Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

News Staff Reports
LAKE PALESTINE–The man who survived his boat going over the spillway at Lake Palestine April 19 died Sunday. His wife, Billemarie, 67, was pronounced dead at the scene. A double memorial service is set for Bille and Keith Wagnon, 69, was held Wednesday (April 26) at Rhone Memorial Chapel in Palestine. They were both local residents.
The News reporter Russell Slaton happen to have witnessed the horrific event from a distance, catching it on video, using his cell phone. Slaton said he felt helpless to do anything to prevent the tragedy from occurring. “I looked and kept thinking he would turn back, but he didn’t,” Slaton said. “Suddenly it went over and then there were several loud bangs or thuds.”
Game Warden Mike Hanson said freeing the boat to remove it was a problem because it got caught on some concrete pillars.
According to Hanson, the boat, occupied by a man and a woman, was traveling at a fast pace along the lake, traveling southward toward the dam. Hanson said the boat continued to travel and then passed the buoys which indicate the spillway’s edge, and continued straight on.
Hanson said some fisherman on the river near the spillway rushed over to try to save the boat’s occupants.
The man survived, but the woman was declared dead by Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Phillip Grimes from Cherokee County. He was taken to a Tyler hospital and placed in Intensive Care, where he later died. Keith and Billemarie Wagnon were married for 50 years.
No foul play is suspected.



Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

Athens Fire
The New Staff Reports
ATHENS–Investigators are still looking into the cause of a deadly fire Saturday that resulted in the death of a man said to be in his 70s.
Fire at a boarding house on East College Street was reported at 8:36 p.m. However upon arrival, Athens Fire Department firefighters found the two-story structure fully involved. The name of the deceased was not disclosed as authorities hadn’t reached a next of kin by press time Wednesday.
The house was more than 3,500 square feet and built in the 1920s, Fire Chief John McQueary estimated.
The man was one of five or six individuals renting rooms in the house.
The chief reports rescue attempts made by the neighbors and another resident who saw the man on the second floor. “We assume he was overcome by smoke and probably collapsed. When the fire got intense enough for the floor and roof to fall, he ended up on the bottom floor,” McQueary said.
The blaze was so powerful firefighters were prevented from going inside upon arrival due to the flames. Their efforts prevented the fire from spreading to the two neighboring houses on either side. However, these structures sustained minor damage from the heat, McQueary said.



Posted by : admin | On : April 20, 2017

Mugshots ready CMYK

ready CMYK

The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–The Henderson County Fire Marshal’s Office arrested a Malakoff man for arson after investigating a fire on Monday.
Troy Lynn Tucker, 29, was arrested on the scene for Arson of a Habitation/Place of Worship, a first-degree felony. Bonds were set at $23,500.
The fire was extinguished at lot 18 Spring Creek Parkway in Malakoff.
In addition, Assistant Fire Marshal Sherry Powers found a clear small plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine on Tucker’s person during the arrest. A drug possession charge was added to Tucker’s intake at the Henderson County Jail.
Sheriff Botie Hillhouse has set a no tolerance policy for drugs in the county and the Fire Marshal’s Office fully supports those efforts. “If we have to deal with you, and you have drugs, you’re going to jail for those charges along with any charges we have to file on you,” Fire Marshal Rodney Renberg stated in a press release. “We take arson very seriously and it will not be tolerated. We will investigate the cause and if you’re responsible, you’re going to jail.”



