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Governor Greg Abbott to visit Trinity

On March 18, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott will be visiting  Trinity County to speak at the Trinity Community Center. This marks the first time in the county's history that Trinity has been visited by a sitting Governor. This also marks the fulfillment of a long-standing promise on the part of Governor Abbott, made during his initial run for office, when he vowed to personally visit whatever county had the most precincts with a Republican majority. The event, also acting as a celebration of the first time in 200 years that Trinity County became a Republican territory, was delayed multiple times due to repeated schedule conflicts. 

The event, hosted by the Trinity County Republican party, will take place on a Saturday evening, with dinner being provided. Standard tickets are available for $35, and tickets that will get attendees a picture with the Governor are available for $50. Tables seating eight can also be purchased. Seating is limited and all tickets will be sold in advance, so interested parties are encouraged to call Scott Womack (936-204-3111) or JoAnn Kennedy (936-215-0093) for more information and to purchase tickets.

Trinity County law enforcement busts three in drug raid

Trinity County law enforcement conducted another meth bust on February 15, at Nogales Prarie.

    The warrant was executed by Constable Reggie Olive, Sheriff Woody Wallace, and several Deputies with Trinity County Sheriff's Office, on a private residence at 303 Evie Davidson Road. Despite having been forewarned of the raid several hours beforehand, residents within the home were caught off-guard by the bust and placed into custody after materials typical of meth houses were found within the residence, including scales for weighing drugs, baggies for distribution, and more than 4 grams of methamphetamine.

 Three suspects were arrested as a result of these findings, two men and one woman;  49-year-old Edd Terill, 28-year-old Allen Gober, and 44-year-old Ginger Terrill, each charged with first-degree felony Manufacturing/Delivery of a Controlled Substance.

Upon questioning, information was acquired from the apprehended suspects that the Sheriff's office claims will lead to further arrests, possibly in the Apple Springs area. "Of course they gave us up their supplier too," said Sheriff Woody Wallace in a video posted to the Trinity County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, "so we'll be getting a warrant for him."

 

Trinity I.S.D. van accident results in one fatality, several injuries

Trinity, TX was left in mourning after a Trinity I.S.D. van was hit on Dec. 1, leading to the injuries of several children, and the death of 7-year-old Journey Magness, the daughter of Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy David Magness.

The Texas Department of Public Safety troopers responded to the two-vehicle fatality on FM 1893, about five miles west of Trinity.

According to a statement released by DPS, the preliminary investigation indicates the eastbound 2015 Chevrolet Trinity I.S.D. van loaded with 8 children was stopped to pick up a child when it was struck from behind by a 2008 Ford pick-up, occupied by the driver and three passengers.

Magness, 7, was in the van at the time and received substantial injuries at the time of the crash.  She was transported to East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) in Trinity where she was pronounced deceased.

Justice of the Peace Hayne Huffman performed the inquest.

“It’s a tragedy,” Huffman said. “To my knowledge this is the first death involving a school vehicle since 1970. We’ve never had an incident like this. It affects the whole community.”

The statement released by DPS said five children were transported to ETMC by ambulance with non-life threatening injuries, and the three other passengers and the driver of the T.I.S.D. van were taken to ETMC in Trinity by private vehicle for reported precautionary measures. According to the statement, on-scene investigators found that all the children were properly secured at the time of the crash.

Two of the passengers in the truck were transported to ETMC – Trinity by ambulance, and one by private vehicle. The driver, a 17-year-old Trinity female, was reportedly uninjured.

No other injuries were reported as a result of the crash. The roadway was closed for several hours.

According a statement released by ETMC-Trinity, the hospital saw 11 children/teenagers, and one adult from the accident. The driver of the van and students were treated and released the same day.

Trinity I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman released the following statement:

“The safety of the students and staff of Trinity I.S.D. is our highest priority, and we mourn the loss of one of our students. All of the students, staff, and their families involved in this incident are in the thoughts and prayers of the Trinity I.S.D. family.”

In addition to determining causative factors in the crash, Texas DPS troopers are examining all relevant evidence to ensure state law was followed. Texas DPS troopers will continue to investigate the crash.

An account was set up for Journey’s family at First National Bank in Trinity for those interested in assisting financially. Money can be mailed to David Magness Benefit for Journey Magness, First National Bank, P.O. Box 792, Trinity, TX, 75862.

