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Birthday Celebration for centenarians

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Two centenarians recently celebrated their birthdays at Woodville Health and Rehab. On the left, Grace Hudgins, celebrated 104 years and Nettie Greenway turned 103. (JIM POWERS | TCB PHOTO)

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Woodville Pd acquires ambulance

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Woodville Police Department recently acquired an ambulance on a Hummer platform. Chief of Police Scott Yosko said the vehicle will be especially useful in handling rescues in off-road situations that are inaccessible to most vehicles. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB)

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Kirby High reunion celebrates class of ‘69

Kirby High School Class of ’69 were honored May 4, at the Woodville Elementary School cafeteria at the annual school reunion, getting their first invite 50 years after they graduated, under this year’s theme of “Under the Magnolias.”  (MICHAEL G. MANESS | TCB PHOTO)

 

By Michael G. Maness

WOODVILLE – Kirby High School reunion honored the Class of ’69 with an artful theme, “Under the Magnolias,” the Woodville Elementary School cafeteria decorated in green with fresh magnolia blossoms all around on Saturday, May 5.

This 22nd reunion, perhaps unique in the nation, honored the class of ’69 which received its first invite 50 years from graduation.

Mary Alice Nagypal, coordinator, welcomed the 200-plus, and all sang the National Anthem with music by renowned blind pianist/singer-songwriter Walter Plant, of Corrigan.

As with tradition, the honor class of ’69 was seated in front of the stage, and Nagypal noted they also recognized the classes of ’49 and ’59. She proceeded with a few events from each of those pivotal decades.

In ’49 the U.S. signed the North Atlantic Treaty, Truman was the president, life-expectancy was only 58 years, and .45 records were sold for the first time.

In ’59, unemployment was 5.5 percent; Rawhide, Bonanza, and the Twilight Zone debuted; Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states; and the Boeing 707 came into service. Sadly—Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the “Big Bopper” J.P. Richardson died in tragic plane crash in a snow storm—the crash later to be dubbed the “Day the Music Died.”

In ’69, the Beatles gave their last performance, the Boeing 747 debuted, Pontiac made the Firebird Trans Am, Woodstock attracted over 350,000 rock-n-roll fans, and the first man landed on the moon.

Nagypal recognized all the class agents, thanks several others, and introduced Master of Ceremonies Fred Sullivan.

Sullivan resonated with a few jests on his health and recollected that to get one’s first invite they had to be about 68 years old. Many empathized with his ailments.

With a bit of humor and history, Sullivan lightened the air with reflections on Barbara Bush who had joked about her “not being recognized” at heaven’s gates with so many replacement parts. Another round of laughter ensued.

After a scrumptious lunch of stuffed pork loin, garlic mashed potatoes, and more, Sullivan recognized the loss of Jessie Lazenby, class of ’38, who had been so faithful to the class reunions. He had attended the year before for his 75th year after graduating. Lazenby’s family and widow, Cecile, were present and stood.

Sullivan recognized honored guests Coach Sergio Ramos, Lionel Reese, Norman Turner, Brenda Stringer and their spouses, who had taught or worked at the Kirby High School in 1969 and forward.

Sullivan named the class of ’69 superintendent and several teachers. Their football team won district championship with a 9-0 lead. Sullivan’s wife had taught English, which brought a humorous recollection. A student approached him in his store, Sullivan’s Hardware, and said, “Fred, be sure and tell Mrs. Sullivan … she learned me English.”

Debbie Davis Utley and Junior Lewis came to the stage to tell a few fond memories in the class of ’69. Huntley Kenneson spoke for the class of ’59, and he had challenged his class to give $600 to the Food Service scholarship fund. Surprise—he pointed to his table—and his fellow students raised a large five-foot sign representing a check of $1,200. Their hearts glowed.

Only one student from the class of ’49 was present. Though he declined to come to the stage, Sullivan related a story from their senior trip to New Orleans. The teenage Maxie Young was challenged to kiss their English teacher, Mrs. Click, and he did. To a round of applause, Young rose and took a bow.

In memorial, Nagypal read the names and class years of their beloved fellow students who had departed to their eternal treasures, and Alva Cook led in a moment of silence.
Nagypal recognized the Woodville Food Service Committee, noting they all volunteered to host the lunch with all profit going to scholarships for Woodville ISD students. To date, they had given over $96,000 in scholarships.

After the benediction by Ron Poindexter (class of ’69), Nagypal and Sullivan led all in singing their beloved school song, “Hail Kirby High School.”

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Groundbreaking held for GLO-funded rebuild project

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday afternoon for the first home to be torn down and quickly rebuilt through the General Land Office’s Homeowners Assistance Program.

The house, owned by Brooksie Skramstad, was demolished following the groundbreaking, during which GLO representatives, as well as representatives from Stonewater construction firm, spoke. Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette and representatives from the offices of

Congressman Brian Babin and State Rep. James White also spoke.

Skramstad’s home was damaged during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The GLO’s program was established to help residents of several counties who own homes affected by the hurricane.

Sheila Schumer, the owner of Stonewater, the firm handling the rebuilding of the house, said “We are excited to be the builder, and excited to get this started. It really takes a group effort.”

Brittany Eck with the GLO said that there is a misconception among some about the program. “Many people believe it’s too good to be true,” she said.

Eck said the GLO is currently accepting applications from homeowners whose primary homes were damaged in the hurricane. Eck said the services covered under the recovery assistance include repair and/or rehabilitating homes, or full construction, if the house was destroyed. Eck said structural elevation and other mitigation techniques.

“There are still funds available, so please contact us,” she said. Residents of Tyler, Jasper, Polk, Newton, San Jacinto, Sabine and San Augustine counties are eligible for assistance through the program. A total of $143 million was allocated for assistance in the seven-county region affected by Harvey.

An intake center is located at the Tri-County Community Action Office at 1201 Cardinal Drive in Woodville. It is open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Eck said homeowners can apply in person at the center or fill out an application online. The funding is first-come, first-serve and Eck said that under federal regulations, 75% of the funds are to be spent on low-to-moderate income homeowners. “These funds are meant for those who are struggling and might not have the means to repair available,” she said.

Eck added that the repair/rebuilding will be done under the terms that HUD has put in place to meet the needs of the family. “They will get homes that are safe and built up to full code compliance ready for them to move back in,” she said.

Once a homeowner is greenlit for assistance, the builders have a 120-day window in which to rebuild or make repairs. Most of the projects, including the one begun on Monday, will take about a month, according to Eck.

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42°F

Woodville

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Wind: 14 mph

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