Category: Local News Archive

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United Way Exceeds Campaign Goal with Room to Spare

thumb_unitedway-logoTYLER — The United Way of Smith County has exceeded its 2012-2013 campaign goal of $1.7 million by $3,000. The news came Tuesday at the agency’s Annual Campaign Celebration & Awards Luncheon in the Rose Heights Church Fellowship Hall. According to information from the local United Way, the goal was surpassed “thanks to literally thousands of donors in Smith County.” Along with the announcement of money raised, the event recognized local businesses, donors and volunteers who contributed to the campaign.

New Downtown Veterans Services Office Now Open

TYLER — Officials are putting out the word that the Smith County Veterans Services Office has moved to a new location in downtown Tyler. Full services are now available in the new location at 210 East Ferguson. The former Veterans Services Office location in the Cotton Belt Building at 1517 West Front Street is no longer open. Officials say the new downtown office location offers customers convenient parking and street level access as well as an expanded customer service area. You can call the Veterans Services Office at 903-590-2950 for more information.

Guy Lewis Thrilled by Hall of Fame Election

Guy LewisHOUSTON (AP) — Guy Lewis has difficulty speaking because of recent strokes. But the huge grin on the face of the former Houston coach, and Arp native, on Tuesday conveyed his elation at finally being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a day before.

Lewis, 91, coached the Cougars for 30 years, but is best known for leading the Phi Slama Jama teams in the 1980s.

His daughter Sherry Lewis says, “It’s pure joy and we’re not even upset that it took so long … dad is used to winning in overtime.”

The event was attended by former player Elvin Hayes, a fellow Hall of Famer. Hayes had campaigned for Lewis’s election and boycotted all events related to the Hall since his induction in 1990 because Lewis hadn’t received the honor.

Texas Executes Man for 1990 Fatal Shooting, Rape

Rickey Lynn LewisHUNTSVILLE (AP) – A Texas convict with a lengthy criminal history has been executed for fatally shooting a man and raping the slain man’s fiancee. Fifty-year-old Rickey Lynn Lewis of Tyler received a lethal injection Tuesday evening for the murder of 45-year-old George Newman more than 22 years ago. Newman’s slaying and the rape of Newman’s fiancee took place at their home in a rural area of Smith County. Lewis had been in and out of prison five times in less than seven years when he was arrested three days after Newman was killed in September 1990. No last-day appeals were filed to try to delay the punishment. It’s the second execution in Texas this year. At least 11 others are scheduled for the coming months.

Input Sought on Parks, Open Space, Recreation, Lakes for Tyler 1st Plan

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — As part of the Tyler 1st comprehensive planning process, the City of Tyler is seeking input from residents about the future of Parks, Open Space, Recreation, and Lakes in the community. Residents may provide input in two ways:

· By going to and taking a quick survey.

· At a Public Open House from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on April 16 at Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St.

Officials say the purpose of the survey and public open house is to seek citizen input on the importance and quality of Parks and Open Space as well as future needs. City officials say they’ll analyze the input and incorporate the citizen feedback into their decision process during the Tyler 1st Comprehensive Plan update.

Tyler 1st, originally Tyler 21, is the City’s comprehensive plan. Go to and click on the News tab for more information.

One Dead in Highway 271 Wreck

thumb_DPS-carSMITH COUNTY — One person is dead following a two vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 271, just south of Interstate Highway 20. The crash happened around 1:15 Monday afternoon. DPS Trooper Jean Dark says a passenger car was struck by a pickup after pulling onto the northbound side of the highway. The driver of the car was killed. The driver of the pickup was hospitalized for what were termed “non-incapacitating injuries”; his passenger was treated at the scene. The northbound lanes were blocked for a time but reopened late Monday afternoon. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of family.

Tyler Shooting Injures Two

Tony TraylorTYLER — Tyler police are investigating a reported shooting. Around 9:00 Monday night officers responded to the 1000 block of North Bois d Arc in reference to an aggravated assault call. Officers learned that the victims Monica Christian and Neambi Hunter were involved in an ongoing disturbance with the suspects Tony Traylor (pictured), 20, and James Clark, 19. The victims were fleeing from the suspects in their vehicle.

According to police, the suspects approached the victims and Traylor is said to have produced a handgun and fired into the vehicle striking Monica Christian in the arm. The victims also suffered minor injuries from flying glass. Both victims were treated for non-life threatening injuries at local hospitals.

