PALESTINE – The city of Palestine will start a mosquito spraying program on Wednesday. Spraying will start at 9:00pm in the approximate boundary areas of Kenny Drive to the north, Gardner Drive and Peachtree Drive east to the city limits, Palestine Avenue and North Loop 256 to the south, and Old Brushy Creek Road to the west. It will continue through the night. Other areas throughout the city are planned for the coming days and weeks.… Read More
NACOGDOCHES – A Nacogdoches County teen has died in a weekend house fire. The fire was reported around 4:00 Sunday morning on County Road 521, south of Nacogdoches. Killed was Jose Alexis Hernandez, 18. Sheriff’s deputies tried to get into the trailer, but couldn’t because of the heat and smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the victim’s body was found in a bedroom near the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen from a stovetop that had been left on overnight. An autopsy has been ordered.
LONGVIEW — U.S. Attorney John Bales announced the indictment of 17 suspects, including 16 from Longview, in a federal firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy in Gregg County. The suspects, named in three separate indictments, are alleged to be involved in a conspiracy by either members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood and criminal street gangs. The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine from at least January 2014. Many defendants are also charged with firearms violations such as being felons in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.… Read More
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are looking for two inmates, including one from Longview, who escaped from a van heading to Tallahassee. Walton County Sheriff’s officials say they were notified by a private company that transports prisoners that 30-year-old Michael Andrew Rotunno and 31-year-old James Thomas Banks escaped early Monday. Rotunno was being transported from Longview. The van had stopped at the Walton County Jail in the Florida Panhandle. Sheriff’s officials are assisting in the search. Local school districts also have been notified of the escape. Rotunno is charged with larceny in a building and delivering and manufacturing narcotics. Banks faces charges of unarmed robbery and escaping from jail. A Walton County Sheriff’s news release says the inmates were on their way to a facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Banks was on his way from Orange County, California.
TYLER — Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle has announced his retirement. According to a news release, after 33 years of service, Swindle will retire in June. He started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a a patrol officer, eventually advancing through the ranks as investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and finally, as chief of police in 2000. Chief Swindle is responsible for the operations of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the liaison for the Health Department.… Read More
TYLER (AP) – Police say the wife of an East Texas constable has been charged after her husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were injured in a shooting during a family disturbance. Tyler police said Sunday that 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She was jailed on $500,000 bond Sunday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Police say the Saturday shooting was the result of a disturbance between the woman and her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson. Police say she shot him in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson and the girl were taken to the hospital. He was in fair condition Sunday. She’s been released. Police haven’t said what caused the disturbance.
TYLER – Investigators have arrested two more suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery were Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Bond was set at $500,000 for each man. According to police, the two loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart and pointed a gun an an employee while taking the TVs from the store. The alleged driver of the getaway car, 25-year-old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.
TYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of April 4. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues.
The contractor plans to close Bellwood Road on the Loop 323 West Widening Project in Tyler starting Monday and keeping the closure in place for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, motorists should remain alert as night work continues starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday to place hot mix in the southbound lanes. Daytime work continues as well. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible to avoid delays. Get more information about this project in the Smith County portion of this story. … Read More
TYLER — Citing a backlog totaling over $600,000, the Tyler Public Library has implemented a new policy on overdue books. The City Council recently authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with Unique Management Services, Inc. to aid in the collection of fines and fees owed to the library. Officials say $640,228.10 is currently owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back fourteen years. … Read More
DALLAS – Tyler Junior College communications and media students took the sweepstakes awards for newspaper and online during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) annual conference March 31-April 2. According to a press release, TIPA is the oldest collegiate media organization in the country. It consists of 77 public and private two-year colleges and four-year universities in Texas that teach journalism or have existing or planned student publications. TJC students placed in an array of categories including design and layout, news and feature writing, photography, and online breaking news package. Laura Krantz is TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media and TIPA president. Krantz says says her students showed TJC is preparing them with tools for success “in an ever-changing news business.”
