Upshur County chief appraiser resigning amid conflict with some commercial property owners

GILMER — The woman who has led the office that sets property values for taxation in Upshur County is resigning, citing conflict with some commercial property owners.

Sarah Curtis told her board of trustees Monday she will finish the calendar year and leave after Dec. 31.

“Unless I have an offer I can’t refuse, I’ll be here,” she said Thursday in her office.

Curtis has been Upshur County’s chief appraiser for 13 years.

County appraisal districts assign property values on which cities, schools and other entities base annual tax rates. There are many property categories, including residential, real property and commercial.

Commercial property values, led by businesses along busy U.S. 271 through Gilmer, rose this year to $84.7 million. That’s up from almost $79.2 million in the 2017 tax year.


ET: Fake News Media Attacks the Father of Texas

“The city of Austin, Texas has suggested in a preliminary report, that highlighted historical connections to a former Confederate leader, Stephen F. Austin, otherwise known as the “Father of Texas”, that it might consider changing its name,” blares Newsweek’s culture reporter Janice Williams.

The problem?

Known as the “Father of Texas” for his role in spearheading the settlement and political development of Texas, Stephen F. Austin was not a Confederate leader. He wasn’t even a Confederate soldier. He was, in fact, dead twenty-five years before a shot was fired at Fort Sumter.

Even the city’s Equity Office bureaucrats conceded the name “Austin” was “not explicitly Confederate and/or Civil War related.”

The falsehoods don’t end there. The Newsweek article also falsely credits Austin with founding the eponymous city.

“Austin, who founded the city in 1839, was notable for his staunch disapproval of an effort to ban slavery in the Tejas province following the Texas Revolution,” writes Williams.

Also entirely untrue.

The only Texas town Stephen F. Austin founded was San Felipe de Austin—a small town near current-day Sealy. In contrast, the City of Austin began its life as Waterloo around 1836 and was renamed in honor of Austin by President Mirabeau B. Lamar after naming it the Republic of Texas’ capital city in 1839.

And as mentioned previously, Stephen F. Austin died in December 1836, a mere nine months after Texas had won independence from Mexico.

These facts aren’t hard to find.

Every Texan had them and countless others packed into their head in history class. And for those with the misfortune of growing up somewhere in a place called “Not Texas,” a simple Google search would have sufficed.

Hopefully this article—and the City of Austin’s political correctness jihad—not only further illustrates how out of touch the fake news media is with the truth, but also spurs a more rigorous and robust effort on the part of citizens to defend American and Texan heritage in the public square.


Florida passes "red flag" bill and moves fast to confiscate guns

Upshur County's Constable Gene Dolle brought this matter to our attention.  The following is the story Dolle referred to: 

More than 450 people in Florida ordered to give up guns under new law, report says.

"Hundreds of gun owners in Florida have been ordered to give up their guns under a new law that took effect after the deadly Parkland shooting in February, according to a report published Monday.

The Risk Protection Order, signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott just three weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas, aims to temporarily remove weapons from gun owners who have been deemed by a judge to possibly be a threat to themselves or others.

Roughly 200 firearms have been confiscated in the state since the law was enacted, Sgt. Jason Schmittendorf, of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, told WFTS-TV. "Around 30,000 rounds of ammunition" were also taken, he said.

A five-person team in the county that's worked solely on the risk protection law reportedly has filed 64 risk protection petitions in court. Broward County, according to the news outlet, has filed 88 risk protection petitions since March."   READ MORE

Constable Dolle testified, in Austin, before the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Monday, June 25, 2018.  Dolle's testimony was very compelling.  In summary, Dolle advised Chairman Joe Moody and the Committee that Texas has laws on the books covering those who make threats or struggling with mental illness. He also spoke about his vast experience in law enforcement and specifically, his experience with those having a rough time -- how he has helped them -- and the dangers of passing a "red flag" law in Texas.   

When asked for a quote, Dolle said,

"I believe this could happen in Texas under some kind of special protection order.  We had better keep our eyes open."

Last week, "a select committee of the Texas Senate concluded its hearing on proposed “red flag” laws, the leader of the Texas Senate came out strongly against them.

