MARSHALL – One of Marshall’s “Most Wanted” suspects has surrendered to authorities. Vuntarius Lamar Brown, 20, turned himself in Friday. He had an outstanding warrant for deadly conduct. Police Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa said it was the members of the community who viewed and shared information on social media regarding Brown’s case, along with countless hours the department’s detectives spent on this case, which ultimately led to Brown’s surrender.
NACOGDOCHES – We occasionally hear of a student getting into trouble for bringing a weapon to school. We now have a report of student who got into trouble for bringing a venomous snake to school. It happened Thursday at Nacogdoches High School. The school’s staff and students told administrators about the snake. The district’s law enforcement then contacted the Nacogdoches Fire Department to come get the snake. The school district’s Facebook page says the incident remains under investigation.
LONGVIEW – The Longview School District webpage has posted video of the construction of the district’s new Montessori school. The school, which will be about 150,000 square feet, is set to have 64 classrooms, a band hall and fine arts area, a cafetorium, a gym, a library and more. It’s located at Eastman Road and Marshall Avenue. When completed, it will be the school district’s second largest building, only behind Longview High School. Since it is far all of the students in the district, the building is centrally located. It will serve will serve all Head Start, pre-K and kindergarten students in Longview ISD, teaching them with the Montessori method. The $31.25 million facility should start welcoming students for the first time this fall. You can go to https://youtu.be/7MG0lg_EGZ8 to view the video.
TYLER – Traffic was reduced to one lane in each direction for awhile early Friday afternoon on West Grande Boulevard near Shady Oaks Drive in Tyler following a three vehicle accident. Police spokesman Don Martin says one person was injured in the wreck. Martin says an SUV driven by Tiffany Pearson, 31, of Flint, was heading east when she lost control in a curve during a rain shower. She slid sideways into the westbound lanes hitting a pickup and a VPG Taxi that were heading west. Pearson, the only person injured, is hospitalized in critical condition.
LONGVIEW – LeTourneau University signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Friday for a new public and private and corporate partnership with Iowa State University and Eastman Chemical. The new agreement will provide a pathway for LETU chemistry students to enter a graduate program at Iowa State to earn a Master of Chemical Engineering degree, while receiving support and mentoring from corporate partner Eastman Chemical in Longview. A news release from the school quotes the LETU Dean of Education, Arts and Sciences Dr. Larry Frazier as saying, “In this new partnership, qualified undergraduates from LeTourneau University will gain early entry in the Masters of Engineering in Chemical Engineering program at Iowa State University and be able to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with an engineering concentration from LETU and a Master of Chemical Engineering from Iowa State-in only five years.” He said the program may be the first chemical engineering degree program pathway in East Texas.
LONGVIEW – A study is beginning over the possibility of building an outdoor amphitheater along the Interstate 20 corridor. It would serve as a concert and entertainment venue for the East Texas area. The feasibility study is being conducted by the Longview Economic Development Corporation and the City of Longview. A consulting firm has been hired to study the potential viability of such a project. This would include market demand, site considerations, as well as financial and funding analysis. The project is only under consideration. No funding has been identified for it. According to a city news release, if it proves feasible, there would have to be a major fundraising campaign to raise private and corporate dollars to help fund construction and on-going operation.
LONGVIEW – The Longview Police Department has received the approval of the City Council to provide an officer to the East Texas Area Safe Streets Task Force. The Task Force is under the direction of the FBI. The mission of the task force is to identify and target for prosecution criminal enterprise groups. They are responsible for a wide variety of crimes, including drug trafficking, money laundering, alien smuggling, crimes of violence such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, and violent street gangs. Longview Police Chief Mike Bishop says he sees this as an chance to formalize the relationship between his department and the FBI and to maximize inter-agency cooperation.”
TYLER – A Tyler motorcycle officer has been injured in a two vehicle accident on Troup Highway, in front of the River Oaks Apartments. According to the department, Officer Ryan Gummer was southbound in the center lane of the highway Thursday evening when he apparently ran into the back of a stopped vehicle. The police report stated that the patrolman noticed a vehicle make a U-turn and when he returned his gaze, the vehicle in front of him had stopped to avoid tree debris in the road. Officer Ryan Gummer remains hospitalized with injuries to his shoulder and wrist. He joined the department in 2006 and has been assigned to the traffic division since 2010.
LONGVIEW – The new Republican Party chairman is Gregg County is Tracy Vincent. The Longview News Journal reports Vincent was picked to succeed Tim Vaughn at a Tuesday night meeting. Vincent, a Jacksonville native, has lived in Longview for 25 years. The community organizer has a large volunteer background. When he assumes his new office, Vincent will step down as a board member of We The People-Longview, a local tea party group. Vincent says he’s been a Republican all his life, since he first voted.
