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  • 2020-21 Hunting Season

    Scott Vaughn and grandsonCOURTESY PHOTO Scott Vaughn and grandson posing with a hog shot in Northern Tyler County October 30, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Covid-19 has had people recreating more this past year than in the last several years and with White-tailed deer muzzleloader season being over, there have been plenty of eager East Texan sportsmen wanting to show off a few bagged game animals.

    For years, newspapers have been publishing sportsmen and their game. Here recently, showcasing has been less than normal. Maybe it’s time to start showing off those game that hunters haven’t been able to brag on for some time.

    Here’s a list of a few of the harvests from East Texas, or people from the area:

    Tyler County

    1. Tina Barnes

    Tina BarnesTina Barnes - 9 point, with crossbow in Chester, TX on October 24, 2020.

    2. Dusty Sturrock

    Dusty SturrockDusty Sturrock - 9 point in Chester, TX on November 15th, 2020

    3. KimSturrock

    Kim SturrockKim Sturrock – 8 point in Chester, TX on November 8th, 2020

    4. Mark Keller

    Mark KellerMark Keller - 9 point 14.5”, spread in Colmesneil, Tx on November 27, 2020

    5. Buck Odom

    Buck Odom 2Buck Odom – Hog shot between Woodville and Chester on December 17, 2020.

    6. Nathan Vaughn

    Nathan VaughnNathan Vaughn - 8 point buck at the Diamond T Ranch in Warren, Texas on January 3, 2021.

    7. Scott Vaughn

    Scott VaughnScott Vaughn - 10 point buck in Northern Tyler County November 8, 2020.

    Polk County 

    8. Ashton Davis

    Ashton DavisAshton Davis - Doe, harvested in Texas hunters club in Soda, TX.

    9. Paul Oliver

    Paul OliverPaul Oliver - 10 Point with a 19 Inch Spread at the Texas Hunter Club in Soda, TX.

    Houston County 

     10. Hunter Burris

    Hunter BurrisHunter Burris, 9 years old from Danbury, TX holding his first deer, 7-point, on January 2, 2021 in Crockett, TX.

  • Aircraft in distress lands safely

    N1805P42006CFILE PHOTO

    There was a report of a plane in distress from Polk County. The incident was reported on the Tyler and Polk County line. The search quickly moved to the Southern Tyler County area between Warren and Buddy Lowe road. 

    Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, along with Tyler County Sheriff's Office deputies and first responders from multiple agencies searched the scene.

    Police scanner said it landed safely at an Air Force base and was identified as a helicopter.

    More to follow.

  • 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.”

  • American Pickers to film in Texas

    American Pickers 1Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe are the stars of the show “American Pickers.” They are planning to film episodes in Texas during the month of November and are looking for people with private antique collections.

    From American Pickers media relations

    Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and their team are excited to return to Texas.

    They plan to film episodes of the hit series “American Pickers” throughout the area in November. The troupe understands that with the proliferation of COVID-19, the people of this country are all facing very uncertain times.

    The staff at American Pickers is taking the pandemic very seriously and will be following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming as outlined by the state and CDC. While its plan to be in Texas in November, it will continue to reschedule if conditions change for the worse.

    Regardless, Wolfe and Fritz are excited to continue to reach the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking. “American Pickers” is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History.

    The hit show follows Wolfe and Fritz, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

    As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Wolfe and Fritz are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items.
    The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before.

    They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. “American Pickers” is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure.

    If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 855-OLD-RUST. Facebook: @GotAPick

  • Annual celebration taking place at Heritage Village

    Judith Haney Toasting Texas 2018JIM POWERS | PCPC FILE PHOTO A group of celebrants, led by Judith Haney, give their toast to Texas during the 2018 annual event at Heritage Village.

    By Chris Edwards

    Heritage Village in Woodville is gearing up for its annual event to celebrate of Texas Independence Day. It will take place on Tuesday, March 2.

    Festivities will begin at 1 p.m. out at the Village Stage, weather-permitting. Masks are required, and seating will be spaced-out, in accordance with recommended social distancing guidelines.

    Come and join Texans and honorary Texans in saluting this sacred holiday to our state. The celebration at the Village includes a toast with pure East Texas spring water.

    The event is held to coincide with the time and date in 1836 when a group gathered at Washingon-on-the-Brazos to sign a Declaration of Independence from Mexico, which set forth the creation of the Republic of Texas, an independent country for almost 10 years.

    Texas Highways magazine suggested that Texans all commemorate the event by stopping whatever they happen to be doing at 2 p.m. on March 2 to drink a toast to Texas. In 1993, historian Joe Franz, who often contributed to the magazine composed a poem to commemorate the event.

