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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2008-12-18                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Dec. 18, 2008
TPWD Sets Scoping Meeting To Air Grayson County Deer Issues
AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been considering a proposal to open a general firearms deer season in Grayson County.
A public scoping meeting to gather additional feedback will be held in Grayson County on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009 at Grayson County College's Center for Work Place Learning Auditorium near Sherman. The auditorium will open at 6 p.m. and the public meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum has been invited to open the meeting with some introductory remarks and TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith will facilitate the remainder of the meeting, which will include a short presentation on TPWD's regulations process and the rationale for contemplating a gun deer season in Grayson County.
The Grayson County general firearms deer season issue is part of an extensive suite of potential regulation changes in deer harvest TPWD is considering throughout much of the state. The department is gathering public input on the possible proposals and will present to the commission on January 21a comprehensive set of proposals.
Those proposals will be published in the Texas Register and available for additional public comment during a series of public hearings around the state next spring. A final decision will be made by the commission at its March 25-26, 2009 public meeting.
Details about the possible regulation changes can be found online and TPWD invites the public to weigh in on these possible proposals by clicking the public comments section on the TPWD home page.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Aaron Reed, 512-389-8046 ] [AR]
Dec. 18, 2008
Search for Missing Boater Now in Day 6
Update: Follow-up news release issued Dec. 18, 2008.
CORSICANA, Texas -- Texas game wardens and volunteers continue to search Richland Chambers Lake today for the victim of a boating accident that occurred Saturday morning.
Game wardens already in the area for the opening day of duck season early Saturday responded to the boating accident report within 30 minutes and have been searching for the missing victim nearly continuously since then.
According to passengers, the boat was returning from a restaurant to a private residence on the lake when it struck a submerged object near the U.S. Highway 287 bridge and capsized. Two passengers swam to shore while the other eight stayed with the boat. As the boat drifted toward shore, more than a mile away, the operator apparently slipped into the water.
Missing is Charles Andrew (Chase) Bergfeld, 23, of Conroe. Bergfeld is a student at Texas A&M University.
Game wardens were joined early in the search by members of the Corsicana Volunteer Fire Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and the Lewisville Fire Department Dive Team.
Currently, volunteers from Texas EquuSearch and United States -- Homeland Emergency Response Organization (US-HERO) are assisting in the search.
Game Warden Capt. Gary Dugan today said that searchers are employing side-scan sonar technology and dogs trained to detect human remains as they painstakingly comb through the waters of a large cove where Bergfeld is thought to have been lost.
"We have two boats with sonar going all the time, and at least two additional boats to carry the dogs and volunteers," Dugan said. "Today we're getting some more powerful sonar technology from Alternative Positioning Solutions out of Louisiana."
Dugan said water in the search area averages about 25 feet deep with a fairly clean bottom, but that weather conditions have frustrated searchers from the beginning.
"The weather has been such a factor for us, whether it's wind or rain or fog," Dugan said. "We know this is very difficult for Chase's family and friends, and we're doing everything we can to find him."
As of Nov. 30, there had been 253 boating accidents in Texas for the year, resulting in 52 fatalities and 158 injuries. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in 15 of the fatalities.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is responsible for enforcing boating safety laws statewide and for performing boating accident investigations on all state waters. Search and recovery operations typically are conducted in daylight hours to ensure the safety of the searchers.
The investigation into the accident is ongoing. TPWD will update news media as soon as the victim is recovered.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Capt. Tom Jenkins, (936) 275-6110 or Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453 ]
Dec. 18, 2008
Suspect Arrested In Game Warden Dragging Case
AUSTIN, Texas -- At about 7 a.m. this morning, enforcement authorities arrested James William Woods, Jr., 23, of Newton County, and charged him with aggravated assault on a public servant, a first-degree felony, for allegedly dragging a game warden along the roadside Dec. 4 following a traffic stop in Southeast Texas.
