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  • Leggett Water Supply rescinds one notice, places another

                                   The area of the map highlighted in blue is where the boil water notice is for residents along Old Highway 35 in between Leggett and Seven Oaks.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POLK COUNTY - The Leggett Water Supply Company rescinded a nearly-week long boil water notice for residents in the Pratt subdivision and some along Marston Road in Livingston. However, some residences along Old Highway 35 in between Leggett and Seven Oaks had a boil water notice put in place for several residences in the area. The boil notice forresidences on Old Highway 35 was put into place Wednesday — the same day that the Pratt subdivision and Marston Road notice was rescinded. Both boil notices were put into place because of breaks in the respective service lines. Just like last week’s line break, the Wednesday line break was repaired quickly and a sample of the water was sent to Eastex Environmental Laboratory Inc. to get tested for bacteria.

     

  • Local attorney enjoying time back in school

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Joe Roth presents a Zoom discussion from his online WWII Studies class during a recent Rotary Club meeting. Roth is in graduate school at Arizona State, and takes his courses online.

    By Jason Chlapek

    College has changed quite a bit since Joe Roth graduated from Baylor in 1973.

    The Livingston attorney returned to school last fall as a graduate student at Arizona State, albeit to a different setup — a virtual one. Roth filled his fellow Rotarians in on one of his fall semester courses by showing them 20 minutes of a Zoom discussion during a recent Rotary Club of Livingston meeting.

    “So far so good,” Roth said. “Arizona State is very well known for its technology and innovation. They have some really good professors and the lectures are good. We write papers that are discussion boards and the professor will prose a prompt. We are required to not only respond to his prompt, but at least two other students’ prompts. It’s been a great experience.”

    Roth is working on his master’s degree in World War II studies. He’s currently on his third course — Decision Points II.

    “I call this class, ‘D-Day and A-Bomb,’” Roth quipped. “One decision we will study will be the Allied decision to invade the continent of Europe in 1944 and all of the factors that went into that decision. We’re just getting started on that. The other decision will be the decision to drop nuclear weapons on Japan.”

    Roth said he received a solid “B” in his first course, which was a survey course of WWII. In his second course — Decision Points I — he received an A.

    “It was difficult after all these years getting back in a classroom setting again and taking tests with a timer over your head,” Roth said of his first course. “In Decision Points I, the decision that we studied were the decision of the Germans to invade the Soviet Union and what was Hitler thinking. The goal was to try and get into Hitler’s mind instead of writing a paper saying, ‘He’s a mad man. He’s crazy.’ We had to get in his mind and figure out what he was thinking in terms of logic and necessity. The second part of of Decision Point I was the Japanese decision to bomb Pearl Harbor. Once again, it was what were they (the Japanese) thinking. We could not write a paper saying, ‘They’re crazy.’ We had to get inside their minds and see what elements of logic and necessity existed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

  • Playoff contenders (VIDEO)

    IMG 3597BRIAN BESCH | PCE Chris Washington leans in for the dunk attempt.

    By Brian Besch

    The Lions established an early lead with its defense versus Liberty Tuesday, winning a 61-35 contest over the Panthers.

    A 20-2 lead early in the second quarter was enough to allow Livingston to coast for a while. They did coast, and Liberty closed the advantage to 10 points at 25-15 early on in the third quarter. 

    "The first half, we played OK, but we still didn't play with a lot of energy," Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said. "Then, we came back in the second half and I thought we were going too slow. We talked about putting more man-to-man full court pressure on in the second half so we could get ourselves going. That kind of helped us out."

    The man-to-man defense indeed helped, as Livingston scored 23 points in the period to quell any chance of a Panther comeback. 

    Chris Washington led the way with a dozen points, while Izzy Enard had 11 and Julian Gardner added nine.

    "I will take a win any way that it goes," Phillips said. "We are back tied for fourth now and we've got Hamshire-Fannett. If we can get them, that would be a big win for us right there."

    Livingston fell to Hamshire-Fannett in the first round by seven points. The hope is they can take a week to prepare with an open date Friday and get a win that would propel the team into playoff contention. The Longhorns are currently tied for fourth place with the Lions. 

