TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler has established a multidisciplinary research and education center to study and conserve biodiversity. According to a news release, the UT Tyler Center for Environment, Biodiversity and Conservation will work to find practical solutions to species’ declines and extinctions through collaborative partnerships. Biology professor and center director Dr. Neil Ford cites “the rapid loss of biodiversity both globally and locally,” prompting “an urgent need to investigate the causes of species extinction.” The center involves 19 UT Tyler faculty members from five departments and three colleges. The organisms being investigated include insects, snakes, freshwater fish and mussels, turtles, crayfish and plants that inhabit aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
GREGG COUNTY — One man has been arrested as Longview Police investigate the deaths of numerous dogs. Torian Dewayne Rodgers 26, of Longview, was arrested on an unrelated outstanding motion to revoke probation warrant. According to KETK, officers were called Tuesday to Maple Street on reports of multiple dead dogs. They found four dogs dead in the home’s back yard. Officers also found several dog houses with chains and an empty bag of dog food with mold growing inside the bag. Police also learned there could be more dogs at a location in Gregg County. Animal control officers, with the help of a Gregg County health officer, went to the location and discovered more dead dogs in various states of decay. According to Longview Public Information Officer Kristie Brian, the exact number is not known, but more than six were found. Rodgers was booked into to the Gregg County Jail. The case remains under investigation at this time.
GLADEWATER – A memorial service is planned on Saturday for a Gladewater man killed in an Upshur County plane crash. The service for Samuel Oliver Lucky, 73, will be Saturday afternoon at 1:00 at the North Loop Church of Christ in Gladewater. A private burial service will be held at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.… Read More
LONGVIEW – Candidates have started filing for the city elections in Longview. Longview residents in May will elect council members in District 5 and District 6. On the opening day for filing on Wednesday, two candidates stepped forward. The incumbent candidate for the Northwest District 5, David Wight, has filed for re-election. In Central District 6, dental hygienist Karen Maines filed for the post now held by Sidney Allen. The filing deadline is February 20th.
TYLER – An East Texas man, along with two from Louisiana, have been named in federal indictments returned in Tyler. Cory Carnell Mitchell, 27, of Tenaha, Texas; along with Gary Eugene Cutright, 21, and Quannell Newton, 35, both from Louisiana, have been indicted in a kidnapping conspiracy. The three count indictment, which was returned on Wednesday, charges the three men with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during a violent crime.… Read More
LONE STAR — United States Steel Corporation is planning nearly 700 layoffs at their plant in Lone Star. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, 679 people will be let go from their positions at US Steel Tubular Products with a projected layoff date of March 16, 2016. KETK reports the company is saying the layoffs are temporary due to lower oil prices and reduced drilling.
NACOGDOCHES — The Nacogdoches Police Department is investigating an incident in which a toddler was thrown from a vehicle. According to KETK, officers responded to a home in the 700 block of Harris Street around 7:00 Wednesday night. Witnesses reported seeing a 3-year-old child on the hood area of a vehicle and said the toddler was thrown from the car when it turned a corner. The mother of the victim was located and said the child was left at home with an adult. It was learned that a 12-year-old was allowed to drive a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle in the incident. Child Protective Services responded and the case is under investigation.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Authorities say a Tyler woman is dead after a car crash in New Mexico. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s officials say 50-year-old Carolyn Crossland was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday morning. Her husband suffered non-life threatening injuries. Herbert Crossland told investigators he was driving on a flat tire as he and his wife left the Route 66 Casino on Interstate 40. He was trying to make it to Albuquerque by going around 20 mph with flashers on. Sheriff’s deputies say a car driven by an Oklahoma man at the posted 75 mph speed limit struck the back end of the Crosslands’ vehicle. The man told deputies he couldn’t see the car in front of him because the sun was in his eyes. Authorities say no charges are being filed.
TYLER — Tyler school trustee Fritz Hager Jr. has filed for the post in the May 7th election. Hager, A Tyler pastor said he is running for two reasons. First, with six kids in Tyler schools, he feels his future is wrapped up with the Tyler school district. Second Hager says he believes public education is one of the most important public institutions we have. “It’s where 80 to 85% of all Texas children receive their education, and a better educated population serves the common good.” Hager becomes the third school trustee who wants to remain on the board. District 1 trustee Wade Washmon and District 3 trustee Jean Washington have filed to seek re-election.
TYLER – The Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas is alerting elderly and disabled residents to beware of unsolicited phone calls from unscrupulous people looking to obtain Medicare or Medicaid information. According to a news release, in the last few weeks, BBB has received numerous phone calls from residents reporting they got phone calls from individuals pretending to work for Medicare. Consumers report these individuals are asking to confirm Social Security, income and bank account information. BBB reminds consumers to be on the lookout for Medicare impostors.… Read More
TYLER – The East Texas State Fair walked away with six first place Awards of Distinction from the Texas Association of Fairs and Events. At the annual convention in San Antonio, The East Texas State Fair received awards for Best Website, Best TV Promotional, Best New Media Platform, Best Specialty Video, Best Program/Brochure/Flyer and Best Newsletter. Last year the fair celebrated its 100th anniversary. Attendance topped 260,000. This year’s fair will run from September 23rd through October 2nd.
