Category: Local News Archive

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Reward Offered in Austin Bank Heist

austinbankrobbery062014NOONDAY – A reward has been posted in connection with the June robbery of Austin Bank in Noonday. In cooperation with the Texas Bankers Association and other sources a $15,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600. Read the rest of this entry »

State Sheriffs’ Association Recognizes Larry Smith

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith gets some recognition from a statewide group of peers. According to a news release, Smith, along with several officials with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, attended the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas 136th Annual Training Conference and Expo in San Antonio from July 26-29. At the awards dinner Tuesday evening, SAT President and Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano presented the President’s Award to Smith for what were termed his outstanding support and cooperation with the Sheriff’s Association of Texas and his commitment to unselfish service to the people of the State of Texas. The award states that Sheriff Smith is recognized by his peers as an honorable person and an outstanding citizen. Read the rest of this entry »

Deaths of Girls in Quitman Ruled Homicides

Liles_Thomas.1406302889QUITMAN (Staff/AP) — The deaths of two young girls in Quitman have been ruled homicides. KETK reported Thursday it has obtained the preliminary autopsy report on the case. According to Wood County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Alice Tomerlin, Gabriella Guerrero, 3, died from blunt force injuries and Natalye Price, 1, died from blunt force trauma to her head and trunk. Thomas Wayne Liles (pictured), 19, of Quitman, remains jailed on $25,000 bond for allegedly tampering with the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Salvation Army Announces Emergency Veterans’ Assistance Program

thumb_salvationarmy-4TYLER — The Salvation Army in Tyler has accepted $150,000 in grant monies through the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans Assistance Series XIV-B to provide emergency financial assistance to prevent and end homelessness for veterans and their families. The effort is known as the Emergency Veterans’ Assistance Program. Salvation Army officials note that according to current national statistics, veterans are twice as likely as any other American to become homeless. The unemployment rate for recently discharged veterans is nearly 3 times the national average. In East Texas, according to the Salvation Army’s most recent Community Needs Assessment conducted by the East Texas Human Needs Network, 37% of veterans interviewed were living below the poverty line. 34% were living in temporary housing, and 8% were homeless. 71% stated that they were struggling financially. Read the rest of this entry »

Miranda Lambert Billboard Vandalized in Lindale

mirandalambertbillboard2LINDALE — The Lindale Police Department is investigating after Miranda Lambert’s face was vandalized on a billboard. KETK reports police are searching for the person or people responsible for drawing a mustache on the face. The billboard is located on Highway 69 just north of Lindale and is used to welcome visitors to the singer’s hometown. If you have any information regarding the crime, contact the Lindale Police Department.

Police: Children Dying in Cars from Heatstrokes Is Preventable

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — Longview police issue another cautionary note on a problem we’re hearing too much about this summer: children left in hot cars. Police say safety should be first and foremost when it comes to children riding in child safety seats. Drivers should do whatever it takes to be reminded that there is a child in the back seat of the car, according to a news release. Police say parents should also lock their vehicles when they are parked in the driveways of their homes. Read the rest of this entry »

Suspect Arrested in Counterfeit Case

Jalecia Ann WhiteTYLER — A suspect who was allegedly involved in passing counterfeit $50 bills in Tyler has been arrested on two counts of forgery of money. Police say she is identified as Jalecia Ann White, 25, of Tyler. Judge Jack Skeen set her bond at $100,000 on each charge. This is still an ongoing investigation, according to authorities. Officers had responded to Dairy Queen and Family Dollar on Gentry Parkway July 24 in reference to a suspect passing the bills. Police put out the word on the case this past Tuesday and later said they’d identified her, voicing appreciation for tips provided by the public.

Smith County Man with Reputed Ties to Aryan Brotherhood Escapes Deputies

CharlesGriffithPics.1406821600CHAPEL HILL — Authorities are looking for a man with reported ties to the Aryan Brotherhood who they say escaped deputies serving a warrant on him Wednesday. The suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous. KETK reports Charles Ray Griffith, 24, was wanted for possession of drugs and lives in the Chapel Hill Area. At around 5 p.m., the man ran from deputies who were attempting to arrest him at a home in the 15900 block of Dry Creek Road, according to officials. A K-9 unit was called in to assist in the search, but authorities say they lost track of Griffith after he headed into a nearby creek. Contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600 or the Pct. 4 Constable’s office at 903-590-4871 if you have information on Griffith.

Former Winona Mayor Tells Why She Resigned

DEDE__STROUD.1406663479WINONA — We’re hearing more about the resignation of Dede Stroud as Winona Mayor after less than three months in office. Stroud tells KETK she was harassed and neglected, and couldn’t handle it any longer. She says she knew it would be difficult but that she didn’t anticipate “a day-to-day battle on the inside of the City Hall in order to get control of the situation” going on in the city. She added, “The Council stripped me of all of my duties other than signing checks and preparing the budget.” Stroud also says, “I feel like I let everyone down, and I’m sorry. I did not turn my back on the community. I did turn my back on the council members and the people at City Hall” because “I refuse to let them treat me like that.” Mayor Pro Tem Earl Brown will fill in as mayor for the time being. The Council will meet this evening to discuss the resignation and the future of the financially troubled city.

