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Planned Parenthood Settles Allegations of Unnecessary Medical Care

LUFKIN – Houston-based Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has paid $4.3 million to resolve civil allegations under the False Claims Act in the Eastern District of Texas. The announcement came in Lufkin from U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. The government alleges that between 2003 and 2009, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast billed and was paid by government programs, Texas Medicaid, Title XX, and the Women’s Health Program. The government claims the billing and payment were for certain items and services related to birth control counseling, STD testing, and contraceptives when such items and services were not medically necessary, not medically indicated, or not actually provided. Title XX is funded by the federal government, while Texas Medicaid and the Women’s Health Program are funded jointly by the federal government and the State of Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Third Suspect Arrested in Fatal Park Shooting

Hurd.1376664697TYLER — Tyler Police arrest a 3rd suspect wanted in a fatal park shooting. The suspect is identified as Ke’Avier Jarrod Wilson-Hurd, 20, of Tyler. Wilson-Hurd was identified as the shooter who was in P.T. Cole Park July 30 and allegedly fired numerous rounds at Dennis Bendy and Rakheem Goldstein. Read the rest of this entry »

Historic East Texas House Destroyed in Fire

house_fire_historical_GLADEWATER — The historic Bumpus House in Gladewater was destroyed by fire early Friday morning. The Bumpus House is located on the 200 block of East Upshur Avenue. According to KETK, fire officials said the back side of the house was engulfed in flames when they arrived. Two additional fire departments were called in to assist Gladewater with the blaze. At one point, there were more than 20 firefighters working on the fire, but they had to be called away from the house because it was structurally insecure. Read the rest of this entry »

Robbery Suspect Booked Into the Smith County Jail

344156318597SMITH COUNTY — Tyler Police arrest a suspect following a reported robbery last night. It happened around 9:25 at the Super One Grocery Store, 3828 Troup Hwy. According to authorities, a man said he met the suspect, David Vanausdal, 23, Tyler, in the parking lot of the store to possibly sell him a vehicle. The victim claims he realized the suspect was attempting to rob him when a struggle ensued and the victim was sprayed with mace and the car was stolen by Vanausdal. The victim and his family were left stranded. Police found Vanausdal in the stolen vehicle at a gas station on Hwy 64 West. He he was apprehended and then booked into the Smith County Jail on a robbery charge.

Texas Fatal Shooting Suspect Used Grenade

Erbie BowserDESOTO (AP) — Police in a Dallas suburb say a former special education teacher accused of killing four people in a pair of shootings used a grenade in one of the attacks. DeSoto police say in a search warrant released yesterday that Erbie Bowser, 44, formerly of Tyler, detonated a grenade inside his estranged wife’s house and was arrested after running out of ammunition. The warrant says police found a grenade pin and fragments inside the DeSoto home of Zina Bowser, 47. Police say Bowser shot and killed Zina Bowser and her 28-year-old daughter on August 7. The attack in DeSoto happened about 15 minutes after one in Dallas in which police say Bowser killed his girlfriend, Toya Smith, and her teenage daughter.

United Way Kicks Off 2013 Campaign

United Way LogoTYLER — The United Way of Smith County kicked off its 2013 campaign Thursday with a celebration at FRESH by Brookshire’s in Tyler, announcing a campaign goal of $1.7 million. The program included check presentations by local companies who have “set the pace” for this year’s campaign. The “pacesetters” have already raised $744,162.39. The 2013 Campaign theme is “Think Local. Help Local. Give Local.” Read the rest of this entry »

Law Could be Trouble for Brokers in Manziel Case

Johnny ManzielCOLLEGE STATION (AP) — If Johnny Manziel did violate NCAA rules by receiving money for signing autographs, a Texas law could put the people who allegedly paid him at risk of being sued by Texas A and M University. Christian Dennie, an attorney with Barlow Garsek and Simon in Fort Worth, says the state of Texas passed legislation in 1987 to make “a person who violates a rule of a national collegiate athletic association … liable for damages in an action brought by an institution.” The law was passed the same year Dallas-based Southern Methodist University’s football program was banned for a season by the NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

