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GILMER–115th District Judge Lauren Parish sentenced 17 defendants on felony charges between Oct. 26 and 31, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd’s office.

All pleaded guilty or, in one case involving revocation of probation, admitted violating terms of probation, the office said.

Details of the sentencings were as follows, Byrd’s office reported:

Micheal Brandon Bryant, 37, of Big Sandy, was placed on five years probation of a 2-year state jail term Oct. 31 for possession of marijuana.

Big Sandy police probed his Feb. 18, 2015 offense. As were all others placed on probation between Oct. 26 and 31, he was ordered to pay court costs, $50 to Crimestoppers and $100 to the crime victim fund.

Some other terms of Bryant’s probation include a $1,000 fine, a $180 fee to the Texas Department of Public Safety for testing the drug involved in the case, an attorney fee, 400 hours of community service, undergoing an alcohol/drug evaluation, counseling, and “life skills:” training.

Byrd represented the state at sentencning. Longview attorney Scott Novy represented Bryant.

Paul Slaton, 41, of Hawkins, received four years in prison Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated the May 30 offense. Byrd and Novy handled the sentencing. START

Gilmer resident Jordan Taylor Griffin Hill, who turns 21 Friday, was placed on five years “deferred adjudication” probation Oct. 26 for enticing a child with intent to commit felony.

Deferred adjudication means no final conviction appears on a defendant’s record if he/she successfully completes probation. However, if such probation is revoked, the defendant can receive up to the maximum sentence for the crime.

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office investigated Hill’s June 1, 2015 offense.

Some other terms of his probation include a $1,000 fine, an attorney’s fee, 500 hours of community service, in-house counseling, an alcohol/drug evaluation, life skills training, intensive supervision for the first six months, no contact directly or indirectly with the victim or the victim’s family, and agreeing that it would be criminal trespass to go to the victim’s home or work.

Byrd represented the state. Longview attorney John Moore represented Hill.

Daetren Earl Odum, 18, of Gilmer, was placed on three years deferred adjudication probation Oct. 26 for theft of firearm.

Gilmer police probed the July 16 crime.

Some terms of probation include a $1,000 fine, attorney’s fee, 300 hours of community service, an alcohol/drug evaluation, counseling for drug offenders, life skills training and classes for theft defendants.

Byrd represented the state. Gilmer attorney Matthew Patton represented Odum.

Rachael Marie Hernandez, 41, of Mt. Pleasant, received 180 days in state jail Oct. 26 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

Big Sandy police investigated the Aug. 28 offense. Byrd and Moore handled the sentencing.

Jon Randy Goodson, 28, of Gilmer, received one year in state jail Oct. 26 for evading arrest/detention with vehicle.

The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office probed the Feb. 23 crime. Byrd and Moore handled the sentencing.

Terry Shane Davis, a 44-year-old Winnsboro man, drew six months in state jail Oct. 26 for unauthorized use of a vehicle.

The sheriff’s office investigated the Sept. 9, 2015 offense. Byrd and Moore handled the sentencing.

In a probation revocation case, Tiffany Danielle Carroll, 22, of Yantis, received 18 months in state jail Oct. 26 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

Gilmer police probed the June 3, 2016 crime. Byrd and Moore handled the revocation proceeding.

Christopher Owen Thompson, 26, of Gilmer, was placed on three years deferred adjudication probation Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine. However, he must remain in county jail until a bed becomes available at a substance abuse treatment facility in Taylor County, and he must complete treatment.

The sheriff’s office investigated his Jan. 2 offense.

Some other terms of Thompson’s probation include a $1,000 fine, $180 fee to the DPS for testing the drug involved in the case, a attorney fee, 300 hours of community service, an alcohol/drug evaluation and life skills training.

Byrd and Moore handled the sentencing.

Tyler resident Kelly Ann Lyons, who turned 26 Sunday, was placed on three years deferred adjudication probation Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

Gilmer police investigated the Aug. 20, 2016 offense.

Gary Wayne Odell, 58, of Lone Star, was placed on three years deferred adjudication probation Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department probed the April 24, 2016 offense.

Kayla Reena Garriott, 33, of Gilmer, was placed on three years deferred adjudication probation Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

Gilmer police probed the June 5, 2016 crime.

Joshua Wayne Stewart, 35, of Longview, was also placed on three years deferrred adjudication probation Oct. 31 for possession of a controlled substance–less than one gram of methamphetamine.

Ore City police investigated the July 21, 2016 offense.

