What a relief; route meeting set
All local residents are invited to attend an open house Thursday, Jan. 22, where information will be provided about the US 59 Diboll Relief Route (future I-69). The meeting is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Lottie and Arthur Temple Civic Center with an informal come-and-go format.
Attendees will be able to visit with Texas Department of Transportation staff one-on-one, ask questions, and provide input. The reason for the open house is to display the proposed alignment to the public, explain where TxDOT is in the project development process, answer questions, and gather local citizen input.
Interstate 69 is a national interstate that extends through eight states and was conceived under federal law. Legislation has authorized the development of the I-69 system in Texas along specified U.S. routes, including US 59. Within the state it will run from Laredo to Texarkana.
Ten individuals from Angelina County and 10 from Nacogdoches County were chosen in December 2012 to serve on the I-69 Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Committee. Their recommendations, along with citizen input, will guide TxDOT on future I-69 project development.
According to the TxDOT website, the No. 1 priority of Angelina County committee members is advancing the development of the Diboll Relief Route. TxDOT completed the environmental process and had approved schematic design plans in 1999 for this pro-ject, but they were shelved because of concentration on the Trans-Texas Corridor.
Since the Corridor project is now dead, the I-69 work has resumed. However, because of the elapsed time, an environmental re-evaluation will be required. TxDOT is proceeding with preparing a re-evaluation of the environmental assessment and with right-of-way map updates.
Thursday’s meeting will be another chance for residents to see maps of the proposed alignment. The Diboll Relief Route is projected to place I-69 to the east of town, branching off from the current highway just south of the city limits and rejoining it in Burke.
TxDOT says that I-69 is needed in Texas to relieve traffic congestion caused by a growing population, to provide safer travel through the state, to improve evacuation routes, and to support economic development. Upgrades are needed to US 59 because it does not have the capacity to serve projected traffic volumes and does not meet interstate standards through Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.
At the present time, design and construction funding has not been identified for the project. TxDOT continues to have funding shortfalls in excess of $4 billion per year which makes the financing and delivery of roadway projects challenging. Despite these short-falls, TxDOT officials say they remain committed and understand the importance of advancing I-69 throughout Texas, including Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.
There are several ways to get involved and provide input on I-69:
• Submit comments at the open house;
•Visit the project website: http//www.txdot.gov/drivenbytexans/us59-angelina-nacogdoches.htm
• Through the mail to: TxDOT Lufkin District, Attn: Kelly Morris P.E., 1805 Timberland Drive, Lufkin, TX 75901; and
• For general questions, call 936-634-4433.
The Diboll Civic Center is at 601 Dennis St. in Diboll.
Traffic stops lead to arrests
Diboll Police Department Officer Jacob Bailey stopped a vehicle for speeding about 1:10 a.m. Sat-urday, Jan. 10. Upon contact with the driver he observed extreme nervousness and found that he did not have valid drivers license.
Once officers Ray Williams and Michael Ramsey arrived, the driver, Nathan Anderson of Cleveland, was arrested for the charge of no drivers license. Upon an inventory of the vehicle, Officers located about 2.7 grams of meth, several syringes and two glass smoking pipes. Additional charges of drug paraphernalia and felony possession of controlled substance were added.
Daniel Hernandez Jr. was arrested during a traffic stop last weekend, also. DPD Officer Michael Ram-sey stopped Hernandez for fictitious tags and found that he had seven warrants with Lufkin Police De-partment – Four for driving while license invalid; and one each for expired inspection; fail to yield right of way; and speeding.
Diboll police officers confiscated drugs and drug paraphernalia during a traffic stop last weekend.
Sewer issue still up in air for District 4
Residents of about 70 homes just outside the Diboll city limits are concerned their sewer bills are too high.
City policy is to charge double the rates to handle sewer water for homes outside the city than that charged to residents inside the city; however, it’s not necessarily that charge that has them up in arms. It’s the amount of sewer water that’s being treated – more than what they buy from the City of Lufkin.
Diboll Public Works Director Dee Scarborough reported Monday to City Council that there are at least three manholes in the Burkhalter Hollow area whose covers are below the crown of the road and that rainwater is leaking into the system. Also, during and after big rains, he reported seeing that the wastewater lift station is not working correctly.
Both issues are the responsibility of Angelina County Water District 4.
One way to correct that issue is to install risers over the manholes, raising the cover above the crown. However, John Stover, attorney for Angelina County Water District 4, is requesting time to have a smoke test conducted to check for other leaks.
That is something the city is willing to do for them, at a charge. However, council members were concerned about the district not being able to pay for that test, considering the district is significantly behind on its sewer bill.
The district is behind about 5 or 6 months on their sewer payment to the tune of about $26,000.
“I agree something is very wrong. I don’t want y’all to think we aren’t trying to fix the problem,” Stover said. “Thank you for being patient.”
In other business covered during Monday’s meeting, council members approved changing the city’s payday from Friday to Monday to alleviate issues that arise from estimating employees’ time. The change goes into effect Feb. 19.
Council also approved Diboll City Hall as the voting location for Election Day, May 9, for both the city and Diboll Independent School District. Up for election are council members in District 1 (Veronica Hernandez) and District 3 (Don Hendrick), as well as at-large Place 5 (Tom Farley).
Candidates can file an application for a place on the ballot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 28 through Feb. 27.
There are openings on the city’s Parks Board and the Beautification Committee. Anyone interested in serving can call City Manager Dennis McDuffie at 936-829-4757.
Williams is DPD Officer of Year
Diboll Police Department’s Officer of the Year is Detective Sgt. Norman Williams.
