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updated 8:40 PM UTC, Dec 13, 2018



Benefit Friday for cancer-fighting nurse

Gvantsa and daughter 10252018


By Chris Edwards
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WARREN – Gvantsa Mercer, a young mother and nurse is a familiar face to many Tyler County residents.

Mercer, better known to her colleagues and patients as “G” may have been the one to lend her kind touch and smile to helping care for a loved one at Woodville Health and Rehabilitation Center, where she works as the charge nurse. Mercer, originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, has devoted several years of her young life to caring for others who need a helping hand.

Recently some area residents have decided to lend Mercer a kind and helping hand. Last spring, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, but since the diagnosis she has continued to work while enduring treatments.

After her first round of chemotherapy, Mercer wrote on her Facebook page about the experience and referred to her illness as a “long battle ahead,” and expressed her determination. “I say battle because I am determined to fight and win,” she wrote.

Her friend Taylor Graham said that in spite of her health difficulties “She always keeps a smile on her face and continues to offer herself to others. It’s just who she is.”

Mercer, who at 26, already has a full plate with her career, is also the mother to little Amelia and fiancé to Jacob Landavazo. Graham said that if Mercer isn’t working she is with her family.

Through her initial diagnosis and treatments, Mercer and her family have spent “countless amounts of time and money during the process,” Graham said.

To that end, some of Mercer’s friends have organized a benefit to help offset some of these costs and to allow attendees to enjoy themselves this Friday night. The “Cure Cancer or Bust” fundraiser is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at Triple D Ranch in Warren. The venue is located at 4299 County Road 4800 in Warren.

The event will feature a silent auction, door prizes and more. Tickets are $20 for the event and can be purchased at the Orchard, the Tyler County Booster office, the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce office or directly from any of the event hosts and they can be contacted through the Facebook page for the event.
The ticket purchase also includes a meal courtesy of Smokin’ Aces and outside coolers are permitted with a $20 cover charge.

In addition to all of the other fun for a good cause, there are sure to be some laughs had at the expense of some men in the community who will engage in a little gender-bending fun for the cause. Local businesses are donating decorated bras which the men will model at the event, according to the organizers.

Graham noted that all of the proceeds will go to Mercer and her family. “If you can’t make it to the benefit that evening but would like to contribute, please contact the Tyler County Booster,” she said.

“If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting or getting to know her, then you know that she has a heart and love for people,” Graham said. “Not only for her patients, but everyone she meets.”

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Tyler County TBW holds Political Forum

Political Forum 2018


The Tyler County chapter of Texas Business Women hosted its annual political forum on Monday night at the Lions Den in Woodville. Constituents came out to hear a variety of local and state candidates speak to their respective platforms and allow the people to get to know them a bit.  You can watch the video of the forum here

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Mia Spradlin raises Grand Champion Steer at 2018 Fair

Grand Champion Steer For Page 1


Warren FFA member Mia Spradlin poses with her steer, which won Grand Champion honors at the Tyler County Fair. Her steer sold for a total of $9,000 in the livestock auction. The annual event featured rides, games and food, along with the auctions and nearly $290K was raised in livestock sales. Be sure and check out our salute to all the fair participants in this issue. You can check out our special salute  and photos to the Tyler County Fair Participants here:

Tyler County Booster Special Fair Photo Section

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Updates delivered at DETCOG meeting



By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Deep East Texas Council of Governments held its monthly meeting in Woodville last Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church. Following a steak lunch, DETCOG members and constituents received updates on a few programs and projects the council is working on.

DETCOG Executive Director Lonnie Hunt presented the proposed grant program budgets for the coming fiscal year. The amount budgeted is $20.2 million, which represents a decrease of $400,942 from the previous budget.

The grant programs budget for fiscal year 2019 was approved.

Broadband study update
An update was given on DETCOG’s rural broadband study.

DETCOG President Daphne Session appointed a committee to review and recommend a firm from a list of six. The committee will make a recommendation at the next board meeting.

Hunt said the TLL Temple Foundation has provided funds for expert help in selecting the firm and management of the study.
The broadband network study was approved by DETCOG in March when the board of directors approved an amendment to allocate $513,323 in funds remaining from Hurricane Ike Round 2.2 disaster recovery money.

In a letter to community leaders within the DETCOG region, Hunt wrote that broadband internet speed and access is “a critical issue everywhere, especially in rural areas like the Deep East Texas/Texas Forest Country region.” Hunt wrote that without adequate connections, it is impossible for businesses and community services to participate fully in today’s digital economy.

GLO buyout and acquisition program update
Christi Sullivan, who is DETCOG’s new head of economic development, gave a report on behalf of the Texas Association of Regional Councils. Sullivan detailed a buyout and acquisition program conducted by the Texas General Land Office to assist areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

The GLO allocated $275 million into the program, with $31 million of it available for five counties within the DETCOG region.
Hunt said the money is available to rebuild rental properties and encouraged anyone who owns rental property to apply.

New employer coming to Lufkin
Nancy Windham, CEO of Texas Forest Country Partnership, called the decision for Illinois-based Sterling Lumber Company to locate a new facility in Lufkin “a huge win for our region.”

The project, which was announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, will bring 150 new jobs to the area for on-site work at the facility and close to 500 total (direct and indirect laborers), according to Windham.

The company will invest more $30 million into the facility, according to Abbott’s statement.

DETCOG building project update
Hunt gave an update on the DETCOG headquarters building project. The new DETCOG office, which will be located in Lufkin, was greenlit last year. “Our hope is by sometime in November everything can be in place,” Hunt said of the project. Once the ground is broke, Hunt said the timetable for construction should be eight months.

The Lufkin-based firm KSA Engineers was selected to build the office and donations from the Temple Foundation, the City of Lufkin and the Economic Development Administration helped to acquire the land and will be used in the construction.

Housing payment standards approved
Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy presented an update on payment standards for DETCOG’s regional housing authority. Murphy said that historically the payment option stays the same, which is 110%. Murphy said DETCOG has the option of approving a 90% payment standard from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for its housing assistance program, but the higher payment standard “incentivizes landlords to provide better structures for the people we are helping.”

Murphy motioned to maintain the payment standard at 110% and it was approved.

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