Woodville City well repair efforts continue

by Ben R. Bythewood, III

The City of Woodville appreciates all customers of the city water system for their cooperation during the troubleshooting and repair of our Carlow Road water well. You should be notified that the non-essential water use restrictions have been lifted once the well is repaired in the next couple of weeks.

Over four years ago the city began to consider options for expanding our water capacity without burdening the taxpayers in anticipation of Woodville's growth. One way this was done was to forge a Public/Private Partnership with East Texas Electric Cooperative at their Woodville Renewable Energy plant. The city provides the plant with treated runoff from the city sewer plant (previously being pumped into Turkey Creek) that is used for cooling purposes and in return, ETEC has funded a new well for the city.

In addition, the city was able to use a hurricane recovery grant for the second additional well. These alternative funding sources have saved Woodville's taxpayers approximately two million dollars. These wells should be operational within 12-18 months and will take care of our growing water needs for many years to come.

Any additional repairs to the Carlow Road water well and other wells on the system can be done once the city's new wells are in place.

Heritage Village to Offer CPE Sessions for Teachers

by Kay Timme, Tyler County Heritage Society Education Committee

The Tyler County Heritage Society is pleased to announce that it has been approved by the Texas Education Agency to provide professional development sessions for teachers. During these sessions, to be held at the Heritage Village Museum, teachers will earn "continuing professional education" (CPE) hours. Heritage Village is already well-established as an outstanding educational field trip destination, hosting thousands of students from East Texas each year, and we are excited to add professional development for teachers.

The TCHS Education Committee will offer workshops throughout the year to assist classroom teachers in providing instruction that addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The Heritage Village Museum is an ideal location for hands-on professional development, as the buildings and authentic artifacts provide an exceptional learning environment. In addition, our presenters and demonstrators, who are experts in pioneer skills, will engage workshop participants in a variety of activities that were necessary for survival in pioneer times.

Our first workshop, "Pioneer Skills for Living" will be held on Saturday, September 27th at Heritage Village, and will engage attendees in the skills of soap-making, butter-churning, and candle-making. Workshop participants can earn three hours of CPE credit that morning, and will have an opportunity to earn an additional three hours through follow-up activities. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $50, which includes lunch at the Pickett House and a ticket to the Harvest Festival. Visit our website at for details, and for the workshop registration form.

For additional information about the upcoming workshop or to schedule a group tour, please call Heritage Village at (409) 283-2272.

Warren woman arrested for failing to pay salaries and fees for youth benefit tournament

A report to the Woodville Police Department last month led to the arrest of a benefit volunteer in Woodville who failed to pay salaries and fees to those involved in the benefit.

According to Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, after an initial report Woodville Police Sgt. Borel investigated the case.

The person who made the initial report, Stephanie D. Price, age 33, of Warren, stated that money was taken from concessions which was being collected for a benefit youth basketball tournament held at Woodville High School on the weekend of June 14-15.

Price said several volunteers were working with her during the tournament and she was concerned about the money being stolen because she was unable to pay the officials, building rent and security related to the tournament.

According to McCulley, Price advised police that two people working in the concession stand were responsible for the stolen money and the money collected for teams entered in the tournament totaled approximately $8,000.

Price said she had records of all receipts, required expenditures and monies collected throughout the tournament, which the police department requested to assist in its investigation.

After several weeks of waiting on that material to be provided, Price was unable to show any paperwork relating to the earnings and expenditures of the tournament.

According to the affidavit, Price also made a report to police stating that she had been in contact with the Woodville ISD personnel in charge of surveillance and that they had implied to her that there was existing video footage filmed during the tournament which would be helpful in the investigation, however after Borel contacted the school regarding the footage, it was learned that Price never actually spoke to the school regarding any video footage being requested, reviewed or otherwise.

Borel was also able to make contact with those who rendered paid services for the basketball tournament, such as referees and trophy providers, who confirmed that none of them had received any of the payment promised for their provided services as of September 1.

