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  • Aircraft safe, after all (UPDATE)

    Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

    From the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office

    On March 3, 2021, at approximately 2 PM, the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a military plane flying low to the ground, with smoke coming from the engine.

    The citing was reported near the Tyler and Polk County line. First responders concentrated search efforts around and near FM 1943, West of Warren, to Highway 190 West of Woodville, into Polk County.

    The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and Air units, Texas Game Wardens, Texas Forest Service, Warren Fire Department, Tyler County Emergency Management Office, Alabama Coushatta Fire Department and Air and Ground Medical units from Southeast Texas participated in the search.

    Approximately 2 hours later, responders received information that the aircraft had made a safe landing at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

    Weatherford said, “Thank you to all our Southeast Texas Federal, State, and local first responders. To protect and serve is truly a team effort.”

  • High-speed chase ends in arrest in Tyler County

    RaheemJonesMugMUGSHOT Raheem Jones

    By Chris Edwards

    TYLER COUNTY - A high-speed chase on highway 190 near the Tyler County line resulted in the arrest of a Jasper man on several charges.

    The chase begun on Saturday evening, at approximately 8 p.m., according to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Police Department. Officer S. Allison with the tribal PD attempted to initiate a traffic stop for defective equipment, and the driver refused to stop.

    A high-speed pursuit begun along 190 eastbound, and once near the county line, deputies from the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were called in to assist the AC officers in pursuit. The driver, who was identified as Raheem Wesley Corday Jones, got up to speeds in excess of 100 mph in the 2010 gold Cadillac he drove.

    Allison was able to get Jones to stop in Tyler County and held him until multiple units from TCSO and the Texas Department of Public Safety were on the scene. Jones was arrested for evading and driving with an invalid license and was also found to have an outstanding warrant for parole violations stemming from an intent to deliver a controlled substance conviction. He was taken to the Polk County Jail.

    He is currently incarcerated on bonds totaling $16,500 from the evading and DWLI charges, and no bond on the parole violation.

  • Naskila Reopening

    20210211 160234COURTESY PHOTO

    Gaming enthusiasts have waited a few long months for the luckiest spot in Texas to resume operations. The most fervent of which were in the parking lot Thursday morning at 9 a.m. when Naskila Gaming again opened its doors to welcome guests.

    Naskila closed over the last half of December and all of January to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

    "We have a great crowd here today and I think everyone is excited to get back to Naskila, because we've missed them as much as they've missed us," marketing operations manager Laura Shelby said. "We've been closed since Dec. 10 and I think a lot of that is just excitement to be back and getting out of the house and it is a place they enjoy coming."

    The number of games at Naskila have not increased over the 790 that were in place before the closure. However, they are now over a larger area, allowing for more space and larger walkways throughout the gaming floor. A room once used as a banquet area now holds over 100 machines.

    For now, the facility is non-smoking where games are played. There is an area that before served as the front entrance that has been set aside for smoking.

    Masks are required and social distancing is encouraged. Dividers have been placed between each game that gives a bit more privacy and each player their own space.

    "A lot of other gaming places around the country are using them and it allows us to have every machine on," Shelby said of the dividers. "People aren't having to pick like, 'Oh, my favorite machine is turned off today,' or that sort of thing. It is also for people feel more safe that they can sit and gamble and not have to worry about it."

    Employees are tested each week for Covid-19. In addition, everyone who enters Naskila is scanned by a new tool that the group hopes will eliminate any spread of the virus while out for entertainment.

    "It is an infrared temperature taker. When you step into the right place well, it scans you and gives the security guard your temperature. It actually shows up on the screen."

    Taking every precaution since the virus became an issue, Naskila established the Clean Team, a group of neon-shirted workers with the responsibility of keeping germs to a minimum. There are approximately 75 on the crew that rotate in three different shifts. Signs are posted on each of the electronic Bingo units to let gamers know they can press a button for a Clean Team member to disinfect wherever a customer is playing.

    "We also installed 25 antibacterial wipes (stands) that our guests can just take at will and wipe down the machine if they choose to."

    With freezing weather expected, Shelby said she did not anticipate the casino closing. It has remained open through hurricanes and floods and is able to operate on generators if the power becomes an issue. There is an EMT staff and a clinic on the site, making it one of the safer places at any time.

    "It is nice to be back and have a purpose," she said of the return. "Everybody was ready to come back. Being off for a little bit is nice, but everybody gets bored. This week, we went through some training and it was just nice to see everybody. We missed each other just as much as we missed seeing the guests."

  • Report on plane ‘a true mistake’

    U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft fly in formation during Cope North 21 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2021. Cope North is an annual multinational exercise designed to increase capabilities and improve interoperability among partner nations, and this year’s exercise focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations, large force employment and combat air forces training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox)U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense and Royal Australian Air Force aircraft fly in formation during Cope North 21 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2021. Cope North is an annual multinational exercise designed to increase capabilities and improve interoperability among partner nations, and this year’s exercise focuses on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) operations, large force employment and combat air forces training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Divine Cox)

    By Chris Edwards

    TYLER COUNTY – A report from a concerned resident about an aircraft in distress led to a large-scale search effort that ultimately ended with good news.

    At approximately 2 p.m. on Wednesday, the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a military plane flying low to the ground, with smoke coming from an engine, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. The report came from a resident living on FM 1450, who reported what appeared to be a plane in distress, as well as smoke coming off of the ground. The sighting was reported near the county lines of Tyler and Polk.

    According to Weatherford, the first responders concentrated their search efforts around and near FM 1943 west of Warren, to US 190 west of Woodville, into Polk County. Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe said there were two AMBUS units staged in the two counties: one in Warren and one in Midway on 190.

    The search lasted for two hours, after the responders received information that the aircraft had made a safe landing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier Parish, La. Jobe said the report that launched the massive search was “a true mistake,” that the person who made the report saw the smoke on the ground, which was likely from a controlled burn that was taking place on the A-C reservation, and with the smoke coming from the plane, along with the fact that it was flying low, put the elements together and feared the worst.

    Jobe added there were probably a total of 12 or 15 ambulances involved, as well as three fire departments. “We had a whole lot of medical care response in about an hour,” Jobe said.

    Polk County OEM Coordinator Courtney Comstock and Alabama-Coushatta Tribal OEM Coordinator Willo Sylestine were also part of the efforts, Jobe said.

    Along with TCSO, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Game Wardens and Forestry Service also participated.

    Jobe said that although the search was the product of “a legitimate error” from a concerned resident in the area, emergency personnel will likely treat the experience as a training exercise.

    There will be an after-action review on Wednesday, Jobe said, which will be done cumulatively with the Emergency Management offices that were involved.

  • VFDs fight Indian Springs fire (GALLERY)

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    From Staff Reports

    Five volunteer fire departments responded to a residential fire in the Indian Springs subdivision Monday afternoon.The VFDs from Alabama-Coushatta, Indian Springs, Livingston, Onalaska and Woodville fought the blaze for 3-4 hours. Polk County Fire Marshal Jacob Chapman also was on hand.The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. The fire is still under investigation.

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