Burn Ban Suspended


WHEREAS, the County Judge finds that circumstances present in the unincorporated area of the county that would create a public safety hazard that could be exacerbated by outdoor burning to have been alleviated due to recent precipitation and anticipation of further precipitation;

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the Commissioners Court of Tyler County on October 1, 2015, that the order prohibiting outdoor burning in Tyler County be temporarily suspended for a period of 4 days beginning at 3:30PM on Thursday, October 1, 2015 until 3:30PM on Monday, October 5, 2015.

Helicopter crash near County Line Road injures Louisiana man

by Emily Waldrep

According to DPS trooper Stephanie Davis with the Texas Department of Public Safety, a helicopter crashed at approximately 10:40a.m near County Line Road off of highway 190, twelve miles west of Woodville. 

 The pilot, a 48 year old man from Louisianna, is believed to have sustained possible back and internal injuries, but they do not appear to be life threatening. He was transported by medical helicopter to a Houston hospital to receive treatment, Davis said. 
The pilot reported that the helicopter had been in the air for just a few minutes when it experienced engine problems. The pilot was spraying herbicide at the time, and was able to successfully clear several pine trees and crashed in a cleared field. The pilot was the only person in the helicopter at the time of the crash. 

Whitetail Ridge home total loss after Aug. 25 fire, elderly occupants safe

Whitetail Ridge Home Total Loss—Three elderly residents of this home in Whitetail Ridge lost everything when a fire destroyed the residence. None of the three were injured, and the community responded immediately with help. (Dale Freeman Photo)Whitetail Ridge Home Total Loss—Three elderly residents of this home in Whitetail Ridge lost everything when a fire destroyed the residence. None of the three were injured, and the community responded immediately with help. (Dale Freeman Photo)

by Emily Waldrep

A house fire in Whitetail Ridge on Saturday, August 25 left three elderly siblings without a home or medications, according to Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator Dale Freeman.

The fire began at a home on County Road 2200 in the Whitetail Ridge Subdivision in Tyler County. Whitetail Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department and Woodville Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the fire. One firefighter had to be treated for heat exhaustion due to the extreme heat.

According to Freeman, the home was declared a total loss. Three elderly siblings lived at the home at the time of the fire, and they lost all of their belongings as well as their medications. Tyler County Sheriff's Deputy Chuck Marshall made a call to the doctor's office and was able to get medications called in for one of the victims and Freeman delivered a note to the health care provider of one of the other victims in an attempt to get a replacement prescription.

The American Red Cross also stepped in to help the victims of the fire.

Donna Rennick with the Tyler County Donation Center immediately began gathering clothing and supplies for the family, and dozens of Tyler County residents made donations to the victims within just a few hours, according to Freeman.

"I met and had a conversation with one of the victims that lived at the home that burned and she was already feeling encouraged because someone had stopped by and donated a mobile home that they no longer needed to replace the one that burned," Freeman said. "I know in the big picture of losing everything, these things we do are just small gestures, but I would only hope that they not only fill an immediate need but to also give hope and encouragement to the victims and show that they are a valued part of our community."

To find out how you can help victims of house fires and other tragedies in Tyler County, contact Donna Rennick at (409) 350 – 8871.

Illegal dumping nets fines

by Dale Freeman, Tyler County EMC

Now that we have enacted a burn ban, we are now experiencing some other problems. Many in Tyler County chose to not subscribe to a weekly trash pick-up. Many burn their combustible garbage, but with the burn ban in place, they no longer have that option without an incinerator or a burn barrel with a screen. The legal option left is to take their trash to the collection site located on CR 1010 near the baseball park.

What is not a viable option is dumping your trash on the side of the road. Saturday, August 22, I got a call from Chuck Vonderlin of Ivanhoe. Someone had dumped a large amount of trash on Sir Robert Burns Street between Ivanhoe Estates and Charmaine South. I met Vonderlin there and we picked up the trash, while inspecting it for identifying information of its owner. It just so happens that we found some. All total, we came up with six bags and a large box and a small box of trash. We carried the trash to an authorized dumpster and properly disposed of it.

The trash I believed all total weighed more than a hundred pounds. If we considered it to weigh less than five pounds, as we did, it would be a Class C Misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $500. If it weighed between five and five hundred pounds, it could be a Class B Misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and $2000 fine.
The owner of the trash would have had to pay about Twenty five dollars a month for weekly pickup or $1.50 to $2 a bag at the Collection Site. What would have been about ten to twelve dollars at the Collection Site for proper disposal will now cost them a whole lot more. The fine for illegal dumping Class C is up to $500 and our Justice of Peace has committed to assessing penalties approaching the maximum fines. Deputy Terry Riley received the information of this violation and I accompanied him to the residence where the trash was identified as originating. A citation was issued to the resident.

The violation of illegal dumping is a "strict liability" offense. If it is your trash, then you are responsible for the disposal of it. Any deviation of the proper disposal places the identified owner in violation of the law. In many cases, when a citation is issued, the violator tells of having paid someone else to carry away their trash. That may or may not have been the truth but it does not matter. Regardless, the owner is still responsible if the person they hire illegally dumps their trash.

Also not a viable option is dumping your household garbage in the dumpsters of businesses or those dumpsters provided for park use. That will also get you a citation for illegal dumping.

Police warn driveway repair scam targets older homeowners

The Woodville Police Department are asking for the communities help in identifying two subjects that are thought to be scamming local elderly citizens.

According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, officers met with the Woodville citizen that reported the scam last week. The victim stated that two men showed up at a residence soliciting driveway repair. The citizen stated that the two men requested to paint a protective coating on the existing driveway. The owner stated that they had not met these men before and asked them for references. The two men then explained that they had been to several other residences in the area and offered the owner names of references to verify their work, McCulley said.

The owner then stated that the two men explained that they had a protective coating that could be applied to the driveway that would help keep it from cracking. The citizen stated that the two men quoted a price of $500 and that it only took approximately one hour to apply and they were finished. After finishing the job, the men requested payment.

"When the citizen offered to pay by check, they declined and then told the owner that the payment was $5,000 not $500," McCulley said. "The owner felt intimidated and agreed to meet the two men at the bank. After arriving at the bank, the two men continued to request the payment in cash. The owner eventually paid the two men in cash and they left."

According to police, the two men are described as white/Hispanic males, average build, and are 35 to 50 years of age. The two men were last seen driving a newer model Chevrolet extended cab pick-up truck that is silver in color. The Woodville Police Department is currently seeking any information on the location of these two suspects.

"This type of scam usually occurs to the elderly that live alone, and that appear independent," McCulley said. "The suspects were reported to have no other equipment when this scam occurred and are working out of a single pick-up truck."

The Police Department asks citizens to remember to ask lots of questions and that if you have any doubts about someone soliciting work in Woodville, please contact the Woodville Police Department. It is against the city ordinance to solicit without a valid permit issued by the City of Woodville.

If you know anyone that has encountered two men asking to perform this type of work to a drive way, please contact the Police Department or Sheriff's Department and ask for Officer DeShazo or Capain McCulley. This case is currently under investigation.