Category: Local News Archive

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2014 Heat Response Plan

thumb_hot_weatherTYLER — In recent days it has been getting hotter in East Texas, and that’s why local health officials are drawing renewed attention to their Heat Plan. The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) cautions that heat is a killer. A Heat Advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected and will create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Heat advisories are announced by local weather reports. To protect your health you must be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to health officials. The human body will generate internal heat from physical exertion, and the added environmental heat of high air temperature and direct sun can result in heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion that can lead to heat stroke. Read the rest of this entry »

Crime Stoppers: Check Passed from Stolen Truck

checksstolenwoodcoBIG SANDY — Wood County Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help identifying a woman believed to be responsible for attempting to pass a stolen check. On August 23 at Twin Rivers Grocery, authorities said a woman tried to use a check taken from a pickup stolen at the Pine Mills Restaurant in Wood County. KETK reports the woman may have a Kansas ID and could be in a small car with Kansas plates. The truck was later recovered. The store where the crime occurred is located at U.S. Highway 80 and State Highway 155 in Big Sandy. Wood County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of this woman. Call 903-763-CASH (2274) and give only your information. You need not give your name.

TISD’s First Week Transportation Efforts Deemed Successful

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – More than 6,500 students were safely transported to Tyler ISD campuses during the first week of school, according to officials. The Tyler ISD transportation department operates 85 routes over 195 square miles to deliver students to 27 campuses across the district. “While the first week of transporting students is usually hectic, this year went extremely well,” Director of Transportation John Bagert said. “The pre-planning of routes throughout the summer and aggressive hiring of drivers and monitors ensured that all routes were covered.” Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Man Indicted for Allegedly Setting Girlfriend on Fire

ebarbgreggco1LONGVIEW — A Longview man who allegedly set his girlfriend on fire was indicted by a Gregg County Jury this week. KETK reports Cannon Ebarb, 36, is accused of dousing a 53-year-old woman with lighter fluid and then setting her ablaze with a lighter. She suffered burns to her face and body. The incident took place July 26 at a home in the 400 block of E. Hope Drive. Authorities were first alerted to the incident after receiving a call from the victim’s mother. An emergency protective order was filed against Ebarb. The suspect was arrested on an aggravated assault charge and is currently being held in the Gregg County Jail on $100,500 bond.

East Texan Indicted for Murder of 21-Month-Old

deterryonkellymugMARSHALL — A Harrison County grand jury has indicted a man for murder in the death of a toddler earlier this year. KETK reports Deterryon Tyrell Kelly, 27, of Marshall, was indicted on Thursday. On May 6, he allegedly killed the 21-month-old, who was found unresponsive at the Marshall Best Western Hotel, located in the 5200 block of East End Boulevard. The child later died at Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall. Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Judge Clarice Watkins ordered an autopsy. Kelly was arrested on a capital murder warrant June 4 after the autopsy was returned.

Former Hospital Employee Pleads Guilty to Criminal HIPAA Charges

joshuahipplermugTYLER — U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced Friday that a former employee of an East Texas hospital has pleaded guilty to criminal HIPAA charges in the Eastern District of Texas. Joshua Hippler, 30, formerly of Longview, was indicted on March 26 on charges of wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information. Hippler pleaded Thursday during a hearing before United States Magistrate Judge John D. Love. The indictment alleged that from December 1, 2012, through January 14, 2013, Hippler, who was then an employee of a covered entity under HIPAA, obtained protected health information with the intent to use the information for personal gain. Hippler faces up to ten years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

Tyler Police Issue Another Scam Warning

thumb_police-tyler-car3TYLER — Tyler police are reminding everyone that a scam can happen to anyone — and there are several that have become quite popular lately with local con artists. All it takes, police say, is a victim to fall prey to the scammer’s story that usually deals with someone in trouble, including the victim. On Thursday, a middle-aged female victim in Tyler was scammed out of a large sum of money. She received a call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. She was told that if she did not send the person a large sum of money for back taxes owed, she and her husband would have warrants out for their arrest by the end of the day. The suspect kept her on the phone all day giving her instructions on how to ultimately send the money to an unknown destination by utilizing the Green Dot Cards. Read the rest of this entry »