East Texas Women Sentenced for Trafficking Methamphetamine

Federal Courthouse-1ATYLER – Two East Texas women were sentenced to federal prison Thursday in Tyler for drug trafficking violations. Stacie Serenko, 29, of Tyler, pleaded guilty on Feb. 7 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. She was sentenced to 70 months behind bars by U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis. Jennifer Northcutt, 42, of Mineola, pleaded guilty on Feb. 5 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. She was sentenced to 60 months by Judge Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

Warrant Issued for Man Shot by Police

shaun_thompson_gregg_jailLONGVIEW — An arrest warrant has been issued for the man who was shot by Longview police on Monday night. KETK reports the warrant was filed on Thursday in Gregg County for Shaun Antonio Thompson, 26, of Longview, for aggravated assault of a public servant. According to court records, Thompson was shot outside the Penwood apartment complex in the 500 block of Scenic Drive in Longview after threatening an officer with “imminent bodily injury by pointing a firearm” at him. Read the rest of this entry »

Two People Arrested in Vehicle Burglary

Jimmy Ray GibsonLONGVIEW — Two suspects have been arrested in Longview on charges related to a vehicle burglary. On Wednesday at 3:05 p.m., Longview Police were dispatched to the 2400 Block of Gilmer Road, where the burglary had reportedly just occurred. When officers arrived, they were told by the victim that her car window had been smashed and her purse taken out of the front seat. Police spoke with a witness who said a man had broken the window out with a hammer, stolen the purse, and driven away. Officers were able to locate the suspect vehicle at a gas station just a few yards away from the crime scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Marijuana Growing Station Found after Man Hits Train

pot_evidence_troup_pdTROUP — The blood trail of a man who hit a train in Troup led authorities to his home, where a major marijuana growing operation was discovered, officials say. According to KETK, Troup Police Chief Pat Hendrix says a Troup man hit a Union Pacific train that was going northbound at 10 miles per hour shortly after 6:45 Wednesday evening, at the crossing of Railroad Loop and Front Street. A crew of Union Pacific workers were on another train that was stopped on the tracks nearby. They say the tried to help the man but he ran away. Read the rest of this entry »

East Texas Suit Targets Visa, MasterCard

Federal Courthouse-MarshallMARSHALL — More than 100 major companies are suing Visa and MasterCard in federal court in Marshall. The list of plaintiffs includes TXU Energy, Wal-mart, Delta Airlines, and dozens of other big firms which claim the credit card companies are charging excessive fees. The issue centers on “interchange fees” a business has to pay each time a customer uses a credit card. The lawsuit also asks the federal court to let the companies opt out of a related settlement in a class-action case last year. The city of Houston and Harris County have also joined the lawsuit.

Woman Arrested after Restaurant Burglary; Male Suspect Sought

deforemugacsoPALESTINE — A Palestine woman is behind bars after she allegedly burglarized a Palestine barbecue restaurant. KETK reports April Nicole DeFore, 38, was arrested on Wednesday night for reportedly breaking into Shep’s BBQ in the 1000 block of East Palestine Avenue. Police responded shortly before 9:00 p.m., after receiving a report that someone had been seen entering the building through a window. Police arrived and found that a window on the front of the building had been broken. Read the rest of this entry »

Smith County Judge Participating in I-20 Corridor Study

JoelBaker_MugTYLER — The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is working with local officials to kick off an I-20 Corridor Study to evaluate current safety and capacity needs and plan for the future along a 155-mile stretch of I-20 from I-635 in Dallas to the Louisiana State Line. The working group comprises public and private stakeholders including representatives from the counties of Smith, Dallas, Kaufman, Van Zandt, Gregg and Harrison; the cities of Mesquite, Balch Springs, Terrell, Tyler, Longview and Marshall; the North Central Texas Council of Governments; The Tyler Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Longview MPO; and the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Read the rest of this entry »

Schaefer Running for Re-Election

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1TYLER — District 6 State Rep. Matt Schaefer of Tyler announces that he will seek re-election to a second term. “In my first term in Austin I stayed true to the liberty-minded principles in which I believe. I didn’t just go along with lobbyists and insiders who believe in more government involvement in our lives. By the grace of God and with the permission of the voters, I am ready to serve again,” Schaefer said. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Woman Arrested Again for DWI