In a statement, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formally condemned the legislation, which Second Amendment advocates warned would lead to law abiding and innocent citizens being stripped of their rights without due process.

“Regarding the topic of ‘Red Flag’ laws, which was discussed today in the select committee, I have never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate. A bill offered last session garnered little support,” said Patrick in a statement. " READ MORE

Caddo Lake National Heritage Act bill dies after opposition

JEFFERSON — The Caddo Lake National Heritage Act bill, proposed by law makers on both the Texas and Louisiana sides of the Caddo Lake area, has had its congressional support pulled after opposition from residents.

Louisiana legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, first announced their withdrawal of support of Senate Bill 2947 and House Bill 5957 on Tuesday, prompting Texas legislator, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, to announcement his disappointment and withdrawal later that same day.

Gohmert said the majority of the affected land would have been in Louisiana, since that side of Caddo Lake is larger than the Texas side, so without those lawmakers’ support, the bills couldn’t move forward. The bills had just recently been referred to committee in May.

“People living in the potential (Caddo National) Heritage area in Louisiana have been particularly vociferous in opposition to the proposal, and it seems they have not given fair consideration to the possible benefits,” Gohmert said on Tuesday. “As a result, both Louisiana’s U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy and U.S. Representative Mike Johnson are pulling their effort to examine further the possible benefits.”

Gohmert said Texas’ residents seemed more in favor of the bill that would have covered about 900 sq. miles of Caddo Lake land that would have been deemed a National Heritage Area under the bill.

“The people of Harrison County were willing to engage in a productive dialogue about the pros and cons of a potential designation,” Gohmert said. “While many constituents raised concerns with the idea, I cannot adequately convey how much it means to me to have so many people have enough faith in me that they were willing to wait and hear the whole story, cordially discuss their concerns with my office, and offer suggested amendments, before deciding whether to pursue it or not.”

Collins Academy Director Gary Endsley and academy founder Richard Collins had been hosting several meetings over the past weeks to inform residents about what the National Heritage Area designation from the federal government would mean for Caddo Lake, as well as to dispose of any fears concerned residents might have about the proposal. Endsley said the area’s tourism industry would have greatly benefited from the NHA designation.

“Of course we are disappointed, Richard Collins and the staff of Collins Academy have worked very hard to promote this region and try to bring opportunities to our community to help with economic and tourism development. It benefits all of us,” Endsley said on Wednesday.

“I think the timing of the release of the bill was possibly ill-conceived in that the public had little or no information in advance of the bill being rolled out, and frankly, as our public meetings showed, there was a great deal of governmental mistrust,” Endsley said. “That was a recurring theme. This is unfortunate. Due to the mistrust of some very vocal individuals, we all have lost out on an opportunity that would have benefited the region. No one wins in a situation like this, and it is my hope that if people will actually read the bill, they will realize that the benefits far outweigh the suspicion and that the elected officials will bring it up again for consideration in a timely manner, and in a manner that will better address individual concerns.”

Gohmert said in response to some residents’ mistrust, he had added language to the bill.

“We had continued to work on language that would have further ensured that the federal government could never use the Heritage Area designation to do anything the actual landowners, private and public, did not want done,” Gohmert said. “We could be certain that such a proposed law did not allow any strings and included that language in what we drafted. However, it could not be said with 100% certainty that some future Congress might not try to add strings, so I prepared language to allow unilateral withdrawal from the Heritage area, without needing the federal government’s permission, if the federal government or Heritage Area Commission ever did anything that had an undesirable effect on the land, the landowners, or any aspect of the local enjoyment or use. That would have been enforceable if anything unwanted had ever been attempted.”

Gohmert said they were also willing to cut the size of the NHA to only include land that owners wanted included, but the Louisiana lawmakers still pulled their support.

“This matter will be closed until or unless the people I represent who would be affected tell me that they want the issue of a National Heritage Area designation pursued again,” Gohmert said.

A Facebook group representing those opposing the bills called “Caddo Lake’s Last Stand” posted a message to its followers Tuesday after the announcements that read, “We are thankful for the decision of U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy to listen to our voices and act on our behalf. We also must understand as a community that this is a small victory, amidst a big battle. We cannot let our guard down. We were already told today that there is a good chance the bill will be re-introduced next year.”

