- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 06 February 2015 21:25
- Written by Jim Bardwell
A 4-hour public hearing for Southern Covenant Treatment Center was held Friday, Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 300 Money Street location in Gladewater. And the reception the owners received from local residents, city council members, GISD officials and business owners was less than welcoming as they commented on the licensing of the proposed residential treatment facility for teenage boys dealing with serious behavioral issues.
The main points and concerns expressed at the public hearing was that Gladewater wasn't against the facility and the need to treat young people with behavioral problems, the city and school simply are already overburdened and the owners were not able to answer questions to the satisfaction of those in attendance.
The facility is scheduled to house up to 32 male residents ages 13-17 who are classified as Level 3 and 4 patients by Child Protective Services. This classification lists behaviors such as frequent or unpredictable physical aggression, major self-injurious actions or difficulties that present a significant risk of harm to self or others. The mission statement’ of Southern Covenant is … ‘our mission is to promote wellness in a safe family oriented home environment while extending a helping hand to empower troubled youth. Southern Covenant, a non-profit organization, provides an atmosphere where our youth are involved in structured activities to encourage healthy life skills.
Read more about what happened at the public hear in next week's Gladewater Mirror.
- Category: News
- Published on Sunday, 09 November 2014 10:08
- Written by Jim Bardwell
FOCUS NOW ON COMMERCIAL AREA. NOT RESIDENTIAL
By Jim Bardwell
The City of Gladewater has decided to rethink its original annexation proposal involving about 1,200 acres in the Friendship Community and offer up a smaller area – about 300 acres, which focuses more on commercial growth and cuts out most of the 200 residents who have been protesting the proposed annexation.
The city’s Reinvestment Committee plans to make a recommendation on the newly condensed map – which only involves land directly connected to US 271 and branches out south to a portion of 135 - at its Nov. 20 public hearing.
“During the past two months, the Reinvestment Committee has had the opportunity, as has the city council, to study the defined area being proposed for annexation. There were two focuses of study. One was on the demand and cost of current city services and the future impact to these services. The other was on the current growth pattern and assisting the future growth potential of the defined area,” city manager Sean Pate stated in a press release Friday morning.
The residents in the Friendship Community launched a comprehensive protest against the city’s effort to pull them into the city limits. They have sent out fliers, planted protests signs throughout the area, hired legal counsel to fight annexation in the courts if need be, gathered signatures on petitions and were planning to go door-to-door in and effort to rally support from Gladewater citizens and force the city council to vote no on the annexation.
Randy Koss, chairman of the anti-annexation committee, was not immediately available for comment.
Pate said also considered “was the recent creation of the Gregg County ESD 2 (GCESD2) as voted on by the western Gregg County voters on November the 4th. This new development would allow the city to work with GCESD2 to develop a service plan between the two entities for the defined area. Therefore, the committee would like for the city council to consider a redefined area for possible annexation.”
Pate said the redefined area would focus on “properties that best represent current and future growth potential in commercial, industrial and retail business. The committee feels that the city of Gladewater has a vested interest in both assisting and servicing the current and future growth within this redefined area.”
Pate added that the city has no plans to pursue “any future annexations outside of this redefined area.”
Pate said he spoke with representatives from the Friendship Community on Thursday about the revised annexation area and received a positive response.
A second and final public hearing will be held Dec. 2 at City Hall at 6 p.m. The meeting had originally been set for Dec. 18.
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:32
- Written by Jim Bardwell
GILMER--The Upshur County Grand Jury returned 10 indictments Thursday, including two against a Gladewater man on charges of "criminal mischief committed because of bias or prejudice" and "deadly conduct committed because of bias or prejudice."
John Wayne Black, Jr., 53, remained in Upshur County Jail under $75,000 bond on each charge, said District Attorney Billy Byrd's office.
The deadly conduct indictment alleges Black shot into a Gladewater building, with recklessness as to whether it was occupied, primarily because of his bias or prejudice against the married couple who owned it, said Byrd.
