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Texas leaders respond to Roe overruling

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062622 roe vs wadeState Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) called the decision “a monumental victory for protecting the innocent and unborn.” Ashby said that Texas, as “a pro-life state…will continue to lead the way in the post-Roe era.”

By Chris Edwards
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The news on Friday of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 overturn of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision sent shockwaves around the country.

The decision the overturn Roe came after the ruling to the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, on the grounds that the Constitution makes no reference to abortion. The 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey was also overruled in the process.

The ruling came after a majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, was leaked in early May, stating that Roe and Casey must both be overruled.

Friday’s decision puts the issue before the states to decide, individually, as to abortion’s legality. In Texas, a “trigger law” will go into effect in 30 days after the ruling.

The law makes performing an abortion a felony, and only makes an exception to save the life of the mother or if there is a risk of “substantial impairment of major bodily function” present. Physicians who violate the law could face life in prison and/or fines of up to $100,000. The bill was authored by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller.)

After news of the decision was announced, President Joe Biden expressed dismay, and said through his press secretary that his administration will “continue to find solutions” to ensure abortion rights.

Several Texas politicians responded to the ruling by way of social media and news releases.

State Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) called the decision “a monumental victory for protecting the innocent and unborn.”
Ashby said that Texas, as “a pro-life state…will continue to lead the way in the post-Roe era.”

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement on Friday, claiming SCOTUS “correctly” overturned the Roe decision, and added that Texas has “taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life,” by prioritizing women’s healthcare, and extending Medicaid coverage to six months after birth, as well as putting $100 million toward an “Alternatives to Abortion” program.

“Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers,” Abbott said.

Abbott’s Democratic rival for the gubernatorial seat, Beto O’ Rourke issued a statement after the decision. “The Supreme Court has sent this back to the states, and our state’s current governor has outlawed abortion beginning at conception with no exception for rape or incest,” he said.

O’Rourke added that he is the candidate in the upcoming November gubernatorial race most devoted to “protecting a woman’s freedom to make her own decisions about her own body, healthcare and future.”

Texas’s Democratic Party and state Republican Party issued respective statements, as well.

The state Democratic Party called Abbott’s approval of anti-abortion laws “draconian and brutal,” and stated that Friday’s ruling threatens “the reproductive liberty of millions of Americans.”

The state GOP’s chairman Matt Rinaldi called Friday a “historic day which Republicans and pro-life advocates have waited for a generation.”
Rinaldi added that the state GOP will continue to support facilitating adoptions and providing assistance to mothers in need, both during and after pregnancy.

Friday’s SCOTUS decision came in the wake of a finding, through a variety of public opinion surveys, that a majority of Americans opposed overturning Roe. Polls conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, as well as other pollsters, have shown that about one in 10 Americans want abortion to be illegal in all cases.

More than 90% of all abortions in the United States take place during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are now done with pills, according to data and information compiled by the AP.

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Arrests made in tobacco robbery

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By Jan White
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CROCKETT – At about 3:50 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, Officers with the Crockett Police Department and Houston County Sheriff’s Officer Deputies, responded to the Tobacco Barn, located in the 400 block of North 4th Street, in reference to a burglary alarm.

As officers arrived in the area, they noticed a brown 2015 Chevrolet Suburban leaving the area. Officers caught up to the vehicle on Durrett Drive and detained the vehicle’s three occupants. While doing so, the officers noticed that the vehicle was filled with loose cartons of cigarettes, as well as several large trash bags filled with cartons of cigarettes. Officers also located bolt cutters, walkie-talkies, pry bars and gloves in the vehicle.

Other officers went back to the Tobacco Barn and found that the front door of the business had been shattered and the building had been burglarized. Surveillance video from the Tobacco Barn showed the three subjects in question breaking down the door, entering the store, and stealing four large garbage bags full of cigarettes. While the investigation continued, Officers learned that the suspects had also burglarized a convenience store in Anderson County earlier in the night.

All three suspects, identified as Steven Jajuan Scott Jr. (age 20 from Ft. Worth), Lance Harris Jr. (age 21 from Ft. Worth, and Stacy Len Harris (age 45 from Ft. Worth), were all placed under arrest and charged with Burglary of a Building (State Jail Felony), Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (3rd Degree Felony) and Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument (Class A Misdemeanor). Additionally, Scott also had a warrant for his arrest out of Franklin County for Burglary of a Building.

