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GILMER–Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler announced Monday he will not seek re-election to a fifth term, and that he is considering running for the 115th district judge’s seat being vacated by retiring longtime incumbent Lauren Parish.

“At the end of my current term, it will be time for someone else to serve as county judge,” said Fowler in a press release. “I know the voters of Upshur County will elect a person with conservative and fresh ideas that will continue to move the county forward.”

Fowler was initially elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 as a Democrat, but converted to the Republican Party and was re-elected as a GOP candidate in 2010 and 2014. Having taken office effective Jan. 1, 2003, he will serve through Dec. 31, 2018.

Fowler, who has maintained a private law practice in Gilmer, wrote that with Parish’s announcement she will not run again, “an attorney from Upshur or Marion County will have some big shoes to fill” (a reference to the fact that voters in those two counties elect the 115th district judge, who must be an attorney). “I personally want to continue serving our citizens in some capacity and will seriously be considering running for judge of the 115th District Court.”

Under state law, Fowler cannot formally announce his candidacy for the district judge’s post before Dec. 3 without forfeiting his current office. However, he can say he is merely considering running for district judge without giving up his current post.

The upcoming Republican and Democratic primaries for the district judgeship, county judge’s post and certain other county offices is scheduled March 6. The general election for those posts is in November 2018.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of this great county and I am grateful for the strength and support they have given me over the last fifteen years,” Fowler wrote. “I also want to thank the many commissioners I have served with on the commissioners court and all of the elected officials and county employees I have had the opportunity to work with and will continue to work with on a daily basis.

“Upshur County has seen remarkable growth and transformation over the last fifteen years,” the judge added. “That growth and transformation is due, in large part, to our citizens, our elected officials and our dedicated county employees. It has been gratifying to be a part of it and to have served with them all.”



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Gladewater Economic Development Corporation Announces Sunbelt Manufacturing Moving Operations to Gladewater

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Gladewater Economic Development Corporation (GEDCO) is pleased to announce that it has finalized an agreement with Sunbelt Manufacturing to move its operations to Gladewater, Texas.

Sunbelt Manufacturing creates ready-made and custom-sized canvas and stretched frames, along with screen-printing frames for artists and silk-screening companies throughout East Texas and across the country.

“We look forward to growing our business and becoming a part of this welcoming community,” said Pat Conner, founder and president of Sunbelt Manufacturing. “Our experience working with GEDCO couldn’t have gone better. We were in the process of buying some property to build on when Robert Johnson, Executive Director at GEDCO, showed us two existing buildings that suited our needs perfectly. It saved us time and money. GEDCO really took care of all our questions and concerns and made the process a positive one.”

Sunbelt purchased the GEDCO-owned building and property located at 101 S. Pine Street in Gladewater and signed a three-year lease for the adjacent property and warehouse with an option to buy. Conner hopes the warehouse will open up new opportunities and enable his company to reach its full potential. Sunbelt also plans to increase its workforce by nine employees or more over the next five years.

The GEDCO incentive package provides up to $40,000 in incentives to assist the company with moving costs, equipment upgrades/installation and ensuring the buildings are up to code.

The company plans to hire and buy locally, and a number of other Gladewater businesses have already benefitted by the addition of Sunbelt Manufacturing, from G & L Safety, a safety equipment supplier, to Gladewater hardware stores. Plus, many of the city’s annual events, such as The Gladewater Main Street Art Stroll, East Texas Gusher Days and the Gladewater Arts and Crafts Festival, may benefit from partnering with Sunbelt Manufacturing.

“Sunbelt Manufacturing is a very good fit for the Gladewater community, and we are proud to have played a role in supporting and facilitating this agreement and finding the right solutions for their needs,” said Robert Johnson. “Gladewater is a great place to do business, whether you’re looking to move locations, expand your current operation or create a brand new business.”

Sunbelt Manufacturing is currently in the process of moving into its new spaces, and an official Gladewater Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced at a later date.

About Sunbelt Manufacturing
Founded in 1982 and family owned-and-operated, Sunbelt Manufacturing creates ready-made and custom-sized canvas and stretched frames for artists and companies throughout East Texas and nationwide. The company also sells and reconditions silk-screening frames and stocks a line of silk-screening supplies for imprinting clothes and athletic wear.

