Smith County Detention Officer Arrested
TYLER – At a news conference Friday afternoon, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith announced that Keenon Olison, a detention officer-jailer at the county’s Low Risk Jail facility, had been arrested Friday morning and terminated as a Sheriff’s Office employee. Olison is charged with multiple counts relating to possessing a controlled substance in a detention facility with intent to deliver that controlled substance to an inmate as well as delivery of contraband to inmates. Olison was originally hired at the Sheriff’s Office on May 20, 2012. Approximately six weeks ago, information was received by the Special Services Unit of the Sheriff’s Office that a detention officer was smuggling contraband and controlled substances into the Smith County Jail Low Risk Facility. Read more …
Holly Lake House Heavily Damaged in Afternoon Blaze
HOLLY LAKE RANCH — Several fire departments were called to a blaze that caused heavy damage to a house in the Holly Lake Ranch area. KETK reports the fire started just after 2:30 Saturday afternoon in the 120 block of Pinewood Cove. Crews had no immediate word on precise extent of damage, but no one was injured. The cause remains under investigation.
Fire Burns Down Smith County Home
NEW HARMONY — A blaze burned down a two-story home Friday morning in the New Harmony area of Smith County. According to the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, a woman and her daughter, who live in the home, were in the back yard moving items when they heard a smoke alarm beeping in the house. One of the residents opened the back door and noticed smoke was filling the house. KETK reports the home, located on the 5500 block of Twin Lakes Drive, was destroyed before firefighters could put out the flames. No injuries were reported. The fire started on the second floor, but the cause is unknown at this time, said investigators. Both residents were housed by other family members. Dixie, Lindale and Noonday Fire Departments responded to the scene.
Water Levels Up at Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine
TYLER — There are signs that we are recovering from the 2011 drought. KETK reports the water levels at Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine are the highest they’ve been in years. Lake Tyler is about 96% full and Lake Palestine is overflowing. It hasn’t been this high since April 2011. “We’re just finally compensating for that long drought we went through,” said District 3C Fisheries Manager Richard Ott. Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine’s main purpose is to produce water for the citizens of Tyler. And they’re places to spend time with the family, fishing, boating, and swimming. But since the drought, a lot of those fun activities were limited. “There for awhile you couldn’t even get a boat on Lake Tyler because the lake levels got so low the ramps didn’t extend all the way to the water,” said Ott.
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Shooting Investigated as Accidental
TYLER – Smith County officials are investigating an apparently accidental shooting that sent a man to the hospital. At 12:21 p.m. Friday, sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman at a residence on County Road 397 who reported that a man at that location had accidentally shot himself. According to a news release, Smith County Deputies and emergency personnel responded and found a man with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to a local hospital where he was reportedly undergoing surgery for his injuries. At this time, a preliminary investigation is underway to determine the exact cause and reason for the man’s injuries. Officials say other information will be released as it becomes available.
Beef Recall Reaches 35 States; Numerous East Texas Stores Affected
WASHINGTON — Tainted beef recalled earlier this year from a California meat producer may have reached reached 35 states and Guam — not just six states as previously believed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday. According to CNN and KETK, one of those states heavily affected is Texas. More than 900 Texas stores sold bad beef, including a number in East Texas. Thousands of retailers have been added to a list of companies that received beef products from the company, Rancho Feeding Corp., the USDA said. Read more …
Several Honored at Texas College Legacy Scholarship Fundraiser
TYLER — Honorees from near and far, including a legendary football coach, were recognized Friday night at Texas College’s annual Legacy Scholarship Fundraiser at Harvey Convention Center. According to the event’s program booklet, the college stages the yearly gala “in recognition of great support,” celebrating “individuals and organizations who have given unselfishly of themselves for a better Texas College and a better city of Tyler.” The fundraiser continued its tradition of adding a touch of Hollywood to the proceedings, welcoming back actor Marc Gomes as honorary host. Gomes also appeared last year, and previous Legacy events have featured movie star Danny Glover. Read more …
Woman Sues SMU after Alleged Rapist is Acquitted
DALLAS (AP) – A Southern Methodist University student who says she was raped on campus is suing both the school and her alleged attacker, seeking damages of more than $1 million. The Dallas Morning News reports the lawsuit comes after the student and her parents were sued by her alleged rapist, Donald Cuba, for defamation. Cuba, who is seeking $450,000 in damages, was acquitted of sexual assault last year. The student alleges SMU is liable because they knew of one prior attack by Cuba and that he was acquitted of the 2012 attack in part because of inadequate procedures within SMU’s disciplinary system. Both students say the process to address the allegation was flawed and they received little or conflicting information from university officials. The university declined to comment on pending litigation.
