Work on $4.3 million FM 2262 upgrade begins

LUFKIN – Work is scheduled to begin this week on a $4.3 million construction project in Trinity County that will widen the pavement on FM 2262.

Construction crews are beginning work that will reconstruct and widen the pavement on FM 2262 to 24-foot and upgrade guardrail to design standards and safety treat fixed objects. A.L. Helmcamp, Inc., of Buffalo, will serve as contractor.

Work to widen pavement is scheduled from SH 94 to FM 357. The project should be completed in about 12 months, weather permitting.

Motorists should expect delays when traveling through the area and will be led by a pilot car in a single lane as work progresses. Motorists are urged to obey all traffic control devices, reduce speed, expect to stop at timed signals and wait as pilot cars transfer traffic to each side of the construction zone.

The project is designed to enhance safety and improve traffic flow on the roadway. All work is subject to change in inclement weather.

For information regarding statewide projects and road closures, visit the website

For more information about this and other Lufkin District projects, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (936) 633-4395.

Country legend Mickey Gilley involved in Corrigan two-car crash with Groveton man

 A paramedic tends to country legend Mickey Gilley following the wreck of a Toyota SUV in which Gilley was a passenger. (PHOTO COURTESY OF REMEMBERING GILLEY’S CLUB FACEBOOK PAGE) A paramedic tends to country legend Mickey Gilley following the wreck of a Toyota SUV in which Gilley was a passenger. (PHOTO COURTESY OF REMEMBERING GILLEY’S CLUB FACEBOOK PAGE)

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

CORRIGAN – Country legend Mickey Gilley was involved in a two-vehicle wreck in Corrigan late last Wednesday morning.

Gilley's son Michael was the driver, with Gilley riding in the front passenger seat. At around 11 a.m., a 2016 white Cadillac driven by Johnny Ellis travelling west on FM 1987 collided with the Gilleys' vehicle, according to a report from Corrigan Police Department.

The Gilleys were northbound on U.S. 59 when Ellis reportedly failed to yield the right of way to the Gilleys' vehicle, a 2013 silver Toyota SUV, and proceeded into the intersection where Ellis's Cadillac struck the Toyota on the passenger side.

The force of the impact caused the Toyota to veer off the main slab of highway into the median, where it rolled three or four times before coming to rest upside-down, according to the report.

Mickey Gilley refused EMS treatment at the scene, but it was later determined that he had suffered a shoulder and ankle injury. Michael Gilley sustained bruises and Ellis was not injured. According to a social media posting from Mickey Gilley's business manager, Jess McDonald, "He's really sore, but there's no surgery. He's at home resting."

According to another posting to social media, Gilley and his son were en route to Branson, Missouri, where Gilley owns a theater and regularly performs.

Gilley, an 81-year-old singer/songwriter/pianist, was a steady presence on the country charts in the 1970s with such hits as "Room Full of Roses" and his cover of the soul classic "Stand by Me." He became arguably more famous for his bar in Pasadena, Gilley's, where the hit 1980 movie Urban Cowboy was filmed.

Word of Gilley's accident spread through social media on Wednesday evening. Fellow country singer/songwriter and Livingston resident Doug Supernaw re-posted photos from the wreck scene on Facebook and praised the efforts of Michael Pounders of Clifton Chevrolet Towing and Recovery for taking care of Mickey Gilley after the accident. "He's a trooper," Supernaw wrote in the post.

In recent years, Gilley's recording activity has waned, but he has kept a busy itinerary of performances, in spite of health struggles. In July 2009, he had an accident while moving furniture, which left him partially paralyzed from the neck down. Although he was able to return to the stage after physical therapy, he still lacks the hand coordination needed to play piano, according to a story titled "The Comeback Cowboy," published in the Feb. 1, 2012 edition of the Houston Press.

Gilley's current schedule shows seven dates confirmed from January until June, with a show slated for last Saturday at the Texan Theater in Greenville. That show has been postponed.

Ellis is also something of a legend in certain circles for his music. Known around the area as the "East Texas Playboy," Ellis, 86, is a country singer/songwriter who played in various bands in the region and co-wrote the song "Honky Tonk Man" with Johnny Horton.

