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TISD Superintendent’s Resignation Accepted

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm

thumb_gary-mooringTYLER – Tyler school trustees have accepted the resignation of Superintendent Gary Mooring. The action came Thursday night at a regular school board meeting. He had submitted his resignation, effective June 30th. The job opening will be posted Monday morning and will remain open until June 30th.

Last week Mooring informed district employees of his resignation. According to a TISD news release, Mooring cited continued health concerns as the reason for his leaving. According to the news release, since his leadership began in August 2012, Mr. Mooring has guided the District through several notable accomplishments. Those include the passing of a $160.5 million bond package last spring, and most recently, the formation of a comprehensive strategic plan that officials say increases community engagement and supports 21st century learning among the students of Tyler ISD.

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U.S. Delays Review of Keystone XL Pipeline

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

thumb_Keystone-Pipeline-map2WASHINGTON (AP/Staff) – The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit. That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November. The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation. The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn’t starting over. The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada. The southern leg of the pipeline began pumping oil through East Texas and elsewhere this past January.

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Winona Behind on Bills, Residents Affected

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm

WINONA — The city of Winona did not pay its gas bill for six months, and now it is the residents who are getting the backlash from the city’s financial wrongdoings. KETK reports Winona is home to fewer than 600 people and the people who live there are on the hook for the financial mishaps of their city. Because Winona did not pay its gas bills to Eagle Rock Energies, it’s now more than $150,000 behind. The city announced in a council meeting Tuesday it plans to increase the gas, sewer, and water rates. Altogether, this is expected to generate an extra $130,000 thousands a year. Residents will see the highest increase in their gas bill, which will increase by about five dollars. The base water and base sewer rates will each go up by about two dollars.

Denise Shetter, the superintendent for Winona Independent School District, says this is going to have a huge impact on the district. “It impacts us not only because we get our water and sewer from the city so our rate and our budget are going to be impacted,” Shetter said, “but also the relationship we have with the student resource officer.” In order to pay the entire balance it owes, the city may have to cut jobs and freeze hiring. One job on the chopping block is the Winona ISD school resource officer, who is shared by the city and the school district. “I have a vested interest in our partnership because of the safety of our students,” Shetter said.

Winona Mayor Rusty Smith was not immediately available for comment. The rate increase is expected to take place this May. You can go to http://www.winonatexas.com for more information.

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Marshall Murder Suspect Back in Harrison County

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Corey Lamar JohnsonMARSHALL – A suspect arrested in Louisiana for a Marshall murder has been returned to Texas and arraigned on murder charges. Corey Lamar Johnson, 31, of Jefferson had his bond set at $1 million at his Thursday arraignment. U.S. Marshall’s in Tallulah, Louisiana took him into custody Tuesday night. A warrant had been issued for his arrest in the shooting of Jalen Juwan White, 19. He was shot around 2:45am on March 24th in the 100 block of West Pinecrest at the Rumors Arcade, which Johnson owns. He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall, where he later died.

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Public Water Forum April 24 in Tyler

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm

AUSTIN — The Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announces a forum April 24 at UT Tyler to discuss urban and rural perspectives on the water infrastructure needs of communities in Northeast Texas. According to a news release, “Speakers will discuss Texas’ future water needs and provide an opportunity for the public to obtain valuable information on this important issue.”

According to the 2012 State Water Plan, Texas’ population is projected to reach 46 Million by 2060. As Texas continues to grow at a rapid pace, the demand for water will also increase, officials say. Businesses, municipalities, and agricultural communities all require water for different purposes. The passage of the state water fund on the November 2013 ballot has provided funding for the state’s water plan. This Regional Water Forum will provide an opportunity for public discussion and an avenue for informed public decision-making on which water projects to fund, according to the release.

Walt Sears, General Manager of the Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, will present the perspective of the rural population; Wayne Owen, Planning Director for the Tarrant Regional Water District, will represent the urban perspective. The forum will take place in UT Tyler’s University Center Auditorium on April 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is no admission fee and the public is being encouraged to attend.

