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Armed robbers hold up Exxon Station

Pictured above is the 24-hour Trinity Exxon station that was robbed early Monday morning at by two assailants at gun-point. Pictured bottom right is Jonathan Miller, a clerk who was on duty during the robbery.Pictured above is the 24-hour Trinity Exxon station that was robbed early Monday morning at by two assailants at gun-point. Pictured bottom right is Jonathan Miller, a clerk who was on duty during the robbery.

by Dr. Sharon Schuetz

At around 4:30 AM Monday, October 16, two men, approximately 20 -25 years-old, robbed the Exxon Station in Trinity at gun point after having successfully robbed Valero in Riverside a half-hour earlier. They reportedly managed to get away with $120 from Valero, and substantially more from Trinity's Exxon store.

Three employees were in the store at the time of the robbery. Clerk, Jonathan Miller, was next to the coke fountains, another employee was behind the counter, and the manager was in the office with the door open.

According to store employees the one that took the money was a black man wearing a hoody who carried a pistol into the manager's office. The other man stood at the door with a shotgun, holding the door open with his foot, while watching the parking lot.

Police Chief Steve Jones warns that if you ever find yourself faced with this type of situation it is best to cooperate with them because they are organized and dangerous. "These men are most likely from the Houston area and just made a trip through here," he explained. According to Jones, they had just robbed the Valero station in Riverside and he had put an alert out. The Trinity Police are working with the Walker County Sheriff's Department, gathering information and working the case together, including sharing video from both robberies. Jones encouraged citizens to report anything that is suspicious and they will gladly check out any leads.

Trinity’s two pheonixes rise from the ashes

Left: Trinity Café owners, Roland and Dolores Kane, with waitstaff Sarah Tullos, Teresa Bond, Nicole Domminy, and Sarah Womack. Above: Valero Corner Store Market manager, Jessica Crain, with employees Danielle Mooving, Rachel McDow, Chelsea White, and Brandy Wagner. Left: Trinity Café owners, Roland and Dolores Kane, with waitstaff Sarah Tullos, Teresa Bond, Nicole Domminy, and Sarah Womack. Above: Valero Corner Store Market manager, Jessica Crain, with employees Danielle Mooving, Rachel McDow, Chelsea White, and Brandy Wagner.

A Phoenix in Greek mythology is a bird that is lives many years, and according to most sources, dies in an eruption of flames. After death, it is supposedly reborn, rising from the ashes of its predecessor. Some texts say that the Phoenix could live over 1,400 years before rebirth. History implies that the Phoenix "symbolizes" renewal in general.

Whatever it represents in history, Trinity has two recent versions of the phoenix rising from the ashes, and they both rose this week. On April 28, 2016, social media lit up with reports of the Valero station catching fire. Police Chief, Steve Jones posted pictures and reported on the event. Although the fire department was practically next door, the blaze was difficult to put out because of the different layers in the ceiling, making the flames almost impossible to reach in time to save the store.

The building sat empty for months before they tore it down. Somehow seeing the empty lot where Valero once sat gave many of us a sad sense of loss. Rumors that they were rebuilding here and there flourished, but nothing came of it until recently.

According to the manager, Jessica Crain, Valero had no plans to rebuild in Trinity until they were overwhelmed with phone calls from Trinity citizens requesting that they replace the store.
Thursday, the new Valero Market, located across from Higginbotham's, opened for business. It's not simply a Valero store, but it's a Corner Market store that boasts of offering a variety of choices in products customers would seek in a convenience store.

The Trinity Café is another phoenix that rose from the ashes this week. On March 24 of this year, it seemed that we had lost another important business to a fire that completely gutted the building. Roland and Dolores Kane moved what they could salvage down to the Trinity Meat Market and set up shop there until they could rebuild. They generously donated the unharmed meat from the freezer to Martin Senior Service Center where they have used it all these months to feed Trinity's seniors.

On Tuesday, the doors opened at the Trinity Café to the approval of the many customers who wanted to see the new and improved eatery. The Kanes plan to have a Grand Opening in about a month and want to encourage their loyal customers to keep watching for more information about it.

Whether Valero and the Trinity Café are phoenixes or just hard-working business who won't give up, Trinity is the one who benefits. All in all, it has been a good week for our city.

A Tax Ratification election is scheduled for Trinity ISD

Trinity I.S.D. will hold a tax ratification election Saturday, Aug. 26, to seek voter approval for redistributing a portion of the tax rate designated to retire debt to maintenance and operations.

Voting will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Trinity ISD Administration Building.

Currently, the district's combined tax burden is $1.28 per $100 in value, with $1.04 going to maintenance and operations and 25 cents allocated to interest and sinking.

