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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


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

Commissioners approve reappointments to ESD boards

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TCCommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled an agenda full of reports and appointments for various positions on various governing boards at its Monday morning meeting.

Prior to the regular agenda, the commissioners heard from two citizens during the public comments portion of the meeting.

First up, Tracy Johnston spoke about a proposed halfway house in the Dam B community. Johnston expressed concern about the issue, and about the safety of her child possibly being at risk due to such a facility. 

The halfway house, which was to operate under the name RJMFSC (Restorative Justice Ministry Family Service Center) and utilize a faith-based program to help ex-offenders had its application withdrawn by TDCJ two weeks ago.

Next on the public comments portion was Allen Fitts, the general manager of internet radio station KZXL. Fitts asked the commissioners for permission to use the county’s electricity and the courthouse lawn to broadcast during the Western Weekend and Queen’s Weekend parades during the Dogwood Festival. Fitts’ request was on the agenda and approved unanimously.

The commissioners approved the reappointments for board members to several of the Emergency Service District boards in the county. 

The reappointments of the following ESD directors were passed in a series of separate agenda items:

ESD #1 – Richard Coker, Lana Cox and Jill Dinger

ESD #2 – Jack Walston, Karl Hammond and Raymond Wooten

ESD #3 – Yvonne Goss and Tamberly McCullough

ESD #4 – David Norton and Randy Gibson

ESD #5 – Ronald Willmon

ESD #6 – James Alfaro, Kenneth Lewis and Raymond Holland

ESD #7 – Lance Seamans and Wade Skinner

ESD #8 – Bob Fisher and Mike McDonald

The commissioners also approved a vacancy to be filled with the county’s AgriLife extension service by Shannon Benton. Extension Agent Jacob Spivey and administrator Sheila Harris introduced Benton, who will begin in the position on March 1, to the court.

Spivey said that Benton will be a good fit for the program and noted that the position had been vacant since December of 2019.

Another agenda item during 3 Monday morning’s meeting, brought to the court by Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock, approved the county to hire Charles Kimbrough, an attorney, for guidance on how to regulate sexually oriented businesses within the county.

Sturrock said that while the county cannot stop such businesses from operating, it can, by statute, regulate them, with enforcement through the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office.

The court also approved the hiring of another attorney for another topic of counsel. Bob Bass, of Allison, Bass and Magee, was approved to provide guidance and documentation that will allow the county to create tax abatement plans and guidelines.

Transportation infrastructure info shared

Under the regular agenda item allowing for comments by court members pertaining to matters of county government, Sturrock informed the court of a meeting he recently attended.

The meeting was for the Deep East Texas Rural Transportation Planning Organization, on which he serves. He shared a map and information from the meeting about the Interstate 14 project.

He said the TxDOT district in which Tyler County resides has no remaining funding set aside for the project.

Another project he spoke about pertaining to the county regarded to a stretch of US 69 on the south end of the county, which would be affected by the I-69 project. Sturrock reported that by the request of the public, the trees along the stretch will be left in place.

Redistricting supplemental and final order approved

In a special-called meeting held two weeks ago, the commissioners approved a supplemental and final order that adopted revised boundaries for the county’s redistricting purposes.

The redistricting, which was adopted on Nov. 12, 2021, for the voting precincts, needed changes to be made, due to “various changes in the underlying election precincts,” which were required to conform election precinct boundaries to the new county commissioners court precincts, according to the order.

The affected voting precincts, according to County Clerk Donece Gregory, were Pcts. 1, 2, 16, 17 and 18. Election precinct 1 is in the commissioners’ court precinct 1. Election precincts 2 and 18 are within Pct. 2. Election precinct 17 is in Pt. 3 and 16 resides in Pct. 4.

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MLK Parade and Activities canceled

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The MLK parade and activities has been CANCELED again due to the high increase of active Covid cases in Tyler County. We are concerned about our fellow citizens, so we’ve canceled this year. Thank you for your time and support. 
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Sleep in Heavenly Peace delivers

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From its inception date of September 23, 2020, the Woodville chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace has delivered 297 beds to children in both Tyler and Jasper counties. 