The group is hosting a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in Hosston, LA. It will be held at 14095 Oak Street in Hosston, LA. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page

By Bridget Ortigo


Texas Cruzer, RPT 2018 Convention Update, Gun Safety Letter


Senator Ted Cruz's Texas Cruz in Gilmer  


Be sure to not miss Senator Cruz's father Rafael Cruz and Bibi Marino at the
La Finca Mexican Restaurant, 12:00 pm, Thursday in Gilmer. 

East Texans for Liberty has been asked to provide an update on the
Republican Party of Texas 2018 Convention.

RPT Chair and Vice Chair Results: 
  • James Dickey was overwhelmingly re-elected as RPT Chairman. 
  • Alma Jackson was overwhelmingly elected as RPT Vice-Chair. 
For Senate District 1 SREC's: 
  • Sue Evenwel, Titus County, was re-elected as the female SREC. 
  • Robert "Bob" Kecseg, Wood County, was elected as the male SREC. Kecseg replaces SREC Dennis Cable.
Convention Committees: 
  • Tracy Vincent, Gregg County, was appointed for the Platform Committee.
  • Sue Evenwel, Titus County, was appointed for the Credentials Committee. 
  • Gary Nice, Gregg County, was elected for the Rules Committee. 
  • Vernon Eastepp, Red River County, was appointed on the Organizational Committee. 
  • Sharon Guthrie, Smith County, was appointed on the Legislative Priorities Committee. (New Committee.)  
  • Stacy McMahan, Upshur County, was elected as the State Nominee Committee Member. 
  • Chris Dux, Lamar County, was elected as the Senate District Caucus Chairman. 
From Chairman Dickey: 

The RULES that will govern our party for the next two years:


The PLATFORM that we will abide by and defend:


The PRIORITIES that we will promote:



Senate District 1's State Senator Bryan Hughes, House Representative Matt Schaefer (HD6), House Representative Cole Hefner (HD5), House Representative Jay Dean (HD7), and House Representative Chris Paddie (HD9) all made an appearance with Hughes, Schaefer, Hefner, and Paddie addressing the SD Caucus.

Looking forward, the November 2018 general election is coming up quickly, after which the 2019 legislative session will begin.  The next election-cycle where we will have another Republican Party of Texas convention is in 2020:  if you want to attend, or help send good people to attend, there are a series of steps.  First is the precinct conventions in March 2020, held immediately after the Republican primary voting is finished, followed by the county convention.  Any legal resident who is a registered voter can be a delegate to precinct conventions -- and that is where you elect folks that become delegates to county, who in turn choose delegates that will attend the RPT 2020 convention in Houston and pick the national delegates that will help nominate the 2020 Republican nominee for president (as well as set the national party rules that govern how presidential elections are held). 

Check out Senate District 1 SREC Bob Kecseg's article entitled
"Regarding Gov. Abbott's Proposal to Address Gun Violence." 

With Much Appreciation

Upshur County Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner - 2018


With Much Appreciation!



Appreciation Dinner Slated for Upshur's Law Enforcement

Gilmer, TX:   A dinner is organized in appreciation of Upshur County’s Law Enforcement on Monday, May 14, 2018, at 6:30 pm. The dinner will be held at the Lantana Activity Center located at 80 Lantana Road, in Gilmer, and is free, open to the public, and child-friendly.

The scheduled speakers are Upshur County’s Sheriff Larry Webb and Combat Warriors – Texas’ President, Richard Rhea.  

Sheriff Webb has been a resident of Upshur County since 1995. After attending Gilmer Junior High and finishing his freshman year at Gilmer High School, his family moved to Longview.  Webb graduated from Longview High School in 1988 and joined the Army as a Military Policeman. While in the Army, Webb served in Germany and ended his military career in 1993 at Fort McClellan, Alabama as a Sergeant for the Military Police Company.

Webb retired from the Longview Police Department in June 2016 after nearly 21 years of service. During those years, Webb worked on many different assignments which include patrol officer, Street Crimes unit investigator, K-9 Officer, Field Training Officer and Bike patrol officer. In 1996, Webb was selected as a member of the Longview Police Department’s SWAT team and ended his Swat career as a supervisor for the team. 

