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Category: Local News Archive

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Good Shepherd Earns Upgraded Bariatric Surgery Accreditation

LONGVIEW – The Good Shepherd Center for Bariatric Surgery has received an upgrade in its accreditation. The center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. This is a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In a news release, center director Dr. Dustin McDermott said the upgrade allows the center “more leeway to develop individualized surgical plans to properly care for each our patients and expands the scope of patients for whom these procedures are available.” Since opening in 2013 the Center for Bariatric Surgery has completed more than 200 procedures with additional patients in the pre-op screening or insurance qualification process.

Women Accused of Changing Prices at Retail Store

ANGELINA COUNTY — Two East Texas women have been arrested after allegedly trying to change prices on items at a local retail store. According to KETK, Mary Bishop, 63, (pictured) and Crystal Sanchez, 24, were arrested for theft at Walmart, 2500 Daniel McCall Drive. Police say Bishop and Sanchez changed tags on $238.11 worth of merchandise for a new total of $21.93. Both women were booked into the Angelina County Jail on $1,500 bond. Bishop has since been released, but Sanchez remains in jail.

New Dallas City Manager Returns to Texas after Tacoma Post

DALLAS (AP/Staff) – A city administrator who’s worked in Texas, Washington and Florida has been named city manager for Dallas. The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved T.C. Broadnax, who’s currently city manager in Tacoma, Washington. Dallas leaders had already picked Broadnax, but the city council vote makes it official. Broadnax starts his new job Feb. 1, replacing retiring City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. Broadnax beat out former Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel for the job. Broadnax will be responsible for oversight of more than 13,000 municipal employees and a current Dallas annual budget of $3.1 billion.… Read the rest of the article…

Tip Leads to Longview Drug Arrests

LONGVIEW – Acting on a tip, Longview police have arrested two men on drug charges. The tip was where they could find Brandon Ray Williams, 29, of Longview. They noticed, as he was leaving his house, he was followed by another vehicle. They say Williams began to take evasive actions to try and get away from the officers. He pulled into a mechanic shop and tried to flee on foot. He was captured a short time later. The man in the second vehicle was identified as Waukeem Trevor Williams, 33, of Longview. Officers say they saw him throw a marijuana blunt down on the ground. He was also arrested. A search of the men’s vehicles turned up a handgun, loaded rifle, a large amount of marijuana, and crack cocaine. … Read the rest of the article…

Grandmother Pleads Guilty of Leaving Granddaughter in Car to Watch a Movie

TYLER – A Tyler woman who left her infant granddaughter in a car so she could go to the movies, has pleaded guilty in state district court. Felicia Green, 51, pleaded guilty Wednesday to child endangerment. Court records show she was sentenced to two years in state jail, with the sentence probated for five years. She has also been ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitoring device, prohibited from driving a car unless going to the doctor or church and barred from having passengers in her vehicle. Besides being subject to random in-home visits from a probation officer, she will have to report to her probation officer on a weekly basis. Green has also has been barred from having having unsupervised contact with the child involved in the incident.… Read the rest of the article…

Palestine Health Services Moves to the Mall

PALESTINE – The City of Palestine health services division is changing locations. City Manager Mike Alexander has decided to move the city’s health department from the Development Services Department to Community Services. Community Services comprises of the former Parks and Recreation department, along with the newly-formed Environmental Services division, a combination of code enforcement and health services. As part of the move to Community Services, Health Officer Rickey Dorsey will now become the Assistant Director for Community Services. Dorsey has moved offices to the department’s offices inside the Palestine Mall. If residents have a health question, they can head to the Community Services Department inside the mall across from JC Penney.

Longview Suspect Tries to Run Away

LONGVIEW – A Longview drug suspect is in custody after trying to flee officers. Longview Police and the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit were told where the drug suspect might be located. They found 32 year-old Torvoris Torraz McKinley of Longview in his car on South Access Road. He ran from the vehicle, but they were able to follow him and arrest him in a nearby parking lot. The found narcotics on him and in his car. McKinley has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, evading arrest/detention, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon warrant and misdemeanor class C warrants. His jail records show he has been handled by authorities 31 times since 2008.

