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  • Eight indicted for transnational drug trafficking, money laundering Defendants connected to company located in Onalaska

                                   PCE STAFF The office of Aircraft Guaranty Corporation, located at 2058 FM 356 in Onalaska.

    From Enterprise Staff

    A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas has returned an indictment charging eight individuals with various federal violations related to a complex international drug trafficking conspiracy, announced acting United States Department of Justice Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. This investigation to date has led to indictments of individuals for transnational drug trafficking, money laundering, and financial crimes out of the Eastern District of Texas Federal Court related to a complex international drug trafficking conspiracy.

    Debbie Mercer, 58, and Kayleigh Moffett, 33, both of Oklahoma City; Federico Machado, 53, of Florida; Carlos Villaurrutia, 40, of McAllen, Texas; and four others were named in an indictment charging them with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit export violations, and conspiracy to commit federal registration violations involving aircraft. The indictment details approximately $350 million in alleged criminal activity since 2016. The seven-count superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury earlier this week and unsealed recently.

    According to unsealed court documents, the defendants allegedly purchased and illegally registered aircraft under foreign corporations and other individuals for export to other countries. The indictment specifically alleges that Mercer and Moffett, through their company Aircraft Guaranty Corporation (AGC), registered thousands of aircraft in Onalaska, a Polk County town without an airport.

    According to the indictment, several of the illegally registered and exported aircraft were used by transnational criminal organizations in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to smuggle large quantities of cocaine destined for the United States. The indictment further alleges that illicit proceeds from the subsequent drug sales were then transported as bulk cash from the United States to Mexico and used to buy more aircraft and cocaine. According to the indictment, aircraft purchases were typically completed by wiring funds from casa de cambios and/or banks in Mexico to shell corporations operating in the United States as aircraft sellers/brokers.

    In March 2019, Polk County Constable Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes and South East Texas
    Export Investigation Group (SETEIG) Commander Beau Price received information regarding thousands of aircraft reported to be registered in Onalaska.

    Price discussed this matter with Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, Bureau of Industry Security Special Agents as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a joint investigation was launched and is ongoing at this time.

    “The threat posed by transnational crime cannot be overstated,” said Ganjei. “The use of United States-registered aircraft by these criminal organizations and their networks of associates poses a clear and present danger to the security of our nation. The American public can expect EDTX to be relentless in its fight against the sometimes invisible, but always dangerous, threat of transnational organized crime.”

    This investigation became an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (Dallas, Brownsville and Laredo offices); Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (Dallas and Houston offices); Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG); Internal Revenue Service; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Polk County Constable’s Office Precinct 1; SETEIG; Harris County District Attorney’s Office; and Harris County Constable’s Office Precinct 8. Also assisting in this investigation is Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Byron Lyons and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden David Johnson, Newton County Office Precinct 4 Constaple Howard Wonders.

    “This investigation is a perfect example of local, state, and federal agencies working together in a task force setting. The amount of time, effort, and resources dedicated to this case by participating agencies is monumental,” said Price.

    “Joint task force models that SETEIG is structured after has proven once again how efficient, effective and successful local, state and federal law enforcement can be investigating and prosecuting complex, sophisticated criminal organizations.” said Hughes.

    Hughes went on to express his appreciation to all agencies involved and to point out it is not uncommon for even the most rural locations to be safe havens for large scale criminal
    organizations.

    The indictment describes that foreign governments seized United States-registered aircraft containing multi-ton shipments of cocaine. According to the indictment, the aircraft were held in trust by AGC for the benefit of foreign corporations or individuals. The indictment identifies Machado, through his company South Aviation, and Villaurrutia, who used his companies TEXTON, TWA International, and Ford Electric, as aircraft sellers/brokers operating in the United States.

    The indictment separately charges Mercer, Moffett, and Machado with engaging in a fraud scheme related to the acquisition of aircraft. According to the indictment, Machado recruited investors to invest in aircraft purchase deposits for sales transactions that never took place. Investors allegedly placed their funds in an escrow account held by Wright Brothers Title Company, which was owned and managed by Mercer and Moffett. Machado then allegedly used these funds for purposes other than the purchase of aircraft.

    The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ernest Gonzalez, Colleen Bloss and Robert Wells. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

    “The indictments resulting from this highly complex investigation showcases HSI’s unique and far-reaching authorities, serving as an example of what the global law enforcement community can accomplish when we work together,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Dallas. “We were able to deliver a significant blow to the transnational criminal organizations around the world by exposing a money laundering and drug trafficking scheme perpetuated by sophisticated drug cartels.”

    “As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively investigate the illegal exportation of aircraft contrary to U.S. national security interests,” said Trey McClish, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security – Office of Export Enforcement’s Dallas Field Office. “Alongside our Federal and State partners, OEE will leverage its unique criminal and administrative enforcement powers to detect and disrupt serious criminal schemes that violate U.S. export control law.”

    “The indictment in this case demonstrate that individuals who choose to circumvent Federal regulations pertaining to aircraft registration and ownership will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law,” said Todd Damiani, Special Agent-In-Charge, Southern Region, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG). “The collaborative nature of this investigation is representative of the ongoing investigative work DOT-OIG performs to ensure aviation safety and maintain national security interests in order to prevent the nefarious acts these defendants are being charged with from occurring.”

    If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug conspiracy charges and up to 20 years for the money laundering, export and wire fraud violations. It is important to note that a complaint, arrest, or indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Election time

    groveton elec 4MARLENA STUBBLEFIELD | TCNS Dwayne Alsbrook and Autumn Dial attend the drawing ceremony for ballot placement on Monday at Groveton City Hall. The two have filed for candidacy for the two council positions up for election on Groveton City Council. The election will be held May 1, 2021.

    Trinity County cities and schools to hold elections 

    By Tony Farkas

    As the county creeps out from under a blanket of snow, business resumes, and that includes the business of the respective governments in the area.

    For this year, that means city and school board elections, all scheduled for May 1.

    In Groveton, Superintendent Don Hamilton said that three people have filed for election to the Groveton School Board: incumbent members Benny Abshier and Board President Mark Folds, and newcomer Sam Shanafelt.

    Early voting will be held from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. April 19-23 and April 26-27 at the School Administration Building, 207 N. Main St., in Groveton.

    At the City of Groveton, two incumbents — Acting Mayor Ralph Bennett and Council Member Tommy Walton — have filed for the mayor position, which came open due to the passing of Mayor Byron Richards.

    For the two remaining council positions up for election, six residents have filed: Chris McFarland, Philip Schmitten, Autumn Dial, Dwayne Alsbrook, Mark Taylor and incumbent Council Member Robert Smith.

