Category: Local News Archive

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Accused Killer James Calvert Has Pretrial Hearing

TYLER — James Calvert was back in a Smith County courtroom Thursday for a pretrial hearing. KETK reports the 42-year-old is accused of killing his ex-wife in 2012. She was found shot dead in a house off Bain in Tyler. Police say Calvert then took off with their son to Louisiana. Law officers caught up with him there and made the arrest. Calvert is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, and evading arrest.

Christie’s to Auction Van Cliburn Estate Items

FORT WORTH (AP/Staff) — Hundreds of items from the estate of the celebrated Kilgore-raised pianist Van Cliburn are scheduled to go up for auction next month. The New York auction house Christie’s has scheduled a March 4-5 auction of the Van Cliburn collection. The items were left behind in Cliburn’s Fort Worth-area mansion when he died a year ago this month. It’ll be the second auction of items from the Cliburn collection. Bidders bid more than $ million for 166 lots of antiques, jewelry and other items in May 2012. Among the items available in this latest bidding is a 144-year-old piano bought by Cliburn’s mother, Rildia Bee O’Bryan Cliburn, in the 1940s and given to her son.

Charges to Be Filed against Toll 49 Scofflaws

thumb_loop-49TYLER — Drivers who have used Toll 49 without paying may find themselves in court soon. Beginning this month, the Smith County district attorney’s office will initiate legal proceedings against vehicle owners who have repeatedly ignored requests for payment, according to a news release from the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority. “The vast majority of our customers pay for their use of Toll 49,” says Everett Owen, Interim Executive Director of the NET RMA. “Those customers who pay their fair share expect that we are enforcing the law.” Read the rest of this entry »

New CNG Solid Waste Trucks

TYLER — Tyler residents may have noticed some new solid waste trucks on the streets. According to city staff, they not only have a new paint job, but also make an impact on the city’s budget and air quality as they are fueled by compressed natural gas. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Joins Warrant Roundup

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — The Longview Police Department will be participating in the Texas Warrant Roundup. During the 2013 roundup there were 197 arrests made, and 1,945 warrants cleared. If you have warrants, police encourage you to pay your fines now so you won’t get caught in the statewide warrant roundup that begins March 1st. You can go online at to pay your fine or settle up by phone at 1-800-444-1187. You can also pay in person at the Municipal Court Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The court is located inside the Longview Police Department, at 302 W. Cotton St.

Man Sentenced for Punching Officer

pilandmugHENDERSON — An East Texas man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for assaulting a public servant. KETK reports that a Rusk County jury Thursday sentenced James Earl Piland, 40, after he struck an officer who was responding to a domestic disturbance call. On April 21, 2013, Officers Brad Loden and Marilyn Wilson with the Overton Police Department were investigating the disturbance. When they questioned Piland, officers say there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from him, and then Piland punched Officer Loden in the collarbone. The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Wednesday before returning a guilty verdict. Officials say Piland’s sentence was partially due to prior convictions of DWI and unauthorized use of a car.

Paxton Makes His Case for Attorney General

TYLER — McKinney-based State Senator Ken Paxton checked in Thursday with KTBB on his run for state attorney general in the March 4 GOP primary. Paxton says his platform relates to defending the state against federal intrusion as outlined in the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “I think that’s become a critical role for the attorney general in this state,” said Paxton during a phone interview. “If we don’t push back on our 10th Amendment rights, the federal government will completely intrude, both economically and politically, into the state.” Paxton says a prime example of this has been his fight against Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »

Lake Yields No Evidence in Kaufman County Deaths

Eric WilliamsDALLAS (AP/Staff) – A search of a North Texas lake did not find weapons or evidence linked to the killings of the Kaufman County district attorney, his wife, and an assistant D.A. A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that a dive team came up empty in a search of Lake Tawakoni, east of Dallas. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Authorities were acting on a tip in the deaths last year of District Attorney Mike McLelland, his wife Cynthia, and prosecutor Mark Hasse. Ex-Justice of the Peace Eric Williams (pictured) and his wife Kim are charged with capital murder. Spokesmen for state and local authorities confirmed a search on Wednesday but declined to elaborate.

Tyler Joins Statewide Warrant Sweep

thumb_TylerMunicipalCourt-frontTYLER — From Saturday, March 1, through March 31, Tyler will be participating in a statewide warrant sweep. Agencies will work together during this time to make arrests and collect fines for outstanding warrants. More than 250 agencies are participating in this statewide round-up. Tyler Municipal Court offers extended hours during the sweep, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Any persons with warrants for their arrest are encouraged to contact their local court to pay the warrants before an arrest is made. In Tyler, you can pay online at or at the physical Court located at 813 N. Broadway. Also, you may call the court for more information at (903) 531-1266.