Guilty Pleas in a Tyler Robbery

TYLER – A woman has been sentenced in state district court for her part in a Tyler robbery. Candice Renae McGee, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday. She was given a 10-year deferred adjudication. On May 7th, she is said to have entered the Valero convenience store on the Troup Highway and Thistle Drive, and served as a lookout for the robbers. Earlier this week, Christopher Lamar Arnold, 29 pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in the case. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Two other persons were also arrested in the case. They are Lovie Sharlene Davis, 26, the store clerk and James Michael Rierson, 27, who was accused of driving the getaway car. Earlier this year, both pleaded guilty and were e both sentenced to 10 years probation with 320 hours of community service. They also had to enroll in a G.E.D. program and pay $1,779 in restitution.

Palestine Boil Water Notice Lifted

PALESTINE – A boil water notice issued for a portion of Palestine has been rescinded. The notice was issued Monday due to line rupture repairs on Highland Drive. The water system sent out a notice Wednesday that the water is safe and boiling may be discontinued.

Longview Police ID Armed Robbery Suspects

LONGVIEW — The Longview Police Department has identified four people who were arrested in connection with the Tuesday night robbery of a dollar store. According to KETK, officers responded around 9:30 to the Dollar General, 1501 South High Street, in reference to an aggravated robbery. The four suspects arrested at the scene were Xavier Rashad Lockridge, 17, Joseph Pierre Brice, Jr., 18, (pictured) and La’Darion Lynn Canada and Daqwon Hollins, both 19, all from Longview. Officers were able to find them because a GPS unit had been placed among the money. The four were arraigned Wednesday morning.They have all been charged with aggravated robbery. Each was placed under a $250,000 bond.

Two Boys and Girls Clubs Uniting

LONGVIEW – Two youth organizations in East Texas have announced a merger. The Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County will be merging into the Boys & Girls Club of The Big Pines, which is based in Marshall. The union becomes effective with the start of the new year. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at a news conference in Longview. The move will enable an expansion of school-based clubs in on campus sites in Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill school systems. The expanded locations are scheduled to open January 9.… Read the rest of the article…

Smith County Employees Coat Drive a Success

TYLER- For the second year in a row, Smith County employees held a coat and toy drive for children staying at the East Texas Crisis Center. And it has again been a success. The drive collected 87 coats, 67 hats, 76 pairs of gloves, eight blankets, clothes and well over 100 stuffed animals and toys. The truckload of items was taken to the Crisis Center on Monday to be given to children before Christmas and throughout the winter season. Smith County Commissioner Jeff Warr, Public Information Officer Casey Murphy, County Judge Nathaniel Moran and Commissioner Cary Nix show off a few of the items that were collected. All children who go to the shelter are given a new stuffed animal to have something to comfort them and to have something they can call their own. Many of the children who come through the shelter don’t even have light jackets to warm them through the winter months, said Lana Peacock, executive director of the Crisis Center.

National Organization Taking Credit for Longview Cross Removal

LONGVIEW – The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims it is responsible for a cross being removed from a Longview fire station. According to the organization’s web site, a resident alerted them to the cross. They contacted the city last year about it. The group’s staff attorney, Sam Grover wrote to Longview Fire Chief J.P. Steelman, “It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for a government to display a Latin cross on its property because it conveys a preference of the city of Longview for religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all minority faiths.” … Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Lab Agrees to Pay for False Medicare Claims

TYLER – Elite Lab Services, LLC of Tyler, and its owners, husband and wife Gerard and Suzanne Dengler, have agreed to pay the United States $3.75 million. This is for billing Medicare for tens of thousands of miles that were never driven by Elite Lab’s personnel. It all stems from a lawsuit filed by former Elite Lab employee Karen Malcolm under provisions of the False Claims Act. In her action, she alleged, among other things, that the defendants inflated mileage claims submitted to Medicare from approximately 2010 through 2014. Ms. Malcolm approached the couple in the spring of 2014 to voice her concerns about the billing practices. Ms. Malcolm claimed the fraudulent billing was not corrected, and she then resigned from the company.… Read the rest of the article…

