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Some of the stories coming up on KFDM News at 6PM:

  • What if your business could not get timely mail delivery? KFDM's Lauren Huet reports on the dilemma some businesses face.
  • Port Arthur police are now enforcing a new tool and a new outlook on fighting gang activity.
  • The crew at Fire Station #8 in Beaumont have fought tougher battles, but none more cute than today's.
  • Greg Bostwick updates the forecast for this late season cold snap.

Man accused of shootings arrested in Jasper County

JASPER COUNTY - Law enforcement officers have arrested a man charged with several shootings in Jasper County.

Watch Six News Tonight at 10. Haley Bull will have reaction to the arrest from two people investigators say were victims of Seastrunk.

Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman says he and some of his officers assisted ATF agents and the U.S. Marshals Service in serving a federal warrant early Thursday morning for the arrest of Keeyan Deon Seastrunk. They arrested him at his parents' home, according to Sheriff Newman.

Seastrunk, along with Michael Byerly and Xavier Clark, are facing federal charges for Jasper County robberies and the shootings of Robert and Aline Shellhammer, Douglas Bean and Deann Elder. 

Byerly and Clark are already facing federal charges for a Newton County bank robbery in which the teller was severely injured.

 

 

Liberty, Tyler County deputies arrest man featured on CrimeStoppers

LIBERTY COUNTY -- Acting on a Crime Stopper tip, James Rodney Burnett was arrested just off CR 4950 in Fred, Texas on Wednesday, March 4,  and is now in the Liberty County jail. 

 

Burnett was arrested in a joint effort of the Liberty County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Brett Audilet and Sgt. Investigator Billy Knox along with the Tyler County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jeff Mashaw and the U.S. Marshal's Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force.

 

According to Sgt. Audilet and Sgt. Knox, James Burnett attempted to flee the arresting Officers on foot but was chased down through a very swamp filled wooded area and arrested about 200 yards from the CR 4950 location. 

 

At the time of his arrest, Burnett was unarmed and the .45 caliber pistol he is charged with stealing has not, at this time, been recovered but the investigation is continuing in this regard.

  

Also arrested at the scene was Crystal LaFrance, DOB 4-5-75, from Liberty County who was charged by the Tyler County Sheriff's Office with "Possession of Drug Paraphernalia" and placed in the Tyler County jail. 

 

A stolen camper trailer was also recovered on the premise and was retained by Tyler County.

 

Sheriff Bobby Rader said this is a clear example of the outstanding cooperative efforts between the Liberty County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies in networking and the sharing of information to accomplish a mutual goal./p>

 

Sheriff Rader said "we sincerely appreciate the assistance of Tyler County Sheriff Brian Weatherford and his personnel as well as the U.S. Marshal's Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force who made the arrest of this fugitive possible."

 

James Rodney Burnett was arrested on the two outstanding warrants from Liberty County of "Theft of a Firearm" and "Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon."  

 

Judge Jim Moore, Justice Court Pct. 4 of Tyler County, magistrated Burnett where he was then transported back to Liberty County and is currently in the Liberty County jail.

Vidor firefighters extinguish house fire

VIDOR -- Vidor firefighters battled a fire this morning at 835 Orange around 10:15am.The fire started in the carport and spread to the attic of the home.  No one was at home at the time of the fire.


The Vidor Fire Department is still putting out hot spots.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No one was injured in the fire.  



AAA Texas: gas prices expected to keep rising in March

(Coppell, TX) –The average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Texas is now $2.25, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch.

 

That’s eight cents more than last week but $0.97 less than last year.

 

Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in the Lone Star State, drivers in Amarillo and Corpus Christi are paying the most on average at $2.28 per gallon while drivers in Beaumont and Houston are paying the least at $2.21 per gallon. The statewide average is 20 cents less than the national average of $2.45.  

 

Both the Beaumont and Houston region saw a price rise of 8 cents in the last week, the smallest that the Gas Watch found in Texas.

 

Significant price jumps in West Coast markets due to refinery outages and operational issues have kept upward pressure on the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline. Gas prices historically tend to rise during this time of year as refineries nationwide conduct planned seasonal maintenance that can limit fuel production. However, unexpected refinery outages on the West Coast have exacerbated seasonal production declines, and the price at the pump has jumped significantly higher in impacted markets.

