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In Focus – 8/6/17 – Brenda Day-Bevis, D.O.R.S. Community Services of Longview

Airdate: 8/6/17

Guest: Brenda Day-Bevis, D.O.R.S. Community Services of Longview

In Focus – 7/30/17 – Nancy Crawford and Kenny Sigler, Literacy Council of Tyler

Airdate: 7/30/17

Guests: Nancy Crawford and Kenny Sigler, Literacy Council of Tyler

President’s Weekly Address 8/12/17

President’s Weekly Address 8/12/17


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Dem Response


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In Focus – 7/23/17 – Amber Shepperd, East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Airdate: 7/23/17

Guest: Amber Shepperd, East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

In Focus – 7/16/17 – Gayle Helms, The Humane Society’s Pets Fur People

Airdate: 7/16/17

Guest: Gayle Helms, The Humane Society’s Pets Fur People

In Focus – 7/9/17 – Chris Miller, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority

Airdate: 7/9/17

Guest: Chris Miller, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority

In Focus 7/2/17 – Stephanie Taylor, Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County

Airdate: 7/2/17

Guest: Stephanie Taylor, Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County

Avery, Texas Man Sentenced for 2015 Northeast Texas Crime Spree

TEXARKANA, Texas – A 50 year old Avery, Texas man was sentenced to federal prison for crimes he committed in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston Friday. Bobby Wayne Lance was sentenced to a total of 1054 months Friday during a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder, III. According to information presented in court, Lance robbed a Bowie County convenience store, a Lamar County movie theater, and a Franklin County bank in a crime spree that spread over several days in November 2015. … Read More

Former NBA player Marcus Camby sued over nephew’s drowning

HOUSTON (AP) — Former NBA player Marcus Camby has been named defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit over the drowning of his 9-year-old autistic nephew in a pond on Camby’s Houston-area property last Thanksgiving.

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday by the boy’s father, Marcus Kendall McGhee, alleges that Camby was aware of the limitations of his nephew, Marcus Carter McGhee, but failed to supervise the child and used no protective measures to keep him away from the pond.

The boy was found dead two days after he was reported missing. He’d traveled to Texas from his home in the Hartford, Connecticut, area for the holiday.

Camby’s property includes several acres in Pearland, a Houston suburb.

Camby could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. He played 19 NBA seasons for six teams, including the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers. The 2012-13 season was his last.

US rig count rises this week by 8, to 941

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by eight this week to 941. A year ago, just 421 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Friday that 758 rigs sought oil and 183 explored for natural gas this week.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma added five rigs, North Dakota increased by three rigs, Louisiana gained two and California and Colorado were up one each.

Alaska declined by two while New Mexico and Utah declined by one apiece.

Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

Texas officer in murder case faces unrelated assault charges

DALLAS (AP) — A former Texas police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a black teenager has been indicted on two unrelated charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant.

Former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver was booked Friday into the Parker County jail, west of Fort Worth, on two counts of aggravated assault related to a traffic accident while he was off-duty. He later posted bail and was released.

Dallas police say Oliver drew his sidearm and pointed it at the ground after he was rear-ended in April.

The 37-year-old Oliver was fired in May and charged with murder after he shot into a moving car leaving a party, striking and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

A message left with Oliver’s attorney was not immediately returned.

American Law in American Courts is Signed into Law

AUSTIN-Last week, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 45 authored by Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) into law. This bill, known as American Laws in American Courts, will require the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules to ensure that the application of foreign laws cannot be used to violate constitutional rights guaranteed under the Texas or United State Constitutions.
“By successfully passing American Law in American Courts into law, we will ensure that foreign laws cannot be used to violate our constitution or public policy,” said Representative Flynn. “This is a reaffirmation of our commitment to the United States rule of law and the constitution. I am dedicated to upholding our rights and the rights of Texans across our state and this law will make sure that our Constitution remains the supreme law of the land.”

House Bill 45 prohibits the application of a foreign law to court rulings if doing so would violate the rights guaranteed by the United States or Texas Constitution and protects the constitutional rights of individuals involved in such disputes. This codifies a June 2015 ruling by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and further directs the Supreme Court of Texas to adopt rules protect against future violations of constitutional rights. This will aid the courts and judges in order to be able to obtain clear guidance and uphold due process in each of these cases.
Now that it has been signed into law, H.B. 45 will take effect September 1, 2017.

AG Paxton: Today’s 5th Circuit Ruling Is a Victory for Religious Liberty

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed a ruling today by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed a challenge against the state of Mississippi’s religious freedom law (HB 1523). Attorney General Paxton sided with Mississippi in an amicus brief filed in the 5th Circuit on behalf of nine states last November.

Mississippi’s law protects citizens from government discrimination based on an individual’s sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who complained that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, and a district court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect last July.

Today, writing on behalf of a three-judge panel, 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith ruled that the plaintiffs challenging the law lacked standing. “Under this current record, the plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality.”

