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Tyler County News - Breakout

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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Allan Shivers Library and Museum begins year with new leadership team

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Allan Shivers Library and Museum leadership team, left-to-right:  Roschelle Springfield, Museum Manager; Carolyn Williams, Assistant Director/Head Librarian and Kay Timme, Director. Williams is shown holding a plaque that will be installed in the library honoring late director Rosemary Mosey-Bunch.Allan Shivers Library and Museum leadership team, left-to-right: Roschelle Springfield, Museum Manager; Carolyn Williams, Assistant Director/Head Librarian and Kay Timme, Director. Williams is shown holding a plaque that will be installed in the library honoring late director Rosemary Mosey-Bunch.

By Kay Timme

WOODVILLE – The Allan Shivers Library and Museum (ASLM), gifted to the citizens of Tyler County in 1966 by Governor Allan Shivers and his wife Marialice, has served the county and beyond for more than 55 years.  The ASLM, located three blocks north of the Courthouse in Woodville, is funded by Tyler County, the City of Woodville, and Woodville Independent School District, and is governed by a board of directors, with two representatives from each funding entity. 

 The library serves as a resource for all citizens of the county, while the Museum honors the life and political service of Shivers. 

 The late Rosemary Mosey-Bunch served the library and museum as its director for more 25 years.   

 During her tenure as Director, many improvements were made in the library. The open courtyard between the Library building and the Shivers Museum was converted to the Marialice Shivers Children’s Room. 

 The John J. Bunch Reading and Meeting Room was completed in 2014, and the Texas Room was completed in 2020.  A plaque will be installed in the library honoring Bunch’s dedicated service to the citizens of Tyler County.

After careful consideration by the Governing Board, and as operations of the Library and Museum move into 2022, a new leadership team has been created.  Kay Timme serves as Director, Carolyn Williams as Head Librarian/Assistant Director, and Roschelle Springfield as Museum Manager.    

 Each of the team holds a master’s degree and brings a wealth of knowledge, training and experience that will contribute to continued growth and development of the library and museum.

 For those who have not been to the ASLM recently, they might not be aware that the library is much more than just a collection of books. 

 Patrons can check out DVDs, use the computers, print documents, send faxes, make copies, and check out wifi hotspots. Library staff will assist patrons as needed with finding great material or technology training. The Library also hosts a variety of events, including story time and “Community Conversations and Coffee”.

 The Bunch Reading and Meeting Room houses an extensive collection of large print books in a welcoming environment, and hosts the Senior Reading Club at noon every Tuesday, the Pins and Needles Quilting Bee on the first and third Mondays each month and Dungeons and Dragons every other Friday.

 Future plans for the ASLM include the installation of a coffee bar for patrons and upgrades to the Museum.  In addition, the Friends of the Library and Museum will be reactivated during 2022. 

 For information about library services and events, come by the Library, call 409-283-3709, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., view our website at www.allanshiverslibrary.com or see us on Facebook at “Allan Shivers Library and Museum”. 

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WISD putting bond in voters’ hands

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By Chris Edwards
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WoodvilleISD graphicWOODVILLE – The Woodville ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the District Facility Task Force Committee’s recommendation for a bond package.

The bond package, for the amount of $47,850,000 will be up for a vote this May. The findings of the Task Force, comprised of local citizens, businesspeople, parents as well as school staff, recommended new facilities for WISD, as the costliest part of its recommended upgrades. The Task Force also recommended increased safety and technology across the district.

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

Trey Allison, on behalf of the Task Force, gave a report of the committee’s findings at the WISD regular monthly board meeting last November.

Allison reported the projected amount of cost and emphasized a need for quality facilities for future generations of WISD students. He said the committee looked at every possible option on the district’s facilities, from renovations to starting over, and ultimately the facilities used for the Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade students “exhibit many challenges,” he said.

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.

With the projected bond amount, according to the report given before the WISD Board in November, a projected tax increase of around $0.45 per $100 of assessed tax levies could be expected, if passed. 

Allison noted that although the figure “sounds big,” WISD taxpayers would still be on “the very bottom rung” of tax rates in the county.

WISD is welcoming questions from the public regarding the bond program. 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.. 

FIRST Ratings presented

At its regular board meeting on Monday, the WISD FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) ratings were shared.

The district passed with an “A” (Superior Achievement) rating, based on data from the 2019-20 school year. The district’s overall score was a 98, and a passing score is 70. 

Among the metrics used to arrive at the FIRST ratings, the Texas Education Agency looks at such factors as changes in the fund balances and the administrative costs for a school district.

FIRST, according to the TEA website, “ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve these practices,” toward having school districts manage their financial resources the best way they can.

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Chester mayor resigns

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Floyd PetriFloyd PetriBy Chris Edwards
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CHESTER – Long-serving Chester mayor Floyd Petri resigned on Monday, according to city secretary Annette Hickman.

She said Petri stepped down as mayor due to health reasons. Petri was serving his third term as Chester’s mayor. Chester City Council member Robert Poynter, who was appointed mayor pro-tem, will step in to serve as mayor.

Petri, who had a long career in law enforcement prior to heading the City of Chester, was first sworn into office in 2016.

During his tenure as mayor, Petri passed a resolution making Chester a Second Amendment Sanctuary in 2019. Chester was the first municipality in the state to pass such an ordinance, which was done in response to Red Flag laws.

Poynter said he is saddened that Petri has had to step down for health reasons. He called Petri a “super guy,” and said the former mayor’s gutsiness and his willingness and dedication to look out for Chester’s citizens were big reasons for him moving to Chester.

Poynter said he plans to look at some economic development opportunities for the city. “I’m going to work really hard with the city council,” he said. 

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