    Phillips said his first year as head coach at Livingston is not going how he planned.

    "I don't like where I am at, I will be upfront with you on that. When I stepped in the gym at the beginning of the year, I saw the size and athleticism of those guys. I thought we would probably be in the running. We started off 5-0 and dropped off and started playing very erratic. It's kind of been disappointing, but I will still take what we have. I am hoping that we will finish up strong and peak out in the second half and get some more wins."

    The coach said that he wonders if all of his athletes are committed to him or if they are still trying to figure him out the same way he is trying to figure them out.

    "They don't know how to take me. I get on them hard sometimes and in this time and age, some kids don't take that kind of coaching anymore. You have to be more positive and not run them so much in a negative mode. I'm learning them and they are learning me, and if we can get in that fourth spot (playoff seed), that would be a blessing."

    The coach said in order to reach the postseason, his team's shooting would need to improve so the half-court offense can be more productive. The team now relies heavily on its defense to create offense.

    After the road trip to Hamshire-Fannett Tuesday, the Lions will host district leaders Huffman Hargrave next Friday.

  • Shepherd continues flood grant application

    Early voting 1Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula Shepherd City Hall is one of the early voting venues in San Jacinto County.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    POLK COUNTY - The City of Shepherd will send two revised Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (TxCDBG-MIT) applications to the Texas General Land Office before the Oct. 28 deadline. If approved, both will be used to improve drainage and sewer functions within the city. One will be for $14 million and the other for $4.2 million, with the city being responsible for paying one percent of each.

    More information on how the grants will be used if approved can be found at www.shepherdtx.org/public-notices. The city will host Trick or Treat in the Park on Friday, Oct. 30, with a time to be announced at a later date.The event will take place at the pavilion by city hall. For questions on the event or to set up a table, please contact Lauren Migil at 832-401-4058.The City of Shepherd meets every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.shepherdtx.org and click on the “Agendas & Minutes” tab

  • (UPDATE) 3 suspects in custody

    shooting suspectsCOURTESY PHOTO shooting suspects Cole Tucker, Dontrevion Glenn, and Jared Hope.

    4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting 

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects were identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, Jared William Hope, 22, and Dontrevion Donnell Glenn, 18, all from Livingston. All three suspects were arrested Thursday in three separate locations.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds, and was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger. Hope was taken into custody by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday just outside of Splendora.

    Glenn was arrested in Diboll by Texas Rangers Thursday evening. Glenn, Hope and Tucker are all in custody at the Polk County Jail.

    All three have been charged with murder, and Hope also received a probation violation charge. Hope was on probation for three years for his involvement in a drug bust that took place in August 2017.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • (UPDATE) 4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting

    Jared HopeCOURTESY PHOTO Jared William Hope

     2 suspects on the run, 1 in custody

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    Shooting 2JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Livingston Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers investigate a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane Wednesday night in Livingston. Four people were shot and one died from gunshot wounds.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects have been identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, and Jared William Hope, 22, both from Livingston. The third suspect has not yet been identified.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The LPD is continuing with the investigation and arrest warrants have been issued for Tucker and Hope for the felony offense of Murder. The LPD has received several tips in regard to the locations of the alleged suspects and Tucker was arrested in Houston.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds. He was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger.

    Hope was taken into custody by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • (UPDATE) Polk County Jailer reportedly terminated

    logoDPS LOGO

    From Staff Reports

    A Polk County jailer who was put on leave two weeks ago after a complaint of excessive use of force was filed has been terminated, per sources.

    On Feb. 22, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a Lieutenant at the Polk County Jail allegedly using excessive force on an inmate in the jail. PCSO administration notified the Texas Rangers and requested the Rangers’ assistance in conducting the investigation.

    The jailer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Between the PCSO and Polk County Jail, there are currently 14 job openings listed on the Polk County Texas website.