Quest Diagnostics Says Customer Accounts Hacked

NEW YORK (AP/STAFF) — Medical laboratory operator Quest Diagnostics Inc., which has locations in East Texas, says a hack of an internet application on its network has exposed the personal health information of about 34,000 people. The Madison, New Jersey-based company says “an unauthorized third party” on November 26 gained access to customer information. That includes names, dates of birth, lab results and in some instances, telephone numbers. The stolen data did not include Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, insurance details or any other financial information. Quest Diagnostics has locations in Tyler, Longview, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Sulphur Springs, Texarkana and Paris.… Read the rest of the article…

Six Arrested in Longview Drug Raid

LONGVIEW – A drug raid in Longview has resulted in the arrest of six persons. The arrests came as the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit and the Longview SWAT Team served a narcotics search warrant. It was served at a house on Osborne Street. Officers found a large amount of narcotics including cocaine, Xanax, Hydrocodone, and Marijuana. Police also seized cash found inside the house. The six suspects were arrested without incident. They are facing a variety of drug charges or were arrested on outstanding warrants.… Read the rest of the article…

Mother Pleads Guilty in Daughters’ Deaths

QUITMAN – A Quitman mother will be going to prison for the deaths of her two young girls. After accepting a plea deal on lesser charges, Daphne Elizabeth McDaniels, 25, was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison. She had been facing capital murder charges. She pleaded guilty to two counts of injury to a child with intent to cause serious bodily injury. She had been charged with the deaths of her 3 year old and 1 year old daughters in 2014. The autopsy showed they had internal bleeding, damaged organs and over two dozen cuts and bruises on their bodies. McDaniels former boy friend is also facing charges in the case.

East Texas Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

MARSHALL – A survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Harrison County days after returning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attacks. Cecil Hollingshead died Sunday in his sleep at his home. He was 96. He was heading to breakfast that morning in 1941 when he saw the planes firing. When he went back last week, he saw the field where he took cover. One of his granddaughters, Tiffannee Watson, told the Marshall News Messenger, the visit “just brought back a lot of memories. When he was tucked in to bed (after getting back home) he passed away. I think he felt completed once he visited where it all began.” Funeral services for Hollingshead will be Friday afternoon at 3:00 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marshall.

Fatal Gregg County Fire Ruled Accidential

KILGORE – Authorities have wrapped up their investigation into a Gregg County fire that left one woman dead and two persons injured. The fire was reported around noon on Friday just north of Kilgore on Rabbit Creek Drive. The victim has been identified as as Markeeta Ann Reagh, 58, of Kilgore. Two persons were hospitalized with what authorities called non-life threatening injuries. According to sheriff’s department spokesman Josh Tubb, the Gregg County Fire Marshal has completed the fire scene examination. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental; however, the exact cause is undetermined due to the extent of damage. Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore stresses, use wall outlets to run all appliances including space heaters while avoiding extension cords and power strips for this application.

Boil Water Notice for a Section of Palestine

PALESTINE – A portion of Palestine is under a boil water notice. Due to line rupture repairs on Highland Drive, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the boil water notice. The boil water notice is for residents on Highland Drive, from Hood Street to the end of the street. The water system will send out a notice when the water is safe and boiling may be discontinued.

More Tyler Gambling Cases Announced

TYLER – More Tyler gambling cases are being reported. Saturday morning, Tyler undercover investigators found five illegal gambling devices at the Valero Gas station at 3801 Chandler Highway. They also found three illegal gambling devices at the gas station on Loop 323 at Commerce Street. They have also announced the arrest of John Christopher Borgstedt, 38, Of Ben Wheeler. He has been accused of running an illegal gambling establishment at 829 Lindsey Lane. He was arrested as officers executed a search warrant. All three cases remain under investigation. … Read the rest of the article…

Smith County Wreck Claims Another Life

SMITH COUNTY- A second person has died from a Smith County accident earlier this month. The wreck occurred Saturday afternoon, December 3rd, on State Highway 31 about nine miles west of Kilgore. Killed the day of the accident was Mark Trippit, 56, of Kilgore. Monday morning, Jack Ward, 78, of Henderson, died at Tyler’s East Texas Medical Center. Two were injured in the wreck. The Department of Public Safety reports the accident occurred when an east bound Ford Expedition crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting a Chevrolet Traverse head-on.