    Early voting will take place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. April 19-27, with April 20-21 set aside for voting from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Ballots can be cast at Groveton City Hall, 115 W. Front St.

    groveton elec 2MARLENA STUBBLEFIELD | TCNS Council Member Tommy Walton (right) and Acting Mayor Ralph Bennett will face off in a spring election for the position of Mayor of Groveton. Early voting for the May 1 election is scheduled for April 19 at City Hall.

    In the City of Trinity, both the city and school district will not have to hold elections, as only incumbent members of their respective boards have filed for candidacy.

    For the city, Mayor Pro Tem Billy Goodin and Council Member Phillip Morrison are unopposed, and will resume their positions for the next term.

    For the Trinity ISD School Board, incumbent members Judy Bishop and Elizabeth King also are unchallenged and will retain their posts.

    School districts in Apple Springs and Centerville do not have elections scheduled.

  • Ellis back on board

    20201116 180424BRIAN BESCH I PCE Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins swears in Bea Ellis during the November meeting of the LISD Board of Trustees.

    By Brian Besch

    LIVINGSTON - The Livingston ISD school board reshuffled some of its positions after accepting a “new” member Monday at Creekside Elementary.

    The November LISD Board meeting opened with the swearing-in of Bea Ellis. Ellis spent 26 years on the board, also serving as its president, and returns after just two years away.

    After, Ben Ogletree was named president for two more years, Scott Paske will serve as vice-president and Krissa Bass will be the board secretary.

    Livingston ISD Chief Financial Officer Ben Davidson presented the annual Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) report during the public hearing portion of the meeting. 

    The state's school financial accountability rating system ensures that Texas public schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and that they improve those practices.

    The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. The FIRST report consists of 15 different indicators. The district scored the maximum allowed points of 100.  

    Board president Ben Ogletree noted during the review of the principal reports that the district is holding an attendance rate in the mid-90 percentile, which he attributed to the janitorial staff and the diligence of the teaching staff with efforts in fogging, cleaning, and handwashing.

    An action item approved by the board was the reconsideration of the board student outcome goals.

  • Entrants sought for event

    IMG 5144001FILE PHOTO

    Special to the News-Standard

    TRINITY — The city of Trinity is seeking entries for its Beat the Heat BBQ Cook-Off to be held in conjunction with the annual July 4 celebration.

    The cook-off will be held at The City of Trinity Community Center, 604 S. Robb St., on July 3, a Saturday.

    The IBCA-sponsored event boasts a $20,000 guaranteed cash payout for a $250 entry fee. The deadline for entries and payments is July 2.

    Cash payouts will be given for first through 10th places in all three IBCA meat categories — chicken, pork spareribs and brisket.

    There also are additional jackpots:

    •Friday Night: Chef’s choice and margaritas (two events), $25 entry per event, 100 percent payout.

    •Saturday: Beans and Bloody Marys (two events), $25 entry per event, 100 percent payout.

    Payouts will be given for first through third places, and will be determined by number of entries.

    Junior Pitmasters of America is sponsoring a youth beef steak cookoff as well. Entrants must be between the ages of 7-17, must be able to trim, season, cook and present steaks unassisted, and must supply a prep table, seasonings and cooking utensils, and food gloves.

    Entry fee is $25, and there will be payout for first through third places.

    A fireworks show will be held at dusk on Saturday, July 3.

    For information or online registration, go to www.cityoftrinity.com, or by calling Steven Jones at (936) 662-2319 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Entry forms are available to submit by mail or fax as well.

    Cook-Off Schedule

    Friday, July 2

    3-6 p.m. Tray pickup

    6 p.m. Head cooks meeting

    7 p.m. Chef’s Choice turn-in

    8 p.m. Margarita turn-in

    Saturday, July 3

    10 a.m. Bloody Mary turn-in

    11 a.m. Bean turn-in

    Noon Chicken turn-in — two (2) separate 1/2 fully jointed chicken halves (to include breast, wing, thigh and drumstick.)

    1:30 p.m. Pork spareribs (9 individual pieces)

    2:30 p.m. Kid's Que meat pick up

    3 p.m. Brisket (9 slices)

    3:30 p.m. Kid's Que turn-in

    Awards for both Kid's Que and IBCA BBQ time to be determined.

  • ESD2 members elect new, continuing leaders

    IMG 7735ALTON PORTER | HCC Above, members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2, which supports and provides assistance to fire departments throughout the county, attended a monthly meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25, at which they elected officers to lead the district and its board of commissioners and at which they addressed other matters.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) have elected new and continuing leaders for the district’s board of commissioners following the reappointment and appointment last month of two ESD2 commissioners by members of the county’s commissioners court.

    The ESD2 members elected the board’s officers at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 25.

    Promoted to the position of ESD2 president is William Money, who had been serving as an ESD2 commissioner and who replaces former president George Crowson Jr., who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board by the commissioners court members last month.

    Elected to serve as ESD2 vice president is Steve Hawkins, who was appointed by the members of the commissioners court last month to replace Crowson as a commissioner on the ESD2 board. Hawkins was welcomed aboard ESD2 by the district’s members who were present. As vice president, he replaces former VP Bobby Hutcherson, who was reappointed by the members of the county commissioners court last month to continue serving on the ESD2 board but who stepped down from the VP position at the Feb. 25 meeting.

    Peggy Patrick, who had been serving as secretary-treasurer was reelected as treasurer only upon her request, and board member Roy Langford was elected to replace her as secretary.

    During public comments, Crowson, the ESD2 previous president, addressed the emergency services district members who were present.

    “In my recollection, as far as I can recall, this is my 224 meeting with the ESD of a 14-year period,” Crowson said. “To the fire departments, I want to tell you it’s been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to serve on your behalf. What you guys do—not only what you do, but the passion with which you do it—it leaves me in awe. It truly, truly does.”

    Crowson noted that county Precinct 3 Commissioner Gene Stokes, of the commissioners court, was present at the meeting and that “out of those 224 meetings which we spoke of, this is only the second time that we’ve had a commissioner at one of our meetings in 14 years. And I think I can speak for the whole organization and say, ‘Thank you for being here’.”

    Stokes responded to Crowson saying, “We appreciate your service.”

    The former ESD2 president continued, “I’m assuming I’m not on the board. No one has shown me the courtesy to tell me that I was not, but I kind of picked it up on the airwaves there.

    “To the board, what I want to remind you of, and I hope you will think about this in every decision you make, is you are an independent political subdivision of the state of Texas. You cannot be beholden or subservient to any individual, any special interest group, any group of people of any kind, including the commissioners court. If you are, all taxing democracies will fail.”

