TCEQ SIDES WITH UTILITY DISTRICT OVER VET
Ronald Hebert, manager of the Beaumont office of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, took his opportunity to speak with the disabled vet to take the argument a step futher implying he would back Wes Isbell's instruction for the vet to "call" and let them know the violation was corrected or he would be disconnected. In relation to the Sentinel interview with Mr. Hebert, the conversation the old sodier had with the man could be called an 'about face' but as a civilian, I call it a 'two face'. It kind of reminds me of King David's boy that stood in the gates of the city and, "agreed with every man in his matter". So let me lay it out plain for you Mr. Hebert. TCEQ defines 'residential' as:
any property that does not exclusively meet the definition of non-residential property
That reminds me of how the Tax code starts. "All property is taxable" then you
get into the exemptions.
The State of Texas, under statute, registration, licensing and insurance law defines the travel trailer as a 'Vehicle'.
(4) "Vehicle" means:
(A) a private passenger motor vehicle, including passenger vans and minivans that are primarily intended for the transport of persons;
(B) a motor home;
(C) a motorcycle;
(D) a trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less; or
(E) a truck with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less and the operation of which does not require a commercial driver's license.
Furthermore, The State Agency charged with locating, defining and taxing all of the residential structures in the state and specifically, the SJC Central Appraisal District DOES NOT recognize or define the Trailerable Vehicle as a 'residential structure'. But Wes Isbell can. Even with a ranking member of the SJC CAD staff on his board, they can't recognize the difference in a residence use and a vehiclular use. NONE of 'the policy' addresses the topic. "It is like me hooking a sprinkler to my hose" the vet observed. "We are paying for every drop of water we use. Is SHECO going to come out and turn off our electic next just because we plug the trailer in?"
The vet was troubled by TCEQ's Mr. Hebert's instruction for him to call in to SJSUD and let them know when he corrected the problem. "If he looked at the picture, he can
see your hose is coiled up on the bumper and not even hooked up" I challenged. "I know", the vet replied, "but I am not going to call. I told him (Hebert), the letter did not say anything
about calling in".
SJSUD attorney, Jackson Walker out of Austin misread the initial open records request as one for copies instead of "opportunity to view" as plainly stated. A followup call to the SUD offices early the next week pointing out that there was no request for copies and I wanted to come in and read the policy quoted asap. It was at this point that The Sentinel was infomed by the SUD spokesperson that they did not have a copy of the policy for me to view. In their 'error', Jackson Walker assumed the ten days allowed by law for giving an estimate of costs to obtain copies that were not asked for. Jackson Walker, in thier professional capacity managed to wrangle up a bill for 162 dollars just to show me the policy, the last thirty days of threat letters with associated documents (field reports etc) and how much one employee was paid this year. If it takes 9 hours to locate that plus an "Overhead" charge of 20 percent, you need better help. I dare say the lawyer's stall legal bill will cost way more than the 162 dollars.
SJSUD Spokesperson is still unable to produce a copy of the District's policy referenced in the threat to disconnect letter sent to a disabled Viet Nam Vet. With full knowledge of my identity and purpose in calling, Wes Isbell still has not returned my call or made any effort to right this wrong. He is "out of the office" is all we get. The spokesperson today acknowledged the receipt of our open records request but still does not have a copy of the policy SJSUD 'management' bases their threat to disconnect life sustaining service to the home of two elderly citizens.
SJSUD HEAVY HANDED
The San Jacinto Special Utility District has issued a threat to disconnect service letter to a 100 percent disabled Viet Nam Vet because he has a water hose running to his travel trailer off of his house hydrant. The trailer is parked beside his driveway in the front yard, setting on aired up tires and the license plate is current. The RV is not listed on the tax roll as a structure but is listed on the DMV roll as a vehicle in current use. “I saw them pull up in their truck”, the old vet said, “and I even waved at them”, he added speaking of the SUD truck, “But I didn’t have any idea what they wanted until I got this”, he said indicating a letter he has from the district.
There are no permanent water connections and no sewer connection with it. “My wife just wanted to clean it out good”, he said “and keep it clean and ready for our next trip”. “Sometimes we like to sit out there in the AC and just get out of the house for a little bit”, he lamented. With his disability crowding the vet’s health, he acknowledged that traveling is not as easy as it used to be.
All of their vehicles, including this RV have current tags. Their home is simple but paid for. They have no plans to add any other residential, commercial or industrial improvements to this single family home site that would trigger a second tap.
