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Tyler ISD Graduation Marks Continue to Exceed State Rate

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced recently that the Texas high school on-time graduation rate has set another all-time high, reaching 88 percent for the Class of 2013. Tyler ISD’s graduation rate remained above the state’s rate for the third year in a row with 91.5 percent for the Class of 2013. According to a news release from the school district, Tyler ISD’s graduation rate has shown growth five out of the last six years. Since 2007 the state has seen a 10 percentage point increase in graduation rate, while Tyler ISD has shown a 17.9 percentage point increase.

Runaway Teen Sought

Bianca ArreguinJACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Police Department is looking for a runaway teen and the girl’s family is asking for the public’s helping in finding her. KETK reports that according to a relative, Bianca Arreguin, 14, of Jacksonville, left home on August 10. She was last seen at her sister’s house on Kickapoo Street. If you have information on Arreguin’s whereabouts, contact Det. Tonya Harris with the Jacksonville Police Department at (903) 586-2546.

Deputies Find Possibly Meth-Loaded Syringe inside Man’s Shoe

williamrigginshendersoncoATHENS — Henderson County deputies arrested a man near Lake Athens after allegedly discovering a syringe filled with methamphetamine in his shoe. According to KETK, Sheriff Ray Nutt says at 1:47 p.m. on Wednesday, a deputy was called to FM 2495 on reports of a welfare concern. After arriving at the scene, the deputy found a man, later identified as William Riggins, standing in the middle of the road. Authorities say they determined the man was intoxicated and took him into custody. During a search of Williams, law enforcement found a syringe containing a liquid believed to be meth inside his shoe. The suspect was taken to the Henderson County Jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication.

Rusk Man Gets Life in Prison for Sexual Assault of Child

villegasrafRUSK — A Rusk man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. According to Cherokee County prosecutor Charles Breaux, Rafael Villegas, 54, sexually assaulted a girl in 2000. Officials were able to charge the convict because of an amended law allowing the state to prosecute crimes committed within 10 years of the victim’s eighteenth birthday. Therefore, the statute of limitations did not apply, according to KETK. Villegas was found guilty Tuesday by a jury. Read the rest of this entry »

P.T. Cole Park Murderer Sentenced to Life in Prison

bendysmithcojail11TYLER — Judge Jack Skeen sentenced a man convicted of murder in last summer’s P.T. Cole Park shooting to life in prison Thursday morning. KETK reports Dennis Bendy was found guilty by a Smith County jury August 12 in the murder of 20-year-old Briana Young. The victim was killed after she was caught in crossfire with her 3-year-old son at the park on Tyler’s west side. During the trial, the state said Elisha Williams fired the fatal shot but Bendy had also fired eight bullets from his 9mm Glock. In the closing arguments, state prosecutors argued Bendy could be found guilty as an individual or as a party with transferred intent: if a group has intent to cause harm and a felony is committed, everyone in the group can be charged. Rakheem Goldstein and Elisha Williams are also charged with murder in this case. A fourth suspect, Ke’Avier Jarrod Wilson-Hurd, was no-billed.

Tyler Airport Authorized for Millions in FAA Grant

poundsfield-tyler-5TYLER — The Tyler City Council authorized Tyler Pounds Regional Airport to accept a new FAA Grant totaling more than $9.6 million. According to a press release, the major portion of the grant will be used to begin reconstruction of the airport’s longest runway, portions of which date back to World War II. Having been in the planning and design phase for the past five years, a proactive plan has been set in motion to enhance the runway. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Native Signing Off after 50 Years

landess_1347160354769_114030_ver1.0_640_480DENVER (AP) — Denver television news anchor Mike Landess is signing off after 50 years in broadcast journalism. Landess’ last newscast is Thursday’s 10 p.m. broadcast on KMGH-TV. Landess began his broadcast career as a high school senior at KLTV-TV in Tyler, Texas and has also worked for stations in Dallas, Cleveland, Atlanta and Washington D.C., covering stories including the Sept. 11 attacks. He worked for KUSA with Ed Sardella in Denver for 16 years starting in 1977 before returning to Denver to work for KMGH in 2002, covering wildfires, the Aurora theater shooting and last year’s flooding. Landess has won more than two dozen Emmy Awards, including five for best anchor.

