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Category: Local News Archive

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Wanted Person Considered Armed and Extremely Dangerous

11024675_860791450645269_1921504907775382645_oTYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a dangerous suspect they believed is in the area. According to authorities, on Monday March 2, Troy Mason assaulted a member of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office while they were attempting to arrest him for a warrant. The charge is out of Palestine for continuous sexual assault of child under 14. Mason reportedly fled the location in a white 2010 Ford F250, with Texas License Plate – AP93691. Mason also has pending charges related to child pornography. Police say he’s is a known methamphetamine user. Law enforcement believe that Mason is currently somewhere in Tyler. If you locate the suspect or vehicle, please contact local law enforcement agency immediately.

Suspect in Fatal Longview Shooting Released from Jail

DocumentFragment_4850416LONGVIEW — An East Texas man who was arrested in connection with a February shooting has been released from jail. According to KETK, Christian Sibley, 21, Tyler, was arrested Friday, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody. He was released Monday after posting bail. On February, 3, police responded to a reported shooting an Exxon gas station in the 3000 block of Estes Parkway. Police said Jerrad Hunt showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound. Hunt passed away Monday, February 23.… Read More

Pre-Trial Proceedings in Tiede Case Moved to March 31

bernie_tiede_news_journalCARTHAGE — Pre-trial proceedings scheduled for Tuesday in the Bernie Tiede case have been pushed back to March 31. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report both sides agreed to delay a hearing until that date. Tiede’s life sentence was thrown out because of a mental condition that officials say was overlooked. The case, which inspired the movie “Bernie,” involved the 1997 murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in Carthage.

Guilty Plea in “Kari’s Law” Trial

54f3f8a579371.imageMARSHALL — A guilty plea has been entered in the so-called “Kari’s law” trial. KETK reports Brad Allen Dunn pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the death of Kari Rene Dunn. The defendant was arrested in December 2013 for stabbing his wife to death in a hotel room while their nine-year-old daughter tried to call police. The call wouldn’t go through because the little girl didn’t know she had to dial 9 for an outside line before calling 911. The case has prompted efforts to eliminate the need to dial 9 in such situations, and those efforts have become known as “Kari’s law.” The trial moved into the sentencing phase after the guilty plea was entered.

Photographer Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of Children

todd_flemingTYLER – A McKinney, Texas photographer has been sentenced to federal prison for sexual exploitation of children. Todd Fleming, 54, pleaded guilty on October 2, 2014, to sexual exploitation of children and was sentenced yesterday to 240 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Fleming will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a life term of supervised release upon his release from federal prison.… Read More

Longview Man Sentenced in Cocaine/Marijuana Conspiracy

antoniogonzalesmugTYLER – – A Longview man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy. Antonio Cortez Gonzales, 35, was sentenced to 136 months in federal prison Tuesday in Tyler by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Gonzales had entered a guilty plea on October 2, 2014 on charges he conspired with others to distribute cocaine and marijuana. According to federal authorities, Gonzales, along with his co-defendants, distributed drugs including cocaine and marijuana in the Longview area. Drugs were shipped from an individual in Houston to Gonzales’s residence, where he then distributed the drugs to other people. Gonzales was indicted on August 28, 2013. As part of his sentence, Gonzales was also ordered to forfeit a money judgment in the amount of $336,000, a residence in Longview, a vehicle, three firearms, and ammunition.

ETMC Now Offers Express Care for Non-Emergency Needs

thumb_ETMC-hospital-sign-2TYLER — ETMC First Physicians is now operating an express clinic offering walk-in urgent care at ETMC South Broadway, according to a news release. “Express clinic care means no appointments and no waiting behind patients with life-threatening emergencies,” said Dr. Steven Cooley, ETMC First Physician. “You can get fast service for minor injuries and illnesses such as broken bones, lacerations, urinary tract infections, rashes, fevers, coughs, colds, headache, sore throat, earache or flu-like symptoms.” … Read More

Tyler ISD BOND 2013 Construction Update

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – As spring nears, significant completion phases also near for Tyler ISD BOND 2013 construction projects. Projects include the new Career and Technology Center (CTC), two new middle school campuses at the existing Moore MST Magnet School and Boulter Middle School locations, the new Three Lakes Middle School and renovations and additions to Dixie and Rice elementary schools. All projects are on schedule to be completed before the 2015-2016 school year, according to a TISD news release. … Read More

Flint Man Sentenced in Drug Conspiracy

isaacsmithmugTYLER — A Flint man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy. Isaac Dion Smith, also known as “Ike”, 34, was sentenced yesterday to 144 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider in Tyler. Smith had entered a guilty plea on October 14, 2014, on charges he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. According to information presented in court, Smith, along with his co-defendants, distributed drugs including methamphetamine and heroin in the north Tyler area. Firearms were also bartered and sold by the group. The group was supplied by sources primarily in the Dallas area. … Read More

