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updated 2:17 PM UTC, Mar 22, 2019


Chester passes resolution supporting 2A rights

by Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – The City of Chester passed a resolution supporting Second Amendment rights at its regular council meeting on the evening of Monday, March 4.

Mayor Floyd Petri forwarded the resolution to clarify the city’s support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution in response to recent efforts in the United States and Texas congresses. The resolution supports the Second Amendment text granting citizens the right to bear arms and to double up on the duty of congress persons to fulfill their “Oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”

The resolution begins with noting how several bills and ordinances have been proposed and passed throughout the country, and they consider “all laws, bills” supporting “Gun Control and/or Red Flag Laws” as infringing “upon the people’s right to keep and bear arms.”

The council unanimously passed the resolution that “any form of Gun Control and/or Red Flag Laws to be a violation of an elected official’s Oath of Office.”

For restrictions, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee just passed H.R. 8 that would criminalize the private transfer of guns—even the loaning of a gun to a neighbor—and HR 1112 that enhances background checks. Both bills will head to the full House, and both are expected to fail in the Senate.
In Texas, HB 131 forwards a Red Flag law, HB 1164 would restrict open carry in larger cities, HB 1207 would criminalize a failure to report a stolen gun, and HBs 1236 and 1173 will allow universities to opt out as they please. HB 1231 would repeal the prohibition on carrying in a church or place of worship.

City secures military dump truck
In other business, Petri was glad to announce they had no need to purchase a dump trailer, as he and Director of Public Works Dale Clamon had secured a military dump truck at no cost from Tyler County, which will help the city immensely.

City Secretary Annette Hickman fielded questions on the Chester Gas Company customers who were past due. The council approved cut offs for all those who by policy were past due and who had not made prior arrangement with Hickman’s office to pay their bills.

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Commissioners denote ‘Heart Health Month’ in Tyler County



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Tyler County Commissioners received updates on several items and approved some purchasing at the Monday, Feb. 25 meeting of commissioners court.

One item on the agenda that County Judge Jacques Blanchette presented in the form of a proclamation recognized the month of February as “Heart Health Month” in Tyler County. The national emphasis on heart health throughout the month places a focus on making life changes to prevent heart disease and encouraging doctors and nurses to become leaders in their respective communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease and making healthier choices in life.

Tyler County Hospital CEO Sondra Williams, as well as TCH employees Christina Hood and Janay Gilbert and Ken Jobe, Hospital Board Chairman, were on hand to recognize the proclamation and Heart Health Month.

Mutual aid for juvenile counseling/mental health services
An agreement was approved for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) to provide counseling and/or mental health services for juvenile offenders in Tyler County.

This routine mutual-aid agreement, which was presented to the court by Terry Allen, the county’s chief juvenile probation officer, “seemed to meet all of the criteria”, Blanchette said.

Purchases approved for Pct 4
Commissioners approved two purchases for Precinct 4 of heavy equipment. In two separate agenda items, the purchase of a 2019 Mack truck tractor and a CPS belly dump trailer from the Wichita Falls-based dealership Bruckner’s was approved.

The funds for these purchases will come from HGAC, a cooperative government-to-government buy board.

At its Monday meeting, commissioners also voted to approve the following agenda items:
• A resolution authorizing the submission of a fiscal year 2019-2020 Texas Community Development Block Grant was presented and approved.
• An intergovernmental agreement between the county and the Tyler County Special Utility District (formerly Tyler County Water Supply Corp.) was approved.
• The investment of additional county funds in the Texas Class Pool Funds was approved. County Treasurer LeAnn Monk recommended this action as the county is “currently sitting on quite a bit of money” not drawing significant interest.
• The appointment of Jennifer Miller as ESD #3 Commissioner through Dec. 31, 2020 was made.

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Commissioners approve equipment transfer; application resolution



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – In its third meeting of 2019, the Tyler County Commissioners Court met and tackled its agenda in a short, succinct manner, clocking in at 20 minutes, as County Judge Jacques Blanchette noted.

