News from around East Texas

Gas Price Drop

Gas prices are going down in Lufkin, but only for a few hours. Lufkin's First Assembly of God will host a "Gas Buy DOwn" tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The church will buy fuel from Chevron on Loop 287 across from the Post Office and then re-sell it at prices below two dollars. The event starts at 10 a.m. Every vehicle will be limited to 12 gallons of asoline and will be sold on a first come first served bases.

TXU Electric Bill Relief?

Look for a little relief on your T-X-U electrict bill. Starting next month, T-X-U is cutting electric rates by 6-percent. It's part of a pending acquisition by private investors, that, if approved, would include an additional 4-percent reduction. The company also promised to give customers two "customer appreciation" bonus payments of 25-dollars each.

Illegal Gameroom?

An East Texas News investigation exposes a possible illegal gameroom that's really upsetting some East Texans. The Touch of Luck gameroom opened three weeks ago in Diana, just across the street from the First Baptist Church. Inside, there are about twenty machines and an employee says winners walk away with gift cards from companies like Sam's and Mastercard. The owner of the store refused to comment Thursday, but residents and church-goers tell us, the games are too much like gambling and they want to know why these places are not being shut down. "I feel that if gambling's not legal in the state of Texas then they shouldn't be here and so they need to go to the state of Louisiana where gambling's legal," said Stever Emmel with Gaming Establishments. There are some loopholes in the law which apparently allow some of these gamerooms to operate legally. Machine owners can give away "non cash prizes" that are of "no greater value" than 10 times the amount of the bet, or five dollars, whichever is less. In 2003, the texas Supreme Court ruled that gift certificates, like the Diana establishment is giving away, do not fall into those exclusions. The court ruled those were the same as cash and therefore illegal here in Texas. We tried repeatedly to reach Upshur County authorities for comment on why this establishment is operating, but they would not talk to us.

Police respond to High School Fight

An afternoon fight at John Tyler High school on Thursday resulted in the need for police intervention. Tyler I-S-D police and staff broke up the fight at the school's field house. No word on how many students were involved. One parent told East Texas News her daughter was hit, but so far, no major injuries have been reported.