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Barb wire fence trips up felony absconder

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072822 felon tripped up

By Chris Edwards
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SPURGER – Thanks in part to a barb-wire fence, a Spurger man is in the custody of the Tyler County Jail on several felony charges following an arrest last week.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were on patrol in the Spurger area, along CR 455, last Thursday night. They were attempting to serve a felony arrest warrant on Phillip Lawayne Winkle, 52.

Weatherford said that when the deputies approached the residence they were to serve the warrant at, they observed several individuals in the backyard with flashlights.

“Deputies then observed a male individual take off running towards a woods line behind the residence,” Weatherford said. He added that when deputies pursued the subject, whom they identified as Winkle, they heard him yell out in pain as he fell to the ground.

When they were able to make contact with Winkle, he was entangled in a barb-wire fence, and they were able to cut him free from the fence. Winkle had, according to Weatherford, no injuries that needed any medical attention.

Weatherford said that when Winkle was transported to the county jail, he was charged with warrants locally for felony possession of a controlled substance (Penalty Group 1/1-B, amount greater than one gram) and a felony charge for failure to comply with sex offender regulations.

Winkle, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry, has an annual registration requirement. He was convicted of a child rape charge in 1996.

Additionally, Weatherford said, Winkle also has a charge out of Louisiana for felony-level criminal conspiracy.

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Paxton files emergency motion in support of statutes barring abortions

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070722 paxton abortion

AUSTIN – Last week Attorney General Paxton asked the Supreme Court of Texas to vacate a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement Texas’s pre-Roe criminal prohibitions on elective abortion. A Harris County district court previously issued the restraining order at the request of a group of abortion clinics that wish to immediately violate these criminal prohibitions by performing criminal abortions up until the Human Life Protection Act of 2021 takes effect a few weeks from now.

The Texas Legislature has never repealed the state’s longstanding criminal laws that prohibit abortion, unless necessary to save the life of the mother. The United States Supreme Court’s erroneous decision in Roe v. Wade prevented Texas from enforcing these laws for many decades. But lack of enforcement does not remove the provisions from Texas law. Now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, Texas law against abortion can be enforced. Because the plaintiff abortion clinics intend to immediately begin performing criminal abortions under cover of the temporary restraining order—and some may have already done so—the Attorney General sought emergency relief from the Texas Supreme Court.

“The trial court was wrong to enjoin enforcement of Texas’s longstanding prohibitions on elective abortion,” said Paxton, “Let there be no mistake: the lower court’s unlawful order does not immunize criminal conduct, which can be punished at a later date once the temporary restraining order is lifted. My office will not hesitate to act in defense of unborn Texans put in jeopardy by plaintiffs’ wrongful actions and the trial court’s erroneous order.”

Texas requested an immediate stay of the temporary restraining order. Evidently undeterred by future criminal punishment and civil liability, the plaintiff abortion clinics say that they intend to violate Texas law under cover of the temporary restraining order. Once an abortion occurs, nothing can restore the unborn child’s life; prosecuting the abortionist later is no substitute. “That irreparable loss necessitates th[e] Court’s immediate action,” the petition explains.

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June statewide sales tax revenue totaled $3.7 billion

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070722 junes sales tax

AUSTIN — Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar today said state sales tax revenue totaled $3.68 billion in June, 16.4 percent more than in June 2021.

The majority of June sales tax revenue is based on sales made in May and remitted to the agency in June.

As a result of a sustained period of historically high revenues, later this month Hegar will provide an update to the Certification Revenue Estimate published in November 2021. That update will result in a significant increase in estimated revenue available for the 2022-23 biennium.

“State sales tax collections surged in June, outpacing inflation, with strong growth in receipts from all major economic sectors,” Hegar said.

“The strongest growth was in sectors driven primarily by business spending, with receipts from the mining sector nearly doubling collections from last year, and with receipts from the manufacturing, wholesale trade and construction sectors also up sharply.

“Receipts from restaurants and the services sector were strong once again in June, as consumers continue to spend more on live events with entertainment options becoming available that were not available the last two years.

“While receipts overall from retail trade were strong, receipts from furniture and home furnishings stores, as well as sporting goods and hobby stores, declined from year-ago levels for the third straight month, another indication consumers are switching spending from goods to services.”

Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in June 2022 was up 12.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. Sales tax is the largest source of state funding for the state budget, accounting for 59 percent of all tax collections.

Texas collected the following revenue from other major taxes:

• motor vehicle sales and rental taxes — $584 million, down 1 percent from June 2021;

• motor fuel taxes — $323 million, up 3 percent from June 2021;

• oil production tax — $679 million, the highest monthly collection on record, up 87 percent from June 2021;

• natural gas production tax — $439 million, the highest monthly collection on record, up 176 percent from June

2021;

• hotel occupancy tax — $67 million, up 24 percent from June 2021; and

• alcoholic beverage taxes — $150 million, up 9 percent from June 2021.

