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Tyler County News - Breakout

County awarded $12 million grant

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112323 DETCOG CommissionersTyler County officials received two checks totaling more than $12 million for mitigation projects, awarded from the state’s General Land Office (GLO) at the monthly meeting on Tuesday of the DETCOG Board of Directors in Livingston. Pictured left-to-right: Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher; County Auditor Jackie Skinner; Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham; County Judge Milton Powers; County Clerk Donece Gregory and Pct. 2 Commissioner Doug Hughes. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten | PCE

By Mollie LaSalle and Chris Edwards
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 Tyler County Commissioner’s Court held a special called meeting Monday morning, and with all members present, the meeting was called to order.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher announced that the county has received a $12 million grant from the state’s General Land Office (GLO).

He said “the GLO emailed me last Monday, and said, you’ve got to justify two of your projects. Well, in the end, they emailed me back last Thursday to tell me we would be receiving the money.” Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham made the presentation at the Alabama Coushatta Multi-Purpose Center, Tuesday, Nov. 21.

The funding is part of a regional package of $68 million which is earmarked for mitigation projects and announced in September. According to Buckingham, who announced the funds in a news release at the time, the monies will “move forward projects that will protect the homes and businesses of those who live here.”

More than $42 million of that GLO money is earmarked for broadband and radio communications infrastructure. Tyler County will benefit from the broadband and radio funding, along with Polk; Jasper; Newton and San Jacinto counties.

County closes on Nutrition Center

Blacksher also announced that the county closed on the Nutrition Center Monday, November 20. He explained, “in 1985, an agreement was worked out to build the center with T.L.L. Temple Foundation grant money on Veterans Way Drive. Fast forward to now, about one to two years ago, we (the county) were approached by some of the members of the VFW Post and they were wanting to up the rent, they didn’t like the fact that there was an elected official in there, (the county judge)”.

The post was basically saying the county was in violation of the lease. Again, the county built the building with grant money some 38 years ago. Blacksher’s recommendation was to buy it and be done with it.

Subdivision regulations discussed

One item that had been tabled was brought up for discussion again. A variance filed by Timberland Branch Subdivision being developed by Joslin Development Group, LLC.

The developer is requesting a variance to be relieved from several requirements of the county’s subdivision regulations. The request was first presented to the Commissioners Court in September, and tabled. The development is comprised of 10-25 acre tracts in Pct. 4.

Last Monday, the court held a public hearing concerning the county’s subdivision regulations and an update to them.
Blacksher spoke on behalf of the topic during the hearing and said there were several revisions to the regulations suggested to fit the county’s situation. “We sat down and developed a plan more fitting for Tyler County,” he said, and added that individuals, such as GLS Engineer Jed Morris assisted in drafting the revisions and suggesting more suiting protocol.

Other Business

The court approved an order authorizing Christmas and New Year’s Fireworks sales, beginning Dec. 20, 2023, and ending at midnight, January 1, 2024. They also approved an amended county holiday calendar.

County employees will now be off Dec. 22-26, returning to work on Dec. 27. Commissioners also set term days and dates for the FY 2024.

The court approved an authorization authorizing GLS to advertise for bids on the Tyler County TDA contract number CDV21-0384-Tyler County SUD Water System Improvements. Morris with GLS spoke to the court about the future plans for this project; he also advised that the material and construction bids will be open for consideration on December 12, 2023 at the courthouse, and the commissioners could call a special meeting to hear the bids.

The county also accepted a $200 donation from Riley’s Funeral Home to the Tyler County Nutrition Center.

They also approved engaging Belt, Harris, Pechacek, LLC to perform the annual audit, and renewed the DPDesktop (DATAPILOT INC) Software and one year maintenance agreement.

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Rotary hosting ‘Breakfast with Santa’

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112323 Breakfast with Santa photoThe Rotary Club of Woodville is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa fundraiser. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. and last until 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the fellowship hall of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Tickets to have breakfast with jolly St. Nick are $6 for adults and $5 for children. The tickets are available from any Rotarian, or from the front desk of the Tyler County Booster office. The location for the event is 1703 W. Bluff St., in Woodville.
Photo by Jim Powers | TCB


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Countywide Christmas celebrations scheduled

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112323 christmas eventsThe annual Christmas in Tyler County celebration , with the lighting of the town square and courthouse, will take place on Friday, Dec. 1, and yes, there will be an appearance from Santa Claus, himself! TCB file photo by Jim Powers

By Chris Edwards
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No sooner than the last of the leftover turkey is put toward tasty sandwiches, Christmas planning becomes the order of the day.

As tradition has it, the countywide Christmas in Tyler County celebration will take place the next weekend after Thanksgiving, and this year’s celebration, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2, will be full of family friendly fun.

Several noteworthy Christmas celebrations take place this week, including the annual Twilight Tour at Heritage Village, the Woodville Rotary Club’s Breakfast with Santa and the Chamber of Commerce’s countywide celebration.

For the Chamber’s Christmas offerings, it is presenting a Mistletoe Market on Friday, Dec. 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., during the lighting of the downtown Woodville square and courthouse celebration, and the next day, Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are still vendor spots available, and those forms, and pertinent information, can be accessed via the Chamber’s website, www.tylercountycoc.com.

The Chamber is also hosting a tree contest that is open to all businesses in Tyler County. According to Chamber director Holly Wells, the incentive for participants is to “Get creative.”