PALESTINE – Palestine police are investigating a shooting reported early Saturday morning. Police say at 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a home on West Carolina Street near the Del Mar Street intersection on a report of gunshots in the area. They found a victim who had been struck after several bullets were fired by an unknown suspect from outside the residence through the wall of the victim’s bedroom. The victim, whose identity is not being released, was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment. The full extent of his injuries is unknown at this time, according to police. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Mark Harcrow at 903-731-8422. Information can also be submitted anonymously by texting PALPD, then the tip, to 847411.
HENDERSON — One person is in custody after authorities say he stole a Rusk County patrol car and led them on a chase early Friday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says shortly after midnight, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a tail light out as it headed south on Highway 259. The driver was identified as a man from the Houston area. During the stop, officials say the driver was able to get into a patrol vehicle and leave the scene. They report he headed south with another patrol vehicle in pursuit.… Read More
LONGVIEW — A Gladewater man’s murder case will now go to trial after a Gregg County grand jury indicted him on Friday. According to KETK, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office says Casey Lansdale, 41, is accused of murdering his parents in January. The bodies of Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, were discovered during a welfare check by police. After interviewing the suspect, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He was booked into jail on $1 million bond. Judicial records showed Casey had a history of family violence.
TYLER – Investigators have learned the names of two suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery are Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Along with the arrest warrants each had a bond set at $500,000. The two are said to be the suspects who loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart. And as they took the TVs from the store, pointed a gun an an employee. The driver of the getaway car, 25 year old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.
NACOGDOCHES The body of a missing Nacogdoches County man has been found. We reported Thursday authorities were searching for 61 year old Alan David Schwiem of Douglass. He was last seen shortly before 6:00 Tuesday evening when he went to the Dollar Store in Alto. Sheriff Jason Bridges says Thursday evening around 7:00, a farmer cutting hay saw the top of a pickup in a deep creek of State Highway 21 west of Douglass. Authorities say The creek is very deep and had shrubbery around it, making it impossible to see from the roadway. It looks as if Schwiem was returning from the store when he drove off into the creek in Cherokee County.
PALESTINE – The victim of a fatal Palestine accident Thursday afternoon has been identified. She is 72 year old Bonita Salter of Palestine. She made a left turn with an unprotected green traffic light and was hit by a pickup driven by 61 year old Geronimo Avila, of Houston. Availa and his passenger were uninjured. The driver of a third vehicle involved in the accident was hurt. 66 year old Mirilyn Allen of Palestine is being treated at Palestine Regional Medical Center. The wreck occurred at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Loop 256.
MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in tracking down a kidnapping suspect. He is 30 year old Antonyo Danta Rivers. In May of last year, Rivers is said to have held a person at gunpoint and forced them to drive him to a location in Marshall. Once the victim was able to get away, they called police. They have been unable to locate him and feel he could be in in the Dallas or Houston Areas. Rivers is described as 5’11, 135 pounds with a thin build. He has black hair and brown eyes and a music symbol tattooed on the left side of his face.… Read More
TYLER – Tyler Fire Chief Tim Johnson is planning to retire. He has announced he will retire April 27th, after serving as the Tyler Fire Chief for over 5 years. Johnson promoted through the ranks of firefighter, driver, captain and district chief before being appointed to the position of Fire Chief in January 2011. During her 35 years of service with the City of Tyler, Chief Johnson has seen a lot of growth. He has also partnered with TJC to establish the Tyler Junior College Fire Academy and helped establish the Tyler Fire Foundation. Also under Johnson’s leadership, the City of Tyler Fire Department obtained grant funding to procure a regional communications trailer, as well as an emergency response trailer, assets that benefit the entire State of Texas.… Read More
WACO (AP/Staff) — Baylor University is offering a brief response to a lawsuit against the school involving a Mt. Pleasant High School graduate and former football player convicted of rape. The litigation claims the university’s alleged lack of action violated Title IX. Our news partner KETK obtained a statement from Baylor that reads, “We encourage students to come forward and we have a fully staffed Title IX office that receives and resolves those reports. The university will respond to the lawsuit in an appropriate manner after it has had the opportunity to review the complaint.”… Read More
HENDERSON (AP/Staff) – Jury selection is underway in the sentencing trial of an East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior he befriended in the town of Carthage. Tiede was given life in prison, but allowed to go free temporarily after his original prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a lesser prison sentence. The proceedings leading to his release began thanks to publicity from the movie “Bernie” – in which Jack Black plays Tiede and Shirley MacLaine portrays the widow, Marjorie Nugent. But at a new punishment trial, jurors could decide to send him back to prison. The trial is expected to start next week.
