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Spurger ISD meeting state standards

by Emily Waldrep

Spurger School Board held its regular meeting on Thursday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the John Mooney Hicks Administrative building.

The board started off with a public hearing to discuss the annual performance report that is conducted each year. According to Superintendent Joe Fisher, the report said that Spurger ISD is doing everything the state is asking and is well within the guidelines and numbers that they look for.

"We are meeting standards," Fisher said. "We are doing a good job and don't have a problem with drop outs. Also, a large amount of our students go to college and about two-thirds of the ones who go, focus on a degree in science."

The board then began approving the consent agenda, which included approving the minutes from the previous meeting, budget amendments, additional transfer students and the business managers report. All were approved unanimously.

Next, the board was to hear a report for the Tax Appraisal District Representative but the representative was out of town for the meeting and the issue was tabled.

The board heard the elementary principal's report from Principal Kim Parker, who said that things are going great in the elementary and that students are gearing up for Spring testing.

The board also discussed withdrawals and entry's, and noticed a higher number of withdrawals than normal of about four students.

"That is a lot, but we have had several students that unfortunately passed away and some families have moved across country for work," Fisher said. "We haven't had anyone mad at the district and want to leave."

Next, the board approved an official letter of engagement with the attorney for the school district. The district is staying with the same attorney, but keeps an updated letter of engagement on file.

In the Superintendent's report, Fisher gave an update on the $850,000 building project that is going on at Spurger ISD, and reported that contracts of construction are in the process of being signed and dated. He also reported on the facilities improvement plan, which will focus on better lighting inside and out of the schools, switching to more efficient lighting, upgrading and adding parking lots and a remodel of the Minter gym and classrooms attached to it.

Chester to review insurance plans

by Michael G. Maness

Mayor pro tem Gale Williams convened the Chester Council shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2, in the absence of Mayor C. E. Lawrence who was recovering from some minor surgery.

The minutes from the previous meeting were read by City Secretary Annette Hickman and approved.

The financial statements and bills for the city and the Chester Gas Company were discussed. Hickman reported that the insurance payment was up by $200, and she paid the bill in good faith, per Lawrence, rather than call a special council meeting for such. Councilman Floyd Petri made the motion to approve the financials and the good-faith payment for the insurance, and it was passed.

Employee insurance was vigorously discussed. Given that the city contract comes due this year, Councilman Vincent Incardona wanted to talk to the insurance carriers, and Williams and Petri were desirous, too, to review. Hickman mentioned the severe losses to coverage that would incur if they lost their current policy with the Texas Municipal League, and the penalty of coming back to TML if they went another route and wanted to return to TML. Hickman was encouraged to set up a meeting in the coming months.

Councilman John Wayne Davis asked about the city park and cleaning. Williams jibbed that perhaps a fire truck hose could be used, to some laughter. They city will be looking at options on cleaning.

On the part-time position, the city had received several more applicants, and—given the insurance question—wanted to make sure all was well before they hired another. The council plans to look at applicants and possibly interview at the next council meeting.

Warren Superintendent McEachern’s contract extended

by Doug Glosson

On January 20, Superintendent Brad McEathern was unanimously voted by Warren's School Board have his contract extended an additional year. Mr. McEathern is a top three finalist for Superintendent of the year in the state of Texas.

Also on this night, each school board member was recognized with tokens of appreciation for their commitment, sacrifice, and continuing service to the children of the communities that make up the Warren Independent School District. Each member was given recognition from nine high school students who have a parent serving on the board along with a certificate from Superintendent McEathern. The board members include Mr. Will Young, Mr. Billie Read, Mr. Marty Ramer, Mr. Burt Moore, Mrs. Oneta Harris, Mr. Terry Fry, and Mr. Rocky Burks.

Superintendent McEathern gave an enrollment update as follows.

District enrollment stands at 1237, bringing enrollment down three students from this time last year. McEathern also gave a reminder in regards to the Teacher of the year Banquet held February 3. The Warren School District selections are Brandy Bell for Fred Elementary, Richard Bean for Warren High School, Claudia Nash for Warren Junior High, and Kelly Dillard for Warren Elementary.

In other news, Mr. Rocky Burks made a motion to approve the consent agenda including bills and accounts totaling $209,432.88 along with the December 2014 tax office report and the motion was approved unanimously. Mrs. Oneta Harris made a motion to approve the financial statements as presented and was passed as well.

Mr. Billie Read made a motion to approve Rachel Iglesias' resignation effective January 20 and was unanimously approved. The Warren Community wishes her well in her future endeavors.
The next school board meeting will be on Monday February 23 at 7 p.m. in the Warren School Board Room, located in the Warren School Administration Office.

Woodville Council hears school zone violations, speeding issues

by Darby Kethan

The regularly scheduled meeting of the Woodville city Council was short, succinct, and very informative. City Manager, Mandy Risinger reported on progress with various projects in progress: and reports were heard from Judge Judith Haney and police chief Scott Yosko.

Of special interest to any persons with outstanding warrants in the Tyler County area, is "Texas Warrant Roundup". Woodville is one of only 200 in the state of Texas to participate in this program, March 7 through March 15. Outstanding, unpaid warrants in Tyler County total $1,120,000. Those with outstanding warrants are encouraged to take care of paying fines before the program begins as this will avoid any further indebtedness or any prolonged court appearances due to failure to pay.

