LUFKIN – A pre-construction meeting was held Monday at the Lufkin District Office, signaling the start of an 8-year construction project that will be the largest project to date for the district.
Engineers, contractors, utility company representatives, consultants and other interested parties met to discuss the pending construction. Barricades will be set Dec. 7 with work scheduled to begin Dec. 11, weather permitting, on a 6.37-mile section of US 59 in San Jacinto and Liberty counties.
Webber LLC, The Woodlands, will serve as contractor for the $190 million construction project that is scheduled to be completed in 2031. The project is designed to upgrade US 59 to future I69 standards and will include converting a non-freeway to freeway consisting of the construction of a four-lane freeway and two-lane frontage roads from FM 2914 in San Jacinto County to the Loop 573 interchange in Cleveland (Liberty County).
The construction will include 3.343 miles in the Lufkin District and 3.028 miles in the Beaumont District (Liberty County).
As this project begins, motorists are urged to reduce speed and obey all traffic control through the work zone. Stay alert for moving machinery and workers near the lanes of travel. Prepare for delays and obey a reduced work zone speed limit that will be posted near the area. Traffic fines double when workers are present.
For more information, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395.
POLK CO. 12/15/2023
ADA FERGUSON PUT IN CHECK
The recent hearing in the 258th regarding Ferguson's continuation of Hon's efforts to indict and imprison a man for "appearing" as if he MIGHT commit a crime were stopped in their tracks by the 258th's District Judge, The Honorable Travis Kitchens. "Appeal it if you want" was Judge Kitchens' reply to Ferguson's protestations of the Judge's decision to quash the faulty indictment according to a trusted court room observer.
In explaining the Hon/Ferguson error, Judge Kitchens pointed out the total lack of any crime alleged in the indictments. This was the second effort to indict a man for appearing as if he might commit a crime of assault. That is the slippery slope the Constitutional oath keeping Judge pulled us back from.
Imagine the consequences if Ferguson/Hon had been successful. There would no longer be any way to hold public servants accountable without risking prison.
COMMUNITY HONORS VIETNAM WAR VET
William "Wild Bill" Romine was a helicopter mechanic and a door gunner in the Army Cavalry American Legion Post 629 Vice Commander, Mike Brendel told the crowd. As he oficiated the memorial service of another great man today , Vice Commander Brindel was far from alone in his admiration of a man who not only served his nation with honor and distinction in the military but walked that walk all the way through. Ever devoted to the community, Mr. Romine was always ready to help a fellow vet and veteran's causes.
Cochran Funeral Home in Livingston was the gathering spot for his many friends and family members that wanted to celebrate Mr. Romine's life today. The Honorable District Judge, Travis Kitchens was there to deliver the eulogy of a friend, a neighbor, a hero, a man he greatly respected.
"He asked me several times to deliver the eulogy at his funeral", Judge Kitchens shared, "but he never would give me an exact date" he added with just ahint of mischief in his smile.
This reporter never had the honor of being a friend or close associate of Mr. Romine so I can't say I knew him well but I did know men like him. My own dad did two tours in Nam. Boys I went to school with became men over there and and a couple of them came home in a box. When I worked off shore, our chopper pilot had honed his skills flying into the battle to pick up wounded in Nam. If Wild Bill wasn't his door gunner it was a man just like him. Brave, fearless, devoted that loved this nation and what it stands for.
Judge Kitchens, a fellow music lover and Wild Bill's friend picked out the songs that were played at the memorial service. He chose, "Born to be Wild", "Fortunate Son", "Goodnight Siagon", "Still in Siagon", CCR's "Up Around The Bend" and closed with "The Ballad of Easy Rider". You see, "Wild Bill" loved to ride and so did his band of brothers. Many of them showed up on their iron horses to bid farewell to this warrior. Like him, they still crave the wind in their face, the freedom of the road and the rush of adreneline a powerful bike can give. Like him, they mean what they say, say what they mean and don't back up from nothing.
What a blessing for our community to have men like Bill Romine for our young sons to look up to and learn from. Thank you to his family for sharing him with the world, our nation and our own commuity. He will not be forgotten and has a permanent place in our Hall of Heros.
