Hill Co. Grand Jury returns
October list of indictments
A Hill County Grand Jury that convened Friday, October 2, returned the following indictments:
Jalen Lamar Bailey, 22, of Humble, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon
Candelario Beltran-Rodriguez, 33, of Bangs, possession of methamphetamine between four and 200 grams with intent to deliver
Felicia Renee Blocker, 30, of Clifton, possession of methamphetamine between one and four grams
Garth Dane Braswell, 56, of Hillsboro, possession of methamphetamine under one gram
April Tranette Byrd, 29, of Dallas, credit/debit card abuse
Daisy Cedelia Carmona, 27, of Dallas, possession of methamphetamine under one gram; theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000
Oscar Guerrero Chavez, 30, of River Oaks, theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000; prohibited substance/item in correctional facility; possession of methamphetamine under one gram
Gregory Lynn Dady, 39, of Bonham, aggravated sexual assault of a child
Samantha Angel Day, 30, of Hillsboro, possession of MDMA between one and four grams
Hector Felipe Delgado, 35, of Dallas, possession of methamphetamine under one gram; theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000
Coby Dakota Giese, 19, of Providence Village, evading arrest/detention with a vehicle
Lewis Allen Holland, 32, of Itasca, continuous violence against the family
Raheem Marquez Johnson, 22, of Hillsboro, prohibited substance/item in a correctional facility
Tracy Carl Kuyawa, 49, of Arlington, evading arrest/detention with a vehicle, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, evading on foot with previous conviction
Neil A. Martin, 56, of Hazard, Kentucky, bail jump and failure to appear (four counts)
Fernando Reyes Moreno, 30, of Hillsboro, driving while intoxicated – third or more
Olivia Marie Mosley, 39, of Fort Worth, possession of methamphetamine between one and four grams
Joshua Verneal Owens, 39, of Rio Vista, online solicitation of a minor
Manuel Oscar Ramirez Jr., 22, of Irving, evading arrest/detention with a vehicle; unauthorized use of a vehicle
Lauren Renea Rodriguez, 30, of Mexia, fraudulent use/possession of identifying information
Nicholas Reid Rukat, 27, of Haltom City, attempted tamper/fabricate physical evidence
Norma Shelnut, 46, of Leander, bail jump and failure to appear
Leonesha Sherell Sneed, 31, of Hillsboro, abandon/endanger a child, criminal negligence
Frank Garcia Sylva Jr., 21, of Hillsboro, assault family violence impeding breath/circulation
Ethan Eli Tinney, 26, of Belton, bail jump and failure to appear
Jennifer Uribes, 27, of Denton, possession of methamphetamine between four and 200 grams with intent to deliver
Jeremy Paul Vanover, 17, of Hillsboro, theft of firearm
Michael Joe Vest, 24, of Whitney, tamper/fabricate physical evidence with intent to impair; possession of methamphetamine between one and four grams
Sandra Faye Vowell, 37, of Hillsboro, violation of bond/protective order with two or more previous convictions within 12 months
Eric Ramon White, 32, of Waco, bail jump and failure to appear (two counts)
The cases were presented to the Grand Jury by District Attorney Mark Pratt. District Judge Lee Harris presides over the 66th Judicial District Court.
White Bluff gets boost of energy with new investors
Global merchant bank Conlon & Co. has announced its acquisition of all remaining undeveloped lots in White Bluff Resort on Lake Whitney.
Conlon & Co., led by CEO and founder Sean J. Conlon, closed on the transaction on September 30, for an undisclosed amount. It is the company’s first venture in the DFW market area.
In addition to his newsworthy career deals, Conlon is regularly seen on TV as the host of CNBC’s original series “The Deed.” He is also regularly interviewed by CNN, The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and countless other outlets for his insight into the real estate market.
His partner is the Honorable Richard M. Daley, former Mayor of Chicago. Both have expressed their excitement about bringing new enthusiasm and energy to the project.
“We could not be more delighted to be making a significant investment in the White Bluff Resort on Lake Whitney. The beauty in this pristine corner of Texas is pretty amazing. From the 37 square miles of the crystal-blue freshwater lake to the prairies and woodlands to the breathtaking bluffs—all so close and accessible to the Metroplex—is pretty remarkable,” Conlon said.
He added, “In today’s world where our homes have become our sanctuaries, it’s wonderful to live somewhere that is so accessible, yet so secluded and peaceful. For that reason, we are incredibly excited to be involved in this project, and we look forward to upgrading and updating the resort, bringing new life to what is already an incredible community.”
Leonard Critcher, President of the White Bluff Property Owners Association, also shared his enthusiasm for the project, saying, “The acquisition of the desirable and limited inventory of White Bluff lots and other amenities by Conlon & Co. marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in the evolution of White Bluff Resort. Our community and our Property Owners Board look forward to showcasing the first-class and unique environment White Bluff offers. This acquisition will be a major catalyst for White Bluff becoming the resort venue of choice.”
Conlon & Co. pointed out that census data shows that Americans are increasingly moving west and south. “This move away from high regulatory and tax burdened states has led to stronger economic and population growth in states such as Texas, which is poised to see continued job and wage growth, housing affordability, and a dynamic economy that has become more diversified and less reliant on the energy industry,” a press release from the company said.
Conlon added, “Having done business all over the world, I have always found the prospect of doing business in Texas intriguing. I did my first deal here over a decade ago, and I love this state, which has always been incredibly pro-business.”
He added, “Given the general trend in America now, Texas is in a unique position to benefit from increased mobility. All of this combined with White Bluff Resort’s amazing resort amenities – positioned on the bluffs of beautiful Lake Whitney, and such a short commute to the city – allows anyone to have the quality of life that has almost become our mantra this year. It epitomizes the sort of living most people aspire to have.”
Rival West Trojans power past Whitney Wildcats
The Whitney Wildcats (2-5, 1-2) and West Trojans (5-1, 2-0) battled in a hard-nosed, four-quarter fight Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
Clutching to a 7-0 lead, the Trojans marched into the fourth quarter and captured a 14-0 advantage. But the Wildcats launched a comeback attack with a rally-cry touchdown and a defensive stand that brought the crowd to its feet.
With three minutes left, Whitney embarked on a potential game-tying drive. They crossed midfield courtesy of a string of Garrett Peacock completions to Jaxon Montgomery, but the progress came to a screeching halt. As the clock ticked below the minute mark, the Trojans’ Guillermo Acevedo snatched an interception to secure a 14-6 victory.
“I saw some character change for our players tonight. I saw some kids that hung in there to the end,” said Head Coach Mark Byrd. “We had a couple of missed opportunities, and that was the difference. But granted, West is a good ball club, and I was just glad to see our kids battle and fight and stay on the field with them.”
Byrd noted that under the direction of Coach David Woodard, the Trojans arrived in Whitney with a game plan full of emotion, power and execution. Whitney had won the last two previous contests against West, and the Trojans were determined to renew the rivalry.
West barreled out the gate with an immediate touchdown from bruiser Trey Janek, which was followed by the Trojans scooping up a Wildcat fumble two plays later. West then shot down to the door of the end zone with a 46-yard sideline missile completion.
With the Trojans threatening to extend the 7-0 lead, the Wildcat defense woke up and killed the momentum with a goal line stand.
Led by the solid play of Dawson Hightower, Jordan Newton, Cash Hooten and Miguel Figueroa, the Wildcat defense applied the pressure and kept the hard hits coming against the relentless Trojan rushing attack. West retreated for a series of punts in the second quarter, and the Wildcat defense kept the Trojans off the scoreboard by forcing a missed field goal.
“The defense was huge, and that’s what we hang our hats on,” Byrd said. “The last couple of years, our defense has kept us in the ballgame and won a lot of ball games for us. But I think the biggest thing is that we got that taste back.”
After a Wildcat fumble on the second half kickoff, the Trojans once again threatened to score, but Whitney’s Abe Garret stretched out to snag an end zone interception.
“If you look at the size matchup, we were nowhere close,” Byrd said. “But our kids have heart, and that’s something you can’t take away from us. “
A flag-filled attempt from the Wildcats put the ball back in the Trojans’ hands, which resulted in a methodical drive and a 14-0 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Feeling the pressure, Newton weaved to an impressive kickoff return to midfield, and then Peacock picked up the intensity to drive the Wildcats to the scoreboard with less than seven minutes remaining.
West blocked the extra point and gobbled up the onside kick. Still, Hightower and the Whitney troops refused to quit, forcing a punt to keep the hope alive. Whitney moved the chains, but a trail of penalties and the final interception sealed the deal for the Trojans. “There’s an old phrase, ‘if we can get out of our own way, we’ll be pretty good,’” Byrd said. “Growing pains are going to be there, but eventually we’ve got to get out of our own way.”
West now sits at the top of the District 7 standings with a showdown with #1 ranked Grandview looming on the horizon. For the Wildcats, three games remain, and Byrd said it’s time for the team and community to realize the playoffs are at stake.
“We need the positivity to come out of the community,” Byrd said. “We know we have been struggling, and we don’t need any added negativity. Bottom line, if we win two out of the next three, we are in the playoffs. And if our community wants a playoff team, then they will come out and back a playoff team.”
Socks for Seniors giveaway deemed a success
“Socks for Seniors” day was hosted by the Lake Whitney Ministerial Alliance Tuesday, September 29, at Lake Whitney Senior Center. The event was deemed successful by both the recipients and volunteers, with approximately 3,300 pairs of socks provided for many in the community.
In addition to seniors, Meals on Wheels, Town Hall Estates and Country Club Retirement Center, socks were given to Whitney High School and first responders from 2604 Fire Department, White Bluff Fire Department, Peoria Fire Department, Hill County Sheriff’s Office and Veterans of Foreign War Post and auxiliary. COVID-19 guidelines were followed to ensure safe distribution.
The smaller socks will be provided to children in need at Christmas through the Joint Christmas Committee Angel Tree ministry. On his next mission trip, Benevolence Committee’s Leman McNeil will take any remaining socks to Mexico for distribution to those in need.
LWMA received the socks from Bombas. The company gives away a pair of socks for every pair purchased. LWMA President Betty Newman applied for the free socks, and LWMA received 3,500 pairs in various sizes.
Silver-Haired Legislature delivers report
For the first time in its 35-year history, members of the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) will not be hand-delivering its Legislative Report to offices in the State Capitol.
Instead, the report—recommending actions on issues of concern to Texas seniors—has been electronically submitted, with a printed copy mailed to Texas lawmakers for consideration in the 2021 Legislative Session. “It’s very disappointing and unfortunate that COVID-19 has prevented us from the personal contact that has been so important in the past to carry out our activities as advocates for older Texans,” said Rhonda Rogers, Speaker of TSHL.
“But the good news is that we recognized that we could not safely meet in person, so we, like many other organizations, transitioned all of our deliberations from face-to-face to virtual meetings,” Rogers added.
That included conducting its biannual Legislative Session virtually instead of convening on the House floor at the Texas State Capitol, according to Speaker Rhonda Rogers. The session, originally scheduled in early May, was postponed until July 27-29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seventy-six resolutions recommending legislation on issues faced by older Texans were drafted by the TSHL members statewide. These went through the Resolution Review panel, the appropriate Legislative Issues Committee and a final review by the Legislative Action Committee between March and July.
As a result of those reviews and debate, 60 resolutions were approved and presented to the full TSHL membership for floor debate and a vote during the virtual legislative session July 27-29.
Fifty-four of the sixty resolutions were ultimately passed by TSHL, with 56 TSHL members statewide in “virtual” attendance. These resolutions cover the full range of senior related issues and are included in the TSHL Legislative Report—a result of over 50 virtual committee and general session meetings.
Local resident Barbara Aydlett, TSHL Deputy Speaker Pro Tem, was among the 56 members participating in the virtual sessions. Ms. Aydlett represents our area through the Heart of Texas Area Agency on Aging.
“My participation in these sessions was both exciting and challenging. I am so proud of this group of older adults who completed our legislative session virtually.” Aydlett said.
The Top 10 Resolutions, ranked in order by the TSHL membership were: Allow/Support Increased Testing and Licensing to Prescribe Medical Cannabis; Preserve/Increase Funding on Home-Delivered Meals; Increase Telemedicine Access for Seniors; Increase Medicaid Reimbursement to Improve the Quality of Texas Nursing Home Care; Prevent Financial Abuse of Older Adult Citizens; Grant Full Practice Authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs); Offer Citizens of Texas the Opportunity to Vote on the Expansion of Medicaid; Increase the Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for Medicaid Residents of Nursing Homes; Strengthen Public Policy/Initiatives to Expand Rural Broadband Infrastructure; and Enhance Criminal Degree and Fines for Those who Perpetrate Internet Fraud Against Seniors.
“I’m truly proud of the dedication and commitment of this delegation,” Rogers said. “We have demonstrated that we still have the capability and willingness to learn and be useful. So, this session is truly historical for us, and one that we will remember forever,” she said.
The TSHL is a non-partisan body created by the 69th Texas Legislature with the adoption of SCR 37, on April 3, 1985. Since its inception, some 700+ Texans 60 years of age or older have been elected to serve in TSHL.
The vision of TSHL is that “the applied wisdom, energy, and experience of aging will improve the lives of all Texans through education, knowledge, and involvement in legislation and governmental affairs.” Additional information is available on the website, http://www.txshl.org.