Police: Former DA Had Cocaine, Revolver in Car when Arrested

greggcountydaLONGVIEW — A former Gregg County District Attorney allegedly had cocaine, a revolver, alcohol, and cash in his car when he was arrested in February. KETK reports that the information is contained in documents obtained Monday by the Longview News-Journal. Longview police say they found Robert “Rob” Riter Foster, 69, after his vehicle became stuck in the median in the 3000 block of North Eastman Road. Police say Foster had a “full glass of an unknown liquid” which smelled of alcohol and a plastic bag with a rolled-up bill and a white, powdery substance inside. A field test determined the substance was cocaine, according to officials. Foster’s phone and wallet were also reportedly covered in the powder. Police reported also finding two open alcohol containers and a loaded .38-caliber revolver in the vehicle.

East Texas Homeowner Shoots at Alleged Robbers

SheriffatEventCHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County officials are investigating a reported home invasion. It happened around 3:25 Monday morning in the 6000 Block of FM 1247, just outside of Wells. According to KETK, a call to emergency services stated someone tried to break into the residence and the homeowner had fired shots at them. The homeowner reportedly chased the suspects through the pasture behind the home. The homeowner returned some time later. He had apparently been knocked unconscious for a short period of time by one of the criminals. It is believed the homeowner shot and wounded at least one of the two suspects. … Read More

Jury Selection Begins in “Kari’s Law” Slaying

54f3f8a579371.imageMARSHALL — The trial is underway for a man accused of a crime that led to nationwide efforts to simplify making an emergency call from a hotel room. According to KETK, jury selection began Monday in the trial of Brad Allen Dunn, charged with murder in the December 2013 stabbing death of his estranged wife in a Marshall hotel room. Police said Dunn stabbed Kari Rene Dunn as their 9-year-old daughter tried repeatedly to get help by dialing 911. The phone system in the room required first dialing a 9 to reach an outside line, so the calls never went through. According to the Longview News-Journal, the situation led the slain womans family to begin a campaign for a law that would require 911 to be directly accessible from phones in hotels and other businesses. They named the effort Karis Law.

Sheriff’s Office Introduces New Website

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith Monday announced the launching of http:// http://www.SmithCountySheriff.com — a new website for the SCSO. In a news release, Smith says it’s part of a continued effort to maintain transparency within the sheriffs office. The website, which the sheriff terms “much improved,” was designed by Group M7, a website designer located in Tyler. Smith said his support and command staff have spent a great deal of time providing information for inclusion in the website. … Read More

Suspect Arrested in Fatal Gas Station Shooting

christiansibleymug2LONGVIEW A Tyler man wanted in connection with a fatal February shooting has been arrested. According to KETK, judicial records indicate Christian Sibley, 21, was arrested Friday for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody. He is being held in the Gregg County Jail on $35,000 bond. There was no immediate word on whether a murder charge might be officially filed against the suspect. The case involves the death of Jerrad Hunt of Longview nearly three weeks after he was shot at a gas station. Hunt died Feb. 23 at Good Shepherd Medical Center. 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. Sibley claimed Hunt dropped the gun in his lap during a scuffle. Then, during a struggle over the firearm, it went off, Sibley said.

Man Accused of Choking Woman at Restaurant

LONGVIEW — A Longview man has been arrested after police said he choked a woman at Texas Roadhouse on Loop 281. The Longview News-Journal reports Anthony Venegas, 27, was being held Monday on a $5,000 bond stemming from the incident Sunday night. According to the probable cause affidavit for his arrest, an employee of the steakhouse told Longview police that Venegas struck the woman and said the victim would not disrespect him. “The employee said that she saw the victim lose consciousness. The employee then said that (the victim) seemed to wake up after the subject let her go and saw the victim throw peanuts at the subject and left,” the judicial document said. Police said they saw red marks around the victim’s throat. Venegas would not answer any questions, police said.

Woman Wanted in Gregg, Angelina Counties

fugitivecrimestopperspicLUFKIN Law enforcement officers in Angelina County and Gregg County are looking for Dana Michelle Carter, who is wanted on multiple warrants. According to KETK, Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers stated the suspect is wanted for probation warrants and is believed to be living in the Lufkin area. She has been arrested several times for theft and fraud offenses, according to jail records. Investigators have information indicating that Carter, 44, previously lived on Oakwood Drive and on Lotus Lane in Lufkin, but her present whereabouts is not known to authorities. The image of Carter shown here was captured in December 2012. … Read More

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT signTYLER — Here’s a look at work planned in the district during the Week of March 2. These work schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions or equipment related issues.

