Sheriff seeks tips in Fred burglary

By Valerie Reddell

Sheriff Bryan Weatherford is seeking help from the public to apprehend a suspect in the burglary of a residence in Fred.

On July 20, Jerry Williams met with Tyler County deputies in reference to a burglary that occurred at his property on County Road 4600 in Fred.

The following day, Williams presented deputies with a game-camera containing photos of two white-males on ATVs, breaking down the gate that leads to his property.

The males were also photographed while breaking into Mr. Williams' travel trailer, taking numerous items.

Deputies identified both individuals as Kyle Essary, 18, of Spurger and Denny Loftin, 35 of Spurger.
Essary was arrested at a residence in Spurger for burglary of a habitation. He is currently be held at the Tyler County Jail on a $15,000 bond set by Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.

Denny Loftin remains at large on an outstanding warrant for burglary of a habitation. Anyone with information on Loftin's location is asked to contact the Tyler County Sheriffs' Office at (409)283-2172

Chip truck overturns on Pine St in Woodville


A chip truck traveling on Pine Street (U.S. 287) overturned in front of a residents early Monday, spilling its load and damaging a vehicle parked at the residence. Woodville Police Officer Zachary Zachary said no one was injured in the incident. The crash investigation is being handled by the Texas Highway Patrol. Workers from the Texas Department of Transportation, located near the crash scene, assisted with traffic control and debris cleanup. In a statement to officers, the driver said he believed the load shifted as he negotiated the curve. Photos by Valerie Reddell and James Sitton.

6 jailed during murder investigation

By Valerie Reddell

WOODVILLE — Six people face charges for multiple offenses as part of investigation into the death of Brandon Robertson, 25, of Nederland, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

Robertson's body was found on May 27 by Spurger firefighters responding to a small woods fire on CR 4600, just off Hwy. 92 north of Fred.

An autopsy revealed that Robertson had been shot multiple times.

Detectives from the Tyler County Sheriff's Office were joined by Texas Rangers and game wardens for an investigation that included multiple crime scenes in Jefferson and Tyler counties, Weatherford said.

Evidence gathered from those sites as well as numerous interviews with witnesses and suspects revealed that Robertson was murdered in Jefferson County and later transported to Tyler County were his body was dumped.

One of the six suspects is currently being held at the Tyler County jail on charges of tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, a second degree felony. Bond has been set at $150,000. Five others were taken to the Jefferson County jail on a variety of charges that were filed after they were interviewed by investigators.

Watch for updates at as this investigation continues.

Autopsy concluded on man reported missing

Weatherford also reported that medical examiners have ruled the manner of death of George "Cliff" Neyland III, 36, of Colmesneil as "undetermined."

Neyland had been reported missing May 28 after he did not return from a boating trip the previous on the Neches River.

A search was conducted by Texas game wardens, Federal Parks Service rangers and Tyler County deputies but they were unable to locate the man or his boat.

On May 31, TCSO received a call from a man who discovered a body in the Neches River when he was checking on his hunting camp.

Neyland's body was taken to the Forensic Medical Managment Services of Texas for an autopsy where medical examiners reported they could not determine whether the death was natural or a result of an accident or homicide.

Sales tax revenues edge up in Tyler Co.

All but one of the cities located within Tyler County saw healthy increases in sales tax distributions from the Texas Comptroller's Office on Friday, outpacing the statewide average when compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Tyler County saw a sizeable jump in sales tax revenue. This month's allocation rose by 22.73 percent, from 441,484.68 in 2016 to $50,916.74 in the latest distribution. That brings county sales tax revenues to $339,803.45 so far this year, an increase of 4.05 percent.

Ivanhoe city coffers continue to see revenue from sales within the city double. This month's share amounts to $2,152.30, up 106.92 percent from the $1,040.64 brought in last year. For the year, Ivanhoe is ahead by 110.83 percent with $13,300.95 coming from Glenn Hegar's office.

Woodville's revenue increased by 10.68 percent with $81,922.42 this month, up from $74,012.68 in July 2016. The gains will help the city catch up in the year-to-date column, which is lagging by 2.05 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. So far in 2017, Woodville has seen $575,724.88 in sales tax revenue, down from $587,821.46 last year.

Sales are down for the month in Chester with this month's check for $1,108,23 posting a 5.15 percent drop from July 2016 receipts. For the year, Chester remains 4.49 percent in the green with $9,625.51, compared to $9,211.12 — an increase of 4.49 percent.

Colmesneil saw sales jump up 10.94 with this month's distribution of $3,955.12, compared to $3,564.87 in 2016. For the year, Colmesneil is behind by 3.61 percent with $27,430.42 for the first seven months, compared to $28,459.04 at this point in 2016.

On average, Texas cities saw revenues increase 3.2 percent while counties saw an average increase of 3.5 percent for the year. Year to date, cities' share of revenue has grown by 8 percent, counties 14 percent.

The allocations are based on sales made in May by business that report tax monthly.

Claude Gulley's Brookshires Dash


Claude Gully of Woodville made a mad dash through Brookshire Bros. Monday after winning a one-minute shopping spree in the store's Price is Right contest. For a video of Claude's race to grab $398.20 worth of groceries, visit the Booster's Facebook page. (Jim Powers Photo)

Meal prices to go up 25¢ at Woodville ISD cafeterias

By Valerie Reddell

Trustees for Woodville ISD approved a measure to increase lunch prices by 25 cents Monday to comply with regulations set by the National School Lunch Program.

Adjustments are made after the periodic calculation by the Texas Department of Agriculture of foods costs.
Student lunches at the high school and middle school will rise from $2.50 to $2.75. At the elementary/intermediate campus, student lunches will increase from $2 to $2.25. Adult meals on both campuses will increase from $3.50 to $3.75.

Trustees also approved policy updates recommended by the Texas Association of School Boards and added three provisions to the District of Innovation plan.

The board will reschedule a leadership training session after a facilitator could not be obtained on the agree-upon date last Thursday. Superintendent Glen Conner also expects to announce soon a date for a public hearing on the proposed budget, likely to be held in late August.

And while legislators have started a special session in Austin to try to hammer out an agreement on matters that couldn't settle during the regular session.

One of those hot-button issues that died in the regular session was the bathroom bill, in which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick hopes to regulate who uses what bathroom. Current practice at the Woodville school district ensures that student privacy is respected whether such legislation comes about or not.

Conner said the district has made accommodations in the past for students who need additional privacy for reasons that have nothing to do with gender identity.

Conner said the athletic dressing room for boys does use "gang" shower facilities, while clarifying he had never entered the girls' locker room so he could not immediately answer how they were equipped.

For a variety of reasons, students have been allowed to change clothes or use the rest room in the nurse's office, Conner said. He said the district has also made showers and even laundry facilities available to students who needed them.

"Some of our students don't have a shower at home, or they need their clothes washed. We make accommodations to make sure their hygiene needs are met," Conner said.

There are an unlimited number of medical or financial reasons a student may need special consideration when it comes to rest room use, education experts across Texas have said. If anyone becomes aware that accommodations are being made, they should never assume that the reason has anything to do with gender identity or other politically charged issue.