Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Rodriguez

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–The Athens City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Philip Rodriguez at the July 25 meeting.
Rodriguez, who has been city manager for about two years, leaves to take a city manager position in Brighton, Colo., his home state. During his tenure in Athens nearly $13 million of capital improvements have begun, including the Cain Center revamp and major work to the water system.
In his resignation letter, Rodriguez detailed accomplishments made and said, “We did all of this and more while establishing a truly impressive city staff that is one of the most capable group of professionals and public servants I have ever worked with.”
Although his resignation is effective Sept. 10, it was announced at the city council meeting that his responsibility for the City of Athens would end on Aug. 8. Rodriguez thanked council members and the city for the opportunity and said a special thanks in his letter to former mayor Jerry Don Vaught for his “consistent support and mentorship.”
Athens Chamber of Commerce President had high praise for Rodriguez. “In the time that I’ve been a part of the Athens community, first with Cain Center and now the chamber, Philip has been very supportive. He is someone I’ve enjoyed working with and I’m very thankful for his service to the Athens community and his part in helping to move things to a place where good things are happening all around.”
Councilman Ed McCain said, “Philip and his family are going home to Colorado. I am very happy for him and he has done a really great job. But I am positive and forward looking. This is a great opportunity for Athens to get even better.”
McCain told The News that Athens has a great city staff and the city is primed for a great next 10 years with projects that are well underway and will be completed in a fiscally responsible manner. He also stated the city has a great possibility for an interim city manager.
Two Athens police officers were presented Life Saving Awards for rescuing a trapped resident during an early-morning structure fire in a multi-story building June 28. Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith were the first to arrive on the scene and once they ascertained that there was indeed a trapped resident, they went into action to rescue her. Chief Buddy Hill said, “Without regard to their own personal safety, they pushed past the flames, entered the burning structure, located the resident and removed her.” Both officers and the resident were treated for smoke inhalation but no lasting damage.
Athens Fire Chief John McQueary praised the officers for their extreme bravery in rescuing the woman. “Those flames put out 1,200 degrees of heat and without protective gear or specialized training, they went in. All they saw was a life that needed to be saved.”
When a citizen’s request for de-annexation of his property came before the council, much discussion ensued. This was not the first time this had been brought before the council and was denied in November, 2016. The issue concerns a 31-acre tract of land (Tract 4A Abstract 135 D Cherry Sur) which the property owner was not aware was within city limits as a Lake Athens property when he purchased it.
Property owner Tom Potthoff wishes to develop the land for four homes. The city provides no services to the acreage, some 40 miles outside the city. After presentations by Potthoff and Planning and Development, council members voiced differing opinions and the item was tabled.
In other business, council members:
• heard a resolution presented by Councilwoman Toni Clay honoring Richard “Dick” Dwelle for 63 years of outstanding service to the people of Athens. Dwelle was instrumental in founding the Henderson County United Way, Keep Athens Beautiful, the Athens Industrial Foundation, the Public Library Fund and the Civic Center and Park Fund, serving on several of their boards. Dwelle passed away in June.
• agreed to allow heavy vehicles in commercial property by special-use permit so a business selling new and used trucks may operate on US 175.

Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Log Cabin City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo (right) admiinisters oath of office to new City Councilperson Rodney Allen. Allen replaces Jennifer Williams who resigned.