David Ryan Watson, 40, of Gilmer, was placed on five years regular probation of a 10-year prison term Oct. 31 for assault/family violence–occlusion. Gilmer police probed the April 9 crime.

Jamie Dale Quaid, 41, of Ore City, was placed on five years regular probation of a 10-year prison term Oct. 31 for retaliation.

The sheriff’s office investigated the April 22 offense.

In what is termed a “shock probation hearing,” Randy Travis Johnson, 22, of Longview, was placed on 10 years regular probation of a 10-year prison term Oct. 31 for burglary of a habitation, but nonetheless must go to prison for up to six months before he has any chance to be released on probation.

A judge could place him on probation for the rest of his sentence if he exhibits good behavior in prison, and his attorney files a motion for it. East Mountain police investigated his May 3, 2015 offense.

Darrious Dejuan Brooks, 24, of Gilmer, received one year in state jail Oct. 31 for delivery of marijuana. The sheriff’s office investigated the Aug. 12, 2014 crime.











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Select DPS Driver License Offices Open This Saturday To Issue Election Identification Certificates

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans in advance of the upcoming Nov. 7 election that Election Identification Certificates (EIC), which can be used for voting purposes, are available year-round at all Texas driver license offices. In an ongoing effort to ensure Texans have access to EICs, DPS is offering Saturday hours on Nov. 4 at select driver license offices to issue EICs.

Voters who do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo identification have additional options at the polls. For information regarding required identification for voting in person, please visit

There are several constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot as well as various local elections on Nov. 7. Early voting ends on Nov. 3.

Texans can obtain an EIC at:

One form of identification that can be used for voting purposes is an EIC. You may apply for an EIC at no charge. However, if you already have any of the following forms of identification, you are not eligible for an EIC:

  • Texas driver license – unexpired
  • Texas personal identification card – unexpired
  • Concealed Handgun License (CHL) or License to Carry (LTC) – unexpired
  • U.S. passport book or card – unexpired
  • U.S. Military identification with photo – unexpired
  • U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Certificate of Naturalization with photo

To apply for an EIC, applicants must visit one of the locations listed above and complete an application for a Texas Election Identification Certificate (DL-14C).  (For the Spanish language version of the EIC application, see

To qualify for an EIC, an applicant must:

  • Bring documentation to verify U.S. citizenship and Identity
  • Be eligible to vote in Texas (Bring a valid voter registration card or submit a voter registration application through the Texas Department of Public Safety.)
  • Be a Texas resident
  • Be 17 years and 10 months or older

To avoid delays or complications, DPS urges potential applicants to make sure they have the necessary documentation before arriving at the office or alternate approved location.

The EIC receipt an individual receives will include their photo and can be used for voting purposes until the permanent card is delivered by mail.

The EIC is free of charge to qualifying applicants and is valid for six years. There is no expiration date for an EIC for citizens 70 years of age or older. The EIC can only be used for voting purposes and may not be used as personal identification.

For more information on the requirements and process for obtaining an EIC, please visit:

For more information on voting in Texas, visit the Secretary of State’s website:

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month

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Thousands of Texas Children Wait for Families to Call Their Own

More than 5,000 abused or neglected Texas children were adopted from state care last year, but the need is as great as ever for families willing to provide safe, loving homes. Every day, more children enter foster care in Texas. Some won’t be able to go home again and will need adoptive families to start new lives that are free from abuse or neglect. 

As of September, more than 3,900 children and teens in state care were legally free for adoption, but without the promise of a new family to call their own. Many of these children ask themselves, “Why not me? Why can’t I have a family?”  

This November, which is National Adoption Awareness Month, there are adoption events across the state that spotlight the need for adoption and the many children waiting for a permanent family.  The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is asking caring adults, “Why not you? Why not adopt?”  

“No child should grow up in foster care or feeling unwanted,” said DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman. “If you are considering adoption, you can learn more about it at”   

While the number of children adopted from state care in Texas grew by 34 percent over the last decade, there is a critical need for adoptive parents for children of all ages.  There is even a greater need for families willing to adopt children with special needs and older children and teens who tend to linger in foster care longer than other children.

All children need a safe and loving family of their own. Children are waiting at Find out more about becoming an adoptive parent, because no child should ask, “Why not me? Why can’t I have a family?”

Adoption By the Numbers 

  • 5,395 – The number of children adopted from DFPS in fiscal year 2017.
  • 6,685 – The number of children in DFPS care who were awaiting adoption as of September 2017 (latest data). Some of these children are already matched with an adoptive family and some are not.
  • 3,939 – The number of children awaiting adoption who were not living with a family or adult who intends to adopt them as of September 2017.
  • 21 – The minimum age you must be to adopt a child in Texas.  

