TYLER- A Tyler hospital has scored a high grade. CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital has received an “A” grade from The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization. The Tyler hospital was one of 823 hospitals to receive the top grade. It was awarded for the hospital’s commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients. Developed under the guidance of an expert panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign the grades to over 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year.
NEW YORK (AP/STAFF) — Texas-based J.C. Penney says it is delaying the closure of 138 stores by several weeks to take advantage of better-than-expected sales at those locations. The company said Friday that more shoppers have visited the stores after it announced last month which locations were closing. J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas says that’s common, and cited reasons including “curiosity, nostalgia and the lure of lower prices.” Stores in the area on the closing list are in Athens, Marshall and Nacogdoches. The closures are part of Penney’s plan to focus on its best-performing stores. J.C. Penney Co., based in Plano, will still have about 900 stores after the closures
LONGVIEW — A Louisiana man who pleaded guilty to a Longview murder was sentenced to 30 years in prison. KETK reports Paul Mengel of Bossier City pleaded guilty to the 2013 murder of 19-year-old Joey Espy. Espy was found suffering from gunshot wounds to both his head and chest. He died shortly after. Mengel was arrested about two weeks later at his house.
EAST TEXAS — Two people were killed in a Wednesday night accident on Toll 49. This is just one of many that has happened over the last few years. According to KETK, Thursday afternoon, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) held a news conference to talk about some safety improvements to the highway. NET RMA is now implementing safety improvements to several segments of the road, including Segment 3B, 3A, 1, 2 and 5. In Project 1, ten miles of Toll 49 from State Highway 31 north to I-20 will be widened by four feet.… Read the rest of the article…
LONGVIEW – The Gregg County Grand Jury has decided not to indict a Gladewater police officer in a fatal November shooting. The Longview News Journal reports officer Robert Carlsen was exonerated in the death of Patrick Michael Wise, 34, of Gladewater.(pictured) Wise had fled from a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 80. He abandoned the vehicle near East Lake Drive and ran into a field. In the struggle that followed, Wise could be heard, on the audio from the officers’ body camera, threatening to kill the officer. The autopsy showed Wise was shot five or six times, and all wounds showed he was facing the officer when he was shot. Carlsen, who was placed on administrative leave following the shooting, remains on the Gladewater police force.
TYLER — Traffic lights have been repaired following an accident involving a dump truck that caused a traffic jam in Tyler. According to KETK, around 7:40 Thursday morning, a private company truck was traveling south on Sunnybrook Drive. The driver apparently forgot to lower the truck’s bed, causing it to get caught in the traffic lights at the intersection of Sunnybrook Drive and South Vine Avenue. The electric pole at the intersection broke and the truck’s materials spilled onto the roadway. Crews worked for much of the day to replace the lights and pole at that intersection. Police directed traffic at the location until the problem was fixed. No injuries were reported.
TYLER – A project started in 2015 at Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo has been completed. This almost $7 million re-construction project has brought many changes to the African overlook area. The elephant yard was increased from 1,041 square feet to 4,100 square feet while their pool, that once held just 23,700 gallons, now holds 150,000 gallons. Also, for the first time ever, zoo visitors can feed the giraffes leaves of lettuce from the giraffe feeding deck. The Chakula Café is totally new with indoor seating as well as 200 outdoor seats and the restrooms are brand new and the serpentine walkway that leads to the overlook is open. … Read the rest of the article…
GILMER – A Winnsboro man has pled guilty to the aggravated sexual assault of a child. Lee Roy Settles, 36, entered the plea just before his trial was starting in the 115th State District Court in Gilmer. He was sentenced by Judge Lauren Parish to 27 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half of his sentence. Upon release, Settles will have to register for the rest of his life as a sex offender. In July 2014, the victim of the case came forward and told adults what Settles had been doing. After learning of the allegations, Settles left the State. He was later arrested in 2015 in Olney, Illinois.
MARSHALL – A man named in warrants in Smith County has been arrested in Harrison County. Joseph Edmonson Shelton, 36, of Harleton was arrested on Wednesday by the Department of Public Safety. He was charged with evading arrest in Harrison County. He is named in a Smith County warrant for theft of property less than $25,500, with two or more previous convictions. He was also named in Smith County warrants for fraud and criminal trespass. He is also wanted in Gregg County for possession of a controlled substance. He remains in the Harrison County Jail.
TYLER – You can keep tabs on public works projects in Tyler with a a new website. The web site, TylerPublicWorks.com, includes new content features and a simple and easy to navigate format. It features a “project map” section, where you can access information about active projects around the city. The map also has a search-by-address feature, allowing you to view projects close to your home or business. Besides being able to view active projects, you can also select a future projects filter, which will show projects that are currently estimated to be six to ten years down the road.
