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Police busy with arrests

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Arrests Graphic

From Staff Reports

CROCKETT – The Crockett Police Department reported a busy week. According to Clayton Smith, Chief of Police, his department answered 147 calls for service and made 17 arrests last week.

Some of the most interesting incidents, according to Smith, included arrests made on a variety of charges.

On Tuesday, August 23, at about 4 a.m., officers noticed a suspicious person sitting in a vehicle at a local motel. While officers were speaking with the individual, David Hernandez (age 23 from Edinburg), they noticed a methamphetamine pipe and a bag with methamphetamine in plain view inside the vehicle. Hernandez was placed under arrest and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1 <1 Gram (State Jail Felony).

On Thursday, August 25, at about 2 a.m., officers were doing extra patrol in the area of Wooten Street, due to an increased number of theft related calls in the area. While patrolling, Officers witnessed a group of males take off running when they saw the police cars. One of the males, Brodrick Sandles (age 20 from Crockett), was found hiding behind a car with several bags of marijuana and a Glock pistol hidden underneath the car. Sandles was placed under arrest and charged with Possession of Marijuana <2 Ounces in a Drug Free Zone (Class A Misdemeanor), Unlawful Carrying a Weapon (Class A Misdemeanor) and Tampering with Evidence (3rd Degree Felony). He was also found to have several traffic warrants for his arrest out of the City of Crockett.

Also on Thursday, at about 11:30 a.m., an officer conducted a traffic stop on a Mercedes Benz in the area of East Houston Avenue at North 6th Street because the vehicle was displaying expired registration. During the traffic stop, the passenger in the vehicle, David Gore (age 39 from Madisonville), ran from the vehicle and into a residence in the 500 block of East Houston Avenue. 

The officer pursued Gore and took him into custody without further incident. Gore had several warrants for his arrest, including a “Blue Warrant” for parole violations (original offenses of Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon and Burglary of a Habitation), a warrant out of Anderson County for Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1 <1 Gram (State Jail Felony), and a warrant out of Aransas County for Evading Arrest or Detention (Class A Misdemeanor). In addition to the warrants, Gore was charged with another count of Evading Arrest or Detention. The driver of the vehicle, Jeffery Henderson (age 48 from Crockett), was originally released with a citation for Expired Registration. Later that day, Officers were notified that a warrant had been issued out of Houston County for Henderson for the offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1 >1 Gram <4 Grams (3rd Degree Felony). Officers went back to the residence in the 500 block of East Houston Avenue and placed him under arrest as well.

On Sunday, August 28, at about 1:30 a.m., an officer conducted a traffic stop on a Ford Focus in the 1200 of East Loop 304 for displaying a fraudulent and improperly placed 30-day registration permit. 

The officer received consent to search the car and located about 1.2 grams of methamphetamine. The passenger in the vehicle, Teodoro Velasquez (age 41, of Palestine), admitted that the methamphetamine was his. He was placed under arrest and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1 >1 Gram <4 Grams (3rd Degree Felony). The driver was released with a citation.

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Exciting things in store for the Mary Allen Museum

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Volunteers get the kitchen ready for use. JAN WHITE | HCCVolunteers get the kitchen ready for use. JAN WHITE | HCC

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – Many of our local museums lost a lot of traction during the Covid shutdowns. One of those was the Mary Allen Museum, located in the historical Westbrook Heritage House at 1503 S. Fourth Street in Crockett. 

However, with many Covid restrictions now lifted, the Mary Allen Museum is anxious to reopen and share some exciting new activities with the community.

Friends and supporters of the Museum have been working hard making repairs and doing clean-up so the Heritage House can open to the public in September. David Beaulieu, the Interim Pastor of Life Pointe Church, Pastor Johnie Wood of the First Presbyterian Church, and Pastor Albert Moses, III of St. Luke Baptist, spearheaded the project, identifying issues and overseeing volunteers who gave their time to help make the building useable again.

