Speed limits, re-plating on Court agenda

By Chris Edwards

Establishing a speed limit on two county roads and the re-plating of lots in Pine Forest Estates were among the items on the agenda when the Trinity County Commissioners' Court met at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 14 at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton.

County Judge Doug Page turned the meeting over to the public after calling the court to order and having Guy Hardgrave of Calvary Tabernacle Church in Trinity led an opening prayer.

Hearings were set for an August 11 date to determine reasonable, or safe, speed limits to be established on Joe Bailey Road and Sullivan Road, as well as a hearing to discuss and act on a re-plat of two lots in Pine Forest Estates, following reports by Constable Reggie Olive and Earline McLeod, respectively.

Terry Cartwright, owner/director of Groveton Funeral Home, addressed the court when Judge Page allowed for public forum, following a discussion of paupers' funeral arrangements, which are handled by the county. Cartwright asked if the fee for basic services for paupers' funerals could be increased from $500 to $750.

"$500 does not pay for everything we have to do," Cartwright said. He noted that although there are few applicants per year for pauper funerals, the overhead for Cartwright and his staff is not covered by the current reimbursement fee of $500. "It just doesn't work," he said.

Huntsville businessman Ben Bius, of B&B Properties, also approached the bench to make a request during the public forum. Bius asked the court to help negotiate a solution that would resolve the situation surrounding the Eagle Falls subdivision, which is currently in default.

Bius stated that feasibility studies, utilizing environmental engineers for consultation, would be necessary to complete the subdivision. "Our interests all ought to be the same," Bius said. The court also received an update on the County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ) grant funding for the county. The CETRZ grant, state-issued funds that allow for road improvements to be made, was finalized in June with over $200,000 to be distributed among the four precincts for projects to be undertaken. The roads scheduled to be worked on include: Piney Creek Rd.; Winding Creek Dr.; Glendale Holly Rd.; New Church Loop; Deaton Rd.; Helmic-Apple Springs Rd. and N. Scrub Creek Rd.

Other items on the court's agenda at the meeting included:
•The approval of eligible county retirees' medical and dental co-insurance coverage through United Healthcare.
•The correction of the spelling of Holly Lane in the Pinecrest subdivision. Currently, 911 mapping shows the spelling of the road as "Holley."
•An approval for Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover "Tiger" Worsham to purchase two loaders from TxDOT with financing to be secured by the county auditor, Sheila Johnson.
•The approval of the Trinity County flag draft by AAA Trophy in Lufkin.
•The approval of all budget amendments for the fiscal year, as detailed by Johnson.
The court adjourned until its next stated meeting, which will be at 9 a.m., Monday, July 28th, at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton.

Hospital Board President resigns

TRINITY — After a long stay Dave Ward announced his resignation as President of the Trinity Memorial Hospital District Board. On June 16, he attended his last meeting as President. Lois Saldana made the motion for Randy Karnes to take the seat of Board President. He accepted the position with the entire board's approval.

Dave Ward added that it was a privilege to have served on the Board and be part of the working relationship with ETMC-Trinity that resulted in the transformation of the hospital into the modern facility it is today. Lois Saldana expressed her gratitude and admiration for Ward's years of dedicated service to the Hospital District. All members of the Board added their thanks to his service as well.

With Randy Karnes serving as President, the position of Vice President opened. Cheryl Spearman motioned for Carlyn Bluis, current secretary of the Board, be selected for the position. With a unanimous approval, Bluis took the Vice President position.

Cheryl Spearman motioned for Marjory Pulvino be selected as the new secretary of the board, seconded by Lois Saldana the motion was unanimously approved.

With the current positions being held, there is a vacancy on the Board. Nominations for a person to fill that vacancy will be brought to the August meeting by current board members.

On July 21, Randy Karnes, President of the Trinity Memorial Hospital District Board, made a motion to recognize Dave Ward for his service to the Board. Laura Vanecek, stating, "I mean no offense to Dave", noted of how many Board Presidents there have been and their contributions as well.

She reminds the Board of former President Larry King, the fact that he presided in that position much longer than Dave Ward and his willingness to go beyond the job scope during a crucial time for Trinity's hospital. Pat King served as Secretary during that time and was invaluable to the Board as well.

After discussing the issue, board members decided they would table the item and try to figure out how they could recognize all Board Presidents for their contributions. Keeping in mind that contributions are made throughout the Board, not just in the President's position, there may be additional recognitions made as well.

All members expressed they felt recognition should be placed properly to show appreciation to all members who have dedicated their time and energy for the one goal at hand.

Speaking of dedication of time and energy, the Board has been working on a project for a hallway at ETMC-Trinity. Recognition of the people that pulled their efforts together to maintain a hospital for Trinity was approved. The idea is to obtain a picture of the person and have a brief history of them placed on a wall at ETMC-Trinity.

They decided to honor Dr. Barnes, Dr. Cook and Mr. Epperson for their contributions, for the fact, that their contributions largely effected the creation of the hospital.

