Mark Haslett

News Director

Mark Haslett comes to KETR having served at High Plains Public Radio in Amarillo, where he worked as News Director and later as Director of Programming. His work has been broadcast on National Public Radio, KERA, KCUR and other public radio stations. Haslett enjoys the privilege and responsibility of keeping communities well-informed. He has also worked as an editor and reporter at newspapers in the Southwest and Midwest. Haslett developed a passion for radio as a youth, when he helped his father, a program host at WRBC-AM in Jackson, Miss. He enjoys travel and has worked abroad in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Haslett is a graduate of Arlington High School and earned a B.A. in English from Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

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JoAnn Hill's home in far northwestern Smith County lost its roof and two of its walls in a May 10 tornado. Hill and her dog survived without injury.
Mark Haslett

The far northwestern corner of Smith County lies between the Van Zandt County and Wood County lines. There, the unincorporated community of Providence lies a few miles west of Mineola. The same storm that produced a tornado that destroyed much of Van on the night of May 10 also created a smaller tornado that damaged homes in Providence.

Two people died and three remain missing as of early evening on May 11 following the tornado that struck Van on the night of May 10.
National Weather Service

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a disaster area in Van Zandt County, following last night's deadly tornado.

A possible tornado caused severe damage in Van on the night of May 10.

UPDATE, 8:33 a.m.

Local officials in Van have announced "multiple fatalities" as a result of the reported tornado that touched down in the eastern Van Zandt County town overnight. The exact number is unknown at this time, officials said.

Earlier on May 11, two people were reported in critical condition and 10 others missing after a line of severe storms hit Van Zandt County on Sunday night, according to hospital and emergency officials.

Original story:

Severe weather across North Texas and East Texas resulted in property damage and injuries on May 10. In Denton County, a tornado touched down in Argyle and that same storm did major damage in Denton on Sunday afternoon.  Later that night, a possible tornado in eastern Van Zandt County touched down in Van and damaged about 30 percent of the town. In Van, 10 people remain missing in the storm’s aftermath, local officials said.

Michael Moore has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Alicia Moore.

The Greenville-Herald Banner has reported that Michael Moore has been found guilty of capital murder in connection with the 2012 death of Alicia Moore of Greenville. The verdict was announced in in the 294th District Court in Van Zandt County court on May 8.

Turnout in off-year, springtime local elections tends to be low.

County and municipal elections will be held on May 9 across Texas. Some local races have inspired interest - from a highly contested mayoral race in Greenville to a ballot measure related to alcohol sales in Delta County. But even in those contests, voter participation will likely be low. 

Tony Ross, 34, died on March 8 following his arrest and detention in Sulphur Springs on March 6.
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The death of a Hopkins County man who died following a heart attack suffered in police custody has been ruled a homicide, according to an autopsy report.

Tony Chance Ross, 34, was arrested and jailed by Sulphur Springs police on March 6 and died in a Tyler hospital on March 8. In the autopsy results, the cause of death is listed as “acute methamphetamine intoxication and physical restraint.” The manner of death is listed as “homicide.”

Hannah Kirby
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Following a successful run on NBC's "The Voice," Hannah Kirby will be honored in her home town of Sulphur Springs. Kirby, 21, has been one of the top performers during this season of the program, a singing-competition-themed reality show.

The public is invited to a ceremony scheduled to begin at noon, May 6, at Sulphur Springs City Hall, 201 N. Davis St. A proclamation declaring May 6 Hannah Kirby Day will be read and a ceremonial key to the city will be presented, city events planner Gus Gustafson said. Light lunch snacks and a celebratory cake will be served, he said.

Both the Texas House and Senate are reviewing laws that would affect the operations of payday loan businesses in Texas.

The idea that payday and auto title lenders in Texas should be more regulated is not a new concept. But while such laws exist at the municipal level in some Texas cities, attempts to pass legislation at the state level have failed. At an April 29 press conference at the state capitol, lawmakers and others presented their support for state laws regulating credit access businesses.

Phillip Allen Jones
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The Hunt County Sheriff’s Department is receiving attention from outside the county for the second time this month. A video showing two Hunt County Sheriff's deputies pushing a handcuffed man into a parked car and onto a parking lot has been making the rounds in news reports and on social media.

The video, released by Dallas-based WFAA-TV, shows Phillip Allen Jones, 28, who was a prisoner of the county jail at the time, being wrestled to the pavement outside the Hunt County Courthouse.

Severe weather is possible across an area stretching from the Texas Panhandle to Northeast Texas.

Severe thunderstorms, and possibly even tornadoes, are possible tonight across much of Texas, particularly in an area that runs from the southern Texas Panhandle though North Texas and Northeast Texas.

The National Weather Service forecasts a risk of severe thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening across parts of the southern Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. "The greatest risk will be across northern Texas," a National Weather Service statement said. "The main threats will be very large hail and damaging winds, with a few tornadoes possible, as well."

Aleksandra Goode told her story of surviving the Holocaust and building a new life in the United States at the Hope Center of Greenville in October 2014.
Mark Haslett / KETR

The Holocaust is memorialized on a number of different days in countries around the world. In Israel this year, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, begins at sundown on April 15 and continues until sundown on April 16.

Aleksandra Goode's story of enduring and surviving the Holocaust continues today in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Keller, where she works with International Guardian Angels Outreach. Goode co-founded the organization, which assists orphaned children in Russia.

Benny Ray Chambliss, Jr., represented the Commerce Animal Shelter at the Apr. 15 hearing at Hunt County Precinct 2 Court in Commerce. Commerce Animal Shelter did not contest the permanent transfer of custody of the dog seized on Apr. 9 to the SPCA of Texa
Mark Haslett / KETR

A Hunt County court has awarded permanent custody of a dog seized from the Commerce Animal Shelter to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas.

The animal, described as a brindle-colored, adult, male, pit-bull mix, was taken from the shelter on Apr. 9 by SPCA of Texas staff, escorted by city and county law enforcement.

An active investigation of practices at the Commerce Animal Shelter prompted the SPCA of Texas to seize a dog from the facility on Apr. 9. "Medical neglect" was cited as the justification for the seizure.
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The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas has seized a dog from the Commerce Animal Shelter, an organizational spokeswoman said. The agency took custody of a dog from the shelter on Apr. 9, according to Maura Davies of the SPCA of Texas. 

The dog was taken from the shelter because of "medical neglect," Davies said. No other details about the animal or its current condition, or its condition at the time of the seizure, were available.

In 2014, Ricky Collins had six two-TD games, including a 48-32 defeat of Eastern New Mexico on Sept. 27 in Portales, N.M.
Joshua Lucero/Portales News-Tribune /

There’s a chance that Texas A&M University-Commerce wide receiver Ricky Collins might be headed for the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers.

An article written by’s Packers reporter featured Collins as a possible participant in Green Bay’s training camp this summer. The story also highlighted Collins’ return to college football after having his collegiate career interrupted in 2012 by family issues.

The highest risk for severe weather on April 9 lies east of Paris and Sulphur Springs.

Northeast Texas should experience strong to severe thunderstorms tonight, with lightning, high winds and large hail being the primary threats expected, according to the National Weather Service.