Note: Generally, crews will spend much of the week doing routine maintenance necessitated by last week’s ice and snow storms. This includes such tasks as patching potholes, making edge and base repairs, and inspecting and repairing vehicles and other equipment. This work will require moving operations so remain alert during your daytime travels.… Read More

Simpson Seeks to Repeal Marijuana Prohibition in Texas

AUSTIN – State Representative David Simpson of Longview has filed House Bill 2165 to strike all references to marijuana offenses from the Texas statutes. This represents a comprehensive repeal of marijuana prohibition in Texas. “We can’t fix all of the past wrongs caused by prohibition, but at least we can stop perpetuating them,” said Representative Simpson. According to a news release from Simpson’s office, this is perhaps the first bill of its kind in the nation that proposes to simply undo prohibition and avoid the big government approach taken in other states that basically re-regulate the plant.

“I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” Rep. Simpson continued, “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear. All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix. Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good, helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products, or simply for beauty and enjoyment. Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor, not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants.”

In 1914 during the height of Pancho Villa’s revolution in Mexico, many refugees and young Mexican men seeking work began moving across the Texas border. In response, the City of El Paso passed the first ordinance in the nation outlawing use of the marijuana plant as a means to address what were perceived as foreign and rowdy young men disturbing the peace.

A few years later the Texas Legislature passed its first marijuana prohibition law with little fanfare besides an alleged racist statement on the senate floor about Mexicans. The American national story of prohibition is not much different. Many scholars believe that these laws were originally motivated by racism and perhaps some industries seeking to control competition from hemp in commodities markets.

The Simpson bill is poised to reframe the current marijuana discussion by bringing it back to the basics: limited civil government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.

JT Principal Honored by National Association

TYLER — Dr. Kenneth Gay, principal of John Tyler High School, was recently honored by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) with the UIL District NSDA Principal of the Year Award. Thirty-three schools compete in the UIL District. Dr. Gay was nominated for the award by John Tyler High School students.

“Throughout his tenure here, Dr. Gay has worked to change the face of academics at John Tyler High School,” April Caldwell, speech and debate coach, said. “He has consistently attended local and state competitions to show support for our debate team. He has also increased the school’s pride in participating in academic events by holding pep rallies to support speech and debate students, as well as other academic teams in our school. More importantly, Dr. Gay is one of the very first to congratulate our students in victory as well as encourage and uplift them in defeat.”

The NSDA Principal of the Year Award recognizes outstanding secondary school principals. The program annually honors principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

Police Chase through East Texas Leads to Arrest of Longview Man

christian2HARRISON COUNTY Law enforcement agencies in Harrison County worked together to arrest a man who allegedly led authorities on a dangerous chase through East Texas. According to KETK, the pursuit began on Interstate Highway 20 in Hallsville and ended on Woodall Street in Marshall around 6:00 Saturday evening. The driver has been identified as Anthony Christian, of Longview, who is suspected of being involved in a hit and run in Gregg County. Officials say he was followed by a civilian until a Hallsville police officer found him on I-20 near the exit for Farm Road 450. Christian refused to pull over and was pursued eastbound by Hallsville police, the Harrison County Sheriffs Office (HCSO), and the Department of Public Safety.… Read More

Lenderman Named TPD Officer of the Year

James LendermanTYLER — The Tyler Police Department’s 2014 Officer of the Year is Officer James Lenderman. Lenderman, a veteran of nearly 30 years with the department, was one of many honored at TPD’s Annual Awards Banquet Friday evening at the Ornelas Activity Center. According to information presented at the event, “He stays busy throughout his shift and has a higher production rate than almost everyone on his shift. This officer is often overlooked because he sits quietly and doesnt call attention to himself like many officers like to do. He simply does his job, does it well, and comes to work prepared every day. He sets a great example for young officers with his work ethic and quiet leadership. He rarely asks for supervisors’ help and is there to help others when needed. He encompasses so many traits that are hard to maintain for 30 years of service.” … Read More

Longview Animal Shelter Groundbreaking Today

thumb_spcaLONGVIEW — The City of Longview will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the soon-to-be constructed Longview Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. today at 303 H.G. Mosley Parkway. In January, Longview City Council approved moving ahead with the construction of a new 20,885-square-foot animal shelter, to be operated by the city. Currently, the city does not own or operate a shelter, but instead contracts with the Humane Society of Northeast Texas to provide those services. … Read More

UT Health Northeast, City of Tyler Promote Colon Cancer Awareness

thumb_U-T-Health-NortheastTYLER During March, in recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, UT Health Northeast and the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor free community events to educate the residents of the Tyler area about colon cancer prevention and screening. About 52,000 people in the United States die each year from colon cancer, which is the second-leading cause of all cancer deaths, and the most preventable cancer when caught early, according to press materials. … Read More

David Wright Files for Longview City Council

thumb_longview-cityofLONGVIEW Another candidate has filed in the May 9 city election in Longview. Business owner David Wright, 58, joins Ben Shelton, 34, in the race for the unexpired City Council District 5 seat. Shelton is director of operations at Pathway Church. The seat is being vacated by Richard Manley, who faces two opponents in the mayoral election.