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UT Tyler Professor Selected to Join Academy of Distinguished Teachers

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm

thumb_uttylerAUSTIN – Five distinguished professors, including one from UT Tyler, will be inducted into The University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 22. Neil Gray is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry UTT. Gray, who is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, is co-director of UT Tyler’s UTeach program. According to a UT System news release, UTeach prepares high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

According to the release, the Academy of Distinguished Teachers was created to recognize outstanding educators at UT’s nine academic institutions, and all members must be past recipients of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Officials say this year’s inductees have expertise that ranges from postmodern British fiction to training the next generation of energy leaders at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization.

“The Academy honors the best of the best,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “It recognizes educators, not only those who are leaders in their field, but also those who are committed to improving teaching System-wide.”

“This is the second year that the University of Texas System honors outstanding educators across our nine academic institutions,” said Pedro Reyes, UT System Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “These professors have all demonstrated commitment and leadership in education, and they will serve on a System-wide advisory and advocacy group promoting exemplary undergraduate learning across the entire System.”

Members of the Academy serve as a System-level advocacy group dedicated to enhancing teaching, fostering innovation in the classroom, and promoting interdisciplinary perspectives on education, according to the release. Visit http://www.utsystem.edu/offices/academic-affairs/university-texas-system-academy-distinguished-teachers for more information.

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LeTourneau Sets Guinness Record for Simultaneous Printer Operation

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm

thumb_LeTourneau-University-logoLONGVIEW – LeTourneau University in Longview has set a Guinness World Record for having the most 3D printers in operation simultaneously, totaling 102. According to an LETU news release, the world record attempt was made on April 4, when LETU’s freshmen engineering students gathered in the university’s Solheim Arena with laptops and the 3D printers they built last fall in their freshmen engineering classes. “We are the only engineering program in the country that I know of that requires all of our freshmen engineering students to build their own 3D printers,” said LETU Dean of Engineering Dr. Ron DeLap. “This achievement is a result of their great work.”

The event was the brainchild of LETU engineering professor Dr. Jesse French who, along with former shuttle astronaut Dr. Byron Lichtenberg, taught the freshmen engineering students in their introduction to engineering classes. The LETU students used their own 3D printers to make a gear-shaped coin to commemorate the world record attempt. Only seven of the 109 3D printers that competed in the event did not work, resulting in the world record number of 102, as confirmed by a panel of independent witnesses. The evidence required by Guinness World Records, including witness statements, video proof, photographs and media reports, was compiled and sent to London before the school was notified of its win.

The Records Management Team at Guinness World Records notified LeTourneau University on April 17 in an email that read: “We are delighted to confirm that you have successfully achieved a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for ‘Most 3D printers operating simultaneously.’ We would like to congratulate you on your record-breaking achievement. You are OFFICIALLY AMAZING. Your official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS certificate confirming your world record is being created and will be sent to you shortly. So expect to receive it within 2 to 3 weeks.”

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TISD Foundation Establishes Frances Cowan Gibson Fine Arts Endowment

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm

TYLER -The Tyler ISD Foundation announced Thursday the establishment of the Frances Cowan Gibson Tyler ISD Fine Arts Endowment to benefit under-funded and innovative art projects throughout the Tyler Independent School District. According to a Foundation news release, the gift to the TISD Foundation from the Frances Cowan Gibson Charitable Lead Trust will total more than $580,000. The endowment was created through a partnership between the Tyler ISD Foundation and the East Texas Communities Foundation and will provide annual grants to the Tyler ISD fine arts department.

The endowment was announced during a presentation at the Tyler ISD board of trustees meeting Thursday evening. TISD Foundation Executive Director Maya Bethany and Director Marc Loredo presented TISD Director of Fine Arts George Faber, Superintendent Gary Mooring, and the board of trustees with a $12,000 check, the first grant from the endowment. Mrs. Frances Cowan Gibson passed away in April 2012. Her family stated they would like their “mother’s love of music, education and the city of Tyler to serve as an example while inspiring others to contribute.”

