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Blueberry Royalty

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061622 blueberry queenOn May 21, Kamrie Spearman, of Warren, was crowned Teen Miss Blueberry Festival in the 2022 Miss Blueberry Festival Pageant. This past Saturday, she had the opportunity to represent her title at the 32nd annual Texas Blueberry Festival in downtown Nacodgoches.Photo courtesy of Kamrie Spearman

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Hillister man arrested on stalking charge

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060922 hillister man scott speaksScott SpeaksBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A Hillister man was arrested on Friday and charged with stalking.

Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that on the evening of June 3, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a residence on County Road 2340 in reference to “an unwanted individual” on or near the premises.

Deputies discovered a man inside a vehicle, parked in the middle of the roadway, when they arrived on the scene. The man, whom they identified as 40-year-old Scott Speaks, of Hillister, was allegedly sending threatening text messages to an individual at the address from where the complaint was made.

“Deputies have responded to the residence on several prior incidents, including the arrest of Speaks last week,” Weatherford said.

He was charged last week, in a separate incident, on resisting arrest, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Speaks was arrested and transported to the Tyler County Jail and charged with felony stalking. Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford issued an emergency protection order against him and set his bond at $15,000. He has since bonded out of jail.

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Fugitive apprehended near Colmesneil

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060922 Chastyn GrahamChastyn Graham

By Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – A fugitive who has evaded law enforcement for several months is now behind bars.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Chastyn Malone Graham, a 43-year-old Colmesneil man, was taken into custody on last Tuesday, May 31.

Weatherford said that deputies stopped at a residence near Colmesneil that night in an attempt to serve an arrest warrant and discovered Graham hiding in a makeshift crawlspace inside a bathroom.

The deputies who were on the scene spoke with an individual at the residence who gave them permission to enter and search inside for Graham, Weatherford said.

Graham had warrants active out of both Tyler and Hardin counties. Weatherford first turned to the public for help in finding Graham last November on the felony theft warrant. His fugitive status was also broadcast to the Crime Stoppers network in hopes that the public could help locate him.

Recently, Graham evaded authorities on a forklift in an incident near Colmesneil. During the incident, another wanted man, Wylie Kyle Mitcham, was arrested. Graham’s escape resulted in additional charges levied.

Graham is in custody at the Tyler County Jail, charged with two felony evading arrest /w/ motor vehicle charges, as well as felony theft and criminal mischief in Tyler County.

He also faces three district warrants for felony tampering with physical evidence, on two counts and a charge out of Hardin County for possession of a controlled substance.

District Judge Steven Thomas, of the 88th District Court, which services Hardin County, has denied bond for Graham.

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Hurricane season begins

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060922 Hurricane Outlook Map

GLO warns Texans to know risks

By Chris Edwards
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From the beginning of this month we are in until Nov. 30, hurricane season is among us.

Experts are predicting a “more active than usual” season in 2022, with a higher probability that major storms will make landfall in Texas and in other areas along the east coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

State officials and emergency management personnel are already warning residents to be prepared.

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said it is more important than ever for Texans to protect their homes and safeguard their livelihoods against natural disasters.

“Every Texan can follow the five steps of preparedness,” said Bush. “Know your risk, plan your supplies, secure documents, plan your evacuation route and protect your property. Do your part to keep yourself, your family, pets and property protected.”

NOAA has predicted that up to six of the 21 named storms could be major events, which could range anywhere from Category 3 to 5 hurricanes, in which windspeeds reach up to 111 mph or greater.

According to NOAA’s predictions, this year has the potential to be the seventh above-average season in a row, with a 65% change of an above-normal season and a 25% chance of a near-normal season; a 10% chance of below-normal season, according to NOAA figures released on Tuesday.

Factors like La Niña, warmer sea surface temperatures and an enhanced West African monsoon will all likely contribute to an above-average season this year, NOAA officials said. Climate change has contributed to make those phenomenons more intense, NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said Tuesday.

While Texas was spared the effects of any catastrophic storms in 2021, officials and experts are warning residents to be prepared.

The first storm of this season, Tropical Storm Alex, formed in the Atlantic, and as of press time, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda. That storm, according to officials, poses no threat to the East Texas region.

“Essentially everything is pointing toward an active Atlantic season,” said John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University. “It doesn’t guarantee one but it makes it quite a bit more likely.”

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One wanted man arrested; another flees

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two guys 05262022

By Chris Edwards
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COLMESNEIL – According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, a wanted fugitive was seen near Colmesneil, and although he evaded capture, an arrest was made of another wanted man.

Weatherford said that a citizen made patrolling deputies aware of a sighting of Chastyn Malone Graham, a 43-year-old Colmesneil man, wanted on numerous charges out of Tyler and Jasper counties. Graham, according to the report, was driving a forklift down County Road 3251.

The incident occurred last Friday, May 20, Weatherford said. Although deputies were unable to locate Graham in the area of the reported sighting, they did observe a maroon Ford truck following a green forklift on CR 3325, and instigated a stop of the vehicle.

The pickup driver, whom they identified as Wylie Mitcham, a 35-year-old Colmesneil man, was arrested, but Graham, who continued travelling in the forklift down the county road, crashed into the wooded area and fled on foot.

Mitcham was taken into custody on a burglary of a habitation warrant, which was issued by District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker, who set a no bond on him.

Graham, who has been wanted on a felony theft warrant, and other charges, since last year, is known to stay in the Colmesneil area, as well as in Hardin County. Following Friday’s incident, Graham will face additional charges, Weatherford said.

“The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind anyone that harbors, conceals, or aids in providing Graham with any means of avoiding arrest will be charged with felony hindering apprehension/prosecution,” Weatherford said.

Graham is described as a white male, standing 6’ in height and weighing between 180-200 lbs., with brown hair. He is believed to be driving a 2004 white Chevrolet Tahoe.

Weatherford said that anyone who encounters Graham should not attempt to apprehend him, but anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should contact TCSO at 409-283-2172 or Crime Stoppers.

In order to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers regarding the location of Graham, or in regard to another wanted felon in the county, tipsters can visit the website 639TIPS.com, or they can call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 936-639-TIPS.

All tips and calls made directly to Crime Stoppers are anonymous, and any tip that leads to an arrest might be eligible for a reward.

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