A look back at 2013: Tyler ISD bond election, economy, alcohol elections top list of stories

Published on Saturday, 28 December 2013 22:14 - Written by By Brian Pearson bpearson@tylerpaper.com

Exposed red earth became an increasingly familiar sight in 2013, as construction crews throughout the Tyler area grew about as busy as a freshly kicked fire ant mound.

Construction began all over the Tyler Independent School District, where work began on three middle schools, two elementary schools and a career and technology center serving the John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools.

The Toll 49 connection to Interstate 20 opened, and work began on the vast Village of Cumberland Park, an 80-acre project with almost a quarter million square feet of retail space expected to open starting in summer 2014.

Work also began on Tyler Junior College’s new nursing school, and Texas Spine and Joint announced a $27 million construction project. Also, UT Health Northeast dedicated the second and third floors of its academic center.

And those behind those projects could celebrate by marching down to their local grocery or convenience store to pick up beer or wine, thanks to voters approving alcohol sales for off-premises consumption in November 2012.

But 2013 wasn’t all rosy for the Tyler area. A mother clutching her child was gunned down in a gang-related shooting in a Tyler park, underscoring the community’s growing gang problem.

The financially troubled Total Healthcare closed its doors after federal funding evaporated.

Drought plagued the area most of the year, but heavy rains toward year’s end helped balance the precipitation.

But mostly, 2013 was all about construction and progress in the Tyler area.

Here is a list of the Morning Telegraph editors’ Top 10 stories of the year, with information from our archives:

 

1.TISD BONDS

Tyler voters overwhelmingly approved a $160.5 million bond proposal, with 62.68 percent casting ballots in favor of the school district’s plans for three middle schools, two elementary schools and a career and technology center.

The bonds will provide for reconstruction of Boulter and Moore middle schools, as well as a new campus in southwest Tyler near FRESH by Brookshire’s. Middle school boundaries were announced in December.

The bonds also covered renovations to Rice and Dixie elementary schools.

Meanwhile, work began on a new career and technology center to serve students at both John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools.

Voter approval meant the district could begin implementing its long-range facilities plan, which the board approved in 2012. Some 11 elementary schools have been replaced and two renovated since 2004, with Dixie and Rice the only elementary campuses left to go.

The new schools are slated to open in fall 2015.

 

2.ALCOHOL

Tyler area grocery and convenience stores saw their first full year of beer and wine sales after voters in November 2012 approved sales of those alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption.

According to state figures, Tyler’s sales tax revenues for January through October 2013 were up more than 5 percent from the same period the previous year, with local officials pointing to alcohol sales as the reason for the increase. Meanwhile, sales tax revenues during that time increased 15.5 percent for Noonday.

But that came at a price for neighboring communities where Tyler residents once traveled to get beer and wine. The cities of Winona and Coffee City, for example, each saw their sales tax revenues plummet about 42 percent during the first 10 months of the year compared to the same period the previous year.

In November, voters in Smith County Precincts 1 and 4 resoundingly approved beer and wine sales. Support was 68.1 percent in Precinct 1 and almost 60 percent in Precinct 4.

Earlier in the year, voters in Alto rejected alcohol sales, while Whitehouse residents approved them.

 

3.TOLL 49

Long-suffering motorists who had to grind through Tyler to get to and from Interstate 20 found their commute cut dramatically with the opening of a Toll 49 section.

The news was not so good for cyclists, who already had turned other sections of Toll 49 into popular cycling routes on the broad shoulder.

The cyclists in July found no shoulder to cry on when the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority board voted 7-6 to rescind an agreement with them and banned cyclists from Toll 49.

The vote revoked the board’s March agreement to give cyclists access to Toll 49 between Texas Highway 155 near Noonday and Texas Highway 110 near Whitehouse. The Tyler Bicycle Club subsequently raised more than $65,000 to pay for striping cycling lanes and installing signage along Toll 49’s shoulder.