    Texas Highways, also suggested, according to Dottie Johnson’s “At the Village” column in the Feb. 23, 1994 edition of the Tyler County Booster, that those celebrating Texas Independence Day might also want to write and use an original toast, and the Heritage Society followed suit with their own toast that was used in the program.

    Students in Texas History classes from area schools also got involved in writing original toasts, as well.

     

    “Texas Toast” by Joe B. Franz 

    To Texas: 

    Joyous and Sparkling, 

    Ever green when it rains, enduring in drought, 

    Timeless, endless in boundaries, exciting, 

    Home to the adventurous of yesterday and today, 

    with shrines from the past 

    and space and spirit for the future. 

    To Texas, 

    Everlasting in the hearts of your people! 

  • Babin bill targets voter fraud (VIDEO)

    Babin ParadeCALEB FORTENBERRY | TCB File Photo - Rep. Brian Babin in the 2020 annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival Parade.

    By Chris Edwards

    WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Brian Babin (R-Woodville) introduced a bill during the first week of December to tackle voter fraud, specifically regarding ballots cast of deceased individuals.

    HR 8830 or the You Must Be Alive to Vote Act, was written by Babin and addresses allegations that have emerged in the wake of November’s general election that ballots were cast absentee from deceased voters. “The right to vote is one of the most vital pillars of our democracy,” Babin said in a news release. “The ease with which someone is able to steal the ballot of a deceased person and cast an illegitimate vote should disturb, alarm and outrage every American citizen, no matter what side of the aisle they sit on.”

    Babin summarized the bill and spoke to concerns with the issue during an interview with One America News network. He said it was “sad to say, but a necessary item we have to introduce [the bill.]”

    “We don’t have an open and transparent election process,” he said during the interview, and cited public distrust of the election process as part of the rationale for the bill, which now has eight co-sponsors in the House.

    If passed, the bill will prevent any states or counties that do not annually check their voter lists against the Social Security Administration’s most recent death records in order to purge them of deceased residents from receiving federal funds from the Department of Transportation or the Department of Education.

    In Tyler County, the office of the County Clerk regularly checks the obituaries in the Tyler County Booster to cancel voters on the rolls.

    County Clerk Donece Gregory said that every county in Texas has a different method, and in Tyler County, since she is also the voter registrar, whenever someone dies in the county, her office is sent an abstract of the death so there is documentation on file in order to cancel that voter. Gregory said the same thing happens in other counties, whenever a Tyler County resident dies outside the county.

    “If someone dies in the hospital in Beaumont, for example, on a monthly basis, Jefferson County will send an abstract of that death to us,” Gregory said.

    As far as any deceased persons’ ballots being cast in Tyler County, Gregory said it has never happened that she was aware of. There have been, however, voters who have died after their ballots were cast, and those ballots were counted, as the voters were alive when they voted.

    Ultimately, with deceased persons, Gregory said as long as her office has some type of documentation, they will be able to cancel them.

    If Babin’s bill becomes law, the penalized counties or states found to be in violation, would be barred from receiving funds from the aforementioned agencies, but Babin said they would not be stopped from law enforcement-related funding at the federal level.

    “All elected officials, from your local city council member to your U.S. President, have an obligation to obey the law and prevent fraud in our elections, and Congress should not be awarding taxpayer dollars to any counties or states that refuse to do the job they swore to do,” Babin said.

    Babin said during the OAN interview that there are claims of dead people being registered to vote in South Florida being investigated. Similar claims have emerged in other parts of the country since Election Day. The claim has been made in past presidential elections, as well.

    “We better get this right or the consequences to our free, democratic republic will be dire,” Babin said.

    Video of Rep. Babin Explaining HR 8830 on Fox News

  • Bulldogs chomp Warriors, 28-14

    PSX 20201030 233925PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO A Corrigan-Camden wide receiver hauls in a pass as a Warren defender hangs on for dear life to try and bring him down Friday night.

    By Albert Trevino

    The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs defeated the Warren Warriors 28-14 on Friday.

    It was the first district win for new head coach Brett Ratliff, who finally witnessed real-game progress under his offensive system.

    "We have gotten better every week. I think we are finding weaknesses in different defenses. Sometimes, we have to run a little more or throw. Since we can play multiple, we are able to exploit those things." said Ratliff after the game.

    The Bulldog defense had another strong performance, making crucial third- and fourth-down stops throughout the game.

    "We definitely played a full team game tonight. When our offense stumbled, getting inside the red zone and not putting one in, our defense picked us up." Ratliff said.