Although the police report of the incident lists Ellis as a Groveton resident, he also maintains a residence in Corrigan and is a familiar sight around town where he occasionally sings and plays songs for the public in various locations.
Ellis, who was profiled in a 2016 story titled "Corrigan Songster is a little-known link to country music's past," published in a special section of the Polk Country Enterprise to highlight senior citizens' lifestyles in the region, spoke of his frustrations with the music business and how some of his songs were stolen from him while he was in Nashville. Ellis is retired from playing gigs on the road, and said he enjoys playing for crowds in front of stores "just for fun, and for practice."

According to Corrigan PD, the accident is still under investigation. Along with Corrigan PD, personnel from Clifton Chevrolet Towing and Recovery and Riley's Wrecker Service were also present to remove the damaged vehicles.

2017: A year in review through Groveton News headlines

January 5, 2017-Trinity County Officials sworn in on New Year's Day; Silsbee gospel group The Master's Men to perform at Josserand.

January 12, 2017-Commisssioners hear presentation on body cams from Sherriff; "Battle of Blackjack Grove" to return; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day observed Monday; Groveton High students, Eden Dillard and Kaitlyn Allen perform at Citrus Bowl Halftime show.
January 19, 2017-Local Lions attend Lions International Centennial Celebration; Trial date set for former DETCOG executive director Diggles; Trinity County Crime Stoppers spotlight: Groveton Police Sergeant Shane Sandifer; Judge Blair speaks to Republican Women.

January 26, 2017-Memorandum of support for potential regional growth approved by commissioners; Local boys, Trey Hance and Ethan Reynolds help win championship; Four-year-old boy, Tanner Hemness with local ties is a guest on "The Steve Harvey Show".

February 2, 2017-Second annual "Battle of Blackjack Grove" is getting close; Apple Springs ISD welcomes alumni; DETCOG Board approves solid waste grants program.

February 9, 2017-Longtime community leader Glen Ward dies; Fire claims pair of buildings; Nichols, Ashby file bills to help small school districts; Kalin's Center representatives travel to Austin to meet with children's advocates, discuss way to better serve children.

February 16, 2017-All-East Texas News team picked; several Indians selected; "Battle of Blackjack Grove" event this weekend; Trinity County Fair to celebrate 30 years.

February 23, 2017-Commissioners discuss possible county park project; Tri-Cities Baseball, Youth Softball registration deadline extended; Judge Blair attends seminar; Ashby files legislation to remove fee for firefighters; Forest Service urges caution when flying drones.

March 2, 2017-New councilmember, Robert Smith sworn-in: property sale to GISD approved; Young Trinity county farmers Mikayla Davidson and Cole Sullivan win big at San Antonio show; Three arrested in Nogalus meth bust.

March 19, 2017-Governor Abbott to visit Trinity; Groveton Elementary plays host to new Texas author; Trinity County Fair to celebrate thirty years with this year's event; Commissioners approve patrol vehicles' purchase.

March 16, 2017-Trinity County Constable cracks down on animal abuse; Schedule for Dinner with the Governor; Hearing on Westwood Shores roads rescheduled; Trinity County Fair to celebrate thirty years with this weekend's event.

March 23, 2017-Gov. Abbott comes to Trinity for historic visit; Bear Chase Marathon to celebrate tenth year in Groveton.

March 30, 2017-Crash claims life of Grapeland man; Young area farmers enjoy successful fair weekend; DETCOG Board initiates planning for new facilities at meeting.

April 6, 2017-Council cancels May City Election; Veterans' "Stand Down" to be held in Lufkin; Groveton Ex-Student News- A look back in the '67 Tomahawk.

April 13, 2017-Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon a success; FCCLA students compete at State Leadership Conference; A little about Easter and Lenten season.

April 20, 2017-John W. Reynolds honored for long service to public education; Dispatchers recognized by Commissioners; Tyler County man charged with underage solicitation; Republican Women to host fiesta
luncheon, style show.

April 27, 2017-Commissioners discuss proposed Hogg Road name change; "Immediate action" taken in regard to report at GISD; Groveton's Meredith Ecord wins first place in State-level UIL competition; Community Health Fair to feature screening, door prizes.

May 4, 2017-National Day of Prayer observed in Groveton; Dial boys finish successful rodeo season; Police apprehend sexual predator, search for another; Famed defense attorney "Racehorse" Haynes dies at
his home in Trinity; Ex-Student News: life of an Indian in 1977.

May 11, 2017-Longtyime Precinct 3 County Commissioner Cecil Webb dies at 82; Annual audit results presented to Commissioners' court; Bill assistance available; Indian track athletes are State-bound.

