LONGVIEW – For many years, Longview’s Teague Park has been open from 6:00am till 11:00pm. But, that is about to change. Longview’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has approved closing Teague Park daily at sunset. Opening hours will remain unchanged. The change in times will take effect once signs are posted at the park’s entrances on American Legion Boulevard. That could be as early as next week. The Longview News Journal reports A local Veterans Recognition Foundation requested closing Teague Park after dark to limit crime and vagrancy. The group had also suggested adding a fence and a gate around the park. That suggestion was rejected.
AUSTIN – The board of regents of the University of Texas System have approved a tuition hike for member schools. The increases for the schools, including the University of Texas at Tyler, will kick in this fall. For U-T Tyler students, the proposed increase is 3.4%. Laura Jackson, Vice President for Legislative Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at U-T Tyler, previously told us, this is the first tuition hike for the Tyler campus since 2012. She said this would simply adjust for inflation. And Jackson adds, any tuition hike would not impact students with family incomes under $60,000. There will be no tuition hike at U-T Health Northeast. They had not requested one.
TYLER — A Tyler man has been arrested following a reported assault and attempted kidnapping. Lennel Choice Jr., 42, was booked into the Smith County Jail with bond set at $250,000. According to Tyler Police, the 32-year-old victim said she was at Hillside Park on Erwin when she noticed she was being followed. The woman said Choice grabbed her and forced her towards a creek and began assaulting her. Witnesses notified police, who were also in the park. The suspect fled when he saw the officers, but was caught a short distance away. Choice was charged with possession of marijuana and evading police. Investigators secured an arrest warrant for Kidnapping 3rd degree felony.
EAST TEXAS — The Super Tuesday election is at hand with the presidential race expected to draw a good number of persons to the polls. March 1st will be the biggest voting day of the 2016 presidential race. But, it’s not all about the president. In Texas numerous local races are on the ballot. In Smith County, the only contested races are in the Republican primary, where voters will select a state senator and representative as well as sheriff, a county commissioner and a couple of constables. Tyler Congressman Louie Gohmert also has drawn opposition in the GOP primary. In Gregg County, Republicans will select a couple of commissioners as well as a couple of constables. All of this to see who will be running in November. You can go to the Smith County and Gregg county websites for more on the election as well as local polling locations. Then join us Tuesday night to see how your votes counted.
LONGVIEW — A former Gregg County district attorney has been indicted on a drug charge about a year after his arrest. KETK and the Longview News-Journal Robert Riter “Rob” Foster, 70, was indicted on a charge of possession of a controlled substance by a grand jury that was convened Feb. 24 and 25. The indictment comes a year almost to the day after Foster was arrested Feb. 24, 2015, by Longview police on charges of possession of a controlled substance, driving while intoxicated and unlawful carrying of a weapon. … Read More
KILGORE — One person is in critical but stable condition following a shooting in Kilgore. KETK reports on Sunday around 9:10 p.m., Kilgore Police Officer Craig Mrosko was dispatched to Stone Creek Apartments in the 4000 block of Pine Burr Lane in reference to a shooting. The initial investigation revealed two parties began exchanging gunfire after a brief argument. After the exchange, the injured party left the area and the other was taken to a local hospital by way of private vehicle prior to police arrival. The injured party suffered multiple gunshot wounds and underwent emergency surgery. He is currently listed in critical, but stable condition.… Read More
LONGVIEW — A Longview man has been indicted on charges of injury to child stemming from a December incident. KETK reports Aaron Castile Bowling, 26, was indicted by a Gregg County Grand Jury last week after a 2-year-old child died in January. Police said on December 30 at 1:09 a.m., officers were dispatched to a welfare check at the Contessa Inn on Highway 31. Authorities were told a child had been injured in one of the rooms at the location. … Read More
WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has awarded six low-interest loans to local governments and community organizations that will spur rural economic development in Texas and four other states. One of those grants is headed to East Texas. The East Texas Regional Development Corporation in Kilgore will be receiving a $500,000 grant. It will be used to provide low-interest loans for business and community development. The loan is expected to create 10 jobs. According to Vilsack, “These loans will improve rural economies by providing capital to small and emerging business.” And he added that the funding, “will help ensure that emerging rural businesses will have the resources they need to grow and prosper.”
KILGORE – The Kilgore Emergency Department on South Henderson Boulevard has reopened following a bat infestation. The Good Shepherd Medical Center emergency room in Kilgore was closed in mid February following discovery of Mexican Free Tail bats in the building. A small number of bats were found in the walls and ceiling of the building. Some were even seen in the emergency room. A specialty firm has removed the bats and cleansed the affected area.