GUN BARREL CITY – A Henderson County woman has been arrested for filing a false police report. Last Saturday, 21 year old Antares Ann Hibbard reported she was sexually assaulted. She said she was attacked on the walking track at the Gun Barrel City Park. She described her assailant as a white male armed with a knife. When investigators concluded the report was false, Hibbard provided a written confession admitting she had falsified the report.
CHANDLER – Two are in custody on drug charges following their arrest in Henderson County Wednesday night. David Cummings, 48, and Christina Cummings, 44, were arrested in a stolen trailer in the Forest Grove Subdivision south of Chandler. They were arrested by Henderson County and Smith County authorities. In the trailer, investigators found illegal drugs, methamphetamine, Xanax and marijuana. They also seized a gun, counterfeit money and material used to distribute the contraband. Both have been charged with manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance, possession of marijuana. And since David Cummings is a convicted felon, he has also been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
SMITH COUNTY — Troopers responded to a three vehicle fatal crash on Loop 49 just north of Hwy 64 in Smith County Wednesday night. According to the DPS report, around 10:20, a 2013 Dodge Charger, driven by Annette Burkhart, 56, Garland, was stopped southbound on the side of the roadway with a flat tire. A 2006 Chevrolet pick-up, driven by Gary McCrary, 62, Flint, was stopped behind the disabled Charger. McCrary was assisting Burkhart in changing the flat tire. A 2008 Toyota, driven by Jessica Vass, 35, Lindale was traveling southbound and struck the back of the Chevrolet pick-up which then struck the Charger, causing the vehicles to strike both Burkhart and McCrary. The vehicle Vass was driving then rolled, coming to rest in the middle of Loop-49.… Read the rest of the article…
ARP — An Arp I.S.D. employee has been asked to resign following allegations of improper text messages with several female students. According to KETK, Chris Stewart was asked Monday to resign. According to the school’s website, Stewart works for the Jr. High as a gym coach. Superintendent Dwight Thomas released a statement to KETK, “As Superintendent at Arp ISD I want to provide you and the public with information that is accurate and legal for me to provide. You have inquired about a personal matter and I am very limited on what I can say about personnel.”… Read the rest of the article…
TYLER – A new Outdoor Warning System siren is being installed today at the intersection of Cumberland Road and Oak Creek Circle. Due to the construction of this project, both lanes of Cumberland Road will be closed between Old Hickory and Paluxy during the installation. Travelers in the area should plan to find an alternative route during that time.
AUSTIN – State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced he will be sending out $620.2 million in local sales tax allocations for April. These allocations are based on sales made in February and are 4/9% more than April of 2016. The East Texas report is mixed. Tyler’s sales tax allocation for April is nearly $3 million dollars. This is 1.68% above the figure of April of last year. For the year, Tyler’s sales tax allocations are up nearly 4%. Longview’s April allocation is over $2.1 million, or 3% lower than April of 2016. For the year, Longview’s sales tax allocation is over $9.7 million, or about half a percent before the same period last year.
LONGVIEW – A Pueblo, Colorado man, Kenneth Leonard Mestas, 46, is in custody in Longview after leading police on a chase around the city. Police say he was taken into custody after he drove off the roadway and crashed into a parking lot. They say the force of the vehicle then caused him to crash into a vehicle on Airline Road. The final collision resulted in what are termed non-life-threatening injuries to the driver of the other vehicle. The suspect and passenger of the pursued vehicle also sustained non-life-threatening injuries. There were no officers injured during the event.… Read the rest of the article…
TYLER – A major downtown project has been announced by the city of Tyler. The Tyler City Council has approved the sale of a tract of land the city has owned since 2009. The property, which had been previously owned by King Chevrolet, is bounded by West Ferguson Street on the north and West Erwin Street on the south. On the land will be built a $10 million project that include the construction of 96 apartment lofts, spanning 4,800 square feet of commercial space. It will also contain 3/4 of an acre green to be dedicated to open space. City Manager Ed Broussard said the sale of the land “begins a resurgence for downtown on this far west end.”
TYLER — The City of Tyler Water Department has secured a sinkhole that opened at Donnybrook Avenue and ESE Loop 323 due to the collapse of a brick manhole at the intersection. The southbound right turn lane to the Loop is closed until repairs are made. Repairs begin today, and work is expected to last 18 to 24 hours.
KILGORE — People will soon be allowed to carry concealed weapons at Kilgore College. KETK reports trustees gave the final approval Monday. This will allow people to carry the weapons except at sporting events. The policy will take effect this fall semester. Permanent bans have been enacted for the Health Science Center, the college’s police station, and full-time testing centers. Open carry is stilled banned on campus.
