ETMC EMS to Drop Upshur County Service in March
TYLER — Beginning March 1, 2015, ETMC EMS will no longer offer ambulance service in Upshur County. The information comes in a brief news release from ETMC. “For many years, ETMC has been able to provide ambulance service in many communities for free or for a small fee. With the changes in reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, we can no longer afford to provide this service,” said Neal Franklin, general manager, ETMC EMS. ETMC EMS has enjoyed its years of service to the residents of Upshur County and will assist during the transition to a new EMS provider, according to the release. ETMC didn’t immediately say what the transition might entail.
City of Tyler Sex Offender Compliance Check
TYLER — The Tyler Police Department reports a clean slate after conducting its annual city-wide sex offender compliance check November 20 with the assistance of officers from multiple law enforcement agencies. Officers were charged with checking on 147 registered sex offenders who are registered with the city of Tyler. Officers showed up unannounced at the offenders’ addresses to confirm their whereabouts and correct addresses. Upon completion of the check all 147 sex offenders were found to be in compliance with their registration requirements, according to a news release. Read more …
Police: Man Jailed after Punching, Head Butting Security Officer
LONGVIEW — A Longview man is being held in the Gregg County Jail after police say he punched and head butted a security officer at the Lodge Sports Bar. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report James Dillon Loving, 21, remains jailed on $7,500 bond, charged with assault on a security officer, a felony. He was arrested just before midnight Saturday when Longview police responded to a fight in progress at the Lodge in the 500 block of North Spur 63. Read more …
Teen Arrested in Mail Carrier’s Shooting
LUFKIN — A teen has been taken into custody for the weekend shooting of a Lufkin postal worker. On Tuesday Lufkin Police Department detectives, with cooperation from the United States Postal Inspection Service, obtained a warrant for the arrest of Jaylon Carroll Wortham, 17. According to KETK, Wortham is charged with assault causing bodily injury against a government contractor/employee. The LPD detectives sought the warrant following a combined LPD/USPIS investigation into a November 22 assault incident in which Wortham alegedly caused bodily injury to Lindsey Guthery, a mail carrier employed by the United Stated Postal Service. Read more …
Tyler Man Named To Ag Commissioner-Elect’s Transition Team
AUSTIN – A Smith County man is one of 11 persons being named to Agriculture Commissioner-elect Sid Miller’s transition team. One of the members of the team is Pierre De Wet of Tyler, agricultural entrepreneur and President & Founder of Kiepersol Enterprises. Miller said De Wet and other members of the team will be working with him to ensure the TDA is focused on the many critical issues facing Texas including our state’s long-term water needs, strengthening and promoting the state’s equine industry, and protecting consumer safety. Read more …
Williams Names Board of Managers for Revoked Charter
AUSTIN – Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams Tuesday announced his appointments to a three-member board of managers in the case of a soon-to-close charter school that includes an East Texas campus. That’s according to a news release from the Texas Education Agency. According to the release, the situation involves the liquidation of assets and other specific issues related to the revocation and closure of Honors Academy and the seven campuses operating under the charter as public, accredited schools. The charter revocation – which became effective June 30, 2014 – affects the following Honors Academy campuses (in these communities): Branch Park Academy (Farmers Branch); Creekview Academy (Killeen); Landmark School (also known as Leadership Academy – Palestine); Legacy Park Preparatory (Kaufman); Pinnacle Academy of Fine Arts (Fort Worth); Quest Academy (Dallas); and Wilmer Academy (Wilmer). Read more …
Peterson Weighs In on Ferguson Case
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has sparked anger after appearing to compare his child abuse charges to the situation unfolding in Ferguson. Peterson pleaded no contest in a Conroe courtroom to a misdemeanor assault charge following his arrest for disciplining his four-year-old son with a switch. Now he’s taken to Twitter with, “The grand jury decided not to indict me too! But that changed a week later! Maybe, but not likely in this case.” One follower tweeted, “Not the same thing — let it ride.” The Palestine native followed with yet another tweet an hour later: “My heart goes out to Mike Brown’s family! My thoughts & prayers are with you!” The NFL has suspended Peterson without pay for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Methvin Street Closure Shifts as Work Progresses
LONGVIEW — Methvin Street between Green Street and Fredonia Street in Longview will be reopened to traffic by the end of the day Wednesday, November 26, according to a city news release. This completes Phase 1 of the Methvin Street Improvement Project. However, on Friday, November 28, Methvin Street will close to traffic between High and Center. This will begin Phase 2 of the proposed Methvin Street Improvements. Construction should last approximately four months, according to officials. Read more …
Coal-Fired Plant Proposal Could Affect East Texas
FORT WORTH — Coal-fired plant operators in Texas could be writing some big checks, and East Texas could see the results. Under a federal proposal, the operators of the eight biggest such plants would spend two billion dollars to retrofit 15 units to reduce air pollution. Tom “Smitty” Smith with Public Citizen welcomes this. Smith says, “It will improve our public health, and many of the sort of hazy days that now cloud our skies over the Dallas-Fort Worth or Tyler area will come to an end.” He says it would make much more sense to scrap the old coal plants and go with another form of energy like natural gas or renewables.
