Click the video below for highlights from the annual balloon glow at the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview, Texas.
Click the video below for highlights from the annual balloon glow at the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview, Texas.
Rockie Simpler is not a peace officer, but a man of the cloth. Still, his ministry puts him alongside Mount Pleasant police officers — armed only with the word of God.
“This patrol car is my church,” Simpler said. “I use it as a tool to go out and help people with the Lord. I use it to help somebody who has a problem and a need.”
Simpler is among the 30 Titus County ministers of various denominations who are enlisted in the Clergy And Police Alliance, or C.A.P.A. They participate in regular patrols and volunteer for an on-call rotation after completing a six-week training course. Ministers are given an inside look at the duties of law enforcement officers and an overview of the criminal justice system. Continue reading
Click the video below for highlights of the Fourth of July fireworks display in Natchitoches, Louisiana along Cane River Lake.
A new exhibit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida memorializes the Space Shuttle Columbia, which broke apart over East Texas in 2003.
The 2,000 square foot exhibit, housed at the Space Center’s visitor complex, features the personal effects of crew members and recovered shuttle hardware from both the ill-fated Columbia tragedy and the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
It marks the first time that artifacts from Columbia will be on display to the public. Much of the debris was collected by East Texas volunteers in a months-long recovery effort that began when the shuttle broke apart on February 1, 2003. Continue reading
Click the video below to watch my report on severe-warned storms that dropped large hail on northwest Nebraska, near the town of Crawford.
Click the video below for images of the Northern Lights, as viewed from Crook County, Wyoming, near the town of Sundance on June 23, 2015.
A Christian men’s group in Tyler is reaching out the faithful in an unlikely way, through Bible study with a twist. Theology on Tap provides fellowship and conversations about faith and spirituality in a casual setting.
Rev. Justin Braun, a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, helped start the group in 2012. “We’re East Texas men. We like beer. You know, and we like to talk about Jesus. So, we can do those things together.”
Once a month, the group meets at various restaurants in the Tyler area, with as many as 70 men participating. Organizer Nathan Ihrig said the idea was to create a relaxed environment, while offering meaningful discussion. “Guys are more willing to come and enjoy a beer or two and eat and listen and ask questions.” Continue reading
Click the video below for my live coverage of the test flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, launching atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket.
Picking a personalized Texas license plate isn’t a free-for-all. The Department of Motor Vehicles uses very specific criteria for reviewing vanity plate requests, resulting in more than 1,600 rejected requests.
Car enthusiasts at Saturday’s ‘Classic Cars & Art in the Park’ in Mineola are very familiar with the application process. Dozens of hot rods, rat rods, sports cars and classic trucks drew admirers from across East Texas.
Show organizer Ronnie Gorman says a personalized plate captures the character of the car. Putting a custom tag on his classic car was a simple process. “Like on our Impala, we had a 1966 Impala. It said ‘TUFF 66,’ and it was a pretty sweet car,” he said. Continue reading
I believe one person truly can make a difference in the life of another and I hope to never ignore that calling. It’s quite humbling to think of the special individuals spent countless hours mentoring me — many of whom continue to do so. Counting myself among the extremely fortunate, I’m pursuing my “dream profession” as a journalist.
I wonder where I might be without that help and encouragement from role models. Journalism professors, seasoned reporters and anchors, and news managers took me under their wing, helping me navigate decisions that will impact my future. What a blessing they have been. With faith and family as my foundation, I also credit involvement in a fraternity as one of the influences in helping me become a productive member of society. Continue reading
A celebrity chef is visiting kitchens across East Texas this week, tasting the comfort foods that stir-up smiles. Chef Jeff Henderson is taping a new syndicated TV show, ‘Flip My Food,’ which promises to take favorite family recipes and make them better, with fewer calories.
Henderson’s rise to the top took a different path than other celebrated chefs. 18 years ago, he walked out of Federal prison after serving nearly a decade for drug trafficking. From that day, he says his life had a purpose. “I decided I wanted to make something of myself. I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and the cycle of dysfunctional families and I changed my life.”
Click the video below for highlights of my trip to Alberta, Canada.
I am so very honored to have been selected for Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity’s inaugural ‘Thirty Under 30′ list, among a truly impressive group of young professionals. I’ve served as a volunteer for the organization since 2008, hoping to mentor emerging leaders during their collegiate experience. As a student, I was exposed to countless opportunities for leadership development and owe debt of gratitude to those who volunteered their time and talent to mentor me. I know several of the other recipients, so it’s a tremendous pleasure to be placed in such good company!
The ‘Thirty Under 30′ selection committee took the following criteria under consideration: the actions of each recipient reflect the values of the fraternity, especially leadership and/or service and the alumnus has distinguished himself in his career field or another demonstrable way which causes him to stand separate from his peers.
NASA is ready to unveil the design of their next-generation spacesuit prototype. Wednesday, the space agency will reveal the winner of a contest on their website put the decision to a public vote.
Click the video below to watch my interview with a Hopkins County resident who survived a tornado destroying his home and business.
Click the video below to watch my report explaining the hail fog after a storm passed through Henderson County, Texas.
