Tyler Police Search for Shoplifting Suspect
TYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a man who allegedly stole items from a store at Broadway Square Mall Saturday and injured a child in the process. An arrest warrant was issued for Bobby Donell Choice, 44. He’s accused of stealing items from J.C. Penny. Police said that during the crime, he hurt an 11-year-old boy when he ran from store security. A $100,000. bond was attached to that warrant. Contact authorities with any information.
Lawsuit Seeks Redrawing of Texas Senate Districts
AUSTIN (AP) Two Texans backed by a conservative legal group have filed a federal lawsuit in Austin challenging how state Senate voting districts were drawn. The Austin American-Statesman reports the Project on Fair Representation wants a judge to cancel results of the March primaries, which used Senate boundaries drawn by the Legislature in 2013. The group wants Texas lawmakers to draw new districts. The plaintiffs are voters in two Senate districts Tyler and Houston areas. The case filed Monday argues the way districts were drawn is unconstitutional for being based on total population. The suit says only eligible voters should be considered. The group’s director, Ed Blum, helped lead the Fisher vs. University of Texas affirmative action case challenging using race in university admissions heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Man Receives 10 Years in Prison on Child Porn Charges
TYLER A Tyler man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday on 15 child pornography charges. KETK reports Ercee Wynn, 21, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of child porn possession and waived the right to a trial by jury. Wynn will not be made to pay a fine on the third-degree felony. He also waived his right to an appeal.
Longview Man Arrested on Drug Charges
LONGVIEW A Longview man has been arrested on a variety of drug charges. A search warrant was issued yesterday for the home of Juan Daniel Ingram, 37. County Drug Enforcement officers found four grams of PCP and several ounces of marijuana in the house in the 800 block of Clover Street. They also recovered a couple of firearms, a semi-automatic pistol and a short-barrel shotgun. Ingram has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon. Ingram is not a newcomer to the Gregg County Jail. County records show he has been booked into the jail nearly two dozen times since 1996.
Sister of 1981 Slaying Victim Happy with Capture
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/Staff) – The sister of a man whose suspected killer was arrested in East Texas 33 years after the slaying says she never gave up on the case. Valerie Waller said Tuesday that just last year, she had asked Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s mayor for help in capturing the killer of her brother, Thomas. Waller says the suspect, Joseph Lewis Miller, killed her brother in Harrisburg in 1981 after an argument. An arrest warrant was issued for Miller after he’d fled. U.S. marshals say Miller was found Monday living under an alias and serving as a church deacon in Mineola. Valerie Waller says she was in line to buy groceries when her nephew called to tell her about the capture. She says she broke down crying and told the concerned register clerk that they were “happy tears.” Read more …
UT Tyler to Purchase Village at the U Apartment Complex
TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler is finalizing its purchase of the Village at the U Apartments, Jesse Acosta, vice president for business affairs, announced. Located across the street from the university at 3088 Old Omen Road, the property will become UT Tyler housing, designed to offer a unique campus living option for university upperclassmen, according to a UTT news release. The final purchase price is $20.3 million. This purchase will enable UT Tyler to continue the vision to be the destination campus for students coming from outside the East Texas region by offering unique living and community-building experiences, said President Rodney H. Mabry. UT Tyler plans to honor all current leases as it finalizes the university housing policies designed specifically for this facility, according to the release. Read more …
First Texas Promise Program Begins at TJC
RUSK — The first group of Rusk TJC Citizens Promise Scholars is preparing to join the Fall 2014 freshman class at Tyler Junior College. Established in February, the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise is one of only 23 Promise programs in the United States and the first such initiative in Texas, according to a TJC news release. For each qualifying student who graduates in the top half of the class, the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise initiative covers $4,000 per year (for two years) at TJC. Read more …
Governor Perry Appoints Student Regents
AUSTIN — Governor Rick Perry has appointed 10 student regents to their respective university systems, and one student representative to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for terms effective June 1, 2014, and expiring May 31, 2015. Kelsey Brown was appointed a student regent at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Brown is pursuing a bachelor’s degree and masters degree in history.
Tyler ISD High Schools Take Top Honors at UIL Competition
TYLER — John Tyler and Robert E. Lee High School orchestras recently earned top honors in University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. The schools received superior marks in concert and sight reading events leading to overall Sweepstakes honors, the highest honor UIL awards in music competition. This is the first Sweepstakes award for the John Tyler Orchestra. For Robert E Lee, it marks the fifteenth consecutive year the orchestra has earned Sweepstakes status. Read more …
Tyler Dubbed One of State’s Most Exciting Cities
SAN MATEO, Calif. — Tyler is tied with New Braunfels as the 8th most exciting city in Texas according to a new ranking from Movoto, a real estate research site. According to a Movoto news release, researchers looked at the 100 most populated places and then ranked them based on nightlife, music venues, restaurants, age of residents, etc. Read more …
Feds: New laws, Oversight Needed after Texas Blast
WEST (AP) Federal investigators and experts say Texas and federal agencies have a long way to go to prevent another disaster like the catastrophic fertilizer plant blast that killed 15 people a year ago. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board held a hearing Tuesday night in West, Texas, where an explosion of ammonium nitrate one year ago also injured 200 people and leveled part of this tiny city. They spoke before a packed room of local officials and residents a few miles from where the plant once stood. Experts say the patchwork of federal, state and local regulations still needs to be improved. They say volunteer firefighters are still given conflicting guidance and not enough training on whether to fight a fire with ammonium nitrate and when to retreat.