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Rep. James White to headline DETCOG annual meeting

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061622 DETCOG james whiteRep. James White set to be the keynote speaker at the annual DETCOG meeting.

LUFKIN – Representative James White (R-Hillister) will be the keynote speaker for Annual Membership and Awards Luncheon of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments and Economic Development District (DETCOG) on Thursday June 23 in Lufkin. The event will be held at noon at the Pitser Garrison Convention Center.

Rep. White has represented the Deep East Texas region in the Texas Legislature since 2010. He serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety and also sits on the Corrections and Redistricting committees. He believes in the fundamental values of strong families, constitutional government, and economic prosperity.

Another highlight of DETCOG’s annual meeting is the presentation of the prestigious Ralph W. Steen East Texan of the Year Award. The Steen award was named in honor of the beloved past president of Stephen F. Austin State University. It honors an individual who has played a major role in leadership and service to Deep East Texas.

Several other awards will be presented. The Key Contributor Award recognizes a staff member who has contributed greatly to the organization’s success. The President’s Award recognizes service on a DETCOG committee. The Star Partner Award honors an employee or official in a state or federal agency that works closely with DETCOG. The Employee of the Year and Program Director of the Year for 2021 will also be recognized.

“We are gathering to celebrate Deep East Texas and our regional collaboration through DETCOG,” said Roy Boldon, DETCOG President and Nacogdoches City Council Member. “We look forward to recognizing our award recipients and we are especially happy to have James White join us as our keynote speaker.”

A former Deep East Texas Legislator of the Year, Rep. White has been recognized with many other awards. Texas Monthly Magazine named him a 2019 Best Legislator. The Texas Justices of the Peace and Constables Association honored him as 2015 Legislator of the Year. The Texas Association of Business named him a Champion for Free Enterprise, and the National Federation of Independent Business in Texas recognized him with its 100% Rating. Rep. White and his wife, Gem, reside in Tyler County where he is a businessman and author. He attends and worships at Hillister Baptist Church. Additionally, he is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the Texas Farm Bureau.

DETCOG, organized in 1966, is a voluntary association of local governments in the 11-county region encompassing all of Angelina, Houston, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler counties.
DETCOG was established in November of 1966 as an Economic Development District under the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic

Development Administration. In 1968 the organization also became a political subdivision of the State of Texas as a Regional Planning Commission under state law. Current membership includes 11 counties, 34 cities, the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, plus a number of other entities including school districts, river authorities, special purpose districts, and sustaining members.

“Above all, DETCOG is an organization of, by, and for the local governments of Deep East Texas,” said Executive Director Lonnie Hunt. “We exist to support our member governments and serve their residents.”

Luncheon tickets are $25 and reserved tables are also available. RSVPs are appreciated. Anyone needing information may contact Executive Assistant Lacy Sargent at the DETCOG office in Lufkin at (936) 634-2247 extension 5254.

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Crockett Police seeking public’s help

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061622 crockett seeking suspects

From Staff Reports

CROCKETT – The summer heat seems to have spurred a rash of illegal activity in the area. As of June 13, the Crockett Police Department was asking the community for help in apprehending local lawbreakers.

The man in the first picture is wanted for questioning about a theft from a local business. If you recognize him or his vehicle, you are asked to contact the Crockett Police Department at 936-544-2862 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wheeler wanted

Angelina County Jail is seeking help in locating James Tad Wheeler, Jr., a 36-yr-old white male, approximately 6’0” 180lb, with light brown/blond hair.Wheeler was in jail for Felony Thefts, Burglaries, Organized Criminal Activity, and Vehicle Theft. If you know the current location of James Tad Wheeler Jr., submit a tip anonymously at 639TIPS.com, use Crime Stoppers’ app (936-639-TIPS), or call (936) 639-TIPS. You’ll see other requests to assist in locating Wheeler, but only tips and calls DIRECTLY to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and reward eligible.

