Child support dodger arrested after traffic stop

by Emily Waldrep

On the evening of October 8, a Tyler County Sheriff's deputy was on routine patrol in the Town Bluff area when he noticed a vehicle traveling on FM 92 near the county road 4190 with a headlight that was defective.

According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, a traffic stop was made by the deputy. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Todd Densley Jr. A subsequent check of his driver's license revealed he was wanted in Montgomery County for failure to pay child support. Densley was arrested at that time and placed in the patrol car, and another deputy arrived on scene and began to inventory the vehicle. According to Weatherford, the inventory revealed three small clear baggies containing a crystal-like substance as well as some items found on the shoulder of the road near the vehicle that were consistent with drug paraphernalia.

"A review of video revealed that Densley dropped those items from his hand," Weatherford said. "The baggies field tested positive for methamphetamines and some pills were also found and taken into evidence for analysis."

Densley was charged with Tampering with Evidence, Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1, and Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 3.
Densley is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Customer with CHL confronts knife wielding man in local Jack in the Box restaurant

Woodville Police were called to a disturbance at the Jack in the Box on October 9 in reference to a man with a knife threatening an employee. According to Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, officers arrived and located the suspect in the restaurant. The suspect was arrested and was found to have a large folding knife on his person. He was identified as John L. Foster, age 60, of Woodville.

Witnesses at the scene told officers that Foster came into the business and threatened an employee behind the counter. The employee was a 26-year-old woman from Woodville. The employee told officers that Foster exhibited a large knife and threatened her. The employee stated that she ran back to the back of the building and told her manager what had happened. While that was taking place, a 70-year-old customer from Doucette who was in line at the counter observed Foster with the knife.
The customer told officers that he was a Concealed Handgun License holder and began talking with Foster. The customer stated that Foster continued his threatening manner and pointed the knife at him also. At this time, the customer displayed his weapon and told Foster to drop the knife. The customer stated that Foster complied with his request, put the knife away and sat down just as officers were arriving. Foster was transported to the Tyler County Jail and charged with two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

"This was another case where citizens choosing to arm themselves legally can assist law enforcement when minutes or even seconds are very important to stop someone from being hurt," McCulley said. "We do not recommend that citizens put themselves in these situations, but when someone's life may depend on it, a concerned citizen choses to get involved."

Stolen game cameras from Rockland area found during traffic stop

by Emily Waldrep

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, several stolen game cameras and evidence of marijuana use were discovered during a traffic stop in the Frog Pond area of Colmesneil on October 8 at approximately 8 a.m. when a sheriff's deputy, on patrol, noticed a vehicle with no registration sticker and conducted a traffic stop after the vehicle pulled into a driveway on CR 3150.

The vehicle was occupied by two individuals identified as Dustin Ross and Jennifer Harvey.
According to Weatherford, Ross had an expired driver's license and was detained at that time. A search of the vehicle revealed a pipe with marijuana residue.

Harvey was then placed under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia. Ross was arrested for the expired license after prior incidents of not having a registered vehicle or valid license.
Deputies continued the search which revealed a camouflage bag that contained nine various game cameras. Neither subject would admit who they belonged to, but Harvey did state that the cameras were taken from the Sandhill Cemetery area in Rockland.

Weatherford reported that deputies contacted the Texas Game Wardens who are now working in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office to contact the lease owner of the land that these cameras are believed to have been stolen from. They are also working on getting positive ID from the cameras themselves.

"This is an ongoing investigation between the Sheriff's Office and Texas Game Wardens concerning the thefts of these cameras which is a huge issue we are having this time of the year," Weatherford said. "Additional charges will be forthcoming in this case."

The suspects in the case are innocent until proven guilty.

Precinct 1 Update

by Tyler County Pct. 1 Commissioner Martin Nash

From time to time I try to give my constituents an update on what's going on in the county. My goal is to be as honest and open as possible, even if some of the news is not pleasant.

First: taxes. The county tax rate will remain the same. The county special (road and bridge) was actually lowered by .00131 per $100. However with an increase in mineral production, the two funds will generate more money (therefore the state says we have increased taxes).The Hospital District raised their rate by .00136 per $100 ($1.36 per $1000 taxable valuation).They have not had an increase in seven years. Just a note: We are so blessed to have a hospital within the county. There are not many left. If you look around most have closed. It is a tremendous benefit to our citizens and actually helps those of us who are trying to bring new business into the county. Not to mention the jobs it provides.

