Winter Weather Closures, Delays, Changes
EAST TEXAS — A number of schools and organizations are announcing schedule changes as more winter weather is predicted Wednesday night and Thursday. Here’s a list of changes received so far for Thursday:
– Arp ISD — Delayed till 10 a.m.
– Athens ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m., staff reports at 9 a.m.
– Big Sandy ISD – Delayed until 10:30 a.m., buses will run two and a half hours late
– Bishop T.K. Gorman ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Brookhill School in Tyler – Closed
– Bullard Early Education – Opens at 9:30 a.m.
– Bullard ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Carlisle ISD – Two hour delay
– Canton ISD — Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Chapel Hill ISD (Smith County) — Two-hour delay
– Cumberland Academy – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– East Texas Christian Academy – Delayed until 10:30 a.m.
– Frankston ISD — Delayed until 10:30 a.m.
– Gladewater ISD – Delayed until 10:30 a.m.
– Grace Early Education Center; Lindale campus opens at 10 a.m., Tyler campus opens at 9:30 a.m.
– Grand Saline ISD – Two hour delay
– Green Acres Early Education Center – Opens at 9:15 a.m.
– Hawkins ISD – Opens at 10 a.m.
– Henderson ISD – Two hour delay
– Jacksonville College – Students and employees delayed until 11 a.m.
– Jacksonville ISD – Two hour delay
– Kilgore College – Both campuses will open at 11:00 a.m. Classes that begin prior to 11:00 a.m. have been canceled.
– Kilgore College — Spring Job Fair has been cancelled
– Kilgore ISD – Delayed until 10:30 a.m.
– Letourneau Univeristy – Delayted until 9 a.m. All classes before time canceled
– Lindale ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Little People’s School in Tyler — Two-hour delay
– Longview Christian School and Early Learning Center – Closed
– Longview Child Development Center – Closed
– Longview ISD – Closed Thursday
– Mineola ISD — Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Mobberly Baptist Church – Child Development Center closed
– Murchison ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Oak Tree Academy in Tyler – Delayed until 10:30 a.m.
– Overton ISD campuses will delay the start of school until 10:00
– Premier High School of Tyler – Two hour delay
– Shiloh Road Learning Center – Opens at 9 a.m.
– Stepping Stones School – Opens at 10 a.m.
– St. Gregory – Two hour delay
– St. Mary’s Catholic School in Longview – Closed
– Texas College Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Toy Town Preschool in Lindale – Delayed until 10 a.m.
–Troup ISD – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– Tyler ISD Delayed two hours
– Tyler Metro Children’s Center – Opens at 9:30 a.m.
– TJC – Employees are to report to work at 10:30 a.m., and classes will begin at 11:15 a.m.
The planned 11 a.m. grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the new Energy Center on the TJC West Campus will go on as scheduled. Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday.
– UT Tyler Innovation Academy – Longview closed
– UT Tyler Innovation Academy – Tyler and Palestine delayed, 10 am start
– Van ISD — Two-hour delay
– Vista Academy Tyler – Two hour delay
– Whitehouse ISD – Two-hour delay
–White Oak ISD – Start at 10 a.m.
–Winona ISD – Two hour delay
– Anderson County facilities will delay the opening time to 10 a.m.
– Bethesda Health Clinic – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– ETMC – Find delays at etmc.org/alerts
– GoBus transportation all 14 counties delayed until 9:30
– Gregg County Offices – Opens at noon
– Heaton Eye Associates – Opens at 10 a.m.
– Northeast Texas Public Health District Tyler – Offices and WIC will open at 10 a.m. All other NET Health offices and WIC clinics will follow the ISD in that location.
– Palestine city facilities will delay the opening time to 10 a.m.
– Smith County offices will delay opening until 10 a.m. Jurors reporting for service in the Smith County Court At Law and grand jurors in the 7th District Court have been notified by the courts to report for jury duty at 10 a.m. General governmental operation in the following facilities close or delay opening based on Tyler Independent School District closing or delaying opening due to inclement weather:
Smith County Courthouse
Smith County Annex Building and related county buildings in the downtown campus area
Smith County Office Building
Cotton Belt Building
Road and Bridge
Smith County facilities not noted above may choose to not close or delay opening at the discretion of the respective Elected or Appointed Official. Such action, unless specifically stated, does not close essential, emergency, residential and detention operations.
–Texas Oncology in Longview – Delayed until 10 a.m.