  • 2020-21 Hunting Season

    Scott Vaughn and grandsonCOURTESY PHOTO Scott Vaughn and grandson posing with a hog shot in Northern Tyler County October 30, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Covid-19 has had people recreating more this past year than in the last several years and with White-tailed deer muzzleloader season being over, there have been plenty of eager East Texan sportsmen wanting to show off a few bagged game animals.

    For years, newspapers have been publishing sportsmen and their game. Here recently, showcasing has been less than normal. Maybe it’s time to start showing off those game that hunters haven’t been able to brag on for some time.

    Here’s a list of a few of the harvests from East Texas, or people from the area:

    Tyler County

    1. Tina Barnes

    Tina BarnesTina Barnes - 9 point, with crossbow in Chester, TX on October 24, 2020.

    2. Dusty Sturrock

    Dusty SturrockDusty Sturrock - 9 point in Chester, TX on November 15th, 2020

    3. KimSturrock

    Kim SturrockKim Sturrock – 8 point in Chester, TX on November 8th, 2020

    4. Mark Keller

    Mark KellerMark Keller - 9 point 14.5”, spread in Colmesneil, Tx on November 27, 2020

    5. Buck Odom

    Buck Odom 2Buck Odom – Hog shot between Woodville and Chester on December 17, 2020.

    6. Nathan Vaughn

    Nathan VaughnNathan Vaughn - 8 point buck at the Diamond T Ranch in Warren, Texas on January 3, 2021.

    7. Scott Vaughn

    Scott VaughnScott Vaughn - 10 point buck in Northern Tyler County November 8, 2020.

    Polk County 

    8. Ashton Davis

    Ashton DavisAshton Davis - Doe, harvested in Texas hunters club in Soda, TX.

    9. Paul Oliver

    Paul OliverPaul Oliver - 10 Point with a 19 Inch Spread at the Texas Hunter Club in Soda, TX.

    Houston County 

     10. Hunter Burris

    Hunter BurrisHunter Burris, 9 years old from Danbury, TX holding his first deer, 7-point, on January 2, 2021 in Crockett, TX.

  • A NEW TRADITION?

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Onalaska seniors Chase Fletcher and Olivia Scott were crowned Onalaska Junior-Senior High Schools’ homecoming king and queen, respectively, during a coronation ceremony Thursday night.

    Onalaska celebrates homecoming with separate ceremony 

     
    By Jason Chlapek

    ONALASKA – Onalaska’s 2020-21 homecoming coronation seemed to be missing one small detail Thursday night.

    The king and queen were crowned, the freshman, sophomore and junior classes each had representatives, and it took place in the Onalaska gymnasium. What was missing was a basketball game.

    Because of Covid-19, District 23-3A – Onalaska’s district for basketball – decided to have split sites for its games where the boys teams play a district opponent at one location and the girls teams play at the other. This caused Onalaska administrators to make an unusual decision.

    “There was not a night where the boys and girls played in the same gym where we could have the ceremony,” Onalaska Junior-Senior High School principal Robyn Thornton said. “So, we made the decision to have it on a night when we didn’t have any games. This way students and parents could attend.”

    In the past, homecoming coronation took place in between the girls and boys varsity games, or at the end of the boys varsity game. Thornton explained why a change was made.

    “When I first came here, it was varsity girls game, coronation, then boys varsity game,” she said. “But we learned that neither group could get ready fast enough for coronation, so we moved it to after the games to help the kids have more time to get ready. But many people didn’t stay around so we didn’t have that much attendance.”

    Seniors Chase Fletcher and Olivia Scott were crowned the king and queen, respectively. There were four senior boys in the running for king and four senior girls in the running for queen.

    William Boyce, Alex Casner and Brady Neuman were the other king candidates, while Kierra Anstee, Avery Schamerhorn and Jordyn Shutter were the other queen candidates. Kylie Sisk was the junior class duchess and Layne Purkerson was the junior class duke; Briseis Sabino was the sophomore class baroness and Logan Eagle was the sophomore class baron; Reese Peavy was the freshman class lady and Bryan Wyatt was the freshman class lord.