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FBI Probing Davis’s Work for Tollway Agency

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

thumb_Wendy-Davis-2AUSTIN (AP) – The FBI continues to examine Wendy Davis’ legal work for a taxpayer-funded tollway agency. A conflict-of-interest complaint from 2012 alleges the state senator who is now running for governor voted on toll legislation while representing the North Texas Tollway Authority. Investigators in Travis County reviewed the case last year but didn’t take any action.

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More Charges Added in South By Southwest Crash

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

AUSTIN (AP) – A driver already charged with capital murder now is facing additional charges weeks after he plowed into a late-night crowd during the South By Southwest festival in Austin. Travis County jail records showed Friday that 21-year-old Rashad Owens of Killeen is accused of four new counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He’s facing 20 previous counts of the same charge. Authorities have said Owens accelerated through the crowd March 13, killing two people and leaving more than 20 injured. Two others later died of their injuries. Police say Owens was fleeing a patrolman and driving down a closed street when the crash happened. He was charged with capital murder days after the incident. He remains incarcerated and his bail has swelled from $3 million to $5.1 million.

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80 Immigrants Arrested at Camp in McAllen

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

McALLEN (AP) – Dozens of immigrants found at a camp in McAllen say they’ve been there for at least a week with little food or water. The Border Patrol says 80 people suspected of entering the U.S. illegally have been arrested. They were in tents and huts covered by mesquite branches.

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University Overstated Fiscal Health by Some $23M

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

DENTON (AP) – Financial documents released by the University of North Texas show accounting irregularities that have overstated the university’s financial position by as much as $23 million. Audits conducted by the university and a private firm show misleading budget entries made since 2012 to account for unresolved collections. But they were registered as accounts receivable, which are often recorded as assets. The university’s budget in 2012 was $520 million. The documents were obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle through an open records request. The audit by the private firm also found UNT inflated the amount of cash it had by $5.9 million. The developments are another financial setback for UNT. In an unrelated matter, the university may have to repay millions for inappropriately using state money to pay some employee benefits.

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Texas Jobless Rate Slips in March

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas unemployment rate has slipped to 5.5 percent. The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday announced the March unemployment figure, compared to a 5.7 percent statewide jobless rate in both January and February. The latest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Texas compares to a 6.7 percent nationwide jobless rate during March. The TWC says Texas employers added 9,100 jobs last month – for a total of 310,000 jobs added over the year. The Midland area had the lowest jobless rate last month across Texas, at 2.7 percent. TWC figures show the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the state’s highest unemployment rate at 9.4 percent.

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Guardsman to Receive Purple Heart at Texas Event

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 3:57 pm

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – U.S. Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno will present the Purple Heart at Fort Sam Houston to a staff sergeant injured while on patrol in Afghanistan. Robert T. Drebenstedt is scheduled to receive the decoration Wednesday at the fort’s Warrior and Family Support Center. Drebenstedt is a member of the Michigan Army National Guard injured by an improvised explosive device Aug. 1, 2012. Officials at Fort Sam Houston did not release details on the extent of the combat engineer’s injuries. The Purple Heart is the world’s oldest military decoration and is awarded to members of the armed forces wounded as a result of enemy actions.

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Perez deals first career shutout, Rangers smoke White Sox

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Martin Perez pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Leonys Martin drove in four runs and the Texas Rangers routed the Chicago White Sox 12-0 Friday night.

Martin homered and was one of four Texas batters with three hits apiece. Robinson Chirinos also went deep.

Perez (3-0) retired his last 12 batters and struck out eight in his second complete game, including rookie Jose Abreu three times. Perez retired seven straight after Adam Eaton opened the game with a single and never allowed more than one baserunner in an inning.

Martin had a two-run triple and Chirinos hit a two-run homer on the next pitch in seven-run third inning off Felipe Paulino (0-2). Martin homered for a 10-0 lead in the fourth.

