EastTexasNewsWebsite BannerAd

Log in
  • Texas LawShield rep speaks at Lions Club

    Lions 2PHOTO BY JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Texas LawShield representative Gary Blalock speaks at Lions Club of Livingston last week at Cam Cho Yeh.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Self-defense is a necessity at times.

    There are times, however, when it can come back to haunt the person who defends itself. Gary Blalock knows this all too well.

    Blalock was the guest speaker at Lions Club of Livingston last week. He’s a representative of Texas LawShield – a legal defense program for self-defense.

    Blalock was once involved in a self-defense situation in which a legal defense program could’ve helped him. Unfortunately, Texas LawShield didn’t exist until 2009 and the incident involving Blalock took place in 2000.

    “I owned a bar and two patrons were involved in a fight,” Blalock said. “Then one of them assaulted one of my employees. The employee called me and I came to the bar to talk to them.”

    Once Blalock arrived on the scene, trouble ensued. The patrons were not in the mood to reason with him at first.

    “When I tried to stop them in the parking lot, they tried to run over me in their car,” Blalock said. “I drew my firearm and when they saw the laser beam pointed at them, they got out and were willing to talk. Fortunately, I didn’t have to use deadly force.”

    While Blalock wasn’t forced to use the firearm, the worst was yet to come. He soon found himself in legal trouble.

    “I found out a few days later that there was a warrant out for my arrest,” Blalock said. “They went in and filed a report against me and I had to take care of things legally.”

    Blalock had to pay approximately $4,000 in legal fees to prove that he acted in self-defense. He learned a valuable lesson from that fateful night.

    “I should’ve called law enforcement and filed a report,” Blalock said.

    Fast forward to 2010 and Blalock was with a former Marine friend at a gun show in Houston. It was there that he discovered Texas LawShield.

    “The people who found Texas LawShield was the law firm of Walker, Rice and Wisdom – a law firm in Houston,” Blalock said. “All three gentlemen are from the Houston area and it was found in 2009. I became a member then went to work for it six months later. I became a member because of what it cost me in legal fees 20 years ago. One of my former Marine buddies still works for the company. He introduced me to the attorneys at a gun show at the George Brown Convention Center. They explained to me what they do and how they protect us. For $10.95 a month, all of my legal defense is covered.”

    Blalock has been involved with Texas LawShield since 2010. First as a member and now as a representative.

    “The benefits are you have 24-hour access to a live attorney on an emergency hotline,” Blalock said. “When you’re in an ‘aww shucks’ moment and you’ve had to use force or deadly force, I want to know that I can contact my attorney and they’re going to be on their way to defend me. That’s the big thing. The fact that it’s so inexpensive, I don’t have to worry about going into my Dave Ramsey emergency fund, my retirement or the mortage for my house because all of my legal defense is covered because of this great program.”

    Texas LawShield is under the U.S. LawShield umbrella. Blalock also discussed some of the coverages associated with the program.

    “They offer additional coverages such as gunowner identity theft, multi-state protection and family protection,” he said. “I have my wife covered as well. I recommend this for everyone, especially now that we cover an individual for any kind of weapon. It no longer has to be a firearm. In today’s world, you see what happens. You have to defend yourself if someone attacks you. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”

    Especially when self-defense becomes a necessity.

  • THE CSI EFFECT

    M. Spoor Head Shot WorkCOURTESY PHOTO M. Spoor Head Shot

    Early in my career, I was contacted by a friend from my high school days named Anthony Zuiker. Anthony had heard I was employed by the local police and was assigned to the crime scene investigations section.

    Anthony, a high-energy guy with lofty dreams, was just beginning his writing career and working for famed producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Anthony’s wife got him interested in a forensics-based television show, The New Detectives, featured on the Discovery channel. With this inspiration, Anthony eagerly created his first television pilot script, which became the start of the CSI television drama franchise.

    So here I am, working a job few people at the time wanted to delve into because of its mundane and tedious nature, not to mention being so freely exposed to death. Anthony calls me up one evening and says, “Hey man, I respect what you do and I would like to ride along with you to see how the whole forensics thing works.”