Cleanup from Texas Bay Spill Could End This Week
TEXAS CITY (AP) The Coast Guard says the cleanup of last month’s oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel is almost finished. Seawolf Park and East Beach in Galveston reopened last week as well as the last two miles of the Texas City dike. All had been closed during the cleanup that continues south of Matagorda Island.
Texas Gov. Perry Challenges Cuomo on Business
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Texas Governor Rick Perry is countering Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest initiative to lure businesses from out of state with a renewed bid to snag jobs from New York, a tactic he’s tried from coast to coast. Perry, a Republican, is slated to be in New York City on Wednesday to meet business owners to convince them to move their operations to Texas, where he says the business climate is friendlier. Perry would not detail how many business meetings he has or with whom. Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, which allows businesses that locate near college campuses to operate tax-free for 10 years, has had commercials playing in Texas. Perry made a similar trip to New York last June.
Port Arthur Man Convicted of Killing Wife in Waco
WACO (AP) A Southeast Texas man who met his wife as a pen pal while he was in prison has been convicted of killing her in front of her child. Prosecutors in Waco are seeking the death penalty in the punishment phase that began Tuesday for Carnell Petetan Jr. of Port Arthur. Prosecutors say Petetan served nearly 20 years in prison for attempted murder. He met the victim as a pen pal and the couple wed in 2010. The September 2012 slaying happened several months after Petetan’s release.
Drilling Rig Accident in West Texas Leaves One Dead
RANKIN (AP) Officials say an equipment-related drilling rig accident in West Texas has left an oilfield worker dead. The Upton County Sheriff’s Office on did not immediately release the name of the man who died. Investigators say the accident happened at a site about 25 miles north of Rankin. Chief Deputy Jason Hazlewood says nobody else was hurt. The victim was dead at the scene. Further details weren’t immediately available.
Widow Wants Suburban Mayor’s Death Probe Reopened
SAN ANTONIO (AP) The widow of a South Texas mayor whose death police blamed on an aggressive donkey wants his body exhumed and an inquest performed in his death. The Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office had said the death of Hollywood Park Mayor William “Bill” Bohlke was apparently accidental, blaming it on the 500-pound stud donkey. However, Toni Bohlke says she suspects her 65-year-old husband’s death was a homicide and wants an autopsy performed on his body. Bohlke was a retired Air Force pilot and was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Hospital. State District Judge Laura Salinas has agreed to order the exhumation, but an Atascosa County justice of the peace must still order an inquest before the body can be exhumed.
Texan Arrested in Dog Fighting Probe
MONTGOMERY, ALA. (AP) A Texas man is among four of the 14 people arrested in a multi-state dog fighting investigation who have filed court papers saying they want to plead guilty. DeMontt Allen of Houston, Texas, Lawrence Watford of Adel, Ga., William Oneil Edwards of Elba, Ala., say they want to change their pleas to guilty. Another defendant, Irkis Forrest of Theodore, Ala., wants to plead guilty to one count. The defendants are accused of participating in or providing dogs for high-stakes fights in east Alabama.
Jury Ponders Ex-Pitcher’s Police Brutality Suit
HOUSTON (AP) A jury is to continue deliberating a former Houston Astros pitcher’s multimillion-dollar brutality lawsuit against Galveston police officers who beat him in 2008. Deliberations continue today in the lawsuit filed by Brandon Backe, who contends the beating ended his baseball career. The federal jury deliberated several hours Tuesday in Houston before recessing. Backe seeks up to $15 million in damages for injuries he says left him with limited use his pitching arm. He says he and others were beaten during a wedding party at an outdoor bar. Police contend the allegations are exaggerated and that any force used was justified.
Powers Critics Donate to 2 Hall Committee Members
AUSTIN (AP) Critics of University of Texas President Bill Powers (pictured) have made donations to the campaigns of two members of a legislative committee that’s investigating an anti-Powers UT System regent. The San Antonio Express-News reports campaign finance reports show campaign contributions from Powers critic Jeff Sandefer and Empower Texans PAC, a political action committee of Powers critic Michael Quinn Sullivan. The contributions went to state Reps. Charles Perry and Dan Flynn, two Republican members of the House Select Committee on Transparency in State Operations. Flynn is co-chairman of the eight-member committee. The committee is scheduled to meet Thursday in Austin and is about to take up a report that accuses UT System regent Wallace Hall of possibly criminal misconduct in his campaign to depose Powers.
Eminem, Outkast to Headline Austin City Limits
NEW YORK (AP) Eminem and Outkast are headlining another music festival. The rap acts will perform at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October in Austin, Texas. Pearl Jam, Skrillex, Beck and Lorde will also take the stage at the 13th annual festival in Zilker Park. Lana Del Rey, Calvin Harris, Foster the People, Broken Bells, The Replacements, Iggy Azalea, the Avett Brothers and Zedd are also slated to perform. The three-day event will feature eight stages. It will take place over two weekends, kicking off October 3 and October 10. Three-day passes are $225. Single-day tickets will go on sale at a later date.