TROUP — Residents of Troup woke up to discolored water coming from their faucets Friday morning. KETK reports that according to City Administrator Gene Cottle, the coloration is not a reflection on the water’s safety. Historically, anytime the city uses well #1, which is a backup well, discoloration issues arise, due to the ground water being affected by the aquifer that is its source. Cottle says the water is safe and is tested according to the state mandates and meets all requirements that make it safe to drink. Since the issue came about, well #2, which was under renovations, is back in action, and normal operations have resumed. According to state law, the water from well #2 could not be used until it had been tested and approved by regulators.
LONGVIEW — Over the last several weeks, the City of Longview Environmental Health Department has received several calls regarding bats found primarily in the downtown area. Although none of the reported bats have tested positive for rabies, the Environmental Health staff encourages residents to be cautious when encountering the animals. “Thankfully, we have been able to trap and test several bats, and none of those had rabies. That said, citizens should always refrain from touching wild animals, especially those that appear sick or injured. In our area, bats, skunks, and raccoons are the most common carriers of the rabies virus, but we encourage caution when encountering any wild animal,” said Environmental Health Supervisor Buck Farrar.
If someone encounters a bat or other wild animal, that person should contact the Environmental Health Department at 903-237-1285. If the event occurs at night or during a weekend, contact the Longview Police Department non-emergency number at 903-237-1199.
Helpful Information about Bats:
* Bats flying overhead do not pose a risk for transmitting rabies. Rabies is transmitted when an infected bat bites or scratches a person’s skin.
* Never handle a bat.
* If a person is scratched or bitten by a bat, the Environmental Health Department advises that the exposed person begin treatment to prevent rabies as soon as possible.
* Residents are encouraged to periodically check attics and other quiet structures around the home. If bat roosts are discovered, pest control companies may assist with removal.
* Vaccinate your pets to protect them against rabies.
* Call the City of Longview Environmental Health Department if you encounter a bat or other wild animal around your home or place of business.
TYLER – Tyler ISD announces the 2013 Campus Teachers of the Year. According to a news release, “The Teacher of the Year program acknowledges the phenomenal dedication and success of our teachers and recognizes them for their contributions to the children of Tyler.” Each campus teacher of the year will be recognized at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet on Tuesday, May 14, at Harvey Convention Center. This year’s theme is “A Legacy of Caring.” During the banquet a District Elementary Teacher of the Year and a District Secondary Teacher of the Year will be named for the 2012-2013 school year.
The 2013 District Teachers of the Year will be eligible to be selected as the regional honoree. Regional honorees are eligible for two titles, Texas Elementary Teacher of the Year and Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Texas Teacher of the Year is the highest honor that the State of Texas can bestow upon a teacher.
The 2012-2013 Campus Teachers of the Year:
Erica Ramirez – T. J. Austin Elementary School
Andrea Gipson – Bell Elementary Global Communications Academy
LaTeh Franklin – Birdwell Elementary School
Derrell Broughton – Bonner Elementary School
Brenda Corley – Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs
Kemle Barroso – Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy
Karri Ohlhausen – Clarkston Elementary School
Cecilia Gonzalez – Dixie Elementary School
Ashley Green – Douglas Elementary School
Kim Whaley – Griffin Elementary School
Jennifer Phillips – Dr. Bryan C. Jack Elementary School
Whitney Lamonte – Jones Elementary MST Academy
Embria Williams – A. W. Orr Elementary School
Regina Lane – Owens Elementary School
Rebecca Lewis – W. A. Peete Elementary School
Ruth Elmakiss – Ramey Elementary School
Vikki Mosley – Rice Elementary School
Theresa Moore – St. Louis Early Childhood Center
Oralia Hood – TARGET
Erica Miller – Andy Woods Elementary School
Michelle Grayson – Boutler Middle School
Aubrey Ballard – Dogan Middle School
Alacia Reid – James S. Hogg Middle School
Sarah Holzbauer – Hubbard Middle School
Lynnette Hadley – John Tyler High School
Kathy Miles – Moore MST Middle School
Gary Stracener – Plyler Instructional Complex
Elgin Johnson – Robert E. Lee High School
Rikkita Devers-Watson – A.T. Stewart Middle School
George Prescott Bush is seen as a potential future star and the latest member of the Republican Party’s most prominent families to enter GOP politics. His father is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and his uncle and grandfather are former presidents.
