COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M University plans to open a new campus that will focus on research and development while also providing an education center that will allow students to earn an A&M degree from another school in the university system. System Chancellor John Sharp on Monday announced a $150 million investment to launch the R&D campus at the former Bryan Air Base a few miles from the flagship campus. Another $38 million will be spent for the education center. Sharp says R&D efforts will focus on moving ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. The education center, meanwhile, will boost tuition revenue and give students another path toward a college degree. Those not admitted to the flagship campus could take classes at the center to earn a degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or another campus.
DALLAS (AP) – Officials say a high school student accidentally shot himself after bringing a handgun to school that he carried in his pocket. The 15-year-old shot himself Monday morning in the hand and leg, resulting in what authorities described as serious but not life-threatening injuries. No other students were injured when the handgun discharged. The weapon was described by school officials as a “single-shot revolver.” The school was placed on lockdown as administrators rushed to determine what happened. Dallas school district police Chief Craig Miller says metal detectors are used at the school to prevent weapons from being brought inside. But the district said in a statement that the student arrived at a time when metal-detector procedures were “not applied.” It was not clear why the boy brought the gun to school.
HOUSTON (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an appeal from a 41-year-old man on death row for attacking a newlywed couple on a jogging trail outside Dallas 23 years ago, killing the husband and raping the wife. The high court issued no comment in the case of Alvin Braziel. His attorneys had argued trial lawyers were deficient for not presenting sufficient mitigating evidence during the punishment phase of Braziel’s 2001 murder trial in Dallas. Braziel was condemned for a 1993 failed robbery attempt where 27-year-old Douglas White was shot dead and White’s wife of 11 days was raped. The attack occurred on a trail encircling Eastfield College in Mesquite. Braziel was in prison for sexual assault of a child when DNA tests linked him to the slaying.
AUSTIN (AP) – The federal government has approved Texas’ request for a temporary extension of a $3.1 billion annual Medicaid waiver – despite the Republican-controlled Legislature’s staunch opposition to the White House’s signature health care law. Texas announced the agreement Monday as a “big win.” It extends for 15 months, through 2017, a waiver set to expire Sept. 30 that reimburses hospitals for urgent care provided to uninsured Texans. Texas hasn’t expanded Medicaid under the health care law, despite hospital groups’ objections that it costs the state billions in federal subsidies. Health care law proponents suggested federal authorities could use Texas’ expiring waiver as leverage to urge the state to expand Medicaid. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say waiver negotiations aren’t influenced by states’ opposition to the health care law.
TYLER — Smith County officials have updated conditions around the county in the aftermath of weekend storms. Due to high water, County Roads 420 and 421 have been added to the list of Smith County road closures. The remainder of the road closures are the same as they were on Saturday.… Read More
WOOD COUNTY — The Wood County Fire Marshal’s Office has confirmed a body has been pulled from a lake near Mineola Sunday night. According to KETK, the body of a white man, between 20 and 22-years-old, was recovered from Lake Holbrook, located between Highway 69 and Highway 80 in Wood County. Details were limited.
LUBBOCK (AP) – The mother of a disabled teenager found dead in February is being held in the Lubbock County jail on allegations that she knew the teen’s stepfather was sexually assaulting her yet did nothing to protect the girl. Thirty-eight-year-old Debi Holland is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a disabled person. Also being held is her husband, 39-year-old James Holland, facing multiple charges that include continuous sexual abuse of a child. The sheriff’s office released a statement Friday saying Debi Holland had been arrested and that additional charges are pending. Authorities say James Holland repeatedly assaulted 18-year-old Holli Jeffcoat, described as a special needs student. The investigation into Jeffcoat’s stabbing death continues.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A man wanted in connection with a hit-and-run wreck that killed a 6-year-old boy in Charlotte has turned himself in to authorities in Texas. Media outlets report that 32-year-old Juan Antonio Quintanilla-Garza is accused of driving the white van that hit and killed Anthony Santos Castellon-Rivera while he was crossing the street with his family on April 24. According to a release from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, Quintanilla-Garza turned himself in to the Webb County, Texas Sheriff’s Office on Sunday. Webb County includes the city of Laredo. The release says extradition will begin immediately. Since the incident, police have found the van they believe was involved in the collision. Police identified Quintanilla-Garza as a suspect Thursday and obtained a warrant for his arrest.
EAST TEXAS — Friday evening to Saturday morning was a terrifying and destructive time in East Texas with damaging winds, large hail, tornadoes and deadly flash flooding. And after a survey by the national Weather Service, two more tornadoes have been added to the list. One was in the Alto area in Cherokee County. Officials in Cherokee County have declared a state of disaster following the Friday night storms.
