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Police charge juvenile caught with 'Spice'

Police charge juvenile caught with 'Spice'by Emily Waldrep

Woodville police are cracking down on the illegal drug, K2, after a local juvenile was caught smoking it in the bathroom at the Woodville McDonald's.

According to Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, police were called to the Woodville McDonald's concerning a disturbance.

"The disturbance turned out to be insignificant," McCulley said. "While police were there, someone had reported that someone was smoking weed in the bathroom. Officers went down the street in the direction the suspect was traveling, and eventually found a Woodville juvenile who had been smoking in the bathroom. The substance was not marijuana, but K2, a new type of drug."

K2 was previously legal to have because the state could not regulate a substance that could not be chemically identified. Within the last two years, law enforcement has begun to crack down on K2 and marijuana users alike.

Teens often call the drug "Fake Weed" or "Spice." It can easily be obtained from convenience stores in surrounding areas like Beaumont, and most sellers will not ID the person buying it. According to several studies, many people suffer from severe side effects from K2, including hallucinations, agitation, mood swings, anger and other dangerous effects.

"This is a bigger problem than most parents realize," McCulley said.

Local police are asking parents to educate themselves on K2, since it is a newer drug that can be easily obtained, but is extremely dangerous and addicted.

The Juvenile was charged with a Class B misdemeanor.

Man uses fuel key to steal diesel fuel

by Emily Waldrep

A man accused of stealing a credit card and buying a large amount of diesel fuel has been taken into custody by the Woodville Police and charged with Burglary of a Vehicle and Credit/Debit Card Abuse.

According to Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, a man identified as Mickey Lee Andrews, age 33, of Hillister, Texas, was employed by a Woodville resident at the time of the crime.

"In January of this year, Officer DeShazo met with a Woodville resident in reference to a reported Car Burglary and Credit/Debit Card Abuse complaint," McCulley said. "Officer DeShazo was advised that someone had entered the victims vehicle's and took a Fuel Key that works as a Credit Card and, then used said key to obtain approximately $1,100 of Diesel Fuel without permission."

According to reports, the unauthorized Fuel purchase was alleged to have been made at Gardner Oil. Inc.

"As a result of this investigation, warrants of arrest were issued by Woodville Municipal Court Judge Haney charging Andrews with Credit/Debit Card Abuse, State Jail Felony and Burglary of a Vehicle, Class A Misdemeanor," McCulley said

On March 30th Andrews was arrested on those warrants.

Andrews is held in the Tyler County Jail under a $4,000 bond.

Relay for Life April 26

Save the date! Tyler County's Relay for Life 2013 event will be held April 26 at the Woodville Eagle Stadium. Registration will begin at 5 p.m., and our Suvivor Walk to begin at 6:30 p.m. Participants may register at www.woodvillerelay.com.

Remember, this is a community-wide event and we welcome all! There will be food and fun for the entire family and we are expecting an awesome sound system this year! So, come and be a part of a life changing experience as we celebrate getting "Back To The Future" through our fundraising event while we help in the fight to promote cancer fighting research!

For more information you may call our Event Chairperson, Susan Woodrome at (409) 200-0221. For team information you may call our Teams Chairperson, Renee Smith at (409) 651-5146. For more information related to Survivor Events or if you are interested in helping in registering our Survivors the night of Relay, please call Charlean Wiggins at (936) 760-5187.

We thank our communities in advance for all of their dedication in helping us in our fight against Cancer!

Has Texas hit the wall for road and bridge upgrades?

by Kelli Barnes

The old saying, "Speed costs money...how fast do you want to go?" seems to be appropriate for the state of Texas when it comes to repairs, upgrades and new construction for roads and bridges.

At some point in history, Texas went from dirt roads to paved roads, from boat crossings to bridges. Today, all of the repairs and upgrades are costing more than the state has budgeted to spend. Are we going as fast as we can afford to go? Are we going to continue to build new when we cannot afford to maintain what we have?

Let's try to untangle some of the web of politics and money, as it relates to roads and bridges in Texas. Texas, an extremely large state, is challenged with sheer size, in addition to diverse needs. Large cities have road and bridge needs that small counties do not, and vice versa. According to the TRIP report (Future mobility in Texas: Meeting the state's need for safe and efficient mobility), 11 percent of state maintained roads and highways are "rough" for motorists. The report also states, keeping current funding levels will result in only 21 percent of Texas highways being in good condition by 2025. Today, 17 percent of Texas bridges show significant deterioration or do not meet current design standards. Also noted in the report, by 2030, without additional funding, big cities in Texas can expect twice the travel delays as those experienced now.

So how do county commissioners in rural areas stand a chance to get increased funding to maintain miles of county roads used by oil, gas and log trucks that are getting Texas' valuable resources to the consumer? Heavy trucks are important to the Texas economy. The truck drivers are paying their fair share with increased registration costs to cover additional wear and tear of roads.