–Texas Oncology in Tyler – Delayed until 10 a.m.
– The following Trinity Clinic locations will open at 10 a.m. :
• Trinity Clinic Canton
• Trinity Clinic Mineola
• Trinity Clinic Quitman
• Trinity Clinic Winnsboro
• Trinity Clinic Holly Lake
• Trinity Clinic Chandler
• Trinity Clinic Athens
• Trinity Clinic Lindale
• Trinity Pediatric Clinic – Turtle Creek
• Trinity Pediatric Clinic – Rusk Street
• Trinity Clinic Broadway Commons
– Tyler Transit – Delayed until 8 a.m.
Tyler Pounds Regional Airport Prepares for Inclement Weather
TYLER — As winter weather advisories are being posted for East Texas, Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is preparing for snow removal activities. American Eagle Flights were being cancelled at DFW airport for Wednesday afternoon and Thursday night due to weather moving into north and northeast Texas. As of early Wednesday afternoon, United Airlines was still scheduled to fly in and out of Tyler. Read more …
One Dead in Smith County Wreck
FLINT – A two vehicle accident in Smith County has left one person dead and six injured. It happened around 6:15 last night on the Old Jacksonville Highway near County Road 140. The Department of Public Safety reports the accident was caused by a pickup, which crossed the center line, and hit a SUV head-on. The woman driving the SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. The injured were taken to Tyler hospitals for treatment.
Wanted Person Considered Armed and Extremely Dangerous
TYLER — Tyler Police are searching for a dangerous suspect they believed is in the area. According to authorities, on Monday March 2, Troy Mason assaulted a member of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office while they were attempting to arrest him for a warrant. The charge is out of Palestine for continuous sexual assault of child under 14. Mason reportedly fled the location in a white 2010 Ford F250, with Texas License Plate – AP93691. Mason also has pending charges related to child pornography. Police say he’s is a known methamphetamine user. Law enforcement believe that Mason is currently somewhere in Tyler. If you locate the suspect or vehicle, please contact local law enforcement agency immediately.
Tyler Firefighters Respond to Early Morning House Fire
TYLER — Crews spent nearly 3 1/2 hours on the scene of a Tyler house fire Wednesday morning. The Tyler Fire Department was dispatched to 618 E. Vance St. at 6:07 a.m. According to a news release, the first arriving units reported heavy fire involvement in the residence and immediately sounded a second alarm. Five engines and one ladder company, along with a district chief and an investigator, responded to the scene. Firefighters gained control of the fire and were clear from the scene around 9:30 a.m. The home was occupied at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported. Fire investigators report that the cause remains under investigation at this time. Further details will be released as they become available. The American Red Cross was notified and will be assisting the family.
Victim Identified in Fatal Longview Shooting
LONGVIEW – The Longview NAACP and a family member confirm the victim of a Tuesday night shooting is Da’Coreyan Blankenship. KETK reports the victim is a former student of Longview High School. He also played running back for the school’s football team. Around 7:40 p.m., officers were called to the scene of a reported shooting in the 800 block of Aurel Avenue, about four blocks north of LeTourneau University. When officers arrived, they found one victim in the street with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Read more …
Suspect in Fatal Longview Shooting Released from Jail
LONGVIEW — An East Texas man who was arrested in connection with a February shooting has been released from jail. According to KETK, Christian Sibley, 21, Tyler, was arrested Friday, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody. He was released Monday after posting bail. On February, 3, police responded to a reported shooting an Exxon gas station in the 3000 block of Estes Parkway. Police said Jerrad Hunt showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound. Hunt passed away Monday, February 23. Read more …
Mystery Donor Pays Off Mortgage for New Shelter
KILGORE — A Kilgore woman is awestruck after a mystery donor paid off her massive mortgage for a shelter. Teresa Richenberger is creating a home for women and children coming out of the sex industry and abusive relationships — because she too was once part of that world. The Kilgore home is called Rahab’s Retreat and Ranch, and a number of agencies have helped out. But the big donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated $160,000 to pay for the 32,000-square-foot building for 130 women and children. Richenberger is still pinching herself. She says, “It’s a God thing, first of all, because it’s ten times bigger than me, and I did not have the funds to do this.”
