AUSTIN (AP) — Tea party-backed state Representative David Simpson of Longview, says his argument that marijuana should be legalized because God created it, and that the Lord’s creations shouldn’t be banned, wasn’t an endorsement for using pot. “There’s a lot of things that God made that are dangerous, but they’re good,” the Longview Republican who’s seeking to legalize pot for all uses, said in an interview. “He made rattlesnakes and we haven’t criminalized them yet. I don’t advocate playing with them.” Simpson says his proposal now has bipartisan co-sponsors, though he’s not ready to reveal their names. Texas currently outlaws all marijuana, including for medical use, so full legalization seems a tough sell. But that hasn’t stopped the proposal from making waves.… Read More
TYLER — A man who robbed a Tyler bank pleaded guilty and has been sentenced in a Smith County courtroom. KETK reports Judge Christi Kennedy of the 114th District Court ordered Landon Riley Womack, 31, of Tyler, to serve 10 years’ probation. Womack was arrested last October 27, shortly after holding up an Austin Bank near the intersection of Beckham Avenue and Houston Street. He was released from jail Thursday evening.
BIG SANDY — Big Sandy police continue their search for two bank robbers in an incident that’s been linked to an auto theft in Tyler. KETK reports the Big Sandy incident happened around 2:00 Friday afternoon at the First National Bank in the 900 block of West Broadway Street. Police say the robbers entered the bank and demanded cash from the clerk. It’s unknown if any weapons were involved. The two then made off in a stolen car that was taken from Tyler. They then stopped at a nearby car wash and switched vehicles. They were last seen driving a burgundy BMW heading west on Highway 80. Police say the driver of the car is a female. They say no one was injured in the robbery. … Read More
GLADEWATER — Gladewater has issued a boil water notice for residents after recent heavy rains damaged the city’s water treatment plant. That’s according to the Longview News-Journal. The city of Gladewater posted the notice Friday morning online as well as outside city hall and at the water desk where residents pay their water bills. Residents are advised to boil their water before drinking, cooking or making ice until the notice is lifted.
KILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is asking for any tips in a recent criminal mischief case that caused a major loss of oil at a local travel stop. According to KETK, police say during the night of March 10 and morning of March 11, a vandal opened the valves on oil tanks at the Pilot Travel Center in the 1900 block of Highway 135. About 1000 gallons of oil or $15,000 worth was lost. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Kilgore Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at 903-218-6905, Tip411 or Gregg County Crime Stoppers at 903-236-STOP (7867).
9:00–11:00 a.m. Yamboree Building, 1300 N Wood St., Gilmer TX 75644
12:30–2:30 p.m. Judson Community Center, 1129 FM 1844, Longview TX 75605
4:00–6:00 p.m. VFW Post 4002, 401 Ambassador Row, Longview TX 75604 … Read More
KARNACK — For more than three quarters of a century, students have packed the classrooms at an East Texas high school that’s now on the chopping block. Beginning next fall, Karnack students in grades nine through twelve will be relocated. Officials say the move’s being made because not enough youngsters are now enrolling at Karnack High. Pupils who would have previously gone there will attend class in neighboring school districts such as the Waskom, Jefferson, and Marshall ISDs.
SMITH COUNTY — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two people involved in a convenience store robbery. Officials say the pair walked into the Food Fast at 11812 Highway 64 West shortly after 2:45 Friday morning. According to the clerk, they were armed and dressed in all black, wearing white bandanas over their faces with holes cut out for their eyes. The clerk said they demanded money. According to sheriff’s deputies’ reports, the suspects took cash from the cash register as well as cigarettes. It is unclear at this point if any weapons were used in the robbery, but no injuries were reported, according to the sheriff’s office. The suspects left the location on foot. … Read More
TYLER — Tyler police seek leads in a Friday morning auto theft. At 8:42 a.m., officers responded to Pinnacle at North Chase apartments at 3651 N. Broadway in reference to a robbery of an individual. A 45-year-old female victim who was visiting family told officers that she was approached by a black male suspect in the parking lot in front of building #4. The suspect pulled out a chrome handgun and demanded her keys to her vehicle. The suspect obtained the victim’s keys and drove off in her vehicle in an unknown direction. The suspect was described as 6 feet tall, approximately 25 years old, slender build, wearing a gray hoodie. The vehicle that was stolen was a 2005 Dark Gray Honda Accord 4-Door, Texas License plate CNR-9603. The vehicle had a Fort Hood sticker on the windshield. No one was injured during the robbery. … Read More
WINNSBORO – A person is in stable condition at Tyler’s Mother Frances Hospital following a hit and run accident in Wood County. The accident happened around 5:45 Thursday afternoon southeast of Winnsboro on Farm Road 852. The Department of Public Safety is looking for a light colored sedan with damage to the passenger’s side mirror.