UTT Claims Issue Resolved Regarding Accredited-Warned Status

AUSTIN The Texas Education Agency Friday released accreditation statuses for school districts and charters across the state. KETK reports one East Texas school has been warned following what was termed a poor performance, either financially or academically. More than 400 students attend the UT Tyler Innovation Academy’s three campuses in Longview, Tyler, and Palestine. In the most recent accountability ratings, the Longview location was listed as “improvement required.” According to the TEA, an Accredited-Warned status means a district or charter exhibits deficiencies in academic and/or financial performance that, if not addressed, could lead to probation or revocation of its accreditation status. … Read More

UT Tyler, TJC Establish Patriot Pathway

thumb_uttylerTYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College have strengthened their collaboration and partnership through the Patriot Pathway program, according to a UT Tyler news release. The “Patriot Pathway” articulation agreement was signed Friday on the UT Tyler campus to officially establish the program. It includes strategies that will provide a seamless transition of TJC graduates to UT Tyler, according to the release. The Patriot Pathway will increase educational access for students throughout East Texas, said Dr. Ross Sherman, UT Tyler interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Students will be able to transition from TJC to UT Tyler to achieve their baccalaureate degree without loss of credit, time or additional expense. … Read More

FAFSA Super Saturday Targets Prospective College Students

TYLER — The East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN), the Tyler Area Business Education Council, Educate Texas, Smith County independent school districts and area colleges and universities have partnered on a FAFSA Super Saturday today. According to press materials, the event is intended to provide assistance for prospective college students and their parents to apply for federal financial aid. Volunteers will man computer stations at four Tyler locations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to help individuals complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and thus become potentially eligible for financial assistance for post-secondary attainment. … Read More

Man, Wife Sought in Recent Theft

cooksyVAN ZANDT COUNTY — Van Zandt County law enforcement is looking for a man and his wife allegedly connected to a recent theft. According to KETK, the Van Zandt Co. Constable Precinct 4 Office says Jacob Aaron Cooksy is wanted by authorities for theft greater than $1,500. The fugitive has been jumping from house to house in the Van/Jamestown/Garden Valley/Enchanted Lakes area and only stays for a few hours at a time in one place, according to officials.… Read More

Three Face Arraignment in Synthetic Drug Case

glassdragonlnjLONGVIEW — Three members of a family facing charges related to selling synthetic drugs from three Longview stores are scheduled for arraignment next week on a new indictment that would increase their prison time and fines. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report the superseding indictment against Jeremy Chad Tidwell; his wife, Shanna Peek Tidwell; and his brother, Brian Tidwell, was returned this past week in Tyler. The indictment includes notice that the government intends to seek criminal forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash and property seized in a Dec. 3 raid on three smoking paraphernalia stores owned by the married couple. The notice to seek forfeiture also lists a home in Upshur County, the Longview Candle Store on Estes Parkway, a semi-automatic 9mm pistol, and ammunition.… Read More

Funeral Services Set for Coffee City Mayor

raywakermancoffeecitymayorFRANKSTON Funeral services are set for Ray Wakeman, who was serving as Coffee City mayor when he died Wednesday at age 78. Services will be held at 4 p.m.today at Autry Funeral Home Chapel in Frankston with Chaplain Robert Fisher, according to the funeral home website. Interment will be at Frankston City Cemetery. According to KETK, Wakeman’s son says the mayor suffered a major stroke. Wakeman was sworn into office in December 2012. He lived in Coffee City for more than 30 years and previously served on the city council. According to his Facebook page, Wakeman attended Marshall High School.

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Wanted Person Considered Armed and Extremely Dangerous

Posted/updated on: March 5, 2015 at 11:07 am

11024675_860791450645269_1921504907775382645_oTYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a dangerous suspect they believed is in the area. According to authorities, on Monday March 2, Troy Mason assaulted a member of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office while they were attempting to arrest him for a warrant. The charge is out of Palestine for continuous sexual assault of child under 14. Mason reportedly fled the location in a white 2010 Ford F250, with Texas License Plate – AP93691. Mason also has pending charges related to child pornography. Police say he’s is a known methamphetamine user. Law enforcement believe that Mason is currently somewhere in Tyler. If you locate the suspect or vehicle, please contact local law enforcement agency immediately.

