Lansing Switch Road Overpass Replacement — 3/25/2021
ATLANTA – Lansing Switch Road overpass crossing Interstate 20 will be replaced during the coming year, according to plans approved in March by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“The current overpass will be demolished and replaced with a wider and taller structure,” said Wendy Starkes, Area Engineer for TxDOT in Marshall. “The current overpass has only two 10-foot traffic lanes. The new one will have two 12-foot traffic lanes divided by a 14-foot flush median with10-foot shoulders and sidewalks on each side. We will also be raising the structure about five feet to allow for more than 19 feet of clearance over the I-20 traffic lanes.”
The construction work will require the closure of Lansing Switch Road over the interstate. Traffic will be detoured to Loop 281 in Longview to the west and to Farm to Market Road 450 in Hallsville to the east.
East Texas Bridge of Longview was awarded the contract for the construction on the project with a bid of $3.4 million.
Work on the project should begin in May of this year and take about 14 months to complete, Starkes said.
Newspaper Carrier shot in Marshall — 3/19/2021
On Friday, March 19, 2021, at approximately 5:32 am, a Marshall Police Department patrol lieutenant reported hearing several gunshots somewhere north of his location. Immediately after his report, multiple 911 calls were received in the Marshall Emergency Communications center from residents in the area of the 500 block of Oak Street stating that they were hearing gunfire in their neighborhood. The callers stated they could hear a female screaming for help.
The female victim also called 911 and stated that she believed she had been shot.Marshall Police Department patrol officers responded to the scene and secured the location allowing Marshall Fire Department personnel to treat and transport the victim to the hospital. The preliminary investigation revealed that the shooting victim is a 34-year-old newspaper carrier who was delivering newspapers. She did not know who shot her or why.
This is an active investigation and a person of interest has been identified and detained. The victim has been transported to Longview for surgery. More information will be released as it becomes appropriate.To hear from Marshall Police Chief Cliff Carruth, tune into KMHT’s local news at noon and 5 pm.
In-Person Inmate Visitation at Harrison County Jail — 3/22/2021
On March 2, 2021, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott issued governors order GA-34, which will once again allow for in-person visitation at all county jails throughout the state of Texas.
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards required the sheriff to develop a plan that continues to ensure the safety of the public, staff and inmates at their facilities. This plan included the
frequency and duration of visits, if scheduling is to be required and what safety measure will be implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their jails.
Harrison County Jails In-Person visitation will resume, beginning April Pt, 2021. Harrison
County Jail will follow its regular visitation plan that is already approved by the Texas
Commission on Jail Standards. This addendum and its restrictions are in addition to that
approved plan and shall remain in effect, until such time that the DSHS health
recommendations, County Judge or the Texas Commission on Jail Standards deem it no longer necessary due to public health concerns.
The facility lobbies, due to square footage constraints, shall be limited to no more than ten (10) visitors inside at any given time. Only one (1) adult visitor shall be allowed per inmate visit.
While in the visitation area of the facility, only every other visitation station will be utilized.
This should allow for social distancing to be maintained. Visitors entering the facility lobbies
shall be required to wear a mask at all times, have their temperature taken and complete a
Covid-19 screening form. Should a visitor not have a mask, one will be provided. Hand
sanitizing stations will also be available to visitors in the facility lobbies. Visitors refusing to
comply with these requirements will be denied entry into visitation areas.
nmates will be required to wear a mask at all times while out of their housing assignments and keep the mask on until returned to their housing assignment. Inmates that have lost or need a mask replaced, one will be provided. Inmates refusing to comply with this requirement will be denied the visit. Inmates in medical isolation or restriction are prohibited from in-person visitation. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available to the inmate before entering the visitation area.
Even though the governor has resumed in-person visits by rescinding all previous orders. Local health authorities and Harrison County Jail still strongly recommend video visitation as a safer viable alternative to in-person visits until such time that DSHS deems Covid-19 no longer a public health concern
Two arrested in assault on police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died after Jan. 6 Capitol riot — 3/15/2021
Federal authorities have arrested and charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick with an unknown chemical spray during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot but have not determined whether the exposure caused his death.
Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania and George Pierre Tanios, 39 of Morgantown, W.Va., were arrested Sunday and are expected to appear in federal court Monday.
“Give me that bear s—,” Khater allegedly said to Tanios on video recorded at the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol at 2:14 p.m., where Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks, arrest papers say.
About nine minutes later, after Khater said he had been sprayed, Khater is seen on video discharging a canister of a toxic substance into the face of Sicknick and two other officers, arrest papers allege.
Immigration — 3/15/2021
More than 4,000 unaccompanied migrant children are in Border Patrol custody, the latest uptick in the number of children held at border facilities. After children are taken into Border Patrol custody, the Department of Health and Human Services typically takes over their care. But the coronavirus pandemic has strained the department’s efforts to accommodate the influx, since shelters had until recently been operating under capacity limits. FEMA was called in to help over the weekend. And though the current situation at the border may seem alarming, it’s been building for a while. CNN’s Catherine Shoichet has more on how we got here and what’s missing from the debate.
