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AG acquitted in impeachment trial

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Acquitted STOCK

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Senator Robert Nichols was one of only two Republican senators to vote for articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton. The other was Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills.

“I voted to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton because of the credible testimony I heard, and the many thousands of pages of evidence presented during trial,” Nichols said.

Paxton was acquitted by the state Senate of 16 charges in his recent impeachment trial, allowing him to keep his job as the top lawyer in the state. He was impeached earlier this year by the Texas House of Representatives based on allegations that he misused his office.

“The evidence included testimony from many of his top staff, including First Assistant AG Jeff Mateer, Deputy First Assistant AG Ryan Bangert, Deputy AG for Legal Counsel Ryan Vassar, Director of Law Enforcement Texas Ranger David Maxwell, Deputy AG for Criminal Justice Mark Penley, Deputy AG for Civil Litigation Darren McCarty and Deputy AG for Policy and Strategic Initiatives Blake Brickman. I believe these individuals displayed tremendous courage by reporting what they witnessed as violations of law,” Nichols said.

“Their testimony, combined with the totality of all the other evidence presented by the House Board of Managers, proved to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the Attorney General’s actions violated Texas law and his oath of office. The oath I swore, to render a true verdict based on the evidence presented, did not leave room for politics or second guessing. I have – and always will – vote for what I believe is right,” Nichols said.

The impeachment split the chambers of the state’s Republican-led legislature down the middle. Paxton was impeached in the House by a 121-23 margin, with 60 Republicans joining 61 Democrats in voting to impeach. Once the trial reached the Senate, however, the margins were flipped, with 16 Republican senators voting to acquit him and the two Republican senators joining 12 Democrats in voting to convict, falling short of the 21 total votes needed to remove him from office.

Copies of the evidence the court considered, as well as a complete audio-video record of the arguments are available online at www.senate.texas.gov/coi.

Nichols was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2006. He represents 18 counties including the greater part of East and Southeast Texas.

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Bomb threat at judicial center

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible bomb threat at the Polk County Judicial Center Friday at 8:20 a.m.

The facility was evacuated, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation and coordinated a response with the assistance of the Texas Ranger’s Division.
A thorough search of the building and surrounding area was conducted, with no dangerous or suspicious materials located.  

After further investigation, a suspect was quickly identified and the threat was deemed not credible.

At this time, there is no continued threat or danger to the public or employees associated with the investigation. 

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Firefighter injured in blaze west of Goodrich

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A fire Sunday near Goodrich was extinguished a few times and has one firefighter battling injuries in the hospital.

“It is the old Shell pump station, where those tanks are sitting about two or three miles west of Goodrich,” Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran explained. “On the back side of that complex outside of the fence, they had a transformer that blew up and dropped fire down in the grass. The wind and breeze was blowing out of the north and it pushed the fire into the complex and covered a pretty large area of a couple of acres. It didn’t burn any structures, but it threatened getting outside of that fenced area, which could have carried it on to some houses.”

The fire chief said the flames were maintained in the vegetation and wooded areas, and did not reach structures within the facility. Firefighters remained at the scene for three hours trying to extinguish hotspots.

“When we left there, there was not a trickle of smoke anywhere,” Cochran said. “Then, (Monday) morning about 5:30 a.m., we got a call that some of that vegetation had reignited. They had to go back out there for a couple of hours and doused it down.”

Departments from Livingston, Goodrich, Holiday Lake Estates, and Scenic Loop all responded to the fire, while Onalaska VFD traveled to Livingston to cover that area for the LVFD in case of a call. Camilla VFD also was on the scene for Monday morning’s call.

One Goodrich volunteer firefighter was injured Sunday. Ryan Nelson was said to be pinned between a tree and brush truck, and is currently in stable condition, according to family members. He is expected to have an extensive recovery with several injuries, under hospital care after being airlifted to Kingwood.

Cochran said that Nelson, his family, and the Goodrich Fire Department should be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

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Goodrich man arrested on charges from June

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AggravatedAssualt STOCK

A wanted man on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon has been located and arrested.

In June, officers with the Livingston Police Department responded to the 100 block of Pan American Drive, in reference to a disturbance in progress.

Upon arrival, the officers made contact with a victim who stated he had been hit in the back of the head with a handgun by an unknown Hispanic male. Officers learned the suspect had fled the scene, but dropped the handgun in the parking lot. That handgun was recovered by officers.

Witnesses at the scene were able to provide officers with a license plate of the vehicle in which the suspect fled.

Through investigation, the suspect was identified as Alfredo Robles Ortiz, 18, of Goodrich. An arrest warrant was then drafted for Ortiz.

Ortiz was finally located and arrested Monday on the warrant. He is currently being held on a $50,000 bond at the Polk County Jail.

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First concert of season slated for Tuesday

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From Enterprise Staff

The Livington Community Concert Association will host its first performance of the 2023-2024 concert season with Key of G Live! The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Polk County Commerce Center located at 1017 U.S. Hwy. 59 Loop North in Livingston.

Key of G Live! is a tribute to Garth Brooks, featuring AJ Bisto. Bisto was born and raised in Minnesota and has been singing since he could talk. His first gig was at age five when he sang at his cousin’s wedding. By age eight, he was filling in on lead vocals for the house band at the local American Legion and continued singing through his high school years for several bands. In addition to those performances, he also was showcased in multiple lead roles in school musicals. Even more impressive, by age 16 he had started his own vocal business for weddings and events called “A J loves to perform live!”

In 2015, Bisto and his wife Josie moved to Nashville to be closer to the music scene. Since then, he has had the opportunity to open for acts such as Jamie O’Neal, Ty Herndon, Andy Griggs and Anita Cochran. He enjoys playing at the various local venues in Nashville.

The inspiration for Key of G Live! developed after Bisto was recruited by a cruise line to perform as Garth for one of its variety shows. Due to his natural vocal having an uncanny resemblance to the sound of Garth Brooks, he has been encouraged by numerous industry professionals to create a tribute show to the number one solo selling artist of all time.

The Officers and Board of Directors of Livingston Community Concert Association are excited to open the season with this amazing tribute to Garth Brooks.

Membership in the Livingston Community Concert Association may be purchased for as little as $50 per person and family rates are also available. Membership will allow one to attend all concerts per season. For additional information go to www.livingstoncommunityconcert.org or contact Sally Frasier at 936-967-0219.


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