WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.8 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year. The Commerce Department says Americans spent more on cars and trucks, and companies built up stockpiles. Consumer spending was up from October through December of 2011, it grew at a 2 percent annual rate, that’s up modestly from the third quarter. But growth was held back by the biggest annual government spending cuts in four decades. For the full year, the economy grew just 1.7 percent, about half as much as 2010.

Stolen Cemetery Vases Recovered

MABANK, TX. - Two suspects are being sought by Van Zandt County authorities following the recovery of 37 vases stolen from a Mabank Cemetery. Warrants have been issued for both suspects who have not been identified at this time. An investigator with the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s office received a call from the Eubank Funeral Home in Mabank and was advised that 37 vases had been stolen from the Cedar Creek Cemetery located on highway 198. Through a joint investigation with Mabank police and the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s office , law officers were able to locate the stolen vases at a local metal recycling company. The company provided sales receipts indicating that two men on three separate occasions sold the vases.

Store Clerk Attacked During Robbery

TYLER,TX. - Four suspects who held up a Tyler Convenience store are in custody after they were arrested by police in a nearby neighborhood. Public information officer Don Martin said the suspects entered the store on West Gentry Parkway shortly after 11am and jumped the counter attacking the clerk. The clerk suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization. The suspects allegedly stole several boxes of cigarettes as they fled the store.

Longview Police Looking for Man Who Robbed Gas Station

LONGVIEW – Longview police are looking for a man who held up the EZ Mart on South High Street. The clerk told police the suspect used the restroom, left the store then returned and robbed the clerk at knife point demanding money from the cash register. When the register would not open, the suspect demanded several packs of cigarettes. He then fled on foot. He is described as a white male about 5-7 to 5-11, has a thin style beard and was wearing a camouflage hat, work boots, blue t-shirt and blue jeans.


Rusk County Man Sentenced for Child Pornography Violations

TYLER,Texas - A Henderson, Texas man has been sentenced to 59 years in federal prison on child pornography charges. 30 year old Enrique Estrada Quintana pleaded guilty in September of 2011 to three counts of production of child pornography. Information presented in court revealed that several computers, cameras, and other forms of digital media were seized from Quintana’s house in Henderson. Law officers also found thousands of photos and videos of child pornography. Quintana was indicted by a federal grand jury in Tyler on March 2nd, 2011.

Sports Enthusiast Sentenced for Wire Fraud

TYLER, Texas - A Bullard Man has been sentenced in Federal Court in Tyler on wire fraud charges. 43 year old Eual Brent Hallford who pleaded guilty on January 7th, 2010 was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. According to the indictment, Hallford who was in the business of buying and selling sports memorabilia over the internet maintained various merchant accounts for the purpose of processing credit card payments for merchandise sold. On September 26, 2006 Hallford applied for a credit card merchant account with PowerPay. In attempting to purchase the credit card merchant account to process his credit card sales, he falsified bank statements and faxed them to the credit card processor resulting in a loss of $120,00.

Interstate 20 Goes to 75 MPH

TYLER - Motorists traveling on Interstate 20 from the Kaufman /Van Zandt County line to the Louisiana Border will soon be able to drive 75 mph. The Texas Transportation Commission approved raising the speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph in 60 counties covering more than 1,500 miles of highway in the state. TXDOT public information officer Larry Krantz says until the signs are changed the speed limit remains at 70 mph. The posted speed limit should be in place by May 1.


Young Girl Dies in Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS — A 5-year-old Wichita Falls girl is dead after she was found hanging by the neck from a jump rope on a piece of playground equipment. Police found the girl yesterday afternoon after being sent to an apartment complex playground. Authorities found no evidence of foul play and records show she became entangled in her jump rope while playing on the equipment.

Man Executed for San Antonio Murder

HUNTSVILLE — Texas executed convicted killer Rodrigo Hernandez last night. He received a lethal injection for killing Susan Verstegen in San Antonio 18 years ago. DNA showed that Hernandez submitted as a requirement for parole in Michigan linked him to the slaying several years later. He insisted he was innocent.

Automakers on Board with New California Standards

SAN FRANCISCO — Automakers are indicating they'll be on board with California's proposed auto emissions standards, which start kicking in in 2015. The new rules will become increasingly more stringent and will require carmakers to build more electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025. Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and others have offered qualified support.

More Testimony Set Over Political Maps

SAN ANTONIO — The state and minority groups suing over newly-drawn political maps in Texas are due back in a federal courtroom in San Antonio today. At issue is whether an April 3 primary date can be salvaged. A three-judge panel in San Antonio has cautioned that the date will work only if all sides agree on temporary maps by a February 6 deadline.

Carnival Corp. Offers Money to Passengers

ROME — The cruise line whose ship capsized off Italy's Tuscan coast is offering uninjured passengers a little more than $14,000 each for lost belongings and psychological trauma. The unit of Carnival Corp. also says it will reimburse those passengers the full costs of their cruise, travel expenses and medical expenses incurred because of the disaster.