Texas Senate Passes First Bill of Session, Road Funding Plan
AUSTIN (AP/STAFF) — The Texas Senate has approved the first bill of the 2015 legislative session, passing a plan to funnel billions of dollars generated by vehicle sales taxes to building and maintaining traffic-clogged roads. Wednesday’s vote sends a proposed constitutional amendment by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Nichols of Jacksonville, to the House. Lawmakers are constitutionally barred from passing bills during the first two months of a session that began January 13. But Governor Greg Abbott fast-tracked bills on transportation infrastructure by making the issue one of his “emergency items.” Taxes collected on vehicle sales currently flow into the state budget’s general revenue. The Nichols plan would divert tax collections over $2.5 billion and up to $5 billion annually for road infrastructure beginning in 2018. Revenue over $5 billion goes back to general revenue.
With Peterson’s Status in Question, Vikings Pay a Visit
HOUSTON (AP) —The Minnesota Vikings have made their in-person pitch to Adrian Peterson, a Palestine, Texas native. General manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer spent about four hours Wednesday afternoon at Peterson’s home north of Houston. Photographers captured Spielman and Zimmer leaving together, dressed in sport coats and blue jeans. This was the first time meeting they’ve had with Peterson since the star running back was placed on the exempt list in mid-September following his indictment in a child abuse case involving his 4-year-old son. Peterson is still under contract with the Vikings. They’ve said repeatedly they’ll welcome him back once he’s fully reinstated by the NFL, but only if Peterson wants to be there.
Rose Garden Center Foyer Closed for Maintenance
TYLER — The main entrance to the City of Tyler’s Rose Garden Center closed yesterday for approximately one week. The main foyer area will undergo maintenance and updates. Access to the building will be through the north entrance. Temporary access to the Rose Garden from the building will be through one of the meeting rooms. Visitors to the garden will still be able to come through the main gate south of the building. The Rose Museum and Gift Shop will be closed during this time. For more information, call 903-531-1212.
Senate Wants Texas Voters to OK More Spending for Tax Cuts
AUSTIN (AP) — Republican Lt. Governor Dan Patrick wants to use billions of extra dollars on tax cuts and paying down debt without forcing lawmakers to make a politically unpopular vote to authorize more spending. Patrick said Wednesday the proposal would free up nearly $5 billion that is otherwise off limits unless the Republican-controlled Legislature votes to bust a self-imposed spending cap. That option is politically toxic to most conservatives. A Senate bill would instead put the onus on voters in November to decide whether the Legislature can spend additional money in economic boom times on tax cuts and debt reduction. Governor Greg Abbot has called for more than $4 billion in tax cuts but other needs are piling up. Those include an underfunded state pension system and health care for retired teachers.
Cruz Adds Iowa Conservative Activist to Expected 2016 Bid
AUSTIN (AP) — U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has added a top Iowa conservative activist to a political action committee helping him gear up for a potential 2016 presidential run. The tea party Republican announced Wednesday that Bryan English will be a senior adviser for his Jobs, Growth, and Freedom Fund nonprofit. English is a former policy adviser for outspoken conservative U.S. Representative Steve King of Iowa. More recently, he was part of the Iowa Family Policy Center, now called the Iowa Family Leader. The group opposed same-sex marriage in Iowa, which was legalized in 2009 by the state Supreme Court. In a statement, Cruz praised English’s “strong and diverse background in Iowa politics” and his Christian ministry experience. Iowa opens presidential voting. Cruz says he’s seriously considering a White House run.
Report: Texas Truancy Policies are Inconsistent, Unfair
AUSTIN (AP) — A new report calls truancy policies in Texas a “flawed and inequitable patchwork” that led to the criminal prosecution of 115,000 children for not going to school in 2013. The analysis is by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. It says Texas lawmakers should decriminalize truancy, which is an unexcused absence from school. It also calls for lightening laws that send students ages 12 and older to adult criminal courts. Texas Appleseed Executive Director Deborah Fowler said there’s a “one-size-fits-all approach in Texas, and that’s exactly what all the research says does not work.” More than a dozen bills addressing truancy have already been filed by Texas legislators. Decriminalizing truancy is supported by Supreme Court of Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and the Texas Judicial Council.
