Around East Texas 07/19/07

Consumer Warning: Chili Sauce

Federal health officials are warning consumers to throw out certain cans of hot dog chili sauce. That's after four people, including two Texas children, were hospitalized with botulism. The warning applies to these affected brands are 10 ounce cans of:


*Austex and

*Kroger hot dog chili sauce.

The "Best by Dates" are from April 30, 2009 through May 22, 2009. Botulism is a rare, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin. An F-D-A official says the toxin is so potent that if it gets on your hands or face, it can make you sick. Make sure you check your pantry and store shelves for the recalled chili.  For more on this recall go to the KnowMore section of

Water Rates going UP

In a few months, Lufkin residents will be paying more for the water they use. City council members have approved a 5-point-5 percent rate increase for residential water and sewer customers. The rate hike is to ease the burden of skyrocketing fuel, electricity and operating costs for the city. City officials say Lufkin water and sewer rates for residential customers have gone up every year. How much they increase depends on what's called a "cost of service" analysis. "The city's cost of services were exceeding the revenue from our water and sewer customers that are paying for that system," said Assistant City Manager Keith Wright. The average residential customer will pay just over a dollar more on their bill each month. It doesn't sound like a lot, but for elderly homeowners and those living pay check to pay check, every penny counts. City leaders say they realize the rate increase will upset some customers, but the extra funds will help offset the rising costs of the city's daily operations. "We're not in this to make money. We're not in this as a profit business, we're just in this to pay for the cost of service. Your electrical rates go up, your fuel rates go up, you have to cover those expenses and that's what this is about - just covering the expenses that the city has to produce a gallon of water and to treat a gallon of sewer," Wright said. Residential water and sewer customers will see a 5-point-5 percent rate increase. Commercial users will also see a slight change in their monthly bill. The new water and sewer rates will take effect in October.

Local Companies Merger

Brookshire Brothers and Polk Oil have been fixtures in East Texas for many years. Soon, the two companies will merge. A spokesperson for the two companies says the merger has nothing to do with gas, but is a good business decision that will benefit both companies, as well as the community. Some East Texans told us they think the merger makes plenty of sense, while other local residents fear the merger will create a local monopoly. The merger is expected to be complete by the end of the month.

Goodman Bridge

Businesses and motorists say they're tired of being slowed down by a closed Goodman Bridge between Nacogdoches and Cherokee counties. Based on a Wednesday morning inspection, their life is about to get a little easier. A visual check, combined with a depth analysis, provided some answers. That check is done with a short water ski, with a depth detector attached. It's a simple way for engineers to collect data that will be compared to previous readings. The bridge will be re-opened today and some store owners say that's just in the nick of time.

Back to School

The first day of class for East Texas students is still several weeks away, but it's not too early to start getting school supplies together for your children. Backpacks, notebooks and markers can get expensive for some families. That's why the Deep East Texas Council of Governments is supplying more than 2-thousand area families with a free backpack full of school supplies for the fall. DETCOG will host a school supply drive on August 2nd for children in need. The drive will benefit kids from 12 East Texas counties.

Genealogy Conference

Angelina College is hosting a genealogy conference over the next few days. Those attending will learn how to track their own genealogy and find out where their family roots really start. The conference begins today. Classes today cost 85-dollars and for Friday and Saturday combined it will be 170-dollars. There are still spaces available. If you are interested, contact Angelina College at 936-633-5207.

Old Pines Theatre

Lufkin city leaders have finalized the purchase of an historic theatre in downtown Lufkin. The city council agreed to buy the Pines Theatre for just under 113-thousand dollars. The last movie was shown in the downtown attention about 30 years ago. Council members plan to renovate the theatre and restore it to its original state. Once construction is complete, the 700-seat auditorium will be available for cultural events, movies and plays. Renovations will cost several hundred thousand dollars.

Fake Priest

The fake priest who police say stole from a patient at a Kilgore hospital has been identified by a local witness as 37-year old Leslie Earl Raymond of California. A mugshot from Tennessee, where Raymond served prison time back in 2003, shows a striking similarity to surveillance hospital photos of the fake priest. Records from the Kilgore police department show Raymond faces charges from theft to forgery to credit card fraud in at least a dozen cities in ten states. Kilgore police say their next step is to file charges with the district attorney's office and put a warrant out for Raymond's arrest. The same steps so many other cities around the nation have already gone through.