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Traffic stop yields narcotics

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By Chris Edwards
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KendrickKendrickFRED ­– A recent traffic stop conducted by deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office yielded a find of narcotics and resulted in charges for a Fred man.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, the deputies instigated the stop of a vehicle travelling on FM 92 south at Franks Branch Cemetery on a traffic violation on the morning of Saturday, June 10 at approximately 1 a.m. The driver, Roy Frank Kendrick, IV, age 30, was found to be driving without a license, or proof of insurance and the vehicle he drove displayed a fictitious registration sticker.

When deputies searched the vehicle, according to Weatherford, they discovered a plastic bottle containing the prescription drugs Hydrocodone and Xanax, as well as a .45 caliber pistol. Kendrick, according to Weatherford, was a felon on parole.

Kendrick was arrested and transported to the Tyler County Jail, where he was charged with the multiple traffic violations; unlawful possession of a firearm by felon and two possession of a controlled substance charges.

Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Jim Moore set Kendrick’s bond at $15,000. He was subsequently transferred to Hardin County Jail on the parole violation.

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Castillo dedicated to rescuing exotic animals

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Castillo Family Farm employee Rylee is shown with her reptile friend.  MOLLIE LASALLE | TCBCastillo Family Farm employee Rylee is shown with her reptile friend. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCB

By Mollie LaSalle
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WOODVILLE – Kaitlyn Castillo is a woman on a mission.

Castillo Family Farm and Exotic Animal Rescue is her baby. She started the business two years ago at Dam B, and slowly, but surely, the people came.

Fast forward to today, and the business has moved into a new location at 1905 West Bluff in Woodville. Castillo has realized a dream that started when she was a teenager.

Castillo explained “I wanted to be veterinarian growing up, and I realized you could own these animals and get so much closer than being a vet, so I started pursuing my vet tech certification classes online.”

Castillo said she began with wanting a monkey and discovered ring-tailed lemurs. She said she purchased one, and realized “people like to touch these ‘weird’ animals.”

“I would take Nikita (the lemur) with me to town, to Walmart, the fair, family functions and everybody loved Nikita,” she said.

“I was, like, well I could do something with that, and it made people happy, so I started collecting a small collection of animals. People started calling me to surrender animals, and I could take this a step further just having my own collection and being able to rescue the animals people no longer wanted. I started doing this in 2019.”

Her new location didn’t open without some hiccups, but Kaitlyn has done her homework. “We went the USDA route, they came and inspected us and once we got put on the USDA registry, people were able to find us and surrender the more exotic animals to us. At the Dam B location, we only had 600 square feet, here we have 3,000 square feet. All the animals are inside, and it is temperature controlled. Here, the facilities are nicer, easier to sanitize, and storage is better. It’s just better all the way around than it was out at the Dam B location,” she said.

The Woodville City Council recently voted to adopt a pet shop fee and set the amount at $50. Castillo’s fee would be pro-rated, since it’s halfway through the year, at $24.95. “My pet shop fee is paid, health inspector has been paid, USDA inspection is current and approved, and our vet has come in and approved all of the animals. We have a med room for our vet (she is from Crockett). If she has to come and perform surgery, we have the facilities to provide for that, and she is on call 24/7. When she is here, she looks at all 26 species, and if anything seems wrong, she will treat them. She also gives us meds to keep on hand like antibiotics and steroids. We take direction from her over the phone; for example, if an animal comes in with an issue, she walks us through how to treat it.

Since their grand opening on June 10, more people are starting to come in, Castillo said. “With kids out of school for the summer, there’s really not a whole lot to do that’s affordable or nearby. It costs $5.00 to get in and see and pet the animals. It gives the kids something to do that’s fun and educational. We are looking into having more events for the kids, and we may do something like a Grandparents free day, or a Mom free day. Our shop hours during the summer are 9 am-8 pm; our rescue hours are 24/7”.

Castillo posted this on her Facebook page: “Just in case anyone forgets how dedicated I am to my critters, I will go to war for them, we don’t raise quitters. All my animals, from the biggest to the smallest, are my babies, even the ones with attitude problems, (Karen). All the reviews Castillo Family Farm has received have been nothing but positive: “Love the fact that it is not just a business, they actually love the animals they have”; “Very professional and knowledgeable”, “Their love for animals is amazing and caring”, “Highly recommend if you’re looking for a first-class family-owned attraction”.

