KILGORE — Kilgore College has eliminated close to 40 positions in several departments. According to KETK, it comes after the state cut more that $1 million from their budget. College employees say on top of receiving less money from the state, the school has also seen a decline in student enrollment. Due to the shortage in students, departments have had to cut back on the amount of classes offered.
MARSHALL — City commissioners in Marshall passed a resolution naming Marshall a “no colors, no labels” city. Marshall’s Police Chief has the support of the city commission in his new initiative dubbed “no colors, no labels.” Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa plans to continue the social media campaign already in place, but also add a grassroots effort of educating the community about the different cultures in the community. Campa said this is a pivotal movement for Marshall, a community that has a rich history in the racial turmoil of the 1950s and 60s.
WHITEHOUSE — Whitehouse city officials are scheduled to receive today a report on the investigation of some city employees, including the police chief and city manager. The investigation was conducted by Smith County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Mark Simmons. The report will then be viewed by city council members. KETK reports Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton (pictured) expects to give his an answer to an ultimatum made by Interim City Manager Stefani Wright on Tuesday, according to his attorney, David Dobbs. An extra day was requested by Shelton’s attorney to look over the resignation terms. … Read More
LONGVIEW — Bond has been increased for a Longview woman in connection with the wreck that killed her son. Dekeshia Charity Thomas, 24, of Longview, had been free on a $50,000 bond on an intoxication assault charge. She was arrested in February after her SUV hit another vehicle and a tree and rolled over. A few weeks later, her 8 week old son, Terrence Demarcus Crayton, died in a Dallas hospital from injuries received the wreck. Investigators say the child was not in child safety restraints. Thomas was brought back to 124th District Judge Alfonso Charles’ courtroom, accused of failing to live up to a condition of her bond. The judge set a new bond of $200,000, and she is back in the Gregg County Jail.
HENDERSON COUNTY — A shooting in Henderson County has left one person injured and one in custody. Charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is Rickey Murry, 55, of Mabank. He remains in the Henderson County Jail on a $25,000 bond. The victim was flown to a Tyler hospital treatment. The victim’s name has not been released. Henderson County Authorities tell KETK the shooting took place on the 200 block of Longhorn Road in the Cherokee Shores subdivision. Deputies drove to the home, but could not locate the suspect. They eventually were able to reach Murry by phone and he returned to the location.
LONGVIEW — Longview’s litter index has gone up slightly. A team of community, business and government representatives conducted a visual analysis of the city. This year’s scorers were: Rhodora Bivens, David Simmons, Billy Lee, Jan Simmons, Dionne Lott, Mike Wigington and Kim Droege. They used a scoring system ranging from 1-4, with “1” being the best to “4” being the worst. The Litter Index for Longview rated 1.75. This number is slightly higher than last year when the number was 1.68. … Read More
TYLER — A Smith County man has been sentenced to die next month for strangling his mother over 11 years ago. During a court hearing on Monday, Tracy Beatty, 54, of Whitehouse, was sentenced to die on August 13th for capital murder. All of his appeals have been exhausted. Beatty went to the high court after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last summer rejected arguments he had deficient legal help at his 2004 trial in Tyler for the slaying of Carolyn Click, 62. The Supreme Court refused his appeal without comment. Beatty had been paroled to his mother’s home in Tyler from a 15-year prison term for theft from Dallas County. He is said to have strangled her, leaving her body in the bathtub at her home for two days, and then burying her in her backyard. When arrested for her slaying, he already was in jail for auto theft and weapons possession.
MARSHALL — The Marshall Police Department says the social media has played a important role in the arrest of two theft suspects. Surrendering to authorities today were Raul Cardenas Olivarria, 19, and Pedro Silva, 18. The two Marshall men have been charged with organized retail theft. … Read More
HENDERSON (AP) — Rusk County Commissioners have accepted the resignation of County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle. She submitted her resignation last Thursday because she said that she could not in good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When the commissioner’s court met this morning, they accepted the resignation. The commissioners later filled the position by appointing Rusk County employee Judy McGill to the post. District Attorney Michael Jimerson said last week that Lewis-Kugle asked about her options and he told her “the Supreme Court is the law of the land.” He said she had a choice of issuing the license or resigning in protest.