Posted by : admin | On : April 13, 2017


The News Staff Report
TYLER–The Athens Lady Hornets are heading to the state soccer tournament. Athens beat Mabank 4-2 in the regional semifinals April 10 and routed Terrell a day later to advance to the state soccer tournament for the first time in school history. The Lady Hornets reached the regional finals last year before losing to Kilgore 7-0. They made sure that didn’t happen this year.
In the regional final, the Lady Hornets got on the board just six minutes into the game on a Ragan Young free kick to take a 1-0 lead. Just two and a half minutes later, Kyra Robison scored off an assist by senior captain Makayle Traxson.
The Lady Hornets added to their lead with just under 18 minutes left in the half as Traxson scored. Terrell would get on the board three minutes later to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Lady Hornets would add another goal before halftime as Robison scored her second of the game off another assist from Traxson.
Traxson would score her second of the game with about 30 minutes remaining in the game to make it 5-1. Terrell would add a goal on a corner kick to get to within 5-2, but Traxson earned a hat trick with her third of the game on a breakaway with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Athens reached the regional finals by beating Mabank the day before. In that game, the Lady Hornets took a 3-0 lead on two goals from Robison and a goal from Traxson before Mabank made it interesting in the second half. Catherine Turner scored off an assist from Brittni Anthony to cut the Athens lead to 3-1 with 23 minutes left. Turner scored again with 10 minutes left to make it 3-2, but Traxson scored on a breakaway with three and a half minutes left for a 4-2 lead.
Traxson came back into the game after breaking her nose midway through the first half after colliding with Mabank’s Madison Vincik. Both players had to leave the game, but both returned in the second half.
Athens improves to 15-10-2 heading into the state tournament.
Results of the state tournament games will be in the next issue of The News.



Posted by : admin | On : April 13, 2017

Like so much dirty laundry hung for all to see, survivors of sexual assault and abuse tell their stories through short messages. So many more T-shirts were not hung up Tuesday due to the threat of rain, East Texas Crisis Center Director Della Cooper said.

Like so much dirty laundry hung for all to see, survivors of sexual assault and abuse tell their stories through short messages. So many more T-shirts were not hung up Tuesday due to the threat of rain, East Texas Crisis Center Director Della Cooper said.

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–East Texas Crisis Center staffer Gwen Cox read some astounding statistics on sexual assault and abuse during a Sexual Assault Awareness Proclamation ceremony on the courthouse steps in Athens Tuesday.
She said 6.3 million Texans have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse. The Athens Office of the East Texas Crisis Center have served more than 200 such clients last year and is working 26 active cases.
County Judge Richard Sanders thanked all the volunteers that work each day to try to prevent this terrible crime “Without dedicated people who work each day, this problem could be a whole lot worse. To think almost a quarter of our population here in Texas has had some sort of sexual abuse happen to them or a family member is really mind-boggling to me.”
He read the proclamation making April a month to educate and raise awareness around the issues of sexual assault and abuse, which affects people of all ages, races and economic circumstances.
“The consequences of sexual abuse are often severe and long lasting. The risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder increases dramatically for victims of sexual assault. Therefore, let us extend our education campaign and build on the network of support to address this issue, including outreach to schools on topic issues of sexual assault.
“United in this effort we can continue to make a difference,” he read.
After thanking the many volunteers who work in this area, Sanders said he looks forward to the day when we can celebrate that sexual assault is no longer a factor in this county.
Rev. Ed Schauer of The Church of The Nazarene in Gun Barrel City closed the proceding in prayer asking God to “touch each of us to stand in the gap for these victims. Cure this disease by your touch, we pray.”



Posted by : admin | On : April 6, 2017

Tommy Barnett
The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–Henderson County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Tommy Barnett died Saturday, after an illness.
Based in Malakoff, Judge Barnett died at the age of 66, having served for about 10 years as judge. The funeral service was held Wednesday at the First Baptist Church in Malakoff.
Voters named Barnett to the J.P. position in 2006, when he defeated Lloyd Arthus by more than 500 votes to win the election. Barnett replaced longtime Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Judy Newman, who had held the office since 1979.  
Barnett was the Vocational Agriculture teacher at Cross Roads ISD for 32 years and served as the high school principal for a time. On March 30, Cross Roads ISD trustees named the new Ag-Science building in his honor “The Tommy Barnett Ag Complex.”
Besides mentoring hundreds of ag-science students, Barnett was also known for his involvement with Senior Olympics and the local nursing homes.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Dorothy Durham Barnett, three sisters and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Tommy Barnett Scholarship Fund at the First State Bank of Malakoff.



