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Lunch Pal Day @ Lansberry Elementary School

 

October 30 was Lunch Paw day at Lansberry Elementary School. Adults teamed up and aet lunch with elementary children. They spent time together listing their favorite foods, heroes, movie stars, and what each want to become as adults. This program is designed to show that someone cares and to encourage these children to strive to be successful. The mentors become Heroes for the Day by giving each child the joy and memory of someone taking the time to let them shine once a month.
Mentors are discouraged from spending anything on the students. They can buy lunch and eat with them if they desire. The purpose is that once a month someone encourages them toward future goals and wellbeing. Right now, the focus is the elementary school and when mentors are available, to expand into the other schools. Please contact Marie Vinson at 936-594-3567 ext. 2014 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested in the program. YOU can make the difference in a child’s life and it only requires a half hour a month.

 

Fire Department held fire prevention and fire safety training for Pre-K through 2nd grade

Keith Johnson held fire prevention and fire safety training for the Pre-k, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students at the fire station Oct 20. Keith teaches the children about fire detection, stop, drop and roll, escape drills, and microwave safety. He tells them of the importance of having a working smoke detector and a fire extinguisher in kitchen and home.

Boys & Girls Club turkey shoot winners

By Bill Fogle

At the “First Annual BGC Turkey Shoot Rifle Competition," it was proven beyond a doubt that Dominic Diamond is "The Best shot in Trinity County”. After several rounds of elimination shooting and a BBQ lunch, provided by Ricky Hortman and served by members of the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors, Diamond out-shot all challengers. Second place award went to Trisha Hortman and Third Place went to Vernon King of Houston, son of the late Bob and Jane King of Trinity. Anyone disputing this title will just have wait for next year’s competition to settle the issue! Mark your calendars now for the second annual BGC Turkey Shoot in Oct. 2018.

Trinity I.S.D. Superintendent makes plea regarding state funding

By Trinity I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman

As the 85th Texas Legislative session is underway, school districts across the state are wondering if equality in state funding will transpire from this session.   For over 30 years, state legislators have penalized school districts with less than 1,600 students and less than 300 square miles by arbitrarily funding the cost per student at a much lower rate than those over 300 square miles.  

The legislator’s philosophy for doing this was twofold: first, they understood that the cost per student increased as the number of students in a district decreased.  Many felt that by instituting a smaller multiplier to the smaller area districts they would be more inclined to consider consolidating with a neighboring district rather than face this funding shortfall.  

Secondly, some legislators felt that if districts were less than 300 square miles, they were “small by choice” and if they couldn’t survive at that lower funding level they could always consolidate with a neighboring district.  Both assumptions were incorrect; in fact, many small school districts across the state are the center of the community and an essential component of the community’s heritage. Consolidation with a neighboring district would not be an option.  

To further illustrate the injustice imposed on small school districts with less than 300 square miles, if a school district had 600 students and was greater than 300 square miles in area, the state would recognize this district as a higher formula funding district and would use a calculation of .0004 as a funding mechanism, but if a neighboring district had the same amount of students but was 299 square miles in area, they would be funded at a lower funding mechanism of .00025.  By using this thinking, the smaller sized school district would receive 37.5 percent less funding from the state!  

This funding discrepancy puts the smaller district at an even greater disadvantage; teachers are lost to higher paying districts, fewer resources are available to students, and facility maintenance sometimes suffer because of the lack of funding.  A district’s only other option is to offset this funding shortfall by raising taxes; not a viable solution considering the tax burden already placed on citizens! 

In Texas there are 463 school districts that are punished because of their student population and square mileage while 176 districts reap the benefits of a higher funding formula.   Trinity ISD is one of those districts being funded at the small school rate of  .00025.  This is solely based on the square mileage being less than 300 square miles (Trinity ISD has 143 square miles) and the student population.  If Trinity ISD were to be funded at an equalized rate, an additional $715,320 per year would be realized in our budget.  This increased revenue is approximately 14 percent of Trinity ISD’s annual budget!  Imagine how this extra revenue could help the district!

With the 85th Legislative session underway, an opportunity exists to correct this injustice that has plagued small schools for over 30 years.  Texas State Senator Robert Nichols has filed Senate bill 678 and Representative Trent Ashby has filed house bill 1390 that would equalize this funding discrepancy.  Please consider contacting your Texas Senate member and House of Representative member to express your support regarding this matter.   Below are the representatives for Trinity County:

Texas State Senate District 3 - The Honorable Robert Nichols 

P.O. Box 12068

Capitol Station

Austin, TX 78711 

(512) 463-0103 (TEL)

1 (800) 959-8633 (TOLL-FREE)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Texas State House District 57 – Representative Trent Ashby

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

(512) 463-0508

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

4th of July: Red Cross Steps for Enjoying a Safe Holiday Weekend

HOUSTON,TEXAS, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, 2016 — Everyone is looking forward to the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend and the American Red Cross has steps they can follow to stay safe when enjoying the fireworks or taking a trip to the beach.

