Local News

Schaefer Calls on TEA to Hold Off on Revocation of Azleway’s Charter

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1TYLER — Following an announcement that an administrative law judge has upheld the revocation of Azleway Charter School’s charter by the Texas Education Agency, State Rep. Matt Schaefer is calling on Michael Williams, Texas commissioner of education, to hold off on the revocation of the charter due to pending litigation. Azleway currently has an appeal pending with the Third Court of Appeals in Austin and Schaefer says he feels that the timing of the revocation would be harmful to all parties involved, including Chapel Hill ISD, which would absorb many Azleway students. (more…)

One Killed in Gregg County Wreck

DPS badgeKILGORE – A Tyler man has been killed in a two vehicle accident in Gregg County. The accident happened around 5:15 Tuesday afternoon on State Highway 31, three miles west of Kilgore. Dead at the scene was Christopher Payne, 47. His car was hit by a pickup driven by Zachary Taylor, 21, of Arp. The Department of Public Safety reports Taylor was heading east when his pickup crossed over the center stripe and hit Payne’s westbound car. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, Taylor was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. An investigation has been launched to see if intoxicants were factors in the crash.

Attempted Robbery Under Investigation

thumb_police-tyler-carTYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a suspect accused of assault and attempted theft. Officials said just after 12:00 Wednesday morning, an employee of Arby’s, 4014 S. Broadway, was attempting to get into her vehicle when she was approached by the suspect. He reportedly sprayed the woman with mace and proceeded to rummage through her car. The woman was able to run to a nearby McDonald’s and called 911. The suspect was described wearing all black with a ski mask that had a skull print on the front. The victim suffered no physical injuries other than those commonly associated with getting sprayed by mace. The victim said nothing appeared to be stolen. Contact police with any information.

Brown to Continue as Winona’s Interim Mayor

Winona city sealWINONA — The Winona City Council has decided not to hold a special mayoral election to replace Dede Stroud. According to KETK, council members decided Tuesday night to allow Earl Brown to serve as the city’s interim mayor until the 2015 election. After just two months in office, Stroud resigned from her post as mayor and handed over her keys to the city. Stroud says during her time as mayor, the city council harassed and neglected her and stripped her of her duties. Brown assumed the mayor’s responsibilities following Stroud’s resignation.

Spring Hill Trustees Pass Budget

LONGVIEW — A $17.2 million budget has been passed by Spring Hill school trustees. KETK reports board members approved the budget at Monday’s meeting. $13.4 million will go toward operating costs for the school district. The rest of the budget will be used to pay off the debt from a bond issue.

Nacogdoches County Judge Gives Self $24K Pay Cut

Mike Perry-Nacogdoches County JudgeNACOGDOCHES (AP) – An East Texas county judge has given himself a $24,000 annual pay cut as residents face possible higher property taxes. The Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel reports Nacogdoches County Judge Mike Perry has submitted an affidavit to be paid less. Perry, as of Oct. 1, will receive the same annual salary as county commissioners of nearly $52,000. Commissioners on Tuesday held a budget workshop. A public hearing on proposed higher tax rates will be held Friday. Perry, who took office earlier this year, says he didn’t run for the job for what it paid anyway – total compensation topping $76,000. Perry says he promised to balance the county budget and he feels if other people sacrifice that he should, too.

Pat Herd Women’s Center Celebrates First Anniversary

thumb_MotherFrances-signTYLER — The Trinity Mother Frances Foundation Women’s Board is celebrating the first anniversary of the Pat Herd Women’s Center this week. The center is named for the late Pat Herd, “a wonderfully caring and philanthropic woman, whose passing moved her family to continue her legacy,” according to a news release from Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. Michael Herd, her grandson and the chair of the Bob L. Herd Foundation, worked with his family and Mother Frances Hospital to fulfill the campaign for a new floor focused on the special needs of women. (more…)

State News

Perry Formally Enters Not Guilty Plea

Rick Perry mug shotAUSTIN (AP) – Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry has formally pleaded not guilty to criminal charges that he abused his office when he vetoed state funding for public corruption prosecutors. The potential 2016 presidential candidate entered his plea in a Travis County court filing. Perry also waived an arraignment that had been set for Friday. Perry has been defiant since a grand jury in Austin indicted him last week on charges of trying to leverage his power to force the ouster of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. She had recently been arrested for drunken driving. Perry vetoed $7.5 million for the state’s ethics watchdog unit in Lehmberg’s office after she refused to resign. Dozens of supporters greeted Perry on Tuesday when he arrived at court for fingerprinting and his mug shot.