Apparently we will have to wait until Tuesday to get any answers because whoever answered the phone was too busy demanding answers from me to answer any questions. Even though it is all public information I was seeking, she thinks because I am not a customer, it is none of my business. When I pressed the point of just wanting a copy the Districts Policy referenced in the letter, she hung up on me. It makes me wonder if she knows the policy she refused to provide me that is referenced in the letter and she admitted, not published on the SJSUD official website, has absolutely no bearing or application to a paid in full disabled vet hooking a hose to his camper trailer in his own driveway between trips.
Open records request submitted via the SJSUD official website.
Paul Shelton (Wednesday, February 21 18 11:15 am EST)
You do not care about facts and purport Barabar Shelton has taken artifacts from the Jail museum. That is pure slander and Barbara Shelton does not own the property where the Barbar shop is sittin, and it has not been given to the historical society. In fact we hve negotiated with the owner os the property and land for years to get it on the historical property. You will be hearing from me. You need to get facts buddy.
Hi Mr. Shelton,
I didn’t ‘purport’ that Barbara Shelton has taken artifacts from the jail museum, she did. The Sentinel attended multiple Historic Commission board meetings in the past and Barbara Shelton stated in one that due to no way to secure the items, that she had removed them to a private location to secure them. Take that up with her. It was a fellow board member that called her out on the wrong doing during a meeting, not me.
The Gilbert Barber Shop was donated to SJC by the original owners from where it sat in Shepherd. The building is not that old but old man Gilbert had the oldest active barber license in the State of Texas when he was alive. Instead of moving the historic shop onto SJC property, it was moved onto private property that belongs to Peggy Caldwell now where it has sat for years.
I apologize for my error on ownership of the tract where the barber shop is sitting. We had received a call from a board member regarding the error already but got your comment before I could make the correction so I published it. The statement was based on research I did several years ago. My error. I was reminded that you guys were only negotiating a purchase.
It is this simple. Provide The Sentinel with an inventory of current possession or even an inventory of the artifacts on the day Barbara Shelton turned over the reigns of leadership. If it matches the inventory that The Sentinel was provided by the last chairman before Barbara Shelton's tenure, case closed, I will retract the entire story and apologize. More than one board member has confided in The Sentinel that there are quite a few valuable artifacts missing. The board can hash out who stole them. All I know is that they are GONE!
None of the chairmen since the 'real' republican sweep have done anything but use the property to raise money, promote witchcraft, their local businesses and ignore overdue maintenance. If I am not mistaken, during Ms. Shelton's tenure, it was the Paradise Grill that was nearly always used to have the meetings in before a stink was raised and the commission started having meetings in the different precincts. What say ye? Maybe sissy will give you a cut rate.
CORRECTION: SHELTON DOES NOT OWN THE PROPERTY WHERE THE BARBER SHOP SITS. THE REST STANDS
SJC HISTORIC COMM PLUNDERED STILL NO ANSWERS
A long standing question as to, "Where are the artifacts" remains unanswered near the end of Ray McCoppin's tenure in leadership of it. Despite promises from McCoppin as he headed into the leadership roll to send the agenda to The Sentinel for all the meetings and give an accounting of where the artifacts are that were documented when the 'r'epublican sweep took over that political appointment position.
Barbara Shelton, who is renting to own the Paradise Grill from gu'r'ulou stated she had removed some of the artifacts to her private property from the Historic Jail Museum, "for safe keeping" during her tenure. A monument to the pilfering of the artifacts is the historic barber shop donated to SJC that is sitting on private property accross the street from the Jail Museum.
Over a dozen pages of the last known inventory documents were provided to then in going chairman McCoppin when he made those committments to The Sentinel.
We got two agendas and never another and we never got the first answer on the artifacts that the commission can currently document.
Revenue has been taken in and expenditures doled out but still not the first long overdue coat of paint on the old jail museum windows. Some one that drives past daily, is that rotten beam still rotten in the old tractor shed?
(VERIFIED BY PERSONAL VISIT THAT THE BEAM IS STILL ROTTEN)
It seems that by virtue of McCoppins circle of support, the ability to go into an office and clamp down on any investigative efforts are a virtue for him. As he proved in the below story, he is willing to blatantly violate the law to put up a pretense.
Do we need another learning curve to take the reins of our SJC Tax office or a tried and true professional? Someone who is known for giving non and changing answers or someone who you can take to the bank what they say and has proven that so often?