Toll 49 prompted controversy again later in the year, when Smith County commissioners proposed a transportation reinvestment zone. Under the plan, half the tax revenues collected for 25 years on new construction within a mile of Toll 49 would go into a county fund for road maintenance and improvements. The other half would go to the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority to expedite Toll 49 expansion.

The zone would generate between $31 million and $41 million during its 25-year lifespan.

Opponents said the plan would siphon away money from the county and allow the state to eschew its obligations to fund road construction and maintenance.

 

4.TYLER CONVENTION CENTER

The Tyler City Council in July approved an agreement with a private retail developer in a project that could bring in millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenues.

Dallas-based Retail Connection donated land to the city to build a hotel conference center in return for a portion of the sales tax generated from the 80-acre, 700,000-square-feet retail and entertainment complex known as The Village at Cumberland Park.

Plans for construction of the center and a 250-room Marriott hotel have not been finalized.

 

5.THE ECONOMY

The Tyler economy roared in 2013, with work beginning on The Village at Cumberland Park and Tazza Pronto and the opening of the Centene Corp. call center, among other economic developments.

Centene opened its doors with more than 300 high-paying jobs, with benefits such as an on-site daycare center for employee’s children and an in-house cafeteria. The company is expected to double its number of employees in five to 10 years.

When it opens, Tazza Pronto, a manufacturer of coffee makers, is expected to have 200 jobs.

The Village at Cumberland Park will open in summer 2014 at the intersection of South Broadway Avenue and Toll 49. The 80-acre site is expected to have more than 700,000 square feet of retail space. Tom Mullins, president and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council, said the park will employ more than 2,000.

Estimated sales tax revenues could total $15 million for the city and $5 million for Smith County, city officials said. That does not include property tax generated from the new construction. The developer estimated that the total reimbursement will range from $3.5 million to $5 million during the course of seven years.

According to The Village at Cumberland website, businesses expected to open shop at the center include T.J. Maxx, Kirkland’s, Shenanigans, Abuelo’s, Lane Bryant Cacique, The Vitamin Shoppe, Gordmans, Cost Plus World Market, Dress Barn, Jo Ann Fabric and Craft Store, AT&T, Studio Movie Grill, Petco and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Meanwhile, the Tyler area was on pace to have its best home-sales year ever, edging out 2007. Through November, 3,424 homes had sold in the Tyler area, according to the Greater Tyler Association of Realtors. That’s only 175 homes shy of the record 3,599 homes that sold in 2007.

With the exception of October, every month in 2013 has seen better sales than in 2012, and 234 homes sold in December 2012.

 

6.EARL CAMPBELL AWARDS

Five finalists for the inaugural Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award emerged in December.

The finalists include:

* Jace Amaro, Texas Tech, tight end, junior, San Antonio (MacArthur High School)

* Mike Evans, Texas A&M, wide receiver, sophomore, Galveston (Ball HS)

* James Franklin, Missouri, quarterback, senior, Corinth (Lake Dallas HS)

* Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, quarterback, sophomore, Kerrville (Tivy HS)

* Bryce Petty, Baylor, quarterback, junior, Midlothian (Midlothian HS)

The recipient will be announced at the award banquet in Tyler on Jan. 17.

The award, announced in 2012 by the Tyler Chamber and SPORTyler, recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football. The recipient also exhibits the enduring qualities of Earl Campbell, the 1977 Heisman Trophy winner from Tyler and the University of Texas.

Those characteristics are: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity.

Nominees also must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four year Division I Texas college.

The finalists were selected from an initial watch list of 35 announced in August. The list was whittled to 16 on Dec. 2. Fans can still vote for their favorite athlete for the honor at either ETFinalScore.com orwww.EarlCampbellAward.com . Fans may cast one vote per day.

 

7.MEDICAL EXPANSION

Tyler Junior College began work on a nursing school, and Texas Spine and Joint announced a $27 million expansion.