    The crown bearers were Andy Strong and Taylor Treuter. Dylon Goins was the Master of Ceremonies and Shelbi Bennett was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

    “I think this could be the start of a new tradition,” Thornton said. “It was great. We had a large group and were very pleased with the number of people who came out. I think we could continue to grow something like this. I hope we’ll be back to having a school dance next year and hopefully do this on a Saturday night with a school dance to follow and an alumni reception in the library. Hopefully this will encourage more former students to come back.”

  • Accident sends 1 to Houston via lifeflight

    Covid CrusaderFILE PHOTO Dr. Ronald Tolls is currently in a Houston Hospital after sustaining injuries in an automobile accident Tuesday afternoon.

    By Jason Chlapek

    A multi-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon sent two to the hospital, and one of them was flown to a Houston hospital that evening.

    Ronald Tolls, 80, is now in ICU at Memorial Hermann in Houston after flying out of a Gravely riding lawn mower that he sat in while it was towed by a 2002 Nissan Frontier pickup truck driven by Robert Strand, 55. A 2015 Hyundai Sonata, driven by 59-year-old Joyce Garcia, collided with the Frontier and threw Tolls from the lawn mower that he was sitting in.

    “The (Sonata) was traveling southbound, but the (Frontier) pulling the lawnmower was trying to cross (US) 59 through the southbound lanes,” Trooper Chris Cain of the Texas Department of Public Safety said. “The (Sonata) hit the (Frontier) in the left passenger side and it swung the lawn mower around the car.”

    Texan EMS arrived on the scene and transported both Garcia and Tolls to CHI-St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital in Livingston. The extent of Garcia’s injuries was not available, but Tolls was later flown to Memorial Hermann in Houston via Life Flight.

    “It looked as if he hit that pavement pretty hard with his head,” Cain said.

    According to Cain, Strand and Tolls were trying to pull the lawn mower across the highway to Livingston Lawn and Garden when the accident occurred. He said Strand failed to yield the right-of-way.

  • Aircraft in distress lands safely

    N1805P42006CFILE PHOTO

    There was a report of a plane in distress from Polk County. The incident was reported on the Tyler and Polk County line. The search quickly moved to the Southern Tyler County area between Warren and Buddy Lowe road. 

    Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, along with Tyler County Sheriff's Office deputies and first responders from multiple agencies searched the scene.

    Police scanner said it landed safely at an Air Force base and was identified as a helicopter.

    More to follow.

  • Aircraft safe, after all (UPDATE)

    Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

    From the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office

    On March 3, 2021, at approximately 2 PM, the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a military plane flying low to the ground, with smoke coming from the engine.

    The citing was reported near the Tyler and Polk County line. First responders concentrated search efforts around and near FM 1943, West of Warren, to Highway 190 West of Woodville, into Polk County.

    The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and Air units, Texas Game Wardens, Texas Forest Service, Warren Fire Department, Tyler County Emergency Management Office, Alabama Coushatta Fire Department and Air and Ground Medical units from Southeast Texas participated in the search.

    Approximately 2 hours later, responders received information that the aircraft had made a safe landing at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

    Weatherford said, “Thank you to all our Southeast Texas Federal, State, and local first responders. To protect and serve is truly a team effort.”

  • Alleged shooting in Livingston

    4987COURTESY PHOTO Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responding to a residence in Livingston on Wednesday January 6, 2021.

    PCE Staff

    The Polk County Enterprise has received reports of multiple shooting victims in Livingston Wednesday night.

    Sources have told the Enterprise that four people have been shot and one is dead after an alleged incident some time after 6 p.m.

    Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responded to a residence off Liberty Avenue near Maple Lane Wednesday.

    The condition of the other three victims, as well as the suspect, are unknown at this time. Stay connected to www.easttexasnews.com for breaking information.

  • Altercation leaves juvenile dead

    TX DPS SealTX DPS Seal

    From the Texas Department of Public Safety

    A juvenile male is dead after being stabbed during an altercation.

    The subject and two other juvenile males were involved in an altercation at an Onalaska residence with another juvenile male early Saturday morning. At the request of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Texas Rangers are investigating the homicide.

