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Eastbound Lanes of I-20 Reopened after Accident-Related Shutdown

GREGG COUNTY — The eastbound lanes of I-20 near mile marker 593 in Gregg County were reopened late Tuesday afternoon after being shut down at mid-afternoon due to multiple crashes blocking the roadway. That’s according to KETK and DPS Trooper Jean Dark. Dark said troopers worked to reroute traffic while the accidents were cleared.

Anderson County Man Sentenced for Child Pornography

alvinwestleyacsoTYLER — A 50-year-old Palestine, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for child pornography violations. Alvin Westley was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 23, 2013, and charged with federal child pornography violations. He pleaded guilty on January 9 to possession of child pornography. Westley was sentenced yesterday to 156 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis. Federal prosecutors said on Jan. 26, 2011, Westley knowingly possessed child pornography. At the time of the offense, Westley was a registered sex offender having been previously convicted of three counts of indecency with a child.

Suspects Sought in Early Morning Drive-By Shooting

thumb_sheriff-smithcountyTYLER – Authorities in Smith County are investigating a pre-dawn drive-by shooting. Shortly before 2:30 yesterday morning, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a shooting in the 11700 block of County Road 1121. The caller advised that the home had been hit by gunfire. Upon arrival, deputies talked with a woman who lives at the residence. She reported that around 1:00, she and her son were driving their vehicle and had stopped on Frankston Highway when two unknown black males approached them. She said the men appeared to be intoxicated and that both men began making threatening statements and told her they knew where she lived. One of the men then broke a window out of her vehicle with a bottle. Read the rest of this entry »

Arlington Man Sentenced for Counterfeiting Violations

Cloyd Ray Knight IIITYLER – A 58-year-old Arlington man has been sentenced for counterfeiting violations in the Eastern District of Texas. Considered one of the largest digital counterfeiters in recent history, Cloyd Ray Knight III successfully passed more than $400,000 in counterfeit $100 bills. He initially pleaded guilty on May 9, 2013, to passing counterfeit bills, but it took months to bring him to justice after he disappeared. He was finally sentenced to 69 months in federal prison yesterday in Tyler by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

Duo Arrested in Death of Man Whose Remains Were Found in Smith County

Brandon Bernard DanielsFLORENCE, S.C. (Staff/AP) — A couple has been arrested in South Carolina in connection with the killing of a Parker County man whose partial remains were found in Smith County. According to KETK and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Brandon Bernard Daniels, 30, and Damonica Laniesha Evans, 25, were arrested in Florence County, South Carolina, Monday. They were booked into jail on charges of capital murder and aggravated robbery. The duo is reported to be involved in the slaying of Marion Lee Brown, 54, of Weatherford. Brown’s partial remains were found May 23 in a smoldering carpet in northeastern Smith County. His body was later recovered in Cross Lake in Shreveport. Officials say Brown was probably killed in Fort Worth, and the investigation was eventually turned over to Fort Worth police. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Police Investigate Reported Assault

thumb_police-tyler-car3TYLER — Tyler Police report that a suspect who allegedly assaulted a McDonald’s employee outside of the business had already paid for the food he ordered. Authorities say the case is not considered a robbery and will be investigated as an assault. Police have information on who was involved in this incident and will be following up on this case classified as an assault. A previous report indicated that an employee at the McDonald’s at 180 SSW Loop 323 was robbed and assaulted Monday night around 11:55 as she was taking food to a customer waiting outside of the restaurant.

Tyler School Board Names Interim Superintendent

Kim TunnellTYLER – Tyler school trustees have named Kim Tunnell as interim superintendent. The action came at a meeting Monday night. Tunnell was most recently serving as Chief Leadership and Performance Officer. She has served Tyler ISD in various roles since coming to the District in 2001, including Executive Director of Strategic Planning, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Coordinator of Staff Development and Instructional Consultant and Acting Principal. Before joining Tyler ISD, she served in administrative and teaching capacities in the Sierra Sands United School District in California. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview School Board Tables Superintendent Action

Horace Williams2LONGVIEW – Longview school trustees voted Monday night to table naming lone finalist Horace Williams as the district’s superintendent. He was named lone finalist May 21st. The school board decided not to vote for or against Williams. It also said it is not starting a new search. The Longview News-Journal reports, while the board made no decision, it said it was not starting a new search. School board president Troy Simmons told the paper there is no timeline for picking the process back up. Interim Superintendent James Wilcox, whose contract is good until the end of the year, will remain in charge. Read the rest of this entry »

East Texas Man Gets Life in Prison in Slayings

Kevin McKelvey2LUFKIN (AP) — An East Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in the shooting deaths of his former girlfriend and her 22-year-old daughter. The Lufkin Daily News reports Kevin McKelvey, 38, pleaded guilty Monday to capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Teresa McCoy, 39, and her daughter, Ca’Shaunika Hoyle, were killed last August while trying to retrieve McCoy’s belongings from a mobile home. Hoyle was killed in the home while McCoy shot to death trying to escape in a vehicle along with her 11-year-old twins. McKelvey also pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault for injuries the twins suffered when the vehicle’s window was shot out. He confessed to the killings in a jailhouse interview with the newspaper.

