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New Degree Program at LeTourneau University

LeTourneau Logo6LONGVIEW — The Texas Board of Nursing has approved LeTourneau University to begin offering a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. It will start this fall at its main campus in Longview. The new program is pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. “This decision today by the Texas Board of Nursing to authorize LETU to award the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree follows many months of extensive planning by the university, endorsements by regional hospitals and health care providers and a comprehensive evaluation by the Texas Board of Nursing,” said School President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford. “LETU has built an esteemed reputation for excellence in our science and technical academic programs. The addition of nursing will further advance our STEM programs and give students the opportunity to learn nursing practice in a Christian context. It’s a great day for LETU and for the quality of health care in East Texas.” Read the rest of this entry »

Some Lindale Students Benefit from New Home

Ruby Trails homeLINDALE — The Lindale High School (LHS) Career and Technology students have learned a lot in their engineering and architecture class, but Thursday they learned hard work pays off—literally. In this case, paying off came in the form of a $15,030.05 check. LHS students drafted the plans for a 2,300-square-foot Ruby Trails home and Jerry Alexander, owner of Red Baron Building Company, built and sold their design. Alexander generously donated a portion of the sale back to the Lindale students who helped him create the home. In addition to the check that will go back into the LHS Career and Technology Department, so future students can see their hard work come to fruition, the Red Baron Building Company is awarding scholarships to the students who drew up the best designs.

Missing Mother and Daughter Found, Mother Arrested

Ashley Elizabeth HarrellLONGVIEW – A mother, who was the object of a search by Gregg County authorities, has been arrested and her 4 year old daughter has been found safe. Late last week The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office asked for assistance in locating Ashley Elizabeth Harrell, 27, of San Augustine, and her daughter, Maddison McKay Harrell, 4. It was alleged that she took the girl in violation of a court order. She was charged with a felony offense of interference with child custody after a Gregg County court awarded custody of Maddison to another family. According to the sheriff department’s Face Book Page, she was arrested the past weekend in Sabine Parish, Louisiana. The little girl was found in Arkansas. The mother is now in the Gregg County Jail under a $50,000 bond.

Fleming Sounds Off at Gathering on Immigration Concerns

thumb_texas-state-capitol-2AUSTIN — Tea Party groups in Texas are uniting against Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott for not taking more action on the Texas-Mexico border, and a Smith County woman is among those sounding off. Members from about a dozen different Tea Party groups gathered at the state capitol to let their message be heard. Ray Meyers of the Kaufman County Tea Party says, “We want the governor to call a special session, we want him to secure the border with force, we want to enforce the rule of law, and we want the state legislature to close the candy store.” Jo Ann Fleming is the two-term chair of the legislature’s Tea Party Caucus advisory committee and a longtime Smith County conservative activist. Fleming says, “Governor Perry needs to stop asking Washington to come save us. Washington is not on its way to save us.”

Air Conditioner Thefts a Problem in Tyler

TYLER — Air conditioning units are in high demand when temperatures get warmer. Homeowners need them — and KETK reports criminals want them. Tyler police officer Don Martin says 16 units have been stolen in the city since January. Those include both window units and large stationary systems. Martin says, “They start from March up through July, and they’re averaging around 2, 3 a month.” According to air conditioning experts, these thefts often occur because of the valuable copper and metals used inside the system. One expert says, “A lot of it follows the copper prices. As copper prices go up then the theft problems go up, because very seldom do people want an air conditioning unit. They’re just going to scrap it out.” Read the rest of this entry »

Winona Faces Financial Concerns

WINONA — Concerns about Winona’s finances are putting city officials to work — and residents responded this week by packing a City Council meeting to hear a presentation of Winona’s financial audit. According to KETK, numbers show revenues are down, partially because surrounding cities have begun selling adult beverages. Other big issues were spending more than $180,000 on police, bond payments not being made on time, and utility rates being too low. The city is $350,000 more in debt since September of last year.

Ex-Prosecutor Asks for Pardon in Fatal GM Crash

HOUSTON (AP/STAFF) — A former prosecutor has asked a Texas agency to pardon a woman who pleaded guilty in a 2004 car crash that killed her fiance but which her attorney says was caused by a faulty General Motors ignition switch. Candice Anderson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation for the death of her finance, Gene Mikale Erikson, in an East Texas crash. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Arrested in Troup-Area Shooting

Mitchell, QuashunnTYLER — A recent Smith County shooting yields an arrest. At approximately 2:30 pm Wednesday, Smith County Sheriff’s Office detectives executed an arrest warrant for Quashunn “Quacky” Mitchell, 19, in connection to an incident on the 19000 block of CR 2343 north of Troup. Mitchell was arrested at an apartment complex on WNW Loop 323 in Tyler. Mitchell is being held on a $200,000 bond for a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Read the rest of this entry »