TYLER – Two more suspects have been identified in connection with a high speed chase in Smith County. During the chase on March 21st, shots were fired at pursuing sheriff’s deputies. No one was injured. The driver of the vehicle, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was arrested following surveillance at Tyler’s Residence Inn. He was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.… Read More
NACOGDOCHES – The Nacogdoches County sheriff’s department is looking for two missing persons in separate cases. According to a news release, both persons could be in danger because of physical and mental health issues. They are identified as Alan David Schwiem, 61, and Noemi Sanchez,33. Schwiem was last seen on Tuesday and Sanchez was last seen March 10th.… Read More
LONGVIEW – The Longview Chamber of Commerce has a new Business/Membership Director. He is Dave Jochum whose primary duties will include overseeing membership development and membership services. He joins the Longview Chamber April 1st. Jochum is a graduate of the Chamber’s Leadership Longview class and has served as volunteer with the Chamber program. He is a founding partner and certified coach, trainer, and speaker with The John Maxwell Team. Prior to joining the Longview Chamber of Commerce team he served as Associate Pastor for Education at Oakland Heights Baptist Church in Longview.
WHITE OAK – A fight among to Gregg County has resulted in one being injured and one arrested. The fight between two 15 year old boys occurred around 4:00 Monday afternoon in the area of Center and Stewart Streets. The White Oak Police Department tells our news partner KETK one of the boys was stabbed in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released. The other boys was taken to the Gregg County Juvenile Detention Center.
KILGORE – The help wanted sign is out at the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Bureau. Tourism Manager Lexi Bass has resigned, effective April 1st. She has accepted the position of Director of Sales at the Holiday Inn Express North in Longview. Chamber president Cindy Morris said had helped them build the Visit Kilgore program to a new level and she will be greatly missed. The process for hiring a new tourism manager has not been finalized at this time. However, planning is underway and the job posting should be completed by the first of next week.
EAST TEXAS (Staff/AP) — Administrators in East Texas are among those trying to determine whether some students taking an online standardized test lost answers in a computer glitch. KETK reports Tyler, Longview, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches are just some of the districts that experienced problems during the online portion of the STAAR test Tuesday. Representatives with Tyler ISD say they experienced just a simple backlogging issue but that tech officials were able to work through it.… Read More
TYLER — Good grades can soon mean more money for students living on campus at Tyler Junior College. According to KETK, residential Life and Housing is rolling out a new trial program to reward students with a GPA of 2.0 or better. They will multiply the GPA by $100, giving students the chance to get up to $400 for a 4.0 GPA. Many students are excited for the opportunity. Some say it will also encourage good behavior. Others think it should not be limited to residential students. The program is launching as a trial phase and will work with students who have already paid tuition to also get them credit.
TYLER — Tyler residents should be aware that there have been reports of a scam in which the caller uses the Tyler Public Library’s name in making a sales pitch. If a citizen receives a call to purchase advertising and references the Library, officials say you should not share any personal, financial, or other sensitive information. The Library is not associated with any company to promote its business in this manner, according to a city news release. Should you receive a call like this, you’re asked to alert the Tyler Police Department immediately at (903) 531-1000.
MARSHALL -The Marshall Police Department is investigating a theft that occurred at Texas State Optical on March 23rd. Four women entered the store and took about $1,200 worth of merchandise. They left in a 2004-2007 beige or gold Chevrolet Malibu. You can go to https://youtu.be/-XTOf3Yveyg and check out the suspects. If you can identify any of them, please contact MPD at 903-935-4575 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Marshall/Harrison County Crimestoppers at 903-935-9969.