TYLER — The City of Tyler Water Utilities have reopened all public boat ramps on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East. Officials said the lakes have receded below elevation 376.0 mean sea level. Ramps were closed last week due to boating hazards resulting from debris washed into the lakes by the recent rains and to reduce damage resulting from erosion of the shoreline caused by boat wakes. In addition, the lakes were closed to boat traffic from lake residents.
TYLER – Grassroots America We the People, is calling for the resignation of County Judge Joel Baker. This following allegations of offensive behavior were raised. According to KETK, Executive Director JoAnn Fleming released the following statement Monday evening: “After viewing the news report and looking into the credentials of the forensic investigator, the Board of Directors of Grassroots America calls on Joel Baker to immediately resign the office of Smith County Judge. Abusing his elective office in such a vulgar manner breaks his oath of office, severs the public trust, and makes a mockery of his role of county judge, probate judge, and overseer of mental health commitments.”… Read More
KILGORE — A rollover accident in Kilgore this morning is under investigation. According to the Kilgore Police Department’s Facebook page, the driver fled the scene at Dudley Road near Meadowgreen Drive. Officers said they know the identity of the driver, but have not released his name. A fire hydrant was destroyed in the crash.
AUSTIN (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in nearly 20 counties hit by severe rain and flooding. In a statement issued Monday, Abbott said the state is assisting with evacuations in three East Texas counties and stands ready to assist in swift water rescues. Heavy rains last week forced the evacuation of hundreds of people in East Texas, as floodwaters rose in several Gulf Coast states. His declaration covers the following counties: Angelina, Erath, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Sabine, San Augustine, and Tyler.
TYLER – The Park of East Texas has released the dates for the 2016 East Texas State Fair. It will be held in Tyler September 23rd through October 2nd. Last year’s fair attracted over 260,000 visitors to the fairgrounds. The fair dates back 101 years. Organizers say this year the fair will be adding some exciting new attractions, as well as bringing back some old favorites. And, as usual, there will be entertainment, exciting concerts, fantastic food, and much, much more!
BROWNSBORO – A shooting in Brownsboro has left one person dead and a woman charged with murder. Officers learned of the shooting when Danna Busby, 54, of ben Wheeler, arrived at the police station Sunday night to report it. She told officers she had shot a man at a home on Moss Street and was still in possession of the weapon. Officers found the body of Wendell Harris in a bedroom of the home. No word on the actions that led up to the shooting, which remains under investigation. Busby remains in the Henderson County Jail. Bond is $2 million.
EAST TEXAS — District 7 State Representative David Simpson is headed to a runoff for the Texas Senate District 1 seat against District 5 State Representative Bryan Hughes. According to KETK, Texas Republican Party Communications Coordinator Michael Joyce says the votes have been canvassed and Simpson finished in second place by 13 votes over “Red” Brown. Mike Lee finished in fourth place. The primary runoff will take place May 24.
LUFKIN – The investigation continues into the shooting of a mental health patient by an Angelina County Sheriff’s deputy. The deputy was taking the patient to a Conroe hospital when the Friday shooting occurred in Riverside, which is just north of Huntsville. Walker County authorities say, for some reason the deputy stopped his car in front of Country Campus Baptist Church and the two got into a struggle. During the struggle, the patient was shot in his stomach. He is was flown to Houston’s Memorial Herman Houston, where he is recovering. The Angelina County deputy suffered minor injuries. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
EAST TEXAS — Residents around a popular Texas lake have been told to evacuate. Residents of Caddo Lake were told to leave their homes last week as flooding conditions on the lake continued to worsen. However, many residents did not heed that warning and chose to stay in their homes. During the weekend, power to areas near the lake was cut off for safety reasons. Harrison County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jay Webb said the department spent all weekend evacuating people from their homes. He said residents who did not leave the lake are completely stranded.
EAST TEXAS — Officials said this morning that there are several East Texas roads that remain closed due to high water. Drivers are told to avoid these areas: Smith County: FM 1804 closed from south of US 80 to north of US 69. Gregg County: FM 2087 closed from Loop 281 to I-20. Cherokee County: SH 294 closed from FM 228 to Coon Pond Hunting Club Entrance, FM 23 closed from FM 1857 to SH 294 and FM 1911 closed from US 69 to the Nacogdoches County line. Wood County: FM 1804 closed from south of US 80 to east of US 69 and FM 1254 closed from north of Loop 564 to west of FM 778. Road conditions and traffic updates are available on Facebook.com/txdot or http://www.DriveTexas.org.
