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City of Tyler Street Projects

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The city of Tyler is putting out the word on a couple of street projects that got underway this past weekend. Roadwork on South Broadway Avenue from Erwin Street to Fourth Street will continue through Thursday, August 28. Officials say the final layer of asphalt will be applied and striping will be marked. To minimize inconvenience to the public, all work will be done between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:00am through Thursday. During this time, the road will periodically be closed to through traffic. All work is expected to be complete before August 29, weather permitting. Read the rest of this entry »

Construction on Fourth Street between Hawkins Parkway and Loop 281

thumb_longview-cityofLONGVIEW — Starting last night, construction began on Fourth Street in Longview from Hawkins to Loop 281. For several days traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction for street maintenance, milling, and overlay work. Overlay work will continue on Fourth Street during the week of August 31 from Sunday night to Wednesday night. The contractor will be working from 7:00pm to 7:00am to help reduce traffic congestion, according to a city news release. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes. This project is being constructed by Reynolds and Kay of Tyler. If you have any questions related to construction, call the City Engineer Alton Bradley at 903-237-1067..

Grand Saline Man Killed in Head-On Collision with 18-Wheeler

thumb_police-9VAN ZANDT COUNTY — A Grand Saline man was killed early Friday morning in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler. According to KETK, DPS troopers say the collision happened between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m on FM 17 in Van Zandt County. Troopers say Steven Armstrong, 22, lost control of his car while driving northbound on FM 17. He swerved into oncoming traffic and crashed into the truck. Armstrong was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured. The wreck remains under investigation.

Four Reach Plea Deals in Tyler Motel Murder

motelmurdermugsTYLER — Four East Texas men have reached plea deals with the Smith County District Attorney’s Office in connection with a 2013 murder. KETK reports Lawrence Murphy Jr. was one of the four accused in the killing of Wesley Scott Lester at the American Inn Motel in Tyler in June of last year. Instead of capital murder, Murphy was charged with murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison after reaching his plea deal Friday morning. Murphy was believed to have fled to the Dallas area after he was sought by police for the June 15 murder. He turned himself in to Tyler Police investigators nine days after the killing. Read the rest of this entry »

ETMC Gilmer to Phase Out Inpatient Care

GILMER — Beginning January 1, 2015, ETMC Gilmer will no longer provide inpatient care, according to East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System officials. ETMC Gilmer will continue to operate as a 24-hour emergency center providing full-service emergency care and trauma stabilization, as well as laboratory and radiology services. KETK reports the ETMC First Physicians clinic, located at the hospital, will continue to operate as usual. “Making this decision was difficult,” said Perry Henderson, senior vice president, affiliate operations. “When ETMC came to Gilmer in 1997, the hospital had been closed and boarded up for two years. We take great pride in knowing that we reopened this facility and made healthcare more accessible to the people of Upshur County. Unfortunately, poor utilization and declining reimbursements across the board make providing inpatient care unfeasible.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bond Lowered for Man Whose Toddler Died in Hot Truck

Russell LindstromTYLER – A Flint-area man accused of manslaughter after his child died in a hot truck has been granted a lower bond. KETK reports that via request of Russell Lindstrom’s attorney, State District Judge Kerry Russell of Tyler lowered Lindstrom’s bond from $200,000 to $125,000 at a hearing Friday morning. A 911 call was received in June about two unresponsive youngsters inside a hot pickup with the windows rolled up in the 18000 block of County Road 1100 near Flint. Bella Lindstrom, 4, was taken to a hospital where she died. Her three year old sister Zoey was hospitalized and released the next day. Lindstrom, 33, was arrested last month at a mobile home park in the 17000 block of Highway 155 South. He has also been charged with injury to a child.

Former Local Teen Victim in Double-Homicide

ElijahBensonFB.1408655787BURNET — A former East Texas teen was killed Tuesday in a double homicide, and the son of a Hill Country constable is charged with capital murder. Garrett Ballard, 21, Burnet, was reportedly high on LSD when he used a rifle he took from his father’s patrol unit. Ballard told authorities Tuesday he and the victims, Elijah Benson, 17, formerly of Whitehouse, and Travis Fox, 26, bought the hallucinogenic drug to celebrate a birthday at his home. He said when Benson and Fox began acting strangely due to the drug effects, he shot them with his dad’s weapon. Benson lived in Whitehouse before moving to Burnet. He was a student at Burnet High School. The Texas Rangers are leading the investigation into the incident.

Smith County United Way’s Goal Set

United Way LogoTYLER — The United Way of Smith County sets a campaign goal of $1.75 million for 2014-2015. That figure was announced Thursday evening at the campaign kickoff at FRESH by Brookshire’s. The campaign will run through March, benefiting 41 community programs. Along with regular donations, community members can register to win a 2015 Hyundai Accent from Allen Samuels East Texas Dodge. The car will be given away April 2. United Way Development Director Stephen Rainwater says, “The work of United Way is centered on the belief that we are all connected and interdependent.” You can go to for more information.