Suspect in Fatal Longview Shooting Released from Jail

Posted/updated on: March 5, 2015 at 11:07 am

DocumentFragment_4850416LONGVIEW — An East Texas man who was arrested in connection with a February shooting has been released from jail. According to KETK, Christian Sibley, 21, Tyler, was arrested Friday, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody. He was released Monday after posting bail. On February, 3, police responded to a reported shooting an Exxon gas station in the 3000 block of Estes Parkway. Police said Jerrad Hunt showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound. Hunt passed away Monday, February 23.… Read More

Pre-Trial Proceedings in Tiede Case Moved to March 31

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

bernie_tiede_news_journalCARTHAGE — Pre-trial proceedings scheduled for Tuesday in the Bernie Tiede case have been pushed back to March 31. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report both sides agreed to delay a hearing until that date. Tiede’s life sentence was thrown out because of a mental condition that officials say was overlooked. The case, which inspired the movie “Bernie,” involved the 1997 murder of 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent in Carthage.

Guilty Plea in “Kari’s Law” Trial

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

54f3f8a579371.imageMARSHALL — A guilty plea has been entered in the so-called “Kari’s law” trial. KETK reports Brad Allen Dunn pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder in the death of Kari Rene Dunn. The defendant was arrested in December 2013 for stabbing his wife to death in a hotel room while their nine-year-old daughter tried to call police. The call wouldn’t go through because the little girl didn’t know she had to dial 9 for an outside line before calling 911. The case has prompted efforts to eliminate the need to dial 9 in such situations, and those efforts have become known as “Kari’s law.” The trial moved into the sentencing phase after the guilty plea was entered.

Photographer Sentenced for Sexual Exploitation of Children

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

todd_flemingTYLER – A McKinney, Texas photographer has been sentenced to federal prison for sexual exploitation of children. Todd Fleming, 54, pleaded guilty on October 2, 2014, to sexual exploitation of children and was sentenced yesterday to 240 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Fleming will be required to register as a sex offender and serve a life term of supervised release upon his release from federal prison.… Read More

Longview Man Sentenced in Cocaine/Marijuana Conspiracy

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

antoniogonzalesmugTYLER – – A Longview man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy. Antonio Cortez Gonzales, 35, was sentenced to 136 months in federal prison Tuesday in Tyler by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Gonzales had entered a guilty plea on October 2, 2014 on charges he conspired with others to distribute cocaine and marijuana. According to federal authorities, Gonzales, along with his co-defendants, distributed drugs including cocaine and marijuana in the Longview area. Drugs were shipped from an individual in Houston to Gonzales’s residence, where he then distributed the drugs to other people. Gonzales was indicted on August 28, 2013. As part of his sentence, Gonzales was also ordered to forfeit a money judgment in the amount of $336,000, a residence in Longview, a vehicle, three firearms, and ammunition.

ETMC Now Offers Express Care for Non-Emergency Needs

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

thumb_ETMC-hospital-sign-2TYLER — ETMC First Physicians is now operating an express clinic offering walk-in urgent care at ETMC South Broadway, according to a news release. “Express clinic care means no appointments and no waiting behind patients with life-threatening emergencies,” said Dr. Steven Cooley, ETMC First Physician. “You can get fast service for minor injuries and illnesses such as broken bones, lacerations, urinary tract infections, rashes, fevers, coughs, colds, headache, sore throat, earache or flu-like symptoms.” … Read More

Tyler ISD BOND 2013 Construction Update

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – As spring nears, significant completion phases also near for Tyler ISD BOND 2013 construction projects. Projects include the new Career and Technology Center (CTC), two new middle school campuses at the existing Moore MST Magnet School and Boulter Middle School locations, the new Three Lakes Middle School and renovations and additions to Dixie and Rice elementary schools. All projects are on schedule to be completed before the 2015-2016 school year, according to a TISD news release. … Read More

Flint Man Sentenced in Drug Conspiracy

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

isaacsmithmugTYLER — A Flint man has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a drug conspiracy. Isaac Dion Smith, also known as “Ike”, 34, was sentenced yesterday to 144 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael H. Schneider in Tyler. Smith had entered a guilty plea on October 14, 2014, on charges he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. According to information presented in court, Smith, along with his co-defendants, distributed drugs including methamphetamine and heroin in the north Tyler area. Firearms were also bartered and sold by the group. The group was supplied by sources primarily in the Dallas area. … Read More