    Crowson added, “The only people you are beholden to are the people that pay this ESD tax. It has served me well. If you will remind yourself of that in every decision that you make, I think you will continue to be successful.

    “This ESD is tremendously successful, at least in my opinion—not because of me, but because of the involvement of people and the (county’s fire) departments themselves. I know it is financially in good shape. And I know that through Mr. Stokes and all you other board members, it will continue to do that.

    IMG 7725ALTON PORTER | HCC Former President George Crowson Jr., of the Houston County Emergency Services District No. 2 (ESD2) Board of Commissioners, who was not reappointed to the ESD2 board earlier last month, addressed ESD2 members as he departed from the entity during a meeting in Crockett Thursday, Feb. 25.

    “It has been an honor and a privilege; I served at the pleasure of the commissioners court and it was no longer their pleasure. That’s perfectly fine; it is their option to do whichever they want to do.

    “I’ve enjoyed almost every moment of it. It’s been some moments that haven’t been so enjoyable, but that comes with the territory. But anyway, thank each of you for what you do.”

    After Crowson left the meeting, Money, the new ESD2 president, said, “He’s not here, but in my opinion from being on the other side of the table—he was on this side of the table—George has guided this board efficiently and diligently through a lot of stuff over the years, from helping get it started to getting it where it’s at.

    “And in my opinion, our directive change is none. We’re here to serve two priorities: the firefighters (of Houston County) and the taxpayers. And that is it. I may be the next one that goes after George, but that is how I look at it. … I will do my best to continue the direction of this board and keep it solid.”

    Among items requiring action, the ESD2 members voted to receive a $100 bid from Brijesh Patel, a member of the Kennard Independent School District Board of Trustees, to buy and remove, within 30 days, a building on the site on which they’re planning to have a fire station built in Ratcliff.

    The board members also had advertised via the Courier for bids for the laying of a six-inch-thick concrete slab for $16,000 for the planned fire station building, but none had been received. So, the ESD2 members decided to seek out a construction company to perform this project.

    In other business, they tabled action regarding a contract between ESD2 and the city of Crockett. “The city of Crockett wanted to redo their contract with the ESD…,” Patrick said.

    Money explained, “When we formed ESD2, Crockett opted out of the vote. Kennard voted to not be in the ESD because they didn’t want (to pay) the extra tax. So, we’ve got Crockett and Kennard that are not members of the ESD….

    “Crockett has basically the biggest fire department in the county—covers the most area, covers everybody else’s back. We call it the gray area. So, we contract with Crockett. We pay them $70,000 a year to cover that area. We provide some trucks for Crockett and provide them service and help.

    “So, Crockett covers the gray area and that works to try to keep the ISO, which is the insurance rate, in those areas down. So, we contract with Crockett to cover that area. Crockett FD’s budget is $500,000-plus a year and we add them an additional $70,000 plus trucks or whatever we can afford to help them with to cover that area. We upped the rate and renegotiated with them. And so, we’re getting a new contract set up with them.”

    Chief Jason Frizzell, of the Crockett Fire Department, said he had emailed the city’s attorney, who is reviewing and possibly making adjustments to the contract, and he was waiting to hear back from the lawyer.

  • Family of missing man hoping for clues

    Missing Man Thomas ThorntonCOURTESY PHOTO Thomas Thornton

    By Chris Edwards

    TYLER COUNTY – Family members of a missing Town Bluff man have spread the word through social media, and given descriptions, along with photographs, of the 72-year-old Thomas Thornton. Thornton has been missing for a little more than a month now.

    According to his family, Thornton is good-natured, likes to chat with people and has a distinctive, loud laugh. Like many men of his generation who saw combat in Vietnam, however, Thornton has a history of PTSD and a few other health issues that worry his concerned family members, since he did not take any of his medications with him.

    Thornton went missing on March 24, when he was last seen leaving his Town Bluff home around 6 p.m. to head to Jasper, where he used his debit card at Brookshire Bros. According to the timeline of Thornton’s last known whereabouts, which were gleaned from security cameras and cell phone pings, he was last on the grid on March 26, when his cell signal was pinged in Shelby County, but lost after that. It is surmised that his cell phone lost its charge, and that is when his family and the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department attempted to get a Silver Alert issued for him, which was activated two days later.

    The Silver Alert has since been discontinued, but Thornton’s family members are still asking the public to be on the lookout for the missing man. His niece Dana Lee Summerlin Hutto asked the public to check their hunting clubs and fish camps. “We are really hoping for some clues to lead us to him,” Hutto said.

    Hutto said her uncle, who has lived in Tyler County for more than 20 years, enjoys fishing and walking in the woods, and of primary concern, medically, is the fact that he is in the early stages of dementia, which has caused his family to fear for his wellbeing since he initially went missing.

    His sister, Norma Armstrong, said that her brother is dependent on his medications, and there is no evidence that he has had any of his meds since he took off. She also said that “Tommy,” as his family knows him, typically wears a baseball cap with a “Vietnam Veteran” patch on it, and usually sports T-shirts and carpenter-style blue jeans.

    He stands 5’7” tall and weighs 255 lbs. Thornton drives a dark grey 2017 Ford Edge with the Texas license plate number NJJ-8580. He also has blue eyes and a visible scar on his right arm.

    Hutto said the family is prepared for the worst but needs closure. Although there have been no updates in more than a month, she said that the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office has been nothing but caring and compassionate to the family during their ordeal. She praised the efforts of Sgt. Don Calhoon, deputy Travis Rice and Tracy Bump for working the case. Anyone with information regarding Thornton’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office at 409-283-2172

    Hutto celebrated her birthday last week, and although she said she never asks for anything for her birthday, she wants to ask the public a “big favor,” and for people to be on the lookout for her uncle. She also said that if individuals work in, or visit, hospitals, nursing homes or homeless shelters, to be on the lookout for him and to spread the word.

  • Fatal Trinity County crash claims Groveton woman

    police lightsFILE PHOTO Police lights

    By Chris Edwards

    TRINITY COUNTY – A Groveton woman is dead following a multiple-vehicle crash that occurred near Groveton on the evening of Wednesday, March 31.

    According to Sgt. David Hendry with the Texas Department of Public Safety, DPS troopers responded to a three-vehicle crash, which involved one of their own, about six miles west of the Groveton city limits on SH 94.

    According to the preliminary investigation, a Mack truck towing a pole trailer was eastbound and a DPS Chevrolet patrol vehicle was westbound at approximately 6:45 p.m. The trooper in the patrol vehicle, Brady Germeroth, of Crockett, identified a movingviolation on another eastbound vehicle and made a U-turn.