The 36-year-old Bush is to speak Saturday at the Denton County Republican Party’s Lincoln-Reagan dinner. The master of ceremonies is U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert of Tyler, an East Texas Republican and tea party firebrand.
Bush has crisscrossed the state and is raising money for a run at statewide office next year. Saturday’s event allows him to meet tea party voters critical in Republican primaries.
EAST TEXAS — Tyler is just one of several East Texas cities where sales tax revenue is up. According to KETK, that may be due to legalized alcohol sales. Tom Mullins (pictured) of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce and Tyler Economic Development Council says it’s “pretty clear to us” that beer and wine sales are one of the biggest reasons for Tyler’s 8% sales tax spike over last March. Meanwhile, Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel is withholding comment; he says more info should be available in a few weeks on which sectors of industry subject to sales and use tax might be up. Noonday, located inside newly wet Smith County Justice Precinct 2, saw a sales tax revenue increase of over 45% from a year ago. Noonday Mayor Mike Turman says alcohol sales have helped his city more than he expected.
AUSTIN — Tyler State Senator Kevin Eltife is bucking his party and the state’s leadership. KETK reports that he filed a bill proposing a constitutional amendment to temporarily raise the state sales tax. Eltife wants the state to pay off billions of dollars in bond debt accrued by TxDOT. The half-cent tax would free up $1 billion a year now used for debt service. TxDOT could use that money to expand and maintain the state’s transportation system. TxDOT has said it needs $4 billion in additional money every year to maintain the state’s current level of congestion as the population continues to grow.
MARSHALL — Two persons are in custody, charged in the death of Bobby Joe Inzer of Hallsville in 2009. He had been shot to death. Harrison County authorities have arrested Thomas Dean Richardson, Jr. (pictured) and Harley Blake Vaughn. The two 20 year olds were originally detained in the case, but released after claiming self defense. But new evidence has led prosecutors to charge them with murder. Vaughn is being held on a $75,000 bond and Richardson’s bond is $50,000. The two were teenagers at the time of the murder. A hearing scheduled next month will determine if the two will be tried as adults.
TYLER — A Van Zandt County man man has pleaded guilty to possessing a short barrel shotgun. Michael Jack Callaway, 36, of Wills Point, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. Magistrate Judith Guthrie’s court. He is facing up to ten years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. A sentencing hearing date has not been set.
A federal grand jury indicted Callaway for the offense last November. He admitted that on August 22, 2012, members of the Van Zandt County Drug Task Force found a short barrel shotgun among numerous rifles, pistols, and shotguns, as well as hundreds of rounds of ammunition, during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. Callaway must forfeit the seized weapons and ammunition to the United States Attorney’s Office.
TYLER — A 39-year-old Fort Worth, Texas man has been sentenced In Tyler federal court to 51 months in prison for drug trafficking violations. Ray Lee Ransom pleaded guilty on April 20, 2012 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute hydrocodone, alprazolam and promethazine with codeine. Ransom was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider.
Federal prosecutors say from May, 2009 through 2011, Ransom conspired with others to purchase and distribute drugs. Ransom and his co-conspirators purchased these controlled substances at numerous pharmacies in cities located throughout the Eastern District of Texas and in other locations, utilizing fraudulent prescriptions. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on November 2, 2011, charging 5 individuals, including Ransom, with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute the drugs. All of the co-defendants have been sentenced.
TYLER — A 34 year old Fairfield man has pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Victor Vasquez pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. Magistrate Judith Guthrie’s court. He is facing up to ten years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
Vasquez admitted that on April 4, 2012 he was stopped by a police officer in Rusk for speeding. During the course of the stop, the officer determined that Vasquez had been drinking alcoholic beverages and Vasquez was arrested for DWI. Following the arrest, the officer inventoried Vasquez’s vehicle and found a 7.62×39 mm, semi-automatic rifle and ammunition for the rifle. The next day, a Rusk detective determined that Vasquez had a prior felony conviction in Kansas for Attempted Aggravated Burglary. A search warrant for Vasquez’s vehicle led to the discovery of a short-barrel, 12 gauge shotgun and a dozen 12 gauge shotgun shells under the back seat. Vasquez must forfeit the seized weapons and ammunition.