AUSTIN – A Smith County school is one of 26 in the state to be nominated for for national 2017 Blue Ribbon Schools recognition. The Texas Education Agency announced Thursday Stanton-Smith Elementary School in Whitehouse made the list. The schools on the list were selected as exemplary high performing schools as measured by state assessments. Each school has an economically disadvantaged population of 22% or greater.… Read More
LONGVIEW – A report of a commercial burglary in process in Longview has resulted in two suspects being arrested. When officers arrived at the building on West Marshall Avenue, they could hear someone inside. Officers located the suspects in the drop ceiling area of the building, where they had climbed in order to avoid detection. A woman, Rhian Nichole Ahart, 19, of Longview, readily came down. The other suspect, Joe King Powell, 36, of Longview, tried evade officers by crawling around in the ceiling for about 20 minutes until they were able to take him into custody.… Read More
KILGORE – Drug busts in Kilgore and Gilmer have resulted in three arrests. The joint law enforcement action was part of a larger operation targeting a heroin and methamphetamine drug trafficking organization. Arrested were 28 year old Andrew Jonathan Hearnsberger of Kilgore and 27 year old Johnny Carol Denton and 24 year old Emily Nicole Maples, both of Gilmer. Seized during the arrests were large amounts of heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, 20 firearms, large amounts of ammo and over $14,000 in cash.
TYLER- Economist Ray Perryman is optimistic about the economy in 2017. Perryman was in Tyler Thursday to present his annual economic forecast. Perryman says he sees “a lot of things that are looking good for the economy.” He says we’re coming in with some momentum, in terms of output income, employment numbers have been pretty strong and he sees a lot of positive signs. He does see a lot of uncertainty with people not knowing what the new administration will bring, but, on the whole, he says the signs are looking pretty good.… Read More
HUNTSVILLE (AP) — Texas has executed death row inmate Christopher Wilkins, who was convicted of killing two men after one of them mocked him for falling for a phony drug deal. The lethal injection of the 48-year-old Wilkins Wednesday is the nation’s first execution this year. Twenty were carried out in the U.S. last year, the lowest number since the 1980s. Wilkins was declared dead at 6:29 pm.
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – A backlash over Texas’ efforts to adopt anti-LGBT bathroom laws has begun, and an East Texas lawmaker is weighing in. A best-selling author is snubbing lawmakers, and Dallas civic leaders are warning major sporting events could go elsewhere. State Representative Matt Schaefer of Tyler fired back with a proposal to restrict lawmakers and others in the Texas capitol to using public bathrooms according to their “biological sex.” Texas is among several states where GOP leaders want people to be required to use restrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificates. … Read More
FLINT – An elderly Smith County woman has been airlifted to a Dallas hospital after being severely shocked. It happened around noon Wednesday around a downed power line near the intersection of County Roads 1130 and 1131. Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson told KETK heavy winds knocked limbs out of tree and into power lines below. A live wire then fell to the ground and sparked a fire. The 86 year old woman did not realize a live wire was on the ground and began trying to stomp out the flames. That’s when she was shocked. She was burned over 30% of her body. Her current condition is unknown and she has not been identified.
LONGVIEW – A Longview motorcyclist has been killed when he hit a pickup that turned in front of him. Killed in the accident on Gilmer Road around 12:15 Wednesday afternoon was Brett Alan Crump, 31, of Longview. Longview police say Crump was wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. The accident occurred when the pickup, driven by Eugene Allen Jones, 47, of Longview, attempted to make a left turn onto Wain Drive, and was hit by the motorcycle. Jones was issued a citation for failure to yield the right-of-way.
AUSTIN – Sales tax allocations are up starting the new year. The same holds true in East Texas. The State Comptroller’s Office is sending out over $647 million in local sales tax allocations for January. This is 4.9% more than in January of last year. And the area sales tax allocations are also up. Tyler will receive $3,252,846.78. This is 6.10% above January of last year. Longview is also up. Their January allocation comes to $2,3338,926.23 . This is up 6.54% from January of 2016. These allocations are based on sales made in November by businesses that report tax monthly.
HOUSTON (AP) — Johnny Manziel will be in Houston ahead of the Super Bowl to give fans a chance to take a photo with the 2012 Heisman trophy winner — at a price. Stadium Signatures, a Houston company that sells autographed sports memorabilia, says Manziel will appear at Houston malls in the days before the February 5 Super Bowl at NRG Stadium. He’ll take selfies with fans for $50 and those wishing for more professional photos will need to hand over $99. He’ll provide his autograph for $99. Manziel also will provide an inscription for $29, but it’ll be no more than four words. The 24-year-old Manziel is a free agent who hasn’t signed with a team since the Cleveland Browns released him in March. He starred at quarterback at Texas A&M.
LONGVIEW – A search warrant returned late last week provides new details in the death of Elizabeth Jane Wheeler, 52. She was found dead at the Hidden Hills Apartments on Gilmer Road in early November. Her daughter, Kayla Ann Wheeler, 28, told investigators at the time that she had killed her mother by stabbing her in the neck. The Longview News Journal reports the warrant says “Wheeler said her mother kept calling the cops on her, and had people with guns on her, and kept doing things to her, and she had to make it stop.” The autopsy showed her mother had stab wounds to the neck with a perforation of the jugular vein and carotid artery, muscles and larynx. Her daughter remains in the Gregg County jail under a $150,000 bond.