Maintenance and operations fund daily operations at the district.

Interest and sinking is the amount required to make TISD's bond payments, and retire debt incurred for capital improvements.
"Presently, we are leaving over $200,000 a year on the table by not re-distributing our tax rate," said TISD Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman.

Redistributing those tax dollars allows Trinity ISD to obtain additional state funds.

If voters approve the redistribution, the M&O rate will be $1.17 and the I&S rate will be 12 cents, keeping the total tax rate of $1.29.

"Taxes will not increase as a result of this tax swap," Kaufman said.

The election is necessary because state law requires an election be held when any taxing entity exceeds its rollback tax rate. TISD's threshold is $1.04.

For more information, contact Dr. John Kaufman, Superintendent, Trinity ISD at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 936-594-2546.

Chamber building’s new home

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The Chamber of Commerce building has been at the same location since 1985. The community built it to house the Chamber, but the ground it sat on belonged to someone else. The owner gave them a ninety-nine-year lease that lasted until they sold the land to Bill Miller. Miller charged them ten dollars per year until he sold it to the L.L.C. Properties of Spring, TX.

In May of 2016 grass grew higher than normal on the side of the building and was hard to cut because of standing water after heavy spring rains and a water leak, leading the property manager, to assume that they had abandoned the building. Maclvey told them that they had to pay rent or evacuate the premises. Julia McMichael called and found out the rent would be two-hundred dollars. The property owners sent them a lease agreement which was signed and returned with a six-hundred dollar check for June, July, and August of 2016's rent. After this, they lost their airconditioning, utilities increased, and large business donors stopped supporting them, resulting in a deficit and an inability to pay rent for nine months. In May of this year, the Chamber of Commerce received an eviction notice.

Last week the Chamber of Commerce building found its final home. The city of Trinity signed a ninety-nine-year lease with them and helped move them to the lot behind McDonalds. The city council voted to give them $10,000 to help with expenses and do repairs. Julia McMichael attended the city council meeting where the council voted unanimously to donate the money and help with repairs.

CHI St. Luke’s Now Accepting Patients

Pediatrician Amol Deshpande, M.D. (far right) and Family Medicine physician Lawrence Quan, M.D. (far left) and their staff joined the Memorial team this month and is now accepting patients.Pediatrician Amol Deshpande, M.D. (far right) and Family Medicine physician Lawrence Quan, M.D. (far left) and their staff joined the Memorial team this month and is now accepting patients.

TRINITY, TEXAS (August 9, 2017)... CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial Clinics opened its latest outpatient clinic Monday, August 7 in Trinity. The Memorial Clinics Trinity Family Medicine is located at 315 Prospect Drive in Trinity.

Pediatrician Amol Deshpande, M.D. and Family Medicine physician Lawrence Quan, M.D. and their staff joined the Memorial team this month after the outpatient clinic's former managing partner said it would no longer provide service and CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial officially signed a management service agreement with the Trinity Memorial Hospital District Board and its outpatient clinic. Certified Nurse Midwife Crystal Smith from Lufkin will also be joining the clinic.

"We look forward to working with the residents in Trinity to provide them with high quality health care, and we are excited about being a part of the Trinity community," said CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial Market CEO Monte Bostwick.

CHI St. Luke's Health does not anticipate any job loss with the transition.

CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health system based in Englewood, Colorado.

The faith-based system operates in 18 states and includes 103 hospitals, as well as long-term care, assisted- and residential living communities; community health services organizations; home health agencies and outpatient facilities and services.

In fiscal year 2016, CHI provided more than $1.1 billion in financial assistance and community benefit. CHI generated operating revenues of $15.9 billion and has total assets of approximately $22.7 billion.

With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area's only long-term acute care hospital – CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial offers comprehensive, quality health care, including a free-standing emergency center and outpatient facilities and numerous health care services. To learn more, visit esHealthMemorial.org.

About CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial
CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial, part of a national nonprofit health system, provides more than a quarter of a million patient services and millions of dollars in local charity care and community support each year. With hospitals in Lufkin, Livingston, San Augustine and Memorial Specialty – the area's only long-term acute care hospital – Memorial offers comprehensive, quality health care, including a free-standing emergency center and outpatient facilities and services. To learn more, visit CHIStLukesHealthMemorial.org.

About Memorial Clinics
Memorial Clinics, a division of the CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial system, employs and partners with 40 primary care providers and specialists in 19 locations across East Texas. Memorial Clinics accepts Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance. Visit memorialclinics.com to learn more about our physicians and connect with the personalized patient portal.