The Mary Allen Museum held a cleanup day on Saturday August 20 to get the building ready for reopening to the public. 

The museum would like to thank the volunteers who came out to help. 

From Life Pointe Church David Beaulieu, Sarah Jones, Pastor Tim Jones, Hattie Hamilton, Trish Hardy, Nora Windham, James Gentry with the CEIDC, Pastor Johnie Wood and A. Reyes from the First Presbyterian Church, and from the Mary Allen Museum Earlene Clebourn, Dr. Thelma J. Douglass, Michael Ewing, Alexandria Hubbard and Jean Shepherd 

Following is a list of events on the Mary Allen Museum calendar. Times and additional event details will be announced in future communications.

•September 10- the Museum will celebrate its reopening with an open house. The community is invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served. 

•September 17 – “Movement at the Museum” A certified Zumba instructor specializing in African dance will be the instructor for a unique Zumba experience

•September 24 – “Painting with a Muse(em)” Local artist Alexandria Hubbard, Artist in Residence and Activity Director for the Mary Allen Museum, will host a step-by-step painting class. 

•October 8 – “Movie Night” Films will be shown on the lawn at the Westbrook House. Bring your lawn chairs, coolers, or blankets along with the whole family and enjoy a movie under the stars

Other events will include a tea party that is sure to be a memorable experience. And look for an exciting “Open Mic Night” where musicians, singers and poets can share their talent with the community. 

If you would like more information about Mary Allen Museum or for more information about the upcoming events, please contact Dr. Thelma Douglass at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Chili Hodges honored by Texas Historical Commission

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Houston County Judge Jim Lovell presents C.R. “Chili” Hodges with an award from the Texas Historical Commission. JAN WHITE | HCCHouston County Judge Jim Lovell presents C.R. “Chili” Hodges with an award from the Texas Historical Commission. JAN WHITE | HCC

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – In January of 1970, the Houston County Courier ran a story about a new business starting up in Crockett. “C.R. (Chili) Hodges, Crockett native who has had nine years of experience in surveying as an employee of two Crockett firms, is now in business for himself, he announces.” That was the beginning of an enterprise that has taken Hodges all over Houston County and surrounding counties and garnered him an award few businesses these days can claim.

In recognition of his achievements, the Texas Historical Commission honored Hodges with the “Texas Treasure Business Award.” The certificate given to Hodges reads, “C.R. Hodges Surveying, Inc., Family owned and operated in Texas since 1970. For exceptional contributions toward the economic growth and prosperity of Texas.”

On Wednesday, August 24, Houston County Judge Jim Lovell was at the surveyor’s office to present the Historical Commission award to Hodges for his years of serving Houston County and surrounding areas. 

Hodges gained his surveying experience while working for W.O. Kirkland and Bill Dabney. After obtaining his public surveyor license, he decided to embark on his own, setting up shop in a small building on East Houston Avenue in 1970. Later, Hodges inherited the property adjacent to his original building and converted it into the headquarters from which he now works. 

Patti Rains, Hodges’s secretary and “Girl Friday” for over forty years, calls the place “his museum.” And she would be right. His office is filled with trophies and treasures Hodges has collected over the years. A cabinet holds shelves packed with all types of shell casings and perfectly preserved arrowheads and spearheads. The walls display turkey beards and tailfeathers, mountings of his two best fish, a ring-tailed cat caught in the woods near his house, the bobcat that he found on his farm, the hornet’s nest he brought back from Colorado, and scores of pictures and portraits, each with its own story to tell. And you can’t miss the mound of deer antlers piled so high they’re taller than his desk. When asked how many antlers he thought were there, Hodges’s answer was short but sincere, “Too many to count.” 