Chirinos and Jim Adduci set career highs with three hits apiece. Alex Rios also had three hits and scored each time he reached base.

Prince Fielder, who came in hitting .164, reached base all five times he batted, including a run-scoring double. He also singled, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez extended a franchise record by getting a hit in his 17th straight game to start the season. His soft single to right in the fifth extended his streak to 21 games going back to last season.

Kevin Kouzmanoff extended the hitting streak at the start of his Texas career to nine games with a pair of run-scoring singles.

Perez has thrown 17 straight scoreless innings after he went eight in a 1-0 win over Houston. He ended the game with a strikeout of Dayan Viciedo.

The other complete game for Perez was a 6-1 win over the Astros last Aug. 11.

Paulino had to endure the first seven-run inning in the majors this season with no sign of help in the third because the Chicago bullpen was just two days removed from a 6-4 loss in 14 innings against Boston. White Sox infielder Leury Garcia had to pitch the last inning against the Red Sox and took the loss.

Martin’s triple into the right-field corner brought in two, and Chirinos sent one just over the 14-foot wall in left field for a 6-0 lead. Rios had a two-run single, and Fielder brought him home with a double off Paulino, who also had a walk, a hit batter and two wild pitches in the inning.

When Kouzmanoff lined out to end the third, White Sox reliever Zach Putnam had just started warming up. Putnam replaced Paulino in the fourth after a two-out homer by Martin and Chirinos’ third hit, a single to right.

Paulino, trying to come back from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in 2012, has allowed 35 hits and 23 earned runs in 18 1/3 innings over four starts.

Game notes

Rangers manager Ron Washington said 3B Adrian Beltre (strained quadriceps) would likely play next Friday at Seattle, the first game after he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. … Martin matched his career high with four RBIs. He also did it Aug. 28 last season at Seattle.

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Rangers put Scheppers on DL

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Texas Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday due to right elbow muscle inflammation.

“I’m disappointed, but at least the doctor says it is nothing severe,” said Scheppers, who is transitioning from a late-inning bullpen role to that of a starter.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Nick Martinez is the most likely candidate to move into Scheppers’ place in the rotation Tuesday at Oakland. Scheppers, the Rangers’ Opening Day starter, has been plagued by the big inning. In four starts, he is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA.

To fill Scheppers’ roster spot, the Rangers purchased the contract of 27-year-old left-hander Aaron Poreda from Round Rock. Poreda was a first-round draft choice of the White Sox in 2007.

“The wake-up call today was one of the best I’ve ever gotten,” the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Poreda said. “The biggest thing I needed to do when I didn’t make the team coming out of spring was work on my durability. Coming off Tommy John surgery, I had to get ready to pitch on back-to-back days. I think I’m ready.”

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Cowboys picking up option for OL Smith

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm

By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will exercise the fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract, keeping the 2011 first-round pick with the team at least through 2015.

Smith’s agent, Joe Panos, told 105.3 The Fan on Friday that the option has not been picked up yet but “they told me it’s going to happen.” A source indicated Thursday that the Cowboys had already exercised the option, like teams had done earlier in the day with other first-round picks from the 2011 draft, like Houston’s J.J. Watt.

Once the Cowboys pick up the option, Smith will earn $10.039 million in 2015, but it would not preclude the team and Smith from working out a multi-year deal, which is the hope. The 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury and would become fully guaranteed if Smith is on the roster the first day of the league year in 2015.

The Cowboys took Smith with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, and he has missed just one game in three seasons. He played right tackle as a rookie before moving to left tackle in his second year. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance last season.

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the Cowboys have to pay Smith the transition tag money due to offensive linemen in 2014 ($10.039 million) because he was a top-10 pick. The Cowboys had to pick up the option by May 2 or Smith would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Smith, who does not turn 24 until December, is considered one of the best offensive linemen in the game. The Cowboys want to sign Smith to a long-term deal and have made him a priority, as well as wide receiver Dez Bryant, whose contract expires after the 2014 season.