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This week’s Gladewater Mirror us now available at local news stands.

Read about GISD’s review of EMS availability at football games. What happened in Carthage won’t happen in Gladewater.

Gladewater City Council approves 2018 budget and tax rate. They also are looking to replace former city manager Theo Melancon. They reviewed 28 applicants and have narrowed the field to about 15. They will discuss this more this Thursday and next Monday.

Miss Gladewater won the Miss Congeniality title at the Gregg County Fair last week.

The Gladewater Bears captured their first win last Friday in Center. The Bears travel to Chapel Hill this Friday night.

And don’t miss Suzanne Bardwell’s weekly column.

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Gladewater woman indicted

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GILMER–The Upshur County Grand Jury on Aug. 31 returned 18 indictments, seven of them sealed, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.

Jurors also no-billed one case and passed another, said Byrd.

Defendants, charges and bond information in the open indictments were as follows, the district attorney’s office reported:

Pamela Adell Murphy, 38, of Gladewater, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) on May 6, $10,000

Daniel Lee English, 40, of Big Sandy, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) on May 23. He remained in Upshur County Jail under $25,000 bond.

Kevin Ramon Erwin, 40, of Hawkins, possession of controlled substance (heroin) with intent to deliver on May 30, $20,000

Paul Slaton, 41, of Hawkins, possession of controlled substance (heroin) with intent to deliver on May 30. He remained in county jail under $20,000 bond.

John Isaac Denton, 50, of Garland, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to deliver–repeat offender–on April 17, $35,000

Brook Eve Hawkins, 37, of Gilmer, possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine) on Feb. 23, $10,000

Brent Clyde Berlin, 40, of Longview, unlawful possession of firearm by felon on June 1, $10,000

Lakrystal Means Beall, 31, of Longview, evading arrest/detention with vehicle on Aug. 4. She remained in county jail under $20,000 bond.

Karen Jan Charlton, 51, of Winnsboro, tamper(ing) with physical evidence on Jan. 8, $25,000

Charles Emory-Ray Jones, 28, of Lindale, evading arrest/detention with vehicle on June 27, $25,000

Kathy Morris Patricella, 60, of Queen City, unauthorized use of vehicle on June 18, $5,000

Identity of anyone named in sealed indictments was not released because no arrests had been made in those cases, Byrd said. Those indictments included six for burglary of habitation and one for theft of property of the value of $2,500 or more but less than $30,000, his office said.

Natures of the no-billed and passed cases were not revealed.

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 The University of Texas at Tyler Provides Learning Opportunities  for Area Music Students 

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The University of Texas at Tyler provides unique learning opportunities for area high school music students during its third annual All-State Workshops.

Instrumentalists in 9 – 12 Grades will receive practice tips and tricks from The University of Texas at Tyler Department of Music faculty aimed to enhance their preparation and performance of the All-State etudes.

“This will be the second year for our All-State Jazz Workshop, to be held Sept. 16, and the third year for our All-State Workshop, scheduled for Sept. 23. Combined, both events bring more than 400 area high school musicians to campus to study and learn from our very own UT Tyler faculty,” said Dr. Sarah Roberts, assistant professor of music and event coordinator.

Both clinics will cover the Texas Music Educators Association etudes and the Association of Texas Small School Bands etudes. Those interested may call 903.566.7387 or register online,

The University of Texas at Tyler community of recognized artists and musical professionals are committed to provide a quality learning and performance environment for all students.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students to receive high-level instruction, at no cost, on music they will use to compete with students from across the state. The faculty enjoy working with the area musicians and have come to look forward to this event every year,” Roberts said.

The University of Texas at Tyler School of Performing Arts meets a national standard of artistic, academic and professional excellence as an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Offerings include the bachelor of music and bachelor of arts in music as well as music and theater minors. For more information, visit

One of the 14 campuses of the UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler features excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at The University of Texas at Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost

10,000 high-ability students. The University of Texas at Tyler offers courses at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine as well as a location in Houston.

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