LONGVIEW (AP/Staff) — Longview is taking several steps to curtail violent crime after six homicides were recorded over a two-month period, exceeding the number of homicides in all of 2014. Most of the slayings so far this year in Longview have occurred in a low-income area south of downtown. The string of homicides has also focused more attention on a police department already under national scrutiny for the death of a 17-year-old with a history of mental illness. Officials plan to increase police patrols in the area while also pushing to increase the number of officers on the force from about 150 to 172. Mayor Jay Dean says municipal leaders want to use city and state laws to eliminate blighted buildings that can shelter drug dealers and their customers.
MARSHALL (AP) — Former Texas A&M University students has filed a lawsuit against the 12th Man Foundation, seeking to protect their ticketing and seating rights in the school’s $485 million expansion of its stadium. Reports say that the lawsuit accuses the foundation, which is overseeing the reseating at the stadium, of reneging on endowment agreements in an effort to get more money out of longtime donors. The lawsuit also seeks to represent holders of about 450 donor agreements that account for about 1,700 stadium seats at Kyle Field. Endowment agreements allow donors to receive long-term rights to prime football tickets and parking rights near the stadium. Mark Riordan, vice president of marketing and communications for the foundation, said the group will not comment pending litigation.
TYLER — Since early Wednesday morning, water elevations on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East have dropped more than 0.80 feet. Based on this continued trend, City of Tyler Water Utilities staff are re-opening the boat ramps on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East. “We want to thank the public for their cooperation while the ramps were closed,” said Greg Morgan director of utilities and public works.
LONGVIEW — A private donation from Alicia Nolte and her daughter Ella was presented Thursday for the Longview Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. KETK reports the $100,000 donation will go directly to the Spay and Neuter Clinic inside the shelter. The contribution awards Alicia Lee and Ella Bleu Nolte the naming rights for that section of the facility. Mayor Jay Dean said for years, Alicia Nolte has been a passionate, die-hard supporter of the multi-million dollar project.… Read More
VAN ZANDT COUNTY — Authorities are asking for the public’s help locating an alleged drug dealer in the Van Zandt and Smith County area. According to KETK, the Van Zandt County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office says Chelsea Martinez is out on bond and wanted on multiple charges in both counties. She is a known meth user and frequent dealer who has been living near Ben Wheeler, according to the constable’s office. The suspect is out on bond for possession of meth, burglary of a building, forgery and several other charges. Martinez had been recently seen in the area of FM 279 and SH 64 between Edom and Ben Wheeler. Anyone with information on Martinez is asked to call Constable Jordan at 903-520-6825 or the VZC Sheriff’s Office at 903-567-4133.
CHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County law enforcement is looking for a suspect after a deputy fired at a driver attempting to run him over. According to KETK, Captain John Raffield says at 5 a.m. Thursday, dispatchers received a call from a landowner in the 3000 block of County Road 1701 on reports of an ATV on her property. The caller said her husband was trying to block the exit until authorities arrived. … Read More
TYLER — Officials with ETMC in Tyler announced Thursday afternoon that Ashlee Regester is out of ICU and is now listed in good condition following a recent crash that killed two people. KETK reports the other two Regester children were treated and released. Their names will not be released, per the father’s request. No information has been made available on Caleb Chadwell. He was taken to Trinity Mother Frances. Ashlee was critically injured last week when a vehicle driven by Carl Crabtree crashed into her mom’s SUV on Old Jacksonville Highway south of Tyler. The driver of the SUV, Dana Regester, 41, of Flint, was pronounced dead at the scene. Pasha Zapolsky, 18, of Bullard, who was sitting in the passenger’s side front seat, was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries. Crabtree was later charged with two counts of intoxication mansluaghter.
