The first Weekend of the 53rd Azalea and Spring Flower Trail brought out thousands of visitors along the 10-mile trail.

Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau director Sharii Rickman expects more than 100,000 people will visit the Azalea Trial before in concludes April 8. Rickman says the annual event  is expected to generate more than $2 million into the local economy.

In addition to the spring flowers, visitors will also be greeted by the Azalea Belles along the trail located in Tyler’s Azalea District.

An events calendar and trail information is available at


Longview School Employees to Receive Incentive Pay

LONGVIEW – The Longview ISD board approved a $500 incentive pay to employees who commit to continue working in the district through the 2012-13 school year .

The incentive offer applies to all district employees, including those who work part-time. Employees could see the extra $500 as early as this week.

The district’s Board of Trustees, during a special Monday meeting, approved the staffing and retention incentive by a 4-0 vote, with three trustees absent.

Employees are expected to receive notification this week, according to Deputy Superintendent Andrea Mayo.

Employees who take the incentive will be required to sign an agreement to remain at Longview ISD through 2012-13. If the employee leaves the district prior to the end of the commitment period, the amount of the incentive would be withheld from their final payroll check, Mayo said.

“I think this is important to do for our employees – every one of them,” Trustee Jud Murray said. “They are not getting raises, so if we can afford this, we need to do it.”


DPS Trooper Dies in the Line of Duty

A Texas Highway Patrol trooper stationed in El Paso died in a weekend car crash.

Javier Arana Jr., 32, was responding to pursuit call when his patrol car was struck by a Ford Ranger at the intersection of Joe Battle Blvd. and Bob Hope Dr. in east El Paso at approximately 1:28 a.m. Saturday..  His vehicle caught fire, and Arana died on the scene.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Arana’s family and friends,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.

Arana graduated from the DPS Academy in November 2010 and was stationed in El Paso.  He is survived by a wife and children.  He is the 87th DPS employee to die in the line of duty. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Two men in the other vehicle were transported to area hospitals. The driver of the Ford Ranger, 18-year-old Edgardo Antonio Flores, was transported to Del Sol Medical Center; the passenger, 20-year-old Josue Alejandro Guerrero, was transported to University Medical Center.  The DPS State Crash Reconstruction Team will conduct the investigation.



Rusk County Drug Seizure

The Rusk County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division with the assistance of Rusk County and Henderson Police Department Tactical Units executed a search warrant late last week at 107 Gatlin Cemetery Road, in Mt. Enterprise.  The Texas Department of Public Safety also assisted in the search warrant.

During the search officers located and seized over 27 grams of methamphetamine, over 77 grams of marijuana, and approximately $880.00.

Arrested on the scene were Stacy Lynn Ammons, 37, and Harold Edwin Duke, 54, both of Mt. Enterprise. Ammons was charged with Manufacture/Delivery of Controlled Substance PG 1, 1st degree felony and Possession of Marijuana, Class A Misdemeanor.  Duke was charged with Possession of Controlled Substance, a State Jail Felony.  The investigation continues and more arrested are expected.

Both suspects were arraigned by Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Joe Sorrells.  Stacy Ammons bond was $15,000, while Harold Duke’s bond was $10,000.  Suspect Ammons posted bail and was later released, while suspect Duke remains in the Rusk County Jail.