New School Superintendent for TISD
TYLER – Tyler school trustees have unanimously named Dr. Marty Lane Crawford as the lone finalist for the District’s superintendent position. The announcement was made at last night’s monthly board meeting. The District is required to wait 21 days before officially hiring Dr. Crawford. “I am honored to be named the lone finalist for the superintendent position at Tyler ISD,” Dr. Crawford said. “I am excited to work with the District’s students, faculty and staff to meet and exceed our goals. Together we will be able to continue moving forward in achieving academic excellence.” Read more …
Texas Doctor Convicted of Health Care Fraud Violations
TYLER — A Dallas County physician has been convicted of 15 counts of health care fraud violations in East Texas. Tariq Mahmood, 63, of Cedar Hill, Texas, was found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud, and seven counts of aggravated identity theft following a four day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider. Mahmood faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the conspiracy conviction and two years for each aggravated identity theft conviction. A sentencing date has not been set. Read more …
Quitman Police Investigating Deaths of Young Children
QUITMAN — The Quitman Police Department confirmed it is investigating the deaths of two young children. Authorities were called shortly before noon Thursday. A man told them that two young children were not breathing and would not wake up. The two girls are said to be about two and three. According to KETK, Police Chief Kelly Cole said more information will not be released before 10:00 this morning, but homicide has not been ruled out.
Daycare Worker Fired; State Officials Are Investigating
LONGVIEW — A Longview church has fired a daycare worker, after church officials say she hit a child with a shoe. The Longview News-Journal report a state investigation is now in place at Oakland Heights Baptist Church. The church’s childcare center fired the employee in June. Afterwards the church notified state officials about the incident. The Worker reportedly hit the child with a shoe as punishment for taking his shoes off.
UT Players Arrested in Sex Case; One Is from Athens
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – Two University of Texas football players, including an East Texan, have been arrested and charged with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month. Wide receivers Kendall Sanders, who is from Athens, and Montrel Meander have been released from the university police station. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanders (pictured) and Meander texted each other during earlier interviews with police to “get their story straight.” Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography tied to the alleged assault on June 21. First-year Longhorns coach Charlie Strong, who will welcome his team to preseason training camp in two weeks, said he had suspended both players.
Date Set for Inmate’s Death Trial
GREGG COUNTY — A trial date is set in federal court for a lawsuit in which a mother claims her son died because he was denied his prescription drugs while an inmate at the Gregg County Jail. According to the Longview News-Journal, jury selection is Feb. 9 in Marshall. Betty Madewell seeks unspecified monetary damages in the March 2013 death of her 51-year-old son, Bobby Joe Madewell Jr. Betty Madewell claims the county denied her son prescriptions for Xanax and hydrocodone. The county, which has since amended its jail drug policy to be wider, denies Madewell’s claims. Read more …
Stepdad Gets 60 Years in Sexual Abuse of Three Girls
HENDERSON — A man convicted of sexually abusing his three stepdaughters has been sentenced to 60 years in prison with no parole. According to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Barney Samuel Bradshaw, 35, was arrested in September 2013 for aggravated sexual assault after it was learned he was abusing his three children under the age of 14. KETK reports the sentencing was handed down after four hours of deliberation. Family members said they plan to appeal the conviction.
Boil Water Notice Issued for Area East of Tyler
SMITH COUNTY — Due to power outages in the Tyler area, the Texas Commission on Environment Quality has ordered Jackson Water Supply to issue a boil water notice. KETK reports the notice affects the area north of FM 850, but not inclusive of FM 850. The road is located in the Jackson and Chapel Hill area. The public will be updated when it is no longer necessary to boil. If you have questions concerning this matter, please call Jackson Water Supply at 903-566-1320 or 903-343-9713.
East Texas Lawmaker Seeks Ruling on Historical Racing
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – An East Texas lawmaker is asking the attorney general to weigh in on whether a state commission has the authority to allow a new form of betting called historical racing. Republican State Rep. Dan Flynn of Van is requesting a review of devices that are like slot machines and allow people to bet on horse and dog races that have already happened. Race track owners have asked the Texas Racing Commission to allow the machines as a way to help their struggling industry. They say it’s another form of legal betting. The public still has several days to comment and the commission could vote as early as next month. But Flynn says it amounts to an expansion of gambling and would require a two-thirds vote from lawmakers and approval from voters.