Joel Baker Pleads No Contest to 1 of 3 Charges

TYLER – There will be no trial for former Smith County Judge Joel Baker. He has pleaded no contest to one of the three charges against him. In a plea deal, Baker pleaded no contest to one count of violating the state’s open meetings act. The other two counts will be dismissed. Baker has been fined $200 and will serve 30 days of deferred adjudication. The case stems from several executive session in 2014 in which the commissioners discussed the purchase of traffic cameras for county school zones. After community opposition to the program surfaced, the program was shelved.… Read the rest of the article…

The Probe of a Longview Teen’s Death Continues

LONGVIEW – The death of a Longview teen is being investigated as a homicide. The body of 18 year old Daxtan Dewayne Rashaad Castleberry was found shortly after 11:00 Saturday night. Police were responding to a welfare call when they found his body in a home on Plainview Street near the Fairway Drive intersection. Investigators say it appears as if he died from a gunshot wound. An autopsy was ordered. The death would be Longview’s 14th homicide of the year, the same number recorded last year.

Three Busted For Kilgore Burglary

KILGORE – Three persons are in custody, accused of stealing money and air fresheners from a Kilgore car wash. Officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the Finish Line Car Wash on Stone Road. They found two persons had broken into one of the coin dispensing buildings and were in the process of burglarizing the coin machines. Not only were they arrested, but so was a third man asleep in a car across the street from the car wash. Arrested were two Tyler residents, Christian Miramontes-Cardenas, 18, (pictured) Jose Serrato, 17 and Elizandro Penaloza, 19, of Henderson. … Read the rest of the article…

Loncar Memorialized at Service in Dallas

aloncarDALLAS — Family and friends said goodbye Friday to popular Dallas attorney Brian Loncar. Hundreds of mourners packed the Munger Place Church to honor the lawyer who touted himself in TV commercials as the strong arm. Those close to Loncar say he was more of a dedicated husband and father with generosity and humor. A close friend told the gathering he pictured him with his teenaged daughter Grace sitting with God. Loncar was found dead Sunday at his Dallas law office. The official cause of death is pending. Loncar’s firm has an office in Tyler.

TxDOT’s Weekly Roadwork Update

TYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in TxDOT’s Tyler District during the Week of Dec. 12. The schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure, or other unforeseen issues. Slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.

Smith County – Tyler Maintenance plans to continue edge work on FM 2710 between FM 14 and FM 16, conduct base repairs on the Loop 323 Extension near US 271, and perform ditch maintenance around the county. Expect lane closures at both locations with flaggers providing traffic control. … Read the rest of the article…

One Dead in Kilgore Crash

KILGORE — One person is dead, two others injured following a two-vehicle crash just before 1 a.m. Sunday on State Highway 31 West near the Gray Street intersection in KIlgore. Police say a Cadillac driven by Chaise McNeal, 26, was hit head-on by a GMC 1-ton pickup towing a livestock trailer, driven by Leonardo Rivera, 33. McNeal died at the scene. Rivera and his passenger, Andreas Gomez, 33, were taken to the hospital and treated for what are termed non-life-threatening injuries.

Teen’s Body Found in Longview

LONGVIEW — Longview police are investigating after the body of an 18-year-old was found just after 11 p.m. Saturday on Plainview Street near the Fairway Drive intersection. According to KETK, police say they and EMS were dispatched to a welfare check call at the residence. When they arrived they found the body of Daxtan Dewayne Rashaad Castleberry inside. At this time, the cause of death is unknown. His body has been sent for autopsy. Police ask anyone with information to contact them.

Regional Artists, Landscapes in Focus with TMA’s Flora and Fauna

TYLER — A new exhibition is on display at The Tyler Museum of Art. According to a news release, Flora and Fauna highlights the unique plant and animal life of the Texas landscape from the perspective of 20 of the region’s most prominent contemporary artists. Featuring close to 30 works, the exhibition runs from Sunday, Dec. 11, through March 19, 2017. Admission is free. … Read the rest of the article…

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Good Shepherd Earns Upgraded Bariatric Surgery Accreditation

Posted/updated on: December 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm

LONGVIEW – The Good Shepherd Center for Bariatric Surgery has received an upgrade in its accreditation. The center has been accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. This is a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In a news release, center director Dr. Dustin McDermott said the upgrade allows the center “more leeway to develop individualized surgical plans to properly care for each our patients and expands the scope of patients for whom these procedures are available.” Since opening in 2013 the Center for Bariatric Surgery has completed more than 200 procedures with additional patients in the pre-op screening or insurance qualification process.

