Malakoff drug dealer gets 18 years

James Earl Ray
James Earl Ray

Press release from Henderson County District Attorney’s Office

As the sun was setting on 2012, the sun was also setting on James Earl Ray’s time as a Henderson County resident. Ray, known on the street as “King James” was sentenced to 18 years in prison for crack cocaine.

Ray, 40 years old and formerly of Malakoff, plead guilty while a jury awaited the state’s first witness in the 173rd Judicial District Court with Judge Dan Moore presiding. Henderson County Assistant District Attorneys Justin Weiner and Nancy Rumar prosecuted the case on behalf of Scott McKee’s District Attorney’s office.

A little over a year prior to his sentence on Dec. 8, 2011, the Henderson County Drug Task Force and members of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff executed a search warrant on Ray’s residence. Immediately after making entry into the home, Ray was seen fleeing from the bathroom with his hands dripping wet. The toilet was running which indicated that it had recently been flushed. Some speculated that Ray had flushed a quantity of narcotics when he realized that law enforcement was at his home.

During the search of the home, the Task Force located a number of items confirming Ray’s involvement in drug transactions. Crack cocaine was found throughout the house along with razor blades used to size the rocks, a large amount of cash mostly in small bills, and a cell phone with text messages detailing various drug transactions. The residence was also home to two children. The search also revealed digital scales with cocaine residue found sitting on a baby’s highchair. Ray was the only person present at the time the search warrant was executed.

An additional warrant was also executed to search Ray’s cellular phone which indicated that he was trafficking in narcotics.

Following the sentence, Weiner said: “[T]his is a great example of why it is so important that our office works so hard with law enforcement and continues to fight and investigate these cases on the eve of and throughout trial.”

TVCC honors service milestones


TVCC's Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King (right) gives David Loper (left) a plaque honoring Loper's 40 years of service with the college. At spring in-service this week, TVCC recognized employees who met service milestones. King was also honored during the event for serving 35 years at TVCC. (COURTESY PHOTO)
TVCC’s Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King (right) gives David Loper (left) a plaque honoring Loper’s 40 years of service with the college. At spring in-service this week, TVCC recognized employees who met service milestones. King was also honored during the event for serving 35 years at TVCC. (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Jennifer Hannigan, TVCC Public Information


It has been four decades since David Loper came to work at Trinity Valley Community College. At the college’s annual spring in-service event Monday, he was honored for his dedication along with other TVCC employees who achieved five-year milestones in their employment status.

The employees who have reached milestone years were honored with pins and plaques at the event. Loper, who is the chair of the college’s business and marketing division, was the employee who reached the highest milestone this year with 40 years of service.

For serving 35 years, the college honored Dr. Jerry King, TVCC’s vice president of instruction.

Vice President of Information Technology Mike Abbott, Associate Vice President of Information Technology Brett Daniel, science instructor Jim Guillory, and TVCC Health Science Center Provost Dr. Helen Reid were all honored for reaching 30 years of service.

Other employees recognized for reaching service milestones were:

  • 25 years – Bo Cargil, Charles Dobroski, Merl Estep, Janet Lumpkin Angie McLeroy and Kay Pulley
  • 20 years – Mary Ensign, Nancy Love, Ben McCartney, Jim McNutt, Bud Richards, Liz Smith
  • 15 years – Richard Davis, Rick Gleason, Misti Hardison, Leslie Prater, Russell Self, Scott Walker, Gail McInnis
  • 10 years – Algia Allen, Cortney Curran, Janet Elledge, David Handorf, Brent Hoffman, Shelia Goldman, Linda Land, Eric Moseley, Therese Sharp
  • 5 years – Rhonda Chandler, Jennifer Evilsizer, Barbara Parr, Marshall Reeves, Melissa Singletary

PHOTO: Malakoff resident in Austin

ClintMalakoff resident Clint Stutts (far right) stands in the Texas Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 8, before the 83rd Legislative Session convened. He is joined by friends from Ellis and Tarrant counties, most of whom are involved with a bill Stutts helped write to nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Pitts files distracted driving legislation

Texting while at the wheel

According to current state law, a driver may not use a cell phone while going through a school zone. State Rep. Jim Pitts has filed legislation that would extend that rule to all the property of an elementary or middle school.

Pitts’ chief of staff, Aaron Gregg, said the legislation arose from a pair of incidents at Red Oak ISD. In each case, a parent texting and driving while on school property bumped into another car.

“Let’s not get some 5-year-old run over because a parent is texting and driving,” Gregg said.

High schools are not mentioned in Pitts’ legislation. Gregg said that was because the lawmaker is looking to extend the current school zone to cover the area where students are dropped actually dropped off.

Gregg said drop off zones aren’t as big an issue for high schools, but added that the proposed bill could change.

The use of cellphones while driving has become a huge problem in Texas. According the the National Safety Council:

Cell phone use while driving is the No. 1 distraction behind the wheel. Almost 70 percentof the respondents to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey reported talking on a cell phone while driving during the previous 30 days. Researchers observing more than 1,700 drivers found that three out of every four drivers using a cell phone committed a traffic violation.

In 2010, cell phone use was a contributing factor in 3,387 Texas crashes.

ETMC unveils new helicopters

New ETMC helicopter(Press release from ETMC)

The East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System unveiled today two new emergency transport helicopters, valued at over $9 million, to provide patients in East Texas with critical, fast access to the region’s only level 1 trauma center at ETMC Tyler.

The Eurocopter, EC135 P2+ helicopters will be stationed at ETMC Tyler and Titus Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant. The EC135 that currently is stationed in Tyler is being upgraded and will be positioned at ETMC Athens. This allows ETMC to provide high quality care and rapid transport to residents within a 150-mile radius around each helicopter base, covering 38 counties in East Texas.

“Since 1985, ETMC Air 1 has been flying the skies of East Texas and saving thousands of lives,” said Art Chance, vice president of operations for ETMC. “Reducing transportation time to ETMC Tyler’s level 1 trauma center, helps severely injured or seriously ill patients arrive within the ‘golden hour,’ significantly improving their chances for recovery.”

Jim Speier, operations coordinator, said safety is the focus on every flight. “Our goal is to safely complete each mission without having any issues. The new helicopters have updated safety features, including a terrain avoidance warning system that gives an audible voice alert message if an obstacle appears along the flight path. They also have a traffic collision avoidance system to warn the pilot of another aircraft in close proximity.”

Other features include live weather radar, which allows the crew to monitor area weather systems; an OuterLink satellite tracking system, which allows the communications center to track the entire flight; a black box recorder system, which stores critical data regarding each flight; night vision goggles; an automatic flight control system to assist the pilot; an improved environmental system, which allows for better patient comfort and a wire strike protection system that cuts power lines in the event of a wire strike.

The helicopters have updated medical equipment, including a new ventilator, which allows medical personnel to better treat patients of all ages. The overall interior has more room for equipment storage and is more user-friendly. The cabin also includes improved lighting, dual redundant oxygen storage systems and a restraint system to help when carrying larger patients.

“Each aircraft is staffed with a pilot, nurse and paramedic who are ready 24 hours, 7 days a week,” said program director Terri Rowden. “Air 1 is especially beneficial to our rural areas. We average 1,500 transports a year.”

The program is endorsed by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport and was the first program in Texas to receive accreditation in 1994.

ETMC Air 1 can fly up to 158 miles per hour, can transport up to two patients at a time and can fly as far as Houston on a single fuel load.