Around East Texas 05/23/07

Abitibi Update

Relaunch or pay up. That's the message to Abitibi Consolidated from some taxing entities in Angelina county. The deadline is approaching for a decision to be made about the future of the now closed paper mill. The company has until July 1st to make an announcement involving the Lufkin division, or the company will have to pay back thousands of dollars in taxes for 2005 and 2006. Abitibi is merging with Bowater, another paper company, based out of South Carolina. That merger is supposed to go through in the third quarter of this year. But Abitibi only has until July 1st to make an announcement for the Lufkin division or they will have to pay all abated taxes to Angelina county and Angelina college. If they miss the deadline all agreements are void. No announcement is expected until after the merger. Lufkin city leaders are still hopeful the mill can be re-opened.

Sewer System Upgrade

An East Texas city will soon be getting a long-awaited upgrade to its sewer system. The changes are coming in Huntington thanks to new grant money. The city of Huntington has received a $245,000 grant from the Texas Community Development program. The grant allows city leaders to rebuild 21 manholes, and to replace 25-hundred feet of old clay pipes in the sewer system.

Holiday Weather Conditions

Many parts of East Texas are getting scattered showers, but weather conditions may not be favorable for outdoor barbecuing this holiday weekend. That's according to the Texas Forest Service. Officials say the ground has been pretty dry this spring. They say while we do not have drought conditions, if you plan to fire up the grill, you should use all safety precautions.

Deputy Habelt Remembered

Henderson county deputy Paul Habelt is laid to rest today (Wednesday) after being killed in the line of duty last week. Deputy Habelt and deputy Tony Ogburn were responding to a domestic disturbance call in Payne Springs when they were shot to death. Visitation for deputy Ogburn are until 9 p.m. at the Cooper Funeral home in Athens. His funeral will be tomorrow at 3 p.m. at First Baptist church in Athens.

Business Fire

A fire leaves a 15-hundred square foot teacher supply store in ashes. The blaze broke out at the Education Center in Nacogdoches. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze before it reached a nearby apartment complex. Investigators think the fire started in a storage area.

Deadly I-20 Accident

Plans are underway to put more barricades up at the site of a deadly Interstate 20 accident. A Louisiana mother and her 8 year old daughter died Monday when their S-U-V was hit by an 18-wheeler on I-20 and Highway 110 in Smith county. D-P-S says the 18-wheeler crossed the median, causing the wreck. The 8-year old girl was not wearing a seat belt. Another 3-year old child in the vehicle survived.

Convenience Store Robbery

Two armed masked men robbed an East Texas convenience store overnight. It happened close to midnight at the American Food Mart. That's in the 3-thousand block of Estes Parkway in Longview. Store employees say they were preparing to close when two Black men entered the store with a gun demanding money. One of the suspects fired a shot hitting a witnesses. That witness was treated and released from a Longview hospital. Police have arrested one suspect, 26-year old Jonathan Earl Jenkins of Longview. He is in the Gregg county jail. Police are still looking for the other robber. If you have information, contact Longview police, or Crime Stoppers.

Wreck Victim Unidentified

A woman killed in a wreck in Tyler has still not been identified. D-P-S troopers say the woman's pick-up went off the road Tuesday evening on Highway 69, about a mile south of Interstate 20. The truck crashed into a creek. A male passenger was taken to a Tyler hospital, no word on his condition. Troopers say neither the woman or the man had any identification.

City Administrator Resigns

Lindale city administrator, Jim Cox, has resigned. The city council accepted the resignation Tuesday. The reason for Cox's resignation was not given, but as part of his severance, he will receive four months salary and benefits.

Super Bowl 45

For the first time in the history of the N-F-L, the Dallas-area is going to host a Super Bowl. The B-F-L owners Tuesday awarded North Texas, Super Bowl 45 in 2011. The Cowboys news, one billion dollar, 100-thousand seat stadium, which opens in 2009, will host the big game.