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Houston County News - Breakout

Veterans lunch at Palestine VVA/DAV Hall

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DisabledVetsPALESTINE – All area veterans are invited to a free lunch at the Palestine VVA/DAV Hall at noon on Thursday, March 17. The lunch will be provided by Heart-to-Heart Hospice, Brookdale Senior Living, Encompass Health, and TruCare Living Center.

The featured presentation will be given by Billy Stevens from Veritas Technologies, an international data management software company. He will discuss state of the art equipment for remote patient monitoring that is focused on hypertension and diabetes, with patient information being sent directly to a doctor.

The Hall is located just behind Mattern Tire and Gateway North on SH 155 North at 927 Gardner Drive. Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) host these events in conjunction with these health care organizations. All Veterans, Veteran’s families, and anyone interested in Veteran health issues are welcome.

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County hires Shafer as crime victim investigator

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Houston County Seal 1280x640By Jan White
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CROCKETT – The Houston County Commissioners Court called for a special meeting on Tuesday morning in order to take care of some time-sensitive agenda items.

The first agenda item approved was the salary for a Crime Victim Coordinator/Investigator. County Attorney Daphne Session explained to the Court that a grant paid for 25% of the wage and requested additional funds to meet the position’s pay scale. The  commissioners approved the request and welcomed Thomas Shafer as the county’s new crime victim investigator/coordinator.

The court moved quickly to the next item, which was to appoint Jimmy Henderson to negotiate for the right of way and construction/easements on the Texas Department of Transportation bridge improvement projects on County Road 4555 at Lake Creek and County Road 4545 at Camp Creek.

The pace stalled when it came to taking action on advertising and accepting bids for road materials and delivery and gas and diesel for County vehicles and equipment. After a lengthy discussion between the commissioners and County Auditor Melissa Jeter about the quality of materials and the cost of material transportation, the court chose to pass on the motion until additional information could be obtained.

The final agenda item was ratifying the extension contract with Constellation NewEnergy, Inc. for electrical service to two additional County buildings: the EOC/Armory and the storage facility at the airport. 

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Crockett man jailed after shooting threat at Corrigan-Camden High School

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By Brian Besch
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Jones Jones CORRIGAN – A Crockett man is now in custody at the Polk County Jail after a terroristic threat last Monday.

Randy Dewayne Jones Jr., 19, turned himself in Tuesday after threatening to “shoot up” Corrigan-Camden High School, according to a Corrigan Police Department press release.

Corrigan police said Jones turned himself in at the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. Around 12:30 p.m., he was in custody and was being transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He will be charged with terroristic threat of a public servant, a third-degree felony.

“He was associated with some students at the high school, and it was basically like a lover’s spat,” Corporal Terry Valka of the Corrigan PD said. “They ended up blocking him on social media and then he started mentioning on Snapchat that he was coming with seven carloads deep with his gang members and going to shoot them and whoever else was in the path at the school. He sent it via text message, and they

(students) showed it to them at the school. He is supposedly affiliated with some gang members in the Crockett area.”

According to Corrigan-Camden Superintendent Richard Cooper, the student turned the message over to high school administration.

The threat was made an hour and a half before school dismissal. The campus at the high school and middle school was placed on a “soft lockdown.”

“We were made aware at 1:55 p.m.,” Cooper said. “When we receive a threat of violence toward a student at the school or to the school itself, we contact law enforcement immediately, which was Corrigan PD.

They came and looked at the threat. Our high school and junior high campus – those campuses are connected by one city street and we have junior high students that come to the high school for some of their

elective classes. We put both of those campuses on what is called a soft lockdown. They are not locked down with lights out, like there is an active shooter, but they are not allowed to go outside. We stay in

one classroom and quit switching classes.

“Local law enforcement in Corrigan reached out to Polk County Sheriff’s Office and we had a real heavy police presence. We had police officers at all entrances of the campus until we felt like it was safe to send our kids home at the end of the day. We escorted all of our kids out to buses or parents’ vehicles. We canceled all

afterschool activities yesterday and let law enforcement conduct their investigation and arrest who made the threat. They did, and they did it swiftly.”