Hawkins Mayor Tells His Side of the Story

Rogers__William.1406577983HAWKINS — The Hawkins mayor says everything said about him in an arrest affidavit is not true, except for the fact that he was at the residence where the alleged violation took place. Will Rogers is accused of overstepping his duties as mayor and threatening to fine a resident $500 if she didn’t cut her grass. Rogers tells KETK he never threatened to write the woman a ticket or impose a fine about her grass. He says he wanted to talk to her about her concession stand. Rogers claims it’s a nuisance and people were complaining. That stand could have also cost the woman $500 a day. Read the rest of this entry »

Body Found in Cherokee County

thumb_police-9REKLAW — Cherokee County law enforcement is working to determine the identity of a body found Tuesday near Reklaw. KETK reports that according to the New Summerfield Police Department, on July 24, officials began a missing person investigation for Javier Jimenez. He was reported missing by his wife the day before. Jimenez left his house for work in Jacksonville at 7:00am, but he never returned home. On July 29, a truck was found abandoned on a piece of land in the Reklaw area. Deputies and police officers responded to the scene and found a body in the bed of the vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Blood Alcohol Results Released in Triple Fatality

shelbytaylormug3HENDERSON — Authorities have released the results of a blood alcohol test for an East Texas woman who reportedly killed a mother and her two children in a July 10 drunken-driving accident. KETK reports that according to Rusk County officials, the blood alcohol content level for Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, was .16, twice the legal limit, at the time of the crash. Taylor remains free on $501,000 bond. She was facing a 2013 DWI accusation, among other charges, before the fatal crash occurred. The Rusk County District Attorney’s Office has filed three manslaughter charges against her for the deaths of Rudra Patel, 5, Trisha Patel, 12, and Heena Patel, 43. The father, Ketanbhai Patel, 42, survived the crash. Read the rest of this entry »

Deadline For Submitting Longview Parks Survey

thumb_longview-cityofLONGVIEW — Today’s the deadline for Longview residents to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of parks in the city. As part of the Longview Comprehensive Plan, the city is updating the 5-year Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan. Residents can give their input by completing a survey. According to Director of Community Services Laura Hill, “This Master Plan is very important to our staff members, park board members, and city council because it informs us of citizens’ priorities. For instance, over the last several years, we have seen a major improvement to our walking trails, which was a direct result of residents telling us those were a top priority.” You can go to for the survey.

Fair Plaza Garage Officially Opens

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — Wednesday’s ribbon cutting has officially opened the Fair Plaza Parking Garage at 208 South College Ave. in Tyler. “The garage will be an integral part of the entry point into downtown,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. “We are particularly pleased that the façade will be in keeping with the look, history and feel of our downtown.” The garage’s exterior design incorporates architectural elements from the Blackstone Hotel, Tyler Commercial College, the clock tower from the historic Smith County Courthouse, and other former landmark buildings. Read the rest of this entry »

Authorities Continue to Investigate Longview Man’s Death

Gregg County Sheriffs Office patchLONGVIEW – Gregg County deputies are continuing to investigate the death of a Longview man. According to KETK, preliminary autopsy results ruled out foul play as a factor in the death of Donald Merrills, 40. His body was found just after 6:00 Monday evening outside a residence on Rebecca Circle near his home. The Sheriff’s Department says Merrills is known to have had mental issues. He was found wearing multiple layers of clothing and a fleece lined coat. Toxicology results are pending.

Texas Deputy Injured in Fatal Shooting of Suspect

BLOOMBURG (AP) — An East Texas sheriff’s deputy was trying to serve assault warrants issued more than 500 miles away in Ward County when he fatally shot the suspect. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday said Deputy Johnny Bailey continues to recover from minor injuries suffered in the incident near Bloomburg. Cass County Chief Deputy Roy Barker says Bailey was treated for unspecified injuries following Sunday’s shooting that left Charles Alver Jones Jr. dead. Autopsy results are pending. Jones was from the Bloomburg area. Read the rest of this entry »

New Law Speeds Closure of Troubled Charter Schools

Texas Education Agency3AUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — The number of troubled charter schools that are forced to close is accelerating because of a new state law that makes it easier to shutter poorly performing ones. The Texas Education Agency has revoked the license of five charter schools since February. The Dallas Morning News reports that three others, including Tyler’s Azleway Charter School and one co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, have appeals pending. If the three appeals are unsuccessful, it would result in the most revocations of a charter’s license in a single year. A recent ruling by a state appeals court determined the TEA can still revoke the license of a school while court action is pending. The law enacted last year requires the TEA to close charters after three consecutive years of poor academic or financial performance.

