EAST TEXAS — Last night’s storms brought power outages around East Texas. Oncor and SWEPCO reported power outages in Smith and Gregg Counties as well as in Cherokee, Rusk, Upshur and Van Zandt Counties. KETK reports that crews have been out overnight working to restore the power. There is no estimate on how long that might take.
EAST TEXAS — The West Gregg Special Utilities District has issued a boil water notice for persons living from Interstate Highway 20 to State Highway 31 between Tyler and Kilgore. Because of a water main break Saturday, people living in that area should boil their water for at least two minutes before cooking, drinking or making ice. According to a statement from the water district, “Due to reduced pressure caused by a water main break, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required our water system, West Gregg SUD/0920022 to notify customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption.” They said they will release another statement when the water is safe and the boil water notice is lifted.
TYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith has been invited by Texas State Senator Bob Hall to testify before the Senate Sub-committee on Border Security, which is a sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations. Up for consideration in the 8:00am Monday Senate public hearing is Hall’s SB 1252, which would give the Governor the authority to develop and enter into a Southern Border Security Interstate Compact with other interested states. State Representative Matt Schaefer of Tyler has filed companion House Bill 3401. Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution recognizes the authority of the states to create an interstate compact to be approved by Congress. With Congressional consent, the compact rises to the level of federal law and grants participating states the right of relevant federal jurisdiction. This right will empower participating states to enforce existing federal immigration laws and to gain operational control of the Southern U.S. border. … Read More
LONGVIEW — Gregg County authorities are looking for a man suspected in several vehicle burglaries and a credit card abuse case. He was possibly in a 4 door tan Crown Victoria or Grand Marquis with a keypad lock on the driver side door. If you have information on the identity of this man, contact Investigator Craig Harrington at 903-237-2529 or Crime Stoppers at 903-236-8408.
TYLER — Tyler Junior College has two connections to this year’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards: A winning teacher and the student who nominated him. JP Fugler, on the right, a former TJC student and current speech teacher at Van High School, is one of 13 educators nationwide, and the only winner from Texas, selected this year from an extensive pool of nominees. Fugler was nominated for the Sondheim award by his former VHS student Jacob Savage, who is now a freshman speech/communications major at TJC.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Gregg County authorities are asking for the public to help in locating a teenage runaway. She is Paiglynn Raymond, 15. She was seen at 8:00 Friday morning in the Liberty City area and was last seen in the Grapevine area of Dallas. According to the sheriff’s department Face Book page, she was last seen wearing a purple tank top, blue jeans, black and white shoes, and carrying a grey backpack. She is about 5’6, 135 lbs, with brown eyes and brown hair. And they say she may have cut her hair and dyed it an unknown color. If anyone has information on her whereabouts, contact Inv. Jon Fulgham at 903-237-2531 or Crime Stoppers at 903-236-8408.
TYLER — Tyler Water Utilities will be installing utility service connections today on Old Bullard Road between Rieck Road and Chimney Rock and on Chimney Rock between Old Bullard Road and South Broadway. The roads will be closed from 7:00am until approximately 2:00pm.
If traveling south on Old Bullard Road, the detour will begin at Rieck Road. You will have to travel east to South Broadway or west on Rieck Road. If traveling north from Old Grande on Old Bullard, the detour will begin on Old Grande and will be open only to local traffic. The Chimney Rock and Old Bullard intersection will be closed with no through traffic from Old Bullard to South Broadway. You are encouraged to avoid these roads and plan alternative routes during the time construction is in progress.
HENDERSON — Rusk county authorities are looking for a man accused of trying to run over a sheriff’s deputy. The suspect is identified as Kyle Wayne Green, 39, of Henderson. The Gregg Conty Sheriff’s Department notified Rusk County authorities a GPS unit indicated a stolen vehicle was on State Highway 64. As a deputy walked toward the truck an man jumped in it and drove toward the deputy. He jumped out of the way and was narrowly missed by the vehicle. They truck was later found abandoned about a mile away.
Green is then said to have stolen another pickup, which was found abandoned in Kaufman County. The search for Green continues. Green is described as a white male about 5’10” and weighs around 170 pounds. You are asked to contact the nearest law enforcement agency if you come across the suspect.