    Thus, the CSI revolution was born. I tried to talk him out of creating a series based on crime scene investigations because of the nature of the work, but he wasn’t hearing me. Anthony rode along with me for a week, where he was exposed to the unpredictable and rousing Vegas night life. Las Vegas is an exciting city, there is always a plethora of crime and Anthony’s time with me was fruitful to say the least. Anthony has the gift of gab, so of course he developed friendships with several of my coworkers, which would later become the basis for his characters.

    A couple of months later, I get another call from Anthony asking me to meet him at a well-known Vegas watering hole for some food and football. Unbeknownst to me, it was a rouse to get me to help him finish his pilot script for CSI (Vegas). Several beers and a lot of chicken wings later, a script born. This was my indoctrination into the world of entertainment versus reality.

    The interesting part of the CSI (Vegas) franchise was all the initial characters were based on actual investigators that worked with me. Nick Stokes, played by actor George Eads, was based on myself. Gil Grissom, played by actor William Petersen, was based on Daniel Holstein Ph.D. and Catherine Willows, played by actress Marg Helgenberger, was based on Yolanda McClary, just to name a few. The rest of the story is history. Anthony was able to pitch and sell the pilot to CBS spawning multiple future spinoffs.

    For every upside, there is an equal and opposite downside. The CSI series were wildly popular and spawned a new interest in the forensic sciences. Universities and colleges offered new courses of study targeting the different disciplines and a whole new generation of scientists and investigators were born. What was once a silent job in law enforcement saw an explosion of interest and more candidates than ever were testing for limited opportunities. This exploding interest meant police departments could choose the best of the best to fill their vacancies. New training opportunities and organizations formed to help push the science into future rather than merely respond to it.

    The downsides created by such a drama series affected the expectations of the viewers. We in the forensic business like to affectionately refer to this as “The CSI Effect.” There is a difference between entertainment and reality, and forensic scientists/investigators were challenged to explain the differences when testifying in court. Jurors now had unrealistic examples of timeframes, procedures, equipment and job duties. Additional time had to be spent educating jurors on the realistic aspects and limitations of the science.

    Scripts are entertainment and without entertainment they never see the light of day. It is hard to translate forensics into a script without adding that entertainment factor which ultimately diverges away from the real expectations of forensic science. I had a fortunate opportunity to play a small part in something special and help a friend achieve great success, but I spent the rest of my career explaining the difference between reality and entertainment in court.

  • The Texas Bucket List features Pit Row Pit Stop

    pit7COURTESY PHOTO Texas Bucket List host Shane McAuliffe (left) poses with Pit Row Pit Stop owner Frankie Vinci. McAuliffe’s show will feature Vinci’s restaurant this weekend.

    Special to the Enterprise

    LIVINGSTON – Take a step back in time into this retro 50’s diner that’s known for more than their burgers and shakes, they are known for what Texas is known for, Barbeque.

    Owner and Brooklyn born Californian Frankie Vinci went from building theme parks to building a diner to smoke barbeque like a true Texan.

    “I'm a Brooklyn boy, I had no clue what a brisket is. We don't cook brisket in Brooklyn. So, I had to learn four years ago and I guess I got good at it,” said Frankie.

    Not only does Frankie care about his brisket and ribs, he cares about his community and provides religious outreach for those in prison, since it was what helped him during his time behind bars.

    So, tune in on Feb. 13-14 as host Shane McAuliffe visits a righteous man with the gift of giving and great BBQ on The Texas Bucket List. Pit Row Pit Stop in Livingston is featured alongside two other stops - Zito’s in San Antonio and The Stephen F. Austin Statue in Angleton.

    Follow this link to find a station near you! https://thetexasbucketlist.com/where-to-watch.

    pit1COURTESY PHOTO Pit Row Pit Stop in Livingston will be featured this weekend on the Texas Bucket List.

    About the Texas Bucket List

    The Texas Bucket List, telling the tales of the Lone Star State one Texan's story at a time. The award-winning TV series shares the joy, wonder, beauty and excitement of Texas.

    Each week, host Shane McAuliffe sets out to add more people, places, food and music to a list that every Texan should experience. Shane has been recognized with numerous television broadcast excellence awards including a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award, three Lone Star Emmy Awards, the Barbara Jordan Media Award, several Telly Awards, and multiple Texas Association of Press Broadcasters awards.