Log Cabin City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo (right) admiinisters oath of office to new City Councilperson Rodney Allen. Allen replaces Jennifer Williams who resigned.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
LOG CABIN–Log Cabin City Council accepted the resignation of council member Jennifer Williams and appointed Rodney Allen to take her place at the regular meeting on July 20 at the Log Cabin City Municipal Building.
The council approved some important changes to the payment of water bills and court costs which take effect Sept. 1. Water bill payments will be accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon Monday
through Thursday. The policy was also amended to no longer accept cash for payment of water or court bills. Payment may be made by check, money order or credit/debit card.
Councilperson Judy Bearden told the assembly “This will make it more efficient and save time for the office personnel.” When asked what would happen if someone brought in a payment after hours, she answered, “They can put it in the drop box and it will not affect the bill being late.” The group was told there would be no change in the service fee for using a credit card.
The change will be communicated to residents via signs on the Municipal Building, newsletter and a notice on the water bill.
The council also accepted a bid for repair of the water system in the amount of $19,890 from Cates Welding for repair of the 30,000-gallon ground storage tank with the stipulation that the bid expected next week is not lower. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) informed the city of the violation during a routine inspection and are allowing the city time to make the repair before charging for the violation. The council did not want to wait another month to take action since at this point, they were not being charged a penalty for non-compliance. The bid was the lower of two they had received.
In other business, council members:
• approved hiring Amberlea Commino as a part-time park attendant
• adopted the investment policy for small cities as their official investment policy. City Secretary Belynda Figueriedo informed the council that by state law, they must have an investment policy in place even if they don’t have money to invest.
• renewed the church lease for the current rate of $400 per month at a one-year term.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—During the superintendent’s report portion of the Board of Trustees meeting, Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry voiced his disagreement with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s recent position on school funding.
According to an article in the Texas Tribune, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick laid out a proposal to give teachers bonuses and increase their retirement benefits, with plans to pay for both long-term using money from the Texas lottery.
Patrick’s plan, in part, would provide $600 to $1,000 bonuses to long-term and retired teachers, inject $200 million into the Teacher Retirement System, give $150 million to struggling small, rural districts, and provide $60 million for new facilities for fast-growth school districts and charter schools.
Currently, about $1.3 billion annually, or 27 percent of lottery funds, goes to public schools. Patrick is currently proposing taking the $700 million from that $1.3 billion to fund raises and bonuses, rather than reallocating additional lottery revenue.
The fact that no additional funds are being allocated by the state to provide increased salaries and bonuses for teachers is what Perry takes issue with. “It is disturbing to me that a politician will tell educators that they don’t have their priorities right. Our teachers and administrators have our children’s best interests at heart all the time.”
Patrick had called on school districts to reprioritize 5 percent of their funds over the next four years to increase teacher salaries. Districts, he said, “have to be better about how they spend the money. They have to put more focus on teachers.”
Perry said, addressing the board, “Patrick is telling you that you’re not doing a very good job supporting our teachers.”
Perry also told the board he met with Senator Robert Nichols and discussed with him the dire nature of insurance costs for teacher and retirees and that for many teachers, coverage is simply unaffordable.
In other business, board members:
• heard that Ideal Impact had high praise for the district’s efforts in saving energy and savings realized for March and April were $5,000,
• an audit of the school lunch program is expected this year,
• approved expenditure in the amount of $4,233 to solve the ongoing issue at the Rock building,
• discussed installing an awning at the back of Malakoff Elementary and tabled the decision until the facility committee could investigate options and advise and
• heard the results of the School Safety and Security Audit which is much improved over previous years.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Summer is a season of relaxation, especially for school-aged children who are not yet old enough to work. Such youngsters no doubt enjoy the chance to spend summer days lounging poolside or at the beach, all without a care in the world or any homework to complete.
Though summer is synonymous with R&R, parents of young athletes who hope to compete in scholastic athletics when the school year begins in autumn may need to take steps to ensure their children are not at risk of injury once the curtain comes up on fall sports season.
Examine and replace equipment if necessary. The right equipment can protect children from injury and help them realize their full athletic potential. But damaged or outdated equipment can increase children’s risk of injury. Examine your child’s equipment long before fall sports season begins so you have time to bargain hunt should anything need to be replaced.
Schedule a physical for your child. Many school districts mandate that athletes receive and pass physicals before they can compete. Speak with the athletic director at your childs school to learn the guidelines that govern athletic physicals. The physical will need to be conducted by a predetermined date, but you may also need the physical to be conducted after a certain date for it to be considered valid. Speak with your childs physician if any problems are found during the physical.
Let children heal. Children’s schedules are busier than ever before, and many youngsters play several sports during the school year. Summer vacation may be the only extended period all year that youngsters bodies get to heal. While it is important that children stay physically active throughout the summer, make sure they don’t overdo it, as you should emphasize the importance of rest.
Gradually get back in the swing of things. While rest gives children’s bodies a chance to heal and develop, it is important that young athletes stay in shape over the summer. As the fall sports season draws near, help children gradually get back in the swing of things. Tryouts tend to be physically demanding, so children who have not lifted a finger all summer may be at risk of injury or missing the cut. Let children ease back into regular exercise to make sure they are not starting from scratch come their first tryout.
Speak with coaches. Coaches can be great assets to parents who want to make sure their youngsters enjoy the summer without sacrificing their chances of making the team in the fall. Speak with your child’s coaches to determine if there is any area your son or daughter can work on over the summer to improve his or her chances of making the team. Make sure kids are the ones leading the charge to improve their games; otherwise, they may feel pressured into doing so and that can take away the fun of playing sports.
Scholastic athletes should take advantage of the opportunity to relax and recover that summer presents. But athletes who hope to compete in the fall can still work with their parents to ensure they’re ready once the school year and sports season begins.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