Extra Vehicle Registration Fee to Help Child Advocacy Center

HENDERSON — If you live in Rusk County, you’ll soon be paying more to register your vehicle — but it’s for a good cause. According to KETK, just one extra dollar is all county residents will have to pay to register their cars starting in January. But county officials say that dollar can make a huge impact. The extra fee was passed by county commissioners this week. Funds collected from the fee will go directly to the Rusk-Panola Child Advocacy Center and will be used for resources to help children who are being abused or are at risk for being abused.

East Texans React to Journalist’s Beheading

James FoleyTYLER — Following the beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by the ISIS group in Iraq, some East Texans sounded off on whether President Obama is doing enough to combat the terrorists. One resident told KETK, “He should be doing a whole lot more. He should have been involved a long time before it got to this point.” Another added, “Well, he’s doing bombing raids, trying to take out these guys.” Still another commented, “I don’t approve of letting our men be beheaded over there, and I think he ought to do something about it immediately.”

Sound Physicians to Lead TMF Hospitalist Program

thumb_MotherFrances-sign-2TYLER – Beginning August 20, Sound Physicians has been contracted and formally begun managing the Hospitalist program at Mother Frances Hospital Tyler (MFH Tyler) and the Louis and Peaches Owen Hospital (LPOHH). That announcement comes in a news release from Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. Sound Physicians will also bring on-site operations leadership and hospitalist RN’s to help drive performance and has plans to build out its post-acute provider network and transitional care management program. Sound Physicians is a physician-founded and led national management company started in 2001 with headquarters in Houston. They manage over 1,000 hospitalist physicians in more than 100 hospitals across the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Workshop Set to Update Tyler Transportation Plan

MPO_BoundaryTYLER — The public is invited to attend a workshop to be held by the Tyler Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) in an effort to update the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). The workshop will be held Thursday, Aug. 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Tyler Senior Center, 1915 Garden Valley Road. According to a news release, the MTP is a 25-year, long-range transportation plan which serves as the basic framework for all transportation planning through 2040. The MTP is a guide used to plan for future transportation needs in the Tyler MPO area and the expenditure of federal, state, and local funds that become available for these projects. The current MTP was approved in December 2009 and includes multiple projects totaling approximately $390 million worth of transportation improvements through the life of the plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Kilgore Police: Man Entered Women’s Bathroom

Kilgore-man in women's rest roomKILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is seeking the assistance of the community in identifying a man who allegedly entered a public women’s restroom for a lewd purpose earlier this month. According to the Longview News-Journal, anyone with information is asked to email Detective John Rowe at or call him at 903-218-6906. You can also contact Gregg County Crimestoppers at 903-236-STOP or text an anonymous tip to 847411 + KILGORE + your tip. You’re asked to refer to KPD Incident #1408-0728.

Marshall Honors Native Y.A. Tittle

Y A TittleMARSHALL (AP/STAFF) — The Marshall school board has voted unanimously to name its high school football field house in honor of hometown sports legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle. Tittle is 87 and lives in Atherton, California. He was born and raised in Marshall, played at Marshall High School in the 1940s, then went to Louisiana State University. He played 10 years for San Francisco in the NFL, and then led the New York Giants to three division titles before retiring in 1964. Tittle threw for more than 33,000 yards and 242 touchdowns and entered the Hall of Fame in 1971. The Marshall News Messenger reports school officials say Tittle has health issues, that officials have talked with his family and that they’re OK with the designation.

UT Tyler Announces College of Education and Psychology Interim Dean

Wesley Hickey-U-T TylerTYLER – The new interim dean of the College of Education and Psychology at The University of Texas at Tyler, effective September 1, is Dr. Wesley Hickey. The announcement was made by Dr. Ross Sherman, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Hickey who has served the university since 2004, will fill the vacancy left by Sherman’s new appointment. A UT Tyler alumnus, Hickey is an associate professor of educational leadership. He has served as the UT Tyler Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies chair since March 1, and he was also superintendent program coordinator for 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »

UT Tyler Muntz Library Director Appointed to State Board

Jeanne Standley-UT TylerTYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler Robert R. Muntz Library director Jeanne Standley has been appointed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s TexShare Advisory Board. A UT Tyler alumna, Standley has served the university since 2000. TexShare is a cooperative program designed to improve library service to Texans. TexShare focuses on the efficient sharing of library holdings, with an emphasis on electronic information resources and traditional collections of books and journals In this role, Standley represents public universities, replacing Farzaneh Razzaghi, UT Pan American dean of library. Read the rest of this entry »

Spring Hill Trustees Pass Budget

LONGVIEW — A $17.2 million budget has been passed by Spring Hill school trustees. KETK reports board members approved the budget at Monday’s meeting. $13.4 million will go toward operating costs for the school district. The rest of the budget will be used to pay off the debt from a bond issue.

