Tyler County Deputies were dispatched to Parker Lumber & Supply, located just South of Woodville on Highway 69 at about 12:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15.
Deputies, along with Woodville Police Officers, were told that a burglar alarm had been activated showing office entry.
Responding officers discovered that suspect(s) had made entry into the building through the back wall, but no one was found in the store.
During a search of the area, deputies found a white female walking along Highway 69 just south of Parker Lumber. She was identified as Sommer Nicole Lynch, 30, of Kountze. As Deputies spoke with Lynch, they told her that they were in the area due to a burglary that had just occurred at Parker Lumber.
"That's sad to hear, my boyfriend works at Parker Lumber," Lynch said.
She identified her boyfriend as Michael Dianni and told deputies that he was at her home in Kountze.
Hardin County deputies were unable to locate Dianni at that residence.
Tyler County deputies and police continued to search the area for suspects.
Around 4 a.m., deputies located a white male on County Road 1020, just south of Parker Lumber. He was identified as Michael Joseph Dianni, 22, of Ivanhoe.
Dianni admitted to the burglary and led deputies to several items used and taken during the break-in. Dianni was arrested and taken to the Tyler County Jail charged with burglary of a building.
Lynch was later arrested on a Warrant for burglary of a building. Deputies were unable to immediately locate a backpack containing cash taken from the store.
At day break, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice K-9 Unit was contacted. They arrived on scene with their scent-specific dog, Jethro, and found the backpack in a wooded area between Parker Lumber and County Road 1020.
Deputies also learned that Dianni had been fired from Parker Lumber on Sept. 11.
Both Dianni and Lynch are currently out of jail on a $2,500 bond set by Justice of the Peace Martha Dawson.
BARNUM – A Chester man was killed Tuesday when the pickup truck he was driving collided with an 18-wheeler on FM 287 East near the Polk County line.
The deceased, 63-year-old Alfred Bryan, had been driving a 2004 Ford pickup truck eastbound when, for unknown reasons, the pickup crossed the center line into the westbound line and collided with the front left of a 2014 Kenworth truck driven by Steven Coleman, 43, of Jefferson, according to a preliminary report filed by Texas Highway Patrol Cpl. Ramey Bass. Following impact, the pickup truck spun and came to rest, facing west, in the eastbound lane. Coleman was able to pull his truck onto the grass on the right side of the highway.
Alfred was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace at 4:17 p.m. His body was transported by Corrigan Funeral Home to the medical examiner's office in Beaumont. Coleman was listed as uninjured in the accident, which occurred at approximately 2:50 p.m.
Investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing. Bass was assisted at the scene by DPS Sgt. Sam Lattner and Troopers Robert Akers, Darwon Evans and Zach Lenderman. The Corrigan and Woodville volunteer fire departments and Polk County Sheriff's Department also responded to the scene.
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will begin offering disaster food relief, commonly known as D-SNAP, for victims of Hurricane Harvey starting Wednesday.
Residents of the initial 11-county area — which includes Tyler County residents — must apply in person. Applications will be taken for those counties based on a rolling alphabetical order between Sept. 13 and 19. People will need to apply on certain days depending on the first letter of their last name.
Tyler County residents should apply in person at 930 N. Magnolia in Woodville
Date Last name Sept. 13 A - C Sept. 14 D - H Sept. 15 I - M Sept. 16 N - R Sept. 17 S - Z Sept. 18, 19 Anyone
For detailed instructions and updates, go to www.hhs.texas.gov/d-snap.
The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides short-term food benefits for eligible families recovering from a disaster.
D-SNAP is available to eligible people who are residents of one of the counties with a federal disaster declaration and weren't receiving benefits through regular SNAP at the time of the disaster.
Recipients will be given a Lone Star Card that will be loaded within three days with funds to purchase food from most grocery stores. "We have Texas families who lost everything," said Texas HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith. "This puts a card in their hands so they can buy the food they need. Nothing is more important than feeding and taking care of our families."
Texas HHS will begin offering the benefits in stages, starting with an 11-county area that has smaller populations that can be served through the health and human services offices in those counties.