LONGVIEW — A person of interest in a Gregg County burglary has been arrested following a Crimestoppers tip. The Gregg County Sheriff’s office Facebook page say Odis Ray Austin, 43,o f Kilgore, has been taken into custody. He was arrested in the Overton area. He has been named in an outstanding felony warrant.
TYLER — EightTyler Independent School District employees have been surprised with the presentation of the Tyler ISD Foundation’s Spring 2015 A Team Award. The award was created to honor the sometimes unsung heroes of public education in Tyler. Honorees are nominated for the award by their co-workers. This is the second time the Tyler ISD Foundation has presented the A Team Award. The Spring 2015 recipients, who were announced Friday, are: Kevin Bogue, Coordinator of Information Systems, Technology; Shameka Kelly, Food Service, Griffin Elementary School; Oscar Garcia, Bilingual Math and Science Teacher, Austin Elementary School; April Caldwell, AVID Teacher, John Tyler High School; Phebe Luther-Mims, Secretary, Visual and Performing Arts Department; Tamara Moss, Administrative Assistant, Tyler ISD Assessment; Sharon Evans, Special Education Coordinator, Academic Intervention; Kelly England, Third Grade Teacher, Bell Elementary Global Communications Academy.… Read More
TYLER — Small, nonfarm businesses in 30 Texas counties, including Smith County, are eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans help offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought that began on February 10, 2015. Although Smith County is not a primary county affected by the drought, it is considered a neighboring county and is still eligible for the loans. Primary Texas counties affected by the drought include Atascosa, Burnet, Lampasas, San Saba and Van Zandt. There are 25 neighboring counties eligible for assistance, including Smith, Henderson and Wood.… Read More
CLEVELAND (AP/STAFF) — Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has apologized to the team and its fans and asked for privacy during his recovery from an undisclosed substance problem. Manziel, a Tyler native, released a statement through the Browns on Friday. He thanked doctors and staff at Caron, a Pennsylvania facility which specializes in the treatment of drugs and alcohol. Manziel was discharged last week following a 2 1/2-month stay. Manziel says he takes “full responsibility for my actions” and he intends to “work very hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect.” Manziel, who earned his “Johnny Football” nickname while winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M, intends to attend Cleveland’s offseason practices next week. Earlier this week, he attended a Texas Rangers game followed by a visit to see the Dallas Mavericks play. Manziel had a rough rookie season in 2014. He spent most of it as the team’s backup before making two starts.
DIBOLL (AP) — Authorities say a pilot and two passengers have been slightly hurt when a private plane bound for Houston made a crash landing along an East Texas road. The Texas Department of Public Safety says the crash happened Friday morning beside U.S. 59 near Diboll. The twin-engine plane ended up in a grassy area. DPS Sgt. William Kennard says the Cessna took off from the Angelina County Airport in Lufkin then apparently had mechanical trouble. Kennard says the pilot, Edd Campbell Hendee, 63, of Houston, and the two passengers suffered minor injuries. All were taken to a hospital to be examined. Hendee is a former radio talk show host in Houston, where he also owns a restaurant.
AUSTIN (AP) — Unemployment in Tyler and Longview, like the trend in the state, continues to run well below the national numbers. Texas unemployment rate slipped to 4.2% in March for the seventh straight month of declines.
The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday announced the figure is down slightly from February unemployment of 4.3 percent. The nationwide jobless rate was 5.5% in March. Tyler’s unemployment rate in March was 4.3% while in Longview it was 4.2%. A year ago it was 5.6% in Tyler and 5.3% in Longview. … Read More
GLADEWATER — The severe weather that moved through East Texas has killed a Smith County man in Gladewater. Killed when a large tree fell on his car was Tony Lively, 33, of Winona. He was found shortly after 7:15 Thursday night in the 1600 block of Vesta Drive. KETK reports a woman in the vehicle was able to escape the vehicle and was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Lively, who was unconscious, was trapped in the vehicle. After SWEPCO removed a down power line from the car, first responder were able to remove him from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead shortly before 10:00pm.