    He’s a native of Round Rock, and attended The University of Houston. The Texas Bucket List is produced by McAuliffe Productions, LP located in College Station.

  • Too little too late (VIDEO)

    IMG 2610BRIAN BESCH | PCE Livingston’s Jon’Toyrian McNeal scored a game-high 27 points Tuesday.

    Liberty versus Livingston Lady Lions

    By Brian Besch

    The Livingston Lady Lions suffered their second district loss in as many games Tuesday, as the Liberty Lady Panthers escaped Polk County with a 45-42 win.

    “It was rough,” Livingston coach Brittany Jefferson said. “I at least expected the girls to come out here and do what they were supposed to do. They came out and, just to be honest, they had no energy whatsoever. We wouldn't box out, we didn't get rebounds, the turnovers with the guards that I had — we were just giving the ball straight to Liberty. They just didn't do what they were supposed to do.”

    The game Tuesday was a case of too little too late. The defending district champions seemingly picked up their intensity and focus in spots, but could not sustain a high level of play. A fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.

    Leading 9-4 in the first quarter, Liberty went on a 12-3 run and eventually took a 22-19 advantage into the break at the half. The Lady Panthers came out of the locker room and put another eight points up before Livingston answered.

    “The last two minutes of the game, they wanted to pick it up and tried to pick it up, but it's too late,” Jefferson said. “You are supposed to do that at the beginning. When you are trying to do that in the last two minutes of the game and you are down by six or eight points, it's too late. You should have just picked it up at the beginning. If they would have played like they did in the last two minutes, then it probably would have been an easy win. Since they didn't do that, it just didn't happen.”

    Liberty’s Madyson Goudeau led the Lady Panthers with 15 points, Drelyn Willis had 13, and Reese Evans added eight. For Livingston, Jon’Toyrian McNeal had 27 points, Z Garner finished with eight and Natavia Davis had seven.

    Livingston is now winless in two district games, dropping the first to district favorite Hardin-Jefferson in a lopsided 103-10 blowout.

    “I would have assumed that, hopefully, we would have been 1-1 now,” the coach said. “We just have to take it as it is and, hopefully, they'll learn from it. If not, it is going to be a long, long, long season.”

    Jefferson most wants her team to be able to take care of the ball. The team had problems setting up and executing an offense because of an inability to control the basketball.

    The Lady Lions’ next opportunity to get in the district win column will be Dec. 18 on the road at Hamshire-Fannett.

    Discuss this story in the East Texas News Forum

  • Two die in head-on collision

    IMG 0962KELLI BARNES I PCE A head-on collision between a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2013 Ford Taurus on US Highway 190 east of Livingston resulted in the deaths of Michael Tobin, 55, and Christopher Hinson, 37, Tuesday morning.

    By Jason Chlapek

    A head-on collision in eastern Polk County Tuesday morning claimed the lives of two men.

    Michael Tobin, 55, of Onalaska and Christopher Hinson, 37, of Livingston were both killed in the collision that took place on US Highway 190 east of Livingston. The accident took place at approximately 6:49 a.m., which caused a delay in traffic and took 3 1/2 hours to clean up.

    A 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe was driven eastbound by Tobin in the outside lane, and a 2013 Ford Taurus driven by Hinson traveled westbound. Hinson started passing people in a no-passing zone and struck Tobin’s vehicle head-on.

    Hinson was arrested Sunday afternoon by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after they responded to a public disturbance call. He had a mental health warrant and also received a charge of resisting arrest.

    Despite having a mental health warrant, Hinson was not sent to a mental health facility after being released from the Polk County Jail Monday. According to Department of Public Safety Trooper Ashlee White, who was the lead officer on the scene of the fatality, the mental health facility wouldn’t take him “because it wasn’t an emergency matter.”

    In addition to White and other DPS troopers, the PCSO, Livingston Volunteer Fire Department and Allegiance Ambulance Service were all dispatched to the scene. The DPS is investigating the accident.

  • Vehicle fire holds highway traffic 

    20210222 135229COURTESY PHOTO Vehicle fire holds highway traffic 

    By Brian Besch

    A large vehicle fire held traffic on the county's main thoroughfare for nearly an hour Monday.

