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Citizens State Bank celebrating 102 years in business

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A linchpin of the Woodville community is turning 102 soon, and has some changes in store, but promises it is committed to maintaining core values; values which are likely responsible for such longevity.

Citizens State Bank, which opened on May 8, 1920, is under new ownership, and its main branch in downtown Woodville is sporting some new looks, but according to Kimen Johnson, the bank’s Chief Experience Officer, the bank will always provide “the same look you in the eye and shake your hand type of service” it has always provided.

The bank’s new president, Harry J. “Johnny” Brooks, a 40-year veteran of the banking industry, sees the importance of the bank within the community. 

“For a community to be really vibrant, it should have three things, a good hospital, a good school district and a good bank. All of those things are essential,” Brooks said.

Brooks bought the bank on August 31, 2021. He said he saw an opportunity with a bank that had a good, strong business acumen, and most importantly, “some good folks,” Brooks said.

When Brooks seized the opportunity, he saw an institution that had the potential for growth. “My vision for the bank is I want it to become a leading bank in East Texas. I like to think we can grow this bank to a billion dollars, or more,” he said.

Brooks said there are some changes ahead, but changes that make good business sense. Aside from the Woodville branch, there are CSB locations in Marlin, Warren and now Kingwood, but the locations in Spurger and Colmesneil will close on May 20 of this year.

Brooks said those locations were not profitable, however, CSB customers in those areas have access to the full range of online banking services, and the ATMs will be kept up, with the ability to make deposits through them.

Johnson added that CSB has implemented more digital banking channels to meet the needs of the marketplace, and customers will be able to handle almost all banking functions online, from their smartphones or computers.

Another change that the public might have noticed is the implementation of a new logo. The logo features the letters “csb” in a stylized font, with stars and a trio of red swooshes. That particular bit of marketing/branding identity was important, according to Brooks, as the old CSB logo, which utilized a ram made Brooks think too much about a particular automobile manufacturer and its similar logo. Plus, there are several other banks with similar names.

The logo was a creation of the employees, and was voted on by the employees, Johnson said.

Citizens received its charter in 1919 and opened the next year. Johnson said that, originally, in 2020, the bank had hoped to celebrate its centennial, but the pandemic put the kibosh on all of that. 

Instead, this year, CSB will celebrate 102 years, complete with a party to follow the Dogwood Festival Queen’s Weekend parade on Saturday, April 2. The bank is inviting the public to come in and join the celebration at the Woodville branch, which will begin immediately after the parade’s conclusion.

The party will allow the public to see some of the interior renovations made to the bank, which include new flooring, a new paint scheme, new furniture and other accoutrements that help make the bank a place that Brooks said encourages pride in both its employees and customers. “It had languished,” he said. “I wanted to let the community know I was committed to Tyler County, and put my money where my mouth is to spruce it up,” he said.

CSB will also have a float in the parade, and as part of its participation in Tyler County’s annual springtime celebration, there might be a few neat surprises in store for festival attendees, Johnson added.

Brooks saw participation in the Dogwood Festival as hugely important. “Tyler County has a proud heritage, and us being a part of the Dogwood Festival is one of the best ways to show people what all our area has to offer,” he said. 

“We’re proud of being a part of Tyler County and proud to participate, and to show our potential for growth and exemplify the community’s needs,” he said.

Johnson spoke about Brooks’s business acumen and motivating presence to the employees. She said it is inspiring to listen to him talk about the bank and future goals, and noted his energetic and positive spirit. “He is great at being able to get people motivated and excited,” she said. 

Brooks said he is deeply committed to the county, as well as the bank, but most of all the people. The customers, Johnson said, are the bank’s most important asset, which is reflected in its very name. “Our core values have not changed,” she said. 

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County races headed to runoffs

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N1206P36001CBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – Election Day on Tuesday brought an end to an exciting campaign season for the primaries with just one of the contested races.

The races for County Judge, as well as Treasurer and Commissioner Pct. 2 and Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 will all go to runoff elections in May.

In the Republican primary race for county judge, Melissa Riley received 1,612 votes over Milton Powers’s 1,555 and Richard “Kooter” Shaw, Jr.’s 815 votes. Riley will face Powers in the runoff.

The winner of the runoff will face Democratic challenger Wesley Whitman in the November General Election. The race for County Treasurer, which drew two opponents against incumbent Leann Monk is also headed to a runoff. Monk earned 1,540 votes to Elizabeth Grammer’s 925 votes and Maegan Rains Odom’s 1,354. Monk and Odom will face each other in the runoff.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock earned 372 votes over Johnny Mitcham’s 221, Doug Hughes’s 293 and Herbert Morrell’s 130.