Smith County Hires County Engineer

image003TYLER — Smith County has hired Frank Davis as its new county engineer. According to a news release, Davis will coordinate and implement a long range maintenance and improvement plan for the Smith County road system, which totals approximately 1,200 miles. Davis is a professionally registered engineer and land surveyor and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in civil engineering. He brings more than 32 years of engineering and surveying experience to Smith County, with 11 of those years spent as city engineer and/or director of public works for three municipalities in Texas. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Police Continue to Investigate Fatal Shooting

crimescene-2LONGVIEW — Longview police continue to investigate after one person was killed and one was injured in an early morning shooting, and there’s preliminary word on the identity of the deceased. The shooting occurred just before 4:00 Thursday morning in the 100 block of Garfield Drive. One victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The injured victim was taken to a local hospital, treated, and released. Police did not release their identities, but the Longview News-Journal quotes family members in identifying the victim as Tyson Patterson, 33.

East Texas Constable Killed in Car Wreck

Cleve JohnsonMOUNT PLEASANT – A Titus County constable has been killed in a one vehicle accident. Pronounced dead just after 10:00 Thursday morning was Precinct 2 Constable Cleve Johnson, 57. He had been constable for over 17½ years. The accident occurred on Farm Road 1734. According to the Department of Public Safety, Johnson was heading home Thursday morning when his car left the road and hit a culvert. KETK reports visitation for Johnson will be held at Bates Cooper Sloan Funeral Home in Mount Pleasant on Saturday between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. His funeral will be Sunday at 2 p.m. at the North Ridge Church of Christ in Mount Pleasant.

Big Baby Born at Caldwell Zoo

Caldwell Zoo-baby giraffeTYLER – The newest baby at Tyler’s Caldwell Zoo is 5½ feet tall, weighs 112 pounds, takes 14-15 months to arrive. It’s Knox, a baby Giraffe. The son of Mom Cricket and Dad Ramses was born August 15th. Zoo officials say they are working hard getting Knox used to his surroundings and the day’s activities. At this time he is staying inside the giraffe building, but soon he will be introduced to the outdoor holding areas and eventually to the giraffes’ outdoor yard. Read the rest of this entry »

Weather Creates Mosquito Spraying Challenges

mosquitoesJACKSONVILLE — Spraying for mosquitoes is something most cities do every year. But KETK reports this summer’s unusual weather has blocked them every step of the way. Kelly Young is the vector control coordinator for the city of Jacksonville. He says “pretty consistent rain for several months” has caused repeated broods of mosquitoes to be born and has prevented the city from spraying as much as officials would like. Fortunately, officials say, the city has some upcoming days of weather that should allow them to spray.

Former East Texas Lawman Indicted in Police Chief’s Death

David Gene RisnerTEMPLE (AP/STAFF) — A 57-year-old man, who formerly worked in law enforcement in Van Zandt County, has been indicted in the fatal shooting of a police chief in the small Central Texas town of Little River-Academy. The Temple Daily Telegram reports a Bell County grand jury indicted David Gene Risner on Wednesday on one count of capital murder of a peace officer in the June 19 death of Chief Lee Dixon. Risner is in jail on no bond. Jail records don’t list an attorney. Risner is accused of killing Dixon when the chief went to talk to him after a person filed a complaint saying Risner pulled a gun during a dispute. Risner served in law enforcement for almost 19 years. His most recent position was with Grand Saline police, where his tenure ended in 2005.

Marshall Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Mentally Disabled Person

marshallmanarrestedMARSHALL — A Marshall man remains in the Harrison County Jail on $100,000 bond, charged with the sexual assault of a mentally disabled person. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Harrison County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Larry Deshun Lacy on Aug. 21 on the sexual assault charge. According to an arrest affidavit, Lacy is accused of sexually abusing a mentally disabled person on Aug. 11. The affidavit says during the assault Lacy repeatedly hit the victim’s head, face, and body, causing injuries to her right jaw and the upper left side of her head. According to the affidavit, her head needed at least four staples and she also sustained bruises on her left shoulder and back; scratches on her arms, face, and back; and two fractures to her left wrist. Police records show Lacy was on parole at the time of his arrest.

Tyler ISD Graduation Marks Continue to Exceed State Rate

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER – Texas Commissioner of Education Michael Williams announced recently that the Texas high school on-time graduation rate has set another all-time high, reaching 88 percent for the Class of 2013. Tyler ISD’s graduation rate remained above the state’s rate for the third year in a row with 91.5 percent for the Class of 2013. According to a news release from the school district, Tyler ISD’s graduation rate has shown growth five out of the last six years. Since 2007 the state has seen a 10 percentage point increase in graduation rate, while Tyler ISD has shown a 17.9 percentage point increase.