Women Accused of Changing Prices at Retail Store

Posted/updated on: December 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

ANGELINA COUNTY — Two East Texas women have been arrested after allegedly trying to change prices on items at a local retail store. According to KETK, Mary Bishop, 63, (pictured) and Crystal Sanchez, 24, were arrested for theft at Walmart, 2500 Daniel McCall Drive. Police say Bishop and Sanchez changed tags on $238.11 worth of merchandise for a new total of $21.93. Both women were booked into the Angelina County Jail on $1,500 bond. Bishop has since been released, but Sanchez remains in jail.

New Dallas City Manager Returns to Texas after Tacoma Post

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

DALLAS (AP/Staff) – A city administrator who’s worked in Texas, Washington and Florida has been named city manager for Dallas. The Dallas City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved T.C. Broadnax, who’s currently city manager in Tacoma, Washington. Dallas leaders had already picked Broadnax, but the city council vote makes it official. Broadnax starts his new job Feb. 1, replacing retiring City Manager A.C. Gonzalez. Broadnax beat out former Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel for the job. Broadnax will be responsible for oversight of more than 13,000 municipal employees and a current Dallas annual budget of $3.1 billion.… Read the rest of the article…

Tip Leads to Longview Drug Arrests

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

LONGVIEW – Acting on a tip, Longview police have arrested two men on drug charges. The tip was where they could find Brandon Ray Williams, 29, of Longview. They noticed, as he was leaving his house, he was followed by another vehicle. They say Williams began to take evasive actions to try and get away from the officers. He pulled into a mechanic shop and tried to flee on foot. He was captured a short time later. The man in the second vehicle was identified as Waukeem Trevor Williams, 33, of Longview. Officers say they saw him throw a marijuana blunt down on the ground. He was also arrested. A search of the men’s vehicles turned up a handgun, loaded rifle, a large amount of marijuana, and crack cocaine. … Read the rest of the article…

Grandmother Pleads Guilty of Leaving Granddaughter in Car to Watch a Movie

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

TYLER – A Tyler woman who left her infant granddaughter in a car so she could go to the movies, has pleaded guilty in state district court. Felicia Green, 51, pleaded guilty Wednesday to child endangerment. Court records show she was sentenced to two years in state jail, with the sentence probated for five years. She has also been ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitoring device, prohibited from driving a car unless going to the doctor or church and barred from having passengers in her vehicle. Besides being subject to random in-home visits from a probation officer, she will have to report to her probation officer on a weekly basis. Green has also has been barred from having having unsupervised contact with the child involved in the incident.… Read the rest of the article…

Palestine Health Services Moves to the Mall

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 2:07 pm

PALESTINE – The City of Palestine health services division is changing locations. City Manager Mike Alexander has decided to move the city’s health department from the Development Services Department to Community Services. Community Services comprises of the former Parks and Recreation department, along with the newly-formed Environmental Services division, a combination of code enforcement and health services. As part of the move to Community Services, Health Officer Rickey Dorsey will now become the Assistant Director for Community Services. Dorsey has moved offices to the department’s offices inside the Palestine Mall. If residents have a health question, they can head to the Community Services Department inside the mall across from JC Penney.

Longview Suspect Tries to Run Away

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm

LONGVIEW – A Longview drug suspect is in custody after trying to flee officers. Longview Police and the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit were told where the drug suspect might be located. They found 32 year-old Torvoris Torraz McKinley of Longview in his car on South Access Road. He ran from the vehicle, but they were able to follow him and arrest him in a nearby parking lot. The found narcotics on him and in his car. McKinley has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, evading arrest/detention, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon warrant and misdemeanor class C warrants. His jail records show he has been handled by authorities 31 times since 2008.

Guilty Pleas in a Tyler Robbery

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

TYLER – A woman has been sentenced in state district court for her part in a Tyler robbery. Candice Renae McGee, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday. She was given a 10-year deferred adjudication. On May 7th, she is said to have entered the Valero convenience store on the Troup Highway and Thistle Drive, and served as a lookout for the robbers. Earlier this week, Christopher Lamar Arnold, 29 pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in the case. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Two other persons were also arrested in the case. They are Lovie Sharlene Davis, 26, the store clerk and James Michael Rierson, 27, who was accused of driving the getaway car. Earlier this year, both pleaded guilty and were e both sentenced to 10 years probation with 320 hours of community service. They also had to enroll in a G.E.D. program and pay $1,779 in restitution.

