Category: Local News Archive

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Fair Plaza Garage Officially Opens

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — Wednesday’s ribbon cutting has officially opened the Fair Plaza Parking Garage at 208 South College Ave. in Tyler. “The garage will be an integral part of the entry point into downtown,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney. “We are particularly pleased that the façade will be in keeping with the look, history and feel of our downtown.” The garage’s exterior design incorporates architectural elements from the Blackstone Hotel, Tyler Commercial College, the clock tower from the historic Smith County Courthouse, and other former landmark buildings. Read the rest of this entry »

Authorities Continue to Investigate Longview Man’s Death

Gregg County Sheriffs Office patchLONGVIEW – Gregg County deputies are continuing to investigate the death of a Longview man. According to KETK, preliminary autopsy results ruled out foul play as a factor in the death of Donald Merrills, 40. His body was found just after 6:00 Monday evening outside a residence on Rebecca Circle near his home. The Sheriff’s Department says Merrills is known to have had mental issues. He was found wearing multiple layers of clothing and a fleece lined coat. Toxicology results are pending.

Texas Deputy Injured in Fatal Shooting of Suspect

BLOOMBURG (AP) — An East Texas sheriff’s deputy was trying to serve assault warrants issued more than 500 miles away in Ward County when he fatally shot the suspect. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday said Deputy Johnny Bailey continues to recover from minor injuries suffered in the incident near Bloomburg. Cass County Chief Deputy Roy Barker says Bailey was treated for unspecified injuries following Sunday’s shooting that left Charles Alver Jones Jr. dead. Autopsy results are pending. Jones was from the Bloomburg area. Read the rest of this entry »

New Law Speeds Closure of Troubled Charter Schools

Texas Education Agency3AUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — The number of troubled charter schools that are forced to close is accelerating because of a new state law that makes it easier to shutter poorly performing ones. The Texas Education Agency has revoked the license of five charter schools since February. The Dallas Morning News reports that three others, including Tyler’s Azleway Charter School and one co-founded by NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, have appeals pending. If the three appeals are unsuccessful, it would result in the most revocations of a charter’s license in a single year. A recent ruling by a state appeals court determined the TEA can still revoke the license of a school while court action is pending. The law enacted last year requires the TEA to close charters after three consecutive years of poor academic or financial performance.

More Details Released on Hawkins Official Oppression Case

Rogers__William.1406577983HAWKINS (AP/Staff) – A newly elected East Texas mayor has been accused of threatening to ticket and fine a woman $500 daily in a messy yard dispute. Hawkins Mayor William Rogers was arrested Monday on a misdemeanor official oppression charge and freed on $1,000 bond. Fire Marshal Eileen Frazier says the mayor is not authorized to write tickets or issue fines. An arrest affidavit says Rogers stopped at a house July 10 and told resident Candy Palmertree she must clean up her yard or he would ticket and fine her. Code enforcement officials later said the grass did not violate city rules. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Allegedly Sets Girlfriend on Fire

ebarbgreggcoLONGVIEW — An East Texas man has been arrested for allegedly setting his girlfriend on fire. KETK reports that around 3:00 Saturday afternoon, Longview officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Hope Drive after receiving a call from the victim’s mother. Police later arrested Cannon Ebarb, 36, of Longview. Ebarb is accused of dousing the 53-year-old woman with lighter fluid and setting her ablaze with a lighter. She suffered burns to her face and body. The victim’s current condition is unknown. Longview Public Information Officer Kristie Brian said officials filed an emergency protective order against Ebarb. The suspect was booked into the Gregg County Jail on aggravated assault and failure to identify. His bail was set at $100,500.

Rabid Bat Found in Longview

bat2LONGVIEW — A bat captured in Longview has tested positive for rabies, as confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The bat was captured at Penwood Apartments on Thursday, July 24. It is not believed that any residents had exposure to the bat. This is the first positive rabies case in the City of Longview this year. We believe this was an isolated incident at the apartment complex; however, we are working closely with the management of the apartment complex to take all precautionary measures and inform the other residents. The apartment complex has hired a company that specializes in bat removal, and they have temporarily relocated the residents of the apartment unit involved,” said the Environmental Health Farrar, Buck Farrar. Read the rest of this entry »

Police: Suspect Identified in Counterfeit Money Case

image003TYLER — Police in Tyler say a suspect has been identified in a counterfeit money case thanks to the help of the public and their tips. Investigators will be following up with the information provided and the investigation is ongoing, police say. Further details will be made available upon completion of the case, according to officials. Tuesday morning, police asked for the public’s help in identifying the suspect. On Thursday, officers responded to Dairy Queen and Family Dollar, located on Gentry Parkway, in reference to a female suspect passing counterfeit $50 bills.