Smith signed a four-year, $12.496 million deal in 2011 that was fully guaranteed and included a $7.588 million signing bonus.

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Cowboys picking up Tyron Smith option

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will exercise the fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract, keeping the 2011 first-round pick with the team at least through 2015.

Smith’s agent, Joe Panos, told 105.3 The Fan on Friday that the option has not been picked up yet but “they told me it’s going to happen.” A source indicated Thursday that the Cowboys had already exercised the option, like teams had done earlier in the day with other first-round picks from the 2011 draft, like Houston’s J.J. Watt.

Once the Cowboys pick up the option, Smith will earn $10.039 million in 2015, but it would not preclude the team and Smith from working out a multi-year deal, which is the hope. The 2015 base salary is guaranteed for injury and would become fully guaranteed if Smith is on the roster the first day of the league year in 2015.

The Cowboys took Smith with the ninth pick in the 2011 draft, and he has missed just one game in three seasons. He played right tackle as a rookie before moving to left tackle in his second year. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance last season.

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the Cowboys have to pay Smith the transition tag money due to offensive linemen in 2014 ($10.039 million) because he was a top-10 pick. The Cowboys had to pick up the option by May 2 or Smith would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Smith, who does not turn 24 until December, is considered one of the best offensive linemen in the game. The Cowboys want to sign Smith to a long-term deal and have made him a priority, as well as wide receiver Dez Bryant, whose contract expires after the 2014 season.

Smith signed a four-year, $12.496 million deal in 2011 that was fully guaranteed and included a $7.588 million signing bonus.

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Danny White praises Tony Romo

Posted/updated on: April 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

It was interesting to listen to Danny White talk the other day on Sirius/XM radio about Tony Romo.

White and Romo are similar in some respects.

White failed to get his team to a Super Bowl, despite three consecutive trips to the NFC title game in the 1980s.

Romo has yet to get his team past the second-round of the postseason.

Romo has better numbers than White, because he plays in a pass-happy era.

But here was White on Wednesday talking about how Romo is the perfect fit for this Dallas Cowboys team and that blame shouldn’t be placed solely on No. 9 for the failures to reach the postseason the past four seasons.

“I don’t know if there’s ever been a more athletic quarterback,” White said. “People keep saying they need to get somebody else, I don’t think there’s another quarterback in the league that would be a better fit for the Cowboys and what they need, because he has to be able to move. He has to be able to improvise, with the offense he’s got.”

White had a six-year stretch where he led the Cowboys to three NFC title games, two division titles and two years of missing the postseason, 1983 and 1984.

Romo, since becoming a starter in 2006, has missed the postseason five times, won two division titles and is 1-3 in the playoffs.

Would you prefer Romo’s resume over White’s?

Overall, White went 62-30 in replacing Roger Staubach and finished his career with 12 fourth-quarter comebacks and 16 game-winning drives.

Romo is 63-45 as a starter, is the franchise-leader in touchdowns thrown, and is second to Troy Aikman in completions and yards.

White’s praise of Romo stems from watching him for several years as a radio analyst for Dallas games.

White, of course, understands the pressures of the quarterback position for the Cowboys.

For White, he replaced a Staubach, a Hall of Famer, a legendary figure in the NFL.

Romo didn’t replace a legendary figure, just an aging one. He took over for Drew Bledsoe. Yet, the expectations to succeed at quarterback for the Cowboys are very high. Staubach won two Super Bowls and Aikman three. Any other quarterback after them is judged by that standard.

Romo can’t get to the postseason, let alone a Super Bowl.

“It’s just a matter of putting a few pieces together, and Romo is certainly as capable as anybody of getting that team to the Super Bowl,” White said. “The one thing that they have made a point of is making sure that he’s paid what he’s worth, and I don’t think there’s any question that Tony’s laughing all the way to the back on that one.”

While Romo has the better numbers than White, his resume is lacking something: More playoff wins.

He doesn’t have enough.

Until he can do better in that area, White’s career should be viewed in a better light than Romo’s.

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