The criminal mischief indictment charges Black drove his vehicle into the same people's Gladewater home for the same reason, causing more than $20,000 but less than $100,000 in damage, Byrd said. The husband and wife were in the kitchen when Black allegedly drove the vehicle into the living room, but nobody was injured, said the prosecutor.
Black is accused of committing the offenses Aug. 1, Byrd's office said.
Of the 10 indictments Thursday, three were sealed because no arrests had been made, Byrd reported. Defendants, charges, and bond information in the other open indictments were as follows, his office said:
--Phyllis Levone Jones, 42, of Gladewater, possession of controlled substance (cocaine) on June 14, $5,000
--Amanda Christine Pettit, 25, of Fort Worth, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) on Sept. 2, $5,000 bond
--Daniel Wayne Wooten, II, 38, of Gilmer, theft of property (of) less than $1,500 with two or more previous convictions on Aug. 27. He remained in county jail under $10,000 bond.
--Jason Dale Neal, 43, of Longview, driving while intoxicated; subsequent offense--habitual offender on Sept. 1, $10,000 bond
--Lester Shane Browning, 43, of Avinger, unauthorized use of vehicle on Aug. 2. He remained in county jail under $40,000 bond.
The sealed indictments included one apiece for possession of controlled substance (cocaine), forgery and burglary of habitation.
- Category: News
- Published on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 17:46
- Written by Jim Bardwell
|AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is informing Texans in need about federal programs such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that offer nutritious meals to children and adults. Approximately 13,000 adult and child care centers and home-based day cares in Texas are serving free or reduced-priced meals through the federally-funded CACFP.
These federal funds are available to help Texas families who find themselves in difficult times financially. Assistance programs should be utilized as a temporary bridge to a better economic situation — not as an endless highway. TDA is committed to helping these families with their immediate nutritional needs to assist them in becoming food independent in the future.
Meals provided through the CACFP are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). CACFP provides nutritious meals to children and adults enrolled in participating child care centers, day care homes and adult day care centers.
Households with children enrolled in a participating center or home who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits; receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC); or who are enrolled in Early Head Start, Head Start or Even Start Programs; or who receive Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, automatically qualify for free meals.
Households with children enrolled in a center or home that does not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income. See the chart below for income eligibility guidelines.
Foster children placed with a caregiver by the state or courts are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. If you have foster children living with you and wish to apply for free or reduced-price meals for your foster child, contact your child care center or day care home for assistance.
Parents or guardians who become unemployed may apply for free or reduced-price meals on behalf of their children at any time during the period of unemployment. Adults who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits, Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income automatically qualify for free meals.
Adults who do not receive any of the above assistance may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on household income. See the chart below for income eligibility guidelines.
The information provided on the application will be treated confidentially and be used only for eligibility determinations and verification of information.
USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)
Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339, or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
To apply for free or reduced-price meals, you may request an application from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home provider. An application for free or reduced-price meals cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. Only one application is required per household, and households may apply at any time.
If your application for free or reduced-price meals is denied, you have the right to request a fair hearing from your child care center, adult day care center or day care home. Verification of the accuracy of your application for free or reduced-price meals can occur at any time.
Child care centers, day care homes and adult day care centers participating in CACFP serve nutritious meals to all participants enrolled in their facilities. To locate a center or day care home participating in CACFP, call (877) TEX-MEAL. Participating locations also will display the official "Building for the Future" poster.
Income Eligibility Guidelines
For Determining Free and Reduced-Price Benefits
July 1, 2014- June 30, 2015
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:30
- Written by Jim Bardwell
BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS/Special Correspondent
GLADEWATER--A 16-year-old Gladewater High School football player was killed and his brother was injured when their vehicle overturned near this city as they were en route to school Wednesday morning, said Upshur County Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch.