Meanwhile, UT Health Northeast dedicated the second and third floors of its academic center, paving the way for expanded education and medical treatment in the region.

The second floor has a comprehensive breast center along with clinics for surgery, gastrointestinal issues and urology. The third floor includes an amphitheater, the Watson W. Wise Medical Research Library and classrooms for medical residencies, continuing education and future undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The first phases of the academic center construction, which included the building shell and the first floor cancer center, was completed in fall 2011 and cost $42 million. The second and third floors cost an additional $30 million.

The East Texas Medical Center in July dedicated its $35 million building in Quitman. ETMC also unveiled two new transport helicopters.

Also, a longtime Tyler philanthropist was announced as the namesake of a comprehensive women’s center at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital. The Pat Herd Women’s Center opened in August, offering a 27-bed women’s health unit.

Each room is equipped for women’s services such as postpartum, C-section recovery, urology and plastic/reconstructive surgery.

The women’s board in 2012 announced its contribution of $1.4 million toward a $2 million goal to fund the women’s center.

 

8.TOTAL HEALTHCARE

The saga of the troubled Total Healthcare Clinic in Tyler came to an end this year as federal funding was halted and the facility closed its doors.

The closing came six years after the clinic, formerly known as Community Health Clinics of Northeast Texas, gained a Federally Qualified Health Center status, which comes with federal grant funding.

Financial, administrative and legal trouble plagued the clinic through its short history.

 

9.GUNNED DOWN

A shooting spree that left a young mother dead at a Tyler park prompted community meetings to discuss the city’s growing gang problem.

The series of summits at the Greater New Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church were held after 20-year-old Briana Young was shot and killed in P.T. Cole Park during gang crossfire July 30. Four men face charges in the shooting.

The Rev. Jerome R. Milton, pastor of the church, called for a “character academy,” where families hold themselves accountable for what happens in their homes.

Milton announced his church would partner with First Baptist Church to do joint mission work in Tyler. Jeff Williams, a Tyler businessman, suggested developing communication channels so people could address concerns and needs. He offered to build a website to help with the initiative.

 

10. ANIMAL SHELTER

The dire need for an animal shelter came to a head in 2013, with not only one but three proposed animal shelters emerging. The SPCA and city of Tyler had been working on a joint shelter, but negotiations broke down, and the two entities decided to go their separate ways and build their own shelters.

Meanwhile, a love for animals and concern that many lost dogs and cats in Smith County were being euthanized each week led a 14-year-old to create a Facebook page to help families reconnect with their pets. The initiative went further, with the teen launching a movement to open a no-kill shelter.

 

TIMELINE of 2013 NEWS STORIES:

JANUARY

Jan. 1 — The Chicago Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith, a Big Sandy native.

Jan. 2 — Larry Smith took office as the new Smith County sheriff, replacing longtime sheriff J.B. Smith, who did not seek re-election.

Jan. 5 — Rachel Vanderpool Clyde was announced as the 2013 Texas Rose Festival queen.

Jan. 6 — Contributions for the Shine Your Light campaign totaled $219,509.

Jan. 9 — State Rep. Matt Schaefer started his first legislative session.

Jan. 11 —Tylerite Doug Marshall pitched his business, The Gameface Co., to ABC’s “Shark Tank.” He earned a high five from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.

Jan. 12 — Robert E. Lee and John Tyler high schools were ranked among the state’s lowest performing.

Jan. 17 — Work began on the Bullard children’s park.

Jan. 18 — Waco-based economist Ray Perryman, a Lindale native, noted that Tyler’s economy was on the upswing.

Jan. 23 — The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority considered banning cycling on Toll 49.

Jan. 24 — A Smith County jury took only an hour to find retired Tyler dentist Bobby Ray Nichols, 76, guilty of killing his wife.

Jan. 25 — Volunteers fanned out in the Tyler area to count the homeless. Meanwhile, convicted wife killer Bobby Ray Nichols, 76, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jan. 26 — A 500-ton crane joined the downtown Tyler skyline as part of a project to build a parking garage.

