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Traffic stop yields large amount of fentanyl


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Over 500 fentanyl pills were discovered during the vehicle search. COURTESY PHOTO

A traffic stop in May ended in two arrested and dangerous drugs taken out of circulation on Highway 59 in Polk County.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 59 for traffic violations.

The officers identified the driver as Michael Scott, 62, of Livingston, and the passenger as Lamar Gardner, 33, also of Livingston. While investigating the stop, deputies arrested Scott for the traffic offense.

An inventory search was then completed on the vehicle prior to having it towed. While searching the vehicle, five large, clear plastic bags of white pills, identified by law enforcement to be made of fentanyl, were found in the vehicle.

Scott and Gardner were arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail, where they were both charged with manufacturing and/or delivery of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony.  Each of the five bags contained over 100 fentanyl pills.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, this amount of fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are said to be the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States and has made its way into small towns and the local area.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says they are committed to finding, identifying and charging those involved in the illegal possession and distribution of these narcotics. They encourage all to remain vigilant in order to protect our children and the citizens of Polk County.

Those with information in reference to illegal drug distribution in Polk County are asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and speak to a narcotics detective at 936-327-6810, or an anonymous tip may be submitted at p3tips.com, the P3 App, or by calling Polk County Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP, where tipsters can remain anonymous and may collect a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

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Celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks

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From Enterprise Staff

“Fishing 101!” will be offered at the Lake Livingston State Park Saturday. This year marks 100 years of Texas State Parks and this is just one of many 100-year celebration events happening in Texas state parks this year.

This event allows you to join park rangers for a day full of programs designed to teach you all of the skills you need to start fishing.

The day will start with “Fishing Knots to Know!” at 9 a.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier where you may learn one of the best and easiest fishing knots during this brief hands-on lesson.

Knots are essential for camping, survival, fishing and many other outdoor activities. Join Ranger Joel Janssen to learn one of the most basic and easiest fishing knots. This will be a hands-on activity appropriate for most older children, although some may need help from their parent or guardian.  Adults are welcome to join in.

The day continues with “Backyard Bass Fishing Game” at 11 a.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier where you may learn to cast with Backyard Bass, a lawn fishing game. Rangers will demonstrate the use of a spincast reel, then participants will try to hook fish of varying difficulty. No hooks are involved, so it’s safe for all ages.

The day will conclude with “Fishing with a Ranger” at 2 p.m. at Sunset Marina Fishing Pier. Rangers will be on hand at Sunset Marina Park Store inside Lake Livingston State Park throughout this time frame to help bait hooks, rig tackle and teach the basics of fishing. Bait and tackle are provided and limited quantities of loaner fishing poles will be available.

Regular park admission fees of $6 per adults ages 13 and up apply although there is no additional charge for activities.

Lake Livingston State Park is located one mile south of Livingston on U.S. Highway 59. Travel four miles west on FM 1988 and 0.5 miles north on FM 3126 to Park Road 65. The park is approximately 75 miles north of Houston. The park address is 300 Park Rd. 65 in Livingston. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the park store is open Wednesday through Sunday and the hours vary by season. The phone number for the park is 936-365-2201 and the email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In addition to celebrating the past, the 100-year anniversary is about looking ahead to the next century. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation has kicked off a Centennial Fundraising Campaign to raise funds for priority projects at all state parks across Texas.

The fundraising effort aims to raise $2 million for equipment and visitor enhancements at all 89 state parks. Donations are being matched dollar for dollar, up to $1 million, thanks to the foundation’s Centennial Champions, including the Fondren Foundation, John M. O’Quinn and Elkins Foundation. There’s an enhancement project at every state park and you can make a gift to the park closest to your home or heart at TexasParks100.org.

You may learn all about the history of Texas State Parks at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s web site located at tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/. According to the website, in 1923, Governor Pat Neff persuaded the legislature to create the State Parks Board. He later regarded this action as his most important achievement as governor. In a 1925 speech, Neff noted that a parks system would afford a place where people “might go and forget the anxiety and strife and vexation of life’s daily grind.”

Since 1923, Texas State Parks has been dedicated to protecting the best parts of Texas’ vast natural and cultural beauty. Originally envisioned as a series of roadside stops for highway travelers, today the Texas State Park system has grown to a network of parks, historic sites and natural areas that welcome millions of visitors every year.

In 1933, President Roosevelt charged the National Park Service to lend their services as part of his New Deal program. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built park infrastructure putting out-of-work Americans back on the job. Texas State Parks transformed from a handful of undeveloped properties into a robust system of over 50 parks. Texans added camping, fishing and hiking to their family traditions.

Trailblazing Texans worked to ensure that parks were for everyone. While WWII soldiers were away, Texas women kept parks operating. This opened the doors of change, elevating the roles of women in the workforce as leaders. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African American citizens near Tyler and Bastrop State Parks successfully advocated for access to parks regardless of the color of someone’s skin.