Taylor was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and aggravated assault. Clark was arrested and charged with Possession of a controlled substance. This case remains under investigation.

Man Charged in Longview Shooting

Larry Donnell DavisLONGVIEW — A Longview man has been charged in connection with a weekend shooting that sent one person to the hospital. Larry Donnell Davis, 49, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

The shooting happened around 5:15 Sunday afternoon in the 200 block of Davis Street. Arriving officers were told a man had been shot once in the head with a handgun. The suspect left the area prior to the officer’s arrival. The suspect, identified as Davis, was located a short time later in the 2300 block of 12th Street. The victim was said to have been alert when taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center. His name has not been released.

Sex Offender Sentenced to Prison for Latest Crime

robert_saurenmann_mug.1365392404LONGVIEW — A registered sex offender who broke into a LeTourneau University dorm will spend 10 years in prison after reaching a plea agreement. Robert Roy “Trey” Saurenmann III, 53, was arrested in November 2011 after he broke into Tyler Residence Hall and tried to take improper pictures. No students were harmed and no property was stolen following Saurenmann’s entrance into the dorm. It was unclear what he was trying to photograph in the dorm. Saurenmann was charged with burglary of a habitation.

At the time, faculty credited students with aiding in his arrest after they saw Saurenmann, recognized the man was out of place and called police. Saurenmann has been in the Gregg County Jail more than two dozen times since 1985 on charges ranging from aggravated kidnapping to drug possession. In 2001, he was convicted of indecency with a child and served a six-year prison sentence.

Feds Are Looking at Longview ISD for Possible Title IX Violations

Longview Schools LogoLONGVIEW — Representatives with the Office of Civil Rights, a division of the U.S. Department of Education, was in Longview Monday, investigating the Longview School District. The feds are looking into whether the district is in violation of the U.S. Title IX anti-discrimination statutes. They interviewed school personnel and students and looked over district facilities and equipment. They were checking for gender equity in compliance with Title IX. Instituted in 1972, Title IX bans discrimination in sports and academics based on gender.

Silver Alert For Burleson Woman

Carole KunclrsBURLESON — The Burleson Police Department issued a Silver Alert Monday for a missing woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. She is Carole Kunclrs, 66, who left her home in Burleson around 4:00 yesterday afternoon heading to Fort Worth. Her family believes she may be on Interstate Highway 20 since they received a call from her around 9:00 last night and she said she saw a road sign that said “Canton.” Kunclrs is described as 5-feet 2-inches tall, 220 pounds, with gray hair and blue eyes. If you have seen this lady you are asked to contact your local law enforcement agency.

Family Members Want Reward Upped in Kaufman County Slayings

KAUFMAN — Family members of the Kaufman County murder victims want to see the reward for information at $1 million, saying the current $200,000 is insignificant. Kaufman County Crime Stoppers board member Dirk Gibbs says, “There’s a lot of speculation and people talking out of school…about things they don’t understand or don’t have full knowledge of.” Crime Stoppers in Kaufman County is an all-volunteer organization. Gibbs adds, “We need the support of our community, and it’s very important because we don’t get federal, state, or local funding.” You can also go to to submit a tip or a donation online.

Countywide Call for Public Input

thumb_smithcounty-sealTYLER — Smith County is continuing to seek public input and priorities from citizens on all county-related services and issues. Commissioners will host a community-wide meeting Tuesday to encourage public input, information, and ideas concerning county services. A short questionnaire is also available on the Smith County Website. Smith County officials plan to use the information gathered during the Public Input Project for the upcoming budget year and in long-term comprehensive planning. “We want to create an open platform for the citizens of Smith County to make their priorities known,” Smith County Judge Joel Baker said, “and, in turn, use the information we receive to prioritize projects and create specific long-term goals and measurements for county services.”

All citizens within Smith County are encouraged to fill out a short “Public Input Form” online at or at the community meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Smith County multi-purpose facility located at 304 E. Ferguson. Citizens can also give input by calling their designated Precinct Commissioner directly at 903-590-4605. “We know there are a lot of citizens who may have county-related concerns, issues and ideas, but their schedule may not allow them to attend regular meetings of the Commissioners Court,” Commissioner JoAnn Hampton said. “We want to hear from everyone who has information or ideas and use that information to guide our decisions as we plan for the future of Smith County.”

The surveys, which can be filled out anonymously online, will be available to fill out electronically through April 9. Hard copies of the survey will be available at the community input meeting. Citizens can also pick up a “Community Input Form” at the County Courthouse Annex or contact their County Commissioner to receive a form via email.