“I’m grateful that the 5th Circuit saw through this latest attempt by some to restrict religious freedom and impose their beliefs on others,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Mississippi’s law affirms what the U.S. Supreme Court professed in Obergefell: that religious men and women be “given proper protection’ to exercise their faith.”

Mississippi’s Religious Liberty Accommodations Act reinforces existing religious freedom rights, does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions, and does not challenge federal law. Among other things, the law protects the freedom of conscience for faith based adoption and foster care providers, protects conscience rights of state employees who may refuse to license marriages, and protects individuals who decline to provide certain medical services.

To view a copy of ruling, click here.
To view a copy of the amicus brief, click here.

Jack-in-the-Box Robbers Arrested

(LUFKIN, TEXAS, June 22, 2017) Two Lufkin men were arrested early this morning after robbing the Denman Avenue Jack in the Box at gunpoint and leading officers on a pursuit in a stolen car.
Douglas Richard, 19, and Edward Hernandez, 21, were taken into custody around 1:45 a.m. at the entrance of The Settlement on U.S. 59 south. The men entered the store’s back door around 1:30 a.m. –
Richard wielding a handgun. They then stole the cash drawer before fleeing the scene in the manager’s car. Minutes later, an officer spotted the stolen vehicle on Southwood Drive and a high-speed pursuit ensued. The chase spanned from Lufkin to Diboll and back, reaching speeds of 90-100mph. It ended on U.S. 59 south at the entrance to The Settlement after officers successfully piked the vehicle’s tires.

Officers recovered the register drawer along with the stolen vehicle. An hour before the robbery, Richard and Hernandez attempted to purchase food at the restaurant by walking up to the window.
The pair left on foot after being told that the restaurant did not take “ walk up” orders.

Hernandez told investigators Richard was getting “driven up” and talked about “hitting a lick” to put some money in his pocket as they walked around town before the robbery. Richard and Hernandez are both charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, while Richard received an additional charge of evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction. The Diboll Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and Angelina County Sheriff’s Office assisted during the pursuit.

Cornyn Statement on Senate GOP Health Care Reform Plan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of legislation to replace the failed Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“After years of debate, hearings, and stories from folks harmed by Obamacare, today is a critical step towards delivering on our promise to provide the relief Texans so desperately need. “Our plan will help lower skyrocketing costs, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and ensure Medicaid is there for the Texans who need it most. Under this plan, gone are the days where people are forced to buy insurance they don’t want and can’t afford. “The time to close the book on Obamacare is now. Our plan will help deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Road Closures off of Old Jacksonville and the Loop

TYLER — As a part of the 2017 Seal Coat Program, base repairs will be taking place on roads off of Old Jacksonville Highway and Loop 323. There may be possible lane closures during this repair time. Roads that will be affected are DC Drive, Anthony Drive, Broussard Street, Patridge Drive, Candy Lane and Capital Drive. Notifications will be put out on the streets that Lonestar will be doing work. Those who park on the street should make arrangements to park at other location. This project is weather pending and could be delayed.

Where: DC Drive, Anthony Drive, Broussard Street, Patridge Drive, Candy Lane and Capital Drive
When: June 21 to June 28

Scam Claiming to Benefit Tyler Fire Department

June 21, 2017- TYLER, TX- BBB Serving Central East Texas is alerting the community about a scam which claims to benefit Tyler Fire Department and reminds consumers to do their homework before sending money to any organization. The scam had earlier been reported by the fire department, but the BBB is offering more details.

The scam was reported via BBB Scam Tracker, an online tool used to provide consumers with a place to report scams and fraud and to warn others about malicious or suspicious activities. A local business owner reported that Firehouse Promotions contacted them for the third year in row claiming to be selling advertisement space on magnetic boards for $500 to help benefit Tyler Fire Department. BBB contacted Tyler Fire Department who confirmed that Firehouse Promotions is not raising money on their behalf.… Read More

Cornyn, Warren Introduce Bill to Ease Requirements on Military Members Seeking Commercial Driver’s Licenses

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017, which streamlines and eases the burden on the process whereby active-duty military, reservists and veterans apply for their commercial driver’s license. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is also an original cosponsor of the legislation.

“We should be making it easier, not harder, for members of the armed forces to be gainfully employed both while they are in the reserves and after they complete their service,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The servicemen and women who have experience operating large military vehicles should be able to easily apply their skills and knowledge when seeking a commercial driver’s license, and this legislation allows for just that.”

“Veterans who have the training and experience to operate heavy trucks and buses under tough conditions in the military have the skills needed to drive trucks on our highways,” Sen. Warren said. “This bipartisan bill will remove legal obstacles delaying servicemembers from getting commercial drivers’ licenses. It’s a straightforward fix that will benefit veterans looking for good jobs and that will help employers looking for talented employees.”

“The brave men and women that serve in the U.S. military learn a wide-range of skills applicable to jobs once they enter the civilian workforce, but too often face unnecessary barriers that makes it harder for them to find jobs,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation will eliminate burdensome red tape so our active-duty military, reservists, and veterans can receive the DOT-required health examination and use the experience they gained serving our nation to count towards the credit needed to obtain a commercial driver’s license” … Read More

Texas Employment Growth Picks up; Labor Market Remains Tight

Home Prices Likely to Keep Rising, says Dallas Fed Economist

DALLAS—Texas job growth has outpaced the nation so far this year, and the state’s labor market remains tight, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Economic Update.