    The preliminary investigation indicates that three male juveniles went to a residence where a male and a female juvenile were located. A short time after the three male juveniles arrived, a physical altercation between the male at the residence and the three males occurred.

    During this altercation, the male who was at the home stabbed one of the three juvenile males. Immediately after the incident, the male who was stabbed was transported to a medical facility in Livingston by some of the other male juveniles.

    While being transported to Houston for further medical care, the injured juvenile succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. One of the juveniles was armed with a handgun during the incident and was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and placed in the Polk County Jail and later transferred to a juvenile detention facility in Montgomery County.

    This incident remains under investigation. Since the individuals in this criminal investigation are juveniles, their names will not be released at this time.

    Further information is not available for release.

  • Arrests made in possible homicide

    Homicide LivingstonCOURTESY PHOTO Jameous O’Neal Smith and Mark Anthony Jacobs

    Two Livingston men charged with murder

    The Polk County Sheriff's Department and Texas Rangers have made two arrests in theTuesdaydeath of a Livingston man.

    On the morning of Dec. 8, the Polk County Sherriff’s Office received an emergency call in reference to a deceased male found on Lone Wolf Road, just off of FM 1988 East in Polk County.

    The victim was identified as 19-year-old Brodrick Anthony Cooper of Livingston.

    Sheriff’s office investigators, along with Texas Ranger Ryan Clendennen, responded to the scene. The scene was processed and evidence was collected. Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino conducted the inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office.

    Once investigators made a positive identification of the deceased, they were able to start tracking his whereabouts and with whom he had associated within the last 24 hours.

    Investigators developed two suspects during the investigation. They were identified as 35-year-old Jameous O’Neal Smith and 18-year-old Mark Anthony Jacobs, both from Livingston.

    Both Smith and Jacobs were arrested on their charges. During their arrest and search of their residences, authorities say evidence was found linking both suspects to the crime.

    They were interviewed by investigators and confessed to the murder of Cooper, as well as robbing him afterward. The victim’s property was recovered during the investigation, along with the murder weapon.

    Smith and Jacobs are currently in the Polk County Jail charged with capital murder.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers would like to send their appreciation to the large amount of information received from numerous individuals regarding the investigation.

  • Big Sandy bids farewell to board members

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Trustees Glen Goodwin (second from left) and Lee Ann Cain (second from right) receive a round of applause for their service with the Big Sandy ISD school board.Both Cain and Goodwin served their final meetings as trustees for the district. Neither one sought reelection for their terms, which expire Nov. 3.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POLK COUNTY — Monday night’s Big Sandy ISD school board meeting was the finalone as trustees for Lee Ann Cain and Glen Goodwin.

    Both trustees’ terms expire on Nov. 3, and neither one sought reelection. Goodwin was with the school board for 15 years, while Cain served four.

    “They really helped the district grow,” Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter said. “They had good insight, good knowledge and worked well together. It’s a good board.”

    Four trustee positions are up for elections with newcomer Darrell Murphy and current trustees Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews running unopposed for Positions 2, 5 and 6, respectively. William Handy Jr. and Kabe Murphy are running for Position 4. Carpenter announced to the board that the Texas Education Agency approved the district’s Asynchronous Learning Plan. The TEA approved it on the first try.

    “It’s a compliment to our principals,” Carpenter said. “The Asynchronous Plan is how you’re going to utilize a learning management system, which for us is Google Classroom and how you’re going to instruct students virtually. The TEA had a template to work from and we received some good guidance from Region VI in Huntsville, who helped the administration develop it and even proofed it and gave it back to us and we made some adjustments before we submitted it.”

    The school board also approved Native American Policies and Procedures for the 2020-21 school year. The Big Sandy ISD student body is approximately 25% Native American.

    “We receive federal funds and have policies in place,” he said. “After meeting with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, particularly their Education Department, we developed those policies and procedures. We usually do this in October.”