Nikalas (Nik) Santos Reyes Wisinger was apparently killed instantly, while his brother, 18-year-old John Tristian Wisinger, was treated and released from Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview following the accident on Farm-to-Market Road 2685, said Judge Welch. She said she pronounced Nik Wisinger, a front-seat passenger in the vehicle, dead at the scene at 9:10 a.m.
John Tristian Wisinger was driving the southbound 1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport when it ran off the right side of the roadway, he overcorrected, and the vehicle overturned several times near the intersection with Scarlet Oak Road, Judge Welch said. The crash occurred at 7:54 a.m., said Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pam Edge.
Both youths were wearing seat belts, Mrs. Edge said. The accident occurred about two miles northwest of Gladewater, Judge Welch said.
The Department of Public Safety troopers who investigated the accident, Corporal Sandy Taylor and Trooper Billy Spears, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Nik Wisinger was a junior while his brother, who suffered only minor injuries, is a senior at Gladewater High School, said Gladewater ISD superintendent J.P. Richardson. Richardson said he believed Nik played linebacker, and that John Tristian does not play football.
Richardson said the Gladewater Bears will play the Kilgore Bulldogs in Kilgore Friday night as scheduled as the Wisingers' mother wished. Meantime, a memorial fund has been set up for the family at Austin Bank in Gladewater, he said.
Gladewater High School Principal Cathy Bedair said Nic Wisinger "was always just so full of life and always had a smile on his face and just had fun."
The youth was "very intelligent, and made friends with everybody," she added. "Everybody just loved him. Didn't meet a stranger. . .(He was) very respectful, very well-behaved. Just (a) great young man."
Asked about the atmosphere at the high school Wednesday afternoon, Richardson told the Tyler Morning Telegraph, "Well, it's quiet. It's kind of (a) somber day today...Our kids are handling it, grieving, leaning on each other."
Grief counselors and youth ministers were at the school Wednesday, and "we've slowed things down today," but "we still need to stay in routine," Richardson said. "We feel that's important."
He also said the school had to give students and staff "time to grieve," and that counselors would be available the next two days. "We've just been monitoring the kids very closely," Richardson added.
Ms. Bedair said Richardson had described the atmosphere at the high school "perfectly," and she added, "You just go into mama mode, and you just want to make sure the kids are okay. And every adult here was in mom and dad mode today."
Richardson said high school students and staff members were called about 9 a.m. into the school auditorium, where head football Coach John Berry emotionally announced his player's death. The news drew a gasp from the audience of nearly 600, who "had no idea what they were doing in the auditorium," the superintendent said.
"I thought it was best that they all heard it at once," Richardson said, although it is a "big blow when you hear something of that nature at one time." The students were told to be thinking about the Wisinger family, and a student-led prayer was said before the assembly dismissed, said Richardson.
Counselors from all the school district's campuses, youth ministers and youth pastors were waiting for the students, who were told to take their time and remain in the auditorium if they needed to, the superintendent said. As the pupils exited, there were two tables where they could write notes to the Wisinger family, he added.
"We have a plan in place (for) any time (something like) this happens," the superintendent explained.
Richardson said he was meeting with school principals shortly before 8 a.m. when he received a call from emergency services concerning the accident. He said he was told he and the high school principal needed to come to the scene, and that the caller told him "it wasn't good."
He and Ms. Bedair rushed to the accident site, arriving before the youths' mother, Richardson said. Ms. Bedair drove the mother to Good Shepherd, following the ambulance which was hauling John Tristian, and the principal was at the hospital when the death was announced to the student body, the superintendent said.
After the assembly, Berry met with the varsity and junior varsity football teams and told them "let's talk about it," according to Richardson. The coach also told the players to "lean on each other" and that "your peers are going to need you," Richardson said.
He also said he had visited the Wisinger family at their home and told the family the school district would help if it could.
Ms. Bedair said high school students would gather in the gymnasium from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. today for a ceremony honoring Wisinger before they launch 68 balloons at Bear Stadium in his honor since he wore number 68 in football.
