Category: Local News Archive

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Gregg County Man Caught in the Act of Burglary

DocumentFragment_3897870LONGVIEW — A Longview man is arrested for burglary. Barry K. Smith, 48, of Longview was arrested after police said he broke into an air conditioning unit to steal the copper wiring. According to KETK, officers said they found Smith vandalizing the air conditioning unit of an abandoned building in the 1500 block of Marshall Avenue where he was living. Smith was charged with burglary of a building and public intoxication. He was booked in the Gregg County Jail under a $10,000 bond.

Latest Assault Gets Man 60 Years

DocumentFragment_3730014GREGG COUNTY — A Longview man has been sentenced to prison after being convicted on a two-count indictment charging him with assault family violence with prior conviction and aggravated assault. According to the Longview News-Journal, after being found guilty, Michael Dean Perry, 53, was sentenced to 60 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count. He has numerous prior convictions dating back to 1984. The latest convictions stem from his October arrest at his Longview residence. Perry’s niece told Longview police that he broke down the door to her bedroom where she and her friends were visiting and “came at her with a knife.” He was drunk at the time.

In 2007, Perry sued members of the Gregg County Jail staff on civil charges of harassment and retaliation. At a 2011 trial in federal district court in Tyler, jurors deliberated 15 minutes before finding the jailers not guilty.

Tyler Police Investigate Hit and Run Crash

526566458589TYLER — One suspect has been arrested for intoxication assault after a hit and run accident. It happened just before 8:15 Friday night at Highway 110 and Loop 323. According to Tyler Police, a red Chevrolet Silverado, driven by Antonio Sanchez, was stopped for a red light at Hwy 110 when he was rear-ended by a 1997 blue GMC Sierra. The Sierra fled the scene north bound on Hwy 110. Sanchez’s passenger, Estella Alonzo was transported from the scene by EMS for claimed neck and back pain.

Several minutes later, the Sierra was located abandoned on Hwy 110 several miles outside loop 323. The driver flee the vehicle on foot, according to witnesses. A short time later, police were called to CR 45 where Michale Miyienda, 22, was trying to report the truck stolen. After further investigation, Miyienda was arrested for four outstanding traffic warrants as well as Intoxication Assault and Felony Hit and Run. He was booked into the Smith County Jail.

Brookshire’s Named JA Laureate of the Year

thumb_brookshires-2TYLER — Tyler’s Junior Achievement hands its 2013 Laureate of the Year award to Brookshire’s Grocery Company. That means Brookshire’s has been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by JA. It all happened at a Thursday reception at Tyler’s Rose Garden Center.

“We could not be more pleased or excited about this year’s nominee for the 2013 Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame award,” said JA board member and Regions Bank president Chad Cargile. “Brookshire’s Grocery Company is well known for their outstanding contributions to the Tyler community and for being a role model for all aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs. Their actions and support embody the spirit of what JA represents as an organization, which is to inspire and prepare young people for our global economy.”

According to press materials, “The core purpose of Junior Achievement is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. The JA programs provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.”

Ceremony Marks Toll 49 Transfer

thumb_loop-49SMITH COUNTY — Various dignitaries highlighted a Saturday ceremony honoring the transfer of Toll 49 from TxDOT to the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA). Jeff Austin III of Tyler is a former chair of the NET RMA and a current member of the Texas Transportation Commission. Austin says credit for making the project happen goes to the cities, Tyler, Noonday, Whitehouse, and Lindale, along with the county, elected officials, and the Tyler Metropolitan Planning Organization. The transfer became official last Thursday. The next big happening is the opening of Toll 49′s Segment 3B, connecting the toll road to Interstate Highway 20 for the first time. That’s expected around March 29.

Portion of Tyler Street Closed

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The City of Tyler is installing a new valley gutter on the west side of the intersection of Vine Avenue and Houston Street. The west side of the intersection will remain closed to through traffic until Monday, March 18, to complete the work. Motorists are encouraged to find an alternate route during this construction.

Longview Street Closed

Road Closed1LONGVIEW — Cherokee Street closed Monday at Anniversary Drive to Royal Oak Drive for through traffic. The closure is for Water and Sanitary Sewer connections as part of improvements for the development of the Pine Tree ISD Stadium. The closure will be effective for approximately one week. Through traffic will be detoured down Anniversary Drive to Willow Springs Drive to Royal Oak Drive. The work is being done by Porter Services of Longview, Texas. If you have any questions about the construction, please call the City Engineer, Mark Adas, at 903-237-1053.

