More Details Released on Hawkins Official Oppression Case
HAWKINS (AP/Staff) – A newly elected East Texas mayor has been accused of threatening to ticket and fine a woman $500 daily in a messy yard dispute. Hawkins Mayor William Rogers was arrested Monday on a misdemeanor official oppression charge and freed on $1,000 bond. Fire Marshal Eileen Frazier says the mayor is not authorized to write tickets or issue fines. An arrest affidavit says Rogers stopped at a house July 10 and told resident Candy Palmertree she must clean up her yard or he would ticket and fine her. Code enforcement officials later said the grass did not violate city rules. Read more …
Man Allegedly Sets Girlfriend on Fire
LONGVIEW — An East Texas man has been arrested for allegedly setting his girlfriend on fire. KETK reports that around 3:00 Saturday afternoon, Longview officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Hope Drive after receiving a call from the victim’s mother. Police later arrested Cannon Ebarb, 36, of Longview. Ebarb is accused of dousing the 53-year-old woman with lighter fluid and setting her ablaze with a lighter. She suffered burns to her face and body. The victim’s current condition is unknown. Longview Public Information Officer Kristie Brian said officials filed an emergency protective order against Ebarb. The suspect was booked into the Gregg County Jail on aggravated assault and failure to identify. His bail was set at $100,500.
Winona Mayor Resigns
WINONA — The mayor of Winona, Dede Stroud, has resigned from her position after less than three months in office. Officials tell KETK Stroud met with a city council member on Monday and handed the council member a short letter of resignation along with her city hall keys and iPad issued to her by the city. Mayor Pro Tem Earl Brown will fill Stroud’s spot until further notice. Stroud was elected May 10, 2014, defeating incumbent Rusty Smith by 81 votes. Since September 2013, Winona has racked up a debt of over $350,000, according to the city’s financial audit. Officials have also confirmed there will be a special council meeting held Thursday evening at 6:30 concerning the abrupt resignation and the future of the city.
Police: Suspect Identified in Counterfeit Money Case
TYLER — Police in Tyler say a suspect has been identified in a counterfeit money case thanks to the help of the public and their tips. Investigators will be following up with the information provided and the investigation is ongoing, police say. Further details will be made available upon completion of the case, according to officials. Tuesday morning, police asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. On Thursday, officers responded to Dairy Queen and Family Dollar, located on Gentry Parkway, in reference to a female suspect passing counterfeit $50 bills.
Fair Plaza Garage Officially Opens
TYLER — Wednesday’s ribbon cutting has officially opened the Fair Plaza Parking Garage at 208 South College Ave. in Tyler. “The garage will be an integral part of the entry point into downtown,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. “We are particularly pleased that the façade will be in keeping with the look, history and feel of our downtown.” The garage’s exterior design incorporates architectural elements from the Blackstone Hotel, Tyler Commercial College, the clock tower from the historic Smith County Courthouse, and other former landmark buildings. Read more …
Rabid Bat Found in Longview
LONGVIEW — A bat captured in Longview has tested positive for rabies, as confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The bat was captured at Penwood Apartments on Thursday, July 24. It is not believed that any residents had exposure to the bat. This is the first positive rabies case in the City of Longview this year. We believe this was an isolated incident at the apartment complex; however, we are working closely with the management of the apartment complex to take all precautionary measures and inform the other residents. The apartment complex has hired a company that specializes in bat removal, and they have temporarily relocated the residents of the apartment unit involved,” said the Environmental Health Farrar, Buck Farrar. Read more …
Authorities Continue to Investigate Longview Man’s Death
LONGVIEW – Gregg County deputies are continuing to investigate the death of a Longview man. According to KETK, preliminary autopsy results ruled out foul play as a factor in the death of Donald Merrills, 40. His body was found just after 6:00 Monday evening outside a residence on Rebecca Circle near his home. The Sheriff’s Department says Merrills is known to have had mental issues. He was found wearing multiple layers of clothing and a fleece lined coat. Toxicology results are pending.
New Law Speeds Closure of Troubled Charter Schools
AUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — The number of troubled charter schools that are forced to close is accelerating because of a new state law that makes it easier to shutter poorly performing ones. The Texas Education Agency has revoked the license of five charter schools since February. The Dallas Morning News reports that three others, including Tyler’s Azleway Charter School and one co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, have appeals pending. If the three appeals are unsuccessful, it would result in the most revocations of a charter’s license in a single year. A recent ruling by a state appeals court determined the TEA can still revoke the license of a school while court action is pending. The law enacted last year requires the TEA to close charters after three consecutive years of poor academic or financial performance.