Bodies of Two Women Found in Galveston County ID’d
PORT BOLIVAR (AP) – Authorities have identified two women whose bodies were found near a garbage bin on the Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victims as Britney Cosby and Crystal Jackson, both 24 years old and from Houston. Their bodies were found near a store in Port Bolivar. Authorities believe the women were killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped near the bin. Investigators are still trying to determine how the women died. The Galveston County Medical Examiner’s Office is working to determine the cause of death. The bodies were discovered about 7:45 a.m. Friday. Authorities are looking for the victims’ vehicle, a silver 2006 Kia Sorento SUV with grey trim.
Fort Worth Diocese Settles in Abuse Case
FORT WORTH (AP) – The Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese has reached another settlement involving sexual abuse claims against a former priest who died in 1999. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The leader of the diocese, Bishop Michael Olson, said in a written statement Friday that he was deeply sorry for any sexual abuse and that such actions are “a sin and a crime.” James Reilly was pastor of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington from 1969 to 1987, when he retired. It wasn’t immediately known how many cases involving Reilly the diocese has settled. One Dallas lawyer said in June 2012 that 26 of her clients had settled claims against the former priest. Another person settled a case in April 2013.
One Dead in Houston House Fire
HOUSTON (AP) – Firefighters are investigating a fire at a north Houston home that claimed the life of a 69-year-old man. Authorities responded to the blaze about 11:35 p.m. Friday. At the scene, firefighters found flames coming out of the one-story home. The man, whose name was not immediately released, was found in the home’s bathroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Firefighters continue investigating the cause of the blaze, which might have started in the living room. On Thursday, a fire at a northeast Houston home killed three people.
Ex-South Texas School Trustee Convicted of Assault
CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – A former South Texas school board trustee has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexually assaulting a girl. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that Kingsville school board trustee Rudy Macareno was sentenced by a jury on Friday. Macareno had been convicted on Thursday of indecency with a child and aggravated sexual assault. Macareno was on trial for the 2010 assault of one girl, but three other girls testified they also had been victims. The four girls ranged in age from 7 to 17. Karen Griffith, Kingsville assistant superintendent for support services, says Macareno resigned from the school board Friday morning. The board will hold a special meeting March 14 to discuss what will happen with his position.
West Texas Police Close Probe on Found Fetus
EL PASO (AP) – West Texas authorities say they have closed their investigation into a fetus found last month in a park. The El Paso Times reports the medical examiner’s office determined the fetus was 17-weeks-old and was not capable of surviving. The fetus weighed 2.5 ounces, showed early signs of mummification and was buried in a local park. It was found Feb. 14 by an El Paso family walking their dog. Neither gender nor cause of death was determined. The mother has not been located. A police spokesman told the newspaper that officials closed the investigation because the fetus was determined to be non-viable. The fetus, named “Baby Socorro,” was given a funeral Thursday by the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.
Bones Found in Round Rock May Be Ancient Native American
ROUND ROCK (AP) – Authorities say human bones discovered this week by construction crews in Central Texas are almost certainly ancient remains of Native Americans. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Round Rock Police Cmdr. Alain Babin says an FBI anthropologist saw images of the bones and became “quite certain that they are ancient remains.” Anthropologists from Texas State University were set to go to the wooded area where roads for a new 225-home subdivision are being built. The area is known to locals as a good place to look for arrowheads. If ancient American Indian remains are found on private land, the landowner must either, preserve the site or have a professional, such as a licensed funeral director, a coroner or a professional archaeologist, remove them, according to state law.