May 18, 2017-Indians do Groveton proud at State Track Meet; Nigton historical dedication May 28; Timberland welcomes Groveton clinic.
May 25, 2017-Groveton senior Caleb Yarbrough awarded scholarship from SHECO; New Church Cemetery Assn. reports contributions; Bennett Cemetery Homecoming nets several contributions.

June 8, 2017-Indian baseball is State Bound!; Fourth of July celebration promises fun food, family, fireworks, and live music; A day of fishing and prizes for those who fish was enjoyed by many area
youngsters the 27th Annual Trinity County Kid Fish event.

June 15, 2017-Congratulations to Groveton's 2A State Semifinalist Baseball Team! ; Hit to rural healthcare affects Trinity, sixty hospital employees; CASA urges volunteers to help out foster children
on Father's Day.

June 22, 2017-Legendary Texas fiddler Smokey Butler dies at 91; Commissioners approve summer internship program; Tri-Cities T-Ball Allstars win District championship; Annual Fourth of July celebration
promises family fun.

June 29, 2017-Blake Hollis selected to attend blue-grey super combine; Annual Fourth of July celebration promises family fun;4-H Shooting Sports teams participate in State competition; Ex-Student News: A look at the '87 Tomahawk.

Rep. Brady weighs in on passing of Tax Reform Bill


By Alton Porter
Contributing Reporter

After being forced to vote a second time on the $1.5 trillion Tax Reform Bill, sponsored by Texas Congressman Kevin Brady, the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives stayed on task and again passed the sweeping tax overhaul legislation Wednesday, Dec. 20.

The House approved the tax bill 224 to 201 in that final vote on the bill.

The day before, House lawmakers had passed the measure 227 to 203. And Early Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate gave its approval to the bill on a 51 to 48 vote.
Due to last minute revisions made to the bill in the Senate, the House was forced to re-vote on the final version. And House members swiftly did so later Wednesday.
The second House vote was fundamentally a formality since the Senate changes were made to comply with that body's budget rules and did not materially change the overall bill.

The House and Senate actions cleared the way for President Donald Trump to sign the legislation into law.

Twelve House Republicans voted against the legislation both Monday and Tuesday, and no Democrat voted for the bill.

It amends the Code, reducing tax rates and modifying policies, credits and deductions for individual taxpayers and businesses.

Among the changes for individual taxpayers, it replaces the seven old tax brackets (10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35 and 39.6 percent) with seven new ones (10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37 percent), nearly doubles the standard deduction and eliminates the deduction for personal exemptions.

In addition, it expands and doubles the child tax credit, repeals the overall limitation on certain itemized deductions and caps the state and local tax deduction for itemizers at $10,000.

It creates a temporary credit for non-child dependents and lowers the cap on the mortgage interest deduction to mortgages up to $750,000 (previously $1 million).
The legislation also curbs who's hit by the alternative minimum tax and exempts almost everybody from estate taxation.

The tax cuts for individuals are set to expire in 2025, so that the bill complies with budget rules, unless a future Congress acts to prevent them from expiring.

The bill eliminates the requirement, known as the individual healthcare mandate, in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that requires most people to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

A few of the changes for businesses include reducing the corporate tax rate from a maximum of 35 percent to a flat 21-percent rate, allowing increased expensing of the costs of certain property and limiting the deductibility of net interest expenses to 30 percent of a business' adjusted taxable income.

The legislation also provides a tax break to owners of pass-through businesses, whose profits are taxed through the Code for individuals.

In a conference call after the House voted to pass the bill the first time Tuesday, Brady (R-Texas, 8th Dist.) gave a brief statement and answered questions of Texas newspaper editors and reporters. Here are some of the questions and the congressman's answers:

Question: You've promised that taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns on a postcard under the new law, but Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass) says that's not so because the law has gotten so complicated. Will average taxpayers still be able to do their filings on a postcard?
Answer: Yes, because of doubling the standard deduction, nearly nine out of 10 Americans will be able to file using a simple postcard-style system. We took a bold approach. We really stripped the Tax Code down to its basics and started listening to the American people about what is important to them in a 21st Century Tax Code.

Question: How do you respond to some people's belief that this legislation will benefit the wealthy and hurt the middle class?
Answer: I think that's baloney.