Pictures of Dr. Barnes and Mr. Epperson have been obtained and are ready for placement. A good picture of Dr. Cook is still being sought. Mr. Epperson, donated the property that ETMC-Trinity currently sits on to the Hospital Board.

During the meeting Lois Saldana reminds the board that on the third of next month, August 3, she turns 88 years old. She states, "Are you ready to accept my resignation now?" with a unanimous 'No' from across the board. The mention wasn't a formal resignation, just a seed planted, to allow the board time for replacement.

TISD discusses Summer school, STAAR testing

TRINITY — In the midst of summer, TISD is still hard at work with the students. Out of the entire district, 42 are currently attending, 17 of those students will be retaking their STAAR test this week.
Overall students in TISD have tested well, with increases in most areas, Algebra 1 took the major hit. Mainly because students the previous year took Geometry and were then tested on Algebra. Testing scores had a good gain in writing this year.

In the Elementary, students had a gain in their testing scores all around, with the exception of Fifth grade Science, which fell drastically.

Students attending TMS had a good gain in all areas with the exception of Seventh grade that fell slightly in math and reading. While some falling scores were due to curriculum, others were due to problems with teachers.

Two new teachers have been hired at the Trinity High School campus to begin in the 2014-2015 school year. Roger Jones will teach History and Evette Thomas will teach Business Composition.

The 2013-2014 Community Accountability Ratings are as follows:

For Lansberry Elementary; Gifted and Talented were Recognized; Wellness and Physical Education were Recognized; Second Language Acquisition, ESL, were Recognized; Fine Arts were Exemplary; Drop Out Prevention were Acceptable; Digital Learning Environment were Exemplary; Community and Parental Involvement were Recognized; 21st Century Workforce were Acceptable.

For Trinity Middle School; Gifted and Talented were Exemplary; Wellness and Physical Education were Exemplary; Second Language Acquisition, ESL, were Exemplary; Fine Arts were Exemplary; Drop Out Prevention were Exemplary; Digital Learning Environment were Exemplary; Community and Parental Involvement were Exemplary; 21st Century Workforce were Acceptable.

For Trinity High School; Gifted and Talented were Recognized; Wellness and Physical Education were Recognized; Second Language Acquisition, ESL, were Acceptable; Fine Arts were Exemplary; Drop Out Prevention were Exemplary; Digital Learning Environment were Exemplary; Community and Parental Involvement were Exemplary; 21st Century Workforce were Exemplary.

Workshops to aid students with Math are currently being coordinated by Natalie Barrett. Teachers will attend some training courses throughout the summer as well, beginning July 7. A parent and student book study is in the works and teachers are trying to find new ways to get parents involved with their student's current studies.

Approval has been made for contracting with the Texas Coalition of Essential Schools for Professional Development, a nine month program that will cost the school $59,000. TISD obtained a grant to cover this cost, so the budget will remain unaffected.

Trinity County Appraisal District was present at the board meeting this month, held June 23, and presented Dave Plymale with a check summing $8,370.

The Appraisal District has several tax collecting entities, one being TISD, and because of this all of those tax collecting entities hold an interest within the Appraisal District.

An audit conducted by Kim Davis discovered the excess of encumbered funds, and Trinity County Appraisal District began to disburse refunds to each entity. The Appraisal District is budgeted with a certain amount of funds every year from the county. These excess funds are from not spending their entire budget and managing their funds well.

TISD is expected to receive over $33,000 back from the Appraisal District, although the Appraisal District is asking for some of the excess funds to go toward repairs needed on their Groveton building. The amount needed for repairs will not affect the expected amount to be received.

Superintendent, Dave Plymale, gave his report during the meeting on Monday.

TISD will begin looking for an independent IT Technical Support, by state law, they are required to contract with an independent, which will take a little from their budget every month.

A budget workshop is scheduled for July 21 and possibly more recruitment may be made throughout the remainder of the summer.

TISD Board of Trustees attended a convention recently and were very pleased with the material reviewed during the convention. Monty Huffman stated that he enjoyed the speakers very much. Joyce Williams added there was so much to learn and she enjoyed the teamwork tips given.

Dorothy Franklin added her views on the convention, stating she was surprised at the legal changes being made federally and it was a real 'eye-opener' regarding confidentiality and privacy needed in schools now days. Although she notes these are issues that need to be addressed.

Judy Bishop noted the economy and workforce issues being raised by the speakers. Currently, most help wanted ads are for food service, retail or healthcare. Students going into engineering or other major college courses are having difficulty finding work when they graduate.

Although they make quite a bit more money when they do find work, they can go without a job for a while and then there is no competition. Applied mathematics is still the highest paying work field to go into.

Dave Plymale also expressed his enjoyment of the convention, especially the parent and community involvement within the schools. The speech entitled 'Schools can't do it alone' gave ideas of adding programs for parents and community business leaders to aid the students with studies they find difficult.