    As Germeroth was attempting to re-enter the eastbound lane of the highway, the driver of the Mack truck drove over into the westbound land and struck a Jeep Wrangler head-on. Both the truck and its accompanying trailer crossed back over into the eastbound lane, striking the back right side of the DPS vehicle, and continued off the roadway where it overturned onto its passenger side and caught fire.

    The driver of the Mack truck, 35-year-old Chad Deford, of Livingston, was not injured in the crash, neither was Germeroth. The driver of the Jeep, 53-year-old Melanie Painter, of Groveton, was transported to Crockett Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased a short time later, according to Hendry. The crash remains under investigation.

  • FBI requested for officer investigation

    FBI Seal on Red BackgroundFBI Seal on Red Background | Courtesy of https://www.fbi.gov/

    PCE Staff

    Via social media, the Polk County District Attorney announced his office has requested an FBI investigation for the possibility of federal charges against a former employee at the Polk County Jail.

    District Attorney Lee Hon messaged through Facebook that a complaint was received Feb. 23 by Polk County Sheriff’s administration regarding improper use of force by Polk County Jail Captain William Jerry on an inmate at the jail.

    Texas Rangers investigated that incident and the inmate was reportedly transported to another jail. Investigations have uncovered additional alleged incidents involving Jerry.

    According to Hon’s post, “The matter was promptly reported to this (district attorney) office and the Texas Rangers for an independent criminal investigation. In the initial investigation conducted by Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen, information was received alleging Jerry’s involvement in other instances of the improper use of force against inmates. Due to these additional allegations and the expanding nature of the investigation, on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, this office requested that the FBI assist in the investigation for consideration of any potential federal charges.”

    Hon also encouraged those with relevant knowledge of the circumstances in the investigation or other allegations of improper force against inmates at the Polk County Jail to contact Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen at 936-327-6836 or the Polk County District Attorney’s Office at 936-327-6868.

  • Festival of the Arts kicks-off Dogwood

    1 Dulcimer 01JIM POWERS | PCPC FILE PHOTO Musicians as well as artisans will have their talents on display at the festival of the arts at Heritage Village on Saturday March, 20.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – A surefire sign that things are eking back into the way they should be in Tyler County is that the Dogwood Festival is upon us, as in starting this weekend.

    The festival will kick off with the Festival of the Arts on Saturday at Heritage Village, and it offers a prime opportunity for residents and visitors, alike, to celebrate the heritage and culture of the county, which will turn 175 years young on April 2, the day before the events of Queen’s Weekend, the final weekend of Dogwood.

    The Festival of the Arts was one of the first victims of the slew of COVID-19 cancellations last year, as the entire Dogwood Festival had to be rescheduled and relegated to a single Saturday in June. This year, however, it is business as usual, with the pandemic on a downhill slide and the growing availability of the vaccines.

    Tyler County Heritage Society President Sarah Reinemeyer said the Village, along with its staff, volunteers and the TCHS Board of Directors wishes to welcome the public back after last year’s absence. The festival is “a fine time to learn, have fun, and make memories,” Reinemeyer said. “We eagerly await your return and hail your good health.”

    The gates will open at the Village at 9 a.m., and the festivities last until 3 p.m. Admission is $5, and visitors can tour the Village, take in some live music from the Village Stage and enjoy a special Dogwood Festival exhibit, which is on display in the special exhibits room next to the gift shop.

    Along with all of the aforementioned features, there will be a quilt show. Reinemeyer said the Sassy Scrappers group have decorated the entire Village with lots of beautiful homemade quilts. “Each is an art work on its own,” she said. “Many with the family memory to make it more precious.”

    Although the traditional dinner-on-the-grounds that has long been a part of the Festival of the Arts has been cancelled this year, visitors will still be able to get some of the legendary food that the Pickett House puts out, including the restaurant’s famous fried chicken and chicken and dumplings.

    On Sunday, the Village Street Bed and Breakfast, located at 201 North Village Street in Woodville, will host its Royal Tea, to which all of the little princesses are cordially invited.

    The event lasts from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and offers the opportunity for young girls to meet the Royal Court and take photos with the princesses and the ladies-in-waiting and to make their own sash.

    Each of the girls who attends will also receive a crown of their own. Tickets are available at the door for $20.

    Mr. East Texas named

    In addition to the inaugural weekend for the Dogwood Festival, the customary honor of Mr. East Texas has been named. This year, Ben G. Raimer, MD, was awarded that title, as the festival’s executive director Buck Hudson announced on Monday.

    Raimer, a Warren High School grad (class of 1965) currently serves as the president ad interim of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He has held many appointments, honors and has earned many advanced degrees.

    Raimer is a member of the Texas Pediatric Society Executive Board and President-Elect of TPS. He serves as chair of the Texas Health Institute Board of Directors and the East Texas Baptist University Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and serves as a commissioner on the BGCT Christian Life Commission.

    Raimer served as chair of the Health and Human Services Commission Council for a term, appointed by then-Governor Rick Perry.

  • FFA hands out honors

    006CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO The 2020-21 Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter Banquet was held on Thursday, May 13.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter celebrated a year filled with firsts, lasts, and hope for the future.

    At the FFA banquet on Thursday, 2020-21 Coldspring FFA President Brelynn Ellisor opened the emotional evening.

    "We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this a successful year," Ellisor said. "The hard work and dedication of each member has played a role in making all of these accomplishments possible."

    The invocation was led by FFA member Cinco Bailes, followed by a meal prepared and served by Mary Gray Catering with assistance from the FFA Booster Club.

    Previous Next Play Pause
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

    The 2020-21 FFA officers — Ellisor, Vice President Camilla Fussell, Secretary Kimberly Blackmann, Treasurer Kylie Curri, and Reporter Kaylen McAdams, with Advisor Ashlie Taylor — presented the year's awards and scholarship winners.

    The evening wound down with a touching end-of-year slideshow and the ceremony for retiring seniors, who hung up their FFA jackets as a symbol of the end of their high school FFA years.

    Before closing the meeting, the names of the 2021-2022 Coldspring FFA Officers were announced: President Kimberly Blackmann, Vice President Brelynn Ellisor, Secretary Cinco Bailes, Treasurer Hayden Richardson, Sentinel Mayci Whitten, Reporter Camilla Fussell and Student Advisor Kaylen McAdams.

  • FFA honors participants

    american ffa degreeCOURTESY PHOTO American FFA Degree recipients are Jace Stout and Mallory Stout.

    Special to the News-Standard

    TRINITY — Trinity FFA held its end of the year banquet May 20 at the Trinity Community Center.

    Ag teacher Tristan Pedersen said that with the challenges that this year brought, the members stepped up and did not let it slow them down, going above and beyond to make this one of the greatest years yet.