DPD Chief Steve Baker presented Williams with a plaque Monday during the City Council meeting.
“He’s the backbone of this department,” Baker said.
Williams has been with DPD for 13 years and has been in charge of investigations for six years.
“I’ve been all over the country and left East Texas twice, but I’ve always came back. I grew up in Angelina County, was married here, two of my children were born here, and I think we have the best community, plus I love the Piney Woods,” Williams said. “As far as (DPD) goes we have one of the best departments around and the best bunch of guys you could ask to work with. I’ve worked for big departments and small, but have always wanted to work for Diboll. Diboll sees all the same crimes as bigger cities just not the same volume.”
Williams began his law-enforcement career in 1990 with the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office in Corpus Christie. From 1995 to 1997 he worked highway criminal interdiction for Nacogdoches County and then worked interdiction on Interstate 30 for the Royse City Police Department. In 2000, Williams returned to east Texas and began employment with Corrigan Police Department as he waited for an opening at Diboll.
Williams’ philosophy is to try to treat all crimes the same.
“I hate to say one case is bigger or more important than the other, because no matter how big or small a case seem it is important to the victim. So, I try to treat all cases as if they were homicides,” Williams said.
“Over my years here I’ve come to notice that we have a tremendous amount of support from the community at large no matter what unfortunate events are happening in other places and in times of crises such as with the Hurricane Rita and Katrina our citizens pulled together and helped each other. We truly have one of the best communities around,” he said.
Williams has numerous instructor certifications — TCOLE, firearms, shotgun breeching, control and restraint, stinger spike deployment, LTI laser, taser and defensive tactics. He holds both a masters and special Investigator certification.
Williams is married with three children and one grandchild and resides in Angelina County.
DPD Chief Steve Baker presents Detective Sgt. Norman Williams with a plaque, commemorating his being named Officer of the Year.
Christmas coverage in January
Diboll Primary School hosted their 3rd annual Christmas Festival in December 2014.
The festival is a community event hosted by Diboll Primary School staff and provides many fun-filled family games and activities, including face-painting; Santa’s Sweet Treat Walk; Frosty’s Pond, where students ice skate on paper plates; Frosty’s Workshop; Santa’s Bakery; Snowball Toss; Candy Cane and Ornament Fishing; and many more.
The festival is made possible with the help of community donations and with Diboll ISD staff and Diboll High School volunteers from the Interact Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Diboll High School Dazzlers and Diboll High School Cheerleaders.
Freed by Christ 1-15-15
Where are you headed in this New Year? Do you want to go down the best path? Do you want help as you go? Jesus Christ has and will supply all you need. Jesus will light your way. Jesus will give you direction. Jesus will be with you no matter what comes your way. Jesus is the good Shepherd.
God’s Bible says in Psalm 32: 8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.” Why not accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life and let Him lead you to all He has for you in this life and forever?
– Bro. Kenny Hibbs,
First Baptist Church
Dateline Diboll 1-15-15
The Diboll Youth Baseball Organization will host its annual Coaches’ Meeting on Monday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Youth Baseball Complex in Old Orchard Park in Diboll. Anyone returning to coach or interested in coaching for the 2015 season should make plans to attend. Children ages 3 years to 14 years are eligible to play.
Friday, Jan. 16, Project Graduation is having a Baked Potato sale. Each potato will come with separated condiments and a choice of taco meat or chipped beef. The cost is $7 and that includes a dessert. The potatoes can be picked up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the back of Diboll Housing Authority. Pre-orders only. Contact Velma Aguilar at 936-635-5532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to place orders. The seniors of 2015 gratefully appreciate your support.
SPJST’s regular Third Friday Night Dance will be Jan. 16 at the SPJST Lodge in Lufkin. The address is 197 Hughes Road. It is the old skating rink in Fuller Springs. The new time for the dance is 7 to 10 p.m. It starts earlier and ends earlier. Silver Eagles band will be playing the music. The cost is $6 for members and $7 for non-members. You do not have to be a member to attend the dances. All you have to do is show up and expect a good time. Please bring a covered dish for the food table. For more information, call George Scogin at 936-875-2867.
Free Parent Summit
The Diboll Family Education Center is hosting a Free Parent Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. Donuttes and juice time is followed by the general session and breakout sessions. Lunch is provided. Flu and pneumonia shots will be given by Angelina County Cities & Health District.
The Diboll Family Education Center is located at 299 S. Neil Pickett Drive. For more information, call 936-829-3744.
Feb. 14 is the date to mark your calendar to treat your sweetheart to a Valentine’s din-ner, an annual event sponsored by DHS Project Graduation. The main course can be your choice of steak or chicken. Entertainment will be provided along with a dessert auction. Feel free to call Andrea Swor at 936-829-4040 for more information. It’s so hard for me to think that my granddaughter is a senior and will be graduating this year from DHS.
T.L.L. Temple Memorial Library in Diboll invites is organizing “Tangled Threads” for crafters of all ages. The program is from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month. All skill levels are welcomed. Please bring your own hooks, yarn, and supplies. “Tangled Threads” will on the second Tuesday of the month in the Community Room. For more information call Mary Howell at 936-829-5497.
Lose weight with TOPS – Taking Off Pounds Sensibly. Check out the local TOPS chapter at First United Methodist Church, 805 E. Denman Ave., Lufkin. Weigh-ins are at 8:30 a.m. Fridays and the meetings are at 9:05 a.m. Fridays. For more information, call Sylvia at 936-639-4017. First visit is free. Check out www.tops.org.