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Tyler County News - Breakout

An open letter from Judge Jacques Blanchette

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Blanchette Web ResEDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was sent to the Booster by outgoing County Judge Jacques Blanchette to address his constituents as he finishes his final term.

My fellow Tyler Countians,

December 31 will mark the end of an era for my serving as your chief elected official, executive officer, emergency management director, president member of county government and sitting judge over several courts. Also, being the face of our county on numerous regional, state and several national occasions. What an honor you have entrusted to me. Thank you!

We have weathered many challenges together. The past four years have been particularly difficult with the pandemic and its aftermath, having taken such a toll on so many. Your prayers and support were especially meaningful during such stressful days. Hopefully, you have felt the prayers of Leeza, Brent and me for you as well.

I have benefitted greatly with such a talented, dedicated and professional staff during these past 16 years. Without them, my efforts would have been futile. They are the ones who delivered the level of service necessary to fulfill your needs. I shall be forever grateful to each of them. Additionally, my family has made many personal sacrifices during this season of public service. I can never repay them for their devotion.

A new era of county leadership will begin in 2023. My predecessor, Judge Jerome Owens, and I, held the office of County Judge over the past 34 years. I know you will provide County Judge-Elect Milton Powers with the same support as he begins his time as our next Judge.

May peace be with us all as the days ahead unfold with new opportunities and challenges. Together, we can meet each one. May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you.

Sincerely, Jacques L. Blanchette

Tyler County Judge


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Chester seeks new grant bids

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chester logoBy Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – Chester Mayor Robert Poynter had a rough day Monday, Dec. 5, before they convened the city council meeting that evening.

Poynter had been in communication with Civil Engineer Nicholas Hoelscher, of Goodwin Lasiter and Strong in Lufkin, who had been overseeing the bidding process for their long-awaited grant work, but things did not turn out as hoped.

   As Poynter informed the council, all the bids came in well over their budget, which would have necessitated the city add several tens of thousands to the cost of work Hoelscher had worked up for the bids. Therefore, Hoelscher recommended not accepting any bid. Quite frustrated, Poynter outlined his concerns and instructed Hoelscher to make clear that they did not want any bid over their budget. Why that was not clear all along was quite perturbing. Poynter voiced the frustration of the entire council over having spent so much so far, and, if they had to cancel all at this late date, they would have pay the Feds even more. The message seemed to be clear, and Hoelscher said they would rework the specs for the work on Bell Street and Ballpark Loop.

   In an even longer dialogue, Poytner had asked representatives from Magnum Gas in Shreveport to come and explain how the Chester Gas Company reserves worked. Ronny Young and Greg Dorris came and gave quite an education. Dorris, director of transportation and marketing, explained the ups and downs of a volatile market, where prices for gas fluctuate daily. Chester has the ability to maintain about 2,500 dekatherms in reserve, where one dekatherm is about 1,000 cubic feet. Chester customers use about 10,000 dekatherms a year. If Dorris can purchase a 1,000 for reserve at a low price, than Dorris can issue from that reserve during times when the price skyrockets, saving the city money.

   Dorris spent almost an hour answering questions and addressing billing. At the close, the city felt it wise to agree with Dorris on maintaining a reserve. Young suggested the city adjust their billing and meter reading to coincide closer to the way the supplier bills, which was from the first of the month to the first of the next.

   After Magnum Gas left, the council spent a good deal of time on reevaluating and double-checking their profit and loss versus their billing.

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Pickett House hosts German author

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German author Barbara Ortwein MOLLIE LASALLE|TCBGerman author Barbara Ortwein MOLLIE LASALLE|TCB

By Mollie LaSalle
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – The Pickett House played host to German author Barbara Ortwein on the evening of  Friday, Nov. 18.

Ortwein gave a lively and fun-filled lecture on her three historical novels about the German immigration to Texas in the 1840’s.