Several county commissioner non-profit organizations have lobbyists in Austin to monitor upcoming legislation concerning roads and bridges. Upcoming road damage legislation includes:

HB 563 by Guillen/ HJR 63 by Guillen – allowing two or more counties that contain a portion of shale formation to create a shale transportation district to plan, coordinate and provide financial assistance for road projects by issuing bonds from severance taxes. The Texas Department of Transportation will have oversight and final determination over the shale transportation district.

HB 777 by White – allowing timber, wood chips or woody biomass haulers an increase in the maximum allowable gross load carried on any tandem axle of the vehicle to 44,000 pounds.

HB 1336 by Keffer – creating the Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program, which is partly funded by $1.4 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, for transportation infrastructure projects including construction, reconstruction, or maintenance of transportation infrastructure intended to alleviate damage caused by the exploration, development or production of oil and gas. The program will be administered by the Texas Department of Transportation, which will make grants available for state and county roads affected in areas of increased energy production. Consideration will be based on a couple of factors including proportionality to the number of oil and gas well completions performed in that county during the previous two years.

SB 300 by Uresti – establishing the transportation infrastructure grant program in the state general revenue fund to be used only to administer a program to make grants to counties for transportation infrastructure projects and directing the comptroller to transfer a portion of state funds received from oil production taxes to the new transportation infrastructure fund.

New legislation to bring 'new money' to counties for road repairs

State Representative James White said, "This is not just a road and bridge problem, this is an international trade problem for Texas. Heavy trucks carry our natural resources like oil, gas, logs, oranges, sugar cane and cotton over county roads to the ports. Counties need more money to keep these roads maintained. Senator Nichols, transportation committee chairman, is putting together a bill to go along side HB 777 that will take the extra money heavy trucks pay for using the roads, and divide it 50/50 between Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the counties. I stand behind the counties and I will stand behind this legislation. Some lower level TxDOT representatives are trying to make counties back down from this, saying TxDOT will get 100 percent of the money. That won't happen. It will be 50/50 or TxDoT won't get anything. I am shocked that TxDOT does not get this. Texas is number one in international exports and this is basic...counties need this funding to maintain the very important county roads."

Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette said, "In our county, we supplement the road and bridge fund with $200,000 from the general fund. This is an effort to keep from increasing road and bridge taxation. Any new money coming to us for road and bridge repair will be welcome and well used. We won't be able to replace everything, but it will go a long way in helping keep what we have, properly maintained."

Local logging company owner Lonnie Grissom said, "The roads in our county are in better shape than they were over 20 years ago when I started in this business. I expect to see some of the money we are spending in fees for our log trucks to be used for county roads and I am glad our elected officials are seeing to it that money is being sent back to the counties to help maintain infrastructure. It would be unfortunate for TxDOT to get it all."

'MAP-21' Federal funding for highway and bridge improvements

According to American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the latest surface transportation authorization law, titled "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century" or MAP-21, which was enacted July 6, 2012, provides a total of $40.3 billion for highway and bridge improvements in FY 2013 (the fiscal year from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013) and $40.9 billion in FY 2014. Both are slightly more than the $39.9 billion invested in FY 2012, but less than the $41.9 billion enacted by Congress for highway improvements in both FY 2010 and FY 2011. Most federal highway investment is used to upgrade and maintain the nation's core highways, including the Interstate Highway System, and to repair and replace deficient bridges.

Texas Road and Bridge facts

In Texas, there are 79,997 miles of Federal aid Highways. Of this, 8721 miles are reported to be in poor or mediocre condition. There are 3217 miles of interstate highways in Texas. Forty-four miles are considered to be in poor or mediocre condition. It is interesting to note that Texas has more road mileage than any other state, 311,249 miles. Second is California with 172,139 miles.

Texas has 51,878 bridges, more than any other state in the US. Ohio is second with 27,403. In Texas, 1533 bridges are structurally deficient, and 7527 are functionally obsolete.

Remains found near Dam B may be Lettie and John Fisher, Jr.

Lettia and John Fisher, Jr.by VALERIE REDDELL
Contributing Editor

LIVINGSTON — The search for retired Chester schoolteacher Lettie Fisher and her son John Fisher Jr. appears to be at an end after a hunter found human skeletal remains, a prosthetic leg and fishing equipment Sunday in the location near Lake Steinhagen in the Dam B community where the Fishers' vehicle was recovered Sept. 22, 2011, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

"There has been no DNA identification to confirm that these are the same individuals who went missing, and we are only assuming that it is them at this point. They were found near the location from where they are believed to be missing," Weatherford said. "They were found on land in a very thick, brushy area."

No foul play is suspected, Weatherford added.

"These bodies were located in a place that would require a person to

literally be right on top of them to be found," Weatherford said. "The man that found the remains is an avid deer hunter and was out with his two dogs looking

for shed antlers. The dogs happened to get away from him, and when he

went to retrieve them he found the bodies."

