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Category: Local News Archive

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A Pledge of “Justice for Kayla”

kayla4_1478092771068_12581164_ver1-0TYLER – Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham has pledged. “We will get justice for Kayla.” His comment came at a Tuesday news conference where law officers discussed the disappearance and death of Kayla Gomez Orozco. A relative, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, of Bullard, has been charged with capital murder. He is in the Smith County jail under a $10 million bond. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the suspect is in the country illegally. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

Marshall Police Continue to Probe Hit and Run with Critical Injuries

marshall-hit-and-run-10-7-16MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is continuing to investigate a hit-and-run crash that left one man with life-threatening injuries. On Monday at approximately 6:48 p.m., officers were called in reference to a vehicle hitting a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the crash. Upon arrival, first responders found an older male lying in the roadway at the intersection of East Houston and Hazelwood streets. The man, whose name is being withheld at this time, was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall with what are described as life-threatening injuries. As of Tuesday morning, the victim was listed in critical condition.… Read the rest of the article…

Joel Baker’s Resignation Becomes Official

joelbaker-1TYLER – Smith County Commissioners have accepted the resignation of County Judge Joel Baker. The action came at Tuesday’s commissioner’s court session. The commissioners then voted to have Nathaniel Moran permanently fill Baker’s position. He had been named acting County Judge in July. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced in September Baker had agreed to resign to resolve a pending commission investigation against him. Baker had been accused of violating the Open Meetings Act. He was also under investigation for allegations he was involved in explicit sexual behavior online while conducting government business.

Voter ID Info; What You Need

fullsizerenderSMITH COUNTY — Smith County voters who cannot obtain one of the seven approved forms of photo identification now have additional options at the polls. As provided by a court order, if a voter has a reasonable impediment to obtaining one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and providing one of various forms of supporting documentation. Supporting documentation can be an original, certified birth certificate, a valid voter registration certificate, a copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address.… Read the rest of the article…

Election Day Voting Locations

voting-computerEAST TEXAS — Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Election Day today. Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots at ANY of the 34 vote centers throughout the county. Those people who choose to vote at the downtown Tyler location, the R.B. Hubbard Center, at 304 E. Ferguson, can park in the Juror Parking Lot across the street from the facility. There will be no jury duty on Election Day. Parking meters around the immediate area are marked free during voting. Voters cast ballots at the polls in record numbers during the two weeks of early voting in Smith County. A reported 58,357 people voted October 24 through November 4. There were 50,567 people who cast ballots during early voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. There are 135,185 people registered to vote in Smith County. There were 102,626 registered voters in the 2012 General Election.… Read the rest of the article…

Jogger Fatally Struck by Vehicle

police-9JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville Police have identified a jogger who was struck and killed on Loop 456 Monday morning. Officers responded to an accident involving a vehicle and a jogger in the 1100 block of Loop 456 near Glenfawn Street around 6:45. Authorities identified the jogger as Arvel Dwayne Partain, 59, of Jacksonville. According to police, the driver, later identified as Colton Renfro, possibly fell asleep and drifted onto the shoulder, fatally hitting Partain. The Department of Public Safety is assisting in the investigation.

Bond Set for Suspect in Young Girl’s Death

gustavo-zavala-garciaBULLARD — Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, Bullard, who was being held on an immigration hold, has now been charged with capital murder and his bond set at $10 million. He has been charged in the death of Kayla Gomez Orozco, 10, Her body was found in a well near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. According to KETK, The suspect is Kayla’s cousin by marriage. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the man is in the country illegally and had been previously deported for a violent crime in 2014. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

Funeral Scheduled For Former Health System President Thompson

ray-thompsonTYLER – Funeral services will be held later this week for the former president of Tyler’s CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis Health System, Ray Thompson. Thompson, who was 69, died Saturday. No word on the cause of death. Thompson joined the hospital in October, 1981. He was instrumental in creating the hospital’s network of regional clinics, establishing an expansive emergency medicine program, and created one of the nation’s model sports medicine programs. He recently retired from his position as President of the healthcare system. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 5:00 till 7:00 at Stewart Family Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Friday morning at 11:00 at Tyler’s First Presbyterian Church.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Sentenced for Harrison County Murder

rodris-denard-websterMARSHALL – A Harrison County man will be serving a lengthy prison term after pleading guilty to murder. The murder trial of Rodris Webster, 27, of Elysian Fields had been scheduled for this week. But, last week, he pleaded guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend, Alicia Benefield, 19. Monday, Webster was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the slaying. In March 2014, Webster led investigators to teen’s body in a clay pit near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 31 and Elysian Fields Road in Marshall.

