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updated 3:21 PM UTC, Feb 15, 2019

News

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Tyler County celebrates MLK Day

MLK Day 2019


Area residents and schoolchildren celebrated the message of unity and equality espoused by the late, great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the annual MLK Day Parade held in Woodville on Monday morning. (JIM POWERS | TCB PHOTO)

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Property owners address council about city trash service rates

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – During the audience comments portion of the Woodville City Council’s meeting on Monday night, two property owners addressed rate increases with city garbage service.

Michael Murphy and Chance Cooper, both of whom own and/or manage investment properties within the city limits spoke about the rate increases. Murphy, who owns apartment complexes in Woodville, said he does not understand the reasoning behind a 50 percent increase, nor why apartment complexes are charged by the unit. “I’m being gouged for my Dumpster service,” he said. For a two-yard Dumpster, which is picked up twice a week, Murphy said he pays $390 per month, a service he said he can get from Local Sanitation for $120 a month, which he noted is the market price. City ordinance, Murphy noted, prevents him from using a different waste management company other than the city service.

Murphy told council that he noticed many trash Dumpsters provided by the city to businesses outside the city limits. “I don’t know why they (other contractors) can’t come in the city, but the city can go outside the city to provide this service,” he said.

Cooper spoke about the same topic. He said he does not understand why apartment complexes are charged at different rates than the existing commercial rates. Cooper, who owns a mobile home park and apartment complex, each with nine units, said there is a discrepancy in the amount he pays between the two properties, with the charge being significantly higher at the apartment complex.

Cooper said he understands, when considering inflation and other factors, the reason behind the price increase, but does not understand the discrepancy between the properties’ rates. “Why at one property with the same volume of trash did I get a nine percent increase and at the apartment complex I got a 50 percent increase?”

Mayor Paula Jones said the council could not address the comments, as they were not on the regular agenda. Cooper said he wishes to have the concern slated for next month’s council agenda.

Horse nuisance committee formed
A committee appointed by Jones of herself, Woodville Police Chief Scott Yosko, City Administrator Mandy Risinger and councilmembers Herb Branch and Tony Greer was approved to address a topic that was initially discussed during December’s council meeting.

An ordinance, written by city attorney Brad Elrod, was proposed concerning horses being ridden inside the city limits. As it was presented on December’s agenda, the ordinance met with a lengthy discussion and several concerns as it was initially penned.

Risinger said many of the complaints the city has received deal with horses being ridden up to storefronts and safety issues with horses among automobile traffic at night. The complaints, she said, have been ongoing for years.

Elrod said he modeled the ordinance on similar policies from other communities, and in response to the questions, said it can be amended and be made more specific to Woodville’s concerns.

The committee was formed to address the topic and retool the ordinance wherever needed.

Other Business
Council also voted to approve the following items during Monday night’s meeting:
• The approval of a resolution to designate the Tyler County Booster as the official newspaper for the City of Woodville for fiscal year 2018-19 was made.
• A plat for the McAlister addition was approved for Magnolia Cemetery. The property was acquired and approved by the county and needed approval by the city.

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Chester mayor proposes anti-red flag ordinance

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By Michael G. Maness

CHESTER – Chester mayor Floyd Petri submitted an anti-red flag ordinance at the regular city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 7. Red flag laws justify law enforcement officers taking guns from citizens on a court order without evidence of a crime.

At first, Petri thought there might have been commotion stirred over a Facebook post, which led some to think he was proposing a pro-red flag ordinance. He smiled and shook his head and said some wanted to “re-elect the whole council.” He corrected the misconception that apparently worked as no guests showed up for the meeting.

Petri felt this city ordinance would be a proactive caution, letting others “know where they stand,” and an ordinance could be a valuable defense should abuse from a county or state red flag law ever invade the rights of the citizens of Chester. He cited concern about abuses of the law in other areas, including some documented cases of gun seizures without due process,

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) submitted SB 2607 in March of 2018, titled “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2018,” and by April it had four cosponsors (3 D, 1 R, 1 I). It has not come out of the Judiciary Committee. The act mirrors aspects of protective orders on the books and is designed to encourage states to adopt such laws with the controversial confiscation of guns for the term of the “protective order.”

