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Tribe elects second chief by historic vote

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By Enterprise Staff

Millie T. WilliamsMillie T. WilliamsThe Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas historically elected Millie Thompson Williams as its second chief-elect on Sept. 14. Williams is a lifelong resident of the Alabama-Coushatta tribal community and has been an educator and health/mental health coordinator of the tribe’s Head Start Program for over 35 years.

She is also a Sunday School teacher at the Indian Village Assembly of God Church, leading the classes in the tribal language. Williams is a tribal elder that is consulted for language preservation within the tribal community.

A mother of four and grandmother of six, Williams said she is humbly honored by this monumental and distinguished vote as the tribe’s next Mikko Istimatokla, which will place her in a highly esteemed position within the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.

The role of both the principal and second tribal chiefs, which serve for a lifetime, is to act as ambassadors of the tribe and to provide cultural advice to the tribal council and key tribal committees.

Williams will be officially inaugurated along with Mikko Choba Elect (Principal Chief) Kanicu Donnis Battise on Jan. 1, 2023.

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Livingston High School Threat

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091522 shooting threat

Many parents of Livingston ISD students were on campus Monday morning to check their child out of school.

A social media post from Sunday night was somehow linked to Livingston ISD and discovered by school officials around 7:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Livingston ISD officials released a statement Monday regarding the matter.

"At 8 p.m. last night, a viral "Snapchat" threat was sent through social media. After investigation, it is believed the actual post was generated from the Dayton, Texas, area and the Dayton Police Department has a person of interest that is being investigated behind the incident. The post has been removed from social media, and there is no information that this was ever a threat targeting Livingston ISD. We do not take this kind of threat lightly, and we have all the necessary protocols in place to ensure the safety of students, staff, and the community, which is our highest priority."

Livingston Police and state troopers were both on campus as a line of vehicles backed up to the front entrance of the high school. The Polk County Enterprise will have more on the story in the Thursday edition. 

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Scammer sentenced to 10 years

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David Bryan SchefflerDavid Bryan SchefflerFrom Enterprise Staff

A Houston man who was repeatedly arrested for forging deeds to sell property that he did not own, across counties that included Harris, Polk and San Jacinto, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg recently announced.

“People need to know that scams like this exist, and the scammers often target the elderly,” Ogg said. “And it’s important that these predators know that there are real consequences, including giving back all the money and prison time.”

David Bryan Scheffler, 61, was sentenced to 10 years by visiting state District Judge Randy Roll after Harris County prosecutors showed that Scheffler had swindled people in fraudulent real estate sales involving at least five properties across Southeast Texas, including Polk County and San Jacinto County, while he was on probation for the same crime in Harris County.

Scheffler, who had previously been on probation for theft by check of more than $1,500, was arrested in 2012 for forging deeds to sell property that did not belong to him amounting to more than $242,000, a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

Scheffler agreed to pay back the money in 2014 and was sentenced to 10 years of probation. Instead of stopping his scams, he simply moved his criminal operation north where he began forging deeds to fraudulently sell property in at least two rural counties in East Texas.

He was arrested in Polk County in 2020 for forgery of a financial instrument and was brought back to Houston where the Harris County District Attorney’s Office worked to get his probation revoked and see that he was sentenced to prison.

Assistant District Attorney Valerie Turner, chief of the DA’s Consumer Fraud section, who prosecuted the case with ADA Haley New, said the victims were mostly elderly owners (or heirs of deceased owners) of property stolen by Scheffler.

“He would sell a property to an unsuspecting buyer without contacting the true owner and sometimes filed forged deeds in an effort to represent the estates of the deceased true owners,” Turner said. “He was not going to stop victimizing the elderly and unsuspecting public until he was held accountable.”

Precautions that property owners can take to ensure they are not being victimized include:

Checking appraisal district records online at least once a year to make sure all properties are still in their names.

Receiving a tax bill once a year. If they don’t, that is a red flag.

Purchasing title fraud insurance.

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Marty Stuart’s coming back to town long with His Fabulous Superlatives

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By Emily Banks Wooten
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“An Evening With Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives,” presented by the Smith Family Foundation, is planned for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Polk County Commerce Center located at 1017 U.S. 59 Loop North in Livingston.

“Mom and Dad put together this foundation way back in the 90s because they loved education, culture, art, churches and they wanted to make sure that the people in the community would have these things,” Robert Smith said, referring to his parents, Sidney and Edythe Ann Smith, who formed The Smith Family Foundation. 

This will be Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives’ second performance at the Polk County Commerce Center in Livingston. They first performed at the commerce center in April of 2016.

Stuart is an American country and bluegrass music singer, songwriter and musician. He has recorded over 20 studio albums and has charted over 30 times on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. Stuart has also won five Grammy Awards out of 16 nominations. He is known for his combination of rockabilly, country rock, and bluegrass music influences, his frequent collaborations and cover songs, and his distinctive stage dress. Stuart is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame.

Tickets range from $30-$75 and are presently on sale. The link to order tickets is https://tinyurl.com/m2cwkfw4. However, tickets may also be purchased on the Polk County Commerce Center Facebook page by clicking on the ticket link. 

Ticket prices are as follows:

• Front center floor seating - $75

• Front side floor seating - $65

• Middle center floor seating - $45

• Middle side floor seating - $40

• General admission (no assigned seat) - $30

General admission tickets only are available at Main Street Merchandise and the lobbies of First National Bank Downtown Branch and First National Bank Onalaska Branch.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Polk County Higher Education and Technology Foundation.

“I’d really like to express my appreciation to The Smith Family Foundation for graciously bringing Marty Stuart to town,” Andy Evans, president of the Polk County Higher Education and Technology Foundation, said.

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Livingston man arrested after leaving repair jobs incomplete

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Casey Dion SmelleyCasey Dion SmelleyA Livingston man was arrested after several people claim he took their money for remodeling work that was not finished.

Casey Dion Smelley, 29, is said to have represented himself as a contractor on home repairs. He reportedly has been hired by multiple homeowners, accepted money, then left jobs incomplete.
A woman who spoke to the Enterprise on the condition of anonymity said she has lost over $35,000 and has a bid for another $170,000 to fix what Smelley’s company left, and finish the work she wanted originally.

“He was arrested for misappropriation of funds, because he would take people’s money and he wouldn’t finish the remodel, or he would just take the money and not do the job,” the woman said. 

The woman entrusted the money to Smelley, she said, because he told her if she didn’t “lock in” a price now, the job would cost double when complete because of inflation.

“That’s how he would talk people into giving him half of the money,” the woman said. “There’s about six or seven people that have come forward to the detective and told him that they got scammed by him also. He’s taken over $150,000 and there’s got to be more.”

A report from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department shows that Smelley was arrested by the Livingston Police Department Aug. 9. The charge of misapplication of fiduciary property or property of financial institution is listed between $30,000 and $150,000. 

Under Section 32.45 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual commits an offense when he intentionally, knowingly or recklessly misapplies property he holds as a fiduciary in a manner that involves substantial risk of loss to the owner of the property.

“The work that he did was so bad that I’m going to have to have it tore out,” she said. “He didn’t finish one thing that he had to do. He did half of everything in each room.”

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