Hillister Woman Arrested After Chained Dog Dies

by Kellie Barnes

There have been a number of animal cruelty instances in Tyler County recently, the latest resulting in the death of the animal.

Tiffany Roy, 23, of Hillister turned herself in to the Tyler County Sheriff's Department March 3, after a warrant was issued for her arrest on a charge of cruelty to animals. Bond was set at $500.

New Tyler County deputy Stephani Byron, accompanied by sergeant Ricky Coker, responded to a call on February 15 about a dog tied to a tree in the backyard of a residence. When officers arrived on scene, they discovered the dog was deceased. The dog was chained to a tree with no sign of shelter or food. According to officers, the animal's hip and rib bones were protruding from lack of nutrition. Roy had moved from the residence three weeks before and abandoned the animal.

Tyler County Gets New 'I.R.I.S.' Emergency Mass Notification System

by Dale Freeman, Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator

If you have seen the ads on TV about how fast is your phone service, you get the drift of how our society is moving into the Technological Age where instantaneous knowledge of what is happening around you is most important. One of Tyler County's more attractive attributes (in contrast to the rest of the world) is it's sleepy, non-rushing pace of life where we do things at our own pace and our own style. In times of emergency, this, possibly our (Tyler County's) most desirous quality, can be a hindrance to our safety and recovery from an emergency.

However, not to be left behind during an emergency when time does matter, Tyler County, being very careful to not change our way of living, is moving in the direction of the rest of the world in regards to emergency notifications.

The Tyler County Commissioner's Court has contracted with a "mass notification" system called "I.R.I.S." The purpose of this system is, in the event of an emergency creating a necessity; we can instantly notify a large number of people with a single sending of a single message. This system allows us to group people in several categories. It may be by the community where you live, where you work, or by a service that you receive. We can even notify everyone in the system with a single sent message.

If we have notice from the National Weather Service of a "Storm Watch" where possibly a tornado was spotted headed toward one of our communities, we can instantly react. We would send a single message via the internet from any computer that notifies everyone in that community of the danger with instructions to seek shelter. We can send messages to a single group or the whole county. An Emergency Management Operator would type the message and send it to the system. The System would distribute the message to the designated recipients. The system receives the text message and turns it into a voice message for land line phones and sends the text/or voice message to cell phones.

Each household in Tyler County is allotted five (5) methods of contact. You can, if you like, have your home phone receiving a voice message. You and your spouse can get a text message on your cell phones. You can get an Email of the message. And finally, your teenager can get the mass notification on their cell phone as well.

Getting on the program is easy. All you do is complete and return a simple information sheet where your information is captured and inputted into the system. From there, the rest is done by Emergency Management and the system.

We believe this is a major accomplishment of Tyler County that will be of great benefit to our citizens. We can use it, should we have another disaster, to notify where emergency assistance services can be received. I can think of countless situations where it will benefit us and could very well save lives and injuries.

Information will be relayed to the local media and will be put out by them immediately through their resources as well.

Friday, I had a very good meeting with the Tyler County Booster Staff. I learned that they now have their own website where they have daily entries of news stories. As stories happen and are received, they are posted on the site and not kept till the end of the week when the weekly paper is printed. By reading the website you can keep up with most everything that is occurring (at least an abbreviated version of the story).

The web site also comes with a pop up ad capability. I am sure you have all endured the pop-up ads when you are surfing the web and you have to read or at least cancel off the ad before viewing the site. Normally the website sells this ad space for profit or to finance the site. The Tyler County Booster does not want to place this nuisance on their viewers to the website. Instead, this pop-up ad space will be reserved for Emergency Management use for emergency notifications. If there is a situation such as a major car wreck blocking the roadway, we could put a brief initial statement of the location of the wreck and ask the citizens to avoid the area if at all possible. The same would occur with severe weather or other emergencies. A brief description could be given of what is occurring and instructions for safety and/or smooth interaction with the normal activities of our citizens.

We also discussed the Tyler County Booster providing a link to the Facebook page of "Tyler County Emergency Management". On this "Tyler County Emergency Management" Facebook page ( there is information and pictures of things occurring in Tyler County and how they are being dealt with by our emergency service providers.

