Last updateSun, 05 Apr 2015 7pm

Back You are here: News



GILMER--American Legion R.E. (Peppy) Blount Post No. 320 will be open one afternoon monthly for trained post service officers to counsel veterans about their potential governmental "benefits and any other issues they may have," said post Second Vice-Commander Jerry Holsworth.

Veterans need not be American Legion members, and may seek assistance free of charge with such issues as health care, education, homelessness, substance abuse and death benefits for their families, said Holsworth, the Gilmer post's past commander.

Advice is also available for veterans of the two Gulf wars fought since 1991 on how they can reassign their educational benefits to their children if they wish, he said.

At least one of the post's three members who are trained as service officers by the Legion will be available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Upshur County Senior Citizens building. Post No. 320 meets in the building, located at the intersection of Harrison Street and Silver Alley one block south of the courthouse square.

"This is our start to offer our veterans more service and information about the programs that may help them best," Holsworth said in a press release. "Depending on the response, we will expand the number of days we will be available to the general vetean population.

"This is open to veterans' spouses and family as well. All veterans are welcome," he added.

Post Service Officer/Chaplain Billy Walker, along with Holsworth and post member Miette Wells, are veterans who have been trained in the duties of post service officer. As Legion members, Holsworth wrote, they "are committed" to assist veterans.

Should the time the officers are providing counseling be inconvenient for a veteran or veteran's family member to come, those seeking help are asked to call Walker at (903) 740-3868 or Holsworth at (903) 399-2818.

Holsworth also said Monday the Gilmer Legion post plans to become involved in voter registration. Plans for that will be announced, he said.



On August 21, 2014, Gladewater Police Officers responded to the 400 block of Riverside Drive in Gladewater in reference to theft of property.  Upon arrival, officers were advised by the complainant, a JDW Services employee, that a truck and flatbed trailer hauling a John Deere backhoe had been stolen from the property.

The stolen pickup is a white, 2009 Chevrolet 3500 flatbed, bearing Texas license plate number AH77635. It is believed the truck was used to take the yellow, 2013 John Deere backhoe, which was already loaded on the trailer.

Later this same date, Gladewater Sgt. Detective, David Burrows, assisted by Smith County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, responded to a location in Smith County where a flatbed trailer and backhoe were recovered.  The 2009 Chevrolet 3500 flatbed has still not been recovered.

This is a picture of the stolen truck.  The fuel cell and tool box on the flatbed near the cab have been removed and will not be on the bed of the truck.


If you have any information regarding this offense or the whereabouts of this truck please contact the Gladewater Police Department at 903-845-2166.






 DPS Criminal Investigations Division (CID) agents seized approximately 700 marijuana plants from an outdoor location off FM 2016 near CR 427 Friday.

CID agents received an anonymous tip describing a possible grow site earlier this week. Investigators utilized DPS aircraft to pinpoint the exact location of the outdoor grow, and then conducted a joint eradication operation with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Tyler Police Department, US Attorney’s  Eastern District, ICE/HIS, Smith County District Attorney’s Office and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  No arrests have been made at this time; however, the investigation is ongoing.

Individuals with information about possible marijuana cultivation – indoor or outdoor – are encouraged report such activities to law enforcement officials.

Texas Hunting and Fishing Regulations Free Mobile App Available

AUSTIN -- The official Outdoor Annual - Texas Hunting and Fishing Regulations app is now available for free download on iOS and Android platforms, providing sportsmen with mobile access to information they can use in the field and on the water.

To download the new app, visit or search the iTunes App Store, Amazon AppStore or Google Play for Outdoor Annual – Texas Hunting and Fishing Regulations. The new app was developed by Texas Monthly Custom Publishing in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is compatible with iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones and tablets.

Once installed on a device, the app enables access to the summary of the Texas 2014-2015 hunting and fishing regulations without having to be connected to the Internet. It can also utilize a smartphone's GPS capabilities to access location-specific regulations, such as exceptions to fish size and bag limits and county-specific hunting regulations.

“Our partnership with Texas Monthly, publisher of the print version of the Outdoor Annual, made it possible to provide these regulations in a free mobile app without having to spend a dime of state funds,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “Like the print version, the app is fully funded with sponsor and advertising dollars.”

The content is mostly the same as in the printed Outdoor Annual, just in a different layout and with added interactivity. The screens are easy to use and have an easy to navigate layout. It includes things like county listings, species listings, definitions, and even details about species. The app will be updated before the beginning of the hunting season to include waterfowl regulations.