Couple of Area Burn Bans Lifted

burn-ban-liftedPALESTINE – Burn bans are being lifted in Anderson County.The county has lifted its burn ban. It is effective immediately. To coincide with the lifting of Anderson County’s burn ban, the City of Palestine will lift its burn ban effective Tuesday morning at 8:00. Residents will be allowed to burn if they obtain a permit at one of the three Palestine Fire Stations:
*Station 1, 611 Avenue A
*Station 2, 107 7th Street
*Station 3, 518 Benbrook

Record Voter Turnout Predicted

voting-computerTYLER – Polls will remain open through 7:00 this evening in the General Election that will probably see a record voter turnout. With the presidential race heading the ballot, over 58,000 persons voted early in Smith County. This is nearly 8,000 more than the early voting in the 2012 presidential election. Over 135,000 Smith County residents are register to vote. And while the focus has been on the presidential race, there are some local contests that have been drawing a lot of attention. Tyler Congressman Louie Gohmert’s bid for re-election is being challenged by two persons. Sheriff Larry Smith is being challenged by Gary Pinkerton and In the Precinct 4 Constable’s Race Josh Joplin, who narrowly defeated constable John Smith in the Republican primary, is going up against Democrat Larry Reddic.… Read the rest of the article…

Swearing In Ceremony for New Fire Chief

coble-swearing-inTYLER – Monday was the first day on the job for Tyler’s new fire chief, David Coble. Coble’s hiring was announced and ratified in late September. He took his oath of office Monday morning. Coble served as the executive assistant fire chief for Fort Worth for the past seven years and was the acting fire chief for most of 2015. He managed two of the department’s three divisions, including the Educational and Support Services division which includes the functions of training, EMS, supply, fire equipment services, fleet management, communications and emergency management. Coble succeeds Tim Johnson, a 35-year veteran of the City of Tyler Fire Department. He retired in April.

New ETCOG Officers Named

bob-tardiffKILGORE – The East Texas Council of Governments has elected new officers for the 2016-2017 year. Lindale’s Bob Tardiff is the new Chairman of the ETCOG Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Tardiff is a Lindale city council member, a position he has held since 2012. The ETCOG Executive Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors and is responsible for carrying out the policies, programs and services established by the board for the 14 county region. In addition to Councilman Tardiff as Chairman, the newly elected officers for the Executive Committee includes: 1st Vice Chairman, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt; 2nd Vice Chairman, Quitman Mayor J. R. Evans; 3rd Vice Chairman, Upshur County Commissioner Paula Gentry; and Secretary-Treasurer; Rusk Mayor Angela Raiborn.

TxDOT’s Weekly Roadwork Update

txdotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of Nov. 7. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues. Officials urge you to slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.

Smith County – Tyler Maintenance plans to resume edge repairs on FM 2010 between FM 14 and FM 16. Base repair work continues on FM 15 outside of Troup. Expect lane closures at both locations with flaggers providing traffic control. … Read the rest of the article…

Tyler’s New Fire Chief Officially on the Job

david-cobleTYLER – Monday’s the first day on the job for Tyler’s new fire chief, David Coble. Coble’s hiring was announced and ratified in late September. Coble served as the executive assistant fire chief for Fort Worth for the past seven years and was the acting fire chief for most of 2015. He managed two of the department’s three divisions, including the Educational and Support Services division which includes the functions of training, EMS, supply, fire equipment services, fleet management, communications and emergency management. Coble succeeds Tim Johnson, a 35-year veteran of the City of Tyler Fire Department. He retired in April.

Suspect in Death of Kayla Gomez Identified

azavalaBULLARD — A body found Saturday was confirmed to be that of a missing East Texas girl. The body of Kayla Gomez, 10, was found in a well near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. According to KETK, Kayla’s cousin by marriage, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, Bullard, is reportedly responsible for her death and has been taken into custody on an immigration hold. He has not been charged in the girl’s death. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the man is in the country illegally and had been previously deported for a violent crime in 2014. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Officer Fatally Shoots Motorist after Chase

police-lights-3GREGG COUNTY (AP) — Authorities say an East Texas police officer has fatally shot a motorist following a chase. Gladewater police did not immediately release the name of the driver who was shot and killed early Saturday by a police officer. Gregg County Justice of the Peace James Mathis says the incident began when the officer tried to pull a vehicle over for a traffic stop. Mathis says a chase ensued, then the driver stopped, got out of his vehicle and tried to flee. Mathis says the officer, whose name wasn’t immediately released, feared for his own safety and shot the driver, who had reached a field. A message left with Gladewater police wasn’t immediately returned Sunday. Texas Rangers are also investigating.