Texas added jobs at a 2.4 percent annualized rate in May, with the manufacturing and energy sectors posting gains. Goods-producing sectors have added jobs at a 6.5 percent rate year to date, outpacing the 1.9 percent growth in private services.

The state unemployment rate dropped from 5.0 percent to 4.8 percent in May. While this exceeds the 4.3 percent May rate for the nation, the incidence of discouraged workers, the marginally attached and the underemployed have been more muted in Texas and remain mostly at or below their national rates, according to the report.

Texas home price appreciation shows no signs of stopping amid strong demand and inadequate supply, Dallas Fed Economist Anil Kumar said in a video accompanying the report’s release.

“Most indicators of residential construction in Texas receded in April after posting gains in March,” Kumar said. “Shortages of labor and developed lots have been important headwinds for the construction sector in Texas. With strong demand and inadequate housing supply, most measures of house prices suggest that house price appreciation remains strong.”

Looking ahead, the latest Dallas Fed Texas Employment Forecast for 2017 ticked up slightly from 2.4 to 2.6 percent and the Texas Leading Index points to continued growth for the state. Downside risks are sharply declining oil prices, continued strength in the dollar and uncertainty regarding both U.S. trade and tax policy.

Rep. Jason Villalba Announces Run for Re-Election

Dallas – Today, Rep. Villalba announced his run for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, serving House District 114. Villalba has served three terms in the Texas Legislature and has been named Legislator of the Year by organizations such MADD, the SPCA and the Dallas Police Association. Rep. Villalba has also authored and passed a number of important bills addressing such issues as public education, infrastructure, economic development, school security, drunk driving, and tax reform. Rep. Villalba currently serves on the House Business and Industry Committee and the Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

Villalba stated, “The Texas Legislature needs now, more than ever, solutions-minded, common-sense public servants. It breaks my heart when I see our beloved Texas go down the path of Washington-style politics, where division and bickering hamper the will of the people. That’s why I am so strongly committed to coming back to Austin – so that I can champion the Texas values of hard work, perseverance, compassion and righteousness by serving all of my fellow Texans, not just those who might agree with me. I am dedicated to the cause of Texas and look forward to serving House District 114 in the 86th Legislative Session.”… Read More

Parks Department Postpones Invasive Species Workshop

TYLER –The City of Tyler Parks Department and the Texas A&M Forest Service have postponed an invasive species workshop and field day that had been scheduled for Thursday. Officials now say that workshop is being rescheduled for sometime this fall. We’ll have an update when more information becomes available. For more information, call Tyler Urban Forester Cody Goldman at (903) 531-1179.

UT Analysis: Suicide Rates for White Texans more than Triple Rates for Black and Hispanic Texans

AUSTIN — Suicide rates in Texas were more than triple for white people than for black and Hispanic people in 2015, according to a new analysis from The University of Texas System and UT Health Northeast.

3,403 Texans died from suicide in 2015, the most recent year for which there are numbers. This is more than double the number killed by homicide, and was the second leading cause of death for ages 15-24, after unintentional injuries (e.g. car accidents). Suicide was the fourth leading cause of death for ages 5-64.… Read More

Governor Abbott Orders Increased Readiness

AUSTIN – As Tropical Storm Cindy approaches the Gulf Coast, Governor Greg Abbott today ordered the State Operations Center (SOC) elevate its readiness from level four (normal conditions) to level three (increased readiness) starting at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21st. Additionally, Governor Abbott has activated four Texas Task Force 1 boat squads and two Texas Military Department vehicle squads (5 vehicles each) to respond to any emergencies that may occur as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy. The Governor has also placed the Department of State Health Services Emergency Medical Task Force, Texas Military Forces Aircraft, and shelter and feeding teams on standby.… Read More

Smith County Men Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Violations

TYLER, Texas – Two Tyler, Texas men have been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.

Hubert Wright, 60, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2017, to possessing with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Wright was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

Kevin Williams, 38, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2017, to possessing with intent to distribute crack and powder cocaine and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison by Judge Clark. … Read More

AG Paxton Calls on California Insurance Commissioner to Stop Threats

AG Paxton Calls on California Insurance Commissioner to Stop Threats to Insurance Companies or Risk Legal Action

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined 12 states today in calling on California Insurance Commissioner David Jones to cease and desist from requiring insurance companies to publicly disclose investments in fossil fuels and urging companies to sign a “pledge” to divest from the coal industry.

Commissioner Jones is also requiring insurance companies to disclose investments in oil, gas and coal. The financial disclosures and decisions on whether to sign the “pledge” are then made public on the California Insurance Department’s website.

“The threats made by the California Insurance Commissioner will hurt families, businesses and insurance carriers across the nation,” Attorney General Paxton said. “These requirements are misguided, unrelated to insurance regulation, and are clearly politically driven. We will not stand by while negligent, politically motivated requirements harm the livelihood of thousands of U.S. citizens.”

