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Longview’s New School Superintendent Named

Horace WilliamsLONGVIEW – Longview school trustees have named an assistant superintendent as the lone finalist for the superintendent’s post. After a 2˝-hour executive session, the school board Wednesday named Horace Williams as the school’s chief officer. The district must now wait 21 days before making the selection official. The search for a new leader has been going on for the past six months. Superintendent James Wilcox announced last November he would be leaving the district by January 2015. Williams is a native of Leverett’s Chapel. Before coming to Longview last October, Williams was superintendent of Cedar Hill ISD.

Marshall Interim Police Chief Retiring

MARSHALL — A change is coming to the Marshall Police Department. Interim Chief Leland J. Benoit is retiring effective this Friday. Marshall’s acting city manager, Kenneth “Buzz” Snyder, says, “Obviously, I tried to talk him out of it. After a long period of time of visiting and trying to talk him out of it, he still made the decision this is what he wanted to do.” Snyder says a lengthy search for a Marshall police chief has been underway, but that process is expected to take at least another month to six weeks to complete. Benoit has been interim chief since 2013.

Sheriff Holds Town Hall Meeting in New Harmony

thumb_Larry-SmithNEW HARMONY – Sheriff Larry Smith will hold a town hall meeting tonight from 6:00 until 7:30 at the New Harmony Community Center, located at 10586 FM 724. The town hall meeting will be his eighth since taking office in January of 2013. Four were held last year and three so far this year, in Whitehouse, Lindale, and Chapel Hill. Sheriff’s spokesman John Moore says this evening’s gathering will be the last in the current series, though more will likely be scheduled later in the year. Moore says the event is “one of your final opportunities right now to have some face time with the sheriff, tell him what you think, ask questions.”

Lake Tyler Marina to Open Seven Days a Week

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The Lake Tyler Marina will be open seven days a week beginning today and continuing through Sunday, June 1, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tyler city officials say the Marina will be closed June 2 through June 4, and will resume operations on Thursday, June 5, seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. through the end of August. The marina has reopened and increased its hours of operation over the past several weeks. On April 4, the city announced it had terminated its lease agreement with the management team that had been operating the marina. The facility temporarily shut down after that announcement.

Officials: Man Captured after Escaping Trooper

ortegasmithcojailFRANKSTON — An anonymous tip Wednesday led Department of Public Safety Troopers to Frankston, where they arrested a Chandler man they say escaped custody last Friday in Dogwood City. According to KETK, authorities say Victor Jose Ortega had escaped after he was arrested following a traffic stop on Highway 155 South. Officials report Ortega, 33, was spotted in a vehicle traveling eastbound on Murchison Street in Frankston. A Frankston police officer stopped the vehicle, but authorities say the driver of refused to pull over and a short pursuit began. Troopers arrested the suspect in the Subway parking lot. Read the rest of this entry »

Heines Delivers First State of the City Address

thumb_Martin-Heines1TYLER — New Tyler Mayor Martin Heines had upbeat words Wednesday as he delivered his first State of the City address. Calling the state of the city “great,” Heines said he and other officials plan to continue the city’s solid financial management. He added that he’ll also be looking at ways to engage the public and private sectors together to create more jobs in what he termed “an innovation/entrepreneurial economy.” Heines said another important focus will be working on ways to improve public schools. The address was delivered during a luncheon at Harvey Convention Center. The event also featured recognition of three former mayors and the graduation of Leadership Tyler Class 27.

FSA Accepting Emergency Farm Loan Applications

Farm Service AgencyTYLER — The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is now accepting applications for emergency farm loans for damages and losses caused by drought April 1, 2013 through October 31, 2013. Smith County farm loan manager Joseph Grier asks farmers who want to apply for emergency loans to submit their applications as soon as possible. The deadline for application is December 23, 2014, but Grier says if farmers wait too long, a backlog will develop and cause delays. Generally, farmers who have lost 30 percent of their production or any physical loss due to drought are eligible for the emergency loans. The FSA office is located at 4209 Republic Drive in Tyler.

Smith County Identifies Suspect Wanted for Theft

tullyTYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office identifies one of several suspects in connection with the theft and use of a credit card in the Flint/Gresham area. Officials first asked for the public’s help in locating the men on April 8. KETK reports a warrant has now been issued for Troy Tullis Swinney, 41, who also goes by the name “Tully.” He’s wanted for credit/debit card abuse. If you know the location of Swinney, call Detective Josh Gray at 903-590-2956, or call the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600.