In the hallway are pictures painted on turkey tails by a gentleman in Kennard and a painting made by Hodges’s daughter-in-law of the “Over the Hill Hunting Club,” where Patti says Hodges and his buddies used to go hunting in the hill country. And Hodges himself is no stranger to the arts. “He doodles,” said Patti. “And he can cut a straight line better than anybody you’ve ever seen.” Several of Hodges’s “doodles” are displayed underneath the glass of the office’s front desk.

Hodges’s grandson, James Bond, started working for the surveying company right out of high school. Bond says he learned everything about surveying from his grandfather. “He taught me how to do it all. I do parts work, fieldwork, office work,” said Bond. “I’ve been working with him for 18 years.” When asked what kind of surveying they do, Bond answered, “Anything to do with land surveying  – houses, big ranches, commercial. As much buying and selling as there is right now, we’ve got a pretty good backlog of work to do.” Hodges has served as the county surveyor of Houston County for more than 50 years. 

Bond is waiting to get his surveyor license as he carries on the family business, and what a business it has been.

“I’m honored to be able to present him this award,” said Lovell. “There’s not many businesses that stay in business for 50-plus years.” 

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Commissioners Court approves 2023 budget

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Houston County Seal 1280x640By Jan White
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CROCKETT – On Monday, August 29, the Commissioners Court met to discuss and confirm the budget for the upcoming year.

The court was previously given three tax rates on which to base its budget: the “No New Revenue Rate” of 45.402%, the “Voter-Approval Tax Rate” of 47.474%, and the “De minimis Rate” of 47.549%. 

In 2022, at a tax rate of 53.000%, property taxes budgeted were $8,436,470. The Voter-Approval Tax Rate of 47.470%, which the Court voted to use for the 2023 fiscal year, decreases the tax rate by 5.530% but still allows enough of a revenue increase to meet necessary budget expenditures. Based on that tax rate, the projected budget amount will increase by $429,647, to total $8,866,118. 

Increases in the budget include items such as added health insurance fees, cost of living pay increases, adding employee positions, projected increases in utilities and insurance, improvements and renovations, and other various expenditures. 

During the workshop, the court approved an additional $20k to go to the Juvenile Probation Department for detention. It was explained to the court that the cost of daily confinement has gone up considerably, but funding from the state has not increased exponentially. 

Funding was also requested for a pepper gun system for the Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement officials felt that the pepper gun would be a more effective 

deterrent than the taser guns currently used. The request was approved, pending the outcome of bids for the new equipment.

The last item agenda was the approval of the American Rescue Plan Essential Worker Premium Pay Order. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides direct relief to local governments through the United States Department of Treasury. 

As determined by the Houston County Commissioners Court, all employees who meet the eligibility requirements designated by ARPA will receive a payment in addition to their regular salary. The pay scale set by ARPA is $2,000 for qualified full-time employees and $1,000 for qualified part-time employees. The payments, in the form of a check, are to be available to employees on August 31. 

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Commissioners Court lifts burn ban

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082522 county lifts ban

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – Upon the recommendation of Houston County Fire Marshal Heath Murff, the Houston County Commissioners Court lifted the current Houston County burn ban.

Murff indicated that he felt the county’s residents needed a break and be allowed to burn, although he suggested they might revisit the topic in a few weeks if necessary. The board also accepted a donation from Morris Timber Holdings of $10,207 for road improvements.

Agenda items approved were the hotel occupancy request by PWFFA and The Loft for upcoming concerts, the Retiree Medical Insurance Policy, the contract with Election Systems & Software for the Express Vote machines, purchase of equipment, lease for copiers used by the county, and the current employer matching contribution rate of 140% for the Texas County and District Retirement System was approved.

After a brief discussion, the court approved the 2022-23 budget.

The court then moved on to discuss the proposed tax rate. Based on the adjusted tax valuation for 2022, it was recommended that the court set a rate of $0.47470, which is a decrease of six cents according to Houston County Judge Jim Lovell. A date of Sept. 13 was selected for the public hearing over the tax rate.

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