TxDOT Project Updates

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

RUSK COUNTY – Construction crews from Texas Department of Transportation contractor Longview Bridge and Road have closed Farm Road 1798 to all traffic on either side of U.S. Highway 259 between Henderson and Mount Enterprise so crews can begin building the overpass structure across US 259. The work is scheduled to be completed by July 4, but meanwhile traffic will be unable to access FM 1798 from US 259. Marked detours will be in place.

Also this week in Rusk County, TxDOT maintenance crews are scheduled to continue base and pavement repairs on Farm Road 782 northeast of Henderson between Farm Road 1716 in Oak Hill and State Highway 149 near the Gregg County Line. Daytime lane closures will be in effect while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

WOOD COUNTY – A second project on State Highway 154 west of Quitman is beginning construction this week. On Monday, crews from contractor D.L. Lennon, Inc., of Commerce, began a $5.8 million project to add shoulders between State Highway 37 in Quitman and the Lake Fork Reservoir bridges. The project is in conjunction with the ongoing bridge project on SH 154, which widened the bridge to include shoulders. The bridge project is scheduled for completion this summer, while the new shoulder-widening project is scheduled for completion next year.

Also this week in Wood County, construction crews are scheduled to complete resurfacing operations on State Highway 182 between Alba and Quitman, and continue work on Farm Road 1804 (Hoard Road) between U.S. Highway 80 and the Smith County Line.

Finally this week, TxDOT maintenance crews are scheduled to make base and pavement repairs in various locations on Loop 564 in Mineola. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

GREGG COUNTY — Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to continue pavement-repair work on State Highway 42 between Farm Road 2206 west of Longview and Farm Road 1252 north of Kilgore. Recent work in this location has produced lengthy delays for traffic and motorists are strongly encouraged to seek alternate routes if possible to avoid delays.

HENDERSON COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to perform edge-repair work on Farm Road 317 east of Athens between Farm Road 607 in Leagueville and Farm Road 315 in New York, and on Farm Road 607 between Farm Road 804 and U.S. Highway 175 in LaRue. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

VAN ZANDT COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to resume resurfacing operations on State Highway 243 west of Canton, between State Highway 198 and Farm Road 47. Daytime lane closures will be in effect while the work is in progress, and flaggers and pilot vehicles will control traffic.

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to make base and pavement repairs on Farm Road 343 east of U.S. Highway 69 in Rusk, and continue edge work on Farm Road 855 near Mount Selman. Daytime lane closures will be in effect while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

ANDERSON COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to resume spot resurfacing work on Farm Road 1990 between U.S. Highway 79 in Palestine and State Highway 294. Daytime lane closures will be in effect while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic.

Fans Pay Respects to Van Cliburn During Visitation

FORT WORTH (AP) — Hundreds of people attended the visitation in Fort Worth for celebrated pianist Van Cliburn, remembering him as a great musician who charmed those he met with his warmth. Cliburn, who grew up in Kilgore, died Wednesday at 78 after a fight with bone cancer. The Saturday visitation at Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist Church was open to the public, as will be Sunday’s funeral at the church. Cliburn had played for every American president since Harry Truman, plus royalty and heads of state around the world. But he is best remembered for winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, as the height of the Cold War. Fort Worth Symphony president Amy Adkins says, “Every time you spoke to him, he made you feel like you were the only person in the room.”

Sheriff’s Office Conducts Sex Offender Verification Check

thumb_police-9TYLER — February 28 and March 1, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office conducted a verification check of sex offenders who reside in the county. According to a news release, of the 304 individuals who were investigated, 18 will require additional investigation and follow up, and arrest warrants may be issued. Officials with the sheriff’s office said that verification checks of this type are unannounced and comprehensive. The check included a team of approximately 50 officers, including members of 12 different local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, which comprise a U.S. Marshals Task Force.

“Verification checks are conducted randomly, which sends a message to all sex offenders that they will be arrested if they are found in violation of their probation agreement,” said Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. “Normally, an offender has strict rules tied to their release, which can include a specific area in which they are allowed to and are designated to live. If they are found to be living somewhere other than that location, or if they violate any other aspect of their release agreement, then we take them to jail.”

According to Sheriff Smith, “It took two days to conduct this verification check, but it took a lot of task force members hundreds of hours of planning and coordination to make it happen. Having the right people and the right number of people assigned to this effort was key and I am grateful to each one of them for their hard work.”