Along with Attorney General Paxton, the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming and the governor of Kentucky, signed the letter.

To view the letter click here.

DPS Offers Increased Reward, Seeks Leads in 1992 Tarrant County Murder

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public’s help in solving the 1992 murder of Martha Yvonne Davenport, 43, and an increased reward up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible, if the tip is received before next month’s featured case is announced.

On Aug. 22, 1992, Davenport, 43, was found dead in her Forest Hill home. (Forest Hill is a suburb of Fort Worth in Tarrant County.) She had been stabbed numerous times in her residence on Old Hickory Trail. While several potential suspects were developed during the investigation, no arrests were made. The Texas Rangers and the Forest Hill Police Department are investigating.

To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.

Individuals also can submit information through the Texas Ranger Cold Case website or by contacting us at 1-800-346-3243 (DPS Missing Persons Hotline).

The DPS Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help garner public interest in unsolved or “cold cases.” Texas Crime Stoppers recently began offering rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/TexasRangers/UnsolvedHomicides/index.htm.

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

AG Paxton Joins Coalition Urging EPA to Respect States in WOTUS Review

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton Joins 20-State Coalition Urging EPA to Respect States in WOTUS Review. AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a 20-state coalition in requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources.

The coalition filed its letter Monday as part of the EPA’s ongoing review of its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The attorneys general outlined regulatory overreach present in the existing rule and offered suggestions to better respect the authority of states going forward.

“The WOTUS rules are a blatant power grab by the EPA,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The federal government exceeded its statutory authority by attempting to regulate areas that Congress never intended to be under federal jurisdiction, and directly infringed on the states’ ability to regulate their own natural resources.”

Rather than claiming jurisdiction over vast amounts of water and land, the coalition suggests that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways, especially those within the border of individual states. The Obama-era regulation, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and put it in the hands of federal agencies. This included almost any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains and roadside ditches.

Texas signed the West Virginia- and Wisconsin-led letter with Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

Read a copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/2tGljKk.

10-Foot Alligator Roped, Wrangled off East Texas Ranch

HAWKINS (AP) — An East Texas rancher lassoed a 10-foot alligator and wranglers crawled atop the thrashing reptile’s back after it got a little too close to the landowner’s cattle. Bystanders shot video of the recent takedown near Hawkins. Byron South of Convergent Hunting Solutions says he got a call from the landowner, Hal Conover, after the alligator broke into a pen where he was weaning calves. Game wardens were also summoned. South told The Associated Press that Conover was able to throw a rope around the reptile. The video later shows two men atop the gator as it thrashes and bites one man’s hand. The man suffered minor injuries. The alligator was eventually loaded into a trailer and hauled to a wildlife park.

SC Fire Marshal: Cause of Fire at Tyler Welders Supply Accidental, Undetermined

TYLER — After completing the investigation of the fire scene at Tyler Welders Supply on Monday, June 19, 2017, Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson said the fire appears to be accidental in nature.

The exact cause of the fire that occurred on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, remains undetermined, but no foul play is suspected and no criminal charges will be filed, Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said.

The fire marshal released the fire scene back to the company, and Tyler Welders Supply will begin a private investigation in to what started the fire at 3539 U.S. Highway 271 in Tyler.

The University of Texas at Tyler Develops Veteran Discount Program

TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler has helped create a beneficial program that gives area business discounts to veterans, Dr. James Lumpkin, College of Business and Technology dean, announced. Graduate students in Dr. Kerri Camp’s Advanced Marketing Fundamentals course collaborated with the East Texas Veterans Alliance and Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce on the “Recognizing Our Servicemembers Everyday” or R.O.S.E. Veteran Discount Program.… Read More

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In Focus – 8/6/17 – Brenda Day-Bevis, D.O.R.S. Community Services of Longview

Posted/updated on: August 7, 2017 at 3:09 am

Airdate: 8/6/17

Guest: Brenda Day-Bevis, D.O.R.S. Community Services of Longview

In Focus – 7/30/17 – Nancy Crawford and Kenny Sigler, Literacy Council of Tyler

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2017 at 2:58 am

Airdate: 7/30/17

Guests: Nancy Crawford and Kenny Sigler, Literacy Council of Tyler

President’s Weekly Address 8/12/17

Posted/updated on: August 12, 2017 at 6:32 am

President’s Weekly Address 8/12/17


Download

Dem Response


Download

In Focus – 7/23/17 – Amber Shepperd, East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Posted/updated on: July 24, 2017 at 2:54 am

Airdate: 7/23/17

Guest: Amber Shepperd, East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

In Focus – 7/16/17 – Gayle Helms, The Humane Society’s Pets Fur People

Posted/updated on: July 17, 2017 at 2:29 am

Airdate: 7/16/17

Guest: Gayle Helms, The Humane Society’s Pets Fur People

In Focus – 7/9/17 – Chris Miller, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority

Posted/updated on: July 10, 2017 at 4:12 am

Airdate: 7/9/17

Guest: Chris Miller, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority

In Focus 7/2/17 – Stephanie Taylor, Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County

Posted/updated on: July 3, 2017 at 2:52 am

Airdate: 7/2/17

Guest: Stephanie Taylor, Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County

Avery, Texas Man Sentenced for 2015 Northeast Texas Crime Spree

Posted/updated on: June 25, 2017 at 7:42 am

TEXARKANA, Texas – A 50 year old Avery, Texas man was sentenced to federal prison for crimes he committed in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston Friday. Bobby Wayne Lance was sentenced to a total of 1054 months Friday during a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder, III. According to information presented in court, Lance robbed a Bowie County convenience store, a Lamar County movie theater, and a Franklin County bank in a crime spree that spread over several days in November 2015. … Read More

Former NBA player Marcus Camby sued over nephew’s drowning

Posted/updated on: June 24, 2017 at 8:28 am

HOUSTON (AP) — Former NBA player Marcus Camby has been named defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit over the drowning of his 9-year-old autistic nephew in a pond on Camby’s Houston-area property last Thanksgiving.

The federal lawsuit, filed Thursday by the boy’s father, Marcus Kendall McGhee, alleges that Camby was aware of the limitations of his nephew, Marcus Carter McGhee, but failed to supervise the child and used no protective measures to keep him away from the pond.

The boy was found dead two days after he was reported missing. He’d traveled to Texas from his home in the Hartford, Connecticut, area for the holiday.

Camby’s property includes several acres in Pearland, a Houston suburb.

Camby could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. He played 19 NBA seasons for six teams, including the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers. The 2012-13 season was his last.

US rig count rises this week by 8, to 941

Posted/updated on: June 24, 2017 at 8:28 am

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by eight this week to 941. A year ago, just 421 rigs were active.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes said Friday that 758 rigs sought oil and 183 explored for natural gas this week.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma added five rigs, North Dakota increased by three rigs, Louisiana gained two and California and Colorado were up one each.

Alaska declined by two while New Mexico and Utah declined by one apiece.

Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.

Texas officer in murder case faces unrelated assault charges

Posted/updated on: June 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

DALLAS (AP) — A former Texas police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a black teenager has been indicted on two unrelated charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant.

Former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver was booked Friday into the Parker County jail, west of Fort Worth, on two counts of aggravated assault related to a traffic accident while he was off-duty. He later posted bail and was released.

Dallas police say Oliver drew his sidearm and pointed it at the ground after he was rear-ended in April.

The 37-year-old Oliver was fired in May and charged with murder after he shot into a moving car leaving a party, striking and killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

A message left with Oliver’s attorney was not immediately returned.

American Law in American Courts is Signed into Law

Posted/updated on: June 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

AUSTIN-Last week, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 45 authored by Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) into law. This bill, known as American Laws in American Courts, will require the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules to ensure that the application of foreign laws cannot be used to violate constitutional rights guaranteed under the Texas or United State Constitutions.
“By successfully passing American Law in American Courts into law, we will ensure that foreign laws cannot be used to violate our constitution or public policy,” said Representative Flynn. “This is a reaffirmation of our commitment to the United States rule of law and the constitution. I am dedicated to upholding our rights and the rights of Texans across our state and this law will make sure that our Constitution remains the supreme law of the land.”

House Bill 45 prohibits the application of a foreign law to court rulings if doing so would violate the rights guaranteed by the United States or Texas Constitution and protects the constitutional rights of individuals involved in such disputes. This codifies a June 2015 ruling by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and further directs the Supreme Court of Texas to adopt rules protect against future violations of constitutional rights. This will aid the courts and judges in order to be able to obtain clear guidance and uphold due process in each of these cases.
Now that it has been signed into law, H.B. 45 will take effect September 1, 2017.

AG Paxton: Today’s 5th Circuit Ruling Is a Victory for Religious Liberty

Posted/updated on: June 23, 2017 at 2:31 am

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton hailed a ruling today by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed a challenge against the state of Mississippi’s religious freedom law (HB 1523). Attorney General Paxton sided with Mississippi in an amicus brief filed in the 5th Circuit on behalf of nine states last November.

Mississippi’s law protects citizens from government discrimination based on an individual’s sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who complained that the law violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, and a district court judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law from taking effect last July.

Today, writing on behalf of a three-judge panel, 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith ruled that the plaintiffs challenging the law lacked standing. “Under this current record, the plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality.”

“I’m grateful that the 5th Circuit saw through this latest attempt by some to restrict religious freedom and impose their beliefs on others,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Mississippi’s law affirms what the U.S. Supreme Court professed in Obergefell: that religious men and women be “given proper protection’ to exercise their faith.”

Mississippi’s Religious Liberty Accommodations Act reinforces existing religious freedom rights, does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions, and does not challenge federal law. Among other things, the law protects the freedom of conscience for faith based adoption and foster care providers, protects conscience rights of state employees who may refuse to license marriages, and protects individuals who decline to provide certain medical services.