    After rear-trailer tandem brakes overheated and ignited, the tires of a tractor-trailer caught fire around 1:45 p.m. The vehicle's driver was able to unhook the trailer, as it burned on a Highway 59 overpass across from Livingston Junior High.

    "All eight tires were involved and with all the heat, it caused the trailer to buckle," Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran said. "With all the tires on fire and some of the materials inside, it took a little time to get it all knocked out."

    An engine and two tankers responded from the Livingston Fire Department. Also on the scene were Livingston Police, Department of Public Safety, the Polk County Sheriff's Department, Texas Department of Transportation and City of Livingston Public Utilities.

    The trailer was hauling polyethylene plastic polymer resin, a non-hazardous material.

    "The packaging burned and also some of the product as the heat intensified," Cochran said. "We were delayed just a couple of minutes researching what was in the truck before we made any fire control attempt. We needed to make sure it wasn't something that was water reactive. When we got those doors open, you could immediately see about a third of the way into the trailer."

    Traffic was blocked for around 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze and a small grass fire that began nearby. Officers diverted traffic into downtown and the highway's feeder road.

    Livingston also assisted the Corrigan Fire Department with nine firefighters and two trucks around 9:45 a.m. Saturday at a residence just off Highway 59.

    On Collins Street, 11 Corrigan firefighters and three engines responded to the nearby house.

    "It was pretty significant," Corrigan Fire Chief Jimmy McDonald said of the damage. "It's a total loss. It had a good jump on us before we ever got there. We were all in the truck headed to hand out some water that day to the area. The call dropped when we were all in the truck. We didn't even need an address because you could see the smoke when we pulled out of the station. It had been burning for a little bit before someone called."

    No one was at the residence at the time of the fire and no injury was reported.

    McDonald took over the Corrigan Fire Department about a year ago and has several new members. The chief said they are looking for others to join.

    "We're always looking for people," he said. "Anybody interested in joining up can come by the fire station on Monday night at 6 p.m. and pick up an application."

  • VFDs fight Indian Springs fire (GALLERY)

                                   COURTESY PHOTO

    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.

    DSC00576
    DSC00577
    DSC00579
    DSC00580
    DSC00581
    DSC00583
    DSC00575
    Previous Next Play Pause
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Virus concerns lead to declining attendance for Rotary Club

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Rotary Club of Livingston president Matt Anderson conducts business at last week’s Rotary Club meeting at the Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Matt Anderson remembers when Rotary Club of Livingston met on a weekly basis.

    He also remembers when there were 30-40 club members meeting on a weekly basis. But things have changed since Covid-19.

    The local Rotary Club has met every other Thursday since the pandemic and attendance at the meetings has declined. Many of the club members are in the 50-over age group, which is more susceptible to adverse effects from Covid.

    “The main reason for declining attendance is the health concerns related to Covid,” Anderson said. “People are a little leery to meet in large groups and to expose themselves is what the majority of our members have expressed. The majority of our members are mature and they’re the ones that are more susceptible to Covid.”

    Anderson is the president of Rotary Club of Livingston. He would like to see attendance return to the way it was prior to Covid, and an increase in membership.

    “In the past we’ve had committees and chairs that have taken care of and brainstormed different ideas for recruiting new members,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, the last 6-8 months have been kind of stopped and had a pause button placed on it. We’re more in maintaining mode right now than we are growth mode or anything else. It’s just really hard right now to get new members and do events. We want new members and welcome new members. Unfortunately, this past year we have not been able to do the events we normally do or help out with them.”

    While things are not as active as they were prior to Covid, Rotary Club is still going to perform two of its biggest service projects, albeit on a smaller scale. Anderson said manpower, not finances, are more of a reason behind this.

    “We’re still doing the Empty Stocking program to help our community, but we’re doing it on a smaller scale just for the sheer number of volunteers and community help that we have,” he said. “We need people to help us shop and to deliver. Unfortunately, right now we don’t have as many as we normally do. We have our Pancake Supper toward the end of February. We’re still planning on having that, but with a revised schedule of having a drive-thru meal option. We hope the community is still looking forward to having some Rotary Pancakes.”

    For the moment, Rotary Club meets every other Thursday at noon at the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. Anderson said things could change once the new year starts.

