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East Dawson to Be Closed This Week

TYLER — East Dawson Street will be closed Monday through Friday of this week for concrete pavement repairs. Drivers traveling south on Beckham Avenue who want to turn left onto East Dawson will be detoured to East Houston Street. Those drivers traveling north on Beckham wanting to turn right onto East Dawson Street will be detoured to Hospital Drive.

TxDOT Project Updates

TYLER — Here’s a quick look at other work planned in the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation.

LONGVIEW – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews on Monday are scheduled to close part of Callahan Road, or the South Interstate Highway 20 Access Road, between its intersection with State Highway 149 (Eastman Road) and the Eastbound IH 20 onramp while crews perform pavement repairs in that location. The closure and subsequent work will not begin until after 9:00am.

“It’s unusual that we’d completely close a roadway while we make repairs,” said TxDOT spokesman Larry Krantz. “But in this case, it’s the best and safest option for everyone. We’re hoping we’re finished by Monday evening so the closure will only be for a day.”

Traffic wishing to access businesses in the work area will be allowed to do so, but thru-traffic will be directed to take a marked detour. The detour takes traffic west along the westbound frontage road, then to the Eastbound IH 20 onramp at State Highway 322 (Estes Parkway). Motorists attempting to access the Eastman Chemical complex from eastbound IH 20 should use Exit 599 (East Loop 281) and take the south frontage road to the main entrance. Once the work at Callahan Road is complete, crews will resume work on various entrance and exit ramps in the Longview area throughout the week.

HENDERSON COUNTY –Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to continue pavement-repair operations on Farm Road 2636 south of Malakoff between Farm Road 3441 and the end of state maintenance. Daytime lane closures will be in effect while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic. TxDOT continues work in Cherokee County

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to continue resurfacing operations in various locations on State Highway 204 between U.S. Highway 84 and the Nacogdoches County Line. A second crew is scheduled to continue shoulder work on Farm Road 855 between U.S.Highway 69 in Mount Selman and U.S. Highway 175 near Cuney. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic. Work continues in Wood County

WOOD COUNTY – TxDOT contract crews this week are scheduled to continue base and pavement repairs on Farm Road 2966 between State Highway 154 in Yantis and Loop 173 in Quitman. The work is being done in preparation for a seal coat application next summer. Also this week, TxDOT maintenance crews are scheduled to continue base repairs and resurfacing work in various locations on Farm Road 1801 east of Mineola, and edge work on Farm Road 1643 southwest of Winnsboro between Farm Road 515 and State Highway 37. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

Scouts Honor Paul Powell

TYLER — The East Texas Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, have presented Dr. Paul Powell with the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award at a luncheon held Friday at Green Acres Baptist Church Crosswalk Conference Center. The Award is given annually to an individual or couple who have made a significant impact toward enriching the way of life in East Texas. Paul Powell is a former Texas Baptist pastor, retired president/CEO of the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (now Guidestone) and Dean Emeritus of George W. Truett Seminary,Baylor University, Waco. Dr. Powell, now retired, lives in Tyler and attends Green Acres Baptist Church.

Past recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award include Bruce Brookshire, Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, Jeff Austin, Sr., Eugene Brookshire, C.C. Baker, Jr., Herbert Buie, Congressman Ralph Hall, Douglas V. Smith, Bill Hartley, Lindsey Bradley, Dr. Peggy and Howard Coghlan, Governor Rick and Anita Perry, Linda Ryan Thomas, Betsy and Elmer Ellis, Carolyn and Michael Northcutt, Sheriff J. B. Smith, Judge Bill Stoudt, Harold Beaird, Sandi and Dr. Bill Taylor, Congressman Louie Gohmert, Ruben Martin James I. Perkins, and Rogers Pope, Sr. and Rogers Pope, Jr.

Man Robbed at Bank ATM

TYLER –Tyler police are looking for the lone gunman who robbed a man at a Bank of America ATM. It happened just before 10:15 Friday night in the 3300 block of Golden Road. The victim said he was approached by a black male who pulled a handgun and took an undisclosed amount of money. He then fled the area on foot. A search turned up no trace of the suspect. He is described as about six feet tall, weighing around 160 pounds and was wearing dark clothing and a mask. No injuries were reported.