To view a copy of ruling, click here.
To view a copy of the amicus brief, click here.

Jack-in-the-Box Robbers Arrested

Posted/updated on: June 23, 2017 at 2:14 am

(LUFKIN, TEXAS, June 22, 2017) Two Lufkin men were arrested early this morning after robbing the Denman Avenue Jack in the Box at gunpoint and leading officers on a pursuit in a stolen car.
Douglas Richard, 19, and Edward Hernandez, 21, were taken into custody around 1:45 a.m. at the entrance of The Settlement on U.S. 59 south. The men entered the store’s back door around 1:30 a.m. –
Richard wielding a handgun. They then stole the cash drawer before fleeing the scene in the manager’s car. Minutes later, an officer spotted the stolen vehicle on Southwood Drive and a high-speed pursuit ensued. The chase spanned from Lufkin to Diboll and back, reaching speeds of 90-100mph. It ended on U.S. 59 south at the entrance to The Settlement after officers successfully piked the vehicle’s tires.

Officers recovered the register drawer along with the stolen vehicle. An hour before the robbery, Richard and Hernandez attempted to purchase food at the restaurant by walking up to the window.
The pair left on foot after being told that the restaurant did not take “ walk up” orders.

Hernandez told investigators Richard was getting “driven up” and talked about “hitting a lick” to put some money in his pocket as they walked around town before the robbery. Richard and Hernandez are both charged with two counts of aggravated robbery, while Richard received an additional charge of evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction. The Diboll Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and Angelina County Sheriff’s Office assisted during the pursuit.

Cornyn Statement on Senate GOP Health Care Reform Plan

Posted/updated on: June 23, 2017 at 2:30 am

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of legislation to replace the failed Affordable Care Act (ACA):

“After years of debate, hearings, and stories from folks harmed by Obamacare, today is a critical step towards delivering on our promise to provide the relief Texans so desperately need. “Our plan will help lower skyrocketing costs, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and ensure Medicaid is there for the Texans who need it most. Under this plan, gone are the days where people are forced to buy insurance they don’t want and can’t afford. “The time to close the book on Obamacare is now. Our plan will help deliver access to better care at a price the American people can actually afford.”

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

Road Closures off of Old Jacksonville and the Loop

Posted/updated on: June 23, 2017 at 2:13 am

TYLER — As a part of the 2017 Seal Coat Program, base repairs will be taking place on roads off of Old Jacksonville Highway and Loop 323. There may be possible lane closures during this repair time. Roads that will be affected are DC Drive, Anthony Drive, Broussard Street, Patridge Drive, Candy Lane and Capital Drive. Notifications will be put out on the streets that Lonestar will be doing work. Those who park on the street should make arrangements to park at other location. This project is weather pending and could be delayed.

Where: DC Drive, Anthony Drive, Broussard Street, Patridge Drive, Candy Lane and Capital Drive
When: June 21 to June 28

Scam Claiming to Benefit Tyler Fire Department

Posted/updated on: June 23, 2017 at 2:13 am

June 21, 2017- TYLER, TX- BBB Serving Central East Texas is alerting the community about a scam which claims to benefit Tyler Fire Department and reminds consumers to do their homework before sending money to any organization. The scam had earlier been reported by the fire department, but the BBB is offering more details.

The scam was reported via BBB Scam Tracker, an online tool used to provide consumers with a place to report scams and fraud and to warn others about malicious or suspicious activities. A local business owner reported that Firehouse Promotions contacted them for the third year in row claiming to be selling advertisement space on magnetic boards for $500 to help benefit Tyler Fire Department. BBB contacted Tyler Fire Department who confirmed that Firehouse Promotions is not raising money on their behalf.… Read More

Cornyn, Warren Introduce Bill to Ease Requirements on Military Members Seeking Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 2:41 am

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced the Jobs for our Heroes Act of 2017, which streamlines and eases the burden on the process whereby active-duty military, reservists and veterans apply for their commercial driver’s license. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is also an original cosponsor of the legislation.

“We should be making it easier, not harder, for members of the armed forces to be gainfully employed both while they are in the reserves and after they complete their service,” said Sen. Cornyn. “The servicemen and women who have experience operating large military vehicles should be able to easily apply their skills and knowledge when seeking a commercial driver’s license, and this legislation allows for just that.”

“Veterans who have the training and experience to operate heavy trucks and buses under tough conditions in the military have the skills needed to drive trucks on our highways,” Sen. Warren said. “This bipartisan bill will remove legal obstacles delaying servicemembers from getting commercial drivers’ licenses. It’s a straightforward fix that will benefit veterans looking for good jobs and that will help employers looking for talented employees.”

“The brave men and women that serve in the U.S. military learn a wide-range of skills applicable to jobs once they enter the civilian workforce, but too often face unnecessary barriers that makes it harder for them to find jobs,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation will eliminate burdensome red tape so our active-duty military, reservists, and veterans can receive the DOT-required health examination and use the experience they gained serving our nation to count towards the credit needed to obtain a commercial driver’s license” … Read More

Texas Employment Growth Picks up; Labor Market Remains Tight

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 2:40 am

Home Prices Likely to Keep Rising, says Dallas Fed Economist

DALLAS—Texas job growth has outpaced the nation so far this year, and the state’s labor market remains tight, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Economic Update.