    It was also a breakout game for Bulldog sophomore quarterback Christian Hood, who ran for three of Corrigan's four touchdowns.

    "[Hood] is a great athlete and has a heart on him." said Ratliff. "He never gets rattled and plays even keeled like a quarterback should. But he also plays physical like a running back."

    The Warriors scored first with an early touchdown by senior running back Kevin Kirk.

    Corrigan responded with Hood scoring his first rushing touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

    A turnover on downs by Warren in the second quarter gave the Bulldog offense a short field and a chance to take the lead. Hood finished that drive with 11-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 at halftime.

    The Bulldogs stretched their lead in the third quarter, as sophomore running back Anthony Harrell broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run. That score gave Corrigan a 21-7 lead going into the fourth.

    Warren's offense would keep fighting, with help from a personal foul call that kept a late possession alive. The penalty was immediately followed by a 43-yard touchdown run by Warrior sophomore back Jeremy Smith to make it a one-score game.

    Corrigan answered on its next possession, with Hood scoring his third rushing touchdown to help seal the win.

    Corrigan's final game of the season will be this Friday at home against the Newton Eagles.

  • Buying a drone can cost more than one might think

    IMG 2242CALEB FORTENBERRY | TCB File photo of Tyler County Booster reporter, Caleb Fortenberry, flying a Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) while on a video production job in Conroe, Texas in March, 2020.

    By Caleb Fortenberry

    Every Christmas the Booster receives letters to Santa from children in the Tyler County region. This year a surprising number of children wished for drones.

    Parents should consider the amount of laws to be followed before the drone can be launched into the air.

    Before a recreational flyer can actually launch their drone, they must register it through the (Federal Aviation Administration) FAA. Not only do you have to pay for the registry, you must display the registration number on the drone and keep the proof of registration on your person while flying.

    Now, the exception is weight. If the drone weighs less than 0.55 lbs (250 grams) then there is no need for registry. Still, those drones are few and far between.

    weight applicibility FILE PHOTO Courtesy of the FAA website.

    There are several penalties not only on the federal level, but also through the state to be aware of. According to CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT of GOVERNMENT CODE, TITLE 4. EXECUTIVE BRANCH, if you take photos or video someone else’s property with intent to conduct surveillance, you can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. If any image or video is kept, distributed, or displayed it is also a Class C misdemeanor and each image is a separate offense.

    But that’s not all, the property owner of the photos taken can enjoin a violation or imnent violation of $5,000 for the capturing of images and $10,000 for displaying, distribution, or use of the images.

    So, a child’s $40 drone that a parent buys for Christmas could ultimately lead to larger costs. Those are just charges through the state. The FAA is constantly tracking down on violations made. And each violation fine gets worse with less laws followed.

    If your child is older and the goal is to get into a photography business, do your research. There are far more laws and requirements and fees to face. You may live in an area where the airspace restricts drone flights. That could be problematic for finding a place to fly recreationally.

    You can own and operate a drone legally, but there are many repercussions that parents can face from the ignorance of a child. Be smart this Christmas, plan ahead, follow the law, and if you do get your child a drone, supervise the flights.

    You can read more about Texas drone laws at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/GV/htm/GV.423.htm and federal regulations at https://www.faa.gov/uas/recreational_fliers/

  • Colmesneil council accepts Davis resignation

    Colmesneil City HallPHOTO BY WENDY BENDY Colmesneil City Hall

    By Mollie LaSalle

    TYLER COUNTY – The Colmesneil City Council met for its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, with Mayor Don Baird announcing the resignation of council member Kenneth Davis.

    Davis’s resignation was effective on Sept. 10, when he notified Baird through a letter. Davis was arrested in August and charged with a felony sexual abuse charge following an investigation out of Trinity County. His resignation was accepted unanimously.

    Councilmembers held a round table discussion about a possible replacement for Davis. While many names were suggested, as of press time, no one person being considered has met the criteria for the open seat.

    All councilmembers agreed that further discussion is warranted, with members stressing the need for “some younger folks” at city hall.

    Councilmembers discussed the basketball goal on the corner of Hickory and Sutton streets once again. Baird said people have been called City Hall with complaints about it.

    The resident who owns the goal was asked on more than one occasion to remove it from its current location, which is deemed dangerous, as children are playing in or near the street at all hours.

    When the basketball goal was first installed about two to three months ago, the city contacted Texas Municipal League Attorneys about the question of liability in the event someone gets hurt. TML has stated from the beginning that the city will not be held liable for any injuries. Furthermore, the city cannot move it, and Duane Crews added that “there ought to be some way to legally move it”.

