Suspect Named in Tyler Homicide
TYLER — An arrest warrant has been issued for a suspect in a weekend homicide in Tyler. Named in the warrant is Katyron Jermaine Barrett, also known as Jermaine “Maine” Hartsfield, 29. He has been charged with murder and his bond set at $500,000. He is charged in the shooting death of Brandon Deroyce Gray, 30. He died at Tyler’s Mother Francis Hospital following the shooting near the Wild Bunch Club at 1714 North Palace Avenue. Read more …
Tyler Business Robbed
TYLER — Police are looking for the lone gunman who robbed a Tyler business. It happened shortly after 7:15 last night at Vapor Corner, a tobacco store, at 712 West Houston. The store was robbed by a black male wearing all black clothing. He took an undisclosed amount of cash and merchandise while holding the clerk at gun point. No injuries were reported.
Preliminary Autopsy in on Angelina County Couple’s Deaths
ANGELINA COUNTY – A preliminary autopsy report indicates an Angelina County couple died in a shootout with each other. Robin Turney, 58, and his wife, Sharon Turney, 59, were found dead Friday in the backyard of their home in the 1500 block of Willie Nerren Road. The two suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Sheriff’s department Captain Alton Lenderman told KETK , at this time, there are no indications any other person was involved. It appears as if a struggle started inside the home before moving outdoors. Two guns involved in the shooting, along with a third weapon, were found at the scene. The couple had reportedly been having marital trouble.
Tyler Church Damaged by Fire During Sunday Services
TYLER – Minor damage was reported from a church fire that was spotted during Sunday morning services yesterday. A late arriving church member spotted the smoke coming from the roof of the Voices of Victory Missionary Baptist Church at 201 South Baxter Avenue. Tony Gumber with Tyler Fire Department told KETK “firefighters found some smoldering wood and damage appears to be due to electrical wiring that shorted out.” No injuries were reported.
Former Rusk County Judge Dies
HENDERSON – Funeral services have been scheduled for former Rusk County Judge Sandra Hodges. She died at her home early Monday morning from natural causes at the age of 75. Hodges did not seek re-election and retired from office December 31st, 2010. She was a seven term county judge, serving 24 years. Services for Hodges will be held Wednesday morning at 10:00 at First United Methodist Church of Henderson. Visitation is from 6:00 to 8:00pm on Tuesday at the Crawford-A. Crim Funeral Home in Henderson.
All Saints Receives $5M Gift
TYLER — Tyler’s All Saints Episcopal School has become the beneficiary of the Estate of Jo Clark Ferguson, whose $5 million gift is intended to support the college preparatory school’s mission of academic excellence centered upon the basic tenets of the Christian faith. That’s according to a news release from All Saints. “The Ferguson bequest extends an extraordinary period of gifts to the school,” noted head of school Randal Brown. Within the past 24 months, says Brown, capital gifts totaling $15 million have allowed All Saints to double its endowment to $10 million, fund the school chapel project, and pay off all remaining school debt. “All Saints continues to benefit greatly from the support of generous donors who recognize the importance of providing the Tyler community with a superior college preparatory school,” added Brown. Read more …
Super Heroes Spread Holiday Cheer in Longview
LONGVIEW – It’s not often you see Batman, Spiderman and Superman rappelling down a Longview hospital wall. But it happened Monday as the super heroes repelled down the wall of the pediatric wing of Good Shepherd Medical Center. The men in costume were actually members of the Longview Police Department’s SWAT Team. They rappelled from the hospital’s roof to spread some cheer to patients along the way. “The SWAT Team members are excited to utilize their rappelling abilities to make patients’ holiday a little brighter,” said Kristie Brian, Longview Police Department public information officer. The officers waved to patients from outside their room windows, and once on the ground, delivered toys to children who may be spending their Christmas in the hospital.