Two suspects wanted

During the night of May 24, 2022, or the morning of May 25, 2022, at least two suspects stole a white 2007 GMC Sierra (Texas License Plate GLK2306) from Lowery’s Automotive, located at 403 East Loop 304. At about 3:45 a.m., the suspects drove the stolen vehicle to Holbrook Electric Company, located at 2301 East Goliad Avenue, where they cut the gate to access several buildings on the property. The suspects stole several thousand dollars worth of tools and equipment from Holbrook Electric Company before fleeing the scene in the stolen vehicle. Neither the stolen vehicle nor the tools and equipment have been recovered.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Crockett Police Department at 936-544-2862. Tips can also be made to Crime Stoppers by phone at 936-639-TIPS or online at 639TIPS.com. Tips to Crime Stoppers are anonymous and reward eligible.

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USDA announces measures to help address threats to food security

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060922 usda announes

COLLEGE STATION – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) participants who are in the final year of their CRP contract to request voluntary termination of their CRP contract following the end of the primary nesting season for fiscal year 2022. Participants approved for this one-time, voluntary termination will not have to repay rental payments, a flexibility implemented this year to help mitigate the global food supply challenges caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and other factors. Today, USDA also announced additional flexibilities for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

“Putin’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine has cut off a critical source of wheat, corn, barley, oilseeds, and cooking oil, and we’ve heard from many producers who want to better understand their options to help respond to global food needs,” said Kelly Adkins, USDA’s Farm Service Agency State Executive Director in Texas. “This announcement will help producers make informed decisions about land use and conservation options.”

FSA is mailing letters to producers with expiring acres that detail this flexibility and share other options, such as re-enrolling sensitive acres in the CRP Continuous signup and considering growing organic crops. Producers will be asked to make the request for voluntary termination in writing through their local USDA Service Center.

If approved for voluntary termination, preparations can occur after the conclusion of the primary nesting season. Producers will then be able to hay, graze, begin land preparation activities and plant a fall-seeded crop before October 1, 2022. For land in colder climates, this flexibility may allow for better establishment of a winter wheat crop or better prepare the land for spring planting.

Organic Considerations

Since CRP land typically does not have a recent history of pesticide or herbicide application, USDA is encouraging producers to consider organic production. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to help producers plan and implement conservation practices, including those that work well for organic operations, such as pest management and mulching. Meanwhile, FSA offers cost-share for certification costs and other fees.

Other CRP Options

Participants can also choose to enroll all or part of their expiring acres into the Continuous CRP signup for 2022. Important conservation benefits may still be achieved by re-enrolling sensitive acres such as buffers or wetlands. Expiring water quality practices such as filter strips, grass waterways, and riparian buffers may be eligible to be reenrolled under the Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rivers (CLEAR) and CLEAR 30 options under CRP. Additionally, expiring continuous CRP practices such as shelterbelts, field windbreaks, and other buffer practices may also be re-enrolled to provide benefits for organic farming operations.

If producers are not planning to farm the land from their expiring CRP contract, the Transition Incentives Program (TIP) may also provide them two additional annual rental payments after their contract expires on the condition that they sell or rent their land to a beginning or veteran farmer or rancher or a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

Producers interested in the Continuous CRP signup, CLEAR 30, or TIP should contact FSA by Aug. 5, 2022.

NRCS Conservation Programs

USDA also encourages producers to consider NRCS conservation programs, which help producers integrate conservation on croplands, grazing lands and other agricultural landscapes. EQIP and CSP can help producers plant cover crops, manage nutrients and improve irrigation and grazing systems. Additionally, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), or state or private easement programs, may be such an option. In many cases, a combination of approaches can be taken on the same parcel. For example, riparian areas or other sensitive parts of a parcel may be enrolled in continuous CRP and the remaining land that is returned to farming can participate in CSP or EQIP and may be eligible to receive additional ranking points.

Other Flexibilities to Support Conservation

Additionally, NRCS is also offering a new flexibility for EQIP and CSP participants who have cover cropping including in their existing contracts. NRCS will allow participants to either modify their plans to plant a cover crop (and instead shift to a conservation crop rotation) or delay their cover crop plans a year, without needing to terminate the existing contract. This will allow for flexibility to respond to market signals while still ensuring the conservation benefits through NRCS financial and technical assistance for participating producers.

More Information
Producers and landowners can learn more about these options by contacting FSA and NRCS at their local USDA Service Center.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

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