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Polk County News

Homicide suspects in custody

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Chatman CormierFrom Enterprise Staff

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received confirmation Monday from the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force that Lynnie Chatman, 40, and Brooke Ashley Cormier, 22, were found in Liberty County and taken into custody without incident.

Chatman and Cormier were wanted in conjunction with the death of Leonard Eral Chatman, 64, who was found in the front yard of a home in the 14000 block of FM 350 North in Livingston at approximately 1 p.m. on Nov. 18. Sheriff’s deputies and detectives, along with assistance from the Texas Rangers, arrived at the scene and began an investigation.

The deceased’s son was already wanted on four unrelated felony warrants and was being sought by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for questioning. As the investigation into the Livingston man’s death continued, sheriff’s deputies learned of an additional suspect, Cormier, the younger Chatman’s girlfriend, who was also wanted on two unrelated felony warrants, as well as for questioning regarding the investigation.

“The Polk County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all that were involved in locating both subjects,” Captain David Sottosanti said.   











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Become a Texas Treasure if business is 50 or older

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texas treasureBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Polk County Publishing Company is making plans to lead the charge to bring recognition to businesses in its five-county region who qualify for the Texas Treasure business award, a special designation presented by the Texas Historical Commission.

The Texas Treasure Business Award Program recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years. Created in 2005 by Senate Bill 920, authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio and sponsored by Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson of Waco, the program pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions toward the state’s economic growth and prosperity.

Businesses that can also establish that they have been continuously owned by the same family or have operated continuously from a building that is at least 50 years old and have maintained its architectural integrity will receive additional recognition.

“Think about businesses that have been going strong for 50 years or more in our communities. There is value in longevity. Businesses that have survived the past 50 years or more should be recognized, celebrated and supported. All five of our newspapers qualify and I am turning in our applications for the honor of being called a Texas Treasure for having been in business for over 50 years,” Publisher Kelli Barnes said.

“We would like you to join us in becoming registered with the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure business award program. Registering is easy and can be done with little effort. If your business or a business you know in the county fits into this category, a registration form can be found at https://www.thc.texas.gov/public/upload/ttba_nmntn_frm_09_19.pdf,” Barnes said.

“This will culminate in a large gathering with dignitaries coming to the county for one big presentation and photo opportunity. Please contact the newspaper so we can help and/or coordinate a day our state representative and a representative from the Texas Historical Commission can come to our county for a group photo of all qualifying businesses receiving the award. The group photo will become a part of history we can celebrate and record in the pages of this newspaper,” Barnes said.

According to the Texas Historical Commission’s website, businesses may nominate themselves, although business owners are encouraged to reach out to their local County Historical Commission to notify them of the pending nomination. In most cases, County Historical Commissions are a helpful resource when it comes to identifying and/or locating supporting documentation to verify the business’ age. In all cases, the nominator must have explicit authorization from the business owner to submit on their behalf. 

To be considered for this award, businesses must meet the following criteria:

Have been in continuous for-profit operation in Texas for at least 50 years;

Continue to operate the same or a very similar type of business as it did at least 50 years ago;

Have a continuous record of employment for at least the past 50 years;

Continue to operate as an independent, for-profit business (i.e., it cannot be operating as a subsidiary of or have been absorbed into another business); and

Maintain a good business relationship with the state.

The nomination form asks for the following: the name of the business, the name and contact information of the person nominating the business, the owner/president/CEO of the business, type of business and date founded.

Additionally, a brief narrative history (one to two pages maximum) of the founding and operation of the business is required, including:

When, where, and by whom the business was established;

Explanation of periods during which the business ceased operations (if applicable);

Whether the type of business conducted, the ownership/management, or business location have changed over time;

If it is a family-owned business, include information showing how long the family has owned the business; and

If the business has operated in a historic building, include information showing how long the business has been located in this building as well as a historic photograph and a current photograph of the building.

Additional supportive materials to be provided by the business include one of the following to verify the business founding date: real estate records/deeds, business charters, ledger pages, newspaper advertisements, board meeting minutes, invoices, bills or checks, state licenses, flyers, city directory listings or tax records. Additional brochures or information that clarifies the items above are welcome.

Email submissions are accepted by emailing the nomination form, a copy of the business narrative and scans of any supporting documentation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The nomination materials may be mailed to: Texas Historical Commission, Attn: Texas Treasure Business Award, P.O. Box 12276, Austin, Texas 78711.

For more information about the Texas Treasure Business Award program, visit the Texas Historical Commission website at www.thc.texas.gov or contact Mallory Laurel, Heritage Tourism Program Specialist, at 512.463.3893 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Livingston man charged with murder

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Shooting GraphicFrom Enterprise Staff

Drew Dylan Ponkonin, 22 of Livingston, was arrested and charged with murder in conjunction with a disturbance that occurred at the Pine Hill Apartments at 12:29 a.m. Saturday.

The Livingston Police Department received a 911 call of a disturbance with shots fired and at least one subject possibly injured in the parking lot of the apartment complex located at 1025 West Church Street in Livingston.

Livingston police officers, Polk County sheriff’s deputies and EMTs responded to the scene and upon arrival, found two deceased black males in a vehicle in the parking lot and detained a white male also found at the scene, according to Livingston Police Chief Matt Parrish.

