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Why is the Bond Election Necessary?

Editor’s Note: Writer Bonda Suzanne Hale Butler is sharing a four-part series in why she thinks voters should vote yes for the COCISD Bond on Nov. 7. The first part can be found in the Oct. 12 edition of the News-Times. The third part will be in the upcoming edition of the News-Times on Thursday, Oct. 26.

By Bonda Suzanne Hale Butler

For many years, I was known as the “Global Table Tennis Mom.” Why? I served on the board of USATT, organized the first international junior training exchanges, worked for ABC Wide World of Sports at the 1985 TT World Championship in Sweden, was organizer and team leader for a 1984 USA junior boys team, the first USA team of any sport to train in China.

At the 1995 World Cup in Atlanta, my son Jimmy (World #70) led the USA team to a bronze medal and received the most valuable player award. It was the highest finish for the USA men in 52 years. Afterwards, the top French player, #10 in the world, who Jimmy had just defeated, approached me. “I’ll bet if my Mom had been here, I would have won!”

I was appointed TT Athlete Services Coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. One of my most satisfying moments there was being united with my good friend Xu Yinsheng, President of China TTA and of the International Table Tennis Federation. His first words to me were: “We made a deal. I loaned you World Champion Li Henan, one of our best national team coaches. I was to receive a top USA swimming coach. You made Henan a US citizen and I never got my swimming coach!”

“So sorry,” I begrudging replied. “I tried hard, but the USA can’t assign US citizens to jobs without their permission. I taught Henan’s husband my real estate expertise ,and he has just completed the first owner occupied apartment building ever built in China. Isn’t that a fair exchange?” Xu smiled and gave me a hug.

My husband Richard (2014 USATT Hall of Fame) was one of two TT competition managers for the Atlanta Olympic and Paralympic Games. For 18 years, he and I were the national TT competition managers for the National Junior Olympic Championships. When that event was held in San Antonio in 1989, we became those people who “weren’t born in Texas, but got here as fast as we could.”

Jimmy moved to Texas first. After the 1996 Olympics, Houston became a major hotbed of professional table tennis activity and he has lived there since. He won his fourth national men’s singles title and became the oldest ever North American Champion at age 44.

We moved to Coldspring in 2006 along with our custodial grandson, Luc and TBI intellectually disabled daughter, his mother. Our focus became making opportunities for Luc’s HeartDesire as we had for our other five children.

As Luc aged he became interested in basketball. Why? My father had been a semi pro player in the Detroit area and it was Uncle Jimmy’s favorite sport. Jimmy is currently heavily invested in coaching Houston Rockets stars for Charity table tennis tournament participation.

When Luc entered Lincoln Junior High this fall, he was pumped with HeartDesire to participate in basketball. I knew that there was no air conditioning in the Elementary school gym, but was appalled by the condition of the athletic facilities in the secondary schools. At Lincoln Junior High, Luc has physical education first hour. The locker room is a ghastly place from the dark ages. With no toilets and shower availability, students have to endure a dried-sweat-stinking-body in the rest of their classes. The weight room is in a small inadequate aged temporary building near condemned temporary buildings. The metal bleachers in the gym have sharp edges that are dangerously unpadded.

The weight room at the high school is small and inadequate. The press box at the football stadium is old, small and dangerous –– sways when loaded with people. The track surface is cracked and needs replacing. New bleacher seating and restrooms are desperately needed. The antiquated football scoreboard works with great difficulty. COCISD visitor accommodations for teams and their fans are embarrassing.

A successful Bond election will provide the crucial funding to remedy this situation. The brilliantly prepared plan will increase safety, and repair the guts of dilapidated Athletic and other teamwork training facilities. What’s the cost? The average able-bodied homeowner under age 65, will pay a yearly amount that breaks down monthly to the cost of a PIZZA!

At Jimmy’s Table Tennis Hall of Fame Induction in 2011, he said: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. It’s not what you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.” Are you the taxpayer, going to use your pizza to feed our kids HeartDesire in a productive SAFE (Success - Affection - Fun - Excellence) COCISD environment?

Letter to the editor policy

The San Jacinto News-Times encourages readers to submit letters expressing their views and opinions. The letters will be published in the San Jacinto News-Times “Letters to the Editor” column. Letters may be written on any subject of issue of general interest. Letters must be accompanied by a name and mailing address, and will be subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, spelling and length. Letters must include a telephone number for verification. We will not publish the telephone number. Readers should keep their letters brief and to the point. Each letter should contain no more than 650 words. Letters exceeding that length will be subject to editing or withheld from publication. Letters will also be subject to editing for libelous statements and commercialism. This column is not meant as a forum for political candidates, although we welcome comments from the public concerning campaign issues. During election campaigns we will not allow reference to specific local candidates. Letters may be submitted in person, mailed to “Letters to the editor,” San Jacinto News-Times, P.O. Box 1689, Shepherd, TX 77371, faxed to 936-327-7156 or emailed to Megan Whitworth at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

San Jacinto County SO attempting to locate Hispanic Male

Staff Reports

Jose-FloresSan Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to locate a Hispanic male identified as Jose Flores.

