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updated 1:08 PM UTC, Jun 18, 2019

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Lake Amanda dam finished

Lake Amanda 061319

 

Lake Amanda’s namesake Amanda Haralson cuts the ribbon on Saturday morning to usher in a rebirth of the lake. The rebuilding of the dam was recently finished, and the lake is full and welcoming once again to weekenders, anglers and for residents to enjoy its beauty. Haralson is pictured with members of the Lake Amanda Property Owners Association, various dignitaries and other individuals who make the dam project possible. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

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McCulley named Woodville police chief

Mike McCulley receives the oath of office from Municipal Judge Judith Haney to become Woodville’s new chief of police. McCulley’s wife Betty (center) was on hand, along with several other family members, to help him celebrate his new title and to hold the Bible used for the swearing-in. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO) Mike McCulley receives the oath of office from Municipal Judge Judith Haney to become Woodville’s new chief of police. McCulley’s wife Betty (center) was on hand, along with several other family members, to help him celebrate his new title and to hold the Bible used for the swearing-in. (CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB PHOTO)

 

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Long-serving Woodville Police Department Captain Mike McCulley was appointed to serve as the department’s new chief.

McCulley will replace Scott Yosko, who led Woodville PD for 40 years. Yosko recently announced plans to retire. McCulley’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Woodville City Council at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night.

McCulley said he is glad to “embrace the opportunity to do the job” after he was sworn-in by Municipal Judge Judith Haney.

“I’m humbled to take on this challenge,” he said. “Our department has accomplished so much under Scott’s leadership.”

McCulley said he plans for Woodville PD to continue to be as efficient as possible in the 21st century.

Another law enforcement appointment was announced at Monday’s meeting. Steven Hoke will replace Bubba Sheffield as the on-campus school resource officer at Woodville ISD. City Administrator Mandy Risinger said the package of salary and benefits for the position was re-evaluated and adjustments have been made for compensation. These adjustments are pending approval by the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees.

Haney congratulated Hoke on his pending appointment and called Sheffield “someone who really cares about the kids,” a quality she said Hoke also embodies.
Resolution passed in support of HR 759

Mayor Paula Jones introduced a resolution for the city of Woodville to support the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and the efforts for HR 759 to pass.

The bill, filed by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Woodville) intends to clarify the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s right, under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, to offer electronic bingo gaming at its Naskila facility.

Jones spoke of several ways in which the tribe has contributed to the Woodville community, and of how the Naskila Gaming venue has proven beneficial for the local economy as well as with job creation. The resolution was passed unanimously.

Horse ordinance passed
An ordinance pertaining to the riding of horses within the city limits was passed on Monday night. The ordinance states that riding horses is prohibited, with exceptions granted for events such as Western Weekend.

The ordinance was created following consideration by a committee formed last fall to address the issue after an initial ordinance was deemed insufficient for the city’s needs.

Mobile home park expansion approved
Council approved an application for the expansion of Cedar Ridge Mobile Home Community located on Cobb Mill Road.

The expansion, which Ballard Johnson, the president of Castle Pines Mobile Home Community MHC LLC, said will include 14 additional units, will help further meet the need of affordable housing within the community. Currently there are 37 sites at the location.

Other Business
Approval was made to appoint Jones as the city’s representative to the Deep East Texas Council of Government’s Board of Directors.

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Reflection Garden dedicated Friday at Nursing school

A reflection garden was dedicated on Friday morning at Tyler County Hospital in memory of, and to honor of all the veterans who served and/or lost their lives in combat. (JIM POWERS | TCB PHOTO)A reflection garden was dedicated on Friday morning at Tyler County Hospital in memory of, and to honor of all the veterans who served and/or lost their lives in combat. (JIM POWERS | TCB PHOTO)

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Ivanhoe mayor seeks help for unsafe dog situation

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By Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – The city of Ivanhoe has faced a dangerous and escalating situation involving a pack of feral dogs on a resident’s property. Mayor Cathy Bennett has faced criticism for the steps taken thus far to address the problem but said she and the city have become involved out of necessity, as it amounts to a matter of public safety.

“I would have preferred that this issue was not blown out of proportion,” Bennett said. After the resident, Michael Gray, approached the city on May 16 and informed her that the dogs could be a danger to the public and demanding the city get rid of them, Bennett said it was necessary to step in to protect the citizens.

“We are looking for a solution and working very hard toward finding a solution,” she said.

Bennett made a public service announcement concerning the situation last week, which was issued to media and posted to Ivanhoe-related Facebook sites and the city’s official webpage. When it was published to the Tyler County Booster Facebook page, it elicited a barrage of criticism.

Bennett issued the announcement to make the public aware of the situation and to warn them in advance of Memorial Day weekend. “We will be having an influx of people here in Ivanhoe enjoying the beautiful surroundings,” the notice read. It went on to state that anyone visiting Ivanhoe and/or residents who would be walking around the city or riding in golf carts to not go near the 200 block of Sir Henry Drive. The dogs are behind a fence, but Bennett said they can possibly get out or even push down the fence.

The city’s involvement in the situation began in March when Bennett received a call from a neighboring resident who said the dogs had gotten loose. According to a city ordinance, dogs must be enclosed or on a leash. Another stipulation is that residents can only have up to five dogs. Gray was cited twice for the loose dogs and having more dogs than the allowed limit.

According to Gray, the dogs, which might be as many as 50, are un-adoptable and have not been vaccinated. When he approached Bennett earlier in the month, he said he had been bitten, and demanded the dogs be disposed of prior to Memorial Day weekend, due to the potential danger to the public. He also spoke to Ivanhoe City Judge Judith Haney, who took photographically documented his injury.
Bennett said the city court was already attempting to get help for the problem, but when Gray placed the responsibility on the city, she and other city employees began reaching out to “everyone we could think of” to find help and resources.

“On two previous occasions, the Houston SPCA has come out to Ivanhoe to remove dogs from the same location, but we have been informed that they cannot assist us with the current situation,” Bennett said.

Charitable organizations and the National Humane Society have reached out to the city, once the situation became public, but these contacts have been to no avail. Other organizations which specialize in animal rescue could not provide assistance, either. “Here we are with a problem, with all these dogs that are supposedly unadoptable and have become vicious,” Bennett said.

Bennett added that due to the outrage on social media, some groups and veterinarians do not want to be involved.

Although she was aware of the previous incidents, Bennett said she did not know Gray was accumulating dogs again. A court order was issued for the removal or disposal of 30-50 dogs from the property. Some of them are puppies, which Bennett was told by one veterinarian could be saved.

Bennett said she has also reached out to County Judge Jacques Blanchette, but there is no animal control personnel or protocol at the county level. It is a budget issue, Bennett said, that Ivanhoe does not have the money to maintain an animal control program, like other cities in Tyler County.

A large part of the problem with the dogs is due, Bennett said, to Ivanhoe’s vast network of roads, which people use to dump unwanted animals. “There are people who have a heart for animals and feed the stray animals,” she said. In Gray’s situation, she said people have been enabling the problem to get worse by providing him with dog food.

The problem with stray animals is one that Bennett said she is not usually aware of, but when it becomes a public safety hazard, she said that as mayor, it is paramount to notify the public. As far as the backlash she and the city have faced on social media once the story became public, she said the criticism is counterproductive, as she is working toward a solution, but also open to anyone, or any group, who can provide help.

“It would be nice if all of us could work together to find some sort of solution. Instead of criticizing each other, let’s resolve this.”

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Woodville

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