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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:
www.TwoStepsOneSticker.com

Search warrant on Doucette area home yields rifles, handguns and drugs

Arsenal Found In Home—Officers executing a search warrent found large amounts of methamphetamines as well as marijuana. They also found approximately 14 rifles, five handguns and $2,100 in cash.Arsenal Found In Home—Officers executing a search warrent found large amounts of methamphetamines as well as marijuana. They also found approximately 14 rifles, five handguns and $2,100 in cash.

by Emily Waldrep

The Tyler County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on County Road 3000 in the Doucette area that led to the arrest of two Woodville residents. According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, information regarding several burglaries in the county led officers to obtain a search warrant on the residence and property owned by an individual identified as Jesse Pete Hudson, age 40, of Woodville.

The Tyler County Sheriff's department was assisted by the Woodville Police Department in executing the search warrant.

Officers arrived at the location and made entry into the home where they encountered a female subject that they identified as Brandy Cottle, age 34, of Woodville. There were also two juvenile children in the home. The residence was secured at that time and the search warrant was executed, according to Weatherford.

"Inside, officers found large amounts of methamphetamines as well as marijuana," Weatherford said. "They also found approximately 14 rifles, five handguns and $2,100 in cash."
Federal agents along with local agencies are currently working to determine where these firearms originated and how they were acquired.

As officers were executing the search warrant, a vehicle pulled up to the residence and the driver was identified as Jesse Hudson, also commonly known as "Stumpy", who was the main resident of the house and had an outstanding theft warrant.

"Inside the vehicle Hudson was driving, deputies discovered approximately 22 grams of methamphetamines," Weatherford said. "In total, about 30 grams of methamphetamine was recovered during the execution of the search warrant."

Both Cottle and Hudson were arrested.

Cottle was charged with Abandon or Endangerment of a Child Criminal Negligence, Possession of a Controlled Substance (more than 1 gram, less than 4 grams), and Manufacture Delivery of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1.

"Stumpy" Hudson was charged with Theft of Property, Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance, and Abandonment or Endangerment of a Child Criminal Negligence.
Both Cottle and Hudson are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

According to Weatherford, the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms department will be filing felony weapons charges against Hudson. Child Protective Services (CPS) was contacted and the two children were turned over to that agency.

"Both individuals were charged with endangering a child because there were loaded handguns and methamphetamines and marijuana that was easily accessible by the children," Weatherford said. "Most of the narcotics in the home were stored in plain view in unsecured rooms."

Tyler County Deputies along with Officers with the Woodville Police Department took evidence from the scene that should help solve other burglaries in the county and has already led to an additional search warrant in Angelina County, according to Weatherford.

The Chief Deputy and Sheriff Bryan Weatherford want to remind citizens to always have a written record of serial numbers from firearms and even tools, because it is very likely that officers will find the rightful owners after a search warrant like this one is executed.

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.

Four children dead in Spurger House Fire

Firefighters with the Spurger, Fred and Dam-B fire departments were called to a house fire on February 4 on County Road 4437 in Spurger at approximately 2:30 AM. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, the caller advised that a residential home was on fire and that some occupants had gotten out of the home, but four children were still in the house.

The four children, ages 4 through 8, that were not able to get out of the home died in the fire. Three of the four children were school aged, with the oldest being in third grade. They were enrolled in Spurger ISD.

"Woodville ISD sent down two grief counselors to Spurger for not only the students, but the faculty as well," Weatherford said.

The parents of the children were identified by witnesses as Amanda and Jimmy Loftin of Spurger.

According to the family, Kolton Loftin, a third grader, Kyleigh Loftin, a first grader, Haven Webb, a kindergartener, and Dyson Webb passed away in the home. The Tyler County Sheriff's Office reported that Amanda Loftin was transported to the hospital with minor burns and smoke inhalation but is expected to recover. Jimmy Loftin received minor burns but refused treatment at the time and stayed on the scene, but was later transported to Tyler County Hospital for treatment. The other two children, ages 2 years and 5 months, were also transported to the hospital with minor injuries but are in stable condition and have since been released, Weatherford said.

"The Texas State Fire Marshall has three investigators on scene that will stay throughout the day and into the evening to investigate how the fire may have started," Weatherford said. "There has also been an electrical engineer called in to retrace all the wiring and electric in the home."

Spurger Volunteer Fire Department, Dam-B Volunteer Fire Department and Fred Fire Department, Tyler County Sheriffs Office and Tyler County Constable Pct. 4 all assisted in aide during the fire.

"We just want to really thank all of the fire departments and people that responded," said Heather Loftin, a family member. "The whole family just really appreciates them from the bottom of our hearts."

The Red Cross, local churches and the entire community has banned together to help the family in their time of need.

For those wanting to help the family financially, a bank account and GoFundMe account has been set up in the families name.

The Bank Account is at Citizens State Bank, in Spurger and the account number is 4002019313.

The GoFundMe account can be found online at
http://www.gofundme.com/loftinfamily

Clothing and baby items can be dropped off at the Tyler County Booster Office in Woodville or the Spurger a Elementary Office.

The families needs and clothing sizes are:

Jimmy: Size 11-12.5 Shoe, Large Shirts, Pants 34x32.

Amanda: 7.5 size shoe. XL pants. Large shirts. Size 10 underwear.

Kayan, female: Size 4T, shoes size kids 7, diapers or pull-ups size 5.

Thomas, male: Size 12 month clothing, Size 3 diapers, wipes, and formula is Simalac Sensitive Birth - 12 months.