    The 2021-2022 Trinity FFA officers installed at the banquet are President Haden Coleman, Vice President Zoe Hawkey, Secretary Allie Ancira, Treasurer Kayla Kembro, Reporter Graci Robb and Sentinel Alivia Wallace.

    Awards

    Chip Hart Top Hand Award — Haden Coleman

    Honorary FFA Members — Brittaney Cassidy and Shaun Stout

    Outstanding Service Award — Mike Burk

    Star Greenhand — Kayla Kembro

    Star Chapter — Allie Ancira

    Star Lonestar — Haden Coleman

    Top Junior FFA Member — Preston Riddle

    Beef Proficiency — Haden Coleman

    Goat Proficiency — Eryn Eaton

    Sheep Proficiency — Kaitlynn Medcalf

    Swine Proficiency — Zoey Gray

    Small Animal Management Proficiency — Peyton Robb

    Junior FFA Members — Samantha Dilda, Preston Riddle, Trace Coleman

    Greenhand Degree Recipients — Christanea Cunningham, Emalee Ellis, Zoe Hawkey, Alyssa Juniel, Kayla Kembro, Graci Robb, Samantha Short, Gunner Smith

    Chapter Degree Recipients — Brooke Allen, Allie Ancira, Robbie McDonald

    American FFA Degree Recipients — Jace Stout, Mallory Stout

    Top Seller — Kayla Kembro

    Top 5 FFA Members — Eryn Eaton, Haden Coleman, Peyton Robb, Zoey Grey, Shelby Walters

    2021 Trinity FFA CDE Teams

    Horse Evaluation — Haden Coleman, Peyton Robb, Graci Robb

    Livestock Judging — Haden Coleman, Alivia Wallace, Kayla Kembro, Eryn Eaton

    Veterinary Science — Haden Coleman, Zoey Grey, Zoe Hawkey, Allie Ancira

    Senior Members — Peyton Robb, Eryn Eaton, Kyndal Corbin

    2021 Student Teacher Recognition — Ms. Heather Stenson from SHSU

    american ffa degree
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    chip hart top hand
    goat proficiency
    honorary members
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    livestock exhibitor
    outstanding service
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    star chapter award
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    star lonestar award
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  • Fiddling champ to appear at Camp Street

    Ridge Fiddler 052021COURTESY PHOTO Ridge Roberts

    By Chris Edwards

    CROCKETT – With the availability of live music returning to the hungry ears of the public as the threat of COVID wanes, Camp Street Café has a couple of shows lined up for the remainder of May, and this weekend the venue will host a world-class fiddler.

    Ridge Roberts, a 17-year-old North Texas native who won the World Champion Fiddler title in 2018 in Crockett, will play his album release show at Camp Street on Saturday. The show begins at 8 p.m. The album he is promoting is titled Lone Star Fiddler and was recorded last year in Nashville.

    According to Roberts’s bio on his official website, the album “pays homage to his deep Texas roots….and gives a big tip of the hat to the musical pioneers and legends of the past.” Roberts has been fiddling since he was seven years old, when his father, John, taught him the basics.

    Along the way, he soaked up and researched fiddle tunes and the styles of the old masters of Texas fiddling.

    Roberts will be joined on Saturday’s show by two special guests, Matthew Mefford and Joey McKenzie. McKenzie, a guitarist, appears on the album, and helped mentor the young fiddler.

    McKenzie spoke about Roberts’ musical growth as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, to add to his virtuoso fiddle work. “With all he’s been up to, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 17 and is just getting started in his musical life,” McKenzie said. “Ridge is also becoming a fine guitar player, singer and songwriter.”

    The instrumental album features many old-time Texas fiddle standards, like “Sally Goodin” and was produced by McKenzie.

    Although he is, as McKenzie stated, “getting started” on a new phase of his musical development with having an album available, Roberts is no stranger to playing live. He has been performing for audiences since he was nine-years-old, when civic organizations in Granbury asked him to play at their meetings. In 2013, when he was 10, he won his first contest, and has won many since then, including the National Twin Fiddle Championship and Junior World Champion. He has also filled the fiddle role in the band the Western Flyers, a Western swing/traditional country band.

    According to his bio, the young Granbury-based musician continues to hone his musical gifts and plans to

    continue his musical career after graduating high school.

    In an interview for a feature story published last year, Roberts said he does not think of himself as a “big thing,” but attributes his talents as “a huge blessing from God, for sure.”

  • Fisher declared re-elected as mayor

    2 Mayor Fisher 031621ALTON PORTER | HCC Crockett’s re-elected mayor Dr. Ianthia Fisher presides over Monday’s council meeting.

    By Alton Porter

    CROCKETT – Dr. Ianthia Fisher has been declared re-elected as Crockett’s mayor in a city council resolution. She was unopposed in her bid to continue serving as the city’s elected leader, a position to which she was initially elected in 2019.

    Fisher is one of two candidates who originally filed to run for mayor in the city’s Saturday, May 1, election. However, the other candidate, James Jellum, withdrew from the race before ballots were printed, according to City Secretary Mitzi Thompson. Therefore, members of the city council voted to approve a document of certification of Fisher as an unopposed candidate for mayor, an at-large position, at a meeting on Monday, March 15.

    After approving the city certification of unopposed candidate for mayor, the councilmembers, in a related action, voted to approve a resolution authorizing cancelling the election of mayor in the scheduled May 1 election.

    The resolution also states that only one eligible candidate, Fisher, had filed to run for mayor and had not withdrawn by the Feb. 12 deadline “and hereby declares the unopposed candidate (Fisher) elected to office and shall be issued Certificate of Election following the time the election will be canvassed.”

    In another election-related matter, the councilmembers voted to approve a resolution, appointing election officials for the regular general election, setting the rate of pay for the election officials and the maximum number of election clerks for the polling places, and designating the early voting ballot board.

    Also, in preparation for the municipal election, the councilmembers approved designation of two deputy early voting clerks, who are “authorized to perform any duties which are assigned by me in the performance of conducting early voting,” wrote Thompson, who also is the early voting clerk, in the designation document.

    Council seats up for election in the May 1 election are those for City Precincts 1 and 2. Candidates for the Precinct 1 position are incumbent Butch Calvert, Gene Caldwell and Samantha Wiley. Precinct 2 seat candidates are incumbent Darrell Jones, Charles Clawson and Vicki Cox.

    On election day, polls for the councilmember elections will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Election day polling places are: Precinct 1, All Saints Episcopal Church Annex, 1301 E. Houston Ave.; and Precinct 2, Crockett Fire Station, 201 N. 6th St.

