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updated 2:34 PM UTC, May 20, 2019

Meetings

Amplified music in park discussed; updates given

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Amplified music and updates were among the items on a short agenda for the Woodville City Council at its regular monthly meeting held Monday night.
Kendall Coleman made a request to have amplified music at the city park during a community-wide event on Sunday, May 26 for Memorial Day weekend. City ordinance does not permit amplified music of any kind in the city park, unless the council permits it.

Woodville Chief of Police Scott Yosko said during discussion of the item that state law caps amplified music in residential areas at 80 decibels and said that his department had received several noise complaint calls from past events.

The item was approved with the stipulation that the police department has discretion to control the volume if complaints are received.

During her monthly report to council, city administrator Mandy Risinger gave some updates on grant monies the city is due to receive. She said that the city is awaiting the General Land Office to send contracts for the $2 million grant it was awarded in February through the GLO.

The funds from this grant will go toward street improvement projects in the southwest portion of the city.

Risinger also gave information about the program that Woodville ISD is entering in with Stephen F. Austin State University and Lamar Institute of Technology. The program, which is operating under the name Deep East Texas College and Career Alliance, will allow area high school students in grades 9 through 12 the opportunity to receive dual credits for classes. The classes will take place at the old Angelina College teaching center in Jasper.

Risinger said she met with WISD Superintendent Glen Conner, who presented her with information about the program. She said it looks to be a great benefit for high school students in the area.

In Muncipal Judge Judith Haney’s monthly report, she said that the bugs have been worked out of the COPSync software, which Woodville police officers have in their patrol units.

The software, which connects law enforcement officers nationwide, allows for instant access to warrants and other information when a stop is made.

Error-free operation of the software will allow for collection of more fines, Haney said, as the amount from fines deposited from October to April was $160K, which should have been closer to $300K, she said.

Haney also said in her report that out of speeding violations recorded in April, the average speed over the limit was 20.8 miles per hour.

During her remarks of community interest items, Mayor Paula Jones read a proclamation to denote May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Woodville.

The proclamation made notes of the danger faced by motorcyclists on the road, and urges the community to be aware of those dangers and to share the road with motorcycle riders.

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Conner presents info on dual-credit academy program

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Woodville ISD Superintendent Glen Conner gave an update on a program which will allow high school students to gain college credit in an academy-type situation.

The program, which is the ongoing fruit of a partnership between Stephen F. Austin State University, Lamar Institute of Technology and several area high schools, was first announced by Conner in March when WISD signed memorandums of understanding to indicate district interest in the program.

At Monday night’s board meeting, Conner said that a name has been chosen for the program and more particulars were available. The program, which will operate under the name Deep East Texas College and Career Alliance, will use the old Angelina College teaching center building in Jasper.

At present, WISD, Spurger, Jasper, Kirbyville, Newton and Burkeville schools have signed MOUs. The program will offer a variety of classes, which will all be for college and high school dual credit. Tuition is $150 per class, or $50 per credit hour. Conner said the program will also offer students who have dropped out an opportunity to earn their GED. Program administrators are looking to foundations such as T.L.L. Temple and the Aspen Foundation to secure funding.

Conner gave some key dates for the program’s beginning. May 13-14 will be for prospective students and their parents to become oriented with the program and May 20 will be the day the schools who have expressed interest will sign MOUs to proceed with the alliance between their districts and the two higher learning institutions.

“This will be a huge, huge benefit and asset to our kids in the future,” Conner said.

Lady Eagles honored
Prior to the action items on Monday night’s agenda, Conner and the board of trustees recognized the members of the Lady Eagles 2018-19 basketball team. The team made it to the State 3A championship game in San Antonio in February where they played Chapel Hill for the title.

Several of the team members were on hand, along with coach Troy Carrell, to receive a plaque from Conner and the board. Carrell spoke about the athletes, and how they all held high, professional standards off the court as well as on it. “I was really proud of them,” he said.

“We can’t tell you enough how proud we are of each of you and how you represented our school,” WISD Board President Jimmy Tucker said.
Salary increases discussed

WISD Business Manager Cody Jarrott gave the board information about a proposed 3% midpoint raise for all certified teachers in the district for 2019-20.

The proposal, which would come at $1,303 per faculty member, is preliminary, Jarrott said. The proposed salary schedule also includes raises for instructional aides, administrative employees and custodial, maintenance and transportation employees. Jarrott said that WISD already pays faculty and staff above the state minimum, and that with the preliminary raises, a teacher with eight years of experience would make $41,027 annually versus the $36,020 state base salary.

Jarrott said the proposal was for the board’s information, but void if the state decides a different approach with teacher salaries. “We’re proposing this absent of the state letting us do something different,” he said.

WISD awarded EmpowerED grant
In his monthly report to the board, Conner said the district was awarded a grant through T-Mobile’s EmpowerED program, which will allow all WISD students to have WiFi access as well as a device to use the service.

The program will pay for the service, devices and will provide the district some extra funds to purchase additional devices. All of this will come at no cost to WISD.

The EmpowerED program aims to provide school-age children with reliable access to the internet in school and at home. “We believe mobile access holds the power to close the ‘homework gap’ by giving students the tools they need to plug in to 21st century learning and opportunity at any time, from anywhere,” the EmpowerED website states.

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Red Cross Month proclaimed countywide

County Judge Jacques Blanchette (center) presents a proclamation of March as Red Cross Month in Tyler County, along with commissioners and other elected officials. Annette and John Stagg from the Red Cross were on hand to represent the organization. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)County Judge Jacques Blanchette (center) presents a proclamation of March as Red Cross Month in Tyler County, along with commissioners and other elected officials. Annette and John Stagg from the Red Cross were on hand to represent the organization. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

 

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – County Judge Jacques Blanchette presented a proclamation denoting March as Red Cross Month in Tyler County at Monday morning’s meeting of the Tyler County Commissioners Court.

John and Annette Stagg were on hand, representing the American Red Cross. The Staggs have served a multiple-county region for the organization and have been deployed in numerous disaster relief efforts through the past decade, as Blanchette noted.

Sealed bids approved
Commissioners approved the awarding of sealed bids for properties struck off the tax rolls by Woodville ISD, Warren ISD, Colmesneil ISD and the hospital district.

The bids, which came to the court from the Linebarger Law Firm, which serves as a tax collection firm for the county, were approved from bid amounts already approved by the respective entities, Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash said.

Courthouse Remediation Agreement passed on agenda
One of the items on Monday morning’s agenda up for action was to authorize Blanchette to execute the Courthouse Remediation Agreement with the Texas Historical Commission. The item was passed, pending more meetings and information concerning the project.

A meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 26 to approve the authorization of Blanchette to execute the agreement with THC.

Another agenda item concerning the work of restoring the courthouse was to engage the services of a preservation architect to fulfill the responsibilities THC requires for the project. This item was approved by the commissioners.

“We can go ahead and take action on this because it’s the eventuality,” Blanchette said. “This at least acknowledges to the historical commission that we’re taking our next step.”

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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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