Webb was a sergeant at the Longview Police Department for 10 years. He worked in many different assignments as a supervisor.  Those assignments included Patrol Supervisor, Administrative Supervisor, Field Training Officer Supervisor, Bike Patrol Supervisor, K-9 Training Coordinator, SWAT Team Supervisor and Community Policing Supervisor.

On January 1, 2017, Webb was sworn in as the newly elected Sheriff of Upshur County and currently serves the county’s fine citizens.

Webb is married to his lovely wife, Tracy and they have two beautiful daughters. Tracy Webb is a special education teacher at Union Grove Elementary School.

Richard Rhea is the President of Combat Warriors – Texas.  Combat Warriors – Texas, a branch of Combat Warriors Inc., provides Combat Wounded Service Members (regardless of physical limitations) the opportunity to "Hunt East Texas." This is a grassroots campaign focused on community involvement and local support, but also ensures above all that the privacy, safety and operational security of our nation’s Elite Warriors are not compromised. CWI (ETB) provides these deserving individuals an opportunity to experience these animals in their natural environment while also providing a "Hunting Camp Atmosphere," which allows each service member to relax and reconnect with one another as well as a grateful community.

Combat Warriors’ mission is to honor and support, emotionally and financially, the commitment and courage of our combat veterans.  Combat Warriors is made up of 100% volunteers who organize and promote dozens of events annually where groups are gathered of active duty soldiers for hunting and fishing trips at locales offered by the organization’s sponsors. 

Local men and women in Law Enforcement are seated on the organization’s board, as well as volunteer and participate in the Combat Warrior’s community events and fundraisers.

Richard and his family moved to Longview in 1985. He studied at U.T. Tyler and is a graduate of Longview High School.

Richard married his lovely wife, Heather in 2010, and is employed at Pipeline Integrity Resource. The couple’s adorable daughter is Avery Rhea.

Reservations are a must for the free dinner. The dinner begins at 6:30 pm and the program begins at 7:00.  To reserve, call (903) 500-2292 or register at under the Upshur County Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner event.  

“This is our small way of acknowledging and thanking the men and women in Law Enforcement that lay their lives on the line each and every day to protect us in Upshur,” said ET4L President Stacy McMahan.  

“If you are interested in showing your appreciation by contributing to and being recognized as a Law Enforcement Superstar Sponsor, please visit our website at or call us at (903) 500-2292.  All sponsorships received will go to one of the eight Upshur County Law Enforcement Departments,” McMahan said further.

Upshur County’s East Texans for Liberty, a duly registered cooperation in their fourth year of operation, is sponsoring the appreciation dinner.  The organization’s Caring for Texas Chair, Jennifer Audit is scheduled to emcee.

2018 Primary Election Information


Special thanks to Upshur County's Election Administrator Lory Hill Harle! Check out the following link for Polling and Early Voting locations, sample ballots, training, and much more! See Upshur County Election Administrator Info.

Here is the full list of ballot propositions submitted by the SREC for inclusion on the 2018 Republican General Primary Election ballot:

  1. Texas should replace the property tax system with an appropriate consumption tax equivalent. Yes/No
  2. No governmental entity should ever construct or fund construction of toll roads without voter approval. Yes/No
  3. Republicans in the Texas House should select their Speaker nominee by secret ballot in a binding caucus without Democrat influence. Yes/No
  4. Texas should require employers to screen new hires through the free E-Verify system to protect jobs for legal workers. Yes/No
  5. Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion. Yes/No
  6. Texas should protect the privacy and safety of women and children in spaces such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings. Yes/No
  7. I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas. Yes/No
  8. Vote fraud should be a felony in Texas to help ensure fair elections. Yes/No
  9. Texas demands that Congress completely repeal Obamacare. Yes/No
  10. To slow the growth of property taxes, yearly revenue increases should be capped at 4%, with increases in excess of 4% requiring voter approval. Yes/No
  11. Tax dollars should not be used to fund the building of stadiums for professional or semi-professional sports teams. Yes/No

Early Voting

Location: Upshur County Courthouse
100 W. Tyler
Gilmer, TX 75644

Dates and Times

February 20, 2018 - February 23, 2018      8:00 am - 5:00 pm
February 26, 2018 - March 2, 2018      7:00 am - 7:00 pm


Primary:  March 6, 2018

Runoff:  May 22, 2018

Election:  November 6, 2018 



ET4L: Save the Alamo and Straw Poll

GILMER, TEXAS:  Upshur’s conservative organization, East Texans for Liberty’s monthly meeting will be on Monday, February 12, 2018.  The evening’s program will be a presentation on “Save the Alamo” with Weston Martinez.