Flores’ date of birth is March 1, 1976. He is approximately five feet, four inches tall and weights approximately 185 pounds.

Flores is identified as the man who allegedly shot and killed a 37-year-old male on Saturday, Oct. 14.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:50 p.m. in the 400 block of Oak Wood Drive in Cleveland. When responding deputies arrived on scene, they found the victim lying on the ground of a rodeo arena with several gunshot wounds. The victim was deceased on scene prior to the arrival of first responders.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Witnesses on the scene said Flores got into the passenger seat of a pickup truck and left the scene shortly after the incident.

Flores is considered to be armed and dangerous and should not be approached. For any tips or knowledge of Flores’ whereabouts or if anyone comes in contact with Flores, contact the Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-7867.

COCISD hits the road to spread the word on Bond

By Cassie Gregory
COCISD

Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Superintendent Leland Moore and members of the COCISD Board of Trustees are hitting the road to share factual information and answer questions about the upcoming bond election. Presentations are planned at area community centers and local organizations district-wide throughout the month of October.

“We want to give everyone a chance to see what this bond issue is about,” Moore said. “This is our opportunity to get the word out, to share the projects that are planned, and how it will affect students, employees, and the entire COCISD community.”

Everyone is invited to attend the public meetings to see the presentation, view schematics of planned improvements, receive informational handouts, and participate in Q&A sessions at the end of each event. Questions are welcome.

Public meetings are scheduled at the following locations: Evergreen Baptist Church on Tuesday, Oct. 17; Trojan Community Forum @ Jones Educational Complex on Thursday, Oct. 19; and the Oakhurst VFD Station on Monday, Oct. 30. All public meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served.

To view the entire Bond 2017 presentation, projects list and schematics, voting information and a sample ballot, visit the district website at www.cocisd.org > District > Bond 2017. To schedule a bond presentation, contact Cindy Elliott by phone at 936-653-1114, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Early voting runs from Oct. 23-Nov. 3, and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Commissioners honor Trinity County citizens for their heroic works after Hurricane Harvey

Standing (Left to Right)…Anthony King, Sam Shanafelt, Kevin Searcy, Sheriff Woody Wallace, Scott Womack, Deputy Chief Tommy Park, VFW Commander Don Chambers, Karlene Chambers, VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Delorise Grey, Sheran Casey and Jessica Dean.  Seated (Left to Right)…Precinct #3 Commissioner Neal Smith, County Judge Doug Page, Precinct #2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin and Precinct #4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown.Standing (Left to Right)…Anthony King, Sam Shanafelt, Kevin Searcy, Sheriff Woody Wallace, Scott Womack, Deputy Chief Tommy Park, VFW Commander Don Chambers, Karlene Chambers, VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Delorise Grey, Sheran Casey and Jessica Dean. Seated (Left to Right)…Precinct #3 Commissioner Neal Smith, County Judge Doug Page, Precinct #2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin and Precinct #4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown.

(Trinity, TX)---Trinity County Commissioners Court recognized several citizens and first responders at their regular meeting held on Monday, September 25th at the county courthouse in Groveton. Recognized for helping to rescue residents in flooded areas of Sportsman’s Oaks subdivision off of Doug Bell Road with the fire rescue boat were Trinity Volunteer Fire Department Certification Coordinator Scott Womack, volunteer Justin Womack, and firefighter Kevin Searcy. Law enforcement officials that helped coordinate rescue activities were Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace and Deputy Chief Tommy Park. Responding with the game warden low water boat were Game Wardens Sam Shanafelt and Anthony Park. For their part in opening and operating the VFW Post #6899 emergency shelter with American Red Cross supervision were Post Commander Don Chambers, his wife Karlene and VFW Ladies Auxiliary President Delorise Grey. Some sixteen evacuees were sheltered at the VFW facility on Caroline Street for four days during the mandatory evacuation of Sportsman’s Oaks order declared by County Judge Doug Page. Also, Sheran Casey and her team of volunteers were recognized for establishing a donation center at Mickey’s House on Main Street for clothing, food, and cleaning supplies suggested by Jessica Dean from the County Attorney’s office. All were presented with certificates of appreciation by Precinct #2 County Commissioner Rich Chamberlin.

While countless people gave their time and resources to ease the burden of those affected by Harvey, these individuals went above and beyond what’s expected.

Thank you all, and our appreciation goes out, as well, to the scores of people who gathered food, clothing, water, fuel, and supplies for those here in Trinity County in southern Texas who were recipients of Trinity’s generosity.