Frankston Ag Teacher Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault of Minor

rachelbauermugFRANKSTON — According to the Frankston Police Department, a local teacher has been jailed on child sexual assault charges. Police tell KETK they have arrested Rachel Bauer, 24, an agriculture teacher at Frankston High School, after complaints she engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student. Bauer is being held on charges of inappropriate relationship with a student, sexual assault of a child, and criminal solicitation of a minor. Officials say the case is still under investigation and other charges could be brought to light depending on what other evidence, if any, is uncovered.

Texas Spine and Joint Hospital Honored

thumb_Texas-Spine-and-Joint-HospitalTYLER – Texas Spine & Joint Hospital has received the Texas Hospital Quality Improvement Gold Award from TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Texas. The Texas Hospital Quality Improvement Award program is sponsored by TMF, the Texas Hospital Association, and the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals. According to a news release, the program recognizes Texas hospitals that have undertaken quality initiatives to improve outcomes in patient care and improve their performance on specific national quality measures. The program was established in 2004 as a non-competitive recognition program designed to recognize exemplary outcomes achieved by hospitals statewide. Texas Spine & Joint Hospital is the only Tyler hospital to win the Gold Award. Read the rest of this entry »

WISD Remembers Teen Killed in Smith County Wreck

Braxton NuonWHITEHOUSE – Officials with the Whitehouse ISD are remembering former student Braxton Nuon, who died over the weekend in a one-vehicle accident. “All of us at Whitehouse ISD are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Braxton,” said Jay Northcutt, Whitehouse High School Agricultural Science and Technology Instructor. “He was friends with everyone and was a hard worker with a true talent for welding.” According to KETK, Northcutt described Braxton (seen here from his Facebook page) as happy, upbeat, and always smiling. Northcutt taught Braxton for two years, most recently in his advanced welding class. “He had a bright future in welding and always put his focus and heart into each project he worked on,” added Northcutt. “He will be deeply missed.” Read the rest of this entry »

Authorities: Man Opens Fire on Deputy, then Surrenders

Stephen Garrett Martin2CANTON — A man is in custody after reportedly opening fire on a Van Zandt County sheriff’s deputy. According to a news release, on Sunday at approximately 2:50 p.m., the deputy arrived at a rural residence located at 350 Van Zandt County Road 2140, Canton. The law officer was responding to a citizen’s call for service – a criminal trespass complaint, which had been reported by the resident later identified as Stephen Garrett Martin. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Man Charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault of Child

Cody MillerLONGVIEW — A Longview man is behind bars after police say he sexually assaulted a child. According to Gregg County Jail records, Cody Miller, 28, was arrested Sunday for aggravated child sexual assault. KETK reports a warrant was issued by 188th District Court Judge David Brabham for Miller prior to his arrest for the offense, which allegedly occurred June 11. Miller was booked into the Gregg County Jail on $100,000 bond.

Gohmert Interested in Key GOP Post

thumb_louie-gohmertWASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Louie Gohmert of Tyler says he’s interested in being the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential caucus of GOP lawmakers. Gohmert’s known for his hard-line conservative views. He stopped just short of accusing Secretary of State John Kerry of treason for saying he’d consider working with Iran in dealing with the crisis in Iraq. According to Gohmert, “Treason requires an intent, and I don’t believe there is any intent here. I think it’s just sheer ignorance — thinking that you are so persuasive, you can get our enemies to love you.” The Republican Study Committee post became available when the former chairman, Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, became the majority whip.

Tyler ISD BOND 2013 Construction Update

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – From concrete foundations to exterior brick, construction projects on new and existing Tyler ISD facilities are progressing as scheduled, according to a TISD news release. The projects include the new Career and Technology Center (CTC), two new middle school campuses at the existing Moore MST Magnet School and Boulter Middle School locations, the new Three Lakes Middle School in South Tyler, and renovations and additions to Dixie and Rice elementary schools. Read the rest of this entry »

Selective Traffic Enforcement Program for Speeding

thumb_police-tyler-carTYLER — The Tyler Police Department is participating in a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), looking for speed violators in targeted areas where accidents and speeding are reported as problems. The program started yesterday and runs through this Friday under a Texas-funded grant that provides extra traffic enforcement for law enforcement agencies who participate within the guidelines. Police remind you to watch your speed and drive safely.

