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TCSO make arrest in Chester incident

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Michael VicarsMichael VicarsBy Chris Edwards
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CHESTER – On New Year’s Day, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to an area in Chester in reference to an assault call.

The deputies spoke with the victim of the alleged assault, and learned the incident occurred the previous night, and that the suspect was no longer there.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, once the deputies were able to obtain information, evidence and witness statements, they obtained an arrest warrant for Michael Roy Vicars, a 64-year-old Chester man. 

The next day, TCSO deputies located and arrested Vicars at his residence “without incident,” Weatherford said. He was booked into the Tyler County Justice Center and charged with felony assault. He is out of jail on a $10,000 bond, which was set by Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Jim Moore.

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Country duo Amy N’ Me to play Emporium Stage

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Amy N Me Promo Photo

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – The Emporium Stage in Woodville is kicking off the new year with an acoustic duo show on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Amy Collins and Alby Valadez, who are performing under the name Amy N’ Me will take the stage at 7 p.m. According to its biographical info on its website, the duo covers a variety of material, ranging from Aerosmith’s chestnut “Dream On” to karaoke standard “What’s Up” by Four Non Blondes. Collins and Valadez also have plenty of original material under their belts, and a recently released album Embers, along with a single of the same name, have earned them radio play and a spot on the Texas County Music Association’s “Best Texas Country Picks” playlist.

In concert, Collins is the lead vocalist and Valadez plays guitar and harmonizes with her. 

While acoustic solo and duo acts are popular across Texas, Amy N’ Me, according to its bio, offers up a sound akin to a full band with just the duo’s voices, guitar and some acoustic percussion. 

Collins, as noted, is also an engaging performer, who “playfully roam(s) the crowd, dancing and interacting with the audience to music from the ‘50s to present.”

The duo had some heavy hitters working with them on their full-length album, including multi-platinum engineer and producer Brian Reeves, who has also worked with legends like Billy Idol and Elton John.

Tickets to the show are available by phone, by calling 409-200-4759. Ticket prices are $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating. 

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Halfway house application withdrawn

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HouseBy Chris Edwards
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DAM B – The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has withdrawn the application for a halfway house that was due to open in Dam B.

According to State Rep. James White (R-Hillister), there are a number of reasons for TDCJ to approve or not approve applications for such facilities. White said one of the issues is community support and feedback, which likely factors into the decision involving the facility, which was going to operate under the name RJMFSC, or Restorative Justice Ministry Family Services Center.

The facility was a point of questions and concerns within the community, with members of the Dam B Community Watch organization citing a lack of transparency from its representatives.

The facility was to be located on a property that was once a motel and restaurant, near the intersection of US 190 and FM 92.

White said that the applicants will be invited to resubmit their application for the facility, likely after some community outreach. 

In an interview with the Booster, RJMFSC chairman Rev. James Edwards emphasized that the facility and its “No Lost Cause” program to reintegrate parolees into society was in its infancy. Edwards also addressed several of the concerns posed by the DBCW, some of which were posted to the group’s Facebook page.

Edwards said he had only recently been made aware of some of the questions and concerns from the community’s watch group. In a public post from DBCW, the group stated that it was aware of the halfway house project as early as December of 2019 and had sent a letter to local officials in January 2020 asking them to attend a public meeting with Edwards, which did not take place.

Edwards said he will be glad to come before the DBCW and answer any and all questions once all of the information and paperwork for RJMFSC is in order. 

White said he has urged Edwards to reach out to the local constable, sheriff, district attorney and county judge to communicate the goals and needs of the facility and the program. “If that would’ve been done, some things would have turned out differently,” White said.

The executive director for the statewide Restorative Justice Ministries Network, Ron Goodwin, also said as much. 

Goodwin said he and RJMN serve in an advisory capacity for localized organizations and facilities, such as the non-profit trying to open the RJMFSC in Dam B. He said he had advised the facility’s principals to put together a town-hall style meeting as soon as “all the ducks are in a row” concerning licensing and legalities.

When speaking to the Booster on the topic, Goodwin said he has emphasized community involvement from day one regarding the facility. “You want to make sure that the public’s safety is assured,” he said. 

A statement from DBCW to its Facebook page stated that at present, with the information currently available to them, the group is not in support of the facility being located in the Dam B community.

White said that since the application was withdrawn, it could probably be a few months before the applicants could re-file on the facility. 

Above all, White said that statewide the recidivism rate is one of the lowest among the nation’s “big states,” due to a better focus on rehabilitation when inmates are incarcerated. Halfway houses and other programs are set up to “make sure that transition back into society is deliberate and thoughtful and done to the best quality possible,” he said. 

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Spurger man arrested on child indecency charges

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Arrest cuffsBy Chris Edwards
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IVANHOE – Ivanhoe City Marshal Terry Riley reported that his office recently wrapped up an investigation and made an arrest on a Spurger man, which resulted in two felony-level child sex crime charges.

Riley said that last Thursday, Dec. 23, his office concluded its investigation and executed an arrest warrant on Zane Christopher Crosby, a 37-year-old Spurger man. 

According to Riley, the investigation undertaken by the Ivanhoe City Marshal’s Office revealed information that Crosby had acted in an inappropriate manner with two minor children. He was arrested by the Marshal’s Office and transported to the Tyler County Justice Center, “without any issues,” according to Riley, where he was booked on two charges of Indecency With a Child By Sexual Contact, a second-degree felony.

Riley said Crosby’s case is being transferred to the Tyler County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Bonds set for Crosby totaled $10,000, or $5,000 for each charge. He has since bonded out of jail.

Under Texas law, if convicted, Crosby could face a prison sentence of up to two to 20 years and/or up to a fine of $10,000 per charge.

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Recent wrecks kill five people in Tyler County

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Car WreckBy Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – A couple of wrecks over the past week have claimed several lives in Tyler County.

On Thursday, a two-vehicle crash last week claimed the lives of a Colmesneil couple.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the wreck occurred before 5 p.m, about five miles south of Warren. 

An SUV, which was southbound, crossed the center line and struck a Ford passenger car, which was driven by Doyle “Korn Bread” Cowart, Sr., and his wife, Cathy, was passenger.

The Cowarts were pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the Chevrolet SUV has not been identified by DPS and was airlifted to a Beaumont hospital for treatment.

Cowart, who was better known by his nickname, throughout Tyler County, was a native of Colmesneil, as was his wife. The Cowarts owned and operated The Gathering Place, an events venue, which hosted all manner of events, from weddings and birthday parties to a monthly men’s fellowship breakfast.

The couple had been together since they were students at Colmesneil High School in the 1950s. Services were held on Wednesday for the Cowarts at First Baptist Church in Colmesneil, where the two were longtime members.

Another tragic automobile accident occurred on Monday morning near Fred, on FM 96. The accident happened shortly before 7 a.m., according to DPS Sgt. Shana Clark, and claimed three lives, including an infant.

Clark said the accident happened when a small car slid out of control into the opposite lane and was hit by an SUV.

Three people were in the car, all of whom were pronounced deceased on the scene. The victims were Jacob Hutson, a Lumberton man, who was driving the car; 18-year-old Christina Gray of Silsbee and four-month-old River Hutson.

According to the investigation findings, the car was northbound, when it went off the highway and came back onto the highway, where it slid into the southbound lane and was struck by the SUV.

The driver of the SUV, identified as Shannon Daffron, 28, of Spurger, was taken to a Beaumont hospital for treatment. 

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