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  • DPS: No citations issued in Hwy 277-FM 707 motorcycle accident

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 04:35:17 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 04:32:51 PM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    No citations will be issued as a result of Wednesday’s motorcycle accident at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 277 and FM 707, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman said Thursday.

    According to DPS, the accident occurred when a Taylor County Sheriff’s Office unit traveling north on FM 707 went through a stop sign and “into the intersection” and the motorcyclist heading north on Hwy 277 swerved to miss the vehicle.

    DPS spokesman Frederick Biddle said the motorcycle driver – identified as Ronald Olsen – lost control and “laid (the motorcycle) over.”

    The motorcycle didn't hit the sheriff’s unit, DPS troopers said.

    Olsen was taken to Abilene Regional Hospital for treatment after sustaining “some road rash” and having “skinned his head,” Biddle said, noting Olsen wasn’t wearing a helmet.

    According to a Taylor County Sheriff's Office spokesman, the incident will be reviewed by an Incident Review Board and "their findings along with any disciplinary recommendations will be forwarded to the Sheriff (Ricky Bishop) for consideration."

    Disciplinary action could include no action being taken, verbal counseling, a written reprimand, suspension or termination, the spokesman said.

  • Ex-Abilene ISD Superintendent Heath Burns pleads guilty, sentenced

    Published On: Aug 26 2015 11:29:43 AM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 11:06:45 AM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    Ex-Abilene ISD Superintendent Heath Burns pleaded guilty Wednesday to failure to report child abuse by a professional and possession of a controlled substance by fraud.

    Burns was sentenced to three years of probation, ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and instructed to turn over his Texas educator certificate, District Attorney James Eidson said in a news release.

    "As far as their career in a Texas public school -- it's over," said DeEtta Culbertson, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency. "You have to have a certification to teach in a Texas public school, and when you lose that certification, you're no longer authorized to teach in a Texas classroom or to hold a position of authority in a Texas public school."

    If Burns violates his probation, he could face two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 for each case, Eidson said.

    He appeared in 104th District Court on Wednesday morning. He waived indictment and pleaded guilty to the two felony charges.

    Burns, before suddenly resigning in February, was criticized for the district’s handling of cases involving alleged improper relationships between educators and students.

    The failure to report child abuse by a professional case involved Breanne Brown, a 30-year-old former Abilene High teacher who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old on at least 10 occasions.

    Another case, which wasn't part of the guilty plea, involved Michael Trook, a 30-year-old former dean of health sciences at Holland Medical High School who was arrested for allegedly having sex with a student.

    In addition, prosecutors say Burns last year obtained about 3,400 hydrocodone pills from two different physicians, who were unaware of each other's prescriptions.

    Burns went to the probation office immediately after pleading guilty. KTXS caught up with him at the old Taylor County courthouse, but he refused to answer any questions.

    Burns' attorney did not respond to phone calls for comment.

  • Petition started to keep 'piano man' at ACU's cafeteria

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 12:47:53 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 07:23:54 AM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    Abilene Christian University's cafeteria, known as The World Famous Bean, will be a little quieter this year.

    That's because the piano man won't be there.

    Mike Schuler -- the piano man, as he's known -- started playing for students in the Bean at ACU 22 years ago.

    “That's a big part of my life and what I've done,” Schuler said. “It's the longest job I've ever had.”

    ACU said they couldn’t offer the piano man a contract this year because they needed the space.

    “We're at a historic time in ACU's history,” said Jason Groves, director of communications for the university. “We have the second largest incoming class. We have a record retention rate with students returning.”

    The students have become some of his biggest fans.

    “You wake up in the morning, you come eat breakfast, and there's some light piano in the background,” said ACU freshman Robert Tucker. “He's playing Disney songs, the Jurassic Park theme, and all kinds of crazy stuff.”

    “It’s just real fun, and [Schuler] kept a real happy vibe about it.”

    “It was just a nice environment, a pleasant sight to see, a good thing to hear,” Nathan Vela, an ACU sophomore, said. “He'd play anything for you.”

    Now there are tables and chairs on the stage where the piano man used to play.

    Groves said while ACU loved having the piano man, the growth didn't leave room for a piano.

    Fans disagree. They started an online petition to get him back, and so far it has more than 1,300 signatures.

    “If we could do anything about it now, I would love to see him back,” Tucker said.

    “The piano man's got to be there,” Vela said. “We need him back. We could make space for the piano man.”

    “People there miss me,” said Schuler. “I miss them, too. I'd really like to get back there.”

    Schuler worked on a year to year contract with ACU, and he said losing the job at ACU will mean a significant pay cut.

    The piano man said he’ll get by performing at other businesses and private events.

    For now, though, ACU students are in the mood for a melody.

  • 2 Big Country men sentenced to federal prison for child porn

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 05:07:08 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 07:23:11 AM CDT
    Charles Coci, Rockey Koonce

    Charles Coci, Rockey Koonce

    ABILENE, Texas -

    Two Big Country men were sentenced to federal prison terms for possessing child pornography Thursday in Abilene.

    27-year-old Charles Coci of Abilene entered a guilty plea in April 2015 for searching for and downloading child pornography on his laptop. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with Homeland Security, the Abilene Police Department, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations investigated the case.

    Rockey Koonce, 40, of Lueders also entered a guilty plea in April 2015 for downloading child pornography on his laptop. FBI agents worked with the Wichita Falls Police Department and the Stamford Police Department to investigate the case.

    U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis presided over the sentencing. Coci was sentenced to eight and a half years in federal prison, Koonce was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison.

    Both men were caught as part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative to fight child sexual exploitation and abuse. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Sucsy prosecuted.

  • Bread recalled in 11 states due to broken light bulb

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 06:20:58 AM CDT   Updated On: Aug 27 2015 09:55:57 AM CDT
    Butter, margarine, bread


    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -

    A broken light bulb is causing a recall of bread in 11 states due to the possibility of broken glass fragments in the bread.

    The bread is sold under the names Sara Lee, Kroger, Bimbo, Nature's Harvest, Great Value and L'Oven Fresh. The states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Most of the brands are being recalled in fewer than those 11 states.

    Bimbo Bakeries USA says there had been three reports of pieces of glass on the outside of the bread. There were no reported injuries.

    Customers who bought the recalled bread can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

  • Sweetwater opens season with big win over Lubbock High

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 11:10:29 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 04:18:47 PM CDT

    Highlights of Sweetwaters huge win in the first game of the 2015 high school football season against Lubbock high on Thursday, August 27th.

  • Woman, officer dead in Louisiana standoff

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 04:12:50 AM CDT

    Police in Louisiana say a man killed a police officer with the officer’s own gun after stabbing three women -- including his wife. The officer and a woman are now dead.

  • Sands beats Rotan in 45-point rule

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 11:12:05 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 12:50:50 AM CDT

    Highlights of Rotan vs Sands in week 0 of High School football regular season action on Thursday, August 27th.

  • Knox city greyhounds take it to Follett 54-8

    Published On: Aug 27 2015 11:11:16 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 28 2015 12:55:42 AM CDT

    Highlights from Knox City's big win over Follett in week 0 of the High School football season on Thursday, August 27th.

  • Wine festival gets underway next month in Grapevine

    Published On: Aug 26 2015 08:59:50 AM CDT   Updated On: Aug 26 2015 09:08:18 AM CDT