Palestine Boil Water Notice Lifted

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm

PALESTINE – A boil water notice issued for a portion of Palestine has been rescinded. The notice was issued Monday due to line rupture repairs on Highland Drive. The water system sent out a notice Wednesday that the water is safe and boiling may be discontinued.

Longview Police ID Armed Robbery Suspects

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

LONGVIEW — The Longview Police Department has identified four people who were arrested in connection with the Tuesday night robbery of a dollar store. According to KETK, officers responded around 9:30 to the Dollar General, 1501 South High Street, in reference to an aggravated robbery. The four suspects arrested at the scene were Xavier Rashad Lockridge, 17, Joseph Pierre Brice, Jr., 18, (pictured) and La’Darion Lynn Canada and Daqwon Hollins, both 19, all from Longview. Officers were able to find them because a GPS unit had been placed among the money. The four were arraigned Wednesday morning.They have all been charged with aggravated robbery. Each was placed under a $250,000 bond.

Two Boys and Girls Clubs Uniting

Posted/updated on: December 15, 2016 at 11:55 am

LONGVIEW – Two youth organizations in East Texas have announced a merger. The Boys & Girls Club of Gregg County will be merging into the Boys & Girls Club of The Big Pines, which is based in Marshall. The union becomes effective with the start of the new year. The announcement was made Wednesday morning at a news conference in Longview. The move will enable an expansion of school-based clubs in on campus sites in Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill school systems. The expanded locations are scheduled to open January 9.… Read the rest of the article…

Smith County Employees Coat Drive a Success

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 4:31 pm

TYLER- For the second year in a row, Smith County employees held a coat and toy drive for children staying at the East Texas Crisis Center. And it has again been a success. The drive collected 87 coats, 67 hats, 76 pairs of gloves, eight blankets, clothes and well over 100 stuffed animals and toys. The truckload of items was taken to the Crisis Center on Monday to be given to children before Christmas and throughout the winter season. Smith County Commissioner Jeff Warr, Public Information Officer Casey Murphy, County Judge Nathaniel Moran and Commissioner Cary Nix show off a few of the items that were collected. All children who go to the shelter are given a new stuffed animal to have something to comfort them and to have something they can call their own. Many of the children who come through the shelter don’t even have light jackets to warm them through the winter months, said Lana Peacock, executive director of the Crisis Center.

National Organization Taking Credit for Longview Cross Removal

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm

LONGVIEW – The Freedom From Religion Foundation claims it is responsible for a cross being removed from a Longview fire station. According to the organization’s web site, a resident alerted them to the cross. They contacted the city last year about it. The group’s staff attorney, Sam Grover wrote to Longview Fire Chief J.P. Steelman, “It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for a government to display a Latin cross on its property because it conveys a preference of the city of Longview for religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all minority faiths.” … Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Lab Agrees to Pay for False Medicare Claims

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm

TYLER – Elite Lab Services, LLC of Tyler, and its owners, husband and wife Gerard and Suzanne Dengler, have agreed to pay the United States $3.75 million. This is for billing Medicare for tens of thousands of miles that were never driven by Elite Lab’s personnel. It all stems from a lawsuit filed by former Elite Lab employee Karen Malcolm under provisions of the False Claims Act. In her action, she alleged, among other things, that the defendants inflated mileage claims submitted to Medicare from approximately 2010 through 2014. Ms. Malcolm approached the couple in the spring of 2014 to voice her concerns about the billing practices. Ms. Malcolm claimed the fraudulent billing was not corrected, and she then resigned from the company.… Read the rest of the article…

Quest Diagnostics Says Customer Accounts Hacked

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 2:17 pm

NEW YORK (AP/STAFF) — Medical laboratory operator Quest Diagnostics Inc., which has locations in East Texas, says a hack of an internet application on its network has exposed the personal health information of about 34,000 people. The Madison, New Jersey-based company says “an unauthorized third party” on November 26 gained access to customer information. That includes names, dates of birth, lab results and in some instances, telephone numbers. The stolen data did not include Social Security numbers, credit card accounts, insurance details or any other financial information. Quest Diagnostics has locations in Tyler, Longview, Nacogdoches, Lufkin, Sulphur Springs, Texarkana and Paris.… Read the rest of the article…