I think Democrats had already written those talking points two years ago. And just by sticking and being obsessed with that, I think they've ignored how much tax relief there is for real hardworking Americans. The median family of four in this country—two parents, two kids—making $73,000 a year will see a tax cut of $2,059.

Question: In much of East Texas the median family income is considerably smaller than $73,000. It's closer to $45,000. Do you have any idea what relief will be for families who have that size income?
Answer: Yes, I do. I will have to dig them up. I do know that a single mom with one child making around $40,000 a year sees a tax cut, I believe, of almost 58 percent in her tax liability.

Question: How about folks who are nearing retirement who don't have minor children at home?
Answer: The legislation is really important for them because we're doubling the standard deduction so their first $12,000 is protected from taxation. We double that for married couples. So, that family starts out with $24,000 of their earnings protected from taxation. Then, they see much lower tax rates for each dollar above that. They also keep the medical expense deduction. We retain the tax credit for the elderly, blind and disabled. So, for those retirees and near-retirees, this tax reform plan is especially good.

Question: Tax cuts usually necessitate cuts to certain programs and services to make up the difference. What are some programs and services that will be cut as a result of this legislation?
Answer: None. In fact, there are no cuts to spending programs to fund this tax reform. That's one of the fake news items you hear from opponents of tax reform. If we don't do tax reform, if we don't succeed, and our economy just continues to just slump along for another decade the way every economist predicts it will without tax reform. I think our debt will grow as a country. I think it will be tougher to see revenues for important programs, like the military and our veterans. Social Security and Medicare are two of our most important programs. They must be saved. And the funding for those programs come from payroll taxes. This tax reform plan strengthens Social Security and Medicare by getting people back to work and growing their paychecks.

Question: Congressman, you said there will be no spending cuts attached to this. Most economist are very skeptical of the idea that this is going to make up for the $1.5 trillion shortfall. How confident are you that this is not going to prompt massive deficits, and then, spending cuts?
Answer: I am confident it will grow the economy in a major way. Look at the estimates. They vary. Some are more conservative estimates than others, but almost all recognize this tax reform will grow the economy in a significant way, that more federal revenues will come in. It's just an argument over how much more will come in than is coming in today.

Ashby to serve as committee co-chair

AUSTIN – State Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) has been chosen to serve as the Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee on Higher Education Formula Funding.

The committee will prepare recommendations for the reorganization, or possible elimination, of items in the higher education budget which are not a part of the institution's basic formula for funding. From there, the ten-member committee will consider updates and improvements to formula funding. The committee was created as a result of a provision in the state budget that was signed into law earlier this year.

"After serving two sessions as the Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee which funds higher education, I feel well equipped for the task at hand," Ashby said. "I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues on this joint committee to determine if our current higher education formulas need to be updated. Providing our students with a world class education is critical for the future of our growing state, and ensuring we're funding our colleges in an efficient and prudent manner is an essential part of accomplishing this objective."

Joining Ashby will be State Representatives Donna Howard (D-Austin), Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), John Raney (R-College Station), and Justin Rodriguez (D-Austin), as well as Senate Co-Chair Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) and Senators Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), and Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown).

In the appointment announcement Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) thanked the House members for their willingness to serve and added: "Outstanding colleges and universities are essential to the success of our economy and the future of our state. I hope that this committee will recommend ways to fund higher education that are productive, efficient and supportive of student success."

Representative Ashby is the State Representative for House District 57, which encompasses all of Angelina, Houston, Leon, Madison, San Augustine, and Trinity Counties. He is currently in his third term as a member of the Texas House of Representatives and serves on the House Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Calendars Committees.

Veteran’s Day luncheon scheduled November 10

Groveton ISD is hosting its annual luncheon to celebrate and show appreciation for our veterans on Friday, November 10.

Whether an armed forces veteran served years ago, or is currently serving in a branch of our military, Groveton ISD staff and students would like to personally invite each of you to lunch.

The lunch preparing brisket, potato salad, pinto beans, bread and lots of desserts for you to enjoy.
Students are also writing letters, creating artwork, and decorating the auditorium to display our patriotism and to honor your service to our country.

Any veteran who wants to eat lunch with his/her child, grandchild, or relative may do so. Elementary students must be checked out of the office, HS and JH students will meet his/her veteran in the auditorium during their lunch. JR lunch is 11:25-11:55 and HS lunch is 12:15-12:45.

For every moment of peace, for every day of grace and greatness, and for every liberty we enjoy as Americans, we owe our veterans. Thank you.