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 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.

Sulphur Springs school officials have issued an apology and said they are investigating the incident.

Two Sulphur Springs Middle School teachers who thought some end-of-year “joke” awards would be funny later found that others were less than amused.

Dallas-based KDFW-TV reported that teachers Tim Couch and Stephanie Garner distributed “8th Annual Ghetto Classroom Awards” to an eighth-grade Special Education class.

Jerrika Wilkins, the mother of one of the students in the class, posted a photograph of the award given to her son, which was “The ‘huh?’ Award,” apparently given because the boy said “Huh?” frequently during class.

The SPCA of Texas removed over 100 cats and dogs from an unnamed facility in Hunt County on June 4.
SPCA of Texas

Update, June 5, 3:57 p.m.:

SPCA of Texas spokesperson Maura Davies has said that the June 4 transfer of animals happened at a location in Commerce. Because of the possibility that criminal charges might be filed, the SPCA of Texas is not releasing any other identifying information about the location or the people involved, other than that the animals were taken from a "rescue group."

One employee from the Hunt County Precinct 2 Constable's office was present during yesterday's event, Davies said.

“The end result of this will be to make it harder to get knowledgeable people to work in the procurement and contracting area, which undercuts the overall intent of the bill,” one engineering-industry official said.
Texas Public Radio

A provision, tucked in a bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott's signature, aimed at reducing conflicts of interest in state contracting is drawing concerns among state employees, particularly at the Texas Department of Transportation. 

FM 100 at Bois d’Arc Creek north of Honey Grove has been closed due to flooding.
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information updated at 2:40 p.m on Wed., May 27

Fannin County

FM 100 at Bois d’Arc Creek north of Honey Grove

Hopkins County

FM 71 east of Commerce at South Sulphur River

FM 900 north of Saltillo

Lamar County

US 271 at Red River is open but down to one lane each direction, closure possible if Red River rises

Red River County

FM 410 west of SH 37 near Red River

FM 1159 east of SH 37 at Collier Creek

Paris Junior College has campuses in Paris, Greenville and Sulphur Springs.
Paris Junior College

After enrollment in Texas community colleges peaked at 732,681 in 2011, that number has dropped to 694,881 as of fall 2014. That decline means fewer total hours spent in classrooms, which is the criterion used by the state to fund community colleges. Paris Junior College has made significant budget cuts since the 2011 legislature made enormous cuts to community college budgets. Paris Junior College president Dr. Pamela Anglin says that PJC's funding should remain close to that which was allocated by the 2013 legislature.

The carrying of concealed handguns by those holding a state license in buildings on university campuses across the state will be legal on Aug. 1.

Supporters of campus carry will  be fighting against the clock on Tuesday when the Texas House takes up previously delayed legislation requiring public universities and colleges to allow concealed handguns on their campuses. 

After a month of discussion over whether to attach campus carry to another piece of gun legislation — an effort to squeeze the controversial measure through — House lawmakers opted to consider the bill, Senate Bill 11, on its own.  

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.