 

In Texas, drivers are now paying $31 per for the typical 14-gallon size tank of fuel. That’s about $14 less per tank than last year. 

 

"As we move closer to Spring Break and warmer temperatures on the horizon, demand for fuel is expected to rise as more people fill up to make road trips in the coming weeks,""said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. "We encourage drivers to maximize their fuel efficiency by keeping vehicles maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendations, lightening their load by removing unnecessary weight, and by not driving aggressively."

 

Area

Current 03/05/15

02/26/15

Difference

Year Ago 03/05/14

Difference

Record High Date

Record High Price

National

$2.45

$2.34

0.11

$3.46

-1.01

07/17/08

$4.11

State

$2.25

$2.17

0.08

$3.22

-0.97

07/17/08

$3.98

Amarillo

$2.28

$2.18

0.10

$3.24

-0.96

07/16/08

$3.98

Austin-San Marcos

$2.25

$2.14

0.11

$3.18

-0.93

07/17/08

$3.97

Beaumont

$2.21

$2.13

0.08

$3.16

-0.95

07/16/08

$4.00

Corpus Christi

$2.28

$2.21

0.07

$3.18

-0.90

07/15/08

$3.96

Dallas

$2.27

$2.22

0.05

$3.30

-1.03

07/16/08

$3.98

El Paso

$2.26

$2.15

0.11

$3.29

-1.03

07/17/08

$3.97

Ft. Worth

$2.26

$2.22

0.04

$3.29

-1.03

07/16/08

$3.97

Galveston

$2.22

$2.13

0.09

$3.17

-0.95

07/14/08

$3.97

Houston

$2.21

$2.13

0.08

$3.19

-0.98

07/17/08

$3.96

San Antonio

$2.24

$2.12

0.12

$3.17

-0.93

07/16/08

$3.96

Texarkana

$2.26

$2.20

0.06

$3.25

-0.99

07/17/08

$3.98


Changing times: Ringling Bros. Circus eliminating elephant acts

POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) -- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out the show's iconic elephants from its performances by 2018, telling The Associated Press exclusively that growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

 

Executives from Feld Entertainment, Ringling's parent company, said the decision to end the circus's century-old tradition of showcasing elephants was difficult and debated at length. Elephants have often been featured on Ringling's posters over the decades. The decision is being announced Thursday.

 

"There's been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers," said Alana Feld, the company's executive vice president. "A lot of people aren't comfortable with us touring with our elephants."

 

Within two hours of the announcement, animal rights groups took credit for the decision, saying that the pressure put on the circus ultimately led to Feld's decision.

 

"For 35 years PETA has protested Ringling Bros.' cruelty to elephants," Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement. "We know extreme abuse to these majestic animals occurs every single day, so if Ringling is really telling the truth about ending this horror, it will be a day to pop the champagne corks, and rejoice. ... If the decision is serious, then the circus needs to do it NOW."

 

Feld owns 43 elephants, and 29 of the giant animals live at the company's 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. Thirteen animals will continue to tour with the circus before retiring to the center by 2018. One elephant is on a breeding loan to the Fort Worth Zoo.

 

Another reason for the decision, company President Kenneth Feld said, was that certain cities and counties have passed "anti-circus" and "anti-elephant" ordinances. The company's three shows visit 115 cities throughout the year, and Feld said it's expensive to fight legislation in each jurisdiction. It's also difficult to plan tours amid constantly changing regulations, he said.

 

"All of the resources used to fight these things can be put towards the elephants," Feld said during an interview at the Center for Elephant Conservation. "We're not reacting to our critics; we're creating the greatest resource for the preservation of the Asian elephant."

 

The circus will continue to use other animals - this year it added a Mongolian troupe of camel stunt riders to its Circus Xtreme show. It will likely showcase more motorsports, daredevils and feats of humans' physical capabilities. Ringling's popular Canada-based competitor, Cirque du Soleil, features human acts and doesn't use wild animals.

 

"There are endless possibilities," said Juliette Feld, another executive vice president of the company and a producer of Feld's Marvel Universe Live, Disney on Ice and Monster Jam shows, among others.

