Around East Texas 07/05/07

Holiday Moments

With all the rain around the area many people were worried it would put a damper on Fourth of July holiday events. But a little rain didn't stop the crowds from coming out. Many East Texans celebrated the Fourth of July at Ellen Trout Zoo & Park in Lufkin. The festivities included fishing, moonwalks, train rides and much more. The festivities started at one o'clock Wednesday and was finished off with a big finale of fireworks. Those who attended said it was just a great day to get out and spend time with the family. In Nacogdoches, the scene looked very similar. The Freedom Festival started off with the Nacogdoches Police Color Guard putting up the flag as the national anthem was sung. Children were playing on the moonwalks and even getting their faces painted. Three different bands were scheduled to perform throughout the night. And, of course, there was plenty of fried food like fried pies, funnel cake and any kind of meat on a stick you could hope for. Nacogdoches residents and their area-neighbors all agree it was the fireworks and fun activities that brought them downtown.

Lake Patrol Returns

Until recently, Lake Nacogdoches has been without lake patrol. The city provided it once, but justifying a full time lake officer and keeping part-timers certified for water patrol was always a challenge. Now, there's someone on duty who should be a natural for the job. Officer David Smith is just what Lake Nacogdoches is needing. He's a retired game warden, fully certified in marine safety enforcement.

A Wet Holiday

When Angelina County went wet last year, many East Texans were concerned that the number of D-W-I's and other alcohol-related incidents would rise. Wednesday marked the first year that Angelina County has been wet for Independence Day. With many East Texans traveling and celebrating, some people were concerned alcohol would cause a problem. Lufkin police say they haven't noticed "an appreciable increase in the number of alcohol related incidents" since the city went wet. Authorities say that's a good sign, but it's no reason to drop their guard. They continue to step up patrols as necessary. They also remind East Texans that any amount of alcohol can slow your reaction time and impair your judgement, so be extra careful on the roadways and don't drink and drive.

Robbery and Assault

A man is robbed and assaulted in Tyler by three men, one with a gun. It happened just before ten last night at the intersection of Bellaire and Belverdere. Police say three Hispanic men, between 25 and 30 years old, took off with the victim's wallet and cell phone. One of the suspects is described as five-foot-eight to five-foot-ten inches tall and 170 pounds, wearing a red striped shirt.

Missing Man Found

Wood County authorities say an 80-year old man, missing since two o'clock Wednesday afternoon has been found. The Texas Highway Department says the car of Raymond Hanson was found in a ditch off Hempstead, near Houston, around four o'clock this morning. Hanson was driving a white 1988 Lincoln Town car with Texas license plate H08-DHV. Hanson is diabetic and investigators speculate that he may have become disoriented and confused. Hanson, a lifelong resident of Mineola, owned Hanson's Gulf Station in downtown Mineola for many years.

James Miller Vaughn Dies

The Tyler Morning Telegraph is reporting longtime Tyler Junior College Board of Trustee member Dr. James Miller Vaughn has died. Vaughn was a major contributor to the Tyler area. He served on boards at all three Tyler hospitals and was on the T-J-C board for 46 years. Family and friends told the paper his legacy will live on long after his death. Dr. James Miller Vaughn died Wednesday at his home. He was 94.

Police Chief Terminated

It was a lack of confidence that led to an East Texas police chief losing his job. Gladewater City Manager Jay Stokes told us, he gave Chief Kerry Blakemore the option to resign, but when he didn't he was terminated. Blakemore had been with the department for a year.

Chrysler Recall

You may be driving a recalled car. More than 80-thousand S-U-V's are being recalled by Chrysler. Both the 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Nitro have a problem that could cause the engine to stall. There have been about 180 complaints of engines stalling, but only one minor accident reported. The dealers will fix the vehicles at no charge.

Game Tickets

On sale today, tickets to see English soccer star David Beckham's first game against major league soccer competition. Beckham, who is joining the Los Angeles Galaxy next week, will suit up July 31st in Frisco against F-C in Dallas. Tickets for the game range from 35-dollars to 250-dollars.

Galveston-Port Bolivar Replacement

A Texas Department of Transportation consultant is studying the possibility of replacing the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferries with a bridge. The consultant has reported that summer wait times for the ferry can be more than two hours. The transportation department expects to add a sixth vessel to the ferry fleet.