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Cayla Greer named Tyler County Dogwood Queen

Dogwood Queen crowned during 74th Annual Pageant—Cayla Greer of Chester was crowned the 74th Dogwood Queen during the pageant and play held Saturday night in Woodville. Victoria Scoggins of Woodville was named Princess of Tyler County, and Macy Hammons of Jacksonville was named Grand Duchess. You can check out photos from this year’s Dogwood Festival on Pg. 7B in this issue. (Jim Powers Photo)Dogwood Queen crowned during 74th Annual Pageant—Cayla Greer of Chester was crowned the 74th Dogwood Queen during the pageant and play held Saturday night in Woodville. Victoria Scoggins of Woodville was named Princess of Tyler County, and Macy Hammons of Jacksonville was named Grand Duchess. You can check out photos from this year’s Dogwood Festival on Pg. 7B in this issue. (Jim Powers Photo)

Beautiful spring weather in Tyler County during the three weekends of this year's Dogwood Festival encouraged lots of folks to participate in the 74th Annual Dogwood Festival.

Cayla Greer of Chester was crowned 2017 Dogwood Queen Saturday night during the pageant that tops off the three-weekend festival. Victoria Scoggins of Woodville was named Princess of Tyler County. Macy Hammons of Jacksonville was Grand Duchess.
James E. Wheat award winners included Forest Archer, Lynda Walling and Ronnie Walling.

Parade winners for the best floats were also announced during the Pageant. Among the duchesses, Carly Smith/Jessica Hampton of Livingston took first place, Theresa Beckett of Orange second place and Diana Olvera of Cross Roads third place.

Victoria Scoggins of Woodville took first place in the princesses floats, Cayla Greer of Chester second place and Mallory Monk of Colmesneil third place.

In the commercial category, Tyler County Hospital won first place, Martindale Real Estate Investments second place and Education First Federal Credit Union third place.

In the non-commerical category, Wee Wisdom Early Care & Education won first place, Woodville Rotary Club second and Jacob's Ladder Learning Center third.

Dogwood Dash winners were:

Overall Male – Lakota Jaton
Overall Female – Yoselin Miranda
Under 12 Male – Luke Satterwhite, Female – Kimber Squier
13-19 Male – George Flores, Female – Lesli Miranda
20-29 Male – Ryan Kelly, Female – Autumn Hillhouse
30-39 Male – Johnathan McClusky, Female – Meghan Thomeer
40-49 Male – Paul Releford, Female – Tammy Long
50-59 Male – Dwayne Harrison, Female – Karen Kilman
60-69 Male – Tony Taylor, Female – Gloria Kamil
Over 70 - Ken Hodges

Chester Mayor proclaims April Child Abuse Prevention Month

Mayor Floyd Petri proclaimed April  “Tyler County Child Abuse Prevention Month” for Chester and Sunday, April 30, to be additionally designated “Blue Sunday” at their regularly scheduled council meeting Monday evening, April 3, at the request of Tonya Sheffield of the Tyler County Welfare Board.  Pictured (L-R) are Jimmy Herrington, Petri, Sheffield, and Vincent Incardona.  Mayor Floyd Petri proclaimed April “Tyler County Child Abuse Prevention Month” for Chester and Sunday, April 30, to be additionally designated “Blue Sunday” at their regularly scheduled council meeting Monday evening, April 3, at the request of Tonya Sheffield of the Tyler County Welfare Board. Pictured (L-R) are Jimmy Herrington, Petri, Sheffield, and Vincent Incardona.

by Michael G. Maness

Mayor Floyd Petri proclaimed April "Tyler County Child Abuse Prevention Month" for Chester at their regularly scheduled council meeting Monday evening, April 3, at the request of Tonya Sheffield of the Tyler County Welfare Board.

Petri led in the pledges allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags and the invocation.

Petri allowed Councilman John Wayne Davis to call in his vote for the paying of bills and the previous minutes to help the council make quorum.

Petri welcomed Tonya Sheffield to read the mayoral proclamation on behalf of Chester to designate April Child Abuse Prevention Month. The several reasons included the tragic news that last year, there were 289,334 reported cases of child abuse, 268 of those in Tyler County with 63 of those confirmed. Sheffield called the attention of the council to notice the sign on the Tyler County Courthouse square that also noted 222 children killed last year from child abuse. The area below the sign is loaded with 222 blue crosses and small wind spinners. Chester was the first city to make a proclamation, Sheffield said, hoping to secure such from the rest of the cities. The proclamation went on to note the responsibility of all people in the county, professional and citizens, to do their part, and included Sunday, April 30 to be additionally designated "Blue Sunday" to raise awareness in this critical effort in prevention.