Jan. 30 — The Milken Institute placed Tyler in its top 10 list for best-performing small cities.

 

FEBRUARY

Feb. 1 — East Texans commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion. Meanwhile, city of Whitehouse officials put beer and wine sales on the May ballot.

Feb. 6 — The Tyler school district’s plans for Stewart Middle School drew criticism.

Feb. 8 — A Gilmer man was charged with stabbing a woman to death and wounding two other people.

Feb. 9 — Byron Truvia, accused in the stabbing death of a John Tyler High School teacher in September 2009, was recommitted to Vernon State Hospital.

Feb. 10 — A fight that started on Twitter ended with the shooting death of Chris Mass, 23, in the Broadway Square Mall parking lot. Charged in the killing was Ricky Neal Jr., 25. Also, greatplacestolive.com named Tyler as No. 2 on its list of best places to retire in the nation.

Feb. 13 — Bankruptcy plans were made for Lon Morris College in Jacksonville.

Feb. 15 — Sanderson Farms announced plans to build facilities in East Texas, including in Palestine, and to create about 1,100 jobs.

Feb. 22 — Tyler school district trustees put a $160.5 million bond issue on the May ballot to pay for building new middle schools and creating a career and technology campus. Trustees also approved fencing for the Lee campus. Meanwhile, Texas Spine and Joint announced a $27 million expansion project.

Feb. 28 — Famed pianist Van Cliburn, a Kilgore native, died. He was 78.

 

MARCH

March 2 — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with a lower Texas appellate court and upheld the 2010 conviction of Dennis Boyd Pittman, a defendant in the 2005 Mineola child sex ring cases, saying he was not entitled to a new trial and would remain in jail.

March 16 — ATV mud nationals descended upon Jacksonville.

March 19 — Joe Parks, 14, an All Saints Episcopal School eighth-grader known on YouTube as Super Domino, was set to audition for “America’s Got Talent.”

March 21 — FedEx Ground was set to become the first tenant of the Lindale Industrial Park in 2014.

March 22 — The Federal Aviation Administration decided that the Tyler Pounds Region Airport control tower would remain open.

March 25 — The marriage of a recently wed VanZandt County couple ended when a man allegedly tracked his wife to another man’s house and fatally shot her and wounded her boyfriend.

March 27 — John Tyler High School Principal Michael Timms was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a school district investigation.

March 29 — The Toll 49 connection with Interstate 20 officially opened.

March 31 — The Kaufman County district attorney and his wife were found dead.

 

APRIL

April 2 — East Texas native Kacey Musgraves’ debut album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” soared to No. 1 on the country music charts. She also was nominated for three American Country Music awards. Meanwhile, former Robert E. Lee standout quarterback Matt Flynn joined the Oakland Raiders.

April 3 — A Texas Education Agency team spent a week looking into Tyler school district programs and assessing progress after flagging three areas.

April 4 — An abundance of food caused the East Texas skunk population to spike.

April 7 — A Tyler group launched a campaign to give beloved Bergfeld Park a facelift.

April 8 — Lindale native Miranda Lambert was named female vocalist of the year at the American Country Music awards.

April 9 — Three children died in a Winona house fire. Meanwhile, Ricky Lynn Lewis was executed for fatally shooting a man and raping the man’s fianc←e during a Smith County home burglary 22 years earlier.

April 11 — The Tyler City Council approved an incentive deal to lure coffee machine manufacturer Tazza Pronto to Tyler.

April 12 — A leaky dam was partially blamed for low levels at Lake Tyler.

April 13 — A piece of a World War II veteran’s dog tag was returned to his family in Jacksonville.

April 14 — About 1,200 runners took part in the Tyler Run for Autism.

April 16 — Seven East Texas runners were part of the Boston Marathon, which ended in a tragic bombing. None of the runners from East Texas was injured.

April 18 — Demolition of the Ben Fitzgerald Real Estate building in Tyler began to make room for a car wash.