A GoFundMe page was also set up for the family with a goal of raising $5,000. Within 5 hours, almost $4,000 was donated and the fundraiser exceeded its goal by the following day. According to Waller-Thornton Funeral Home, the average cost of an earth-burial funeral is over $7K. To contribute to the family, visit www.gofundme.com/journey-gains-her-wings.

A fish fry and auction benefit for Journey Magness will be held at Firehouse Pizza on Sunday, Dec. 11. The event is sponsored by the D&S Plaza in conjunction with the 356 Volunteer Fire Dept. Plates are $10 each, and there will be a live auction with Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace auctioneering. Food will be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. On Dec. 12, El Rancho Viejo will donate half of their sales from the day to the Magness family. 

Unofficial national, state, local election results announced

After months of campaigning and controversy, it was determined on November 8 after the General Election that Donald J. Trump is to be the 45th president of the United States. In Trinity County Trump garnered 4,737 votes to Clinton’s 1,154. According to a press release from Texas Secretary of State Carlos. H. Cascos, Texas had a record-breaking 15 million registered voters this year, a number that has grown substantially since the last presidential election, when Texas boasted 13,646,226 registered voters.

On the state level, Wayne Christian was elected to serve a term as the new Texas Railroad Commissioner. 

Congressman Kevin Brady (R) was re-elected as the United States Representative for District 8 in the March 2016 Primary Election.

State Representative Trent Ashby (R) was also re-elected in this year’s Primary Election as the State Representative of District 57. 

Three new members were elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, with Mary Lou Keel (R), Scott Walker (R), and Michael Keasler (R), being elected to Place 2, 5, and 6.

Barbara Cargill (R) was elected to serve as District 8’s member on the State Board of Education. 

 Three Texas Supreme Court Justices were also determined through the ballots, with Debra Lehrmann (R), Paul Green (R), and Eva Guzman (R), being elected to fill the seats of Place 3, 5, and 9, respectively.

Greg Neeley (R) remained in his unexpired term in Place 3 on the Court of Appeals District, while Brian Hoyle (R) was elected to serve alongside him in Place 2.

Several local positions, all of which will follow, were determined earlier this year during the March primaries. Kaycee L. Jones was chosen as Judicial Judge of the 411th Judicial District although, she faced a write-in opponent during the General Election, John Wells, and defeated him with 25,683 votes to his 3,206, with participating voters in Polk County, San Jacinto County, and Trinity County.Bennie L. Schiro will be returning as District Attorney of the 25th Judicial District.

In Trinity County, Joe Warner Bell was re-elected as County Attorney. Current Sheriff Woody Wallace was re-elected to continue his service. Lindy Madden Warren again secured her position as the Tax Assessor-Collector. Grover “Tiger” Worsham was again elected as the Precinct 1 County Commissioner. Tommy Park was elected as the Precinct 1 Constable.

The final item on the ballot in Trinity County -- the Trinity Independent School District’s $11,300,000 bond passed with 1,632 votes favoring the proposition in Trinity Co. and 949 against.

For more detailed information concerning state and local candidates, visit the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us.

 

Representative Ashby visits Groveton, discusses Texas issues

The Republican Women of Trinity County hosted an event on Aug. 9 where Texas State Representative Trent Ashby visited Groveton to speak to Trinity Co. about pressing issues concerning the upcoming 85th session of the Texas Legislature.

“The thing about Trinity County, and I just can’t get away from this – every time I’m over here it’s almost like family,” Ashby said. “And I hope that you never take that for granted here… I see the love in this room, I see the support in this room, and as much as I would love to tell you that you see that everywhere you go, you know and I know that doesn’t happen. Y’all have a very, very special community here in Trinity County.”

Ashby mentioned the particularly distinguished crowd he found himself speaking to in Groveton, which consisted of SREC members, Republican volunteers, and county, state, and city officials; he introduced his family, then transitioned to speaking about pressing political matters.

“I want to touch on just a few issues… I would be doing you a disservice to sit here tonight and talk about all the rosy issues, because we are blessed with Texas, but we have some challenges on the horizon,” Ashby said.