During the ceremony, a student will sing, friends of Wisinger will speak, poetry will be read, and the lights will be dimmed so students can light up their cell phones in a candelight-type effect, she said.
Richardson meantime said Gladewater ISD had received many "positive" messages from other school districts, and it was good to know people "are praying for you." He asked the public "continue to pray for our students and the faculty."
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IGNORE NOTES BELOW, PLEASE. THANKS
"He's jsut fun. He was always just so full of life and always had a smile on his facdeand just had fun...very smart young man, very intelligent, and made friends wtih everybody. Everybody just loved him. Didn't meet a stranger...He just enjoyed life and had fun...very respectful, very well-behaved. Just great young man."
"He has said everything perfectly...you just go into mama mode and you just want to make sure the kids are ok, and every adult here was in mom and dad mode today."
2:30 to 3:30 in gym tomorrow fora meori9al ceremon;y, featuring a student singing, his friends will speak, and poem read. Dim lights and cell phones will beon like a "candlelight" ceremony.. will walk out to field and release 68 balloons--his number.
"I received a call a little before 8 o'clock thils morning" while meeting wit hprincipals. It was emergency services iforming him he needed to come to scene and bring high school principal Cathy Bedair with him. "He had told me that it wasn't god on the phone. We rushed to the scene."
They got there before the mother arrived. Bedair drove the mother to Good Shep, following the ambulance. "We have a plan in place anytime this happens." all kids called into high school auditorium about 9 a.m. and he had Coach Berry announce it. "We had all of our staff members in there...I thought it was best that they all heard it at once." were told "be thinking about them." all counselors even from lower campuses and youth ministers/pastors were on hand and kids were told take their time and stay in auditorium if need be. There were two tables for kids to write a note to the family as they exited. had student-led prayer before dismissing in the auditorium.
"When ti was announced, the kids had no idea what they were doing in the auditorium" nor did the staff. There was a "gasp" "big blow when yuou hear something of that nature at one time." almost 600 counting staff were in there. coach Berry was emotional and football player--JV and varsity met afterwards--and he told them "let's talk about it." gotta "lean on each other." "Your peers are gonna need you."
lot of "positive" messages from other districts. good to know people "are praying for you."
"We've just been monitoring the kids very closely." he visited with family at home and told them school would help if it could. memorial fund being set up at Austin Bank in G'water. Probably some type of ceremony tomorrow afternoon before JV football game at high school. students are working on it.
he played linebacker.
brother does not play football.
"Continue to pray for our students and the faculty."
minor injuries. the mother wanted the ball game played.
cpl. sandy taylor and trooper billy spears
John Tristian Wisinger, 18, of gilmer.driver. non-incapcitating injury. nothing about good shep. both wearing seat belts.
nik, who was killed was the passenger in front seat. wearing seat belt.
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Principal Cathy :Bedair.
nic is a jr. tristan is a sr.
Nik), 7-8-98, 16 yrs. old, little confused on the address.
gladewater high school f'ball player.
his brother, believed to be 18, was driving, treated and released from an unknown hospital.
no got brother's name. Tristan Wisinger.
1-vehicle accident. inter. of 2685 (Red Rock Road) and Scarlet Oak Road.
coming down 2685 headed south. en route to school at g'water.
jeep cherokee sport.
ran off the road to right, driver overcorreted, and overturned several times. dead boy was wearing seat belt. doesn't know if brother was.
happened about 8 a.m. dead boy was in front seat.
DPS Cpl. Sandy Taylor, Trooper Billy Spears.
she pronounced boy dead at scene at 9:10.
apparently killed instantly.
about 2 miles northwest of g'water.
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 08:29
- Written by Jim Bardwell
GILMER--U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) told the quarterly and organizational meeting of the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee on Saturday he is "sick of people telling me" the nation cannot secure its border with Mexico.