Overton Losing Free Ambulance Service
OVERTON — People in Overton may soon be charged for ambulance services. This, after an announcement made during Thursday night’s city council meeting. KETK reports Champion EMS will no longer be providing its free service to the city. This means the yearly $50,000 cost will be passed on to taxpayers. City Manager Charles Cunningham says it’s a critical service the community cannot do without. He says, “We could look at other providers, but they’re in the same boat as Champion EMS. I mean it’s not a question of a money grab by the ambulance services; it’s simply they ran out of the subsidy of funding they used to get from the hospital.” Cunningham added that the city has budget reserves to deal with the immediate needs of the service. However, that money will eventually run out and the costs will be passed on to the people in Overton. The next public hearing is set for January 15th.
ETCF Responds to Signing of Charitable Provisions Bill
TYLER – Friday afternoon President Obama signed into law a tax extenders package which includes time-sensitive charitable opportunities for the end of the year, and the Tyler-based East Texas Communities Foundation (ETCF) is responding to the news. The bill, HR 5771, known as the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, reinstates for 2014 dozens of expired tax provisions, including the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced deductions for donating land conservation easements and food inventory. Read more …
Trinity Mother Frances CMN Director Earns CFRE Designation
TYLER – CFRE International has announced the most recent class of Certified Fund Raising Executives (CFREs), which includes Robin Rowan, Director, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Trinity Mother Frances Foundation. According to a Trinity Mother Frances news release, these individuals join over 5,000 professionals around the world who hold the CFRE designation. Read more …
Longtime Tyler Newspaper Editor Retiring
TYLER (AP) — The editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph is retiring after 46 years in the newspaper business. The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports Dave Berry, 66, will retire at the end of the year. He’s worked at there for more than 20 years, starting as the managing editor before being promoted to editor five years ago. After graduating from Kansas State University in 1970 he served in the U.S. Army’s information office in Vietnam, reporting stories for military papers for eight months. He then worked on the copy desk for the Tulsa Tribune in Oklahoma. He’s also served as city editor and then managing editor of the Brazosport Facts, editor of the Arlington Daily News, executive editor of Dallas-Fort Worth Suburban Newspapers and editor of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer in Kentucky.
TxDOT Project Updates
SMITH COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintenance crews in Tyler will be patching on mostly low volume roadways throughout the county during the next two weeks. On Monday, December 22, weather permitting; crews will have a moving operation while patching potholes on Interstate Highway 20. Motorists should watch for safety equipment and personnel in this traveling work zone.
Crews will start patching low volume roads on Tuesday with little impact on traffic. Pavement repair work on Loop 323 between the loop extension and Commerce Street will resume on January 5th. Read more …
Tennessee Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Over Immigration
NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) — Tennessee is joining a multi-state lawsuit seeking to halt President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Monday notified the parties in the lawsuit that Tennessee will become the 25th state to join the legal challenge filed in federal court in Texas. Slatery said in a statement that Tennessee “cannot sit on the sidelines of this case, when unlawful directives of this magnitude grant lawful presence and other rights like work permits to such a large number.” Obama traveled to Nashville earlier this month to tout his decision to extend deportation relief and work permits to 4 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally. His action would affect those who have been here more than five years and have children.
Lagging Pension Fund May Harm Texas Credit Rating
AUSTIN (AP) — Budget analysts are warning lawmakers the state’s credit rating could be harmed unless they do more to properly fund the retirement plan for Texas employees. The outgoing leader for the Employee Retirement System of Texas, Ann S. Bishop, says the plan’s unfunded balance is about $7.5 billion. The Austin American-Statesman reports that number is projected to increase to nearly $10 billion by 2018 if the Texas Legislature doesn’t immediately pursue reforms. The pension fund provides retirement and health benefits to more than a half-million state employees, retirees and their families. State officials say Texas only has 77 cents for every dollar needed to pay future benefits. The Legislature convenes in January.
One Dead in Fiery West Texas Plane Crash
ODESSA (AP) — Authorities say one person has been killed in the fiery crash of a single-engine plane into a West Texas field. The Department of Public Safety says the crash happened Monday morning just west of Odessa and one person died. Further details on the victim weren’t immediately available. Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane was registered to a company that does aerial patrols for oil pipelines and production fields. FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford says the pilot of the Cessna 172 failed to check in with dispatchers. Lunsford says the company then sent a search plane and staff on board discovered the wreckage. Lunsford says the plane that crashed was destroyed by fire. Further details weren’t immediately available.
