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Tyler County News - Breakout

Settlocker named county Emergency Coordinator

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TylerCountSealBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – On Tuesday, Tyler County Judge Milton Powers announced that the county would like to welcome aboard John Settlocker as its new Emergency Management Coordinator.

Settlocker will take the position formerly held by Ken Jobe, who resigned in September, after seven years. In the interim, Trisher Ford served in the position.

As the head of the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Settlocker brings a wealth of experience, according to Judge Powers. “He is no stranger to many parts of our county, as he lives in Tyler County. He comes to us with a multitude of experience stemming from his 20 years of service with the Texas A&M Forest Service,” Powers said.

Powers said that during the process of finding a new coordinator, he received multiple applications and did interviews with a committee and wanted to thank each applicant who applied.

Powers added that Settlocker has numerous hours of training in the NIMS (National Incident Management System) and with the ICS (Incident Command System), and he also teaches classes for the Forest Service.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Settlocker and moving Emergency Management in Tyler County forward,” Powers said.

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Christmas events begin this week

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Heritage Village is decorated for Christmas, and ready for folks to come on Saturday for the annual Twilight Tour, which will include music and a church service in the Cherokee Church. FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDSHeritage Village is decorated for Christmas, and ready for folks to come on Saturday for the annual Twilight Tour, which will include music and a church service in the Cherokee Church. FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS EDWARDS

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – With Thanksgiving now just a hint in the rearview mirror and the taste of turkey a memory, the countdown to Christmas is now ticking. This week sees the beginning of countywide Christmas celebrations.

One unique Tyler County tradition that will take place during the Friday and Saturday cheer is the Christmas Twilight Tour at Heritage Village in Woodville. The Village has been decorated by volunteers, and on Saturday, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., attendees can come and tour the Village by oil lamps and lanterns.

Heritage Village director Ofeira Gazzaway said that everyone should come out and enjoy natural greenery, as well as music on the Village Green stage and a Christmas service inside the Cherokee Church.

Attendees can also pick up a snack box as they leave, she said. The event is free for all who wish to attend and is a way of saying “thanks” to all who support the Village.

During the event, tours of the Clyde Gray House Museum are also available. The house, located on the adjacent to the Village, on the property, is the former home and studio of founder and artist Clyde Gray, and serves as a tribute and museum to preserve his legacy.

At 6 p.m., the children from the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, under the direction of Sharon Brown, will perform, followed by the singers from the Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church, under the direction of Bro. Jimbo Swinney. The church service inside the Cherokee Church will be at 7 p.m.

The Tyler County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Christmas in Tyler County” celebration begins Friday, Dec. 1, with vendors on the town square in Woodville, and the county lighting the Tyler County Courthouse, as well as presenting an open house for the public to see the renovations to the facility.

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 fee 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.

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Colmesneil city council receives updates on Pitzer Street project

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112323 pitzer projectSTOCK PHOTO

By Mollie LaSalle
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The Colmesneil City Council held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday at city hall, and breezed through all agenda items fairly quickly.

Council adopted Ordinance # 128 FY 2024 approving the city budget for 2024. All office reports, including financial and investment, office and water and sewer were approved, along with the minutes from the previous month’s meeting.

City secretary Wendy Bendy advised council members that the city has had five bids come in for the Pitzer Street bridge project.
The highest bid was $358K, the lowest was $242K. Bendy said that Lesley Waxman and the engineers were going to meet with the city in approximately two weeks to discuss particulars of the grant the city is receiving for this project.

Bendy further advised that the contract for the project is set to be awarded at the next council meeting, December 12, at 6 p.m.; a mayor pro-tem will also be selected at that time.

In other business, Mayor Duane Crews, and councilmembers Gene Allen and Dennis Moffett were all sworn in for another two year term, 2024-26.

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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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