April 19 — ETMC dispatchers arranged emergency response to the fertilizer plant explosion in West.

April 22 — Longtime Tyler newspaper publisher Calvin Clyde Jr. passed away. He was 92.

April 23 — A showdown loomed between Crystal Springs, Miss., and Jacksonville on which city produced the best-tasting tomato.

April 24 — City of Tyler officials announced that they were working to address the city’s traffic problems.

April 25 — The Tyler City Council approved a site for a convention center and 250-room Marriott hotel.

April 26 — Convicted killer Richard Cobb was executed for a Cherokee County murder.

April 29 — Fire destroyed a restaurant and apartment building in downtown Jacksonville.

April 30 — Snake sightings spiked in the Tyler area as temperatures warmed and the serpents emerged from hibernation.

 

MAY

May 2 — Arrest warrants on 21 people wanted for identity theft were issued in the Tyler area. Meanwhile, an arboretum and dog park were among ideas tossed around to improve Tyler.

May 4 — The troubled Total Healthcare Center suffered another blow when a federal agency announced it would end funding as of Aug. 31.

May 9 — A report showed that Tyler housing starts had spiked 15.9 percent from the previous year.

May 10 — Christian radio station KGLY 91.3 FM exceeded its $1.89 million fundraising goal.

May 12 — Voters overwhelmingly approved a $160.5 million bond issue to build a new career and technology center and three middle schools and renovate Rice and Dixie elementary schools. Meanwhile, Whitehouse voters gave the OK for beer and wine sales.

May 15 — Billie Sol Estes, whose sensational 1962 trial in Tyler on swindling and theft charges made national news, died at age 88.

May 18 — A new distribution center was expected to create 100 jobs in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, a Winona couple received four years in prison for child endangerment. One of the couple’s children was found dead in a septic tank, while five other children were living in squalid conditions.

May 22 — The storm system that spawned deadly tornados that devastated Oklahoma rolled through East Texas, causing power outages and downed trees.

May 23 — Coffee machine manufacturer Tazza Pronto announced that it’s coming to Tyler, creating 200 jobs.

May 24 — A planned school play by fifth-graders at E.J. Moss Intermediate School in Lindale drew fire from a national group that called it an “egregious violation” of the First Amendment. The school made some changes to the play, “In God We Trust,” and held it anyway.

May 25 — An Anderson County man became the state’s first West Nile case of the year.

May 30 — In memory of her sister, Tyler resident Sarah Starr launched a campaign to inspire 50 acts of kindness.

 

JUNE

June 6 — Crystal Springs, Miss., defeated Jacksonville in a best-tomato contest. Meanwhile, the Tyler City Council announced that construction on a downtown parking garage would start in July.

June 7 — Van residents mourned the loss of Byron Jones, a 15-year-old who died of cancer.

June 9 — East Texans Seth Cooke and Clay Emge qualified for the Ironman competition in Hawaii.

June 11 — The city of Whitehouse sought funds for a sports complex.

June 14 — A series of mild winters resulted in a beetle explosion in East Texas.

June 15 — Vandals struck Toll 49 bridges with graffiti. Meanwhile, the Tyler Museum of Art hired Christopher M. Leahy of Alexandria, Va., as its new administrative leader. Also, the Salvation Army in Tyler halted lunch and rent programs amid financial woes.

June 21 — Area cyclists launched a fundraising campaign to pay for striping and safety upgrades along Toll 49.

June 29 — Iconic Tyler restaurant El Charro closed after nearly seven decades in business.

 

JULY

July 1 — The Aquapalooza water balloon battle to benefit People Attempting to Help raged in Bergfeld Park.

July 3 — Raises were proposed for Smith County employees.

July 4 — A surge in donations allowed the Salvation Army in Tyler to reinstate its lunch program.

July 11 — The Tyler City Council approved a retail agreement for The Village at Cumberland Park, a massive retail and entertainment complex on the south side of town.