WOODROW WALLACE. CALLED OUT The article linked to the headline has this following narrative in it:
"As the court rightly held, that includes any time that they’re controlling a Facebook page they maintain in their official roles. Specifically, the court recognized that when a public official uses a Facebook page as a tool of governance — that is, when she uses it to inform the public about her government work, solicits input on policy issues through the page, and swathes it “in the trappings of her office” — she is controlling the page as a government actor.
And if she opens that page to public comment, the interactive space of the Facebook page constitutes a public forum. The fact that the page exists on a website owned by a private company doesn’t change that."
Sentinel readers will remember when we open record requested comments Wallace had removed from his "Trinity County Sheriff" fb page. Wallace paid much tax money to the Trinity County hired law firm, Iglaseus something. Wallace is the most prolific spender of tax payer money to fight open records releases The Sentinel has ever encountered.
Wallace's facist censorship fight went all the way to Austin to the OAG Open Records division. THEY FOUND FOR HIM!!! I still have the letter from them.
We argued that if he took the critical comments down, as public records, they became subject to the open records laws. To dispose of them would be the same as him shredding a written complaint a citizen walked in the lobby and made againsthim.
LEON COUNTY 12TH DISTRICT 9/24/2023
Leon Co Commissioners, Court, Roundrock law firm conspire to extort fraudulent payments.
A very troubling pattern has developed. This group has conspired together to make a legal statement that is patently false and now won't answer the phone or return a call.
What gives Leon County?
NEW GENERATION PRESSES FOR ANSWERS
Having fallen silent about The "Sundance Killing" of Dennis Ray Hollis by former SJC onstable, Lou E. Rogers simply because nothing was done, it is encouraging that a new generation of investigative journalists are asking questions.
Recent requests to The Sentinel for the original autopsy report and "any scrap of evidence" we have on the case encourages this old coot that a murderer may finally be brought to justice.
It isn't just the Sundance Killing either. The Sentinel had an eye witness to former Constable, Lou Rogers picking murder victim, Carter White, up at his home, in uniform and in his Constable patrol car the evening before Carter White's body was found. Sentinel readers will remember that Carter's body was dumped on Harrel Rd, shot in the head but the difference was the bullet was dug back out of his head. Why trash a perfectly good pistol over ballistic testing?
We all knew Carter White was just a two bit drug dealer that worked the corner in Pointblank but he was still a human being. The witness told me he would come forward if I could get Rogers badge and gun. We got his badge via the ballot box but never could get his gun.
Here are the questions that we listed that remain un answered.
Questions that need a public answer
It is our hope that these two murders will FINALLY be investigated and not swept under the rug any longer.
If you are interested in helping us continue with our efforts, be sure to hit the donate button below and seek closure for Dennis Ray's mother. An interesting twist of late is that sources indicate that the recent shooting victim of officer Chris Simmons is the half brother of the Sundance Victim who has been pressing for answers. We are seeking more information on that case also.
SAN JACINTO CO 6/17/2023
GREAT LADY PASSES FROM AMONG US
The loving mother of the Honorable 258th District Judge, Travis Kitchens Jr passed away late last night or early this morning. Judge Kitchens, for the first time, missed the Juneteenth celebrations at the SJC Courthouse this morning to be with her in her final hours.
What a fitting tribute to her death to be celebrating one of if not the greatest Christian accomplishments of our great nation at the time she passed. We are searching for the picture of Mrs. Kitchens holding the bible her son was sworn into office with and will post it soon. The love for her son absolutely radiates in her face.
ONALASKA 5/2/2023 4:30 pm
BODY FOUND NEAR CANYON PARK
The body of a missing 77 year old Livingston man was discovered in the woods just past Canyon Park about an hour ago. According to sources, the deceased man was last seen 04/17/2023 walking back from Point Blank and had used the bank recently but no wallet found with the deseased. Foul play has not been ruled out.
11/3/2022 POLK, TRINITY AND SAN JACINTO COUNTIES
COURT DOCKETS MOVING FORWARD, SJC LAGS A LITTLE
Long standing issues with a sluggish dockett under soon to be former Polk Co DA, Lee Hon have been addressed and much done to relieve the back pressure since Hon's defeat in the last race. Trinity County is making good progress and Polk County has had a great turnaround due to several factors that have changed or been streamlined since the last elections. San Jacinto County has not made the same progress and The Sentinel has delved into the reasons why. "Every body deserves a speedy trial" one Criminal Justice worker stated as we interviewed and questioned several who hold key positions that can make or break the forward motion of our docketts.
