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Click It or Ticket Campaign Starts in Tyler

Click it or Ticket2TYLER – Tyler police officers are again participating in the Click It or Ticket enforcement program. Officers will be stopping violators for not wearing their seat belts now through June 1. Texas law requires every person sitting in the front or rear seat of a vehicle to wear a safety belt. A child less than eight years old and less than four feet, nine inches tall must be secured in a child safety seat. Drivers can be stopped and ticketed for a safety belt violation if they, or any of their passengers under the age of 15, are not buckled up or properly restrained. Traffic fines for failing to use a seat belt or secure a child in a safety seat can run from $25 to $200, plus court costs.

TxDOT Project Updates

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

TYLER – Construction work gets underway Monday to expand Tyler’s West Loop 323 to six lanes, build a new railroad overpass and eliminate the bottleneck between Bellwood Drive and State Highway 31 (West Front Street). “Weather has played a big role in delaying the start of this project, but we’re on go now,” said TxDOT public information officer Larry Krantz. “It’s going to be an interesting project to watch.” Read the rest of this entry »

Early Voting Underway in Runoff Election

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — Early voting polls in Smith County for the May 27 Runoff Election are open each day through Friday, May 23, at five locations. All early voting times and locations are listed below. Visit the Elections page of the Smith County Web site at to view sample ballots or look up your voting precinct. You can also call the Smith County Elections office at 903-590-4777. Read the rest of this entry »

Sheriff Larry Smith to Hold 8th Town Hall Meeting

thumb_Larry-SmithNEW HARMONY — Sheriff Larry Smith will hold a town hall meeting on May 22 from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. 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. For more information on the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, visit The Sheriff’s Office also has a Facebook page and can be followed on Twitter at @SmithCSO.

Suspect Arrested Following Knife Attack

066864910186TYLER – A Tyler man has been charged with aggravated assault following a stabbing. It happened around 9:30 Sunday morning at 215 North Beckham. Officers learned that a Hispanic male, identified as Juan Francisco Oliva, 50, attacked another Hispanic male with a knife cutting the victim’s right hand. The suspect was still at the scene when officers arrived and was taken into custody. The victim, identified as Juan Benegas, 32, of Tyler, received a cut to his right hand which did not require immediate medical attention. Oliva was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and booked into the Smith County Jail.

Two Killed at Texas Ranch Were Shot Several Times

TEXARKANA (AP) — Autopsy results indicate a man and a woman found fatally shot at a Northeast Texas ranch had multiple wounds. The Texarkana Gazette reported Sunday that no charges have been filed over the October 28 gunfire. The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office has said a resident reported he shot two people trying to break into his home at the Prissy Chrissy Ranch. The bodies of Timber Rena Taylor, 19, and Johnathon Lee Hill, 35, were on the ranch grounds. Hill’s autopsy report states he was shot twice in the head and once in the back. Taylor was shot in the abdomen, plus had a bullet wound in her right hand and another wound to her head.

“Bernie” Jurors Dispute Convict’s Early Release

CARTHAGE (AP) — Three of the jurors who gave an East Texas man a life sentence for killing a rich widow say they’re not happy he’s being released early. The jurors spoke to the Longview News-Journal days after Bernie Tiede was let out of prison for the murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent. The killing and the reaction of the town of Carthage were profiled in the movie “Bernie,” which drew new attention to the case. Prosecutor Danny Buck Davidson agreed Tiede should go free after new evidence emerged that he was abused as a child. But jury foreman Jessie Jacks said the case seemed cut and dry to him, and adds, “Him getting out under these circumstances, I don’t think is right.” Another juror calls Tiede’s release “unjust.”

Alligator Spotted in Local Lake, Forces Closure

alligatorPALESTINE — The city of Palestine has closed Upper Lake after the discovery of an 8 to 10 foot alligator. According to KETK, the foremost concern is for public safety and they are not allowing anyone into that area until they can capture and safely move the animal. KETK spoke with Richard Ott of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to get some information on the risk involved. Ott says they have always been aware of alligators in area lakes but generally they keep to themselves as long as humans don’t feed them. This causes the animals to lose their natural fear and become more bold. Read the rest of this entry »

Kilgore Woman Reportedly Missing Under Suspicious Circumstances

christina_davisonKILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a woman reported missing under suspicious circumstances. According to KETK, Saturday morning, Christina Rea Davison did not show up to work. Coworkers asked the Kilgore Police Department to check her welfare. An examination of Mrs. Davison’s residence by police suggests she may be missing under suspicious circumstances. She’s described as a white female, 43-years-old, 5′ 7 and weighs about 180 pounds. She has light brown hair and green eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Child Reported Missing Now in Custody of CPS

dlwomancpsBULLARD — The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services was granted Temporary Managing Conservatorship (TMC) of 2-year-old Mazzy Phillips on May 14 and Child Protective Services were looking for the child. Child Protective Services confirmed with KETK, Mazzy Phillips is safe and in their custody. “The mother, Kelly Querry, turned her over to us. She’s safe and in a foster home,” an official reported Friday night.

