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NATIONAL
February 23, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
Among the outposts of East Texas, where the battle over drink still rages, Ray and Jean Smith are fighting for tiny Murchison to go "wet. " Owners of the general store, the Smiths have yet to sell a drop of liquor in this farm town named after a Confederate army recruiter. But they say business could use a lift and Murchison, population 600, could use the steady revenue stream. Theirs is a town without a police force or property taxes to pay for one. The days of the cotton gin are long gone.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 30, 2013 | Times wire services
Dallas billionaire and heavyweight GOP political donor Harold Simmons, who gave tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, has died. He was 82. Simmons, born to two school teachers in East Texas, became one of the richest men in the country with interests ranging from energy to chemicals. His spokesman Chuck McDonald said Simmons died Saturday in Dallas but did not disclose the cause. Simmons made his fortune as a Texas corporate raider nicknamed the "Ice Man" after structuring leveraged takeover bids using junk bonds in the 1970s and '80s.
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NEWS
February 28, 1999 | CLAUDIA KOLKER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
East Texas police do things differently than when 45-year-old Sgt. James Carter of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office came of age, poor, in the black part of town. Very differently. Thirty years ago, Carter said, local police saw minorities as a kind of outlet for ceaseless, free-floating cruelty. More than once, Carter recalled, he saw a squad car nearing a black man as he walked down the street and the officers ordering the man to duck his head inside the window.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 26, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
The writer Dagoberto Gilb is a believer in the literature of the American West and in the literature of the Latino United States. He'd prefer not to read any more novels that portray Latino people as stereotypical criminals and bumpkins. His own work - half a dozen books, including short story collections and novels - is a ferocious riposte to those writers and editors who perpetuate a one-dimensional vision of the Latino U.S. Now Gilb is going to bat for Western and Latino lit in a new literary magazine called Huizache that he's started with the help of the Centro Victoria for Mexican Literature, based at the South Texas campus of the University of Houston-Victoria.
NEWS
December 7, 1987 | From Times Wire Services
Tornadoes and heavy rain hit East Texas on Sunday, destroying houses and downing power lines but causing no injuries, authorities said. The tornadoes touched down in the same area where a rash of twisters three weeks ago killed nine people. Dispatcher Troy Freeman of the Anderson County Sheriff's Department said a tornado was reported about 12 miles south of Palestine. "We've had about six houses destroyed, some barns blown away and power lines and trees down, but no injuries," Freeman said.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 1985 | SUZANNE MUCHNIC, Times Art Writer
Think of James Surls as a self-styled tree. His roots tunnel deep into the piney woods of eastern Texas; his branches stretch around the world and into the universe. Gathering inspiration from everything within his reach and from fantasies that spin off into space, he recycles his gleanings into art that's part earthly experience, part cosmic dream.
NEWS
May 9, 2001 | MEGAN K. STACK, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Ugly and evocative, the story seared its way through town: In the deep, lonesome woods south of here, a black man was found dead, hanging from a pine bough. In the month since Clarence Otis Cole's body turned up, an extension cord knotted around his neck, nobody's been able to figure out why he died. Maybe the 43-year-old Sunday school teacher killed himself. Or maybe he didn't. The Texas Rangers and the FBI have opened inquiries into his death. The damage already is deep.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 25, 1991 | JANICE ARKATOV, Janice Arkatov writes about theater for The Times.
Eugene Lee knows well the subject of racism in 1950s Texas. "I grew up in Texas during that period," said Lee, 38, whose new one-act "East Texas Hot Links" is at Hollywood's MET Theatre. "Schools in Ft. Worth weren't integrated until 1967. So I'm part of the 'B.I.'--before integration--transition generation. I watched it all disappear . . . but not really. I saw the 'Whites Only' signs come down, but I can never forget they were there in the first place."
NEWS
September 15, 1996 | SUE ANNE PRESSLEY, WASHINGTON POST
The catfish is not just huge; it is monstrous. To hear Don Allen tell it--and he tells it as often as anyone will listen--it is as big as a small pickup truck, as elusive as a dream, patrolling the deep, clear waters of Lake Livingston like some mustachioed kingpin. Stories abound about the creature, few of them confirmed, all of them part of the folklore of this fishing country--way out in east Texas, where the pine forests are thick and quiet, and alligators slither up the riverbanks.