Larger-population sites, such as in Houston and Corpus Christi, will launch in the coming days with special sites to accommodate large volumes of people who would not be able to be efficiently served through a local HHS office. HHS has asked local government officials in those areas to identify sites that are convenient and large enough to handle the expected volumes of applicants. HHS will announce those sites as soon as possible.
"We are committed to rolling out D-SNAP quickly to serve all of the impacted areas," Smith said.
Residents of the affected counties may be eligible if they suffered damage to their home or business, loss of income or disaster-related expenses. Disaster-related expenses can include home repairs, temporary shelter or evacuation expenses. Visit the Tyler County Booster's YouTube channel for more about D-Snap and other recovery benefits in an interview with Rep. James White.
CARLOS BULLOCKLIVINGSTON — Carlos Lydell Bullock, 40, former Tribal Council chairman of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, died in his sleep on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
Visitation was held from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2, and a memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3. Both were in the Tribe's Multi-Purpose Center, 333 State Road 56, near Livingston. Miller Thompson was scheduled to officiate both services.
Bullock "walked on" from his home on the Tribe's reservation near Livingston.
He was first elected to the Tribal Council in 2004, and eventually served as both vice-chairman and chairman of the council.
Bullock also served his Tribe in many additional capacities, including as the chairman of Tribal Housing Board, the head of the Tribe's Public Information Office and, most recently, as acting director of housing. Regarding his varied service to the Tribe, current Tribal Chairperson Jo Ann Battise said, "When our people needed someone to come to their aid, no matter what the issue, Carlos could always be counted on. He was far too young to pass and he had too much left to accomplish. His passing is a great loss to our Tribe."
He was born on Feb. 5, 1977, the youngest of Genny and Wayne Bullock's two sons. His older brother, Keith, gave him the nickname, "Hi-C," a label that Bullock happily answered to all his life.
He graduated from Tarkington High School in 1995. A gifted student, Bullock also excelled in sports and played on the Tarkington Longhorn baseball, basketball and football teams. After graduation, he initially studied at Baylor University before transferring to Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Bullock received his Associates Arts degree from Haskell in 1999.
Initially remaining in Kansas after graduating from Haskell, Bullock returned to the Tribe in 2002, drawn by the prospect that his Tribe might improve its economic development opportunities through tribal gaming.
"From the time that he returned home, both during his time on council and otherwise, Carlos worked tirelessly to help our Tribe permanently secure the right to offer gaming," said Ronnie Thomas, vice-chairman of the Tribal Council. "He truly believed that gaming would help our Tribe in its drive for self-determination and would help bring jobs and opportunity not only to the Tribe, but for all of Deep East Texas."
In that regard, Bullock spent the better part of the last 12 months traveling throughout East Texas meeting with government and civic leaders to explain how Naskila Gaming, the Tribe's electronic bingo facility, was benefiting the entire region.
"To many of Naskila's employees and local community leaders, Carlos was 'Mr. Naskila,'" said Tribal Secretary-Treasurer Nita Battise.
In addition to his lifelong passion for sports, particularly all things Baylor and softball, Mr. Bullock was a self-trained artist. According to his brother Keith, "Out of nowhere Carlos taught himself to paint, weave, bead and carve, and he produced beautiful art that will always remind us of Carlos." In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Carlos Bullock Memorial Scholarship, through the Alabama-Coushatta Education Department, 571 State Park 56, Livingston, Texas 77351.
Cochran Funeral Home of Livingston is in charge of arrangements. To sign the online guestbook, go to cochranfh.com.
AUSTIN – State Representative James White has received many questions regarding disaster relief resources available to Texans. We understand that many are facing difficult times and it is imperative that we provide information regarding assistance available to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Rep. White’s office is available to all constituents who need help applying for these programs.
1. All Southeast Texans that live in Hardin, Jasper, Newton, Polk, and Tyler counties need to visit
https://www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362; or TTY 1-800-462-7585 to access federal resources for individual relief.
2. The Texas Department of Agriculture provides resources Southeast Texas farmers and ranchers affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
or call (512) 463-9932 to get more information on applying for these resources.
Farmers and ranchers in Jasper, Hardin, Newton, Polk and Newton Counties have until Dec. 27 at 5 p.m. to apply.
