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DETCOG board to meet in Hemphill

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From Staff Reports

HEMPHILL – Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) Board of Directors will hold their regular monthly meeting Thursday, July 27, at First Baptist Church Life Center at 301 Mann Street in Hemphill, Texas. A Luncheon will be served at noon, and the Board meeting will be held immediately following.

Welcoming members and guests to Sabine County will be Sabine County Judge Daryl Melton and Shelby County Commissioners Brent Cox, Keith Nabours, Stanley Jacks, and James Lowe.

DETCOG’s President, San Augustine County Judge Jeff Boyd would like to extend an invitation to the meeting to all interested parties.  Anyone needing information concerning this event may contact the Deep East Texas Council of Governments office in Lufkin at 936-634-2247.

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Legislative statute revisions to affect Texas timber sales

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From Staff Reports

AUSTIN – Effective Sept. 1, 2023, members of the timber industry will be better protected buying and selling timber in Texas.

Due to a rising occurrence of timber theft cases, members of the 88th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1772, The Timber Asset Protection Act, to improve and clarify Texas’ forestry bill of sale laws, required documentation for mills and landowners and to apply the same penalties to fraud as has been applicable for unauthorized harvest of timber.

Current forestry bill of sale laws have been effective in the past, but over time, the changing process of growing, delivering, manufacturing and valuating of forest products, certain legal changes are needed, as well as adjustments to penalties for illegal behavior.

“The first laws dealing with requiring bills of sale were passed in 1977, and as the industry has evolved, subsequent adjustments in timber asset protection laws have been needed,” Rep. Trent Ashby, author of HB 1772, said. “This revision of our Natural Resources Code will ensure transparency and accountability in timber transactions which will keep our forest economy working and healthy for future generations.”

The intent of this new legislation is to deter theft by requiring a more transparent timber transaction starting with an accurate bill of sale from the forest to the mill and delivery documentation for pay-as-cut timber sales to the forest landowner within 45 days. This will require mills to provide an addendum to their documentation and a new or revised notice sign at receiving truck scales.

The penalties for knowingly providing false information to the mill or failing to provide proper and timely documentation to the forest landowner are now the same misdemeanors and felony levels as in timber theft cases of harvesting timber without permission.

“While investigating timber theft cases, we frequently noticed inconsistencies in chain-of-custody documentation, or lack thereof,” Jarred Lemmon, Texas A&M Forest Service Assistant Chief of Law Enforcement, said. “Buttoning up the requirements of the timber sale process with a few minor statutory changes would benefit all facets of the timber industry in Texas, from the time it was procured and harvested until its final destination after manufacturing.”

Over the past four years, the Texas Forestry Association petitioned for the changes provided in HB 1772 with targeted education, as well as through consultation with Texas A&M Forest Service for statutory and operational expertise.

TFA Executive Director Rob Hughes said the upgrades reflected in the Timber Asset Protection Act are part of the association’s mission of forestry education and resource protection.

“Texans enjoy many benefits from our forests which are 95% privately owned. This legislation will keep our forest products markets competitive ensuring healthy working forests for the future,” Senate Sponsor Robert Nichols said.

A summary of the timber theft legislation and penalties includes:

Revised bill of sale statute to include “information be true and accurate” with current methods of describing the property address or use of GPS coordinates

Someone who knowingly provides false information on bill of sale would be guilty of a misdemeanor which increases to felony levels

Bill of sale information retention increase from two years to five years

A new requirement of legal proof documentation from the buyer to the seller, such as a delivery receipt, within 45 days after delivery to a mill

Penalties for “unauthorized harvest of timber” now apply to bill of sale information and documentation from purchaser to forest landowner

For more information on 2023 Timber Asset Protection Act visit

https://www.texasforestry.org/ and https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/LawEnforcement/

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“Silent Sky” performances scheduled for Emporium

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Adrianna Stark, Scott Eddins and Jessica Gutierrez rehearse a scene from “Silent Sky,” directed by Meg Standley. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMPORIUM STAGEAdrianna Stark, Scott Eddins and Jessica Gutierrez rehearse a scene from “Silent Sky,” directed by Meg Standley. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMPORIUM STAGE

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Emporium Stage in downtown Woodville is hosting three performances of “Silent Sky” beginning on Friday, July 21.