Joe White Retiring from East Texas Oil Museum

Joe WhiteKILGORE — One of Kilgore College’s treasures, The East Texas Oil Museum, will bid farewell this month to a man who has been with the museum since its inception 37 years ago and who has devoted half of his life to the preservation and public education of the East Texas oil field. Joe White, the only director the museum has ever had, was recently named Director Emeritus by the KC Board of Trustees. White plans to retire, but he won’t be a stranger to the museum. He said he’ll return to the museum next week to work half-time to write a history of the museum and to continue work on fundraising. Merlyn Holmes, of Kilgore, will take over as director of the museum effective September 15, per board approval. Read the rest of this entry »

Jacksonville Police Continue Search for Missing Man

randalrobersonJACKSONVILLE — Police continue to search for a 28-year-old man who has been missing since January. Randal Rahushun Roberson reportedly left Jacksonville about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 21, en route to New Summerfield, and never arrived at his location. He also never returned to his residence. According to KETK, he was traveling in a white 1995 Mercury Cougar, which police say was found abandoned the following Thursday on a county road just north of New Summerfield. Read the rest of this entry »

Benefit for Family of East Texan Killed in Accident

wilson1LONGVIEW — A 50-hour online auction benefiting the family of an East Texas man killed in a recent accident got underway Wednesday night. KETK reports Conner Wilson, 32, of White Oak was killed August 12 in Rusk County after he accidentally hit a live 12-inch pipeline while operating a mulching machine. The line ruptured and instantly killed Wilson. A memorial was held for Wilson on August 15 and he was laid to rest the following day. He leaves behind four children and a wife. The auction will run until 10:00 Friday night. You can go to for more information. You can click on if you’d like to donate.

New Sidewalks Coming to Tyler

thumb_TxDotTYLER — The Tyler City Council Wednesday approved a design contract with Adams Engineering to provide design and construction phase services for new sidewalks using the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Transportation Enhancement Grant Sidewalk Project. The proposal is for the design of five-foot-wide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalks. The sidewalk locations were selected using the Pedestrian Master Plan published by the Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2010. “The project includes approximately 7.2 miles of sidewalk throughout the City of Tyler that are greatly needed,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. Read the rest of this entry »

City Wins Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — For the eighth straight year, the city of Tyler has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its fiscal year 2013-2014 budget document. “This award is a significant achievement reflecting the commitment of the city of Tyler to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting,” said the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Keidric Trimble. The award was granted by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) and was presented to the city during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Tyler Man Killed in Single Car Crash

thumb_DPS-car-2TYLER — One person was killed when a vehicle left the road and struck a tree about two miles north of Tyler. According to Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark, at 1:00 Wednesday morning, Keith Williams, 24, of Tyler, was headed south on Farm Road 14 when he drifted into the oncoming lane and overcorrected. KETK reports the car traveled back across the southbound lane and off the road into a tree, then rolled into a field. Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 James Cowart pronounced Williams dead at the scene. There is no suspicion of an alcohol-related crash, stated Dark.

Authorities Search for Work Truck Stolen from Property

stolentruckgladewaterGLADEWATER — The Gladewater Police Department is asking for help locating a work truck taken from a local property. According to KETK, police said officers were dispatched to a property in the 400 block of Riverside Drive in reference to a report of theft on August 21. When authorities made it there, the caller, a JDW Services employee, told officers a truck and flatbed trailer hauling a John Deere backhoe had been taken. The stolen pickup is described as a white 2009 Chevrolet 3500 flatbed with Texas license plate number AH77635. It is believed the truck was used to take the yellow 2013 John Deere backhoe which was already loaded on the trailer. Later on the same date, Gladewater detectives, assisted by Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputies, found the trailer and backhoe. The pickup has still not been recovered. Read the rest of this entry »

Possible Murder-Suicide in Tatum

thumb_police-1TATUM — The Tatum Police Department is investigating an alleged murder-suicide that took place over the weekend. According to a release put out by the department, on Saturday at 7:45 p.m., possible gunshots at a local home were reported. KETK reports Tatum officers and Rusk County deputies responded to the scene and found a man and woman dead. The man was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Tatum Police Department, Rusk County’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Rusk County District Attorney’s Office, and the Texas Rangers are investigating the case. J.P. Precinct 4 Darlene Childress ordered an autopsy.

Tyler Bicycle Rider Injured

police-car-lights2TYLER – A bicyclist has been injured when hit by a SUV in the 7500 block of the Old Jacksonville Highway. The accident happened shortly before 8:15 Tuesday night. Injured was Kristin Blaise, 42. Tyler police report that a group of cyclists were riding north bound in the outside lane when Blaise was struck by a vehicle. According to Sgt. Wendell Gardner, she sustained serious injuries that are not believed to be life threatening at this time. She was transported to East Texas Medical Center for treatment. The driver, identified as Devin Hunter, 20, was ticketed for failure to control speed.