In her three historical novels, Ortwein tells the story of the Engelbach family and their compatriots on their journey from Germany to Texas. Her first book, “Between Worlds, Never to Return spans the years 1844-1847; her second book, “Deep in The Heart Of Texas But Not Yet At Home, spans the years 1847-1865, and her third book, “At Journey’s End: Texans Forever!” spans the years 1865-1898.

Ortwein, born in Lippstadt, spent 40 years as a teacher of German and music in Winterberg, Germany, before retiring and moving to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Ortwein’s main characters, Johann and Karl Engelbach are fictional, but they interact with real immigrants in the Texas timeline of her books, as they participate in the historic emigration and settlement in Texas during the time period. During her research, she was “amazed there were so many Germans who immigrated to Texas, there was land, land and more land at ridiculously low prices.”

Ortwein entertained the audience, reading passages form her books, and sang songs in German and English, including “Down By The Brazos,” “Yellow Rose of Texas” and “Deep In The Heart of Texas.”

She also offered up a few songs in German including “Trink, Trink, Bruederlein, Trink (Drink, Drink, Come Brother, Drink)”, “Hoch Solln Sie Leben (Here’s To Our Host)” and “Ein Prosit Der Gemuetlicheit (A Toast Now)”.

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Tyler County Hall of Famers

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Compiled by Chuck Davidson

Below is a listing of folks who lived in or were born in Tyler County and were voted into a college, state, or national Hall of Fame.  My list is not exclusive; if you know someone who might qualify, please email Chris Edwards at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Send the name, the reason, the year inducted, and the Hall of Fame organization.

Beaty, Zelmo Athletics Prairie View Hall of Fame      2014

Fortenberry, Claud Ranching Willcox Cowboy HOF     1986

Franks, Elvis Football Morgan State University HOF      2018

Hatton, Grady Baseball/Coach Texas Baseball HOF       1996

Univ. of Texas HOF        1967

Johnson, Barry W Band Director TX Bandmasters HOF       2011

National Association of Military

Marching Bands       2017

Jones, George Music Country Music HOF       1992

Payton, John Coaching & Officiating Prairie View Sports HOF      2014

TX Black Sport HOF       2005

Pitts, Hugh Lynn Football TCU Lettermen’s Association HOF  1976

Ramos, Sergio Tennis/Coaching TX Tennis Coaches Association     2008

White, Jessie Coaching Prairie View Coaches Association    2021

Wolf, Jessie Athletics Prairie View HOF            2014

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Winning Veterans Day essay: ‘Thank you for your service’

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Editor’s Note: The following essay was written by Woodville High School student Alyssa Johanson. Alyssa won the school’s Veterans Day Essay Contest.

It is our honor to present Alyssa’s winning essay, which shares the ideal of what it means to be truly thankful for the sacrifice in service from our military veterans.

ThankYouVets StockBy Alyssa Johanson

“Thank you for your service” is five words, and twenty-two letters, with a hundred different meanings.

I am thankful for veterans’ service because many chose to leave their families to protect our country. Veterans who served did so by choice. It takes a lot for someone to leave their country and their family to protect us. None of them knew if they would ever see their families again. Thanks, is not enough for those who chose to leave their families to serve us.

Another reason I am thankful for veterans is that they risked their lives for all the people of the United States. There are many reasons people decide to serve, but no matter what they protect the entire country in time of war and peace. The area of the United States is almost four million miles, with nearly three hundred- thirty million people on it! Thank you for protecting all of it. Veterans served for all of it not just a portion.

My life benefits from veterans’ service by giving me role models. Many things make up a good role model, just a few; being kindness, selflessness, and an honorable character. Veterans show all these qualities through their service. There are numerous reasons to look up to veterans whether you want to serve or not. I know veterans are not all the same, but many exhibit the same great traits.

Veterans service benefits my life by educating people. One of my favorite things veterans do is advocate for the armed forces and share their stories. It benefits me as a person because it reminds me to be thankful for my freedom. Often times I forget that someone somewhere fought so that I can wake up every morning and go to school.

In conclusion, many reasons illustrate why I am thankful for veterans’ service. “Thank you for your service” those five little words will never be able to express how thankful I am for veterans!

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