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Sheriff’s department recovers stolen wielding machine, suspect arrested on unrelated charges

Stolen wielding machine located in Colmesneil. (Emily Waldrep Photo)Stolen wielding machine located in Colmesneil. (Emily Waldrep Photo)

by Emily Walrep

The Tyler County Sheriff's Office received a teletype, or information that is passed between law enforcement agencies, from the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Department in early January regarding a stolen 1961 Lincoln welding machine.

"What made this stand out is that we had the serial numbers and model of the welder, and it also had a skull and crossbones sticker and a Chris Kyle Rest in Peace Sticker that could easily identify the welding machine," said Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

According to Weatherford, the Sheriff's department had been looking for the machine since receiving the teletype, and on February 6 Deputies were in the Colmesneil area on Miles Loop Road to serve an arrest warrant to Jason Ferguson of Colmesneil.

When deputies arrived at the residence, they noticed no one was home; but, they observed an older model white welding machine in the back of the house on a small trailer in the driveway. The deputies took a closer look at the machine and noticed the stickers that made the machine stand out.

Deputies contacted Nacogdoches Sheriff's Office and confirmed it was the welding machine that had been stolen from their county, so deputies transported the welding machine back to the Tyler County Sheriffs Department.

Later on that same day, Ferguson was located at the Colmesneil Exxon and was arrested for an outstanding warrant. According to Weatherford, Ferguson told deputies that he had purchased the welding machine but was unable to provide a bill of sale or proof of purchase for the machine.

Ferguson has pending charges for Felony Theft as the case is being investigated.

"When this first came out of Nacogdoches County, this welding machine was attached to the back of a pickup," Weatherford said. "Thankfully this man was able to get his welder and his pickup back."

Officers participate in ALERRT training

by Emily Waldrep

Tyler County Sheriff's Office, along with the Woodville Police Department and several other local and state agencies, participated in a four day Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) training course hosted by the Tyler County Sheriff's Department on February 16 through 19. The course is designed to teach officers how to respond more effectively to an active shooter situation.

According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, ALERRT Level 1 training was held for any agencies that wanted to participate to help them gain skills and information to better deal with any kind of active shooter situation, whether it be in a school, store, gas station or mall.

The course is designed to prepare the first responders to isolate, distract and neutralize an active shooter in any situation. Approximately 60 officers participated in the training and officers from the Tyler County Sheriff's Department were instructors during the training.

"Basically we want to be able to go into any situation and stop the shooter rapidly," Weatherford said. "The course also covers some medical treatment and post engagement priorities."

Weatherford said even though the training took place in a school, the methods apply to any location at any time.

"We want to provide everybody and every level a method to go in and execute," Weatherford said. "If several different agencies show up to one of these calls, we can all show up and conduct ourselves in the same manner. Its uniform training."

Over 60,000 officers have participated in the same type of training across the state.

Weatherford gave a special thanks to the Woodville ISD for providing the facilities for the training.

Nita Battisse sworn-in as Chair of Tribal Council

The Alabama-Coushatta held a swearing in ceremony Monday, February 23, for Nita Battise, newly elected Chairperson of the Tribal Council. The council is the Tribe's seven member governing body. Second Chief Mikko Skalaaba Herbert Johnson, Sr. presided over the swearing in ceremony.

In the past, the Chairperson was elected by Council members. This is the first time the Chair was elected by popular vote.

The election took place February 11 at teh Cultural Center Chambers on the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas reservation.

Special Response Team executes Narcotic Search Warrant in White Tail Ridge

Special Response Team gearing up and briefing before executing the whitetail ridge search warrant.Special Response Team gearing up and briefing before executing the whitetail ridge search warrant.

by Emily Waldrep

On February 3, the Tyler County Sheriff's Office Obtained a Narcotic Search Warrant for a residence in the Whitetail Ridge Community Road 18. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Tyler County Deputies, along with Officers from the Woodville Police Department comprised a team referred to as the Special Response Team. The team executed the search warrant at the residence and encountered three individuals identified as Gene St. Germaine, Steven Weaver and Elsa Williams.

Once in the residence they discovered clear plastic baggies containing marijuana and clear plastic bags with a crystal substance inside that field tested positive for methamphetamines, Weatherford said. Some of the Methamphetamine was found in a Disney "Frozen" themed canister that children would play with. There were no children home at the time of the search, but children did live at the residence and CPS was contacted. CPS has an ongoing case with that particular household, according to Chief Deputy Phil Ryan.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the search was a long and difficult process due to several outbuildings and additional buildings on the property that needed to be searched.
St. Germaine, who does not reside at the residence, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Both Weaver and Williams were arrested and charged with Possession of Controlled Substance, third degree felony.

"Weaver is high on our list as a person we want to get out of the community by incarcerating him as often as it takes for him to go away," Ryan said.

"We encountered some citizens that were appreciative of us for coming into the community and trying to clean it up," Weatherford said.