Six Arrested in Longview Drug Raid

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm

LONGVIEW – A drug raid in Longview has resulted in the arrest of six persons. The arrests came as the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit and the Longview SWAT Team served a narcotics search warrant. It was served at a house on Osborne Street. Officers found a large amount of narcotics including cocaine, Xanax, Hydrocodone, and Marijuana. Police also seized cash found inside the house. The six suspects were arrested without incident. They are facing a variety of drug charges or were arrested on outstanding warrants.… Read the rest of the article…

Mother Pleads Guilty in Daughters’ Deaths

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

QUITMAN – A Quitman mother will be going to prison for the deaths of her two young girls. After accepting a plea deal on lesser charges, Daphne Elizabeth McDaniels, 25, was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison. She had been facing capital murder charges. She pleaded guilty to two counts of injury to a child with intent to cause serious bodily injury. She had been charged with the deaths of her 3 year old and 1 year old daughters in 2014. The autopsy showed they had internal bleeding, damaged organs and over two dozen cuts and bruises on their bodies. McDaniels former boy friend is also facing charges in the case.

East Texas Pearl Harbor Survivor Dies

Posted/updated on: December 14, 2016 at 10:56 am

MARSHALL – A survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor has died in Harrison County days after returning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attacks. Cecil Hollingshead died Sunday in his sleep at his home. He was 96. He was heading to breakfast that morning in 1941 when he saw the planes firing. When he went back last week, he saw the field where he took cover. One of his granddaughters, Tiffannee Watson, told the Marshall News Messenger, the visit “just brought back a lot of memories. When he was tucked in to bed (after getting back home) he passed away. I think he felt completed once he visited where it all began.” Funeral services for Hollingshead will be Friday afternoon at 3:00 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marshall.

Fatal Gregg County Fire Ruled Accidential

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 4:16 pm

KILGORE – Authorities have wrapped up their investigation into a Gregg County fire that left one woman dead and two persons injured. The fire was reported around noon on Friday just north of Kilgore on Rabbit Creek Drive. The victim has been identified as as Markeeta Ann Reagh, 58, of Kilgore. Two persons were hospitalized with what authorities called non-life threatening injuries. According to sheriff’s department spokesman Josh Tubb, the Gregg County Fire Marshal has completed the fire scene examination. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental; however, the exact cause is undetermined due to the extent of damage. Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore stresses, use wall outlets to run all appliances including space heaters while avoiding extension cords and power strips for this application.

Boil Water Notice for a Section of Palestine

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm

PALESTINE – A portion of Palestine is under a boil water notice. Due to line rupture repairs on Highland Drive, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the boil water notice. The boil water notice is for residents on Highland Drive, from Hood Street to the end of the street. The water system will send out a notice when the water is safe and boiling may be discontinued.

More Tyler Gambling Cases Announced

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm

TYLER – More Tyler gambling cases are being reported. Saturday morning, Tyler undercover investigators found five illegal gambling devices at the Valero Gas station at 3801 Chandler Highway. They also found three illegal gambling devices at the gas station on Loop 323 at Commerce Street. They have also announced the arrest of John Christopher Borgstedt, 38, Of Ben Wheeler. He has been accused of running an illegal gambling establishment at 829 Lindsey Lane. He was arrested as officers executed a search warrant. All three cases remain under investigation. … Read the rest of the article…

Smith County Wreck Claims Another Life

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm

SMITH COUNTY- A second person has died from a Smith County accident earlier this month. The wreck occurred Saturday afternoon, December 3rd, on State Highway 31 about nine miles west of Kilgore. Killed the day of the accident was Mark Trippit, 56, of Kilgore. Monday morning, Jack Ward, 78, of Henderson, died at Tyler’s East Texas Medical Center. Two were injured in the wreck. The Department of Public Safety reports the accident occurred when an east bound Ford Expedition crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting a Chevrolet Traverse head-on.