NASA is leaving the design of their next-generation spacesuit prototype up to the public. A contest on the space agency’s website puts three designs up for a vote, with a fully-functional model to be built by November.
The NASA Z-2 suit is a follow up to the Z-1, which Time Magazine named ‘one of the best inventions of 2012.’ The Z-series marks the first major prototype developed since the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), the white suits used on space walks during the Shuttle program.
With a long-term focus on deep space missions, NASA will need a new spacesuit to replace its current stock of suits. Some of the technology used in the EMU is 40 years old. The futuristic Z-2 suit will make missions possible to asteroids or the surface of other planets. Some of the improvements under development include: a rear-entry “hatch” that could also dock with a rover, the use of “soft” materials to cut weight and increase mobility, complex joints and a redesigned life support system.
NASA’s aging stock of spacesuits is coming under great scrutiny as the space agency investigates the near-drowning of an astronaut. Wednesday, an investigation board released its report on the July 2013 incident involving a water leak in Italian astronaut’s Luca Parmitano’s helmet. More than a liter of liquid pooled around Parmitano’s eyes, nose and ears, before he could get to safety inside the International Space Station airlock. The report revealed that managers misdiagnosed a similar leak one week earlier.
With an ongoing presence aboard the ISS, plans for capturing asteroids, the first mission to Mars and even a return to the Moon, NASA will need a new spacesuit to make the journey.
The space agency won’t have to look very far for ideas, according to NASA engineer Cody Kelly. Last week, he spoke to a room of science and math students at Tyler Junior College, explaining his ongoing work as part of the Crew Survival Engineering Team.
Kelly said NASA is modifying its Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) for future missions of the new Orion spacecraft, relying on time-tested technology to ensure the survival of astronauts.
A test version of the Orion capsule left NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia early Thursday on the bed of an 18-wheeler, headed for California. The four-week road trip will make stops in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before an early January arrival in San Diego, California.
A map showing the convoy’s planned route takes the Orion mock-up through East Texas, before connecting with Interstate 20 in Dallas and heading west. Dates and specific locations of planned stops were not immediately available, however a NASA spokesperson said those details would be released at later time. The route was selected to accommodate a wide load truck. Continue reading
In early 2015, Space Center Houston will unveil an exhibit featuring the Shuttle replica seated atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet that ferried the now-retired shuttle fleet on cross-country trips.
The $12 million, six-story attraction will allow visitors to tour the SCA, as well as the flight deck and payload bay of the full-size Shuttle mockup.
The free, online naming contest launches at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 4 and ends September 2 at noon. Original names for the Shuttle will symbolize “the spirit of Texas and its unique characteristics of independence, optimism and can-do attitude,” according to a news release. Continue reading
Click the video below to watch our storm chase in the Texas panhandle.
Chasing funnel clouds through the rolling hills of Rusk County to being pummeled with hail on the interstate in Harrison County, the KLTV Mobile StormTracker vehicle has already been put through the gauntlet. Wanting to test some modifications to the camera system on the chase vehicle, Meteorologist Grant Dade and I set out to track storms in West Texas.
Our journey began Thursday, May 23 with live reports on Good Morning East Texas as we drove toward Wichita Falls. Grant and I explained to viewers that the conditions were ripe for development to our west later that afternoon. After several hours behind the wheel, we came to a stop in an area known as the Caprock, separating the high plains of the Texas panhandle. Watching radar in the vehicle, Grant let me know the chase was on. At more than two-thousand feet in elevation, we found a lookout northeast of Lubbock that was the perfect perch for watching the skies. Almost immediately, a thunderstorm caught Grant’s attention. Winds were whipping as we set up video and still cameras in the vehicle to capture bolts of lightning, flashing in the distance. Continue reading
The threat of severe weather was looming and I got the call from KLTV 7 meteorologist Grant Dade that our latest chase was hours away. After filling up the Mobile StormTracker chase vehicle, Grant spent some time checking models, radar and forecast discussions to pinpoint the ideal place to watch storms fire up. An impressive wall cloud moved through Marshall, signaling the prime time to move east. With his eye on live radar data, Grant warned that we were about to drive into some strong weather along Interstate 20; he was right. In all of our previous chases with me at wheel, this was certainly becoming the most nerve-wracking. Continue reading
Space Center Houston is adding a “jumbo” piece of space history to its already impressive fleet of retired spacecraft and aerospace vehicles.
Thursday, NASA announced the transfer of ownership of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, to the official visitor’s center of the Johnson Space Center.
The SCA, one of two modified Boeing 747 jumbo jets, were used to ferry NASA’s fleet of Space Shuttles from coast to coast, beginning in 1977. Space Center Houston’s SCA flew under the tail designation “SCA-905″ and was decommissioned in 2012 after the retirement of the Shuttle fleet.
Space Center Houston plans to mount a full-size replica of the Space Shuttle atop the SCA in flight configuration, as part of a 12-million dollar educational complex. According to a news release, “The Shuttle and 747 Carrier will give visitors the world’s first and only all-access pass to an authentic and realistic journey through the inside of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft as well as an unforgettable experience aboard the full-scale, Shuttle model.” Continue reading