AthensCCCMYK
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Reporting day is fast approaching for many athletes as practices begin in less than a month.
Many summer training programs have been occurring over the last three months, with the first official day of volleyball practices slated for Aug. 1.
Contact practices begin across Texas on Aug. 11 for all schools in Henderson County.
Meanwhile, the first Athens volleyball scrimmage is set for Aug. 4 on the road against the Corsicana Lady Tigers at 9 a.m.
Following that scrimmage, there will be a five-team scrimmage Aug. 5 at Athens.
That scrimmage starts at 9 a.m. and will consist of Athens, Elkhart, Canton, Westwood and Cayuga.
The first official game of the year for the Lady Hornets will be a dual match at E.L. Kirk Gymnasium in Eustace at 4:30 p.m. against both Eustace and Mildred.
The Lady Hornets then head out to the Eustace tournament on the weekend of Aug. 10-12.
With district realignment happening in February, this will be Athens’ final year in the volleyball district with Fairfield, Mexia, Madisonville and Palestine.
Athens look to improve to a playoff team following a bi-district loss to Lorena last year.
The first home match for Athens will be Aug. 11 against Scurry-Rosser.
The Athens Hornets begin football practices Monday, Aug. 7 at 4 p.m. with freshman, junior varsity and varsity workouts.
Athens will be hosting an incoming freshmen football camp at Bruce Field July 31 through Aug. 2.
The first official scrimmage will be in Greenville Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. The Hornets then wrap up their scrimmage schedule on Aug. 25 at home against the Green Lions.
The Hornets season kicks off the regular season Sept. 1 at the newly-renovated Bruce Field at 7:30 p.m.
Before the upcoming district realignment, this is the final year that the Hornets will compete against Brownsboro, Mabank, Van, Kaufman, Crandall and Terrell.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

Trevor Morris Obitpilot

The News Staff Reports
BROWNSBORO–Residents in the City of Brownsboro have been gathering around elementary music teacher Diana Morris and her husband, Calvin, over the sudden death of their son, Trevor Morris.
Union Hill Baptist Pastor Trevor Morris, also a Burton Oil Services Operations executive died in a plane crash July 13. He was 39 years old. He leaves a wife, Nafisa and their five children.
The Piper Cheyenne PA-31T went down at Pounds Field in Tyler soon after takeoff at 8 a.m. Morris was the vice president of Burton Oil Service Operations and traveled to Midland frequently for his job. It was where he was headed when the plane went down, said Aaron Greenwood, worship pastor for the church.
The pilot was also killed when the plane crashed in a pasture near Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. He was 62-year-old William Walls III of Huntsville and was a retired pilot from Southwest Airlines.
The wreckage was located one mile south of Pleasant Retreat Road by officers searching the area after reports of it going down.
According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board the plane went down at 8:10 a.m. “The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted an open field surrounded by trees,” the preliminary report reads. “The wreckage was located on the edge of a small pond about one-half mile from the end of runway 17. There was not a post-crash fire; however, fuel was found at the site.”
The report indicates the airplane was removed from the site and taken to a secure location for further examination.
Morris was lead pastor at Union Hill Baptist Church and worked for the oil services company owned by his best friend Preston Burton. Besides business, the two friends taught the men’s Sunday school class at Union Hill and reared their families together.
“Trevor was a man with great passion to love and serve the Lord first and foremost. If there was one message he wanted to get out, it was that this life was about God and not us,” Burton told the Tyler Telegraph. “His passion was to get the message to men, to disciple their families, to teach them so that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be shared for generations to come.”
His mother posted on Facebook that Trevor loved missions and in lieu of flowers, requests donations be made to the Baptist Missionary Association’s Missions Department, PO. Box 878 Conway AR 72033 or at BMAmissions.org. Trevor served as a missionary to Ecuador where he started a church before he was elected twice as pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church.
A memorial service was held July 18 under the direction of Autry’s Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens. A prayer vigil set for July 14 drew 300 participants, including pastors from churches in Chandler and Brownsboro taking turns praying during the event.