TYLER — For some 700 Tyler residents, power was out for a while yesterday. KETK reported the outage was near Loop 323 and West Gentry Pkwy. A blown transformer is believed to be the reason behind the outage.
LONGVIEW — Spring Break for most area schools and colleges is next week. The Longview Police Department would like to warn motorists that police will be increasing traffic patrols during the Spring Break week in an effort to increase traffic safety during this high traffic period.
Additional enforcement will be accomplished using off-duty officers funded by the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant awarded to the Longview PD by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). The grant runs from October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013. The grant allows the use of off-duty police officers to perform additional traffic enforcement. Officers working STEP will be looking for drunk drivers as well as those drivers committing speed and seatbelt violations. On-duty Traffic Officers will be focusing on these and any other moving violations they observe.
NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches Police arrest 7 people this evening after a drug bust. The Nacogdoches County Sheriff office released a search warrant in the 2700 block of Old Tyler Road. According to KETK, Sheriff Jason Bridges stated that he had received several complaints from citizens in the area of ongoing drug activity. The investigation took place at three locations that were believed to be distributing crack cocaine. Deputies conducted several undercover purchases of crack cocaine from that area. A search turned up crack cocaine, digital scales, currency and drug paraphernalia. The suspects were booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail.
TYLER — Tyler’s sales tax revenues deposited for the month of March have grown 8.08% as compared to March 2012. The Texas Comptroller reports this has resulted in a cumulative year-do-date increase of 3.33%. The reported revenue of $2,776,953 comprises $1,851,302 general sales tax revenue and $925,651 half-cent sales tax revenue. The figures represent receipts from January 2012 collections as there is a two-month lag before taxes are reported and remitted back to the City from the State.
“We are pleased to see an increase in our sales tax revenue after experiencing very slow growth the last few months,” said City Manager Mark McDaniel (pictured). “At this point we do not have enough detailed information to determine which sectors of industry subject to sales and use tax might be up, since the comptroller only reports recent information in the aggregate. More detailed information will be available in approximately three to four weeks.”
TYLER — Two Tyler motorcycle officers have arrested a suspect in the burglary of the Army Navy Store in the 1200 block of the South Southeast Loop. The officers were riding by the store around 8:45 Wednesday night when they heard a burglar alarm. They found a large hole that had been cut into the back of the building.
As they were waiting for additional officers, they saw a man wearing black clothing exit the woods north of the building and cross the loop. As they detained the suspect he is said to have told them he had broken into the building. They found in possession of a pair of gloves and a flashlight stolen from the business as well as a small axe that had been used to cut through the wall.
The suspect was identified as Richard Kelly Moore, 20. He was transported to East Texas Medical Center for treatment of an unrelated cut on his leg and then booked into the Smith County Jail for Burglary of a building.
UNDATED — The FBI and police in three states are continuing to seek a serial armed bank robber dubbed the “Loan Ranger Bandit.” The suspect is deemed responsible for ten robberies in Tyler and elsewhere in the state, along with Arkansas and Mississippi, from January 2009 till October 2012. The suspect allegedly robbed two Tyler institutions: Altra Federal Credit Union, 5523 Troup Highway, on August 31, 2011; and BBVA Compass 6910 South Broadway Ave., on May 17, 2012. During the robberies, the armed man, who does not attempt to disguise his face, displayed a note demanding 20s, 50s and 100s and received an undisclosed amount of money. To date, no one has been physically harmed, according to KETK.
The robber is described as a white male in his early 30s, approximately 5’7” to 6’0” tall, approximately 200 pounds, with a medium build. He has short light brown hair, wears glasses, and has a small mole or mark just above his right eye on the lower part of his forehead. His varied clothing styles have included athletic wear, jeans, and business attire. He was dubbed the “Loan Ranger Bandit” for the blue Texas Rangers baseball cap he has worn while robbing banking institutions where loans are offered. The suspect may drive a maroon Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with a thin white pinstripe around the truck bed.
