Category: Local News Archive

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Cause Undetermined in Winona School Fire

winonafire_ketkTYLER — The Smith County Fire Marshal announced Wednesday that after extensive review of the Old Winona School fire case, no exact cause of the fire this past Sunday could be determined. Fire Marshal Jay Brooks says investigators with his office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, assisted by the Winona Police Department and Winona Public Works Department, spent hours sifting through the debris and interviewing witnesses. But Brooks says they were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire due to the devastation of the structure and its components. At this time there is no evidence of foul play, and the building the fire originated in was secure and unoccupied at the time the fire started, Brooks said. Read the rest of this entry »

Shooting at Northeast Texas Home Leaves Teen Dead

thumb_police-1ATLANTA, Texas (AP) – A teenage girl has been fatally shot at a Northeast Texas house and police arrested a teenage boy on a charge of criminally negligent homicide. Atlanta police Lt. Allen Williams on Wednesday declined to release names or ages of the minors, who are not related. Williams says the boy remains in juvenile custody at a detention center in Longview. Police in Atlanta received a 911 call Tuesday afternoon about a shooting at a home. Police arrived to find the girl shot. She was pronounced dead at a hospital. Officers detained the boy. Williams declined to say who called for help. Further details weren’t immediately released.

Search Underway for Oil Field Theft Suspect

glezenHARRISON COUNTY — An active search for an alleged oil field thief is underway in Harrison County. KETK reports authorities are looking for the suspect on FM 968. FM 968 runs between Highway 80 and I-20, about two miles southwest of Marshall. Harrison County 911 operators received a call from an oil field worker shortly before 7:00 Wednesday morning regarding the caller being run into by another vehicle on an oil field site. The caller stated he believed he had just come upon an alleged theft in progress and the vehicle that was on the well site drove into his vehicle during its escape. Read the rest of this entry »

New Sentencing for “Bernie” Mortician

bernie AUSTIN (AP) – Texas’ highest court has granted a new sentencing hearing for the mortician whose conviction for killing his longtime companion and storing her body in a freezer inspired the dark-comedy movie “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was sentenced to life in prison for the 1996 shooting death of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent. But he was released from prison earlier this year, after a lower court ruled the sentence was overly harsh. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday largely sided with Tiede. His attorneys said jurors weren’t told he felt abused by Nugent or that he was sexually abused as a child. Nugent’s family wants him returned to prison. Nugent’s body was found in a freezer in her home nine months after she went missing in Carthage.

Nativity Scene on Courthouse Lawn Raises Concerns

nativity_ketkRUSK — The nativity scene holds a special place in Christians’ hearts, especially during the Christmas season. “It symbolizes life, our second chance at life, because it’s the night that Christ was born,” said Nancy Rangel, a Christian in Cherokee County. But KETK reports that for Daniel Ross, it doesn’t represent his beliefs. He is a Humanist, and emailed Cherokee County about placing a secular display adjacent to the manger scene. “I’m not offended by the nativity scene, I’m more offended by not having the opportunity to be represented, not having my belief represented here,” said Ross. “I think we’ve got a really nice display it’s very tasteful. We’ve got four entrances to this courthouse, we’re not trying to force the religion on anyone,” said Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

Williams Names Board of Managers for Revoked Charter

thumb_TEA-texas-education-logoAUSTIN – Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams Tuesday announced his appointments to a three-member board of managers in the case of a soon-to-close charter school that includes an East Texas campus. That’s according to a news release from the Texas Education Agency. According to the release, the situation involves the liquidation of assets and other specific issues related to the revocation and closure of Honors Academy and the seven campuses operating under the charter as public, accredited schools. The charter revocation – which became effective June 30, 2014 – affects the following Honors Academy campuses (in these communities): Branch Park Academy (Farmers Branch); Creekview Academy (Killeen); Landmark School (also known as Leadership Academy – Palestine); Legacy Park Preparatory (Kaufman); Pinnacle Academy of Fine Arts (Fort Worth); Quest Academy (Dallas); and Wilmer Academy (Wilmer). Read the rest of this entry »

Police: Man Jailed after Punching, Head Butting Security Officer

jameslovinggreggcoLONGVIEW — A Longview man is being held in the Gregg County Jail after police say he punched and head butted a security officer at the Lodge Sports Bar. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report James Dillon Loving, 21, remains jailed on $7,500 bond, charged with assault on a security officer, a felony. He was arrested just before midnight Saturday when Longview police responded to a fight in progress at the Lodge in the 500 block of North Spur 63. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Man Named To Ag Commissioner-Elect’s Transition Team

Pierre De WetAUSTIN – A Smith County man is one of 11 persons being named to Agriculture Commissioner-elect Sid Miller’s transition team. One of the members of the team is Pierre De Wet of Tyler, agricultural entrepreneur and President & Founder of Kiepersol Enterprises. Miller said De Wet and other members of the team will be working with him to ensure the TDA is focused on the many critical issues facing Texas including our state’s long-term water needs, strengthening and promoting the state’s equine industry, and protecting consumer safety. Read the rest of this entry »