The National Weather Service also confirms a tornado in the northern part of Harrison County.… Read More
EAST TEXAS — Overnight storms have necessitated road closures across the Tyler District. Crews continue to monitor roads for flooding and damage. Here are the latest road condition updates for the Tyler District but the list is constantly changing as water recedes or issues discovered.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY — Due to recent rains, the City of Tyler Water Utilities is keeping all public boat ramps on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East temporarily closed. The lakes are currently at an elevation of 378.2 mean sea level (msl). Spillway elevation is at 375.5 msl. KETK reports ramps are being closed due to boating hazards resulting from debris washed into the lakes by the recent rains and to reduce damage resulting from erosion of the shoreline caused by boat wakes. In addition, the lakes are closed to boat traffic from lake residents. The ramps will be closed until further notice. Tyler Water Utilities anticipates reopening the ramps once the lake levels recede.
PALESTINE — Autopsy results are awaited after authorities found a sixth body following flash flooding in East Texas that also killed a woman and her four great-grandchildren. The latest victim was identified as Giovani Olivas, 30, Palestine, who was swept under flood waters. Palestine police say all six bodies have been taken to Tyler for autopsies, which were due to be completed on Monday.… Read More
PLANO (AP) — Officials say a small plane has landed in the backyard of a home in the North Texas town of Plano. Neither of the plane’s two occupants was injured. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says that the pilot of the Mooney M20 was trying to go around for another try after an aborted landing and lost control of the aircraft Sunday morning. Lunsford says the FAA is investigating the incident. The plane had been traveling from Lubbock to the Air Park-Dallas Airport in Collin County.
HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a 1-year-old has died after being struck as her mother backed a sport utility vehicle out of their Houston garage. Houston police spokesman John Cannon says the daughter was struck Sunday early morning. He says that the child somehow wandered behind the car as the mother was backing out about 40 minutes after midnight Saturday. Cannon says the child was pronounced dead at the scene. Cannon says the mother was not found to be impaired. He says the investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.
TYLER — Through May 14th, an amnesty program is underway at the Tyler Public Library. It’s an effort to get past due books and materials returned. Currently, $640,228.10 is owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back over a dozen years. Past due items include books, audio books, DVDs and Kindles. During the first two weeks of May, persons who have overdue materials can return them and receive amnesty on the late fees. Library Circulation Supervisor Ashley Taylor says once the amnesty period is over, Unique Management Services, Inc.has been retained to aid in the collection of fines and fees still owed the library.
TROUP — A Union Pacific train has derailed on County Road 2153, next to Anthony Chip Mill in Troup. According to KETK, Union Pacific Railroad authorities said the train hit a washout spot Sunday morning around 8:00. Seventeen cars carrying cargo containers were derailed. No hazardous material was involved. Union Pacific is working to get access to the area. No injuries have been reported.
BELTON (AP) — Trails at a 260-acre nature center in Central Texas will be reconstructed and habitat restored with the help of a grant. The Temple Daily Telegram reports the grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for $100,000 will fund the two initiatives at the Miller Springs Nature Center, located near Belton Lake and overseen by the nonprofit Miller Springs Alliance. The grant was awarded to the Central Texas Master Naturalist Chapter. Rene Berkhoudt, a master naturalist who will manage the project, says the center has 11 miles of trail that can support backpacking, hiking, birding, wildlife viewing and nature photography. Habitat restoration will include planting native plants and grasses and creating habitats favorable to the endangered golden cheek warbler and black capped vireo.
AUSTIN (AP) — Documents filed with the city of Austin show that technology giant Apple Inc. has created more than 2,000 new jobs in the city since 2012 and remains on track to meet the area hiring goals it promised in exchange for millions of dollars in public incentives. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Apple is set to receive $35 million in tax incentives over the next several years from the city of Austin, Travis County and the state of Texas for an expansion of its operations in Central Texas. Under the terms of the incentives package, which was signed in March 2012, Apple agreed to create more than 3,600 new full-time jobs in Austin in 10 years while retaining at least 3,100 existing full-time jobs year over year.
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been baptized in the Jordan River while visiting Israel with officials from different states. Patrick tells the Austin American-Statesman that he received a baptism during an eight-day trip he took with a delegation of seven Republican lieutenant governors, funded by a conservative policy organization, the State Government Leadership Foundation. Patrick met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli companies doing business in Texas. He also went to the Sea of Galilee and the Western Wall. Patrick has described himself as a “Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third.”
WACO (AP) — Members of the Baylor Alumni Association have voted to accept the terms of an agreement with Baylor University that settles a long-running dispute that had fractured campus relations and resulted in competing lawsuits. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that about 99 percent of BAA members on Saturday approved the terms of the agreement, which were ironed out in March. The BAA has been associated with the university for nearly 160 years, but had conflicted with the university-backed Baylor Alumni Network. As part of the agreement, the BAA will get $2 million from Baylor and change its name to the Baylor Line Foundation. The foundation will continue to operate as a nonprofit and will raise money, provide scholarships to students and continue to publish the Baylor Line magazine.