Texas added jobs at a 2.4 percent annualized rate in May, with the manufacturing and energy sectors posting gains. Goods-producing sectors have added jobs at a 6.5 percent rate year to date, outpacing the 1.9 percent growth in private services.

The state unemployment rate dropped from 5.0 percent to 4.8 percent in May. While this exceeds the 4.3 percent May rate for the nation, the incidence of discouraged workers, the marginally attached and the underemployed have been more muted in Texas and remain mostly at or below their national rates, according to the report.

Texas home price appreciation shows no signs of stopping amid strong demand and inadequate supply, Dallas Fed Economist Anil Kumar said in a video accompanying the report’s release.

“Most indicators of residential construction in Texas receded in April after posting gains in March,” Kumar said. “Shortages of labor and developed lots have been important headwinds for the construction sector in Texas. With strong demand and inadequate housing supply, most measures of house prices suggest that house price appreciation remains strong.”

Looking ahead, the latest Dallas Fed Texas Employment Forecast for 2017 ticked up slightly from 2.4 to 2.6 percent and the Texas Leading Index points to continued growth for the state. Downside risks are sharply declining oil prices, continued strength in the dollar and uncertainty regarding both U.S. trade and tax policy.

Rep. Jason Villalba Announces Run for Re-Election

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 2:40 am

Dallas – Today, Rep. Villalba announced his run for re-election to the Texas House of Representatives, serving House District 114. Villalba has served three terms in the Texas Legislature and has been named Legislator of the Year by organizations such MADD, the SPCA and the Dallas Police Association. Rep. Villalba has also authored and passed a number of important bills addressing such issues as public education, infrastructure, economic development, school security, drunk driving, and tax reform. Rep. Villalba currently serves on the House Business and Industry Committee and the Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

Villalba stated, “The Texas Legislature needs now, more than ever, solutions-minded, common-sense public servants. It breaks my heart when I see our beloved Texas go down the path of Washington-style politics, where division and bickering hamper the will of the people. That’s why I am so strongly committed to coming back to Austin – so that I can champion the Texas values of hard work, perseverance, compassion and righteousness by serving all of my fellow Texans, not just those who might agree with me. I am dedicated to the cause of Texas and look forward to serving House District 114 in the 86th Legislative Session.”… Read More

Parks Department Postpones Invasive Species Workshop

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 11:09 am

TYLER –The City of Tyler Parks Department and the Texas A&M Forest Service have postponed an invasive species workshop and field day that had been scheduled for Thursday. Officials now say that workshop is being rescheduled for sometime this fall. We’ll have an update when more information becomes available. For more information, call Tyler Urban Forester Cody Goldman at (903) 531-1179.

UT Analysis: Suicide Rates for White Texans more than Triple Rates for Black and Hispanic Texans

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 1:56 am

AUSTIN — Suicide rates in Texas were more than triple for white people than for black and Hispanic people in 2015, according to a new analysis from The University of Texas System and UT Health Northeast.

3,403 Texans died from suicide in 2015, the most recent year for which there are numbers. This is more than double the number killed by homicide, and was the second leading cause of death for ages 15-24, after unintentional injuries (e.g. car accidents). Suicide was the fourth leading cause of death for ages 5-64.… Read More

Governor Abbott Orders Increased Readiness

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

AUSTIN – As Tropical Storm Cindy approaches the Gulf Coast, Governor Greg Abbott today ordered the State Operations Center (SOC) elevate its readiness from level four (normal conditions) to level three (increased readiness) starting at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21st. Additionally, Governor Abbott has activated four Texas Task Force 1 boat squads and two Texas Military Department vehicle squads (5 vehicles each) to respond to any emergencies that may occur as a result of Tropical Storm Cindy. The Governor has also placed the Department of State Health Services Emergency Medical Task Force, Texas Military Forces Aircraft, and shelter and feeding teams on standby.… Read More

Smith County Men Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Violations

Posted/updated on: June 22, 2017 at 1:57 am

TYLER, Texas – Two Tyler, Texas men have been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston.

Hubert Wright, 60, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2017, to possessing with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Wright was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

Kevin Williams, 38, pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2017, to possessing with intent to distribute crack and powder cocaine and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison by Judge Clark. … Read More

AG Paxton Calls on California Insurance Commissioner to Stop Threats

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 2:47 am

AG Paxton Calls on California Insurance Commissioner to Stop Threats to Insurance Companies or Risk Legal Action

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined 12 states today in calling on California Insurance Commissioner David Jones to cease and desist from requiring insurance companies to publicly disclose investments in fossil fuels and urging companies to sign a “pledge” to divest from the coal industry.

Commissioner Jones is also requiring insurance companies to disclose investments in oil, gas and coal. The financial disclosures and decisions on whether to sign the “pledge” are then made public on the California Insurance Department’s website.

