Around East Texas 07/17/07

Drowning Victim

The search for the body of an East Texas man, the victim of a weekend drowning, is over. Steve Stein of Frankston disappeared near Flat Creek on Lake Palestine late Saturday night. He and his dog went out in his boat to bait a trot line. He called home around 11 p.m. on Saturday, but never made it home. His body was found shortly after noon Monday.

Steroid Testing Program

Governor Rick Perry says it's better to get it right than get it fast. That may slow down the Texas high school steroid testing program. The mandatory tests were going to start before football season, but now state officials are divided as to when the program should begin. There are concerns about over the counter supplements that could cause a positive drug test. The U-I-L is sending high schools a D-V-D about the tests and nutritional supplements. A positive test would mandate a thirty day suspension. Governor Perry says the tests may not start until after football season. Ten percent of Texas high schools, including Lufkin, already conduct mandatory testing.

Murder Suspect

A Center murder suspect is in jail after turning himself into police. Thomas E. Martin turned himself in for the murder of 60-year old Travis W. Lane. Lane was stabbed Saturday night during a fight on Martin Luther King street. He died later at a Center hospital. Bond for Martin is set at 250-thousand dollars.

Store Robbers

Police need your help finding the robbers who held up an East Texas convenience store clerk at gunpoint. Surveillance video was taken Saturday at the E-Z Mart in Gladewater. On the video, you see one of the men forcing the clerk to open the register. The robbers tried to get into the store safe, but gave up when the clerk was unable to open it.

Fake Priest

East Texas hospitals and law enforcement agencies are on alert for a man passing himself off as a priest to gain access to hospital patients and what's in their wallets and purses. On surveillance video taken last week, you can see the man dressed as a priest who had visited Laird Hospital in Kilgore. He checked in under a false name, and authorities say he was doing more than just praying with patients. The fake father robbed a 78-year old patient, disappeared from the hospital, and was later caught on camera, using that patient's credit card to buy eight-hundred dollars worth of gift certificates at a local pharmacy. Officials tell us a Crime Stoppers tip has come in and may shed light on who the fake father is. The suspect is described as a big man, 6-foot-2 inches tall, weighing about 270 pounds with shaggy brown hair.

Lufkin Robberies

Police are investigating three separate robberies that happened less than two weeks apart in Lufkin. Two of the places hit are businesses that sit along busy Highway 59 south. Restaurant and retail managers say their location makes them easily accessible to unwanted guests. They thing their location is easy to hit and run. Casa Ole' has a 'round-the-clock surveillance system to help prevent crime. The owners of Texas metal Art in Diboll have also invested in an alarm system, but it's only effective inside the store. Owners are grateful for local law enforcement who regularly keep an eye on area businesses.

Police Standoff

A standoff with police ends peacefully at an East Texas home. Van Zandt county sheriff's deputies say around noon Monday, a couple barricaded themselves in their home on Interstate-20 and county road 3416. Deputies say the couple had recently been evicted and the male suspect was threatening to hurt himself. They surrendered four hours later and were both taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

Tax Free Holiday

Parents planning to take advantage of tax free weekend, especially for those back to school deals, will have to wait a little bit longer. The sales tax holiday, usually the first weekend in August, is now the third weekend in August. This is due to school districts starting later this year. During the holiday children and adult clothing and shoes priced under 100-dollars are tax-exempt. And added to the list this year are backpacks, that cost less than 100-dollars.

Airport Changes

Some changes for those of you flying the friendly skies this summer at Dallas Love Field. American Airlines plans to drop flights to San Antonio and Saint Louis. And, American says it will be doubling its Love Field flights to Austin and Kansas City. The changes begin on September 1st.

Building Demolished

S-F-A regents have been know to erect new buildings on campus. Now, the demolition of an old building is catching the public's attention. The first wall of the Birdwell building came down Monday. The demolition was previously stipulated by the state as a condition of the approval for building the Human Services building. A temporary covered and lighted walkway has been constructed to protect students during the four week demolition.