Speaking at the Indian Rock Baptist Church near Gilmer, Gohmert said Israel and Saudi Arabia have secured their borders and that the White House just erected a second fence, so "I think they (fences) would be helpful" at most places along the U.S.-Mexico border.
About 75 people attended the public meeting, at which Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd swore in new and reelected committee members.
They included County GOP Chairman Cynthia Ridgeway and committee members Lanette Crittenden, Jesse Loffer, Joyce Dolle, Jackie Oliver, Richard Ridgeway, Charlie Pelezo, Bill Stenger, Laurie Fisher, Michael (Micky) Denton, Ronnica Ridgeway, John Ussery, Leslie Cathcart and Madaline Barber.
Other committee members who were not present for the swearing-in included Deborah Hodge, Blanton Dawson and Joe Dodd.
During his approximately 75-minute presentation, which included a question-and-answer session with the audience, Gohmert addressed a number of issues ranging from foreign policy to his contention that some members of his own party in the U.S. Senate are "stupid."
The Congressman, who represents part of Upshur County, is opposed for reelection by Democrat Shirley McKellar in November.
Concerning security at the Texas-Mexico border, Gohmert indicated he believed the border was vulnerable to Islamic extremists wanting to enter America.
"These people are crazy, but they're not stupid," he said. "Our southern border is porous. . .How stupid would you have to be not to take advantage of our southern border?"
He further said border patrol agents had told him "we've got people coming from terrorist countries.
"I've been down there and I've heard gunfire. . .When a .50 caliber round goes off," Gohmert said, the sound is unquestionably gunfire and it is being fired to the American side.
Gohmert also contended that when it comes to border security, "Texas has made a difference. The federal goverment has not."
When Woodrow Wilson (who was President from 1913-1921), was in office, the Congressman said, Wilson sent 75,000 National Guardsmen to the border to secure it. The nation would not need that many now to do the job, the speaker contended.
He said some illegal immigrants are being arrested by non-federal officers for "trespassing" because they fail to pay the $4 admission fee to a park.
Gohmert also said President Obama contends that the number of illegal immigrants is down, but the Congressman attributed that to hot August weather, saying numbers normally drop during that time of year.
Addressing the issue of children immigranting in masses, Gohmert said rattlesnakes are in the area and "it's no place to be sending kids." And while some immigrants "want to get caught," the "coyotes" working for drug cartels do not, he added.
As for peril elsewhere in the world, Gohmert termed the Kurds faction in Iraq "our friends" who protected him when he visited there.
"You arm the people that believe in freedom" and "let them do the fighting," the Congressman said.
In addition, Gohmert indicated he had taken action to try to prevent in Yemen an attack like the one that killed an American ambassador and other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
In Benghazi, the Congressman charged, the Obama "administration had cries for help and didn't respond." He added he knew a former Army Ranger, injured in that attack, whose superiors "were not committed to get him what he needed."
"I don't know that any crimes were committed in Benghazi, but there certainly was a lot of bad judgment," Gohmert said.
He also said he "fired off a letter" to Secretary of State John Kerry to get Americans out of Yemen--and gave a copy of it to a reporter who found talk on the internet of an attack on that country.
Murderers who were released from the American prison in Guantanomo, Cuba, were sent to Yemen, and personnel of the American intelligence operation "weren't monitoring what was happening in the capital around Yemen," the speaker said. Thus, said Gohmert, he told Kerry's chief of staff "we don't need another Benghazi" and, as a result, 80 Americans were sent to the airport.
But a constituent of Gohmert's in the area has advised the Congressman that only "eight of us made it out" so far, the Congressman said. "We've still got a lot of people over there that they haven't sent a plane for," Gohmert added.
He additionally said that while "we are now in a time when Christians are the only group it's okay to persecute in America," it is "heartbreaking" to see Christians persecuted around the world.