Three Suspects Arrested in Connection to Aggravated Robbery

documentfragment_6977840TYLER — Tyler Police have arrested three men in connection to an aggravated assault Saturday afternoon. Around 3:15, officers were dispatched to 2112 West Gentry after a 71-year-old man reported he had been attacked and robbed by two black men. Items, including cash, were reportedly taken from the victim. A witness told officers a third man was scene driving a green explorer, with the two suspects, on Houston and Charnwood. Officers located the explorer and attempted to question the men when they fled on foot. A short time later, Breshawn Cathey, 21 (pictured) and Kenjorian Walker, 18, were arrested a short time later. They were charged with aggravated robbery, possession of marijuana and evading arrest. A third suspect, Demetrice Watson, 19, was later arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. All three were booked into the Smith County Jail.

Identity of Woman Reportedly Killed By Daughter Released

kaylawheelerGREGG COUNTY — The results of an autopsy on a woman found dead in a Longview apartment have been released. According to authorities, Elizabeth Jane Wheeler, 52, was found dead Thursday morning after a report of a body at Hidden Hills Apartments on Gilmer Road. The report indicated Wheeler had stab wounds to the neck with a perforation of the jugular vein and carotid artery, muscles and larynx. Cause of death is listed as homicide. Toxicology results are pending. The victim’s daughter, Kayla Ann Wheeler, 28, (pictured) told investigators during an interview that she had killed her mother by stabbing her in the neck. She was booked into the Gregg County Jail on a charge or murder. Her bond was set at $150,000.

Body of Kayla Gomez Recovered

kayla4_1478092771068_12581164_ver1-0BULLARD — A body found earlier in the day has in fact been confirmed to be that of a missing East Texas girl. The body of Kayla Gomez, 10, was found in a well. According to KETK, Kayla’s uncle is responsible and has been taken into custody. Gomez went missing November 1st from Bullard First Assembly Church after being abducted from the lobby. Multiple state troopers and sheriff deputies have blocked off an area near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. Additional details are expected to be released Sunday. The FBI organized an official search party, including volunteers, to find Kayla Saturday. Cherokee County Crime Stoppers had raised the reward amount to $60,000. Kayla was a 4th grade student at Jack Elementary School.

TJC Student Arrested for Indecent Exposure

tjc-logo2TYLER — Tyler Junior College announced Friday the arrest of a student who allegedly exposed himself to a female victim at the Vaughn Library on October 28. KETK reports Fabian Sewell was taken into custody Friday morning by TJC Police and charged with indecent exposure. His bond was set at $40,000. Police say the investigation was aided by several factors: the victim’s immediate report to TJC Campus Police; surveillance cameras in place on campus that allowed TJC Campus Police to track the suspect to his vehicle; and a witness that recognized the individual after receiving the timely alert.… Read the rest of the article…

Officials: Man Drove Shooting Victim Around for Hours

stevenrosewell_1478269932759_12638452_ver1-0MT. PLEASANT — An East Texas man is behinds bars for allegedly shooting a woman he then reportedly drove around for several hours. KETK reports that on Thursday afternoon, Titus County Sheriff’s Deputies were contacted by Upshur County officials who were investigating a shooting in their county. Investigators were attempting to locate the suspected shooter, Steve Seth Rosewell, 30, of Cookville. Upshur County officials say Rosewell shot a female companion causing life-threatening injuries. Authorities say Rosewell then drove the victim around several hours before dumping her out in Longview near a hospital parking lot. … Read the rest of the article…

Jesus Sign Case Headed for Court

jesussign_1478263155242_12637251_ver1-0HAWKINS — The dispute over land along U.S. 80 in Hawkins where a controversial sign still sits is headed to a courtroom. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. “We’re standing for our constitutional rights and our deed,” Marie McDonald said. Her husband, Mark McDonald, is trustee of Jesus Christ Open Altar Church, which in September 2015 took control of property in Hawkins where a sign reading “Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins” greets motorists traveling into town. … Read the rest of the article…

Carlisle Footballer, Son of Henderson Fire Chief, Dead in Wreck

taylorchote_1478265205524_12637263_ver1-0PRICE — An East Texas high school is in mourning following the loss of one of their own. KETK reports standout Carlisle football player Taylor Chote was killed following a vehicle accident Thursday night — just a day before the Indians’ game against San Augustine. Taylor is also the son of Henderson Fire Chief Rusty Chote. Taylor played guard and defensive tackle for the Indians. The school district says counselors are available for anyone needing help dealing with the loss.

