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September 26, 2015

100th annual East Texas State Fair opens

100th annual East Texas State Fair opens

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

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Cliff Hanger ride, shown arriving at fairgrounds for setup.
Image: Paul Budd.

Cox’s Grill concession trailer arrives for setup.
Image: Paul Budd.

Workers set up a thrill ride two days before the fair’s opening.
Image: Paul Budd.

Ghost Pirates attraction at the fair.
Image: Paul Budd.

The 100th annual East Texas State Fair opened in the city of Tyler, Texas yesterday.

Equipment for rides and attractions for the fair began arriving at the fairgrounds earlier in the week. Several food vendors and artisans were also setting up their displays as early as Monday. The event is a highly publicised mainstay in the city of Tyler.

Several days are built around specific themes. Yesterday was ‘Senior Day’, which marks its 48th year at the fair. A large faux cake, assembled from tables, fabric, and other decorations, was set to be unveiled yesterday, commemorating the fair’s 100th anniversary. Earlier in the week police issued a traffic advisory due to expected pedestrian traffic near the fair’s front entrance.

An array of shows and exhibits are expected to be featured this year. Kristen Johnson, often known as the ‘Lady Houdini’, is to perform escapes from a water torture cell. A giant sand sculpture is also located just inside the front gate. The sculpture is built by husband and wife team, Gregg and Brandi Glenn, from San Luis Obispo, California.



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November 14, 2014

Five jailed in Tyler, Texas following robbery and scam

Five jailed in Tyler, Texas following robbery and scam

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Four men and one woman were in jail in Tyler, Texas as of yesterday morning following a robbery allegedly involving an elaborate scam.

File photo of a Sig Sauer pistol.
Image: Sandra1983.

Police alleged Alneisha Butler originated a scheme to lure a 25-year-old man to an apartment complex in Tyler late Tuesday night, where he was accosted at gun point by four men. Butler and the man had been corresponding online for a few weeks, when she told him she wanted him to meet some friends of hers, according to police.

When the two met at the complex, they were met by the four men who demanded money from the victim. He didn’t have cash, so the assailants ordered him to get cash from an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) while they held the woman until his return. The man left the scene and notified police by phone. The men named as alleged assailants in the crime were Lawrence Caston, Shannon Howard, Justin McGee, and David Roberts.

The woman and each of the four men were being held on a US$750,000 bond. A police spokesperson cautioned, “This could have [just as] easily happened if he met her at a bar as it happened online. If you go somewhere with someone and they start leading you to a place you don’t feel comfortable, then don’t go”.



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November 29, 2013

US \’Black Friday\’ shoppers gather hours, even days before some stores\’ openings

US ‘Black Friday’ shoppers gather hours, even days before some stores’ openings

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Friday, November 29, 2013

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A man waits outside the ‘Best Buy’ store in Tyler, Texas 32 hours before the store’s scheduled Black Friday sales opening.

With the US retail tradition of ‘Black Friday‘ already underway early Thursday evening, some shoppers began gathering outside retail stores as much as 53 hours prior to these special sales events. This, according to a Texas man who told Wikinews that he and his companions had started gathering at their local Best Buy store at 1:00pm on Tuesday, awaiting the 6:00pm Thursday opening. Target retail stores opened across the country at 8pm (local time) on Thursday evening. At 8:45pm Thursday evening, approximately 500 cars were parked at the Target store in Tyler, Texas.

At least four camping tents were set up outside the Best Buy store in the Dallas, Texas area, during pre-dawn hours on Thanksgiving morning. Years ago, it was seen as something special for retail stores to open at 6am on the so-called ‘Black Friday’ following Thanksgiving Day; that time would be considered “late” by modern standards. Many retailers use barricades to organize those who gather at their storefronts. For the first time ever, a shopping mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico will open at 8pm on Thanksgiving Day and will remain open for 25 consecutive hours, closing at 9pm Friday evening.

In recent years, several significant injuries have occurred during the melee that often ensued when stores opened their doors for Black Friday events. In 2011, a woman shot pepper spray at 20 people who were waiting to purchase the newest Xbox system.



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September 12, 2013

Haunted attractions in Texas prepare for 2013 Halloween season

Haunted attractions in Texas prepare for 2013 Halloween season

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Texas
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With Halloween approaching, numerous haunted attractions all over Texas are preparing for the big “haunt” season. Directors and staff of such attractions must invest significant time preparing their buildings; such efforts gear up significantly during September. Wikinews caught up with some owners of these attractions to learn more about the hard work it takes to prepare for opening night.