WHITEHOUSE – At a called meeting, Whitehouse school trustees have named Dr. Christopher Moran as the lone finalist for Superintendent of Schools. The must now wait now wait 21 days as required by law before making a final appointment. Dr. Moran is currently superintendent of school in Brownsboro, a position he has held since 2011. He will be succeeding Danial DuPree who has served in a variety of positions in the Whitehouse school system since 1994. He announced last November he would retire at the end of August, 2016. … Read More
EAST TEXAS — A Texas Congressman who’s a familiar face on TV has been challenged by two opponents in Tuesday’s Primary. First District Congressman Louie Gohmert, Tyler, has been challenged in the Republican Primary by rancher Simon Winston, and also by stay-at-home dad, Anthony Culler, who’s frustrated that Gohmert is ignoring him. Gohmert says he’s being challenged for his seat because he went after former Speaker of the House John Boehner.
DALLAS (AP) — An animal-rights group has filed an injunction in federal court to prevent a group of elephants from being imported and kept at three zoos, including the one in Dallas. Friends of Animals requested the injunction Friday, after earlier filing a lawsuit to block the 18 elephants from being transported from Swaziland. The group argues that when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowed the transfer of the animals, it did not take into account how the move would hurt their social, mental and physical well-being. The Dallas Morning News reports an injunction hearing is scheduled for March 17. The Dallas Zoo earlier issued a statement saying the zoos — including ones in Omaha, Nebraska, and Wichita, Kansas — want to provide a haven for elephants now contending with scarce food in drought-stricken Swaziland.
MINEOLA — Multiple fire departments responded to a Sunday night restaurant fire in Mineola. The fire was reported just before 10:00 at the Wing Dingers restaurant in the 700 block of Northwest Loop 564. According to KETK, Lindale, Hainesville, and Quitman fire departments were all called out to the blaze. The building is said to be a complete loss. The Wood County Fire Marshal is investigating. No injuries were reported.
LONGVIEW — Owners of a Longview bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple have sought legal assistance after receiving online threats. According to the Longview News-Journal, Kilgore couple Ben Valencia and Luis Marmolejo said they went to Kern’s Bake Shop this past week to get an estimate for the cake, but bakery co-owner Edie Delorme told them it was against her Christian faith for the business to be linked to same-sex marriage. Delorme and her husband, David, began receiving threats after media reports of the encounter were published. They then contacted the nonprofit legal organization First Liberty Institute in Plano. Lawyer Michael Berry. He says the family, which was upfront with the couple about their religion, are on firm legal footing.
TYLER — Senator Ted Cruz’s wife made the rounds in East Texas. Heidi Cruz held an event in Nacogdoches on Saturday afternoon and ended the day with a meet and greet at UT Tyler. KETK reports, hundreds of people gathered at UT Tyler to meet the woman that might possibly be the next First Lady. Heidi Cruz said this year’s election is the most important election of our generation.… Read More
MARSHALL — Several people are injured Saturday night following a two vehicle wreck in Marshall. According to KETK, an SUV turning westbound onto West Grand from Young Street was struck by a vehicle traveling westbound on Grand causing the SUV to rollover. Three juveniles were ejected from the SUV. Eleven occupants from the SUV, including the driver, were transported to a local hospital. At least one of the passengers sustained serious injuries. No other injuries were reported. The crash is under investigation and charges are pending.
BULLARD — The identity of the man killed in a Friday night wreck in Bullard has been released. DPS Troopers said Jimmie Cagle, 72, Mesquite, lost control of his vehicle when taking a left curve on FM 344 near Smith County Road 187. The vehicle ran off the road, rolled several times and Cagle was ejected. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
TYLER — The Tyler Police Department held its annual awards banquet at the Ornelas Activity Center Friday night. Exemplary members of the police department were recognized. Officer of the year was awarded to Officer Mitch Archbell (pictured). Officer Jonathan Holland was named Rookie of the Year. Additional awards such as Supervisor of the year and Unit of the Year were also named. … Read More
PALESTINE — The suspect involved in a shooting at Palestine High School Friday night has been identified as Bobby Burrell, 63, Teague. Palestine Police responded Friday night to a shooting at the school around 6:10. The school’s website shows a high school basketball playoff game between Teague and Malakoff at 6:30. The men involved in the incident were from Teague. According to KETK, Captain James Muniz said Burrell reportedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots at a 63 year old man, hitting him at least once in the upper arm. The suspect then assaulted a 59 year old woman who was accompanying the male victim striking her in the head area with the handgun after the gun reportedly malfunctioned. It is believed that the suspect and female victim had a prior relationship.… Read More
TYLER — The Tyler Junior College Dental Clinic will be offering a free clinic Saturday. Beginning at 11:00, the clinic will provide free cleanings, basic fillings and extractions to treat pain and infection. The TJC Dental Clinic is located on the first floor of the Robert M. Rogers Nursing & Health Sciences Center, at the corner of Fifth Street and Fleishel Avenue. Organizers said availability is on a first come, first served basis. Qualified applicants fall below the 200-percent poverty level. Interested persons should arrive at the dental clinic at 11 a.m. for screening and X-rays. A dentist will determine what treatment can be provided in the time available.
