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Spurger man arrested on child porn, solicitation charges

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Tyler McElvainTyler McElvainBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A Spurger man was arrested last week on two felony charges relating to child pornography and soliciting a minor online.

 According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, 31-year-old Tyler Mark McElvain was arrested in Warren on Thursday, Jan. 20, following a report received by TCSO the prior week.

 Weatherford said that on Wednesday, Jan. 12, deputies received a report that McElvain was in possession of child porn and had solicited a minor online. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford issued search warrants, and Pct. 2 JP Ken Jobe issued warrants on McElvain for possession of child pornography and online solicitation of a minor – sexual conduct.

 Weatherford said the deputies were able to make the arrest without incident. He was transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, where he was booked on the two charges, and his bonds were set at $100K for the porn charge and $150K for the online solicitation charge. His bonds were set by Pct. 3 JP Milton Powers.

 Weatherford added that McElvain could face additional charges, as this is an ongoing investigation.

 If convicted on the two charges, McElvain could face two to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for the child porn charge, and up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the online solicitation charge. 

 Online solicitation of a minor is both a crime under state law as well as federal law. Under federal statute, online solicitation could carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

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Meth dealer sentenced given 20 year sentence

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By Chris Edwards
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Lonzo LewisLonzo LewisWOODVILLE – A Woodville man was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week on two meth possession charges.

Lonzo Wilburn Lewis, Jr., was tried on two felony possession charges last week in district court. Lewis, who was represented by the court-appointed Russell J. Wright, was handed the sentence in a bench trial on Thursday, Jan. 13. 

District Attorney Lucas Babin spoke about the amount of the drug that Lewis was found with during an arrest. “After law enforcement seized 2.5 ounces of meth from Mr. Lewis’s home, Mr. Lewis continued to traffic meth in Tyler County,” Babin said.

Babin and his first assistant DA Pat “Hawk” Hardy presented evidence that when a search warrant was executed at Lewis’s residence on March 22, 2021, the 2.5 ounces of meth was discovered, as well as items such as plastic 

baggies and a digital scale, all of which pointed to distribution, and not mere use of the drug. 

Special Agent Adam Park, who was called as an expert witness, attested to the fact that it is uncommon for a drug user to possess more than an ounce of meth. Park, who works with the Texas Department of Public Safety in the Criminal Investigations Division, said that someone who is caught on two separate occasions with large quantities of meth, is indicative the person is a dealer and not just a user.

Lewis was arrested on June 25, 2021, when Tyler County Sheriff’s Office deputy Anthony Ross found him to be in possession of 28 grams of meth. Lewis was also driving with an expired registration tag and his driver license had been expired for several years, according to testimony given.

Lewis had no prior felony convictions on his record, Babin said. The two charges netted 20 years apiece, and the sentence will run concurrently.

“I’d like to thank the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, DPS-CID and constables [Casey] Whitworth and [Ronnie] Ford,” Babin said. “Without their efforts, this resuly would not have been possible.”

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Secretary Scott Assures All Eligible Texas Voters They Can Register to Vote Ahead of January 31st Deadline

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secstatelogoAUSTIN — Texas Secretary of State John Scott today provided an update to all eligible Texas voters wishing to register to vote for the March 1 Primary Election:

"Every year, the Secretary of State’s Office voluntarily provides voter registration applications to numerous entities, including county election offices, county clerks, public libraries, high school principals, and others. This is in an effort to reach and register as many eligible Texas voters as possible and assist them in exercising their constitutional right to vote. While we are not legally required to do so, we do this as a courtesy to Texas voters and those organizations helping eligible Texans register to vote," Secretary Scott said.

"I want to make one thing clear: every single eligible Texas voter will be able to register to vote if they have not done so already. This year alone, the SOS has provided tens of thousands of voter registration applications to counties, libraries, schools, and private entities. The SOS has also made a .pdf version of the voter registration application available to anyone who requests it, including private entities. Additionally, Texas voters can fill out an online application form, print, sign and send the completed application to their county voter registrar. Don't wait until the last minute if you haven't already registered - get the process started today by following the instructions below or by visiting www.votetexas.gov!"