ADVOCATE ‘JOURNALISTS’ CONTINUE TO PROPAGATE FAKE NEWS
Under the tutelage of Vanessa Brashear, The Eastex Advocate continues to propagate misinformation as fact and then reduce proven facts to what they call ‘allegations’ depending on, it seems, which sounds best in their biased narrative. A practice that has ensued for years now back from the days when Royce Wells was a commissioner in SJC, Brashear and her staff seem to have a penchant for taking anything their preferred elected officials state as fact and print them without bothering to check the easily provable (or disprovable) statements for truth. From a front page story, above the fold, from years ago where The Advocate (my hometown paper) stated and printed that I was a convicted felon based solely on Royce Well’s say so to the most recent instance where cub reporter, Jacob McAdams writes that it is “alleged” that SJC Judge John Lovett was driving without insurance the day of his recent wreck, The Advocate staff should be dizzy from all the spin they engage in. Even more compelling evidence of The Advocate staff’s bias is the news they choose to ignore despite proof positive laid in their proverbial lap. DPS gave Lovett several days, out of respect for his position, to provide proof of insurance and when he couldn’t, issued him a ticket for driving with no insurance. That is public record. Let us shoot down a few more of The Advocate’s spin jobs. Commissioner’s Court did not take Judge Lovett’s office space from him, they merely backed off Lovett’s illegal grab of space that was already designated as Probation office space and returned it to the probation department. The Advocate totally ignores the FACT that Lovett took the space without permission and illegally misappropriated county funds with no permission to remodel the space as his own. Those are the facts pertaining to that situation yet the Advocate continues to spin the narrative to let Lovett play ‘the victim’ when it is the tax payers whom Lovett victimized. The “half the office” narrative is so blatantly false that it would take a blind fool to fall for it or a propagandist to promote that stupid narrative. The fact of the matter is that Lovett had maintenance personnel remove boxes of probation files that were in a probation designated office space filed in chronological order and retrievable as needed to another location without permission of the probation department. The amount of space that the commissioners returned to the probation dept would amount to possibly one fourth of the total square footage Lovett illegally confiscated which is more than twice the amount of space the former judges required with a heavier docket load. Brashear is willing to continue the lie that Lovett, “gets complaints on Eastex Towing on almost a daily basis” despite the fact that proof Lovett lied was obtained through open records and published months ago. Brashear ignores the fact of record that Lovett was ordered by the attorney general to produce those complaints and he has not been able to produce a single one. The Advocate continues to ignore the FACT that Lovett had no jurisdiction in Shepherd city limits to call in those state agencies and that the city did not request him to butt in to their business and that the city has issued a written statement (also published) that they have never received the first complaint on that private business. Brashear ignores the fact that both state agencies closed the investigation as having, “no merit” and that Lovett has stated and even written on the record since the investigations were closed that the Marrs’ were still, “under investigation”. The narrative that Don Franks resigned because of the reclaimed office space issue is stale and tired and a damn lie. Franks is employed as a porter at Anderson Ford. Please, Vanessa, go interview him and find out why he left the Judge's office and then inform the readers. Oh wait, that might not fit into your propaganda plans. Brashear and her cub reporter have reduced The Advocate to being a partisan political rag much like the Dam Good Times who will print anything that promotes their agenda regardless of whether there is any basis in truth or not. It is a sad day for the misinformed readers in their circulation area.
CHIEF DEPUTY TO RETIRE
After a long and eventful career in law enforcement that spans generations in his family, SJC Sheriff's Dept Chief Deputy, Joe Schultea is set to retire in the near future. A career that spanned service in several East Texas counties and cities, Joe Schultea is hanging up his SJC white hat and taking the opportunity to persue other interests.
HERSHEL LEE APPOINTED TO ESD BOARD
SJC PCT 1 Commissioner Laddie McAnally has nominated Hershel Lee of Coldspring for a position on the Emergency Services District board. An avid outdoorsman and retired from a career steeped in emergency services experience, Mr. Lee has agreed to serve in the volunteer position replacing Mr. Herrod who served before him. Mr. Lee's broad range of experience from law enforcement to emergency services will add a depth of expertise to our SJC ESD board and benefit all of the residents of SJC during this time of need. Thank you for stepping up Mr. Lee.
