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Festival of the Arts to begin Dogwood Festival

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In this Booster file photo from 2019, dulcimer players enjoy a good jam session at the Festival of the Arts. The Southeast Texas Dulcimer Friends group are always a welcome presence to the eyes (and ears) of festival attendees. JIM POWERS | TCB In this Booster file photo from 2019, dulcimer players enjoy a good jam session at the Festival of the Arts. The Southeast Texas Dulcimer Friends group are always a welcome presence to the eyes (and ears) of festival attendees. JIM POWERS | TCB

Dinner on the Grounds returns to festivities

From the Dogwood Publicity Committee

The Tyler County Dogwood Festival will kick off three weeks of activities with the Festival of the Arts on March 19-20.  This weekend will give visitors the opportunity to tour Heritage Village, see the Dogwood Festival exhibit, and listen to some live music. The Dogwood Festival exhibit will give visitors a chance to view coronation gowns from former queens and see various memorabilia from Dogwoods past.  Guests will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Clyde Gray House Museum. 

Director Oferia Gazzaway has also scheduled some wonderful exhibits to include a quilt show and a buggy and wagon exhibit.  The gate to Heritage Village opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 19 and the festivities will go on until 3 p.m.    

The famous Pickett House Restaurant will be cooking a delicious lunch of fried chicken, dumplings, a variety of fresh vegetables and all of the trimmings, served family style. The Pickett House will be open on Saturday, March 19 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Restaurant hours on Sunday, March 20 are from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Sunday, March 20, the Village will close out the Festival of the Arts with a Dinner on the Ground from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years of age. There will be live entertainment and lots of great food and fun.

Tickets to Festival of the Arts can be obtained from any of the Tyler County Heritage Society board members, or from Sullivan’s Hardware or the Tyler County Booster.

The Dogwood Entertainment Committee invites all the little princesses to a Royal Tea on Sunday, March 20 at the Village Street Bed and Breakfast. The tea will offer a chance for young girls to meet the Royal Court, take photos with the Princesses and Ladies in Waiting, and make their very own sash.  Each little princess will also receive a crown.  Tickets are available at the door for $20. The Village Street Bed and Breakfast is located at 201 N. Village Street in Woodville. 

The Festival of the Arts is a great opportunity to learn about the culture and heritage of Tyler County and East Texas and there will be so much to see and do.  For more information regarding the festival, call the Heritage Village at 409-283-2272.

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WWII vet celebrates 102 years

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Jesse Gomez (right) gives a quilt to Alonzo Randolph. Gomez volunteers with Quilts for Vets, an organization that makes and gives quilts to veterans. Randolph’s wife Rosemary is also pictured. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Jesse Gomez (right) gives a quilt to Alonzo Randolph. Gomez volunteers with Quilts for Vets, an organization that makes and gives quilts to veterans. Randolph’s wife Rosemary is also pictured. CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – Sociologists labelled folks of Alonzo Randolph’s demographic “The Greatest Generation,” due to their weathering of hardships such as the Great Depression and World War II.

Randolph, a Colmesneil resident, does not look nearly old enough to claim part of that group. With his tall, sturdy frame, youthful smile and super-firm handshake, Randolph appears and acts several decades younger than the milestone birthday he celebrated last Thursday.

He is a soft-spoken man who enjoys a good laugh and conversation and he got to enjoy a great deal of laughter, telling stories and celebration of birthday number 102. This occasion was celebrated with a party and a couple of special commendations for his service to his country.

Randolph is a World War II Army combat veteran. He served in the Army as a Staff Sgt. and was a combat engineer who served in the China-Burma-India Theater. 

He was joined on Thursday by his wife, Rosemary and several friends, family members and well-wishers who simply wanted to come to meet and shake the hand of one of the Greatest Generation.

The county veterans’ service office hosted the party for Randolph at the Nutrition Center in Woodville. Along with cards and gifts, Randolph also received a special certificate from U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-Woodville) commending him for his service. Sarah Blacksher from Babin’s office presented him with the document. 

Jose Narvaez, a Marine Corps veteran who volunteers his time to give elderly veterans birthday parties, was also on hand. He presented Randolph with a medal that celebrated his service in working on the Burma road from India to China.

Narvaez said that when he first met Randolph, he was amazed at what he told him, about his service, as he’d not met many vets who’d been a part of the Burma campaign.

When Narvaez handed Randolph the case with the medal inside, the birthday boy was visibly moved and stunned. 

Randolph said it was something he had been looking for, and waiting to receive, for more than 60 years.

“Those medals are hard to get,” Narvaez said. “I looked for a long time for a campaign medal and ribbon for him.”

Narvaez was present two years ago when Babin and State Rep. James White helped Randolph celebrate his 100th birthday, with commendations and a flag that had flown over the nation’s capitol.

White, an Army veteran himself, remarked that meeting and speaking with a hale and hearty older veteran like Randolph made him want to grab his gunny sack and get back into the field. 

Babin, also a military veteran, said last week that it is a great privilege to represent an American hero like Randolph in Congress.

Tina Cleberg, the county’s veterans’ service officer, said it was an honor to help Randolph celebrate his birthday and said “He’s just a great guy.”

For all of the commendations and recognition, Randolph was humbled and grateful, but the chance to enjoy some fellowship with folks like John Allen Bean and Wilbert Barnett, among others, on Thursday, may have been the best gift of all, judging by his laughter and smile.