Jul

13

Posted by : admin | On : July 13, 2017

The News Photo/Pearl Cantrell Mayor Warren Claxton (right) presents a plaque of appreciation to Duane Smith, for his service on the city council.

The News Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Mayor Warren Claxton (right) presents a plaque of appreciation to Duane Smith, for his service on the city council.


By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
STAR HARBOR—Star Harbor Mayor Warren Claxton told a full room of his fellow residents that the city’s filings before the Public Utility Commission had been dismissed. “A technicality in the form of the application caused the dismissal,” Claxton explained. Star Harbor has a different law firm handling its legal work now, he indicated after public comments. “Whoever was responsible for the application ought to have his feet held to the fire,” Rick Koziol said in closing public comments.
The city is in contention with the City of Malakoff over a sharp rise in the cost of wastewater treatment. Star Harbor produces its own drinking water and is moving forward on building its own wastewater treatment plant.
Former councilman O.R. Perdue presented the quarterly and semiannual report on water and wastewater expenditures. Since January, the city has paid its customary $3,400.41 monthly billing to the City of Malakoff and a much larger amount into an escrow account. The payments total $20,402.46 for wastewater treatment and $98,076.18 toward escrow, totaling $118,478.64 or a monthly payment of $19,746.44 for the community’s 420 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census.
At the end of 2016, the City of Malakoff presented a new service contract to Star Harbor, representing a 600 percent-plus increase in service charges. The city has repeatedly asked for an explanation of the new charges, a meeting to discuss the new contract and has sent representatives to the City of Malakoff City Council meetings without gaining any response.
The City of Malakoff attorney Hank Skelton to date has not responded to The News queries on this matter, nor has any council member. Since January, Star Harbor has continued to pay the amount it was paying under the former service contract and deposited the balance in an escrow account. After listening to legal advice from a resident who has an active law practice, the council felt that paying according to the new contract would be tacit agreement with the new contract, so in lieu of that an escrow account was set up. It was hoped that the growing amount in escrow would induce the City of Malakoff to enter into a discussion with city officials.
In other business, the council:
• recognized the faithful service of Duane Smith, who most recently served as Mayor Pro-tem, filling in for Dr. Walter Bingham who had to step down due to health reasons. He has also served as a former mayor of the city and on the council for several terms. Smith was not returned to the council during the May 6 election. The council appointed Claxton mayor, since Bingham’s resignation came after the deadline for the May 6 ballot.
• amended Ordinance 165 to coincide with state law requiring slow-moving vehicles to exhibit a triangular caution placard on the rear. Golf carts being used primarily for transportation use will be required to carry the placard. Golf carts traveling strictly between home and the golf course for use on the course are exempt, along with carts kept strictly for use on the greens. Police Chief Todd Tanner explained the need for the amendment.
• discussed amending Ordinance 162 dealing with new construction in five areas, including landscaping, dumpster permit fee, signage, minimum square feet and short-term rentals. The council took a vote on each area separately after discussion and hearing extensive public comment and Building and Zoning Committee recommendations at the beginning of the meeting.
• tabled making changes to landscaping requirements, took no action to implement a dumpster permit, change the minimum building footage requirement of 1500 sq. ft. or change in signage rules, which now reads that only city signs may be posted on city property at the entrance of Star Harbor and other signs must be removed from private property within three days of the event and can’t go up more than three days before the event.
• on a 4-1 vote, approved short-term rental use of properties with the intent to set a workshop to regulate such use.
• heard four building permits were issued since the last meeting.
• recognized the work of resident Gay Morris in preparing the community newsletter which keeps residents apprised of local news and events.

Jul

13

Posted by : admin | On : July 13, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A toddler walked into traffic on U.S. 175 just a quarter mile west of Athens Sunday night. Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Daniel pronounced the death.
According to Department of Public Safety information officer Jean Dark, the 22-month-old is Santiago Sanchez of Athens.
North-19 Fire Rescue Chief Bob Morris, who responded to the call, said he learned from family members that the child followed his father out of the house as he left for the store around 9 p.m. without the father’s knowledge. The father and the mother were both at the residence, located on the south side of U.S. 175.
“It happened really quickly,” Morris said.
A 2000 Honda Civic, driven by Vu Pham, 30 of Garland, was traveling east in the outside lane when the vehicle struck the child. “The driver was unable to avoid the child and struck the child with the front of the vehicle,” Dark said.
The body was transported to Hannigan-Smith Funeral Home.
Athens police and sheriff’s deputies assisted by redirecting traffic, as the roadway was closed while first responders worked the scene.

