Category: Local News Archive

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Schaefer Files Measure Targeting Food Stamp Fraud

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1AUSTIN — State Representative Matt Schaefer of Tyler has filed a bill requiring photo identification and the recipient’s name on food stamp cards. The District 6 Republican says the cards would also include the fraud hotline number and a statement saying, “Paid for by the American taxpayer.” Claiming there’s a lot of fraud in Texas, Schaefer says right now the cards don’t even have the person’s name on them and that they’re being sold and used for currency. According to Schaefer, “If the state of Massachusetts can put photo ID and the names on the food stamp cards, we can do it in Texas. We need integrity in our food stamp program.”

Tyler Joins National Network to Increase Post-High School Attainment

highschoollockersTYLER — Tyler has joined Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment, according to a news release from the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. With support and oversight from the Tyler Area Business Education Council, a cross-sector group of community members will work with Lumina, according to the release. Officials say the group will develop and execute strategies that will increase the percentage of residents who possess a postsecondary credential. Tyler is one of the final 20 cities in Lumina’s 75-city community-based attainment network. “The selection of Tyler as one of 75 cities to work with Lumina and other national thought leaders shows that the work in this community is being recognized on a national level,” said Tyler Mayor Martin Heines. Read the rest of this entry »

Judge Rules for Peterson, Paving Way for Reinstatement

thumb_adrian_petersonMINNEAPOLIS (AP/Staff) – A federal judge has cleared the way for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to be reinstated. U.S. District Judge David Doty issued his order Thursday, less than three weeks after hearing oral arguments. Doty overruled NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson’s previous denial of Peterson’s appeal. The league suspended the former Palestine star through at least April 15 for his involvement in a child abuse case. But Doty said in his 16-page ruling that Henderson “simply disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty under the” collective bargaining agreement.

Victim Identified in Fatal Wood County Crash

woodcountycrashWOOD COUNTY — One person is dead after a two-vehicle collision around 9:30 Wednesday morning in Wood County. According to KETK, DPS says emergency crews responded to the accident on Highway 11, nearly 7 ˝ miles east of Winnsboro. A tractor-trailer traveling westbound crossed over the center line when driving into a curve and struck a car heading eastbound head-on. The driver of the car, identified as Velma Dismukes, 42, of Winnsboro, was pronounced dead at the scene by Judge Cindy Weems. Dismukes was taken to Beaty Funeral Home in Winnsboro. The driver of the semi, Mitchell Bartram, 56, of Euless, was not injured in the crash. There was no immediate word on possible charges.

Charge Upgraded to Murder in Longview Shooting

valpicLONGVIEW — A murder charge has been filed in a Longview shooting that turned fatal. The move follows the death of Jerrad Hunt of Longview nearly three weeks after he was shot at a gas station. “I can confirm that Jerrad Hunt did pass away around 6:00 p.m. on Monday at Good Shepherd Medical Center,” Hunt’s attorney, Kirby Portley, said Tuesday. The charge filed against the suspect, identified as Christian Earl Sibley, 21, of Longview, has been upgraded from aggravated assault. Police say they responded to the gunshot call in the 3000 block of Estes Parkway just before 10:30 a.m. February 3. When they got there, Hunt, 22, had already been taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Municipal Court Resumes Operations

thumb_TylerMunicipalCourt-signTYLER – Area schools and businesses are getting back to normal following Wednesday’s snowfall. The Tyler Municipal Court opened at noon. All dockets for the court have been canceled from 8:00am through noon. The Municipal Court will mail out resets for these docket settings. Call the Municipal Court at 903-531-1266 for further information.

Numerous Power Outages Reported in East Texas

thumb_power_linesEAST TEXAS — Numerous weather-related outages have been reported in the East Texas area, especially in Gregg County. According to KETK, over 20,000 customers had been affected in the region Wednesday at one point. Oncor reported scattered outages in the Tyler area, and Upshur County Rural had quite a few as well. Crews have continued working to restore power.

Texas Senate to Consider Using Vehicle Sales Tax for Roads

Robert Nichols3AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Senate Transportation Committee has approved a plan funneling part of the revenue from the state’s vehicle sales tax into building and maintaining roads. Sponsored by Sen. Robert Nichols, a Jacksonville Republican who chairs the committee, Wednesday’s vote means the proposal can be considered by the full Senate. Taxes collected on vehicle sales currently flow into the state budget’s general revenue. Nichols’ plan would divert tax collections over $2.5 billion annually for road infrastructure beginning in 2018. Nichols said it could generate more than $2 billion annually. Governor Greg Abbott has made transportation infrastructure spending a priority, fast-tracking related bills through the Legislature. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick oversees the flow of Senate legislation and praised the plan, saying the Legislature previously had “relied too heavily on debt and tolls.”