Mabry Honored at Reception

RodMabry_1456501457342_7213027_ver1.0TYLER — A reception was held Thursday evening for retiring UT Tyler President Rodney Mabry. The retirement is official next month. He’s been at the school for 18 years. Dr. Mabry shared his thoughts on retiring with KETK, saying, “I’m happiest with the total picture. I think we have launched a university that will be one of true substance.” After retiring, Mabry plans to focus on writing.

Early Voting Ends Today

voting-computerEAST TEXAS — Early voting across the state will wrap up today. There are five early voting locations in Tyler, Noonday, Whitehouse and Lindale, as well as a temporary branch location in Overton. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Voters have been casting ballots at the polls in record numbers during the two weeks of early voting in Smith County. A reported 52,414 people have voted since October 24, 2016. With one more day to go, that’s already more than the 50,567 people who cast ballots during early voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson is expecting a large turnout today, but Election Day will most likely be even busier.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Builder Charged with Theft

aepps2NACOGDOCHES — A Nacogdoches home builder has been taken into custody following an ongoing investigation by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office for theft. According to KETK, Richard Epps, 56, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a home owner in Etoile. Epps admitted he used the money on other construction projects and for personal use. Sheriff Office investigators have been able to verify that the homeowner has suffered a loss of nearly $175,000 to Epps who is operating a construction business by the name of 2 Bar E.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Involved in Smith County Standoff Indicted

Michael GreenleeTYLER – A man involved in a standoff in May has been indicted by the Smith County Grand Jury. It was announced Thursday that Michael Greenlee, 32, who had been charged with deadly conduct, was indicted last week. The standoff occurred on Hancock Drive just southeast of Tyler near the Trane plant. Greenlee is said to have gotten into a dispute with a construction worker and fired a shot into the ground. No one was hit. A negotiator contacted Greenlee and talked him out of his house.

Longview Repeat Offender Pleads Guilty

Federal Courthouse-ATYLER – A Longview man is facing a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty in Tyler federal court. Gerald Dwayne Templeton, 56, who has 3 prior felony drug trafficking convictions, pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, Templeton is facing a maximum punishment of 10 years in imprison and a $250,000.00 fine. Charges against a co-defendant are still pending. On March 1st, the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit served a search warrant at a Longview home where Templeton and Teresa Ann Bean were found. Besides recovering around 35 grams of cocaine, officers found items indicating drug trafficking and two shotguns, one of which had been “sawed off,” and multiple rounds of ammunition of various calibers.

Oprah Tips Her Hat to Tyler Bakery

logoTYLER — Oprah is out with her annual “Favorite Things” list, and it includes one East Texas company. The former talk show host says Janie’s Cakes, which is based in Tyler, has the best pound cake she has ever had. The bakery’s Katherine Crow says since the announcement was made, their phone has been ringing off the hook. Crow says, “Christmas, naturally, is our busiest time of the year — so at this point, we see that Christmas came early.” She says they’ve known for months — and keeping that secret was almost impossible.

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A Pledge of “Justice for Kayla”

Posted/updated on: November 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm

kayla4_1478092771068_12581164_ver1-0TYLER – Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham has pledged. “We will get justice for Kayla.” His comment came at a Tuesday news conference where law officers discussed the disappearance and death of Kayla Gomez Orozco. A relative, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, of Bullard, has been charged with capital murder. He is in the Smith County jail under a $10 million bond. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the suspect is in the country illegally. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

Marshall Police Continue to Probe Hit and Run with Critical Injuries

Posted/updated on: November 9, 2016 at 12:43 pm

marshall-hit-and-run-10-7-16MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is continuing to investigate a hit-and-run crash that left one man with life-threatening injuries. On Monday at approximately 6:48 p.m., officers were called in reference to a vehicle hitting a pedestrian and leaving the scene of the crash. Upon arrival, first responders found an older male lying in the roadway at the intersection of East Houston and Hazelwood streets. The man, whose name is being withheld at this time, was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Marshall with what are described as life-threatening injuries. As of Tuesday morning, the victim was listed in critical condition.… Read the rest of the article…