Teen Arrested in Mail Carrier’s Shooting

Jaylon Carroll WorthamLUFKIN — A teen has been taken into custody for the weekend shooting of a Lufkin postal worker. On Tuesday Lufkin Police Department detectives, with cooperation from the United States Postal Inspection Service, obtained a warrant for the arrest of Jaylon Carroll Wortham, 17. According to KETK, Wortham is charged with assault causing bodily injury against a government contractor/employee. The LPD detectives sought the warrant following a combined LPD/USPIS investigation into a November 22 assault incident in which Wortham alegedly caused bodily injury to Lindsey Guthery, a mail carrier employed by the United Stated Postal Service. Read the rest of this entry »

Community Prepares to Welcome Injured Firefighter Home

Joe YeakleyLINDALE — The Lindale community is preparing to welcome injured firefighter Joe Yeakley home Wednesday afternoon. Yeakley suffered serious injuries battling a structure fire in January. Following the fire, Yeakley was taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He was later moved to a rehab center. KETK reports Yeakley is expected to be back around 4:30 p.m. A Lindale VFD spokesperson said Lindale Engine 1 will take Yeakley to his home. A procession will lead him north on Highway 69, starting at Interstate 20 and ending taking a left on to Highway 16, in downtown Lindale. Read the rest of this entry »

ETMC EMS to Drop Upshur County Service in March

ETMC EMS to Drop Upshur County Service in MarchTYLER — Beginning March 1, 2015, ETMC EMS will no longer offer ambulance service in Upshur County. The information comes in a brief news release from ETMC. “For many years, ETMC has been able to provide ambulance service in many communities for free or for a small fee. With the changes in reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, we can no longer afford to provide this service,” said Neal Franklin, general manager, ETMC EMS. ETMC EMS has enjoyed its years of service to the residents of Upshur County and will assist during the transition to a new EMS provider, according to the release. ETMC didn’t immediately say what the transition might entail.

City of Tyler Sex Offender Compliance Check

thumb_police-tyler-badgeTYLER — The Tyler Police Department reports a clean slate after conducting its annual city-wide sex offender compliance check November 20 with the assistance of officers from multiple law enforcement agencies. Officers were charged with checking on 147 registered sex offenders who are registered with the city of Tyler. Officers showed up unannounced at the offenders’ addresses to confirm their whereabouts and correct addresses. Upon completion of the check all 147 sex offenders were found to be in compliance with their registration requirements, according to a news release. Read the rest of this entry »

Peterson Weighs In on Ferguson Case

thumb_adrian_peterson_1MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has sparked anger after appearing to compare his child abuse charges to the situation unfolding in Ferguson. Peterson pleaded no contest in a Conroe courtroom to a misdemeanor assault charge following his arrest for disciplining his four-year-old son with a switch. Now he’s taken to Twitter with, “The grand jury decided not to indict me too! But that changed a week later! Maybe, but not likely in this case.” One follower tweeted, “Not the same thing — let it ride.” The Palestine native followed with yet another tweet an hour later: “My heart goes out to Mike Brown’s family! My thoughts & prayers are with you!” The NFL has suspended Peterson without pay for the remainder of the 2014 season.

Coal-Fired Plant Proposal Could Affect East Texas

EPA LogoFORT WORTH — Coal-fired plant operators in Texas could be writing some big checks, and East Texas could see the results. Under a federal proposal, the operators of the eight biggest such plants would spend two billion dollars to retrofit 15 units to reduce air pollution. Tom “Smitty” Smith with Public Citizen welcomes this. Smith says, “It will improve our public health, and many of the sort of hazy days that now cloud our skies over the Dallas-Fort Worth or Tyler area will come to an end.” He says it would make much more sense to scrap the old coal plants and go with another form of energy like natural gas or renewables.

Police: Man Claims He Killed Wife, but She Survives

girardncsoNACOGDOCHES (AP) – Police in East Texas say a woman has been released from the hospital after her husband called 911 and said he choked her to death. George Girard, 72, was being held at the Nacogdoches County jail on Tuesday morning on a felony aggravated assault charge. The Nacogdoches man was waiting outside for officers after he called 911 on Sunday. Police found his wife unconscious on the kitchen floor with blood on her neck. She was taken to an area hospital where she was treated and released. Girard told police he pinned his wife to the floor and choked her until she stopped moving.

Longview’s Second Rabid Bat of the Year

Rabid BatLONGVIEW — A bat found in Longview has tested positive for rabies. The confirmation came yesterday from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The injured bat was found late last week in a parking lot at LeTourneau University, 2100 South Mobberly Avenue. This is the second positive rabies case in Longview this year. “In this instance, someone found the bat outdoors. As a reminder, we encourage people to avoid touching bats, but to please contact the City of Longview Environmental Health.” said Leisha Kidd-Brooks, Longview Environmental Health Manager. Read the rest of this entry »

Browns Looking into Alleged Fight Involving Manziel’s Entourage

thumb_Johnny_Manziel-3CLEVELAND (AP/STAFF) — Police say a Browns fan who says he wanted to give Johnny Manziel “a hug” was struck by the quarterback’s entourage at a downtown hotel Friday and was left with a swollen eye and lip. Chris Conos told police he was assaulted by Tyler’s “Johnny Football and his entourage.” The 33-year-old fan said he and his girlfriend approached Manziel while waiting for an elevator and he told the first-round draft pick: “I’m the biggest Browns fan ever. I love you. I want to give you a hug.” Conos said he took one step toward Manziel and was punched by a man listed on the report as Dana Kirk. Conos contends he was struck several times in the face and “pushed and attacked” by a group of unidentified men who were with Manziel. Kirk tells a different story. He said Conos tried to assault Manziel.