    “We’re doing every-other-week meetings to help people social distance,” he said. “We can go back to meeting once a week if that helps our members if that’s what our membership wants. We’re trying to do what’s best for our membership, listen to what their needs are and what they want. With the holidays approaching, lots of our members travel and visit families so it’s a little harder right now. If we decide to resume weekly meetings, it would be in January before we did that.”

  • Waitlist for Phase 1B of Covid vaccine

    Polk County OEM PSA COVID 19 Vaccine Temporary WaitlistFILE PHOTO Polk County OEM

    From the Polk County Office of Emergency Management

    On Tuesday, Polk County launched a temporary waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine for Phase 1B.

    Phase 1B includes persons who are 65 and older, or persons 16 years and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus. See the Texas Department of State Health Service’s definition of Phase 1B for more details.

    Persons who wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination may sign up on Polk County’s temporary waitlist by clicking the following link: https://arcg.is/11ePGb. Persons without internet access who do not have someone able to help them sign-up online may contact Emergency Management at (936) 327-6826.

    This temporary waitlist will be used by county staff and our partner vaccine providers to distribute the vaccine to the public for a limited time. Please note, this is a waitlist only and not a registration list.

    The Angelina County & Cities Health District (ACCHD) is preparing a more sophisticated self-registration and appointment program that we hope will be launched soon. When ACCHD launches their new program, it will be linked to our Facebook page and website so you can sign up.

    The temporary waitlist will then be discontinued.

    Please stay tuned to the Emergency Management Facebook page and website for the announcement of the ACCHD COVID-19 vaccine registration and appointment program. The OEM will also share this information with other local media outlets such as the Polk County Enterprise, PolkCountyToday.com, Piney Woods Express online newspaper, and local radio stations.

    Vaccine supplies are limited and wait times will be dependent upon vaccine availability and distribution phase. As the vaccine becomes more available, eligibility will expand.

    Again, for further updates from Emergency Management, visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PolkCountyEmergencyManagement) or our website at www.PolkCountyOEM.com.

  • White takes proposed bills to task

    Jas White 110719CHRIS EDWARDS | PCPC State Rep. James White (R-Hillister) is shown speaking before the Woodville Rotary Club in November 2019.

    By Chris Edwards

    State Representative James White (R-Hillister) recently spoke out about some bill proposals up for consideration in the next legislation.

    The 87th Texas Legislature will not gavel in until January of 2021, but state lawmakers have had the opportunity to file bills since November. White recently took three of the proposed bills to task and called them “assaults on liberty.”

    The bills in question, House Bill 238, HB 185 and HB 196, all filed by Rep. Terry Meza (D-Irving) primarily deal with firearms-related issues, and White, in a news release, said the bills are “disrespectful, immoral and unconstitutional to freedom-loving and law-abiding Texans from the Sabine to the trans-Pecos; from the Texas Panhandle to the South Texas Plain.”

    HB 238, looks to repeal the state firearms pre-emption law and allow local governments to restrict guns as they please. HB 185, seeks to mandate firearms to be stored in locked gun cases, safes or cabinets, and would make failure to do so a criminal act.

    HB 196 was filed to modify the “castle doctrine,” which gives residents the right to use deadly force to protect their “land or tangible, movable property,” according to the Texas Penal Code. The bill looks to modify the requirement that homeowners not be able to safely retreat before deploying deadly force. It also seeks to remove robbery and aggravated robbery as crimes that can be legally stopped with deadly force.

    Meza’s bill to modify “castle doctrine” has already caused a stir. She claimed on Twitter that the bill has been misrepresented in news outlets. “While theft is obviously wrong, we have laws to address that. I don’t believe that stealing someone’s lawn ornament should be an offense punishable by death” she posted in a Nov. 19 tweet.

    Gov. Greg Abbott responded to Meza’s tweet by stating that “We won’t force Texas homeowners to retreat…homeowners need to protect themselves now more than ever.”

    White said that many of his constituents have expressed concern about firearms-related legislation. “None of these bills address any concerns with mass shootings,” White said. “The put more law-abiding citizens in danger, subject them to civil litigation and criminal prosecution.”