Petri gave the essence of a letter from Senator Robert Nichols on property taxes, affecting mostly those residents in cities that have a property tax, which Chester did not levy. The most important part of the letter was Nichols' support for SB 2 that rolled back the ad valorem property tax from eight to five percent. That may still affect county taxes.

Lastly, Councilman Vincent Incardona gave his written resignation from the city council because of his move to Livingston. He expressed his honor and gratefulness for the citizens who placed their trust in him the last 16 or 17 years, not quite sure how long it had been. He said he valued very much his time in Chester. He really loved the country town, leaving a piece of his heart behind, and Petri expressed appreciation from himself and the city. Petri accepted the resignation, sadly, and will be looking to appoint a replacement soon.

Colmesneil ISD designates 'Alicyn D. Mitcham Softball Field'

"Alicyn D. Mitcham Softball Field” was designated by the Colmesneil ISD board at its meeting Tuesday evening, March 21, in a heartwarming meeting that included the girls softball team members voicing their feeling for Mitcham.  The board unanimously approved the naming of the softball field and the retirement of the number “3” from all future use.  Pictured are the girls softball team with the board and Heather Mitcham and Glenda Graham, the mother and grandmother of Alicyn Mitcham who died at the age of 17 in a tragic skiing accident in Colorado on February 15."Alicyn D. Mitcham Softball Field” was designated by the Colmesneil ISD board at its meeting Tuesday evening, March 21, in a heartwarming meeting that included the girls softball team members voicing their feeling for Mitcham. The board unanimously approved the naming of the softball field and the retirement of the number “3” from all future use. Pictured are the girls softball team with the board and Heather Mitcham and Glenda Graham, the mother and grandmother of Alicyn Mitcham who died at the age of 17 in a tragic skiing accident in Colorado on February 15.

by Michael G. Maness

"Alicyn D. Mitcham Softball Field" was designated by the Colmesneil ISD board at its meeting Tuesday evening, March 21, in a heartwarming meeting.

President Curtis Pitman convened the board meeting, asked Secretary Kenneth Adaway to lead the invocation, and Pitman led in the pledges of allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags.

Superintendent Angela Matterson welcomed the girls softball team and a few parents, about 35 in all, including Heather Mitcham and Glenda Graham, the mother and grandmother of Alicyn Mitcham who died at the age of 17 in a tragic skiing accident in Colorado on February 15.

Matterson recommended to the board the naming of the field in young Mitcham's honor. She led the memorial statements with how much she felt that Mitcham had embodied all the qualities of a hero and role model, choking up a tad, but with clear, tender pride in Mitchams's heart for all. In Matterson's typical manner of including others, the students had been invited to be a part of the recommendation process, and the room seemed to shade in sorrow.

Each student had written what Mitcham had meant to them on a card with a recommendation to name the field in their dear friend's honor. A few barely finished for the tears. After each finished, they gave their cards to Mitcham's mother, sitting on the front row, seeming to hold her breath most of the time, trying to be strong for the students, herself a teacher there, too. Hardly a dry eye, some were so moved they could not stand and read their card.

When all had finished, Pitman put his hand over his chest, tears in his eyes too, noting that the board worked for them and felt their sorrow, choking up, and then he added that they also retire the number "3" in Mitcham's honor.

As though the spirit of young Mitcham hovered over all, the student's words reflected the best of Colmesneil High School softball. "The softball field was her home." "Her smile." "Her love for the game." "Alicyn gave everything she had." "She will always be with us."
And sweet Alicyn's mother—hardly able to talk—received yet again the hugs from all there, and everyone hugged each other, tears flowing again, the board members too.

As the students departed, it took just another minute for the board to recompose itself. This was a family. Everything else seemed downhill as Pitman proceeded to go through the agenda.

In succession, board approved all ten items of the substantial agenda, Matterson showing the important points from her computer projected onto a screen.

March was proclaimed "Celebrate Texas Public Schools." The technology plan was approved that will continue the use of computers and seek a lower cost broadband provider. The board approved the lower bid by Local Sanitation to come twice a week.