According to McCulley, the affidavit with all of the information was issued to City Judge Judith Haney for review and it was determined that Price had not contacted people she said she had and had failed to uphold payment to individuals who provided services at the tournament.

Based on interviews with witnesses, Borel believed that probable cause existed, and a warrant was issued for Price for Theft of Service, which is a state jail felony, of more than $1,500 less than $20,000.

In additional interviews by Sgt. Borel, people in the community observed Price spending large amounts of money at different locations and it is believed the initial report she made was a diversion so she could take the money herself.
Price was arrested on September 9 of the felony charge of Theft of Service for not paying approximately $5,000 to different entities involved with the tournament.

Price is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Colmesneil mother charged with child endangerment

On August 30 at approximately 5:30 p.m, a Tyler County Sheriff's deputy was dispatched to a location in Colmesneil regarding a child welfare concern.

According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, dispatch said that a young child had been locked out of the house for several hours. Deputies had also been dispatched to the same home before regarding similar complaints.
When the deputy arrived, he noticed a young child in "less than appropriate outdoor attire," which consisted of just a T-shirt and underwear. The deputy reported the child had a disheveled look and severe bug bites.

According to reports, the child stated that punishment for being bad resulted in being locked out of the house. When asked how long the child had been outside, the child said since approximately noon, which meant the child had been locked out for approximately five hours.

The deputy then asked the child if the child had been given food or water, and the child reported that he/she was able to drink some water from the hose.

According to Ryan, the deputy was unable to locate the mother at the residence. When he walked around the house, he noticed decaying garbage piled up all around the outside of the house.

The child's mother, Tammy Jane Martin, age 47, of Colmesneil, eventually answered the door and told the deputy the child had only been locked outside of the house since 2 p.m.

"When asked if she thought the child was taking care of itself, she stated 'no, it's a child." Ryan said. "The deputy also let her know the child could have been kidnapped or hit by a car. Several things could have happened when she was not looking after the child."

The deputy then asked for permission to enter the residence, and Martin agreed.

"The odor of cat urine, cat feces and garbage almost made the deputy get sick," Ryan said. "Garbage and debris was scattered everywhere, along with roaches and fleas all over the home."

At that point, Martin was detained for endangering a child and placed in the patrol car.

Child Protective Services also arrived to assist with the investigation.

The residence was further searched and discovered that the child's bedroom had no bed, only blankets on the floor surrounded by garbage bags, cat feces and roaches on the floor and no air conditioning. It was noted in reports that Martin's room had both a bed and air conditioning.

"The whole house was unsanitary and not a safe place to live," Ryan said. "CPS had been there before and the mother had cleaned up only two months prior and the home had already gotten back into a bad state."

Deputies also interviewed surrounding neighbors that were concerned for the child's welfare. According to witnesses, the child often ran away and sometimes slept in a van parked outside of the house.

Martin was transferred to the Tyler County Sheriff's Office and charged with endangering a child.

"A lot of CPS complaints come through this department and we take them seriously, and investigate them thoroughly, along with CPS." Ryan said.

Martin is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

City of Woodville Water Restriction Update

City of Woodville Water Restriction Update - City of Woodville water customers are still under water restrictions, but you may now water vegetation and clean equipment between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 a.m., based on your address: Odd numbered street addresses on on odd numbered days, even numbered addresses on even numbered days. Please continue to conserve according to guidelines until further notice.

Woodville man dies in single vehicle accident

A one-vehicle accident near Ivanhoe resulted in the death of a Woodville resident on August 29 at approximately 6:40 a.m.

According to DPS Trooper Stephanie Davis, the vehicle was traveling north on U.S. 69 and left the roadway on the west side of 69, struck a culvert, rolled over and the driver was ejected.

The driver was identified as 66-year old Jerry Read, of Woodville. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Judge Trisher Ford.