Border Patrol: More Immigrant Deaths on South Texas Border
HIDALGO (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol agents say migrant deaths are on the rise in South Texas in recent months when compared to figures from last year. Border Patrol agents reported Wednesday the bodies of 55 immigrants have been found in the Rio Grande Valley sector since October, compared to 39 from the same period last year. Border Patrol agents also rescued 164 people, compared to 131 during the same period last year. The 316-mile sector was the deadliest place to cross the border last year, recording 115 deaths in the 2014 fiscal year that ended September. Agents have also recorded 15 drowning deaths since October, compared to 21 during the entire 2014 fiscal year. Migrants frequently try to swim or use makeshift rafts to cross the Rio Grande to reach the U.S.
Texas Hospital System Responds to Ebola Survivor’s Lawsuit
DALLAS (AP) — The head of the Texas hospital system sued by a nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for the first person diagnosed in the U.S. has responded to the lawsuit in an email to employees. In the message sent Monday, Texas Health Resources CEO Barclay Berdan said he wants to “clarify two new points” raised in the lawsuit filed earlier that day by Nina Pham. Berdan says the testimony of company official Daniel Varga at a congressional hearing was “factual and accurate.” The lawsuit says Varga made “numerous patently false statements.” Berdan says Pham gave her consent for the release of information on her condition. The lawsuit agrees she gave consent, but says given the hospital found her incapable of making clinical decisions, it shouldn’t have thought her capable of consent.
Appeal Filed for Man Convicted in “American Sniper” Case
STEPHENVILLE (AP) — An attorney for a former Marine found guilty in the shooting deaths of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle and another man has filed an appeal. Eddie Ray Routh was convicted of capital murder in the 2013 deaths of Kyle and Chad Littlefield at a rural shooting range, after jurors rejected his insanity defense. Prosecutors hadn’t sought the death penalty, so Routh was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Routh’s attorneys said after the February 24 verdict they would appeal. J. Warren St. John, one of Routh’s attorneys, said the notice of appeal was filed Tuesday. St. John also filed a motion for a new trial, arguing the conviction and sentence were contrary to law and evidence. The case drew extra attention due to the film based on Kyle’s memoir.
Fort Hood Soldier Gets 2 Years in Prison Over Deadly Wreck
FORT HOOD (AP) — A Fort Hood soldier faces two years in military prison over a 2005 drunken driving accident in South Texas that killed his father and another passenger. Sgt. Isaac L. Haywood pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated and desertion during his court martial on the post. A military judge then sentenced the 34-year-old Haywood to the prison term, ordered him demoted to private and dishonorably discharged in the plea deal. Investigators say Haywood in February 2005 was driving on Interstate 35 in Frio County when his truck hit a commercial vehicle. Two people in the truck, Barry Haywood and Maggie Hernandez, were ejected and died at the scene. Haywood was charged with deserting his Army unit several months after the accident. He was arrested last September.
Texas Woman Sentenced for Fatal Car Crash Through Laundromat
AUSTIN (AP) — A woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a man after she drove into an Austin laundromat and pinned him against a dryer. The Austin American-Statesman reports Magan Garcia pleaded guilty Wednesday to intoxication manslaughter for the 2013 crash. Police say Garcia’s car crossed three lanes of traffic, hopped the curb and crashed through the laundromat, where 54-year-old Adan Recendez-Guevara had been working. Recendez-Guevara died 19 days later. Authorities say the 22-year-old’s blood alcohol level after the wreck was nearly 0.2, more than double the legal limit of .08. Garcia’s lawyer, Ben Florey, says his client is “very sorry for what she did.” Florey says Garcia had been on probation on a 2012 DWI misdemeanor charge at the time of the crash.
Man Arrested with Sword in Cane, Tried to Visit Jailed Son
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A San Antonio man trying to visit his jailed son also landed behind bars after being caught with a combination cane and 2-foot sword. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office says Jose Gonzalez, 53, faces a charge of unlawfully carrying a weapon. Sheriff’s spokesman James Keith said Wednesday that the cane, with a handle fashioned like the head of a snake, was confiscated. Keith says the father was able to walk through a scanner on Monday without needing the cane, which went through another security device. An alarm went off. An officer twisted off the top of the cane and drew out the sword, and the father was arrested. Details weren’t immediately available on the son’s name or charges.
Abilene Police Shoot Man, Pointed Pellet Gun at Officers
ABILENE (AP) — Abilene police have shot a suspect who pointed a pellet gun at officers during a disturbance call. The man was transported to an Abilene hospital following the shooting early Wednesday. Chief Stan Standridge says the suspect has wounds not believed to be critical. Officers on Tuesday night responded to calls about a man with a gun. Officers confronted the suspect outside a residence, then he tried to run. Police say the man stopped and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at officers. Standridge says two officers opened fire, striking the suspect. The officers weren’t hurt. Police say the 39-year-old man, who turned out to have a pellet gun, faces charges of assault against a public servant. He remains in police custody while hospitalized. Both officers are on administrative leave.
