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Purple Boxes not a prank, but an important survey

Purple Boxes seen around the county.by Emily Waldrep

For the past few weeks, large purple boxes can been seen hanging from trees and bushes in various places in Tyler County. Many people have questioned what these boxes are, and some have said that kids playing a prank put them in the trees. But, the truth is that these boxes are doing a very important job. Earlier in the year, the Texas Forest Service started surveying trees across the state to look for the "emerald ash borer," an insect that harms trees.

The Emerald Ash Borer is described as a half-inch long, exotic, wood boring beetle that is metallic green in color. The bug digs into the bark of ash trees and feeds on the material between the wood and the bark, and can quickly kill the entire tree.

The pest has killed millions of trees up north in Michigan, and has been spotted in states as close as Missouri, but has yet to be seen in Texas. These purple boxes are just large, sticky traps that are designed to catch any insects crawling on them. They were placed in March, and will be checked in June and August.

More than 700 traps have been set out in 71 counties in Texas already as part of a cooperative effort between the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Texas Forest Service, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Stephen F. Austin State University College of Forestry and Agriculture and several volunteer citizen scientist groups.

Construction on Hwy. 1746 to continue until Friday

Road Construction On Hwy 1746by Emily Waldrep

Highway 1746 in Tyler County is receiving some maintenance this week that is expected to help the ride on the road become smoother, quieter and safer.

TxDot is overseeing the small project that covers about three and one half miles of 1746 between Woodville and Town Bluff. The road is getting a new layer of "hot mix" that is expected to improve the general quality of the highway. The "hot mix" solution is a newer mixture that has only been used for 3 years on Tyler County highways, but is much more durable than the LDR (Lime/Dirt/Rock) mixture that had been used in previous years.

The small construction project does only allow one lane of traffic to operate, and wait times are around 10 minutes at the longest. The roadwork is expected to be completed by Friday.

Barlow Lakes Man Arrested For Drug Delivery

Tyler County Sheriff's Department narcotics division has been investigating Lonnie Potts, 62, Woodville, during the past several months. Potts lives in the Barlow Lakes area of Woodville and was charged with manufacturing or delivery of controlled substance – Hydrocodone. Potts was arrested on Friday, April 13, and bond was set at $10,000.

Hydrocodone addiction is now plaguing the United States. The abuse of this drug is not far behind the reigning crisis of illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Recently, a survey revealed that hydrocodone addiction is the most widespread prescription drug abuse in United States. In the last decade, use has gone up by nearly four times the original standard.

Drug Test Falsification Device Found During Traffic Stop

Drug Test Falsification Deviceby Emily Waldrep

On April 9, Woodville police captain Mike McCulley responded to a report of a reckless driver driving on Highway 69 from Colmesneil toward Woodville. The driver, 23-year-old Dylan Green of Livingston, was pulled over north of Woodville after crossing into the opposite lane of traffic and swerving erratically.

When questioned about his driving, Green told McCulley he was trying to change his shoes in the vehicle and had trouble controlling his driving. After further questioning, it was apparent Green was acting nervous, and gave consent to a vehicle search. Officers then found an illegal device typically used to falsify a drug test. "The device isn't normally found in vehicle searches, and is a basic elastic band that can be wrapped around the waist, and attaches to a small tube and container that holds drug free urine," said McCulley. Green admitted he used the device to pass work-related drug test. He was arrested and charged with false drug test falsification device, criminal attempt.

Probationers often use a similar device to pass drug tests, but if a person is ever caught with one, they can be charged with a class B misdemeanor and will face a fine of up to $1,000 or 6 months in jail.

Green was arraigned by Judge Judith Haney and was released from jail after the fine was paid.

Alabama Coushatta Tribe signs foster care/adoption agreement with state of Texas

(Sharon Miller Photo)by Kelli Barnes

"This is an historical event for us," said Clint Poncho, vice chairman of Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas. The agreement, concerning Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, was signed Thursday, April 12. According to Poncho, it allows the Alabama Coushatta Tribe to ensure the Alabama Coushatta foster care and adopted children do not lose their heritage by being placed outside the reservation. "We have a peacemaker court within our tribe, that upholds our own judicial system, culture, heritage and traditions," said Poncho. Pam Parker, special projects attorney for the state of Texas, said this signing is a culmination of several years of efforts to provide federal and/or state funding to tribes seeking to provide foster care and adoptive services for the children from their own tribe. According to a tribe spokesman, this agreement is not retroactive, but will help with funding from this time forward.

The Federal Foster Care Program helps to provide safe and stable out-of-home care for children until the children are safely returned home, placed permanently with adoptive families or placed in other planned arrangements for permanency. The program is authorized by title IV-E of the Social Security Act, as amended, and implemented under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 45 CFR parts 1355, 1356, and 1357. It is an annually appropriated program with specific eligibility requirements and fixed allowable uses of funds. Funding is awarded by formula as an open-ended entitlement grant and is contingent upon an approved title IV-E plan to administer or supervise the administration of the program. The title IV-E Agency must submit yearly estimates of program expenditures as well as quarterly reports of estimated and actual program expenditures in support of the awarded funds. Funds are available for monthly maintenance payments for the daily care and supervision of eligible children; administrative costs to manage the program; training of staff and foster care providers; recruitment of foster parents and costs related to the design, implementation and operation of a state-wide data collection system.

The 50 States, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are eligible to participate in the Foster Care Program awards. Beginning in 2010, direct funding started becoming available to Indian Tribes, Indian Tribal organizations and Tribal consortia, with approved plans to operate the program. Alabama Coushatta has now joined the ranks of Tribes included in the Title IV E funding.

Three arrested during County-Wide Sex Offender Compliance Check

On March 14, 2012, at approximately 5:30 AM, the Tyler County Sheriff's Office (TCSO), along with the US Marshall's Service (USMS) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) conducted a county-wide 'Sex Offender Compliance Check'. All sex offenders registered in Tyler County were subject to the check, and a total of 51 persons were the targets of this operation. Six teams, comprising of a mixture of TCSO/USMS/DPS officers, were assigned different geographical areas throughout the county, and were assigned to conduct their checks on those registered within those areas.

During the operation, a total of 42 of the 51 offenders were actually contacted. Eight of the 42 were not in compliance and charges are pending. Three were arrested for unrelated crimes which were felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana, and possession of a controlled substance.