Hon, who is infamous for holding suspects for years in jail without a trial and with no evidence then dismissing at the last minute is obviously the main culprit. Hon has stacked up THOUSANDS of backlog cases during his long tenure as the self professed, self labled "Prince of Polk County".
In our quest for answers, The Sentinel went right to the folks that know and asked questions.
The substantial progess in Polk County is based on several factors. We are not going to name names but will share the observations of people involved in the process. One of the greatest advantages that Polk Co has is that both district judges office in the Polk Co Courthouse and the District Attorney's office and the Distict Clerk's office there have immediate access to them and their respective Court Coordinators.
Another major advantage that Polk County has is having the County Court at Law Judge position. In the Texas system, that court can hear many cases prior to them being in District court where as, even with the San Jacinto County Judge Faulkner being a licensed and practicing attorney, he is limited in what cases he can hear.
In our research project, we have learned that efiling is playing an important role but does have it's pitfalls. Working from paper files has its advantages but instant delivery is not one of them.
The biggest concern The Sentinel has with efiling is that the judge might inadvertantly see files that he should not see prior to the case being brought before his court.
One major change that has taken place in Polk County allowing the docket to move forward has been the willingness of the ADA's to work with the court more openly and professionally since the corrupt Lee Hon is no longer a long term threat to their career. This has led to the ADA's forging a more professional and trusting relationship with other members of the Criminal Justice system in Polk County.
The Sentinel has never had complaints on the ADA's other than Tommy Coleman.
Now that the remaining ADA's can see that the incoming DA is NOT going to follow Hon's retaliatory practice of letting the process be the punishment (years in jail before the first court date), there has been way more communication between the different offices.
A dark money outfit that pretended to be family oriented and who endorsed evey candidate that ever ran against native son, Ernest Bailes for the HD 18 seat was shown their lack of discernment today by an arrest in Conroe. The director of 'Texas Right to Life', a dark money laundering outfit, Lucas Bowen was arrested in a sting and charged for soliciting what he thougt was a minor child for sex. The article is linked to the headline.
Emily Cook who ran against Bailes once was a registered lobbyist and attorney for the alleged pro life group. Cook received 80 thousand dollars from the organization in a dark money effort to buy a seat. Keith Strahan was before her and Janice Holt after her. One thing in common is they all bad mouthed Ernest Bailes with lies about his ardent pro life voting record and the other thing is, they all got their butt beat with the truth despite the great influx of dark money from a dark money outfit. These are folks that don't care where the money comes from and whose only purpose is to shield that information from coming out. Hats off to Ernest Bailes for never accepting a penny from this dark money group run by Lucas Bowen.
ANGELINA CO 6/25/2022
DA AMMENDS DENIAL LETTER
Recognizing that her case to withold the video is on flimsy ground already, Angelina Co DA, Janet Cassels delivered an 'ammended' certified letter to our office today denying us the video adding that she was also claiming exemption under the, "Common law privacyrights".
After DA Cassels initial reply/request that we withdraw the request because it was exempt from disclosure, we politely declined to withdraw but did agree to allowing all the images and voice of the once upon a time, minor. and just leave the part showing David Stua intact, we thought that would alleviate her concerns about unwanted publicity for the young man.
We would point out that the video was shot in public on a community college campus. There is no expectation of privacy in public, The video was live streamed and published in a public media.
There are several elements that must be met in order to make a claim of violation of ones privacy. They are:
(1) appropriation of the plaintiff’s “name or likeness for the value associated with it”; (2) the plaintiff can be identified from the publication; and (3) the defendant received “some advantage or benefit.”
We have agreed in writing to redacting all identifiers of the young man. We have no advantage or benefit. If the Angelina County DA's are making false claims and filing false charges, THAT is definately a matter of public concern.
Now it appears to be something more driving her determination to keep the video out of our hands. Is there anyone out there that happened to download the video before it was removed from the East Texas Reporter FB page? Contact info is in the left column.