Police: Home Invasion Prompted Deadly Shooting
DENTON (AP) – Police say weekend gunfire that erupted at a North Texas apartment, leaving two dead and at least two injured, was the result of a home invasion robbery. Denton police spokesman Orlando Hinojosa in a statement Monday did not release any additional details about the shooting late Sunday afternoon. Neither the suspects nor the victims in the robbery have been identified. Officers have determined that five people, including three men they identified as suspects and two men identified as victims, exchanged gunfire. Hinojosa says the victims shot the suspects, killing two of them. The third suspect fled the scene. It’s not clear whether he was injured. The two victims were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. No further details were available Monday.
Ex-Youth minister Indicted on Child Porn Charges
DALLAS (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a former North Texas youth minister has been indicted on child pornography charges. Authorities said in a statement Monday that Derek Hutter, 37, is facing one count of attempted production of child pornography and another count of receipt of child pornography. He was formerly a minister at a Baptist church in Garland, northeast of Dallas. Hutter last week pleaded not guilty to the charges. The indictment contends that Hutter asked an underage girl to send him sexually explicit photos of herself. A conviction for attempting to produce child pornography carries a term of at least 15 years, while the sentence for receiving child porn is no less than five years.
Texas Sex Offender Arrested
AUSTIN — A Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender, Jeffrey Ortiz, 37, is now in custody after being arrested in Dallas. Ortiz, who is considered a high-risk sex offender, was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender (Edinburg), probation violation and for failure to appear. The arrest was the result of a tip and a reward will be paid. Tip information led the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division, U.S. Marshals Service North Texas Fugitive Task Force and Dallas Police Department to a residence in Dallas where Ortiz was located and arrested without incident. Since the arrest was the result of tip information and during a month in which Ortiz was a featured fugitive, a reward up to $8,000 will be paid.
13 Primates Die at South Texas Research Facility
DALLAS (AP) — A federal agency is considering whether to penalize a research facility in South Texas where 13 primates died of hyperthermia on separate occasions when rooms overheated. A spokeswoman with the US Department of Agriculture said Monday the agency is looking into what actions would be appropriate following the deaths of the animals at Covance Research Products in Alice. A federal inspector’s November 21 report found that two animals died when a thermostat malfunctioned, causing the room temperature to soar. About a month later, a similar incident occurred when an override switch on a thermostat failed, causing the deaths of 11 primates. Telephone and email messages left with Covance were not returned Monday. The company, based in Princeton, New Jersey, provides drug development and animal testing services.
Dog Killed after Biting Round Rock Police Officer
ROUND ROCK (AP) — Round Rock police say an officer shot and killed a dog that bit him on the hand and lunged at his throat following a police chase with the animal’s owner. Police spokeswoman Angelique Myers tells the Austin American-Statesman the incident started Sunday morning when the suspect, wanted in connection with a recent car theft, used his vehicle to lunge at officers before taking off. Then, after hitting some electrical wiring at a car wash, the suspect got out of the car with the dog on its leash. Myers says the suspect then tried to carjack a family’s vehicle. That’s when officers used a stun gun to subdue him and the dog attacked the officer. The suspect was arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, evading arrest and attempted kidnapping.
Amarillo Police Seek Armored Car Driver, Money
AMARILLO (AP) — Amarillo police say an armored car has been robbed and the driver is missing and believed to be in danger. Police say the 34-year-old man was gone when the armored car was found running shortly before 8:00 Monday morning. The contents of the Rochester Armored Car Co. rig are also missing. Sgt. Brent Barbee says driver was not armed and the case is being investigated as a missing person. The driver, who’s from Amarillo, was last seen wearing a company uniform. Police are reviewing evidence and trying to confirm the circumstances of his disappearance. Amarillo police did not say how much money was stolen. Further details weren’t immediately available.