Woods was arrested without incident at a private residence in Newton by a coalition of authorities that included Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens, Newton County sheriff's deputies, City of Newton police, and U.S. Marshalls.
Authorities also arrested two other people at the residence. The man who owned the house was charged with harboring a fugitive, a third-degree felony. The homeowner's brother is a juvenile who has been turned over to Newton County juvenile authorities.
Woods was arraigned this morning and also charged with evading arrest, a felony. He was placed today in a private prison, the Newton County Correctional Center, which is owned by Newton County but operated privately under contract with the sheriff's office. The judge set a $1 million bond for the dragging offense, but a separate parole violation warrant for Woods means he cannot get out of jail on bond.
Game wardens believe public awareness was a helpful factor in the apprehension, including various rewards and wanted posters urging anyone with information about the incident to contact the Operation Game Thief reward hotline at (800) 792-GAME (4263).
"Probably because there was so much awareness, and his photo was on the news and on wanted posters around the region, that probably kept the suspect from leaving the area and gave us the opportunity to find him," said Capt. Tom Jenkins, TPWD game warden district supervisor out of San Augustine. "We at Texas Parks and Wildlife are extremely grateful to the public and media for helping us with information about this case, and to Sheriff Walker, Police Chief Adams, the U.S. Marshalls and everyone else who helped us bring this suspect to justice."
Various organizations were offering rewards totaling $3,000 in the case, including a $1, 000 cash reward from Operation Game Thief, $1,000 from Beaumont CrimeStoppers, $500 from the Newton County Sheriffs Office, and $500 from the U.S. Marshalls Service for information leading to the suspect's arrest and conviction.
At approximately 9:20 p.m. Dec. 4, Game Warden Ellis Powell, 37, was seriously injured when he became trapped between the doors of a fleeing extended cab pickup and dragged along the roadside. Powell and a City of Newton police officer on patrol together pulled Woods over in a routine traffic stop. Woods later fled the scene on foot, and was at large until this morning. Warden Powell has recovered and returned to duty.
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Darlene Lewis, (512) 940-6055 or Tom Harvey, (512) 389-4453 ]
Dec. 18, 2008
Co-Op Grants Fund "Back To Nature" Efforts, Ike Recovery
AUSTIN, Texas -- "Back to nature" seems to be the common theme among 17 recipients of Community Outdoor Outreach Program (CO-OP) grants offered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. TPWD this month awarded grants totaling more than $500,000 to school districts, cities, museums, youth groups, foundations and other groups in cities across Texas.
"So many organizations are realizing that reconnecting kids with nature and the outdoors could mean better test scores, healthier students and a better understanding of our environment," says Darlene Lewis, CO-OP program director in the department's State Parks Division.
Lewis said some organizations are also using the grants as a chance to give back. Outdoor service projects planned include assisting communities and state parks which were damaged by Hurricane Ike by restoring trails and replanting trees.
Since 1996, the CO-OP program has helped more than 400 organizations with grant money to help pay for equipment, transportation and materials to give children hands-on outdoor learning experiences.
CO-OP grants are available to tax exempt organizations that want to focus on environmental education, conservation and outdoor recreation. Applicants can apply for up to $50,000 per grant. The next deadline to apply for a grant is Feb. 1, 2009.
Below is a list of grants awarded in the current round.