THANK YOU FOR THE VIDEO!!!!!!
DA DUCKS AND DODGES
In a convoluted and allergic to transparency response, Angelina County DA makes it up as she goes trying to hide public information. A simple strait forward request for a copy of the video live streamed, recorded and published by East Texas Reporter, David Stua seems to keep her, the DA before her and two judges determined not to ever let the public see the video again. The problem is, The Sentinel, America White and others are just as determined to find the truth.
In a case that has been on the books for years and already resulted in solitary confinement of a man for over a year with no trial and no conviciton, that same video has been touted as the proof of his guilt.
The presentation made to the grand jury by Martin, seeking his original indictment indicated Stua exposed himself to the young man on the college campus while live streaming the event to his East Texas Reporter FB page. It didn't happen. Now that the case is disposed of, the DA's 'artistic linguism' has come to light. The video was played in court as evidence so why hide it? Could it be that it disproves the allegations of the State?
As we pointed out before, Both Martin and Cassels, Judge Ball and White were given open records requests by Stua before these charges were brought against him and they all should have recused themselves. Instead, they collaborated to impose unconstitutional bond conditions and keep the man in jail, in solitaire for over a year.
The fact that Cassels was willing to dismiss all the sexual charges (stacked 9 high) if Stua signed a plea deal speaks volumes to the lack of validity of the sex charges to start with.
The Sentinel requested the video under open records weeks ago. Ms. Cassels emailed back requesting that I withdraw the request but assuring she would seek the Attorney General's opinion if I did not. The Sentinel politely declined to with draw the request and were met with another letter from the DA declaring that the video was confidential and would not be released. Now for the battle at the OAG's office. Is Ken Paxton going to come down on the side of transparency or help Angelina County DA's and judges continue to hide the truth? We will see.
As brought out in a previous article, Ms. Cassels is trying to hide the video under the statute exemption to protect a video or audio recording SHE made of an interview of a witness while investigating a crime. That is dis honest because she did NOT make this video.
One of the more troubling aspects of this case that has recently come to light is that while the DA had access to Stua's 'East Texas Reporter' FB page to take the video down, a lot of other documents pertaining to her and the judges were also deleted.
DISTRICT 12 5/24/2022
"PROFESSIONAL CANDIDATE" SMACKED DOWN
LONG LONG AGO, in a race far away, now twice defeated candidate,
Ben 'the Li2us' Bius ran a lying political ad against a good representative, Dan Ellis. His lying ad, when exposed by The Sentinel, cost him that election. A simple letter to the editor with proof of the Bius shady money transactions were enough to knock him out of that race years ago. This most recent race proves that the track record and trust that incumbant District 12 State Rep, Kyle Kacal has earned during his tenure, both among constituents and his peers in our state government could not be overcome by the Bius money machine. Bius' self designation on the attached campaign finance report we published , designating himself as a 'full time candidate' was met with a vote tally that says plainly to Bius, "get a job'.
9/15/2021 WASHINGTON DC
WALKER CO SHERIFF CALLED OUT AS "THE ONLY ONE"
US Senate Judicary hearing into the abject failure of the FBI to adequately investigate and persue prosecution of those in a position of power who failed the female gymnasts molested by Larry Nassar named The Walker County Sheriff and his investigators as the "Only ones" who were diligent in their efforts to seek justice for these girls. Nassar was prosecuted and imprisoned but the 'networking' of people who exploit and abuse children is big business. Evidence Sheriff could have used to shine some light on who was allowing this activity to go on in the big dollar organization was withheld. From the female nurse who damn sure should have been present for any 'exam' failed. Who ever was saddled with the public trust to make sure that female nurse had integrity and character and was there failed.
None of the gymnasts were supporting or extoling the virtue of the FBI or their agents in the case and infact cited incident after incident where the FBI not only failed to investigate and interview but went out of their way to thwart the investigation and intimidate the girls in an attempt to cower them into silence. Any therapist will tell you that speaking of traumatic stress in your life is part of the healing process.