New Energy Center on the Way to TJC

thumb_tjc-logoTYLER — Tyler Junior College breaks ground on its new energy center. KETK reports the Wednesday ceremony ushers in a 51,000-square-foot facility set to open in the fall of 2015. Recent reports cite jobs in the energy sector as plentiful these days, with most grads getting jobs straight out of college. Many of those have benefits and only require a two-year degree. The price tag for the new facility was roughly $7 million.

TJC to Host DA, District Court Candidates’ Debate Tonight

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — The Tyler Junior College Criminal Justice Students Association will host a debate for candidates in the upcoming elections for District Attorney and 321st District Court Judge in Smith County. The debate will be held at 7 p.m. tonight in the Apache Rooms, located in Rogers Student Center on the TJC main campus. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in Lot S-4, located at the corner of Lake Street and Baxter Avenue. Candidates in both races have agreed to participate. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Man Sentenced to Prison for Arson

224254135840SMITH COUNTY –A Tyler man has been sentenced to prison following an arson conviction. Cantrell Sash, 30, was sentenced to 48 years after a jury found him guilty of setting fire to an apartment complex. It happened May 24th of last year, 701 Kennedy in Tyler. At the time of the fire, responding officials were notified of an altercation in the front of the building. Several men were struggling with a male subject, later identified as Sash. The group of men told officials that Sash had set the fire. Authorities said evidence gathered at the scene and through subsequent questioning showed that Sash had deliberately set the fire in his own apartment. Sash was arrested for arson of a habitation and was booked into the Smith County Jail. No injuries were reported but the fire did cause extensive damage to the structure. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving 12 years.

Rusk County Joins in Warrant Roundp

HENDERSON — Like other jurisdictions around the state, Rusk County is conducting a warrant roundup — knocking on the doors of people who have outstanding warrants. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report that authorities in the county are willing to work with people who don’t have the funds to pay off their warrants. Officials say community service is one option. Doing library work or helping out at the county dump are just two possibilities.

Campaign Trail Brings Abbott to Tyler

abbottTYLER — Attorney General and leading GOP gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott makes a campaign stop at Tyler’s Loggins Restaurant. Abbott told KETK and a crowd of supporters, “The freedom I’m fighting for is something that was instilled in me, in part, right here in the Piney Woods of East Texas, where I grew up in Longview.” Abbott is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights — and an equally strong opponent of Obamacare. Abbott said, “Already I have filed thirty lawsuits against Barack Obama and his administration, and I am not done yet.” Abbott also characterized Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis as a flip-flopper who is not ready for office.

Officials Seek Missing Elderly Man

robert_searerQUITMAN — Wood County officials have put out an alert concerning a missing elderly man. KETK reports Robert Searer, a 77-year-old white male, was reported missing at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. Searer stands 5’9″ and weighs around 170 pounds. He has brown eyes, gray hair and wears glasses. He was wearing a light colored shirt and brown khaki pants. He is reported to have been driving a 1998 Dodge gray truck with Texas plate number BN4-5243. If you have information on Searer’s location, you’re asked to notify the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

Nebraska Law that Allowed Keystone XL Struck Down

thumb_Keystone-Pipeline-map2LINCOLN, Neb. (AP/Staff) – A judge has struck down a Nebraska law that allowed the Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed through the state. Lancaster County Judge Stephanie Stacy issued a ruling Wednesday that invalidated Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman’s approval of the route. Stacy says the decision should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities. The ruling could cause more delays in finishing the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. But it’s a win for Nebraska-based pipeline opponents. They’ve argued that Heineman exceeded his authority when he approved the route in January 2013. Oil began flowing last month through the southern leg of the pipeline, which passes through much of East Texas, including eastern Smith County.

Collin County Man Sentenced for Federal Firearms Violations

thumb_FederalCourthouseTYLER – A 52-year-old Farmersville man has been sentenced to federal prison for firearms violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales Wednesday. Charles Alan Curington pleaded guilty last Oct. 3 to attempting to sell a machine gun. Curington was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison on Feb. 18 by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider of Tyler. Read the rest of this entry »

Trimmed-Down Chapel Hill Bond Proposal on May Ballot

thumb_school-teacher-parentsCHAPEL HILL — Voters in the Chapel Hill school district will see a smaller bond option on their May ballots after voters said no to last November’s bond. KETK reports the district called for a $21 million bond at Monday night’s meeting. The bond focuses on increased security, enrollment issues, and increased academic opportunities for students. After the November bond failed, district officials sent out surveys to find out what voters would be willing to vote for in a new bond proposal. Now officials say they’ve trimmed it down, and that the items listed on the proposal “are the definite needs of the district and…lined up with what the public says they want.” The proposal is roughly $10 million less than the bond proposed in November.