Lubbock Woman Accused of Child Abuse Set for Trial
LUBBOCK (AP) — Court records show that a Lubbock woman accused of withholding food, water and medical care from her 12-year-old adopted daughter is set to go on trial in February. A Lubbock County grand jury indicted Wonda Dixon, 59, last year on a charge of injuring a child knowingly or intentionally, resulting in severe bodily injury. Her husband, 63-year-old Dave Dixon, faces the same charge. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that court records do not show when the case against him will go to trial. The two, who remain jailed on bond of $150,000 each, have denied wrongdoing. Affidavits say the couple ignored the girl’s disturbing behavior and punished her by withholding food and water and ordering her siblings to hit her. Officials found that the 12-year-old weighed 58 pounds.
Funeral Tuesday in Houston for Ex-Mayor Lanier
HOUSTON (AP) — Former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier will be laid to rest in the city he led during the 1990s. A funeral will be held at 11:00 Tuesday morning for Lanier, who died Saturday of natural causes. He was 89. The service was scheduled at the Jasek Chapel of the Geo. H. Lewis & Sons funeral home. Burial will follow at Memorial Oaks Cemetery. Lanier was a developer when he was elected Houston’s mayor in 1991, then served two additional terms. He was barred by term limits from seeking a fourth term in 1997.
Austin, San Antonio Drivers Prepare for Phone Bans
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — City leaders in San Antonio and Austin are trying to get drivers ready for bans on handheld devices behind the wheel starting in January. Police in both cities won’t start issuing fines until February. Talking on a handheld phone while driving is banned in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and all but a handful of states have made texting while driving illegal. Texas is among the states without a statewide texting while driving ban, though many cities have its own ordinances. The San Antonio Express-News reported Sunday that San Antonio has seen more than 250 crashes related to cell phone use in each of the past three years. Fines in San Antonio starting in February will be $200. Violators in Austin will face fines up to $500.
Task Force to Combat South Texas Public Corruption
HOUSTON (AP) — The FBI and Texas Rangers are leading a new task force to combat public corruption in the Rio Grande Valley. The unit was formed earlier this month in the wake of public corruption cases that brought down a sheriff, a judge, a district attorney and other elected officials. Rock Stone of the FBI says all his agency’s field offices investigate public corruption, but an “inordinate amount” of such cases in the Valley necessitated extra resources there. Stone declined to say how many people are in the unit, but said the number of agents working on public corruption has more than doubled. Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz is applauding the new task force. But he says its formation shouldn’t indicate corruption is more prevalent in the Valley.
Lady Antebellum, Pat Green Booked for Abbott Bash
AUSTIN (AP) — Country stars Lady Antebellum and Pat Green are booked to perform at the inauguration ball for Republican Governor-elect Greg Abbott. Organizers on Monday announced that the two hitmakers will play at the “Future of Texas” ball on January 20. The bash will follow Abbott being sworn in as the 48th governor of Texas. Republican Dan Patrick will also take the oath of office as the next Texas lieutenant governor. That ceremony will take place on the south side of the Texas Capitol. Handling the festivities is the Texas Inaugural Committee, which is largely a group of megadonors to Abbott and Patrick.
San Antonio Missions Expanding by 137 Acres
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park will be expanding. The San Antonio Express-News reported Monday that the 137-acre addition is due to the Missions National Historical Park Boundary Expansion Act. The measure was part of the defense authorization bill that President Barack Obama signed into law Friday. The law will affect San Antonio’s four Spanish colonial missions maintained by the National Park Service. The newly annexed land is around Missions San Jose, San Juan and Espada. The property includes part of the San Juan Dam and the head gate to a Spanish colonial-era drainage structure. The park service owns 30 of the additional acres. The rest is owned by the San Antonio River Authority, the city and Bexar County.
You Tell Me Texas by Paul Gleiser
As we have come to understand, there’s more to medical care than the treatment of the primary disease. There are emotional and spiritual needs to be met in addition to secondary medical needs that arise from the primary condition. That’s where palliative care comes in and UT Health Northeast palliative care expert Dr. Amy Newton joins us in this post to Health Connection. Go to: http://www.uthealth.org/healthconnection/