AUSTIN — A bill inspired by an East Texas tragedy won passage Thursday morning in the Texas Senate and will now move to the House. According to KETK, Tyler State Senator Kevin Eltife’s Senate Bill 788, also known as Kari’s Law, calls for hotels and businesses to eliminate the need to dial 9 to reach an outside line when making 911 calls. In December of 2013, Kari Hunt, a mother of three, was stabbed to death by her estranged husband in a Marshall hotel room. Her nine-year-old daughter tried to dial 911 but didn’t know she had to dial 9 to reach an outside line. The measure will now go to the House floor where Representative Chris Paddie of Marshall says it will get to legislators as early as next week.
QUITMAN — A Wood County man was taken into custody for allegedly stealing brass from headstone markers — many from deceased veterans. KETK reports that on April 12, detectives began investigating possible thefts of gravestone markers. Authorities had not received an official report at the time, but were tipped off that a man may have been stealing brass from two cemeteries. Detectives followed up on the leads and discovered the claims to be true, according to officials. Evidence eventually led a to Mineola man, Chad Hennessey. He was arrested on a parole warrant. … Read More
NATCHITOCHES, La. — It’s been learned that two Henderson County men were arrested last weekend in Louisiana after allegedly leading authorities on a brief chase. KETK reports that around 1:30 on Sunday, Natchitoches Parish deputies responded to a reported gas drive-off at a Clarence, Louisiana, convenience store. Law enforcement intercepted the vehicle on Louisiana Highway 6 East near the city of Natchitoches, according to Sheriff Victor Jones, Jr. … Read More
TYLER – Tyler police are looking for the suspect in the robbery of a man in the Whataburger parking lot at 5003 Troup Highway. It happened around 6:30 Thursday night. The victim said he was meeting a person he had been communicating with on Craig’slist. He said he was approached by a man with a handgun who took an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect left the scene in a silver four door car. The victim was not injured. The suspect was described as a black male about six feet tall with a thin build. Tyler police remind you, when buying and selling items online, you should always meet in a public place and take the extra steps in identifying the individual you are planning to meet.
A lengthy YouTube video has been released by a woman who left the controversial Church of Wells on Good Friday, only to return to the church this week. According to KETK, the video starts with words from church pastor Sean Morris. Then Catherine Grove starts talking and mentions the night she left. Grove tells viewers, “I called the police, and they thought I was leaving the church for good, and I was not leaving like that…I was frustrated about this situation with my parents.” Grove says her parents held her against her will and made up all kinds of accusations against the church. There was no immediate comment from Grove’s family. You can go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_a6o5Up3haI to watch the video in its entirety.
LONGVIEW — The woman who mailed poison to President Obama is suing Gregg County. Shannon Guess Richardson is serving 18 years in federal prison for mailing ricin to President Obama in 2013 and trying to frame her husband for it. She’s now filed a $10 million civil suit against four Gregg County jail workers and two U.S. Marshal’s deputies. She claims they neglected her medical care when she spent three weeks in their custody. At the time, she was six months pregnant. The lawsuit accuses county jailers of laughing at her when she complained of uncontrollable bleeding. Days later, she gave birth prematurely. The county attorney calls the lawsuit frivolous and notes it could be thrown out by a federal court.
WASKOM — The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the victims in a crash near Waskom in which one person was killed and three injured. According to KETK, shortly before 5:30 Tuesday afternoon, a car was traveling east on Highway 80 when it crossed into the westbound lane and collided head-on with a truck. DPS was not immediately able to identify why the vehicle drove into the wrong lane. The driver of the truck was pronounced dead at LSU Hospital around an hour after the wreck. He is identified as Tom Davidson, 50, Waskom. … Read More
TYLER – Mother Frances Hospital Tyler announces it has recently earned a 2015 Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades as one of the country’s top performers in patient safety. Trinity Mother Frances is the only hospital in East Texas to earn this prestigious national designation, according to a news release. “It is an honor to be recognized on this list of some of the most outstanding facilities in the country through this designation,” said Barbara Allen, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Quality Officer. “This award is a testament to the hard work, dedication and expertise of our entire medical staff and every member of our team who give their all every day to ensure that our patients are cared for in the safest possible environment.” … Read More
DALLAS (AP/Staff) – The sentencing in Tyler federal court this week of hospital administrator Dr. Tariq Mahmood concludes a legal saga that included the closure of four rural Texas hospitals he operated, including Cozby-Germany Hospital in Grand Saline. But those closings also accelerated the number of hospitals shuttering in rural parts of the state and increased a void for many seeking medical care. Federal prosecutors say the damage caused by Mahmood’s Medicaid and Medicare fraud contributed to the collapse of the hospitals. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison. The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals says 10 rural hospitals have closed in the last two years. David Pearson, the organization’s CEO, says regulations and the need for new technology result in high costs for hospitals. At the same time, state and federal reimbursements to them are being cut.
