Forestry Update: Black bears seen in East Texas

by Gary Burns,
Consulting Forester

There have been at least four documented sightings of black bear in East Texas. They appear to be young males looking for new home ranges and are probably from Oklahoma and Arkansas.

While bears from these two states, as well as Louisiana, occasionally wander into East Texas, breeding pairs have been absent for almost 100 years.

If you encounter a bear, biologists recommend that you talk calmly while backing away slowly. Don't make direct eye contact and don't run away. If the bear approaches, they advise that you stay put and raise your arms or jacket to appear larger and then yell at the bear.
It is against the law to kill a bear in Texas. Penalties are up to $10,000, with added civil restitution, fines, jail time and loss of hunting privileges. The bear is listed as threatened by the State of Texas.

Centerville recognizes excellent students

Kie Barton, Kate Rogers, and Kayla Mott are in the spotlight at Centerville ISD.

Each month teachers and students choose one student from each campus who exemplifies the qualities of excellence desired in a Centerville Bulldog. These students will be showcased for their academic and principled endeavors.

September's students of the month are as follows:

Primary Elementary (Pre-K – 3rd)– Congratulations to Kie Barton! He was chosen, from our Primary Elementary classes, as our student of the month. Kie's teachers say, "he is a very industrious in class and he always makes sure that he has his work done." His classmates say, "he is a great friend and that he is always willing to help others." Way to go Kie! We are proud to have you at Centerville ISD.

Elementary (4th – 6th)– Congratulations to Kate Rogers! She was chosen, from our 4th – 6th grade Elementary classes, as our student of the month. Her teachers say "she always has a smile on her face and she is helpful to both students and teachers alike." Her classmates say "that she always does her best and puts extra effort into all that she does in the classroom and on the basketball court." Keep up the great work Kate! We're proud to have you at Centerville ISD.

Junior High and High School (7th – 12th)–Congratulations to Kayla Mott! She was chosen as our High School student of the month. Kayla's teachers say, "she brings commitment and focus to the classroom, she comes prepared, pays close attention and stays focused on the task throughout class. She is always willing to share ideas, work positively with others and try her best." Kayla's classmates say, "she is a very kind and respectful individual; she is an example of excellence in academics and has a wonderfully positive behavior." Congratulations, Kayla! We're proud to have you at Centerville ISD.

Panther hunt successful for Indians

Dylan Wells lead the JV Indians with over 150 yards receiving and four touchdowns. (Photo by Martha Mericle)Dylan Wells lead the JV Indians with over 150 yards receiving and four touchdowns. (Photo by Martha Mericle)

By Jean Parker Rasbeary

The Groveton Indians went panther hunting Friday night and the result was a very, very exciting hunt!

It was a beautiful night for football as a long awaited cool front was blowing in from the North making some of us reach for jackets at the halftime.

Normangee won the toss but decided to defer so they kicked off to the Indians and Saul Chavez carried for 8 yards. After two incomplete passes and only a 1 yard gain by a run play, Saul punted the ball back to the Panthers. However, Saul took it back from them on the very next play as they attempted a long pass and he intercepted it on the 15 yard line.

Ethan Cathey took the ball on the next play and carried for 25 yards, Eli Stewart ran for 4 yards before the Indians received a 10 yard holding penalty. Groveton received 10 penalties for a -75 yards; Normangee only received 7 penalties for a -42.5 yards.

The crowd pointed out a few Panther penalties that were not called by the 5-man crew. Have no fear! On the next play, quarterback Cade Steubing passed to Saul Chavez for 41 yards; Saul ran for 5, Ethan Cathey ran for 1 & 7 yards, Saul was thrown for a -5 and Ethan Cathey scored on a 12 yard touchdown {with people hanging onto him}. The extra point kick by Trenton Torregrossa was good so with 8:17 left in the first quarter, Groveton led 7 – 0. Thirteen plays later, the Panthers scored on a 12 yard run by their speedy quarterback. Their extra point was good so we were tied 7 – 7. Anthony Chavez took the kickoff for 1 yard & the Indians started play on their own 34 yard line. Cade completed a 14 yard pass to Saul and a 4 yard pass to Eli, Ethan ran for 6 yards, and Cade ran for 7.