Winona Mayor Resigns

DEDE__STROUD.1406663479WINONA — The mayor of Winona, Dede Stroud, has resigned from her position after less than three months in office. Officials tell KETK Stroud met with a city council member on Monday and handed the council member a short letter of resignation along with her city hall keys and iPad issued to her by the city. Mayor Pro Tem Earl Brown will fill Stroud’s spot until further notice. Stroud was elected May 10, 2014, defeating incumbent Rusty Smith by 81 votes. Since September 2013, Winona has racked up a debt of over $350,000, according to the city’s financial audit. Officials have also confirmed there will be a special council meeting held Thursday evening at 6:30 concerning the abrupt resignation and the future of the city.

Parents, Community Invited to Go “Inside Tyler ISD”

thumb_TISD_Logo_NewTYLER — Tyler ISD is inviting parents, business leaders, and community members to join the inaugural class of the District’s new Inside Tyler ISD leadership program. Beginning in the fall, Inside Tyler ISD participants will gain an in-depth, firsthand understanding of the goals and operations of the school district, according to a TISD news release. “We are very excited to launch Inside Tyler ISD in the fall,”ť Interim Superintendent Kim Tunnell said. “Many districts across the state have initiated and had great success with similar programs. Community feedback from these programs shows that participants take away a greater sense of the magnitude of what it takes for a school system to be successful.” Read the rest of this entry »

Murder Indictment Returned in Smith County

Kelly GageTYLER An East Texas man who had been charged with assaulting his wife has now been indicted for her murder. The indictment was returned Monday against Kelly Gage, 52, of Gun Barrel City. He remains in the Smith County Jail, where he has been held on an assault of a family member complaint. The incident occurred in November, 2011. His wife, Patti McHugh Gage, later died from her injuries, which her son Nicholas claimed were caused by his dad. Later, Patti Gages son, Nicholas McHugh, and his younger brother, Caden, both took out protective orders against Gage. At the time, Nicholas told KETK, Im really scared of any type of retaliation. Hes really nuts and hes threatened my life and my grandmothers life particularly in the past.

Man Wanted in Vegas Arrested in Rusk County

HENDERSON – A man wanted on fraud charges in Las Vegas has been arrested in Rusk County. William Joseph Chrissikopoulos, 43, of Las Vegas was arrested Sunday at the Sexton City Trade Days. In April, a grand jury indicted Chrissikopoulos on 15 counts. He has been accused of mortgage lending fraud, “multiple transactions involving fraud and deceit in the course of enterprise or occupation and two counts of preventing or dissuading victim, person acting on behalf of victim, or witness from reporting crime, commencing prosecution or causing arrest. He will remain in the Rusk County jail until turned over to Nevada authorities.

Louisiana Woman Allegedly Kicks E. Texas Deputy in Throat

Amanda KluthHENDERSON — A Louisiana woman was arrested last week after she allegedly kicked a Rusk County deputy in the throat. According to Chief Deputy Charles Helton, at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, a woman was taken into custody for DWI in the Walmart parking lot off Highway 79. While the suspect, Amanda Kluth, 27, of Youngsville, Louisiana, was being placed into the patrol car, she allegedly kicked a deputy in the throat. At this time, she was pepper sprayed, according to KETK. Authorities took Kluth to a local hospital where she was checked and released. Deputies then transferred her to the county jail. She was charged with DWI, resisting arrest, and assault on a peace officer. She has since been released on bond.

Great Texas Balloon Race Gets Underway; Safety Tips Issued

ContentHandler.ashxLONGVIEW — The Great Texas Balloon Race got underway Monday, with activities continuing in Longview and the surrounding area through Sunday. Meanwhile, local police want to make sure that everyone enjoys the activities safely, and they’ve issued a set of safety tips, which you can read below. A practice flight was held Monday morning, and competitive flights began today. The Great Texas Balloon Race Festival, with a variety of family-friendly activities, gets underway Friday. According to the event website, the Balloon Race is “a world class event attracting the very best competitive pilots from across the United States and the world.” The website also highlights Friday and Saturday night’s popular Balloon Glows, which “entertain crowds with an awesome display of color and excitement.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mother Arrested for DWI with 4 Children in Car

sarahbrunsmugLONGVIEW — An East Texas woman is behind bars after troopers say she was driving while intoxicated with children in the car. According to KETK, the Texas Department of Public Safety says Sarah Veronica Bruns, 36, was arrested around 10:00 Sunday night on U.S. Highway 259. She reportedly had four children in the car with her at the time of her arrest. Bruns was charged with DWI and four counts of child endangerment. She remains in the Gregg County Jail on $25,000 bond.

