KILGORE – A fire in Gregg County around noon Friday has left one person dead and two injured. It was reported just north of Kilgore on Rabbit Creek Drive. The injured are said to be hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Names have not been released. The cause of the fire, which destroyed a mobile home, is under investigation. We’ll have more information when it becomes available.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Medical experts say the pilot of a hot-air balloon that crashed in Central Texas, killing him and 15 others, had medical ailments and was prescribed numerous prescription drugs that should have prevented him from flying. The National Transportation Safety Board was told during a hearing Friday that it appears Alfred “Skip” Nichols was using at least 10 different drugs at the time the balloon hit power lines before crashing into a pasture July 30.
DALLAS (AP) — State officials have announced four more cases of Zika that are believed to have been transmitted in Texas, almost two weeks after announcing the first such case. That first case, announced November 28, was a woman who lives in Brownsville, a town located on the Mexico border. The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday that the new cases were identified in tests conducted after her infection was uncovered. Health officials are still investigating, but say the additional infections were likely also acquired in Brownsville, near her home. Health officials say the additional people were likely infected before mosquito control efforts intensified in the area.
HOUSTON (AP) — A man has been sentenced to four years in prison for setting fire to the mosque in Texas where he worshipped. Gary Nathaniel Moore was sentenced Friday in Houston after pleading guilty to arson and using a fire as a deadly weapon. Officials say surveillance video led investigators to the 38-year-old Moore. He was arrested several days after the December 25, 2015, fire that caused significant damage. Investigators have said there was no evidence of the fire being a hate crime against the Islamic Society of Greater Houston mosque. Officials say Moore had worshipped at the mosque daily for several years.
TOKYO (AP) — A U.S Marine Corps pilot who died after his jet fighter crashed off Japan has been identified as Capt. James E. Frederick of Corpus Christi, Texas. The 32-year-old pilot ejected from his F/A-18 during regular training Wednesday evening about 120 miles southeast of a Marine Corps airfield in Iwakuni in western Japan.
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — Investigators say a fourth suspect in a West Texas double slaying has been captured in Michigan. San Angelo police say 28-year-old Raymond Alvarado Jr. was arrested Thursday afternoon in Lansing, Michigan. Officials say a tip led officers to a residence in Lansing, where Alvarado was caught while leaving the home. Alvarado faces extradition to Texas over the September fatal shooting of two men at a home in San Angelo. Police haven’t released a possible motive for the killings.
LUBBOCK (AP) — A West Texas city is coming under scrutiny by the Freedom from Religion Foundation for a cross that sits in a public park. Staff attorney Sam Groves said Thursday that the Wisconsin-based organization wrote Spur officials in July after a resident contacted the foundation to complain. He says the cross on public land violates the Establishment Clause of the constitution’s First Amendment. The foundation has no problem with the cross, about 12 feet tall atop a hill in the park, if it’s on private land.
TYLER – The winners have been announced in this year’s Christmas parade in Tyler. Hosted by three sponsoring clubs, Rotary Club of Tyler, South Tyler Rotary, and Sunrise Rotary, the parade was held December 1st. This year’s theme was Serving Humanity. Winners were selected in six categories.
*Best Holiday Theme- Hospitality ER
*Best Band- Tyler Junior College
*Brightest Entry- Martin Marietta (Concrete Truck)
*Spirit Award- John Tyler High School Marching Band
*Most Creative-Salvation Army
*Best Decorated Vehicle-Crystal Clear Insurance
Over 100 groups and more than 2,000 persons took part in this year’s parade.
DALLAS (Staff/AP) – A former city manager in Tyler did not make the cut in Dallas. Some had thought Mark McDaniel had the inside track to be city manager in Dallas. McDaniel is currently Dallas’ assistant city manager. But Friday morning, Mayor Mike Rawlings announced they had selected T.C. Broadnax to replace A.C. Gonzales for the post. Broadnax is currently the city manager in Tacoma, Washington. Before going there, he was assistant city manager in San Antonio. McDaniel was the Tyler City Manager from 2008 to 2014. He started his new job in Dallas on September 2nd, 2014. The five finalists met with city officials this week. The public got to meet them Tuesday night. Then, at Friday’s called council meeting, the city council’s decision was announced. Broadnax faces a final city council vote on Wednesday.
LONGVIEW – Two persons are in custody in a Longview robbery which, was in part, an inside job. The robbery was reported shortly before 8:15 Thursday night on Mobberly Avenue. Officers were quickly able to find the suspect, Aaron Lamone Lydia, 18, of Longview. He still had the cash, store bag, and a receipt with the “victim’s” name on it inside a backpack. After further investigation, officers said the clerk who was suppose to be the victim, actually played a part in the robbery. Also arrested was 18 year-old Tameron Trenell Howard of Longview. … Read More
LONGVIEW – Through city council action, ride-share is coming to Longview. The Longview City Council paved the way for ride-share by unanimously amending its taxicab ordinance. A company called Fare had asked to come into Longview. City spokesman Shawn Hara told the Longview News Journal that Fare also has made inquiries in Tyler. Longview’s amended ordinance requires ride-share companies to hire third-party firms to conduct background checks on drivers. Those checks will be randomly double-checked by the Longview Police Department.