Texas Deputy Injured in Fatal Shooting of Suspect
BLOOMBURG (AP) — An East Texas sheriff’s deputy was trying to serve assault warrants issued more than 500 miles away in Ward County when he fatally shot the suspect. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday said Deputy Johnny Bailey continues to recover from minor injuries suffered in the incident near Bloomburg. Cass County Chief Deputy Roy Barker says Bailey was treated for unspecified injuries following Sunday’s shooting that left Charles Alver Jones Jr. dead. Autopsy results are pending. Jones was from the Bloomburg area. Read more …
Ventura Passage to Be Cut from Book
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Publisher HarperCollins says it will remove a passage from best-seller “American Sniper” that sparked former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s defamation lawsuit against book author Chris Kyle. A federal jury in St. Paul awarded Ventura $1.8 million in damages on Tuesday, finding that a section of the book defamed Ventura. Kyle, a former Navy SEAL regarded as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, wrote that he decked Ventura at a California bar in 2006 after Ventura made offensive comments about SEALs. Ventura testified the confrontation never happened. HarperCollins spokeswoman Erin Crum told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the passage will be removed. Kyle was slain at a Texas gun range last year.
Texas AG: Gay-Marriage Ban in State’s Interest
AUSTIN (AP) — Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office is arguing that the U.S. Constitution allows Texas to ban same-sex marriage to promote the birth of children in “stable, lasting relationships.” Abbott’s office filed a brief Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia declared the state law unconstitutional in February, but allowed Texas to keep enforcing its ban pending an appeal. Abbott’s office said Monday that the case wasn’t about whether Texas should allow gay marriage, but “about the question of who decides.” It said Texas voters approved the referendum by large margins and deserved to decide whether to keep it. It also argued that Texas has an interest in promoting opposite-sex marriages and reducing “societal costs.”
Poll: Immigration Concerns Rise with Tide of Kids
McALLEN (AP) — A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds two-thirds of Americans now say illegal immigration is a serious problem for the country, a figure that’s up 14 points since May. 51% of Americans support changing U.S. law so that all children apprehended when entering the country illegally are treated the same as those from Mexico or Canada, who can be sent back to their home countries by Border Patrol agents without going through a deportation hearing. More than 57,000 unaccompanied immigrant children have entered the U.S. illegally since October, drawing the nation’s attention back to immigration. Attempts last year and earlier this year to pass comprehensive immigration reform foundered. But a majority of Americans still say they support a path to citizenship for those already living in the U.S. illegally.
Perry: NH Should Be Embarrassed by Shaheen
BOSTON (AP) — Texas Governor Rick Perry says New Hampshire voters should be embarrassed by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s record on border security. The Republican governor weighed in on New Hampshire’s Senate race on Tuesday in a conference call with reporters. Shaheen will likely face former Republican Senator Scott Brown in a re-election test this fall. Perry has become a leading Republican voice in the immigration debate as he considers another run for president. The issue has emerged in elections nationwide as Central American children seek refuge at the border. Perry charges that Shaheen has jeopardized New Hampshire citizens by not supporting stronger measures to secure the Mexican border. The state Democratic Party calls the Republican attacks desperate. Democrats note that Shaheen supported a comprehensive immigration bill that increased funding for border security.
US Border Patrol Rescues 2 Men from Texas Heat
EDINBURG (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol says its agents have rescued two men near the Texas border who were in danger because of extreme heat. Agents say that last Thursday they rescued a man who was abandoned by a human smuggler and got lost in the brush near La Grulla. He called 911 and Starr County dispatchers told agents where to find him. They dropped water and took him to another location to be treated for dehydration. On Monday, 911 dispatchers in Brooks County told agents where to find a man who was in distress. Agents used a search-and-rescue K-9 to find the man, who was severely dehydrated. Border patrol agents say that since October 1, agents from the Rio Valley Grande Sector have rescued more than 300 people who had medical issues while trying to cross the border.
US Bars Kurdish Oil from Entering Texas Port
FORT WORTH (AP) — A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered the seizure of a vessel carrying about 1 million barrels of Kurdish crude oil about 60 miles off the Galveston coast. The order follows a complaint filed by the Iraqi government, claiming the oil was smuggled out of Kurdistan without its permission. The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have squabbled over oil rights for years. Amid a Sunni military offensive in Iraq, the Kurds have pushed into disputed territories including the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, fueling a decades-old dream of independence. An Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman says the government welcomes the judge’s order. The U.S. has discouraged companies from buying oil directly from the Kurds In an effort to support Iraq’s fragile central government.