Dear Ms. Isbell,
Honest people cannot be destroyed. If honest people can be destroyed, then The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is a liar and I know He is not.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 ¶ We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
That entire passage is uplifting but the truth is, it is the dishonest who destroy themselves by trying to live a lie. All I do is shed a little light and then write about it. Granted there are more than a few failed careers along my wayside but I am not the one that ordained this path for me to trod or that made their wrong decisions on how to hold the public trust. Think about it from my point of view and the point of view of those who have expressed their concerns to me about the SJSUD Corporation Ms. Isbell. It hasn’t been that many years ago that there was a major embezzlement by a man that held the same position that your husband holds today. How that got past the 30 year office manager, Ms. Darling, is an enduring mystery. We have already proven the board violated its own ‘no felon’ policy and still would be today if its hand hadn’t been called on it. We have shown that the man in your husband’s position today (him) is and has been illegally meting out bonuses for employees and his own self. Have you ever heard of an employee deciding on his own bonus amount by judging the merit of his own work over the last year and then authorizing a payment to himself? Me either. Then you guys circle the wagons when anyone tries to get into a position than would allow scrutiny of management. Truth demands scrutiny Ms. Isbell. You and Ms. Darling are willing to resort to violating not only the law but everything this country stands for with your vetting of the candidate to see if you will allow him to run. How arrogant is that? On top of all that, YOU printed a lying political ad that did nothing but attempt to destroy a man’s reputation and chances at the ballot box. You and your hubby are one flesh. As the head of your household, I lay your lying ad and this despicable email right in his lap when it comes to responsibility for them. My daddy always told me that anyone who will lie to you will steal from you. Hopefully you can understand why we have questions. I do say ‘we’ because it is not me. SJSUD doesn’t affect my life or my pocket book in the least. It is multiple families that are in the jurisdictional boundaries of SJSUD that want to know. The voting statistics show that two out of every five people that voted, voted for change and scrutiny. Less than ten percent of the eligible voters bothered to cast a ballot. As for you and your husband’s vile email, it is not going to serve the purpose you intended. Instead, I will post it for all time on my ‘Customer Testimonial’ page. All it did is prove that your lying paid political ad was not a fluke and that you and your husband are willing to lie to protect your empire. It also proved that old adage of, “He (she) who hollers and points the loudest, has the most to hide”. If the 30 year pattern holds, the object of my scrutiny will engage in character assassination with lies and innuendo, resist all of my efforts to view the documents that will answer the questions we have, lose the battle for open records at the Attorney General office and then fall by the wayside (by resignation, ballot box or indictment) when their crimes are exposed by those documents. One other thing your email accomplished. It has assured that The Sentinel (Mr. Town Crier) WILL NOT give up, lose interest or let it pass. From Ms. Darling’s complete and abject failure to acknowledge receipt of the open records requests that I have submitted so far or production of the first scrap of public documents that we are seeking to view, I would say we are well on our way. As for the closing line of you guys’ email, I will address it in the next go around. You will then find why I was never convicted, passed two dozen polygraphs and wear the sex offender registration as a badge of honor and trust. What others (including you two) meant for my harm has only made me stronger. Every corrupt person who holds the public trust that I have ever sought to bring into the light has tried to destroy me much as you have. Why then am I still kicking it and, as you note, a 30 year trail of failed careers behind me? Easy.
8 ¶ We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Like one old grizzled vet told me last year under similar circumstances, “You only catch flak when you are right over the target”.
Steve 'Mr. Town Crier' Watson
SJSUD ATTORNEY CONTACTS SENTINEL
Mallory Beck, attorney for the SJSUD did call The Sentinel office late yesterday afternoon from her Austin offices regarding the open records request that we made to the local water utility board. In that conversation, we lined out our opposition to the action Ms. Darling had taken of illegally requiring a background check to be completed before Philip ‘Mad Dog’ McCulloch would be allowed on the ballot and her response was, “They (sic: board/secretary) didn’t present it to me like that.” When I offered the email as evidence of the conspiracy to keep Mr. McCulloch off of the ballot, Ms. Beck did agree that the action was illegal and assured The Sentinel she would inform the district on those laws and the ones requiring response to open records. Now for a new twist. Several residents within the SJSUD jurisdiction have voiced complaints about the excessive fees for a water tap going from 400 dollars a few years ago to 1200 dollars and now a near doubling of that already tripled fee to 2300 dollars just to tap into the non-profit water system. Why do they need that much money is the constant question posed to The Sentinel. One clue may be the board’s illegal ‘bonus’ system. The SJSUD Bylaws state the following:
5.05 Bonus Increases
(a) Bonus increases are considered part of the total compensation plan and may be granted for exceptionally good and co0nsistent performance in the same position. They are not used to recognize increased duties and responsibilities (a promotion) and are granted without regard to cost-of-living factors or longevity. Bonus increases recognize outstanding performance and are thus granted in conjunction with a performance evaluation of the employee, the results of which are one factor used in determining the employee’s total compensation plan. Any bonus increases are granted at the discretion of the General Manager.
(b) Bonuses will be given at the General Manager’s recommendation.
The Constitution of the Great State of Texas, in Article III, Section 53 tells a different point of view our legislators enacted to prevent graft and corruption from taking hold by allowing people to pay themselves their own bonus at their own discretion.
Article III, Section 53
Sec. 53 COUNTY OR MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES; EXTRA COMPENSATION; UNAUTHORIZED CLAIMS. The Legislature shall have no power to grant, or to authorize any county or municipal authority to grant, any extra compensation, fee or allowance to a public officer, agent, servant or contractor, after service has been rendered, or a contract has been entered into, and performed in whole or in part; nor pay, nor authorize the payment of, any claim created against any county or municipality of the State, under any agreement or contract, made without authority of law.