3. Federal disaster loan assistance for Southeast Texas businesses, homeowners, private non-profits, and renters impacted by Hurricane Harvey should visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
7. Governor Abbott has directed the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to provide Hurricane Harvey impacted Southeast Texans relief. Go to this this link to learn about the exemptions and relief: http://www.txdmv.gov/harvey.
8. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is working with local school districts to insure that Texas public school students in Harvey disaster counties have no-cost hot meals at school until 9/30:
14. Gov. Abbott has provided Southeast Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey relief from burdensome Drivers’ Responsibility Program (DRP). These Texans that have outstanding DRP surcharges will not be required to make payments for 60 days, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. NO ACTION IS REQUIRED BY THESE IMPACTED TEXANS; DPS will implement the change internally.
15. Governor Abbott has partnered with the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation on raising money for a relief fund to assist Southeast Texans affected by Harvey. If you wish to contribute, follow this link: https://www.rebuildtx.org.
Above and at left: A group of families displaced by Hurricane Harvey evacuated to Camp Ta-Ku-La outside Chester where the families went to work sorting and sharing a steady stream of donated clothing, food and supplies. Deliveries have come in all types of vehicles from all over the U.S. Volunteer coordinator Crystal Foxworth said Chester residents showed up right away and provided for the group’s immediate needs. ( Valerie Reddell photos )
After a week of tumult from Hurricane Harvey, Tyler County buckled down and focused on recovery for the Labor Day weekend.
At the Emergency Operations Center, County Judge Jacques Blanchette and Emergency Operations Coordinator Ken Jobe focused on sharing information with the public and a lengthy roster of agencies to move residents out of harm's way and shift supplies and services to those who had been displaced by the storm.
On Aug. 31, Blanchette found himself on the phone with a reporter for CNN explaining his dire warning to residents along the Neches River to, "get out or die." Blanchette explained that property owners in that region are accustomed to river levels rising and falling, and many are self-sufficient and don't like to leave their homes when conditions might be frightening to newcomers.
He wanted to be certain that all those experienced storm-watchers got the word that this storm was very different.
At one point Congressman Brian Babin was stuck at his home by water flowing across the road to his home outside Woodville.
Babin found himself having to set the record straight with one nationally televised interview when the reporter claimed his house had been destroyed.
His home wasn't damaged and Babin had been focused on talking to the White House to expedite a federal disaster declaration for the last two counties in his district — Tyler and Polk. Meanwhile John Stagg led a corps of volunteerstasked with opening shelters.
"Shelters were set up at True Vine Baptist Church, Woodville First Baptist Church and Woodville United Methodist Church," Stagg said. "These shelters were directed by The American Red Cross with a host of volunteers. While many others helped on their own, the Red Cross's expertise helped organize, track and prioritize beds and other resources for those seeking shelter."
Stagg reported that since the number of evacuees was never great enough to require FBC to be used as a shelter, that church acted as a supply distribution site. Both FBC and UMC served hot meals throughout the week.
Church members opened an independent shelter at Camp Ta-Ku-La near Chester. For more on that effort, visit tylercountybooster.com.
A number of community organizations including Lions Club and Rotary helped alongside a number of individuals.
"Many people loaded supplies and generators onto their own boats to deliver to areas cut off by the storm water," Stagg said.
The Tyler County Sheriff's Office, Woodville Police and Texas Highway Patrol coordinated efforts and provided additional security and support throughout the county.
"I am extremely proud of my officers and the citizens who really came together during the storm," Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said. "The whole department worked 24/7," he added. "We increased patrol day and night and officers were staged in each area of the county." Weatherford said county officials will hold a debriefing session later in the week.
"We couldn't do what we do without our volunteer firefighters, TxDOT and the county employees at the precinct barns," Weatherford said. "When the lights went out, we flooded the county with officers."
Weatherford said he and both police chiefs were working patrol during the power outage.
"Knock on wood, we had no burglaries, no break-ins, no looting," Weatherford said. "I'm really proud of how everybody came together. It brought out the best of Tyler County."
Tyler County Emegency Management announced late Tuesday that FEMA will have a Disaster Survivor Assistance Team would tour Tyler County Wednesday. Anyone with storm related damage should apply for FEMA assistance and apply for an SBA loan right away. Visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA. For more about recovery efforts, visit www.tylercountybooster.com.