The play, which was written by San Francisco playwright Lauren Gunderson, is being directed by Meg Standley. According to the Emporium, it will feature the Emporium Stage Players, and is based on a true story.

The play tells the story of Henrietta Leavitt, a 19th century astronomer, who is “ahead of her time.”

Leavitt finds herself appointed to work at Harvard as “a human computer,” but receives no scientific credit for her work.

Gunderson’s website describes the play as a showcase of “music and math bursting forth onstage,” with the protagonist “and her female peers [changing] the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.”

The play’s director, Standley, is a Tyler County native who is currently studying theatre education at Sam Houston State University. She made her directorial debut last summer with an Emporium Stage production of Don Nigro’s “Paganini.”

The cast includes Adrianna Stark; Scott Eddins; Jessica Gutierrez; Lindsey Dobbins and Rachel Gressler.

The performance schedule for “Silent Sky” will see the Friday and Saturday shows starting at 7 p.m. and the Sunday, July 23 performance slated for 2:30 p.m.

Tickets for each show are $15 at the door, or $20 for reserved seating. Patrons can reserve seats by calling 409-200-4759 or 409-283-3832.

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Parker County sex offender named July’s ‘Featured Fugitive’ by DPS

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CAPKOCAPKOAUSTIN – Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender Larry Capko, who is also affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, is this month’s Featured Fugitive. The reward for information leading to his arrest is increased to $4,000 if the tip is received during the month of July.

Larry Ray Capko, 51, of Springtown, has been wanted since July 2022, when the Parker County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest for failure to register as a sex offender. Additionally, since December 2022, the Montague County Sheriff’s Office has issued warrants for Capko’s arrest for assault of family/household member with previous conviction and failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements.

In 2015, Capko was convicted of sexual assault of a child following an incident involving a 16-year-old girl. He subsequently was sentenced to two years of confinement in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prison. In 2017, he received probation for assault of a family/household member with previous conviction, and in 2019, Capko received probation for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements. In July 2022, he was arrested in Parker County for failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements and subsequently bonded out.

Capko is 6 feet tall and weighs about 280 pounds. He has tattoos on his neck, chest, abdomen, left hand and both arms and legs. For more information or updates in the event of his arrest, view Capko’s wanted bulletin.

Texas Crime Stoppers, which the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division funds, offers cash rewards to any person who provides information that leads to the arrest of one of Texas’ 10 Most Wanted Fugitives or Sex Offenders. So far in 2023, DPS and other agencies have arrested 22 Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives and Sex Offenders. In addition, $76,000 in rewards has been paid for tips that yielded arrests.

To be eligible for cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities using one of the following three methods:

• Call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).

• Submit a web tip through the DPS website by selecting the fugitive you have information about then clicking on the link under their picture.

• Submit a Facebook tip by clicking the “SUBMIT A TIP” link (under the “About” section).

All tips are anonymous — regardless of how they are submitted — and tipsters will be provided a tip number instead of using a name.

DPS investigators work with local law enforcement agencies to select fugitives for the Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitives and Sex Offenders Lists. You can find the current lists — with photos — on the DPS website.

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Traffic stop results in two arrests

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A recent traffic stop near Woodville resulted in two arrests and multiple felony charges for a man and a woman from Colmesneil.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, along with Pct. 4 Constable Anthony Ross, were on patrol south of Woodville, along US 69, when they made a stop on a vehicle at County Road 4260 (Seneca Road) on a traffic violation.

The driver, Justin Duane Staples, a 30-year-old Colmesneil man, had no driver license and gave the officers probable cause to search the vehicle, according to Weatherford. A passenger in the vehicle was identified as 33-year-old Amanda Leanne Haughton, also of Colmesneil.

A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of a baggie in the center console containing a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for meth. There was also a makeup bag, with another baggie containing more meth and, according to Weatherford, 14 more baggies and a digital scale.

Both Staples and Haughton were taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County Jail. Staples was charged with felony manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, for 17 grams of meth, as well as tampering with physical evidence. Haughton was also given a felony manufacture/delivery charge on 17 grams of meth, and additionally, once she was being processed at the jail, TCSO jail staff discovered additional meth on Haughton, concealed in her undergarments, which netted another charge of felony-level -possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility.

Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Tina Self set bonds on both suspects at $35,000 for Staples for $40,000 for Haughton. Both have bonded out of jail.

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