MINNEAPOLIS MINNEAPOLIS (ESPN/Staff) — Minnesota Vikings running back and former Palestine standout Adrian Peterson is being reinstated today, making him able to fully participate in all team activities, the NFL announced Thursday. Peterson had been suspended from the league since Nov. 18. Peterson pleaded no contest on Nov. 4 to misdemeanor reckless injury charges after injuring his son while disciplining him last May. In a letter from commissioner Roger Goodell, Peterson was informed that he is expected to fulfill his remaining obligations to the authorities in Minnesota and Texas, as well as the additional commitments Peterson made during his April 7 meeting with the commissioner, including counseling.
RUSK — A Jacksonville man was sentenced to 60 years in prison Tuesday for burglarizing a Cherokee County home. KETK reports a jury needed just 16 minutes to find Desiree Chumbley, 25, guilty of burglary of a habitation. The same jury later assessed the sentence. Jurors heard testimony from Deandre Jones that he and Chumbley kicked in the door of the home of Al Chavira in the middle of the day on January 13, 2014, and went inside. Additional evidence revealed a neighbor watched the burglary in progress from her home as she called 911.… Read More
LONGVIEW — An East Texas man remains behind bars after allegedly stealing from a self-storage business, and an investigation of the case continues. KETK reports that Gregg County deputies responded around 4:40 p.m. Sunday to a self-storage business on George Richey Road on reports of a burglary. A witness at the location reported seeing a truck leaving the area with a refrigerator in the bed. The storage units were checked and locks were missing from several doors. Based on information provided by the witness, Jackie Ray Lucas of Big Sandy was stopped by Gladewater police on Highway 271 near the airport. His truck reportedly contained items stolen from the units valued at about $2,000. … Read More
A key committee in Austin took testimony Tuesday on a bill by Rep. David Simpson that would allow people to sue makers of synthetic pot in civil courts. Simpson, R-Longview, reported afterward he expects the Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence to move his House Bill 1200 on to the House of Representatives next week for floor debate. According to the Longview News-Journal, Simpson said Tuesday evening he had agreed to tweak that bill to ensure FDA-approved products are not caught in its net. The bill creates a civil liability for people who make synthetic drugs, which have sent many users to emergency rooms and are blamed in some deaths across the state. Simpson’s measure targets the pocketbooks of those who make and market the substances, which are sold as bath spices, potpourri and other harmless products.
SMITH COUNTY — Two burglary suspects are in custody following a high speed chase. Arthur Jenkins, 63, Winona (pictured) and Ashtyn Walker, 27, Tyler, have been charged with burglary of a business and evading arrest. Tyler Police responded to a commercial alarm at Royal Donuts, 3213 West Gentry just after 2:00 Thursday morning. They learned that prior to their arrival, a Smith County Deputy witnessed a car leaving the scene at a high rate of speed. A chase ensued, and ended a short time later in Wood County. Jenkins immediately surrendered, but Walker took off on foot and had to be subdued by a Taser, according to officials. … Read More
LUFKIN — Word came in Wednesday that an Arkansas native who was at the center of a controversy involving the Church of Wells has returned to the church and is engaged to be married to a fellow church member. That’s according to the Lufkin Daily News. The deep East Texas newspaper reports Catherine Grove intends to marry Ronnie Saltsman. Grove told the news outlet Ronnie proposed to her on her birthday, January 15. The couple hasn’t set a date, but she says she wants to marry her fiance in the church’s new building once construction is complete. … Read More