TYLER — The revival of a community-wide collaboration to promote and address eye health was announced Wednesday by Greg Grubb, executive director of the Tyler-based human needs agency PATH. Grubb says the free service “Saving Sight” is back in business after going on hold last year due to a loss of funding. According to Grubb, Saving Sight offers much needed eye exams, screenings, reading and corrective glasses, and support for those with major vision loss who would otherwise go without care.… Read More
LINDALE – Alleged drug use by police dog killing suspect Michael Paul Koch is causing concern as the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and all area law enforcement agencies continue to search for him. Koch is considered armed and dangerous, and authorities say they’re concerned about his current frame of mind due to what they term his continued methamphetamine usage. If you have any information on this case or the whereabouts of Michael Koch, you are urged to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600 or Tyler-Smith County Crimestoppers at 903-597- CUFF (2833). If you have information that leads to the arrest of Michael Koch and you call Tyler-Smith County Crimestoppers, you can receive a reward of $1,000.… Read More
TYLER — In a repeat of the 2012 primary runoff, the GOP battle lines are drawn in the Smith County sheriff’s race. Challenger Chris Green is now calling out incumbent Larry Smith on fiscal responsibility, trust, transparency, and other issues. Using the slogan “Restore Trust,” Green says he will “restore the trust that you’re gonna…have a sheriff in me that’s gonna put the best people in the right positions to lead.” Smith tells KTBB he stands on his record and that Green’s campaign tactics are not surprising.
TYLER — Longtime property manager and owner Allen Bell, a charter member of Heart of Tyler, wins this year’s Brick Award — the downtown organization’s highest honor. It happened at Heart of TYler’s annual meeting, where incoming chair Brooke Droptini said a number of events will be key focuses in the coming year, along with downtown business development. Droptini also looked back at accomplishments of 2015, including the openings of the Fair Plaza Parking Garage and Jack Ryan’s Steak and Chophouse.
MARSHALL — One person is dead following a stabbing in Marshall. KETK reports that on Tuesday at approximately 1:56 a.m., officers responded to a Redwood Trail address and found Tyler Nankervis, 22, of Marshall, standing in the front yard. Officers located the victim, identified as Melinda Billingsley, 50, of Marshall, lying on the floor. Officers were able to make entry along with Marshall EMS. Billingsley was then taken to a local hospital to be treated for her injuries. Nankervis was booked into the Harrison County Jail for aggravated assault. Tuesday afternoon, the Marshall Police Department was notified by medical personnel that Billingsley had been pronounced dead at 10:56 a.m. Nankervis’s charge has now been upgraded to murder and he is currently being held in the Harrison County Jail.
TYLER – The president and CEO of the parent company which produces the East Texas State Fair and Academic Rodeo in Tyler has received a statewide award. John Sykes has been given the Hall of Fame/Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Association of Fairs and Events. He received the award at the group’s annual convention in San Antonio. Sykes said the award was a great honor and he very surprised to receive it.… Read More
TYLER — Four scientists at UT Health Northeast have been awarded a total of $2.1 million in competitive research grants. According to a news release, they are Vijay Rao, Ph.D; Krishna Vankayalapati, Ph.D.; Sreerama Shetty, Ph.D.; and Hong-Long Ji. Ph.D. Dr. Rao, professor of biochemistry in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, recently was awarded a $1.43 million, four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of the grant is to investigate how blood-clotting is activated in diseases such as heart attack and stroke.… Read More
TYLER — Three suspects have been taken into custody following a shooting in Tyler, and police say the three may be linked so some other cases. The shooting happened around 7:00 Monday night at On The Border restaurant at Broadway and Loop 323. Officers said a man was eating at the restaurant when he heard the alarm on his truck going off. As he went out to investigate, he was confronted by three suspects reportedly breaking into his vehicle. The suspects fired several shots while fleeing the scene. The victim was struck in the arm and taken to a local hospital.… Read More
TYLER – In the wake of last week’s announcement that Walmart is closing 154 U.S. stores, the company will be opening two new Walmart Neighborhood Markets in Tyler on Wednesday. One store is at 2151 Frankston Highway. The other is at 5976 Old Jacksonville Highway. Both stores will be open 24 hours a day. A news release from the company says both stores would have a full pharmacy, fuel station and free store pickup service. They will
employ up to 190 full and part time employees.
