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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Texas county burn bans as of Aug. 11, 2015.
Texas A&M University Forest Service

Kaufman County and Van Zandt County have implemented bans on outdoor burning, as hot and dry conditions intensify throughout Texas.

Grass fires have presented a problem throughout North and Northeast Texas in recent days. On Aug. 10, a three-alarm fire south of Lone Oak, in Hunt County, firefighters from the Lone Oak, Cash, Point, West Tawakoni and Campbell fire departments combined forces to battle a blaze that consumed 18 acres, including 60 hay bales, a tractor and a hay baler, according to Hunt County Fire Marshal Richard Hill.

The swampy areas around Caddo Lake and Lake o' the Pines have had the lowest rainfall totals compared to average local conditions.
National Drought Mitigation Center

The rains of spring are but a memory, and a familiar presence has returned to Texas: Drought.

The most recent federal data for the Lone Star State shows that while it’s mainly precipitation as usual in the bone-dry western half of Texas, the more humid eastern part of the state has been deprived of rainfall.

The Ark-La-Tex region has the lowest precipitation totals compared to average local conditions, with the driest area in the vicinity of Lake o’ the Pines and Caddo Lake.

A vacant property between Farmersville and Lake Lavon is the site of a proposed Muslim cemtery.
Mark Haslett

A proposed Muslim cemetery between Farmersville and Lake Lavon has resulted in concern among locals. Media organizations from The Huffington Post to England’s Daily Mail have run stories on the issue. Currently, the permitting processed has been paused, while the City of Farmersville waits on a plat map of the project from the Islamic Association of Collin County.

Audio transcript

Lucas Hill
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A former Cumby schoolteacher has been indicted on charges of child sexual exploitation.

Lucas R. Hill, 38, of Sulphur Springs, has been charged with producing child pornography, enticing a minor and transferring obscene matter to a child younger than 16.

Law enforcement officers followed up on a tip from a family who found an unknown person had made a Facebook account using pictures of their minor son. An investigation led to Hill.

Lindy Guest of Red River County speaks in opposition to the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir on July 14 in Mount Pleasant.
Mark Haslett

The Marvin Nichols Reservoir proposal is decades old, but this summer, there’s a new twist to the old plan. A new version of the lake would make it less than half the size that the original proposal designed. KETR’s Mark Haslett reports.

Audio transcript:

Clarksville City Manager Wayne Dial addresses members of the Texas Water Development Board Region D Planning Group in Mount Pleasant on July 14.
Mark Haslett

Clarksville public officials have a message for regional water planners: Give us options.

The Texas Water Development Board’s Region D group, which serves Northeast Texas, hosted a public forum on July 14 at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center.

Many of the 14 people who addressed the planning group presented their continued opposition to the Marvin Nichols reservoir proposal. If built, the project would flood thousands of acres of bottomland hardwood forest along the Sulphur River between Titus County and Red River County.

Matthew Jay West, 15, of Quinlan, was struck by an unknown vehicle on SH 276 on July 6.
Google Maps

Local law enforcement are searching for a vehicle which struck and killed a teenager walking along State Highway 276 Monday night, before leaving the scene, according to a Greenville Herald-Banner report.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Kyle Bradford said Matthew Jay West, 15, of Quinlan, died as the result of the crash.

In the patchwork of insurance coverage, a hospital can be "in network," but still offer "out of network" services.

There’s a new law in Texas that could help people who receive unexpectedly high medical bills due to inconsistencies in their health insurance policy.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other state's leaders have been trying to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to better define which waters it protects.
Texas Public Radio

In the six months before Ken Paxton won election as Texas attorney general last fall, he stayed largely out of sight. Under an ethical cloud amid claims of financial fraud, he avoided public events and rarely spoke to reporters, coasting to victory as part of new Republican leadership including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. 

Two people are reported dead following the crash of a small plane near Quinlan, in southern Hunt County.
Brad Kellar / Greenville Herald-Banner

Update, 3:24 p.m.: The aircraft in a fatal crash near Quinlan this morning has been identified as a Piper PA-24, which was reported to have taken off from the nearby T14 Rockin M airport.

George Harris (left) and Jack Evans (right) signed their marriage license June 26 in Dallas. They have been together for more than 50 years.

In Northeast Texas, county government offices have been reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country in the same way that most of Texas is reacting: Slowly, but in compliance with federal law.

Shortly after the court’s announcement on the morning of June 26, Scott Bell and Valentin Fleitas were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license at the Lamar County courthouse in Paris. Three marriage licenses were issued by Lamar County by the end of the day.

Heavy rainfall is expected along the I-35 corridor in North Texas today.

A tropical depression is expected to make its way across North Texas and adjacent regions this morning.

Most of Northeast Texas is forecast to get about 4" of rain through Friday, with 5"-7" expected for the Dallas area.

If you live in Northeast Texas, the projected effects of Tropical Storm Bill are simple: The farther west you are, the more rain you’re likely to get.

Road maintenance is a major responsibility of Texas Counties.
StateImpact Texas

An effort to overhaul the county revenue system in Texas didn't get very far in the 2015 Texas Legislature. Lonnie Hunt, a former Houston County judge and current County Relations Officer for the Texas Association of Counties, says that he understands the frustration with the high property taxes that fund county budgets. However, he also points out that Texans pay more in sales taxes than in property taxes.    

Performing the exercise on the track – which had been heated by day-long sunshine and temperatures approaching 90 degrees – caused some of the students to suffer second-degree burns, WFAA reported.
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Some parents of Rains Junior High School students are upset about a punishment that resulted in minor to injuries to several students.

Dallas-based WFAA-TV reported that about a dozen students were made by a teacher to “bear crawl” on an outdoor athletics track as punishment for “horsing around” in the bathroom. The name of the teacher, a Physical Education instructor, has not been released.

Bear-crawling is an activity designed to strengthen midsection muscles and involves crawling with only hands and feet touching the ground or floor.