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Flash Flood Warning for parts of Houston area and surrounding counties

HOUSTON - A number of counties in the Houston area are under a Flash Flood Warning until mid morning Friday.

Watch KFDM Weather and stay with kfdm.com for our updated forecast.

The warning doesn't include Jefferson County or nearby counties. Our rain chances should diminish by Friday afternoon and remain low this weekend.

The warning includes Chambers, Harris, Liberty and Montgomery counties until 10:45 a.m. Friday.

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 10:30 a.m. for Austin, Fort Bend and Waller counties.

A Flash Flood Watch for the entire Houston area has been extended until 10 p.m. Friday.

 

People line up for release of iPhone 6

SOUTHEAST TEXAS - People are lining up across Southeast Texas and many other places for the release of the iPhone 6.

KFDM's Kara Dixon was at a Verizon store on Dowlen Road near the mall in Beaumont early Friday morning to talk with customers waiting for the new phone.

Watch for Kara's reports in our newscasts.

The line wrapped around the store while we were there before Verizon opened.


 

Southeast Texas game wardens help search for deputy missing in Austin area floodwaters

JASPER COUNTY - By Steve W Stewart/KJAS and Rayburn Broadcasting Company

Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens from Jasper County and the surrounding area are among those who are responding to the Austin area to search for a missing Travis County Deputy, who was swept away in the rushing water of a flash flood.

Jasper County Game Wardens who are on the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dive Team, which includes local Warden Justin Eddins, are headed to the area to begin searching.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Department said the 7-year veteran female deputy, whose name has not been released, was near the Colorado River just south of Mansfield Dam shortly before 2:00 on Thursday morning, searching for anyone who needed to be rescued.

The department said their last radio traffic from her came at 1:52 a.m. when she told 911 Communications Officers that her car was being swept away in the water, but they heard nothing else from her. The department said at 2:06 a.m., other deputies found her patrol car submerged in water, and shortly after that the water receded enough to reveal that no one was in the vehicle, and the windows were either open or had been broken out by the water.

Search crews using boats and helicopters have been searching since the deputy disappeared, but so far there’s no sign of her.

New BISD board decides to part ways with BISD Police Chief Clydell Duncan
BEAUMONT - The Beaumont school district’s new board voted to terminate BISD police chief Clydell Duncan's contract. The board also suspended him without pay.

The superintendent would not elaborate on what prompted the termination of Clydell Duncan’s contract, however, spokesperson for the district, Nakisha Myles, says he did not have the proper certification.

About a dozen officers from the department joined community members at Thursday’s meeting but many left when the board of managers postponed the vote on the police department's future. The decision to terminate Duncan’s contract came at the end of the meeting.

Judge sentences former high-ranking BISD employees

BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull

Two former high-ranking Beaumont school district employees are preparing to spend years in federal prison for stealing more than $4 million.

Federal Judge Ron Clark sentenced former BISD director of finance Devin McCraney, 35, to 68 months in federal prison and former comptroller Sharika Allison, 43, to 46 months. The judge ordered them to pay restitution for the money they took.

A federal grand jury indicted the pair in January on 18 counts of embezzling the money through a series of wire transfers. McCraney pled guilty to fraud upon programs receiving federal funds. Allison pled guilty to conspiracy.

The sentencing hearings are the result of an investigation that has led to charges against others linked to BISD and questions about mismanagement in the district, prompting a state takeover

It all started in November 2013 when FBI agents raided the BISD headquarters and the homes of McCraney and Allison. The two were charged with embezzling more than $4 million from the Beaumont Independent School District. After more than a year of investigations, the pair learned their fate Thursday morning at the federal courthouse.

Devin McCraney arrived first and said nothing. Inside, it was a different story. He apologized to the community and said he made no excuses.

“It hurts me to see the hurt I caused other people,” McCraney said. “I know the damage I’ve done can’t be undone.”

His attorney, Todd Clemons, asked the judge for leniency in the sentence, pointing to McCraney’s past. Clemons said the defendant grew up in an abusive environment, was the first college graduate from his family and had achieved Eagle Scout status.

“He took full responsibility for what he did. He made a very, very poor choice, or several poor choices, but Devin’s a good man, he’s a good, kind man, he’s got a huge heart,” Clemons said afterward.

Clemons also argued McCraney’s actions didn’t constitute a “sophisticated scheme.”

“They weren’t vulnerable at all and this wasn’t sophisticated,” Clemons said, referring to the school district. “He simply took money out of a checking account and nobody was looking at the checking account and he did it several times.”  

Judge Clark explained how wire transfers to a fake business and concealing numbers through notations supported calling it a sophisticated scheme.