    This had been on ongoing discussion/problem for at least the last two months, with council coming up with no real solution. Continuing discussion/monitoring of the problem is the only recourse at the present time.

    Fall festival planned

    City Secretary Wendy Bendy reminded council members about the Fall Festival on October 28 at First Baptist Church. The Community Center will be opened to serve chili cheese nachos for attendees. Hayrides and other activities are planned for the event.

    Bendy also announced that as of Sept. 14, City Hall is once again open to the public, and the check-free bill pay service is operational also.

    She advised that the CD’s at Citizens Bank have all matured, except for one. Bendy also reported during the water and sewer report that there were seven leaks, one sewer tap, two meter taps, three meters turned on and three meters turned off. She also reported that water lines on Steel Grove Road are being continuously broken by logging trucks. This issue is at a stalemate for now.

    The first reading of the fiscal year 2021 city budget was tabled, pending further discussion/review, as was the matter of the basketball goal.

  • Colmesneil suspends in-person learning

    Remote Learning graphicFILE PHOTO Remote Learning graphic

    By Chris Edwards

    COLMESNEIL – As of Monday, Colmesneil ISD will forgo all in-person learning until Jan. 5 of 2021.

    The announcement was issued on Friday by Superintendent Eldon Franco, who cited potential exposures to COVID-19 since Thanksgiving break. “The cases on campus have been very minimal and have not affected large numbers. Regardless, the process that we must follow, as dictated by state and local governments, creates a great deal of worry and stress for those both directly and indirectly involved,” Franco wrote in a letter addressed to parents and community members on Friday, Dec. 11.

    Franco said that the number of cases has surged in the community, and attributed it to outside sources, and that it was expected to occur due to holiday gatherings.

    At present, the COVID numbers, countywide, include 49 active residents who have tested positive from the PCR testing and 86 active tests from the rapid, or quick testing.

    In going to the remote mode of learning, all CISD students will still be expected to participate in remote learning for the remainder of the semester by using district-provided or personal devices to access instruction.

    Students are also expected to check-in with teachers each day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m, and breakfast and lunch will continue to be provided by the CISD cafeteria for pick-up from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

    “Our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy and continue the educational process,” Franco said.

    With the announcement that CISD will suspend its in-person learning, Colmesneil eatery The Rustic Grill announced that it will offer its facility and Wi-Fi capabilities to anyone in need. “We would like to help out. If you don’t have Wi-Fi at home to do virtual school please don’t hesitate to come here and do your work,” a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page stated.

    The Rustic Grill is typically closed on Mondays but will open its doors for anyone who needs to access the restaurant’s Wi-Fi to do schoolwork.

  • Festival to benefit special needs camp this weekend

    Shinyribs102220PHOTO COURTESY OF SHINYRIBS.ORG Kevin Russell of the popular Austin-based roots rockers Shinyribs will headline the annual Hogs and Strings event.

    By Chris Edwards

    TYLER COUNTY –This Saturday will provide area residents starved of entertainment and fun as of late (no thanks to COVID) a chance to have just those two things.

    The third annual Hogs and Strings cook-off and music festival is scheduled for this Saturday at the Indian Springs Camp, located near Kountze. The festival will feature a variety of sounds from some of the most popular musical acts across the state, and some from the region, as well as a barbecue cook-off.

    The gates will open at 10:30 a.m., and the price of admission for the event is $10 at the gate. Each ticket, according to the event website, enters the holder into a raffle with five chances to win some great prizes.

    The Indian Springs Campground is home to a special-needs camp, which allows children, wounded veterans and their families the chance to get back to nature through events such as hunting, camping and fishing.

    The origins of the came go back to 1985, when a dream was hatched to build a camp where inner city and underprivileged children could go and enjoy nature, according to the website, and it was built in 1987. In 1998, it was expanded to include programs for disabled children and veterans, and along with the help of Texas Parks and Wildlife, the camp began offering a hunting program.The event features a hog cook-off, and food sampler tickets will be available for festival goers.The music lineup features a variety of acts guaranteed to appeal to lovers of great tunes.

    Legendary singer/songwriter Walt Wilkins, who has blazed a path as an influential solo artist through the years, and led the band the Mystequeros, will perform.The popular roots rockers Shinyribs, led by Kevin Russell, will headline the event. Shinyribs’ fusion of cosmic American roots music has endeared them to audiences across the state, and beyond, and their energetic stage show is always a treat for listeners of all ages.The music schedule will also include a group of singer-songwriters playing in the round to kick off the entertainment at 11 a.m., and consists of Courtney Mock, Pug Johnson, Southpaw Smitty and David Pool. Regional favorite and guitar guru Tim Burge will also perform.