July 12 — Tyler school trustees approved teacher raises.

July 16 — Hot, dry conditions caused an explosion in East Texas bee and wasp populations.

July 17 — The YES! section debuted in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, serving as a conduit for positive, inspiring stories.

July 19 — Statue of former college president Dr. Harry Jenkins found its way back from Austin to Tyler Junior College after being missing for 11 years.

July 25 — Longtime Whitehouse City Manager Mike Peterson announced his retirement.

July 26 — Tyler businessman Ben Harned IV died in a plane crash in an Amarillo neighborhood.

July 27 — A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market was set to go into the space that formerly housed Albertson’s on Loop 323 near Troup Highway.

July 30 — Garland police fatally shot Henderson resident Casey Smith, who was wielding a crowbar as he threatened to attack an off-duty peace officer.

 

AUGUST

Aug. 1 — A gang-related shootout in a Tyler park left a mother dead, clutching her baby as she was gunned down.

Aug. 2 — The troubled Total Health Care closed its doors after federal funding was yanked.

Aug. 6 — Morgan Wade, of Tyler, won a gold medal at the X Games for BMX bicycle riding.

Aug. 8 — A man died at Tyler Pipe when he was crushed by the Bobcat machine he was operating.

Aug. 9 — U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Guthrie announced her retirement after 27 years on the bench. Meanwhile, Tyler school district campuses scored favorable ratings under the state’s new accountability system.

Aug. 13 — A community summit was held to address the gang-violence issue in Tyler.

Aug. 14 — A major expansion for Tyler’s Veterans Affairs Primary Care Clinic was announced.

Aug. 16 — The Whitehouse and John Tyler high school football teams made the state’s Top 10 poll.

Aug. 22 — The first Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch list was announced.

Aug. 23 — The Tyler school district unveiled plans for its three new middle schools.

Aug. 29 — The state proposed turning over state roads inside city limits to the municipalities. City of Tyler officials opposed the move.

Aug. 30 — The iconic El Charro restaurants in Tyler closed.

Aug. 31 — City Councilman and developer Martin Hines announced his candidacy for Tyler mayor.

 

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 6 — The Tyler Morning Telegraph unleashed its flying camera.

Sept. 8 — Auto burglaries were on the rise in East Texas.

Sept. 9 — A massive wildfire forced evacuations in Jackson Heights and Winona.

Sept. 1 — Dry weather had East Texas farmers concerned about their hay crops.

Sept. 15 — Tyler area Shriners celebrated their 50-year-old charter.

Sept. 17 — Mark Kennedy Shriver spoke in Tyler.

Sept. 18 — Construction began on the 80-acre The Village at Cumberland, a retail and entertainment complex. Meanwhile, Judge Ken Starr visited Tyler and spoke at Tyler Junior College.

Sept. 19 — Repurposing the former King Chevrolet site in downtown Tyler was discussed during a Tyler 1st meeting.

Sept. 25 — EZO Copper in Jacksonville announced its closure, affecting 84 jobs.

Sept. 28 — A man was charged with fatally shooting a woman in the Gilmer football stadium parking lot.

Sept. 29 — East Texas girl Sophie Bentley, 8, raised money for the East Texas Crisis Center through a lemonade stand.

 

OCTOBER

Oct. 2 — Brookshire Grocery Co. received the T.B. Butler Award. Eleno Licea received the W.C. Windsor Award.

Oct. 4 — Suddenlink announced that it was acquiring parts of Northland Communications services.

Oct. 5 — Former first lady Laura Bush read the “Goodnight Rose City” children’s book, at a Junior League of Tyler luncheon.

Oct. 6 — Brookshire’s announced the FRESH 15 race, set for March 1.

Oct. 8 — The Oakland Raiders cut quarterback Matt Flynn, a Robert E. Lee High School graduate. Meanwhile, Jacksonville school district trustees called for a $22.78 million bond issue.

Oct. 9 — The year’s ragweed crop has East Texans sneezing.