The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information concerning this case, you’re asked to submit a tip online at: http://tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
TYLER — A man has been pulled from a vehicle and taken to a local hospital after crashing into a Tyler bank, according to authorities. The extent of his injuries is unknown at this time. The SUV crashed into the Citizens First Bank on the 2000 block of ESE Loop 323. The call came in just after 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Tyler Fire officials tell KETK the wreck happened in the drive thru area of the bank.
ARP — Smith County Sheriff’s authorities say the alleged shooter’s name in an Arp-area incident is Richard Lee Hunt. He was booked into the Smith County Jail Wednesday morning. According to authorities, Hunt was treated and released from a local hospital. The other man is still in the hospital in critical condition. Hunt allegedly shot him in the neck and chest, then reportedly shot himself accidentally in the leg. The incident happened shortly after 6:15 Tuesday night off State Highway 135. The investigation into the incident continues.
KILGORE — A Kilgore pastor arrested Monday and charged with sexually assaulting a child was reportedly recorded by his victim warning the boy to “cover for each other” in weeks leading to the arrest. According to KETK, the criminal complaint described acts that police said Glenn Douglas Barton, 62, pastor of Calvary Way Church, committed against a child starting in 2009. On February 21, the victim told workers at the Rusk County Children’s Advocacy Center that the assaults started with the pastor fondling the boy and placing his hands in the child’s pants, according to the complaint. After that, the victim stated Barton forced him to perform sex acts on regular occasions. Barton was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a felony offense, and was held Tuesday on $50,000 bond. Kilgore police spokesman Capt. Roman Roberson said there is no indication more than one child was involved in the assault. According to the church’s website, Barton is the senior pastor and has been with the church since 1999.
PALESTINE — Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have decided to set up their own booth nearby after being denied participation in the Palestine Dogwood Trails Festival later this month. A member of the group tells KETK the booth will be separate from those participating in the festival, a couple of blocks down from the actual event. The booth will be in a new plaza, which the group plans to dedicate in April.
The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce informed the SCV’s John H. Reagan Camp #2156 of its decision on Monday. According to a statement from the Chamber, “The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce is FOR building a stronger community. Our volunteers spend countless hours doing so. It is not in the community’s best interest to allow politically divisive groups to participate in the Dogwood Trails parade or to be a vendor at the Festival. We are charged with the responsibility to operate on behalf of the city of Palestine.”
Members of the SCV group said they were confused by the Chamber’s decision. They say they’re not meant to be “politically divisive.” According to one member, “We are a historical group. We’ve participated in past events without any problem.” One person speaking on behalf of the group says, “There is a lot of misconception out there. We just want to promote historical accuracy and act as educators in the community.” But members add that they’re not looking for a fight. The decision on where to set up the booth was made at a meeting Tuesday evening.
TYLER — The City of Tyler will be receiving approximately $870,476 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and approximately $313,627 in HOME Program funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2013. That’s according to information released by the city on Wednesday.
Officials say as allowed by federal regulations, the City will consider allocating a portion of its annual CDBG funds to assist non-profit organizations that provide health and human services. CDBG Public Service Funds may be used for operating costs for a wide variety of public services that benefit low-income citizens or special need populations, including, but not limited to, child care, health care, job training, recreation programs, education programs, public safety services, fair housing activities, services for elderly, homeless, or disabled persons, and drug abuse counseling and treatment. HOME Program funds are available to address affordable housing needs.
Information regarding the eligible uses of the funds and technical assistance to complete the grant applications will be provided. The workshops/public hearings will be held on the following dates:
For CDBG Funds Only
Date: March 14, 2013
Where: City University, 212 N. Bonner Ave.
For HOME Funds Only
Date: March 15, 2013
Where: City University, 212 N. Bonner Ave.
Officials say the public is encouraged to attend and offer comment regarding the use of these funds.
Non-profit organizations that wish to apply for these funds must attend the appropriate mandatory workshop in order to receive an application and apply for this funding. It is highly encouraged that the person(s) writing the grant and a board member attend this workshop. Applications submitted by organizations that do not attend this workshop will not be accepted by the City of Tyler. Written comments regarding the use of these funds should be sent to Brenda Johnson, Neighborhood Services Department, City of Tyler, 900 W. Gentry Pkwy., Tyler, Texas 75702. Written responses will be provided if a name and return address are included.