There are allegations of other irregularities that have been brought to The Sentinel’s attention over the last few months that bear looking into ranging from allegations of an embezzlement payback arrangement to unnecessary licensing costs just for the purpose of elevating pay. In respect of the job Ms Mallory Beck has to do, we will stop at these two violations of the law for now. It appears to this reporter as if there does need to be a ‘shake up’ at the SJSUD. Saturday is the final day to vote. The voting will take place in the water district office at 70 Church Street, Coldspring, Tx between 7 am and 7 pm.
LOCAL SPECIAL UTILITY DISTRICT VIOLATES LAW
After voting to remove a board member recently over proof of a felony conviction in their past, San Jacinto Special Utility District (SJSUD) board took what they considered, ‘preventative action’ by creating a recent policy change that requires any who wish to run for a position on the board to pass a background check first according to secretary Darling. The policy was put in place in time to subject Philip ‘Mad Dog’ McCullouch to that new hurdle just in time to thwart him in his race against the incumbent board member, Fran Willet. Willet currently holds the position of board Vice-President. The threat in the event of non-compliance with that illegal policy, according to the back ground check service, would be to have the candidate’s name struck from the ballot. Philip 'Mad Dog' McCullouch, a local business owner and honorably discharged veteran was faced with the option of giving up all kinds of personal information, not even related to finding a criminal record, to the private company the SJSUD board hired to conduct the background check OR have his name illegally struck from the ballot. “I think they are just afraid he (McCullouch) might stir things up a little down there”, was a comment made by a prominent citizen and customer of the district when asked his opinion on the events that have unfolded. With early voting over and Saturday as the final day to vote, the SJSUD is reevaluating their policy in light of finding out that a pre election background check is an illegal act on their part. Every attempt to interview board secretary Darling was met with, "I will have our attorney contact you". Darling refused to give an email address for The Sentinel to submit an open records request. There is no way to find out if Fran Willet was instrumental in bringing forth the illegal policy by Saturday for The Sentinel readers with the lack of transparency the secretary has taken on herself to decide for the board. Darling aknowledged that she understood the infomation I was seeking was public information but still refused to give any information, any contact infomation and flat refused to give The Sentinel the board's attorney's name or phone number.
FORMER SJC FIREMARSHAL ARRESTED
James Rogers, the former San Jacinto County Firemarshal was recently arrested on a months old 3 count indictment for 'Abuse of Official Capacity'. It is for charges related to him charging fees and selling trucks with no accountibilty to the County. A long term Sentinel invstigation led to the county judge asking a simple question in open commissioner's court. "How does this firemarshal thing work" were his exact words when no answers had been forthcoming from The Sentinel investigation. The ESD and Sheriff's Dept both disavowed any connection with the firemarshal's business. Our research showed that the ESD had bought him a new truck but eventually dismissed his department from their budget due to his failure to appear at the ESD budget workshop meetings or submit any documents according to ESD spokesperson. No affiliation with the Sheriff's dept budget was ever found. Citizen complaints that led to the initial Sentinel investigation were that Rogers was shaking down the game room owners prior to the 'Gambling Raid' by charging fees, issuing tickets, collecting fines and report fees within the county and both Pointblank and Shepherd City limits in order to bring them into 'compliance'. A county firemarshal has absolutely no jurisdiction in the cities unless they have entered into an interlocal agreement with the county. No firemarshal is allowed to sell or even be a part of a company that does sell fire equipment in his jurisdiction. Allegations of sales of equipment were made also along with collecting fines and fees that were not turned in to any county agency or auditor. There were three trucks donated to SJC by Smith and Company that Rogers was caught having sold or offered for sale resulting in the charges against him.
JAMES STREET PASSES AWAY
Long time COCISD employee and owner of Street Bros Construction in San Jacinto County, James Street passed on yesterday. He is well remembered as the name sake for our elementary school, James Street Elementary, and his community involvment.