Jul

13

Posted by : admin | On : July 13, 2017

JohnsonCMYK

Special to The News
SHAWNEE, Okla.Tyler Johnson of Athens is competing in the 25th annual International Finals Youth Rodeo held July 9-14 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Okla.
Johnson is participating in the world’s richest youth rodeo, hoping to win his share of more than $250,000 in prize money and championship saddles and buckles.
Johnson will join more than 800 of the top high school rodeo athletes from around the world for the 2017 IFYR. He is vying for prizes in bareback riding.
Contestants will compete in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas throughout the week. Events include barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding.
The IFYR consists of two long go-rounds and a short go. All contestants compete once in each of the long go-rounds. The top 15 averages in each event will compete Friday night in the championship round short go for fame and prizes.
“The International Finals Youth Rodeo was developed to provide high school athletes with a professional level rodeo,” said Chris Dunlap, assistant director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center and International Finals Youth Rodeo. “Twenty-five years later, the IFYR is where any hopeful rodeo champion wants to be and be seen.”
The IFYR is not only home to the top high school athletes in the nation, but it is also an opportunity that allows for contestants and their families to travel, rodeo along the way and meet peers from across the country.
The International Finals Youth Rodeo, held annually since 1993, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that presents top high school athletes with a professional rodeo. The internationally-recognized IFYR is held annually at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Okla.
The action-packed event includes hundreds of contestants vying to win more than $250,000 in prize money, competing in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas over six days.
In 2016, more than 920 contestants and their families traveled from 34 states and Australia to participate in the IFYR. For more information, visit IFYR.com or call 405-275-7020.

Jul

13

Posted by : admin | On : July 13, 2017

MalakoffFB6CMYK

The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Tigers football team comes into the 2017 season as favorites to win District 9-3A, Division I.
The Tigers are ranked No. 5 in the state in the Class 3A, Division I Coaches and Top 20 poll.
Malakoff’s offense will be led by senior quarterback Judd Miller. Miller passed for 3,527 yards and 48 touchdowns in his junior season. Miller is also picked as the preseason Offensive MVP of the District.
Aiding Miller on the offensive side of the ball will be returning running back Breashawn Williams. Williams rushed for 1,233 yards and 14 touchdowns last season under coach Jamie Driskell. Offensive lineman Kobe Wilbanks will be providing the blocking protection for both Miller and Williams.
Helping out on defense will be linebacker Zee Bailey, who finished last season with an impressive 148 tackles and three forced fumbles.
Meanwhile in District 8-4A, Division I, the Athens Hornets are predicted to finish fifth.
The Hornets look to improve upon last year’s disappointing 2-8 finish. The Hornets had made the playoffs the previous four seasons under coach Paul Essary.
Leading the offense for the Hornets will be senior quarterback Xavius Fulton and tight end Rowdy Godwin. The main running backs returning will be JaQuaylon Bowman and Jerquindon Taylor.
In District 10-2A, Division I, the Cross Roads Bobcats are predicted to finish sixth.
The Bobcats will look to improve under new head coach Daniel Pierce, but will have to find a new quarterback after the graduation of Taylor McKenzie.
Senior linebacker Brandon Wilson will be returning for the Bobcats. Players to watch for the Bobcats based on the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine writers’ predictions are wide receiver Luc Hyles as well as linemen Karson Fletcher, Hunter Lawrence and Kaden Mattingly.
In District 15-A, Division II, the Trinidad Trojans are predicted to finish fourth, while only two teams make playoffs in Class A play.
Former Mount Calm coach Chad Satcher replaces James Massarrelli as the Trojans new head coach after Massarrelli left this offseason.
The Trojans will be led offensively by quarterback Colby Snider and running back Romal Womack.
Players to watch for the Trojans defensively this season are linebackers Johnny Ayala, Talon Sims, Billy Quinn, defensive backs Kaeleb Eastman, Antywon Shofner and Kaleb Mines. Also included are linemen Cameron Brookins, Tristan Fletcher, Eli Arnold and Zach Stanfield.