Joel Baker’s Resignation Becomes Official

Posted/updated on: November 9, 2016 at 10:57 am

joelbaker-1TYLER – Smith County Commissioners have accepted the resignation of County Judge Joel Baker. The action came at Tuesday’s commissioner’s court session. The commissioners then voted to have Nathaniel Moran permanently fill Baker’s position. He had been named acting County Judge in July. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct announced in September Baker had agreed to resign to resolve a pending commission investigation against him. Baker had been accused of violating the Open Meetings Act. He was also under investigation for allegations he was involved in explicit sexual behavior online while conducting government business.

Voter ID Info; What You Need

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 7:21 pm

fullsizerenderSMITH COUNTY — Smith County voters who cannot obtain one of the seven approved forms of photo identification now have additional options at the polls. As provided by a court order, if a voter has a reasonable impediment to obtaining one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, the voter may vote by signing a declaration at the polls explaining why the voter is unable to obtain one of the seven forms of approved photo ID, and providing one of various forms of supporting documentation. Supporting documentation can be an original, certified birth certificate, a valid voter registration certificate, a copy or original of one of the following: current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and an address.… Read the rest of the article…

Election Day Voting Locations

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 3:17 am

voting-computerEAST TEXAS — Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for Election Day today. Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots at ANY of the 34 vote centers throughout the county. Those people who choose to vote at the downtown Tyler location, the R.B. Hubbard Center, at 304 E. Ferguson, can park in the Juror Parking Lot across the street from the facility. There will be no jury duty on Election Day. Parking meters around the immediate area are marked free during voting. Voters cast ballots at the polls in record numbers during the two weeks of early voting in Smith County. A reported 58,357 people voted October 24 through November 4. There were 50,567 people who cast ballots during early voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. There are 135,185 people registered to vote in Smith County. There were 102,626 registered voters in the 2012 General Election.… Read the rest of the article…

Jogger Fatally Struck by Vehicle

Posted/updated on: November 9, 2016 at 10:19 am

police-9JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville Police have identified a jogger who was struck and killed on Loop 456 Monday morning. Officers responded to an accident involving a vehicle and a jogger in the 1100 block of Loop 456 near Glenfawn Street around 6:45. Authorities identified the jogger as Arvel Dwayne Partain, 59, of Jacksonville. According to police, the driver, later identified as Colton Renfro, possibly fell asleep and drifted onto the shoulder, fatally hitting Partain. The Department of Public Safety is assisting in the investigation.

Bond Set for Suspect in Young Girl’s Death

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 1:06 pm

gustavo-zavala-garciaBULLARD — Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, Bullard, who was being held on an immigration hold, has now been charged with capital murder and his bond set at $10 million. He has been charged in the death of Kayla Gomez Orozco, 10, Her body was found in a well near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. According to KETK, The suspect is Kayla’s cousin by marriage. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the man is in the country illegally and had been previously deported for a violent crime in 2014. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

Funeral Scheduled For Former Health System President Thompson

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 3:31 pm

ray-thompsonTYLER – Funeral services will be held later this week for the former president of Tyler’s CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Francis Health System, Ray Thompson. Thompson, who was 69, died Saturday. No word on the cause of death. Thompson joined the hospital in October, 1981. He was instrumental in creating the hospital’s network of regional clinics, establishing an expansive emergency medicine program, and created one of the nation’s model sports medicine programs. He recently retired from his position as President of the healthcare system. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 5:00 till 7:00 at Stewart Family Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Friday morning at 11:00 at Tyler’s First Presbyterian Church.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Sentenced for Harrison County Murder

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 2:55 pm

rodris-denard-websterMARSHALL – A Harrison County man will be serving a lengthy prison term after pleading guilty to murder. The murder trial of Rodris Webster, 27, of Elysian Fields had been scheduled for this week. But, last week, he pleaded guilty to the murder of his former girlfriend, Alicia Benefield, 19. Monday, Webster was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the slaying. In March 2014, Webster led investigators to teen’s body in a clay pit near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 31 and Elysian Fields Road in Marshall.