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GILMER–A “Senior Preparedness Expo,” aimed at helping senior citizens deal with potential emergencies ranging from tornadoes to identity theft, is set Friday, Nov. 10, at the Gilmer Civic Center.

The free event for those age 55 and older, and for senior citizens’ caregivers, is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the center on U.S. 271.  Advance registration is not necessary.

Sponsoring the expo are United HealthCare, the Gilmer Police Department, Upshur County emergency services, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas State Health and Human Services.

Upshur County Emergency Management Coordinator Marc Nichols will speak on tornado and fire preparedness, while Gilmer Police Chief Mark Case will discuss identity theft.

Calvin Nicholson of Texas State Health and Human Services will speak concerning vaccinations. Julie York, an Upshur County extension agent, will speak on Medicare fraud and possibly discuss financial preparedness.

In addition, representatives of Secure, a new non-profit Tyler-based organization focusing on senior emergency preparedness, will make a presentation.

The expo will also feature a blown-up replica called a “walk-through colon,” provided by the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler to educate attendees about colon health. And a “variety of vendors focusing on senior care” will attend, York said.

The first 300 persons arriving will receive a “Go Bag” with emergency preparedeness items, such as a whistle to use if someone is  trapped.

The Texas 4-H Foundation is providing the bags, and Upshur County 4-H members are filling them.

For more information on the expo, contact York at the extension office in Gilmer at 903-843-4019.



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GILMER–Upshur County Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer on Wednesday denied an allegation by Upshur County District Clerk Karen Bunn that he committed misdemeanor assault against her during a verbal dispute they had near Gilmer Monday night.

Upshur County Sheriff Larry Webb said in a press release Wednesday that Bunn on Tuesday reported “an allegation of assault” against Spencer, which “concerns offensive contact against her during the course of a verbal dispute between the two people after a public meeting they both attended on October 23. No physical injury is alleged.”

“The sheriff’s office will investigate the allegation and turn its findings over to the Upshur County district attorney, Billy Byrd,” Webb’s  statement concluded.

Spencer and Bunn had atttended a meeting of the Cherokee Rose Republican Women on Monday night at the Lantana Activity Center outside Gilmer. Bunn, who is seeking re-election, spoke at the gathering and Spencer, who is not seeking re-election but considering running for county judge, was in the audience  He participated in a question-and-answer session after Bunn’s speech..

In a phone interview with The Mirror on Wednesday, Bunn said Spencer poked her in the chest three times after he took offense to a discussion during the meeting about her statement that the computer software in her office would not provide a decimal on numbers. The county commissioners chose the software for her office.

“Mike approached me inside the building and said ‘So you’re going to sell me down the river for a decimal in your software system.’  When she did not reply, the district clerk said, “He kept saying ‘Let’s take it outside’. . .and I have witnesses to that. It was like he was wanting to fight.”

Outside, as she tried to leave, “He was in my face, screaming at me, calling me a liar. . .I was trying to get away from him,” Bunn said. She said she told Spencer, “You don’t disrespect any woman like this.”

After that, Bunn continued, the commissioner “went stomping. . .throwing a fit” and saying “Come on.”

“At my car, he was poking me in the chest, calling me a liar,” she added.

Bunn also said she had probably five witnesses who were being interviewed by law enforcement officers.

“I was so calm in trying to get him out of my face” although “he did assault me”  by poking her chest. “I  was in a state of shock. I never expected this out of someone who is elected as a commissioner to go into this rage.”

Bunn also said Spencer had verbally attacked her at a commissioners court meeting because she would not seek a retraction of an area newspaper’s statement which described a meeting of the court as a “circus.” Bunn said a reporter, not her, characterized the meeting that way.

In a phone interview with The Mirror on Wednesday, Spencer said he heard that Bunn alleged he poked her in the chest three times. “And that is not true, but we did have a verbal debate over the truthfulness of Ms. Bunn,” said Spencer, who declined to elaborate.

“I deny the allegations of any physical contact and when this matter is resolved, we’ll be looking into options of possibly a defamation of character suit,”  added Spencer, who has been precinct four commissioner for six years.

He additionally said that “I welcome a very thorough investigation of this incident and I feel that my truthfulness and integrity will prevail (when) false accusations are made. We will welcome the truth to come out and at the end of this investigation, we will search out many options for a final resolution to prove integrity and truthfulness.”