"To whom much is given, much is required. Christians are being prosecuted around the world, and we're not doing much to help them," Gohmert lamented. ==
He said the United States provided former Egyptian President Morsi with aid although he persecuted Christians, and "we owe so much to the people in Egypt for rising up and breaking that caliphate in half." Gohmert termed it unfortunate that President Obama did not like Morsi being ousted.
During the question-and-answer session, where Gohmert answered questions from four citizens, former Upshur County Republican Party Chairman John Melvin Dodd asked if Republican U.S. senators are "stupid" or "traitors"--an apparent reference to GOP conservatives' disenchantment with establishment Republicans in Congress.
Gohmert said some GOP senators are "stupid--to me, that means a lack of common sense."
And "when you hear somebody say I'm a progressive, normally" it means they "believe in what the Communists believe in," he added.
Progressives believe civilization should return to a "socialist/Communist system" that has "failed every time" it has been tried, Gohmert continued.
The Congressman said he "didn't get threatened a whole lot" by Republican Congressional leadership with comments such as "you better vote for this bill." Instead, leadership is "more clever," praising newly-elected conservatives and using "more of a come-on. . .(that) 'we want you to be a team player,'" he said.
"That's what I've run into more than anything," said Gohmert.
Gohmert said he had voted against a continuing resolution on governmental spending and asked why a lame-duck Congress should come back in December and give U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid "leverage" before he goes out as majority leader (if Republicans take control of the Senate in the November election.)
Yet, Gohmert indicated some Republicans wanted to pass amnesty for illegal immigrants, and a gasoline tax hike, so they could blame Reid for it. The Congressman said he disagreed with that sentiment.
"If there was one more Louie Gohmert, (Speaker of the House) John Boehner would have a heart attack," Gohmert said, alluding to his strained relationship with his party's leader in that body. As for criticism of himself, Gohmert added, "One guy called me a moron one time, and misspelled moron."
When Upshur County Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle asked about military personnel saying they were being trained in martial law and to kill Americans, Gohmert replied that the government officials "always have an explanation."
"I know that this administartion has used a lot of pressure to keep people quiet," and has prosecuted so-called "leakers," the Congressman said.
Citizen Ron Cook asked whether departing Attorney General Eric Holder--with whom Gohmert had a sharp exchange of words during a Congressional hearing and who is resigning--would be charged with any crimes.
"Not in this administration, but (the) Fast and Furious (scandal) has to be properly investigated" since people died, the legislator said.
"He (Holder) has covered up things. He has obfuscated," Gohmert charged. He said Holder (who was held in contempt of Congress) has not provided certain documents to legislators although he told Holder that since the attorney general gave them to convicted terrorists, "I think you can give them to Congress too."
A citizen, Jackie Ellis, asked about the American solider being held in a Mexican prison after he supposedly took a wrong turn into Mexico at the border. Replied Gohmert, "If this administration wanted him out. . .he would have been out the first day."
President Obama or Kerry could threaten to cut off aid to Mexico if the soldier is not released, he continued. "I've raised a lot of cane about it," Gohmert said.
As he neared his presentation's end, Gohmert turned to a domestic issue, saying that every federal department's budget annually "automatically goes up by a formula," and the House had twice passed his bill to stop it. He said legislators like him "get beat up" in every Congress for just slowing the growth rate of spending.
"The only problem is we need a Republican senate," said Gohmert, a reference to the fact the GOP holds a majority in the House of Representatives while Democrats have the majority in the other body.
Upshur GOP Chairman Ridgeway afterward praised Gohmert's "conservative values."
At a luncheon in the church annex afterward, Constable Dolle discussed how his grandparents came to the United States as legal immigrants through Ellis Island in order to "better themselves," and that they believed all immigrants should become American citizens.
The constable, whose paternal grandfather was from France and married to a woman from Hungary, said immigration is designed to "help America become a better place," not fundamentally change the nation.
Although his grandfather, a mechanic, had worked on Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt's vehicle, both grandparents became "very staunch Republicans after things started changing in the Democratic Party," Dolle said.