The part of the act that scares gun enthusiasts is that an anonymous person can call, express a fear of someone and a judge issue a rather quick order that empowers law enforcement to show up and remove all of the person’s guns.

As soon as July 2018, as reported in the Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott asked legislators to review protective order laws to protect schools. Abbott made clear he was not endorsing red flag laws, only suggesting the law makers look at all laws on school safety.

The issue is getting guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and discussion of the act has frequently cited the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, and the school shooting in Parkland, FL last year. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also been dead set against red flag laws.

Furthermore, the 2018 GOP platform was specifically against red flag laws under its major section on constitutional rights. No person should be deprived of their right to guns without conviction of a crime or certified mental instability, nor should they be “investigated” by law enforcement or be forced to “appear before a judge” without solid evidence of a crime.

Petri said he had no problems with protective orders, as a long-time law officer himself, but reports of “perversion of the law” have already surfaced on red flag law abuse. Petri said he does not want any citizen’s rights abused.

Several councilmembers had not read the lengthy ordinance. Councilwoman Gail Williams asked about the need for such an ordinance and said they should have legal counsel on what they could or could not do. The council tabled the ordinance for further consideration until next month’s meeting.

Other Business
The council approved the year’s budget presented by City Secretary Annette Hickman, which was essentially the same as last year. The council approved the minutes and financials without comment.
Dale Clamon, Director of Public Works, explained the need for a dump trailer, especially since the upcoming resurfacing of a highway will yield a lot of extra material the city can obtain for a song and use later for its own roads. The council empowered him to search out purchase options to present at the next council meeting.

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New officials, incumbents sworn-in

New Tyler County Criminal District Attorney Lucas Babin (center) receives the oath of office from his father, Congressman Brian Babin. District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker, right, held the Bible for Lucas Babin to swear the oath upon. (HALE HUGHES | TCB Photo)New Tyler County Criminal District Attorney Lucas Babin (center) receives the oath of office from his father, Congressman Brian Babin. District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker, right, held the Bible for Lucas Babin to swear the oath upon. (HALE HUGHES | TCB Photo)

 

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – Five new officeholders and several incumbents were sworn-in on Wednesday morning in the District Courtroom of the Tyler County Courthouse.

County Judge Jacques Blanchette welcomed everyone to the ceremony and said that the officials, both elected and appointed, are “representing the peace and goodwill by upholding the laws of the land.”

Congressman Brian Babin (R-Woodville) was present to swear-in his son, Lucas Babin, as the new criminal district attorney.

Rep. Babin spoke before the ceremony, and in his remarks said elected officials are not always tasked with working under the direction of someone they get along with, but for the good of the populace, must work together. “America has set the standard for the rest of the world for freedom and liberty,” Rep. Babin said. “I think this country will be pulling together.”

State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) also spoke, and said he is proud to represent Tyler County within his House district because of the “hard-working, solid people” and called the event “a special day, because it reminds us why our country is so special.”

Along with Lucas Babin, the new county treasurer Leann Monk was sworn-in by Donece Gregory, county clerk. Blanchette administered the oaths of office to Stevan Sturrock and Charles “Buck” Hudson, who were elected to serve as commissioners in precincts 2 and 4, respectively. He also swore-in Ken Jobe, who was elected justice of the peace for precinct 2.

The incumbents sworn-in on Wednesday were Gregory, district clerk Chryl Pounds and Jim Moore, who serves as JP for precinct 4. Precinct 1 JP Trisher Ford was unable to attend but won re-election in 2018.

Blanchette, who was sworn-in for another term as Tyler County Judge in a small ceremony on Tuesday, took the time to acknowledge the county’s appointed officials, and asked county auditor Jackie Skinner to approach the bench to receive the oath of her office from District Judge Earl Stover. The acknowledgement and swearing-in of the appointed officials during the ceremony is something that had not heretofore been done, Blanchette said.

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