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Lawsuit Seeks Redrawing of Texas Senate Districts

thumb_Lady-JusticeAUSTIN (AP) — Two Texans backed by a conservative legal group have filed a federal lawsuit in Austin challenging how state Senate voting districts were drawn. The Austin American-Statesman reports the Project on Fair Representation wants a judge to cancel results of the March primaries, which used Senate boundaries drawn by the Legislature in 2013. The group wants Texas lawmakers to draw new districts. The plaintiffs are voters in two Senate districts — Tyler and Houston areas. The case filed Monday argues the way districts were drawn is unconstitutional for being based on total population. The suit says only eligible voters should be considered. The group’s director, Ed Blum, helped lead the Fisher vs. University of Texas affirmative action case challenging using race in university admissions heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Family Dog Finds Human Skull in Van Zandt County

thumb_Van-Zandt-County-Sheriffs-DeptVAN ZANDT COUNTY — Family pets are known to bring home little presents for their owners. But KETK reports that over the weekend in Van Zandt County, one man’s dog brought him a gift that has authorities launching an investigation: a human skull. John Cooke and his family own about 100 acres in Van Zandt County. Cooke lets his dogs roam around on their land and said they usually bring him back unusual presents like rabbits, gophers, and cow bones. But this time, they brought him back something very, very different. “There was a section of backbone on my front porch,” said Cooke. But on Saturday, he couldn’t believe what Scooter found. “That is when I found the skull on my front porch. After really looking at it and confirming it was [a skull], this shock that I couldn’t believe they brought me that,” said Cooke. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview’s Homicide Rate above Average

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — New crime data show Longview’s homicide rate is higher than average compared to other cities of similar size in Texas. KETK reports that over the last five years, Longview has averaged eight homicides per year. In Tyler and Lewisville, for example, that number is around five. Longview police say they believe most of those homicides are drug-related. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, Longview’s homicide average is also higher than the national average per 100,000 people.

Tyler MPO Seeking Input on I-20 East Texas Corridor Study

TYLER — The I-20 East Texas Corridor Study, being conducted by TxDOT, continues with an open house today from 5:30 till 6:30 p.m. at Tyler’s Rose Garden Center. The Tyler Area Metropolitan Plan Organization (TAMPO) is hosting the event. As a member of the Advisory Committee, TAMPO is charged with assisting TxDOT in assessing the rural transportation needs along I-20 by providing locally focused input and recommendations. Officials with the city of Tyler say the study is focused on evaluating the current safety and capacity needs along the 155-mile stretch of I-20 from I-635 in Dallas to the Texas/Louisiana state line. Officials say TAMPO would like to gather the public’s input on the stretch of I-20 located within Smith County. “Getting Smith County residents’ input is critical to ensuring that the study captures the concerns for our region,” said Heather Nick, MPO executive director. Read the rest of this entry »

Husband Charged with Killing Mother of Four

CedrickThompsonMug.1398114119JACKSONVILLE — A mother of four was found dead Sunday morning in the driveway of her Cherokee County home, and authorities say the husband was responsible for her death. KETK reports that on Sunday at 9:35 a.m., Kayla Nicole Thompson, 27, of Jacksonville, was discovered deceased at her home in the 1500 block of County Road 3201. The discovery was made by her mother, who was checking on the woman and her four children after other relatives were unable to reach her for several hours. The location is just west of Lake Jacksonville. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman Reportedly Shoots Self in Face

thumb_sheriff-ruskcountyRUSK COUNTY — An East Texas woman is being treated after officials say she shot herself in the face, apparently by accident. KETK reports that just before 10:45 Monday morning, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a shooting in the Brachfield area off Farm to Market Road 1798 and FM 840. The victim was airlifted to a Tyler-area hospital for treatment.

Police Continue to Probe Wagner Cadillac Burglary

cadillac_burglaryTYLER — Tyler Police have new information as they continue to investigate the weekend burglary of a car dealership. On Sunday at 8:30 a.m., police responded to Wagner Cadillac at 4100 S. Broadway in reference to a report of numerous wheels and tires stolen from vehicles in the parking lot. Upon further investigation it was determined that the suspects had jacked up 20 Cadillacs and removed 20″ chrome wheels and tires from assorted Cadillacs. Management estimated the loss at around $60,000 not including property damage. It appeared that the suspects were well organized and did not take long to remove the wheels and tires, according to police. Investigators were advised that the same method was used in Richardson last week, where the suspects hit a Chevy dealer, removing 29 sets of wheels and tires. Read the rest of this entry »