Recently, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office moved existing personnel to patrol and extended patrol shifts to 12 hours, which will provide more deputies year round and not just during warrant sweeps and verification checks. “Since extending shifts and adding deputies, I have already seen better response times for our residents,” said Sheriff Smith. “Our citizens deserve this level of law enforcement all of the time. I believe the new patrol schedule and staffing will continue to deliver that.” To report information on a sex offender, call 903-590-2680.

Gohmert’s Statement on Obama’s Sequester Press Conference

thumb_louie-gohmertWASHINGTON – Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01) released the following statement Friday concerning President Obama’s press conference on the sequester and funding cuts:

“Every single hardworking American taxpayer had a 2% tax increase on January 1st with the payroll tax increase President Obama wanted. Now, the Obama administration is screaming gloom and doom for basically having the same amount of reduction in available spending money because of the sequester. But, it is incredible that the President is acting so indignant when we know and he stated numerous times that the sequester was his idea. Jay Carney has now acknowledged that. Every report of the President’s speech today should include a transcript of the interview he did with the Des Moines register last October, the day after his Iowa debate:

“‘[T]he good news is that there’s going to be a forcing mechanism to deal with what is the central ideological argument in Washington right now, and that is: How much government do we have and how do we pay for it? So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place … we’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business. It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain. (October 23, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa)

“It is clear by President Obama’s own previous words in different settings that he not only wanted the sequester cuts to go through, he also expected that the Bush tax rates would end and everyone’s taxes would go up. For him to now criticize the very ideas he came up with, he supported, and he originally wanted to occur is grossly inappropriate. The 2% cuts are actually a reduction in the automatically increased spending rather than a real cut and slows the Obama growth in government from 20% to 18%. He refused to sit down with Congress to work an agreement until he finished his expensive nationwide fear tour condemning Congress for not working with him, until the day after the cuts were reality.

“Now, his administration has released arrested criminal suspects, is threatening to furlough or cut law enforcement, not protect our border, leave our military in harm’s way without adequate support, cut out vaccinations to children, fire teachers they do not even hire, and now pull FAA personnel from 168 airports –all to punish the country. We have never had an American administration intentionally try to do this much damage to American lives as part of a tantrum demanding more money for government. This is a very serious and sad time for America.”

Sunday Funeral Scheduled for Celebrated Pianist

Van CliburnFORT WORTH (AP/Staff) – A weekend funeral is scheduled for Van Cliburn, the celebrated pianist whose virtuosity triumphed over the Cold War. Family spokesman Tom Stoker says a funeral is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Sunday at the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, where Cliburn worshipped for decades. Entombment at the mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park will follow. Stoker says services will be open to the public, as will a 4-6 p.m. Saturday visitation at the church. Cliburn, who grew up in Kilgore, died Wednesday at 78 after fighting bone cancer. He had played for every American president since Harry Truman, plus royalty and heads of state around the world. But he is best remembered for winning the first International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958, as the height of the Cold War.

Celebration Today for Toll 49 Transfer

thumb_loop-49SMITH COUNTY — A public celebration is being held Saturday morning at 10:00 to mark the transfer of Toll 49 to local authorities. It happens on the roadway, about a half mile south of the bridge at I-20. The primary parties involved are the North East Texas Regional Mpbility Authority and TxDOT. The celebration is to commemorate the transfer of Toll 49 from TxDOT to the NET RMA, approved Thursday by the Texas Transportation Commission. Slated speakers include Chair of the NET RMA Linda Thomas, TTC member and former Chairman of the NET RMA Jeff Austin III, Senators Kevin Eltife & Robert Nichols, County Judge Joel Baker, and City Mayors Barbara Bass of Tyler and Robert Nelson of Lindale.

Activities include the Robert E. Lee Southern Belle Drill Team, Lindale ISD Band Drum Line, a vintage car show, Corvette Club representation, food & beverages provided by Collin Street Bakery & Villa Montez, and the Team Texas High Performance Driving School with 2 NASCARS & an Indy car on display. Segment 3B of Toll 49, connecting the toll road to I-20 for the first time, is expected to open around March 29.

Pine Tree High School Briefly Placed on Lockdown

LONGVIEW — Pine Tree High School went into lockdown Friday after a burglary suspect was reported loose in the area. Shortly before 1 p.m., according to KETK, school administrators decided to close down the school as a precautionary measure. The school lifted the lockdown after a short time. There were no known injuries. Further information wasn’t immediately available.

