Angela "Angus Beef" Bumstead turned heads when she stopped by Woodville driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a 27-foot long hot dog on wheels! She surprised her grandmother and Woodville resident, Bobbie Dengler, and mother, Lauren Bumstead, who had both never seen the vehicle before. Upon arriving in Bobbie's driveway, Angela blasted the jingle horn that sings "Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener", while her partner Owen "Oweenie" Stone greeted Bobbie and Lauren through the Wienermobile's PA speaker system. Texas marked Angela's twenty-fourth state of her year-long tour that will end in June. Frankly, she is having a "bunderful" time. Upcoming college graduates are encouraged to apply to be a Wienermobile driver or "hotdogger" before January 31 on oscarmayer.com. Fans of the Wienermobile can download the smartphone app to see the full calendar of events. Frank you!
Iconic Woodville Soda Fountain Closes—After 52 years, Jarrott’s Ole Time Soda Fountain (now in Dogwood Pharmacy) has closed. Generations of Tyler County folks have sat at that soda fountain, eating the delicious sandwiches, ice cream and drinking coffee while chatting with friends. (Emily Waldrep Photo)
by Emily Waldrep
A Woodville community staple since 1952, Jarrott's Ole Time Soda Fountain closed its doors on January 22 after Jeff Terry, owner and pharmacist at Dogwood Pharmacy, said it had been losing money and customers for months.
Terry bought Dogwood Pharmacy, formerly known as Jarrott's, in April of 2015. At that time, the fountain located inside the pharmacy was already losing profit, but Terry fought to keep it up and running.
"It was losing money before I bought it in April," Terry said. "It kept going downhill. Tammy's Diner moved in, which really hurt us, and then Blue Bell really hurt us with their problems. "
After the fountain couldn't get ice cream, and new eateries started popping up all over town, Terry said that no one would have been able to keep it running due to the lack of customers. Marie Bowen, former fountain employee, had been employed at the fountain for three years and said she had seen firsthand the decline in business, customers and revenue coming in.
"The first year I worked here, it was booming," Bowen said. "We had business all the time. The counter was full at lunch time, and we stayed open until 5 p.m. It just started to go downhill. When Jeff took over, we weren't even making enough money at the fountain to pay my wages, but he kept it open anyway."
Terry tried to reduce hours at the fountain to keep it running, but found he was still taking too great of a loss and had to make the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the fountain.
"We were only getting three customers in here a day," Bowen said. "The community didn't support us."
But, Terry says that the fountain may not have seen its last days, and is rooting for the fountain to re-open.
"I would love for someone to come in here and rent out the space and continue to run the fountain independently," Terry said. "They would have to do something different, but anyone who wants to come in to take it over would be welcome. I'm not sure how much I would charge for rent, but it would be very, very, very little."
All of the equipment and the bar itself will remain right where it is, waiting for someone to come along and breathe new life into the business. Terry even said he would allow someone to extend the fountain to make it bigger, so that more products could be offered. Until then, the fountain will remain closed, but untouched.
"It's hard to say what happened to our customers and regulars," Bowen said. "We have so many places to eat in town, but our sandwiches are good, and no place in town makes shakes and malts like we did."
Bowen says she wants to send a message to the community that may be angry about the fountain closing.
"You should have supported us more," she said. "You should have been here every day, and come in like you did the first year I worked here. I am going to miss everyone, it was like a big family. But it is unrealistic to run the fountain when we have no business."
Terry said she thinks the fountain could live again, if someone would come in and take it over and add some things to the menu, extend the space, and offer more advertising.
"We tried our best to keep it open and we kept it open for as long as we can," Bowen said. "If it were me, I would have shut it down too. We needed the counter full every day to keep it open, we needed customers."
Terry says even though the fountain may be closed, Bowen will remain right where she has been for the past three years, just working in the pharmacy and gift shop section of the store.
If you are interested in running the fountain independently, stop by Dogwood Pharmacy and talk to owner Jeff Terry.
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford (left) welcomes new deputy Tawun Mitchell.
by Emily Waldrep
If you are out and about in Tyler County and happen to see a new face patrolling the area, you may want to introduce yourself to Tawun Mitchell, a new deputy working with the Tyler County Police Department.
Mitchell has lived and worked in Tyler County his entire life, and says it's nice to serve an area that is so close to his heart.
Mitchell graduated from Woodville High School in 2002 and graduated Texas State University in San Marcos in 2008. He then returned to Woodville to take care of his ill mother, and began working at the probation office.
"I started working at the jail in September of 2012," Mitchell said. "Then last January I attended the Police Academy at Angelina, and am now working the streets for the Sheriff's Department."
Mitchell says that his mother always taught him to do something to make an impact, and he believes working at the Sheriff's Department as a deputy is a great way to do that.
"It has been different and it has been fun and interesting and I learn something new everyday," Mitchell said. "Working in the jail is a contained atmosphere and you almost know what is coming, but being in the streets you never know what you are going to get."
Last week, children from St. Paul's Episcopal School stopped by the Tyler County Justice Center and presented Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford with several Guardian Angel pendants that will be distributed throughout the department's staff.
The pendants read, "You have a guardian angel that watches over you, everywhere you go and everything you do. This gentle silent helper is there to be your guide, to shelter and protect you, and for you to walk beside. Your angel will always protect you whenever things go wrong, they'll be the wings beneath your feet, as life's path you walk along."
According to Sharon Brown, principal at St. Paul's, the students also presented the pendants to the City Police, DPS and local sanitary workers.
"There has been so much happening lately that we felt that they could use a little guardian angel on their shoulder," Brown said. "The students picked out the pendants themselves, and although we have handed out pendants before, this is the first year we have given them to our law enforcement and sanitary workers."
Sheriff Weatherford as well as the entire staff at the Sheriff's Department thank the facility and the children of St. Paul's for the wonderful gesture.
Rotarian Joyce Wilson is shown delivering the Rotary Club of Woodville's donation of school supplies to Wheat Primary School's Bobbie Vinson this week. The Club has donated supplies for needy primary school students for quite a number of years now. Joyce has spearheaded the project since it's inception. (Bob Boykin Photo)
The Spurger Volunteer Fire Department is helping memorialize four children that died in an early morning house fire in Spurger on February 4.
On August 8, the department bought and assembled a wooden playground at River Acres Church in Spurger in memory of Koltyn Owen Allen Loftin, Kyi'leigh Beth Mobley Loftin, Dy'cin LeBron Webb and Haven Denise Webb. The playground was paid for solely by members of the Fire Department.
"It is set up at the church as a community playground," said Fire Chief Ellis Jones. "We just thought we needed to do this. It was one of the worst incidents we have ever had happen. All house fires are bad, but losing four children took a toll on everyone."
Since February, the Spurger community, Volunteer Fire Departments and Tyler County have all gone above and beyond to help the family of the children that died. In addition to the swing-set, the Spurger VFD created a program to help put smoke detectors in the homes of the elderly and children that did not have one, free of charge.