Texas Registration and Inspection Stickers are Partnering Up

Tyler County is gearing up for a new Texas Two Step. Beginning March 1, 2015, the state will no longer issue vehicle inspection stickers and will move to a "Two Steps, One Sticker" program.

Under the new system, Texas vehicle owners will need to pass inspection prior to renewing their registration. The familiar blue-bordered Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) registration sticker will serve as proof of both inspection and registration.

"Tyler County is prepared to make this transition as smooth as possible for our residents," said Tyler County Tax Assessor-Collector Lynnette Cruse. "During the first year of the program beginning March 1, 2015, all you will need to do is make sure you already have a valid passing vehicle inspection before you renew your registration in our office, online or by mail."

When vehicle owners renew their registration, the system will automatically verify whether the vehicle has a valid inspection. Without a passing inspection, the vehicle will not be eligible for registration renewal.

During the second year of the program, beginning March 1, 2016, vehicles' inspection and registration expiration dates will align to the date that is on the registration sticker. Once the expiration dates are aligned in that second year, you will have a convenient 90-day window to pass inspection first and then renew your registration before the end of the month listed on your sticker.

"When the 'Two Steps, One Sticker' program is fully implemented, Tyler County residents will appreciate having just one sticker in the corner of their windshield and only one expiration date to worry about," said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster. "And because a passing vehicle inspection will be a requirement to renew your registration, more vehicle owners will comply with inspection requirements leading to safer and more environmentally sound cars on Texas roads."
The implementation of "Two Steps, One Sticker" is a result of House Bill 2305 which passed during the 83rd Legislative Session in 2013. The program is joint effort by the TxDMV, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in collaboration with the 254 county tax assessor-collector's offices which process vehicle registrations and vehicle inspection stations across the state.

For more information:

Tyler County Hospital School of Vocational Nursing Wins Chamber Buisiness of the Year

Teachers and Representatives of Tyler County School of Vocational Nursing accept Chamber Business of the Year award during the  Annual Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Members Banquet February 3. (Jim Powers/Tyler County Booster Photo)Teachers and Representatives of Tyler County School of Vocational Nursing accept Chamber Business of the Year award during the Annual Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Members Banquet February 3. (Jim Powers/Tyler County Booster Photo)

Tyler County Hospital is, with reason, very proud of the School of Nursing. Because many county residents aren't aware of the school's long record of success educating new nurses, the hospital shares the following background about the school.

Last week, Tyler County Hospital School of Vocational Nursing won the Woodville Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award. Vocational nurses work under the supervision of both physicians and registered nurses – they provide important supplemental care in a broad variety of medical settings. An integral part of Tyler County Hospital, the nursing school provides medical personnel for our local hospital as well as other hospitals and medical facilities in Southeast Texas. The Tyler County Hospital District established the nursing school in 1960 after six years of providing clinical training for Lamar University LVN nursing students.

A critical shortage of nurses exists in Texas today, but the nursing school is working to reduce that gap. The number of students in each class has increased from an original eight with one instructor to the current 72 students with four full-time and two part-time instructors. Since 1990, 896 students have graduated from the school. The average rate of licensure for graduating students over the past ten years has been 90%. Many graduates remain in Southeast Texas to work in the medical field and a sizable number continue their education to become registered nurses. Those connected to the school maintain that Tyler County Hospital School of Vocational Nursing has an excellent reputation throughout this region for the high quality of education it offers.

Director of the school since 1987 is Eva Stanley, RN, BSN, MSN. A graduate of Tyler County's nursing school and Lamar University, Eva has worked in Tyler County Hospital since 1980. She continues to work as an instructor in the school. Full-time instructors include Lynn Hays, RN, BSN; Tracie Kenner, RN; and Kathy Broom, RN. Part-time instructors are Bonnie Owens, RN and Alicia Havard, LVN. The Administrative Assistant is Diane Bellamy, hospital CFO is Chris Torres; CNO is Sondra Wilson, RN, MSN, CEN; and CEO is Dr. Sandra Wright.

The Tyler County Hospital Foundation has been a long time supporter of the nursing school. Through Foundation funding in previous years, the nursing school was able to renovate instructional facilities in order to accommodate larger class sizes. In 2014, additional collaborations between the Hospital and Foundation enabled the hospital to purchase 4 defibrillators, 20 new IV pumps, and update patient bathrooms. Last year's equipment costs and updates totaled just over $144,000.

Just recently, the Foundation rolled out its annual fundraising campaign – Partners for Life 2015. This year, there are four major pieces of hospital equipment and technology that are selected for purchase. They include a portable x-ray machine, a transport isolette for newborns at the hospital, a backup server to the network server, and a wireless network. Challenges in the medical world are ever present, but Tyler County Hospital chooses to see these as opportunities to demonstrate its will and desire to benchmark with hospitals in larger and more affluent areas. There is much that can be accomplished with proper fiscal management, determination, hard work, and enthusiasm – the school of nursing is a great example. The Hospital Foundation congratulates the School of Nursing and Tyler County Hospital for the value they add to our region in quality of life and community service. For information regarding Partners for Life 2015, please call 283-6401. All gifts are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.