Couple of Area Burn Bans Lifted

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 2:20 pm

burn-ban-liftedPALESTINE – Burn bans are being lifted in Anderson County.The county has lifted its burn ban. It is effective immediately. To coincide with the lifting of Anderson County’s burn ban, the City of Palestine will lift its burn ban effective Tuesday morning at 8:00. Residents will be allowed to burn if they obtain a permit at one of the three Palestine Fire Stations:
*Station 1, 611 Avenue A
*Station 2, 107 7th Street
*Station 3, 518 Benbrook

Record Voter Turnout Predicted

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 7:21 pm

voting-computerTYLER – Polls will remain open through 7:00 this evening in the General Election that will probably see a record voter turnout. With the presidential race heading the ballot, over 58,000 persons voted early in Smith County. This is nearly 8,000 more than the early voting in the 2012 presidential election. Over 135,000 Smith County residents are register to vote. And while the focus has been on the presidential race, there are some local contests that have been drawing a lot of attention. Tyler Congressman Louie Gohmert’s bid for re-election is being challenged by two persons. Sheriff Larry Smith is being challenged by Gary Pinkerton and In the Precinct 4 Constable’s Race Josh Joplin, who narrowly defeated constable John Smith in the Republican primary, is going up against Democrat Larry Reddic.… Read the rest of the article…

Swearing In Ceremony for New Fire Chief

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 11:11 am

coble-swearing-inTYLER – Monday was the first day on the job for Tyler’s new fire chief, David Coble. Coble’s hiring was announced and ratified in late September. He took his oath of office Monday morning. Coble served as the executive assistant fire chief for Fort Worth for the past seven years and was the acting fire chief for most of 2015. He managed two of the department’s three divisions, including the Educational and Support Services division which includes the functions of training, EMS, supply, fire equipment services, fleet management, communications and emergency management. Coble succeeds Tim Johnson, a 35-year veteran of the City of Tyler Fire Department. He retired in April.

New ETCOG Officers Named

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 11:12 am

bob-tardiffKILGORE – The East Texas Council of Governments has elected new officers for the 2016-2017 year. Lindale’s Bob Tardiff is the new Chairman of the ETCOG Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Tardiff is a Lindale city council member, a position he has held since 2012. The ETCOG Executive Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors and is responsible for carrying out the policies, programs and services established by the board for the 14 county region. In addition to Councilman Tardiff as Chairman, the newly elected officers for the Executive Committee includes: 1st Vice Chairman, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt; 2nd Vice Chairman, Quitman Mayor J. R. Evans; 3rd Vice Chairman, Upshur County Commissioner Paula Gentry; and Secretary-Treasurer; Rusk Mayor Angela Raiborn.

TxDOT’s Weekly Roadwork Update

Posted/updated on: November 8, 2016 at 10:00 am

txdotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of Nov. 7. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues. Officials urge you to slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.

Smith County – Tyler Maintenance plans to resume edge repairs on FM 2010 between FM 14 and FM 16. Base repair work continues on FM 15 outside of Troup. Expect lane closures at both locations with flaggers providing traffic control. … Read the rest of the article…

Tyler’s New Fire Chief Officially on the Job

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 12:43 pm

david-cobleTYLER – Monday’s the first day on the job for Tyler’s new fire chief, David Coble. Coble’s hiring was announced and ratified in late September. Coble served as the executive assistant fire chief for Fort Worth for the past seven years and was the acting fire chief for most of 2015. He managed two of the department’s three divisions, including the Educational and Support Services division which includes the functions of training, EMS, supply, fire equipment services, fleet management, communications and emergency management. Coble succeeds Tim Johnson, a 35-year veteran of the City of Tyler Fire Department. He retired in April.

Suspect in Death of Kayla Gomez Identified

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm

azavalaBULLARD — A body found Saturday was confirmed to be that of a missing East Texas girl. The body of Kayla Gomez, 10, was found in a well near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. According to KETK, Kayla’s cousin by marriage, Gustavo Zavala-Garcia, 24, Bullard, is reportedly responsible for her death and has been taken into custody on an immigration hold. He has not been charged in the girl’s death. A motive in the homicide has not been released. According to a law enforcement source, the man is in the country illegally and had been previously deported for a violent crime in 2014. Judicial records show Zavala-Garcia was arrested for assault causing bodily injury twice in 2014.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Officer Fatally Shoots Motorist after Chase

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 12:11 pm

police-lights-3GREGG COUNTY (AP) — Authorities say an East Texas police officer has fatally shot a motorist following a chase. Gladewater police did not immediately release the name of the driver who was shot and killed early Saturday by a police officer. Gregg County Justice of the Peace James Mathis says the incident began when the officer tried to pull a vehicle over for a traffic stop. Mathis says a chase ensued, then the driver stopped, got out of his vehicle and tried to flee. Mathis says the officer, whose name wasn’t immediately released, feared for his own safety and shot the driver, who had reached a field. A message left with Gladewater police wasn’t immediately returned Sunday. Texas Rangers are also investigating.