Tyler Police Investigate Two Person Crime Spree

police-tyler-car2TYLER — Tyler Police are investigating a series of crimes that they believe are related. Officers responded to a report of an aggravated robbery at 5709 Mustang Trail Sunday night around 9:35. The victim told officers he had been robbed at gunpoint by two black males wearing dark colored hoodies. The victim said he was struck in the head with a handgun and his cellphone was stolen by the suspects who fled on foot. The victim suffered minor injuries. Read the rest of this entry »

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a quick look at events and work planned in the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation:

VAN ZANDT COUNTY – Weather permitting, Texas Department of transportation contract crews are scheduled to begin seal coat operations this week on the following roadways:
*FM 773 between Interstate 20 and the Henderson County Line;
*SH 64 between FM 16 and FM 773;
*FM 47 between US 80 and I-20; and
*US 80 between the Kaufman County Line and FM 2965 in Wills Point. Read the rest of this entry »

Car Stolen During Bank Robbery Recovered

caddy stolen-Austin BankTYLER – The car stolen in last Friday’s Smith County bank robbery has been recovered. The 2009 Cadillac, stolen from a bank employee, was found abandoned early Sunday near the town of Cuney, in northwestern Cherokee County. Sheriff Larry Smith said the vehicle was taken to a Smith County Sheriff’s Office facility where it was processed by the Smith County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit.The bank robbery occurred shortly after 7:00 Friday morning. The robbery was at the Austin Bank, located at 16909 Highway 155 South in Noonday. A small-framed black male who was wearing an ace bandage over his face held a female employee at gunpoint as she arrived for work and prepared to enter the building. The robber instructed the woman to take him into the bank. She complied, and the robber left the bank with an undetermined amount of money using her vehicle to make his getaway. The bank employee was not injured.

Superintendent’s Issue Back Before Longview School Board

Horace Williams2LONGVIEW – The Longview School Board has scheduled a special meeting this evening at 6:30. The meeting is on the hiring of a school superintendent. According to the meeting agenda, after the meeting starts, school trustees will go into a closed session on the superintendent’s vacancy. The board will then reconvene in open session to take action on the vacancy. The school board had previously named Horace Williams as the district’s lone superintendent finalist. Read the rest of this entry »

Ex-East Texas Church Gets New Performing Arts Role

GLADEWATER (AP) — A former church-turned-art gallery in East Texas has a new role thanks to a 1950 Union High School graduate who wanted to give back to the district. The Longview News-Journal reported Saturday that the structure will be a performing arts complex for the Union Grove Independent School District. Property owner Joan Sturkie donated the Whisenhunt Center in Gladewater. Trustees earlier this month accepted the contribution that will be used starting in the upcoming school year. The district plans to use the 430-seat building for its drama department and one-act plays, as well as community events and theater performances. School district theater director Sandy Spears says a smaller campus venue that’s currently being used only seats about 200 and has a limited stage area.

Tyler Legislator One of 4 Honored by Texas Press Association

Kevin EltifeCORPUS CHRISTI (AP) — Four Texas legislators have been honored by a journalism group for their public service. The Texas Press Association on Saturday announced the awards for Senator Kevin Eltife of Tyler, House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio, Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston and Representative Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi. The Friend of the First Amendment awards were presented Friday during the Texas Press Association’s summer conference in Corpus Christi. Jim Moser, CEO of Moser Community Media and head of the association’s legislative advisory committee, praised the lawmakers for their efforts to promote and protect open meetings, open records and government transparency in general. It’s the second time that Ellis and Hunter received the award.

Infant Left at Kilgore Fire Station

KILGORE – A newborn baby is in the hospital after being dropped off at a Kilgore Fire Station. The Safe Haven or Baby Moses Law, passed in Texas in 1999, allows infants under 60 days old to be dropped at a hospital, fire station, or emergency medical services (EMS) station, no questions asked. Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows told KETK that the newborn baby boy was dropped off at the Kilgore Fire Station #2 around 12:30 Saturday morning. Child Protective Services will now take over the case.

Two East Texans Killed in Louisiana Oil Rig Blast

RUSTON, La. — According to the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana, two East Texas men were killed when an oil rig exploded. Ryan Henson, 36, of Longview, and Cashies Samuel Thomas, 40, of Nacogdoches, were killed at the Wild Horse drilling rig near Ruston, La., around 11:45 p.m. Thursday, Sheriff Mike Stone tells KETK. “It is understood that tremendous pressure that was present on some components gave way, causing the release of pressure,” Stone said. “Specifics into the events that occurred leading up to the accident are still being investigated.” Lincoln Parish is in North Central Louisiana, about 60 miles east of Shreveport.

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