Additional units from the police department were called to assist in the investigation along with the Texas Rangers. Polk County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jamie Richardson responded and performed the inquest, ordering autopsies be performed by the Harris County Medical Examiner.

“This investigation is ongoing and officers are continuing to interview witnesses and process evidence. We ask that anyone with information on this incident please contact the Livingston Police Department,” Parrish said. 

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A mission of training

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Healthcare  professionals speak to DETCOG

Shontel MinorBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Shontel Minor, Director of Texas Area Health Education Center (AHEC) East Piney Woods Region, and Dr. Courtney West, Associate Dean of Educational Affairs for Sam Houston State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, gave informative presentations during the luncheon prior to the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments Tuesday at the Polk County Commerce Center. Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran, Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy and Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Chairwoman Nita Battise welcomed members and guests.

“Texas AHEC East is devoted to improving the supply, distribution, retention and training of varied health professionals in medically underserved and rural communities,” Minor said. “We link 100 East Texas counties and over 18 million people to community health workforce development, health opportunities and resources provided by eight regional centers which are uniquely positioned within the community and are hosted by local community institutions or are non-profit organizations.

“Our mission is to make our communities healthier through healthcare workforce development strategies that support the training and retention of health professionals in medically underserved and rural communities,” Minor said.

“Some of the programs offered are health careers promotion and preparation in which ninth though 12th-grade students focus on pipeline activities that prompt interest in study and practice of health professions; community-based experiential learning which is the support of health profession students with educational training enhancements such as AHEC Scholars; professional education and support in which we provide continuing education opportunities for existing health professionals and DSHS-supported CHW profession certification; and community health and development in which we engage and support community-based partners in education and awareness efforts for emerging health issues such as COVID,” Minor said.

After six years in the making, Sam Houston State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM), a 108,000 square-foot facility on a 7.3-acre property in Conroe, welcomed its inaugural class of 75 aspiring student-doctors in August of 2020, West said, adding that the second class includes 112 student-doctors as the college ramps up to a full class enrollment of 150.

“Our mission is to prepare students for the degree of doctor of osteopathic medicine with an emphasis toward primary care and rural practice, to develop culturally aware, diverse and compassionate physicians, who follow osteopathic principles, that are prepared for graduate medical education, and will serve the people of Texas with professionalism and patient-centered care,” West said.

“A significant part of the mission of the COM is to increase the physician workforce in the eastern region of Texas and to increase access to primary care. The COM will accomplish this by recruiting qualified applicants from areas to which they would likely want to return and establish their practice,” West said.

Reviewing some of their pipeline programs, West spoke of JAMP, SOAR and RISE UP.

“JAMP, the Joint Admission Medical Program is a special program created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education; SOAR, Scholars for Osteopathic Academic Readiness, ensures that underrepresented and disadvantaged students do well academically and socially during undergraduate training with students receiving advice on how to navigate college life, prepare for standardized testing and apply to medical school; and RISE UP, Readiness Initiatives for Student Enhancement Underserved Populations, which promotes interest in careers in the medical professional among underrepresented and disadvantaged students in high school and ensures that they receive an educational foundation before enrolling in college,” West said.

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Georgia-Pacific employees give thanks by giving back

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2021 Corrigan Thanksgiving Food DriveGeorgia-Pacific Corrigan Plywood employees are helping those in need by helping to fill more than 200 shopping bags with all the ingredients to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. Pictured (front row l to r) Sheriff Byron Lyons, Polk County; Anthony Carroll, Georgia-Pacific; Missy Murray, Polk County Sheriff’s Department; Lester Knight, Georgia-Pacific Camden/Corrigan Complex Plant Manager; Lisa Reynolds, Georgia-Pacific; Christin Hayward, Georgia-Pacific; and Stephen Acord, Georgia-Pacific (back row l to r) Detective Javier Segura, Polk County; Lt. Jacob Hopper, Polk County Sheriff’s Department; Esteban Pecina, Georgia-Pacific; and Chief Deputy Rickie Childers, Polk County. Courtesy photo

Georgia-Pacific employees are giving thanks this holiday season by giving back to those in need in the community. Employees at the Camden Complex and Corrigan Plywood filled more than 200 shopping bags with all the ingredients to prepare a Thanksgiving meal as part of the annual Polk County Sheriff’s Department Holiday Food Drive.      

“Georgia-Pacific employees in Camden and Corrigan have been providing support for our neighbors in need for the last several years,” said Yana Ogletree, Georgia-Pacific Public Affairs Manager. “Millions of Americans aren’t able to provide a holiday meal to their families and many of them are located right here in Polk County.  Georgia-Pacific employees are pleased to be able to offer this gift to our neighbors.”

The sheriff’s department is in the process of distributing the donations to those in need.  For more information about the food drive, please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

About Georgia-Pacific    

Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries are among the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of bath tissue, paper towels and napkins, tableware, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, building products and related chemicals.  Our familiar consumer brands include Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, Dixie®, enMotion®, Sparkle® and Vanity Fair®. Georgia-Pacific has long been a leading supplier of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers. Its Georgia-Pacific Recycling subsidiary is among the world’s largest traders of paper, metal and plastics. The company operates more than 150 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly and creates approximately 89,000 jobs indirectly. For more information, visit: gp.com/about-us. For news, visit: gp.com/news.

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