Our heart felt condolences go out to Waller County Sheriff's Office and the Vasquez family.
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Austin County Sheriff's Office is located at 417 N Chesley St, Bellville, 77418 TX. The Austin County Sheriff's Office phone number is 979-865-3111.
Our heart felt condolences go out to Waller County Sheriff's Office and the Vasquez family.
PRESS RELEASE On Thursday, September 20, 2018, at 8:00 a.m., the Austin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a possible marijuana grow field located in Cat Spring, Texas. Officers searched the area and found approximately 800 to 1,000 marijuana plants. Some plants were still growing and others were already cut and placed on racks to dry. Deputies also found a small generator, electric water pump, electric cords, small black plastic water lines, two small tents and one canopy. All plants and equipment were removed by the Sheriff’s Office. Officers destroyed all the plants, tents and the canopy. The equipment was impounded by the Sheriff’s Office and placed in secure storage located at 417 N. Chesley, Bellville, Texas. Officers from the Bellville Police Department, Sealy Police Department, Wallis Police Department and Constable Pct. 2 assisted in the operation. This marijuana grow was on private property, very heavily wooded, never traveled and totally unknown by the property owner. Austin County Sheriff Jack Brandes advises all citizens to watch their property and report any suspicious activity to the Austin County Sheriff’s Office.
Subject: re-scheduled drill An emergency response training drill will be conducted next week at the “Enterprise Products” crude oil storage facility, which is located on Outlet Center Drive. This preparedness drill will begin on Wed. 26th at 7am. At this time, Enterprise Operations will manually activate the audio warning/alarm system in their complex. First responders along with professional disaster response units and representatives of Enterprise will be present and participating. Sealy Fire Department may be dispersing water onto storage tanks for training and evaluation purposes only. This is only a drill and will remain within the confines of the property, without any disruption of roadways or daily operations of surrounding businesses. www.sealypolice.com www.facebook.com/sealypd
Burn ban has been lifted.
*DISASTER DRILL CANCELLED* Enterprise Products has postponed the disaster drill scheduled for September 13th due to the possibility of inclement weather. It will be rescheduled for a later date. Notice will be given when the new date is confirmed.
Order Restricting Outdoor Burning
A Burn Ban has been placed on all of Austin County, by order of Commissioner's Court, effective today.
Carlos Urbina has been arrested and is now in the Austin County Jail. . Thank you to all the people that provided a lot of valuable information. WANTED Carlos Urbina, aka Cesar Carlos Urbina Esquivel Wanted for INDECENCY WITH A CHILD - SEXUAL CONTACT. If you have any information on his whereabouts, contacct Cpl. Hagen at 979-627-5277 or at the Sheriff's Office 979-865-3111.
Travel Tips Need a vacation? Before you start relaxing to the sound of the waves or skiing the slopes, do some smart travel shopping first — not only to end up with a great trip and a good deal, but also to avoid a scam. Deal with businesses you trust, get a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies, and ask “What if...?” And if someone says you’ve won a “free” vacation but need to pay? Just walk away. How to Shop for Travel The key to planning a good trip is making sure you’re buying from travel businesses you know and trust: Get recommendations Ask family and friends about the companies they use and like, and look online to see what people are saying about their service and prices. Call to verify your reservations and arrangements Get the details about any “five-star” resorts or “luxury” cruise ships they promise — including what other travelers have had to say about them. Some companies market below-average vacation accommodations as “luxury” or “five-star.” When you have the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the airlines, car rental companies, and hotels you’ll be using, confirm all arrangements yourself. If you can’t get a person from the travel company on the phone to answer your questions, consider taking your travel business elsewhere. Get a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies before you pay for the trip, and ask “What if...?” Consider whether some form of travel cancellation insurance is appropriate. Make sure the product you’re being sold is a licensed insurance policy. The U.S. Travel Insurance Association maintains a list of licensed travel insurance companies. Pay by credit card It gives you more protection than paying by cash or check. If you don’t get what you paid for, you may be able to dispute the charges with your credit card company. However, don’t give your account number to any business until you’ve verified its reputation. Consider using a travel app Travel apps can help you search for airfares and hotel rates, get fare alerts and real-time deals, and manage your itinerary. Ask about mandatory hotel “resort fees” When you book a hotel room online, you expect that the rate you see is the rate you’ll pay. But extra costs often called “resort fees” — for services like fitness facilities or internet access — can add to the per night cost of your stay. More important, the fees are mandatory: you must pay them regardless of