We update our local news twice a day every weekday (about 6am and 2pm) and occasionally at other times too.
We primarily focus on our three “home” counties – Matagorda, Jackson and Wharton counties, and also include items from slightly further afield if we feel them to be impactful on us all.
The hurricane season kicks off today, so officials are urging everyone to get ready ASAP! They’re saying that being prepared in advance can make a huge difference if a big storm heads our way. Forecasters think the 2023 season might not be as intense as the past ones, but stock up and be ready, just in case.
Texas anglers are gearing up for Free Fishing Day on June 3rd. No license needed to fish in public water. It’s a fantastic chance for experienced anglers to share their passion and expertise with newcomers. Remember, buying a fishing license supports conservation and fisheries management.
Bay City’s Code Enforcement Director, Dan Shook, is cracking down on illegal dumping. Whether it’s tossing trash into dumpsters without permission or littering on the roads, he’s ready to take action. Punishments range from citations to felony arrests, depending on the amount dumped. Even a small act of dumping can lead to big consequences.
In Bay City, the police responded to a call from a hospital about a man who had been shot. They then went to the crime scene at Hunter’s Cove Apartments where the victim reported being forced into his apartment at gunpoint by two males. The suspects stole his wallet and shot him before fleeing.
In a recent meeting, Louise trustees made important decisions for their school. They agreed to hire new teachers, expand their campus, and upgrade their copiers. This was based on a parent’s request and feedback from the district’s principals. The trustees unanimously approved two new positions, one to support gifted students and another to handle student discipline.
El Campo is losing water, and they’re spending $132,825 on a four-year study to find out where it’s going. 14% of the pumped water never reaches meters, causing significant revenue loss. Finance Director says it’s worth it. City Council approved it unanimously.
In Needville, there was a shooting at a store called Simon’s Burger Grill & More. The police received a call about the incident Tuesday morning. There was a heavy police presence, and both the Needville Police Department and the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office are investigating. It is still unclear if anyone was hurt in the shooting.
A delivery truck driver named Ruben Rodriguez witnessed smoke and flames coming from his truck while making a routine delivery on Fieldstone Street. The fire’s cause, believed to be the locked front brake drums, is under investigation from the Victoria Fire Department. No injuries reported.
Robert Licerio, a 15-year-old, was fatally shot in an apartment on Sam Houston Drive in October 2003. The Victoria Police Department is currently investigating his murder and seeking any information related to the case. If you have any info, reach out to Victoria Crime Stoppers or use the “P3 Tips” app on your mobile device.
A student named Leticia Taylor in Edna wasn’t allowed to walk with her classmates at graduation because of her blue hair. She thought the superintendent had approved it, but he clarified that her entire head was colored blue, unlike other students. The superintendent denied her claim about others with colored hair walking the stage.
Rosenberg police nabbed a former police chief from Colorado County for impersonating an officer at a construction site. Christopher Cannon, 37, was caught wearing a Weimar Police Department uniform, complete with a gun and badge. He was arrested on Monday, but has since been released on bail from Fort Bend County Jail.
The City of El Campo needs some awesome folks who care about our community to join their boards and commissions. These positions allow you to make a positive impact and bring innovation to our city. It’s a great way to have a say in shaping policies and activities. Hurry up and submit your application by noon on June 7th!
The Wharton Journal Spectator recently earned second place in General Excellence and secured eight other awards in the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. The contest took place during their 85th annual convention at Port Royal Ocean Resort in Port Aransas. Judges praised the Journal-Spectator, a small but impressive paper consisting of just 10 pages.
There’s an upcoming event called the Dinner Tonight Emergency Preparedness Cooking School, organized by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Matagorda Regional Medical Center. It’s happening on Thursday, June 29th at 6 pm at the Wellness Center in Bay City. The event will focus on teaching recipes that can be easily prepared during emergencies.
In an effort to enhance the beauty of Wharton, Walter Garrett, representing the Caney Creek Conservation Foundation, is donating seven live oak trees and multiple crepe myrtle trees. These trees will be planted along Caney Creek on Park Lane. The donation was approved at the recent city council meeting.