 

Feld owns the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America. It costs about $65,000 yearly to care for each elephant, and Kenneth Feld said the company would have to build new structures to house the retiring elephants at the center, located in between Orlando and Tampa on a rural, ranchlike property.

 

Kenneth Feld said initially the center will be open only to researchers, scientists and others studying the Asian elephant.

 

Eventually, he "hopes it expands to something the public will be able to see."

 

"I want everybody's grandkids to be able to see Asian elephants," he said.

 

The center's youngest elephant is Mike, who will be 2 in August, and the oldest is Mysore, who is 69. One elephant, 6-year-old Barack, was conceived by artificial insemination. Since the center opened in 1995, 26 elephants have been born there.

 

Ringling's elephants have been at the center of lawsuits and ongoing complaints from animal rights activists.

 

In 2014, Feld Entertainment won $25.2 million in settlements from a number of animal-rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, ending a 14-year legal battle over unproven allegations that Ringling circus employees mistreated elephants.

 

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2000 by a former Ringling barn helper who was later found to have been paid at least $190,000 by the animal-rights groups that helped bring the lawsuit. The judge called him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility and standing to sue. The judge rejected the abuse claims following a 2009 trial.

 

Kenneth Feld testified during that trial about elephants' importance to the show.

 

"The symbol of the `Greatest Show on Earth' is the elephant, and that's what we've been known for throughout the world for more than a hundred years."

 

When asked by a lawyer whether the show would be the same without the elephants, Feld replied, "No, it wouldn't."

 

This week, Feld said, "Things have changed."

 

"How does a business be successful? By adapting," he said.

 

Feld noted that when his father bought the circus in 1967, there was still a human sideshow featuring acts such as the bearded lady and other human oddities. His father did away with that, he said.

 

"We're always changing and we're always learning," he said.

 

In 2008, Feld acquired a variety of motor sports properties, including monster truck shows, motocross and the International Hot Rod Association, which promotes drag races and other events. In 2010, it created a theatrical motorcycle stunt show called Nuclear Cowboyz. Roughly 30 million people attend one of Feld's 5,000 live entertainment shows every year.

----

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policyand Terms of Use.

 

Cropped Photo: Flickr / Sarah Worthy / MGN    License Info

Lumberton police release name of fatality accident victim

LUMBERTON - Lumberton Police have released the name of a man who died in a crash on Highway 69.

Robert Dale Powers, 47, of Beaumont, was killed in the Wednesday morning crash.

Investigators say Powers was driving south on Highway 69 when his Lexus drifted into the northbound lane and struck an 18 wheeler at about 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Powers died at the scene.

Two people in the other vehicle weren't hurt.

For unknown reasons, the driver of the Lexus drifted into both of the north bound lanes when the head-on collision happened.


Stay tuned to KFDM.com and KFDM News at Noon, 5 and 6pm for updates.


The accident is still under investigation. 


Hwy 69 north bound is still closed and one lane of Hwy 69 south bound is open.  Police are alternating traffic on one south bound lane.  


Police have not released the name of those involved in the accident.


LUMBERTON -- Lumberton PD reports a fatal accident on Hwy 69 near Jordan Dr. in Lumberton involving a Lexus and an 18-wheeler.


When emergency personnel arrived on the scene they discovered the driver of the Lexus died in the accident.  The truck driver was not injured.



KFDM Photographer Kevin Fitch reports from the scene of the Hwy 69 accident that the 18-wheeler was traveling north on Hwy. 69 with a man and woman in the cab..   A male driver was traveling South on Hwy 69 in a Lexus. 


For unknown reasons, the driver of the Lexus drifted into both of the north bound lanes when the head-on collision happened.


Stay tuned to KFDM.com and KFDM News at Noon, 5 and 6pm for updates.


The accident is still under investigation. 


Hwy 69 north bound is still closed and one lane of Hwy 69 south bound is open.  Police are alternating traffic on one south bound lane.  


Police have not released the name of those involved in the accident.


LUMBERTON -- Lumberton PD reports a fatal accident on Hwy 69 near Jordan Dr. in Lumberton involving a Lexus and an 18-wheeler.


When emergency personnel arrived on the scene they discovered the driver of the Lexus died in the accident.  The truck driver was not injured.




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