Local News

Smith County School Zone Cameras Delayed

thumb_joel-baker2TYLER — A controversial school zone camera plan has been halted for the time being, according to Smith County Judge Joel Baker’s blog. KETK reports the program, provided by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), would include five cameras that would rotate school zones outside city limits. When the announcement was first made, Judge Baker said he believed the cameras would create “a more efficient way to enforce laws that are already in place.” In his blog, the judge says “misinformation is turning a reasonable idea into a big misunderstanding.” Baker also stated he has asked ATS to delay the implementation for the time being. (more…)

Smith County Deputies Looking for Suspect in Louisiana Homicide

7646755_GTYLER — Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputies are currently on the lookout for a suspect wanted in Smith County and Desoto Parish, Louisiana. Officials say Jacorroyn Lavell Wilson is wanted out of Smith County for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and bond forfeiture-engaging in organized crime in Desoto Parish, Louisiana. Wilson is also a suspect in a homicide investigation from Desoto Parish and is believed to be in the Tyler area. The homicide victim’s truck was located in Tyler near Winters Park. If you have any information as to Wilson’s whereabouts, you’re asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 903-597-2833 or Investigator James Riggle at 903-590-2683.

Weatherford Man Killed When Pickup Ends Up in Sabine River

DPS badgeGREGG COUNTY — The body of a Weatherford man has been recovered from the Sabine River after his vehicle ran off the road and into the river. KETK reports the wreck happened around 6 p.m. on Sunday off I-20 near mile marker 593 in Gregg County. Officers say after several hours, a dive team was able to recover the body of Dwayne Obermeyer, 65. Troopers say the accident involved two eastbound pickup trucks. According to officials, Obermeyer was trying to pass the other driver when the back of his truck clipped another vehicle. Obermeyer’s truck then hit a guardrail before leaving the highway.

Trial Begins for Man Accused of Murdering Niece

Van-Zandt-County-Sheriffs-DeptVAN ZANDT — The uncle of a murdered Greenville teenager went on trial Monday in Van Zandt County. The death penalty is off the table. In this capital murder trial, prosecutors are seeking a life prison term for Michael Moore. He’s accused of the November, 2012 murder of his 16-year-old niece, Alicia Moore. She was last seen alive getting off a school bus a block from her home. Her body was found stuffed in a wicker trunk in rural Van Zandt County days later. Court documents show police suspected Michael Moore but had to wait for DNA testing results. Moore denied any involvement in his niece’s death during a jailhouse interview with KRLD news. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Three East Texas Airports Get TxDOT Funding

thAUSTIN — The Texas Department of Transportation has awarded funding to three area airports to make improvements to their facilities. According to information from TxDOT, approximately $981,685 was approved for pavement improvements at Cherokee County Airport. Officials say a project bid will be made this spring. Approximately $680,000 was approved for Palestine Municipal Airport, also for pavement improvements, with a bid on that project also due this spring. Approximately $150,000 was approved for Athens Municipal Airport to update that facility’s master plan. A consultant for that project will be selected this summer, according to officials. (more…)

TxDOT Road Projects

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a look at work planned in the district during the Week of May 4. Schedules are subject to change due to weather, equipment or other unforeseen issues. Slow down and pay attention in these and all work zones.

SMITH COUNTY – Tyler Maintenance crews plan to conduct base repair work on Farm Road 2015 between Farm Road 14 and Farm Road 16 as well as on Farm Road 1805 between Farm Road 1253 and the Van Zandt County line. Expect the roadway to be reduced to one lane with flaggers providing traffic control. (more…)

UT Tyler to Offer Executive Certificate in Nursing Informatics

thumb_uttylerTYLER — UT Tyler’s Center for Executive Education will offer a new Executive Graduate Certificate in Nursing Informatics for nursing students this fall. According to Associate Professor of Nursing, Dr. Melinda Hermanns, the field of nursing informatics integrates nursing science, computer science, and information technology in order to communicate data and knowledge in nursing practice. “Although a nurse informaticist is a specialty in nursing, the individual identifies him or herself first and foremost as a nurse. It is through the nursing lens that the nurse informaticist works closely with IT (Information Technology) and provides a unique perspective to utilize technology to improve patient outcomes,” Hermanns said. (more…)

State News

Muslim Group Condemns Attack

Garland shooting2-5-3-15GARLAND (AP) – The nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization has condemned an attack by two gunmen outside a suburban Dallas venue hosting a provocative contest for Prophet Muhammad cartoons. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement Monday that a violent response is more insulting to the Muslim faith than any cartoon. The council said “bigoted speech” can’t be an excuse for violence. Leaders emphasized the American Muslim community’s support for open speech and condemned acts of terror. The gunmen were shot and killed Sunday by a police officer after they left their vehicle outside a community center in Garland and began firing assault weapons. Garland police spokesman Joe Harn did not say whether the two were acting in response to Sunday’s event, but said, “obviously they were there to shoot people.”