Another item of special interest to any parent in the county should be the large number of school zone speeding violations. Of the 201 total violations in January, 40 were for failure to slow down to posted speeds in school zones. Judge Haney put it very clearly: "light to light", which means observing the posted speed from flashing light and sign to the next posted light and sign.

Another related statistic of interest shows that out of 201 total violations in January, 72 were for speeding and of that 72, almost half were for speeding at least 20 or more miles per hour over the posted limit (three were for 30 or more miles above posted limits). Speed limits are not suggestions, but carefully thought out regulations to assure the safety of all on the road, and especially of our children.

Chief Yosko said that there are increasing incidences of evading arrest which has become an offense with a more serious penalty, including the possibility of seizure of the offender's vehicle. In a recent incident, a motorist failed to stop and then did so suddenly, resulting in damage to police property.

Completion date for the new Colmesneil Fire Station bumped to February 27

Tyler County commissioners welcomed Dallas Barrington, the newest full time attorney for the county, during Commissioners Court Monday.  Pictured L-R: Barrington, Judge Jacque Blanchette, Assistant District Attorney Eric Hillman and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. (Kelli Barnes/Tyler County Booster Photo)Tyler County commissioners welcomed Dallas Barrington, the newest full time attorney for the county, during Commissioners Court Monday. Pictured L-R: Barrington, Judge Jacque Blanchette, Assistant District Attorney Eric Hillman and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. (Kelli Barnes/Tyler County Booster Photo)

by Kelli Barnes

Dallas Barrington has officially been welcomed as the newest member of the District Attorney's office for Tyler County. He will serve as the First Assistant Criminal District Attorney. Barrington comes to Tyler County from Hardin County, where he served as a criminal attorney for 10 years.

Commissioners voted to spend a portion of the $600,000 in Tyler County sales tax monies to reimburse some of the expenses incurred by the Tyler County Girls Softball Association and the Tyler County Baseball Association. "There is value to youth sports and we discussed, during budget workshops, the possibility of helping each of these organizations financially," said Judge Jacque Blanchette. Each association will receive $6000 and Commissioner Mike Marshall will convey to the court how each league plans to use the money, which is a requirement for receiving the funds. So far, the baseball side has purchased a lawn mower and is planning to purchase lumber and metal to replace the roof on the concession stand.

Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the submission of a grant application to the Texas Department of Agriculture. If Tyler County receives the $275,000 in grant money, it will be used for a new roof for the Tyler County Senior Citizens Center located at 201 Veterans Way in Woodville.

During the month of March, it will be free for Tyler County residents to bring white goods and metal to the Tyler County Collection Center, located on CR 1010 in Woodville. This annual event is designed to encourage spring clean up around the county. For more information, call 409-283-6712.

The official completion date for the Ike Round II Recovery project, which is the construction of a new fire station on Hwy. 69 in Colmesneil, was moved to February 27. "We are having to replace some outside lighting because it is not bright enough," said Commissioner Mike Marshall.

In other business, commissioners voted to add a part time position to the county auditor's office, to help with the final close out reports for Hurricanes Rita and Ike. "I know it seems these events were long ago and the paperwork should be completed by now, but FEMA requests for more reports keep coming and Ike is not closed out yet," said County Auditor Jackie Skinner. "We are ready to get this behind us."

Another part time position was added to the Justice of the Peace Precinct two office. Greg Dawson turned down the approximately $8500 in insurance offered by the county, and instead requested the money be used to hire support staff to help with paperwork, in the amount of approximately $6000 per year.

Woodville's First Baptist Church music director, Mark Tolar, led the invocation to open commissioners court, and also introduced Ashley Spurlock as the new children's minister for their church.

The February 19 commissioners court has been cancelled due to a schedule conflict, and will be rescheduled for either February 24 or 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Colmesneil students dine ISD board

by Michael G. Maness

Prior to the regularly scheduled Colmesneil ISD meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 20, the board met a surprise dinner provided the student council, with assistance from their sponsor, Mrs. Champagne.

Students dressed up to host a candle-lit "Dinner at Librettos," aka Colmesneil HS Library, with fine Italian cuisine. This being School Board Appreciation Month, the students thought this up and worked it out to honor their board of directors and their wives. Music and decorated arrangements set the atmosphere of appreciation that made the evening one that will be well remembered.

Superintendent Angela Matterson was surprised and thrilled and proud of her students and staff, "The dinner was truly wonderful."

After dinner, Colmesneil ISD President Curtis Pitman convened the board, with a prayer by Secretary Kenneth Adaway and the pledges of allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags.
Prior continuing with the agenda, the board heard several student readers including Scott Eddins, Brooke Mitcham, and Brianna Neyland and their sponsor Risa Pierson. Their presentations inspired the board and were greatly appreciated.

After the consent agenda was passed on the previous meetings and financials, the board approved several administrative reports by Matterson.

Several reports were considered, including the NCLB Annual Highly Qualified Teacher Report for 2014-15, the Dam Safety Inspection Report for Lake Tejas Dam from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, and an agreement to release driver records to government entities.
Student report cards went out Thursday, Jan. 22.

The board's next meeting will be Feb. 24, with an official announcement for a public meeting on the Texas Academic Performance Report that evening at 6:45. Matterson was thrilled by Colmesneil's progress and its own report.

"Excellent," she said in a curt and confidence tone. Among several items, the average class size at Colmesneil was much lower than the state average, always a plus in education.

The board approved a brand new full-size school bus, a significant addition, at least meaning that there will be no time-consuming and costly maintenance issues for while on that bus.