On the next play, Cade's pass was intercepted on the Panther's 5 yard line. The Panthers tried to advance the ball but had to punt it back on the 4th down with 9 yards to go. Groveton started work on their own 35 with Eli running for four yards. Saul broke loose for a 60 yard run but the elderly refeering crew couldn't make it down the field to see Saul take the ball over the goal line! They pushed the Indians a yard back so Ethan ran it in for a 1 yard touchdown. Ethan also ran the extra points over so with 0:00 left on the clock Groveton led 15 – 7. At the beginning of the second quarter, Normangee tried a pass and Saul Chavez intercepted it for a 26 yard gain. Four plays later, Saul scored on a 2 yard run but the extra point try was no good. Neither team could gain a first down until 2:24 left in the 2nd quarter; Ethan scored on a 10 yard run; the extra point try was no good. Normangee had to punt the ball back as our defense stiffened. Groveton took over the ball on Normangee's 37 yard line with a pass from Cade to Saul for 10 yards, Eli ran for 15 and then 12 to score with :33 seconds left until the halftime.

The pass play from Cade to Horace was good for the two extra points and Groveton led 35 – 7 at halftime. Groveton kicked off to Normangee and they started play on their own 34 yard line. The Indians helped them get their first down by being penalized for 5 yards.

They moved the ball down the field and finally scored on a 33 yard pass; the pass play for the extra point try was good. With 9:28 left in the third, Groveton 35 – Normangee 15. Groveton started play on their own 45 yard line with a completed pass from Cade to Eli, Ethan ran for 10 yards, Cade passed to Horace for 9, Saul for 17, Cade to Eli for 5 before Saul ran for 11; the last play of the drive was a pass from Cade to Saul for a 9 yard touchdown. The extra point kick by Trenton Torregrossa was good. With 6:25 left in the 3rd, Groveton led 42 – Normangee 15. The next series of downs by Normangee netted a touchdown on a 9 yard pass play and the extra point pass was good. Groveton 42 – Normangee 23. Normangee tried an onside kick off but Luke Taylor covered it for the Indians. The first play from scrimmage was a pass from Cade to Horace which we thought was a backward pass when all of a sudden, there Davuarrio Horace was on the 7 yard line. Saul carried for the 7 yards and a touchdown! With 1:43 left in the 3rd, Groveton led 48 – 23. Normangee ran 17 plays before finally scoring on a 26 yard pass and the extra points pass was good so now we are getting a little worried. Groveton 48 – Normangee 31. Groveton got the ball on the 37 but there was a mixup on the snap and Cade was thrown for -15 and a fumble which the Panthers recovered. Two plays later, the Panthers scored again! It is now Groveton 48 – Normangee 37; we are really getting worried! But, Ethan ran for 2, Cade passed to Eli for 7, Ethan ran for 11, Saul caught a pass for 34 before Ethan ran for the Indians touchdown; 5:35 left in the ball game. Saul ran the extra points in – Groveton – 56 – Normangee 37. Normangee started on their 29 yard line but with 4th & 5, Eli Stewart intercepted a pass for a 67 yard gain! Ethan ran for 3, Cade ran for 1, Cade passed to Eli for 11 carrying to the Panthers 1 yard line. We were penalized for 5 yards but Saul carried for 6 and the final Indian's touchdown. Here, the Indians showed good sportsmanship as Cade took a knee on the extra point try. Final: GROVETON 62 – NORMANGEE – 37! A great game with lots of effort by all! GO BIG RED!

Local WWII veteran honored at USS Bollinger Reunion

Charlie Stewart speaks at the USS Bollinger ReunionCharlie Stewart speaks at the USS Bollinger Reunion

All born in 1926, five WWII Navy shipmates from the USS Bollinger met in Tyler recently for their 21st annual reunion. Each of the veterans entered the war as 18-year olds and were in the service until 1946 at the end of the war.

This year, Groveton resident Charlie Stewart was presented a handsome plaque thanking him for organizing the reunions and for bringing the Bollinger family together. There were over 500 men on the Bollinger during WWII, and many of the veterans who joined their first reunion in 1997 had not seen each other since 1946. Starting in 1995, Mr. Stewart has spent many hours researching contact information on his shipmates. His efforts have allowed these Veterans to meet annually and renew friendships.