Abbott: Criticism of Army Training Order Overblown

thumb_greg-abbott-3AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says criticism of him directing the State Guard to monitor a U.S. military training exercise dubbed “Jade Helm 15″ is an overreaction. Abbott on Monday defended using his office to address Internet-fueled suspicions that an upcoming Army war simulation is really a hostile military takeover. It was the first time the Republican has talked about his order that became a target of bipartisan ridicule last week. A White House spokesman said he had “no idea” what Abbott was thinking. A former Republican state lawmaker accused the new governor of “pandering to idiots.” Abbott said he has seen nothing about the simulation that should cause worry. When asked whether addressing the rumors legitimized fringe theories, Abbott said no, saying he was responding to questions from citizens.

Texas, Kansas to Join Florida Lawsuit against Obama

thumb_barackobamaFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Governors in Kansas and Texas say they’ll join Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s lawsuit against the Obama administration alleging that federal officials are coercing the state to expand Medicaid in order to get $1 billion in federal hospital funds. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Monday he plans to file an amicus brief in a fight to protect states’ right to make their own decisions. Scott said Monday that he’d talked with Gov. Greg Abbott, who also pledged support. The Republican governors point to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision saying the federal government can’t coerce states to expand Medicaid, which is exactly what he says the Obama administration is doing by withholding hospital funds. The Obama administration says it’s more efficient to give people money to help buy health insurance than to pay hospitals for caring for the uninsured retroactively.

Ebola Victim’s Family Underwhelmed by Hospital Efforts

thumb_thomasericduncanDALLAS (AP) – The family of the only person to die of Ebola in the U.S. says it is underwhelmed by a Dallas hospital’s efforts to fulfill a settlement agreement to combat the disease in Africa. Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas on Monday announced it donated $125,000 toward a scholarship to train doctors and nurses in Liberia. Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson says the donation fulfills a settlement agreement with Thomas Eric Duncan’s family that included an undisclosed payout. Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, told the Associated Press that he had asked the hospital chain for $5 million to build a hospital in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. Christian missionary group SIM USA says it will administer the scholarship and invest it in mutual funds. The hospital says it plans no further donations.

Senate Votes to Scrap High School Steroids Testing

thumb_texas-state-capitol-1AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas Senate has voted to scrap the state’s high school steroids testing program after more than 60,000 tests caught just a handful of cheaters since 2007. Texas has spent more than $10 million since launching the program. But the high cost, extremely low rate of catching steroids users, and criticism of testing methods have prompted lawmakers to abandon an effort once praised as a leader for the country. The bill headed to the House on Monday for consideration before the June 1 end of session. Lawmakers are also separately looking to strip out all funding for the program. If Texas dumps its program, New Jersey and Illinois will have the only statewide high school steroids testing programs in the U.S.

Legislature OKs Rules Prohibiting City Fracking Bans

AUSTIN (AP) – Cities and counties statewide could no longer prohibit hydraulic fracturing under a sweeping, oil and gas industry-backed bill that has cleared the Texas Legislature. The proposal was easily approved by the Senate on Monday after passing the House last month. It now heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature into law. Legislators moved quickly after Denton voted in November to impose a local fracking ban amid environmental and safety concerns. That ordinance is now being challenged in court. Conservatives say the new restrictions are needed to prevent a patchwork of drilling laws across Texas. But the issue has been among the most contentious in Abbott’s first legislative session. The governor has stayed clear of the debate, but has criticized local governments for “overregulation.”

Man Arrested after Fight Following Road Rage Incident

AUSTIN (AP) – Police in Austin say a road rage argument turned into a fight between neighbors that possibly involved a sword and one driver biting the other driver two different times. The Austin American-Statesman reports the two drivers confronted each other after one of them apparently cut the other off on Friday. According to an arrest affidavit, Rodney Campbell says the other driver, Kia Cameron Paya-Akhavan, followed him to his home. The two are neighbors. The men got out of their vehicles and began fighting, with Paya-Akhavan biting Campbell on his nose and thumb and hitting Campbell’s car with an object described as a sword. Police say Paya-Akhavan also tried to run over Campbell. Police charged 34-year-old Paya-Akhavan with aggravated assault with both a deadly weapon and a motor vehicle.

Two Mexican Boats Stopped in Poaching Investigation

CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard has seized in separate incidents two Mexican boats that were caught illegally fishing off the Gulf Coast waters of South Texas. Coast Guard officials say in the first incident, one boat was seized after an agency helicopter spotted it fishing about 26 miles offshore. Three Mexican citizens on board were taken into custody. In the second incident, a disabled fishing boat was spotted about 34 miles off the coast of South Padre Island. Officials say three Mexican citizens and illegal fishing gear were found on the boat. Both incidents took place on Friday. The Coast Guard says that since October 2014, 24 such illegal fishing boats have been seized and another 176 have been detected.