Longview Police Warn of New Phone Scam

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — The Longview Police Department wants citizens to be aware of a new scam of which police were made aware Friday morning. This scam involves someone calling the victim on the telephone and telling the victim that he or she is going to be receiving a new Medicare card in the mail. The caller is asking the victim to verify his or her information by telling the caller his or her social security number and bank account information. Police say, “PLEASE remember to never give out personal information over the phone to anyone. If you feel that the call may be a scam get as much information about the caller as possible and call police to make a report. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Don’t fall victim to scams by giving out your personal information.”

East Texas Sheriff Facing Theft, Tampering Counts

Ron Clinton-Panola County SheriffCARTHAGE (AP) – The sheriff of an East Texas county has been arrested in a public corruption investigation involving alleged theft, abuse of power and fraud. Texas Rangers and the FBI on Thursday arrested Panola County Sheriff Ron Clinton, who took office in January. Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark says Clinton faces charges of tampering with a government record defraud/harm, abuse of official capacity and theft by a public servant. He’s free on $50,000 bond. Clinton did not immediately return a message for comment Friday. A statement provided Friday from the sheriff’s department in Carthage says two outside agencies conducted the investigation and to contact Texas Rangers.

East Texas Sailor Sentenced to Prison

Christopher Browning-U S Navy-Athens TexasTOKYO — A court in Japan sentenced two American servicemen Friday to jail terms of respectively nine and 10 years for the rape of a Japanese woman in October 2012, while the men were on duty at a U.S. military base in Okinawa. According to KETK, the arrest of the Aviation Machinist’s Mate Airman Christopher Browning, Athens, Texas (pictured) and Aviation Electrician’s Mate Skyler Dozierwalker, both 23, prompted outraged reactions from Japanese officials and resulted in the imposition of a curfew by the U.S. military on its troops in Japan. They were both based in Fort Worth.

Lindale Bank Robber Sentenced to 40 Years

anthonyriosTYLER — The man who robbed the Capital One Bank on South Main St. in Lindale last year has been sentenced in a Smith County courtroom to 40 years behind bars. KETK reports Anthony Rios, 43, of Lindale, pleaded guilty to Aggravated Robbery for the incident before Judge Jack Skeen in the 241st District Court. In September of 2012, armed with a gun and face covered with a towel, Rios robbed the bank and drove away. His car was found in the airport garage at DFW airport in Dallas. It was covered in the red dye from the bank’s security device. He was found later in the Philippines, and was taken into custody at DFW airport after arriving back in the U.S.

Driver Involved in Fatal Wreck Identified

police-car-lights2TYLER — Tyler police are continuing their investigation of a fatality accident. The one vehicle wreck happened around 9:00 Wednesday night at the intersection of Loop 323 and Old Jacksonville Highway. Authorities said the vehicle, driven by Eugenia Matthews, 30, Whitehouse, left the roadway and struck a traffic light pole at the intersection. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tyler Cathedral Honors Outgoing Pope

Cathedral of the Immaculate ConceptionTYLER — At 1:00 Thursday afternoon, the bells of Tyler’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception tolled for eight minutes to signal the official end of Pope Benedict’s pontificate. The cathedral’s Father Anthony McGlaughlin told KETK, “We relate to him as a father figure, not just simply as a distant CEO or as a president, and in a very familial way, so we will miss him. He was a tremendous, tremendous gift.”

TxDOT Transfers Ownership of Toll 49 to NET RMA

thumb_loop-49AUSTIN – The Texas Transportation Commission has transferred the ownership of Loop 49 from the state to the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA). TxDOT officials term the move “another example of collaborating with partners to advance transportation projects around Texas.” Locally known as Toll 49, the transfer includes 26 miles of roadway from Interstate 20 to State Highway 110 southeast of Tyler. Loop 49, which has been in the works for more than 30 years, now is operating in segments south and west of town. The latest segment, 3B, is tentatively set to open March 29, connecting the facility with I-20. Future segments are being planned to further connect the Longview-Tyler region and provide additional mobility options in the area.

According to a TxDOT news release, Thursday’s action “is a big step for many people who have made the loop an economic stimulator for the region.” Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III says, “Transferring Toll 49 to the NET RMA is a key milestone for those who have seen the vision of a high-speed loop around Tyler become a reality. Through regional cooperation setting regional priorities, this highway not only continues to be a lever in enhancing economic development and business activity, it also improves quality of life in the region.” Thursday’s action is also a prelude to an event this weekend at which local dignitaries celebrate the opening of Segment 3B. Visit http://www.loop49.org for more information about Toll 49.