Authorities Seek Missing Flint Girl

missingchildflintnatcenterformissingchildrenFLINT — The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is asking for the public’s help finding an East Texas girl who disappeared nearly a month ago. KETK reports De’Angela Pettigrew, 16, of Flint, was reported missing on April 25. According to a news release, Pettigrew could still be in the area. She may also be accompanied by a man or woman. Read the rest of this entry »

SCSO Joins Click It Or Ticket

thumb_click-it-ticket-1TYLER – The Smith County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies across Texas, and TxDOT, will participate in the Memorial Day Weekend Click It Or Ticket Mobilization event, with enforcement continuing through June 1. “Safety belts save lives and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office will be working to emphasize safety this holiday weekend,” said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. “Our deputies will continue to focus on responding to the needs of our citizens when they contact us for assistance, but during our routine patrols we will also be looking for citizens not wearing safety belts in both the front and back seats of the vehicle.” State law requires all passengers in a motor vehicle to wear a safety belt, with special safety seat and restraint requirements for children. Tyler police are also participating in Click It Or Ticket.

Smith County Identifies Suspect Wanted for Theft

tullyTYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office identifies one of several suspects in connection with the theft and use of a credit card in the Flint/Gresham area. Officials first asked for the public’s help in locating the men on April 8. KETK reports a warrant has now been issued for Troy Tullis Swinney, 41, who also goes by the name “Tully.” He’s wanted for credit/debit card abuse. If you know the location of Swinney, call Detective Josh Gray at 903-590-2956, or call the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600.

Man to Be Charged in Fatal Wreck in Gregg County

lnjcrashfm1844EAST MOUNTAIN — An East Texas man faces criminal charges in a deadly Gregg County crash Tuesday. Smith County Trooper Jean Dark tells KETK the wreck took place at 12:25 p.m. on the 4700 block of FM 1844, half a mile east of East Mountain. Dark said the wreck was caused by a truck driver not paying attention. He’s identified as Leon Gearhart, 31, of Longview, and he’s to be charged with criminally negligent homicide. Read the rest of this entry »

One Dies in Anderson County Crash

DPS door signPERT – A one vehicle accident in Anderson County has left one person dead. The wreck occurred around 6:30 Tuesday morning on County Road 323, South of Pert. Dead at the scene was Erin Guenzel Bammel, 36, of Palestine. The Department of Public Safety said her SUV was headed north when went off the road and hit a tree. The report said she was not wearing her seatbelt.

Brooks Named Smith County Fire Marshal

Roy Brooks JrTYLER – A man who serves as Lindale’s fire marshal and a police patrolman will be Smith County’s new fire marshal. Smith County Commissioners have named Roy J. “Jay” Brooks, Jr. to the post. Brooks, who is the owner/manager of Brooks Forensics, LLC, a private fire investigation company, takes over his new duties next month. He succeeds Jim Seaton, who died last month from cancer. Read the rest of this entry »

UT Health Northeast Asthma Camp

thumb_U-T-Health-NortheastTYLER — UT Health Northeast has opened registration for its 30th annual Texas Asthma Camp, scheduled for June 22 through 27 at Lake Tyler. The camp is for kids between ages seven and 14 who are diagnosed with asthma. The camp allows kids with asthma to enjoy outdoor fun while learning ways to manage their disease. You can go to for more information.

Cherokee County Man Guilty in Armed Robbery Crime Spree

johnathon_brown.jpgTYLER – A 22-year-old Jacksonville man has pleaded guilty in connection with a violent crime spree targeting area businesses in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales Tuesday. Jonathan Roshard Brown pleaded guilty to interfering with interstate commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act conspiracy) and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. The plea came Tuesday in Tyler before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell. Read the rest of this entry »