Oct. 12 — NFL star running back and Palestine native Adrian Peterson’s son died of head injuries.

Oct. 15 — A ribbon cutting was held for the new Brookshire’s playground.

Oct. 17 — The 80th Texas Rose Festival kicked off.

Oct. 21 — Jacksonville officials announced plans to add 20,000 lights to downtown.

Oct. 22 — Five area students were named National Merit semifinalists.

Oct. 27 — Morning Telegraph Editor Dave Berry’s column, “Focal Point,” debuted in the newspaper.

Oct. 29 — The Tyler Parks and Recreation Board presented upgrade plans for Bergfeld Park and the Rose Garden.

Oct. 30 — George P. Bush spoke at the Hispanic Business Alliance luncheon.

Oct. 31 — Heavy rains put a dent on a long drought that had gripped East Texas.

 

NOVEMBER

Nov. 1 — Tyler joined the nationwide Extra Mile initiative, a program that seeks to promote encouragement and well-being. Meanwhile, the Tyler Junior College board discussed bonds and construction projects.

Nov. 4 — Stephanie Franklin-Rollings, Tyler’s parks and recreation director, completed the Ironman challenge in Florida.

Nov. 5 — Habitat for Humanity of Smith County celebrated its 100th home.

Nov. 6 — Smith County weighed a controversial plan to create a special zone to generate funds from development along Toll 49. Jacksonville voters approved $22.78 million school bond proposition.

Nov. 7 — East Texas natives Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves took home Country Music Association awards.

Nov. 9 — Members of the Tyler area Filipino community worried about loved ones in the Philippines as Typhoon Haiyan unleashed its fury.

Nov. 11 — The East Texas Memorial Committee discussed a 2-acre memorial to honor more than 6,500 veterans.

Nov. 13 — A Morning Telegraph investigation revealed dangers lurking in child day cares throughout the area. Meanwhile, a Wood County judge removed four children from foster parents. Three of the children had been at the center of the Mineola sex ring case.

Nov. 14 — The city of Tyler announced plans for an animal shelter to open in fall 2014.

Nov. 25 — David and Bobbie Persinger received the Salvation Army’s 2013 Angels of Hope Award.

 

DECEMBER

Dec. 1 — A Morning Telegraph story detailed a funding allegiance shift away from Texas Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler.

Dec. 3 — Robert E. Lee High school was the only area school that the University Interscholastic League placed in the 6A category.

Dec. 10 — Finalists for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award were Jace Amaro, of Texas Tech, Mike Evans, of Texas A&M, James Franklin, of Missouri, Johnny Manziel, of Texas A&M, and Bryce Petty, of Baylor.

Dec. 12 — Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel got a 5.44 percent raise.

Dec. 14 — Kitty the beloved chimpanzee passed away at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison.

Dec. 16 — Robert E. Lee High School graduate Matt Flynn, filling in for injured quarterback Aaron Rogers, engineered a stunning comeback to lead his team to beat the Dallas Cowboys, throwing four touchdowns in the effort.

Dec. 17 — Wood County native and country music legend Ray Price died. He was 87.

Dec. 18 — The 2013 Shine Your Light campaign started with $75,000 in partner matching funds.

Dec. 19 — U.S. Army Sgt. Stephen Stroman surprised his daughter at a Lindale school after being away for a year. He disguised himself as the Lindale Eagles mascot.

Dec. 20 — The Fit City Coalition announced the Lighten Up East Texas campaign goal for 2014: Sign up 5,210 people or help East Texans shed 5,210 pounds.

Dec. 21 — Whitehouse High School quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named Texas Associated Press Sports Editors football Player of the Year, becoming the second straight son of a former major league pitcher to win the award. Mahomes, who led his East Texas team to the third round of the playoffs before a 65-60 loss to Mesquite Poteet, was eligible for the honor after being named the Offensive Player of the Year on the Class 4A all-state team.

 

Compiled by Managing Editor Brian Pearson.