Harvey survivors needing hotel stays get extension

Hurricane Harvey survivors who need more time to find housing are getting an extension to stay temporarily in hotels while they look for an alternative place to live.

The Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, which pays for short-term hotel stays, has been extended by 14 days. The new checkout date is Oct. 24. Participants eligible to continue in the program will receive a phone call telling them what they need to do to remain at their current hotel or find a new hotel. Applicants must meet certain requirements to remain eligible.

Hurricane Harvey survivors who are not currently in the program but who may be eligible are notified automatically. TSA participants must be registered with FEMA for disaster assistance.

FEMA pays directly for the room and any applicable taxes. Applicants are responsible for all other incidental costs (meals, transportation, etc.). Hotels may require a credit card for incidental expenses.

A household of four or fewer members is authorized for one hotel room and a household of five or more is authorized additional rooms based on a limit of four people per room. One member of each household 18 years old or older must reside in each room.

TSA-eligible applicants must find and book their own hotel rooms. The list of participating hotels is available at DisasterAssistance.gov under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program link or by calling FEMA at 800-321-3362. For 711 or Video Relay Service, call 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585.

Applicants with disabilities or who have access and functional needs should check with hotels to ensure appropriate accommodations are available. Those with pets must check with the hotel to see if they are accepted. Applicants must show photo identification and adhere to any hotel check-in requirements.

Houston Food Bank seeking partners as disaster distribution sites in county

By Megan Whitworth
Editor

Care Share Food Pantry, located in Coldspring, is the first location in San Jacinto County to partner with the Houston Food Bank as a disaster distribution site to reach individuals who have suffered losses from Hurricane Harvey.

“Food insecurity occurs year-round. It’s not on a calendar,” said Betsy Ballard, Houston Food Bank chief communications officer. “During a time following disaster, the need for food assistance is magnified. The Houston Food Bank wants to reach people who need food assistance, but we can only do it through partner agencies, most of them operated by volunteers. We want to find more partners in counties like San Jacinto in order to extend access to food beyond geographic boundaries.”

Currently the Food Bank has 230 distribution sites in various areas across Southeast Texas, but only one in San Jacinto.

The Care Share Food Pantry will be open Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to distribute items. The Pantry is located at 21 Butler St.

Ballard said the Food Bank is seeking other partners in: Katy, Humble, Kingwood and Sheldon Lake areas in Harris County; Dickinson/Galveston County; and Brazoria, Fort Bend and Liberty counties.

Partners could be faith-based congregations and organizations, neighborhood organizations, community centers, social service organizations or other nonprofit entities. New partners would be considered disaster temporary agencies. If a group has access to a facility of some type that volunteers can run, Ballard said “let us know and we can look for a nonprofit partner to work with you.”

Houston Food Bank officials will deliver large quantities of food and cleaning supplies to partners at different locations. Partners will be responsible for all site logistics, including maintaining the facility, recruiting volunteers, observing a schedule for distributing product to clients and receiving product and handling all product after it’s delivered.

Partners also must be able to: accept and Accept and handle anywhere from 10 to 20 pallets of food (an 18-wheeler trailer holds 20 pallets); serve 150 to 300 people (or households) in a four-hour period; provide 10 to 20 volunteers at one time; be solely responsible for maintaining the site; comply with Houston Food Bank rules for Disaster Temporary Agencies.

“Hurricane Harvey created widespread devastation,” she said. “We haven’t been able to quantify the number of people who are seeking food assistance, but based on what we know about the extent of damage, it has to be much higher than the number of people who typically visit Houston Food Bank partner agencies. One indicator is the amount of food we’re distributing at several hubs in the greater Houston area. We leave an 18-wheeler trailer filled with food and supplies at a hub site one day, and then return the next day to pick up the empty trailer and replace it with another full one. That means those sites are distributing up to 20,000 pounds of product every day. At the peak time, we had 24 hubs. We’re down to 11, which means more individuals are either getting settled and finding other resources, or they’re going to other food pantry locations for help.”

Since Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas, Ballard said the Houston Food Bank is distributing twice as much food as Food Bank normally does, Ballard said.

“In the first month since Harvey, we distributed 14 million pounds of product. That’s more than many food banks across the country are able to do,” she said. “We had 16,000 different people come volunteer during that month. Truckloads of product arrive at all hours of the day and night. We’ve added dozens of temporary and part-time staff to our normal employee base. Our board chair likes to say that this is the Houston Food Bank on steroids.

“Food insecurity is a problem in every community. People need food assistance for any number of reasons,” she added. “It’s related to poverty, and poverty can be a temporary thing or a persistent problem that affects someone’s life over a longer period of time. Hunger is blind to zip codes and demographic descriptions.”

For more information on submitting an organization to become a distributing disaster site, visit houstonfoodbank.org/harveysites.