Three Suspects Arrested in Connection to Aggravated Robbery

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 12:10 pm

documentfragment_6977840TYLER — Tyler Police have arrested three men in connection to an aggravated assault Saturday afternoon. Around 3:15, officers were dispatched to 2112 West Gentry after a 71-year-old man reported he had been attacked and robbed by two black men. Items, including cash, were reportedly taken from the victim. A witness told officers a third man was scene driving a green explorer, with the two suspects, on Houston and Charnwood. Officers located the explorer and attempted to question the men when they fled on foot. A short time later, Breshawn Cathey, 21 (pictured) and Kenjorian Walker, 18, were arrested a short time later. They were charged with aggravated robbery, possession of marijuana and evading arrest. A third suspect, Demetrice Watson, 19, was later arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. All three were booked into the Smith County Jail.

Identity of Woman Reportedly Killed By Daughter Released

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 10:34 am

kaylawheelerGREGG COUNTY — The results of an autopsy on a woman found dead in a Longview apartment have been released. According to authorities, Elizabeth Jane Wheeler, 52, was found dead Thursday morning after a report of a body at Hidden Hills Apartments on Gilmer Road. The report indicated Wheeler had stab wounds to the neck with a perforation of the jugular vein and carotid artery, muscles and larynx. Cause of death is listed as homicide. Toxicology results are pending. The victim’s daughter, Kayla Ann Wheeler, 28, (pictured) told investigators during an interview that she had killed her mother by stabbing her in the neck. She was booked into the Gregg County Jail on a charge or murder. Her bond was set at $150,000.

Body of Kayla Gomez Recovered

Posted/updated on: November 6, 2016 at 6:51 am

kayla4_1478092771068_12581164_ver1-0BULLARD — A body found earlier in the day has in fact been confirmed to be that of a missing East Texas girl. The body of Kayla Gomez, 10, was found in a well. According to KETK, Kayla’s uncle is responsible and has been taken into custody. Gomez went missing November 1st from Bullard First Assembly Church after being abducted from the lobby. Multiple state troopers and sheriff deputies have blocked off an area near 22131 Old Jacksonville Highway. Additional details are expected to be released Sunday. The FBI organized an official search party, including volunteers, to find Kayla Saturday. Cherokee County Crime Stoppers had raised the reward amount to $60,000. Kayla was a 4th grade student at Jack Elementary School.

TJC Student Arrested for Indecent Exposure

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 10:14 am

tjc-logo2TYLER — Tyler Junior College announced Friday the arrest of a student who allegedly exposed himself to a female victim at the Vaughn Library on October 28. KETK reports Fabian Sewell was taken into custody Friday morning by TJC Police and charged with indecent exposure. His bond was set at $40,000. Police say the investigation was aided by several factors: the victim’s immediate report to TJC Campus Police; surveillance cameras in place on campus that allowed TJC Campus Police to track the suspect to his vehicle; and a witness that recognized the individual after receiving the timely alert.… Read the rest of the article…

Officials: Man Drove Shooting Victim Around for Hours

Posted/updated on: November 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

stevenrosewell_1478269932759_12638452_ver1-0MT. PLEASANT — An East Texas man is behinds bars for allegedly shooting a woman he then reportedly drove around for several hours. KETK reports that on Thursday afternoon, Titus County Sheriff’s Deputies were contacted by Upshur County officials who were investigating a shooting in their county. Investigators were attempting to locate the suspected shooter, Steve Seth Rosewell, 30, of Cookville. Upshur County officials say Rosewell shot a female companion causing life-threatening injuries. Authorities say Rosewell then drove the victim around several hours before dumping her out in Longview near a hospital parking lot. … Read the rest of the article…

