Officers with the Woodville Police Department were contacted on August 28 by the Chambers County Sheriff's Department concerning a wanted fugitive whom their agency was searching.
According to Woodville Police Captain Mike McCulley, detectives with the Chambers County Sheriff's Department advised that their agency had information that the wanted subject, identified as Jonathan Lee Asher, age 28, was residing at a residence in Woodville in the 700 block of Myrtle Street.
"Woodville officers confirmed the address at that time, it was also learned that Asher had past history with law enforcement dating back several years," McCulley said. "Detectives advised that Asher was wanted for the charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, which is a first degree felony."
Officers were advised that Asher's last arrest had resulted in an officer being assaulted, so they set up surveillance in the area and observed Asher exit the residence. Woodville Police Sergeant Borel was able to arrest Asher without incident and transported him to Tyler County Jail.
Bond has been set at $75,000 and he is awaiting transport back to Chambers County.
Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette, Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash, Pct. 2 Commissioner Rusty Hughes, Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jack Walston were among hundreds of county officials who gathered in Austin Aug. 27-29 at the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) 2014 Legislative Conference to discuss common concerns shared by local governments from across the state, learn about the biggest issues facing counties and local taxpayers heading into the 84th Legislature and to discover the resources available to those who wish to advocate the needs of their local communities to legislators.
"The Legislative Conference is the one time each year county officials from across the state can gather together as colleagues and as community leaders to discuss common issues and potential solutions to our shared problems and challenges, and to prepare together for the upcoming legislative session, the workings of which will undoubtedly affect counties in many ways," said TAC Executive Director Gene Terry. "County government is the working arm of the state, and counties shoulder many responsibilities that affect citizens in their day-to-day lives. Any and all of those responsibilities can be affected by the Legislature. County officials must be dedicated to ensuring that legislators are aware of the all pros and cons of any legislation that may affect local control, counties and Texans."
During their three days in Austin, county officials heard from their peers, experts and legislators on a number of current and expected hot topics affecting counties, including: • An update on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including how counties can prepare for the excise tax in 2018; • Compliance with the Supreme Court of Texas' statewide e-filing mandate; • Water and drought issues, including how the State Water Plan project prioritization is progressing and how local entities are responding to changing water needs; • Rising indigent defense costs and best practices; • How the state budget is written, how legislators use dedicated funds to balance the budget and the affect that practice has on Texans and important services;and • An update on the Mental Health Advisory Panel and how counties are working to improve mental health crisis services across the state.
In addition, the conference's General Sessions included presentations by author David Houle, a business consultant and one of the nation's top futurists; University of Texas communications professor John Daly, who discussed best practices for advocating to legislators; Chet Garner, the creator of the Emmy-award winning television show The Daytripper, who gave his perspective on how important diversity is to Texas and what it means to be a Texan; and Steven Murdock, the first official State Demographer of Texas and former director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
Other notable speakers included Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), the chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, who discussed possible funding solutions to help build and maintain the state's road system, and Rep. Joe Farias (D-San Antonio), who spoke about services and resources available for Texas veterans.
Several county officials and department heads also led discussions and helped educate their colleagues on a number of topics. Those county officials included Limestone County Judge Daniel Burkeen, Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson, Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter, Travis County Court-At-Law Judge Mike Denton, Fort Bend County Clerek Dianne Wilson and Tom Green County District Clerk Sheri Woodfin.
TAC work to unite Texas counties together in search of solutions for challenges faced by all counties and to provide services to support county officials in the vital work they do for their local communities.
According to Woodville Police Captain Mike McCulley, there has been heavy foot traffic in Woodville recently, especially at night.
"We have had several complaints called into the police department regarding incidents where people have almost run over people walking down the street at night," McCulley said. "We are urging people that want to take a walk that they need to wear light-colored, reflective clothing and carry a flashlight."
McCulley said without proper night attire, the chance of people getting ran over will increase and that several close calls have been called in within the past few months.
"If you are going to walk after night please be aware that people traveling may not see you on the road," McCulley said.