Shooting Victim Arrested on Multiple Charges

william waltonLONGVIEW — Longview police have arrested a victim in a shooting. According to police, officers were dispatched shortly after 5:00 Monday morning to the 1700 Block of Hutchings Boulevard for a call about gunshots that had been heard. When officers arrived, they found a man who had been shot in the back yard of one of the residences. When police approached him, the man reportedly jumped several fences in an attempt to elude police. The victim was apprehended a short time later. Once apprehended, he was very uncooperative with police and lied about his name, according to officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Smith County Burglary Suspects Arrested

thumb_sheriff-smithcountyTYLER – Three suspects are in custody regarding a burglary of a habitation in the 11000 block of Sycamore Street in western Smith County. Officials say just before 9:45 Monday morning, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a burglary of a habitation in progress. Smith County patrol deputies were en route to the burglary in progress call after receiving a call of suspicious activity in the area. During that time, the homeowner returned home to find the suspects leaving her residence, authorities say. The suspects reportedly fled in a black pickup truck and passed one of the responding deputies. A pursuit ensued, ending in the 12000 block of Highway 64West. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Business Robbed

police-car-lights2TYLER – The robbery of the Food Fast convenience store at 4725 Troup Highway remains under investigation. It was reported shortly after 8:45 Sunday night. The clerk was unharmed and the suspect escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect, said to be a black male, was wearing all black and covered his face using a Halloween mask. He fled on foot in an unknown direction. Officers searched the area but did not locate the suspect.

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a quick look at other work planned in Smith County by the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation.

TYLER – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews on Tuesday are scheduled to perform base and pavement repairs on West Loop 323 in Tyler between State Highway 31 (Front Street) and State Highway 64 (West Erwin Street), during which time southbound traffic on Loop 323 will be reduced to one lane. Motorists are strongly encouraged to see alternate routes if possible to avoid lengthy delays. Read the rest of this entry »

Candidate Forum Tonight in Tyler

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — The May 10 municipal elections are rapidly approaching, and Tylerites will have a chance to meet the candidates this evening. The League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County (LWV-TSC) will be holding a candidate forum at 7:00 tonight in the Tyler Public Library’s Taylor Auditorium. Candidates for mayor, city council and the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees will be on hand to offer comments and answer questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler ISD Students Win State Honors at Technology Competition

thumb_Robert-E-Lee-High-SchoolTYLER – Technology students at Robert E. Lee High School earned state honors at the Texas Technology Student Association (TSA) state competition in Waco recently. The team received seven state championship awards in categories of photography; construction, modeling and design; applied tech science; graphic solutions; system control; technical problem solving; and desktop publishing. Three Lee students earned third place finishes, and one of those finishes qualified two students for national competition. Two other students finished in the top five.

Winona City Officals: “We Didn’t Want to Increase the Utility Rates”

WINONA — Officials are responding after reports surfaced about the city of Winona’s failure to pay its utility bills, putting the town in a financial crisis. KETK reports that after the city council voted in favor of raising the utility rates for residents, the people of Winona wanted answers. The city is struggling financially, and more than just the city’s utility bills went unpaid. The former city administrator failed to pay several bills, and on top of that, the city is now in the process of trying to fix water maintenance issues that did not meet state standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Seek Robbery Suspect

thumb_police-tyler-carTYLER — Police in Tyler are looking for a robbery suspect. Shortly before 3:15 Sunday morning, officers responded to 4400 Paluxy, near building 11. It was reported that a woman had been robbed. She said that she had just parked and was approached by a black male. The man claimed to have a firearm but one was not seen, according to the victim. She said she initially tried to walk away and then was tackled to the ground by the man. He then reportedly took her purse and ran off. The suspect was described as in his early twenties, wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans, and a black and white bandana covering his face. Anyone with any information concerning this case is asked to call the Tyler Police Department.

Kilgore Man Arrested for Drug Possession

drug_arrestGREGG COUNTY — A Kilgore man remains behind bars after police found he was in possession of drugs. KETK reports Michael Jerome Mumphrey, 30, was arrested Thursday in Gregg County. Police found he was in possession of a controlled substance more than four grams and possession of marijuana more than four ounces, according to authorities. Mumphrey was being held on bonds totaling $60,000.

Investigators: Motel Fire in Tyler Appears Suspicious

economy_fire_ketkTYLER — Tyler Fire Department investigators are working to determine how a fire started around 10:45 Saturday morning at the Economy Inn in the 3300 block of Mineola Highway. Investigators tell KETK the blaze began in one of the rooms and was called in by the resident of that unit. Investigators say fire crews were nearby and were able to arrive on scene and contain the blaze before it consumed other units. They say the room where the fire started was destroyed, with nearby rooms sustaining water and smoke damage. Investigators add that the fire appears to be suspicious. There was no immediate word on whether any arrests have been made. No one was injured.