Slaughterhouse attraction in Dallas.
Image: Jmabel.

Terror Nights, an attraction in Tyler, opens for the season on September 27. Ryan Laepple, owner and director of the haunt, states he’s currently involved in “a blur of safety inspections, auditions, actor training, and last but not least event advertising.” Laepple went on to say he stays “pretty busy until the show opens on the 27th and then things calm down some. As long as not too many things in the haunt break at once.” Dean Jarnig, the director of Zombie Manor in Arlington, said he and staff have recently been spraying flame-retardant chemicals and installing new lights. Jarnig also stated he and staff are working on a promotional video for their attraction, which opens on Friday September 13.

Hangman’s House of Horrors in Fort Worth is celebrating both its twenty fifth anniversary and final operational year. Some individuals who act in these attractions refer to their fellow actors as extended family. This year, some sources have even encouraged holiday job seekers to consider working at a haunted attraction to earn money. One whimsically listed the job’s benefits as “[…] free uniforms, a complimentary hair and makeup consultation and make-over, inspirational background music, plenty of on-the-job exercise opportunities and more.” Long a staple in American culture, “Haunted Houses“, as they’re commonly called, range in size from small garage-sized projects, up to multi floor buildings outfitted with the most elaborate of lighting and special effects.



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March 25, 2013

Science museum hosts first-ever \’Maker Faire\’ for city of Tyler, Texas

Science museum hosts first-ever ‘Maker Faire’ for city of Tyler, Texas

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Monday, March 25, 2013

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On Saturday, Discovery Science Place hosted a mini Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas. Multiple vendors and exhibitors were on hand. An art car, featuring what might be the largest collection of singing robotic lobsters anywhere in the world was on display, curiously titled the “Sashimi Tabernacle Choir.” A large modular analog synthesizer was also available for attendees to experiment with, designed by staff at Synthesizers.com.

Some exhibits were quite simple, showing how to modify inexpensive radio-controlled cars using epoxy and LEGO bricks. Two three-dimensional printers were displayed, showing attendees how the new technology operates. Outdoor exhibits included multiple forms of robots and flying drone-style aircraft (see video below). According to a news release, the event is one of 60 planned to occur worldwide this year.

Numerous volunteers were on hand to assist with the event. Colleges and university groups were on hand, including representatives from The University of Texas at Tyler, among others.

A public display of a radio-controlled mini drone-style bot.
Video: Buddpaul.



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February 19, 2013

US politician proposes \’cantankerous legislation\’ amid gun control debates

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mike Leara, state legislator for Missouri, United States introduced a bill on Tuesday proposed to make it a felony for any state legislator to propose a bill aimed at curtailing gun ownership.

The text of the proposed bill reads, specifically, “This bill specifies that any member of the General Assembly who proposes legislation that further restricts an individual’s right to bear arms will be guilty of a class D felony.” The LA Times referred to the Missouri legislator’s bill among, “…other proposed cantankerous legislation coming out of that state”, including House Bill 1534 which would criminalize any person who sought to enforce President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Johnny Phillips, 37, of Flint, Texas told Wikinews, “He’s playing to his base, that’s it, that’s all he’s doing. He’s just trying to make his constituents happy, that’s all he’s doing. That way, he can say, ‘See, I fought for you guys.'” Evelyn Cartwright, 11, of Tyler, Texas said of the proposed law, “I think it’s dumb, but I do believe some people should be allowed to own guns.”

Reportedly, Leara issued a statement stating he introduced the bill as a “matter of principle” and further noted he had “no illusions” about it potentially becoming law.


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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

US politician proposes bill some call \’cantankerous legislation\’ amid gun control debates

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mike Leara, state legislator for Missouri, United States introduced a bill on Tuesday proposed to make it a felony for any state legislator to propose a bill aimed at curtailing gun ownership.

The text of the proposed bill reads, specifically, “This bill specifies that any member of the General Assembly who proposes legislation that further restricts an individual’s right to bear arms will be guilty of a class D felony.” The LA Times referred to the Missouri legislator’s bill among, “…other proposed cantankerous legislation coming out of that state”, including House Bill 1534 which would criminalize any person who sought to enforce President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Johnny Phillips, 37, of Flint, Texas told Wikinews, “He’s playing to his base, that’s it, that’s all he’s doing. He’s just trying to make his constituents happy, that’s all he’s doing. That way, he can say, ‘See, I fought for you guys.'” Evelyn Cartwright, 11, of Tyler, Texas said of the proposed law, “I think it’s dumb, but I do believe some people should be allowed to own guns.”