Joel Baker Pleads No Contest to 1 of 3 Charges

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm

TYLER – There will be no trial for former Smith County Judge Joel Baker. He has pleaded no contest to one of the three charges against him. In a plea deal, Baker pleaded no contest to one count of violating the state’s open meetings act. The other two counts will be dismissed. Baker has been fined $200 and will serve 30 days of deferred adjudication. The case stems from several executive session in 2014 in which the commissioners discussed the purchase of traffic cameras for county school zones. After community opposition to the program surfaced, the program was shelved.… Read the rest of the article…

The Probe of a Longview Teen’s Death Continues

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 12:24 pm

LONGVIEW – The death of a Longview teen is being investigated as a homicide. The body of 18 year old Daxtan Dewayne Rashaad Castleberry was found shortly after 11:00 Saturday night. Police were responding to a welfare call when they found his body in a home on Plainview Street near the Fairway Drive intersection. Investigators say it appears as if he died from a gunshot wound. An autopsy was ordered. The death would be Longview’s 14th homicide of the year, the same number recorded last year.

Three Busted For Kilgore Burglary

Posted/updated on: December 13, 2016 at 12:06 pm

KILGORE – Three persons are in custody, accused of stealing money and air fresheners from a Kilgore car wash. Officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at the Finish Line Car Wash on Stone Road. They found two persons had broken into one of the coin dispensing buildings and were in the process of burglarizing the coin machines. Not only were they arrested, but so was a third man asleep in a car across the street from the car wash. Arrested were two Tyler residents, Christian Miramontes-Cardenas, 18, (pictured) Jose Serrato, 17 and Elizandro Penaloza, 19, of Henderson. … Read the rest of the article…

Loncar Memorialized at Service in Dallas

Posted/updated on: December 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm

aloncarDALLAS — Family and friends said goodbye Friday to popular Dallas attorney Brian Loncar. Hundreds of mourners packed the Munger Place Church to honor the lawyer who touted himself in TV commercials as the strong arm. Those close to Loncar say he was more of a dedicated husband and father with generosity and humor. A close friend told the gathering he pictured him with his teenaged daughter Grace sitting with God. Loncar was found dead Sunday at his Dallas law office. The official cause of death is pending. Loncar’s firm has an office in Tyler.

TxDOT’s Weekly Roadwork Update

Posted/updated on: December 12, 2016 at 4:23 pm

TYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in TxDOT’s Tyler District during the Week of Dec. 12. The schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure, or other unforeseen issues. Slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.

Smith County – Tyler Maintenance plans to continue edge work on FM 2710 between FM 14 and FM 16, conduct base repairs on the Loop 323 Extension near US 271, and perform ditch maintenance around the county. Expect lane closures at both locations with flaggers providing traffic control. … Read the rest of the article…

One Dead in Kilgore Crash

Posted/updated on: December 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm

KILGORE — One person is dead, two others injured following a two-vehicle crash just before 1 a.m. Sunday on State Highway 31 West near the Gray Street intersection in KIlgore. Police say a Cadillac driven by Chaise McNeal, 26, was hit head-on by a GMC 1-ton pickup towing a livestock trailer, driven by Leonardo Rivera, 33. McNeal died at the scene. Rivera and his passenger, Andreas Gomez, 33, were taken to the hospital and treated for what are termed non-life-threatening injuries.

Teen’s Body Found in Longview

Posted/updated on: December 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

LONGVIEW — Longview police are investigating after the body of an 18-year-old was found just after 11 p.m. Saturday on Plainview Street near the Fairway Drive intersection. According to KETK, police say they and EMS were dispatched to a welfare check call at the residence. When they arrived they found the body of Daxtan Dewayne Rashaad Castleberry inside. At this time, the cause of death is unknown. His body has been sent for autopsy. Police ask anyone with information to contact them.

Regional Artists, Landscapes in Focus with TMA’s Flora and Fauna

Posted/updated on: December 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm

TYLER — A new exhibition is on display at The Tyler Museum of Art. According to a news release, Flora and Fauna highlights the unique plant and animal life of the Texas landscape from the perspective of 20 of the region’s most prominent contemporary artists. Featuring close to 30 works, the exhibition runs from Sunday, Dec. 11, through March 19, 2017. Admission is free. … Read the rest of the article…

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