Jury Duty Scam Continues in Smith County

Jury boxTYLER — A jury duty scam is still targeting Smith County residents. In January, February, and June of this year, reports were released to the public about a jury duty scam taking place. Victims were conned out of cash via telephone by someone claiming to be with law enforcement and saying the victims owed fines for not showing up for Smith County jury duty. Wednesday, Sheriff Larry Smith announced the scam has returned with the latest report coming from a Smith County woman who did not comply with the scammer’s request. Read the rest of this entry »

Northeast Texas Woman Who Sent Ricin Gets 18 Years in Prison

Shannon GuessTEXARKANA (AP/Staff) – A Northeast Texas woman who had minor acting roles in film and television has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Shannon Guess Richardson was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Texarkana. The 36-year-old pleaded guilty in December to a federal charge of possessing and producing a biological toxin. Under the plea deal, her attorney said Richardson would serve no more than 18 years. Prosecutors say Richardson mailed three letters from New Boston, then went to police and claimed that her husband did it. Richardson was arrested in June 2013 in Mt. Pleasant. Authorities said she tried to implicate her estranged husband after he filed for divorce.

Man Charged with Credit/Debit Card Abuse in Fuel Pumping Case

Carlos MirandaLUFKIN (AP) – An East Texas man has been accused of using dozens of stolen credit and debit card numbers to pump more than $5,000 worth of fuel during one stop. Lufkin police say a clerk became suspicious July 10 when a man took an hour to fuel his Ford F-350 pickup truck and paid with 47 different cards. Police later determined the truck bed was converted into a 600-gallon diesel tank. Jail records show Carlos Miranda of Cleveland was being held Wednesday on charges of credit or debit card abuse and driving with an invalid license. No attorney was listed for Miranda, whose bond was set at $55,000 after his arrest Tuesday refueling at the same store. Sgt. David Casper says information on the credit and debit cards Miranda used was stolen.

Prosecutor Preparing to File Charges Against Alleged Toll 49 Scofflaws

thumb_loop-49TYLER – Drivers who have used Toll 49 without paying may find themselves in court soon. Beginning in late July, the Smith County District Attorney’s Office will initiate legal proceedings against vehicle owners who have repeatedly ignored requests for payment. That’s according to a news release from the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority. “The vast majority of our customers pay for their use of Toll 49,” says Everett Owen, Interim Executive Director of the NET RMA. “Those customers who pay their fair share expect that we are enforcing the law.” Read the rest of this entry »

Local Drug and Money Laundering Ring Busted

suspects-greggTYLER — Six suspects have been arrested following a lengthy investigation into illegal gambling, money laundering and drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas. On July 15, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement executed six federal arrest warrants and four federal search warrants in the Tyler and Gladewater areas as a result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Texas Racing Commission. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Accused of Lumber Attack, Forcing Child to Ingest Meth

wardarrestedtituscoMT. PLEASANT — An East Texas man was arrested over the weekend after law officers learned he allegedly attacked several people with a piece of lumber and forced a child to ingest methamphetamine. According to the Titus County Sheriff’s Office, at 4 a.m. on Sunday, deputies were dispatched to the 1400 block of County Road 1340. KETK reports that when authorities arrived at the scene, investigators determined Trevor Ward, 26, had assaulted his girlfriend at her home. During the attack, friends tried to protect the woman, at which time Ward allegedly began assaulting them with a piece of lumber. One person had to be taken to a local hospital with injuries sustained from the fight. Read the rest of this entry »

Public Hearings on Fare Increases for GoBus

178KILGORE – Public hearings are scheduled around East Texas on possible fare increases for the GoBus rural public transportation system. On July 2, the East Texas Council of Governments Executive Committee approved beginning the public hearing process required to raise the rates. The current rate of $2.00 per trip within a county and $5.00 per trip across counties has not been increased since 1997. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Vehicle-Pedestrian Fatality Still under Investigation

police-lights-3TYLER — A man struck and killed trying to cross the Tyler loop has been identified as Kenneth Linnel Jones Jr., 23, of Tyler. The accident happened shortly before 10:30 Monday night at the intersection of Loop 323 and State Highway 110 North. Investigators say the man was hit by several cars as he tried to cross in an area that is not designated as a crosswalk. The man was first hit by a vehicle that left the scene. Two other cars, which were unable to avoid hitting the victim, did stop. The first vehicle is thought to be a Chevrolet, and should have damage to its front end. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833).