    The camp is located at 6106 Holland Cemetery Road in Kountze. Indian Springs Camp is a 501 c/3 non-profit organization, and all proceeds raised from the event will go toward the outreach the camp offers.

  • Flannery presented with TEA award

    Payton Flannery 111920CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Woodville High School senior Payton Flannery (left) was presented with the Student Hero citation from the Texas Education Agency. Matt Robinson from TEA (right) presented her with the award. It recognizes students in pre-kindergarten through high school who do outstanding volunteer service. One student from each of the 15 State Board of Education districts is recognized with the award. Flannery started a group at WHS called Eagles for Christ. Flannery is involved in a variety of other clubs and activities, including the WHS Interact chapter and Future Farmers of America.

  • Former Tyler County Sheriff Jessie Wolf dies

    Jesse Wolf 1Wolf when he served as Tyler County Sheriff. PHOTO COURTESY OF KENDALL COLEMAN

     
    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Former Tyler County Sheriff Jessie Wolf died on Monday at the age of 68. Wolf was a long-time lawman in the county and served one term as sheriff. He died of natural causes.

    In a profile of Wolf written by the late scholar and community leader Mayme Canada Brown, and published in the Sept. 25, 2014 edition of the Booster, Wolf was described as a stand-out athlete during his high school days at Warren ISD.

    Wolf was, according to Brown’s story, one of the “new generation in the time of total integration,” in 1968, and following his graduation in 1970, he and his twin brother James were scouted by Prairie View A&M University and accepted to the program in 1972.

    Wolf was a collegiate star athlete, as well, and was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2014. In addition to being a football star, Wolf also earned a collegiate letter in the university’s track and field division.

    Following his graduation from college in 1976, he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. He also played for the Birmingham Americans and the Canadian team the Stamp Platers.

    After his semi-pro and professional football career ended, he returned to Tyler County, and worked in law enforcement. He eventually worked his way up to Chief Deputy under the late former Sheriff Gary Hennigan.

    jesse wolf 2Jessie Wolf in the ‘70s as a Prairie View A&M football star. BOOSTER FILE PHOTO

    In 2004, when Hennigan retired due to declining health, Wolf became acting sheriff, and was later elected to the position. He took office in 2005 and served one term.

    Wolf, according to Brown’s piece, made history as the first Black sheriff in the county’s history. When he retired from his law enforcement career, aside from being a highly respected member of the law enforcement community, he was a shining example, as Brown wrote, of someone who had the courage and willingness to move forward in life.

    A public celebration of Wolf’s life is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Eagle Summit on the campus of Woodville High School, which will be prefaced by a public viewing starting at 9 a.m. The services for Wolf are being handled by Kendall Coleman and Coleman’s Family Mortuary of Woodville.

  • Help available for small businesses

    1 SBDCCHRIS EDWARDS | ETN Woodville businesswoman Tammy Rucks, of Tammy’s Pizza and Party Palace, chats with Christina Cole, of the Angelina College Small Business Development Center, at an open house event in Woodville hosted by the SBDC and the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce.

    BY CHRIS EDWARDS

    WOODVILLE – On Thursday evening, the Angelina College Small Business Development Center, in conjunction with the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce, hosted an open house event, at the Nutrition Center in Woodville. The event was a networking opportunity to showcase the variety of services the SBDC has to offer for small businesses, as well as non-profit organizations.

    According to Dianne Amerine, director of the center, funding from the CARES Act allowed the SBDC to hire three independent contractors to assist its regular staff and to help conduct events such as Thursday’s open house.

    Amerine said the SBDC and the Chamber both agreed the event would be a good method for local businesspeople to network and learn about the services that are available. “We decided this would be a good opportunity to get the word out,” she said.

    The consultation services available to businesses are free and confidential and range from creating comprehensive plans to assistance with debt restructuring, financial analysis, as well as marketing. According to a one-sheet provided to attendees of the event, the college’s SBDC, which is under the Texas Gulf Coast Network of Small Business Development Centers, the advisers working to help businesspeople through Angelina College’s center have more than 100 years of practical business experience to assist local entrepreneurs.

    “If a business was impacted by COVID, the SBDC can help them,” Amerine said.

    Anyone who is interested in seeing what the SBDC can do for them can contact the center by phone at 936-633-5400 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • 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.

  • Jasper man indicted on child rape charges

    MUGSHOT Anibal VillasanaAnibal Mauricio Villasana Courtesy of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department

    WOODVILLE –  A Tyler County grand jury handed down an indictment to a Jasper man on child rape charges.