TYLER — The SPCA of East Texas needs more foster homes to take care of homeless puppies and dogs. That’s the word in a news release from the agency, which says the animals need to be rescued from living on the streets or in deplorable living conditions. Officials say the SPCA is currently a foster based adoption program and can only rescue animals as homes come available. Agency President Deborah Tittle-Dobbs says the colder weather has prompted a spike in calls to its hotline.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County officials said County Road 419, just south of Interstate 20, was closed to drivers Tuesday. Smith County Road and Bridge crews have been replacing the culvert that was washed out December 27th. The road had been half open to allow drivers to pass the trouble spot while crews waited for the delivery of pipe. Smith County Engineer Frank Davis said the culvert would be replaced Tuesday and was expected to reopen to traffic by sometime Tuesday night, though there was no immediate word on that from the county late Tuesday afternoon. Once the road is open, crews will start work on repairing the road’s surface so drivers are asked to continue to use caution while driving in this area.
TYLER — Smith County Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton and Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson will host a town hall meeting Tuesday to help community churches understand the new Open Carry Law, which went into effect January 1. According to a county news release, leaders of 75 churches in and around their precincts have been invited to the meeting. It’s set for 6 p.m. at the Smith County R.B. Hubbard Facility, “The Hub,” on E. Ferguson Street in downtown Tyler. Hampton and Jackson say they want to make sure church leaders and congregations know their rights when it comes to allowing or not allowing people to carry guns openly in churches in East Texas.… Read More
LUFKIN — Lufkin-area law enforcement officials are working to solve three open burglary cases that occurred near the end of 2015. Police said on the night of December 27, several masked burglars pried open a door to Massingill Meat Market on Highway 69 North. The thieves damaged the inside of the business before taking off with a safe, then abandoning it behind the building. The following night, Little Caesar’s Pizza and Renfro’s Packing were also burglarized for their safes, according to Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers.… Read More
TYLER — East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF) is currently accepting applications for the Peace Officers and Firefighters Scholarship. This $500 scholarship will be awarded to the child of an active duty peace officer or professional firefighter. Eligible students have until March 1 at 5:00 p.m. to submit their applications online.… Read More
GREGG COUNTY — Authorities have identified a suspect in a multi-county chase, and he’s also accused of a robbery. Law enforcement officials arrested Darrin Gerrard Brinkley, Jr., 25, of Kilgore, and charged him with evading arrest and robbery. He was booked into the Gregg County Jail and is being held on $75,000 bond. Authorities suspect Brinkley is also responsible for more robberies in the area. The Longview Police Department says at 2:05 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a robbery call on Estes Parkway. The alleged robber then reportedly led authorities on a pursuit from Longview to Smith County, where he crashed into a pond in rural area. Two people were taken into custody, but one person was released.
EAST TEXAS — A number of events occurred around East Texas in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, including activities in Tyler and Longview. Again in 2016, the Tyler Together Race Relations Forum sponsored Tyler’s city-wide community celebration honoring Dr. King, with hundreds turning out. This year’s theme was “Unity in Our Community.” The celebration kicked off with a short program on the downtown square, with participants gathering at 9am. The annual parade began at 9:30am from the square, heading south on Broadway to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. … Read More
LONGVIEW — Results from a final autopsy report have raised the final 2015 homicide tally in Longview to 15. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, the report shows Aaron Jacolby Morrow, 19, died as a result of blunt force injuries after falling out of a moving car in October and lists the manner of death as homicide. Morrow was attempting to leave the car from the front passenger door when another person inside the vehicle grabbed his clothing and drove forward, dragging Morrow, according to medical examiners. Morrow had deep cuts on his head, chest, abdomen and extremities, as well as skull fractures, rib fractures, fractures of the right hip joint, and other blunt force injuries.… Read More
Night work is scheduled for the Loop 323 West widening project in Tyler. Motorists are encouraged to use other routes to avoid delays from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday and Monday nights (January 17 and 18) as the contractor installs drainage pipes across Loop 323 at SH 31. Daytime work will continue with dirt work. Temporary detours remain in place on this project. Motorists are reminded to keep safety in mind and avoid trying to make left turns from the loop within this work zone. … Read More
TYLER – “Embracing Diverse Voices: 90 Years of African-American Art,” running Jan. 17-March 20, is the kickoff exhibit for the Tyler Museum of Art’s 45th anniversary. Admission is free to the exhibit, organized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. In a news release, museum officials say the display “explores the broad range of experience and artistic expression among American artists of African descent,” demonstrating “a wide range of stylistic approaches and viewpoints.” The exhibition includes works by Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Ernest C. Withers, and Kara Walker, plus Jacob Lawrence’s complete 22-piece Legend of John Brown series. Sponsors for the exhibition are Eleanor Cameron, the East Texas Chapter of The Links, Inc., and The A.W. Riter, Jr. Family Foundation.… Read More