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Five Family Members Killed On ‘Dream Trip’ to Disney

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm   Print This Print This

trudimichaelhardmanNEW ORLEANS (AP/STAFF) — Michael and Trudi Hardman had always talked about taking their six children to Disney World, and just a week before Thanksgiving, it seemed their “dream trip” was to be a reality. But just a little more than three hours after they left Terrell Wednesday night, their SUV veered off a highway and rolled over in Louisiana, killing the couple and three of the kids. Police believe the couple’s 16-year-old son apparently fell asleep behind the wheel. State police spokesman Michael Reichardt says the driver was cited with careless operation, which is a misdemeanor.

The dead include three children: Kaci Hardman, 4, Adam Hardman, 7, and Dakota Watson, 15, as well as two adults, Michael and Trudi Hardman, ages 42 and 31, respectively. The Associated Press reports the two adults were from Terrell. 16-year-old driver Andrew Hardman, who was properly restrained, was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Two additional passengers identified as Aaron Hardman and Hunter Watson, both sixth graders, were taken to local hospitals with moderate injuries. None of the ejected passengers were wearing seatbelts.

Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Wills Point ISD and had been an educator for 14 years. Her husband, Michael, taught at Terrell ISD. Officials in Wills Point said family was active in the school and in the Wills Point Baseball Association. Troopers suspect the driver may have fallen asleep prior to the crash. Although impairment is not suspected, a toxicology sample was obtained from the driver and will be submitted for analysis as required by law. The crash remains under investigation.

Michael Hardman’s brother Timothy Hardman said, going to Disney World was his brother’s family’s “dream trip.”

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Trial Date Set for Gilmer Murder Suspect

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm   Print This Print This

546fa57b64cec.imageGILMER — A trial date has been set in the case of a man charged with capital murder in a September 2013 shooting death that occurred at a Gilmer sub-varsity football game. According to the Longview News-Journal, the judge set a Feb. 3 trial date for Jonathan Ray Shepherd, who was arrested in connection with the Sept. 26 shooting death of 29-year-old Cheyenne Green. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Feb. 2. The decision came during a hearing Friday in which Shepherd, 33, was seeking to have his $1 million bond reduced and in which he was requesting a change of venue for his trial. The judge denied both requests. Read more …

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Smith County Robbery Suspects Arrested

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm   Print This Print This

Smith County Sheriffs DeptTYLER – Quick work by the Smith County Sheriff’s Department has resulted in the arrest of two robbery suspects. Taken into custody early Friday morning was Jacob Lee Roper, 20, of Tyler and Jacobi TyWan Washington, 21, of Tyler. The two have been charged with aggravated robbery and burglary. Their bonds total $120,000 each. Read more …

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Jacksonville Businesses Robbed

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:10 pm   Print This Print This

police-car-lightsJACKSONVILLE – Jacksonville police are looking for the man who held up CJ’s Quickstop, located at 613A East Rusk Street. It happened shortly after 7:30 Thursday night. The man took, showed the clerk a handgun, took an undisclosed amount of money, and fled. A “large-bodied” maroon car was seen near the gas station about the time of the robbery. That matches the description of a car used in the robbery of the Rite Track #7 gas station on November 15th. The investigation into the robberies is continuing.

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Trial Date Set for Gilmer Capital Murder Suspect

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:27 pm   Print This Print This

Jonathan Ray Shepherd2GILMER – A trial date has been set for early next year for a man charged with capital murder in a September shooting death that occurred at a Gilmer 8th grade football game. State District Judge Lauren Parish on Friday set Jonathan Ray Shepherd’s trial date for February 3rd. The date was set after the judge denied motions to reduce his bail and to move the trial from Upshur County. He is accused of the September 26 shooting death of Cheyenne Green, 29. Shepherd is said to have shot his son’s mother at point-blank range. A couple of hours after the shooting, Shepherd surrendered to authorities at the Upshur County Jail. Investigators say its appears as if the shooting followed an argument about parental rights. The couple shared custody of their two year old son.

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Hayes to Retire as Provost Emeritus at TJC

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm   Print This Print This

Homer Butch HayesTYLER — After a 38-year career in community college education and administration, Tyler Junior College Provost Dr. Homer “Butch” Hayes will retire in early 2015. TJC President Dr. Mike Metke made the announcement to TJC faculty and staff this week and bestowed Hayes with the title of “provost emeritus.” “The title of ‘emeritus’ is only given to a person of outstanding merit,” Metke said, “and it is most appropriate to recognize Dr. Hayes in this way, for his many outstanding contributions to Tyler Junior College.” For now, Metke said, there is no plan to initiate a search to replace Hayes. Instead, day-to-day operations in the academic affairs office will be transferred to Dr. Juan Mejia, TJC vice president of student affairs. In January, a transition period will begin and Hayes will begin transferring his provost duties to Mejia, who will become acting provost and assume duties of both academic and student affairs. Hayes will officially leave his post in March 2015. Read more …

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Peterson’s Hearing Date Set with the NFL

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm   Print This Print This

Adrian PetersonMINNEAPOLIS (AP/STAFF) — Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson has a date for his hearing with the NFL. The league has announced the Peterson will be able to appeal his suspension on December 2 with longtime hearing officer Harold Henderson. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to decide whether to hear the appeal by himself or appoint someone else. Goodell suspended the Minnesota running back for the rest of the season earlier this week after Peterson, who is from Palestine, Texas, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.