TYLER – Tyler’s Texas Spine & Joint Hospital has received special recognition. Representatives from Healthgrades presented the hospital Thursday with trophies for being national leaders in joint replacement and spine surgery. This makes five years in a row the hospital has been recognized for spine surgery and the 3rd year in a row it has been singled out for its joint replacement. At the presentation, Healthcare’s Kelsey Seaman said, “This award is not achieved by accident, and we commend Texas Spine and Joint Hospital for accomplishing it through your commitment to core values. In fact, we believe it is the application to your core values and quality principles that drove you to this success.”
LONGVIEW – A Longview man is arrested after police find more than candy in a candy bag. Corey Dion Chance, 39, was arrested by officers with the County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit. They were executing a search warrant at a room at the Palace Inn on East Marshall. In Chance’s room they found a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. In the bag they found a quantity of methamphetamine. Chance was been charged with possession of a controlled substance and booked into the Gregg County Jail.
TYLER – Complaints are coming in to Tyler Police of illegal gaming in the city. On Monday, undercover officers seized five illegal gambling machines from the Texaco Station at Paluxy and the Loop. Tyler police spokesman Don Martin says gambling, promoting gambling, possession of gambling devices and keeping a gambling place are illegal in Texas. He said officers will be investigating other locations to determine if their conduct, related to machines, is illegal and in violation of state gambling laws. He said they prefer voluntary compliance with the law. But, if need be, Tyler police will take action to see that businesses are in compliance. That may mean arrest and referring cases to the Smith County District Attorney.
COFFEE CITY – A lone gunman has robbed the Dollar General store in Coffee City. It occurred around 8:00 Tuesday night. He forced a clerk to close and lock the doors. He forced an employee to empty the cash register and the store’s safe. He then ordered the clerks into the office, made them unplug all of the electronic devices in the office, made them sit down, begin counting, and then left the store on foot. The suspect is described as a black male, about 5’9″ weighing around 170 pounds. He was dressed in a black hooded shirt, black pants, black shoes with a white strip on the outside near the heels, and white gloves. He also had a black mask covering his face.
TYLER – Smith County authorities have identified a suspect in the theft of some bows from the Smith County 4-H Club. He is Billy Bob Willingham III, 24, of Tyler. He is accused of taking 19 bows from a shed on County Road 41 in the northern part of the county. The theft occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend. They are valued at nearly $5,000. Five of them have been recovered from a pawn shop. Willingham has been named in a felony warrant for theft of property.
KILGORE – A 16 year old student had to be removed from a Kilgore school campus today. The student was removed from the high school campus after bringing an unloaded gun to school. Students at the school alerted administrators, who found the student and both the student and gun were removed from the campus without incident. According to the school district, at no point were any students in danger. The student been charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon in a gun-free zone and taken to the Gregg County Juvenile Center.
TYLER – A newly-formed partnership is bringing the nation’s top cancer care to East Texas. It was announced Thursday that UT Health Northeast and MD Anderson Cancer Center will officially launch the UT Health Northeast MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2017. This brings to East Texas access to MD Anderson’s multi-disciplinary care, treatment innovations, standards of care and clinical trials. The hospitals’ cancer programs will be clinically and operationally integrated. They join six other healthcare institutions across the United States and three facilities in Brazil, Spain and Turkey.… Read More
LONGVIEW – The execution of a narcotics search warrant in Longview has resulted in two arrests. the County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit and Longview Special Investigations and Apprehensions Unit, served the warrant at a home on South Martin Luther King Boulevard. In the house, officers seized 4.1 grams of crack cocaine. Jimmie Earl Smith (pictured), 47, has been charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, tamper/fabricate physical evidence w/intent to impair and a Class C misdemeanor warrant. George Alvin Watkins, 57, was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant and two class C misdemeanor warrants. Both men are Longview residents.
LONGVIEW – One robbery suspect is in custody and Longview police are looking for a second in a robbery earlier this week. The robbery occurred Monday night on San Augustine Lane. The victim said the suspects shined a flashlight in his eyes making it difficult to see, displayed a pistol and robbed him of his wallet, and other items, including several firearms. About an hour later, officers found the suspects’ vehicle on West Radio Street. In the car they found the items taken from the victim. Juan Jose Solis,18, of Longview, was arrested for Aggravated Robbery. The police continue to work to identify the second suspect.
