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Wanted fugitive arrested

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By Chris Edwards
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TidwellTidwellTYLER COUNTY – The hunt for a man wanted on multiple charges ended last week when deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christopher Allen Tidwell.

Tidwell, a 33 year-old man, was arrested on Tuesday without incident, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford. 

Tidwell was the subject of a month-long manhunt, after being wanted on charges of burglary of a habitation and engaging in organized criminal activity. TCSO asked the public’s help in locating Tidwell and Crime Stoppers had offered a reward for any information as to his whereabouts.

Tidwell, who was believed to reside either in the Dam B area or in Jasper County, was arrested at a residence in the Brookeland area. Weatherford said that TCSO deputies had received information that he was possibly staying at a residence there. Deputies with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested him and transported him to the Tyler County Justice Center.

Weatherford said that during a search of Tidwell’s property during booking, deputies discovered a clear plastic baggie containing a crystal-like substance, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Tidwell is in custody and his bonds were set by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford, totalling $200K.

His charges include engaging in organized criminal activity; burglary of a habitation and possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility.

Tidwell is also a convicted rapist. He is listed as a lifetime-required registrant on the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry stemming from a 2011 conviction.

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Tribe breaks ground on education center site

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actribe logoLIVINGSTON – The Alabama- Coushatta Tribe of Texas recently broke ground on the site of what will be the Aati Imaabachi Imiisa Education Center.

The 49,000-square foot facility will serve as the epicenter of education for tribal citizens of all ages. Anticipated for completion in the fall of 2024, the new center will house the tribe’s Education Department, Head Start Program, Tribal Youth Program, Tribal Library, two play yards, and a multipurpose gym.

Services available at the center will include afterschool tutoring and college readiness classes for students. The new facility will also accommodate the Tribe’s Inner Voice Youth Council.

“Leaders of our Tribe have long dreamed of building this Education Center,” said Ricky Sylestine, Chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas’ Tribal Council. “Throughout our history, this tribe has valued learning and recognized the importance of preparing the next generation for success. This center will help the younger members of our tribe become better citizens while also offering facilities, such as the library, where adults can continue to learn and better themselves as well.”

Sylestine added, “The construction of this new center also signifies our optimism about the future. We have been in this region for many generations and plan to be part of the East Texas community for a long time to come. Education is the key to a brighter future, for our tribe and for our neighbors.”

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in the state located on approximately 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Deep East Texas. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation

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Emergency supplies sales tax holiday lasts April 23-25

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tax holidayAUSTIN — As we enter severe weather season, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds Texans they can purchase certain items taxfree during the state’s sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies, which begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, and ends at midnight on Monday, April 25.

“Whether it’s fires, freezing temperatures or tornadoes, severe weather conditions can strike at any time, so it is important that families, homes and businesses have the supplies they need to face these and other emergencies,” Hegar said.

“This tax holiday can help Texans save money while stocking up for emergency situations.”

The comptroller’s office estimates shoppers will save more than $1.5 million in state and local sales taxes during the tax holiday, which was approved by the Texas Legislature in 2015. There’s no limit on the number of qualifying items you can purchase.

These include:

• household batteries, fuel containers and flashlights priced at less than $75;

• hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced at less than $300; and

• portable generators priced at less than $3,000.

For purchases made online, note that delivery, shipping, handling and transportation charges are part of the sales price. If the emergency preparation item being purchased is taxable, the delivery charge is also taxable. Consider these charges when determining whether an emergency preparation item can be purchased tax-free during the holiday.

For example, if you purchase a rescue ladder online for $299 with a $10 delivery charge, the total sales price is $309.

Because the total sales price of the ladder is more than $300, tax is due on the $309 sales price.

Several over-the-counter self-care items, such as antibacterial hand sanitizer, soap, spray and wipes, are always exempt from sales tax if they are labeled with a “Drug Facts” panel in accordance with federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

Purchases that do not qualify include:

•batteries for automobiles, boats and other motorized vehicles;

• camping stoves and camping supplies; • chainsaws; • plywood; • extension ladders and stepladders; and tents.

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Duo arrested on burglary charge

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Duo Caught
By Chris Edwards
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TOWN BLUFF – A recent arrest led to additional charges and another arrest for a Woodville man, and the arrest of another individual, regarding stolen property in the Dam B area.

Last Monday, deputies arrested both Keiosha Rowinsky, age 30 and 28-year-old Tommy Lee Chambless, both of Town Bluff. 

Chambless was out of jail on bond from an arrest two weeks ago, in which he led law enforcement on a high-speed chase, which ended in a wreck. Rowinsky and Chambless are both being charged with burglary of a habitation and engaging in organized criminal activity.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, a report was made on March 28 of trespassers at a residence on County Road 4120, and while no one suspicious was found, Weatherford said deputies put extra patrol duty into place in the area.

The next day, Weatherford said, deputies who were patrolling that morning along CR 4120, observed ATV tracks which were not visible during the previous day, and led to the residence where the report was made of trespassers. 

When deputies came to the property, they discovered that two golf carts and an ATV were missing from where they had been parked the previous day, and they also found that an RV had been broken into.

Weatherford said the deputies found out from the property owner that a .22-caliber rifle, an auger, a Weed-Eater and mini-bike were missing.

Later that morning was when Chambless was arrested the first time, and Weatherford said that as the deputies gathered additional information, linking others to the burglary, Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers began issuing arrest warrants.

Powers set bonds for Chambless and Rowinsky at $125,000 apiece. “More arrests are expected as this investigation continues,” Weatherford said.

Rowinsky is also charged with felony manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance with a bond set at $100,000 by Judge Powers.

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Man accused of sex crime arrested

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FullerFullerBy Chris Edwards
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WARREN – Tyler County Sheriff’s Office deputies made an arrest of an out-of-state fugitive last week in Warren.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies who were patrolling in the Warren area last Thursday, and arrested James Gregory Fuller, a 51-year-old man residing in Warren. The deputies appeared at Fuller’s residence to serve a felony warrant for his arrest.

Once Fuller was taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, he was charged with Felony Gross Sexual Imposition out of state from Ohio. The charge came by way of a secret indictment, according to Weatherford.

Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Milton Powers told Fuller that a district judge in Stark County, Ohio had set a no bond on him. 

As of Monday, Fuller was still in custody, in Tyler County, awaiting extradition to Ohio. According to the Ohio Penal Code, the charge Fuller was handed alleges that he sexually assaulted someone by using threat or force, or the victim could not provide consent due to intoxication; or that the victim was 13 years old or younger.

A public records search revealed that Fuller is on the North Carolina state sex offender registry for a 2016 crime of indecency with a minor.

Under Ohio statutes, one who is convicted of gross sexual imposition is subject to more severe punishment than one who is convicted of other sexual crimes.

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