Pair Arrested for $200K Equipment Theft

thumb_Harrison-County-Sheriffs-DepartmentMARSHALL — Deputies have arrested two people accused of stealing more than $200,000 in equipment in Louisiana and East Texas. According to KETK, Harrison County Lt. Jay Webb says the sheriff announced the arrests Monday morning. James Robert Arnold, 47, and Michael Stephanie Arnold, 35, were booked into the Harrison County Jail on separate charges. Sheriff Tom McCool said his department recovered a $90,000 backhoe, $10,000 goose neck trailer, $5,000 flatbed trailer, $75,000 mini track hoe and three golf carts worth $24,000 from a Longview business off Highway 259. Property was taken from Harrison County, Van Zandt County, Longview, and Lincoln Parish. Authorities are also looking into two missing tractors from DeSoto Parish. Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Deputy on Admin Leave after Fatal Shooting

Texas Rangers BadgeLINDEN — According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy has been placed on administrative leave after he was involved in a fatal shooting Sunday morning. KETK reports that Deputy Johnny Bailey was involved in the incident around 11 a.m. Sunday off Cass County Road 4915 south of Bloomburg. Officials say Bailey was attempting to serve felony warrants stemming from Ward County on Charles Alver Jones, Jr., 33, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a family member and impeding breath. Bailey was placed on administrative leave per departmental policy. An investigation is being conducted by the Texas Rangers, and no further information was immediately released.

Two Sentenced for Child Sex Assault

LONGVIEW — Two Longview men learn their punishment after pleading guilty to separate sexual acts on children. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report 34-year-old Robert Gribble and 24-year-old Jacob Myers learned their fate last week. Gribble was originally arrested in 2013 after a child reported continuous sexual abuse. Police say Gribble described several incidents with elementary-school-age children between 2009 and 2013. He was sentenced to 25 years. Myers pleaded guilty last week to three counts of sexual assault of a child. He will spend eight years in prison.

Tyler Accident Injures One

Tyler Police PatchTYLER – One person is injured following a head-on collision in Tyler. It happened around 7:00 Sunday night in the 1700 block of East Gentry. Police say a truck veered into on coming traffic, hitting another vehicle. KETK reports the truck driver is hospitalized, his condition not known at this time. The other driver was not injured.

“A Night of Solidarity” in Tyler

Stuart BaskinTYLER — Tylerites gathered Saturday night at the East Texas Islamic Society Mosque to help celebrate the holy Islamic month of Ramadan — and for “A Night of Solidarity.” Focusing on current unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, Mosque members invited members of various religions to join them in promoting peace and togetherness. Rev. Stuart Baskin of First Presbyterian Church told KTBB, “The world wants to pull us apart and make us enemies of one another, and I think it’s important as a Christian to bear witness to the reality of peace in the world.” Read the rest of this entry »

Marshall Fatality Accident

Marshall Police ShieldMARSHALL – One person has been killed in a one vehicle accident in Marshall. The accident happened just before 5:00 Friday afternoon on Interstate Highway 20 just east of U.S. Highway 59. The name of the victim has not been released. For some reason, the 18-wheeler left the road, hit a tree and overturned and caught fire.

Doctor Accused of Human Trafficking

Riyaz MazcuriLONGVIEW — A Kilgore psychiatrist, wanted on human trafficking and prostitution charges, is in custody in Gregg County. Riyaz Mazcuri, 62, is accused of trafficking women from India for forced labor, including prostitution. KETK reports that Mazcuri is known as “The Doctor” in what’s being called a “criminal group” that operates in southern New York. According to court documents, Mazcuri and others, tricked woman by telling they would be part of a cultural program. But once they go to the U.S., the men are accused of forcing them into dancing at night clubs, and having sex with clients. The U.S. Marshals service is still looking for the other suspects in the case.

Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital Receives National Award

thumb_MotherFrances-sign-2TYLER – Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital was recently recognized with an Excellence Through Insight award for “Overall Physician Satisfaction” by HealthStream, Inc. According to a news release from Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, Tyler ContinueCARE was awarded the honor for commitment to excellence in medical staff satisfaction. To qualify for an award, a hospital must have been a medical staff satisfaction client of HealthStream in 2013, scored in the 75th percentile or higher, and conducted a minimum of 50 physician surveys. Tyler ContinueCARE was chosen for receiving the highest ratings in medical staff satisfaction from among HealthStream’s clients, as well as for exceeding industry standards. Read the rest of this entry »

Gregg County Seeking Tips on $5,000 Mower Reported Stolen

mowertheftgcsoGREGG COUNTY — The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding a stolen mower. KETK reports that on July 18 at around 4:00 a.m., unknown thieves took a red and silver 2007 Brush Hog zero turn riding mower from a home on the 5700 block of Highway 300. The mower was valued at $5000. Video surveillance from a nearby business shows the mower in a white four door truck, believed to be a Ford F-250, traveling north on Highway 300 a short distance from Upshur County. If you have information about this theft, contact Investigator David Falco at (903) 236-8438 or Crime Stoppers at (903) 236-STOP.

Multiple Agencies Raid Steroid Lab in Cherokee Co.

thumb_police-lightsMIXON — Authorities in Cherokee County raided an illegal lab Thursday and seized chemicals used to make steroids, according to Sheriff James Campbell. Campbell says investigators executed a search warrant at a home on Farm Road 3052 in the Mixon community at 6:30pm. According to KETK, the sheriff says the Texas Department of Public Safety and DEA agents assisted in the operation. Officials say during the search, they collected chemicals, including anadrol, D-bol and cialis; lab equipment speakers, flasks, burettes, tubing, and vacuum chambers; notebooks containing “recipes”; and outlines for the manufacture of steroids. No arrests have been made at this time. A value of the items has not yet been determined.

Autopsy: Child Killed by Blunt Force, Stab to Chest

stacieparsonsmug11ATHENS — The autopsy on the death of a 4-year-old in Henderson County was released Friday. According to KETK, the Medical Examiner’s Office in Dallas County ruled the manner of death homicide. The document stated the girl was killed by “blunt force injuries of the head, stab wound of the chest and drowning.” Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, of Athens, is currently being held on a $2 million bond. She is charged with murdering her daughter on July 22. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said she admitted to the gruesome crime. A motive has not been released.

Evidence Tampering Charges Following Girls’ Deaths

Liles_Thomas.1406302889QUITMAN (Staff/AP)— A Quitman man was arrested by local law enforcement for allegedly tampering with a Wood County case. KETK reports that according to Police Chief Kelly Cole, Thomas Wayne Liles, 19, was taken into custody by one of his officers on Thursday for tampering with evidence. At 1:51 a.m. Thursday, Quitman PD responded to reports of two young sisters who were not breathing and would not wake up. When authorities arrived, they found two girls, approximately ages two and three, dead. Read the rest of this entry »

Possible Suspect Sought in Widespread Burglaries

pharmacythief072514TYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office requests assistance in identifying a burglary suspect. Detectives say this man may be connected with multiple pharmacy burglaries across East Texas including Gregg, Smith, Henderson, Angelina, Cherokee, and Anderson counties. Crimestoppers pays up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed in specific cases. If you have information, call Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF (2833). The Smith County Sheriff’s Office can also be contacted at 903-566-6600.

New School Superintendent for TISD

Marty Lane CrawfordTYLER – Tyler school trustees have unanimously named Dr. Marty Lane Crawford as the lone finalist for the District’s superintendent position. The announcement was made at last night’s monthly board meeting. The District is required to wait 21 days before officially hiring Dr. Crawford. “I am honored to be named the lone finalist for the superintendent position at Tyler ISD,” Dr. Crawford said. “I am excited to work with the District’s students, faculty and staff to meet and exceed our goals. Together we will be able to continue moving forward in achieving academic excellence.” Read the rest of this entry »

Promotions at Kilgore College

Staci MartinKILGORE – The new Vice President of Institutional Planning at Kilgore College will be Staci Martin. Starting August first, she will take over for Dr. Mike Turpin who was named Vice President of Instruction June 1. “I look forward to taking on this new challenge and working together with KC’s administration, faculty and staff as we strive together to provide high quality educational opportunities and services that promote student success,” Martin said. Read the rest of this entry »

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