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Brookeland Couple killed in wreck

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Car Wreck

From Staff Reports

A late morning crash that occurred near Colmesneil on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 9, claimed two lives.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sergeant Shana Clark, the crash occurred shortly after 11 a.m. on US 287 at the FM 256 turnoff, which is located six miles northwest of Woodville and between Woodville and Colmesneil.

According to Clark’s report, a 2020 Kia SUV was westbound on FM 256 when the driver failed to yield to the right-of-way at the intersection and pulled out in front of a fully loaded log truck, which was northbound on 287.

Clark said the log truck hit the driver side of the Kia and rolled over into a ditch. 

The driver and the passenger of the SUV, who were later identified as John and Pamela Crenshaw, ages 71 and 62, respectively, of Brookeland, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the log truck was identified as Christopher Faulkenberry, 31, of Woodville. He was not injured.

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Hicks sentenced to life in prison for 2019 murder

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By Chris Edwards

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 Blaze HicksBlaze HicksWOODVILLE – A jury handed down a guilty verdict and life sentence to Blaze Hicks for the 2019 murder of Brandon Wood.

Hicks, 29, a Silsbee man, stood trial last week in a five-day trial before District Judge Delinda Gibbs-Walker. The verdict and sentence were both handed down on Friday, Feb. 11 in the District Courtroom inside the Tyler County Courthouse. 

Tyler County’s District Attorney Lucas Babin said the conviction was a victory for law enforcement in the county and added that “East Texas is safer now that Blaze Hicks has been removed from society.”

Babin said that during the trial, evidence made a case that Hicks had a long history of violence prior to the murder of 28-year-old Wood on the afternoon of Sept. 23, 2019.

During trial, more than 20 witnesses and 45 different pieces of evidence exhibited to the jury told the story of the day that Hicks traveled from Silsbee to Warren looking for Wood. The story that unfolded in the courtroom showed that Hicks carried a loaded .22 rifle with him and began firing at Wood, who was unarmed, shortly after he saw him.

Hicks shot Wood four times in the back and fled the scene, and although he got away, he dropped his cellphone in the process. That phone was recovered by law enforcement later, and it contained a selfie of Hicks on its home-screen, according to Babin.

Wood was able to dive into the woods after being shot and ran a short distance before collapsing. Some bystanders attempted CPR on him until paramedics arrived. Wood was later pronounced dead at Tyler County Hospital. 

The witnesses on the scene, who heard multiple gunshots and saw Hicks’s vehicle leave the scene and a high rate of speed, described Hicks’s truck, a black pickup with the phrase “Break ya Neck” emblazoned on the windshield. He was arrested later that day in Silsbee by deputies with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office. 

Hicks attempted to tell law enforcement that he had not left Silsbee that day, and that his truck was in the driveway all day, however, security camera footage from a business near the Tyler/Hardin county line showed otherwise.

First Assistant DA Pat “Hawk” Hardy added that Newton County deputy Keith Franklin was also a valuable contributor to making the case against Hicks.

“This was a team effort to get a dangerous individual off the street,” Hardy said.

Brian Seales, who worked at the time for TCSO as an investigator, had recovered two .22-caliber cartridges from Hicks’s truck, as well as two additional cartridges at the crime scene, which were sent to the DPS Crime Lab for forensic analysis. Upon testing, all four cartridges were determined to have been fired from the same gun.

Hicks, who was represented by Ryan Gertz, was originally set to stand trial last August, and then reset for September. At one point, last May, while he was being held in the Tyler County Jail, he and another inmate escaped, but were both caught later the same day in the Silsbee area.

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Police arrest sex offender

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By Chris Edwards
news@tylercounty>booster.com

Marcus Dion BrownMarcus Dion BrownWOODVILLE – A tip from Child Protective Services led to the arrest of a man who had been convicted of a sex crime in Indiana.

According to Capt. Jathan Borel with the Woodville Police Department, officer Troy Costello received the priority one report, and immediately began looking into it. The report indicated that a man, Marcus Dion Brown, had felony warrants out of state.

Brown was wanted in Indiana for failure to register as a sex offender. Borel said that the 43-year-old Brown was residing locally under an alias, “Lopez.”

When Costello made contact with Brown, he was staying in the Woodville Inn, and continued to deny his true identity. Borel said that he also was in possession of a firearm when he was placed under arrest last Wednesday.

“Further investigation of Brown revealed that he was a suspect in a CPS investigation for sexual abuse of a child,” Borel said. 

Borel added that Brown has a documented history of intimidation. “Therefore, we are concerned that there may be additional victims. There may be people who have been coerced to doing things under duress,” Borel said.

Brown was booked into the Tyler County Justice Center, where he remains in custody; booked in for the out-of-state warrants, as well as possession of a firearm by a felon. He was issued a no bond by Woodville Municpal Judge Judith Haney, and Borel said more charges are anticipated.

In their investigation, Woodville PD found that Brown had previously stayed in Hillister, as well as Silsbee, and they are still working to find out how long he had been in Woodville, and looking to find out how and why he wound up in Tyler County. 

Borel said that the police work of his colleague was key to getting Brown off the streets. “Officer Costello did a really good job on this,” he said. “He took a small bit of information that he had, which could have easily been nothing, because a lot of the time the info CPS gets is just concern or suspicion.”

“Every once in a while it takes someone to pick up the ball and run with it,” Borel said of Costello. “Officer Costello did a great job.”

Borel said that Woodville PD wants to do its part to locate anyone else who may have information about Brown, as well as anyone who may have been victimized by him. Anyone wishing to come forward may contact Woodville PD at 409-283-3791, or can visit the police station, located at 113 N. Charlton Street in Woodville. Borel noted that anyone with information will remain anonymous.

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