NEWS
September 25, 1994 | KATIE FAIRBANK, ASSOCIATED PRESS
The proliferation of sex-oriented businesses in this Bible Belt town has protesters photographing patrons and local bars advertising "fully clothed" waiters. In addition to regular topless bars, Longview has all-nude, bring-your-own-booze joints and the East Texas Chicken Ranch, a nude steakhouse named after the inspiration for the Broadway hit "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
NATIONAL
April 18, 2013 | By Rick Rojas
WEST, Texas -- In the dimly lit sanctuary of Assumption Catholic Church, hundreds gathered here to embrace their friends and family, to cry and to pray for answers just about 24 hours after the tragedy that has left this small East Texas town reeling. They tried to take stock of what has unfolded here, and tried to search for the clarity that has evaded them thus far. "Our hearts are hurting, our hearts are broken," said Father Ed Karasek, pastor at the parish. "Our town of West will never be the same, but we will persevere.
NATIONAL
April 5, 2013 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
BEAUMONT, Texas -- Before he started a recent concealed-handgun licensing class, the pastor set out some of his guns at the front of the church hall for students to examine: the Rossi .357 he calls “Old Bessie,”  Ruger .22 and .380, Taurus 9 millimeter, a Regent .45 and an AR-15 assault rifle. “How I got involved with this - it saved my life,” the Rev. James McAbee told the group of about 100 students gathered at the hall after visiting a nearby gun range for the target shooting portion of the 10-hour class.
NATIONAL
August 30, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
LAREDO, Texas - The two cowboys knew the Red Angus calf could be trouble as soon as they spied it cowering behind a green patch of mesquite near a bluff north of the Rio Grande. The calf did not belong here. This land has been closed to cattle for years, and the calf might have crossed in from Mexico where ticks carry a parasite that can kill up to 90% of a herd north of the border. It was up to the cowboys, federal inspectors known as "tick riders," to capture the calf and figure out where it came from.
NATIONAL
May 18, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
HOUSTON -- The Texas Supreme Court has ordered the Lone Star State to pay more than $2 million to a former inmate who spent 26 years in prison for murder, a ruling that could set a precedent for compensating other prisoners whose convictions are overturned.   Billy Frederick Allen, now in his 60s, was convicted of two 1983 Dallas-area murders. Unlike other inmates freed after DNA evidence proved their innocence, Allen was freed in 2009 after a court found problems with witness testimony and his trial attorneys' representation.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2012 | By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Early in the movie "Bernie," a character describes the distinct regions of Texas with an on-screen map as a guide, noting that East Texas is "where the South begins. This is life behind the Pine Curtain. " It is against that specific regional identity that the film's darkly comic tale of murder amid the rhythms of small-town life takes place. "Having grown up there, that map is really the spiel I give people when they ask, 'What does East Texas look like?'" said filmmaker Richard Linklater, a lifelong Texas resident who has made films such as "Slacker" and "The Newton Boys" explicitly set in the state.
NATIONAL
February 23, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
Among the outposts of East Texas, where the battle over drink still rages, Ray and Jean Smith are fighting for tiny Murchison to go "wet. " Owners of the general store, the Smiths have yet to sell a drop of liquor in this farm town named after a Confederate army recruiter. But they say business could use a lift and Murchison, population 600, could use the steady revenue stream. Theirs is a town without a police force or property taxes to pay for one. The days of the cotton gin are long gone.
NEWS
December 2, 2007 | Paul J. Weber, Associated Press
Living near the dense pine woods where some believe Bigfoot still covertly skulks, escaped convict Deborah Ann Gavin Murphey perhaps thought she too wouldn't be found. When she was arrested by U.S. marshals last month, it was 33 years after she slipped out of a Georgia prison. For someone on the lam since 1974, the 53-year-old Murphey could hardly have picked a better geographical spot to hole up. "It does seem that fugitives congregate here," said Corey Britt, a deputy with the U.S.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 15, 2009 | Paula L. Woods
Like gold standard writers Elmore Leonard and the late Donald Westlake, Joe R. Lansdale is one of the more versatile writers in America. Over a span of 30 years, he's written well over a dozen mystery, suspense, western and sci-fi novels and short stories with detours into graphic novels and horror. The notice from critics has been impressive -- garnering Lansdale praise for prose "as tasty as a well-cured piece of beef jerky" (the Houston Chronicle) and awards as varied as multiple Bram Stokers for horror fiction and an Edgar for the moody, stand-alone mystery "The Bottoms."
NATIONAL
February 25, 2009 | Howard Witt
Only a few weeks ago, race relations had reached such a low point in the troubled East Texas town of Paris that federal Justice Department mediators were called in to try to bring together black and white citizens, but the public meeting quickly dissolved into rancor.
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