Justice Pct. 1 Alcohol Election Moves One Step Closer

alcohol salesTYLER — An alcohol vote for Smith County Justice Precinct 1 is inching nearer. A petition with 2,206 verified voter signatures was recently turned in to the Smith County Elections Office, according to Elections Administrator Karen Nelson. A total of 1,835 were needed for consideration. KETK reports the petition will now go before the Commissioner’s Court on March 19. If the court approves, voters will decide in November if the sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption will be allowed in portions of the precinct that lie outside the Tyler city limits. Smith County Justice Precinct 2 and the City of Tyler passed similar measures in November 2012.

Trial Date Set for Ex-Upshur County Commissioner, Son

thumb_Lady-JusticeGILMER — An April 30 trial date has been set in the case of former Upshur County Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree and his son, who each face multiple felony indictments stemming from an October incident in which they are accused of disarming a state game warden and holding him at gunpoint. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said after a Thursday morning hearing on the cases that jury selection is set for April 29. It has not been decided whether the two cases will go to trial simultaneously, but at least one trial will begin that day, he added.

Gohmert Votes Against Violence Against Women Act

thumb_louie-gohmert-3WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler has voted against the Violence Against Women Act, and he’s explaining why. In a statement, Gohmert says, “It is never acceptable to carry out acts of violence against women – or anyone for that matter. It violates existing laws in every U.S. state and territory. We should always defend and protect women from abuse and mistreatment. I have prosecuted and, later as a judge, personally sentenced violent abusers to prison for such heinous crimes. Violence against women is a critically important issue to me, and I also personally know the laws in our state of Texas protect women.

“The Violence Against Women Act was previously struck down by the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution and intruding on each State’s jurisdiction. This new Senate bill was seriously flawed also having Constitutional violations again. It will eventually be struck down. The bill also gave away far more money than even the President had requested. The House bill was better but still had very serious Constitutional flaws. Even though the name of the bill appealed to me on a very strong emotional basis, I still could not in good conscience vote for a bill that will again be found to violate the Constitution.

“Also the Speaker of the House had promised to return to regular order in the House so that bills would have legislative hearings, have wide open debate and have an open amendment process to provide complete transparency. That process more than likely would have provided a bill I could have voted for, but this bill was secretly negotiated and rushed to the floor for a vote. Additionally, granting Indian tribes special domestic violence jurisdiction over non-native Americans is blatantly violative of the Constitution.

“We know some of the groups helping battered women do wonderful, healing, helpful work. However, there is inadequate supervision of the money spent by the federal government in these matters causing some women’s advocacy groups, such as Eagle Forum, to state that this Act has a ‘billion-dollar-a-year price tag’ that is ‘spent by the radical feminists to pursue their ideology and goals.’ Shielding women from physical and mental abuse is of the utmost importance. However, this bill was not the answer while violating the Constitution.”

Schaefer Files Bill, Links Abortion to Economy

thumb_matt-schaeffer-1AUSTIN — State Representative Matt Schaefer of Tyler has filed House Bill 1413, which he says forces the state to take a hard look at how the practice of abortion affects the economy. Schaefer says House Bill 1413 is unique among pro-life bills in that it directs the State Demographer to investigate abortion trends and the socioeconomic impact of abortion on the state. One of the duties of the Office of the State Demographer is to inform the legislature of demographic and socioeconomic changes in the population. Schaefer says House Bill 1413 capitalizes on this mission.

“An economy grows due to an in increase in working age adults, or by increased productivity. Countries that have declining birthrates have economic difficulties. Abortion leads to fewer people who contribute to the economy, and that has a socioeconomic impact. It is time we tell that story in Texas,” Schaefer says.

According to information from Schaefer’s office, though the Department of State Health Services currently collects and reports the number of abortions in the state, no state agency conducts a socioeconomic analysis of the data. In 2010, the most recent year that data is available, DSHS reported a total of 77,592 abortions in Texas. According to Schaefer, “The state would be negligent not to assess the impact of such a large scale practice.”

Schaefer says his legislation has gained ground among pro-life conservatives, including co-authors Bryan Hughes of Mineola, and Charles Perry of Lubbock. Schaefer adds that Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, recognized the need for HB1413. Graham is quoted as saying, “Texas Right to Life, along with Representative Schaefer, recognizes the need for accurate statistical insight into the effect elective abortion has on Texas, including the economic and cultural impact.”

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