About CHI St. Luke's Health
CHI St. Luke's Health, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is comprised of three markets. CHI St. Luke's Health is home of the Texas Heart Institute (THI), eight hospitals, eight emergency centers, Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Radiation & CyberKnife Center, and several St. Luke's Medical Group locations throughout Greater Houston; CHI St. Luke's Health-Memorial (three hospitals and a long-term acute care facility in East Texas); and CHI St. Joseph Health (five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley). In addition, CHI St. Luke's is a part of a joint venture agreement with Baylor College of Medicine, which encompasses Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center. Together, CHI St. Luke's Health, THI, and Baylor College of Medicine are transforming healthcare delivery with a mission to usher in a new era of healthcare to create healthier communities. Learn more at CHIStLukesHealth.org.
About Catholic Health Initiatives

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is one of the nation's largest health systems. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, CHI operates in 19 states and comprises more than 100 hospitals, including four academic medical centers and teaching hospitals; 30 critical-access facilities; community health services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home health agencies; and other services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. Learn more at catholichealthinitiatives.com.

Goat Island Investigation Continues

Wild goats clear the underbrush on Goat Island while adding to its unique characterWild goats clear the underbrush on Goat Island while adding to its unique character

Multiple agencies have filed charges or planning to bring charges against a sixty-year-old Onalaska man whose seven dogs attacked and killed at least 13 goats on Goat Island last Monday. The Trinity County River Authority has cited him for camping in an unauthorized area, while Game Warden, Anthony King, reported that he has also been charged with failure to restrain his dogs. Other charges are possible, pending an ongoing investigation by the Trinity County Sheriff's Department and other area law enforcement agencies.

Once people heard about the incident, rumors ignited on social media. People were saying that the man intentionally put out bait food to lure the goats, then sicced his dogs on them."

Some have called for heavy fines, for the offender to replace the goats, receive jail time, do community service, make restitution, and serve a hefty prison sentence. Others have questioned the integrity of our law enforcement officers. Because they say, things are moving too slowly.
After being urged to be patient with the investigation process one woman posted on Facebook, "Ok. I am more than willing to sit back....watch law enforcement, investigators...and the Justice system do their jobs. Always have done so. But this is one time I will watch closely. The burden is on the authorities, and we will see if Justice is blind.

People are angry and want the authorities to move quickly. They want them to arrest this man if he is guilty of a malicious crime. Nobody desires to see a criminal escape justice; however, according to District Attorney, Bennie Schiro, we must, "Wait until we complete the investigation and all the facts are in before we can expect real justice."

The Game Warden, Sheriff Woody Wallace, and the District Attorney agree that there are two issues to address before they can bring final charges. While everyone is certain who owned the dogs, who camped out, and who to point the proverbial finger at, they are less sure about what he can be charged with and exactly what crime he committed. On the surface the answer seems obvious, but not so.

The first question is, how are the goats defined, and based on that definition, what law protects them? Are they domestic farm animals or are they feral? There is one set of laws that protect domestic goats, and another that deals with wild ones. A feral goat is simply a goat who was once domestic but has become established in the wild.

A domestic goat has certain protections afforded him. If a farmer owns a goat, the farmer can sue. The goat is considered property and has a value.
A feral goat is in the same basic category as a feral hog. Texas A&M's AgriLife Extension explains, "Landowners own the feral hogs that occupy their property." The landowner is responsible for any damage the animals cause and responsible for removing them himself.

The state protects neither wild hogs or wild goats. Feral hogs are not a game or non-game species in Texas. Instead, they are considered exotic livestock. You can hunt without a hunting license, year-round, and without the rules that apply to wild game protected by the state.
Neither of these questions, domestic or feral provides many options to law enforcement. The next question that we must answer is one of intent. Did this man intentionally take his seven dogs out to Goat Island, set out food to lure the goats, and then sic his dogs on them. If he did, then why did he do it? Was it just for fun or sick pleasure?

Game Warden, Anthony King, isn't convinced that the suspect acted with malicious intent, "I believe this was a situation that got out of control and he didn't mean for it to happen. After all, this is a sixty-year-old guy who decided to camp out on this Island to enjoy getting away with his wife. I can't imagine he did this on purpose."

Schiro explained that the investigation is ongoing and would continue until they have answered these questions. There are few options available, but the most likely solution is to convene a grand jury and let them decide what charges to bring.

Sheran Casey, wife of Constable Carl Casey explains, "Trinity has an excellent judicial system diligently working behind the scenes. They cannot share everything with the public, but there is no doubt that they will do the best job possible within the confines of the law in the state of Texas."