All public hearings are held in facilities that are wheelchair accessible and provide handicapped parking. Interpretive services for deaf or non-English speaking citizens will be available with an advance notice of 48 hours. Arrangements for such services can be made by calling the City of Tyler at (903) 531-1303 or TDD at 1-800-735-2989.
TYLER — Dr. Andrea D. Ellinger of the University of Texas at Tyler has received the Academy of Human Resource Development’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Ellinger is a professor of HRD within the UT Tyler Department Human Resource Development and Technology. The award was presented to Ellinger at the 2013 AHRD Conference in Arlington, Va. and recognizes outstanding scholars who have demonstrated a continuing record of scholarly productivity and influence in the profession.
“Dr. Ellinger is an excellent example of the high quality faculty in our HRD program. She is continuously involved with research, publishing, teaching and educating others about the human resource development field,” said Dr. Harold Doty, The University of Texas at Tyler College of Business and Technology dean. She holds a Ph.D. in adult education with a functional concentration in human resource and organization development from the University of Georgia.
Before coming to UT Tyler, Ellinger served on the faculty at Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has published in more than 30 refereed journal articles and written numerous book chapters. She has also presented her research at conferences around the world. Among other awards and honors for her research, teaching and service, Ellinger has received the 1998 Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year, the 2009 Emerald Literati Award and the 2003 and 2005 Richard A. Swanson Excellence Award, presented by the AHRD.
Currently, she is editor of the journal, “Human Resource Development Quarterly,” the co-editor of a book series that addresses innovations in adult learning and a member of several editorial boards in the HRD field.
TYLER — Tyler ISD officials said Tuesday that if the May bond issue passes, they will work toward creating a new high school on the current Stewart Middle School campus. The school would be called A.T. Stewart Academy of Excellence. The academy would offer several different programs in college readiness, job readiness, math, technology, fine arts, language arts, mentoring, and science. The facility would be designed for what TISD calls “21st century learning” to help students thrive in college and the workforce, “carrying forward the legacy of excellence of Rev. A.T. Stewart,” for whom the school is named. Students would have to apply to be accepted to the school, and any student who graduates will get a diploma. School officials tell KETK that everyone will be encouraged to apply.
If the bond passes, the board would take two years to plan, design, and get community input on the project. During that time, students would stay at Stewart Middle School. If and when the new academy is built, students from Stewart would split and attend two different middle schools. “Stewart students who live south of Highway 31 will have option to attend a new middle school in the southwest quadrant of Tyler,” said TISD Superintendent Gary Mooring. “Students living north of Highway 31 would attend new Boulter Middle School.” Board members say a rumor about the Plyler Alternative School moving to the old Stewart Middle School is not true.
The new academy would be in addition to the Career and Technology Center, which is based more toward gaining skills to enter the workforce. The board says it would envision about 400 to 500 students at the new high school eventually. They are also considering adding extra curricular activities for those students if in fact this bond goes through.
A number of people in the neighborhood surrounding Stewart have expressed concern about plans to repurpose the school. Officials noted that the whole proposal would be subject to court approval. The also said the renovation and repurposing of Stewart would not require any additional funding on top of the bond proposal.
TYLER — Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics eliminated approximately 80 positions on Tuesday. The story was reported late Tuesday afternoon by KETK. “Trinity Mother Frances has a distinguished 75 year history. As we plan for our future service to the greater East Texas community, we will continue to place our emphasis on ensuring the highest standard of patient safety and providing the best and most compassionate patient care,” said Lindsey Bradley, President & CEO. “As the health care sector changes, so must we change to address the needs of today and tomorrow.”
“Our strategy is not just about cost-reduction; it is about positioning Trinity Mother Frances to grow in the ever changing health care market,” Bradley said. “I believe this is the best way for us to continue our commitment to serving the health care needs of people of East Texas.” Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Darin Szilagyi added, “It is not lost on anyone inside Trinity Mother Frances that we are impacting the lives of our staff.”
EAST TEXAS — An execution date has been set for an East Texas man convicted of sexual assault, kidnapping and murder. According to KETK, Richard Cobb will be put to death April 25th. Cobb was convicted of killing Kenneth Vandever, 37, and kidnapping two women from a store in Rusk. One of the women was raped and all three were shot. Cobb’s accomplice, Beunka Adams, was executed last April.