Tyler Fire Department Offers Holiday Safety Tips

TYLER — This year, as you are preparing your home for the holiday season, make sure that you implement a few simple fire prevention practices. That’s the word from the Tyler Fire Department.

* Space Heaters:
o Maintain a clear space of three feet around the device;
o Ensure that portable heaters have a safety switch that will turn off the device if it gets tipped over.
* Fireplaces:
o Similar to space heaters, maintain a clear space of three feet around the fireplace opening;
o Have the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned;
o Ensure that a screen or some other protective barrier is in place to keep embers from getting out.
* Christmas Lights and Decorations:
o Inspect cords and discontinue use if damaged;
o Do not run cords under rugs, carpet, or along areas of high traffic where they may be stepped on;
o Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
* Christmas Trees:
o Do not set trees near heat sources;
o If using a live tree, make sure to keep it watered;
o Turn off all decorations at bedtime.
Finally, make sure that you give your home the proper “Check-Up”:
* Check up above you for one of the most important devices in your home…the smoke alarm.
These life-saving devices should be located in each sleeping area of your home, in addition to areas directly outside of the sleeping areas. For multi-story homes, a working smoke alarm should be located on all levels of the residence, including any basements.

The Tyler Fire Department recommends that you change the batteries in your smoke alarms two times each year and test them often. A great reminder…”Change your clocks, change your batteries”. If you haven’t already done so, now would be a great time to perform this simple maintenance procedure that could save your life, and the lives of your family. Statistics show that having a working smoke alarm in your home increases the chance of survival by almost 50%in the event of a fire.

A news release says, “The Tyler Fire Department would like to wish all citizens a safe and happy holiday season. With your help, we can prevent unnecessary fires and the injuries associated with them.”

Longview Man Charged with October Murder of Mother, Daughter

LONGVIEW — Longview police have arrested a man in connection with the death of a mother and daughter who were killed at their home in October. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Joshual O’Steven Reese, 31, of Longview, has been charged with capital murder of multiple persons. His bond is set at $1.5 million. On October 10 at 3:00am, police responding to a welfare check asked for by family members made the gruesome discovery at a house on the 100 block of Jester Circle. LaToya Reese, 28, and her daughter, Mya Rosetta Nichol Sebron, 11, were found shot dead in their duplex.

Arrests Made in Crime Spree

TYLER — Police have arrested five of the seven suspects who are allegedly responsible for a crime spree that occurred early Wednesday morning. Around 4:00am Wednesday a Van Zandt County sheriff’s deputy drove up on a burglary in progress of a rental storage facility near interstate 20. Five suspects were taken into custody by the sheriff’s department after a foot chase. Police say further investigation revealed that these individuals were also responsible for a string of criminal acts that were committed in the Tyler and Smith County area hours before their arrest.

Shortly after 1:15 Wednesday morning, the suspects allegedly stole a van from Dickey’s BBQ on WSW Loop 323. About an hour later, the suspects allegedly tried to steal an ATM from the Texas Bank and Trust on W. Grande. According to police, the suspects ditched the stolen vehicle behind the Brookshire’s Fresh Store and got back into their personal vehicles. They then reportedly went to a Kidd Jones convenience store on Highway 155 South and burglarized the business at a little after 2:30. At 4:00 they were allegedly caught in the act of burglarizing the storage facility in Van Zandt County.

Tyler Police Investigators have obtained arrest warrants for Labradford Lamont Hunter, 20, of Mesquite; Earl Wayne Few Jr., 23, of Dallas; Marque Kaleb Hart, 21, of Terrell; James Darron Miller Jr., 25, of Dallas; and Johnathan Christopher Adams, 29, of Terrell. All have been charged with theft of property, Criminal Attempt, and engaging in organized criminal activity. The total bond on each suspect was set at $350,000 by Judge Kerry Russell. These charges are for offenses committed in Tyler only. Investigators are still working on identifying two suspects who got away when the arrest was made in Van Zandt County. This case remains under investigation.