LONG TIME PCT 3 CONSTABLE PASSES AWAY 10/4/2015
Ken Hammond, a thirty year veteran of law enforcement and San Jacinto County politics passed away earlier today from a long battle with cancer. A testament to his character and integrity was found in the fact that he served for about thirty years with much distinction. Without doubt, he was the epitome of a public servant. He will be missed by friends and family alike. According to sources close to Constable Hammond and the family, he insisted that no fuss be made over him when he passed. Eventually this story will drop off the front page into the archives but after several interviews and comparing notes with friends of his, we just want to say collectively, "Hats off to you Sir for the difference you made in our Community" Editor
COMMUNITY STUNNED BY LOSS
A great lady has passed from among us. Many of us wonder what God had in mind when taking a woman of such youthful exuberance home at only 44 years old but there is peace in knowing His ways and His thoughts are so far above ours. In a sanctuary packed to the rafters and with standing room only outside the doors, our community gathered together yesterday to say so long for now to Jennifer ‘Jenny’ Vaughn. A mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife, Jenny Vaughn impacted way more lives than those of her family. Known for her servant’s heart and unshakable joy, she lived every day to the fullest. Even a blind man could tell that she was one of the most beautiful and Grace Full creatures to ever call San Jacinto County home. Walking in her unshakable faith, Jenny Vaughn stepped up boldly when God called her to stand on the truth and seek justice for our county and its people. Even knowing that she would suffer great persecution and personal loss, Jenny Vaughn was resolute in her determination to do the right thing. Despite all the hoopla, Jenny Vaughn was vindicated in her actions when the dust settled and all the evidence was finally in. We the people loved her for having enough love left over in her heart to love our children too. We admired her for being consistent in her walk. We will cherish her memory for the examples she set she set for us. We thank you Lord for sharing Jenny Vaughn with our community as long as You did. In the midst of our loss, we cannot help but recognize that she did more in a short time than many will even reaching old age. We agree together Father in beseeching you to keep a hedge of protection around her children as they come of age, in Jesus’ Name. Amen. There is no picture of Jenny with this story because from daughter to blushing bride and on to being a public servant, friend and companion, no single photo could ever capture what she is and was to all of us.
In a town meeting held recently, called by the Coldspring Area Merchant’s Association, the topic of the pending project for handicap access to the Historic site was top of the list. The room was full of business owners, property owners, residents, an engineer, carpenters, history nuts and media. Most met more than one of those categories. Quite a few of those in attendance spoke up during the meeting expressing views, solutions and questions about the project. There were two points made early and made plainly.
It was only the word of mouth and last minute attention to the agenda . . . . . finish reading
5/29/2015 SAN JACINTO COUNTY
SJC SHERIFFS DEPT CONDUCTS A ‘ROUNDUP’
In an apparent attempt to begin whittling on Sheriff Capers for the next election cycle, some who oppose him and his ‘zero tolerance’ stance had begun circulating rumors that Sheriff had been pressured or even paid to leave the gambling game rooms alone in San Jacinto County. These rumors were laid to rest today when he made good on his campaign promise in a well-planned and coordinated law enforcement operation that struck multiple sites in the county. The Sentinel has not received official confirmation from any law enforcement source but was aware that a ‘warrant roundup’ was in the works before it took place. Unmarked cars and agents from outside the county were utilized to conduct a simultaneous sweep at the appointed time. What we do know for a fact is that multiple businesses in the county that allegedly made cash payouts from the video gambling machines in their establishments are closed at this time. The Sentinel’s best efforts to get an official confirmation have been thwarted by the tight lipped operation although assurances of a soon coming press release have been made. In Shepherd, the Stop n Drive (formerly Pat’s Fast Gas), The Chevron and the store on 59 frontage road just south of and adjacent to the McClains Grocery store, among others, are all closed and shuttered. When more information is released, you can read it on The Sentinel first.
CLAIMS OF ARTIFICAL HIT COUNTS ON SENTINEL SITE REFUTED WITH FACTS
It has been reported to The Sentinel that a rumor based denigration of our effort at the Sentinel United Alliance is making the rounds in San Jacinto County. Something to the effect of accusing me of artificially inflating my hits by repeatedly clicking on the site and an even more bizzare twist. From someone that I consider a reliable source and whom I trust in their capacity of service to our community, it was reported that an individual they know is claiming to be artificially inflating The Sentinel 'Visitor' numbers for the purpose of making us think we are reaching more readers than we really are. The photo included with this story is todays analytic page for The Sentinel Alert. You can see for yourselves that there are 33 different browsers and 27 different operating systems accessing The Sentinel web site on a regular basis. 1 and 1 web hosting counts visitors by the internet service provider IP address, not the individual computer IP address. If a person has five computers in their home, as long as they use the same internet service provider, all five computers could log onto Sentinel Alert 20 times each within a half hour and it would still only be counted as one visitor. To artificially inflate the visitor count, a person would have to log on every half hour for one hit. If anyone is so inclined and needs a wake up call to increase the hits, please let me know. As of yesterday, the visits for May surpassed the April count with 4 days left to surpass last months count of 3038 unique visits for the month. Page views are another matter. We have surpassed the 10,000 page view mark for May already and have several days left. The increase in both 'visit' and 'page views' counts has continued in its steady growth. Thanks to those who have emailed and called with your comments and encouragements. Next time someone tells you they are running our numbers up, please for me, tell them I said, "Liar".