SMITH COUNTY — The Department of Public Safety is investigating an accident that has left one person injured. According to KETK, the one-vehicle wreck happened just before 6:00 Monday morning in the 12000 block of Highway 31 West, near Texas Farmers Bureau Insurance. The preliminary investigation suggests a man drove his truck off the road and into a tree. He was hospitalized with unknown injuries.
SMITH COUNTY — One person has been killed, another injured following an early Sunday morning house fire in Smith County. KETK reports the fire began just before 6:00 at a mobile home on Peaceful Acres West, off State Park Highway. The Fire Marshal’s Office says three people were inside the house at the time of the fire, a man, a woman, and their 18-year-old grandson, identified as Allan Macias. The woman reportedly woke up to find smoke coming from her grandson’s room. She then woke her husband, who tried to rescue their grandson. However, in doing so he suffered serious burns on his arms, hands, and face.… Read More
HUNTSVILLE (AP/Staff) – Texas prison officials are playing a hide-and-seek game with former polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, who is trying to exert control over the secretive religious group from behind bars. Jeffs is currently held at the Louis C. Powledge prison unit near Palestine. Officials say his wives tried to smuggle tiny microphones in hollowed-out watches during two visits to Jeffs, who is serving a life term for sexually assaulting his 12- and 15-year-old brides. A female visitor tried to conceal an object in her hair. His phone privileges were temporarily taken away because followers put him on speakerphone. And prison officials blocked some mail from Jeffs because it appeared to be written in code. One former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints says the coded letters are passed during lawyer visits, which are subject to attorney-client privilege.
TYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the Tyler TxDOT district during the Week of March 14. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues. Much of the work scheduled for the Week of March 7 moves to this week due to rain.
SMITH COUNTY – Tyler Maintenance crews plan to return to SH 155S between Toll 49 and SH 57 where base repair work is ongoing. The work requires merging traffic. On Monday and Tuesday, weather permitting crews plan to perform work on culverts on SH 31W at the Spur 164. Expect lane closures.… Read More
BETTIE — Union Hill ISD, located in rural Upshur County, is making history as being the first pre-K through 12th grade school district in Texas to adopt a four-day instructional school week. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report the new schedule will take effect next school year. Gay Colbert is excited, saying it will give her grandchildren more enrichment opportunities. “(The new four-day schedule) gives an avenue for students to do tutoring in the morning and also enrichment programs that they may not have the chance to take otherwise,” said Colbert, president of the Union Hill ISD athletic booster club and grandparent to four Union Hill students. Olfen ISD, a kindergarten-to eighth-grade school 25 miles outside San Angelo, became the first district in the state to adopt the modified calendar. … Read More
GREGG COUNTY — The Sabine River began creeping into several Gregg County homes this past week as the rain-swollen river has risen well above flood stage at several points — and keeps rising. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report it’s the second time this year the river has escaped its banks. “I’ve never seen it flood twice that close together before,” said longtime Gregg County resident Jack Shirey, who has lived at his home on Phillips Road since 1988. Shirey said the Sabine in January crested at just a couple of feet below his home, which rests on stilts. Because of its elevation, Shirey said he wasn’t concerned about record flooding in the coming week, either. “There’s a whole lot of folks worse off than I am,” he said. … Read More
DALLAS (AP) – An electric utility has disconnected power to the Caddo Lake area on the Texas-Louisiana border covered by a mandatory evacuation notice. The Panola-Harrison Electric Co-Op announced it would suspend service to areas along Big Cypress Bayou to avoid short circuits and power-line arcs that could spark fires. Harrison County officials in Marshall have appealed to Caddo Lake area residents to heed a mandatory evacuation notice because floodwaters are isolating some areas, cutting access by emergency personnel.
All roads are clear and open for travel in Anderson, Gregg, Henderson, Rusk and Van Zandt counties.… Read More
CHANDLER – The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department has arrested a man accused of leaving two young children home alone. The arrest warrant was issued for Paul Anthony Yvon, 28, who lives on Paradise Circle in Chandler. A sheriff’s deputy went to the residence after hearing two youngsters were in a mobile home that had no electricity or water. He found a 3 year old boy and a 2 year old girl with very little food and an open flame in the trailer, but no adult. He was there over two hours, and still no adult showed up. The children were turned over to Child Protective Services. The father was arrested on a warrant for child abandonment.
