Courthouse bell tower, facade renovations begin

Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette accepts a check from Bob Morris, chairman of the Tyler County Historical Commission in front of the courthouse wrapped in scaffolding in preparation for renovation. Other members of the commission were on hand to celebrate the milestone in the multi-year project. (Jim Powers photo)Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette accepts a check from Bob Morris, chairman of the Tyler County Historical Commission in front of the courthouse wrapped in scaffolding in preparation for renovation. Other members of the commission were on hand to celebrate the milestone in the multi-year project. (Jim Powers photo)

By Mary Nell Rainey

Seeing the awesome scaffolding on the courthouse square is visual evidence that the restoration of the 1891 Tyler County Courthouse is underway.

The Tyler County Commissioners Court and the Tyler County Historical Commissioner are engaged in a joint effort to bring back the original look of the exterior of the 1891 courthouse.

Bob Morris, chairman of the TCHC, presented a check to County Judge Jacques Blanchett in the amount of $89,729.12, which will be used for architectural and engineering draws, a road map of events and timeline for the restoration project and a 3D rendition of the courthouse for citizens to see and track progress as the project proceeds.

Funds from the commissioner came were made possible by various fund-raising projects including the sale of courthouse commemorative knives, Courthouse Christmas ornaments, books and note cards along with the proceeds of the historical tours and gala.
The exterior renovation consists of the removal of the bell and clock tower, installation of a new roof, reconstruction and replacement of the new tower and removal of the stucco facade added to the building in 1937.

Removing the stucco will reveal the courthouse's original brick.

The project will be overseen by the Texas Historical Commission and the amazing work of local artisans who are totally commited to the history of this building and restoring it for future citizens to use and enjoy.

TCSO seeking tips on burglary

On Sept. 9, at approximately 5:57 a.m., Tyler County Deputies responded to an alarm call at Jerry's Saw Shop located South of Woodville on Highway 69.

Deputies arrived at 6:01 a.m. and saw the front door open and a window broken out.

Deputies were unable to locate any suspects in the building or the surrounding area.

It was determined that 12 New Stihl Chainsaws varying in models, totaling approximately $6,000, were taken from shop.
Investigators were able to collect evidence at the scene, and are currently working with the Crockett Police Department who are investigating a similar burglary case that occurred the same week in Crockett.

Anyone who may have seen anything unusual on the morning of Sept. 9, persons, vehicle(s) etc., please contact the Tyler County Sheriffs' Office at (409) 283-2172.

Cash taken from lumber store, two arrested Sept. 15

MugsTyler County Deputies were dispatched to Parker Lumber & Supply, located just South of Woodville on Highway 69 at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15.

Deputies, along with Woodville Police Officers, were told that a burglar alarm had been activated showing office entry.

Responding officers discovered that suspect(s) had made entry into the building through the back wall, but no one was found in the store.

During a search of the area, deputies found a white female walking along Highway 69 just south of Parker Lumber. She was identified as Sommer Nicole Lynch, 30, of Kountze. As Deputies spoke with Lynch, they told her that they were in the area due to a burglary that had just occurred at Parker Lumber.

"That's sad to hear, my boyfriend works at Parker Lumber," Lynch said.

She identified her boyfriend as Michael Dianni and told deputies that he was at her home in Kountze.

Hardin County deputies were unable to locate Dianni at that residence.

Tyler County deputies and police continued to search the area for suspects.

Around 4 a.m., deputies located a white male on County Road 1020, just south of Parker Lumber. He was identified as Michael Joseph Dianni, 22, of Ivanhoe.

Dianni admitted to the burglary and led deputies to several items used and taken during the break-in.
Dianni was arrested and taken to the Tyler County Jail charged with burglary of a building.

Lynch was later arrested on a Warrant for burglary of a building. Deputies were unable to immediately locate a backpack containing cash taken from the store.

At day break, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9 Unit was contacted. They arrived on scene with their scent-specific dog, Jethro, and found the backpack in a wooded area between Parker Lumber and County Road 1020.

Deputies also learned that Dianni had been fired from Parker Lumber on Sept. 11.

Both Dianni and Lynch are currently out of jail on a $2,500 bond set by Justice of the Peace Martha Dawson.

Chester man killed in collision near Polk County Line

BARNUM – A Chester man was killed Tuesday when the pickup truck he was driving collided with an 18-wheeler on FM 287 East near the Polk County line.

The deceased, 63-year-old Alfred Bryan, had been driving a 2004 Ford pickup truck eastbound when, for unknown reasons, the pickup crossed the center line into the westbound line and collided with the front left of a 2014 Kenworth truck driven by Steven Coleman, 43, of Jefferson, according to a preliminary report filed by Texas Highway Patrol Cpl. Ramey Bass. Following impact, the pickup truck spun and came to rest, facing west, in the eastbound lane. Coleman was able to pull his truck onto the grass on the right side of the highway.

Alfred was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace at 4:17 p.m. His body was transported by Corrigan Funeral Home to the medical examiner's office in Beaumont. Coleman was listed as uninjured in the accident, which occurred at approximately 2:50 p.m.

Investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing. Bass was assisted at the scene by DPS Sgt. Sam Lattner and Troopers Robert Akers, Darwon Evans and Zach Lenderman. The Corrigan and Woodville volunteer fire departments and Polk County Sheriff's Department also responded to the scene.

Texas expands food benefits for Harvey victims

AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will begin offering disaster food relief, commonly known as D-SNAP, for victims of Hurricane Harvey starting Wednesday.

Residents of the initial 11-county area — which includes Tyler County residents — must apply in person. Applications will be taken for those counties based on a rolling alphabetical order between Sept. 13 and 19. People will need to apply on certain days depending on the first letter of their last name.

Tyler County residents should apply in person at 930 N. Magnolia in Woodville

Date Last name
Sept. 13 A - C
Sept. 14 D - H
Sept. 15 I - M
Sept. 16 N - R
Sept. 17 S - Z
Sept. 18, 19 Anyone

For detailed instructions and updates, go to

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides short-term food benefits for eligible families recovering from a disaster.

D-SNAP is available to eligible people who are residents of one of the counties with a federal disaster declaration and weren't receiving benefits through regular SNAP at the time of the disaster.

Recipients will be given a Lone Star Card that will be loaded within three days with funds to purchase food from most grocery stores.
"We have Texas families who lost everything," said Texas HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith. "This puts a card in their hands so they can buy the food they need. Nothing is more important than feeding and taking care of our families."

Texas HHS will begin offering the benefits in stages, starting with an 11-county area that has smaller populations that can be served through the health and human services offices in those counties.

Larger-population sites, such as in Houston and Corpus Christi, will launch in the coming days with special sites to accommodate large volumes of people who would not be able to be efficiently served through a local HHS office. HHS has asked local government officials in those areas to identify sites that are convenient and large enough to handle the expected volumes of applicants. HHS will announce those sites as soon as possible.

"We are committed to rolling out D-SNAP quickly to serve all of the impacted areas," Smith said.

Residents of the affected counties may be eligible if they suffered damage to their home or business, loss of income or disaster-related expenses. Disaster-related expenses can include home repairs, temporary shelter or evacuation expenses. Visit the Tyler County Booster's YouTube channel for more about D-Snap and other recovery benefits in an interview with Rep. James White.

A-C Tribe announces death of former chairman Carlos Bullock

CARLOS BULLOCKCARLOS BULLOCKLIVINGSTON — Carlos Lydell Bullock, 40, former Tribal Council chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, died in his sleep on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

Visitation was held from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, and a memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3. Both were in the Tribe's Multi-Purpose Center, 333 State Road 56, near Livingston. Miller Thompson was scheduled to officiate both services.

Bullock "walked on" from his home on the Tribe's reservation near Livingston.

He was first elected to the Tribal Council in 2004, and eventually served as both vice-chairman and chairman of the council.

Bullock also served his Tribe in many additional capacities, including as the chairman of Tribal Housing Board, the head of the Tribe's Public Information Office and, most recently, as acting director of housing.
Regarding his varied service to the Tribe, current Tribal Chairperson Jo Ann Battise said, "When our people needed someone to come to their aid, no matter what the issue, Carlos could always be counted on. He was far too young to pass and he had too much left to accomplish. His passing is a great loss to our Tribe."

He was born on Feb. 5, 1977, the youngest of Genny and Wayne Bullock's two sons. His older brother, Keith, gave him the nickname, "Hi-C," a label that Bullock happily answered to all his life.

He graduated from Tarkington High School in 1995. A gifted student, Bullock also excelled in sports and played on the Tarkington Longhorn baseball, basketball and football teams.
After graduation, he initially studied at Baylor University before transferring to Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Bullock received his Associates Arts degree from Haskell in 1999.

Initially remaining in Kansas after graduating from Haskell, Bullock returned to the Tribe in 2002, drawn by the prospect that his Tribe might improve its economic development opportunities through tribal gaming.

"From the time that he returned home, both during his time on council and otherwise, Carlos worked tirelessly to help our Tribe permanently secure the right to offer gaming," said Ronnie Thomas, vice-chairman of the Tribal Council. "He truly believed that gaming would help our Tribe in its drive for self-determination and would help bring jobs and opportunity not only to the Tribe, but for all of Deep East Texas."

In that regard, Bullock spent the better part of the last 12 months traveling throughout East Texas meeting with government and civic leaders to explain how Naskila Gaming, the Tribe's electronic bingo facility, was benefiting the entire region.

"To many of Naskila's employees and local community leaders, Carlos was 'Mr. Naskila,'" said Tribal Secretary-Treasurer Nita Battise.

In addition to his lifelong passion for sports, particularly all things Baylor and softball, Mr. Bullock was a self-trained artist. According to his brother Keith, "Out of nowhere Carlos taught himself to paint, weave, bead and carve, and he produced beautiful art that will always remind us of Carlos."
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Carlos Bullock Memorial Scholarship, through the Alabama-Coushatta Education Department, 571 State Park 56, Livingston, Texas 77351.

Cochran Funeral Home of Livingston is in charge of arrangements. To sign the online guestbook, go to