After reducing the 359 pages of arrest reports, received from Chief Joseph, to a spread sheet, several facts became apparent.
2. No black officer or high school administrator EVER initiated a report or arrest of a . . . READ FULL STORY
COCISD POLICE ARREST REPORTS OPEN RECORDS RECEIVED
The requested records were received and are being reviewed. Some other information is being sought as the scope of the investigation has been expanded. Further information will be posted the later part of this week. - Editor
UPDATE 5/20/2015 1:00 pm
Open records fee is paid in full. Receipt Posted here. The verbal committment received was honored today and two more donors stepped up, also on condition of anonymity, to cover the remainder of the cost. Thank you for that. The Haglund Law office has completed the redactions and should have the package in the mail today.
The Haglund Lawfirm issued an estimate of costs today for The Sentinel Alert Open Records request as outlined on the 'Nelly Bly' page. After making contact with The Sentinel, Mr Haglund was assured that we were not seeking any identifying information on any student and we agreeed to allow redaction of everything except date, nature of charge and race of suspect and informants. We have ten days to raise the money and The Sentinel has been assured of partial donation already. At $162 dollars for over 300 pages of documents, any contributions would be appreciated. Please mail check or money order to the address posted in the bottom left corner of every page.
“BORDERTOWN” MOVIE SCENES FILMED AT OLD JAIL MUSEUM
Lorenzo Lamas was in Coldspring today to shoot some scenes from the upcoming movie, “Border Town”. The portions shot today were an escape scene where Lorenzo Lamas overpowers a guard and escapes from the jail. There were fisticuffs and gun play involved at the door and Lamas makes his way to a black Jeep Wrangler to make good the escape. The guard, ‘Bubba’, played by Howard Calvert, a local actor native to Houston, “Always plays the muscle” he shared. His film credits include, ‘Jacob’, Lorenzo Lamas and ‘Bubba’ both took time to pose with a couple of local lovelies, Braylee Helen Watson (3) and her grandmother, Barbara Watson. Lorenzo Lamas’ stunt double, Steve, was also on the set for the scenes shot today. Filming took most of the day. One of the props was an old handmade cross that the prop master-armourer, Shawn Gurley worked on as he took a few minutes to chat with The Sentinel. Designed to replicate something made by a prisoner during his time in jail, he aged the piece and added the knots to the leather laces that it was suspended by. “Each knot will represent a year he was locked up” Shawn Gurley shared as he kept tying them.
LORENZO LAMAS COMES TO COLDSPRING
A movie being shot at the SJC 'Old Jail' museum will be on site today to shoot some scenes at the jail. The Historic Commission, under the leadership of Rebecca Hammond, arranged the event and our county will be credited in the movie credits as part of that agreement.
HAGLUND LAW FIRM CONTACTS THE SENTINEL
Wayne D. Haglund of Haglund Law Firm called The Sentinel Thursday in response to the recent open records request regarding billing. He assured The Sentinel that his firm does not charge a retainer fee for any of the School Districts that he represents but bills on a per case basis. On that premise, Mr. Haglund is sure the COCISD was billed for the case involving the prior, 'missing coach', open records request. As a peer awarded, top notch lawyer who specializes in school law, Mr. Haglund expressed a great deal of the support for the open records laws in this state. He went on to express that in the future, he would contact the requestor up front in the hopes of "short circuiting" the process required in this case. In summation, he agreed with The Sentinel that a simple, "He is on a medical leave" would have been the correct response to The Sentinel's initial inquiry.
The 'Haglund Law Firm, P.C.', Lufkin, Texas, purposely led the COCISD on a wild goose chase pursing something other than the truth. Information is being sought by Sentinel Alert to determine if the law firm billed the COCISD above and beyond regular retainer in this case. Haglund's counsel to the CISD that information being sought thru open records could be withheld or should be withheld went against long standing case law and precedents set many times. In the OAG opinion letter, the portion of the information that the OAG does permit the COCISD to with hold is information that was never requested in the first place, despite being represented to the OAG by Haglund Law Firm, PC that it was. Once again, the precedent has been set in Texas that if you hold the public trust, you are accountable to the public, despite Halund's best effort to the contrary.
SENTINEL ALERT BREAKS STORY, COMMUNITY RESPONDS WITH TIPS
In a press release yesterday, the Sheriff's dept aknowledged the community's response to information on the burglaries was key to getting enough evidence to make an arrest. According to the Press Release, the suspect confessed once confronted with the evidence of his crimes. Long time local, Derrek Everitt Cox was formally charged and is being held on a high bond.