The county has been mandated by the state to clear the third floor of the courthouse due to safety issues. There are no water or fire escapes. The Adult Probation Department is currently occupying that floor. We have purchased the old Brookshire Brothers building located across from the Woodville Police station. It also houses the Dollar General store. The county is going out for bids to remodel the facility. It will contain new offices for Adult Probation, the commissioners (we are currently renting) and a new Justice of the Peace courtroom with offices. The Dollar General will remain. There will be room available for future growth. The funds for this project will mostly come from disaster funds. There will be no tax increases for this project.

Now for the roads: I have to apologize for my trust in the bureaucracy that I am forced to deal with. We have been very successful in obtaining grants from the government. However, trying to get them implemented is another story. The last of the "IKE" grants has been awarded to Apac Construction. For Precinct 1 this is a $1.2 million project to resurface CR 4472, CR 4470 and parts of CR 1325. The project was projected to begin in early summer of 2014 (April). Apac begin construction in Precinct 2 in July. There were serious problems, mostly due to the unusual wet summer. There were delays and Apac did not move into Precinct 3 until August.

That is where they are currently working. They still have Precinct 4 to do before they get to Precinct 1. It is now October and I really don't see them getting to me until next year. The work they are doing has restrictions that are temperature driven. To make matters worse, I had a mile of resurfacing that my crew was going to do, but it required Apac to "mill" the area and now that it has cooled off I will not be able to complete that project. It has been extremely frustrating for me and my crew; Ican only say that the projects will get done, I just don't have a clue to when.

Everything else is really good within the county. The German Pellet Plant is up and running.

The ETEC plant is running and preparing for a Grand Opening. We have several other major industries coming. So things are looking up for the county. With that I will close. God Bless all of you and if I can be of service please give me a call.

Hillister man charged with murder after shooting woman during deer lease dispute

by Emily Waldrep

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, a deer lease dispute led to the murder of a 42-year-old Austin woman on Sunday, October 5.

McDowellAt approximately 4:24 p.m., Tyler County Sheriff's Office communications division received a 911 call. The caller said that an unknown female with a rifle was standing on her porch and beating on her front door. The caller then advised that the female had left the residence on a four-wheeler and had turned onto County Road 4497.

According to Weatherford, the 911 caller's husband then arrived on a four-wheeler and began to chase after the female down CR 4497. A second 911 caller told the communications department that they heard a gunshot on County Road 4497.

Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department arrived at approximately 4:36 p.m. and saw two four-wheelers stopped in the middle of CR 4497, and a white female laying on one of the ATV's with a single gunshot wound to the head.

The woman was identified as Melanie Heather Shoemaker, age 42, of Austin.

According to Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jim Moore, Shoemaker was pronounced dead at the scene, and that she had been shot through the cheek with a pistol.

A male subject, identified as John Otis McDowell, age 50, of Hillister, was arrested at the scene and transported to the Tyler County Jail where he was charged with murder and a bond was set at $250,000. McDowell bonded out late Monday night.

The two were apparently arguing over a deer lease dispute.

The investigation is still ongoing and an autopsy was ordered by Justice of the Peace Jim Moore who conducted an inquest at the scene.

Nationally recognized local artists combine talent for Oct. 7-19 show at Emporium in Woodville

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Three nationally recognized artists from Tyler County are combining their talents in an exhibition and sale of pieces of their original colored pencil artwork.

Vicki Wood, (Parrot, left) a fairly new Tyler County transplant all the way from Alaska, currently has three pieces in the Galveston Art League's juried show where she received an honorable mention plus the coveted McGivney Award for her colored pencil work of a Brown Pelican entitled "Baywatch".

Each year the Rosenberg Library Museum selects a piece to receive the $750 award and the artwork is then added to the library's permanent museum collection. Her colored pencil work entitled "Fandango" was chosen for publication in CP Hidden Treasures by Ann Kullberg in 2013.

In this series of work ("Truck", center), Lisa Richardson combines colored pencils with photography.

For this process, she begins with a pigment print, then adds colored pencils for emphasis and texture. Influenced by her background as a graphic designer, her work has a graphic quality and bold colors.

Her body of work for this show reflects her East Texas roots and a passion for nature. From maple leaves floating in a creek, to a pitcher plant, to a pair of chaps hanging on a fence, she explores subjects that make up the place she calls home.

Richardson's work has received numerous awards. She has had solo exhibits at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art in San Angelo, Texas.

Gayle H Forsberg (Flower, right) was born in North Dakota and studied art/theatre in Minnesota. He has worked as an actor, director and theatre designer. He has also designed for television and opera. His love of color and design brought him careers in advertising and as an art director. As a self-taught painter, he began painting seriously in 1996.

His commissioned art hangs in private collections in Portland, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, San Diego, New York and Vancouver.

The show will be open daily, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and runs from October 7-19, at the Emporium for the Arts, located at 216 W. Bluff.