TYLER — The final defendant in the P.T. Cole Park shooting in Tyler is scheduled to enter a plea Monday morning. According to KETK, Smith County judicial records show Rakheem Goldstein, 21, will make a plea at 9 a.m. in the 241st District Court. Goldstein is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Briana Raquel Young on July 30, 2013. … Read More
TYLER — The UT Health Northeast Cancer Treatment and Prevention Center has received a three-year accreditation with commendations from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS). For member healthcare facilities, the CoC sets rigorous accreditation standards to ensure that cancer care is patient-centered, measured against national standards to improve outcomes, and also focused on prevention, research, and education, according to a news release. In addition to the initial accreditation, UT Health Northeast’s cancer program received three commendations. They include clinical trial accrual – recruiting patients into clinical trials, nursing credentials – all UT Health Cancer Center nurses are Oncology Certified Nurses (OCN), and cancer registrar education – cancer registries provide valuable data to improve treatment, research, and education. … Read More
LONGVIEW — A child who was severely injured in an alleged drunken driving accident in Longview has died from his injuries. KETK reports Terrance Demarcus Crayton, who was 8 weeks old at the time of the wreck, was hurt in a crash on the 2600 block of Lilly St. on February 17. He was pronounced dead on Wednesday at 4:40 p.m. According to the Longview Police Department, at 11:13 p.m. on February 17, officers were called to assist with a Jaws of Life call near the intersection of Lilly and Sapphire Streets. When police arrived, they learned the driver of an SUV had just left a domestic disturbance in the 600 Block of North Access Road. The driver, identified as Dekeshia Charity Thomas, 23, of Longview, hit another vehicle and lost control of the SUV, according to police. The vehicle then struck a tree and rolled several times.… Read More
KILGORE — Police were able to catch a man after he showed up at a local hotel following a manhunt in Kilgore involving multiple agencies. According to KETK, the Kilgore Police Department says an officer pulled over a vehicle at the intersection of Highways 31 and 259 Tuesday night but one of the passengers ran into a nearby wooded area during the stop. The officer stayed with the vehicle and waited for backup to arrive. A search of the vehicle revealed small amounts of marijuana and meth, according to officials. The man and woman still in the vehicle were arrested and booked into the Kilgore jail. … Read More
WACO — A federal judge sentenced Richard Wayne Swicegood, 38, aka “Loan Ranger Bandit”, Waxahachie, to 40 years in federal prison for committing 13 armed bank robberies in Texas and Arkansas, including two Tyler banks. In addition to the prison term, Swicegood was ordered to pay $119,815.00 restitution to the financial institutions and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term. Swicegood pleaded guilty in January to all 13 counts of bank robbery. … Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — A-list acts including Lindale’s Miranda Lambert, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and George Strait are set to perform April 19 at the Academy of Country Music’s 50th awards show. The ACMs announced Wednesday that Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Reba McEntire, Keith Urban and Florida Georgia Line will also perform at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Lambert is the lead nominee with eight nominations, followed by Dierks Bentley, who has seven. Lambert is up for entertainer of the year, pitting her against Brooks, Bryan, Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, who earned five nominations. The show, to be hosted by Shelton and Bryan, will air live on CBS. Newcomers Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell will also perform.
WHITE OAK — White Oak residents continue to weigh in over objections to high school principal Dan Noll’s reading of Bible verses during morning announcements. According to KETK, reaction has been mixed since the issue first came to light. Social media have been flooded with responses, most of them positive. But the Freedom from Religion Foundation continues to push forward with its cause. A former White Oak student commented that this is a First Amendment right and the FFRF and local atheists are taking rights away not just from students, teachers, and the staff, but from Christians in general. An FFRF spokesman says his group has heard the response of support from White Oak ISD Superintendent Michael Gilbert (pictured) and that it still leaves the district open to a lawsuit. We’ll continue to update this story as further developments arise.
LONGVIEW — After more than a year of public input and collaboration, the Longview Comprehensive Plan will be presented for adoption at Thursday’s City Council Meeting. That session gets underway at 5:30 p.m. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended adoption of the document at its February 17 meeting.… Read More
LONGVIEW — During the first 10 days of March, the Longview Police Department conducted tobacco stings to test the compliance of Longview-area tobacco retailers with Texas tobacco laws. According to KETK, police say the undercover stings utilized 14-16-year-olds, accompanied by Longview police officers, who entered stores and attempted to purchase tobacco products. The stings are funded through a grant issued by the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Citations were issued to the clerk at each location that allegedly sold tobacco to the undercover minor, and the clerk will have to appear at the Longview Municipal Court to resolve the citation. … Read More
TYLER — An arrest affidavit released to our news partner KETK gives new information on what reportedly happened during a baseball bat attack last week, leaving one man dead in southwestern Smith County. According to the affidavit, at around 4 a.m. on Friday, deputies responded to a disturbance in the 22000 block of Lakeway Harbor. When a deputy made it to the scene, James Preston Bales and his fiancee were standing outside. Upon entering the home, the deputy found a man lying face down on the kitchen floor with his head covered in blood. The man, identified as Bias Ben Lott, was not responsive.… Read More
TYLER — The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) announces that nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 W.T. “Doc” Ballard Award for Excellence in Public Health. Officials say this 16th annual award will honor an individual or organization exemplifying the concept of public health distinguished by dedication to the goal of protecting and promoting the health of the community. The nominee does not need to be a Public Health professional. Such service may be in the area of civic, cultural, health, welfare, religious or philanthropic endeavors. … Read More
TYLER — New information about the arrest of Carl Crabtree. The 30-year-old was arrested by Smith County deputies Monday for intoxication manslaughter. According to KETK, state troopers now say they found an open container of alcohol in the front passenger seat of Crabtree’s truck at the scene of the accident. Troopers also report they found a glass container with marijuana inside the vehicle. On March 4, Crabtree was driving south on Old Jacksonville Highway when he crossed the center line. His truck collided head-on with an SUV driving north. The driver, and a teenager in the front passenger seat of that SUV died. Two more teenagers were hurt. This isn’t Crabtree’s first encounter with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested twice in 2009 for driving while intoxicated.