By Will Johnson              
Messenger Reporter

EAST TEXAS – Grapeland ISD will start construction on a new elementary school after a $7.75 million bond for a new elementary school was approved by voters.

This is the second time, in less than a year, the GISD Board of Trustees has placed a bond initiative on the ballot.  The first time the elementary school bond was on the ballot, the measure failed by less than 30 votes. This time however, voters, voters approved the initiative by a margin of 409 votes for the bond and 255 against.

“I think the new elementary campus will be a great benefit to the school district as well as to the community. I am proud of the Grapeland community for putting children first. The future looks bright for Grapeland ISD,” GISD Superintendent Gregg Spivey said.

Saturday, May 6 was Election Day and while many of the incumbents running for re-election election did not draw an opponent, several others chose not to run.

As a result, several new faces will be seated at the various city council and school board meetings once they are sworn in.

In Houston County, the City of Crockett will have its first female mayor after Joni Clonts defeated Billy “Hollywood” Groves by a margin of 587 votes to 397.

Incumbent Robert Meadows chose not to seek another term.

The City of Crockett also had two council positions on the ballot this past Saturday. In Precinct One, Michael “Butch” Calvert defeated Joseph Senegal by a margin of 231 votes to 43.

Cast an eye towards Precinct Two in Crockett, if someone ever says their vote doesn’t matter. Incumbent Ray Bruner lost by one vote as challenger Darrell Jones received 100 votes to Bruner’s 99.

Crockett ISD did not have any contested races.

In the Grapeland city council elections, there were seven candidates on the ballot for three at-large positions. Incumbents Emilie Cunningham, Wanda Nichols and Velda Parker signed up to run, but only Parker was successful in her quest to retain her seat on the council.

Once the ballots were counted on Saturday night, the results showed Parker with 97 votes, Will Watson with 94 and former mayor George Pierson with 76. Parker, Pierson and Watson will be sworn-in and will assume their positions on the council after the votes are canvassed.

The other candidates for the Grapeland City Council were: Nichols with 71 votes; Cunningham with 62; Linda Reed with 49; and Don Hickman with 34.

The cities of Kennard, Latexo and Lovelady did not have any contested races and the elections were cancelled.

In addition, Grapeland ISD, Kennard ISD and Latexo ISD did not have any contested races and also saw their elections cancelled.

Lovelady ISD had three at-large board positions on the ballot. Position Two incumbent Robin Robinson did not draw a challenger and will return for another term. Position Six, however, saw three candidates vying for the position after incumbent James Burleson decided not run for re-election.

The candidates were: Chris Hughes; Wacy Scott Moore and Brian Sample.  When the votes were cast, the final tally saw Sample with 157 votes, Hughes with 101 and Moore with 87.

In Position Seven, Incumbent Chris Starns drew an opponent in Tricia Maddux-Hensley. The results showed Starnes will retain his seat on the LISD board with 238 votes, while Maddux-Hensley garnered 96.

In Anderson County, the City of Elkhart, Elkhart ISD, Palestine ISD and Slocum ISD did not have any contested races, and as a result, the elections were cancelled.

Palestine Mayor Bob Herrington decided not to seek re-election and three candidates filed to run for city’s top elected position. Steve Presley received 786 votes, Theresa Y. Hamilton –Roberts received 327 and Michael Sims collected 43. Presley will be sworn-in as mayor once the election results are finalized.

In District Two, incumbent Mitchell Jordan faced off against challenger Tim Patel. Jordan will keep his seat on the council after he received 161 votes while Patel received 47.

District Four Councilman Joseph Thompson decided not to seek re-election which resulted in three candidates filing for his seat. Joe Baxter won the election with 96 votes while Kenneth Davidson received 56 and Quintin Cotton received 21.

After Presley declared his intent to seek the mayoral position, his Precinct Six council seat was placed on the ballot. Two candidates – Ann Connor and Alex Patel – signed up for the seat. Connor received 192 votes to win the position while Patel received 57.

Also on the City of Palestine ballot, voters were asked to vote yeas or no on Proposition One which would dedicate a portion of the city’s sales tax to repair and maintain existing city streets. The measure passed by a margin of 733 for to 247 against.

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at