Sturrock, the incumbent, will face Hughes in the runoff.

The race for Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace was the only race to draw a clear winner on Tuesday night’s unofficial results.

Mike Hughes received 580 votes; Michael G. Maness got 291; Richard “Trey” Grammer received 118 and Jim Kibodeaux 58.

In the race for Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace, incumbent Jim Moore received 383 votes. His challengers Henry E. Sawyer, Jr. received 370 and Jason Hicks 168.

Moore will face Sawyer in the runoff.

At the statewide level, at press time, the projected winner of the gubernatorial races were incumbent Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’ Rourke, who are expected to face-off in November.

Two-term incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton appeared to be headed to a runoff, with his challengers George P. Bush and Eva Guzman neck-and-neck behind him.

Congressman Louie Gohmert was trailing in fourth place.

Candidates must receive more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff election.

Of the unofficial vote numbers tallied on Tuesday night, 1,921 of those were from voters who took advantage of the early voting period to make their voices heard at the polling place.

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Tyler County native encourages young people

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Charles Cade stands in the performing arts center named in his honor. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLES E. CADE Charles Cade stands in the performing arts center named in his honor. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHARLES E. CADE

By Chris Edwards
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HOUSTON – Charles E. Cade encourages young people to “never give up on your dreams.”

The career educator, who grew up in Hillister, is the namesake of the Charles E. Cade Performing Arts Center at Meyerland Performing Arts Middle School, which is part of the Houston Independent School District.

Having a nice venue for talented students to perform in many artistic disciplines was one of many goals Cade had as assistant principal of the school, which was formerly Johnston Performing Arts Middle School (renamed to Meyerland in 2016).

Cade said “it was definitely an honor and pleasure growing up in Hillister.” He attended middle school and high school at Scott High in Woodville, and was an all-around athlete for his entire high school career. He said he also received an excellent education, and his parents instilled the importance of a good education in him.

He said growing up as a member of the Church of Christ also helped him to become who he is today. “My greatest joy growing up in Hillister was being a member of the Hillister Church of Christ,” he said. 

Cade said he wants to encourage all young people to keep God in their lives and pursue higher education. He encouraged all area high school seniors to apply for the Cade and Whittie Academic/Athletic Scholarship, which will be awarded in June. 

Cade said that anyone who wishes to apply for the scholarship can contact their high school counselor.

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Children of the Court announced

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Children of the Court 

The 79th Annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival is pleased to announce the Children of the Court to Her Majesty the Queen for 2022. Pictured, left to right:  Lillian Rose Fuller (Woodville), daughter of Heath and Hannah Fuller;  Melody Faith Read (Warren), daughter of Billie and Stephanie Read;  Ring Bearer West Wilkinson (Colmesneil), son of Luke and Samantha Wilkinson;  Scepter Bearer Finn Collier (Spurger), son of Bryan and Tiffany Collier;  Crown Bearer Jase Woodrow Davis (Chester), son of J.R. and Amber Davis;  Cora Larua Elrod (Woodville), daughter of Brad and LaLa Elrod; and Kennedy Lee Conner (Woodville), daughter of Joseph and Lauren Conner.

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Trailride a Western Weekend tradition

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WesterParade 001Riders in last year’s Western Weekend parade. (JIM POWERS | TCB)

From the Dogwood Festival Publicity Committee

WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend is coming up on March 25-26.  This is the second weekend of the three weekend-long festival, and its roots run deep.  In 1958, 75 horseback riders formed on Highway 190 West at the Dickens County Line Store and rode to Woodville in time to join the Dogwood Festival Parade.  This was the beginning of the now famous Western Weekend.  This tradition continued for 10 years.  Due to the increasing numbers of horseback riders who were coming to Woodville to join the Parade, the Trail Bosses of the various Trail Rides requested a parade of their own. 

As a consequence, the first Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend was held on March 23, 1968.  In addition to the Western Day Parade, the day’s activities included a special show at the 4-H and FFA Arena near Woodville with performances by riding clubs and drill teams. 

A Western Teenage Dance and Western Adult Dance were held that evening.  The regular Dogwood Festival was held the following Saturday, March 30, 1968.  The Western Trailride Parades at one time included more than 1,500 horses and has featured famous groups and celebrities. 

In an attempt to garner more participation, The Western Weekend Parade has now evolved to include floats and tractors.  FFA Chapters across the area, 4-H Clubs, area feed stores, and any other businesses are encouraged to participate. 

Contact Martin Spurlock, director of Western Weekend, for more information.   To complete parade entry forms, go to the Tyler County Dogwood website at www.tylercountydogwoodfestival.org. 

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