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TEA requires new safety measures for schools

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071022 tea school safetyTEA Commissioner Mike Morath stated under Governor Abbott’s leadership, TEA and TxSSC are planning a set of actions that will collectively improve the level of safety at all Texas public schools.

By Chris Edwards
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AUSTIN – Last week the Texas Education Agency released a list of school safety requirements in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s directives on public school safety measures.

Abbott charged both the TEA and the Texas State School Safety Center with a set of directives at the beginning of June to support the safety and security of public schools.

Much of the increased focus on school safety in Texas has arisen in the wake of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where a gunman fatally shot 21 people.

“Under Governor Abbott’s leadership, TEA and TxSSC are planning a set of actions that will collectively improve the level of safety at all Texas public schools. This correspondence is being issued to local education acencies to provide guidance related to actions [they] must take prior to the start of the new school year that will make their campuses more secure,” TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said in a news release.

The requirements call for school districts to secure doors, train staff and review threat response protocol by Sept. 1.

TEA released a list of requirements for schools, including exterior door safety audits and mandatory drills, which districts must now take action on before the fall semester begins.

Senate Bill 500, which passed in the last legislative session, appropriated $100,000,000 to TEA for enhanced security measures to be implemented in public schools.

Some of these measures include metal detectors at school entrances and bullet-proof glass or film for school entrances.

TEA also announced last week that it has extended the deadline of its School Safety and Security Grant. The new end date is June 15, 2023.

Morath said also that moving forward, the agency will issue a proposed rule requiring all districts, statewide, to ensure all instructional facilities meet certain standards and that certain related procedures are followed on an ongoing basis.

“TEA, TxSSC, and other state agency partners are working on additional actions to provide more support to improve school safety. This includes efforts to expand technical assistance for emergency operations plan development, conducting threat assessment protocols, expanding availability of school-based law enforcement, improving the efficacy of drills and incident preparedness exercises, and supporting LEA efforts in implementing multi-tiered system of supports,” Morath said.

Requirements of Texas school districts under new safety requirements

•Conduct a Summer Targeted Partial Safety Audit

•Conduct an Exterior Door Safety Audit

•Convene the LEA’s Safety and Security Committee to review:
— the multi-hazard emergency operations plan (EOP)
— and, as a component of the EOP, the LEA’s active threat plan

•Ensure all campus staff (including substitutes) are trained on their specific LEA and campus safety procedures

•Schedule all mandatory drills for the school year

•Ensure all threat assessment team members are trained

•Review and, if necessary, update access control procedures
— For the new school year, access control procedures must include exterior door sweeps (ensuring doors are closed and locked) at every instructional facility at least once each week while instruction is being conducted.

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Vandals hit non-profit’s storage unit

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071022 vandals hit unit

By Chris Edwards
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CHESTER – An incident was reported on Saturday regarding a ransacking of a storage unit in Chester used by non-profit outreach organization iServe365.

Chester Mayor Robert Poynter posted photos of the ransacked unit on Facebook and said that his wife volunteers for the organization, organizing the unit. “This looks like it was done deliberately. There is no reason whatsoever for this storage unit to be in this shape,” he said.

Poynter added that his wife has, in the past, taken away bags of garbage that people have dumped at the storage locker.

Kim Jordan-Glawson, who serves as a board member for iServe365, pays for the storage unit, and has it available to help anyone in the area who might be in need. The organization is a faith-based non-profit outreach that gives out produce and supplies to individuals, families and communities to lift them out of situational crisis and poverty, serving them with love, according to its Facebook page.

The organization has a number of storage facilities in the area with supplies for people, all received from donations.

Poynter said that the generosity of iServe365 volunteers has done a lot of good for the community, but took to task the person, or persons, who destroyed the storage unit.

“Then, this is what they have to show for it, someone, deliberately destroying the locker, pulling everything off the shelves, and dumping everything on the floors. You have to ask yourself as a community, Is that fair to these ladies?,” he said.

He suggested that members of the community step up and help clean up and re-organize the storage unit.

“Kim and her family have been there for those in need, she has been there when disaster struck, and this is how she gets repaid,” Poynter said.
“She will get tired, and I can tell you she is tired, this community is better than that, So, now she needs help, people who will gather, and come fix the mess, in the storage building.”

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that to his knowledge there has not been a report made to his office about the incident but encouraged anyone with information to contact law enforcement. The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 409-283-2172.

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