Groundbreaking Surgery at Mother Frances
TYLER – Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics became the first health system between Tyler and the Metroplex to perform a single-site (incision) laparoscopic gynecological surgery in East Texas when Dr. Daren Yeager successfully completed the procedure July 22 at Mother Frances Hospital Tyler. That’s according to a Trinity Mother Frances news release. Read more …
Promotions at Kilgore College
KILGORE – The new Vice President of Institutional Planning at Kilgore College will be Staci Martin. Starting August first, she will take over for Dr. Mike Turpin who was named Vice President of Instruction June 1. “I look forward to taking on this new challenge and working together with KC’s administration, faculty and staff as we strive together to provide high quality educational opportunities and services that promote student success,” Martin said. Read more …
No Texas Changes in Execution Procedure
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Texas prison officials say they plan no changes in lethal injection procedures in the wake of problems with an execution in Arizona. Unlike Arizona, which used a two-drug protocol of midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone for an execution Wednesday that took two hours, Texas uses a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark says the agency has used the single drug since 2012 for 33 executions without complication. At least 10 Texas inmates have execution dates scheduled in the coming months.
US Data Show States Getting Most Immigrant Kids
SANTA ANA, CALIF. (AP) — New federal data show Texas, New York, Florida and California are receiving the most unaccompanied children caught at the U.S. border. The data published Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families show those four states account for 46 percent of the more than 30,000 children who have been released to sponsors this year through July 7. The U.S. has been grappling with a surge in the number of unaccompanied children who have been fleeing violence in Central America and crossing into the U.S. because they believe they will be allowed to stay. Children are placed in government shelters and then released to sponsors while they go through deportation proceedings. In many cases, the sponsors are the children’s parents, other relatives, or a family friend.
Tales of Foster Care Abuse Sound ‘Like Prison’
AUSTIN (AP) — A legislative committee looking to improve the state’s foster care system is hearing from Texans who told lawmakers of abuse and trauma in the foster homes where they grew up. Some choked back tears Thursday during emotional testimony before the Texas House Select Committee on Child Protection. Committee Chairwoman Dawnna Dukes even said what she heard sounded “like prison.” The state’s 17,000-child foster system has been under scrutiny since seven children died of abuse or neglect in fiscal year 2013. This year, only one such youngster has died. But officials are investigating the July 6 drowning in Lake Georgetown of two siblings in foster care, ages 4 and 6. A recent review found child protective caseworkers only spend 26 percent of their job meeting with youngsters and families.
Exoneration Hearing Set for Convicted Rapist
DALLAS (AP) — A North Dallas prosecutor is going to court to seek exoneration of a man who served 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to raping a 16-year-old girl. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins will ask a state district judge on today to exonerate Michael Phillips because DNA tests identified another man as the culprit. Phillips, who’s black, has said he pleaded guilty in 1990 to raping the white teen at the advice of his attorney, who warned against putting his fate in the hands of a jury. Watkins says the tests identified another man as the culprit, but a Watkins spokeswoman says the statute of limitations allows him to remain free.
Texas Inmate Charged with Murder for 2004 Death
HOUSTON (AP) — Harris County authorities say a Texas inmate has confessed to killing a man 10 years ago. Sheriff’s officials say Thursday that Allan Eugene was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Richard Sepulveda in 2004. The two men had been arguing over a parking spot in southwest Houston. Sepulveda was 44. Officials say Eugene, 32, confessed after the investigation was reopened in 2013. Eugene was identified as a suspect during the initial investigation but wasn’t charged. Eugene is currently an inmate at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville for aggravated assault and possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver. Officials say he was scheduled to be released in April but will be transferred to Harris County Jail.
Houston Man Charged in Woman’s Death, Body Burned
PASADENA (AP) — A Houston man has been charged with killing a 25-year-old woman whose burned body was found in a Pasadena field. Harris County jail records show Jose Valentin Noriega, 37, was being held Thursday on a murder charge. His bond was set at $70,000. Police say Noriega was booked Wednesday over the death of Rocio Montoya. He body was discovered Monday by firefighters responding to a blaze. A medical examiner lists the cause of death as strangulation with blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators did not immediately release a possible motive in the slaying.