    Although thousands of bills typically get filed during a legislative year, only a fraction of them usually make it through the state House and Senate to find their way to Abbott in order to be signed into law.

    White, who serves as chair of the corrections committee in the state legislature, and also serves as part of the redistricting and judiciary and civil jurisprudence committees, has authored or sponsored several bills in advance of the coming session.

    One bill that has White’s authorship is a property tax reform bill, HB 529, which would cap year-to-year appraisal increases at 2.5%. Currently the limit on increases is 10%.

  • Wildcats play for district lead Friday (VIDEO)

    IMG 3417BRIAN BESCH | PCE Michael Hamilton led all scores with 14 Tuesday night.

    By Brian Besch

    A stifling defense made for easy offense as Big Sandy breezed past Spurger 83-13 Tuesday. Turnovers gave the game the look of a layup drill at times, as the Wildcats led by 17 after the first quarter and 33 at the half.

    Nearly at full strength, the Wildcats were too much for Spurger. The Pirates’ best quarter was in the first, scoring five points. Meanwhile the Big Sandy attack never amassed fewer than 19 points in a period.

    “We’ve got nearly everybody back,” Wildcat coach Kevin Foster said with a bit of relief. “We went on a stretch from Thanksgiving until Dec. 28 where we constantly had two or three guys out. We've played a lot of bigger schools, so it has been tough on us. I kept telling the kids that it will prepare us for the long run, even though we are taking our lumps now.”

    The ‘Cats spread the wealth, with each of the eight players scoring at least four points. Michael Hamilton was tops amongst them with 14. Elias Bullock scored 13, Kaden Foster and Josi Celestine both had a dozen, and Adrian Thompson had 10.

    “The last few games we have really worked on getting the ball up and we go through stretches where we struggle to score,” Foster said. “We need to get into our offense quicker and really transition and fast-breaking. We have done a better job of that as of late. I feel like the one thing that we've done well for the past couple of games is defend. We’ve also rebounded well all year long.”

    Much the same as the girls, Foster believes Friday's game at West Sabine will be in an important one for his Wildcats. The two schools were projected by many to finish first and second in the district.

    “It is going to be a challenging and difficult game, but that's what makes it fun,” the coach said. “I told the kids that we will be focused these next two days in practice to get ready to play. They probably have the best individual player in the district. He has started for them since he was a freshman and is a junior now. They have some good athletes and we are looking forward to it.”

  • Wildcats win 7th straight district title

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Onalaska athlete Kierra Anstee finishes third in the District 23-3A cross country meet last week in Anderson. Anstee will participate in the Region III-3A Meet Monday in Huntsville.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ANDERSON — For the seventh year in a row, the Onalaska boys cross country team is a district champion.

    The Wildcats accomplished this feat last Thursday at the District 23-3A Meet in Anderson. Onalaska finished with 47 points, while runner-up New Waverly had 56.

    “I think individual commitment from each runner and making sure we were playing it safe, wearing our masks and maintaining social distancing helped us maintain our streak,” Onalaska coach Terri Boyce said. “We’ve also been very dedicated and we were determined to win come heck or high water. I’m very proud of them.”

    The top two teams and top 10 individuals qualified for the Region III-3A Meet on Monday at Kate Barr Ross Park in Huntsville. At the region meet, the top three teams and top 10 individual finishers not attached to a qualifying team will earn berths in the 3A state meet Nov. 23 in Round Rock.

    Leading the charge for the Wildcats last Thursday was three-time district champion William Boyce — the coach’s son. Running in chilly, windy conditions on a hilly course, Boyce finished the race with a time of 17 minutes, 37 seconds — nearly a minute faster than runner-up Hutton Edney of New Waverly (18:30).

    “This was my first goal (to win district),” Boyce said. “I ran on my own and made sure I was faster on my times. I made sure I ran faster and longer in practice. I also conditioned myself on hills because there’s a bunch of hills on this course. Over the summer, I hit the hills really hard. We have a lot of hills in Onalaska that I ran on. This is the coldest I’ve run in a district meet. I’ve run in mud and slush for district, but never something this cold. I feel like that helped with breathing.”

    Boyce also is the defending region champion and finished third in state last year. A runner-up finish in district his freshman year gave Boyce all the motivation he needed to make sure he never took home a silver medal in a district meet again.