More Details Released on Hawkins Official Oppression Case

Rogers__William.1406577983HAWKINS (AP/Staff) – A newly elected East Texas mayor has been accused of threatening to ticket and fine a woman $500 daily in a messy yard dispute. Hawkins Mayor William Rogers was arrested Monday on a misdemeanor official oppression charge and freed on $1,000 bond. Fire Marshal Eileen Frazier says the mayor is not authorized to write tickets or issue fines. An arrest affidavit says Rogers stopped at a house July 10 and told resident Candy Palmertree she must clean up her yard or he would ticket and fine her. Code enforcement officials later said the grass did not violate city rules. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Allegedly Sets Girlfriend on Fire

ebarbgreggcoLONGVIEW — An East Texas man has been arrested for allegedly setting his girlfriend on fire. KETK reports that around 3:00 Saturday afternoon, Longview officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Hope Drive after receiving a call from the victim’s mother. Police later arrested Cannon Ebarb, 36, of Longview. Ebarb is accused of dousing the 53-year-old woman with lighter fluid and setting her ablaze with a lighter. She suffered burns to her face and body. The victim’s current condition is unknown. Longview Public Information Officer Kristie Brian said officials filed an emergency protective order against Ebarb. The suspect was booked into the Gregg County Jail on aggravated assault and failure to identify. His bail was set at $100,500.

Rabid Bat Found in Longview

bat2LONGVIEW — A bat captured in Longview has tested positive for rabies, as confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The bat was captured at Penwood Apartments on Thursday, July 24. It is not believed that any residents had exposure to the bat. This is the first positive rabies case in the City of Longview this year. We believe this was an isolated incident at the apartment complex; however, we are working closely with the management of the apartment complex to take all precautionary measures and inform the other residents. The apartment complex has hired a company that specializes in bat removal, and they have temporarily relocated the residents of the apartment unit involved,” said the Environmental Health Farrar, Buck Farrar. Read the rest of this entry »

Police: Suspect Identified in Counterfeit Money Case

image003TYLER — Police in Tyler say a suspect has been identified in a counterfeit money case thanks to the help of the public and their tips. Investigators will be following up with the information provided and the investigation is ongoing, police say. Further details will be made available upon completion of the case, according to officials. Tuesday morning, police asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. On Thursday, officers responded to Dairy Queen and Family Dollar, located on Gentry Parkway, in reference to a female suspect passing counterfeit $50 bills.

Winona Mayor Resigns

DEDE__STROUD.1406663479WINONA — The mayor of Winona, Dede Stroud, has resigned from her position after less than three months in office. Officials tell KETK Stroud met with a city council member on Monday and handed the council member a short letter of resignation along with her city hall keys and iPad issued to her by the city. Mayor Pro Tem Earl Brown will fill Stroud’s spot until further notice. Stroud was elected May 10, 2014, defeating incumbent Rusty Smith by 81 votes. Since September 2013, Winona has racked up a debt of over $350,000, according to the city’s financial audit. Officials have also confirmed there will be a special council meeting held Thursday evening at 6:30 concerning the abrupt resignation and the future of the city.

Parents, Community Invited to Go “Inside Tyler ISD”

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER — Tyler ISD is inviting parents, business leaders, and community members to join the inaugural class of the District’s new Inside Tyler ISD leadership program. Beginning in the fall, Inside Tyler ISD participants will gain an in-depth, firsthand understanding of the goals and operations of the school district, according to a TISD news release. “We are very excited to launch Inside Tyler ISD in the fall,”ť Interim Superintendent Kim Tunnell said. “Many districts across the state have initiated and had great success with similar programs. Community feedback from these programs shows that participants take away a greater sense of the magnitude of what it takes for a school system to be successful.” Read the rest of this entry »

Murder Indictment Returned in Smith County

Kelly GageTYLER – An East Texas man who had been charged with assaulting his wife has now been indicted for her murder. The indictment was returned Monday against Kelly Gage, 52, of Gun Barrel City. He remains in the Smith County Jail, where he has been held on an assault of a family member complaint. The incident occurred in November, 2011. His wife, Patti McHugh Gage, later died from her injuries, which her son Nicholas claimed were caused by his dad. Later, Patti Gage’s son, Nicholas McHugh, and his younger brother, Caden, both took out protective orders against Gage. At the time, Nicholas told KETK, “I’m really scared of any type of retaliation. He’s really nuts and he’s threatened my life and my grandmother’s life particularly in the past.”

Man Wanted in Vegas Arrested in Rusk County

HENDERSON – A man wanted on fraud charges in Las Vegas has been arrested in Rusk County. William Joseph Chrissikopoulos, 43, of Las Vegas was arrested Sunday at the Sexton City Trade Days. In April, a grand jury indicted Chrissikopoulos on 15 counts. He has been accused of mortgage lending fraud, “multiple transactions involving fraud and deceit in the course of enterprise or occupation and two counts of preventing or dissuading victim, person acting on behalf of victim, or witness from reporting crime, commencing prosecution or causing arrest. He will remain in the Rusk County jail until turned over to Nevada authorities.

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