Four Tyler Apartments Damaged, Three Families Displaced

firearborsTYLER — Some Tyler residents are forced to seek temporary shelter after their apartments were struck by fire Friday afternoon. KETK reports the Tyler Fire Department responded to the two-alarm blaze at the Arbors at 323 Chimney Rock. The initial call was received at 2:49 p.m., and the caller reported seeing fire in the wall. First arriving units saw smoke when arriving on scene and called for a second alarm. Firefighters gained control of the flames at 3:51 p.m. Seven engines and one Ladder Company, along with a District Chief and an Investigator, responded to the scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Probation Officer Gets Probation for Injuring Child

probation.1363203816TYLER — An East Texas probation officer was sentenced Thursday to probation for injuring a Smith County child. Court records show Judge Christi Kennedy ordered Rachelle Ann Hartgraves, 48, of Mineola, to serve four years’ probation after entering a deferred adjudication plea. According the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, on March 13, 2013, Hartgraves was arrested following an investigation and charged with injuring a child. She was taken into custody at her workplace, the Smith County Adult Probation Department on Elm Street in Tyler. The investigation began in 2012 and was completed on March 12, 2013.

Woman Hit by Car, Severely Injured

thumb_police-longview2LONGVIEW — A woman was rushed to a local hospital Friday afternoon following a vehicle-pedestrian accident in Longview. According to a news release, at 12:44 p.m., officers were dispatched to an accident with injuries in the 1700 block of Hwy. 31. A 27-year-old female attempted to cross the highway and was struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck that was traveling southbound. The truck was merging onto Hwy. 31 from Loop 281. The pedestrian, who reportedly failed to yield right of way to traffic, was transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center with what are termed life-threatening injuries. No charges are expected to be filed against the driver of the vehicle, who police say was cooperative with the investigation.

Authorities: Florida Home Invasion Suspect Could Be in East Texas

TYLERhenryconterasmug — The Texas Department of Public Safety is searching for a suspect wanted for a reported home invasion in Florida. KETK reports that according to officials, Henry Contreras, 49, has ties to East Texas and is believed to be driving a 2011 maroon Nissan with Florida license plate number 546JAM. The alert is being issued throughout Smith, Rusk and Gregg counties and the invasion is out of Orange County, Florida. We’ll update information as it becomes available.

Dallas Man Indicted for Smuggling Hummingbirds from Mexico to U.S.

thumb_tyler-federalbuildingTYLER — A 53-year-old Dallas man has been indicted on smuggling charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. Carlos Delgado Rodriguez was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 14 and charged with smuggling dead hummingbirds from Mexico into the United States. According to the indictment, from February 2013 through January 2014, Rodriguez is alleged to have unlawfully imported approximately 61 dead hummingbirds, of various varieties, into the United States for sale. Read the rest of this entry »

Luminant Consortium Partners with TJC for $270,967 Job-Training Grant

thumb_tjc-logoTYLER — Luminant Generation Co. and Luminant Mining Co. have partnered with Tyler Junior College to provide job training using a $270,967 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The check was presented by TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar during an event Friday morning at the TJC West Campus. Officials say the grant will be used to custom train 133 new and incumbent workers at several Luminant East Texas generating and mining facilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Jailed after Allegedly Punching, Kicking Lakeport Police Chief

ryancooleymugLAKEPORT — A 21-year-old Gladewater man is behind bars after allegedly assaulting Lakeport Police Chief Wesley Freeman. KETK reports Ryan Jordan Cooley was arrested Thursday morning on allegations of resisting arrest and assault. The incident occurred at Zippy J’s in the 5900 block of Estes Parkway. Chief Freeman was there responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle occupied by Cooley. Police say Cooley got out of his car and began to throw punches at Freeman before a fight broke out. Reports state Freeman was then kicked in the back by Cooley before two bystanders helped authorities restrain Cooley. Cooley has several arrests on his prior record.