GE to Buy Lufkin Industries

NEW YORK (AP) – General Electric Co. will buy the oilfield equipment maker Lufkin Industries, Inc. for about $3 billion, furthering an effort by GE to grow its oil and gas operations. GE said Monday it would pay Lufkin shareholders $88.50 per share in the all-cash deal, a 38 percent premium over Lufkin’s closing price on Friday of $63.93. The companies value the deal at $3.3 billion. CEO Jeff Immelt is in the process of transforming GE from a sprawling conglomerate to one that is more tightly focused on providing services and equipment to industrial customers. The company has shed divisions such as NBC Universal and is shrinking its banking operations. At the same time, GE is trying to grow its energy-related operations. Lufkin, based in Lufkin, Texas, makes pumping equipment that helps drillers extract more oil out of older oil fields.

Texas Food Producer Ordered to Halt Operations

HOUSTON (AP) — Federal authorities have ordered a Houston-based food producer to cease operations until it improves products possibly contaminated by “filth.” The federal Food and Drug Administration found that shrimp egg rolls may have been “injurious to health.” Chung’s cannot process, prepare, package or distribute food until improvements are made.

Lambert Wins Two Academy of Country Music Awards

LAS VEGAS (AP/Staff) – More honors are handed out to country music superstar and Lindale native Miranda Lambert. Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Lambert was named Female Vocalist of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. Her recording of “Over You” was chosen as Single Record of the Year.

Officials Identify Three Children Killed in Winona House Fire

photoWINONA — The investigation continues after three children were killed in an early morning house fire in Winona. It happened just before 3 a.m. Sunday in the 200 block of Kay Street. Winona Fire Chief Nelson Brumley tells KETK the fire started in the living room and spread to the kitchen. The mother and father grabbed four of the eight children in the home and got them to safety. But 9-year-old Colby Watson, 6-year old Riley Hickman, and 4-year old Jax Davidson were still asleep in the back bedroom and did not survive. A relative says the father has been released from the hospital. We’re told an 8-year old boy is still in the LSU intensive care unit and the mother remains in critical condition in a Tyler hospital.

One Killed in Longview Accident

Longview PD BadgesLONGVIEW — An accident in Longview has left one person dead. The vehicle/pedestrian accident occurred shortly before 1:45 yesterday morning in the 1100 block of West Marshall. Witnesses tell police Anson Fuller, 30, of Longview, had been inside the Cloud Nine Club and was asked to leave because he was causing a disturbance. As he was crossing the roadway he was struck by a pickup driven by Calob Player, 20, of White Oak. Fuller was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center where he later died.

Three Deputies Treated at Hospital after Assault Call

thumb_sheriff-smithcountyCHAPEL HILL — Three Smith County Sheriff’s Deputies were treated at ETMC-Tyler for injuries and exposure to blood after responding to a call of an assault in the Chapel Hill area. Around 3:30 yesterday morning, deputies responded to a call in the 12000 block of Farm Road 3226, where a woman reported she was cut with a knife by her husband. After arriving on the scene, deputies noticed blood outside the residence and a shattered glass door at the front of the home. Deputies heard a male’s voice inside and after locating the man, saw he was covered in blood and appeared to be intoxicated. Deputies ordered the man to lie down on the ground, but they say he refused and had to be subdued. The injured wife was found hiding outside the residence, but she refused medical treatment.

The man was transported by EMS to ETMC-Tyler for treatment. After his release, he will be booked in to the Smith County Jail on charges of assault, family violence and resisting arrest. The three Smith County Deputies were taken to ETMC-Tyler for medical evaluation after one suffered a knee injury and two were exposed to blood. The identities of those involved are being withheld pending arraignment and further investigation.

Nine Detained On Burglary Charges

TYLER — Nine people, including adults and juveniles, have been taken into custody in a Smith County burglary case. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call just before 10:30 Saturday night. at a residence in the 11600 block of County Road 1121. A resident at that location reported that several individuals were causing a major disturbance, were breaking into the resident’s vehicle, and were attempting to break into the residence. The four deputies who responded to the scene took nine suspects into custody. Five are juveniles and four are adults. All are facing charges, including burglary of a vehicle and criminal mischief. The names of the suspects are being withheld pending arraignment and additional investigation.