Runaway Teen Sought

Bianca ArreguinJACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Police Department is looking for a runaway teen and the girl’s family is asking for the public’s helping in finding her. KETK reports that according to a relative, Bianca Arreguin, 14, of Jacksonville, left home on August 10. She was last seen at her sister’s house on Kickapoo Street. If you have information on Arreguin’s whereabouts, contact Det. Tonya Harris with the Jacksonville Police Department at (903) 586-2546.

Deputies Find Possibly Meth-Loaded Syringe inside Man’s Shoe

williamrigginshendersoncoATHENS — Henderson County deputies arrested a man near Lake Athens after allegedly discovering a syringe filled with methamphetamine in his shoe. According to KETK, Sheriff Ray Nutt says at 1:47 p.m. on Wednesday, a deputy was called to FM 2495 on reports of a welfare concern. After arriving at the scene, the deputy found a man, later identified as William Riggins, standing in the middle of the road. Authorities say they determined the man was intoxicated and took him into custody. During a search of Williams, law enforcement found a syringe containing a liquid believed to be meth inside his shoe. The suspect was taken to the Henderson County Jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication.

Rusk Man Gets Life in Prison for Sexual Assault of Child

villegasrafRUSK — A Rusk man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. According to Cherokee County prosecutor Charles Breaux, Rafael Villegas, 54, sexually assaulted a girl in 2000. Officials were able to charge the convict because of an amended law allowing the state to prosecute crimes committed within 10 years of the victim’s eighteenth birthday. Therefore, the statute of limitations did not apply, according to KETK. Villegas was found guilty Tuesday by a jury. Read the rest of this entry »

P.T. Cole Park Murderer Sentenced to Life in Prison

bendysmithcojail11TYLER — Judge Jack Skeen sentenced a man convicted of murder in last summer’s P.T. Cole Park shooting to life in prison Thursday morning. KETK reports Dennis Bendy was found guilty by a Smith County jury August 12 in the murder of 20-year-old Briana Young. The victim was killed after she was caught in crossfire with her 3-year-old son at the park on Tyler’s west side. During the trial, the state said Elisha Williams fired the fatal shot but Bendy had also fired eight bullets from his 9mm Glock. In the closing arguments, state prosecutors argued Bendy could be found guilty as an individual or as a party with transferred intent: if a group has intent to cause harm and a felony is committed, everyone in the group can be charged. Rakheem Goldstein and Elisha Williams are also charged with murder in this case. A fourth suspect, Ke’Avier Jarrod Wilson-Hurd, was no-billed.

Tyler Airport Authorized for Millions in FAA Grant

poundsfield-tyler-5TYLER — The Tyler City Council authorized Tyler Pounds Regional Airport to accept a new FAA Grant totaling more than $9.6 million. According to a press release, the major portion of the grant will be used to begin reconstruction of the airport’s longest runway, portions of which date back to World War II. Having been in the planning and design phase for the past five years, a proactive plan has been set in motion to enhance the runway. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler Native Signing Off after 50 Years

landess_1347160354769_114030_ver1.0_640_480DENVER (AP) — Denver television news anchor Mike Landess is signing off after 50 years in broadcast journalism. Landess’ last newscast is Thursday’s 10 p.m. broadcast on KMGH-TV. Landess began his broadcast career as a high school senior at KLTV-TV in Tyler, Texas and has also worked for stations in Dallas, Cleveland, Atlanta and Washington D.C., covering stories including the Sept. 11 attacks. He worked for KUSA with Ed Sardella in Denver for 16 years starting in 1977 before returning to Denver to work for KMGH in 2002, covering wildfires, the Aurora theater shooting and last year’s flooding. Landess has won more than two dozen Emmy Awards, including five for best anchor.