The board approved for Matterson to proceed with the pursuit of getting Colmesneil ISD designated as a "District of Innovation," a technical status that starts with the district already meeting and exceeding the TEA standards and frees the school to make more decisions locally on a host of issues.

Lake Tejas received a FEMA grant that will go to replacing the culvert once the bidding process is complete.

High School Principal Walter McAlpin was proud to note how well their students did in the UIL competition, including 9th-grader Julius Mabry who came away with the most of points over every other competitor. He also felt their students were above average on the technology front, which was also affirmed by Board Member Danny Brown.

Elementary School Principal bragged on their open house and also reflected how well their young students were doing with the computers, noting that they often took to them better than some of the parents.

A bid notice will be published soon from the school as it seeks to divest itself of some old buses and some cafeteria equipment.

Tyler County Commissioner’s Court holds short meeting

by Andrew Harmon

On Monday, February 13, the Tyler County Commissioners Court assembled to discuss items on the scheduled agenda. The meeting opened with the invocation and pledge of allegiance to the American Flag led by Precinct 1 Commissioner, Martin Nash.

After opening statements, County Judge Jacques Blanchette presented motions dealing with the monthly county budget. This also included allowance and account payable items, amendments and line item transfers. All items passed unanimously.

During this session, the county commissioners created a full-time position for the maintenance department, and also decided that all new county employees will be required to use direct deposit for payroll checks.

An order passed to allow the sale of fireworks in the county for Texas Independence Day. Permitted sales will begin February 25, and run through midnight March 2.

The court also agreed to allow Sheriff Bryan Weatherford the privilege of sending two deputies to represent Tyler County in Washington D.C. for National Police Week.

The Tyler County Commissioners Court looks forward to a busy and successful spring season. The group meets next on Thursday, February 23, at 8:30 a.m.

Woodville Council hears Financial Report for year 2016

by Darby Kethan

Woodville city council met Monday, February 13, with all but one member present. Business conducted included the first agenda item, an audit report for year 2015-16 by Richard Rudel from Alexander, Lankford and Heirs, Inc.

Rudel presented a lengthy and detailed report concerning city government management and the financial management. He reviewed the required standards for appropriate management, stated that the city came in slightly under budget for expenses. He stated his firm had found "no material weaknesses and no significant deficiencies" during their audit. The council unanimously approved his report.Other business transacted by the council included approval to open a "safe keeping" account as recommended from Patterson and Associates, financial consulting firm. This will provide a depository for previously purchased securities and for possible future investments. Approval was given unanimously by the council to open a safekeeping account with Frost Bank to hold such securities, and designated the city administrator and city secretary to transact business with the bank on behalf of the city.

City administrator Risinger reported that the water well at industrial park is awaiting an evaluation for corrosion control and developing a plan which will be forwarded to engineers for consideration. The city has requested an amendment to this disaster recovery project to utilize the remaining funds for improvements the city's SCADA system which electronically monitors all water plants and wastewater lift stations.
The Pine St. water well is continuing with work on ground storage site construction. That construction equipment proved invaluable when an unexpected problem concerning sewer lines and repairs became apparent last week. A large hole opened as repairs were attempted by the city which quickly became beyond the scope of city equipment. Luckily, equipment from the Pine St. site was available and the excavation/filling/repairs were accomplished.

Judge Judith Haney reported a total of 130 citations issued during January and $17,000 collected in fines. One car was clocked at 104 mph. in the city limits of Woodville.

Police Chief Yosko reported a month of calls concerning drugs, thefts, and assaults. One theft occurred as a person pushed a cart full of items out of the back door of Woodville Wal Mart store, bypassing the checkout stand entirely.

The department has three vehicles they are preparing for auction, a van and two police cars.

The newly appointed fire chief Chuck Marshall reported three house fires, and an assist to Shady Grove. Other calls included one jaws, one traffic, and one controlled burn. City offices will be closed February 20, to observe President's Day.

Colmesneil teen Alicyn Mitcham dies in skiing accident

Alicyn-Mitcham

Alicyn Mitcham, 17, of Colmesneil died Wednesday, February 15, after striking a tree in a skiing accident in Colorado.

The accident, according to the Denver Post, happened at around 12:30 MST at the Winter Park Resort in Winter Park, Colorado.

She was pronounced dead at Denver Health East Grand ER. According to reports, she is the fourth person to die in a ski crash on the Colorado slopes this season.

News of the popular Colmesneil High School student's death spread quickly on Facebook and Twitter.

More on this story as more information becomes available.