When the hunter called for assistance, the Tyler County Sheriff's Office sent an investigative team that included sheriff's deputies, Texas Rangers, dive team members from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens from Tyler and Jasper County.

The team traveled by airboat to the edge of Dam-B Lake and went in on foot carrying necessary equipment to the reported location and collected 36 pieces of evidence.

Positive identification of the human remains is forthcoming through DNA testing and the forensic process, according to a statement from the Tyler County Sheriff's Office.

"If DNA evidence confirms that this is in fact Lettie and John Fisher Jr.,

we will be able to give a more in-depth analysis of the case."

Family members seemed to concur with law enforcement officials' assumption that the bodies were the missing mother and son, but as of press time chose to begin the grieving process in private.

Lettie and John Fisher were married for 42 years and Mr. Fisher made numerous public appeals for assistance with search efforts to find his wife and son.

The search for the Fishers was launched on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, when a park ranger noticed Lettie Fisher's gray Toyota 4Runner had not moved from its parking spot since the previous Monday.

The Fishers belongings were still in the vehicle, including Mrs. Fisher's purse.

Mrs. Fisher and her 32-year-old disabled son loved to fish and they would frequently combine fishing expeditions at Dam-B with fun in Lake Charles, La. and visit family members who live in the area.

Search efforts for the two included a ground search by Tyler County's Search and Rescue team, the National Parks Service, an extensive three-day search by Texas EquuSearch and canine searches from the Winn Units and Gibb Lewis Unit of TDCJ. Dive teams with underwater cameras conducted several searches of the waterways in the area as well as boats with side-scan radars searched where possible.

Since the Fisher family lives just inside the Polk County line, the Polk County Sheriff's Office followed up the initial search with a massive search party that began at the family's residence and took a caravan of detectives along Hwy. 287 from Chester to the Woodville city limits. They used horses, four-wheelers and canines to explore under bridges and in other inaccessible areas between the residence and the City of Woodville back in November 2011.

At the time the Fishers went missing Texas was suffering a record-setting drought, which had prompted the Fishers to seek out new fishing holes.

Investigators learned that the pair had visited Memorial Hospital in Lufkin for a doctor visit Monday, Sept. 22, 2011, and they were seen leaving the facility on security video. They were also seen on security video at a Corrigan convenience store on that Monday morning. The clothes they were wearing in those videos were found at their home. They collected fishing gear and headed out on their fishing expedition. Their vehicle is seen on video obtained from the Exxon store at Dam-B, but investigators had been unable to turn up any other sign of the Fishers until Sunday.

— with files from Emily Waldrop, Tyler County Booster.

Tips for a safe and fun Western Weekend

by Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford

It is that time of year again in Tyler County...Western Weekend and Dogwood Weekend. I want to take this opportunity to welcome our visitors that come in for these events.Those of you who have made this a family tradition, we are glad to see you again, and to those of you visiting for the first time, we welcome you and hope you enjoy some good ol' Southeast Texas hospitality. We have events for almost any taste, so please check your Tyler County Booster to find something for your family.

We also want to be sure that everyone has a SAFE and fun experience, so please keep these things in mind as you enjoy all that we have to offer. We will start by having quite a few trailriders entering our county from all different directions. To the trail riders, we ask that you help us as you always have in the past. Make sure that your group parties responsibly so everyone goes home safe and has a fun outing. We ask that your flagmen stay vigilant and help us protect your riders on our twisting county roads and highways. For those of you travelling by car and truck through our area, please be aware that we have men,women,and children travelling in areas where it may not be possible for them to get off the roadway very far or not at all, or they may be on the roadway itself. We ask that you always exercise extreme safety measures when driving but even moreso during the next few weekends. Please never drink and drive, but know that if you do all law enforcement in this county will be out in force and we have zero tolerance for motorists that endanger our citizens. A growing problem in this country is drivers texting or being otherwise distracted on their cell phones.There is no text in the world worth killing or injuring yourself or someone else, so please...it can wait!

One last thing on Western Weekend is that we ask everyone to control your speed.These animals can get spooked, or you may not have the proper reaction time to avoid a deadly accident. Please drive friendly and allow yourself extra time.

During the parades we ask that you help our officers and deputies keep your little family members safe. There is no candy that is worth getting your child injured. There will be barricades and officers where possible, but please help us keep the children away from, and out of the path of the animals and vehicles. We work hard to ensure and pray for the safety of all attending. Also we ask that the parade participants do their best to toss the candy well off the roadway. Tyler County has a long standing reputation of excellence in baseball and softball, so don't let me down, and don't be afraid to show off your skills.

Whether you are cheering on your favorite cowboy at the rodeo, pulling for your lovely pick at a beauty pageant, one of the hundreds of parade-goers, or just lucky enough to find yourself in our part of the world when spring is in bloom, we want to wish each and every one of you a fun and safe time in our county.

I am Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, and on behalf of myself and my entire department, Happy Easter, and enjoy the festivities.