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Commissioners approve Lakeland subdivision plat

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TCCommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards 
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WOODVILLE – In a special-called meeting on Monday morning, the Tyler County Commissioners Court approved a pair of items pertaining to the Lakeland Ranch subdivision.

The subdivision, which will be located in the southern part of the county, is on land that was owned by the late attorney Walter Umphrey. 

The subdivision is being developed by Legacy International, an Austin-based realty firm that specializes in developing different types of communities. Clayton Signor, of Austin, is the property owner. The developers are offering potential buyers lots that range from half an acre to 11 acres.

They released properties for sale to the public in December and used the “wide open spaces” and proximity to the Woodlands and Houston in marketing to potential buyers.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher spoke about the first item up for approval on the six-item agenda, which was to consider for approval or disapproval the Lakeland Ranch section one subdivision. 

He said it was the recommendation of the county’s engineer to approve the measure.

The next item, which was to approve or disapprove the Lakeland play application, was also approved. Blacksher read a letter addressed to County Judge Jacques Blanchette from Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong, which recommended the plat approval.

The plat application provided to the commissioners contained a schedule of work for Lakeland’s section one construction. The timetable, after approval, is for the water utilities work to the subdivision be completed within 24 months, or by Feb. 25, 2024, which is the expiration date of the letter of credit.

Also, with the approval of the plat, the court specified that financial guarantees for maintenance measures will be provided for the streets, roads, drainage structures and ditches in accordance with existing county subdivision regulations. Lakeland Ranch, LLC, is responsible for paying all of its water improvements to supply water from the county’s Special Utility District.

SKG Engineering, LLC, of San Angelo, is handling the construction for the subdivision. 

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WISD schedules town hall meetings

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WoodvilleISD graphicBy Chris Edwards 
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WOODVILLE – Woodville ISD has scheduled a series of town hall style meetings to address the upcoming bond package that will be up for a vote in May.

WISD, in a news release, said it scheduled the three meetings in a “continued effort to be transparent and provide the community and out staff with factual information and the ability to ask questions.”

The three meetings are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17; Monday, March 7 and Monday, March 28, all to take place in the elementary campus cafeteria.

The bond package vote, which was approved by the WISD Board of Trustees, following a recommendation by the District Facility Task Force Committee, will be presented to voters in the amount of $47,850,000, and, if approved, will be used for district-wide improvements. That vote will take place on Saturday, May 7.

“It is our desire that all Woodville ISD residents are informed and can vote with confidence,” the news release stated.

The findings of the Task Force, which was made up of Woodville residents, businesspeople, parents and school staff, recommended that new facilities be constructed for WISD elementary students. The Task Force also recommended increased safety and technology to be implemented, district-wide.

They met throughout a nine-month period to assess and prioritize key areas of focus for the district, according to WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg.

According to Meysembourg, if the bond is approved by voters, it will be used to finance the construction of a new Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade building to replace the existing buildings that currently house the Woodville Elementary and Intermediate campuses. 

Bond money will also be used to finance renovations to the current WISD Vocations-Agriculture building at Woodville High School, which will include an addition to expand space for more career and technical education programs.

“Any bond proceeds used for capital items will be amortized over a short period of time and for a period less than the useful life of these capital items as required by law,” Meysembourg said

Anyone with questions may either visit the district’s website, at www.woodvilleeagles.org or can call the WISD administration office at 409-283-3752 or can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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Deputies recover stolen dozer

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BulldozerC1612 V v C YBy Chris Edwards
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FRED – Investigators with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office are going through evidence recovered from a stolen piece of heavy machinery in order to make arrests.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, TCSO deputies responded to a theft that had occurred near the Tyler/Hardin county line, on CR 4850. The deputies learned that a John Deere 450 dozer was stolen off of private property that was being cleared.

The deputies learned that multiple game cameras were also missing from an adjoining hunting lease. The theft occurred on Sunday, Jan. 9.

Two days later, TCSO received information that the stolen dozer was parked in a hunting lease located off of Gore Store Road, just inside Hardin County. 

Deputies and investigators with TCSO, as well as Hardin County, were able to locate and return the dozer to its owner.

Weatherford said that the evidence recovered at the location the dozer was found will aide investigators in making arrests for the felony theft of the dozer.

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Warren band member chosen for All-State Band ensemble

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Julia Drake

By Chris Edwards
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One Warren High School sophomore recently received news that she’d been named to the highest honor that a music student in the state can receive.

 Julia Drake, who has been active in the Warriors’ band program through her high school career thus far, and has earned numerous honors already, was named to the All-State Band. She will get to perform at the All-State concert on Saturday, Feb. 12, in San Antonio. Drake, who plays French Horn, will perform at the event, which takes place at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as part of the annual Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention.

 Drake, who is the daughter of Jason Drake and Kristina Wiedman, who are both educators, was selected to be a part of the band through a series of auditions. According to a news release from the TMEA, the process begins with 70,000 students from across the state, each vying for the honor to be chosen to perform in one of the 18 ensembles. 

This year’s TMEA event will be the first in-person convention since 2020, and the theme will be for the participants to enjoy “Celebrating Music Together.”

Drake, under the direction of WHS band director Russell Hopkins, has achieved several musical honors prior to the All-State nod. She was named second chair in the All-Region Wind Ensemble and was also named the top-ranking French Horn player in the 3A audition track. 

Along with those honors, Drake has been. Named to the All-Region Band as a junior high student twice; All-Region for two years of high school and was a two-time Area Band qualifier. She also takes lessons from Dr. Rusty Holmes, a Warren alumnus, himself.

TMEA noted that only the top 2.6% of musicians who audition become All-State musicians. 

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Chester ISD board receives district performance report

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Chester ISD logo template 300By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – At its regular board meeting on Monday, Jan. 24, Six of the seven members of the Chester ISD Board of Trustees enjoyed a dinner provided by the new Superintendent Paul Drake and the Chester staff in appreciation of their work for its students. 

At 6 p.m. board president Ray McKnight called the meeting to order followed by prayer and pledges, Principal Katie Loughner reported that enrollment is now 223 and that the recently postponed UIL aca-demic events might still be held but nothing concrete yet; she also reported that the campus remains closed due to more than five active COVID cases.

Representatives from the law firm of Linebarger, Boggan, Blair & Sampson updated the board on the state’s property value study due next week from the Comptroller’s Department which might place Chester at risk and the board agreed to signing a contract with them to audit recent years if needed. Business manager Austin Odom reported on recent revenues and expenditures and stated that the new 15 passenger bus should arrive next month.  The board approved his report and the minutes from December with minimal discussion.

Linda Murphy then presented the 2020-21 Texas Academic Performance Report which covered eight areas, with Chester ISD “Meeting Requirements” for Special Education while the Accountability sections were “Not Rated” due to a declared state of disaster. 

Dan Raney then presented the annual financial audit report which gave Chester ISD an “Unmodified Opinion” which means nothing negative was found, thanks to the good work by Austin Odom and the district.

The board approved a donation of $1000 to be added to the baseball/softball activity account and then spend about twenty minutes in Executive Session before returning and adjourning at 7:06 p.m.  The next board meeting is set for Feb. 28.

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