ALPINE – A second person has been found guilty and sentenced for the first-degree felony murder of Kilgore native Walter “Trey” Sands. The Kilgore News Herald reports a jury in Alpine deliberated less than an hour Friday afternoon before finding Charles Levi Morrow (pictured) guilty. The sentencing phase of the trial started after the verdict was returned, and Morrow was handed a term of 55 years behind bars along with a $10,000 fine. Earlier this month Keith Allen McWilliams was sentenced to life in prison for Sands’s death. A murder charge against a third suspect was dropped last summer. The men had been accused of beating, stabbing and shooting the 28-year-old Kilgore High School alumnus and burying the man under a half-ton of rocks in the area known as Terlingua Ranch.
TYLER — Two are jailed in Smith County on charges of injury to a child, and officials say the abuse was severe. Sheriff Larry Smith says On November 25, 2015, a 15-month-old child was brought into the East Texas Medical Center emergency room in Tyler by his mother, Brittany Jaynes, and her live-in boyfriend Thomas Dalton. Smith says the child was unresponsive and seizing. During treatment, it was discovered the child had acute head trauma and a brain bleed which was inconsistent with the events reported by Ms. Jaynes and Mr. Dalton, according to Smith. Due to the severe injury, the child was flown to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for further treatment. Smith says during subsequent treatment and examination at Children’s, it was determined the child’s head trauma was a result of abuse.… Read More
ATHENS – The Department of Public Safety has identified an Athens man as the victim of a Henderson County wreck. He is 55 year old Eddie Wayne Richards. He was killed in the wreck shortly before 7:45 Thursday night on Loop 7, about a mile southwest of Athens. The DPS says his pickup left the road on a sharp curve and hit a guardrail and then rolled several times. Richards, who was not wearing his seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle.
TYLER — The wife of GOP presidential contender and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will be in Tyler for a meet and greet today. Heidi Cruz will visit the UT Tyler Ornelas Activity Center on Old Omen Road from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The information comes from JoAnn Fleming, Ted Cruz for President Texas TEA Party Chair. Fleming says the indoor event, hosted by The Liberty Club of UT-Tyler, has limited seating. Doors open at 4:30 PM. Those wishing to attend can click https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tyler-tx-meet-greet-with-heidi-cruz-tickets-22125681509 to register for a ticket.
TYLER — The suspects in a recent Tyler drive-by shooting have been arrested. John Matthew Perez (pictured) and Marco Antonio Calles, both 18 and both from Tyler, have been charged with aggravated assault. Bonds are set at $250,000 apiece. The shooting was reported shortly after noon Sunday on Northcrest Drive near the Claude Street intersection. Officers arrived to find a 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the upper right thigh. The victim was transported to the hospital by ambulance. The victim told police he and a friend were walking along Northcrest when a car drove by and one of the occupants fired 3-5 shots, striking the victim in the right leg. The vehicle then left the area.
TYLER — After almost 18 years at the helm of The University of Texas at Tyler, President Rodney H. Mabry announced Friday that he would be retiring from that position effective Dec. 31, 2016. Mabry made the announcement Friday as part of an extensive look into the future of the university. In a news release, Mabry said there are “amazing new ventures planned” for UTT’s future,” but that it’s time for him to “someone with new ideas and new energy.” After a sabbatical, he said he plans to return to the university’s faculty in 2018.… Read More
GREGG COUNTY — The debate over religious liberty is, once again, playing out at a bakery but this time it’s in Texas. The owners of Kerns Bake Shop in Longview are deeply religious. They’re Baptists. So when a gay couple wanted a wedding cake, they declined, giving them a list of other bakeries. The gay couple claimed discrimination. So, the bakery owners hiring lawyer Michael Berry. He says the family, which was upfront with the couple about their religion, are on firm legal footing.
TYLER — East Texas Mission of Mercy holds a 2-day event providing free dental treatment and eye exams for low income families that cannot otherwise afford care. KETK reports that following Friday’s screening day at Tyler’s Bethesda Health Clinic, people are then assigned an appointment at one of the various treatment sites for Saturday. The screening was set up to determine what treatment is required. The East Texas Mission of Mercy was created when several local dentists realized the tremendous need for dental care in the East Texas community. This is the 5th biennial of this event in Tyler since 2008.
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas police say they’ve asked the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to present a misdemeanor domestic violence case to the local grand jury against Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. The recommended assault charge carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Police released a statement Thursday announcing the decision. The former Texas A&M star’s ex-girlfriend alleges he accosted her several times at a Dallas hotel on Jan. 30, and later struck her when they drove back to her apartment in Fort Worth. Neither Manziel’s attorney, Bradley Beckworth, nor the NFL immediately returned emails seeking comment. Prosecutors also didn’t return a call seeking details about their plan. Manziel’s agent and marketing agency have both dropped him, and the Browns have indicated they will release Manziel as early as March 9, when the league begins its new calendar year.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Linda Thomas of Longview presiding officer of the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Her term will run through February 1st, 2018. The authority is a political subdivision created to finance, acquire, design, construct, operate, maintain, expand or extend transportation projects in North East Texas.… Read More