Coronavirus — 3/15/2021
We’re not out of the woods yet. Though daily new cases of Covid-19 in the US have dropped since January, case numbers over the past week still averaged more than 50,000 per day. That puts the nation in a vulnerable position to experience another surge, says Dr. Anthony Fauci — which is precisely what is happening in Europe. The good news is that people in the US are getting vaccinated relatively quickly. The bad news is that highly contagious variants are still a threat. Until then, the US shouldn’t be easing restrictions before Covid-19 case numbers fall to at least below 10,000 per day, Fauci has said.
2020 election — 3/15/2021
Officials have found a December recording of then-President Trump’s phone call to a Georgia investigator in a trash folder on her device. In the call, Trump encouraged the investigator to look to uncover “dishonesty” in absentee ballot signatures in the state’s most populous county. The audio offers yet another example of Trump’s efforts to push false claims of widespread voter fraud and to influence Georgia election officials as they certified results. Meanwhile, Republicans in several swing states are touting false fraud claims to advance measures that would make it tougher to vote. Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams called a similar effort in her state “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.”
Coronavirus — 3/9/2021
The CDC has released highly anticipated new guidelines for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19, saying it is safe for them to gather together without masks indoors and to visit with unvaccinated people in certain circumstances. The new guidance was met with joy and renewed hope that a return to normalcy is around the corner. However, ex-CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden cautioned that we shouldn’t give up on safety measures yet, saying, “You don’t declare victory in the third quarter.” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave a similar worldwide warning, saying, “There are no shortcuts” to recovery. After all, one coronavirus variant is now spreading exponentially through the US, experts say. Meanwhile, it looks like the House will now vote tomorrow on the massive coronavirus relief package.
Supreme Court Rejects Final Trump Appeal — 3/8/2021
Today the Supreme Court, without comment or dissent, refused to hear a Trump appeal challenging his election loss in Wisconsin. If you are wondering what that sort of thing looks like, I have attached a picture of it above. This is the final Trump challenge that was pending before the Supreme Court.
Trump filed the lawsuit after the election claiming decisions made by administrators of Wisconsin’s elections, to make voting during Covid easier, were unconstitutional. The judge who heard the case, Judge Brett Ludwig, is a Trump appointee. Judge Ludwig dismissed the case on the merits (those claiming no cases were decided on the merits are wrong). This judge appointed by Trump wrote:
“This Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits. In his reply brief, plaintiff ‘asks that the Rule of Law be followed.’ It has been.”
Trump appealed to the United States Court of Appeals. The three judge panel unanimously rejected Trump’s appeal writing, “Wisconsin lawfully appointed its electors in the manner directed by its Legislature.”
The judge who wrote that decision, Judge Michael Scudder, is also a Trump appointee. Another judge, Llana Rovner, was appointed by George H. Bush. The third judge, Joel Flaum, is a Reagan appointed. So that’s three Republican appointed appellate judges, to include a Trump appointee (who wrote the unanimous decision) who ruled against Trump. Plus the Trump appointee on the District Court.
With three Trump appointees on the Supreme Court the request for cert there was denied without dissent.
Besieged chairwoman of Texas’ top utility regulator resigns in wake of state power outages — 3/1/2021
A growing chorus of lawmakers, including Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, had sought PUC chair DeAnn Walker’s resignation. Patrick and others have also called for the ouster of ERCOT CEO Bill Magness.
Updated at 2:55 p.m. to include statements from ERCOT and office of House Speaker Dade Phelan and at 3:49 p.m. to reflect Walker’s resignation.
AUSTIN — The chairwoman of the state’s utility regulator resigned Monday following calls for her ouster from a growing number of lawmakers including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the most powerful officeholder in the Legislature, who blamed her for the days-long power outages in the state last month.
DeAnn Walker, who led the Texas Public Utility Commission and was heavily criticized last week during legislative hearings for failing to prepare utility providers for last month’s power failures, notified Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday of her resignation, which is effective immediately.
Walker, who made $201,000 as chairwoman, said she accepted responsibility for her role in the power outages, but called on other responsible parties to do the same. She said the electric grid’s failure was not caused by one individual or group and that many people and companies contributed to the situation the state faced during the winter storm.
“I believe others should come forward in dignity and duty and acknowledge how their actions or inactions contributed to the situation,” Walker said in her resignation letter. “The gas companies, the Railroad Commission, the electric generators, the transmission and distribution utilities, the electric cooperatives, the municipally owned utilities, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and finally the Legislature all had the responsibility to foresee what could have happened and failed to take the necessary steps for the past ten years to address the issues that each of them could have addressed.”
Walker lamented the harsh treatment she received from lawmakers while testifying at hearings but said she acted with the best of intentions and used her best judgment to prepare for and respond to the crisis.
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