Jabina Janie MartinezLONGVIEW — A Longview woman on bond for DWI with a child passenger, has been arrested on the same charge. Jabina Janie Martinez, 34, was arrested Tuesday night. Her bonds total $6,250 on a variety charges, including possession of marijuana and driving while intoxicated with a child passenger younger than 15 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Promotions at the Tyler Police Department

Matthew SmyserTYLER — A promotion ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon at the Tyler Police Department. Police Chief Gary Swindle promoted Sergeant Matthew Smyser (pictured) to Lieutenant and Officer William Sinclair to Sergeant.

In May of 2002 Sergeant Matthew B. Smyser earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Tyler. He was hired by the Tyler Police Department in April of 2003. He attended the Tyler Junior College Police Academy then was assigned to the patrol division where he served as a patrol officer for approximately 5 years. As a patrol officer, he was cross-trained as an intermediate crime scene officer and attended a variety of schools, to include the Basic Rifle School, Intermediate Rifle School, Active Shooter School and the Crisis/Hostage Negotiations School. Sergeant Smyser is a TCOLE Instructor; he holds a Master Peace Officers license and is a member of the Tyler Police Department’s Honor Guard. Read the rest of this entry »

TJC to Hold Second Public Hearing on Tax Hike

thumb_tjc-signTYLER — Tyler Junior College trustees will hold a second public hearing this afternoon on a proposal to increase tax revenues for 2013. It’s set for at 5:30pm in the Board Room of the White Administrative Services Center. College spokesman Fred Peters says the proposed tax rate of $0.199926 is the same as this year’s, “but by Texas law, we must hold hearings if it appears that property valuations will result in revenues exceeding the prior year’s.”

United Way of Smith County to Kick Off Annual Campaign

thumb_unitedway-logoTYLER — The United Way of Smith County kicks off its 2013 campaign this afternoon from 5:30-7:00 with a celebration at FRESH by Brookshire’s in Tyler. The program will include guest speakers and check presentations by local companies who have “set the pace” for this year’s campaign. FREE refreshments are being provided by Brookshire Grocery Company, as long as supplies last. The 2013 Campaign theme is “Think Local. Help Local. Give Local.” Read the rest of this entry »

Police Nab Tyler Burglary Suspect

aundral_bealTYLER — A report of a burglary in progress sent Tyler police to the 700 block of Chimney Rock Wednesday afternoon. Arrested was Aundral Beal, 48, of Tyler. He was charged with burglary of a habitation and was transported to the Smith County Jail. Read the rest of this entry »

Second Suspect Arrested in P.T. Cole Park Shooting

bendy_dennis_smith_co_jailTYLER — Tyler Police Investigators have arrested a second suspect in connection to the murder of Bri’ana Raquel Young, who was shot in P.T. Cole Park on July 30. The suspect is identified as Dennis Montrell Bendy, 19, of Tyler. Bond was set at $1,000,000 by Judge Jack Skeen. Bendy surrendered to investigators at the Tyler Police Department and arrested around 4:00 Wednesday afternoon. He was then transported to Smith County Jail. Investigators say they’ve determined that Bendy was a second shooter along with Rakheem Goldstein, who had reportedly shot from the street into the park. Goldstein was arrested Monday. The case remains under investigation.

More Charges against Fatal Shooting Suspect

Erbie BowserDeSOTO (AP/STAFF) – Police in DeSoto say they’ve filed additional charges against a former Tyler football star accused of fatally shooting four people and wounding four others. DeSoto police Cpl. Melissa Franks said Wednesday that Erbie Bowser, 44, is charged with two counts of injury to a child. Authorities say he shot an 11-year-old and 13-year-old in the same DeSoto home where he killed his estranged wife and her daughter. He’s already been charged with two counts of capital murder in the August 7 attack. Police say the children will recover. Read the rest of this entry »