Ex-Top Staffer to South Texas Sheriff gets Prison
McALLEN (AP) — The former chief of staff to former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino has been sentenced to 11 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to failing to report a crime. A federal judge in McAllen sentenced Maria Patricia Medina on Thursday. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa also fined her $2,000. The 40-year-old Medina could have been sentenced to up to three years in prison for her April 11 guilty plea. Prosecutors say Trevino received cash donations from a suspected drug trafficker in 2011 and 2012. Medina, as chief of staff and campaign treasurer, admitted helping Trevino conceal the donations by falsifying election records. Trevino was sentenced to five years in prison July 17 after pleading guilty to money laundering. He resigned as sheriff March 28.
About 200 Dogs, Cats Seized from North Texas Shelter
WOLFE CITY (AP) — About 200 dogs and cats have been seized from a North Texas animal shelter amid allegations of neglect. A judge in Greenville will consider whether the animals should be returned to the no-kill Frank Barchard Memorial Shelter in Wolfe City. Shelter president Jody McIntier denies the allegations and seeks to have the animals returned. Officials with the Texas SPCA and Hunt County on Wednesday removed the animals, saying some were sick, lacked clean water and were in poor housing. The removal came following a July 16 visit by SPCA inspectors. The dogs and cats have been transported to a shelter in McKinney for evaluation, pending the July 31 custody hearing. Wolfe City is 60 miles northeast of Dallas.
Five Wichita Falls Workers Stung by Swarm of Bees
WICHITA FALLS (AP) — A North Texas street department worker has been stung about 1,000 times by aggressive bees that also attacked two co-workers who tried to help him. Wichita Falls officials blamed Thursday’s attack on Africanized honey bees. Spokesman Barry Levy says a swarm attacked a worker mowing grass along culverts near the Weeks Park Tennis Center. He says the man was hospitalized in good condition. Levy says two co-workers also were stung when they came to the man’s aid. One was also hospitalized in good condition, while the other was treated and discharged. One worker fled into a nearby tennis center, bringing the swarm with him. The center, a nearby trail and part of a golf course remain closed until personnel confirm the bees are gone.
Knoblauch Charged with Assaulting Ex-Wife
HOUSTON (AP) — Former baseball star Chuck Knoblauch has been charged with misdemeanor assault after authorities in Houston say he hit and pushed his ex-wife. Knoblauch has been released on $10,000 bond. His first court date is set for July 30. The four-time All-Star previously served a year of probation after being convicted of hitting his previous wife in 2010. Knoblauch played for the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals during a 12-year career. He was set to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in August. The Twins issued a statement Thursday saying that “in light of recent news reports surrounding Chuck Knoblauch, as well as direct communication” with Knoblauch, they have decided to cancel the August 23 ceremony.
Formerly Conjoined Twins Celebrate First Birthday
DALLAS (AP) — Formerly conjoined twin boys celebrated their first birthday with those who helped care for them at the Dallas hospital where they were separated. Emmett and Owen Ezell returned to Medical City Children’s Hospital for their celebration Thursday. The boys, who turned 1 last week, were separated at the hospital last August, about a month after their birth. The twins, who shared a liver and intestines when born, left the hospital for inpatient rehabilitation in April and finally were able to go home in June. The boys now breathe on their own but still rely on feeding tubes. Their mother, Jenni Ezell, says Owen is about to start crawling, and she thinks Emmett will soon be doing likewise.
AAA: Texas Retail Gasoline Prices Slip 4 Cents
IRVING (AP) — Texas and nationwide retail gasoline prices have slipped 4 cents this week amid lower crude oil costs. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide settled at $3.41 per gallon. Motorists across the U.S. are paying an average $3.55 per gallon. The association survey found Amarillo has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at $3.32 per gallon. Drivers in El Paso have the most expensive gasoline in Texas at $3.49 per gallon. AAA experts say retail prices at the pump have continued to move lower due primarily to lower crude oil costs as global geopolitical tensions stabilize
Charles Schwab to Add 1,200 Jobs in Texas
AUSTIN (AP) — Charles Schwab Corp. is getting nearly $6 million in incentives from Texas to open an El Paso operations center and increase its presence in Austin, creating more than 1,200 jobs. Governor Rick Perry announced Thursday that the financial services company’s Austin expansion will create 823 jobs and should generate $210 million in capital investment over the next decade. The governor’s signature Texas Enterprise Fund offered $4.5 million to seal the deal. San Francisco-based Charles Schwab’s El Paso operations should generate 445 jobs and $21.5 million in capital investment over 10 years, in exchange for $1.45 million in state funds. The fund attracts top job-creators to Texas. Some legislators have worried about a lack of transparency, but Perry says it’s invested nearly $560 million and generated 75,000 jobs since 2003.