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Hunt County – A $24 million Hunt Memorial Hospital District expansion bond was approved by voters over the weekend. Over 1500 people voted early for the Presbyterian of Greenville West Wing expansion that will include an expanded ICU and Cancer Center among other improvements. An original version of the bond that included a Wellness Center was defeated by voters in January, and hospital officials were pleased to see the adjusted proposal pass this time around, and project completion of the expansion within the next 2 years.

United States – The topic of Social Security reform has been on the minds of many Americans lately. President Bush has been pushing several issues intended to fix a system that some have said is in crisis. The most outstanding of which is to privatize retirement benefits for Americans who choose to do so.

Dr. Charles Elliott, a retired political science professor at A&M-Commerce, said that in decades to come, the program will be spending more than it brings in.

Hunt County – Property appraisals in Hunt County are going up. The Hunt County Appraisal District is sending out this year's appraisal notices this week, and every piece of property has gone up, according to Chief Appraiser Mildred Compton. Recent sales figures of comparable properties have been the reason for the adjustments. Anyone with a dispute can contact the Appraisal District at 903-454-3510.

Rockwall – Rockwall Police are still searching for two suspects in an attempted robbery of a jewelry store that ended in a shoot-out. Two black males entered Nasr Jewelers with guns around 11am Tuesday, demanding everyone to the floor. One of the owners of the store, Louis Nasr, followed the men into the store, and opened fire after realizing they were attempting to rob the store. The suspects returned fire and fled. Police believe was suspect was hit when Nasr opened fire, but no one else was injured.

Commerce – Construction on Live Oak Street in Commerce as in runs by Ben E. Keith continues. One lane may look completed, but there's work yet to be done, according to City manager Bill Shipp.

Commerce – The City of Commerce will soon be looking for a new Fire Chief. Wayne Hines turned in his resignation last week to city officials, as he prepares to head into dangerous territory.

HINES: ...going to Iraq for contract firefighting.

Hines will be with the company Wackenhut, which places firefighters on military bases in Iraq, and cited a few reasons for making the decision to go.

Hunt County – The Hunt Memorial Hospital District has approved a change in insurance that should save the district money. The change affects claims over $100,000 dollars. Previous policy had a 100% reimbursement on claims over that mark, and that has been changed to an 80% reimbursement rate. District officials said they typically have only two claims per year that high. The move should save the Hospital District about $80,000 per year in insurance premiums.

Commerce – An award winning design firm has been hired to draw up plans for the new $22million student center at A&M-Commerce. Gideon total will be looking to students in the fall for design concepts, which is an important aspect of the process, according to University President Keith McFarland.

MCFARLAND: An important part of that process is to have the architects spend alot of time with our students and ask what are they looking for in a new student union building.

Greenville – Hunt County prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty in a case involving the stabbing death of a Greenville teen. Billy Ray Edwards was indicted for one count of capital murder after the death of 16 year old Thomas Allen Brookshire in late last year. Brookshire died from stab wounds after fighting Edwards, who was breaking into an apartment in Greenville. Edwards has 4 prior convictions on his record out of Hopkins County; two for burglary and 2 for robbery. Edwards has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Commerce – The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is on for all night tonight in Commerce. It starts at 7pm at the Commerce High School track, and event co-chair Luis Franco says everyone is encouraged to come join the fight against cancer...

FRANCO: The event's open to the general public, everyone's invited. You can participate, at least, in some of the activities.

Greenville – Early voting in a $24 million Hunt Hospital District expansion bond has reached more than 1,000 votes. 255 people lined up yesterday to vote when mobile early voting visited Presbyterian Hospital of Greenville. Early voting continues through today, and Monday and Tuesday at the Hunt County Voter Administration office in downtown Greenville.

Bonham – Bonham Police report the arrest of a 53 year old man on charges of sexual assault. Williard Douglas Adkins was taken into custody earlier this week in connection with an incident at the Northeast Medical Center. The alleged victim was a 50 year old female patient at the hospital. Adkins was employed as a Certified Nurses Aid.

Austin – Child and Adult Protective Services Reform was identified as an emergency issue this legislative session, and a bill passed through the Texas House last week addresses many issues. The bill seeks to reduce crushing caseloads reported by CPS workers through several measures, as well as create an investigations department to work closely with law agencies to prevent extreme cases of neglect or even death. Hunt County Representative Dan Flynn said it was important legislation in a radio address released last week.