The new app also includes links to additional information such as Hunter Education and the Weekly Fishing Reports on the agency’s website as well as an ability to contact your local game warden office.  There are also links to License Sales and the Public Hunts Drawing System will be available through the mobile app, as well, though Internet connectivity is needed to access these outside links.

“We wanted to make it easier and more convenient for hunters and anglers to find out what they need to know about the season dates, bag and length limits and other important information when they are enjoying the outdoors in Texas,” said Smith. “We felt it was a priority to use this new technology to provide an added value to the customers whose license dollars help conserve wildlife and fish for all Texans.”


The Sabine Volunteer Fire Department moved one step closer to creating Gregg County’s second Emergency Services District with taxing authority after the Gladewater City Council voted Thursday to approve a resolution calling for a November vote on the issue.

Like many volunteer fire departments, Sabine VFD has operated on donations from the community as well as fundraisers, according to Chief Richard Sisk, who addressed the city council and asked for a favorable vote.

Had Gladewater not approved the resolution, Sabine VFD’s efforts would have died Thursday night. To take the issue to the voters, every entity – Gladewater, Kilgore, Clarksville City and the Gregg County Commissioners’ Court has to give it the thumbs up. County commissioners will meet Monday at a Liberty City public hearing to listen to the pros and cons of the effort. The City of Kilgore will be the last to vote on the measure. Clarksville City has already said yes.

Gregg County ESD No. 2 would levy a tax of 5 cents per $100 valuation, Sisk told council members. Currently Sabine VFD receives about $60,000 annually in donations. The ESD, if created, would generate an estimated annual budget of $350,000.

The boundaries of the proposed district extends from one mile south of Texas 31 to Arrow Creek off Texas 135, which would represent the northern line of the district. Sisk said the district would extend from the Smith County line to Kilgore and the Sabine River.

Gladewater has plans to annex land that falls in the proposed ESD and that gave council members reason to pause. The council was in favor of the ESD, but they did not want to jeopardize the city’s future expansion.

After more than an hour of discussion,  including two failed votes - one for and one against  - the council chose to look at the need for protection and safety for residents living in its (ETJ) extraterritorial jurisdictions and chose to favor the resolution, 5-0.

Read next week’s Gladewater Mirror to find out how the council came to its decision and what it could mean to Gladewater taxpayers.



On Thursday, August 14, 2014, around 6:30 pm, the Gladewater Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force executed a search warrant at a residence located in the 1500 block of Phillips Springs in Gladewater. This search warrant was the result of an on-going criminal investigation. The purpose of this search warrant was to locate and seize illegal narcotics believed to be located at this property. 
Upon arrival, officers and agents located 8 people at this scene, including two juveniles.
After a search of the residence and property, three people were taken into custody and arrested. April Michelle Gordon, 36, of Gladewater, was arrested and charged with Manufacture / Delivery of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 1 under 1 gram a State Jail Felony. Billy Thomas Cate, 56, of Clarksville City, was arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance in Penalty Group 1 under 1 gram, a State Jail Felony. A third individual was arrested on two outstanding Gladewater municipal warrants.
Officers and Agents seized narcotics, weapons and other contraband at this scene.
This investigation will continue and additional charges are pending against Gordon and other individuals involved with this particular location.
Gladewater Police Department's photo.
Gladewater Police Department's photo.