Police: Former DA Had Cocaine, Revolver in Car when Arrested

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 11:04 am

greggcountydaLONGVIEW — A former Gregg County District Attorney allegedly had cocaine, a revolver, alcohol, and cash in his car when he was arrested in February. KETK reports that the information is contained in documents obtained Monday by the Longview News-Journal. Longview police say they found Robert “Rob” Riter Foster, 69, after his vehicle became stuck in the median in the 3000 block of North Eastman Road. Police say Foster had a “full glass of an unknown liquid” which smelled of alcohol and a plastic bag with a rolled-up bill and a white, powdery substance inside. A field test determined the substance was cocaine, according to officials. Foster’s phone and wallet were also reportedly covered in the powder. Police reported also finding two open alcohol containers and a loaded .38-caliber revolver in the vehicle.

East Texas Homeowner Shoots at Alleged Robbers

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 10:49 am

SheriffatEventCHEROKEE COUNTY — Cherokee County officials are investigating a reported home invasion. It happened around 3:25 Monday morning in the 6000 Block of FM 1247, just outside of Wells. According to KETK, a call to emergency services stated someone tried to break into the residence and the homeowner had fired shots at them. The homeowner reportedly chased the suspects through the pasture behind the home. The homeowner returned some time later. He had apparently been knocked unconscious for a short period of time by one of the criminals. It is believed the homeowner shot and wounded at least one of the two suspects. … Read More

Jury Selection Begins in “Kari’s Law” Slaying

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm

54f3f8a579371.imageMARSHALL — The trial is underway for a man accused of a crime that led to nationwide efforts to simplify making an emergency call from a hotel room. According to KETK, jury selection began Monday in the trial of Brad Allen Dunn, charged with murder in the December 2013 stabbing death of his estranged wife in a Marshall hotel room. Police said Dunn stabbed Kari Rene Dunn as their 9-year-old daughter tried repeatedly to get help by dialing 911. The phone system in the room required first dialing a 9 to reach an outside line, so the calls never went through. According to the Longview News-Journal, the situation led the slain womans family to begin a campaign for a law that would require 911 to be directly accessible from phones in hotels and other businesses. They named the effort Karis Law.

Sheriff’s Office Introduces New Website

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith Monday announced the launching of http:// http://www.SmithCountySheriff.com — a new website for the SCSO. In a news release, Smith says it’s part of a continued effort to maintain transparency within the sheriffs office. The website, which the sheriff terms “much improved,” was designed by Group M7, a website designer located in Tyler. Smith said his support and command staff have spent a great deal of time providing information for inclusion in the website. … Read More

Suspect Arrested in Fatal Gas Station Shooting

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

christiansibleymug2LONGVIEW A Tyler man wanted in connection with a fatal February shooting has been arrested. According to KETK, judicial records indicate Christian Sibley, 21, was arrested Friday for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody. He is being held in the Gregg County Jail on $35,000 bond. There was no immediate word on whether a murder charge might be officially filed against the suspect. The case involves the death of Jerrad Hunt of Longview nearly three weeks after he was shot at a gas station. Hunt died Feb. 23 at Good Shepherd Medical Center. 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. Sibley claimed Hunt dropped the gun in his lap during a scuffle. Then, during a struggle over the firearm, it went off, Sibley said.

Man Accused of Choking Woman at Restaurant

Posted/updated on: March 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm

LONGVIEW — A Longview man has been arrested after police said he choked a woman at Texas Roadhouse on Loop 281. The Longview News-Journal reports Anthony Venegas, 27, was being held Monday on a $5,000 bond stemming from the incident Sunday night. According to the probable cause affidavit for his arrest, an employee of the steakhouse told Longview police that Venegas struck the woman and said the victim would not disrespect him. “The employee said that she saw the victim lose consciousness. The employee then said that (the victim) seemed to wake up after the subject let her go and saw the victim throw peanuts at the subject and left,” the judicial document said. Police said they saw red marks around the victim’s throat. Venegas would not answer any questions, police said.

Woman Wanted in Gregg, Angelina Counties

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

fugitivecrimestopperspicLUFKIN Law enforcement officers in Angelina County and Gregg County are looking for Dana Michelle Carter, who is wanted on multiple warrants. According to KETK, Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers stated the suspect is wanted for probation warrants and is believed to be living in the Lufkin area. She has been arrested several times for theft and fraud offenses, according to jail records. Investigators have information indicating that Carter, 44, previously lived on Oakwood Drive and on Lotus Lane in Lufkin, but her present whereabouts is not known to authorities. The image of Carter shown here was captured in December 2012. … Read More

TxDOT Project Updates

Posted/updated on: March 3, 2015 at 2:49 am

TxDOT signTYLER — Here’s a look at work planned in the district during the Week of March 2. These work schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions or equipment related issues.