Tyler City Council Approves Permit for Rehab Center

vlcsnap_2015_02_19_15h43m26s50TYLER — The Tyler City Council Wednesday approved a special use permit and zoning change for the Cenikor substance abuse treatment center. KETK reports planners had proposed the site on Gentry Parkway, but some companies in the area voiced their concerns about it hurting their business. Cenikor said the location makes sense because it’s located near the medical district. Cenikor Sr. Vice President Jerry Hall says the rehab center will provide help for those with all types of substance abuse problems. Hall remarks, “The Tyler-Longview area in just the last 12 months has referred almost 500 of the residents of this area to our Waco program, and less than half of those people could actually attend because of the transportation barriers.”

Longview Family Displaced by Fire

fire_mgn2LONGVIEW — A Longview family is displaced after its house was damaged in an early morning fire Wednesday. KETK reports the blaze sparked just before 2:30 Wednesday morning in the 800 block of Noel Drive from a controlled fire in the fireplace. Due to deteriorated joints in the chimney, the embers escaped and began burning parts of the chimney and attic, according to authorities. Crews were able to contain the fire before it could destroy the house. No one was injured, and the residents went to stay with other family members. Around 9:00 in the morning crews were called back out to the house due to a rekindling. They were able to put it out before it could do any more significant damage.

Federal Jury Orders Apple to Pay $532.9M in Patent Dispute

Apple Computer logoUNDATED (AP) — A federal jury says Apple should pay nearly $533 million to resolve claims that the payment system tied to its iTunes product infringes on patents issued to a business named Smartflash. Smartflash said in a 2013 complaint that the patents cover a portable data carrier for storing data and managing access to it through payment information rules. Apple Inc. says it plans to appeal the decision and that Smartflash was “exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented.” The litigation was filed in the Tyler, Texas, division of the U.S. District of Court, Eastern District of Texas. In 2011, a federal judge reversed another jury verdict against Apple from a Tyler patent trial in which the software company Mirror World was awarded $625.5 million.

Tyler Emergency Management Officials Monitoring Weather Conditions

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The City of Tyler Fire Department and Emergency Management officials continue to monitor the weather conditions in our area.
Emergency service capabilities are at full strength and City departments are in frequent communication with each other to ensure that all necessary preparations are in place, according to officials. Additionally, officials are in communication with the local school district, County and State Emergency Management offices, and local EMS. Emergency Management officials continue to monitor the situation and will respond as appropriate, according to a news release. Read the rest of this entry »

TxDOT Responds to Wintry Conditions

TxDOT-Tyler ice bladingTYLER — TxDOT crews are again out inspecting roadways and treating them as necessary to make driving conditions as safe as possible for the traveling public, according to a news release. Click on this link for TxDOT’s Winter Safety Guide — — which includes information pertinent to driving in current weather conditions, and more information on winter driving. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Gregg County DA Arrested

Robert Riter FosterLONGVIEW – Former Gregg County District Attorney Robert Riter Foster has been arrested on a variety of charges. He was arrested Tuesday for driving while intoxicated, unlawfully carrying weapon and possessing a controlled substance. His bonds total $22,000. KETK reports Foster graduated from the Texas Tech University School of Law, J.D., in 1976, is a member of the State Bar of Texas, and was a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award in 1982.

Tyler Fire Department Responds to Downtown Structure Fire

photo25TYLER — Tyler firefighters battled a structure fire near the intersection of N. Spring Street and East Oakwood Tuesday. KETK reports crews were dispatched at 1:26 p.m. Officials said it was a vacant building. No injuries have been reported. There was no immediate word on what sparked the fire or extent of damage.

Defying GOP, Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill

thumb_barackobamaWASHINGTON (AP/Staff) – President Barack Obama has vetoed a Republican bill forcing construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The White House sent notice of the veto to the Senate on Tuesday, shortly after the bill was received at the White House. It’s the third veto of Obama’s presidency. The move puts a freeze on a top GOP priority, at least for now. It also reasserts Obama’s authority over a project that’s become a flashpoint in the national debate about climate change. Congressional Republicans may try to override Obama’s veto, but have yet to show they can muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers that they would need. Sen. John Hoeven, the bill’s chief GOP sponsor, says Republicans are about four votes short in the Senate and need about 11 more in the House. If approved, the Keystone XL would tie in with existing pipelines, including one that passes through eastern Smith County and other parts of East Texas.

NYPD Officers Honor Tyler Girl Who Sent Cards to Police

Savannah Solis  in New YorkNEW YORK (AP) — New York City police officers have honored a 10-year-old Tyler, Texas girl who sent hundreds of thank you cards to the NYPD after two officers were fatally shot. Savannah Solis told officers in a Bronx precinct Tuesday that she wants to thank the police “for what they do for us.” Savannah made about 200 cards for New York officers and 300 for police throughout Texas. She’s already visited officers in her home state. A Bronx officer acted as a go-between for Savannah. A cousin of his wife knows the girl’s family. Savannah was greeted by an NYPD helicopter flyover in the Bronx. Then she was given an NYPD hat she wore for the ceremony inside the stationhouse. Savannah told the officers she appreciates the sacrifices they make.