LONGVIEW — Longview State Representative David Simpson has sent a letter to state officials asking for a special session of the state legislature. It was sent to Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Speaker Joe Straus. In the letter, sent shortly before 7:00 Monday morning, Simpson expresses concerns about decisions of state agencies to pay benefits for same-sex partners. According to Simpson, the Texas constitution prohibits new spending without legislative approval.… Read More
TYLER — A Tyler man has been arrested after he was reportedly caught burglarizing vehicles at a local store. Police said surveillance video led to the arrest of Eric Benton, 22. According to KETK, Benton had been walking around the parking lot of the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market near Troup and the Loop trying to find an unlocked car. Benton reportedly took a wallet full of cash from one car. Benton ran when he saw police but was found behind a dumpster a short time later. He confessed to the crime and was booked into the Smith County Jail with bond set at $5,000.
Crews will close the Interstate Highway 20 eastbound Toll 49 Exit Ramp Monday morning for repairs. The work is expected to be completed by noon. Motorists should plan to take an alternate route to reach their destination.
District wide Seal Coat Operations will return on July 20. Meanwhile, striping operations continue in Anderson and Van Zandt counties on those roadways that have been sealed. Expect lane closures.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Longview Police have had around 15 reports of criminal mischief including several tires slashed, windows broken, and other types of vandalism over the past week. No specific neighborhoods were targeted. The property damage is said to be in the thousands. Longview police encourage citizens to report suspicious activity and criminal mischief. Citizen involvement is the link to solving crimes and keeping a watchful eye out for their neighborhoods. If you see cars or people who may be in your neighborhood that you don’t recognize, you are encouraged to give Longview police a call. According to the department’s Facebook page, if you’re victim of a crime, including theft, criminal mischief, or other crimes call and report it.
EL PASO (AP) — An El Paso hospital has cancelled all elective and nonemergency surgeries for three weeks after being notified its accreditation has been denied. The El Paso Times cites University Medical Center of El Paso CEO Jim Valenti as saying inspectors found employees not following policy, incomplete documentation and preventative maintenance by technicians that didn’t meet industry standards. El Paso County Commissioner Vince Perez says no one told him or his colleagues about the denial before the county-run hospital announced the cancellations Saturday. He says the lack of communication shows the need for new leadership once Valenti’s contract expires next year.
EAST TEXAS — A head-on collision killed two drivers and sent two passengers to the hospital. According to the Department of Public Safety, the accident at happened around 10:45 Thursday morning on Texas 294 just east of U.S. Highway 79 in Elkhart. Officials said a 2012 GMC pickup and a white 2014 Ford 150 – had collided head-on in the eastbound lane. The driver of the GMC, 24-year-old Thomas Walker Lee, and the driver of the Ford, 52-year-old Betty Louann Baugh, died on impact. Lee and Baugh were pronounced dead at the scene.… Read More
TYLER – A Tyler house was damaged by fire early Saturday afternoon. According to KETK, neighbors reported the fire in the 2800 block of Stanley Drive after they noticed smoke. Officials said the blaze started from an electric stove in the kitchen area. The flames were contained to the kitchen area but smoke damage was reported throughout the house. The family of seven were not at home during the fire and there were no injuries reported.
HENDERSON (AP) — An East Texas county clerk has resigned rather than comply with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry. Rusk County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle submitted her resignation letter Thursday. County Judge Joel Hale, Rusk County’s top administrator, said Lewis-Kugle wrote that she could not in good conscience issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. County commissioners are scheduled to vote on her resignation Monday. Hale said he expected it would be accepted. … Read More
AUSTIN (AP) — Add six counties to the federal disaster declaration for Texans damaged by deadly severe weather that began in early May. The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday announced that Angelina, Erath, Frio, Jim Wells, Montgomery and Trinity counties have been added to the 36 Texas counties previously placed under the disaster declaration. The 42 counties were the ones hardest hit by severe storms, tornadoes, damaging winds and flooding between May 4 and June 19. FEMA also extended the deadline to apply for individual assistance to August 27. The disaster assistance for homeowners and renters include assistance with rent, temporary housing, home and business repairs and other disaster-related needs.
WHITEHOUSE — Embattled Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton has been offered the option of resigning from his position following his Wednesday indictment for assault. KETK reports the city issued a statement on the matter Friday afternoon. The statement reads, in part, “If Chief Shelton does not tender his resignation, appropriate action will be taken by the Interim City Manager or City Manager at that time, pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him and the content of the anticipated Independent Investigator’s Report.” There was no word late Friday on any response from Shelton.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County authorities have arrested two suspects after finding what they term an illegal tire dump containing some 1,000 tires. The suspects are named as 27-year-old Brandon Dudley and 25-year-old Joseph Price. Both were charged with illegal dumping of solid waste, with bonds set at $50,000 each. According to a news release, the Smith County Sheriff’s Environmental Crimes Unit and Patrol Division found the dump this week in the area of Farm Road 757 some four miles north of Highway 31.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Akin Park Trail will be temporarily closed for a trail reconstruction project between Delwood Drive and Eden Drive for approximately 45 to 60 days, according to information from the city of Longview. Barricades will be placed in the area to prohibit use while improvements are being made. The project is funded by the voter approved Capital Improvement Projects bond election from May 2007. The construction is being conducted by C.E. Marler and Associates.
