Harrison County approves reinvestment zone for Eastman Chemical

MARSHALL — The Harrison County Commissioners Court approved Wednesday the creation of a reinvestment zone around Eastman Chemical Company for a proposed expansion project.

The reinvestment zone covers nearly 6,000 acres situated in western Harrison County, generally located at 2920 Callahan Road in Longview.

The reinvestment zone will expire after 10 years.

Hallsville movie producer to host acting classes starting February

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville grad turned movie producer Micah Lyons is kicking off a 12-week Acting Studio class for both children and adults bitten by the acting bug in East Texas.

“We will cover everything from photography to broadcast and show the difference between TV or film acting and stage acting and will include classes on screenwriting and producing,” Lyons said on Tuesday. “Students who are active in the class will have the opportunity to audition for a speaking role on whatever projects we have going at the time and they will also have the ability to be an extra on set during those projects and see the cast and crew and how things run behind the scenes.”

Each student in the class will also receive a professional head shot, which is normally the cost of the class itself.

The 12-week course starts Feb. 11 and includes classes for both children/youth and adults. Participants can choose to attend a class once a week on either Tuesday or Saturday or twice a week on both days.

Each class will last an hour and a half and will be held in the Forest Hills Shopping Center, located at 2222 Renaissance Drive in Hallsville.

To register and pay online, visit www.BreathOfLifeProductions.com or follow their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/breathoflifeproductions/

Tyler police veteran to lead new East Texas Anti-Gang Center

TYLER — A longtime spokesman for the Tyler Police Department will head up the newly forming East Texas Anti-Gang Center, an effort called for by Gov. Greg Abbott in his biennial State of the State address last February and involving law enforcement agencies in Longview and Gregg County.

Lt. Don Martin will retire from the Tyler Police Department after 30 years and begin his full-time duties as administrator of the anti-gang center Feb. 1, according to an announcement from Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.

The board for the anti-gang center is made up of Smith, Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano, Longview Police Chief Mike Bishop, Tyler Police Chief Jimmy Toler, Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman and Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division Capt. Rodney Tandy.

Northeast Texas water planners bracing to stand firm against Marvin Nichols

PITTSBURG — Northeast Texas water planners solidified their resolve against a proposed lake that urban planners to the west say they need.

Several members of the Northeast Texas Regional Water Planning Group, also known as Region D, maintained Thursday that they want no action on the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir — construction, permitting or even identification as a recommended strategy to meet water needs — at least until 2070, if ever.

During a regular meeting in Pittsburg, the group directed language for its Initially Prepared Plan that could be submitted to the state as Region D’s draft water plan for the next 50 years.

The plan is due to the state by March 3. Thursday’s meeting ended with the 24-person committee itemizing language that opposes Marvin Nichols Reservoir in case Region D doesn’t resolve differences with urban water planners.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area, known by state water planners as Region C, wants to include construction of Marvin Nichols by 2050 in its draft for the 2021 state water plan.

2 dead after warehouse explosion shakes Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — Two people died after a massive explosion Friday leveled a warehouse in Houston, damaging nearby buildings and homes and rousing frightened people from their sleep miles away, authorities said.

The explosion happened about 4:30 a.m. inside a building at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing, which makes valves and provides thermal-spray coatings for equipment in various industries, authorities said. The building was reduced to burning rubble and debris, and some of the surrounding buildings suffered heavy damage to parts of their walls and roofs.

Police Chief Art Acevedo confirmed the deaths Friday. He said authorities don't believe the explosion was intentional though a criminal investigation is underway.

Trump administration restores women's health funds to Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Eight years after Texas lost federal dollars over barring Planned Parenthood in a women's health program, the Trump administration Wednesday allowed the state to resume getting as much as $350 million in another reversal of an Obama-era decision.

Texas can receive the money over the next five years while still excluding Planned Parenthood from a state program called Healthy Texas Women that offers family planning and health services, such as pregnancy tests and breast cancer exams, to low-income families.

The decision by Texas in 2011 to exclude Planned Parenthood was part of Republican efforts to defund the nation's largest abortion provider. Two years later, Texas passed a sweeping anti-abortion law known as House Bill 2, which was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court but not until after the law led to closure of more than half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics.

Texas had been seeking a waiver since 2017 to resume getting access to the federal funds for women's health.