    The board also approved retrofit lighting to be installed in the gymnasium and a study on property values from 2012. Carpenter likes to perform retroactive property value studies.“You can do property value studies from past years to try to recoup money,” he said. “We use our tax attorneys to go and look at the data from our property values to try and garner additional funding.”

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

  • Big Sandy ends season in regional tournament

    IMG 5256BRIAN BESCH | PCE Elias Bullock shoots from 15 feet out.

    By Brian Besch

    One of the state’s top teams needed every minute Tuesday to defeat Big Sandy, as LaPoynor escaped Central Heights High School with a 53-50 win in the regional semifinals.

    With just 15 seconds to play and a tie score at 50 each, LaPoynor worked the ball into the post, where the bucket was made with a foul. The free throw was good and the Wildcats had one last chance.

    Inbounding at half court with 12 seconds to go, a Flyer steal sealed the contest.

    “I'm really proud of the kids and how we competed tonight,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “You know that you're playing the fourth ranked team in the state and the kids came out and played really hard. I think that probably the biggest factor in the game was we defended well, but the thing that hurt us the entire game was turnovers.

    We had some very uncharacteristic turnovers and I give them credit for that.

    “Our decision-making was poor and it is tough to win games like that when you turn the ball over and we still had a chance. I told them in the locker room that the first three playoff games could have gone either way for the most part. We were able to make plays down the stretch and tonight they made plays. That's what those close games come down to.” 

    The Wildcats led after one quarter and were down just a field goal at halftime. They held leads in the fourth quarter, when momentum shifted often.

    A big factor keeping the ‘Cats in the game was excellent free throw shooting. They were 17-for-20 at the charity stripe. Adrian Thompson led Big Sandy with 14 points, Kaden Foster had 10 and Dante Williams had nine in his final high school game.

    Williams, Josiah Celestine and Weston Mayer will move on after finishing their senior year of high school.

    “(They are) just a tremendous group of kids, first of all. Not even talking about basketball,” Foster said of his seniors.

    “They are just a good group of kids that are very dependable. They are going to go on and do good things in life. At the end of the day, I think that is the most important thing. I'm very proud of the seniors and I am going to miss them. They were just a lot of fun to be around.” 

    IMG 5250BRIAN BESCH | PCE Seth Beene-Williams shoots over and around defenders.

    A team that did not have all of its players until the final seven games of the season, the Wildcats peaked at the right time to become one of the better 2A teams in Texas. They were able to defeat the No. 10 team in the state and were a bucket away from the state’s No. 4 team.

    “If you would have told me that this team would be in the regional semifinals and not only make it here, but play the fourth-ranked team in the state and have a chance to win in under a minute, I would have said you were crazy. But these kids keep battling and fighting and they played together. They are just the true definition of a team. If you can do that, you can accomplish a lot.”

  • Big Sandy ISD swears in trustees and reorganizes board

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Standing from left, Big Sandy ISD trustees Quentin Matthews, Mark Duff and Kabe Murphy take their oaths into four-year terms from Kelly Hardy during last Monday’s meeting.

    By Jason Chlapek

    DALLARDSVILLE – Four trustees took oaths for four-year terms during Big Sandy ISD’s monthly meeting last Monday.

    Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews were re-elected, while Darrell Murphy and Kabe Murphy were elected to new four-year terms. Duff, Matthews and Darrell Murphy all ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election, while Kabe Murphy defeated William Handy for his seat.

    The officers on the school board were chosen as well. Darrell Murphy will serve as board president, while Sheila Neal will be the board vice-president, and Matthews is the secretary.

    During the meeting, Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter gave a financial report during his report. He also talked about Title I funds that the district receives.

    “Covid has been our biggest expense to the tune of $200-250,000,” Carpenter said. “Getting ready for class, cleaning buses, cleaning supplies, etc. It’s just part of it. The amount of Title I funds a school receives is based on the number of kids you have on free or reduced lunch. That’s about 50% of our students.”

    Last month, Big Sandy ISD decided to go back to onsite learning for all students with the exception of those students who have preexisting medical conditions or have immediate family members with preexisting medical conditions. Carpenter believes onsite learning is more beneficial.