BURGLARY UPDATE 3/19/2015
No information has been released but The Sentinel has learned that some items stolen have been recovered and that there is a suspect being sought.
PM UPDATE per official sources, a person of interest has been detained for questioning in the recent rash of burglaries. According to unofficial sources, he was arrested on a revocation of bond for an unrelated charge. The Sentinel has learned from unconfirmed sources that at least 5 buildings were burglarized last week.
SEVERAL BUILDINGS BURGLED IN COLDSPRING
In an unconfirmed report, at least three buildings were the victim of hit and run burglars within blocks of the courthouse the night of March 16. In the thefts, it is reported by one victim that the thieves targeted electronics. The incidents have been reported but as of late yesterday, no forensics had been pursued on at least one victim’s window damage. No official report has been released as of this story being published.
LOCAL GOLF COURSE SCENE OF TRAGIC DEATH
Two young golfers, out for a quick 18 holes were in for quite a shock when they rounded the bend to come up and play thru the 9th hole. It was then when they observed a woman ‘sleeping’ in a small grove of pines just off of the golf cart path. “We just thought she was asleep or passed out because we could see her breathing and her leg moved” they told The Sentinel Alert after emergency responders had made the scene. “When I walked up to check on her, I saw the wound and the gun” the witness stated, “and I knew then not to touch her so we backed up and called the law.” In what was an apparent suicide attempt, 66 year old Linda Winters, a resident of the Cape Royale Harbor Row area lay face down in the grass with severe gunshot trauma to the right side of her head. According to her employer, she had been despondent over several issues facing her and was even described by him as having been “depressed”. The weapon, a 9mm semi auto pistol, “1911 style” was still in her hand per witness statements. The two golfers who found her had heard a shot when they were on the prior hole approximately 10 minutes before finding her in the small grove of pine trees. It was reported that the shot was heard by an employee in the pro shop of the golf course also. Life Flight was called and arrived on the scene but the victim died as the EMS personnel ministered to her. Judge Greg Magee was called to the scene and pronounced her dead about 6 PM. She was first spotted by the golfers about 4 pm. Her car was parked in the parking lot with the keys still in it. No ruling has been made yet on cause of death. More information will be added when a press release is issued.
According to school administration officials, Coach Barbay will not be the Athletic Director next year. At the close of his Athletic Director contract June 30, Barbay will continue as the Head Football coach and work at the DAEP campus program. Coach Barbay has not given any comment as of yet.
COCISD HEAD COACH BRYAN BARBAY QUITS
According to unconfirmed reports from a source close to the situation, Coach Barbay was not offered the Athletic Director position again for next year and stated that he was going to quit. More news as details become available.
BREAKING NEWS !!!
San Jacinto County 2/24/2015
A long time peer respected journalist, after 38 years of community service as editor of the San Jacinto News-Times, has decided to leave Polk County Publishing. Ms. Martha Charrey, with too many peer awards to count, has tendered her resignation to Alvin Holley, Publisher of Polk County Publishing, after a long and steady stint as the editor of our local paper.
HOMETOWN CAFE CLOSES
COLDSPRING SHARON'S CAFE has closed it's doors after providing 2o years of hometown, homefolks and homecookin for our community. Known for more than just good food, Sharon's offered a relaxed atmosphere and excellent service. If you were a regular, your drink of preference would be on the table by the time you made it to the table and you better get your salad quick because the vittles were on the way. Thank you Ms. Sharon for your consistant quality, good nature, good food and a genuine appreciation of your customers. You will be missed.
ARREST NO CHARGES
No formal charges have been filed on Terry Holcomb for his disruption of the Commissioner's Court meeting. Neither did Holcomb actualize the threats he made in his Raging Radio interview to act out of order again at the next meeting. Although Holcomb spoke, he still failed to convince our elected representatives to adopt 'his' resolution.
According to asst District Attorney, the DA's office has NOT received any charges from the Sheriff's office on Holcomb's arrest and therefore is not taking any action at this time.
FINAL UPDATE 1/25/2015
The Conclusion of the Sentinel Alert investigation is that the incoming Sheriff had no part of the failure to charge as he was told not to bother because it would not be prosecuted. Asst DA Boem's assertions that were the basis of the last update, did not pan out as rock solid and were an apparent attempt to throw the incoming sheriff under the bus. In the effort of conclusion of this story, suffice it to say that my persistant questioning resutled in an admission from someone in the know, that the whole thing WAS an orchestrated political stunt, planned and executed to a Tee. In the spirit of anonmymity for my sources, I will conclude the matter here unless any wish to dispute those findings. Comments welcome.