Section of South Broadway Reopened

TYLER — A portion of South Broadway which had been closed due to road construction is back open. It had been closed in all directions between the intersections of Houston/South Broadway and 4th/South Broadway.

Officials: Man Deliberately Ruined His $1M Car

Bugatti Veyron in waterBEAUMONT — A 39-year-old Lufkin, Texas man has admitted he deliberately drove his $1 million car into Gulf waters so that he could collect insurance on the vehicle. Andy Lee House pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with wire mail fraud yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin. House faces up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set. Read the rest of this entry »

Security Expert Arrested in Tyler Bank Heist

DanielBursonMug.1409084601TYLER — A joint investigation between the Tyler Police Department and the FBI has led to the arrest of a corporate security consultant-investigator for Capital One Bank in the robbery that occurred at a Capital One Bank in Tyler August 11. The suspect is identified as Daniel River Burson, 37, of McKinney. Burson was arraigned in federal court Tuesday in Tyler and will have a detention hearing on Aug. 29. If convicted, Burson faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Read the rest of this entry »

County Budget, Tax Rate Approved by 3-2 Vote

thumb_smithcounty-sealTYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court Tuesday approved the county budget and tax rate for 2014-15 by a 3-2 vote. The budget includes a slight tax rate increase from .323564 to .33, which is projected to generate $915,884 in additional revenue that will be dedicated solely to road projects. For the average-priced home of $144,817, the annual increase in County property taxes would be an estimated $9. County Judge Joel Baker says Smith County will maintain one of the lowest county tax rates in Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler ISD Campuses Earn 20 Distinctions in Accountability System

thumb_school-teacher-parentsTYLER – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently released accountability ratings for school districts and charter schools across the state, and eight Tyler ISD campuses earned a total of 20 distinctions for the 2014 school year. Schools that received a “Met Standard” rating can earn up to seven additional honors, or distinctions, for outstanding performance in various areas in relation to a comparison group of campuses. Read the rest of this entry »

Lindale Educator Named Finalist for Teacher of the Year

Whitney CrewsAUSTIN — The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) announced Tuesday that six outstanding educators from across Texas, including one from Lindale, have been chosen as finalists in the Texas Teacher of the Year program. The elementary school finalists include Whitney Crews, a sixth-grade science and social studies teacher at E.J. Moss Intermediate in Lindale ISD. Three elementary and three secondary school educators were selected from the 40 regional Teachers of the Year from each of the state’s 20 education service centers. The finalists will now contend for the honor of being named Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Man Jailed after Reportedly Stabbing Brother

Ivan Lee Tabor JrLONGVIEW — An Gregg County man is in jail after officials say he stabbed his brother. Officers with the Longview Police Department arrested Ivan Lee Tabor Jr., 57, of Longview, after police say he stabbed his brother David Tabor in the stomach. Longview Police Department Public Information Officer Kristie Brian told KETK, authorities responded to the reports of the incident Monday in the 100 block of White City Street in Longview. David Tabor was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries but is expected to recover. Ivan Tabor was charged with aggravated assault family violence with a weapon and is currently in the Gregg County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Simpson Holds Meeting in Gilmer on Border Visit

thumb_David-SimpsonGILMER – Representative David Simpson invites citizens from District 7 and the surrounding area to a slideshow presentation and report about his week-long tour of the southern Texas border. The townhall meeting will take place tonight from 6:00 to 7:30 at the Upshur Rural Electric Co-op, 1200 West Tyler Street in Gilmer. After the report, the floor will be open for questions and comments from the audience about immigration and border security. According to press materials, the event is free and open to the public. A similar meeting is planned for September 21 in Kilgore.

One Dead in Gregg County Wreck

DPS door signLONGVIEW – One person has been killed and one injured in a Gregg County accident. The wreck occurred just before 5:00 Sunday morning on Interstate Highway 20, six miles southwest of Longview. Killed was Edward Bradley, 71, of Salt Lake City, Utah. He died about three hours after the accident at Longview’s Good Shepherd Medical Center. The driver of the other vehicle, Dylan Brown, 19, of Longview, remains hospitalized in critical condition at Good Shepherd Medical Center. According to the Department of Public Safety report, Brown was west bound on the interstate when his pickup crossed the median and hit Bradley’s vehicle.

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