|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Beard selected as Pct. 2 JP
Trinity Standard - June 2009
GROVETON – Retired contractor and painter Bernie Beard of Trinity was named Monday, June 8, as the new Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace, replacing the late Judge Robert Stubblefield.
The post has been vacant since Stubblefield’s death on March 12 following an illness.
During Monday’s meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners Court, five of the six people who were seeking the appointment appeared to answer questions.
Beard won approval from the commissioners after Pct. 2 Commissioner Jannette Hortman recommended him for the appointment.
“I really appreciate all of the interest shown in this position,” she said. “I was surprised by the number as well as the quality and integrity of the people who applied. They all are extremely well qualified and well thought of in the community.”
Hortman said she prayed over the matter and talked to people in Precinct 2. She noted that Beard’s name kept coming to the forefront during her deliberations.
She added that it also was her understanding that prior to his death, Stubblefield had promised that after he retired, he would support Beard’s candidacy for the post.
Following Monday’s appointment, Beard was given the oath of office by County Judge Mark Evans and was set to begin work immediately.
The appointment will run through the next general election in November 2010. The JP office will be on that ballot and the winner of that race will take over after commissioner canvas the election vote and declare the results as official.
In addition to Beard, others who submitted their names for the appointment included Trinity City Judge Howard E. Kinsel, Trinity real estate agent Theresa Gallagher, retired businessman H.R. Boatman, Trinity real estate agent Walter C. White, Rick Renfro and retired businessman and Trinity gun shop owner M.D. “Dean” Johnson.
All of the applicants, with the exception of Renfro, met with the commissioners Monday.
After meeting with the applicants, Hortman recommended Beard for the post and Evans recommended Gallagher, citing her business experience.
Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham noted that because Hortman also represented the people of Precinct 2, he was inclined to follow her recommendation.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Cecil Webb and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown agreed and voted to name Beard to the post.
Evans noted he had nothing against Beard and would not opposed the appointment. However, because he had recommended Gallagher, he said he would abstain from the vote.
A native of Michigan, Beard has owned property near Trinity for the past 16 years and has resided there – at least on a part time basis – for the past 15 years.
After completing high school in 1957, Beard operated heavy equipment for a construction company for five years.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1962 and served for two years. Following his discharge in 1964, he went to work for a road builder in Savannah, Ga., and after about eight months was promoted to grade foreman on the Interstate 16 construction project west of Savannah.
In 1967 he returned to Michigan and went to work for Dow Chemical as a head chemical operator for about 11 years. During that time he served as a union shop steward in several departments.
In 1978, he left Dow Chemical and moved to Beaumont where he worked for several union paint contractors. While a member of the painter’s union, he was elected as president of Local No. 130. He has continued to maintain his membership in Painters Local No. 130 even after his retirement.
He started his own business, Alteco, Inc., in 1984 and began renovating hotels and motels in such places as Denver, Philadelphia, Columbus, Ga., and El Paso.
After completing a hotel project in Austin in 1993, he decided he no longer wanted to travel and moved back to Beaumont to work for Russell Brother’s Paint Contractor until he retired in 2002. At that time he moved to Trinity on a full time basis.
He currently is a member of the Riverside Baptist Church and of the Trinity County VFW Post No. 6899 in Trinity. He also sings bass for the Master’s Lighthouse, a southern gospel quartet.
Pct. 3 JP requests
Prior to the appointment of the new Precinct 2 JP, Pct. 3 JP Bobby Nicholds of Trinity urged commissioners to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.
The Precinct 2 and 3 JPs share offices in Trinity and following Stubblefield’s death in March, Nicholds has assumed many of the late judge’s duties.
“I see there its on the agenda to discuss getting a new judge so hopefully we can get it done today,” Nicholds said.
When asked if wanted to make a recommendation concerning the appointment, Nicholds declined but said he would assist the new judge in learning the duties and responsibilities of the office.
“I know what its like when you first go into office and I will help who ever you pick,” he said.
During his meeting with commissioners, Nicholds also asked if he could get a county radio installed in his vehicle to assist him when he called to accident and crime scenes by law enforcement officers.
Worsham noted that he had some old radios and would have them checked out to find one that was still in working order.
“That would be fine. I really don’t need a new one. I just need something to help out when I get into an area where my cell phone won’t work,” he said.
Nicholds also asked the commissioners to extend the hours of his clerk, Mary Winnett, so he could keep the JP office open fulltime. Currently, it is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
No action was taken on the request during Monday’s meeting.
During the meeting, commissioners also:
• Approved a grant application being submitted by District Attorney Joe Ned Dean for $39,000 from the Attorney General’s Crime Victims Service Division. If received, the grant would allow Dean to hire a coordinator to work with the victim’s of crime. After some debate, commissioners agreed to name Dean as the authorized official for the grant.
• Approved an application for an $18,058 grant from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. County Auditor Sheila Johnson said the money would be used to help purchase law enforcement vehicle during the 2010 budget cycle.
• Renewed the county’s depository contract with Citizens State Bank of Groveton for two years.
• Approved the appointment of W.R. Hope as a Precinct 1 deputy constable.
• Voted to set a 25 mile per hour speed limit on the Groveton-Flat Prairie Road from FM 2187 to U.S. 287. The action followed a brief public hearing at which no one appeared to speak either for or against the speed limit.
• Voted to set public hearings on proposals to set 25 mph speed limits on the West Lakeview Drive and East Lakeview Drive roads at Lake Jennifer and on the Zion Hill Road near Glendale. Both hearings will be held during the next regular commissioners court meeting, which starts at 9 a.m. on July 13.
• Approved the formal contract with Timberline Constructors Inc. of Lufkin for the renovation of the Kickapoo Park area off Highway 287 east of Groveton. Commissioners accepted Timberline’s $292,800 bid in May.
• Learned that the Texas Department of Transportation will not put a caution light or lower the speed limits on Highway 287 in front of the county’s temporary offices in Groveton. TxDOT will, however, place cross walk leading from the courthouse square over to the temporary offices.
Evans had written to TxDOT officials asking for the additional safety measurers due to the increase of foot traffic around the temporary offices during the renovation work now underway at the Trinity County Courthouse.
• Authorized Evans to seek a TxDOT traffic study along Highway 94 south of the Neches River bridges. It was noted that parking along the highway right-of-ways in the area where a number of night clubs are located is creating a hazard and the county, at the request of state and county law enforcement officers, will ask TxDOT to study the area for possible changes.