Ivanhoe fire destroys home

by Emily Waldrep

A fire in Ivanhoe on the morning of Friday, July 20 destroyed a couple's home and sent one Ivanhoe firefighter to the hospital.

At approximately 9:30a.m a call came in to dispatch reporting a structure fire in Ivanhoe, across from the intersection of Lakewood and Durrwood and three Volunteer Fire Departments were sent out.

"Ivanhoe, Woodville and Warren both arrived on scene and attacked the fire with the belief that a person may have been inside," says Dale Freeman of Tyler County Emergency Management.

Thankfully, after the fire was put out and and the home searched, no one was found inside and all residents of the home were later accounted for. The couple that lived in the home had both been away for several hours and no vehicles were left at the residence,

The house was destroyed and one Ivanhoe Firefighter was sent to the hospital after suffering from heat exhaustion. He was treated and observed at the hospital and later released to recover at home.

The Red Cross has stepped in to help the family and they have a place to live until they find another home. Thankfully, the family stated that their home was insured.

The family would appreciate any donations of clothing or household items from the community as they lost every item in their home. To make a donation to the family, contact Dale Freeman at (409) 331-0874.

New Agrilife Extension Agent in Tyler County

by Dale Freeman, Tyler County EMC

A joint announcement was made by Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette, Tyler County Commissioner's Court, and Ms. Shelia Lewis, District Extension Administrator, Texas Agrilife Extension Service, headquartered in Overton, Texas.

Beginning June 1, 2012 a new Agent has been hired to fill the vacant position in the Agrilife Extension Office in Tyler County. The person selected is Doug Weir. He has earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Doug served as a student worker at Texas A&M University while pursuing his education.

Although his credentials are quite impressive, he not only is new to Tyler County, he is entering a new career. The first thirty days of employment he will participate in a "First Step for Success" program by working in another office with a seasoned Agent to observe and experience the day to day operations of a typical county extension office.

Doug is married and he and his wife are animal lovers. They have several pets including cats, dogs, horses, and cattle. Doug says that his animals are just like part of the family. Doug's wife is soon to graduate with a Master's Degree and they intend to make their home in Tyler County. Though currently housed in temporary limited facilities, he is looking for rental property for himself, his wife and household pets, and possibly pasture land to pasture his horses and cattle.

My impression of Doug is that he is extremely enthusiastic about this position and is basically living his dream. He has found where he belongs and is putting his all into it. With his office just down from mine, I frequently hear him clomping his boots down to the secretary's office and announcing "with excitement in his voice" some new realization he has discovered with his job. I know you have seen people who "like" their jobs. My impression of him is that he and his wife have "chosen the life" that includes his career.

Doug is a native born East Texan. He grew up in Marshall Texas. He should have little difficulty making the connection to our community. He will be a great asset to Tyler County. We can learn much from him as well as taking advantage of his contacts and resources with the University. My advice to him is to pay attention to the local people as he can learn much from them.

The Texas Agrilife Extension Office is a partner with the Tyler County Emergency Management Office. Their office is across the hall and we even share a secretary. They help us answer our phones and we help them answer theirs. I am always looking for sources of help that we can use in the time of a disaster. I believe Doug will be invaluable to the Emergency Management Office where we plan to plug him (and maybe his wife too) in our "Animal Issues Committee". He will be someone we can count on to make plans and preparations to take care of the animals affected by a storm or disaster.

The County Extension Office in Tyler County is part of the Texas Agrilife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System. Local Extension programs extend university resources to local residents by providing practical information and education in the four areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H and youth development, and community development. Extension is a cooperative effort of the United States Department of Agriculture, the State of Texas through Texas A&M University, and the Tyler County Commissioner's Court.

We in Tyler County know first hand and are well aware of the drastic and extreme turns that our weather can take. Considering the effect that this has on our lawns, gardens, animals, and even our agriculture industries, this position and someone with his training is greatly needed. We invite everyone to stop by the Tyler County Agrilife Office and visit with Doug. Let's make him welcome and support him helping him make his career a success. We are not only gaining him in his career position, we are getting a new friend, and resident of Tyler County.

Accident takes Warren Teen's life

Ben Millsby Emily Walrep

Family and friends of Ben Mills, the Warren teenager who died Wednesday, are mourning the loss of a friend, classmate and all around great person.

Ben was reportedly trying to jump-start a lawn mower on Wednesday, July 18, when it electrocuted him. Tyler County EMS was not able to revive Mills once they arrived on scene.

The day after the accident, students, teachers and friends held a memorial for Ben at the High School.