Note: Generally, crews will spend much of the week doing routine maintenance necessitated by last week’s ice and snow storms. This includes such tasks as patching potholes, making edge and base repairs, and inspecting and repairing vehicles and other equipment. This work will require moving operations so remain alert during your daytime travels.… Read More

Simpson Seeks to Repeal Marijuana Prohibition in Texas

Posted/updated on: March 8, 2015 at 2:35 pm

AUSTIN – State Representative David Simpson of Longview has filed House Bill 2165 to strike all references to marijuana offenses from the Texas statutes. This represents a comprehensive repeal of marijuana prohibition in Texas. “We can’t fix all of the past wrongs caused by prohibition, but at least we can stop perpetuating them,” said Representative Simpson. According to a news release from Simpson’s office, this is perhaps the first bill of its kind in the nation that proposes to simply undo prohibition and avoid the big government approach taken in other states that basically re-regulate the plant.

“I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” Rep. Simpson continued, “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear. All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix. Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good, helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products, or simply for beauty and enjoyment. Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor, not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants.”

In 1914 during the height of Pancho Villa’s revolution in Mexico, many refugees and young Mexican men seeking work began moving across the Texas border. In response, the City of El Paso passed the first ordinance in the nation outlawing use of the marijuana plant as a means to address what were perceived as foreign and rowdy young men disturbing the peace.

A few years later the Texas Legislature passed its first marijuana prohibition law with little fanfare besides an alleged racist statement on the senate floor about Mexicans. The American national story of prohibition is not much different. Many scholars believe that these laws were originally motivated by racism and perhaps some industries seeking to control competition from hemp in commodities markets.

The Simpson bill is poised to reframe the current marijuana discussion by bringing it back to the basics: limited civil government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.

JT Principal Honored by National Association

Posted/updated on: March 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

TYLER — Dr. Kenneth Gay, principal of John Tyler High School, was recently honored by the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) with the UIL District NSDA Principal of the Year Award. Thirty-three schools compete in the UIL District. Dr. Gay was nominated for the award by John Tyler High School students.

“Throughout his tenure here, Dr. Gay has worked to change the face of academics at John Tyler High School,” April Caldwell, speech and debate coach, said. “He has consistently attended local and state competitions to show support for our debate team. He has also increased the school’s pride in participating in academic events by holding pep rallies to support speech and debate students, as well as other academic teams in our school. More importantly, Dr. Gay is one of the very first to congratulate our students in victory as well as encourage and uplift them in defeat.”

The NSDA Principal of the Year Award recognizes outstanding secondary school principals. The program annually honors principals who have succeeded in providing high-quality opportunities for students in speech and debate programming as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession.

Police Chase through East Texas Leads to Arrest of Longview Man

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:03 pm

christian2HARRISON COUNTY Law enforcement agencies in Harrison County worked together to arrest a man who allegedly led authorities on a dangerous chase through East Texas. According to KETK, the pursuit began on Interstate Highway 20 in Hallsville and ended on Woodall Street in Marshall around 6:00 Saturday evening. The driver has been identified as Anthony Christian, of Longview, who is suspected of being involved in a hit and run in Gregg County. Officials say he was followed by a civilian until a Hallsville police officer found him on I-20 near the exit for Farm Road 450. Christian refused to pull over and was pursued eastbound by Hallsville police, the Harrison County Sheriffs Office (HCSO), and the Department of Public Safety.… Read More

Lenderman Named TPD Officer of the Year

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm

James LendermanTYLER — The Tyler Police Department’s 2014 Officer of the Year is Officer James Lenderman. Lenderman, a veteran of nearly 30 years with the department, was one of many honored at TPD’s Annual Awards Banquet Friday evening at the Ornelas Activity Center. According to information presented at the event, “He stays busy throughout his shift and has a higher production rate than almost everyone on his shift. This officer is often overlooked because he sits quietly and doesnt call attention to himself like many officers like to do. He simply does his job, does it well, and comes to work prepared every day. He sets a great example for young officers with his work ethic and quiet leadership. He rarely asks for supervisors’ help and is there to help others when needed. He encompasses so many traits that are hard to maintain for 30 years of service.” … Read More

Longview Animal Shelter Groundbreaking Today

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:05 pm

thumb_spcaLONGVIEW — The City of Longview will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the soon-to-be constructed Longview Animal Shelter and Adoption Center. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. today at 303 H.G. Mosley Parkway. In January, Longview City Council approved moving ahead with the construction of a new 20,885-square-foot animal shelter, to be operated by the city. Currently, the city does not own or operate a shelter, but instead contracts with the Humane Society of Northeast Texas to provide those services. … Read More