Martinez is a fourth generation Texas conservative grassroots leader with a history of service to the Republican Party and proven results. Martinez has served as a conservative grassroots leader in Texas for over twenty years, served on the State Republican Executive Committee, and as a Governor Perry appointee to the Texas Real Estate Commission, where he finished his term under Governor Greg Abbott.

Martinez, a resident of San Antonio, is well versed in the “reimage plan” of the Texas General Land Office (GLO) concerning the Texas Alamo.

Four years ago, the Texas Legislators promoted and passed a plan involving the rebuilding and improvement of Texas' most iconic shrine — the Alamo. The plan would have rebuilt certain historic structures present at the time of the 1836 battle, as well as give visitors a better and more complete understanding of the physical environment existing at the time of the conflict.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush's plan is far and removed from the Legislators focus. Martinez will cover the GLO’s plan to rename the Alamo, focus on world history, diminishing the focus on the 1836 battle for which the Alamo is famously known, and much more!  

February 12th’s meeting will be held at the Disabled American Veterans Building located at 1924 Hwy 271 North in Gilmer (across from Walmart).  A light complimentary dinner of chili will begin at 6:30 pm and the program will begin at 7:00 pm.  This event is open to the public, free, and kid-friendly.

Republican candidates for elected office will speak also briefly about their campaigns.

“February 12th’s meeting will include a Straw Poll conducted by East Texans for Liberty,” said East Texans for Liberty’s President, Stacy McMahan.  

Powerhouse Constitutional Attorney, KrisAnne Hall, who resides in Florida with her husband and their adopted son, will join East Texans for Liberty on Monday, March 12, 2018.  KrisAnne Hall is a constitutional attorney, author, and radio host.  March’s program will be held at the Disabled American Veterans Building, across from Walmart, off of Hwy 271 North. 

“Considering KrisAnne Hall will present two seminars on March 12th, the program will begin at 6:30 pm. This is earlier than our regular public meeting.  So, mark your calendars for March’s meeting with powerhouse Constitutional Attorney KrisAnne Hall for 6:30 pm.  A light complimentary dinner will begin at 6:00 pm,” said McMahan.





ET4L Serves Area Voters in Upcoming Primary


ET4L kicks off 2018 with a Candidates Introduction. The meeting will be held on Monday, January 8 at the Disabled American Veterans Building located at 1924 Hwy 271 North, across from Walmart, in Gilmer. The doors will open at 6:30 pm for a lite dinner and the program will begin at 7:00.

Voters can expect to meet a host of candidates seeking elected office in Upshur County, Senate District 1, and Texas.

This will be an excellent opportunity for the voters to hear directly from the primary candidates and incumbents who seek to serve YOU, the voter, in Upshur County, Senate District 1, and Texas.

The primary is very important. Voters focused on choosing a candidate that fits their conservative principles make a tremendous difference by voting in the primary.

A complimentary lite dinner will be available.  The event is free, open to the public, and children friendly. 


ET4L is also announcing their 2018 Candidates for Elected Office resource on our website at  The 2018 Candidates for Elected Office resource is a list, from the Texas Secretary of State, of the candidates and incumbents in the Republican primary. On the resource, voters in the area will find the races of those seeking election or re-election, and a campaign statement and website addresses. Campaign statements are provided by the candidates and incumbents. 

We are excited about the launching of the 2018 Candidates for Elected Office Resource. It is a great resource for voters who wish to obtain unbiased information on candidates that seek to serve Upshur County, Senate District 1, and Texas.


Join us January 8th.





Primary:  March 6, 2018

Runoff:  May 22, 2018

Election:  November 6, 2018