No Classes Wednesday at Dallas School Evacuated for Carbon Monoxide
DALLAS (AP) — A Dallas school where high carbon monoxide levels prompted an evacuation has canceled classes for a second day yesterday amid safety concerns. The Dallas Independent School District says Lakewood Elementary was not in session yesterday. Carbon monoxide levels were acceptable when checked in classrooms Wednesday morning, but remnants were present once a boiler was started. The more than 800 students and the staff were evacuated Tuesday morning when a contractor noticed high levels of carbon monoxide. The problem was traced to a furnace in the basement. Authorities later discovered a dead owl was clogging the ventilation system. The carcass was removed. A district statement says crews will work Wednesday to make sure that Lakewood Elementary School is clear.
Sheriff’s Deputy Finds Human Skull in San Antonio-Area Field
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Investigators are trying to identify a human skull found in a field by a South Texas deputy where he earlier spotted a suspicious vehicle. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office says the skull was discovered Wednesday about one-quarter mile from a paved road. Spokesman James Keith says the deputy also located bones scattered through the area just south of San Antonio. An autopsy was ordered on the remains that Keith says apparently were an adult. The deputy earlier this week spotted a suspicious vehicle leaving the rural area and stopped the driver. That man was questioned and released. Keith says the deputy on Wednesday morning was nearby and decided to further investigate, coming upon the human skull in a brushy area.
More Than 60 Men Arrested in Houston Prostitution Sting
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston police set up a fake modeling studio in a prostitution sting that has led to the arrest of more than 60 alleged male clients. Police on Wednesday announced the arrests in what authorities call a pro-active investigation into selling sex. Police on January 20 opened the modeling studio in southwest Houston. Investigators say hundreds of potential customers contacted the studio with the intent to buy sex. Vice officers working undercover were able to identify and charge 64 men with prostitution-related counts. The arrests began February 19 of men who had gone to the studio and allegedly agreed to pay for sex. Police say the sting was part of working against sex trafficking, which often involves minor girls and women being abused and coerced into prostitution.
Ex-Mariachi Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Porn
McALLEN (AP) — A former mariachi teacher for a South Texas high school faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to receiving child pornography. Jesus Javier Garza Jr. of Mission remained in custody Wednesday pending sentencing in June. The 30-year-old Garza on Tuesday pleaded guilty in the federal case involving hundreds of movies and images of children in sexually explicit conduct. Garza was arrested during a February 2014 raid on his home. Investigators monitoring online sites for child porn linked distribution to Garza’s computer system. Garza was a mariachi teacher at La Joya High School. He was put on administrative leave last year when the investigation became public.
Feds Seize Backpacks, Lunch Bags with Unhealthy Lead Levels
HOUSTON (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Houston say they have seized more than 6,000 children’s backpacks and lunch bags after testing of the items found they had unacceptable levels of lead. Officials say the backpacks and lunch bags came from China and were destined for the U.S. marketplace. Testing of one of the seized shipments found that metal zippers on the backpacks and lunch bags had lead levels ranging from 900 parts per million to 15,000 parts per million. The lead content threshold level under the Federal Hazardous Substance Act is 100 parts per million. Customs and Border Protection Port Director Dave Fluty says the seizures “reflect our commitment to protecting American consumers from hazardous, harmful products.” The backpacks and lunch bags were set to be destroyed.
USS Ranger Leaving Puget Sound for Texas Scrap Yard
BREMERTON, WASH. (AP) — Naval Sea Systems Command says the mothballed aircraft carrier USS Ranger will be towed out of Puget Sound on Thursday on its way to be scrapped in Texas. The USS Constellation completed the same journey in January to International Shipbreaking at Brownsville, Texas. It will take five months to complete a 16,000-mile trip around South America. The Ranger won’t fit through the Panama Canal. The Ranger was commissioned in 1957 and was active during the Vietnam War and also deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm, the first Persian Gulf War. The carrier was decommissioned in 1993 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. The Kitsap Sun reports the Ranger’s departure will leave two carriers in the Bremerton mothball fleet, the USS Independence and the USS Kitty Hawk.