whether you use the services. Many people don’t find out about the fees until they arrive at the hotel — or worse, when they check out. You can’t compare rates for different hotels unless you know all the fees. If you’re not sure whether a website is showing you the total price, call the hotel and ask about a “resort fee” or any other mandatory charge. Listing the “resort fee” near the quoted price or in the fine print — or referring to other fees that “may apply” — isn’t good enough. If you find out a hotel hasn’t told you the whole story about mandatory fees, in addition to complaining to the company, file a complaint with the FTC. Ask questions before joining a travel club Sometimes, a “free trial” membership can result in monthly charges on your credit card. Find out what you’ll get for your money and how you can cancel. Signs of a Scam Scammers may call or use mail, texts, faxes or ads promising free or low-cost vacations. In reality, those vacation offers may end up charging poorly disclosed fees or may be fake, plain and simple. Here are some tell-tell signs that a travel offer or prize might be a scam: You “won a free vacation” — but you have to pay some fees first A legitimate company won’t ask you to pay for a prize. Any company trying to sell you on a “free” vacation will probably want something from you — taxes and fees, attendance at mandatory timeshare presentations, even pressure to buy “extras” or “add-ons” for the vacation, etc. Find out what your costs are before you agree to anything. The prize company wants your credit card number Especially if they say it’s to “verify” your identity or your prize, don’t give it to them. They cold-call, cold-text, or email you out of the blue Before you do business with any company you don’t know, call the Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the company’s home state to check on complaints; then, search online by entering the company name and the word “complaints” or “scam” and read what other people are saying. They don’t — or can’t — give you specifics They promise a stay at a “five-star” resort or a cruise on a “luxury” ship. The more vague the promises, the less likely they’ll be true. Ask for specifics, and get them in writing. Check out the resort’s address; look for photos of the ship. You’re pressured to sign up for a travel club for great deals on future vacations The pressure to sign up or miss out is a signal to walk away. Travel clubs often have high membership fees and limited choice of destinations or travel dates. You get a robocall about it Robocalls from companies trying to sell you something are almost always illegal if you haven’t given the company written permission to call you. That’s true even if you haven’t signed up for the national Do Not Call Registry. If you think you may have been targeted by a travel scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. For more on travel scams, visit ftc.gov/travel. Special Considerations for Charter Travel Some people who have signed up for charter packages have learned that the package they paid for really was a scam. Here’s how to make sure a charter package is the real deal: Look up the government’s list of all public chartered flights The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Special Authorities Office maintains a list of approved public chartered flights. The charter filing must be approved by DOT before the package can be sold. Make sure your check is payable to an escrow account If you pay by check for a charter package, federal law requires that it’s payable to an escrow account. Call the bank handling the escrow account to verify that the account is valid. Charter operators who don’t want to give you escrow bank information may be selling another firm’s space. Avoid operators who tell you they’ll send a courier to pick up your money. That’s a sure sign of a rip-off. Check out the operator Ask them to send you information about the business and the names of satisfied customers, and ask family and friends about their experience. Check with local travel agents to see if they know if the operator is legitimate, or contact the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) for more information. Don’t give in to pressure to pay before you’ve had a chance to check a company out. Get a copy of the contract The operator/participant contract tells you when the operator can change flight schedules and hotel accommodations, and the rules and penalties for cancellation. Usually, charters can be canceled for any reason up to 10 days before the trip, and operators may put you up in an another hotel listed in the contract, even if it’s not as nice as the advertised hotel. Ask about cancellation insurance. Rules state that an operator can’t ask for — or accept — your payment until you’ve signed and returned the contract. Understand your rights According to DOT rules, you have a right to cancel a charter package without penalty if the operator makes a “major change.” That includes a change of departure or return date or city, a hotel substitution to a property not named in the contract, or a package price increase of more than 10 percent. Expect flight delays They’re common on charter flights. DOT rules allow a charter flight to be delayed up to 48 hours for mechanical difficulties. The operator doesn't have to provide alternate transportation or compensate you for your expenses. Check the contract to see if the operator will cover any costs — like lodging and car rentals — if the delay isn’t because of mechanical difficulties.