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October Jobless Rate in Texas Slips to 5.1 Percent

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm   Print This Print This

Texas Workforce CommissionAUSTIN (AP) — The Texas unemployment rate slipped to 5.1 percent in October for a second straight month of declines. The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday reported the latest jobless figure compares to statewide unemployment of 5.2 percent in September. Steady job gains helped push the October nationwide unemployment rate to 5.8 percent, a six-year low. TWC reports Texas added 35,200 seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs last month. Texas in the past year added 421,900 total nonfarm jobs. Midland had the lowest unemployment rate in Texas during October at 2.5 percent. The state’s highest jobless rate was in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area at 7.9 percent.

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Texas OKs Most New History Textbooks Amid Outcry

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm   Print This Print This

textbooksAUSTIN (AP) — A Texas panel has approved 89 history and social studies textbooks for use in classrooms across America’s second-largest state, after one top publisher withdrew a book. The Republican-controlled State Board of Education voted along party lines 10-5 Friday, sanctioning most proposed books and electronic lessons. It defeated six books, however, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt withdrew a high school government textbook. Because Texas’ market is so large, textbooks published to meet its standards can affect those sold in other states. Long decrying the books have been academics, experts and activists on the right and left. Some say they are too sympathetic to Islam. Others say they exaggerate Moses’ influence on American democracy. But approval means the books will be ready for more than 5 million Texas public school students next fall.

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Texas Auditor Criticizes Program Run by Schools

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:22 pm   Print This Print This

John Keel2DALLAS (AP) — The Texas state auditor is criticizing an economic development program run by school districts. State Auditor John Keel’s criticisms are contained in an audit report released Friday. Keel was required to audit the program, known as “Chapter 313,” as part of a law extending it through 2024. He says Texas school districts are giving away more than $200 million a year in property tax breaks without making sure the companies are creating the jobs promised. Keel says the school districts relied primarily on investment and job numbers the companies said were correct. He recommended the Legislature require independent verification and urged state lawmakers to set tighter policies on school board members and district employees who handle tax break applications.

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DHS Chief on Texas Border after Immigration Order

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:19 pm   Print This Print This

Jeh Johnson2McALLEN (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has told Border Patrol agents in Texas that enforcement priorities are realigning after President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Johnson on Friday made a Border Patrol station in McAllen a symbolic first stop a day after Obama ordered extended deportation protections to as many as 5 million immigrants now in the country illegally. Johnson said the new border-crossers will become priorities for removal. An estimated 1.4 million immigrants are in Texas illegally. Republican Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has pledged to challenge Obama’s order in court. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 743,000 people in Texas could be eligible under Obama’s order. That’s more than any state except California.

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Dallas Group Expects to Help 27,000 on Immigration

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm   Print This Print This

immigrant children flooding TexasDALLAS (AP) — Catholic Charities of Dallas estimates that about 27,000 people will seek the nonprofit’s help following sweeping changes to the U.S. immigration system that could shield millions of people from deportation. Officials at the organization that assists immigrants said on Friday that they welcomed the changes announced by President Barack Obama the night before. Arne Nelson, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit, says they daily “see firsthand the impact of our broken immigration system.” He says, “We firmly believed our nation could no longer wait for action while so many families are torn apart.” Vanna Slaughter, director of immigration for the group, says they’ve waited for such action “for so very, very long.”

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North Texan Gets 45 Years Over Robbery, Slaying

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm   Print This Print This

Michael Daniel CucutaFORT WORTH (AP) — A North Texas man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for his role in the drug-related robbery and slaying of a childhood friend. Prosecutors say Eduardo Bustos was fatally shot and his girlfriend was wounded in the 2011 attack at his Fort Worth apartment. Michael Daniel Cucuta of Fort Worth was sentenced Thursday after being convicted of murder, attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors say the gunman was another childhood friend. Jose Luis Acosta was convicted of murder and attempted capital murder and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Authorities say Cucuta and Acosta were partners in drug deals with the victim and thought he somehow wronged them.

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Ex-police Chief Sentenced for Taking Bribes

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm   Print This Print This

AUSTIN (AP) — An ex-Central Texas police chief has been sentenced to 4½ years in federal prison after pleading he admitted to taking bribes from immigrants to fraudulently obtain legal permission for them to stay in the United States. Andres Tomas Gutierrez was sentenced in federal court in Austin on Friday after pleading guilty in February to wire fraud and theft of honest services. He admitted that, as police chief of the town of Jarrell, he sought and received cash bribes of $10,000 to $40,000 from several immigrants in the United States illegally. In return, he falsely reported that the immigrants were tipsters in ongoing probes into narcotics and human trafficking. The 52-year-old former lawman could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

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Ebola Victim’s Fiancee Moves Into New Home

Posted/updated on: November 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm   Print This Print This

Louise TrohDALLAS (AP) — The fiancee of Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who died of Ebola, has moved into a condominium a month after emerging from quarantine and after a series of landlords rejected her rental application. Louise Troh says she’s “relieved” to be able to leave her daughter’s cramped, two-bedroom Dallas apartment for her own home. Troh’s pastor, George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church, says the condo was purchased by three families who attend the Dallas church. Troh is paying them rent. The condo is located in the immigrant neighborhood near downtown Dallas where Troh lived until she and three others were evacuated. Except for a few bins of photographs and personal items, everything in Troh’s former apartment was taken away and burned. The nonprofit Dwell with Dignity has furnished Troh’s new home.

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