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Tyler County News

Man injured at Woodville Pellets plant

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FiremenHC1702 source

TCB Staff

WOODVILLE – An accident at the Woodville Pellets plant resulted in an injury to a worker, sources indicate, last week, on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 2.

According to publicly available Facebook posts, Robby Bertrand was taken to the UTMB Galveston burn unit with injuries, and sustained burns to more than 70% of his body.

According to posts, his condition is stable, but he has a long road ahead of him, according to one family member’s public post.

At present, there is no statement from Woodville Pellets on the accident.

In the meantime, according to the Facebook page Chester Chat, there are community efforts to help Bertrand and his family during this time.

One member of the page has begun a “food train” for the family, with volunteers able to get meals to the family at the hospital. In public posts, friends of Bertrand have asked for prayers on his and his family’s behalf.

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Regional manhunt continues for murderer

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By Chris Edwards
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Matthew EdgarMatthew EdgarSABINE COUNTY – A regional manhunt continues for a Sabine County man who was sentenced last week to 99 years in prison for murder.

Matthew Hoy Edgar, a 25 -year-old Hemphill man, has been at large since he failed to show up for trial last Thursday. On that day, he was found guilty, and subsequently sentenced. Despite his absence, the trial continued through his attorney.

Edgar was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Livye Lewis on Oct. 31, 2020. According to Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox, the search continues and “has intensified and broadened” as of Sunday, he said in a news release. 

While Edgar has remained at large, Maddox has reported on social media as well to regional media outlets that there have been leads followed as to Edgar’s whereabouts, but all 10 leads were cleared and closed with no contact with the convicted killer.

“As these investigative leads come in, they are assigned to a deputy or completed by the lead investigator for the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office,” Maddox said. Several of the leads to date involve leads from East and Northeast Texas as well as Western Louisiana.”

Last week, Maddox said that the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office has checked out sightings of Edgar in Jasper and Orange counties.

Maddox said for any Sabine County residents, as well as anyone in the region who has seen Edgar, or has knowledge of his whereabouts, to contact either the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office at 409-787-2266 or to call 911. He said that anyone who sees him should not try to contact or try to stop him. He is considered armed and dangerous. He is described as having short brown hair, blue eyes and is approximately six feet tall. 

Maddox said anyone who sees Edgar can also contact the US Marshals’ Office through its website at https://www.usmarshals.gov/tips/index.html.

Maddox provided a recent photo of Edgar, which was taken last week during his trial. Most photos of Edgar available on regional media are of his booking photo, which show him with shoulder-length hair.

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Hicks trial scheduled

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Blaze HicksBlaze HicksBy Chris Edwards 
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WOODVILLE – The trial of a Silsbee man accused of a 2019 murder is scheduled to begin next Monday with jury selection.

Blaze Daniel Hicks, 29, is set to stand trial in Tyler County’s 1A District Criminal Court. Hicks, who is from Silsbee, is accused of killing 29-year-old Brandon Wood of Kountze.

Hicks’s trial was originally scheduled for last August, then cancelled and reset for September. Hicks is also being charged with three other felonies: aggravated kidnapping with a deadly weapon; unlawful possession of firearm by felon and escape while arrested/confined.

Hicks is being represented by Ryan Gertz, is accused in Wood’s murder, which occurred in late September of 2019. 

The case began when deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about a shooting east of Warren. When they arrived, they discovered a man laying at the edge of the roadway with an apparent gunshot wound to his upper torso.

The man, identified as Wood, was later pronounced dead at Tyler County Hospital, and according to witnesses on the scene, an altercation had taken place at the residence, and saw Hicks drive down to Wood’s location and stop.

Witnesses also heard multiple gunshots and Hicks’s vehicle leave the scene and a high rate of speed, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. He was later arrested near Silsbee by deputies with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department.

