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2 Big Sandy students arrested for terroristic threat directed at school

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From Staff Reports

Two Big Sandy ISD students have been arrested by Polk County Sheriff’s deputies after administrators received a report of a verbal threat to the safety of Big Sandy High School on Tuesday, Feb. 20, according to a statement released by Superintendent Eric Carpenter/
Aaron Thompson, 17, and Isaiah Adam Thompson, 18, have been charged with terroristic threat impair public service/public fear of serious bodily injury/influence government agency. Both are being held at the Polk County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bond.
Carpenter said deputies were on campus Wednesday as part of their investigation.
“The district does not believe that at any time that any students or the campus was in imminent danger,” Carpenter said.
“I would like to remind parents to have conversations with their children about the seriousness of making statements that could be construed as threats either verbally or on social media. Such statements may be considered “terroristic threats,” and if substantiated, are punishable as a crime and also through the District’s Student Code of Conduct,” Carpenter said.
Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon echoed the need for parents to speak with their children.
“This is something that we’re going to take seriously,” Hon told the Polk County Enterprise. “In the current atmosphere, it’s a major concern.”
Two Polk County law enforcement officials said there were no reports of any threats to other campuses.
“Administrators are in a posture where they can’t afford to make a mistake,” Hon said. “Threats — regardless of the intent behind them — have to be taken seriously. Parents are going to be very concerned then (a threat) involves a school their kids are attending.”
Hon said he has talked with one superintendent about making a presentation to students informing them about the serious consequences involved when someone makes a threat; even it is in a joking manner.
“Kids need to understand this is like yelling fire in a crowded theater,” Hon said. “That’s something that we grew up knowing not to do.”

Five jailed following investigation

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CORRIGAN – Five Corrigan residents were arrested and a sixth was being sought by Corrigan police as the result of a burglary and drug investigation launched following a traffic stop.

On Jan. 31, a traffic stop conducted by detectives Christopher Lima and Dana Vanya of the Corrigan Police Department uncovered methamphetamine and marijuana. The discovery in turn led to the subsequent arrest of several individuals involved in a burglary of a Corrigan residence.

Following the traffic stop, the officers interviewed the occupants of the vehicle and received information about the possible burglary of a residence that had occurred a few days prior.

Police Chief Darrell Gibson was able to confirm the burglary after doing a check of the home located off U.S. 59 near FM 942 and finding the door to the residence standing open after being broke into.

Detectives and patrol officers began an extensive search of the surrounding pawn shops and were able to recover nearly all of the property taken during the commission of the crime.

Detective’s were able to obtain a search warrant for the residence of one of the suspects, where additional stolen property was located along with narcotics during execution of the warrant.

Arrested and charged in connection with the case are the following suspects;

Dillon Lee Scroggins, 24, of Corrigan, arrested on felony burglary of habitation and felony tampering with evidence charges. He remained in the Polk County Jail early this week under bond totaling $35,000 bond.

Bret Dakota Scroggins, 20, of Corrigan, arrested on a burglary of habitation charge. He remained in the Polk County Jail early this week under a $25,000 bond.
Donna Michelle Isaacks, 37, of Corrigan, arrested on possession controlled substance and tampering with evidence charges, as well as a felony warrant issued by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. She remained in the Polk County Jail early this week under bonds totaling $15,000 on the first two charges, but was being held without bond on the parole violation warrant.

Garin Gesford, 30, of Corrigan, arrested on a tampering with evidence charge.

Toni Cooper, 43, of Corrigan, arrested on a possession of marijuana charge.

In addition, the Corrigan Police Department is actively seeking the whereabouts of Meagan Redding, 17, of Corrigan, who has an outstanding warrant for her arrest for burglary of habitation in connection to the break in.

Anyone with information that would lead to the location of Redding is asked to call the Corrigan Police Department at (936) 398-2551 or Polk County Crime Stoppers at (936) 327-STOP.

New facility opened for seniors

The new senior center, located at 605 E. Abbey was open for business on Tuesday. Area senior citizens can enjoy home-cooked meals, activity, and socializing. (Chris Edwards | Enterprise)The new senior center, located at 605 E. Abbey was open for business on Tuesday. Area senior citizens can enjoy home-cooked meals, activity, and socializing. (Chris Edwards | Enterprise)

By Chris Edwards
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LIVINGSTON – A facility for Livingston-area seniors is open to the public at last.

The new senior citizens’ center, which Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy referred to as a “long-term goal,” opened to the public on Tuesday, Feb. 13. Judge Murphy and members of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony last Wednesday to denote that the new center is ready for patrons.

In addition to home-cooked meals, the center will also offer senior citizens opportunities for socializing as well as activities, such as puzzles, card games and dominoes. For now, the meals are brought in for serving, but in the future, a kitchen will be set up inside the center.

Barbara Hayes, the director for aging and social services in Polk County, said that an updated building was needed for area seniors for a long time. Hayes said it took about four years for the county to receive the grant to build the center. The old senior center, located on North Houston Street, served meals, but is operated by a different governing board.

“This is the first time that Livingston has had its own [county-operated] center,” Hayes said.

According to Kayla Ross, grant and contract coordinator for Polk County, the total cost for the new senior center came out to $387,121.71. The grant award from the Texas Department of Agriculture totaled $275,000 and Polk County contributed $112,121.71 for the construction, engineering and administration of the center, with monies from the Aging Fund balance for this purpose.

Originally the center was slated to open last fall, but, as Judge Murphy said, “[Hurricane] Harvey came to visit,” and curtailed the construction. Judge Murphy said that the county was granted an extension on the project from the state due to the hurricane. “Hopefully this will help give our senior citizens a better quality of life,” she said.

Hayes said the center will operate from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. It is located at 605 E. Abbey, behind the Polk County Annex Building. Some patrons should be able to receive free meals, depending on their eligibility, according to Judge Murphy. The center will also provide home delivery of meals to shut-ins.

No injuries reported in high school collision

EARLY MORNING CRASH — No injuries were listed following a two-vehicle collision in front of the Livingston High School campus early Tuesday. The mishap occurred about 7 a.m. on FM 350 when a southbound grey Toyota Tacoma and a red Dodge Ram pickup collided as the pickup was attempting to turn left onto the school’s entrance road. (Albert Trevino | Enterprise)EARLY MORNING CRASH — No injuries were listed following a two-vehicle collision in front of the Livingston High School campus early Tuesday. The mishap occurred about 7 a.m. on FM 350 when a southbound grey Toyota Tacoma and a red Dodge Ram pickup collided as the pickup was attempting to turn left onto the school’s entrance road. (Albert Trevino | Enterprise)

LIVINGSTON -- No injuries were reported after a head-on collision in front of the Livingston High School entrance Tuesday morning.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the driver of a grey Toyota Tacoma, Gonzalo Moncada, 38, of Livingston was traveling southbound on FM 350. As Moncada was passing Livingston High School, his vehicle collided with a red Dodge Ram pickup, driven by a 16-year-old attempting to turn left into the school.

The vehicles crashed as Moncada’s vehicle came to a rest along the southbound lane and the Dodge Ram was stopped at the LHS entrance. No significant injuries were reported.

Livingston Police Department, along with Texas Highway Patrol, were dispatched to the scene and partially blocked traffic during cleanup and investigation.

The student driver was cited for failure to yield, while Moncada was also ticketed for no driver’s license.

Two killed in separate accidents Friday

LIVINGSTON — Two people were killed Friday, Feb. 2, as the result of separate vehicle accidents reported on Polk County highways.

Jeromane Wooley, 93, of Livingston was pronounced dead at CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial hospital in Livingston following a two-vehicle collision on U.S. 190 East while William Kelley, 42, of Livingston was pronounced dead at the scene of an auto-pedestrian mishap on Hwy 146 south of Livingston.

The first incident occurred about 9:30 a.m. on U.S. 190 about four miles east of Livingston and resulted in felony charges being filed against the surviving driver.

According to the preliminary crash investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a 1997 Buick passenger car driven by Wooley was traveling west on U.S. 190 and turned left in front of an eastbound 2017 Ford pickup driven by Stephen Stout, 28, of Livingston. Stout, who was not reported as injured in the crash, was subsequently charged with intoxication manslaughter.

The second fatality occurred at about 3:50 p.m. on Hwy 146 about 14 miles south of Livingston.

The preliminary DPS report indicates a 2015 Chevrolet SUV driven by Joseph Foster, 42, of Livingston was traveling south when it struck a pedestrian identified as Kelley, who was reportedly walking in the roadway.

Both accidents remain under investigation.

Tribe suffers setback on gaming issue

By Greg Peak
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BEAUMONT -- Although a trial dealing with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas's gaming operation is still set for Feb. 28, the tribe suffered a major setback Tuesday when the federal magistrate in Beaumont sided with the state on which law will apply.

The issue addressed Tuesday as part of the pretrial procedures was whether the Indian Restoration Act or the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act would apply during the trial. The two federal measures conflict in that the Indian Restoration Act -- which created the Alabama-Coushatta federal reservation -- prohibits gaming while the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows it.

Judge Keith F. Giblin is hearing the state's challenge to the Native American tribe's legal right to operate under the Class II gaming license issued by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

While Tuesday's order does not directly impact the operation of the Naskila Gaming facility located near Livingston, tribal leaders have already filed a notice of appeal and are asking that Giblin's order be placed on hold until the matter can be taken to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a process that can take a year or more.

"We are very disappointed with the ruling issued by the U.S. Federal District Court today," Tribal Council Chairperson Jo Ann Battise said. "The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe remains confident in its legal position and has already filed a notice of appeal. The Tribe has also filed a motion with the court requesting the ability to stay open pending the appeal process in order to protect the 330 jobs that the Tribe provides as the third largest employer in Polk County.

"These jobs represent an annual payroll and benefits of almost $17 million, they significantly contribute to the economies of Polk and Tyler Counties, and are vital to the greater Deep East Texas economy," she added

Battise noted that in his opinion, Giblin said the Tribe is "bearing the brunt of a conflicting statutory scheme, the result of which is arguably undesirable to its interests and, many would say, unjust."

"The conflicting regulatory scheme is unjust," Battise said. "We will continue to fight this injustice by working closely with our elected officials."