Good news for Texans! There’s a new bill, SB 3, that’s aiming to provide property tax relief. It proposes raising the Homestead Exemption from $40,000 to $70,000. If you’re a homeowner who’s disabled or over 65, you may also get an extra $30,000 exemption. So, it’s a potential increase in relief for homeowners in Texas.
At the tenth anniversary of its Student of the Year award, Tenaris awarded a total of $196,000 in scholarships to students from high schools in Matagorda County. The ceremony took place at the company’s auditorium, with the presence of students, their families, community leaders, and elected officials.
The Russell Ranch subdivision has received final approval and a building permit from the Drainage District, marking the first time in years that a subdivision meets the district’s standards entirely. Developer Jim Maddox plans to start construction within the next 60 days. The new subdivision spans nearly 50 acres and is located behind McCoy’s Building Supply.
In Victoria, a woman was robbed on Wednesday evening in the 3600 block of Houston Highway around 5 p.m. The victim, a 43-year-old non-resident, had her purse, Walmart card, and shoes stolen. It remains unclear if arrests or injuries occurred during the incident.
The iconic Swinging Door closed its doors this month, ending a 50-year run in Richmond. It was renowned for its mouthwatering barbecue, including beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and sausage, accompanied by delicious homemade sides. Established on Labor Day in 1973, The Swinging Door later expanded to include a dance hall, attracting countless Texans seeking good food and a great time over the past five decades. Owner Steven Onstad shared his gratitude on social media.
During this Memorial Day Weekend, the Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety urge drivers and beach visitors to prioritize safety. Obey traffic laws, be vigilant, and support one another. Expect increased patrols at Matagorda Beach and exercise caution due to recent near drownings.
K9 Hunter from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office gets extra safety with a donated protective vest from Vested Interest in K9s. The nonprofit organization ensures his defense against stab and bullet injuries. Tragically, odmp.org reports that five K9 officers have already lost their lives this year, mostly due to gunfire and stabbings.
A woman in Brazoria County revealed shocking abuse against her brother with Down Syndrome. Maricel Spriggs took over as caretaker after learning about the mistreatment. She removed her brother from Special Graces Care Facility after he was allegedly starved and beaten by Derrick Bass. Surveillance footage confirmed the abuse, with Bass violently assaulting her brother. Bass faces a felony warrant.
The Victoria County Veterans Council is hosting its annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at 11 a.m. Gather at the DeLeon Plaza bandstand. Retired Brig. Gen. Clint Anderson will deliver a speech, honoring local veterans who passed away this year. The ceremony will proceed regardless of the weather.
Hallettsville Police nabbed 21-year-old Michael Anthony Garcia of El Campo for a traffic violation. During a routine stop on East Fourth Street, they discovered Garcia’s outstanding felony warrant from Fort Bend County for drug possession.
A man was airlifted to Houston after a shark bit him while fishing at Matagorda Beach on Sunday. He caught the shark and got bitten on the back of his hand while measuring it. His index finger was sliced open to the bone, and there was bite damage to his thumb and another finger. Fire and Rescue Chief Gale Cook says swimming and shark attacks shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
On Monday, Memorial Day observances will gather at American Legion Post 251 Hall and El Campo Community Cemetery. Troop 268 Boy Scouts paid tribute to 686 veterans buried at Garden of Memories Cemetery. They caerfully searched for tombstones hidden by overgrown grass. While not all died in service, all served this country.
Tonight El Campo’s graduating class will celebrate their achievement with a commencement ceremony. The students, donning their caps and gowns, will march to the familiar tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the Ricebird Band. A total of 261 students will graduate, with 29 of them earning honor graduate status. The ceremony will commence at 8 p.m. as the graduates make their way into Ricebird Stadium.
There was some criminal activity near two schools in Bay City ISD Monday afternoon. John Cherry Elementary and Bay City Jr. High went into a secure emergency status, which means no one could enter or leave the buildings. Apparently, there was an aggravated assault at Avenue M, and the person responsible ran away on foot.