“The threats made by the California Insurance Commissioner will hurt families, businesses and insurance carriers across the nation,” Attorney General Paxton said. “These requirements are misguided, unrelated to insurance regulation, and are clearly politically driven. We will not stand by while negligent, politically motivated requirements harm the livelihood of thousands of U.S. citizens.”

Along with Attorney General Paxton, the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming and the governor of Kentucky, signed the letter.

To view the letter click here.

DPS Offers Increased Reward, Seeks Leads in 1992 Tarrant County Murder

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 2:46 am

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is asking for the public’s help in solving the 1992 murder of Martha Yvonne Davenport, 43, and an increased reward up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible, if the tip is received before next month’s featured case is announced.

On Aug. 22, 1992, Davenport, 43, was found dead in her Forest Hill home. (Forest Hill is a suburb of Fort Worth in Tarrant County.) She had been stabbed numerous times in her residence on Old Hickory Trail. While several potential suspects were developed during the investigation, no arrests were made. The Texas Rangers and the Forest Hill Police Department are investigating.

To be eligible for the cash rewards, tipsters must provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous.

Individuals also can submit information through the Texas Ranger Cold Case website or by contacting us at 1-800-346-3243 (DPS Missing Persons Hotline).

The DPS Texas Rangers’ Unsolved Homicides website provides information on more than 75 cases in an effort to help garner public interest in unsolved or “cold cases.” Texas Crime Stoppers recently began offering rewards (funded by the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division and administered by DPS) of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for any Rangers cold case listed on the website. For more information, visit the Texas Ranger cold case website at: http://www.dps.texas.gov/TexasRangers/UnsolvedHomicides/index.htm.

As part of a DPS public awareness program, one case from the Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation (Cold Case) Program is featured each month in an effort to generate new investigative leads and bring attention to these cold cases. The Texas Crime Stoppers reward is increased up to $6,000 for the featured case in hopes that the higher reward money will generate additional tips. The higher reward amount will only be paid if the tip is submitted before the next case is featured.

The Texas Ranger Unsolved Crimes Investigation Program was created to assist Texas law enforcement agencies investigating unsolved murders or violent serial crimes. Since there is no statute of limitations for the offense of murder, investigators pursue these cases to a successful resolution or until no viable leads remain.

AG Paxton Joins Coalition Urging EPA to Respect States in WOTUS Review

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 2:46 am

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton Joins 20-State Coalition Urging EPA to Respect States in WOTUS Review. AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a 20-state coalition in requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources.

The coalition filed its letter Monday as part of the EPA’s ongoing review of its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The attorneys general outlined regulatory overreach present in the existing rule and offered suggestions to better respect the authority of states going forward.

“The WOTUS rules are a blatant power grab by the EPA,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The federal government exceeded its statutory authority by attempting to regulate areas that Congress never intended to be under federal jurisdiction, and directly infringed on the states’ ability to regulate their own natural resources.”

Rather than claiming jurisdiction over vast amounts of water and land, the coalition suggests that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways, especially those within the border of individual states. The Obama-era regulation, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and put it in the hands of federal agencies. This included almost any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains and roadside ditches.

Texas signed the West Virginia- and Wisconsin-led letter with Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

Read a copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/2tGljKk.

10-Foot Alligator Roped, Wrangled off East Texas Ranch

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 1:58 am

HAWKINS (AP) — An East Texas rancher lassoed a 10-foot alligator and wranglers crawled atop the thrashing reptile’s back after it got a little too close to the landowner’s cattle. Bystanders shot video of the recent takedown near Hawkins. Byron South of Convergent Hunting Solutions says he got a call from the landowner, Hal Conover, after the alligator broke into a pen where he was weaning calves. Game wardens were also summoned. South told The Associated Press that Conover was able to throw a rope around the reptile. The video later shows two men atop the gator as it thrashes and bites one man’s hand. The man suffered minor injuries. The alligator was eventually loaded into a trailer and hauled to a wildlife park.

SC Fire Marshal: Cause of Fire at Tyler Welders Supply Accidental, Undetermined

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 1:58 am

TYLER — After completing the investigation of the fire scene at Tyler Welders Supply on Monday, June 19, 2017, Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson said the fire appears to be accidental in nature.

The exact cause of the fire that occurred on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, remains undetermined, but no foul play is suspected and no criminal charges will be filed, Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said.

The fire marshal released the fire scene back to the company, and Tyler Welders Supply will begin a private investigation in to what started the fire at 3539 U.S. Highway 271 in Tyler.

The University of Texas at Tyler Develops Veteran Discount Program

Posted/updated on: June 21, 2017 at 1:57 am

TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler has helped create a beneficial program that gives area business discounts to veterans, Dr. James Lumpkin, College of Business and Technology dean, announced. Graduate students in Dr. Kerri Camp’s Advanced Marketing Fundamentals course collaborated with the East Texas Veterans Alliance and Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce on the “Recognizing Our Servicemembers Everyday” or R.O.S.E. Veteran Discount Program.… Read More

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