The testimony that came out in the hearing showed that Sheriff McRae and his Detectives were diligent in thier effort since the Bella Koroli gymnastic facility was in Walker County but that the FBI refused them access to the evidence they were trying to collect. That is a bass akwards approach to Law enforcement. Yeah you feds with the big bucks and hi tech labs are worth your weight in gold to a rural community but to hamstring the man elected by the people and keep him from doing the job he was elected to do is just some self aggrandizing federal BS. It is our neck of the woods, not yours.
It came out later in the testimony that one of the FBI agents who kept Sheriff McRae from getting the evidence has been charged with evidence handling crimes but has pled not guilty. Others who failed the girls were allowed to resign and collect a pension in lieu of being prosecuted.
I said all of that to say this. It was like a Deja Vu of what we have suffered in Polk county when evidence submitted to the Texas Rangers and FBI disappears and no witness is interviewed or evidence collected in answer to the outcry of the people to oust the corrupt DA, William Lee Hon for his crimes. The ignorance of those charged with the privilege and the duty of protecting we the people have instead ground a long time child advocate and civil rights activist into observing that, "Their power is in ignoring us". They have ground a 30 year retired federal agent into observing the non responsive manner of current administration to our plight.
Allowing the current state of affairs of our highest leadership to exist is an indictment of we the people who don't speak up. In that vein, Mexicans, Negroes and Caucasians have joined our voices together but still we are ignored. Male and female, fat and skinny, ugly and pretty have spoken out to no avail. One woman referred to the uselessness of reporting harrassment to Polk Co higher ups because, "They got their zipper down too".
ANGELINA COUNTY 5/13/2021
DA JAILS MAN FOR HAVING PHONE
The East Texas Reporter has been jailed on a bond revocation hearing for posessing a phone. David Stua was originally jailed in Dec of 2018 on a charge of 'Sexual Performanace of a Child' for telling two teenage minors on the college campus that he believed in Circumcision and then asked, "Do you want to see the proof?"
Stua's live stream video interviews were transmitted from the Angelina College campus where the librarian had called the law on him for using the word 'circumcision' in the library earlier that week. In protest of what he considered censorship, Stua began live streaming to FB as he asked several on the campus if they 'wanted to see the proof' after expressing his belief in circumcision. Stua would then display a certificate that stated that he believed in circumcision.
The campus cop who filed the affidavit was watching the live stream as it occurred but did not effect the arrest then but waited a week. The minors nor their parents filed a complaint according to Stua. In his affidavit (a sworn statement that would subject the affiant to perjury charges for lying), the officer stated in his arrest affidavit that Stua asked the minors if they wanted to see his genitals. Stua adamantly denies that allegation and contends the language was used to get him indicted.
The live stream video has been taken down but is in the posession of the DA. The alleged crime occured over two years ago and was live streamed but the DA does not seem able to get that case to court but instead, goes for bond revocation because the man, who is required to work to pay fees associated with his bond has a phone.
According to Stua, he was offered a plea deal that included him never asking for open records again. The kicker is, both judges involved and the DA have born the brunt of Stua's open records requests and both judges, according to Stua, refused to produce records he requested and he had written them with his intention to sue both judges for those records just prior to his arrest.
The statute used to charge Stua was written to prosecute monsters who induce children to committ a sex act so they can film them to produce child porn. The next paragraph of the statute speaks to the parents who allow that activity being prosecuted.
The judge who set the bond conditions, who had been targeted by Stua, forbid Stua to have any device with a camera or seek open records while on bond. David Stua was born and raised in Angelina county and has never been in trouble before but his bond conditons were excessive compared to past cases of actual child predators in Angelina County.
Joe Martin was the DA who accepted the week old affidavit and moved forward for the indictment without a complaint by the minors or their parents. We all know that Joe Martin was trained by the Corrupt Lee Hon out of Polk county on how to silence pesky open record seeking, proof publishing reporters. Martin used the same lying statements to get me indicted on false charges there for seeking open records and publishing proof of DA Hon's many crimes.
If the video proves that David Stua never asked the minor if he wanted to "see my genitals', the cop needs to be prosecuted for his crime. Unless he is killed in jail for the nature of his charges, Stua will get to court and possibly beat the charges but even if he does, he can't beat the ride. As is the norm for all corruption in the criminal justice system and as I have said after studying the 600 plus dismissals in four years for lack of evidence in Hon's office, "The process is the punishment".