The first topic Ashby brought to the crowd’s attention was education funding.  He said he had been handed the gavel to Chair a subcommittee over all higher and public education in Texas.“One of the biggest challenges we’re gonna face in looking at our budget next cycle, is for the first time since I’ve been representing you, we’re not going to have a rosy forecast,” Ashby said. “There won’t be these giant surpluses… we’re going to have some real questions about how we spend that money.” More specifically, he continued, the lack of funds are expected to affect TRS Care, which is essentially healthcare for retired teachers.

For over a dozen years, Ashby said, Texas has known there was a, “looming fiscal cliff when it comes to funding the longer-term solvency of TRS Care.” Despite that, he said retired teachers would be taken care of, but that TRS Care would need to be reformed.

The next troubling issue facing Texas concerns the state’s foster care system. Ashby said there currently is a lack of skilled workers, a lack of funding, and a shortage of beds. It is recommended, Ashby said, that each caseworker not exceed 17 cases; however, caseworkers on average are currently responsible for 30 cases each. To make matters worse, Ashby continued, Texas is expected to lose 200 beds next September. He labeled Texas foster care as a, “priority issue.”

Ashby also spoke about issues concerning emergency leave pay and Texas water laws, and mentioned border security, but offered a fairly positive report.

He concluded by mentioning that the number of attendees at Republican events in Trinity County had drastically increased in recent years, and that for Republicans to accomplish their goals, everyone needs to get involved.

For more information about Trent Ashby, visit: trentashby.com. For more information about the Republican Women of Trinity County, visit: republicanwomentrinityco.com.

Lake Livingston among Texas lakes affected by zebra mussels, harmful to environment, recreation, and more

From Texas Parks & Wildlife

ATHENS— Three more Texas lakes are being added to the list of lakes affected by zebra mussels.  Lake Livingston, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth all tested positive for zebra mussels. These new findings serve as a good reminder to boaters to “Clean, Drain and Dry” their boats, trailers and gear every time they travel from one lake to another to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.  

Sampling funded by the Trinity River Authority and conducted on Lake Livingston June 22-23 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the presence of zebra mussels. Dr. Christopher Churchill with the USGS found four adult zebra mussels attached to settlement samplers that were deployed at three different locations throughout the lake. Churchill stated that “At this point in time, it is not possible to determine whether the zebra mussels in Lake Livingston are the result of reproduction within the lake or if they are the result of downstream dispersal or overland introduction.”

Likewise, the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has been monitoring Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth for the presence of zebra mussels.  Both lakes are downstream of Lake Bridgeport, which is known to be infested. Plankton samples collected by TRWD on May 18 found what appeared to be zebra mussel larvae. Those specimens were later confirmed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) through genetic analysis.  Additional monitoring conducted on June 28 by TRWD and TPWD resulted in the finding of several adult zebra mussels in both Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth.  Since zebra mussels were first found in Texas in 2009, six Texas lakes in three river basins are now fully infested, meaning that they have an established, reproducing population. Zebra mussels have been found on occasion in six other Texas lakes but at this time it is uncertain if those lakes have a viable reproducing population. See the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website for details on affected water bodies.The rapidly reproducing zebra mussels, originally from Eurasia, can have serious economic, environmental and recreational impacts on Texas reservoirs. Zebra mussels can clog public-water intake pipes, harm boats and motors left in infested waters, completely cover anything left under water and litter beaches with their sharp shells. In Texas, it is unlawful to possess or transport zebra mussels, dead or alive. Boaters are also required to drain all water from their boat and on-board receptacles before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water in order to prevent the transfer of zebra mussels that might be trapped inside. This regulation applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not: personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks/canoes or any other vessel used on public waters. Movement from one access point to another on the same lake during the same day does not require draining.“Boaters’ actions are absolutely vital to help prevent zebra mussels from spreading to any new river basins. Three simple steps can help stop them and help you stay within the law,” said Brian Van Zee, Inland Fisheries Regional Director for TPWD. “Clean, drain and dry your boat every time you leave a body of water.”TPWD and a coalition of partners have been working to slow the spread of zebra mussels by reminding boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats, trailers and gear before traveling from one waterbody to another. The partners in this effort include: North Texas Municipal Water District, Tarrant Regional Water District, City of Dallas Water Utilities Department, Trinity River Authority, San Jacinto River Authority, Sabine River Authority, Brazos River Authority, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Lower Colorado River Authority, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.More information about zebra mussels can be found online at www.texasinvasives.org/