DWI Enforcement for the Holiday Season

TYLER — Through December 31, the Tyler Police Department is providing more officers to look for suspected drunk drivers during this Christmas Season. This enforcement program is funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

During the New Year’s Holiday, the Tyler Police Department along with Smith County Law Enforcement agencies will be out in force, on the lookout for drunken drivers, and they won’t be taking “no” for an answer. Starting Friday, December 28, 2012 through Tuesday January 1, 2013, a multi-joint effort between the Smith County District Attorney’s Office and police agencies from all over Smith County will participate in the “No-Refusal” DWI Campaign once again.

Upon the arrest of a suspected drunk driver, he or she will be asked if to submit to blow into a breath-test machine or take a blood test. If the driver refuses, officers will obtain an immediate search warrant signed by a judge on call to have blood drawn by a nurse on staff at the Smith County Jail. The blood is then analyzed to determine whether the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08 or higher, the legal limit for driving in Texas.

Police say this program has proven to be an effective tool to combat drunken drivers. They say it is the intent of all law enforcement agencies that this effort will act as a deterrent, persuading people to avoid driving while intoxicated because they know that police officers will be conducting sobriety testing with or without driver’s consent. In short, police caution: “Please Don’t Drink and Drive!”

Early Morning Grass Fire in Troup

TROUP — A pre-dawn grass fire kept Troup firefighters busy Friday morning. The fire was called in a little after 3:00 near the intersection of Georgia Street and Colle Street next to the railroad tracks. Firefighters tell KETK the fire was put out between 5:00 and 6:00. No word on any injuries.

Airport Upgrades on the Way

TYLER — Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is getting in on the city’s half-cent sales tax funds. Airport Manager Davis Dickson tells KETK a majority of the funds are being used to replace the airport’s 20-year-old runway. Right now, the airport has an instrument landing system that allows precision guidance to aircraft during bad weather or low visibility. They are considering moving it to their longer runway once the renovations are complete.

Dickson says airport traffic is growing in popularity, and new pavement would permit an up-to-standard weight capacity. According to Dickson, “It’s a proactive measure to address future growth of the airport and to make sure the airport can serve future needs, more operation with larger aircraft.” Dickson added that moving the landing system over to the newly renovated runway is a costly project, for which officials would also consider using the half-cent sales tax funds.

Group Pushed Lawsuit Against Alcohol Election

TYLER — Reverend Mike Daniels, Chair of “Stand Strong for Tyler,” requested signatures for the “Local Option Election to Legalize” petition. According to KETK, he believes the November election was not fair. Daniels says the signatures on the petition which brought the measure before the voters are not valid. “We requested on the freedom of information act request, the information to be able to do our own analysis of who voted. who was in Tyler to vote, and whether they were legit to vote of not,” says Daniels.

Daniels says their potential lawsuit is still in effect against JP Precinct Two. “And the reason that it hadn’t changed is because I know that the petition is an illegal petition and is a fraudulent petition and I know the election is rigged with fraud,” says Daniels. He says there’s valid proof that will be carried out in court. Daniels tells KETK Tyler is a community that has family standards, and Tyler is noted to being unique and beautiful and says that is now going to change.

Woman Arrested after Reportedly Punching Officer

KILGORE — A Kilgore woman was arrested around 5:00 Wednesday afternoon after police say she punched a Kilgore College Police officer. The Kilgore College officer was assisting Kilgore police with a disturbance call at the home of Jacey Hendershott, 41, in the 1000 block of South Danville Road about one mile from campus. According to arrest reports, Hendershott became aggressive when the officer told her to turn her music down. Police say Henderschott then punched the officer in the chest. Hendershott was charged with assault on a public servant. She was held Thursday in the Gregg County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

Friend: Texas Plane Crash Victim Won Flight

DALLAS (AP) — Family and friends are mourning the death of a 30-year-old Dallas-area man who won the chance to fly in a plane that crashed in North Texas. A family friend of Fisher Floyd tells The Dallas Morning News that Floyd won at an auction the chance to fly in a single-engine L-29 Delfin plane with 77-year-old Noell Rather, an experienced former commercial pilot. Neither Floyd nor Rather survived the crash Thursday morning in Kaufman County near Scurry, about 30 miles southeast of Dallas. The newspaper reports Floyd attended high school in Highland Park, an enclave within Dallas’ city limits. He has two young sons, ages 1 and 2. A friend of Rather’s says he spent years restoring the Soviet-era plane he was flying Thursday. According to KETK, Rather, the pilot, was a lifetime member of the Historical Aviation Museum near Tyler Pounds Regional Regional Airport.