By the 1980s, parks were stretched to capacity. Thanks to significant public support for additional parks, the legislature expanded the system dramatically. Texans were becoming aware of the importance public lands played in maintaining a healthy environment. Park land was acquired and managed to protect their habitat, uniqueness, and geological forms in order to preserve the land and the experience.

Although the park system has expanded significantly in the last 100 years, 95% of Texas is still privately owned. This makes public land in Texas a precious resource for people and wildlife. Today over 630,000+ acres are devoted to Texas State Parks.

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Scuffle under investigation

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From Enterprise Staff

An investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division continues regarding an incident that occurred recently in the Polk County Jail in which an assault occurred between several inmates.

Jail staff quickly began investigating the incident, along with deputies, who responded immediately,” Captain Dave Sottosanti said. “One inmate was found to have a piece of metal that he used as a weapon during the assault.”

Sottosanti said the weapon was confiscated and the individual was charged with having a prohibited item in a correctional facility. He also said there were no serious injuries to any of the inmates.

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Tribe makes important gains in legislative session

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By Enterprise Staff

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas made important gains during this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, with more than two-thirds of the members of the Texas House of Representatives voting to express support for the tribe.

During an early May vote on House Bill 2843, legislation to establish a regulatory structure should casino gaming come to Texas, an amendment to the bill that codified a gaming compact that would permit the tribe to expand its current gaming operations and to ensure zones of exclusivity to protect the tribe’s market, was approved by the House on a vote of 101-30. Specifically, the amendment required that if casinos came to Texas, they could not be built near Naskila Casino, and that the governor would have to approve a gaming compact in which the state would give the tribe express permission to offer certain types of gaming on tribal property.

HB 2843 ultimately did not become law because a related bill, HJR 155 which referred the issue of casino gaming to the voters for consideration, did not receive the two-thirds support from House members it needed. Still, the overwhelming support for the pro-tribe amendment to HB 2843 demonstrated strong support for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas among state legislators from both parties. The Tribe would like to thank area Representatives Travis Clardy, Ernest Bailes and Christian Manuel for their continued support both at home and in Austin.

“We continue to build momentum as more and more of our elected officials understand the benefit that Naskila Casino delivers to the Texas economy,” Ricky Sylestine, chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “The vote on this amendment was an important show of support for our tribe. As Texas legislators discuss this issue in the future, our tribe will continue to have a seat at the table.”

Naskila Casino, the electronic bingo operation on the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Reservation, is responsible for 825 jobs and more than $212 million in annual economic activity.

The tribe is also encouraged by developments at the federal level. Earlier this year, Congressman Morgan Luttrell introduced the Tribal Gaming Regulatory Compliance Act, which seeks to ensure that all federally recognized tribes that are eligible for gaming in the United States are regulated under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Although the United States Supreme Court found in 2022 that the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe can legally offer electronic bingo at Naskila, there remains an open question whether the tribe and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in El Paso are eligible to game under IGRA, the federal regulatory scheme overseeing tribal gaming nationwide.

In recent years, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to put the two Texas tribes under IGRA and this year’s federal effort has continued to build on the past success. Mirroring the momentum in the Texas State House, the legislation introduced by Luttrell already has 12 Texas members of Congress cosponsoring the legislation, including eight from the Republican party.

Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn have opposed efforts to put Texas under the IGRA framework. Still, the tribe enjoys strong support from fellow Texans. More than 85 civic, business and political organizations have approved resolutions stating support for the type of legislation that Luttrell introduced.

“Our strong support in the Texas Legislature should show Governor Abbott and Senator Cornyn that many of their fellow elected officials recognize the ways that Naskila Casino benefits the Texas economy,” Sylestine said. “We will continue to work with our elected officials at the local, state and national levels to build support and deliver the fairness we deserve.”

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Tribe to host 53rd annual powwow

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From Enterprise Staff

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas is preparing to host its 53rd annual Powwow and the public is invited to attend. The Powwow is slated for June 2-3 at the Alabama-Coushatta Veteran’s Pavilion 16 miles east of Livingston on U.S. Hwy. 190.

Admission is $7 per day with children six and under entering for free. There will be limited seating but lawn chairs are welcome.

The gates open at 2 p.m. June 2 with the gourd dance being performed at 5 p.m. and the grand entry at 6:30 p.m.

The gates open at noon on June 3 with a gourd dance at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and the grand entry at 6:30 p.m. There will be a supper break from 4-6 p.m. During that time, the Chikawa Aztec Dancers will perform.

There will be food vendors in addition to Native American arts and crafts.

Alcohol, drugs, firearms and weapons are prohibited and tribal law will be strictly enforced. No pets are allowed, only registered service animals.

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