"Words cannot express the depth of our feeling and loss over our nephew, Benjamin," says Rebekah Klauss. "It was very comforting to see the outpouring of love and respect from his peers at Warren High School. We, like so many others, will always remember the brightness of his smile."

Friends of Ben also expressed their deep sadness at the loss of such a great friend.

"I miss you already Ben," says Laci Gibson. "You were so smart and had such wonderful plans for your life. I just wish you could have stayed here with us."

Services for Ben Mills were held Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at Allison Cemetery at 10 a.m. According to Ben's sister, Ben would not want anyone to wear black and the family encourages attendees to wear colorful clothing.

"Benjamin was a very happy person and always said if he could make his funeral a party, he would," says Pricilla Mills, "this is for my Benny, and I know that's what he would want."

The family also needs help covering funeral expenses, and an account has been opened up in Ben's name at Citizens State Bank in Warren. The account number is 1500092734.

Construction begins on Hwy 1746

(Emily Waldrep Photo)by Emily Waldrep

Construction is officially beginning on Highway 1746 this week and is expected to continue for at least two weeks.

The construction has been planned for months now, and TxDot recently contracted APAC to widen a mile long section of Highway 1746 near the intersection of Highway 2992.

Currently, traffic is only traveling in one lane, and wait times can last up to 20 minutes, but times may change as construction reaches its advanced stages.

This project is only the beginning of a project that will widen the rest of Highway 1746 in the future, but no concrete date has been set for that project yet.

If weather cooperates the construction will only last two weeks, but rain or extreme heat could lengthen the construction time to 3 to 4 weeks.

APAC and TxDot want to remind everyone to stay safe and pay attention and drive slowly through construction zones to avoid any accidents.

Two charged with mutiple drug counts

Tyler County Sheriff's Deputy Stephanie Byrum on July 16 responded to calls about a passenger car that was said to be acting in an offensive manner in a public place and discovered a large amount of illegal drugs earlier this week. Byrum located the car in Colmesneil, and with an off duty police officer, Elbert Sheffield, who had also responded to the call, discovered that the driver of the vehicle was an unnamed juvenile, and the passenger was identified as Deanna Kay Accutteroop. After investigating the vehicle, officers found various drug paraphernalia as well as seven crack cocaine rocks, methamphetamine, marijuana, and other pills.

Both Accutteroop and the juvenile were charged with possession, and were transported to the jail and juvenile detention center.

They were charged with Possession Penalty Group 1; more than 1 gram and less than 4 grams, two counts of Possession penalty group 1; less than one gram, Possession of Marijuana; less than 2 ounces, Possession Penalty Group 3; less than 28 grams, and Possession of Dangerous Drugs.

The total bond amount was set at $28,000 for all of the charges.

Brookshire’s Assistant Manager, accomplice, charged with felony theft

Woodville Police Sergeant Hicks and Officer Elbert Sheffield were called to Citizens State Bank on July 16 to investigate a theft call that Brookshire Brothers had reported to the bank staff. According to Brookshire Brothers staff, a deposit that should have been made by one of the managers on July 16 was never received.

A review of the surveillance tape of the night deposit box revealed an unidentified person wearing a hoodie taking the deposit out of the night drop box. After officers received a copy of the video they called the assistant manager of Brookshire Brothers, identified as Jacob Allen Sheffield, age 23 of Spurger, in for questioning. During the interview, Sheffield went from being a source of information about the crime to a suspect in the theft.

After the initial interview, Sheffield was questioned further and admitted to organizing a scam to steal the money. Sheffield was then charged with felony theft and booked into Tyler County Jail. His accomplice, Karston Chatlain, age 22, of Sour Lake, was also charged with felony theft and turned himself in on July 17.

According to Sheffield, when he went to drop the deposit off in the night drop box, he wedged the door open so that it would not close. Chatlain was then instructed to walk behind him and take the moneybag from the box.

Sergeant Hicks said that it was obvious in the video surveillance that this was an organized crime, and Sheffield can be seen jamming the drop box door while Chatlain stands near the box and quickly grabs the money bag as soon as Sheffield walks away.

*Updated 7/18/2012

A third man has been charged with theft regarding the stolen money bag from Brookshire Brothers on July 16. 

Jonathan Allen Arceneaux, age 21 from Port Arthur was booked into jail on July 17, shortly after the other two accomplices in the crime were arrested. 

According to reports, Arceneaux had been paid $700 dollars to drive Chatlain from Sour Lake to Woodville, where Sheffield and Chatlain stole a money bag from Brookshire Brothers deposit box. 

The $700 dollars paid to Arceneaux has been recovered and all three men face felony theft charges.

All of the money reported stolen has been recovered.