Jesus Sign Case Headed for Court

Posted/updated on: November 7, 2016 at 10:15 am

jesussign_1478263155242_12637251_ver1-0HAWKINS — The dispute over land along U.S. 80 in Hawkins where a controversial sign still sits is headed to a courtroom. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. “We’re standing for our constitutional rights and our deed,” Marie McDonald said. Her husband, Mark McDonald, is trustee of Jesus Christ Open Altar Church, which in September 2015 took control of property in Hawkins where a sign reading “Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins” greets motorists traveling into town. … Read the rest of the article…

Carlisle Footballer, Son of Henderson Fire Chief, Dead in Wreck

Posted/updated on: November 6, 2016 at 6:55 am

taylorchote_1478265205524_12637263_ver1-0PRICE — An East Texas high school is in mourning following the loss of one of their own. KETK reports standout Carlisle football player Taylor Chote was killed following a vehicle accident Thursday night — just a day before the Indians’ game against San Augustine. Taylor is also the son of Henderson Fire Chief Rusty Chote. Taylor played guard and defensive tackle for the Indians. The school district says counselors are available for anyone needing help dealing with the loss.

Mabry Honored at Reception

Posted/updated on: November 6, 2016 at 6:55 am

RodMabry_1456501457342_7213027_ver1.0TYLER — A reception was held Thursday evening for retiring UT Tyler President Rodney Mabry. The retirement is official next month. He’s been at the school for 18 years. Dr. Mabry shared his thoughts on retiring with KETK, saying, “I’m happiest with the total picture. I think we have launched a university that will be one of true substance.” After retiring, Mabry plans to focus on writing.

Early Voting Ends Today

Posted/updated on: November 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm

voting-computerEAST TEXAS — Early voting across the state will wrap up today. There are five early voting locations in Tyler, Noonday, Whitehouse and Lindale, as well as a temporary branch location in Overton. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. Voters have been casting ballots at the polls in record numbers during the two weeks of early voting in Smith County. A reported 52,414 people have voted since October 24, 2016. With one more day to go, that’s already more than the 50,567 people who cast ballots during early voting in the 2012 Presidential Election. Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson is expecting a large turnout today, but Election Day will most likely be even busier.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Builder Charged with Theft

Posted/updated on: November 6, 2016 at 6:55 am

aepps2NACOGDOCHES — A Nacogdoches home builder has been taken into custody following an ongoing investigation by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office for theft. According to KETK, Richard Epps, 56, is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a home owner in Etoile. Epps admitted he used the money on other construction projects and for personal use. Sheriff Office investigators have been able to verify that the homeowner has suffered a loss of nearly $175,000 to Epps who is operating a construction business by the name of 2 Bar E.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Involved in Smith County Standoff Indicted

Posted/updated on: November 4, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Michael GreenleeTYLER – A man involved in a standoff in May has been indicted by the Smith County Grand Jury. It was announced Thursday that Michael Greenlee, 32, who had been charged with deadly conduct, was indicted last week. The standoff occurred on Hancock Drive just southeast of Tyler near the Trane plant. Greenlee is said to have gotten into a dispute with a construction worker and fired a shot into the ground. No one was hit. A negotiator contacted Greenlee and talked him out of his house.

Longview Repeat Offender Pleads Guilty

Posted/updated on: November 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm

Federal Courthouse-ATYLER – A Longview man is facing a lengthy prison sentence after pleading guilty in Tyler federal court. Gerald Dwayne Templeton, 56, who has 3 prior felony drug trafficking convictions, pleaded guilty to felon in possession of a firearm. At sentencing, Templeton is facing a maximum punishment of 10 years in imprison and a $250,000.00 fine. Charges against a co-defendant are still pending. On March 1st, the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit served a search warrant at a Longview home where Templeton and Teresa Ann Bean were found. Besides recovering around 35 grams of cocaine, officers found items indicating drug trafficking and two shotguns, one of which had been “sawed off,” and multiple rounds of ammunition of various calibers.

Oprah Tips Her Hat to Tyler Bakery

Posted/updated on: November 4, 2016 at 5:50 pm

logoTYLER — Oprah is out with her annual “Favorite Things” list, and it includes one East Texas company. The former talk show host says Janie’s Cakes, which is based in Tyler, has the best pound cake she has ever had. The bakery’s Katherine Crow says since the announcement was made, their phone has been ringing off the hook. Crow says, “Christmas, naturally, is our busiest time of the year — so at this point, we see that Christmas came early.” She says they’ve known for months — and keeping that secret was almost impossible.

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