KETR

Scott Morgan

Former reporter/host

Scott Morgan has been an award-winning journalist since 2001. His work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines as well as online. He has also been an editor, freelancer, speaker, writing teacher, author, and podcaster.

Scott's role, until his departure in March 2019, was to present up-to-the-minute local news during All Things Considered each afternoon here on 88.9 KETR. He also contributed as a reporter to other news products from the station.

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State Rep. Dan Flynn (R-2nd) has added his name as a co-signer on the Texas House bill aimed at reforming public school financing issues. The bill was originally filed earlier this month by State Rep. Dan Huberty, a Houston-area Republican.

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Eight of nine rural hospitals in Northeast Texas are running on negative operating margins. That’s according to a study by the Chartis Center for Rural Health that measures just how thin the ice is beneath the country’s rural hospitals.

On Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the county’s first case of measles this year.  That brings the total number of measles cases in Texas up to 11 for 2019 – already two more than all the cases in the state last year.

Health officials say the Collin County resident is an adult who traveled internationally. They say the general public is not at risk from this case.

So far this year, 228 cases of measles have been confirmed in the United States.

Overall, Texans can expect to live, on average, at 78.53 years, according to a report released this week by UT Southwestern Medical Center. But in Northeast Texas, the numbers are, for the most part, notably lower -- especially for African-Americans.

The projected number of pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on U.S. roads last year was the highest since 1990. And the number of such deaths in Texas was the third highest in the country.

That’s according to a new study from the national Governors Highway Safety Association.

U.S. Forest Service

A little more than 2,000 acres of federally controlled land in Fannin County look to be on the way to local hands. On Tuesday, a bill by U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-4th) to give the  county control over Lake Fannin passed in the U.S. House. 

Disney ABC promotional photo

American Idol Season 17 kicks off on Sunday, March 3. One week later, on March 10, viewers will hear the acoustic country sounds of Van Alstyne's Austin Michael Robinson. 

Robinson is one of two Texas slated for that evening. The other is Riley Thompson from Mabank.

Robinson will be performing for judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katie Perry.

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Three counties in Northeast Texas look to benefit from disaster aid approved by the White House Monday. President Trump yesterday approved an appeal by Gov. Greg Abbott to open relief money to counties affected by last fall’s flooding.

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A new report by Austin-based think tank Glasshouse Policy recommends a set of solutions to bring broadband access to rural and otherwise underserved areas of Texas. The report’s authors say that as internet access becomes more and more integral to everyday life, rural communities could be left behind without access to high-speed internet service.

According to Glasshouse Policy, 14.6 million Texans do not have access to the internet at broadband speeds. 

KETR News File Photo

State lawmakers are busily trying to bring down Texas’ property tax rate this session.

One proposal is to cap local property tax revenues at 2.5 percent and then let voters decide on what to do with anything over that.

For the state’s community colleges, that could mean a noticeable loss of revenue.

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U.S. Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-4th) and Lance Gooden (R-5th) are two of nine Texas Republican congressmen to sign a letter to U.S. Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue on Tuesday,  praising the USDA’s proposal to require able-bodied adults without dependents to have some kind of job in order to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

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State Sen. Bob Hall says Texas' Driver Responsibility Program was well intentioned once. But it took the same path as most good intentions on its way to crippling the state's low-income drivers.

Scott Morgan / KETR News

On Tuesday night, members of the Texas A&M University-Commerce NAACP student chapter held their second expo of student-run businesses, Black Wall Street.

The event was named for the famed section of Tulsa, Okla., that served as a major hub of African-American business in the early part of the 20th century. Seventeen student businesses set up at tables in the Sam Rayburn Student Center – partly to do a little business and partly to raise awareness for businesses run by students of color on the Commerce campus.

Listen here to the full feature.

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It’s one of the first things you learn in driver’s ed – if a school bus is stopped and its lights are flashing, treat it like a red light. But Ken Cagle says a lot of drivers seem to be ignoring that.

“We’re trying to let people know you gotta stop, it’s very dangerous," Cagle says. “Children get killed this way.”

Cagle, the 9-1-1 supervisor for Rains County, says the Sheriff’s Office lately has been getting two or three calls a week about drivers whizzing past stopped – and flashing – school buses. That’s a lot, given that those calls used to be rare.