Blaze Destroys Home Near Gladewater

GLADEWATER — A Gregg County home has been destroyed by fire. It was reported around 6:00 Thursday morning northeast of Gladewater on Point Pleasant Road. Investigators say 90% of the house and two vehicles were destroyed by the fire. The fire is thought to have started around the garage. The cause remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.

Longview Sales Tax Receipts See Big Increase

LONGVIEW — Longview sees a 19% jump in sales tax revenue in December compared to December 2011. According to KETK, Longview brought in $1.7 million for the month; $1.4 million came in last December. The increase also gets the city back on track for its budget after being down the last couple of months. Officials hope the upswing continues. City spokesman Shawn Hara says, “Hopefully this a good sign of holiday months coming up, the holiday spending that’ll be happening in the area, ’cause that’s good for the Longview economy, and it’s good for us being able to provide services. This is one of our main sources of revenue to be able to provide services like police and fire and streets.”

Police Need Help Identifying Person Who Stole Cash Register

TYLER — Tyler police need help identifying whoever ran off with a cash register. Last Saturday afternoon around 4:15 p.m. that day, police responded to the Just a $1.00 store at 2231 W. Gentry. The store clerk told police that a black male suspect had entered the store and walked around the aisles for several minutes close to the check-out area. The store clerk had opened the cash drawer to complete a purchase for another customer when the suspect entered the employee area, picked up the cash register, and ran out the door with it. The suspect was observed getting into a late 70s or early 80s two-tone tan and brown short-bed Chevy pick-up that was parked in the area. We’ll post additional identifying information as we get it.

East Texas Judge Lifts Order on TransCanada Pipeline

NACOGDOCHES (AP) – A judge is allowing TransCanada to resume work on an oil pipeline being built on private property in Nacogdoches County before a hearing next week. Landowner Michael Bishop has filed suit against TransCanada in Nacogdoches County, claiming the company lied to Texans when it said it would use its Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil. The pipeline will carry tar sands oil, which TransCanada says is a form of crude but Bishop says is not. He also says he originally settled with the company under duress. Chris Wilson, of Stop Tarsands Oil Pipelines, said Thursday that Nacogdoches County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz lifted a restraining order in advance of a Wednesday hearing. TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard says no construction is likely to start before the hearing.

Lon Morris Estate Seeks to Pay Employees before Christmas

TYLER — Representatives for the Lon Morris College estate are asking a federal judge to give them permission to pay their employees before Christmas. KETK reports it’s called a “pre-holiday distribution,” and it would dole out about $130,000. Some former employees were not paid during the final weeks before the school was closed in May. The 158-year-old Methodist college, the state’s oldest junior college, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Tyler’s Sales Tax Figures Jump

TYLER — Tyler’s sales tax figures continue to head upward. The state comptroller’s office reports Tyler’s sales tax revenues deposited for the month of December have grown 10.64% as compared to December of last year. This has resulted in a cumulative year-do-date increase of 3.16%. The reported revenue of $2,804,271 comprises $1,869,514 general sales tax revenue and $934,757 half-cent sales tax revenue. The figures represent receipts from October 2012 collections as there is a two-month lag before taxes are reported and remitted back to the City from the State.

“We are pleased to see an uptick in our sales tax revenue and hope that a positive trend from month to month will develop over the next several months,” said City Manager Mark McDaniel. “The three percent cumulative growth is just above what we were projecting, so we are on the right trajectory compared to budget.”

Authorities: Gun Trafficking Fugitives Arrested in Philippines

TYLER — Federal authorities say two fugitives wanted for federal gun trafficking violations appeared in a Tyler courtroom after their arrest in the Philippines. Andrea Jaine Burns London, 51, and Lucretia Beth Brown, 45, both of Yantis, were indicted on July 11, and charged with 26 counts of gun trafficking violations. London and Burns made their initial appearances in U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love’s court on Wednesday.

Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Agents executed search warrants at their home and business in November 2011. A warrant was issued for their arrest, but according to authorities, the U.S. Marshals Service soon discovered that the pair had left the United States for the Philippines in February 2012. Assistance was requested from the International Investigations Branch and a lead was sent to the Diplomatic Security Service in Manila. On October 9, Philippine Immigration Agents arrested London and Brown in Cebu without incident.

According to the indictment, from January 2011 to July 2011, London owned and operated Lake Fork Gunslinger & Outdoors in Emory, Texas. Lake Fork Gunslinger was a federally licensed firearms dealer, and Brown was an employee. The indictment alleges that London and Brown conspired with one another to not keep the records as required by federal law and to not conduct the required background checks on gun purchasers. The indictment further alleges that London and Brown conspired to make false statements on the ATF Form 4473 that accompanies sales of dealership inventory and to not report multiple sales of handguns.

Suspect Caught, Charged with Aggravated Assault

WOOD COUNTY — A Mineola man is behind bars after an alleged aggravated assault this week in Wood County. Sheriff officials tell KETK, they received a call about an assault in the 100 block of Wood County Road 223, near Mineola on Monday. When officials arrived, the suspect had fled. However, during the investigation, officials uncovered his name and issued a warrant for Joshua Allen Stine, 22, of Mineola. Stine was arrested later that day just before 3:00. He has been booked into the Wood County Jail, where he remains behind bars charged with evading arrest, criminal trespass, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond was set at a combined $62,000. Further details about the alleged assault were not immediately available.

Lufkin Man Convicted of Murder

LUFKIN — A jury in Lufkin deliberated around four hours Wednesday before finding Rafael Orta, 20, of Lufkin, guilty of the February shooting death of Darnell Bennett. Police believe Orta and four other men went to Bennett’s house to rob him of marijuana. Since prosecutors did not say they were seeking the death penalty, Orta is automatically sentenced to life in prison. The other four suspects have yet to be tried.

Marshall Burglary Suspect Arrested

MARSHALL — A Marshall teen has been arrested on burglary and theft charges. Corey Lee Johnson, 19, was booked into Harrison County Jail on charges burglary of a vehicle, burglary of a building, theft of a firearm, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and evading arrest.

KETK reports it began just before 7:00 Tuesday evening with a report of an auto burglary and stolen rifle in the 600 block of Pinewood Drive. A little later a 911 call was received about a man runing with a rifle in the same area. Just before 10:00, officers were sent to the 700 block of Rosewood Circle on a report of a man armed with several rifles. The man fled from law officers but was quickly arrested.

U-T Professor Wins Volunteer Award

TYLER — An assistant professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Tyler, is a recipient of the 2012 President’s Volunteer Service Award. Dr. Melinda Hermanns, a previous recipient, was recognized this year for 172 voluntary service hours on behalf of Parkinson’s disease advocacy, research and education.

Serving UT Tyler since 1998, Hermanns is the vice president for the East Texas Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and has been since its inception in 2006. She assists with fundraising activities to raise money for taxi vouchers as well as medication and dental assistance for East Texans with Parkinson’s disease. Hermanns, a UT Tyler alumna, also founded the Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease Care Partner support group in Tyler.

Lindale ISD Wins State Appeal

LINDALE — The Lindale Independent School District has won an appeal with the Texas Education Agency for 2012 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results. All campuses and the district have met the federal accountability standard.

Preliminary results indicated Velma Penny Elementary School was the only LISD campus to not meet AYP. LISD requested TEA reconsider the mathematics performance indicator for Velma Penny due to the reconfiguration of grades served by the campus during the 2011-2012 school year. Prior to 2011, Velma Penny served students in grades 3-4. In August 2011, the campus began serving students in grades 1-3.

LISD requested that TEA consider the reconfigured school a new campus after receiving guidance from the state agency. In a notification letter to LISD, Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams wrote, “After careful agency review, the miscommunication with TEA staff may have had an impact on the district decisions. For this reason, the mathematics performance indicator appeal has been granted.”

AYP is the federally mandated accountability system required by the No Child Left Behind Act and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. All public school districts, campuses and the state are evaluated for AYP.

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