Bergdahl Plans to Leave Military

SAN ANTONIO — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who spent almost five years in Taliban captivity and was released three months ago in a prisoner swap, is leaving the military. Bergdahl plans to attend college if and when he’s cleared of any charges including desertion. Attorney Eugene Fidell says his client would then be eligible for an honorable discharge allowing him to get college funding under the GI Bill. Fidell says, “It’s very high on his list to just have a normal opportunity for a good education and to make up for the lost time.” An Army investigation into the circumstances of Bergdahl’s leaving his post before his capture by the Taliban in 2009 could be completed at Fort Sam Houston sometime next month. That’s where the sergeant has been receiving treatment since his release.

Drug for Ebola-Like Virus Promising in Ill Monkeys

WASHINGTON (AP) – Texas researchers are reporting that an experimental drug saved monkeys from a virus closely related to Ebola even after symptoms began. The drug targets a strain of Marburg virus that is even more lethal than the Ebola currently ravaging West Africa. Both viruses take time to multiply in the body before symptoms appear, and few studies have explored how late treatment might be effective. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that treated monkeys survived even if given the drug three days after infection, when symptoms had begun. Although Wednesday’s study is very small, the work is generating interest because a drug that targets Ebola the same way is under development by a Canadian company, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Father of “Affluenza” Teen Arrested in North Texas

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS (AP) – The father of a North Texas teenager who killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck has been arrested for impersonating an officer. North Richland Hills police say Frederick Anthony Couch is facing charges following an early-morning disturbance July 28. He was taken into custody Tuesday and later released after posting $2,500 bail. Police say Couch showed a badge and identified himself as a reserve officer in Lakeside, northwest of Fort Worth. Investigators later determined he’s not a licensed officer in Texas. He’s the father of Ethan Couch, who was given 10 years’ probation for the deadly wreck last year. Testimony in the younger Couch’s trial became notorious when a psychologist claimed the teen’s parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility – a condition the psychologist called “affluenza.”

Man Charged with Slaying of Estranged Wife

ANDERSON (AP) – A Central Texas man has been charged in the fatal shooting of his estranged wife at her home. The Grimes County Sheriff’s Office says Kelly Armstrong of Navasota surrendered Wednesday to face a murder charge, with bond set at $150,000. District Attorney Tuck McLain says 40-year-old Autumn Armstrong and her spouse were divorcing. The husband early Monday called 911 to report his wife was shot. McLain says the woman was found dead in her bed with a gun nearby. Preliminary autopsy results indicated Autumn Armstrong was shot in the right thigh and bled to death. McLain says it didn’t appear that Armstrong provided medical help to his wife before emergency responders arrived. An attorney for Armstrong didn’t immediately return a message Wednesday.

New Red Cross Disaster Warehouse in Texas Ready

thumb_redcross-logoARLINGTON (AP) – An American Red Cross disaster supplies warehouse in North Texas has the distinction of being the group’s biggest facility to serve the most people. Spokeswoman Anita Foster says the site in Arlington that was dedicated Wednesday has 174,000 square feet of space. The location, capable of serving up to 100,000 people, has a larger supply of products that any other Red Cross location. The Disaster Field Supply Center has cots, blankets, personal hygiene items, cleanup kits, coolers and cooking supplies stacked on towering shelves. Similar centers are in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Missouri and Nevada. The new site between Dallas and Fort Worth replaces a smaller facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Officials cite convenience and cost savings for the move to North Texas with its extensive highway system and vast availability of trucks.