Veterans Forced to Relocate, Remain in Homeless Program

vlcsnap_2014_04_18_19h10m26s248TYLER — Many local veterans were upset Thursday after being forced out of their home in Tyler. The Andrews Center Homeless Veteran Program has been helping vets for the last five years. It’s reported to be a successful program that gives veterans a place to stay for free, feeds them, and helps them find work. According to KETK, the controversy is that a few of the veterans were upset after having to leave one of the homes in Tyler Thursday. They were not kicked out of the program, simply relocated. It was a decision the Andrews Center said it needed to make in order to be able to continue to help the veterans. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Delays Review of Keystone XL Pipeline

thumb_Keystone-Pipeline-map2WASHINGTON (AP/Staff) – The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit. That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November. The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation. The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn’t starting over. The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada. The southern leg of the pipeline began pumping oil through East Texas and elsewhere this past January.

TISD Foundation Establishes Frances Cowan Gibson Fine Arts Endowment

TYLER -The Tyler ISD Foundation announced Thursday the establishment of the Frances Cowan Gibson Tyler ISD Fine Arts Endowment to benefit under-funded and innovative art projects throughout the Tyler Independent School District. According to a Foundation news release, the gift to the TISD Foundation from the Frances Cowan Gibson Charitable Lead Trust will total more than $580,000. The endowment was created through a partnership between the Tyler ISD Foundation and the East Texas Communities Foundation and will provide annual grants to the Tyler ISD fine arts department. Read the rest of this entry »

UT Tyler Professor Selected to Join Academy of Distinguished Teachers

thumb_uttylerAUSTIN – Five distinguished professors, including one from UT Tyler, will be inducted into The University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers during a ceremony on Tuesday, April 22. Neil Gray is a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry UTT. Gray, who is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, is co-director of UT Tyler’s UTeach program. According to a UT System news release, UTeach prepares high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers. Read the rest of this entry »

LeTourneau Sets Guinness Record for Simultaneous Printer Operation

thumb_LeTourneau-University-logoLONGVIEW – LeTourneau University in Longview has set a Guinness World Record for having the most 3D printers in operation simultaneously, totaling 102. According to an LETU news release, the world record attempt was made on April 4, when LETU’s freshmen engineering students gathered in the university’s Solheim Arena with laptops and the 3D printers they built last fall in their freshmen engineering classes. “We are the only engineering program in the country that I know of that requires all of our freshmen engineering students to build their own 3D printers,” said LETU Dean of Engineering Dr. Ron DeLap. “This achievement is a result of their great work.” Read the rest of this entry »

“The Voice” Performer at Liberty Hall Tonight

steviejoTYLER — He was eliminated from competition this week on the hit show “The Voice,” but he’s sure to be welcomed home with open arms. Tonight at 7:30, the city of Tyler’s Liberty Hall will present Tyler’s own Stevie Jo Rosenbalm in concert. Rosenbalm is a Tyler native through and through, born at Mother Frances Hospital and raised in Tyler, according to a city news release. Stevie’s parents both played in heavy metal bands when he was younger, and he says he always dreamed of making it big in music. His parents may have influenced his love for music, but not the genre: Stevie loves to sing R&B. Read the rest of this entry »

Winona Behind on Bills, Residents Affected

WINONA — The city of Winona did not pay its gas bill for six months, and now it is the residents who are getting the backlash from the city’s financial wrongdoings. KETK reports Winona is home to fewer than 600 people and the people who live there are on the hook for the financial mishaps of their city. Because Winona did not pay its gas bills to Eagle Rock Energies, it’s now more than $150,000 behind. The city announced in a council meeting Tuesday it plans to increase the gas, sewer, and water rates. Altogether, this is expected to generate an extra $130,000 thousands a year. Residents will see the highest increase in their gas bill, which will increase by about five dollars. The base water and base sewer rates will each go up by about two dollars. Read the rest of this entry »

Marshall Murder Suspect Back in Harrison County

Corey Lamar JohnsonMARSHALL – A suspect arrested in Louisiana for a Marshall murder has been returned to Texas and arraigned on murder charges. Corey Lamar Johnson, 31, of Jefferson had his bond set at $1 million at his Thursday arraignment. U.S. Marshall’s in Tallulah, Louisiana took him into custody Tuesday night. A warrant had been issued for his arrest in the shooting of Jalen Juwan White, 19. He was shot around 2:45am on March 24th in the 100 block of West Pinecrest at the Rumors Arcade, which Johnson owns. He was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall, where he later died.

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