“It can be a real tree, an artificial one, or not even a tree at all,” Wells said. Participants must submit photos of their entries by Monday, Dec. 11. Voting begins on Tuesday, Dec. 12. There is a $10 entry fee, and the winners will be announced on Dec. 20.

Also during the events next weekend, the Chamber is hosting a Santa’s Workshop event for Chamber business members to provide a craft, or some sort of activity, for the kids, while providing a way to promote businesses, according to Wells.

During Saturday’s events, the Chamber is hosting a car show and toy drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The entry free is an unwrapped new toy, which will go to the Tyler County Child Welfare Board’s Angel Tree program.

Wells said the theme is for participants to decorate their car, truck motorcycle in Christmas themes, and the public will vote for their favorite.

The Chamber’s Jolly Jeep Jingle will take place at the same time, and the entry fee is $25. Awards will be given in three categories for the Jeep Jingle: Best Christmas Decorated; People’s Choice and Chamber’s Choice.

There is also a separate contest, with a $10 entry fee for “Superb Sound and Custom System,” for Jeep owners to show off what their sound systems can do.

The Rotary Club of Woodville will host its tasty annual Christmas fundraiser on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., “Breakfast with Santa.”

Pancake and sausage breakfast plates will be available for $5 for children and $6 for adults at the St. Paul’s Episcopal fellowship hall.
Also slated for Saturday is the annual “Twilight Tour” celebration at Heritage Village, which lasts from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. In addition to a decked-out Village, attendees to this event also have the opportunity to visit the Clyde Gray House Museum, which will be decorated for Christmas.

Boat parade cancelled

Ivanhoe’s annual Christmas boat parade has been cancelled due to the extended period of dry weather.

According to the city offices, Lake Charmaine is low and some residents are unable to get their boats out of the boathouse, which has resulted in the decision to not have the lighted boat parade this year, which is traditionally the first Saturday in December.

However, the community will host “Christmas with Santa,” in the Community Center on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 9. That event will include photo opportunities with Santa.

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Schools all pass FIRST ratings

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FinancialStatements STOCK

From Staff Reports

AUSTIN – Tyler County school districts received high marks for the 2021-2022 school year from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on how their finances are managed.

TEA rates each school district on how they manage taxpayer dollars for each school year. Every school district submits financial statements to TEA and is given a grade from the state’s financial accountability rating system, known as the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). The rating system ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better.

Both Colmesneil and Spurger received perfect scores of 100 on their FIRST ratings.

Here are how the five districts in the county fared:

• Chester ISD 98 A = Superior Achievement

• Colmesneil ISD 100 A = Superior Achievement

• Spurger Isd 100 A = Superior Achievement

• Warren Isd 89 B = Above Standard Achievement

• Woodville ISD 98 A = Superior Achievement

The primary goals of School FIRST are to:

· Efficiently assess the quality of financial management in Texas public schools

· Measure and report the extent to which financial resources in Texas public schools assure the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes

· Implement a rating system that fairly and equitably evaluates the quality of financial management decisions

· Improve the management of school districts’ financial resources

· Increase financial accountability within Texas’ public education system

The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.

The FIRST ratings are calculated using several critical indicators, such as the fund balance, net asset balance, annual financial report, fiscal responsibility indicators, budgeting, personnel, and cash management.

FIRST ratings for the last 20 years are available on the TEA website https://tea.texas.gov/finance-and-grants/financial-compliance/financial-integrity-rating-system-of-texas-first.

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WISD receives vehicle donation

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By Chris Edwards
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Gideons International volunteer Walter Fink addresses the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees about returning to the district to distribute copies of the Bible.  CHRIS EDWARDS | TCBGideons International volunteer Walter Fink addresses the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees about returning to the district to distribute copies of the Bible. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCBWOODVILLE – The Woodville ISD Board of Trustees voted at its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening to accept a donation of a vehicle from an anonymous donor.

WISD superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said that the district has been struggling with transportation needs for its 18+ transition program within its special education department. The program acts as a transitioning vehicle for students after graduating, for ages 18-26, to be able to transition from school into the workforce.

Meysembourg said the donor stepped forward, saying they believed in the program and wanted to help, and that the vehicle is safe and will be maintained by WISD personnel.

Gideons address trustees

During the public forum portion of Monday evening’s meeting, Walter Fink spoke on behalf of Gideons International.

Fink, along with fellow Gideon Steve Jones, was present, and opened his comments with a prayer, which thanked God for the presence of the Bible. The focus of Gideons International is to distribute free copies of the Bible to lodging rooms; hospitals; military bases; schools and other places.

The Gideons had distributed copies of the Bible to students at Woodville Intermediate in the past, but had been on hiatus since 2020, due to the pandemic.

Fink requested that the Gideons be allowed to distribute the Bible to fifth graders, but also to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, who have missed out through the past few years.

Other Business

During Monday’s meeting, the WISD Board of Trustees also handled the following business:

• Trustees John David Risinger and Jimmy Tucker were sworn-in by WISD secretary Tammy Watts to begin serving out a new term. Both trustees, who serve in places 1 and 2, respectively, ran unopposed in this most recent election. In addition, the reorganizing of the board took place, with board members nominated and approved to serve in the executive capacities. Those board members were: Tucker, who will again serve as board president; John Wilson, who is serving another term as vice president and Josh McClure, who will again serve as secretary.

• During her regular report, Meysembourg said that WISD had submitted its enrollment numbers to UIL, with 364 students in the high school, a difference of one less than last year. UIL will determine in December if Woodville High School is a division 1 or 2 school within its conference, and realignment brackets will be published for football in February of next year.

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