UT Health Northeast, City of Tyler Promote Colon Cancer Awareness

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm

thumb_U-T-Health-NortheastTYLER During March, in recognition of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, UT Health Northeast and the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor free community events to educate the residents of the Tyler area about colon cancer prevention and screening. About 52,000 people in the United States die each year from colon cancer, which is the second-leading cause of all cancer deaths, and the most preventable cancer when caught early, according to press materials. … Read More

David Wright Files for Longview City Council

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm

thumb_longview-cityofLONGVIEW Another candidate has filed in the May 9 city election in Longview. Business owner David Wright, 58, joins Ben Shelton, 34, in the race for the unexpired City Council District 5 seat. Shelton is director of operations at Pathway Church. The seat is being vacated by Richard Manley, who faces two opponents in the mayoral election.

UTT Claims Issue Resolved Regarding Accredited-Warned Status

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:08 pm

AUSTIN The Texas Education Agency Friday released accreditation statuses for school districts and charters across the state. KETK reports one East Texas school has been warned following what was termed a poor performance, either financially or academically. More than 400 students attend the UT Tyler Innovation Academy’s three campuses in Longview, Tyler, and Palestine. In the most recent accountability ratings, the Longview location was listed as “improvement required.” According to the TEA, an Accredited-Warned status means a district or charter exhibits deficiencies in academic and/or financial performance that, if not addressed, could lead to probation or revocation of its accreditation status. … Read More

UT Tyler, TJC Establish Patriot Pathway

Posted/updated on: March 4, 2015 at 5:09 pm

thumb_uttylerTYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College have strengthened their collaboration and partnership through the Patriot Pathway program, according to a UT Tyler news release. The “Patriot Pathway” articulation agreement was signed Friday on the UT Tyler campus to officially establish the program. It includes strategies that will provide a seamless transition of TJC graduates to UT Tyler, according to the release. The Patriot Pathway will increase educational access for students throughout East Texas, said Dr. Ross Sherman, UT Tyler interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. Students will be able to transition from TJC to UT Tyler to achieve their baccalaureate degree without loss of credit, time or additional expense. … Read More

FAFSA Super Saturday Targets Prospective College Students

Posted/updated on: February 28, 2015 at 3:45 pm

TYLER — The East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN), the Tyler Area Business Education Council, Educate Texas, Smith County independent school districts and area colleges and universities have partnered on a FAFSA Super Saturday today. According to press materials, the event is intended to provide assistance for prospective college students and their parents to apply for federal financial aid. Volunteers will man computer stations at four Tyler locations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., to help individuals complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and thus become potentially eligible for financial assistance for post-secondary attainment. … Read More

Man, Wife Sought in Recent Theft

Posted/updated on: March 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

cooksyVAN ZANDT COUNTY — Van Zandt County law enforcement is looking for a man and his wife allegedly connected to a recent theft. According to KETK, the Van Zandt Co. Constable Precinct 4 Office says Jacob Aaron Cooksy is wanted by authorities for theft greater than $1,500. The fugitive has been jumping from house to house in the Van/Jamestown/Garden Valley/Enchanted Lakes area and only stays for a few hours at a time in one place, according to officials.… Read More

Three Face Arraignment in Synthetic Drug Case

Posted/updated on: March 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

glassdragonlnjLONGVIEW — Three members of a family facing charges related to selling synthetic drugs from three Longview stores are scheduled for arraignment next week on a new indictment that would increase their prison time and fines. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report the superseding indictment against Jeremy Chad Tidwell; his wife, Shanna Peek Tidwell; and his brother, Brian Tidwell, was returned this past week in Tyler. The indictment includes notice that the government intends to seek criminal forfeiture of millions of dollars in cash and property seized in a Dec. 3 raid on three smoking paraphernalia stores owned by the married couple. The notice to seek forfeiture also lists a home in Upshur County, the Longview Candle Store on Estes Parkway, a semi-automatic 9mm pistol, and ammunition.… Read More

Funeral Services Set for Coffee City Mayor

Posted/updated on: February 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm

raywakermancoffeecitymayorFRANKSTON Funeral services are set for Ray Wakeman, who was serving as Coffee City mayor when he died Wednesday at age 78. Services will be held at 4 p.m.today at Autry Funeral Home Chapel in Frankston with Chaplain Robert Fisher, according to the funeral home website. Interment will be at Frankston City Cemetery. According to KETK, Wakeman’s son says the mayor suffered a major stroke. Wakeman was sworn into office in December 2012. He lived in Coffee City for more than 30 years and previously served on the city council. According to his Facebook page, Wakeman attended Marshall High School.

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