Hicks has remained in the custody of Tyler County since his arrest, however, in May of last year, he and another inmate of the jail, Christopher Mobley, briefly escaped. Both were caught in the Silsbee area later that same day.

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Texas Comptroller Observes National Unclaimed Property Day, Feb. 1

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Texas Comptroller logo

AUSTIN — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar is joining other unclaimed property administrators to celebrate the second annual national Unclaimed Property Day tomorrow, Feb. 1.

"I am proud to have returned nearly $2 billion dollars to Texans since becoming Comptroller, and we are continually looking for new ways to return even more," Hegar said. “I am proud to have given back more money than any other Texas Comptroller since the Unclaimed Property program was launched in 1962. This effort is part of my continued commitment to focus on customer service and provide taxpayers with transparent and accountable government. The money belongs to the people of Texas, and I encourage everyone to visit ClaimItTexas.org to see if the state is holding some of their unclaimed property.”

According to officials with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), nearly 33 million people in the United States have unclaimed property. Unclaimed property includes things such as forgotten utility deposits or other refunds, insurance proceeds, payroll checks, cashier’s checks, dividends, mineral royalties, dormant bank accounts and abandoned safe-deposit box contents. Businesses generally turn property over to the unclaimed property program after it has been considered dormant for one to five years.

The Comptroller's office has returned more than $3 billion in unclaimed property to rightful owners since Texas' unclaimed property program began in 1962. The state is currently holding more than $7 billion in cash and other valuables through the program. 

There is generally no statute of limitations for unclaimed property the state holds, which means there’s no time limit for owners to file a claim — they can do so at any time. 

For more information about the unclaimed property program, or to search for unclaimed property and begin the claims process, visit the Comptroller's unclaimed property website, ClaimItTexas.org, or call 800-321-2274 (CASH). Texans are also encouraged to check MissingMoney.com or FindMyFunds.com to search for property that may belong to them in other states.

The Unclaimed Property Division is producing a series of videos to promote its efforts by partnering with Chet Garner, who is the creator, host and executive producer of The Daytripper, an Emmy-award-winning Texas travel show airing on PBS stations across the country.

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Landowners group to give away longleaf pine seedlings

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longleaf pineNPS PhotoBy Col. Eddie Boxx,
TCFLOA President

WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Forest Landowners Association (TCFLOA) will give away longleaf pine seedlings on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 10-11:30 a.m. (or until all trees have been given away) at Heritage Village in Woodville. 

Seedlings can be picked up at the front porch of the Hamm House (the temporary timber and train museum) located across from the Pickett House restaurant. Longleaf pine trees have long been symbolic of Tyler County’s sandy ridges, and private landowners play a critical role in the ongoing efforts to bring back these once numerous trees. Until the late 1800s, towering longleaf forests once populated the East Texas landscape but were heavily harvested. With the railroad’s arrival and the golden age of timber and sawmills, the slower-growing, more storm, and fire-resistant longleaf gave way to today’s loblolly variants. Early travelers described an ecosystem different from the now-familiar and invasive yaupon and privet understory. Instead, dominant longleaf pines and frequent burnings created a spacious forest floor. When General George Custer marched through Tyler County in August 1865, his troops and his wife Libbie Custer documented the tall longleaf pines in their diaries. 

The forests were so spacious and sun-filled the former fair-skinned, dark-haired debutante arrived in Austin with frayed hair and a weather-beaten tan. Judge Bacon, Libbie’s father, never forgave Custer for taking his daughter on the East Texas expedition.

The TCFLOA thanks Parker Forestry Consultants for donating the seedlings and their continued advocacy for longleaf pine restorations efforts. TCFLOA is a non-profit organization whose objectives include educating landowners about good forest management and harvesting practices and keeping landowners up to date on matters affecting timberland operations, taxes, and legislative actions. 

The TCFLOA awards annual scholarships to area students pursuing a college education in the forest industry. 

More information and application requirements will be available on the TCFLOA website: https://tcforest.org/events.htm.

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