    Anibal Mauricio Villasana, a 61-year-old Jasper resident, was indicted by the jury on two counts of Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact. Villasana’s indictment came after an investigation regarding incidents alleged to have occurred in Tyler County. The information was submitted by Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin and his staff following the investigation.

    Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that the Texas Rangers worked on the case.

    Villasana, according to a news release, has worked for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department for more than 20 years. He has worked in various capacities within that county’s jail, including as head of kitchen staff, head of maintenance and jailer.

    A statement made by Jasper County Chief Deputy Scotty Duncan to Jasper-based radio station KJAS affirmed that Villasana had been places on leave with pay, pending the case’s outcome.

    Villasana reportedly turned himself in to the Tyler County Justice Center on Tuesday morning, and was released after making arrangements to post his bail, which was pre-set at $100,000, or $50,000 per charge.

    The charges handed down to Villasana are a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 per charge, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.

  • Judge Blanchette fights COVID

    Blanchette 2CALEB FORTENBERRY | TCB File photo - Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette swearing in Warren ISD board members in November, 2020.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette found himself among the 13 million Americans who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus this year.

    Blanchette received a positive result from a COVID-19 test administered on Friday, Nov. 28. He said he had begun feeling ill the day before Thanksgiving, and by Friday was very sick. He is currently staying confined at home. His wife, Leeza, had also fallen ill with the virus and is recuperating.

    An update from the Tyler County Emergency Management Facebook page noted Blanchette’s announcement and that he appreciates the prayers and support from the public in his recovery.

    As the pandemic has experienced a nationwide surge in the past month, the likelihood of infection has increased, and anyone is fair game for the virus.

    Several other elected officials in the area have tested positive for the coronavirus. According to a recent story from KJAS out of Jasper, the Jasper ISD School Board President Mark Durand and the county’s Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Raymond Hopson were both diagnosed with the virus last week.

    Hopson was elected to fill the seat held by Judge Jimmy Miller who died from coronavirus complications during the summer.

    In Tyler County, the total number of confirmed cases has surpassed 300, and at press time is at 320. This number represents the total number of positive cases in the county since reporting began in late March with the first confirmed case.

    Two recent deaths were also reported as COVID-related. Last week, Ruby Moore, of Warren, died from complications, and the week prior, Ethel McGough’s passing was linked to the virus.

    Those two deaths brings the COVID death count to nine in the county.

    In other COVID news, the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe recently addressed the methodology for reporting the county’s number of cases and added reportage for the number of quick tests administered. Jobe said those cases are not listed by public health as active, but they are tracked, investigated and logged in the system as “probables.”

    In addressing questions about the seeming lapse in reporting cases, Jobe said “The public health numbers and my numbers don’t always match,” which he attributed to a timing issue.

    Additionally, the numbers from public health sources use the test date as the starting date for active cases, and then county 10 days and remove from active if they do not receive the result, Jobe said. Those cases are posted to the recovered category. “Several counties where we have residents go test are slow to get results to our public health group,” he said.

  • Life lessons learned from a tiny, orange kitty

    Tiny Kitten This is Tiny Kitten, and he’s a joy to be around.

    By Chris Edwards

    For those of you who are loyal readers of the scrawlings I spin here on this site (all three of you) there may be a few things you may have learned or will learn about me in our time together.

    For instance, you might become aware of the facts that I like dour old Southern writers, the great old bluesmen, really great Texas barbecue (cooked the tried-n-true old-fashioned way) and a lot of other really old, but really cool, stuff.

    You also might be aware that I really enjoy the fellowship and comfort of our animal friends, especially cats and particularly orange cats.

    A lot of people go on and on about their “soulmates.” Some youngsters have a succession of “soulmates.” Not sure how that works, but I somewhat believe in the concept as a whole, however I don’t think it has to be limited to a fellow human. My soulmate was a shockingly bright (both in fur color and in regard to intelligence) orange cat named Orangey Tangerine Garfina, and the one-year anniversary of her passing is rapidly approaching.

    I’ve known a great many folks in my existence, but nobody “got” me like Orangey did. I’m not sure if she was my sidekick or if I was hers.

    Last summer before she passed on to the great treat-gobbling parlor in the sky, I’m convinced that she, along with the Lord above, sent an unexpected blessing into my life in the form of a tiny orange kitten.