MCKINNEY (AP) — It ain’t over until a team is sure the umpire has signaled the final out. A Dallas-area high school softball team lost a district championship game Friday night by celebrating too soon while three runs scored after an umpire called a runner safe when the team thought it had gotten the final out. Video from the stands shows Wylie High School’s second baseman thinking she had a force play with the bases loaded on a throw from the shortstop and rushing to celebrate an apparent 6-4 win with teammates while tossing the ball toward the pitching circle. But the umpire had signaled safe. The tying run had scored behind the lead runner for McKinney North about the time some Wylie players figured it out. A frantic throw home was wild, and the third runner sprinted to the plate, sliding in for the unusual 7-6 walk-off win.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Child welfare officials say two of eight children found unsupervised in a San Antonio home in the middle of the night remain hospitalized and that authorities are concerned all of the children may be malnourished. Authorities say one of the children, a 2-year-old boy, was found chained to the ground with a metal chain strapped around his ankle, and that a 3-year-old girl was tied to a door with a dog leash. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the six others had been placed into foster care. Spokesman Patrick Crimmins says one of the injured children had a fractured wrist and arm and a 3-year-old has superficial injuries that include abrasions and scarring. Crimmins says the children ranged in age from 10 months to 10 years old. Bexar County authorities say the mother of six of the children has been arrested and was facing two felony charges of child abuse.
HOUSTON (AP) — Police say a man was killed by a Harris County Precinct 5 deputy constable in Houston. Houston Police Department spokesman Kese Smith identified the deputy as R. Felix. Smith said Felix was working traffic on the Beltway 8 tollway Thursday, when he received a call from dispatch about a vehicle with a several toll road violations. Smith says Felix stopped the car, which pulled over to the road’s left shoulder. Police said the deputy reported that the car smelled of marijuana. Smith said the deputy called for backup, opened the car door and told the driver to step outside. Authorities said the driver drove off and the deputy was dragged. Smith said the deputy fired at the driver, when he felt the man reach for his gun. The unidentified driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
SMITH COUNTY — About 20 Smith County Road and Bridge employees worked throughout the night, responding to reports of 32 roads throughout the county that had downed trees, were unpassable because of water over the road or were washed out. All available Road and Bridge employees were asked to report to the yard at about 8:45 p.m. Friday, April 29, and those who worked throughout the night, returned to their homes around 8 a.m. Saturday. Of the 32 roads they reported to, 21 had trees over the road, while the others had high water and/or water damage.… Read More
UPSHUR COUNTY — A suspected tornado has left a trail of destruction in a rural area of East Texas. Upshur County sheriff’s dispatcher Jeremy Henderson says 15 to 20 homes have been reported damaged or destroyed in a rural area near Big Sandy. There were no immediate reports of injuries from the storm, which struck the area shortly before 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office reports multiple trees down on FM 1002 in Big Sandy all the way to Highway 154 at the Upshur/Wood County line. Deputies stated drivers should keep off the road in this area, due to live downed power lines and flooding. No injuries have been reported. In Wood County, the National Weather Service reports at least one home was damaged in the area of FM 14 and FM 2869.
SMITH COUNTY — Significant damage has been reported in the Lindale area following a tornado touchdown. At least one business received heavy damage. According to KETK, Hibbett Sports on Main Street was destroyed. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith says several injuries have been reported, but fallen tree limbs and power lines are slowing first responders from reaching some areas. A trained storm spotter saw a tornado near Lindale shortly before 6 p.m. Friday. Smith County Judge Joel Baker issued a disaster declaration late Friday night. A press conference will be held at the central fire station at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Authorities say they have arrested the mother of six of the eight children who were found unsupervised in the middle of the night at a San Antonio home. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office spokesman James Keith says investigators believe that 34-year-old Porucha Phillips was also supposed to be looking after two other children who were found tied up in the backyard. One was a 2-year-old boy chained to the ground, and the other was a 3-year-old girl tied to a door with a dog leash. Authorities say the boy had a metal chain strapped around his ankle, with the other end of the chain fixed to the ground.… Read More
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Raleigh, North Carolina woman has agreed to go to Texas to face more charges in the dismemberment of a woman nearly five years ago. Multiple media outlets reported that Amanda Hayes has agreed to go to Texas to face more charges in the death of 27-year-old Laura Ackerson. Hayes was convicted in 2014 of second-degree murder in Ackerson’s death. The new charges deal with the disposal of Ackerson’s body. Hayes’ ex-husband, Grant Ruffin Hayes, was convicted of first-degree murder in Ackerson’s death. He’s serving a life sentence. Ackerson was last seen in Raleigh on July 13, 2011. Her dismembered remains were found 11 days later in a creek outside of Houston. Prosecutors said the couple killed Ackerson at their Raleigh apartment during a custody dispute over Grant’s two oldest children.
FORT WORTH (AP) – Court documents show a Texas man was arrested in the drowning of his estranged wife in a Fort Worth-area lake after police determined that a rope around her neck tied to concrete to weigh her down came from his home. Jail records show Rodolfo Arellano is being held in Mansfield on $500,000 bond. Arellano was arrested this week on a capital murder charge in the death of his 28-year-old wife, Elizabeth. Her body was pulled from Lake Worth after authorities were called April 16 about a possible suicide from a freeway bridge. The arrest warrant shows cellphone records contradict his comments to police on his whereabouts before she disappeared. Jail records don’t list an attorney for Arellano.