AUSTIN — A new bill from an East Texas lawmaker aims to outlaw all synthetic drugs in Texas — and one of the newer ones is popping up around the Lone Star State. “Pink,” “pinky,” or “U4” is a dangerous synthetic opioid and several times stronger than morphine. Terrie Mogavero, co-founder of East Texans against K2, says it’s toxic to the touch. According to Mogavero, “Merely touching it, it can be absorbed through the bloodstream…It can send you into cardiac arrest.” State Representative Jay Dean (pictured) of Longview has a bill that would outlaw all known compounds — but he notes it’s “more than likely” that something new will be found. Dean says, “This is almost like…trying to keep up with the cellphone technology or computer technology; it changes.”
TYLER — The City of Tyler Street Department closes east Erwin Street between South Fleishel and North Fleishel as of 1:00 today to remove debris from a large tree that fell during the storm on Tuesday. Eastbound traffic on East Erwin will be detoured to South Fleishel then to East Elm Street. Westbound traffic on East Erwin will be detoured north on North Fleishel then west on East Locust Street. The closure was expected to last 3-4 hours.
OVERTON — An Overton ISD vehicle was involved in a wreck on I-20 Wednesday morning. Officials said the accident occurred just before 6:30 morning near Lindale as the driver and 5 students were in route to Sulphur Springs for an FFA event. None of the passengers in the school’s Expedition were injured. School employees took another school vehicle to the location and the students were transported back to campus. Two other vehicles, including and 18-wheeler were involved. One person was taken to a local hospital. Further details were not available.
TYLER – The power at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport was restored early Wednesday following a day-long outage. The main terminal had been running on a generator. The outage caused the security checkpoint to close causing commercial service to shut down. Oncor found more broken poles than first discovered, resulting in the extended delay. Power was restored at approximately 1:35 Wednesday morning. The Terminal opened normally a couple of hours later and American Eagle departed on time at 7:00.
LONGVIEW — Longview Police have confirmed the identity of a former teacher who is under investigation for a possible improper relationship with a student. According to KETK, Longview Police said Anne Herman, a former teacher at Spring Hill ISD, is under investigation. She recently resigned. Superintendent Steven Snell released a statement to KETK when asked about the teacher’s departure: “At Spring Hill ISD the safety and well being of our students and faculty is our number one concern. The employee referenced above is no longer an employee of the district. I am not at liberty to make any further comments at this time.” Herman was a high school math teacher and a drill team director.
EAST TEXAS – The National Weather Service now confirms that two small tornadoes touched down in the area Monday night. Both were classified as EF-1 tornadoes. One touched down about 3 miles northwest of Arp. At its peak, it had winds of 80 to 90 miles an hour and was 100 yards wide. It traveled nearly half a mile before dissipating. The second storm hit about 2 miles northwest of Overton. It was 250 yards wide and had winds of 95 to 105 miles an hour. It traveled just over 3 miles before dissipating. No injuries were reported with either storm.
TYLER – Two men are heading to prison for a Cherokee County bank burglary. Both had earlier pleaded guilty to the burglary of the Jacksonville branch of Austin Bank. Curtis Eugene Thomas, 32, and Dominic Dennard Green, 31, both of Dallas, were sentenced in Tyler federal court on Tuesday. Thomas was sentenced to 42 months in prison and Green was sentenced to 24 months in prison. The two also were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $58,376.75.… Read the rest of the article…
TYLER – An Upshur County man has been sentenced in federal court in Tyler to prison following a lengthy investigation into a synthetic drug operation. Jeremy Chad Tidwell, 41, of Gilmer, pleaded guilty last November. He was sentenced Tuesday to 60 months in federal prison. Also, assets to be forfeited by the defendant included U.S. currency and bank accounts totaling over $1.2 million, real property, precious metals, two airplanes, 6 automobiles, other vehicles, and firearms. His arrest stemmed from an investigation into a synthetic drug trafficking organization based in the Gregg County.… Read the rest of the article…
TYLER – It was a rough Tuesday morning commute around Tyler with traffic signals out and debris in the streets. But things have gotten back to normal. With power restored, all traffic signals are working again. Dozens of intersections were without power Tuesday morning. Then, there was the debris in the streets. City crews worked to clear trees and limbs from over two dozen locations around Tyler. Those initial roadways were cleared as well as some additional sites that were brought to the streets department’s attention. City crews will continue to work through Wednesday to collect stacked up debris at all the locations where trees had to be cut to clear and open roads.