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Annual Chamber Banquet Feb. 11

The Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet is set for February 11 at 6 p.m. The banquet will be held at the Woodville First Baptist Church Family Life Center. Dinner will be catered by Texas Custom Catering and Naskila Entertainment will be sponsoring a fruit and vegetable hors de'oeuve bar.

This year entertainment will be a 4 minute "Hoop Dance" provided by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Chamber President Carrie Edwards stated, "The Chamber Boards main goal of the banquet is to show our appreciation to our members. We want members to enjoy networking with one another and share in their successes."

Tickets may be purchased at the Chamber Office for $25 each or $175 for a table of 8.

Dogwood Festival invites cities to send duchesses

The Tyler County Dogwood Festival has invited surrounding cities to send a senior girl to represent them as a duchess in the royal court to her highness the 2016 Dogwood Queen.

The festival would also like to extend the invitation to those of you from Tyler County who may have an interested granddaughter, niece, cousin or friend from another city that might like to participate in this year's festival as a visiting duchess.

If you know someone who might be interested, please contact Carrie Standley at (409) 429-6300 or Candace Spivey at (409) 547-3109 as soon as possible as the festival can only accommodate 24 duchesses.

The deadline for registration is February 19 and the girl's name and address will be needed in order to register. The 73rd annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival will be a wonderful experience for a senior girl, as she will have the opportunity to make new friends and share in a fun-filled weekend as we celebrate the beauty of springtime in Tyler County.

Video shows possible gang initiation fights in Woodville City Park

by Emily Waldrep

Officer Zachary was called to go to City Park on January 9 in reference to some kids that were causing some type of disturbance.

"When he got there, everybody pretended nothing was wrong," said Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department.

On January 11, Officer Sheffield, who is the Woodville High School Officer, received some information that claimed a video was taken by someone at the park during the fight. The video depicted three different fights that took place on Saturday afternoon that involved seven students ranging in age from 13 to 16.

"There were probably an additional 6 to 8 people there watching and egging on the fights," McCulley said. "Officer Sheffield and Zachary determined that there will be 7 juveniles' charges with Disorderly Conduct, Engaging in Fighting in a Public Place."

Those that participated in the fight, as well as the additional spectators at the scene will be banned from the park for a year.

According to McCulley, six of the juveniles involved in the fight were Woodville students and one was a Warren student.

"It appears that some of these fights could have been some type of initiation into some type of gang," McCulley said. "There are several students that recently enrolled in Woodville School from a different school that appears to be trying to recruit kids into getting a youth gang started here.

We have identified the people involved, and are trying to squash that."

Some of the kids involved in the fights were wearing gang colors.

"We want the general public to know to report any type of fighting at the city park as soon as they see it happening," McCulley said. "We need to be there as its happening so we can stop anyone from getting hurt and identifying these people."

Although McCulley knows that can't keep kids from fighting, they will make it difficult for them to gather up and fight. There were no report of anyone having any weapons during the fights.

"There was no parental supervision with any of the kids involved in the fights Saturday," McCulley said. "These parents are going to be notified by law enforcement that their kids were involved in these fights and we hope they assist law enforcement in making sure they can't go back to that area and do anything like that again."

There were no kids injured during the fights, and no parents have wanted to file any additional assault charges, but officers are looking into additional charges if any of the people involved in the fight if they acknowledge they are involved in a gang.

McCulley said that there is no evidence that there is a criminal street gang in Woodville, there is just an increase in the number of kids that want to be involved in that.

All seven juveniles involved are being issue

Open carry legal in Texas: Tyler County Commissioners vote to prohibit hand-guns in five bldgs.

Sheriff Bryan Weatherford recommends prohibiting handguns in certain county buildings ‘for the protection of citizens’. Signs were posted Monday on five buildings immediately following a vote by Tyler County commissioners.  (Kelli Barnes Photo)Sheriff Bryan Weatherford recommends prohibiting handguns in certain county buildings ‘for the protection of citizens’. Signs were posted Monday on five buildings immediately following a vote by Tyler County commissioners. (Kelli Barnes Photo)

by Kelli Barnes

Commissioners met in a special called meeting Monday, to make a decision about how the new open-carry gun law in Texas will effect Tyler County. Their unanimous vote now makes it illegal in Tyler County to carry a firearm into the following buildings: the courthouse, district attorney's office, justice center, probation offices, and county clerk's office.

Texas law already prohibits firearms in courtrooms, and on the recommendation of Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and with the advice of legal council, assistant to the District Attorney, Anne Pickle, commissioners voted to extend the protection to any building in the county that is an extension of the courtroom.

Immediately following commissioners court, law enforcement officers began putting signs on the five county buildings.
The new law allows handgun license holders in Texas to carry their guns in visible holsters on their hip or shoulder. Previously, Texans wanting to carry a handgun had to obtain a concealed handgun license and conceal their weapon. With the new law, just over 800,000 state license holders can openly carry their handguns in most public places.

The law does allow businesses to ban guns if they choose.

Texans who are interested in obtaining a handgun license can go to https://txapps.texas.gov/txapp/txdps/chl/ for more information.

Martin Luther King Jr. Thirteenth Annual Parade January 18

by Mrs. Mayme Canada Brown

To you my friends of Tyler County, the organizers of MLK Parade and activities are asking you to please make plans and prepare your best floats and entries to continue supporting the annual MLK Parade. It is our desire to continue this program for generations to come.
If you wish to be a part of this annual celebration, please be at our starting point (Woodville City Park) on or before 10 a.m. on Monday, January 18.

Please contact the following people with questions or ideas: Mayme Brown, 832-940-0362; Brenda Maloy, 283-7292; Ganata Christian, 283-5931,; Ander Mitchell, 512-799-1267; or Novella Washington, 832-771-1986.

Warren man jailed under $250,000 bond after armed robbery of store

by Emily Waldrep

On Sunday, January 3, at approximately 2 a.m., deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department responded to an armed robbery at the Exxon Convenience Store in Warren.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, video surveillance shows an individual wearing a black hoodie with red striping, white balaclava, khaki pants and white shoes with black shoe laces enter the store and immediately make his way to the back room where the store clerk was located.

"Surveillance video shows the individual remove from his hoodie a handgun, pointing it at the clerk," Weatherford said. "Video shows the clerk, fearing for her life, and the suspect go to the cash register."

At that time, the clerk opened the cash drawer and removed the bills, placing them in a black bag provided by the suspect. The suspect left the store, exiting through the back door of the store.

"The clerk told deputies that the suspect was a white male, and gave a possible identity of the suspect, based on the way the suspect walked and his body movements," Weatherford said.

Deputies, along with a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Scent Specific K9 Unit, collected evidence from the robbery near the Citizens State Bank and along FM 1943 East.

On January 4, Tyler County Deputies arrested Bryan Cooksey, Jr., age 21, of Warren. Cooksey was charged with Aggravated Robbery, a First Degree Felony. Cooksey's bond was set at $250,000.00 by Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.