The Texas Secretary of State's office offers free voter registration forms to any individual, group or organization upon request as a courtesy to help Texas voters. There is no legal requirement in the Texas Election Code for the Secretary of State to provide free voter registration forms, only to furnish a copy of the required form without charge, which our office has done for any group or organization that requests one.

Any eligible Texas voter can fill out his or her registration information on the Texas Secretary of State's online portal, print, sign and mail the completed application form to their county voter registrar. The completed application does not have to be printed on a special type of paper. Once printed, Texas voters must:

  • Insert in an envelope addressed to the county (the address is at the top of the form);
  • Place a first class stamp on the envelope; and
  • Mail to your county voter registrar.

You can start the application process here. Spanish speakers can use the Spanish language online application form here.

To find the correct mailing address for your county voter registrar, visit our list of County Voter Registration officials here.

Are you registering to vote for the first time?

To register to vote in Texas, simply complete a voter registration application and return it to your county election office by January 31st.  To complete an application, you may:

Register to vote when renewing your Driver License or State ID card

If you’re not already registered to vote but have an existing Texas Driver License or state identification card, you can register to vote online when renewing, replacing or changing your contact information for either of these cards through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Follow the steps on the DPS web portal to update your driver license information, and you will be given the option to register to vote when renewing or updating your information.

Update your voter registration information online

Whether you’ve recently moved or changed your name, you can now update all your information on your voter registration record through our portal on Texas.gov. You may use this tool to update your registration across county lines if you have changed residences to a new county.

Click here to update your voter registration information online.**

**NOTE: To update your voter registration, you will need your Voter Unique Identifier (VUID) to log in to the Texas.gov portal. You can find your VUID by visiting the Texas SOS My Voter Portal, in which you can enter your Name, County, Date of Birth and ZIP code to display your voter registration information.

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HHSC encourages cancer screenings

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texas health and human services logo.pngAUSTIN – During National Cervical Health Awareness Month this January, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is encouraging women to get screened for cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer screening rates have declined nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we kick off 2022, we are encouraging Texans to turn that trend around by resolving to prioritize cervical health,” said Lindsay Rodgers, HHSC associate commissioner for Health and Developmental Services. “Routine cervical cancer screening is the most effective way to detect cervical cancer early, and the first step is talking with your doctor.”

In 2018, which is the most recent year of available data, there were 1,299 new cases of cervical cancer for women in Texas. Cervical cancer is the third leading cancer diagnosis in women ages 20-39 and fifth in women ages 40-49.

In Texas, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program provides low-cost and free women’s health services for uninsured and underinsured Texas women who meet eligibility requirements. Services include cervical and breast cancer screenings, clinical breast examinations, mammograms, and breast biopsies. BCCS helps fund clinics across the state to provide these life-saving screening and diagnostic services.

Between Sept. 2020 and Sept. 2021, BCCS served 27,985 women including 7,217 women who received cervical cancer screenings and 838 women who received treatment for precancerous cervical conditions.

The BCCS program is partly funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program awards funding to states for early detection of cervical and breast cancers. Between June 2019 and June 2020, the federal program awarded BCCS more than $6 million. The Texas Legislature appropriates more than $2 million annually to supplement federal efforts.

To find BCCS providers or learn more about women’s health services, visit www.healthytexaswomen.org or call 2-1-1.

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Ivanhoe man found with active warrants

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RodasRodasBy Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – Tyler County law enforcement is investigating an alleged assault that took place in Ivanhoe, and resulted in a suspect apprehended on a pair out-of-county warrants.

Last Wednesday morning, at approximately 11:15 a.m., according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, TCSO deputies were dispatched to a residence on Lancelot Street in reference to an assault in progress. 

“While en route to Lancelot Street, the deputies learned the male individual involved in the assault left walking from the residence,” Weathferford said. 

The deputies located the suspect, who was identified as Ozzie Angel Rodas, a 33-year-old Ivanhoe man. Rodas was found near the entrance to Ivanhoe.

The deputies learned that Rodas had two active warrants for his arrest out of Dallas and Denton counties, one for Assault – Family Violence and another for Possession of a Controlled Substance. 

Roadas was transported to the Tyler County Justice Center and transferred the next day to the Dallas County Jail, where he is currently in custody. 

He is still, according to Weatherford, being investigated for the assault incident in Ivanhoe.

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