SUV Slides Off Road, Lands in Longview Embankment

entrapmentLONGVIEW — Longview emergency crews worked a major accident Tuesday on Judson Road where a vehicle landed in an embankment. According to KETK, a tweet from the Longview Police Department at around noon said they were responding to a possible entrapment accident in the 1400 block of Judson Road. Officers at the scene said two wreckers responded to remove the vehicle. Longview PD said this was the worst weather-related accident they had come across in the previous 36 hours. The driver reportedly slid off the road because of ice. No injuries were reported in the crash.

Convicted Felon Sentenced for Embezzlement

54ebed2f38d13.imageRUSK COUNTY — A former machine shop employee was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday for embezzling more than $150,000 over several years. According to the Longview News-Journal, Tanya Marie Warrell McMillian, 43, Whitehouse, was found guilty of second-degree theft, but the prosecution was able to enhance her punishment to first-degree theft because of three prior felony convictions. McMillian also was assessed a $10,000 fine. The Rusk County District Attorney said McMillian stole approximately $156,000 from her employer by altering the books or forging signatures. McMillian was arrested May 11 by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers.

Area Precipitation Ends

sleet-Tyler February 2015SHREVEPORT – The winter precipitation is over for the time being, but the National Weather Service in Shreveport says sleet accumulations remain on some area highways. If travel is necessary today, you’re still advised to use caution. Some additional winter precipitation will be possible late tonight into Wednesday across the area. The precipitation types and amounts are uncertain at this time.

Peterson’s Agent Reportedly Fights With Vikings’ Exec

Adrian PetersonINDIANAPOLIS IN.(STAFF) — Adrian Peterson’s eventual return to the Minnesota Vikings may be in doubt. reports the running back’s agent got into a heated exchange and had to be separated from a member of the Vikings’ front office last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. According to the report, the agent made it clear that Peterson would never play for the Vikings again. Last week, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said he expects Peterson, a Palestine native, to stay with the team this season. Several high-ranking Vikings officials have expressed their desire to bring Peterson back in recent weeks. Peterson is under contract through 2017, but is currently waiting to be reinstated by the NFL. He was suspended following a no-contest plea to child-abuse charges last year after admitting he disciplined his four-year-old with a tree branch. The 29-year-old former league MVP played just the season opener in 2014. Peterson is reportedly interested in playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

Authorities Probe String of Cherokee County Burglaries

thumb_police-lights-2CHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County officials seek leads in a string of burglaries committed in mid-February. On Friday, February 13, a homeowner in the 2000 block of Highway 79, west of Jacksonville, reported that his home had been broken into sometime between Wednesday, February 5, and Thursday, February 12. According to KETK, the homeowner said he was working out of town during the time the home was broken into and when he returned home several of his firearms had been stolen. There did not appear to be any forced entry to the home, and how the suspects broke in is not known at this time, according to officials. Once inside it does not appear that much was disturbed inside the house and the suspect might have been only looking for firearms. Total estimated loss is over $5,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Participates in Statewide Warrant Sweep

thumb_TylerMunicipalCourt-frontTYLER — The City of Tyler Municipal Court will be participating in a warrant sweep Saturday, March 7 through Sunday, March 31. Agencies will work together during this time to make arrests and collect fines for outstanding warrants, according to a city of Tyler news release. The Statewide Warrant Sweep, conducted in more than 250 agencies, runs from March 7 through March 15, but Tyler’s sweep continues through the end of March. Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Girl Who Sent Thank You Notes Will Meet NYPD Officers

Savannah SolisNEW YORK (AP) — A Smith County girl who made about 500 handmade thank you cards for law enforcers after two officers were slain in Brooklyn will get to meet some of her New York heroes in person. The Daily News says Savannah Solis, 10, of Tyler, seen here in her Face Book picture, will visit the late officers’ precincts today. Organizers also are trying to arrange a meeting with the widows of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. They were shot in their patrol car on December 20. Savannah made about 200 cards for New York officers and 300 for police throughout Texas. She’s already visited officers in her home state. A Bronx officer has acted as a go-between for Savannah. A cousin of his wife knows the girl’s family.

Area Placed Under Winter Storm Warning

SONY DSCSHREVEPORT – Smith and surrounding counties have been placed under a winter storm warning until midnight this evening. The area could see a mixture of freezing rain and sleet. This may cause travel difficulties on area roadways, particularly on bridges and overpasses. Ice accumulations of one quarter of an inch may cause scattered power outages as power lines and trees become laden with ice. Read the rest of this entry »

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