August 14, 2018 FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Travel Scams Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week, building a digital defense against travel scams. It is that travel-filled time of year again folks. Whether you are behind the curveball and trying to squeeze in some last minute summer vacations or completely on top of it and already planning for fall and winter trips, everyone is always on the lookout for a good deal at a great price. However, scam artists know this and will try to take advantage of it as much as they can. If you are like me, you are constantly getting calls and emails from people telling you that you are the “lucky winner” of an all-expense paid for vacation. Although the offer is tempting, don’t fall for it! How often do you hear of people actually getting their entire trip paid for by a random stranger? Not that often, because it is yet another scam with expensive strings attached. So before you book that discounted hotel room or flight reservation, be sure to keep these travel tips from our friends at the Federal Trade Commission in mind: ◾Just say no to the robocalls. If you answer your phone to another automated message, just hang up and ignore it. Most robocalls are illegal. If you get one of these unwanted calls, report it to FTC. ◾Be vigilant to unexpected emails and text messages. Similar to the automated calls, many scam artists will send you fake deals through both email and text. Remember, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Ignore and delete the messages. ◾Research a company before booking with them. If you do decide to use an agency that offers cheaper deals, be sure to do your research. Look up reviews and ratings to see if other customers were satisfied with the services that they received. ◾Know the cancellation policy. Before booking, take time to ask about the company’s refund policies for flight reservations, car rentals, and hotel bookings. Get these policies in writing. ◾Pay with credit card. If you have gone through all of these steps and feel good about booking with the company, use your credit card to pay. This will give you more protection than paying with cash, check, or a debit card. If you end up not getting what you paid for, this will enable you to dispute the charges with your credit card company. If you have been victimized by an online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.
AG Paxton Issues Consumer Alert on Misleading Homestead Tax Exemption Offers Friday, July 13, 2018 – Austin Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned consumers to beware of businesses that are sending misleading letters to Texans offering a “designation of homestead” if they pay a fee. Counties make the standard homestead tax exemption available for free to property owners. To date, the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office has received more than 100 complaints from individuals who received solicitations for these designations and, in some cases, sent back money for a homestead exemption. “My office is actively reviewing all of the complaints and we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to stop unlawful activity by any company trying to take advantage of Texans,” Attorney General Paxton said. “I urge anyone who has received a solicitation offering a ‘designation of homestead’ that they believe is deceptive to please call my office’s consumer hotline at 800-621-0508 and report it.” Texas consumers can also always report suspicious or fraudulent activity by filing a complaint with the attorney general’s office online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.
******SCAM ALERT****** It has been reported that someone has been calling citizens of our community attempting to solicit money for the Bellville Volunteer Fire Department. The fire department advised us that this is a scam.........please DO NOT donate money to anyone representing themselves, over the phone, as being with the Bellville Volunteer Fire Department.
The following photos were posted by Frank Marcinkiewicz of the Cat Spring Fire Department. Thank you for sharing them Frank.
With yesterday's fire emergency still fresh on our minds, it is once again time to have our Facebook friends let all their family and acquaintances know about the County's Emergency Notification system. It is called Regroup. People can register and receive text messages and emails, or have their home phone called, in case of an emergency. During yesterday's mandatory emergency evacuation, I was asked numerous times by residents, how they would know when it was safe to go back home? Our dispatchers continually sent out Regroup messages to registered residents within a 5 mile area around Western International. But, if you or your family and friends are not signed up, you didn't get the message. How can you register? Go to the Austin County web page at www.austincounty.com and at the bottom of the front page is the logo and information about signing up for Regroup. I have attached a screen shot. Pass the word about this and let's get the majority of our residents signed up for this important free service. If anyone needs help getting signed up, you can also call the Emergency Management Offices at the courthouse - 979-865-5911.
On 07/17/2018 at 6:09 a.m., the Austin County Sheriff’s Office received a call from residents in the area, as well as Western International Gas Company located at 7173 Hwy 159, Bellville, reporting an explosion and fire in their gas plant. Bellville Fire and Austin County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the call. When Bellville Fire and Sheriff’s Deputies arrived, Bellville Fire Chief called for other fire departments to respond and help with the fire. Sheriff’s Deputies then closed Hwy 159 in front of the gas plant. Sheriff’s Deputies then evacuated all residents that lived within one mile of the gas plant as requested by Bellville Fire Chief. At mid-morning, fire personnel had the fire under control and all was well. At late morning, the fire flared up with more explosions and all persons evacuated the fire scene. Fire personnel then decided it would be safe to let the fire burn itself out and extend the evacuation radius to five miles. Sheriff’s Deputies, with help of other law enforcement agencies, evacuated residents within a five mile radius of the gas plant. Later that day, fire personnel were able to return to the fire scene and control the fire. At that time, the evacuation radius was reduced to one mile. At approximately 6:00 p.m. the one mile evacuation radius was cancelled and all residents were allowed to return home. At approximately 10:00 p.m. that night, the fire was out and Hwy 159 was opened. Because of the professionalism of the fire personnel, Sheriff’s deputies, responding law enforcement, managers and employees of Western International Gas, there were no injuries to anyone. The Austin County Sheriff’s Office greatly appreciates all the help from Austin County EMS, Wallis Police Department, San Felipe Police Department, Sealy Police Department, Bellville Police Department, State of Texas Game Wardens, Texas Highway Patrol, Waller County Sheriff’s Office and all fire departments that responded.