Man Dies in Balch Springs Police Custody
BALCH SPRINGS (AP) – A 30-year-old man arrested after he allegedly caused a disturbance at a Dallas-area apartment has died in police custody. The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department will investigate Tuesday’s death of Eric Ricks. An autopsy has been ordered. Balch Spring police were summoned to an apartment by a woman who reported a man was causing a disturbance. Police say officers repeatedly asked Ricks to leave but he refused and became violent. Balch Springs police used a Taser to subdue Ricks and called for additional help from Dallas officers. Ricks was transported to jail but later appeared to slump over. He died at a hospital.
Texas Protests Against Missouri Grand Jury Decision
DALLAS (AP) — Seven people have been arrested while blocking part of a Dallas highway to protest a white Missouri police officer not charged in the fatal shooting of a black man. Dallas police say nobody was hurt in the demonstrations that ended early Wednesday. A police statement says protests that began Tuesday night were mainly peaceful. Interstate 35 in downtown Dallas was briefly closed in both directions when some demonstrators walked on the highway. Police say seven people who refused to leave were charged with misdemeanor obstructing a highway or other passageway. A grand jury near St. Louis this week declined to indict an officer in the August fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Read more …
Texas Death Row Inmate Reed Execution Delayed
BASTROP (AP) – A judge has declined to approve additional DNA testing of evidence in the case of Texas death row inmate Rodney Reed. Judge Doug Shaver on Tuesday delayed Reed’s scheduled execution from Jan. 14 to March 5. Officials await results from other DNA testing of evidence that was approved last summer. Reed was condemned for the 1996 slaying of a Bastrop County resident, Stacey Stites. Her body was found dumped along a road. Reed’s 1998 conviction hinged largely on the fact that his semen was found on the victim’s body. Attorneys for the Innocence Project have pushed for DNA testing of additional evidence. Prosecutors say requests for expanded testing could have been submitted sooner and maintain it’s just an attempt to delay Reed’s execution.
High Court to Review EPA Mercury Limits
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is stepping into a new case about Obama administration environmental rules, agreeing to review a ruling that upholds emission standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The justices on Tuesday said they would hear arguments from industry groups and states that are challenging Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to clean up chromium, arsenic, acid gases, nickel, cadmium as well as mercury and other dangerous toxins. Texas is among those states mounting the legal challenge. The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld the rules in April. One judge on the appeals court complained then that the EPA didn’t consider costs in deciding whether regulation of hazardous air pollutants from power plants is appropriate.
Fired South Texas Jailer Charged in Smuggling Case
KERRVILLE (AP) – A fired South Texas jailer has been accused of helping smuggle alcohol, tobacco, a cellphone and drugs to inmates. The Kerr County Sheriff’s Office says Carl Birdwell Jr. was dismissed last January amid the investigation that led to organized crime counts filed this month. The Kerrville Daily Times reports the 22-year-old Birdwell was arrested Sunday and freed on $25,000 bond. He’s among 11 suspects, including several former inmates, who were indicted following a drug-related investigation that started in 2013. Officials say irregularities were discovered with the jail’s commissary funds and inmate cellphone calls. A message left with the sheriff’s office wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.
Thousands in Texas to Get Free Thanksgiving Meals
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Thousands of people across Texas who could use a helping hand will get free Thanksgiving meals due to volunteers and donations. The 35th annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner will be held tomorrow in San Antonio. Organizers expect about 25,000 senior citizens and other needy individuals to enjoy turkey, stuffing, green beans, yams and pumpkin pie. The event is held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The S.M. Wright Foundation will host a Thanksgiving Day meal for South Dallas residents and homeless individuals. The event at People’s Baptist Church in Dallas is expected to draw about 3,000 diners. Volunteers will also offer groceries. Food banks and pantries across Texas are also welcoming donations to help provide holiday meals.