Prosecutors then argued for a more severe sentence, citing his position in the district and lifestyle.

“McCraney spent three years of his life living like a rock star,” the attorney told the judge

Before reading the sentence, Judge Clark told McCraney, “Given your history and background, this case is particularly sad,” explaining how the community needed leaders.

He then sentenced McCraney to 68 months in federal prison.

Next up was Sharika Allison. She had no comment walking into the courthouse and declined to make a statement in the courtroom when given the opportunity.

Her attorney also argued for a lesser sentence, telling the judge the idea to come up with the fake business in his client’s name wasn’t her idea and that she received and profited from less than $1 million of the $4 million embezzled. He also argued that her actions didn’t constitute a sophisticated scheme.

As he did in the sentencing of McCraney, Judge Clark held that Allison’s actions were a sophisticated scheme.

Unlike McCraney’s case, prosecutors did not object to a less severe sentence, citing her cooperation during FBI raids.

The judge then sentenced her to 46 months in prison.

As Allison and her supporters left the courthouse, tensions boiled over. Some became physical, shoving members of the media.

Both McCraney and Allison have until Oct. 21, 2014 to report to federal prison or the U.S. Marshal’s office. If they fail to report on time, they could face additional prison time. McCraney asked to serve his time near Westlake, Louisiana, where he has family. Allison asked to serve near Bryan/College Station.
 
While McCraney and Allison wait to hear where they’ll serve their sentences, the district is left to look to the future to solve some of the problems the pair created.

“It’s a step definitely in moving forward, not only the school district but the Beaumont community as well,” BISD communications specialist Nakisha Myles said.

Several other people linked to BISD are facing charges from a federal and state investigation that is continuing.


Watch first Texas gubernatorial debate at 6 p.m. Friday on KFDM.com -- between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis
KFDM News - The stage is set for the historic first debate between Texas gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Greg Abbott and Senator Wendy Davis. They will square off at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance in the Rio Grande Valley.

The two will duke it out over key issues like abortion, immigration, border security and education.

You can watch the entire debate live online. If you have questions for the candidates, use the hashtag #rgvdebate on Twitter.

This is the first time in 14 years that Texas will elect a new governor. The debate will last one hour and rules have been pre approved by both participants.

Representatives from each side participated in a coin toss to decide who will answer the first debate question and who will ask the first candidate to candidate question. Each question will have a response time of one minute, and each rebuttal will have a response time of 45 seconds.

Wendy Davis won the coin toss and opted to start the debate by answering the first question. As a result,Greg Abbott will have the final remarks by going last for closing statements.

A great twist will be the candidate to candidate questions which are sure to set off some fireworks as Abbott and Davis battle one another over the airwaves with attack commercials.

McCraney gets 68 months in federal prison, Allison, 46 months, $4 million restitution jointly, no fines

(10 a.m update) BEAUMONT - A federal judge has sentenced Devin McCraney to 68 months in federal prison and Sharika Allison to 46 months, and ordered them, jointly, to pay $4,041,705.27 in restitution. The judge didn't fine the defendants.

KFDM's Haley Bull is covering the sentencing. Watch KFDM and stay with kfdm.com for updates.

Judge Ron Clark sentenced Devin McCraney at about 10:00 a.m. Thursday and Sharika Allison's sentencing followed at about 11:30 a.m.

He has to report to the U.S. Marshal's Service or federal prison by 2 p.m. October 21. He requested a prison near near Westlake, Louisiana where he has family. 

Allison must also report to the U.S. Marshal's Service or federal prison by the same date, October 21. She has requested placement in the Bryan/College Station area.

McCraney is the former BISD Director of Finance. He pled guilty to fraud upon programs receiving federal funds. The sentencing range was 57-71 months. He could have faced up to 10 years in prison based on the original charge and prior to the pre-sentencing report.

Allison pled guilty to conspiracy. She faced a sentencing range from 46-57 months. She could have received up to 5 years in federal prison based on the original charge and prior to the pre-sentencing report.

Prosecutors say the pair embezzled $4 million from BISD.


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Scots reject independence in historic vote

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) -- Scottish voters have rejected independence, deciding to remain part of the United Kingdom after a historic referendum that shook the country to its core.

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DARRELL HAMMOND TO TAKE OVER SNL ANNOUNCER'S ROLE FOR LATE DON PARDO

NEW YORK (AP) -- It's a new gig -- and an old one -- for Darrell Hammond.

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MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION-POLL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new poll indicates that lots of folks in Washington, D.C.

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IN THE NEWS: HOME DEPOT BREACH WAS EXTENSIVE

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's largest home improvement retailer now is confirming it is the victim of one of the largest data thefts in U.S.

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