Reportedly, Leara issued a statement stating he introduced the bill as a “matter of principle” and further noted he had “no illusions” about it potentially becoming law.


Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 13, 2013

Texas man appears before judge following fatal mall shooting

Texas man appears before judge following fatal mall shooting

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

File photo of a Smith and Wesson handgun.
Image: David Grenier.

Ricky Neal, Jr. appeared before a judge on Monday at 3:00pm CST following his alleged role in the shooting death of 23 year-old Chris Mass at a shopping mall in Tyler, Texas on Saturday.

Police say Neal killed the former high school basketball and football star in the mall’s parking lot, after arguing with him in a store located inside the mall. The argument appeared to have centered around some “Tweets” sent via the popular social networking site Twitter.

Reports also indicate Neal faces an assault charge after police say he shot at Jonathan Dews of Tyler during the incident, but missed. Bail was set at US$1.25 million for Neal. Early reports indicated Neal and the victim had been involved in an additional altercation before Saturday.

During Neal’s court appearance, the judge appointed local attorney O.M. “Buddy” Lloyd to represent Neal as his public defender. Neal told the judge he was unable to afford to pay an attorney. Neal was actually employed at the Champ’s sporting goods store inside the mall where the argument began, but reportedly he was there as a customer at the time the argument began.


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January 10, 2013

Needed rains blanket much of Texas, more expected, in early 2013

Needed rains blanket much of Texas, more expected, in early 2013

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Texas
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  • 18 May 2015: Nine dead after biker gang feud in Texas
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  • 11 February 2015: Two men shot during robbery in Houston, Texas
  • 31 January 2015: US soldier who died after serving in Liberia tests negative for Ebola
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Rain fell continuously along a large swathe of the eastern part of Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday, and is predicted to continue through much of today, according to media sources. Experts predict 3–5 inches of rain will fall in the area. The city of Tyler received just under 35 inches of rainfall in 2012, about 11 inches less than usual for a one-year period.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service noted the rainfall is a positive sign for 2013 considering the state’s limited rain over the past three years. 2011 and 2012 were extreme drought years for the state. In July 2011, the state saw less than 1 inch of rainfall for the entire month.

In 2010–11, the state saw the worst drought year in an over 100-year recorded period. Many farmers and ranchers experienced devastating losses of livestock and crops. Significant drought conditions returned again during Summer 2012.



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August 27, 2012

Wikinews finds citizens\’ feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

Wikinews finds citizens’ feelings, actions throughout Texas regarding West Nile virus threat vary greatly

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Monday, August 27, 2012

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Wikinews spoke to several residents of the US state of Texas finding varying opinions, and responses, to the threat from the West Nile virus; this, in contrast to the troubling media reports released recently. The state as a whole has seen more than 400 confirmed instances of the illness so-far this year.

A girl applies insect repellant to her arm.

A Longview woman, said, “[…] It’s terrifying. I’m so scared.” The woman was quick to point out a virus-related death occured in her city the same day. When asked about her daily routines, in light of the virus, she said, “I don’t go outside. I stay indoors. West Nile [virus] is bad.” The Director of Nursing for a large encampment located near Tyler said their operation had seen no cases of the illness, despite serving over 19,000 campers this summer. Her staff took no special precautions during August.

Although having some worries, Jimmy Philmont, 39, of Fairfield told Wikinews, “[…] I don’t let it keep me up at night. Overall, I’m not too scared.” Asked if he was aware of recent virus-related deaths in Texas, Philmont said, “Yeah, I am. That’s kind of scary. But, you have to live your life, you know? The world is hot now. You can’t go hide in a hole somewhere.” Earlier in the month, Tim Whitley, a city official in Malakoff, told Wikinews his city had began using a pesticide specialist to spray twice-weekly. Whitley explained two treatments per week is more often than usual for the city, “With the concerns in Dallas, we’re taking it seriously”, he said.

A nurse at a senior activity center in Austin told media she’d taken time to educate their facility’s clients about the virus and proper precautions; Adding, “They feel less alarmed and we try to protect our folks here […]”. Mark Kitsmore, 54, of Tyler said, “Honestly, I’m not too worried about it.” He jokingly commented, “I’ve probably used a little more bug spray over the past few weeks, though.”

Twenty-six people have died so-far this year as result of having contracted the virus, approximately half occurring in Texas. The mayor and county judge in Dallas have declared a state of emergency in response to the virus.



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