Those totals comprise 59 delivered from Sept. 23, 2020 through Dec. 26, 2020, and 238 in all of 2021. 

SHP is looking forward to see what 2022 has in store, and wishes to thank everyone who have volunteered and/or donated to the cause. All that  the organization does is from the generous donations and volunteer efforts. 

Anyone can be a part of the work that SHP is doing.

SHP is inviting anyone interested in volunteering to come and join them this coming Saturday, Jan. 8 for the chapter’s next build from 7:45 a.m. to noon at the old McClures furniture building across from the Intermediate School on Hwy 69.  502 N. Magnolia, Woodville. 

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COVID numbers rising

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Covid graphicBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – The Tyler County Emergency Management office is once again reporting countywide COVID numbers.

Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe said that his office would begin updating the numbers again once they surpassed 20 cases and will continue until they decrease again. The last reportage was in mid-October. At present, Emergency Management is reporting 108 active cases in the county.

Jobe gave an update via social media on Friday, Dec. 30, which represents a sharp increase from the initial update provided two days’ prior, which showed 45 active cases in the county.

At present, Emergency Management is reporting 2,635 total cases since reporting began in March 2020 with the first confirmed case in Tyler County. There have been 2,454 recovered cases and 73 deaths from COVID complications.

“This is an attempt to keep citizens informed of the status of our county,” said Jobe. “I will post updated counts as I receive them from the health department,” he added.

According to the latest figures, there have been 18,004 doses of vaccines administered in the county, with 8,541 people having received at least one dose, or 39.73% of the population. There have been, according to Department of State Health Services, 35.41% of the county’s residents are fully vaccinated.

At the statewide level, hospitalizations are increasing. The numbers from the DSHS show that as of Dec. 29, hospitalizations for coronavirus patients is up by 2,147 from the previous week.

The number of average new cases has also increased across the state, with 5,412 cases up from the seven-day average reported a week prior to Dec. 29.

DSHS reports that 59.02% of Texans are fully vaccinated, and 69.31% of the population has received at least one dose.

The surge in positive cases, according to state health officials, is attributable to the omicron variant. Officials say the variant is more transmissible than the delta variant and the original viral strain.

The rise surpassed 10% by mid-December, and put Texas in a “red zone” rating. This rating for positive case numbers means that federal officials encourage more restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.

Last week Gov. Greg Abbott asked the federal government to open additional testing sites in some of Texas’s most populated counties and to send new shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments. 

For updates, follow the Tyler County Emergency Management Facebook page.

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Hughes retires as ranger

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Mike HughesMike HughesBy Merrick R.D. Moody

After 20 years of Distinguished Law Enforcement Service for Big Thicket and more than 30 years counting time as a State Peace Officer, with SWAT Certification, Ranger Mike Hughes has announced his retirement at as U.S. park ranger. 

Hughes, a Tyler County resident, had numerous accomplishments throughout his career that are noteworthy. He captured a wanted suspect for kidnapping, meth and a stolen vehicle.  He led numerous body recoveries and felony investigations. He taught hundreds of young hunters to respect wildlife conservation and natural resources, as a State Certified Hunting Educator.  He was a lead U.S. Department of the Interior Small Craft Boat Instructor who taught many students, from numerous agencies, to Safely operate GOV vessels. 

He detailed to the Mexican Border for Border Security and assisted other parks during special events, such as Jean Lafitte’s Battle of New Orleans Anniversary, as well as Post-9-11 Gateway Arch Security.

Along with a USFWS agent, at the Arch, Mike detained terror suspects who were transferred to the FBI. He was a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center Distinguished Weapons Firearms Instructor, the highest award for firearms.

He led many Search and Rescue operations, helping numerous individuals in distress.  He saved lives during record flooding events and received the U.S. Department of the Interior Valor Award for Heroism and Life Saving, Texas Parks and Wildlife Director’s Award for Life Saving, Tyler County Emergency Management Award for Public Safety and a US Congressional Award for Life Saving, presented by US Congressman Brian Babin at the park.

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