In charge of the scene, Valka said he contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for assistance and secured the area with around 20 officers.

“We had about 15 patrol cars all around the front and back and side,” Valka said. “We had it secure and if anybody wanted to, they couldn’t have done anything.”

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Teens participate in safety seminar

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AgrillifeExtensionBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – On Wednesday, March 2, Houston County AgriLife Extension conducted a Teen Safety Seminar at the Crockett Civic Center. 

More than 150 seventh and eighth graders from Latexo and Grapeland Junior High attended.

Discussions on teen risk behaviors were presented by several organizations, including the Crockett Police Department, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas, Family Crisis Center of East Texas, Texas Department of State Health Services, 

Watch UR BAC, Houston County District Attorney and WhenSeanSpeaks.

Individuals and teams provided information and reinforced positive lifestyle choices in an impactful way by offering activities that were both fun and informative. Topics included: vaping, alcohol awareness, bullying, illicit drugs, social media, and healthy relationships. 

The highlight of the seminar was guest speaker Sean Carter with WhenSeanSpeaks. 

On March 27, 2005, Sean was riding shotgun with a drunken college friend when the truck spun out of control, slamming it into a tree. Sean suffered a traumatic brain injury which left him unable to walk or talk. Sean and his mother, Jenny Carter, have traveled throughout Texas and other parts of the United States, speaking frankly about Sean’s choices that placed him in a wheelchair. It’s a story of the consequences of risky behavior, but also about faith and purpose and overcoming adversity.

Lunch was provided in part by Houston County Farm Bureau, Standing With Crockett, and Brookshire Brothers. Piney Woods Lions Club members assisted with programming organization and food service.

If you would like more information about the Teen Safety Seminar and how your school or organization might participate in the program, contact Tasha Brent at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., houston.agrilife.org, or 936.544.7502

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Council hears annual Racial Profiling Report

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Crockett City HallBy Jan White
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CROCKETT – At the March 8 meeting of the Crockett City Council, Police Chief Clayton Smith presented the Annual Racial Profiling Report for 2021.

Smith reported the following statistics by race and gender: African American 349 males, 256 females; Asian/Pacific Islander nine males, two females; White males 811, females 477; Hispanic males 219, females 86; Native American males 1, females 0; with the total of 2,210. Smith then showed a breakdown of categories ranging from the reason for the stop, location of the stop, result of the stop, and the number of arrests. 

Smith also reported that the Crockett Police Department received 452 calls and used 2,238 manpower hours during the month of January.

The council approved an amendment to Article 7.04 of the CEIDC bylaws, which states that checks, drafts, or orders for payment of money require two signatures and that each member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director are authorized to sign the documents. It also states that checks or other orders of payment to the Executive Director may not be signed by the Executive Director himself.

The board also voted to approve the temporary closure of the State Highways around the one-way square in Crockett for the Davy Crockett Classic Bike Race. The race will be held on April 23 from 11 a.m to 9 p.m. Last year the route skirted the downtown area, but this year the event organizers asked that bicycle riders be allowed to follow the route around the square. 

The Council heard a report from Wade Thomas with the Planning and Zoning committee and Mark Priestner from Planning Concepts on proposed amendments to C-3 City Center Shopping District. The goal of the amendments is to identify additional parking, utilize occupied and unoccupied buildings, and make the downtown area more walkable. The City will hold public meetings regarding the possible changes to the text. Postings regarding the public meetings will be placed around the downtown area and in local newspapers.

Other agenda items approved were the City of Crockett’s participation in a cooperative program with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for blood testing, repairs to the city hall and police department parking lot, lease of the building at 400 N. Durrett Drive to the Piney Woods Sanitation Department, and an ordinance allowing oversight of day-to-day operations for the Fire Marshal to fall under the Fire Chief’s jurisdiction.

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