I encourage every household in Tyler County to complete and return their mass notification information forms so that they will be receiving the mass notifications should the situation require it. We hope and pray that this is not needed but as in all things with Emergency Management, "we hope for the best but prepare for the worst."

Spurger, Silsbee VFDs respond to house fire --Corrected Story--

House fire near Fred Feb. 23 causes extensive damageby Emily Waldrep

--Corrected Story--

Spurger and Silsbee Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a large house fire just south of Fred on February 23. A large trailer-style house located a little less than 1/4 of a mile down CR 4905 was engulfed in flames as fire fighters arrived on the scene. The call came in from a neighbor around 3 p.m., and the fire had been contained by about 3:20 p.m. More than 50% of the home burned. The homeowner was at home at the time of the fire.

No cause has been determined for the fire, which remains under investigation.

Steven "Staviana" Hoke Is Mr. Tyler County 2012

Mr. Tyler County 2012 Steven "Staviana" HokeSteven "Staviana" Hoke was named Mr. Tyler County 2012 Saturday night during the 2nd Annual Mr. Tyler County Relay For Life Beauty Pageant. The pageant was held at the Wooville Elementary/Intermediate school cafeteria. Seven "beauties" competed in Evening Gown and Talent for the coveted title!

Check back for more photos and video during the day Sunday.

Colmesneil ISD Superintendent Updates Progress On Computers

by Leann Monk

In a follow-up interview with Colmesneil Superintendent, Stacy Ackley gave an update on the progress of two recently reported items from the February school board meeting. It was reported in the February 29 issue of The Booster several of the elementary teachers did not have working computers in their classrooms. Ackley stated, "This issue has been resolved. Computers from the high school lab have been moved over to the elementary building." He went on to say, "I was not aware that there were teachers without working computers in their classrooms until the board meeting. You can't fix a problem you don't know about." He explained the school district has a system in place called SpiceWorks, which is a help desk. If the teacher or faculty member has a problem, technical or with maintenance, they submit the issue through SpiceWorks and it goes directly to the superintendent's office. When asked if he had received anything from the help desk concerning the lack of working computers in the classrooms, Ackley responded, "I did not."

Ackley also gave an update on the progress of the grants the school district is pursuing to fund the majority of the cost for the upgrade in technology. "We have sent letters to Dell and HP to see what grants are available; and we are comparing the difference in leasing versus buying the new equipment," stated Ackley. "This equipment is needed to move the classrooms into the 21 Century," he said. When asked where the money for the district's portion of the new upgrade would come from, Ackley explained, "The money would come from our funds account. " Currently, there is a balance of $2.4 million in the account. He was then asked if he thought the upgrade and expense was necessary, he then responded by saying, "Yes. I believe our kids come first and they deserve the best. I will always do what is best for the kids."

Ackley has an open door policy with his office. "If anyone has a question about any of these issues or anything else, I wish they stop by and visit with me," said Ackley.

Warren Student Pulls Gun On Fellow Student

Not Gun Used In Assault - posted to illustrate size of weaponA Warren ISD Junior High student Monday, saying he was "tired of being bullied," allegedly pulled a loaded gun on a fellow student while they were in the lunch line. There were no injuries in the incident.

According to officers, the seventh grader was approached by another student who began giving him a hard time. He responded by pulling a loaded .25 automatic handgun from his pocket, threatened to shoot the other student, and then put the gun back into his pocket. The threatened student found two coaches and told them what had happened.

The coaches escorted the student with the gun to the office, where they asked him for the weapon and called the Sheriff's office. The young man was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was removed from the school. He is being held in Hardin County awaiting trial.

Warren Superintendent Lance Johnson released the following statement Tuesday: "The brave actions of the students and teachers involved helped prevent yesterday's incident from continuing. It is important for students to remember to notify an adult when they observe any action that appears suspicious, even if it seems inconspicuous at the time.

"In most schools, students are aware of potential problems before the teachers and staff, because of the relationships with their peers, and the absolute number of students vs. the number of adults on campus. It is equally important for parents to maintain open lines of communication with their children with regards to their school and their peers.

"Warren ISD would like to say "Thank You" to the students, staff, and sheriff's department for their quick response and effective resolution to this event. We are blessed that this event was concluded with no injuries. The safety and security of students and staff is a top priority in Warren ISD.Fortunately, no one was injured in the confrontation."