Schaefer Calls on TEA to Hold Off on Revocation of Azleway’s Charter

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1TYLER — Following an announcement that an administrative law judge has upheld the revocation of Azleway Charter School’s charter by the Texas Education Agency, State Rep. Matt Schaefer is calling on Michael Williams, Texas commissioner of education, to hold off on the revocation of the charter due to pending litigation. Azleway currently has an appeal pending with the Third Court of Appeals in Austin and Schaefer says he feels that the timing of the revocation would be harmful to all parties involved, including Chapel Hill ISD, which would absorb many Azleway students. Read the rest of this entry »

Pat Herd Women’s Center Celebrates First Anniversary

thumb_MotherFrances-signTYLER — The Trinity Mother Frances Foundation Women’s Board is celebrating the first anniversary of the Pat Herd Women’s Center this week. The center is named for the late Pat Herd, “a wonderfully caring and philanthropic woman, whose passing moved her family to continue her legacy,” according to a news release from Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics. Michael Herd, her grandson and the chair of the Bob L. Herd Foundation, worked with his family and Mother Frances Hospital to fulfill the campaign for a new floor focused on the special needs of women. Read the rest of this entry »

Brown to Continue as Winona’s Interim Mayor

Winona city sealWINONA — The Winona City Council has decided not to hold a special mayoral election to replace Dede Stroud. According to KETK, council members decided Tuesday night to allow Earl Brown to serve as the city’s interim mayor until the 2015 election. After just two months in office, Stroud resigned from her post as mayor and handed over her keys to the city. Stroud says during her time as mayor, the city council harassed and neglected her and stripped her of her duties. Brown assumed the mayor’s responsibilities following Stroud’s resignation.

Nacogdoches County Judge Gives Self $24K Pay Cut

Mike Perry-Nacogdoches County JudgeNACOGDOCHES (AP) – An East Texas county judge has given himself a $24,000 annual pay cut as residents face possible higher property taxes. The Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel reports Nacogdoches County Judge Mike Perry has submitted an affidavit to be paid less. Perry, as of Oct. 1, will receive the same annual salary as county commissioners of nearly $52,000. Commissioners on Tuesday held a budget workshop. A public hearing on proposed higher tax rates will be held Friday. Perry, who took office earlier this year, says he didn’t run for the job for what it paid anyway – total compensation topping $76,000. Perry says he promised to balance the county budget and he feels if other people sacrifice that he should, too.

Attempted Robbery Under Investigation

thumb_police-tyler-carTYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a suspect accused of assault and attempted theft. Officials said just after 12:00 Wednesday morning, an employee of Arby’s, 4014 S. Broadway, was attempting to get into her vehicle when she was approached by the suspect. He reportedly sprayed the woman with mace and proceeded to rummage through her car. The woman was able to run to a nearby McDonald’s and called 911. The suspect was described wearing all black with a ski mask that had a skull print on the front. The victim suffered no physical injuries other than those commonly associated with getting sprayed by mace. The victim said nothing appeared to be stolen. Contact police with any information.

One Killed in Gregg County Wreck

DPS badgeKILGORE – A Tyler man has been killed in a two vehicle accident in Gregg County. The accident happened around 5:15 Tuesday afternoon on State Highway 31, three miles west of Kilgore. Dead at the scene was Christopher Payne, 47. His car was hit by a pickup driven by Zachary Taylor, 21, of Arp. The Department of Public Safety reports Taylor was heading east when his pickup crossed over the center stripe and hit Payne’s westbound car. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, Taylor was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. An investigation has been launched to see if intoxicants were factors in the crash.

Jail Renovations Nearing Completion

thumb_smithcounty-sealTYLER — The Smith County Jail has been under renovation for quite some time now. KETK reports phase two of three is now finished. Phase two includes a new holding and booking center, an in-house infirmary, 384 additional beds, and new surveillance systems. Officials say the improvements significantly diminish risk to the public. They say the infirmary alone will save taxpayers almost $800,000 a year in inmate medical expenses. It includes three operating tables, a dentist’s chair, and even rooms for solitary confinement so diseases won’t spread. Plans call for phase three to be complete in November, with the new renovations fully functioning.

Authorities Seek Identification of UT Tyler Vandals

uttylertaggingTYLER — UT Tyler officials are asking for the public’s help identifying three people who vandalized several buildings on campus. KETK reports that according to campus police the vandals “tagged” buildings and other property Saturday at around 9:45 p.m. Anyone who has any information or knows the individuals is asked to call 903-566-7300 and refer to case number 2014-000176.

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