    “One of the biggest reasons why we went back to onsite learning was we had a high percentage of distance learners who were failing,” he said. “It’s easier for students to get the one-to-one help they need when they’re in school. If they’re not checking in, you can’t help them at all.”

    Carpenter also commended Senator Robert Nichols for everything he’s done for his district and other rural districts in East Texas. He’s not only a fan of Nichols, but also House Bill 3.

    “With House Bill 3, Sen. Nichols helped rural schools get the funding they needed,” Carpenter said.

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

  • Big Sandy moves to third round (VIDEO)

    IMG 5025BRIAN BESCH | PCE Big Sandy takes on Woden.

    By Brain Besch

    Big Sandy is now area champions after defeating Woden 59-53 Thursday at Hudson High School.

    The Eagles posed many problems, with an athletic group that shoots well. The game would come down to a battle of free throws. The Wildcats were up to the challenge, hitting 19-of-25 from the charity stripe.

    "Honestly, I thought the game was going to be a little more up and down than it was," Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. "Woden really presses a lot and likes to get out and run. They did that early, then they got out of it and really didn't go back to it until they had to.

    "It really turned into kind of a half-court type of game. Those types of games can go either way. We just had one run where we were able to get the lead and hold on to it a little bit."

    Leading the way for Big Sandy was Adrian Thompson with 14 points and Kaden Foster with 13. Also scoring 13 was Josiah Celestine, who came off the bench to provide a deep shooting threat with four 3-pointers.

    "We need Josiah because he can really shoot the ball," Foster said. "Last game, it was a man and full-court pressure type of game. I had to have my better ball handlers out there, so he didn't really see a lot of action. I knew tonight that he was going to get more minutes. He made some big shots for us."

    The Eagles spread their points amongst eight players, with Chance Lawson scoring 15 on five 3-pointers and Chandler Britton had 13 points.

    "It is kind of a different guy for them every night," Foster said of preparing for Woden. "You really couldn't focus on one. They can shoot the ball really well and we knew that coming in."

    Outscoring Woden 15-5 in the second quarter would have an impact on the outcome. With each squad in the bonus during the fourth period, free throw shooting was also key. The 'Cats were 12-for-16 at the line in the fourth. Woden was 7-for-11 in that same span, to keep the contest close.

    "We've had times this year where we have struggled and we have lost games because we would go 7-for-21 from the line. Then we would have games where we were 16-for-19," the coach said. "I feel like lately our free throw shooting has gotten more consistent, which this is the time of year that you want it to be. I knew it was going to be a very physical game and both teams got in the double bonus in the second half."

    The Wildcats will move on to play Garrison in the regional quarterfinal round. The Bulldogs are champions of District 22-2A and nabbed a win over Tenaha Thursday.

  • Big Sandy receives ‘good, clean’ audit

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE From left, Big Sandy ISD board members Maynard Williams and Lyndon Alec review an agenda item during last Monday’s monthly school board meeting.

    By Jason Chlapek

    DALLARDSVILLE – Big Sandy ISD went over its audit during last Monday’s monthly school board meeting.

    According to Superintendent Eric Carpenter, the district received a “good, clean audit.” He gave credit where he believed credit was due.

    “The board has been good stewards of their money,” Carpenter said. “Our staff as a whole also has been good stewards of their money.”

    Axley & Rode of Livingston performed Big Sandy’s audit. Carpenter said his district has worked with the firm for four years now.

    Big Sandy ISD nurse Amanda Foster also gave an update on Covid-19. Carpenter is pleased with the way his district has combated the virus.

    “Our saving grace is wearing masks,” he said. “Our staff and students have done a great job of wearing masks.”

    During the first semester, Big Sandy ISD did not have to shut down because of Covid. Carpenter credits that to staff and students “doing what they have to do to stay safe.”

    The board also approved for Carpenter to submit a waiver to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to waive the student growth requirement in the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) and the student growth requirement in Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS). On Dec. 10, the Commissioner of Education announced that TEA would waive the A-F Accountability system for this year.

    Big Sandy ISD meets again on 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25.