SMITH COUNTY — A search is underway for two men who robbed a homeowner at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon. According to KETK, Smith County Lt. Gary Middleton says at around 12:10 p.m., two black males entered a home on the 10300 block of La Mobile Avenue and held up two people, a man and woman, with a pistol. It was not immediately known what items were taken from the residence. The robbers are believed to have left the scene in a white vehicle. Authorities suspect a third person may have acted as a getaway driver. La Mobile Avenue is off Old Henderson Highway, just east of the Tyler city limits. … Read More
TYLER — We haven’t seen much rain in awhile, but it’s back — and Tyler police hope drivers will pay attention. They say drivers may have forgotten that rain means slippery streets — and an all-too-common result is car crashes. As you travel, especially going home from work in heavy traffic, you’re reminded to slow down and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
TYLER — Tyler Junior College trustees are getting busy on their 2015-2016 budget. The board will meet at 11:00 a.m. today for a public hearing on a proposal to increase tax revenues. TJC’s Fred Peters explains that trustees are proposing the same rate as the current one — .199926 per $100 valuation — but that more revenue would come in due to increased property valuations. Peters says the average tax bill would be just under $275, compared to a little over $264 last year. The hearing will be conducted in the Board Room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Center.
TYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court held a meeting Tuesday, but one agenda item has been tabled for another week. KETK reports a salary grievance committee was formed to discuss possible wage adjustments for some elected officials. Committee members had the chance to make recommendations to the court about each individual — and then their suggestions would be voted on by the commissioners. But on Tuesday, they were short one commissioner, so County Judge Joel Baker recommended tabling the vote until next week. Baker remarked, “We can discuss it today. We can consider on it today. I don’t believe a vote should be taken today, but if one is taken, I’ll request that we have another vote next week when Commissioner Warr is present.”
NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches Police are investigating an early morning shooting that left one person injured. According to KETK, officers were dispatched to the 2800 block of Pearl Street in response to reports of a shooting. When police arrived on scene around 12:45 Wednesday morning, they found an 18 year old male had suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound during a drive-by shooting in a parking lot. Two cars were struck as they were driving away from the scene. Police have not identified a suspect and the case remains under investigation.
TYLER – The Texas Department of Public Safety announced that they’ll be increasing DWI patrols Aug. 21 – Sept. 7, which will include the Labor Day holiday weekend. DPS troopers plan to focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.
DPS offers the following tips for safe travel during the Labor Day holiday:
Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab. Eliminate distractions, including the usage of mobile devices. Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law. Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic. Slow down or move over for police, fire and EMS vehicles as well as tow trucks and TxDOT vehicles stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Don’t drive fatigued. Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.
CHEROKEE COUNTY — An arrest has been made following a high speed chase through East Texas. According to KETK, a man on a motorcycle, later identified as Charles Thomas, 40, Elkhart, led authorities on a chase through Anderson and Cherokee Counties Tuesday afternoon. The man was seen tossing baggies from his bike during the chase. Thomas was caught in Jacksonville near the intersection of Main and Rusk after he wrecked. Part of downtown Jacksonville was temporarily blocked off by police. The preliminary charges against Thomas are evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance. … Read More
PALESTINE — A Palestine man is in custody after authorities say he shot another man in his vehicle outside a local business. According to KETK, Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor says a man was shot several times in his vehicle around 8:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. It happened at a gas station at the intersection of Highway 287 and Highway 19, north of Palestine. The victim was flown to a Tyler hospital, where he is believed to be in stable condition. The victim is described as a 30-year-old Hispanic male. He had gunshot wounds to his upper body and leg.… Read More
KILGORE — Authorities have arrested a young man in connection with a recent arson case in Kilgore. According to KETK, Kilgore Fire Marshal Brandon Bigos says Dylan Wade Coker, 19, was arrested for a fire in the 1200 block of N. Kilgore Street. The blaze occurred in the early morning hours of August 4 at the former Thrifty Liquor. An arrest warrant was issued for Coker on Monday. The suspect turned himself into the Kilgore Fire Marshal’s Office at about 3 p.m. that day. He was taken into custody and booked into the Kilgore Municipal Jail. There was also a two-story apartment connected to the store, but the living quarters were unoccupied at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.
TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler and Sam Houston State University have entered an engineering partnership. Officials with both schools say it will offer an effective pathway for students at Sam Houston to earn a four-year degree in selected fields of engineering. According to a UTT news release, the pact creates a seamless transition from lower-level coursework to completion of baccalaureate degrees in civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering. … Read More
CHEROKEE COUNTY — Authorities investigating two industrial plant fires near Jacksonville said they do not believe they were set intentionally. According to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Captain John R. Raffield, the fires at Century Industrial Coatings and STS Recycle do not appear to be related or be caused by arson. No other additional information was available from investigators.… Read More
MARSHALL — Harrison County authorities are continuing their investigation of a man injured by a train. The unidentified man had one foot severed and the other partially cut off. He claims he lost his footing and fell under the train. Authorities feel he may have been train hopping and could face trespassing charges. The incident was reported around 1:30 Saturday afternoon near the Muntz Cutoff and U.S. Highway 80 near Marshall.
AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Alton Frailey of Katy, Nelda Blair of The Woodlands and re-appointed Dr. Scott Coleman of Houston to the Stephen F. Austin University Board of Regents for terms set to expire on January 31, 2021. Alton Frailey is the superintendent for Katy Independent School District. He received his superintendent certification from the University of Texas at Tyler. Nelda Luce Blair is president and owner of The Blair Law Firm, P.C. Dr. Scott Coleman is a dentist in private practice and a clinical adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
TYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court holds two public hearings today as it prepares to pass its 2015-2016 budget. At 5:30 p.m., the court will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at the R.B. Hubbard “Hub” Center, at 304 E. Ferguson. That follows the court’s second public hearing on the proposed tax rate, along with its final budget workshop, held during its regular 9:30 a.m. session. The court is scheduled to vote to adopt the budget on Aug. 24.
TYLER — The Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas has received reports that businesses are getting phone calls from people posing as Oncor Electric Delivery Company employees. According to a news release, consumers report that the callers are threatening them with disconnection of service if payment is not made immediately. According to the release, BBB reminds business owners that impostor scams are common and advises them to check directly with the company to determine whether or not a payment is owed. Local BBB President Mechele Mills says it’s common in these cases for scammers to use utility terminology. She says they may even spoof caller ID to make them seem more believable. … Read More
TYLER — Tyler Junior College trustees are getting busy on their 2015-2016 budget. The board will meet at 11:00 a.m. Thursday for a public hearing on a proposal to increase tax revenues. TJC’s Fred Peters explains that trustees are proposing the same rate as the current one — .199926 per $100 valuation — but that more revenue would come in due to increased property valuations. Peters says the average tax bill would be just under $275, compared to a little over $264 last year. The hearing will be conducted in the Board Room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Center.
TYLER — The ongoing controversy about Planned Parenthood will include a Tyler rally this weekend. In a news release, the Pro-Life Action League says its goal is “to defund Planned Parenthood and to bring attention to pro-life in East Texas.” The rally will be held Saturday from 9 till 11 a.m. at the local Planned Parenthood office at 3500 South Broadway. Organizers say it’s to be held in conjunction with a national protest in over 250 cities nationwide.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler Fire Department crews responded to a branch of East Texas Medical Center following the activation of a fire alarm. According to KETK, it happened at the ETMC First Physicians Clinic located at 6210 South Broadway, near Andy’s Frozen Custard. The building was briefly evacuated before officials gave the all clear. No word on what triggered the alarm.
FLINT — A motorcycle accident in southwestern Smith County has killed a Ben Wheeler man. Pronounced dead at the scene Friday night was Jason Holt, 46. He is said to have attempted a left turn in front of a car driven by Seth Wilkerson, 18, of Brownsboro, when he was struck and killed. The accident happened on Farm Road 2661.