    Early voting by in-person appearance will be conducted at Crockett City Hall, 200 N. 5th St., April 19-23, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and April 26-27, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

    Applications for ballots by mail should be mailed to Mitzi Thompson, City Secretary, 200 N. 5th St., Crockett, Texas, 75835, and must be received in the secretary’s office no later than by the close of business Tuesday, April 20.

    In other business, the councilmembers voted to approve an ordinance, temporarily reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph for motor vehicles being driven in either direction on State Loop 304 between State Highway 19 and SH 7, while much of that section of the loop is under construction.

    The councilmembers also discussed city facility operations and current COVID-19 measures. “Basically, what the city is doing is there are certain facilities that we do have control over,” said Fisher.

    “And as far as the city facilities, they’re going to remain pretty much stable, recognizing the CDC guidelines that they already have,” she added.

    There’s no limit on the size of gatherings “unless we run into a problem and they (users of city facilities) can’t ensure their safety,” Fisher said. “If it presents a problem where people were saying it was so congested, then we will have to readdress it and set a cap on it.

    “But right now, everyone that has basically used the facility—even for concerts—have been so mindful of being able to respect the safety of others. So, we haven’t had that problem; we don’t anticipate having that problem. But in case we do, we will be able to readdress it and be willing to put a cap (on gatherings at the facilities) if it has to be.”

    The mayor added, “But we are asking that you (users of the facilities) maintain the safety guidelines. Whatever your percentage should be, it should be in accordance with what you can do—staying within the guidelines.

    “And then the other part of it (the mayor and councilmembers approach) is that we did ask the city (staffers) to take into consideration the CDC guidelines. And even though the (former) mask mandate isn’t in effect anymore it is important that we still continue to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. And that’s a simple way with the basic guidelines: washing our hands, wearing masks, social distancing and those kinds of things.”

    Summer Fun Day planned

    During Police Chief Clayton Smith’s regular report, he said the police department is planning a Summer Fun Day event to be held Saturday, June 5, if allowed by COVID protocols and depending on what is going on at that time. “We haven’t been able to have a community event in a while because of Covid and everything going on,” said Smith.

    He noted, June 5 is during “the first weekend that the kids are out of school,” and added, plans are to have the event in Davy Crockett Memorial Park with waterslides, possibly around the splash pad, and event planners are “just trying to get all the kids out to have fun.”

  • Forestry company conducts lengthy controlled burn

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE A controlled burn took place southwest of the Livingston city limits Thursday. The burn lasted from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Clouds of smoke could be seen for miles Thursday afternoon.

    And no fire departments were called to the scene.

    That’s because it was a controlled burn.

    The controlled burn took place southwest of Livingston in the vicinity of Farm-to-Market Roads 350 and 3126.

    The project was conducted by Lone Star Forestry LLC out of Huntsville.

    “We had zero issues,” Joe Pfluger of Lone Star Forestry said. “We burned 320 acres and did another 360 acres in San Jacinto County on Friday."

    The prescribed burn began at 9 a.m. Thursday and was completely put out by 6:30 p.m.

    Lone Star Forestry services Grimes, Polk, San Jacinto and Walker counties, to name a few. Pfluger also said that the prescribed burns revolve around one thing.“It’s all about the weather,” he said. “Weather is our boss. We’re looking for the right weather conditions such as wind, wind speed, temperature, humidity, the fuel on the ground, homes, people, airports, funeral homes, anything you could think of that cause issues with smoke. We wouldn’t want to be blowing into the city limits or the homes around us. We get a bunch of blocks set up and we wait for the right conditions to do the burn.”

    Lone Star Forestry recently received some grant money from the US Forest Service to help fund controlled burns. Pfluger believes controlled burns are necessary.

    “This is something that people should want more of,” he said. “The biggest part of the prescribed burn is to prevent wildfires. Fire is something of nature and has been for thousands of years. It’s by all means a good thing.”

    The irony behind prescribed burns is that they can reduce wild fires.

    “Prescribed burns reduce the fuel that’s out there,” Pfluger said. “Every year, pine straw and leaves fall and they accumulate. They’re tender blocks waiting to be lit. If we can keep a burn schedule of 2-3 years, we can eliminate the fuel. You’re also protecting the timber investment. It also enhances wildlife habitat and we want to get the woods back to their native state. You want to drive through the woods and see a grassy meadow underneath the trees. If it’s a controlled burn, it’s a good thing.”

  • Former NFL player, Crockett native drowns at Rayburn

    Pete Lammons trading card as a New York JetCOURTESY PHOTO Pete Lammons trading card as a New York Jet

    By Chris Edwards

    A man who drowned in Lake Sam Rayburn on Thursday was identified on Friday by authorities as that of Peter Spencer “Pete” Lammons, Jr., a 77-year-old Houston man who was once an NFL athlete.

    Lammons, who was reportedly an avid outdoorsman, was fishing in the Major League Fishing’s Toyota Tournament when the incident occurred on Thursday. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, the drowning occurred near San Augustine Park, which is located on the east side of the lake, seven miles southwest of Pineland. The drowning in the second that has occurred in the region during this week. On Sunday, 18-year-old Richard Tyler Johnston, of Hemphill, drowned in Dam B.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens recovered his body by using sonar, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to a press release from Major League Fishing. The accident occurred when Lammons fell overboard at the dock while preparing to fish in the tournament, according to MLF.

    Lammons was a native of Crockett and played football for Jacksonville High School in the late 1950s and early ‘60s before he matriculated to the University of Texas in Austin and played as a Longhorn. He was drafted as an eighth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 1966 AFL draft, according to ESPN, where he played as a tight-end through 1971. He finished his career as one of the Green Bay Packers in 1972.

    Pete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UTPete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UT

    Lammons was a starting defensive player on the Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team, and he was also a part of the UT 1963 national championship team under legendary coach Darrell Royal.

    Lammons also played for another legendary coach, Bum Phillips, as a high school freshman. Phillips was then head coach at Jacksonville High School. Years later, the two men met again on the sidelines of the 1967 AFL All-Star Game.

    According to Lammons’s nephew Lance, his uncle had been fatigued from two recent stent surgeries and tripped as he was about to board the boat, fell into the lake and could not be saved.

    After his football career, Lammons was involved in real estate and horse racing. He was also a professional angler, and had competed in more than 50 of the MLF tournaments.

    On a story about Lammons’s death on the New York Jets’ official website, his nephew is quoted as saying that “Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas.”

    Lammons also has a scholarship named in his honor for Jacksonville HS graduates.

