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Local Headlines

NET Health’s Roberts encouraged by COVID-19 trends, continues to urge vacciinations

Posted/updated on: October 16, 2021 at 5:05 pm

TYLER — NET Health’s George Roberts tells KTBB he’s encouraged by the latest COVID-19 numbers in East Texas, with the virus apparently on the decline — but he notes we’re not out of the woods yet. He says, “We’re making progress here” but that your best bet is still to get vaccinated as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so. Smith County remains in the substantial spread category, while other counties in the NET Health service area are having moderate spread. Roberts says he’s also encouraged as the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosters move closer to approval. According to Roberts, NET Health is “fully prepared” to start giving those shots once that approval comes in.


Coronavirus update

Posted/updated on: October 16, 2021 at 5:05 pm

EAST TEXAS — The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported 191 new cases of coronavirus in Smith County Thursday. That compares to 465 reported in the previous update Oct. 11. There are 3,051 active cases in Smith County, down from the 3,851 posted on the 11th. There have been 32,594 cases of recovery, up from the 31,604 shown in the previous report. In Gregg County, there were 76 new cases posted Thursday, compared to the 81 reported on the 11th. That brings the currently active total to 1,153, a decrease from the 1,869 on the Oct. 11 dashboard. There have been 17,683 recoveries in Gregg County, up from the 16,891 in the previous report. The number of hospital patients in the NET Health survey area has continued to drop since the prior report. (more…)


Former teacher accused of improper student relationship learns bond conditions

Posted/updated on: October 16, 2021 at 5:06 pm

ATHENS — A former Athens ISD teacher arrested for allegedly having an improper relationship with a student was ordered by a judge to not have contact with the student or use social media. According to our news partner KETK, 392nd District Court Judge R. Scott McKee established Kirkland’s bond conditions. Kaitlynn Bethany Kirkland, 25, of Athens, was arrested on July 17, 2020 and charged with having an improper relationship with a student and tampering with evidence. She was released from the Henderson County Jail after paying bonds that totaled $14,500. (more…)


Alto father and son charged with sexual assault of a child

Posted/updated on: October 16, 2021 at 5:06 pm

CHEROKEE COUNTY — A father and son from Alto were arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault of a child on Oct. 13. According to our news partner KETK, a multi-agency investigation lead to the arrest of Theodore Smith, 86, and James Smith, 62. In mid-March of this year, deputies from the Sacramento County California Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from a person who reportedly discovered hundreds on images containing child pornography and children involved in sex acts. The person who called, found the images while renovating a newly purchased home. (more…)


Habitat for Humanity of Smith County receives USDA grant

Posted/updated on: October 16, 2021 at 5:05 pm

TYLER – Habitat for Humanity of Smith County has received a $300,000 Housing Preservation Grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for critical home repairs for rural East Texans. The grant will be used to repair 25 homes in rural portions of Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson, Rains, Rusk, Smith, Van Zandt, and Wood counties. The funds will be leveraged with the $207,858 grants Habitat received this year from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, Temple Foundation, and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. In a news release, Smith County Habitat CEO Jack Wilson pointed out, “Many of our clients have to choose between paying for a home repair and buying groceries or medicine.” Go here for information on how to apply.




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