Joe White Retiring from East Texas Oil Museum

Joe WhiteKILGORE — One of Kilgore College’s treasures, The East Texas Oil Museum, will bid farewell this month to a man who has been with the museum since its inception 37 years ago and who has devoted half of his life to the preservation and public education of the East Texas oil field. Joe White, the only director the museum has ever had, was recently named Director Emeritus by the KC Board of Trustees. White plans to retire, but he won’t be a stranger to the museum. He said he’ll return to the museum next week to work half-time to write a history of the museum and to continue work on fundraising. Merlyn Holmes, of Kilgore, will take over as director of the museum effective September 15, per board approval. Read the rest of this entry »

Jacksonville Police Continue Search for Missing Man

randalrobersonJACKSONVILLE — Police continue to search for a 28-year-old man who has been missing since January. Randal Rahushun Roberson reportedly left Jacksonville about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 21, en route to New Summerfield, and never arrived at his location. He also never returned to his residence. According to KETK, he was traveling in a white 1995 Mercury Cougar, which police say was found abandoned the following Thursday on a county road just north of New Summerfield. Read the rest of this entry »

Benefit for Family of East Texan Killed in Accident

wilson1LONGVIEW — A 50-hour online auction benefiting the family of an East Texas man killed in a recent accident got underway Wednesday night. KETK reports Conner Wilson, 32, of White Oak was killed August 12 in Rusk County after he accidentally hit a live 12-inch pipeline while operating a mulching machine. The line ruptured and instantly killed Wilson. A memorial was held for Wilson on August 15 and he was laid to rest the following day. He leaves behind four children and a wife. The auction will run until 10:00 Friday night. You can go to for more information. You can click on if you’d like to donate.

New Sidewalks Coming to Tyler

thumb_TxDotTYLER — The Tyler City Council Wednesday approved a design contract with Adams Engineering to provide design and construction phase services for new sidewalks using the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Transportation Enhancement Grant Sidewalk Project. The proposal is for the design of five-foot-wide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalks. The sidewalk locations were selected using the Pedestrian Master Plan published by the Metropolitan Planning Organization in 2010. “The project includes approximately 7.2 miles of sidewalk throughout the City of Tyler that are greatly needed,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. Read the rest of this entry »

City Wins Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — For the eighth straight year, the city of Tyler has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its fiscal year 2013-2014 budget document. “This award is a significant achievement reflecting the commitment of the city of Tyler to meet the highest principles of governmental budgeting,” said the city’s Chief Financial Officer, Keidric Trimble. The award was granted by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) and was presented to the city during Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Tyler Man Killed in Single Car Crash

thumb_DPS-car-2TYLER — One person was killed when a vehicle left the road and struck a tree about two miles north of Tyler. According to Department of Public Safety Trooper Jean Dark, at 1:00 Wednesday morning, Keith Williams, 24, of Tyler, was headed south on Farm Road 14 when he drifted into the oncoming lane and overcorrected. KETK reports the car traveled back across the southbound lane and off the road into a tree, then rolled into a field. Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 James Cowart pronounced Williams dead at the scene. There is no suspicion of an alcohol-related crash, stated Dark.

Authorities Search for Work Truck Stolen from Property

stolentruckgladewaterGLADEWATER — The Gladewater Police Department is asking for help locating a work truck taken from a local property. According to KETK, police said officers were dispatched to a property in the 400 block of Riverside Drive in reference to a report of theft on August 21. When authorities made it there, the caller, a JDW Services employee, told officers a truck and flatbed trailer hauling a John Deere backhoe had been taken. The stolen pickup is described as a white 2009 Chevrolet 3500 flatbed with Texas license plate number AH77635. It is believed the truck was used to take the yellow 2013 John Deere backhoe which was already loaded on the trailer. Later on the same date, Gladewater detectives, assisted by Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputies, found the trailer and backhoe. The pickup has still not been recovered. Read the rest of this entry »

Possible Murder-Suicide in Tatum

thumb_police-1TATUM — The Tatum Police Department is investigating an alleged murder-suicide that took place over the weekend. According to a release put out by the department, on Saturday at 7:45 p.m., possible gunshots at a local home were reported. KETK reports Tatum officers and Rusk County deputies responded to the scene and found a man and woman dead. The man was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Tatum Police Department, Rusk County’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Rusk County District Attorney’s Office, and the Texas Rangers are investigating the case. J.P. Precinct 4 Darlene Childress ordered an autopsy.

Tyler Bicycle Rider Injured

police-car-lights2TYLER – A bicyclist has been injured when hit by a SUV in the 7500 block of the Old Jacksonville Highway. The accident happened shortly before 8:15 Tuesday night. Injured was Kristin Blaise, 42. Tyler police report that a group of cyclists were riding north bound in the outside lane when Blaise was struck by a vehicle. According to Sgt. Wendell Gardner, she sustained serious injuries that are not believed to be life threatening at this time. She was transported to East Texas Medical Center for treatment. The driver, identified as Devin Hunter, 20, was ticketed for failure to control speed.

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