Patriot Guard Leads East Texas Marine to Final Resting Place

treyjfbHENDERSON — An East Texas marine who recently died in Hawaii is being escorted from Dallas to his final resting place in Henderson today. KETK reports Cpl. Trey Jablonowski, 23, of Henderson, was found unresponsive last week in his barracks room in Kanaoe, Hawaii. The marine had served in Afghanistan and South Korea. Upon his family’s request, Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) are helping bring Jablonowski from DFW Airport to Henderson. The North Texas PGR was tabbed to lead the procession to Canton, with the East Texas PGR continuing from there to the Crawford-A. Crim Funeral Home. The ride began at 10:15 a.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Names Released in Longview Vehicle-Pedestrian Accident

thumb_police-longviewLONGVIEW — The names of the persons involved in a vehicle-pedestrian accident Friday afternoon have been released. KETK reports the incident left one person seriously injured. Longview Police Department Public Information Officer Kristie Brian says the driver, Kimberly Renee Hunter, 19, of Kilgore, struck Carla Jean Hiebert, 37, of Shreveport, in the 1700 block of Highway 31. Brian says the victim failed to yield the right of way in the southbound lane. Hiebert is still in the hospital, Brian said. She could not release her current condition. The woman was rushed there with what were termed life-threatening injuries. The driver was not cited in the incident.

Suspect Arrested in Florida after Alert Is Issued in East Texas

henryconterasmugCOLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — A man East Texas law enforcement has deemed a possible person of interest has been caught in Florida. According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Henry Adam Contreras, 48, of Immokalee, Florida, was taken into custody on May 17. KETK reports he has been charged with conspiracy to commit armed home invasion, home invasion with mask/firearm, kidnapping with intent while committing felony, and kidnapping with intent to commit a felony. Read the rest of this entry »

East Texan Sentenced to 25 Years for Assault

Jeremy Chad AyersANGELINA COUNTY — An East Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for slitting a woman’s throat after reaching a plea deal in an Angelina County courtroom. According to the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, on September 12, 2012, Jeremy Chad Ayers, 26, of Huntington, picked up an unidentified woman as she was walking along Pine Island Road. KETK reports the pair stopped on the side of the road to use the bathroom when Ayers dragged the woman out of the truck and slit her throat with a knife. Read the rest of this entry »

Palestine Reopens Upper Lake; Alligator Killed

alligator2PALESTINE – The city of Palestine has reopened the Upper Lake after an 8 to 10 foot alligator was killed and removed from the lake. Because of concern for public safety, the Upper Lake was closed May 1st following reports of sightings of a large alligator. Palestine hired professional nuisance alligator control hunter Jeremy Langford. He is licensed by Texas Parks & Wildlife to remove nuisance alligators. According to a city news release, “The night of May 16, 2014, Mr. Langford and assistant Joey Dover discovered the alligator in open water. Due to the size of the alligator — 10’1 ˝” — and the safety of Mr. Langford and Mr. Dover — lethal removal was necessary.” After inspecting the lake, and no other alligators were found, the lake was reopened on Monday.

Longview Police Promote First Female Lieutenant

Laura SamplesLONGVIEW – Longview Police have promoted Sgt. Laura Samples to the rank of Lieutenant. Sgt. Samples is the first female who will serve as a Lieutenant in the Police Department. Sergeant Laura Samples began working for the City of Longview in June of 2000 in the Environmental Health Deptment. She joined the Longview Police Department in November of 2001. During her time with the department she has served as a patrol officer, bicycle officer, field training officer, and has served on the Academy Advisory Board, Awards Board, and Applicant Interview Board. Sgt. Samples is also a TCOLE Instructor. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Man Indicted on Fourth DWI Charge

arriagagreggcoLONGVIEW — A Longview man could be facing serious jail time after he was indicted on his fourth driving while intoxicated charge. KETK reports Juan Carlos Arriaga, 34, was arrested on November 9, 2013, and charged with DWI 3rd or more. He was indicted on May 14. The suspect was also arrested for DWI in 1999, 2001, and 2004. Arriaga was sentenced to one year in jail and 100 community service hours for two years following his second DWI; he served five years’ confinement for his third DWI.

Motorcyclist Badly Hurt in Wreck

thumb_police-4TYLER — A motorcyclist is hospitalized after an accident in the 10,000 block of Highway 69, just north of Tyler. Police say the man tried passing a car, but that car switched lanes, causing the motorcyclist to run off the road. Police say he has serious injuries.

Heavy Damage in Tyler Fire

thumb_tyler-fire-dept-logoTYLER — Extensive fire, heat, and smoke damage is reported following a Tyler house fire. The Tyler Fire Department responded to the two-alarm blaze at 707 Forest. The initial call was received shortly after 11:15 Sunday night. Arriving units saw fire on arrival and called for a second alarm. Five engines and one ladder company, along with a District Chief and an investigator, responded to the scene. Officials say the fire started in a bedroom, but the cause is still under investigation. No one was home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.

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