during the public forum portion of the meeting.

Buchanan spoke about a controversial measure by TxDOT to remove trees along the existing median as part of the project. It would affect an eight-mile stretch of road.

Buchanan said that the public response to TxDOT’s planning phase on the project was valuable, but in gathering public comment for it, the taking down of the trees would detrimentally affect the Big Thicket community.

The goal, Buchanan said of the project, was to increase safety, but “at the same time keep our Southeast Texas wooded community.”

“We love our trees,” Buchanan said. “They’re part of our identity.”

Environmental groups have spoken out against the plan, and recently commissioners in neighboring Hardin County tabled action on a resolution to intervene for a second time.

Buchanan said that TxDOT’s plans to remove the trees would cause erosion and more flooding.

Among its resolutions up for consideration, the commissioners approved a measure to communicate from the court that Buchanan spoke on the matter.

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