While their reunions have taken them from Jasper in 1997 to Ruidoso, NM in 1999, to now meeting in Tyler since 2012, these friends reminisce about everything from war stories to their great grandchildren. This year, shipmates could be heard describing memories of their families in Great Depression, one shipmate having typhoid fever, and most of them working several jobs to feed their growing families during the late 1940s and 1950s.

The veterans who attended were: Robert Hogue (Coldspring), Bill Reynolds (Center), Charlie Stewart (Groveton), Jim Upchurch (Texarkana, TX) and Joseph Stone (Portland, OR).

Other Bollinger Veterans' families join the reunion, Marie Hogue, wife of Robert Hogue, Lane Stewart of Groveton, son of Charlie Stewart, Joan Abler and Linda Johnson, wife and daughter of Jim Abler from Palo Alto, CA, Carol Holland, daughter of Jim Upchurch, and Lauren Fox and Emily Zietz, daughters of Veteran Wallace Norman of Houston, MS.

Sandifer resigns from Groveton PD; City adopts budget for new fiscal year

By Chris Edwards

GROVETON – The Groveton City Council and Mayor Byron Richards accepted the resignation of Groveton Police Department Sergeant Shane Sandifer at its meeting on Monday evening. Officer Sandifer is leaving for a position with the City of Crockett's police department. His resignation became effective as of last Saturday.

In other business addressed at last Monday's meeting, Danny Hayes, a representative from KSA Engineering, was present to inform the council on news of the application submitted to TxDOT for the downtown sidewalk improvements. Hayes said that the application was revised and re-submitted. The total cost of the downtown sidewalks project is $923,224, with the city matching that with $11,437 upon the awarding of the grant. Hayes said that adjustments in the previous figures needed to be made, that TxDOT wanted the numbers "tightened up" . This is the City of Groveton's third application for the funding, and Mayor Byron Richards said "Hopefully this time we'll make it."

In other business, an item pertaining to zoning issues was tabled pending information from City Attorney Robert Flournoy, whom Mayor Richards could not reach for discussion.

Mayor Richards said it had recently come to his attention that some residents are not obtaining the correct permits for construction projects, and the council will discuss the matter when Flournoy is present. Mayor Richards later stated that a notice was placed in the Groveton News to remind residents of ordinances the city had adopted pertaining to new construction and remodeling of existing structures to comply with the building codes, proper permits and applications.

Mayor Richards said that Groveton Police Chief John Raiford will check on construction projects.

Under items of new business, the council adopted the city's official newspaper (Groveton News); the official bank depository (Citizens State Bank), and the tax rate of 0.966200 per $100 valuation for the next fiscal year. Council also adopted the budget for fiscal year 2017-18.
After conducting new business, Mayor Richards informed the council that he had received a letter from Entergy regarding the approval of an advanced "smart meter" system for the city.

Groveton EMS owners David Robison and Rowena Clark were present to thank the city for including a $1,000 per month subsidy in the new budget to help the ambulance service with its operating costs. "We truly, deeply appreciate the subsidy," Robison said. "It helps immensely."

National child safety week reveals alarming statistic

LUFKIN – This week is National Child Safety Week and the Lufkin District is urging parents and grandparents to make sure little ones are restrained safely and correctly in a vehicle.

In 2017, an observational study of nearly 14,000 children in 14 Texas cities showed 33.5 percent of children from birth to four years old were buckled incorrectly or not at all.

"TxDOT is committed to educating parents and caregivers in an effort to decrease the number of child deaths and injuries from children not being buckled up correctly," said Allison Rounsavall, traffic safety specialist for the Lufkin District. "TxDOT and the Traffic Safety Division works year-round to reduce these numbers and help parents understand the law and how to safely restrain their children."

Texas law requires children younger than 8 years of age to ride in car seats, unless the child is taller than 4-feet, 9-inches. A child safety seat is also required to be used according to manufacturer's directions.

Not complying with those directions could result in a $250 fine.

The Lufkin District offers free car seat checks by appointment. Anyone who would like to have a child car seat or booster seat checked can contact Rounsavall for an appointment at (936) 633-4315.