Charli Hodges

A Sulphur Springs man was found dead in a burned truck on Sunday, and four people have been arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the case.

About three weeks since Hunt County reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, that number has now risen to 20, including two deaths.

Those reported cases are fairly evenly distributed throughout the county, both geographically and demographically. There are no geographic hostspots disproportionate to the population, nor does any particular age group have a disproportionately high number of reported cases. A look at the numbers:

Gender: 11 women, 9 men.


Dr. Nick Patras, director of the Texas A&M-Commerce Counseling Center, says while at home waiting out the coronavirus, it's important to maintain a normal routine, of waking at a certain hour and doing the usual things necessary to prepare the the day.  Dr. Patras says many students are finding it difficult to be back at home with parents and siblings after becoming accustomed to a certain amount of independence while away at college.

Hunt Regional Healthcare

Pud Kearns with Housewarmers of Greenville says the Hunt Regional Health Care web page features a link to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) self-checker for the coronavirus, which will help determine if you have symptoms of the illness.

Piece of Mind: Batch Plant Runs Into a Rough Patch

Apr 9, 2020
John Kanelis


A company known for plenty of high-tech advances wants to build a concrete plant near Farmersville and a key Texas government agency has decided to grant the company a permit to do so.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Cynthia Beacom, Hunt County Master Gardener, says perennials are economical and relatively easy to manage in the garden.  She says one of her favorites is the purple coneflower.  She says other colors of the plant don't work as well for her.  She also recommends Jacob Cline bee balm (which attracts bees) and John Fanick phlox (which attracts butterflies). 

Community Seeds

Bert Cooper, the director of the faith-based organizaton Community Seeds in Lone Oak, says they are helping about four times as many people than usual during the coronavirus crisis.  Those in need of help with food, housing or other issues may call (903) 634-5673.  The "incubator kitchen" that Community Seeds has been building for some time to allow people to prepare "homemade" food for sale is complete, but unable to open because of the virus situation.

CASA Hunt County

Lori Cope, director of CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of Hunt County, says CASA is conducting its visit of children in foster care by video conference calls while stay-at-home orders are in effect.  Also, CASA is continuing to provide training of new volunteers via online programs.  April is "Chila Abuse Prevention Month." 

Texas General Land Office

Hunt County Historical Commission chairman Carol Taylor discusses the existence in the 19th and earl 20th centuries of the "pest (for pestilence) house" in many communities, where people with highly contagious diseases were taken to be treated.  In her blog, she writes about a pest house in Virginia where the mortality rate decreased from 50 percent to 5 percent.  Greenville had a pest house where wealthy businessman Tom King went to recover from smallpox.

Cameron Brinkerhoff with an airgun
Luke Clayton

In today's show, Cameron Brinkerhoff with Airforce Airguns ( joins Luke and discusses shooting modern day air rifles. Luke also shares some tips on traveling on hunting and fishing trips during the current restrictions created by the Coronavirus. 

Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always; Facebook

Alice Reese, Herald-Banner movie critic, says while many movies scheduled for release have been put on hold by the coronavirus threat, some are being released for online viewing.  One she highly recommends that would have opened in theaters this weekend is the romance "Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always," although the cost will be a pricy $20.

Gov. Greg Abbott tells Texans to stay home except for essential activity in April

Apr 2, 2020
The state has outlined a list of more than a dozen sectors that provide essential services that comply with Abbott's order, which is largely aligned with federal guidance on the issue.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday told Texans to stay at home for the next month unless they are taking part in essential services and activities, announcing a heightened statewide standard to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. He also announced that schools would remain closed until at least May 4.

Public Domain

By John Kanelis

I suppose you could accuse Texas Gov. Greg Abbott of being a bit slow on the uptake in his statewide response to the coronavirus pandemic.

I will not join that chorus. 

Gov. Abbott today issued a stay-at-home order for Texans. Don't leave the house except to purchase essential items, such as food, fuel and assorted necessary household items. We can venture outside, walk around the neighborhood but we just need to keep our distance from our neighbors. The order lasts at least until the end of April. 

Texas A&M Energy Institute

Dr. Dale Funderburk, Texas A&M-Commerce economics professor, assesses the effect on the Texas economy of the recent drop in oil prices caused by the clash between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and the decreasing demand for oil due to stay-at-home policies in place around the country.

Abbott Details Federally Funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Apr 1, 2020
Federal funds will reach Texas workers affected by the pandemic through the state's existing unemployment compensation system, operated by the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin.
provided image

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement regarding the recently passed $2 trillion federal stimulus package intended to relieve the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on unemployed workers and the state’s hardest-hit businesses.


Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams says he is concerned that some young people, with school not in session because of the coronavirus threat, are congregating in groups and not observing the social-distancing recommendations to stop the spread of the virus.  Also, the mayor says Commerce citizens are lagging behind the state average in completing the 2020 Census, and he's

Texas A&M Agrilife

Cynthia Beacom, Hunt County Master Gardener, says gardening is an excellent activity for people who are forced to stay home because of the coronavirus.  Gardening can burn up to 300 calories an hour.  On another topic, Cynthia says crepe myrtle bark scale is becoming a problem.  It is not fatal to the trees, but reduces their blooms and covers the trunks with a dark scaly substance.

An undated photo of Whitley Hall on the campus of A&M-Commerce. Like much of Northeast Texas, the campus is quieter than usual.
Texas A&M University-Commerce / Marketing and Communications

In an effort to keep up with coronavirus and COVID-19 developments around the region, this blog will be kept during the crisis. A statistical account of COVID-19 cases in the KETR listening area and local restrictions in place can be found here. This blog will be kept in reverse chronological order, with newest entries at the top.

Last updated, April 15, 3:09 p.m.

Commerce Chamber of Commerce, Facebook

Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss says the chamber has a Facebook page called "Commerce To Go" that provides information on take-out food services offered by Commerce restaurants. Paul says the city's businesses have risen to the occasion during the coronavirus crisis.


 Elaborating on the new Louisiana travel restrictions, Abbott said they will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety "at and near entry points from Louisiana."
Eddie Gaspar / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday ratcheted up travel restrictions into Texas during the new coronavirus pandemic, while announcing the state's first pop-up hospital to deal with the crisis. He also said he was moving to "stop the release of dangerous felons" amid the outbreak.

Luke "social distancing" from a remote creek above lake Fork.
Luke Clayton

A campfire visit with Luke this week. We're talking about the white bass run in creeks  and rivers i the area as well as the upcoming turkey season.

Commerce ISD, Facebook

Commerce ISD superintendent Charlie Alderman says the cancellation of school due to the threat of the coronavirus was accompanied by the cancellation of many events involving students, including the Commerce High School robotics team, coached by Earvin Larry, going to Iowa to compete in a national contest.  The superintendent says students will not be required to take the STAAR test this year because of the virus situation.

From the official website for Hunt County:

From: Hunt County Judge


Re: Second COVID-19 Positive Result in Hunt County

Dallas Morning News

By John Kanelis

If I were sitting in Collin County Judge Chris Hill's chair at this moment I might be inclined to tell Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to mind his own bee's wax.

Then again, were I occupying Jenkins' chair, I might respond with, "Hey, Chris, we're all in this together. I'm looking out for everyone in the region. That includes the residents of Collin County."

Each year, radio and television stations across the state of Texas submit their very best work for consideration by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Generally in April, an awards ceremony is held in Austin and journalists, videographers, producers, and anchors flock to 6th Street to learn who's work topped each category. This year, concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the ceremony planned for April 4. As a result, the winners have been announced in a release - and 88.9 KETR is among the top-awarded stations in its division.

Texas Tribune

Dr. Dale Funderburk, Texas A&M-Commerce economics professor, discusses the effect of the coronavirus on the economy.  Dr.

Texas A&M Agrilife

Kaylie Daniels, Texas A&M-Commerce Athletics nutitionist, says most of the tips she provides to Lion athletes would also be helpful to average people.  Kaylie says it's important not to try to make too many changes at once.  Making steady, gradual changes works best.  March is National Nutrition Month.

Comptroller Warns, Texas Unemployment Rate Headed Toward The Double Digits

Mar 24, 2020
Texas reported a record low unemployment rate of 3.5% in January. The historic high was 9.2% in 1986.
State of Texas

Up from the state’s recent record low unemployment rate of 3.5% in January, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday the unemployment rate in Texas is now around 9% as the new coronavirus spreads. Hegar said projections as recently as mid-March had unemployment rates rising to 6%.

Texas Grocery Workers At Risk Want Better Pay, Protections

Mar 24, 2020
Grocery Stores Are Among the Businesses that Will Remain Open During Stay-at-Home Orders
Provided Image

Lately, Logan is doing his best to suppress his panic attacks while restocking the constantly dwindling shelves at his job at H-E-B. While people across the state are being told to stay home and avoid gathering in large groups in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Logan regularly finds himself surrounded by hoards of anxious shoppers frantically stocking up on beans and toilet paper.

Hopkins, Hunt Counties Confirm First COVID-19 Cases

Mar 24, 2020
An illustration created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the structure of the coronavirus now named COVID-19.

In Northeast Texas, Hopkins County's and Hunt County's first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were both announced late Tuesday morning. Each county has reported one case so far.