McCulley also recommends not to walk down the middle of the road, but to walk down the side of the road or on the designated sidewalks. He also wants people to use safety and common sense when traveling on foot at night.
"We do have some streetlights but they don't provide safety in all areas," McCulley said."We want to avoid any accidents from happening."
McCulley says the same rules go for bike riders, and that all bikes need to be equipped with reflectors or head lights.
"Motorists need to be able to see you from a distance," McCulley said.
The Woodville Police Department wants to keep everyone in the city safe. Keeping pedestrians safe is a huge part of that.
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford wants to warn citizens of several phone and Internet scams circulating in the area recently. According to Weatherford almost all of the scams require people to send money outside of the country where law enforcement has little to no recourse to capture these types of criminals.
Nigeria, one of the main countries from where these scams originate, is not interested in stopping these types of crimes, so it is up to citizens to remain aware and diligent to prevent falling victim to a scam.
"One current scam is a Facebook lottery scam," Weatherford said. "People will hack into Facebook accounts and send them a message through Facebook that appears to come from a good friend and they say they want to let you know about a prize they won, and will say that they can win too. Then, the hacker will get you to send some amount of money to 'claim' your prize."
Chief Deputy Phil Ryan says that if someone asks you to send money to receive a prize, it is probably a scam.
"Scammers will also call the elderly pretending to be a bonds company saying a relative is locked up," Ryan said. "They usually will not be very forthcoming with information and will ask for an amount of money to get them out of jail."
Weatherford and Ryan want citizens to know that if someone calls and wants money to get a relative out of jail, make sure to do your research before sending any amount of money because it is probably a scam.
A third type of scam is something Ryan calls a 'Pay day Loan' scam.
"Scammers will call and say that you have defaulted on a payday loan and will threaten felony charges if you do not pay it immediately," Ryan said. "That is a scam too."
Ryan says if you have any questions about scams or if you think you may be being scammed, you should call the police.
"Sadly, if you have fallen victim to a scam there is almost nothing we can do," Ryan said. Weatherford warns citizens that the elderly are often victim to these types of crimes, and if there is any question about whether something is a scam, call the police or the Sheriff's Department.
On August 21, Woodville Police Sergeant Hicks and Officer Parton received a call at approximately 6 p.m. regarding a disturbance in the 800 block of Bluebird Street in Woodville. A homeowner at the residence said that an ex-husband had just left the scene after they had gotten involved in a verbal altercation. Officers noted that some of the property inside the house was damaged. Officers then attempted to locate the ex-husband but failed to locate him.
According to Woodville Police Captain Mike McCulley, Sgt. Hicks was patrolling the same area in which the incident happened and observed a subject matching the description of a suspect from the earlier disturbance call.
Hicks found the man, who was identified as Earnest Glenn Hutto, age 49, of Silsbee.
Hutto fled the officers on foot and officers pursued him toward Pecan Street, where they lost sight of him. Officers then saw some residents of Pecan street, advised them that they were searching for Hutto, gave them a description and asked them to contact the police if he was seen.
"About 20 minutes later one of the citizens that officers had talked with called police and said they saw him near Coleman Funeral Home on South Pecan Street," McCulley said. "Officers went to the area and located Hutto laying down, hiding in some weeds."
Hutto was charged with Evading Arrest or Detention.
"The police department continues to seek the public's help in any and all criminal matters," McCulley said. "This is a case in which the public contacted us and helped us make the arrest. We probably would have not been able to make the arrest on this guy without that contact." McCulley said that the Police Department appreciates any time the public can help with crime and that it makes their job much easier.
The City of Woodville has declared a Stage 5 - EMERGENCY - Water Shortage in accordance with the City's Drought Contingency Plan. The City Water System has encountered mechanical failure at a primary water well, thereby reducing the system's water production capabilities.
To ensure that there is no major loss of water service to any customer; all NON_ESSENTIAL water use shall be prohibited.
Water system officials will issue notification lifting this restriction when water production capabilities have been restored and shall do so in the same manner as this notice.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, you may contact Woodville City Hall at (409) 283-2234.