(Abilene) Abilene Independent School District -- Abilene High School PALS Outdoor Adventure program will allow participants to experience fishing, camping, outdoor cooking, hiking and orienteering. ($49,250)
(Arlington) City of Arlington -- Students and their families will get to participate in outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, camping and will take a trip to Big Bend National Park. ($29,620)
(Austin) Easter Seals Central Texas -- Camping trips at Texas State Parks are planned for participants with disabilities. ($13,792)
(Austin) Gus Garcia Middle School PTA -- Students and their families will participate in a series of one day planned events and activities, attend Texas Wildlife EXPO and participate in the Texas Outdoor Family camping programs. ($37,813)
(Austin) YMCA of Austin -- 250 youth between the ages of 8 and 12 will learn about river habitats and the Edward's Aquifer, attend Texas Wildlife EXPO and take river trips as part of their summer camping activities. ($39,330)
(Brenham) Brenham Independent School District -- Students in grades 3-8 will visit Nails Creek State Park and work with Master Naturalists and TPWD staff to study plant and wildlife identification, orienteering and nature photography. ($8,204)
(Crockett) Katoya's Playhouse, Inc. -- 200 kids will get to learn about forestry, fishing, wildlife and outdoor skills while attending this day camp program. ($15,950)
(College Station) -- Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation -- 600 kids from urban and rural communities will learn more about Texas' natural resources and conservation while having fun outdoors. Activities include archery, kayaking and outdoor journaling. ($38,615)
(Denton) Elm Fork Chapter Texas Master Naturalists -- More than 400 Intermediate school children will learn about animal tracks, mammal skins, insects and wildflowers. ($10,990)
(Houston) Broadening Shoulders -- "Our Own Backyard Recreation Program" will allow kids in the Houston area to experience nature in their normal urban environments. They will hike, fish, camp, cook outdoors and explore local landmarks. ($40,394)
(Houston) Redemption Community Development Corporation -- More than 300 students will go birdwatching, fishing, camping, take trips to Texas State Parks and participate in an outdoor service project to help restore trails and replace trees damaged by Hurricane Ike. ($47,840)
(McKinney) Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary -- More than 340 participants will learn about water safety, wetlands education and canoeing. ($49,683)
(Refugio) Refugio Independent School District -- Students and their families will participate in a series of one day planned events and activities, attend Texas Wildlife EXPO and participate in the Texas Outdoor Family camping programs. ($39,988)
(Rockwall) Rockwall County Juvenile Services -- 32 youth from this program will participate in CPR and First Aid training, camping trips to state parks and a service project to help clean up and restore the lake at Tawakoni State Park. ($16,798)
(San Antonio) Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio -- This 10 week program will include archery programs, trips to the Botanical Gardens as well as Big Bend National Park and Texas Wildlife EXPO. ($28,000)
(Stephenville) Stephenville Independent School District -- This Outdoor Adventure Education Program targets students in grades 9-12 and is designed to provide outdoor educational experiences while promoting ecological awareness. Activities include archery, boating, angler education and orienteering. ($21,158)
(Tyler) Camp Tyler Foundation -- Children who participate in this camp will enjoy hiking, outdoor cooking, canoeing and fishing. ($20,698)
For more information about CO-OP grants, contact the department's Recreation Grants Branch at (512) 389-8224 or visit the grants web page on the TPWD Web site.
---
On the Net:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/grants/trpa/#coop
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[ Note: This item is more than five years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Aaron Reed, 512-389-8046 ] [AR]
Dec. 18, 2008
Richland Chambers Boating Accident Victim Found
CORSICANA, Texas -- Texas game wardens and volunteers recovered the body of Charles Andrew (Chase) Bergfeld from the waters of Richland Chambers Lake today at approximately 2:15 p.m.
Bergfeld was missing after a boating accident near the U.S. Highway 287 bridge early Saturday morning.
Bergfeld's body was located by game wardens and volunteer searchers Dennis and Tammy Watters, using side-scan sonar. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a Navarro County justice of the peace.
"Our hearts go out to everyone touched by this tragedy," said Game Warden Capt. Gary Dugan, who has been leading the search effort for the past six days. "We're going to investigate this accident fully to see what we can learn and perhaps help prevent future tragedies of this nature."
As of Nov. 30, there had been 253 boating accidents in Texas for the year, resulting in 52 fatalities and 158 injuries.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is responsible for enforcing boating safety laws statewide and for performing boating accident investigations on all state waters.
The investigation into the accident is ongoing.
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