LONGVIEW – The Gregg County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a man trying to pass a drug test with false urine. The Longview News Journal reports Braydon Alan Peeler, 21, of Hallsville was arrested after he showed up at the Gregg County Adult Probation Office in Longview for a drug test. The report said Peeler was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana and the “Whizzinator,” which delivers fake urine through a plastic bladder and prosthetic penis. He has been charged with falsification of drug test results and possession of marijuana measuring less than two ounces.
MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating Vuntarius Lamar Brown, 20. Called a “most wanted” fugitive, he is described as a black male, about 6’2” tall, weighs around 150 pounds and has dreadlocks. Brown is wanted in connection with a shooting that occurred on the Southwest side of Marshall. Police Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa says Brown is believed to be armed and dangerous. Campa says if you see him, do not approach him but instead call the Marshall Police Department.
GLADEWATER – Federal investigators have completed their on site investigation of the January 4th fire in downtown Gladewater. ATF Special Agent in Charge, Vincent Pallozzi, said they found that “the fire was caused by human action, but it is undetermined if it was accidental or intentional.” Around 15 special agents and other experts with the National Response Team were activated at the request of the Gregg County Fire Marshal’s Office to join the investigation of the fire. The fire, which started last Wednesday night around 10:00, extensively damaged two buildings. There were no injuries.
TYLER – The City of Tyler unveiled two new Half Mile of History markers in Downtown Tyler. The stones that were unveiled on Tuesday are part of the Half Mile of History heritage trail and honor. The newest stones honor Willie Neal Johnson and Arthur “Dooley” Wilson.
Johnson was born in Tyler in 1935 and passed away in 2001. He was a gospel singer who became known as “Country Boy” from his rootsy blues-driven style and his down-to-earth friendly personality. He was the oldest of six children in a musical family. His mother motivated her children to pursue their singing careers by taking them to church and making them sing on Sundays. While in his teens, he was tapped to join Rev. C.W. Jackson’s group, the Five Ways of Joy Gospel Singers. A few years later he formed Willie Neal Johnson and the Gospel Keynotes with long-time friends, Ralph McGee, Rev. J.D. Talley, Charles Bailey, John Jackson, Lonzo Jackson and Archie B. McGee.… Read More
TYLER – In federal court in Tyler, a Smith County couple has pleaded guilty to charges of health care fraud. Gerard Dengler, 61, and Suzanne Dengler, 52, of Tyler, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to commit health care fraud in an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell. The couple owned and operated Elite Lab Services, a clinical diagnostic laboratory based in Tyler. the couple had been accused of inflating mileage claims submitted to Medicare. From April through October 2014, the company then sought reimbursement from Medicare for mileage that included the falsely inflated amounts. Under federal statutes, the Denglers each face up to 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.… Read More
LONGVIEW – A driver responsible for an Upshur County wreck that killed two teenagers has pleaded guilty. Robert William Frazier, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault. The wreck last June occurred about six miles west of Gilmer. Frazier’s vehicle veered into the opposite lane of traffic, hitting a car and killing Haley Johnson and Bailee Jordan Russell, two Harmony High School graduates. Two girls were injured. A jury will decide Frazier’s punishment. Jury selection is scheduled for January 23rd in Longview, where the trial was moved.
TYLER – The Women in Tyler Planning Committee have introduced the 2017 honorees who will be recognized at a luncheon in March. This year’s theme is “Women Who Make an Impact.” The 2017 honorees are: Doris Batson, Susana Castro, Kui Cogan, Misti Ford, Dr. Dorothy L. Jackson, M.D. and Jane Manley They will be honored at a luncheon on March 23 at the Tyler Rose Garden Center.
LONGVIEW – The Texas Supreme Court will be in session in East Texas next month. And the two cases the justices will hear have now been set. The first case is an inheritance rights case out of Amarillo. The second case is about medical malpractice and government immunity out of Houston. The oral arguments will be in the Belcher Center on the campus of Longview’s LeTourneau University. The public is invited to attend the oral arguments on February 16th, from 9:00 to 11:30 that morning. Following the oral arguments there will be time for a question and answer session with the justices. … Read More
TYLER – The graduate nursing programming at the University of Texas at Tyler is once again being singled out as one of the best in the state. In the 2017 ‘Best Online Nursing Programs’ edition of U.S. News and World Report, The UT Tyler master’s and doctoral degree programs are ranked 13th nationwide out of all online graduate nursing programs surveyed. For the second straight year UT Tyler is the highest ranked Texas institution on the list. The study evaluated only regionally accredited schools that met the federal standard of 100% online course delivery. … Read More