    The kitten showed up at the house before Orangey peacefully passed, but it would take a little while before I was able to put my hands on it. My mother, who is as big of a friend to wayward felines (if not moreso) as me, diligently worked to catch the scared little fella. Before long, we were able to provide some human comfort to him, and a proper name of Ziggy Sunkist Stardust, in honor of the late, great David Bowie. However, it soon became apparent that his nickname of “Tiny Kitten” would likely be a lifelong term of endearment.

    It has been more than a year since I was first able to pet and hold the tiny orange one, and although he’s now “husky,” in the words of his veterinarian, it’s still so much fun to call him Tiny Kitten, so much so that he doesn’t even look whenever I call him Ziggy.

    One thing that those who have known orange cats have discovered, without fail, is that those orangies have enormous personalities. Although Tiny/Ziggy’s sweet orange godmother had enough personality for 10 cats, the little one is no slouch in that department. He’s a lot shyer than she was, and not nearly as vocal, but his playful, sweet ways never fail to make me smile on a daily basis.

    To say this has been a weird year for all of us would be like saying President William Howard Taft was a wee bit chubby or that Shane MacGowan enjoys a drink now and again.

    Uncertainty has wrapped its ugly arms around most of the populace, and although the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as outbreaks of unrest on our soil can be terrifying and upsetting, none of us really knows much about anything, in a universal sense.

    The mighty Nacogdoches metallurgists the Beef Masters put it best in one of their songs, “Blurry,” which contains the lyric “Everything you see and everything you feel might be gone in a moment’s notice.” It’s a sobering and saddening thought, but so true.

    Be that as it may, that little orange feline has made all of the existential angst easier to bear in my world. Not only has

    he been there for me through this year of extreme uncertainty, but he has also seen me through the deaths of a couple of friends. He’s been, to say the least, a joy to be around, and every day, his cheerful demeanor is always a bright spot in my daily existence.

    Tiny Kitten is in no way a replacement for my sweet Orangey girl, but the circumstances of his coming into my life has made me realize there is a lot of truth in that ages-old maxim about good/great things happening when one least expects it.

    There are other lessons I’ve learned from the (now not-so-tiny, but still fun-to-say) Tiny Kitten, and I’m certainly glad I get to be one of his humans.

    In watching little orange man’s day-to-day doings, it’s easy to take away how important grooming and hygiene is, and not just in this age of sanitizing everything due to the virus. Tiny Kitten could spend hours licking himself.

    Also, Tiny Kitten believes in rest. That little feline fellow could sleep 80% of the day away, but he’s still a growing kitten. The body needs rest when tired, so be sure and replenish your sleep after those long days.

    Apart from healthy habits Tiny Kitten demonstrates, he also imparts that it’s important to be yourself. Tiny Kitten has a nifty personality and a unique outlook – and so do you, gentle reader – so don’t be afraid to be yourself.

    Last, but not least, it’s alright to indulge here and there in that snack that probably isn’t the best thing for you, if it brings you joy. Tiny Kitten loves eating his treats (after he bats them around with his little orange paws) and seeing how happy that makes him makes me not feel so bad about late night runs to grab a pint of Blue Bell Cookie Two Step, which I typically eat in one sitting. Note: I limit my ice cream habit to a pint at a time. Eating an entire half-gallon of Blue Bell would just be excessive.

    If Tiny Kitten could talk, he would probably look at me, with that still kitten-y face and those big eyes, and say “Don’t sweat the small stuff, human. In the long run, it’s all small stuff.”

  • Longtime Tyler Countian to turn 100

    3 Old Photo FranFran with her baton and her brother with his trumpet during high school days.

    By Chris Edwards

    Each trip around the sun is a cause for celebration, but for those who hit the century mark, that achievement is definitely worthy of a big celebration.

    Centenarians are becoming more common nowadays, with all of the advances in healthcare and nutrition available. According to the most recent numbers from the Census Bureau, there are around 97,000 centenarians in the United States, and nearly 573,000 around the world.

    Yet, still, many of those who reach 100 years young are not without some complications. Longtime Colmesneil resident Frances Ellen “Fran” Wyche is the exception. Wyche, who recently moved to Zavalla, to live with her son on his small farm, still finds a great deal to enjoy from life and activities to keep her mind, body and spirit young and free.

    Wyche will celebrate her 100th year on Monday, Jan. 18, and according to her younger sister Mary Ann Kittell, of Colmesneil, she has kept busy all of her life.

    Wyche was the first-born child of Herman Walton and Ila Lee. Her father, a WWI combat veteran, had started his family in Detroit, where he had returned after the war to re-settle into his old job as City Electrical Engineer.

    4 young Fran 011420A young Fran Wyche.