TYLER – The word out of Alanta, Georgia is that Tyler Junior College has moved from being a level one institution of higher education to level two. The announcement came during the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges. Level II status means TJC has the same level of staff and procedures required of four-year institutions. School President Dr. Mike Metke says it means “Our professors, library services and financial standards all meet the same criteria required of colleges that award baccalaureate degree.” He says, this means everyone wins. “You can come to TJC and receive the same high quality education you’d get at a four-year college, but you’ll pay community college prices.”… Read More
WASKOM – One person has been killed and one injured in a one vehicle accident in Harrison County. Dead at the scene was Gabrielle Anastasia Barrett, 18, of Waskom. The pickup driver, Maximino Iniguez-Ulloa,21, of Karnack, is hospitalized. According to the Department of public safety, the pickup hydroplaned on a curve, left the road and hit a tree. The accident happened around 10:30 Tuesday night on Farm Road 134, about 6 1/2 miles south of Waskom.
LONGVIEW – A protest has caused the Longview Fire Department to remove a cross from in front of a fire station. The cross went up at Station 6 last year along with the Christmas lights. But after complaints, the cross has come down this year. Longview Spokesman Shawn Hara told KETK, “displays that are religious of nature that are placed on public property face challenges, so our practice is that we don’t do that.” But today, there is still a cross in front of the fire station. A family across the street from the fire station put one up. They said they did it to show that they appreciate what the fire department does for the community.
AUSTIN – The state comptroller’s office is sending out over $627 billion in local sales tax allocations. This is up slightly from December of last year. But some area cities will be getting less than a year ago. Tyler’s sales tax allocation for December is $3,004,127.71. This is down over 5.28% from a year ago. For the year, Tyler’s sales tax allocation is $39,141,185.50 or down 4.19% from the figure a year ago. Longview’s December sales tax allocation is $2,017,274.28 or down 11.11% from a year ago. For the year, Longview has received from the state $29,525,351.76. This is off $4.07% from a year ago.
TYLER – Some Tyler 9th graders signed up for a new program Tuesday night. It’s the TJC Promise Scholarship program, where the students can get two free years of college at Tyler Junior College. The Director of Counseling for TISD, Leigh Ann Barber, said the students who sign the pledge now must meet certain academic, attendance and community service standards throughout high school. The program is not just for TISD students. It’s also for students in the TJC taxing district. Besides Tyler, this includes Chapel Hill, Grand Saline, Lindale, Van and Winona.
TYLER – Following Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, the new Smith County Animal Control facility in downtown Tyler is now open to the public. You can go to the shelter, at 322 East Ferguson, to adopt a dog. Dogs were brought in from the old shelter on Tuesday. The new location was selected because it is in downtown Tyler, which is centrally located within the county. The old facility in Winona has room for up to 40 dogs. The new facility will quadruple the capability of Smith County Animal Control Services, making room for up to 169 dogs. … Read More
TYLER – Smith County Commissioners have adopted a resolution urging TxDot to make improvements to U.S. Highway 271. The county is asking for funds for safety improvements, re-striping and maybe even widening the road. Other area entities are expected to take similar action. The Longview Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Board members meet Wednesday. They begin a a 30-day public comment period on proposed revisions to the road’s improvement plans. The Longview city council will consider a resolution to speed up improvements to Highway 271 when it meets on Thursday. In Texas, Highway 271 runs from Tyler northward to the Red River.
LONGVIEW – The City of Longview Partners in Prevention’s Unity and Diversity Committee has announced its unity honorees. The lifetime achievement award pays homage to people who have demonstrated leadership in promoting harmony, understanding and social justice in the Longview area. The 2017 award winners are Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt and Evalonia Barrett-Bolton, a former trustee at Wiley College. The two will receive their awards at the Unity Honors Luncheon. It will be held in February at the Maude Cobb Convention Center. Also, two Special Recognition Awards will be presented at the luncheon. They will go to to Habitat for Humanity of Longview and MyView.
HAWKINS – One person has been killed and one injured in a one vehicle accident in northern Smith County. The accident happened just before 1:00 Monday afternoon on Farm Road 14, about 4 miles south of Hawkins. Killed was the driver, 68 year old Rita Schaaf of Holly Lake ranch. A passenger, 70 year old David Schaaf, of Holly Lake Ranch, is hospitalized in Tyler. According to the Department of Public Safety, Their car was heading north and tried to pass another vehicle. The driver lost control of the car, which hit a guardrail, and came to rest upside down in a creek bed.
TYLER – The first case of the Zika Virus has been identified in Smith County. Northeast Texas Public Health reports the case was not contracted in the county. But a person who lives in the county traveled to an area endemic with the Zika virus. NET Health said it is monitoring the situation closely in regards to what this means for our residents and visitors of east Texas. There are no other cases of suspected transmission of the Zika virus in Smith County at this time, and no local transmission of the Zika virus from a mosquito bite has been detected in east Texas.… Read More