The day I visited was in Castillo’s words, “their busiest day yet”. While I was there, they took in two sugar gliders who were surrendered. Rylee and Jazmine let me hold and pet some of the animals, something I didn’t expect, as I was there to take pictures. Rylee got out the tiniest baby snake and I ended up holding it, something I really thought I would never do, as I do not like snakes, and there was a tank in the reptile room full of them. Noodle was so small and cute, that I figured, hey, why not? I also petted a coatimundi and some bearded dragons, but I steered clear of Miss Karen’s cage, as she was having a major attitude problems when I was trying to take her picture. Don’t wait on this, it is well worth a visit, and Kaitlyn, Rylee, Jazmine, and the rest of the staff will treat you to an afternoon of fun and excitement, as you get to meet Pongo, Taz and the rest of the critters. Make sure and say hello to Karen while you are there, she is a hoot.

Castillo family Farm and Exotic Animal Rescue is located at 1905 W. Bluff in Woodville and is open seven days a week. They are a non-profit organization, and you can reach Kaitlyn at 409-554-2417, or by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Storms put thousands in the dark

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By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – Board of trustees president Bryan Martin gaveled the regular meeting of the Chester ISD school board to order at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 12, with five of the seven members present along with regular attendees, Chester ISD superintendent Dr. Paul Drake, business manager Austin Odom and secretary and reporter.

The agenda was quickly dealt with as revenues and expenses and grant updates were presented by Odom followed by Drake’s update on staffing and board training. Drake shared some positive comments regarding the recent safety/security audit done with more details to be presented in executive session.

The consent agenda was approved as were three action items: 1) resolution to continue being part of the Region 5 food service cooperative; 2) approval of TASB local policy update #121; and 3) approval of Memorandum of Understanding between Tyler County precinct #2 and Chester ISD.

The board went into closed executive session at 6:22 p.m. and returned at 7:02 p.m. when they voted to adjourn.

The July meeting of the Chester ISD Board of Trustees is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, July 17.

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Doucette man dies in Mont Belvieu crash

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By Chris Edwards
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MONT BELVIEU – An accident claimed the life of a Doucette man in Mont Belvieu.

According to reports, a two-vehicle crash occurred at around 5:50 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at the intersection of State Highway 146 and the Grand Parkway in Mont Belvieu. According to Jimmy Ellison, Chief of Police for Mont Belvieu Police Department, 22-year-old DaMichael Brooks, of Doucette, was driving a 2005 Saturn Ion sedan and failed to stop at a stop sign on SH 146.

Brooks was hit on the driver side of his car by a 2016 Chevrolet pickup truck. According to Ellison, Brooks was transported via medical helicopter to a Houston area hospital, where he died from his injuries.

The driver of the truck sustained injuries, though non-life-threatening, according to Ellison’s report. That driver has not been identified but taken to a local hospital and treated.

The Mont Belvieu Fire Department and EMS responded and treated both drivers on the scene before the helicopter was called in for Brooks.

According to a statement from authorities: “The investigation is active and ongoing with initial information indicating that Brooks had been traveling on SH 99 north from Mont Belvieu toward Dayton when he exited at SH 146 onto the service road.”

The crash resulted in a full shutdown of SH 146 for two hours until the scene was cleared.

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Deputies make meth arrest

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By Chris Edwards
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DAM B – A woman who had recently been seen around the Dam B/Town Bluff area was arrested and charged with felony meth possession.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were on patrol on the evening of Monday, May 22, when they made contact with Kayla Slemmons, a 28-year-old woman with no known address. Slemmons, according to Weatherford, had been seen in the area “in recent days,” and while the deputies spoke with her, they detected the odor of marijuana, which she admitted to being in possession of.

The deputies were able to locate a pipe which contained a small amount of marijuana, and Slemmons also had three unloaded syringes, along with a clear container with a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Slemmons was transported to the Tyler County Justice Center and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. Her bond was set by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford at $2,500, and she bonded out, according to records, two days later.

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