KETR File Photo

Greenville Police Chief Dan Busken has abruptly left the city's employ, for reasons not yet known publicly.

In a statement Monday morning, the city announced, "Effective immediately, Daniel Busken is no longer employed by the City of Greenville.  Scott Smith will continue to serve as Acting Police Chief. No further information is available."

Texas Tribune SCreen Cap

It hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing for Gov. Greg Abbott’s pick to be Texas Secretary of State. But State Sen. Bob Hall is at least on his side.

Hall, a Republican representing District 2, was part of a chorus of state GOP lawmakers standing by Secretary of State pick David Whitley during his confirmation hearings this week. 

WikiCommons

Grayson County health officials say reports of a local measles case have not been confirmed. Earlier this week a Facebook posting claimed that a county child had contracted measles. However, Grayson County Emergency Preparedness Manager Josh Stevenson says his office would be the one to tell everyone – not social media pages.

KETR News

Update: Feb 6, 2019, 10:08 p.m. -- This story has been amended to clarify that the 126 employees leaving work at Kimberly-Clark's Paris plant are not Kimberly-Clark employees. 

Kimberly-Clark Corporation Wednesday said that the  126 workers who will be leaving its Paris plant are not company employees.

KETR originally reported that the company would be laying off 126 employees. In a statement, the company said  those employees "are employed by a third party vendor, Holman Distribution, and this vendor has chosen to exit our business." 

 

Gov. Greg Abbott gave his State of the State address in Austin this morning. He touted the lure of Texas to jobseekers and companies -- and the contributions of oil and technology to the state. But Abbott also talked about economic growth in some of the state’s more rural areas, including Northeast Texas.

"Our economic might is not limited to our large cities," Abbott said. "It touches smaller communities across the state. In places like Lufkin and Mt. Pleasant; in Temple and Paris."

The Commerce Police Department released its 2018 Racial Profiling Report last week, and the numbers paint a mostly even picture of who gets stopped by city officers.

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Feb. 1, 2019, 1:14 p.m. -- This report was revised to update new anticipated release date for the 2017 Census of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not be releasing its five-year national farm census on time.

The USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture report was due to be released  on Feb. 21. That was, until the partial government shutdown got in the way.

Supreme Court of Texas

The Texas Supreme Court is traveling to Texarkana this week to hear a case. The court traditionally tries to hear a couple of arguments outside of Austin. But a little history is being made on this trip.

The Arkansas Supreme Court will be there too.

  A trio of Republican lawmakers from Northeast Texas have some new committee appointments this legislative session. State Senators Bob Hall and Bryan Hughes and State House Rep. Cole Hefner were all tapped by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for several committee appointments between them.

Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell says worries about coal ash finding their way into the city’s groundwater are unfounded.

Some FSA offices have been providing limited services for existing loans and tax documents since Jan. 17 But  US Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue says all FSA offices in the country will reopen Thursday, Jan. 24.

The property on King Street will remain up for sale.
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The City of Greenville will not buy the 1.34-acre former supermarket site next to the municipal building. On Tuesday night the City Council voted the idea down, at least for now, but left the door slightly ajar for future consideration.

Would-be storm spotters looking to take advantage of the National Weather Service’s signature severe weather watch program will have to ride out the government shutdown too. Turns out the shutdown has stalled the agency’s Skywarn Program. That’s led to three classes in Northeast-to-Central Texas postponed this week, including one scheduled for Saturday in Collin County.

Scott Morgan / KETR News

Twenty-five years ago, Everett Aaron, a Christian minister and flight enthusiast, got an idea -- What would it take to start a commercial airline that only caters to Christian missionaries looking to work abroad?

The short answer is, it takes about 25 years if you're starting from the ground up. And several million dollars. 

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U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-4th), says he is firmly on President Trump’s side when it comes to the proposed border wall – and when it comes to who’s to blame for the federal shutdown.

Ratcliffe released a statement saying:

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Federal food assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, dodged a bullet recently, at least temporarily, when the USDA announced that federal food assistance dollars will flow through February.

But here in Texas, that that could create a different problem.

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