The National Weather Service preliminary findings indicate one of the tornadoes that struck North Texas had wind gusts ranging from 136 to 165 mph, suggesting it was an EF3. That’s two categories shy of the strongest tornadoes.

NWS meteorologist Jesse Moore said tornadoes in Lancaster and Arlington appeared to be EF2 twisters. The wind gusts in that category range from 111 to 135 mph. NWS crews will continue surveying the damage today.

Officials reported more than 20 injuries, but no deaths and thousands of residents are without electricity.

Gov. Rick Perry today toured tornado damage in some of the hardest hit areas of North Texas, and met with emergency management personnel and local officials who continue to assess the impact and damage of this severe storm system.

Historical Markers Stolen in Van Zandt County

CANTON, Texas – On Monday April 2nd, 2012 the Van Zandt County Historical Commission reported a theft to the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office. When the Deputy arrived he was advised that two Historical markers had been stolen from the area of VZCR #1117 in Canton, Texas.

One marker indicated a Cherokee boundary line and was located on VZCR #1117 near VZCR #3051.  The second marker was recognizing Father Jose Calahorra and was located on VZCR #1117 near VZCR #2419.  Both markers were stolen sometime within the past week and there are no suspects identified at this time.

If anyone has information relating to the stolen markers please contact the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office at 903-567-4133 or Crime Stoppers at 903-567-STOP (903-567-7867).

Thief Suspected of Stealing Christmas Presents Arrested

LONGVIEW – On April 3, 2012, Longview Police arrested Rachel Bradley 39, of Longview, in connection with the Christmas gift thefts that occurred sometime between November 30 and December 7, 2011 from a storage facility on Jahan Trail.

The presents belonged to the Gregg County Child Welfare Board.  Bradley was indicted by a Gregg County Grand Jury.  Bradley is being held on a theft charge in the Gregg County jail.

Two Men Rob Tyler Gas Station

Two men wearing bandanas and armed with a gun held-up the Speedy’s  Exxon  Convenience store at 900 West Front St. early this morning.

The store clerk told police the suspects entered the store around 2:40am pointed a gun at the clerk and demanded cash. The suspects took an undetermined amount of money and fled towards Glenwood Blvd.

The clerk described the suspects as two black males, the first about 5-8, 150 pounds wearing a red bandana and a grey sweater.  The second suspect was described as about 5-8, 180 pounds wearing a brown cameo jacket/sweater.  Officers were unable to locate the suspects following the incident.  The scene was processed for evidence and the case remains under investigation.

Anyone with information about the suspects involved in this crime are urged to contact the Tyler Police Department, at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers, at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833).  Crimestoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspects in this case, or any, felony case.


Texas Has Nation’s Second-Highest Birth Rate

AUSTIN — A new report out today says Texas has the second-highest birth rate in the nation and more than 25 percent of those children live in poverty.

The annual Kids Count survey also says that 39 percent of Texas mothers received no, or very late, prenatal care.


Rangers Dedicating Statue of Fallen Fan

ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers are dedicating a life-size statue of a Texas firefighter today who died after he fell over an outfield railing at a game last summer.

Thirty-nine-year-old Shannon Stone was at the game with his 6-year-old son when he fell.