Suspect Charged with 3rd Intoxication Manslaughter Charge

shelbytaylormug3RUSK COUNTY — A third charge of intoxication manslaughter has been brought against an East Texas woman who reportedly killed two young children and their mother in a Kilgore crash on Loop 259 near Dudley Road. Authorities say the woman was driving in the wrong direction, possibly drunk. According to KETK, a third manslaughter charge was filed against Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, Tuesday mornin. Officials claim she was behind the wheel during the fatal crash. Her bond for the new charge was set at $250,000, which brings the total bond to $751,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullard’s Alamo-like School Building Demolished

BULLARD (AP/Staff) – A Bullard school building designed to look like the Alamo has had its last stand. Bullard Independent School District Superintendent Keith Bryant says the building has fallen into disrepair and is being demolished this week. Bryant says the former classrooms structure, recently used as storage, will be torn down to make way for better roads leading to Bullard Intermediate School. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported Monday that residents of Bullard are invited to take some of the rubble as mementos. The building was constructed in the mid-1930s as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. Bullard officials are considering revamping town entryway signs to acknowledge the building designed in the image of the Alamo in San Antonio.

Arrest Made in Mineola Shooting

Shelby Elayne AdamsMINEOLA — A woman suspected in a Mineola shooting has been arrested. Arrested late Monday afternoon was Shelby Elayne Adams, 18, of Mineola. She has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and her bond set at $50,000. Shot around 2:00 Sunday afternoon, at the Best Western Inn, at 100 Debby Lane, was Amanda Soape, 27, of Mineola. She was taken to a Tyler hospital with what were termed non-life-threatening injuries. KETK reports police investigators say Adams picked up the handgun and pointed it at Soape and it went off. Adams told officers she thought the gun was actually a Taser.

East Texas Man on State’s Most Wanted List Arrested

leocolstondpsAUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — Police say a man who was on Texas’ most wanted list for sex offenders was arrested in California. Texas’ public safety department says Leo Colston, 60, who is from Nacogdoches, was arrested in downtown Los Angeles. Colston was convicted in 2002 of an indecent sexual contact charge involving a 7-year-old girl in Houston. The U.S. Marshals Service issued a warrant for his arrest last April for a sex offender registration violation. More warrants were issued for Colston for failure to register as a sex offender by Texas and California police in 2013. The department says Colston will be brought back to Texas to face charges. It wasn’t immediately clear if Colston had an attorney..

One Hospitalized after Accidental Shooting in Hotel Room

thumb_police-8MINEOLA — An East Texas woman was hospitalized over the weekend after a gun accidentally fired in a Mineola hotel room. KETK reports that on Saturday at 2:00 a.m., Mineola officers were called to the Best Western Inn, at 100 Debby Lane, on reports of a gunshot victim. When police made it to the scene, they found Amanda Soape, 27, of Mineola, with a gunshot wound. She was taken to a Tyler hospital with what are termed non-life-threatening injuries. Investigators determined Soape and another woman had rented a room and were visited by two men. One of the men had a small handgun and was showing it to the women when it discharged, hitting Soape, according to police. No charges have been filed. The investigation is ongoing.

Pedestrian Identified, Expected to Survive Following Traffic Accident

thumb_police-tyler-car2TYLER — Tyler police say the pedestrian involved in Sunday’s incident on Hwy. 31 West (Chandler Highway) is identified as Jorge Estrella Patino, 23, of Kilgore. Police say Patino is expected to survive from injuries he sustained in the accident. Police were dispatched to the incident in the 5400 block of Chandler Highway at 5:45 Sunday morning. Authorities say a paramedic on his way home stopped to administer medical attention. Officers arrived on scene to find a man had been struck by a Cadillac Deville. Read the rest of this entry »

Execution Date for Man Convicted of Killing Deputy

randall_wayne_maysATHENS — A former East Texas welder and oil field worker who was convicted of shooting and killing a Henderson County sheriff’s deputy now has an execution date. KETK reports the date was set less than two weeks after Randall Wayne Mays, 52, was denied his latest challenge to his conviction by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Carter Tarrance of the Athens-based 392nd District Court set the execution date for March 18th, 2015. Tarrance, who presided over the trial, signed the execution order and death warrant on July 10th. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Shot in Southern Smith County

Crime SceneTROUP – Two persons have been injured in a shooting near Troup. It happened around 9:00 Sunday night just north of the city. The victims are said to have suffered non-life threatening injuries in the incident on County Road 2343. Authorities are searching for the suspects.

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT signTYLER — Here’s a quick look at events and work planned in the Tyler District of the state highway department.

GREGG COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews Sunday night started to perform pavement texturing operations on Interstate Highway 20 between State Highway 42 and the Harrison County Line. The work will be conducted by a slow-moving convoy between 9:00pm to 5:00am through Wednesday. Motorists are encouraged to be prepared to reduce speed and merge in and around the convoy work area. Read the rest of this entry »

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