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Tyler County News - Breakout

Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette not seeking re-election

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Jacques BlanchetteJacques BlanchetteBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Long-serving Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election for another term.

Blanchette said that initially he did plan to seek re-election, but “recent events” have caused him to “re-evaluate what family needs may be required of me,” he said, which has caused him to decide against seeking another term.

“I greatly appreciate the privilege you’ve entrusted to me in serving. I hold fond memories of your kindness toward my family and confidence in me to do what’s right,” he said.

Blanchette’s term ends next year. Last week, Melissa Riley made an announcement to run for the office as a Republican. 

The primaries for next year’s general election are on March 1 to decide candidates for parties. There are no other declared candidates at present for the county judge position.

Blanchette began his first four-year term as county judge in January 2007 and is currently in his fourth term. Prior to becoming elected to office, he was affiliated with Stringer & Griffin Funeral Home.

Throughout Blanchette’s tenure, he has led the county through natural disasters, such as hurricanes Ike and Harvey, and through the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with his position, Blanchette has also served in various regional and local leadership positions and in his church. 

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Christmas activities scheduled

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The annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast is always popular with the kids.The annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast is always popular with the kids. (Booster File Photo)

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – With the Thanksgiving turkey, ham and grandma’s famous dressing still strong on tastebuds, Christmas celebrations are scheduled for Tyler County beginning next week.

The Tyler County Chamber of Commerce announced its theme for this year’s countywide Christmas celebration as “Bring Back Traditions.”

The Chamber’s events will begin on Thursday, Dec. 2 and continue through Dec. 3. “Let’s all gather to show the true meaning of Christmas in Tyler County,” said Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Holly Wells.

The fun slated for Thursday includes the “Mistletoe Market,” which will take place inside the Emporium Stage in downtown Woodville, beginning at 6 p.m. There will also be a movie screened on the square, “Polar Express.”

Attendees to the film screening are invited to bring blankets and chairs, and children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. 

The Mistletoe Market will continue on Friday, with shopping available inside the Emporium from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. that day. At 6 p.m., Santa will appear on the courthouse square and at 6:30 p.m., the tradition of lighting up the square will commence.

Some of the other events being sponsored by the Chamber include a Christmas cookie contest, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. at the courthouse square.

Participants can enter online at the Chamber’s website, tylercountycoc.com.

On Saturday, Dec. 4, the Rotary Club of Woodville will host its popular annual pancake and sausage breakfast event, “Breakfast with Santa.”

This event begins at 7:30 a.m. and takes place inside the fellowship hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Tickets to that event are $6 for adults and $5 for children.

If all that was not enough, the Chamber is also hosting a Christmas decorating contest, which is open to all Tyler County residents and businesses. 

The theme of the contest is “Back to Traditions,” in keeping with the overall theme of the celebration this year. The registration period for entrants ends on Sunday, Dec. 5, and judging will take place from Dec. 8 – 12.

There will be winners in both categories, business and residential. For anyone interested in entering, check out www.tylercountycoc.com/christmasintylercounty.

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Warren FFA members earn awards

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Warren FFA Members

NACOGDOCHESThe Warren FFA chapter traveled to Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches on Tuesday, Nov. 9 where they competed in the McGee Bend Leadership Competition. 

They came away with multiple banners, earning Sweepstakes Distinction and sending eight teams on to Area Competition. The teams were: 1. FFA Quiz- Cami Coleman, Andrew Craig, Juliet Crenshaw, and Gracie Moore- second place, advanced to Area. 2. Job Interview- Averie Willis-first place, advanced to Area. 3. Ag Advocacy-Colton Taylor, Melani Hargrave, Zoe Gonzalez, Maycie Allen, and Rebecca Norwood- first place, advanced to Area. 4. FFA Broadcasting- Zoe Gonzalez, Shane Fortner, and Bryce Dean – first place - advanced to Area. 5. Greenhand Chapter Conducting- Sam Standley, Weston Callaway, Sarah Decorte, Claire Petty, Emily Jones, Elyn Meredith, Hunt Reid, Jada Thompson, and Jenna Smith- 1st place, advanced to Area.  6. Senior Chapter Conducting- Austin King, Alyssa Yawn, Tyler Haynes, Julia Drake, Brooklyn Peddicord, Jase Fortner, and Wyatt Lott- first place, advanced to Area. 7. Public Relations- Natalie Standley, Chloe Johnston, Kyleigh Forsyth, Cole Weeks, first place, advanced to Area. 8. Greenhand Skills- Paula Fountain, Mikayla Brown, Hallie Foret, Maylynn Herrington, and Kyla Wallace- first place- advanced to area. 9. Senior Skills- Chloe Unsworth, Dusty Clinard, Tara Hollyfield- third place. 10. Senior Creed Speaking- Jana Haynes- third place. 11. Junior Creed Speaking- Emily Jones- third place. 

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WISD task force recommends new buildings, bond

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Tammy Watts administers the oath of office to new WISD board member Kris Fowler. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)Tammy Watts administers the oath of office to new WISD board member Kris Fowler. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)

By Chris Edwards

WOODVILLE – A new facility and a bond election was the recommendation that the Woodville ISD District Facilities Task Force arrived at after an ongoing study of the district’s campuses.

Trey Allison, on behalf of the Task Force, gave a presentation to the WISD Board of Trustees at the board’s regular monthly meeting, held on Monday, Nov. 15.

Along with Allison, several members of the Task Force were present at the meeting. These individuals are comprised of community members from various walks of life, including business owners, parents, WISD staff and others. The committee has met for almost a year and has examined various options with the district’s facilities.

Allison said they have looked at every possible option on facilities, from renovations to starting over, and ultimately, the facilities used for the Pre-K through fifth grade students “exhibit many challenges,” he said.

With regard to safety and cost efficiency, a one-roof building to facilitate those students would be the best option, in the findings of the committee, Allison said.

Secondarily, Allison said, the committee found that a new facility is needed for vocational-agricultural classes. 

The current facilities for those classes, Allison said, are just not adequate. Further, the committee recommended that in May of next year, a bond be called for the amount of $47,850,000.

With that projected figure, Allison said a projected tax increase of around $0.45 per $100 of assessed taxes could be expected, if passed.

“Although that sounds big…we’re on the very bottom [of tax rates],” Allison said.

“Strategically, this sets us for the future,” he added, at the end of the presentation.

Board members sworn-in; board reorganized

Before getting down to the business of the agenda, WISD Board President Jimmy Tucker presented outgoing board member Greg Stewart with a framed resolution honoring his service.

Stewart opted to not run for re-election, and Kris Stewart won his seat. Stewart said he was honored to have served on the board.

Returning board members Bryan Shirley and Richard “Kooter” Shaw were sworn in along with Stewart to begin serving the new term.

After they were administered the oath of their office, Tucker said it was time to reorganize the board. Shaw motioned to nominate Tucker as president; John Wilson as vice president and Josh McClure as secretary. The nominations were unanimously approved.

Other Business

The WISD Board of Trustees during its Monday night meeting also discussed and/or voted on the following items:

• The district’s annual investment policy was approved.

• The approval of unassigned fund balances were committed toward capital improvements, contingencies and debt service.

• A bid was awarded to Skywriter Communications for the WISD technology infrastructure project.

• Two bids were awarded to McWilliams and Son for two HVAC projects, totaling $87K.


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