Cruz Visits Tyler

vlcsnap_2013_04_06_23h43m05s174TYLER — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz was in Tyler Saturday evening. KETK reports he discussed the 13-hour filibuster over the drone program, his fight to protect American’s Second Amendment rights, and his efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare. Sen. Cruz said all of his efforts in Washington so far could not have been accomplished without the help of the people of Texas. The senator is visiting cities all across the state, and felt strongly about stopping in Tyler.

Senator Cruz says there are enormous challenges in our country right now and it’s time to restore economic growth and stand for principle. “East Texas is such a vital region to the state .My job is to represent every citizen in Tyler and every citizen in East Texas and 26 million Texans. I’m spending every day trying to travel the state, listening to people’s concerns and stand up for Texas, fight for our rights and fight for our constitution,” said Sen. Cruz.

Senator Cruz also talked about the national debt, saying his number one priority is to restore economic growth. “Over the last four years, our economy has grown 0.8% a year,” he said. “23 million people are out of work because the economy isn’t growing. Republicans and Democrats should work together to reform our taxes, to limit the burden and complexity of our taxes and to lift the regulatory burden off of small businesses.” Cruz said the only other period since WWII where our country had four consecutive years of less than 1% economic growth was from 1979-1982. He said how to fix this is by following the policies of President Reagan’s administration. “Limit the growth of government spending, cut taxes and simplify our tax code, reduce regulation, unchain the private sector and allow small businesses to flourish. Growth is the key to opportunity,” said Cruz.

And of course, there was the topic of gun control. Cruz fired back at California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposed ban on assault weapons, saying his goal is to safeguard the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. Cruz along with Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mike Lee sent a letter to Sen. Harry Reid stating that the three of them would use any procedural needs necessary, including another filibuster, to stop any legislation that violates citizens’ Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Kilgore Woman Charged with Assault of Public Servant

kilgore_woman_arrested.1365295512KILGORE — A Kilgore woman has been arrested, accused of assault of a public servant and other charges. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Holly Sheppard, 21, was arrested about 9:30 Friday night in her home in the 3200 block of State Highway 31 by Kilgore police. In addition to assault of a public servant, police charged Sheppard with resisting arrest or transport and interfering with public duties. She was held Saturday in the Gregg County Jail on more than $18,000 in bonds. Further details on the case weren’t immediately available.

Kilgore Woman Gets Four Years for Polygamy

LONGVIEW — You’ve heard of three strikes and you’re out. Well, how about four husbands and you’re sent to prison, especially if you’re married to them all at the same time? Candice Andrade, 32, of Kilgore got a year in prison for each husband after being found guilty of polygamy.

According to Gregg County prosecutor Chris Botto, Andrade told the judge “she was just looking for the fairy tale and she just kept marrying different men ’cause she always thought she could do better.” Botto says Andrade is a drug addict and a liar, and that she married the men for their money, without bothering to file for divorce or sign off on divorce documents filed by her husbands. He says it all came to light when one of her husbands filed a police report claiming Andrade was a bigamist, and two more came forward. All the men live in East Texas.

TJC Students Win 43 Awards at State Journalism Conference

TJC Awards PhotoTYLER — Tyler Junior College communications and media students swept the competition at their annual state conference, taking the top honors in their division. The students won First Place for Overall Excellence for Newspaper Division 4, as well as Sweepstakes for Newspaper Division 4, Sweepstakes for Online Division 4, and Best of Show for Newspaper Division 3, during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) conference April 3-6 in Fort Worth. In addition, judges named Editor in Chief Taylor Griffin as Reporter of the Year for Division II. Griffin also received a scholarship during the ceremony. The students placed in an array of categories from design and layout, to news and sports feature writing, to photography and online multimedia packages.

“I am proud of my students who showed that TJC is preparing them with the tools to succeed in a an ever-changing news business,” said Laura Krantz, TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media. “These students are the future of journalism, and it was exciting to see them use their talents to compete against two- and four-year schools from across Texas.”

UT Receiver Sanders Arrested on DWI Charge

Kendall SandersAUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — Authorities say University of Texas receiver Kendall Sanders, an Athens native, has been arrested on a drunken driving charge. Brazos County records show that Sanders was booked into the county jail in Bryan just after 5 Saturday morning and released on $3,000 bond before 8:00. In a statement Sunday, Longhorns coach Mack Brown said UT would monitor the situation. Brown said UT would “do what’s best for the university, Kendall and the team” when the legal process is complete. Jail records don’t show whether Sanders has an attorney.

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