“Millions of people will visit the seashore or watch fireworks shows over the 4th of July weekend and there are steps they can take to have a safe holiday,” said Steve Vetrano, Regional CEO, American Red Cross of the Texas Gulf Coast. “They can also download our First Aid and Swim Apps to have important safety information at their fingertips.”

FIREWORKS SAFETY The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Many cities and states outlaw most fireworks. If someone is setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  • Never give fireworks to small children.
  • Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  • Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  • Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  • Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

BEACH SAFETY If holiday plans include visiting the beach, learn how to swim in the surf. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards. While enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Other safety steps include:

  • Swim sober and always swim with a buddy. Make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Have young children and inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters.
  • Keep a close eye and constant attention on children and adults while at the beach. Wave action can cause someone to lose their footing, even in shallow water.
  • Watch out for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants and leave animals alone.

RIP CURRENTSRip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year, and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards. Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:

  • If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.

DOWNLOAD SWIM, FIRST AID APPSThe Red Cross Swim App promotes water safety education and helps parents and caregivers of young people learning how to swim. The app has features specifically designed for children, including a variety of kid-friendly games, videos and quizzes. It also contains water safety information for parents on a variety of aquatic environments including beaches and water parks. The First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on a variety of situations from insect bites and stings to choking and Hands-Only CPR. People can download the apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in their app store or at redcross.org/apps.

HOME POOL ESSENTIALS COURSE The Red Cross and National SwimmingPool Foundation® (NSPF) have developed an online safety course for pool and hot tub owners. Home Pool Essentials helps people understand the risks of pool ownership, how to maintain a safer and cleaner pool, what safety equipment is appropriate, how to prevent pool and hot tub entrapment hazards, and how to respond to an emergency.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross, a United Way agency, shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.orgor cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at@RedCrossHouston.

Chief Jones discusses busting drug dealers with a small dept.

By Steve Jones

A citizen once asked me this: If the citizens know who all the drug dealers and users are, then why don’t you (the police department)?  I told him that we did.  He responded with, “Well why don’t you do anything about it?”  I responded with, “We do.”  However, it seems a lot of citizens may think this.  This week, I thought I’d address this question and open a discussion about it. 

Trinity has approximately 2,700 residents and no telling how many daily commuters coming to town or passing through.  At the police department, we have five full-time officers and myself.  If you’ve ever created schedules that are required to cover seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, you’ll know that basically having five people does not leave you with a lot of options.  Currently, my scheduled hours are Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  However, I’m basically on call 24/7.  Four of the officers cover the basic base 24 hours a day, seven-day schedule, which leaves one officer as a “floater”.  That floating officer usually works sometime in the evening and night.  This still leaves several nights a week with only one officer.  Like I’ve explained in past articles about criminals knowing information, they’re aware of our schedules.  It’s in their best interest to know as many details as possible about who’s working and when, so they pay attention. 

Because we are a rural, small town department, our officers have to know how to deal with every aspect of law enforcement. This includes handling parking, speeding, and equipment violations, to handling family violent assaults, child abuse, sexual assault, burglary investigations, etc.…  This is something larger agency officers may not understand or be able to do.  They tend to be assigned to single divisions and only perform one specific task.  For example, in a larger agency, the patrol officer will respond to the initial call, take down the complainant’s information, write a narrative, and forward the information to the proper, specialized division.  The division investigators will follow up on the information at a later time.  

Our patrol officers, however, respond to the same initial calls, take down the complainant’s information, write a narrative, and then they will have to follow up on the investigation themselves until it is cleared or resolved, no matter the classification of the complaint.  There is no one to pass it on to.

Conducting a criminal narcotics investigation takes up a lot of time, patience, information, manpower, and funding.  A true narcotics investigator spends hours and sometimes days sitting and watching a location.  They also covertly follow the drug dealers for hours and sometimes days.  Based on all you’ve read so far, when do you think it’d be best for our one officer per shift to do all this?  Remember the officer still has to respond to the day-to-day calls and criminal investigations in the community.  Remember, the officer has to stay in the city limits and if the dealers go to the Huntsville area, who’s to follow them?  

There are a lot of people who have told me that drug dealers and users shouldn’t have rights and we shouldn’t have to worry about it -- that we should just run up on them and lock them up.  I agree that it would make it easier, but it’s a fantasy and we need to deal with factual information.  The factual information is that drug dealers and users have the same rights as you and I, no matter how we fell about them.

The positive side of this is our department works well with other agencies to help each other battle the drug dealers and users that plague our communities.  When we have information that we may not have the resources to investigate, we pass the information along to a narcotics agency that can.  When we have information that we can follow up on, we do.

The day I was asked this, I was taken off guard.  My best answer to this would be that we do know who the drug dealers and users are, just like most of you do.  When we have the time, information, and opportunity, we bust them.  The question I should have asked this man that day was, “If you know who the drug dealers and users are, then why haven’t you ever turned them in yourself?”  Trinity County Crimestoppers does everything they can, down to getting on their knees and begging you to call them with information about crime and drug dealers, yet they only receive a few calls per month.  If you are concerned about drug dealers and users, my question to you is, what are you doing about it to help, or do you want to limit your involvement to complaining?