A man from Bay City, Victor Cardoza, was charged with four counts of intoxicated assault. He caused a serious collision and a woman had to be airlifted for medical treatment. Cardoza, 36, has a prior record of driving while intoxicated with a child. Three other passengers were injured, but their ages and condition are yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Data from a local hospital system was exposed due to a security incident involving a third-party vendor. The breach affected DeTar Healthcare System and other organizations tied to Community Health Systems. Affected individuals have been notified by mail. Community Health Systems is providing free identity restoration and credit monitoring services. For assistance, call the toll-free response line at 800-906-7947. Enrollment deadline for these services is July 31st.
Get ready for the 63rd Annual Show by the El Campo Art Association on June 3rd. They’re accepting works in media paintings, photography, and crafts. Show your creativity at the El Campo Civic Center.
El Campo’s next police chief, David Marcaurele, received enthusiastic support from the council. With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, Marcaurele, a lifelong resident of El Campo, will officially start on June 1st. He is already working closely with Interim Chief Terry Stanphill for a smooth transition. Marcaurele expressed his excitement about joining the department and thanked the interview team. As a former Wharton County Sheriff’s chief deputy, Marcaurele is familiar with the area and won’t have to relocate. He plans to study policy and assess the department in the coming weeks.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Wharton hosted its annual bazaar. The event featured the Los Carmelitos Dancers, music, food, games, and prizes for children. Bull riding, ring-toss games, and delicious treats added to the excitement. The day concluded with thrilling drawings.
Wharton City Council and county commissioners unite against mosquitoes and the diseases they spread. City plans to spray this week using new equipment, covering the entire city in one night. Council approves $20,418 for a superior mosquito fogger with GPS technology. It offers better coverage at 22 mph without heating the insecticide. Public is urged to eliminate standing water and maintain well-groomed lawns. Stay cautious to minimize mosquito bites.
In Historic Downtown Richmond, property owners are gearing up to fight against Fort Bend County’s threat to seize their land for public use. The county wants to turn the area into a parking lot, but the owners refuse to sell. Eminent domain, the government’s right to take private property, is being invoked. Residents fear losing the community’s charm and have launched a petition, using the hashtag #SaveItDontPaveIt, to draw attention to the issue.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office pursued a fleeing vehicle that ended in a crash. The incident occurred Saturday night. A K9 Handler Deputy tried to stop the vehicle, but it refused and fled. The gray Ford F150 truck exited into Edna, ran a stop sign, and went north on FM822. The chase continued until the vehicle turned west on CR112. The driver crashed through a gate, and around 11 migrants fled. Two migrants were apprehended, while 8 to 9 escaped. Authorities are investigating the remaining suspects.
A 71-year-old man from El Campo led officers on a 12-mile chase on Thursday, never exceeding speed limits. James Lloyd Sparks displayed a knife during a two-hour standoff at FM 1160 and U.S. 59. He peacefully surrendered and was taken for a medical evaluation. Sparks was charged with evading arrest with a vehicle. No injuries occurred during the incident. Sparks initially claimed he needed medical help but chose to flee when EMS arrived. Acting Police Chief Terry Stanphill praised the officers and dispatchers for their excellent handling of the situation.
Residents of El Campo can now establish a Neighborhood Watch Program by contacting Corporal Mark Biskup at El Caampo P.D. He offers assistance, training, and education for interested groups. Joining forces with law enforcement promotes a safer neighborhood and a peace of mind. Contact Corporal Biskup at 979-543-5311 to schedule your initial meeting. Increase community safety today!
The Bay City Public Library starts its annual Summer Reading Program, “All Together Now,” on June 1st. It’s free, fun and educational activities for all ages. Supported by various organizations, the program focuses on kindness, unity, and friendship. Activities begin the week of June 12th at both branches, with some requiring registration due to limited seating. The Reading Challenge, using the ReaderZone app, tracks reading minutes from June 1st to July 31st, rewarding readers as they achieve goals.
El Campo may announce their new police chief tonight, with a potential start date in June. Four candidates were interviewed, including experienced commanders. City Council will make the final decision to replace Chief Gary Williamson, who left in March. The chosen candidate might begin preparations early, working with Acting Chief Stanphill. The City Council has two public sessions at 315 E. Jackson, starting at 5 p.m.