Spencer said no formal charges have been filed against him and that the accusation is a class C misdemeanor, which is “like a speeding ticket” and thus would not result in an arrest. (Webb said Bunn filed a “complaint” and that any allegation in the matter would be a class C misdemeanor. He confirmed Spencer would not be arrested since no law officer was present when the alleged incident occurred).

Spencer said he learned of the accusation Wednesday morning when Webb phoned him after one of the commissioner’s sons underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday and “my reaction was silence ’cause I really didn’t have any idea (he would be accused) . . .Welcome to Upshur County politics.”








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Longview Habitat receives grant to repair rural homes in Gregg, Harrison and Upshur Counties

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  Longview, TX. –Longview Habitat for Humanity, Inc. announced today that it had been awarded a $62,000.00 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct critical home repairs for elderly and disabled individuals in rural Gregg, Harrison, and Upshur counties.

 “We receive so many calls from people that live in rural areas and are in desperate need of better living conditions that, due to grant restrictions, we can’t serve because they live outside the city limits.  Now, with the USDA partnership, we can offer some assistance,” said Cheryl Webb, Family Services Coordinator at Longview Habitat.

The critical repair program focuses on disrepair that threatens the health or safety of the home’s occupants.  To be eligible to apply, the home must be located in an eligible rural area as defined by USDA standards. To receive more information or request an application, call 903-236-0900 ext. 201 or print an application at

The organization has offered a critical repair program since 2013.  Concerning the addition of a repair program to the services available, Executive Director, La Juan Hollis, commented, “The bottom line is that lower-income individuals, particularly the elderly and disabled, are caught in the middle. They have this great asset (a home) that typically is debt free, but they can’t maintain it.  They can’t do the work themselves, can’t afford to hire contractors, and can’t just move.  Limited income often means home issues take second place to paying for food and medicine. But a home in a state of significant disrepair creates, or exacerbates health difficulties, physical and emotional.  ” she said, adding that the home’s value also declines as its condition deteriorates.  “The Critical Repair program helps us to alleviate this issue. The result is a family with the opportunity to thrive in an affordable, decent home, leading to better health, and financial stability.  Preservation of the home’s value helps to revitalize a neighborhood and our community.”

Longview Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit housing organization dedicated to eradicating poverty housing in Longview.  We partner with people to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through the shelter. The organization provides four programs in Longview; home ownership; home repair; beautification and maintenance and a ReStore.  The repair program also serves the elderly, disabled and veterans living in Gregg, Harrison, and Upshur counties.  To learn more, to volunteer or to donate, visit  or call 903-236-0900 ext. 204.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and while 1 in 8 women have breast cancer, this month serves as an opportunity to remind everyone of the significance of early detection. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, but it doesn’t have to be! The most vital tool for women is early detection in the form of a mammogram and self-exams. Early detection can help women seize their future and increase their chance of survival.

We thank our many fine sponsors who made this special section available.


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Sabine Valley  Ducks Unlimited Sets Banquet Date

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The Sabine Valley DU Banquet is 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Gladewater’s Former Student Building, located at 2509 West Hendricks St. Lionel Clouatre is the 2017 Sabine Valley area chairperson.

This year’s banquet features a dinner catered by Catfish Express, both live and silent auctions, raffles and games. Tickets to the event are $50 for a single, $80 for a couple, and $25 for children under 18. Each ticket includes all the evening’s activities and a year’s membership in Ducks Unlimited. Special corporate tables with reserved seating for eight, eight banquet tickets, and special recognition are also available for $600.

Event activities will include the dinner, both a live and a silent auction, and several raffles. Among the items available will be the DU gun-of-the-year, a Fausti Select 12-gauge over under shotgun; the DU handgun of the year, a Sig-Sauer 390, chambered in 9-mm; and the DU rifle-of-the-year, a Weatherby Vanguard, chambered in 7-mm magnum.

“The banquet’s on Halloween,” Clouatre said. “Break out a costume. We’ll have a special free raffle for everyone who attends in costume.”

Volunteers from Kilgore High School Ducks Unlimited, the current Texas state champion high school chapter, will be on hand to help with the event’s activities and to hold a special raffle for a TriStar 12-gauge over under shotgun.

For more information about the Sabine Valley DU banquet, contact Clouatre at 903/738-0523 or Doug Jones at 817/946-7452. Information, including location and ticket information, is also available on the DU website at /events.

Founded in 1937, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest wetland conservation organization.  In its 80 years, DU has conserved, restored and protected more than 14 million acres of critical wetland habitat throughout the North American continent. These areas provide habitat for more than 900 documented wildlife species. For more information about Ducks Unlimited, visit the organization’s website

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