Shots Fired Overnight at Kilgore College Trustee’s Home

thumb_police-9KILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is investigating shots fired early Monday into the home of a Kilgore College trustee. According to KETK, Assistant Chief Roman Roberson says police received a report of shots fired at a house in the 2800 block of Green Hills Drive. The shooting is believed to have happened between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. A bullet hole was found by investigators in the front door of Brian Nutt’s home. No injuries were reported. Authorities say they do not have any persons of interest at this time. Officers will be patrolling the area at the request of the victims, according to police.

Gilmer Police Seek Missing Girl

missinggirlgilmerGILMER — Authorities in Gilmer are asking for the public’s help finding a missing girl. KETK reports Snowy Turner, 17, has not been seen or talked to any family or friends since Saturday, November 16. Officials said she left a note saying she was leaving but did not take her phone, truck, wallet, or any clothes. Anyone who has seen her or has any information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Gilmer Police Department at 903-843-2552.

Woman Cleared in Fatal Car Wreck after GM Letter

Candice AndersonCANTON (AP/Staff) – A Texas judge has cleared a woman accused in a fatal wreck after General Motors acknowledged her car would’ve been among millions recalled for an ignition switch problem that may have contributed to the death. Candice Anderson pleaded guilty to charges related to a 2004 crash that severely injured her and killed her fiance, Gene Erikson. Investigators say Anderson was driving when her Saturn Ion suddenly veered off a road in Van Zandt County and hit a tree, but the air bags didn’t deploy. Court officials say a judge on Monday expunged Anderson’s record in the case, after GM said the recall condition “may have caused or contributed” to the air bags not deploying. Anderson was charged with criminally negligent homicide. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received five years’ probation.

Honors Academy Closes Campuses

thumb_TEA-texas-education-logoAUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been notified by Farmers Branch-based Honors Academy of its decision to cease operation effective December 1, 2014. Landmark School in Palestine, also known as Leadership Academy, is among seven campuses that will be shutting down. According to a TEA news release, TEA’s revocation of the Honors Academy state charter became effective June 30, 2014. Since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, Honors Academy has been operating as a de facto private school at its seven campuses and falsely holding itself out as a public charter school, a violation of the Texas Education Code, according to the release. Read the rest of this entry »

Holda Responds to Asbestos Claims

Bill HoldaKILGORE — Kilgore College President Dr. Bill Holda is responding to asbestos-related claims about the college. Holda cited allegations reported by local media “that some Kilgore College facilities are not safe, that asbestos has been removed improperly and that this removal has been covered up by the college.” Holda says, “I have no evidence from any source that would corroborate any of these allegations. Neither Dalton Smith, KC’s Coordinator of Physical Plant nor any federal investigators have contacted me with specific allegations nor details.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mail Carrier Shot in Leg while on Route

US Postal ServiceLUFKIN (AP) – Police are trying to determine who shot an East Texas postal worker in the leg as she delivered mail in a neighborhood. Lufkin police say the 25-year-old worker was treated for an injury not believed to be life-threatening. Police believe the woman was shot with some sort of air gun or rifle. Nobody was immediately arrested. A spokeswoman with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said Monday that the agency is cooperating with police in the investigation. Leslie McClain had no immediate information on possible charges. The shooting happened Saturday as the postal worker was walking her regular route in Lufkin. She managed to call a supervisor for help. The victim’s name wasn’t released.

DA to Dismiss Ticket in Wreck that Killed Family

Hardman Family-TerrellMONROE, LA. (AP/STAFF) — A northeast Louisiana prosecutor says he’s dismissing the ticket issued to a Terrell, Texas teenager who apparently fell asleep at the wheel, causing a wreck that killed five members of his family.

District Attorney Jerry Jones tells The News-Star that the 16-year-old has been punished enough, and there’s no need to add to his pain. KNOE-TV reports that Jones has dismissed the misdemeanor ticket for careless driving. State police say the sport utility vehicle veered off Interstate 20 in Ouachita Parish near Calhoun and flipped, ejecting six of the eight occupants. Three children and two adults were pronounced dead on the scene. The eight people were a blended family traveling to Disney World for a Thanksgiving vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Destroys Bullard Home

fire imageBULLARD – A wood frame home in Bullard has been destroyed by fire. It was reported around 3:30 Sunday morning on County Road 150. The home was being remodeled and no one was at home when the fire started. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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