    Her father was always encouraging of her pursuits growing up, and chief among them was twirling. According to Kittell, their father managed to find the best twirling teachers and even fashioned her batons in his metal shop, perfecting balance and innovation.

    Wyche was also the first to use a fire baton, which features materials at each end with a chemical mix to ignite blue, yellow, green and red at the right moment.

    She spent her childhood growing up in the Beaumont area, and became the state baton-twirling champion in 1939. Later, she won the national title. Her little brother Tommy was no slouch as a twirler, himself, and took the second-place honors toward the state title in 1939.

    Kittell, who is nearly 89, herself, remembered when she and her sister, their parents and other siblings moved to Texas. She recalls it like it was yesterday. “There was no electricity out there in, and it was a shell road. We lived off the old Highway 90 in Amelia,” she said.

    Wyche’s talents and lust for life and adventure took her far outside Southeast Texas. After years of ballet and tap dancing, she came home from Baylor to perform in shows that promoted the sale of war bonds and other benefits at the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II.

    She married her high school sweetheart, who was a U.S Air Corps pilot, and traveled around the country, as well as into Okinawa, Japan and through China, and beyond. After spending time in Beaumont and Houston, and raising her son, Robin, and surviving two husbands, she worked a variety of jobs, including a stint as a receptionist at NASA. She also managed her brother’s restaurant in Colorado for a time, and later returned home to be with her aging mother and to help her sister at the BBB with public relations and memberships for a decade.

    When she moved to Tyler County in 1974, she joined the Round Dance club at the Opera House and helped out as a hostess at the Friday night dinner dances and for many other occasions, her sister noted.

    2 Drum Major FranFran as a drum major in high school. Her talent for performing took her far when she was young.

    Last year, Wyche moved from her home on Frog Pond in Colmesneil to Zavalla, where she enjoys being around the animals on her son’s farm. “She’s always loved horses,” said Kittell.
    Kittell said Wyche still enjoys her half-mile walks each day and enjoys visiting with neighbors and gardening. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are frequent visitors, and although her eyesight is dimming, her mind is still sharp, and she enjoys reading and watching television, and good conversation.

    She also still looks much, much younger than her years. Kittell joked that she could still pass for her little sister. “She was my baby sister until she turned 90,” Kittell said with a laugh.
    Although the pandemic has curbed most celebrations, Kittell has put forth a challenge to Booster readers to surprise her sister with cards to commemorate her milestone.

    1 Fran Wyche Recent 011421A recent photo of Fran Wyche

    Anyone who would like to wish this remarkable lady a happy birthday can send a card by way of the Tyler County Booster. Just send them to Frances Ellen Wyche c/o 205 West Bluff, Woodville, Texas 75979.

    NOTE: All photos are provided courtesy of Mary Ann Kittell

  • Meth dealer receives 20-year sentence

    RobertHolcombMug102920MUGSHOT: Robert L. Holcomb, Jr. Courtesy of the TYLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – After a long hiatus from jury trials due to the pandemic, Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin is back in action.

    On Monday, Babin and first assistant DA Pat “Hawk” Hardy successfully brought a conviction for the state in the case of Texas v. Robert Lloyd Holcomb, Jr. District Judge Earl Stover handed Holcomb a sentence of 20 years in state jail on the charge of Possession of Meth with Intent to Deliver.

    “I appreciate Judge Stover for his attentiveness to the evidence and his sense of justice,” Babin said.

    During the trial, Holcomb took the stand and testified that he was only a meth user and not a dealer. He also attempted to explain why he was carrying digital scales, a loaded short-barrel shotgun, $800 in cash and close to an ounce of meth when he was arrested.

    Babin and Hardy’s evidence proved that Holcomb was a dealer, and one witness testified before the jury that he had purchased meth from Holcomb at least 10 times.

    After Holcomb was sentenced, Babin said “The message is that selling meth in Tyler County has consequences.”

    Babin gave thanks to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and his deputies’ efforts in apprehending Holcomb.

    “Without their efforts, this offender would still be on the streets endangering our law-abiding citizens,” he said.

    Holcomb is one of several convicted methamphetamine traffickers who have been tried in Tyler County and received stiff sentences. Following a full year of jury trials in 2019, Babin and his office have had to take most of this year off from the courtroom due to COVID-19.

    “I’m glad to be back in the courtroom,” he said. “In addition to this case, we resolved several dozen other felonies last week and will be resolving more cases next month.”

    Babin added that last year between the months of March and September there were hundreds of jury trials performed, statewide, but that number has been “barely 20” this year.

    “I’m ready to get our justice system moving again, and I know other DAs across the state feel the same.”

    Holcomb will be confined in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility.