Local News

Commissioners approve HCSO camera system
Road sign theft is ongoing problem
The Hill County Commissioners’ Court approved the purchase of a new camera system for the Hill County Sheriff’s Office during a regular meeting held Tuesday morning, March 12.
The court had previously encumbered $90,000 in last year’s budget for the project from reallocated funds within the department.
Commissioners approved a quote from Level One Technology to install the new system at a cost of $96,018.30, and Deputy Rick White told the court that the additional cost will be covered by savings in the budget and funds received from housing inmates.
The sheriff’s office reported that the current system used to monitor inmates and log those entering secure areas of the sheriff’s office is over 10 years old and lacks the quality to adequately monitor activities.
Officials added that the department is statutorily required to visually observe inmates.
In commissioners’ comments, Precinct 2 Commissioner Larry Crumpton said that theft of county road signs continues to be a problem and creates an issue with emergency responders finding addresses.
The county has purchased more expensive signs that are supposed to be difficult to remove from poles, but Commissioner Andrew Montgomery said that in some instances, the entire poles are being stolen now.
“Stealing signs is not a joke,” County Judge Justin Lewis said. “It is a public health and safety issue. I hope some of these people never have to be in a position where they stole one of these signs and one of their loved ones needs assistance and we can’t find them.”
Commissioners accepted a $3,000 gravel donation for use on approximately 500 feet of HCR 2302 from a property owner building a home in the area.
The annual contract between the Hill County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) covering law enforcement activity at Corps property on Lake Whitney was approved.
The contract details the services provided by the sheriff’s office for lake patrol during peak visitation months and the costs paid by USACE.
Those fees include overtime personnel costs and vehicle expenses. The proposed cost for the 2019 cycle is $52,819.20.
The contract provides compensation from USACE to deputies for working at Lake Whitney when they are not scheduled to perform their regular duties for the county.
The county’s quarterly investment report was reviewed and approved by the court. The total investment funds balance was reported at $15,137,629.14.
Commissioners also approved the 2019 Hill County Investment Policy as presented by the county’s investment committee.
The court observed and recorded the Community Supervision and Corrections Department audited financial statement, which had no material findings and was a clean report.
The treasurer’s report for the Child Protective Services Board was observed and recorded by the court. The report showed the board has total assets of $39,310.26 and had a net income of $1,106.02.
Inoperative and end-of-life equipment from the Information Technology Department and equipment from Precinct 2 was declared salvage property by the court and will be posted for sale by Kaddatz Auctioneering.
Commissioners considered seeking bids for property and liability insurance but opted to wait until next March. Lewis said that the bids are typically sought every three to four years.
The court will seek bids for the county bank depository contract after approving a recommendation by the county’s investment committee.


Inmate injured in stabbing at county jail
The Texas Rangers and Hill County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after an inmate was stabbed in the county jail Tuesday, March 12.
According to reports, a 35-year-old male inmate was stabbed by a 23-year-old male inmate in the lower back with a metal object.
The victim was taken to a medical facility for treatment of his injury, which was not life threatening, and later released back to the jail.
The other inmate is expected to face aggravated assault charges and was placed in segregation.
According to reports, the inmate may have used a metal switch cover from the facility to make the shank used in the attack.
The weapon was recovered by authorities following the attack.


Murder, cattle theft suspects indicted by Hill Co. Grand Jury
A Hill County Grand Jury that convened this month indicted a Hillsboro woman accused of murder and a Mount Calm man accused of operating a large-scale cattle theft operation.
Cecola Jean Mozon, 40, of Hillsboro, was indicted on charges of murder and endangering a child.
Mozon was the second person arrested in the February 2018 murder of 27-year-old Deonshira “Deon” Slider.
Slider was shot in her vehicle with her four-year-old son in the backseat outside of Crestridge Apartments in Hillsboro.
The first arrest came last November, when 41-year-old Edgar Barr-Lazcano of Hillsboro was also charged with murder and endangering a child. He was indicted on those charges last month.
William Rittenbaugh, 47, of Mount Calm, was indicted on charges of theft of cattle with an aggregate value of under $150,000.
Rittenbaugh was investigated by special rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in a far-reaching case involving multiple victims and more than 1,000 head of cattle.
Rittenbaugh allegedly could not produce cattle that he was tasked with managing when approached by a business partner. He was also accused of locking an individual who was subleasing land in Mount Calm from him out of the property and moving his cattle.
Other indictments included:
Samin Rahman Amin, 19, of College Station, possession of THC oil under one gram
Raul A. Araujo, 33, of Grand Prairie, evading arrest detention with a vehicle
Heaven Machelle Carter, 18, of Austin, theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000
Wisdom Chuk Wuka Chikwen, 29, of Garland, possession of THC oil under one gram, possession of cocaine between one and four grams
Jasper Thomas Chavez, 36, of Whitney, assault family violence impeding breath or circulation
Shelby Abigail Cryer, 17, of Whitney, possession of THC oil under one gram
Paul Devonta Tramel Davenport, 22, of Whitney, possession of THC oil under one gram, possession of cocaine between one and four grams
Stuart Michael Derby, 31, of Garland, possession of methamphetamine and/or heroin under one gram
Naomi Jane Ferrell, 49, of Grand Prairie, evading arrest detention with a vehicle
Floyd Junior Garner, 61, of Hillsboro, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault family violence impeding breath or circulation
Justin Kyle Green, 30, of Whitney, possession of methamphetamine under one gram
Matthew Wayne Harrison, 37, of Whitney, evading arrest detention with previous conviction
Breontra Brenai Haynes, 21, of Austin, engaging in organized criminal activity – theft between $2,500 and $30,000
Breanna Rene Hemphill, 24, of Clifton, evading arrest detention with a vehicle
Morris Earl Jahnel, 48, of Whitney, unlawful possession of firearm by a felon
Alicia Leann Korndorffer, 31, of Itasca, possession of THC oil under one gram
Ashley Lillie Lattimore, 20, of Austin, engaging in organized criminal activity – theft between $2,500 and $30,000; evading arrest detention with a vehicle
Grace Lena Lattimore, 19, of Austin, engaging in organized criminal activity – theft between $2,500 and $30,000
Emanuel Mateo, 17, of Hillsboro, evading arrest detention with a vehicle
Daniel Ray McClurg, 27, of Keller, possession of methamphetamine under one gram
Robert David Mielnicki Jr., 36, of Fort Worth, aggravated robbery
Taylor Hoang Ngo, 20, of Bryan, possession of THC oil under one gram
Tyson Phi Nguyen, 21, of College Station, possession of THC oil under one gram
Lino Alexis Rocha, 27, of Austin, possession of THC oil under one gram
Jason Tyron Roger, 36, of Hillsboro, assault family violence impeding breath or circulation
Lisa Michelle Rolan, 36, of Abbott, theft of property under $2,500 with two or more previous convictions (two counts)
Thomas Fonteen Sawyer, 63, of Sumner, Washington, burglary of a building
Chanse Adron Tekell, 39, of Grandview, evading arrest detention with a vehicle (two counts)
Jamila Lakay Westmoreland, 21, of Bastrop, theft of property between $2,500 and $30,000
Addam Lee Whiddon, 28, of Cleburne, continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age (two counts)
Jay Lloyd White Jr., 58, of Hillsboro, possession of methamphetamine under one gram
Crystal Marie Whitley, 29, of Dallas, prohibited substance in a correctional facility.
The cases were presented to the Grand Jury by District Attorney Mark Pratt, and Judge Lee Harris presides over the court.


Arrest made after fatality crash in Hillsboro last week
Hillsboro police responded to a fatality crash at 11:31 p.m. Wednesday, March 13.
According to reports, a 22-year-old California woman allegedly struck a motorcycle rider near the intersection of Corsicana Highway and the Interstate 35 Service Road.
An American Medical Response employee stopped and performed CPR on the motorcyclist prior to first responders’ arrival. The man was taken to Hill Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to the arrest affidavit, a witness observed both vehicles leaving the same parking lot of a local business in the 100 block of Dynasty
Drive.
The driver initially fled the scene but returned later.
Officers contacted the driver at 1:37 a.m. while she was stopped on the Interstate 35 service road near the scene of the accident.
Officers attempted contact with the subject but found her asleep behind the wheel. When she awoke, she reportedly released her vehicle’s brake and struck a police cruiser.
Police confirmed her vehicle struck the bike by finding matching auto parts left behind at the crash scene.
She was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Justice of the Peace Shane Brassell set bond at $100,000 for Natasha Stoody.
Officer Justin Penney and Sergeant David Haakinson responded and booked the driver into the Hill County Law Enforcement Center.


Texas Tuition Plan to hold give away
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, the plan’s manager—NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC — gave away tuition units valued at $7,500 to 15 new accounts ($500 each) during a recent three-month enrollment period.
The tuition units were given to the first five purchasers who opened an account meeting eligibility and enrollment requirements in the months of December, January and February.
“Our office congratulates the 15 people who got a head start on planning for their loved ones’ college education,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said.
NorthStar will give tuition units valued at $300 to the first purchaser opening an account that meets eligibility and enrollment requirements each month from now through July, which is the plan’s newborn enrollment period for children less than one.
To be eligible for a giveaway, an account must be the first-ever TTPF account established for the named beneficiary and must be established online. The type of tuition units given away is based on the tuition unit type chosen by the purchaser of the account when that account is established.
Official giveaway rules and complete plan information, including residency and other requirements, current prices, enrollment forms and more, are available online at TuitionProm ise.org, or by calling 800-445-4723, Option 5.
While enrollment is closed for this year, newborns under one at the time of enrollment can be enrolled through July 31. The next enrollment period begins September 1, with new contract prices based on Texas public college costs for the 2019-20 academic year.


Lake Whitney Arts selects cast of comedy
Lake Whitney Arts has announced the cast for its spring comedy “Mama Won’t Fly,” by Jones, Hope & Wooten.
A hilarious race against the clock, “Mama Won’t Fly” will feature the talents of Stacey Greenawalt, Cindy Parks, Gail Warren, Alan Newton, Whitney Gant, Kitty Marbut, Becca Bilz Davis, Donna Booth, Amberly Hadley, Kelly Robson, Kirk Bonner, Rusty Cook, Dylon Youngblood, Blake Trimble and Gene Moore.
Production staff consists of Ed Sanders, Kitty Marbut, Rebecca Strange, Cindy Parks, Candy Allen and Terry Taylor.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the show’s production dates have changed. LWA apologizes for the inconvenience.
The run will open Saturday, April 27 (dinner show) at 6:30 p.m. and continue Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m.;  Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 4, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, May 5, at 2 p.m.   For more information, call the theatre at 254-694-5105.