Commerce – A Commerce man was arrested earlier this month in connection with a bomb threat called into Commerce High School April 13th. School administrators were able to determine the origin of the call, and subsequently, the identity of the caller. 18 year old Jeremy Luckey was arrested March 15th and charged with Terroristic Threats, which is a 3rd degree felony. He was transported to Hunt County Jail, and later released on $10,000 bond.

Commerce – The Commerce City Hall Relay for Life team is the frontrunner in fundraising so far for Friday's Relay for Life event in Commerce. City Manager Bill Shipp said the City Hall team owes that to team organizer Cindy Vaughan.

SHIPP: Our City Hall team, headed by Cindy Vaughan our illustrious captain and chief fundraiser. But it's alot more than just Cindy, we have several people who pitched in. We are going to be out there, and its going to be at the high school this year on Friday night.

Commerce – Commerce Police, with assistance from A&M-Commerce University Police, conducted a warrant round-up earlier this month. The round-up resulted in 29 arrests that cleared over $10,000 worth of warrants, with about $6,500 worth paid by defendants in the arrests. This is the second such round-up this year for Commerce Police. A round-up for Hunt County is expected in July by the Office of Warrant Assistance in Greenville.

Commerce – Mobile early voting is in Commerce today for a $24 million hopsital expansion bond. Early voting will be held at the education building of Presbyterian Hospital of Commerce until 4pm today.

Commerce – A&M-Commerce should find out soon whether a new music building will be going up. It remains unclear whether funding will be available for the project, but one deciding factor will be need, which is high according to A&M-Commerce President Dr. Keith McFarland.

MCFARLAND: ...and in terms of need, a critical need, which is the highest category that they can give it.

A decision by the legislature concerning a new music building is expected by the end of May or early June.

Commerce – The virtual bullets will be flying as the Army hosts a competition of the internet based game, America's Army on the A&M-Commerce campus. 80 computers will be networked to host the 5 on 5 elimination match, with actual soldiers on-hand to coach the team, according to Greenville recruiter Sgt. Curtis.

Rome – As Pope Benedict XVI prepares for his inauguration Mass Sunday as head of over one billion Catholics worldwide, few expect many changes in Church doctrine. The new Pontiff was a close doctrinal ally of Pope John Paul II, and speculation that his appointment is meant as a transition has emerged. If that is the intent, Joseph Schmidt, who teaches a World Religion class on the A&M-Commerce campus, says it would make sense.

Commerce – A longtime fixture of the Commerce community passed away late Wednesday night. Sarah Sienty was a longtime member of the Commerce School board and worked at A&M-Commerce since 1975, most recently as Assistant Professor in Secondary and Higher Education. Former Commerce School Board President Mary Hendrix said Sienty will leave an impression.

Hunt County – Early voting for a new $24 million Hospital expansion bond drew nearly 100 people to the polls yesterday. The bond package would provide a West Wing for Greenville Presbyterian Hospital with a cancer treatment center, more intensive care beds, a heart monitoring unit, and a 4th floor medical unit. Early voting continues through May 3rd, with mobile early voting coming to Commerce Presbyterian next Thursday.

Commerce – The 10th Annual Commerce Business and Industry Appreciation Luncheon was held yesterday, and paid special recognition to businesses in Commerce for more than 20 years. Executive Director of the Commerce Economic Development Corporation Jeanette Moser felt the event was a big success.

Commerce – Three American soldiers who served in Iraq will be discussing their experiences on the A&M-Commerce campus tomorrow night. The program called Operation Truth encourages soldiers to tell their own stories about Iraq and their military service. The presentation is free, and begins at 7:30 tomorrow evening at the Memorial Student Center on the A&M-Commerce campus.

Click here for the Operation Truth website.

Greenville – Early voting begins today for most of the area, with the expansion bond for the Hunt Memorial Hospital District topping the list. The proposed $24 million West Wing Expansion would add a new cancer treatment center and more beds to the intensive care unit, a heart monitoring unit, and a fourth floor medical unit. Early voting takes place at the Voter Administration Building weekdays in downtown Greenville.

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