MARSHALL — The Marshall Police Department is preparing for whatever may come its way by obtaining some riot gear. Police Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa says the city will buy 38 protective helmets, 38 pairs of elbow pads, 38 chin guards, 38 shields, 50 36-inch batons, and 38 pairs of protective gloves. Campa says he hopes his department never needs the equipment, but would rather have the equipment and not need it than need it and not have it. It will cost the department about $15,000 to purchase the gear, which is being paid for through a grant.
WHITE OAK — A Gregg County man has been arrested in connection with a Panola County wreck that killed two persons and an unborn child. Arrested at his home in White Oak Thursday was Cody Bright, 32. He was booked into the Gregg County Jail on a charge of criminal negligent homicide and his bond was set at $75,000. He is accused of crashing into the rear of a car that was preparing to make a left hand turn. Killed in the car was Josesa Ponce, 33, who was pregnant, and Eliannette Ponce, 11, both of Carthage. The accident occurred in April at the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and County Road 104.
ATHENS — Authorities say the remains found in Henderson County this week are those of a man reported missing last month. An autopsy determined the remains are those of David McCan. They were found Sunday afternoon around 2:00 south of Athens near county road 1313 in the Cross Roads area.. A volunteer search party of around 40 persons discovered McCan’s remains. Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said the autopsy also showed that the death was a suicide.
LONGVIEW — Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said Thursday a display of crosses at the courthouse targeted by a the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been removed. According to the KETK and the Longview News-Journal, Stoudt said the crosses didn’t belong to County Clerk Connie Wade, but to one of her employees. Stoudt said they were voluntarily taken down. The FFRF contacted the Gregg County clerk, objecting to religious items publicly displayed in the clerk’s office, after a recent story in the News-Journal was accompanied by a picture with more than 20 crosses in the background.
MARSHALL — State Rep. Chris Paddie announced Thursday that he will seek a third term. According to the KETK and the Longview News-Journal, the Marshall Republican wrote in a campaign re-election announcement that he is proud of what he has accomplished for District 9. That district serves Cass, Marion, Harrison, Panola, Shelby, and Sabine counties. According to the announcement, Paddie says legislators made progress in tax cuts, border security, gun rights, abortion restrictions, and energy independence.
TYLER – Dr. Jennifer Waters has been named director of residence life at The University of Texas at Tyler effective July 15. Waters comes to UT Tyler from Stephen F. Austin State University, where she has been serving as assistant director of residence life since 2008. At UTT, Waters will oversee the administration of all university housing and residence life operations. She follows David Hill, who will assume the new role of UT Tyler director of judicial affairs.
LONGVIEW — Community members gathered at the Pine Tree Pirate Center to remember fallen teammate Josh Warren. KETK reports Warren died last week less than 24 hours after a strength and conditioning workout at Pine Tree. About 200 people attended the memorial in the multi-purpose complex. Speakers highlighted what an incredible young man they said the 16-year-old was during his time at Pine Tree ISD.… Read More
LONGVIEW — A Longview man accused of fatally stabbing a nurse and visitor in November 2013 at Good Shepherd Medical Center is set to return to court today. Kyron Rayshawn Templeton, 24, who is charged with capital murder, has a hearing to discuss the status of his case. His trial date has not been set. According to the Longview News-Journal, Templeton also faces three aggravated assault charges stemming from the Nov. 26, 2013, incident in the medical center’s Ambulatory Surgical Center. Nurse Gail Sandidge, 57, and visitor Harris Teel, 82, died of wounds suffered in the attack. Registered nurse Karen Bobo and visitors Teresa Allison and Melissa Simms also were injured.
WASHINGTON — An East Texas school is one of three institutions asking the Supreme Court to protect them from millions of dollars in IRS fines that will be triggered if they refuse to comply with a HHS mandate. The petition was filed on behalf of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Houston Baptist University, and Pennsylvania-based Westminster Theological Seminary. The petition seeks to reverse a recent court decision that requires them to provide contraceptive coverage in its employee insurance coverage or face fines by the federal government. Filing the petition Wednesday were the same two firms that won the Hobby Lobby case against the government’s HHS mandate one year ago, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and former Solicitor General and leading Supreme Court advocate Paul Clement.… Read More