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TxDOT warns drivers to proceed with caution as school year begins

As the new school year begins, TxDOT is reminding drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to exercise caution in and around school zones and school buses.

Schools in the nine-county Lufkin District are set to begin in coming days and the safety of all school children and motorists is important. Driver inattention could cause an unsafe condition on the roadway, whether it involves pedestrians, those on bicycles or school buses.
In 2015, there were 683 vehicle crashes in Texas school zones.

"We are urging all motorists to pay attention and follow the law as they drive near school zones and school buses," said Rhonda Oaks, Lufkin District public information officer. Drivers should slow down and pay close attention when entering a school zone."

Safety tips for drivers to remember include:
•Obey the speed limit in school zones. Violators face fines up to $200.
• Cell phone use is unlawful in an active school zone and violators face fines up to $200.
• Drop off and pick up children in designated areas, not in the street.
• Be alert to children who might dart across a street or in between vehicles to and from school.
Safety tips for pedestrians include:
• Parents and children walking to school should be alert and cross the street only at intersections or crosswalks.
• Always walk on sidewalks if they are available.
• Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume the driver sees you.

The Mayor’s Report 08-17-2017

by Byron Richards

"How the time flies". Even my picture has flown out of the newspaper's office. It doesn't seem possible that I have been your mayor for the past seven years.

We have been blessed with the many completed improvements due to the good work of past and present councils. With the courthouse renovation and the US 287 project an air of optimism prevails for our city's future.

The water project is finally completed with only the FM 94 water line replacements and the airport runway lighting system upgrade to be completed in early 2018.

TxDOT has recently informed the city that our downtown grant application for ADA compliant sidewalks plus lighting has made it through the initial eligibility screening. The final selection will be announced in September.

Entergy has been a good neighbor for the past two years with community grants. Again this year a grant for $3,000.00 to assist the chamber with expenses associated with the Battle of Blackjack Grove Event to be held on February 16 through 18, in 2018. This reenactment of the Civil War era, the Bear Chase Run and the Fourth of July Celebration have garnered a great amount of positive comments for our
city.

It appears that our 16-17 budget will conclude as forecasted in September.

With a sunny week forecasted city crews will be out working on the streets and cleaning up after the high winds last week. Give them a thank you as they always go beyond what is required to deep your city in good order.

We always like visitors at council meetings. They don't last long and they are informative. Council meets on the last Monday of the month beginning August the 28th at 6:30 p.m.

Please pray for our city, country, military men and women, first responders, law enforcement officers, for friends and neighbors that have special needs at this time.

911 address changes underway

Trinity County's 9-1-1 Addressing/Mapping office located across from the county courthouse in Groveton in the courthouse annex at 219 W. 1st Street is working to improve the 9-1-1 Addressing data base used by emergency responders, delivery services and others throughout the county. While correcting addresses that may not have met the protocol established by the National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA), many addresses are subject to change.

To find out if your address is correct or requires a change, please phone Trinity County's 9-1-1 Addressing Coordinator Jolynn Wars at 936-642-3904 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. "We have no plans to change every 9-1-1 address in Trinity County, of course, but we want to get the data base as error-free as possible. Changing those addresses that require change will go a long way to get us to an error-free 9-1-1 addressing system in Trinity County" Wars said.
Citizens can help improve response times to emergencies by taking the time to update their current information with the 9-1-1 Addressing office.

Texas Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend — Aug. 11-13

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds shoppers the annual sales tax holiday is scheduled for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11-13.
The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced for less than $100 from sales tax, saving shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.
Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the Comptroller's website at TexasTaxHoliday.org.
This year, shoppers are expected to save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday, which has been an annual event since 1999.

Walter Diggles, wife, daughter found guilty

LUFKIN -- Walter Diggles along with his wife Rosie and daughter Anita were found guilty Thursday on all charges stemming from a conspiracy to divert federal funds intended for hurricane victims to their own use or groups with which they were affiliated.

Diggles, 64, the former executive director of the Jasper-based Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG), helped oversee the disbursement of a number of federal grants intended to help a 12-county region served by DETCOG, which includes Tyler County.

The federal jury found all three Diggles guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Walter Diggles was found guilty on a total of 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of stealing federal funds and three counts of money laundering. His wife, Rosie, was found guilty of nine counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. His daughter, Anita was found guilty of one count of wire fraud

Sentencing by Judge Ron Clark will be held in four to six months. The three could be facing up to 30 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines.

Closing arguments in the eight-day long trial were held Thursday in the federal courthouse in Lufkin in a case that began in March 2014 when FBI and other federal officers executed search warrants at the DETCOG headquarters, the Diggles residence and the New Lighthouse Church of God in Christ in Jasper where Diggles served as the pastor.

A federal indictment charging the three family members was handed down in Beaumont in December 2015

According to evidence presented during the trial, Diggles defrauded federal authorities by inflating the amount the Deep East Texas Foundation needed for social service programs. Diggles was listed as the "registered agent" for that foundation.

He received about $4.4 million from 2007 to 2012 through federal Social Services Block Grant funds. Of that, $1.3 million was spent on personal expenses, such as transportation, funeral expenses and church rent.

Prosecutors said members of the New Lighthouse Church operated an after-school program, and that Rosie and Anita Diggles prepared documents and reimbursement packets to request funds in support of the learning center.

Indian baseball team recognized by Rep. Trent Ashby

Rep. Trent Ashby with representatives from the Groveton Baseball Team -- Braxton Terry (left), Haden Terry (middle), Rep. Ashby, and Coach Wayne Williams (Right).Rep. Trent Ashby with representatives from the Groveton Baseball Team -- Braxton Terry (left), Haden Terry (middle), Rep. Ashby, and Coach Wayne Williams (Right).

By Chris Edwards

The City of Groveton certainly got behind the Indians baseball team in its historic, successful season, but recently recognition came from the state capitol.

In a resolution passed last Tuesday in the 85th Legislature's First Special Session, Representative Trent Ashby penned a bill congratulate the Indians on their successful 2016-17 regular season campaign and the historic post-season run. The Indians, under the direction of Coach Wayne Williams, reached the State-level playoffs, a first in Groveton High School history for the baseball program.

According to the text of Ashby's bill, "the Indians gave a valiant effort but ultimately fell short, concluding the season with an outstanding record of 31 wins and just 4 losses," when the team faced-off against the squad from Big Sandy High School in Round Rock at the Dell Diamond in early June.

Ashby's bill goes on to state that the Indians' achievements "were the result of a true team effort, and the Indians received valuable contributions throughout the year from each member of the roster."

The team was comprised of: Chance Coker; Tanner Ebarb; Cade Steubing; Anthony Chavez; Ryan Luna; Caleb Yarbrough; Saul Chavez; Chance Hart; Jacob Scroggins; Zack Anderson; Spencer Pope; Cody Fairchild; Glenn Thornton; Haden Terry; Blake Hollis; Braxton Terry, and Trey Hance. Along with Coach Williams, assistant coach Richard Steubing helped lead the team to victory after victory.