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DETCOG seeks comments

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detcogSpecial to the News-Times

LUFKIN — The Deep East Texas Council of Governments is soliciting public review and comment on the proposed changes to the Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan, Annual PHA Plan and Revised Utility Allowances. 

DETCOG will receive written comments regarding the proposed changes during a 45-day public comment period through May 26, 2022. 

All written comments may be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., faxed to (844) 975-1212 or mailed to the following address: Deep East Texas Council of Governments, Attn: Housing Choice Voucher Program, 1405 Kurth Drive, Lufkin, TX 75904.

Copies of the proposed changes to either plan is available on the DETCOG Housing website at www.dethousing.org, or a copy may be requested by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by fax at (844) 975-1212 or by calling the DETCOG office at (936) 238-7771.

The DETCOG Housing Advisory Committee will discuss the proposed changes on Thursday, April 28, at 11 a.m. at the Windham Civic Center, 146 Express Blvd., in Center.

The Board of Directors for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments will meet on Thursday, May 26, at noon at Nacogdoches County Exposition and Civic Center, 3805 NW Stallings Drive, Nacogdoches, to consider adopting proposed changes to the Administrative Plan, Annual PHA Plan and Revised Utility Allowances for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed policy changes, please call (936) 634-2247 extension 5262.

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Elvis is headed to Huntsville

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3 31 elvis

Special to the San Jacinto News-Times

Travis Powell, one of the nation’s foremost Elvis Tribute Artists (ETAs), will perform at 4 p.m. on April 10 at the Huntsville Old Town Theatre at 1023 12th St. in Huntsville. The doors open at 3 p.m. Tickets run from $25-$40 apiece and may be purchased by visiting www.oldtowntheatre-huntsville.org or by calling 936-293-8681. “Shake, Rattle & Roll,” an all-female group, will be the special guest performers.

Powell has been winning ETA contests since grade school. While most toddlers were barely warbling their ABCs or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, by age four Powell had already zoned in on what he liked to do–and that was to sing Elvis songs.

“My mom was a music director and after (my parents) started playing Elvis for me, I apparently got up in the middle of a church service and started singing Love Me Tender,” Powell said.

From there, he started entering talent shows at school and church events, winning his way through childhood and adolescence. After a stint in Nashville to pursue a country music career, he returned to his roots, and to what he loves best–as Elvis once said, “It’s my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”

Describing what fans can expect at his show, Powell said, “They’re going to see me cover a couple of eras, the ‘68 special and an authentic tribute to the later years ... We’re gonna have fun, we’re gonna dance, relive the magic of Elvis in an authentic way, it’s going to be a good time.

“I know I’m not Elvis, but if we can go back in time and people can be transported and remember that feeling of actually watching Elvis, that’s what it’s all about. I just want to give everybody in that audience something to relate to. If I can do that, I feel like I’ve done Elvis proud,” Powell said.

And for those who like to get up close and personal with their favorite performer, Powell says he has never had a bad experience with a fan. “If a fan comes up and they are teary-eyed or emotional, then I feel like I’ve done my job. What I do when I go on stage is sort of go back in time and remember what it was like to be there … especially for the ones who never got to see him. They can get the feel of what it was like to see him in person.”

Like his idol, Powell is also involved in charitable endeavors. “I started the Travis Foundation in 2014, basically to help the poorer children’s homes in my hometown, whether it be Christmas presents, school supplies, food, tutors, schoolwork, just a bunch of things to help the kids in my hometown.”

When asked what his favorite Elvis song is, Powell said, “My Way, although it does sometimes change because I listen to a lot of Elvis songs.”

From performing with artists who actually performed with Elvis himself, such as the Sweet Inspirations, to playing in venues where Elvis once played, Powell has strived to provide the most all-encompassing show possible. “We’ve got a great band, great costumes,” Powell promises.

“I just want to be the most authentic Elvis and express the love I have for him,” Powell said, adding, “It’s been a fun ride.”

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Regional Champs

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Congratulations to our Boy’s Powerlifting Team on winning the Regional Championship. Also to Coach Cedric White being named Coach of Year. Winners were: first place, Rudy Morales, Lain Baker and Joel Weekes; third place, Gage Murphy and Leithan Beck; and fourth place, Carlos Guevara and Kelvin Hernandez. Outstanding lifter on the light platform and Outstanding deadlift was Rudy Morales; and Lain Baker was named for Outstanding Bench and Outstanding Squat on the light platform. Courtesy photo

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Two dead, one injured in Cleveland shooting

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Sheriff Capers reviewing the facts of the murder suicide case with his detectives.  Courtesy photoSheriff Capers reviewing the facts of the murder suicide case with his detectives. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

CLEVELAND — Two people died and one was seriously injured in a Monday shooting incident in the southwest part of the county.

Police were contacted for a emergency during the evening hours to the 900 block of , and when deputies arrived, Mingli Shannon, 52, was found dead and Siqi Zhang, 30, was wounded, both by a gun.

Witnesses told police that Shannon’s stepson, 43-year-old Kenneth Rutledge, was responsible.

Roadblocks using several area law enforcement agencies were set up; however, a short time later a shot was heard near the home. Investigators found the suspect in a Chevrolet pickup suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Emergency medical personnel attended to Rutledge and Zhang and transported them to a Cleveland hospital where Rutledge was pronounced dead. On Friday, Zhang reported was recovering and will survive the shooting.

Sheriff Greg Capers said Rutledge may have been under the influence of methamphetamines or some other controlled substance at the time he took the life of his stepmother and seriously wounded his stepsister. 

Further investigation indicated that Rutledge was in fear of cartel members looking for him for an unknown reason. 

Capers said cases like this are saddening.

“In my line of work you see this too often, but it’s something you never become accustomed to and it’s the thing that keeps me up at night,” he said.

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Sheriff raids cockfighting operation

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Some of the animals were kept in air-conditioned pens, others in wire cages. Courtesy photoSome of the animals were kept in air-conditioned pens, others in wire cages. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

CLEVELAND — A raid on a cockfighting operation in southwest San Jacinto County resulted in numerous arrests and the seizure of thousands of dollars in property.

The raid Perry Lane in North Cleveland, which is in San Jacinto 

was the result of months-long investigation.

Sheriff Greg Capers said that on Sunday, seven people, whose names are not yet being released, were arrested on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. During the raid, officers seized about $20,404 in cash, a 2016 Kia sedan, a 2014 Toyota Sienna, a 2019 Mercedes van, and a 2018 Ram 3500 pickup.

Additionally, 12 roosters valued at $10,000 apiece were taken, along with thousands of dollars in stolen property.

Capers said that aside from it being against the law, the activity is intensely cruel to the animals, and since he raises cattle, he finds it reprehensible. 

“There is no place in our society for such inhumane treatment of these innocent animals,” he said.

Capers said the birds are placed in an enclosed pit to fight for the primary purpose of gambling and entertainment with thousands of dollars being waged. A typical cockfight can last anywhere from seven minutes to more than a half hour and usually results in the death of one or both birds. 

The birds have steel blades tied to their legs for the purpose of injuring or in most cases killing the opponent. Capers said gamecock owners themselves have been killed when accidentally slashed by their own birds.

Additionally, according to the Sheriff, federal and state law enforcement often associate cockfighting with other criminal activities such illegal gambling, drug trafficking, assaults, human trafficking, illegal weapons sales and even murder. 

Federal investigations have uncovered international drug cartels running sophisticated cockfighting operations as a means of distributing drugs across the country, he said. 

More arrests are expected as the investigation continues. 

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