LONGVIEW — A Longview man will be going to prison for for two counts of aggravated assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact. Eric Tracy Briley, 81, of Longview, had pleaded guilty to the charges last November. He was sentenced this week to ten year concurrent sentences on the charges. Briley was accused of sexually assaulting a child younger than 14 years of age on January 1, 2006. He was indicted by a Gregg County Grand Jury on the charges in January of last year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Friday announced the hiring of Tyler native Austin Smithson as legislative counsel in his Washington, D.C. office, effective immediately. According to a news release, Smithson will handle issues such as energy, agriculture, environment, public lands, and transportation. Smithson previously served as legislative director and legislative counsel for Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas). Prior to moving to Washington, D.C. and working on Capitol Hill, Smithson practiced law in San Antonio.
CLEVELAND (AP) – The Cleveland Browns have released troublesome quarterback and Tyler native Johnny Manziel. The team cut ties on Friday with the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner after two disappointing, drama-filled seasons. Manziel faces an uncertain future in the NFL and potential criminal charges in Texas following a domestic violence incident. The Browns used a first-round pick in the 2014 draft to select Manziel out of Texas A&M. But Manziel’s pro career has not gone well as he has become better known more for his excessive social life than anything else. Manziel started just eight games for the Browns, who supported him through a lengthy stay in rehab last year but finally grew tired of his antics and are moving on. He passed for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.
TYLER — Due to recent rains, the City of Tyler Water Utilities has temporarily closed all public boat ramps on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East. Officials said the lakes are currently at an elevation of 376.90 mean sea level (msl). Spillway elevation is at 375.5 msl. Ramps are being closed due to boating hazards resulting from debris washed into the lakes by the recent rains and to reduce damage resulting from erosion of the shoreline caused by boat wakes. In addition, the lakes are closed to boat traffic from lake residents. The ramps will be closed until further notice. Tyler Water Utilities anticipates reopening the ramps once the lake levels recede.
ORE CITY — An Ore City child was hospitalized Thursday afternoon after he was swept into a creek. According to the National Weather Service and KETK, around 1:00, several children were said to be playing near Meddlin Creek in Ore City when the boy was swept away by the current. He was rescued and taken to a hospital. His injuries were said to be minor.
RUSK COUNTY — Things are looking up in Rusk County as water levels are slowly backing down. KETK reports lake water levels have receded and the main roads are back open, but Rusk County Emergency Management PIO David Chenault wants people to continue staying off rural county roads. “Some of them we really don’t know the damage levels yet,” says Chenault. We’re going to have to wait until the water levels completely recede so that our commissioners can get in there and kind-of evaluate what the damage is. Don’t think we have any bridges washed out. We do have some culverts that have washed out, that kind of stuff; we are going to have some damage that we’re going to have to repair over the next month or two.”
LAKEPORT – A two vehicle accident in Gregg County has left one person dead and one injured. The accident happened just before 7:00 Thursday morning on State Highway 149, about 1½ miles south of Lakeport. Pronounced dead at the scene was Gregory Lloyd Mishler, 62, of Gilmer. State Trooper Jean Dark says he was traveling at an unsafe speed for the weather conditions. Mishler hydroplaned on the wet road and hit a pickup driven by Rickey Lane Lee, 48, of Center. He was treated and released at Longview’s Good Shepherd Medical Center. The accident remains under investigation.
LONGVIEW — Heavy rainfall has created flash flooding in various areas across Longview and the East Texas area. With additional rainfall expected throughout the week, residents are encouraged to take precaution and avoid driving into flooded roadways, according to Longview police. They’re thanking personnel from Longview Police, Fire, and Public Works who have been responding throughout the community. During the morning of March 9, Longview Fire Department responded to 25 water rescues as well as a fallen tree rescue in the Longview / Gregg County area.… Read More
TYLER — A number of Smith County roads are either closed or not recommended for driving at this time due to weather-related conditions. The following roads are CLOSED until further notice. These roads are washed out and need a culvert or bridge repaired or replaced. DO NOT drive over these roads:
CR 165 between CR 166 & FM 2493
CR 132 between CR 135 & CR 1230
CR 233 between CR 234 & FM 850
CR 247 between CR 246 & CR 223
CR 448 between CR 446 & FM 1805
CR 434 between CR 436 & CR 4184
CR 499 between CR 4102 & CR 498… Read More
TYLER — The City of Tyler is continuing a disaster declaration issued Thursday as a result of heavy rains experienced this week. Officials say more than five inches of rain fell, causing trees to lose ground and creeks to overflow. Those creeks and channels have also suffered from erosion as the swift waters flowed. Assessment of affected storm water systems will be evaluated when the water level subsides, according to a city news release. “Total damages have yet to be assessed as the flood waters have not receded in certain parts of the City,” said Fire Chief Tim Johnson as quoted in the news release. “All departments are working tirelessly to make sure roads and services remain operational.”… Read More