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Tyler County News - Breakout

‘Magic of Christmas’ display ongoing

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN NEWMANPHOTO COURTESY OF BEN NEWMAN

Special to the Booster

COLMESNEIL – Everyone is invited to come see the Magic of Christmas in Colmesneil. Come and see more than three acres of land decorated with the Magic of Christmas lights, which are on now through New Year’s Day, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., unless bad weather.

The address is 406 County Rd. 3155, in Colmesneil. Feel free to use the circle driveway at the end of the road for easy exit. For more information on the Magic of Christmas, contact Shirley Sutton at 936-414-0570. Merry Christmas and a blessed new year to everyone.

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Colmesneil Elementary students named ‘Bulldog Champs’

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Bulldog Champs 11 30

Special to the Booster

COLMESNEIL – The students pictured have been selected as Bulldog Champs in Coach Grissom’s Physical Education class at Colmesneil Elementary.

The students are chosen based on the following criteria: Positive attitude, good sportsmanship, cardiovascular endurance, excellent effort in P.E. and showing respect and kindness to staff and peers.

Pictured front to back: Ben McKee, Cami Sheffield, Amber Talmage, McKenna Lyle, West Wilkinson, Joseph Louviere, Preston McKee, Cheyenne O’Neal, Annabelle Hawkins, Kailyn Marshall,

Natalie Hillhouse and Jolee Bendy.  Not pictured: Brigham Brown and Kash Maxwell.

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Christmas with the Gypsys

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Children enjoy toys given by the Gypsy MC COURTESY PHOTO Children enjoy toys given by the Gypsy MC COURTESY PHOTO

By Mollie LaSalle
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WOODVILLE – Woodville Gypsy MC will be hosting their third annual toy giveaway on Saturday, December 9, in the Woodville Shell parking lot, located at 705 S. Magnolia from noon to 5 p.m. This is their third year giving away stuffed animals, and they reach more children each year. It’s completely free, and the kids can take pictures with the bikes if they want to.

This event is the brainchild of Misty Arbuckle and Mary Lou Babnew, both members of Woodville Gypsy MC; Misty, aka “Chainsaw” is an active member, and Mary Lou Babnew, aka “June Bug” is a retired member. Babnew used to work for Pet Smart and got the ball rolling with the stuffed animals. Arbuckle said that” I give her (Mary Lou) credit for getting this started”.

Arbuckle went on to explain that “what happens is Pet Smart starts selling these specific toys, and they sell them to customers; the customers turn around and donate them back, and they (Pet Smart) collect them all and then they call us to come get them. We go with a trailer to collect all the stuffed animals and distribute them to whoever needs them.”

In return, the people at Pet Smart told them if they could get some pictures of them (the Gypsies) giving out the stuffed animals, they (Pet Smart) could sell more the next year. Woodville Gypsy MC also donate to Defenders of Animals in Galveston County; they come and get a bunch of the stuffed animals, they are actually pet toys, for the kids and the animals to play with.

Arbuckle further explained, “at that point, we didn’t have any interaction with the kids, we gave the bags of stuffed animals to other people and they distributed them. I just started brainstorming, and I came up with “Christmas with the Gypsies; our first year, we set a table up at the Dollar Tree parking lot and gave free toys and stuffed animals to people, and that’s what started it. We had roughly 253 children show up our first year, in 2021, and we had some of our members to stand out on the road and hold up signs directing people to come and get free toys”. Last year, they set up at Tractor Supply, and the turn out was even better received. This year, the plan was to approach the manager at the Shell station first, and Misty’s daughter, Kaitlyn went and talked to the manager, and she was like, “absolutely, I’d love to have y’all”.

Arbuckle mentioned the support they have received from area first responders; “We are good friends with several of the different officers/departments and have given each of them a bag of toys, that way if they interact with children, they can have a stuffed animal to comfort them.”

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Area entities receive millions in mitigation funding

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Pictured left-to-right: City of Woodville councilmember Paula Jones; city administrator Mandy Risinger; state land commissioner Dawn Buckingham and Woodville Mayor Amy Bythewood receive a check from the GLO. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE BLACKSHERPictured left-to-right: City of Woodville councilmember Paula Jones; city administrator Mandy Risinger; state land commissioner Dawn Buckingham and Woodville Mayor Amy Bythewood receive a check from the GLO. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE BLACKSHER

By Emily Banks Wooten and Chris Edwards
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LIVINGSTON – Dawn Buckingham, who serves as commissioner of the Texas General Land Office (GLO), was the featured speaker for the November meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) and the highlight was Buckingham’s presentation of more than $100 million dollars of funds to various cities and counties within the 11-county DETCOG region. The meeting was held last Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s multi-purpose center near Livingston.