  • Former PCSO Deputy arrested

    AUSTIN TYLER MCCRACKENMUGSHOT Austin Tyler McCracken

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    A former Polk County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detective is in trouble with the law.

    Austin Tyler McCracken, 27, was arrested on Monday after a warrant for his arrest was issued. The charge was misuse of official information.

    On April 12, PCSO received a complaint in reference to possible improper conduct involving former Detective McCracken following a traffic stop. The complaint stated McCracken had sent unsolicited private social media messages to the female subject shortly after the traffic stop.

    Feeling uncomfortable regarding the nature of the communications, the female subject reported the matter to law enforcement and an internal investigation was started by the PCSO. McCracken was suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

    On April 14, McCracken was terminated from employment by Chief Deputy Rickie Childers. McCracken immediately appealed the termination to Sheriff Byron Lyons.

    Prior to his appeal hearing with the sheriff, however, McCracken resigned from the Sheriff’s Office while under investigation. The criminal aspect of the investigation was reported to the Texas Rangers for an independent investigation.

    On Monday, McCracken was arrested and charged with misuse of official information, which is a third-degree felony. McCracken was booked into the Polk County Jail and given a $5,000 bond by Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino.

    Anyone having information regarding any other instances of possible improper conduct on the part of McCracken is encouraged to contact Texas Ranger Sgt. Ryan Clendenen at (936) 327-6836. Sheriff Lyons expressed that he expects his deputies to always adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and law enforcement ethics in their dealings with citizens.

  • Former Police Lieutenant indicted by Polk County grand jury

    400 moore070220MUGSHOT Gabriel Phillip Moore

    By PCN Staff

    A former Onalaska Police Lieutenant who was arrested in July of 2020 has been indicted by a Polk County grand jury.

    Gabriel Phillip Moore, 44, was indicted on the Class A misdemeanor offense of official oppression, which is punishable up to a year in the county jail and $4,000 fine.

    Moore was arrested by the Texas Rangers in July after they began an investigation in May of 2020. He was later released after posting a $2,000 bond. The Magnolia resident worked at various police agencies in Polk, Montgomery, Chambers, and Harris County since 2002.

    The victim spoke to the Enterprise in an exclusive interview, saying he sought assistance from
    the chain of command. When he believed no action was taken, he contacted the Texas Rangers.

    A few weeks after the arrest, Moore was fired from his position in a city council meeting and Onalaska Police Chief John Maddox was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. Maddox later resigned in August, submitting a letter to City of Onalaska officials.

    Reportedly, Moore inappropriately touched an officer on several occasions. The officer was under Moore’s supervision and new to the department.

    The lieutenant began to purchase items such as a ballistic vest, a polo shirt for work, handcuffs and clothes for the new officer, which the victim said could all be construed as helping a new employee with items needed for the job.

    After multiple attempts to put a halt to the advances and seek assistance within the chain of command, the victim decided to file a complaint with the Texas Rangers.

    The indictment handed down last week and filed in the 411th District Court of Polk County alleges that Moore, “while a public servant and acting under the color of his office or employment as a peace officer for the City of Onalaska, Texas intentionally subjected [the victim] to sexual harassment, to-wit: the defendant did then and there subject [the victim] to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which was made a term or condition of [the victim’s] exercise of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either expressly or implicitly.”

    The case, which is being prosecuted by Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon, will be scheduled for arraignment before 411th District Judge John Wells in the coming weeks.

  • Former SHSU player relishes alma mater’s national title

    IMG 0881EMILY BANKS WOOTEN | PCE Nancy and Joe Hollis, proud alumni of Sam Houston State University, show off an SH metal sign, a gift from a granddaughter, that hangs on one of the covered porches of their log home.

    By Emily Banks Wooten

    When the Sam Houston State University football team clinched the NCAA FCS National Championship with its 23-21 victory over South Dakota State University May 16 in Frisco, fond memories came flooding back for local residents Joe and Nancy Hollis.

    Joe played football for SHSU when the Bearkats squared off against Middle Tennessee State University in the Dec. 1, 1956 Jaycee Refrigerator Bowl in Evansville, Ind. in which the Bearkats won 27-13. In those days, the Refrigerator Bowl was the equivalent of the National Championship, Joe said.

    “After that, we played in the Christmas Bowl in Natchitoches, La. in 1958 but we lost,” he said.

    “Joe’s 1956 team and this year’s team were the only football teams at Sam Houston that were undefeated,” Nancy said. “Other teams won championships but those two were the only undefeated teams.”

    “The ’56 group was a very unique group,” Joe said. “We were a close group of guys and after graduation we kept in touch and also kept in touch with the coaches even though there were some we didn’t think we liked at the time they were coaching us, but they were our friends after we graduated. It was a very enjoyable experience.”

    “It was more like a family, not a football team,” Nancy said.

    “Back then, you played both ways. You played offense and defense,” Joe said. “If you started a quarter you could come out one time and go back in, but if you came out after the quarter began, you could not go back in during that quarter.

    IMG 0878EMILY BANKS WOOTEN | PCE This treasured keepsake belonging to Joe and Nancy Hollis is the football program from the Dec. 1, 1956 Jaycee Refrigerator Bowl in which Sam Houston State University played Middle Tennessee State University in the Reitz Bowl in Evansville, Ind. Joe, a sophomore at the time, played guard for SHSU in this game in which the Bearkats won 27-13.

    “So consequently, you had to have two complete teams. The best team would play the first half, then the second unit would go in,” he said. “At that time we were fortunate enough that our starting unit was big, but maybe a little bit slower, then they’d send in the second unit. Consequently, the second unit scored more than the first unit that year.”

    Joe and Nancy met at SHSU and married in 1958.

    “The first year we were married we lived in the gym in a one-room efficiency apartment with a tiny little refrigerator and a couch that made out into a bed. They furnished light bulbs and toilet paper and gave you $28 a month,” Nancy said, as they both laughed at the thought.

    She began teaching at Aldine and left Huntsville every morning at 5 a.m. with her five-person carpool crew. Nancy said the reason she took the Aldine job was because it paid $3,604 a year and Huntsville and other schools around there only paid $3,204 a year.

    “I graduated in three years but it took him five,” Nancy said, in some good-natured ribbing. “But I learned so much more,” Joe said, giving it right back.

    A 1954 graduate of Groveton High School, Joe played football at SHSU for five years, having red-shirted his first year.

    “He already had half a master’s degree when he graduated with his bachelor’s in ‘59,” Nancy said. Having played fullback in high school, Joe said in the middle of his first year at Sam they decided he needed to be a guard, hence the fifth-year eligibility.

    Holding a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education with a minor in P.E., Joe taught horticulture for a number of years at both LaPorte High School and J. Frank Dobie High School. He coached football for 15 years, starting at Pasadena Junior High School and finishing up at Pasadena High School.