GILMER--Upshur County Judge Dean Fowler told the first of two public hearings on the county budget and tax rate Thursday that he is recommending an increase of up to approximately 5 cents in the ad valorem rate in order to establish reserve funds.
Fowler said the rate won't necessarily rise that much. But with legal requirements for giving early notice of a proposed tax hike, he said, his proposal allows the county commissioners court room for raising the rate by that level.
The court will not approve the budget and tax rate before holding its second public hearing Aug. 15 (and as detailed later in this article, the Gladewater branch of County Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack's office may face closure in the new budget).
As for taxes, "I do believe we need a tax increase of some kind," Fowler said during the court's 4-hour, 10-minute meeting Thursday interrupted by only one 10-minute break. "We need to build significant reserves now."
"We can lower the tax rate later," the judge asserted. "If we have an emergency, we don't have any money to pay for it."
In a paid advertisement in Saturday's Gilmer Mirror, the county announced that the recommended tax rate was 57.66 cents per $100 valuation, about 5 cents above the current rate of 52.23 cents.
In an article published July 23, Fowler had said that since the county's taxable valuation did not change much from last year, he anticipated little if any impact on the tax rate, which he said could rise or fall less than one tenth of a cent.
But Fowler told this newspaper Thursday that he had been talking about the "effective tax rate"--the rate which would generate the same amount of revenue as last year--rather than the rate he would propose.
Fowler said he had thought the effective rate, calculated by County Tax Assessor-Collector Sherron Laminack, would.drop. After he talked to a newspaper for the July 23 article, he said, he learned it increased slightly.
As for the tax rate and reserve funds, Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka said at Thursday's meeting the county needed about 3 1/2 to 4 months of operating funds in reserves. Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry added that Fowler's proposed tax rate would be the same the county had in 1998.
Pct. 2 Commissioner Cole Hefner meantime pointed out, "We have cut our expenses by $2 million in the last 4 years."
The final part of Thursday's meeting, which continued uninterrupted for nearly 3 hours, began with the public hearing before the court and some county officials discussed Fowler's proposed 2014-15 budget. Near the meeting's end, Fowler said commissioners had added about $280,000 to his original proposed budget, not including possible pay raises, and he told this newspaper the total proposed budget is now about $11.5 million.
The court is considering the first pay raise for most county workers in about eight years. Fowler said he liked Gentry's proposal to raise most workers' annual pay by $150 for each year they have been with the county, up to a maximum of $1,200 for eight years.
But court members disagreed on whether to raise the salaries of Road and Bridge Department workers who, unlike most county employees, received a raise last year. 
Without formally voting, three of the court's five members--Gentry, Fowler, and Berka--said they opposed another raise for those employees, while Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer and Hefner favored it.
During the public hearing, Upshur County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Miles Jr. told the court it needed to do something for the county workers.
"In county government, there is no such thing as performance raises," Fowler said at one point. "It is against the law."
Gentry meantime ran into opposition when she asked the court to raise commissioners' salaries by $2,442 annually so they would equal the salaries of justices of the peace. 
Responded Hefner, "I'm not for that. I don't think we work as much as the JPs." Spencer said he could not think about both increasing taxes "and giving myself a raise."
When Fowler asked the court if it would consider giving Gentry alone a pay raise, Berka objected that would set a "terrible precedent."
Gentry replied it had been a "terrible precedent" that the court had reduced commissioners' annual salaries by about $10,000 between the time she won election to her post in July 2012 and the time she took office the following January. She had unsuccessfully sought a pay raise for herself in her first year in office.
The court also discussed individual department budgets with some elected officials and department representatives. Laminack revealed that "I am thinking about shutting (down) the Gladewater office," which is open two days weekly.
She said one of her employees had resigned, and "we're in a bind sometimes." When Berka asked if she could retain the Gladewater office if the court allowed her a chief deputy, she said yes, and some court members seemed favorable to the idea.
Laminack said she also wanted to raise one of her workers' salary.
Before that, 115th District Judge Lauren Parish had a long discussion with the court concerning her contingency budget.
District Clerk Carolyn Parrott, who leaves office at year's end, requested a raise for her workers. The court meantime informally approved lowering the salary for the clerk in Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Laura Lee Norred's office.
Gentry proposed considering eliminating one of the two clerk positions in Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter's office, pointing out he is the only justice of the peace with more than one clerk. Berka added that Potter's office generated less money than Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch's office, and that the Pct. 3 office does its own collections, while Potter's does not.
Fowler suggested lowering the budget for Potter's office to the highest-paid clerk's salary. 
Concerning another issue, Fowler told Jill McCauley, who oversees the county jail for the sheriff's office, that the court had had "some concerns" that although the jail population was "quite a bit lower. . .our food costs are almost the same or more."
When she was questioned about it, McCauley said she was present to listen, "not to answer a bunch of questions." But she eventually said she thought the problem stemmed from grocery prices having risen.
When County Auditor Brandy Lee said the jail would probably exceed its food budget this fiscal year, Spencer asked her, "Where are they gonna get the money from (to cover it)?" 
Replied Lee, "That's a good question."
Other than Miles and a reporter, only two citizens spoke at the public hearing. David Nix said he opposed any budget cuts for law enforcement, while Ron Cook said it was "necessary to raise the tax rate" to move "forward."