“Federal funds can be complicated to administer, but the GLO is helping communities across Texas cut red tape and turn funds promised into projects delivered. These projects were prioritized at the local level by those who live in the communities that will ultimately benefit from the improvements. We are in Deep East Texas because we care about this region and want to help move these projects forward for the benefit of these communities,” Buckingham said.

Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funding is administered by the GLO and will be used for a variety of projects to mitigate the impact of future disasters including hurricanes and floods. More than $161 million in mitigation funds were allocated to Deep East Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Through a method of distribution developed by DETCOG and approved by the GLO, two-thirds of the mitigation funding is going to local jurisdictions, including seven counties, 14 cities and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, giving each community the ability to implement mitigation projects that meet its own unique needs. One-third is going toward regional projects to improve broadband and interoperable public safety communications.

Tyler County received a total of $12,060,000 of the funds, which was allocated in two chunks: $2,672,000 for drainage improvements throughout the county and $9,388,000 earmarked toward water and street improvements and an emergency generator for the Colmesneil area. Two cities, Ivanhoe and Woodville, received checks of $1,933,000 and $3,325,00, respectively.

“The Texas General Land Office is proud to help communities grow knowing that the projects we fund will help protect local infrastructure, businesses and the homes of those who live here,” Buckingham said.

With November being Native American Heritage Month, it was only appropriate that DETCOG’s monthly meeting be held at on the Tribe’s land.

Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe performed several cultural dances for the crowd as part of a tribal historical presentation, including the grand entry, the round dance which is also known as the friendship dance and the hoop dance which represents the circle of life.

Welcoming the DETCOG members and representatives to Polk County were Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy; County Commissioners Guylene Robertson, Mark Dubose, Milt Purvis and Jerry Cassity; Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran; Alabama-Coushatta Chief Kanicu Mikko Choba Donnis B. Battise; and Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairman Ricky Sylestine.

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Candidate filing underway

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ElectionsAhead STOCK

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – Twenty twenty-four is going to be a big election year. Aside from it being a presidential election year, several countywide positions are ready for their turns on ballots, as well as elections at the municipal level and positions with various entities, such as school boards.

The first day for candidates interested in running in the upcoming 2024 March party primaries was Nov. 11, and that period will last until Monday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. that day. The Tyler County Clerk’s Office stated for interested candidates to submit their applications and required filing fees, depending on the office sought, to the party chairman.

The filing fees vary by the office sought and the population of a county, according to the Secretary of State’s website. In Tyler County, to seek the office of Justice of the Peace, the filing fee is $375.

In Tyler County, the chair for the Republican party is Rusty Kuciemba, who can be reached by phone at 512-477-9821, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For candidates wishing to file for the Democratic primary, the county’s Democratic chair is Robert Wood, who can be reached at 409-283-8554 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

One race up for re-election is that of Tyler County Sheriff, which runs during presidential election years, or every four years. Incumbent Sheriff Bryan Weatherford is running for re-election, and has filed in the GOP primary, as has challenger Mike King.

Any office-seekers who aspire to run in the primary for criminal district attorney on up to United States Senator have to file with the state chair of their respective party. In 2024, Senator Ted Cruz is up for re-election, as are all 38 members of the United States House of Representatives, who serve two-year terms. Senators serve six-year terms.

At the state level, all 150 state representatives are up for re-election. They serve two-year terms. A complete listing of all offices up for election next year can be found by accessing this link on Secretary of State Jane Nelson’s website: https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/guide/2024/offices2024.shtml.

For candidates who are seeking offices in municipal elections, on school boards or water districts, the state’s election code prescribes the authority to take filings from applicants to the respective secretaries of those entities.

For voters, the dates for the March primary are Feb. 20, 2024 through March 1 for the early voting period, and primary election day occurs on Tuesday, March 5. Tuesday, May 28 is set aside in case of a run-off election is triggered.

According to the County Clerk’s office, the last day to register to vote in the March primaries is Feb. 5, 2024, and voters can request an application by contacting Roxanne Hart, the county’s voter registrar, at 409-283-2281.

The first day to apply for a ballot by mail is Jan. 1, 2024. Applicants need to contact elections coordinator Amanda Stephens at 409-331-8133, extension 1011, to request an application to be mailed, as the clerk’s office is no longer allowed to automatically send one. The request must come from the voter, themselves.

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