At the annual Employee Awards and Appreciation Banquet, Bay City ISD honored Otha Gray Jr., Gladys Spiller, and Priscilla Robinson. This new program celebrates dedicated staff members who have served the district for decades. Mr. Gray, with 49 years of experience, was recognized as an exceptional math teacher and received several prestigious awards. Priscilla Robinson, with 49 years in education and 29 years in the district, has a strong family background and achieved a Masters in Education. Gladys Spiller, a lifelong resident of Bay City, served 33 years in education and holds degrees in Home Economics and Special Education.
The BAY CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT is thrilled to announce exciting job opportunities. If you’re seeking a dynamic career in Law Enforcement, backed by unwavering support from citizens and city management, look no further. They are currently accepting applications for both PATROL OFFICER and COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER positions. Don’t miss your chance to make a real difference. Apply now by visiting the police department’s social media page and clicking on the provided links. Join in safeguarding the community.
One juvenile and three men, including 17-year-old Mario Salinas and 18-year-old Aric Mundine, were arrested for various charges, including vehicle burglary. Tuesday Victoria PD responded to a vehicle burglary report on Waterford at 1:25 a.m. Witnesses saw a white Dodge Durango speeding away after triggering a car alarm. A detective from the Motor Vehicle Prevention Authority spotted a matching vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on Eagle Creek. While three suspects fled, Salinas and Mundine remained in the vehicle. Authorities found a stolen handgun and a stolen purse during a search.
Victoria PD is investigating a series of thefts at Victoria apartment complexes. On Tuesday at 5:00 a.m., officers responded to The Pointe Apartments where tires and rims were stolen from multiple vehicles. Similar incidents occurred at The Victoria Station Apartment and The Reserve. The thefts took place between 2:30 and 4:45 a.m. and It was discovered that out of the seven vehicles, six of them were Toyota Sedans. A total of 28 stock tires and rims were stolen. Investigations are ongoing.
Flying Biscuit Cafe, a beloved Southern breakfast spot, is making its mark in Houston. and three new locations are set to open. Richmond will lead the way this Summer, offering 3920 square feet of space for breakfast enthusiasts. Kingswood and East Downtown Houston will follow this Fall.The menu features their famous biscuits, grits, and a variety of breakfast favorites, along with vegetarian and vegan options, burgers, and more.
The City of Richmond has scheduled mosquito spraying inside the city limits. Spraying will take place today, followed by another round next Friday, May 26th. Additionally, a second spraying is planned for May 28th. To combat breeding, it’s crucial to eliminate standing water around your home and property. Check for stagnant water in pools, bird baths, broken flower pots, clogged gutters, old tires, and toys. Even without rain, water activity can lead to water accumulation. Do your part to prevent mosquitoes from thriving.
Texas’ coastal reserve, Mission-Aransas, is known for its unique discoveries. Research teams find weird items like barnacle-covered baby dolls that go viral and catch the attention of celebrities. Led by Jace Tunnell, the reserve’s surveyors search for stranded sea turtles, endangered species, and marine debris that washes up on the shore. Over 500 tons of debris arrive each year, including items from around the world. To promote public outreach and charity, the reserve hosts an annual auction called Tony’s Trash to Treasure this Saturday. The proceeds go to Amos Rehabilitation Keep, which rescues and rehabilitates injured wildlife.
Fort Bend County is hosting the second annual AAPI Festival. The free event celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander culture with food, performances, and more. It will take place at the Fort Bend County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The festival aims to unite the community through dance, art, and education. Local vendors will offer Asian cuisine, and there will be a raffle. Fort Bend County has a population of over 889,000, with Asians making up 21.6 percent.
Wharton residents face challenges accessing healthcare as the only hospital closed in 2016. Loretta Jackson, a 71-year-old resident, expresses her concerns about traveling 60 miles to Houston for medical treatment. The closure left many with limited options and daunting distances to travel for essential care. To address the issue, OakBend Medical Center opened a facility in the former Gulf Coast Medical Center building, bringing much-needed healthcare services closer to Wharton. Residents appreciate having a hospital nearby for emergencies, providing peace of mind.