One of the items on Monday morning’s agenda concerned the transfer of ownership of a five-ton military grade dump truck from the office of Pct. 2 Constable John Fuller to the City of Chester. The truck, according to Fuller, is a 1985 model and has some maintenance issues. He said the city has expressed interest in owning the truck and will take care of the maintenance and insurance on it. Fuller added that if at any time the vehicle is needed by Pct. 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock, the city would have no problem allowing him to use it.

Blanchette said through the years Tyler County has benefited from the ability to procure military equipment, but for record-keeping, all of the purchases must come through the court prior to acquisition by a precinct or county department. Commissioners approved the transfer.

In other business, commissioners voted to approve the authorization for submission of a Texas Community Development Block Grant for fiscal year 2019-2020. Lesley Waxman of David J. Waxman Inc. was on hand to speak about the process. “[The resolution] is saying that you’re authorizing us to submit an application to the Texas Department of Agriculture. You are not putting up any money…it also gives you the authority to sign all documents associated with this grant,” she said.

The CDBG grant, according to Blanchette, is for the amount of $275K.

Blanchette put the resolution in the form of a motion and was seconded by Pct.1 Commissioner Martin Nash.

The commissioners also voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Tyler County Special Utility District, which was previously known as the Tyler County Water Supply Corporation. The agreement was needed, Blanchette said, because the SUD wishes to proceed with a CDBG application which will go through a committee appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, and which Nash is a member.

The agreement authorizes Blanchette, on behalf of the court, to award the grant money, if the SUD is found favorable to receive funds from the grant, if it is awarded to the county.

Resolution passed in support of Alabama-Coushatta tribe
Blanchette said the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Polk County are being discriminated against in their fight to maintain the Naskila Gaming center. The commissioners voted to approve a new resolution in support of the tribe.

The new resolution in support of the tribe reflects the desire for them to be granted the same rights to have a gaming center on their land as the Kickapoo and Yselta de sur Pueblo tribes of Del Rio and El Paso, respectively.

“We stand against any discrimination that would prevent them from exercising the same privileges that have been provided the aforementioned tribes,” Blanchette read from the resolution.

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Chester becomes a sanctuary city for gun owners



By Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – City Council of Chester passed an anti-Red Flag ordinance at its regular meeting Monday evening held on Feb. 4.

Mayor Floyd Petri had introduced it at the previous meeting. Petri solicited comments from the public and even hosted a town hall meeting on Saturday, Feb. 2, for anyone to comment on any aspect of city affairs. The previous mayor, Elton Lawrence, showed up and said he, too, supported Petri’s proposed ordinance.

The ordinance amends the city code adding an “Anti-Red Flag Ordinance” to help protect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights expressly so that those rights “shall not be infringed.” The purpose section outlined the threat of seizure being experienced in the country, even from those who have licenses to carry. The city considers all such laws a violation of the U.S. Constitution. “In effect the City of Chester, Texas creates a Sanctuary City for Legal Gun Owners … Texas Licensed Hunters, Firearm Collections, Arsenals, Christians and those persons bearing arms under the Second Amendment.”

As previously reported, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s SB 2607 and some abuses reported in other states have scared gun enthusiasts.

The Chester ordinance also protects firearm seizure from any anonymous reporting, a key concern in the debate, and ordinance makes such a clear infringement of Second Amendment rights.
The ordinance provides a mechanism for the citizen to appeal, and it makes exceptions for the mentally ill and states that “it is the individual and not the gun that kills and injures.”

Though a couple of were absent, the ordinance passed unanimously by the quorum present. Petri thanked council.

Other Business
In other business, the council approved the minutes of the previous meeting and the financials for the city and the Chester Gas System.

There was a little discussion on the purchase of the dump trailer, and Petri was working on options regarding that. Petri has initiated contact with the new Pct. 2 Commissioner Steven Sturrock to hopefully continue their partnership on road repairs the city had with long-time Chester resident and former commissioner Rusty Hughes, who retired last year.

There was a little progress on council members getting Incident Command System training with the National Incident Management System of FEMA.

Past due accounts were discussed, and there were several slated for lock out. Petri reiterated and thanked City Secretary Annette Hickman for her input as she worked with the public respecting needs and keeping the council abreast of those customers who have initiated contact to keep their gas service coming.

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