Around East Texas 06/22/07

Warrants Sweep

If you haven't paid your "Class C" warrants, you may be too late. Today is the first day for the warrants sweep in Lufkin. Police officers will spend all day today knocking on doors at homes and businesses, picking up people with outstanding warrants. They are advising people to turn themselves in at the police station or risk being arrested at home or on the job.  "Class C" offenders who turn themselves in Friday can make payment arrangements with the court to clear up their outstanding warrants. More than $20,000 was collected during last year's sweep in Lufkin. If you have an active warrant, you need to contact the City Municipal Court for more information.  Call City Marshall Brian Smith at (936) 633-0315.

DWI Arrest

An East Texas teenager is in the hospital with serious injuries after being hit by an alleged drunk driver. The accident happened around noon Thursday at the intersection of south Robertson and Third street in southeast Tyler. The driver, 27-year old Melinda Jackson, bonded out of the Smith County jail last night, after begin charged with driving while intoxicated. This is her second arrest in 24 hours and she wasn't to happy about it. An irate Melinda Jackson yelled at police from the backseat of a patrol car Thursday, while police were working the scene of the accident. Police tell us 15-year old Jesus Cardenas was standing in the middle of the road when a distracted Jackson slammed her S-U-V into him. The boy who was hit will also be ticketed for failing to yield to traffic.

Inmates get Keys

Two Shelby County jailers are out of a job. They resigned earlier this week, after being accused of failing to report inmates who took keys that allowed them to access a restricted portion of the jail. The jail is undergoing an upgrade in its security system. Backup keys had been left out on a table in the processing room. A place where trustees, or inmates with privileges, have been allowed to be alone. Fortunately, the inmates were caught before they managed to get to other areas of the jail, however, because they didn't report the incident in a timely manner, the jailers on duty were asked to resign. Sheriff Newton Johnson says he's already put some new rules into effect to prevent these things from happening again. The two inmates who stole the keys have lost all of their trustee privileges.

Golf Legend Honored

If you're a golf pro, or just like to putt around for fun, you still have time to register for the annual golf tournament benefiting the HOPE Center of North Lufkin. At this year's fundraiser, the agency will pay tribute to a pioneer in the golf game. The late Henry Durham was one of the first black golfers in the East Texas area. His longtime friends believe the only thing that kept him from going pro is segregation. Durham wasn't allowed to play on most golf courses because of the color of his skin, but that didn't stop him from traveling the world and getting local, state and national recognition for his skill. The HOPE Center's 6th Annual Golf Tournament starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23rd, at the Neches Pines Golf Course in Diboll. Registration is 8 a.m.

Tax Rollback Election

The Nacogdoches school board is calling for a September 15th tax rollback election. The Texas legislature has set tax rate limits for school districts. Any higher proposed rates require voter approval. The N-I-S-D board is proposing a one dollar-37-cent tax rate. It would create needed revenue without doing away with the popular homestead exemption. Passage would also prevent frequent requests for money from the taxpayers. "If we do not do this at this particular point in time and there's a need for additional revenues next year then we have to go back to the voters and we can move it at two cents at a time. We will ask them for two cents and the next year if we needed more revenue we would have to go back," said Dr. Rodney Hutto, N-I-S-D superintendent. Dr. Hutto says the revenue is needed for repairs, teacher raises and a full day pre-kindergarten program. He plans to present the issue to civic groups between now and the September 15th election.

Healing Center Opens

For five years, a Nacogdoches ministry has been praying away aches, pains and heartaches. The Healing Center in Nacogdoches is one of more than 500 in the nation. It provides healing schools, prayer counseling and support groups. The women are called healing technicians. They pray specifically for healing using the scriptures, with patients claiming a 90 percent success rate. The believers say they welcome skeptics as it provides them an opportunity to share their power of faith. The Center is currently operating off of donations.

Blood Donors Needed

While local businesses have an increase in customers during the summer, blood donations seem to go down. Many blood donors are high school students, so there is always a critical need for blood during the months of June, July and August, while school is out for the summer. If you'd like to give the gift of life, there's a blood drive next Tuesday, June 26th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Memorial Health System of East Texas in Lufkin. Remember, blood donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and in good health. Also, next Tuesday, the Blood Center of East Texas will be in its new home on South Franklin street, right behind the Henderson Kidney and Dialysis Center.

Government Hospital Ratings

The federal government has delivered its diagnosis of local hospitals across the country. Using cardiac care as a yardstick, officials have compiled ratings that allow you to see how your hospital compares to others. Hospitals will be placed in one of three categories based on their performance; "No different than the U-S national rate," "Better than the U-S national rate," and "Worse than the U-S national rate." Through the site, patients will be able to find out how heart attack and heart failure patients fared at their local hospital within 30 days of being admitted, even if they were discharged and sent home. The new information that's available is not just life or death. The HHS plans to provide information including doctor performance and responsiveness, hospital cleanliness, and post-surgical complications. For more information visit  See how your area hospitals rated tonight on the East Texas News.

Pastor Sentenced to Prison

Joshua Allen, a former East Texas pastor will spend the next four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. He was sentenced Thursday. In September, investigators found 600 images of child pornography on Joshua Allen's computers. Allen was a pastor at the Tyler Street Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Family Heirlooms Stolen

Thieves make off with all of an East Texas family's belongings. The family is left with just the clothes on their back. The theft was discovered over the weekend at Highway 79 Storage in Henderson, near the intersection of 79 and 42. "Chest of drawers my great grandfather built (starts crying) (reporter) "Is that was hurts the most? The stuff you can't replace hurts the most," said a tearful Amanda Lamb. Her husband, Jeff, had this message for the thieves, "Change your ways man, start by letting us know where our stuff's at, what you did with it." Henderson police tell us they have no suspects at this time.

Pending Rabies Results

Rabies test results are expected on four dogs, one of which may have attacked an East Texas toddler. Two-year old Jacie Conrad is in fair condition today at a Tyler hospital. Neighbors say Wednesday a dog attacked Jacie while she was playing in her yard. One of the bites was reportedly so bad, part of her skull was exposed. Four dogs were rounded up and euthanized so the rabies test could be done. A fifth dog, believed to be a stray, is still on the loose.

Lotto Winner

A Tyler man is now one million dollars richer. Robert Hilts won the million dollar prize on a $50 scratch-off ticket. hilts, who works as a custodian, says he might buy a pick-up truck, but is not going to get too excited until he has the cash in hand.