Wanted East Texas Man with Barcode Tattoo Caught

BURKE (AP) – East Texas authorities looking for a man with a distinctive barcode tattoo on the back of his neck now have him in custody. An officer from Diboll on Thursday made a traffic stop that landed 32-year-old Randall Cyrus Dobbs in jail. Dobbs has been called the “barcode bandit” for his tattoo of the scanning label typically found now on most retail products. The Lufkin Daily News reports Dobbs was wanted in Lufkin for stealing credit cards and a law enforcement officer’s gun and badge, and using the stolen cards to buy more than $3,000 in merchandise. He was named in at least three arrest warrants and also has a previous felony record.

Trustees Approve Names for Two New Tyler Campuses

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER — The Tyler ISD Board of Trustees Thursday approved names for two new campuses under construction. KETK reports one new campus will be named Three Lakes Middle School. It’s being built in Southwest Tyler. The gym at the school will be named after Bill and Anne Coleman. The other new facility will be named the Tyler Independent School District Career and Technology Education Center. It’s near the intersection of Earl Campbell Parkway and Bennett Avenue.

Woman Allegedly Posing as High School Sophomore Arrested

charityLONGVIEW (Staff/AP) — An East Texas woman who allegedly posed as a high school sophomore is behind bars. According to Longview Police, Charity Anne Johnson was arrested May 12 after officers responded to a civil matter at a home in the 400 block of South High Street. Police had been called to an apartment when the person Johnson was staying with said she no longer wanted her living there. Officers gave her a trespass warning. Police say Johnson is 34, although jail records list her as 31. She had reportedly been posing as a 15-year-old sophomore at New Life Christian School in Longview since October 2013, prior to her arrest. She allegedly registered at the school under the alias “Charity Stevens.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Police Investigate Reported Shooting

thumb_police-tyler-car2TYLER — Tyler Police responded to a reported shooting Thursday night. It happened just after 10:00 at Bullard Creek Apartments, 5621 Old Bullard Road. Authorities said an unknown subject fired several rounds into a residence. The victim was not injured during the shooting. Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit were called to the scene to begin an investigation while Crime Scene Investigators collected evidence. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police or Crimestoppers.

New V.P. at Kilgore College

Mike Turpin-Kilgore CollegeKILGORE — The Kilgore College Board of Trustees have approved Dr. Mike Turpin as the new Vice President of Instruction effective June 1. Turpin will take over for Dr. Gerald Stanglin who is retiring this month after serving in the same capacity for 17 years. “Dr. Mike Turpin brings a variety of experiences and service to Kilgore College throughout his 30 years and that positioned him as the best candidate for the role as the Vice President of Instruction,” said Dr. Bill Holda, KC President. “He has not only provided instruction throughout his 30 years at Kilgore College, but he has served as the Coordinator of Counseling & Advising, as the Director of Student Services and as the Vice President of Institutional Planning.” Holda said Dr. Turpin’s broad understanding of the many dimensions of the college will serve KC very well. Read the rest of this entry »

Mother Frances Honored by Truven Health Analytics

thumb_MotherFrances-signTYLER – Mother Frances Hospital Tyler was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare, according to a Mother Frances news release. The Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals study identifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities, based on a national balanced scorecard, according to Mother Frances officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Pleads Guilty to Using 2-Year-Old Relative in Child Porn Case

adamblankenshipmugMT. PLEASANT — A Titus County man pleads guilty to child sex crimes involving a two-year-old relative. KETK reports Adam Blankenship, 25, was arrested in October. Police say Blankenship created, distributed, and collected child porn. In a plea agreement, Blankenship will serve a 25-year prison sentence and register as a sex offender.

Four Area Doctors Disciplined by Texas Medical Board

doctormgn.1397750919AUSTIN — At its May 2014 meeting, the Texas Medical Board disciplined 61 licensed physicians, four of whom were from East Texas, and issued two cease and desist orders. KETK reports the doctors work in Gilmer, Athens, Nacogdoches, and Sulphur Springs. Scott Woodrow Holland, M.D., is employed at the ETMC First Physicians Clinic in Gilmer. On May 2, the Board and Holland entered into a Mediated Agreed Order requiring Dr. Holland to within one year complete at least 28 hours of CME, divided as follows: four in risk management, eight hours in medical recordkeeping and 16 hours in management of pediatric emergencies (including infectious diseases). The Board found Dr. Holland discharged a patient without adequately assessing or treating the patient’s symptoms of sepsis. This order resolves a formal complaint filed at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Read the rest of this entry »

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