Baker: County Policy Saves $17.7 Million

thumb_joel-bakerTYLER — Changes to the Smith County policy for other postemployment benefits (OPEB) in 2005 and 2012 have netted more than $17 million in savings, County Judge Joel Baker announced in Commissioners Court Tuesday. According to a county news release, many state and local governmental employers provide OPEB as part of the total compensation in addition to pensions that is offered to attract and retain the services of qualified employees. Other postemployment benefits include postemployment healthcare and life insurance, when provided separately from a pension plan. “We had situations where an employee may have worked 18 years in another county before transferring to Smith County for two years and then retiring. Upon their retirement, the employee collected postemployment healthcare benefits from Smith County for the rest of his or her life,” Judge Baker said. Read the rest of this entry »

Mexican National Sentenced for Trafficking Methamphetamine in East Texas

thumb_Lady-JusticeMARSHALL – Authorities say a 45-year-old Mexican national illegally residing in Marshall has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas. Melicio Nunez-Duque, also known as La Burra, of Coyuca de Catalan, Guerrero, Mexico, pleaded guilty on Jan. 30, 2013, to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. He was sentenced in Marshall to 108 months in federal prison on Feb. 18, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. Nunez-Duque was also ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $20,000 to the United States as part of his sentence. Read the rest of this entry »

Authorities: Illegal Alien Sentenced for Drug Violations in Harrison County

thumb_dept-justice-sealMARSHALL – A 42-year-old Mexican national illegally residing in Marshall was sentenced to over 18 years in federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, according to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. Apolinar Carbajal Abelardo, of Guerrero, Mexico, pleaded guilty on Feb. 18, 2013, to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 225 months in federal prison on Feb. 18, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of Marshall. Abelardo also agreed to forfeit a truck, several firearms, $13,650 in U.S. currency and a money judgment in the amount of $20,000 to the United States as part of his sentence. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Sentenced for Child Sex Assault

LONGVIEW — A former janitor in Longview public schools is sentenced to 7 years in prison after he confessed to sexually assaulting a mentally disabled boy in January 2012. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report 54-year-old Bobby Ray Jackson pleaded guilty to engaging in various sexual acts with the boy. The boy told police the assaults started in late 2010, when he was 13 years old, and took place at Jackson’s apartment. He said Jackson threatened to hurt him if anyone found out about their relationship.

Probe Continues after Police Kill Man Sought in Slaying

DocumentFragment_2630261KILGORE (AP/Staff) – Investigators are trying to determine if a domestic dispute led an East Texas man to kill his sister-in-law before exchanging gunfire with police, resulting in his death. Autopsy results are pending on 32-year-old Elizabeth Vinson and 37-year-old Randy Vinson, both of Kilgore. Four Kilgore police officers and a Gregg County sheriff’s deputy are on paid leave. Read the rest of this entry »

Troup Man Arrested for Indecency with Boys

troup_manTROUP — The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested an East Texas man on multiple indecent behavior charges. According to KETK, on Friday, authorities arrested Bruce Alan Thomas, 40, Troup, on several counts of indecent behavior with juveniles. He’s accused of providing five boys with pornography, sex toys, nude photos and videos of himself on numerous occasions. The activity dates back to 2009 when the boys were 7 to 10 years old and continued until this year when it was reported by a parent of one of the victims. Thomas was booked into the Caddo Correctional Center on a bond of $101,438. The investigation is still ongoing.

Kilgore College Resurrects Criminal Justice Degree

KILGORE — Kilgore College announces that the KC Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the resurrection of the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Criminal Justice, which will begin the next fall semester at KC. The program was eliminated in 2005 at KC because of a short-lived push by the Commission on Law Enforcement in the early 2000s to try to require a baccalaureate degree for basic licensure. “That requirement met great resistance from around the state, especially from small and rural law enforcement agencies, because of the already-existing difficulty in finding qualified applicants willing to work in those agencies,” said Michael Ferguson, Deputy Director of the East Texas Police Academy. “Many administrators feared that adding an additional barrier to employment would make it well-nigh impossible for them to find officers.” Read the rest of this entry »

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