More closures are planned for the West Loop 323 widening and bridge replacement project in Tyler. Starting Monday, the west side of Bellwood will be closed until further notice as additional project work is conducted. Also, left turns from the loop’s southbound lanes onto East Bellwood are no longer allowed due to the recent traffic switch. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes to avoid delays. More information on this project is available in the Smith County construction updates portion of this release.… Read More
TYLER — Tyler Junior College is preparing to welcome back a pair of special visitors as it kicks off the school year Aug. 21. According to a news release, former TJC presidents Dr. Raymond Hawkins and Dr. Bill Crowe will join current TJC President Dr. Mike Metke in leading opening convocation activities, beginning 9 a.m. Friday in Wise Auditorium. Metke says the two guests’ impact “is still felt to this day,” according to the release. Hawkins served as TJC president from 1981 until 1994. Crowe was TJC president from 1994 until 2007. Metke has been president of TJC since 2007. … Read More
TYLER — A U.S. Army veteran from Tyler has announced plans to challenge outspoken East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert. Shirley McKellar says she’ll run for a second time as a Democrat against the Republican Gohmert for the First District Congressional seat. McKellar says, “All Texans deserve great economic growth, education, security, and the pursuit of individual liberty. It’s all about education and opportunity. I, Shirley McKellar, can bring that to District 1.” Gohmert took 77 percent of the vote in the 2014 general election vs. McKellar, who was seriously wounded while serving as a U.S. Army nurse in Iraq.
LONGVIEW — Moviegoers in East Texas could face a longer wait to see their chosen flick on the big screen as theaters ramp up bag-checking security measures. According to the Longview News-Journal, some area movie patrons said this past week that they were not bothered by the measures, which came in response to recent shootings at U.S. theaters. That wasn’t the case recently at Regal Longview Stadium 14, when one patron refused to allow ticket-takers to inspect her bag. She was refused entry and received a refund. Regal has notices posted on its ticket booth and doors informing people that backpacks and bags are subject to inspection before entry.… Read More
TYLER — Dozens turned out Friday evening as the Tyler A. Philip Randolph Institute honored longtime community leader Ernest Deckard. Speakers used words ranging from “warrior” and “super-negotiator” to “conciliator” and “comforter” during a banquet at Tyler’s Rose Garden Center. Deckard recently stepped down as president of the Tyler APRI and NAACP; he had presided over the latter group for 24 years. Deckard has also held membership or leadership roles in various other organizations.… Read More
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – A group that advocates for the separation of church and state has filed a complaint about a Texas judge who ordered a man to marry his girlfriend as a condition of probation. The Freedom From Religion Foundation said Friday it filed the complaint against Smith County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Randall Rogers a day earlier with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Austin. Rogers’s action had already prompted a letter of objection from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.… Read More
CHEROKEE COUNTY — The owner of a recycling plant just south of Jacksonville reports heavy damage from what multiple responding fire crews described as a massive blaze. The fire began after 2:00 p.m. at STS Electronic Recycling on County Road 1520. Witnesses tell our news partner KETK flames and huge plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the facility. Jacksonville firefighters said they, along with crews from surrounding areas, were assisting. There are no reports of injuries. … Read More
QUITMAN — Wood County has been placed under a burn ban, according to local officials. Outside cooking is allowed if the grill is covered. KETK reports that almost all of East Texas is now under a burn ban. Anyone who does not follow the order is subject to a large fine. Go to the Texas A&M Forest Service website — http://tfsfrp.tamu.edu/wildfires/DecBan.png — for a current map of counties under a burn ban.
GILMER — A Longview woman pleaded guilty to two counts of assault against a public servant and was sentenced to 20 years in state prison, according to Upshur County officials. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Laona Legail Wade, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to 10 years in prison on each count of assault. Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd says Wade was caught shoplifting at a Wal-Mart in Gilmer in January and was stopped by police in the parking lot. While being fingerprinted during booking, Wade became combative and struck a jailer in the face and kicked another, according to Byrd.
TYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court will hold two public hearings on Tuesday, Aug. 18, as it prepares to pass its 2015-2016 budget. Officials say the court will hold its second public hearing on the proposed tax rate, along with its final budget workshop, during its regular 9:30 a.m. session Tuesday. That meeting will be held in the Commissioners Courtroom in the Annex, 200 E. Ferguson. At 5:30 p.m., the court will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at the R.B. Hubbard “Hub” Center, at 304 E. Ferguson. The court is scheduled to vote to adopt the budget on Aug. 24.