Around East Texas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/11/07 - East Texas

Around East Texas

Capital Murder Trial

A former boyfriend and relatives of Shaina Sepulvado provided the state ammunition for a capital murder case which is now underway in Nacogdoches. The Cushing teenager is accused of helping her mother find someone to kill James Kellym the women's stepfather and husband. Kelly was the victim of a murder for hire back in October of 2005. In testimony this week, Sepulvado's ex-boyfriend testified how the teen had asked him to kill Kelly but he refused the offer. Seventeen year old Sepulvado is being tried as an adult. Two thers have already been convicted in the murder-for-hire scheme. One other person awaits a trial. The defense is expected to begin presenting its side today.

Jailer Arrested for Porn

A Nacogdoches county jailer has been arrested for possession of child pornography. The images found on his home computer appeared to be of minor girls. Brian Sowell is out of jail on bond. He has been fired from his duties as supervisor of Exposition Center inmate workers. This is the second sheriff's department employee in Nacogdoches to be fired in the past six months for allegations of child pornography possession.

Teacher Remembered

Funeral services are bing held today (Wednesday) for a Longview elementary teach who died Monday, after collapsing in her classroom more than a week ago. 31-year old Jaime Halcumb had been in a coma since March 30th. Doctors told Longview Independent School District officials her heart stopped because of a combination of low potassium and low blood sugar levels. Mrs. Halcumb was finishing up her second year at Hudson Pep Elementary where she taught second grade. Teachers there say she had a passion for helping the deaf students in her classroom. "She was very caring, her kids loved her. They were always 'Mrs. Halcumb, Mrs. Halcumb,' come running to her out at recess and want to talk to her about their personal things going at home and she knew what all they were involved in," said fellow teacher Tonja Baron. "She was wonderful, caring person and her kids loved her, her students loved her," echoed teacher Carolyn Jeffrey.

Jaime Halcumb leaves behind her husband and their five year old and nine month old daughters. her funeral is today at 3 p.m. at the hawthorn Funeral Home in Carthage.

Cemetery Vandalized

Vandals hit a piece of East Texas history destroying markers that date back to the early 1800's. The Winnsboro police department says sometime over the weekend vandals pushed over several tombstones and even broke some in its oldest city cemetery. The Winnsboro City cemetery is the resting place for early town leaders, lawyers, 35 confederate soldiers and even an indian princess. Vandalizing a cemetery, police say, is a state jail felony. The City Cemetery Foundation is offering a 500 dollar reward for any information leading to an arrest. If you have any information call Winnsboro police or Crime Stoppers.

East Texas Solider Killed

An East Texas fmaily is mourning the death of a soldier killed while serving in Iraq. Rodney McCandless of Leggett (near Livingston in Polk County) was killed in combat on Easter Sunday. His family received notification just as they were preparing for church. Family members and friends say McCandless was a unique person who will be deeply missed. Funeral services for Rodney are still being finalized.

Railroad Funding Approved

The Texas State Railroad in Cherokee County is now one step closer to being saved. Palestine city council members unaminously voted to allow a private contractor to take over the historic train. Now, the issue has to go before the Rusk city council, the House committee and Governor Rick Perry. Rusk city leaders will make their decision at a meeting tomorrow.

H-P-V Vaccine

A Texas senate panel has approved a bill to bar state health officials from requiring schoolgirls to be vaccinated agains the human papilloma virus. The bill approved by the Texas house would prohibit the state from adding the H-P-V vaccine to the list of shots required for school attendance. A provision was also added to prompt lawmakers to review the ban in 2011.

Pet Food Recall Expanded

The tainted pet Food Recall has expanded. Menu Foods has not recalled products made in a Canadian factory found to have used an ingredient tainted by an industrial chemical. Menu Foods previously had recalled only cat and dog food made at its plants in New jersy and Kansas, because of contaminated Wheat Gluten.

Ford Recall

Ford is recalling more than 500-thousand Escape Sport utility vehicles. The auto maker says it has received several reports of engine fires linked to corrosion on anti-lock brake connectors. The recall does not include hybrid models. The compnay says so far there are no reports of accidents or injuries.

Tyler Superintendent

A finalist could ne named today for the Tyler I-S-D superintendent. School board members have scheduled a special meeting to start in executive session at 11:30 this morning. The meeting will take place at the T-I-S-D administration building on Sunnybrook Drive. The board is seeking a replacement for David Simmons who was hired as the superintendent for Richardson I-S-D.

SFA Tuition Rates

Parents and students who pay for tuition at SFA will soon have to dig a little deeper in their wallets. Regents have approved tuition, fees and room and board hikes for next fall. Tuition will rise from eight dollars to twelve dollars per semester hour. The extra money will be used to support financial aid, scholarships and rising operational expenses. Fall registration begins April 24th.

Free Tax Filing

A reinder for all last minute tax filers. Youhave until next Tuesday, April 17th to get your taxes sent out. The tax deadline was extended because this year, April 15th falls on a Sunday. To learn more about how you can get your taxes done for free go to the Know more section of ktre.com and find the "Free Tax Filing" link.

Love for Lexie

East Texans showed love for Lexie Tuesday by donating blood. They turned out for a special blood drive in Nacogdoches. Lexie is a two year old girl who is diagnosed with leukemia back in December. Lexie needs blood as part of her treatments.

Electric Bills Public Forum

Some East Texans are unhappy about their recent electric bills. So, they're planning a special forum. Their last meeting was in Zavalla, but organizers say they soon discovered a jump in T-X-U bills was also being felt by people outside of Zavalla. Now, they're planning a meeting at the Pitser Garrison Civic Center for Thursday at 6 p.m.

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