Body Found in Burning Vehicle

burningtruck2lpdLUFKIN — A body has been found inside a burned truck in Angelina County. Responding Lufkin Police Department officers located the vehicle around 1:00 Wednesday morning near the intersection of Renfro Drive and Valley Avenue; the vehicle was off the roadway, on a dirt drive leading to the rear of a manufactured housing business. Upon approaching the still burning vehicle, the officers saw a burned body in the remains of the vehicle. According to KETK, officers said the body was too burned for the officers to make any determinations on identity or gender. Officers have determined the vehicle was a Ford F-150 truck. An autopsy has been ordered, and DNA testing will be used to determine the identity of the body — but police don’t expect to receive the results of the autopsy and testing for several weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Court Rolls Out New Collection Process

thumb_TylerMunicipalCourt-frontTYLER — The City of Tyler and Smith County have joined together to enforce collections on fines due to the City of Tyler by placing a hold on the vehicle registration of individuals with warrants. These persons will not be able to register their vehicles until all fines have been satisfied. “Placing a hold on the license registration is an efficient collection process; registrations are due every year, so information does not get old,” said Tyler Municipal Court Administrator Cam McCabe. “An additional benefit from placing holds on registration for the collection of fines is that the statewide computers carry this information. The holds will be able to be seen by all officers when they enter a license plate.” Read the rest of this entry »

Largest Grant in UT Tyler History Expands Afterschool Programs

thumb_uttylerTYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler Ingenuity Center has been awarded an $11 million grant to expand afterschool programs administered to improve student performance in middle schools. The announcement comes from Dr. Michael Odell, associate vice president for sponsored research and director of federal relations. This five-year grant, awarded by the Texas Education Agency, surpasses the 2011 TEA grant as the largest in university history. Read the rest of this entry »

Nursing Home Workers Jailed for Allegedly Stealing from Patients

Whitney McFarlandFRANKSTON — Two East Texas nursing home workers have been jailed after allegedly using patients’ funds to pay for things for themselves. That’s according to KETK. Frankston Police Chief Richard Goodman says Robin Slaughter, 43, and Whitney McFarland, 26, (pictured) both turned themselves in to the Frankston Police Department and Anderson County Sheriff’s Office around 8:00 Tuesday evening. “The nerve of some people,” said Goodman. “It’s hard to trust anyone these days.” Read the rest of this entry »

Second Phase of Green Street Construction Begins

thumb_longview-cityofLongview — The second phase of the construction project to renovate Green Street in downtown Longview will begin today. To accommodate construction, Green Street will be closed from north of the Tyler Street intersection up to and including the Methvin intersection. Drivers are urged to drive cautiously in these areas for the safety of construction workers. The Phase 2 street closures are expected to remain in effect through early December. Read the rest of this entry »

City Contributes toward Energy Center

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The Tyler City Council Wednesday voted unanimously to execute an agreement with the Tyler Economic Development Council (TEDC) to provide mutual funding for the Energy Center addition project located on the Tyler Junior College West Campus. The project will expand the Skills Training Center located on the campus and will provide 51,024 square feet of additional space for student training. The new Energy Center will contain space for HVAC labs, three power plant labs connected to the adjacent Luminant facility, computer labs, a large assembly room, and as many as nine classrooms for alternative energy programs. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler City Manager Talking Tax Increase

thumb_MarkMcDanielTYLER — Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel presented his proposed 2013-14 budget to the City Council Wednesday morning, calling it a responsible restoration budget. “Because of the recession of the last four years, City staff has done everything possible to cut spending to keep the property tax rate flat (and even lowering the rate in 2012) for our citizens,” said McDaniel. “With strong signs of a recovering economy, we must now take steps to restore funding for our core functions. We cannot count on use of savings any longer to fund costs that reoccur every year.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Carrier Plant Closing Soon

TYLER — More than 300 employees at Tyler’s Carrier Plant will lose their jobs by the end of this year. KETK reports the company decided to move about 102 of those jobs to its civil manufacturing facility in Monterrey, Mexico. Tyler’s Carrier Plant has been up and running since the late 1940s. “We have employees there that are multi-generation, second, third-generation families at that plant,” said Chamber of Commerce president Tom Mullins. But soon its doors will be closing, and about 100 employees will be laid off by the end of September, and even more by the end of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

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