Good Morning East Texas Headlines 07-01-10

LATEST NEWS

Coming up on Good Morning East Texas: Hurricane "Alex" is moving over Mexico this morning. We'll have details on the damage it has caused and how communities along the Texas coast are being affected.

Investigators will begin work today to determine what caused a fire at a furniture store in Kilgore. We'll show you some of the damage and tell you what happened to the buildings next door.

Toyota is reporting more problems with some of its vehicles. We'll tell you whether the company intends to issue a recall.

And…he already has a choice for a career. Now, he needs a family to call his own. We'll meet "Paull" in today's "Gift of Love" report.

WEATHER TODAY

We could be in for some more showers and even a few isolated thunderstorms today, but the chances for rain will drop as we head into the weekend. Meteorologist Michael Hetrick will have details on your 4th of July weekend forecast.

LOCAL HEADLINES

Downtown Kilgore business destroyed by fire

A downtown Kilgore business is destroyed by fire.

Church destroyed by arson meets in new building for the first time

On New Year's day, no one knew the fire at Little Hope Baptist Church in Van Zandt County was connected to the arsons that would happen in the following weeks.

STATE & NATIONAL NEWS

SAN FERNANDO, Mexico (AP) - Hurricane Alex is drenching northern Mexico as it pushes inland but it has largely spared Texas. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Alex has weakened to a Category 1 storm and is expected to weaken further during the day. Sustained winds are 85 mph.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP's massive oil spill is set to become the largest ever in the Gulf of Mexico. Based on the highest government estimates, the oil that's gushed from the blown-out BP well is expected to surpass the 140 million gallon mark today. That eclipses the spill off Mexico's coast in 1979 to 1980.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to wrap up confirmation hearings today for Elena Kagan who, barring an unexpected turn, will likely become the newest Supreme Court justice. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, calls a filibuster of Kagan "highly unlikely."

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Authorities in Cyrpus say they are are stepping up their search for an alleged member of a Russian spy ring who vanished after skipping bail. Christopher Metsos is wanted in the U.S. on charges he supplied money to a ring that operated under deep cover in America's suburbs.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A writer who stopped using punctuation in the 1960s and has spent much of the last 30 years secluded in Hawaii will become the nation's next chief poet. The Library of Congress is set to announce that William Merwin will become the 17th U.S. poet laureate this fall.

MIAMI (AP) - The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Alex has weakened from a Category 2 to a Category 1 storm as it moves inland over northeastern Mexico. It was more than 130 miles south of Brownsville, Texas, early this morning with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour.

UNDATED (AP) - Authorities say Hurricane Alex spawned two tornadoes around Brownsville, including one that flipped over a trailer. No injuries were reported. Officials also closed the causeway to the popular vacation getaway of South Padre Island off the Texas coast.

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - A member of the New Orleans Saints' coaching staff has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in an alleged real estate scam involving more than 40 people in northeastern Texas. Assistant defensive line coach Travis Jones has not been sentenced.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A U.S. Senate panel has endorsed a bill aimed at slowing the revolving door between the Interior Department and the oil and gas industry. A recent report by the department's inspector general says its drilling regulators have been so close to the industry that they've accepted gifts from oil and gas companies.