    “In junior high, I won both years — seventh and eighth grade — so I thought I was going into it pretty good my freshman year.,” Boyce said. “That’s what it’s been since then (first place).”

    Now that the first goal is complete, Boyce is aiming for the second one — a repeat region championship. With this being his senior season, Boyce also hopes to complete the triple crown by winning gold at the state meet, and that his team will qualify as well.

    “I’ve been to state every year,” he said. “I hope we can get there again. I won region last year and finished third in state. I hope to take him gold in both regionals and state this year. I need to put my head down and put the work in. There’s a bunch of guys real close and I hope to use them to push myself to run my best.”

    Rounding out the boys scoring was Brady Neuman (fourth), Cy Turner (12th), Jason Arnold (14th) and Canyon Holley (16th). Derek Winkle (21st) and Jaykob Lowrie (25th) also participated for Onalaska.

    On the girls side, the Lady Cats were 13 points shy of returning to the region meet. New Waverly and Anderson-Shiro finished 1-2, respectively, in the team standings.

    This ended Onalaska’s streak of four consecutive district championships. However, Kierra Anstee and Emily Kirkley qualified for the region meet as they finished third and 10th, respectively.

    “We’re very young and had three freshmen running,” Terri Boyce said. “We have a really good eighth grader coming up who’s going to run next year and help us out quite a bit. She’ll bring some speed to our team. We have one senior girl — Kierra.”

    While Boyce will just have to replace one spot on the girls side, she’ll have three holes to fill on the boys side. Among those are Boyce and Neuman.

    “We have three senior boys, including my top two finishers,” Boyce said. “We’re going to be struggling a little bit next year, but I’ve got two eighth-graders who can come in next year who could easily fill those shoes.”

    Which could lead to an eighth straight title.

  • Winter Storm Warning in Polk County

    Polk County OEM PSA COVID 19 Vaccine Temporary WaitlistPolk County OEM

    From the Polk County Office of Emergency Management

    The National Weather Service in Houston/Galveston (NWS) issued a Winter Storm Warning, which is in effect from 9 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Monday for Polk County.

    Periods of freezing rain or drizzle are expected, especially tonight and Sunday, creating icy conditions. A period of moderate snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected Sunday night and Monday followed by bitterly cold conditions Monday night and Tuesday.

    Snow, ice and cold will likely pose a threat to life and property with hazardous road conditions, burst pipes and water mains, damage to infrastructure, and power outages. Temperatures are expected to drop to 26 degrees Sunday morning, 19 degrees Monday morning, and 8 degrees Tuesday morning.

    NWS is forecasting 1-2 inches of snowfall for most of Polk County, with .10 to .25 inches of ice accumulation through Tuesday morning. A decision on closing County offices will be made late Monday afternoon.

    Check your school district's websites and social media pages for school closure and virtual learning updates. Now is the time to insulate pipes, and make plans to shelter in place Sunday night through Tuesday if possible.

    Remember to protect, pets, plants, and pipes. There is a risk of hypothermia for anyone outside who is not dressed properly.

    Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Insulate pipes to keep them from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.

    Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication.

    Remember the needs of your pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights and keep electronic devices charged.

    Create an emergency supply kit that includes a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water and non-perishable food and snacks. Avoid travel if you can. To check highway conditions, log onto www.DriveTexas.org.

    TXDOT began pre-treating highways yesterday and will continue to monitor and treat TXDOT roads as needed throughout the winter weather event.

    Another winter storm is possible on Wednesday although it could bring more rain for southern areas, and an ice threat, especially in northern areas of Southeast Texas. There is uncertainty still with that storm.

  • Winter weather slams through Polk County

                                   PHOTOS BY JASON CHLAPEK AND PAM NOBLES I PCE Winter weather made driving conditions treacherous for a Toyota pickup truck and an 18-wheeler earlier this week.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Like the majority of the state of Texas, Polk County was not spared by Mother Nature this week.

    A winter storm came through most of the state Sunday night and Polk County was one of the storm’s destinations. The storm left snow on the ground, which prompted schools and some businesses to close its doors because of adverse travel conditions.

    Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy called a declaration of disaster from Sunday to Wednesday. The northern portion of the county received 4-6 inches of snow, while Livingston received 3-4 and the southern portion received 1-2.

    Temperatures did not go above freezing (37 degrees) and are not projected to until Friday when the high is supposed to be 43. Temperatures dropped to as low as 4 Tuesday morning.

    Truck 1

    As of press time, the Polk County Office of Emergency Management reported that approximately 2,600 homes were without water and 292 were without electricity. A second cold front was projected to sweep through the county Wednesday afternoon, which would make driving conditions treacherous again.

    All six county school districts – Big Sandy, Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich, Leggett, Livingston and Onalaska – either closed or performed virtual learning Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. C-CISD is closed for the remainder of the week, Goodrich is closed today and the other districts didn’t make a decision about today or Friday as of press time.

    The Polk County Office of Emergency Management can be reached at 936-327-6826, or visit the website at http://www.PolkCountyOEM.com/ . Other agencies that can be reached during winter storm emergencies are the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (936-327-6810), Department of Public Safety (936-327-6806), Livingston Police Department (936-327-3117), Onalaska Police Department (936-646-5676), Corrigan Police Department (936-398-2551) and the Alabama-Coushatta Police Department (936-563-1200).

  • Woodville native finds ‘home’ in Polk County

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Polk County game warden David Johnson speaks at Livingston Lions Club Oct. 14.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Twelve years ago today, David Johnson began his career as a game warden in Polk County.

    And he doesn’t plan on leaving either. Johnson believes he has found his stomping grounds, which he talked about when he was a guest speaker at the Livingston Lions Club on Oct. 14.

    “I started (as a game warden on) Nov. 1, 2008,” Johnson said. “I worked as a laborer in Pollok prior to becoming a game warden. Polk County was my first duty station and will probably be my last. Polk County feels like home. It feels a lot where I come from. There’s a lot of good people here. Livingston is just big enough where it’s not too big.”

    Johnson grew up in Woodville. He also described why he enjoys living in Polk County.

    “I live just north of Corrigan and I came from a small town like Corrigan (Woodville) where you know everybody and everybody knows you,” Johnson said. “There’s a small town persona where folks can lean on one another and go to one another when they need help. I like the closeness of it.”

    During his 12-year tenure, Johnson spoke about the quantity and quality of hunting resources in Polk County. Deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 7.

    “In the last 12 years, the resources have gotten better,” Johnson said. “We’ve seen a great increase in our deer population as well as the maturity and health of our animals. I think it’s a contribution to the people of our county respecting the law, doing what is asked of them and practicing good stewardship of the resources.”

    Johnson also talked about his duties as a warden. He said that although most citizens obey the laws of hunting, fishing and boating, there are a few who need a reminder or two.

    “We’ve got a broad range of activity that goes on over here,” Johnson said. “You’ll have anything from criminal trespass or possession of narcotics to boating while intoxicated. Starting around March until September, we put in quite a few hours on the water. We have an extremely large lake one here and several rivers. On average, we spend 200-300 hours a year on the water. We have a little bit of everything around here. Some of the people I’ve encountered have found interesting ways to try and hide or dispose of what they did. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to stumble across those things, and sometimes we have a little help and it’s just blind luck. Sometimes the grown adult almost acts like the elementary school kid who gets caught playing in the bathroom. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. The biggest majority of the people we deal with are good people who are out recreating and having a good time. They’re involved in sports that we regulate and they’re very respectful people. All of the bad things you hear about consist of 1 percent of the people. We have a lot of good people here and that’s why I want to be here.”

    When it comes to hunting or water activities such as boating or fishing, Johnson said there’s balanced participation and interest among them. He also thinks this season will have a little more participation with hunting because of Covid-19.

    “We have a good mixture of popularity among hunting and water seasons,” Johnson said. “Any given year, it can teeter one way or the other. On the years that they have droughts, we may get more water contacts, but that’s because of something going on. This was a benign water season. We had a few accidents, tragedies and BWIs, but we had a healthy amount of boat traffic. I expect to see more hunters because it’s an isolation sport. Boating and being around the lake is people being more in crowds.”

    And he hopes to patrol the land and waters of Polk County for another 12 years — or more.