    The Hollises moved to Livingston in 1996. Their three sons – Keith, Mark and Glenn – all graduated from SHSU. They also have seven grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

    Joe spoke fondly about one of his teammates who was also his roommate. Known to all of his buddies as “D’Boy,” his actual name is Franklin Williams. “He’s been the one that’s kept everybody together. He calls each of us almost every week. He keeps up with who passes and when somebody passes he sends an arrangement and on the card always puts, ‘From the team.’ He’s just been really a Godsend to the group.”

    IMG 0879EMILY BANKS WOOTEN | PCE This is the 1956 SHSU Bearkat Football Squad. Joe Hollis, No. 64, is the third person from the left on the second row from the bottom.

    Joe said the group used to meet yearly at Crystal Beach where one of the guys had a house. “Some would come in on Thursday and some on Friday. We’d have a big fish fry and shrimp on Saturday. We’d tell all the old lies.”

    Unfortunately, the beach house was lost in one of the hurricanes and never rebuilt. Failing health has kept the group from meeting in recent years and sadly, the group is dwindling. “Three or four have passed this year,” Joe said.

  • Former Tyler County Sheriff Jessie Wolf dies

    Jesse Wolf 1Wolf when he served as Tyler County Sheriff. PHOTO COURTESY OF KENDALL COLEMAN

     
    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Former Tyler County Sheriff Jessie Wolf died on Monday at the age of 68. Wolf was a long-time lawman in the county and served one term as sheriff. He died of natural causes.

    In a profile of Wolf written by the late scholar and community leader Mayme Canada Brown, and published in the Sept. 25, 2014 edition of the Booster, Wolf was described as a stand-out athlete during his high school days at Warren ISD.

    Wolf was, according to Brown’s story, one of the “new generation in the time of total integration,” in 1968, and following his graduation in 1970, he and his twin brother James were scouted by Prairie View A&M University and accepted to the program in 1972.

    Wolf was a collegiate star athlete, as well, and was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. In addition to being a football star, Wolf also earned a collegiate letter in the university’s track and field division.

    Following his graduation from college in 1976, he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. He also played for the Birmingham Americans and the Canadian team the Stamp Platers.

    After his semi-pro and professional football career ended, he returned to Tyler County, and worked in law enforcement. He eventually worked his way up to Chief Deputy under the late former Sheriff Gary Hennigan.

    jesse wolf 2Jessie Wolf in the ‘70s as a Prairie View A&M football star. BOOSTER FILE PHOTO

    In 2004, when Hennigan retired due to declining health, Wolf became acting sheriff, and was later elected to the position. He took office in 2005 and served one term.

    Wolf, according to Brown’s piece, made history as the first Black sheriff in the county’s history. When he retired from his law enforcement career, aside from being a highly respected member of the law enforcement community, he was a shining example, as Brown wrote, of someone who had the courage and willingness to move forward in life.

    A public celebration of Wolf’s life is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Eagle Summit on the campus of Woodville High School, which will be prefaced by a public viewing starting at 9 a.m. The services for Wolf are being handled by Kendall Coleman and Coleman’s Family Mortuary of Woodville.

  • Fundraiser ongoing for child with multiple medical needs

    Ryan Addison Newborn 010721Ryan Addison at birth PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH WOLF ADDISON

    By Chris Edwards

    CENTER – If rising medical costs aren’t scary enough, the ancillary expenses of hospital stays and surgeries can be overwhelming, as well. Hotel stays, meals and other travel expenses can add up when a family member is ill.

    In this day and age, many folks get by with a little help from their friends, family and churches, and some fundraising efforts can be creative. Such is the case with Hannah Wolf Addison and her son Ryan. Hannah, a Center resident, is the granddaughter of Woodville Church of Christ Minister Keith Bellamy.

    Bro. Bellamy has kept his flock and his friends in the loop on what has been going on with little Ryan, who was born facing a litany of health problems. Ryan, who was born on Nov. 9, 2019, had difficulties breathing from the start, and following several incidents and a five-hour surgery to repair his esophagus, he was diagnosed with VACTERL syndrome, an acronym for which each letter stands for a different condition present at birth. “I was honestly devastated,” Hannah said, when she learned that her newborn baby boy had to be airlifted from Tyler to Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.

    The costs from the many medical needs will continue to mount, Hannah said, with another surgery scheduled this year. To assist with these costs, Hannah is selling a wide variety of air fresheners under the fundraiser name “Mighty Dino Rawrs for Ryan.”

    Some of the products have colorful and creative, amusing names, such as “Lick Me All over” and “Leather & Lace,” but one thing is for certain, they smell better and last longer than similar products one can find in stores.

    Hannah said that initially, she and her sister began kicking around ideas of how to raise money for her family’s expenses, and originally, they were creating candles to sell. With her sister now enlisted in the Army, Hannah looked toward other ideas of goods to sell.

    She said she has a cousin who crafts similar products, and so she learned how to do them herself. With that skill in her bag, she has come up with a variety of different scents, ranging from the manly and/or rustic in nature (leather scents and one labelled “Coffee”) to the sweeter ones, which have the colorful names, and yes, the Coffee scent actually smells like premium coffee beans. The air fresheners are $10 apiece, and all of the proceeds are going toward any associated expenses with Ryan’s care to which they can be applied.

    Her grandfather has helped spread the word about Hannah’s wares. He said that Hannah has a lot of experience in working with young people with challenges.“She is a very loving mother, who is doing her best to raise her little son Ryan,” he said.

    Hannah Brandon and Ryan AddisonHannah, Brandon and Ryan Addison in a more recent photo PHOTO COURTESY OF HANNAH WOLF ADDISON

    Bellamy added that Hannah had a cousin who was challenged and became her friend when she was about two years old. After high school, Hannah worked as a counselor at the Texas Lions Camp.

    Along with the current fundraiser that utilizes her skill and creativity, some of Hannah’s family, friends and church family have helped out with barbecue fundraisers and a chili cook-off.

    Despite the challenges, Hannah is staying positive and grounded in her faith. “After we found out everything, I knew that God was going to take care of us, and He has ever since,” she said.

    While last year presented its share of challenges to her family, Hannah remains hopeful for the new year. “We’re just ready for the surgeries to be over so that we can all be safe and happy,” she said.

    In addition to the products she has listed on the Mighty Dino Rawrs for Ryan Facebook page, she will also create special orders. Anyone interested can message her via Facebook, or by text at 936-590-8338. Payments can be made online by way of Venmo at: @Hannah-Addison-6 or PayPal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..