Posted by : admin | On : April 6, 2017

The News Staff Reports
TYLER–The Athens Lady Hornets are heading back to the Regional Semifinals. Athens beat Kilgore in penalty kicks 3-1 after the two teams ended regulation in a 2-2 tie and were tied after two extra periods at 4-4.
The Lady Hornets will face Mabank in the semifinals, who beat Princeton 4-3 in penalty kicks in the other quarterfinal game played at Eagle-Mustang Stadium in Richardson.
Athens got goals from Kyra Robison, Isabel Villedas and Rachel Young, and Athens goalkeeper Lewis stopped four Kilgore penalty kicks to seal the win for the Lady Hornets.
Athens took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals by Kate Nieto and Robison. Kilgore stormed back to tie it at two in the second half on goals by Leslie Bennett and Maliyah Howard to forge the 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. Both teams got their offense going in the two extra periods.
Kilgore struck first in the first overtime on a goal by Katy Raby. Nieto scored for the Lady Hornets just two and a half minutes into the second overtime to tie the game at three. With just over two minutes to play in the second overtime, Taylor Stiles scored giving the Lady Hornets a 4-3 lead, but Raby booted in a penalty kick with just 29 seconds remaining to force the shootout.
Athens improves to 13-10-2 on the season.



Posted by : admin | On : April 6, 2017

Monitor Staff Reports

MABANK–The Malakoff and Athens track teams both had stellar showings at the Cedar Creek Relays March 30 in Mabank. The Athens Lady Hornets track team won the meet. Here are the results for boys and girls from both Malakoff and Athens.

Boys Results

100 Meters
1. Quarterrio Barker- 11.12a-Malakoff
3. JerQuindon Taylor 11.67a Athens
6. Rhe’jhi Sherfield- 11.90a-Athens
7.Gary Lyons-11.90a Athens
10.JaQuaylan Hart- 12.29a PR-Malakoff

200 Meters
1. Andrew McBride- 23.70a-Athens
2. Xavier McCullar- 24.17a PR-Malakoff
3. Gary Lyons-24.19a PR-Athens
9.JaQuaylan Hart- 25.62a PR-Malakoff

400 Meters
1. Monti Barker 53.05a PR-Athens
2.Xavier McCullar- 54.39a SR-Malakoff
3. Jamaze Roberts- 54.64a-Athens
10. Adonia Thomas- 57.07a PR-Malakoff

800 Meters
8. Jatarian Walker- 2:15.50a-Malakoff

3200 Meters
10. Jose Escobedo- 11:18.18a-Athens
12. Holden Ray- 11:59.64a-Malakoff

110m Hurdles
8. Jesus Rivera- 18.62a-Malakoff
11. Ethan Condon- 19.59a-Athens

300m Hurdles
1. Tyler Russell- 42.76a SR-Malakoff
11. Ethan Condon- 46.48a PR-Athens
12.Jesus Rivera- 51.99a PR-Malakoff

4×100 Relay
1. Tyler Crawford
Braeshawn Williams
Quarterrio Barker
Tyler Russell 43.12a-Malakoff

2. Kamion Tanner
Rhe’jhi Sherfield
Andrew McBride
JerQuindon Taylor-43.31a-Athens

4×200 Relay
1. Kamion Tanner
Maalik Hall
Andrew McBride
JerQuindon Taylor-1:31.98a-Athens

2. Tyler Crawford
Braeshawn Williams
Quarterrio Barker
Tyler Russell-1:33.80a-Malakoff

4×400 Relay
1. Monti Barker
Jamaze Roberts
Xavius Fulton
Maalik Hall-3:31.16a-Athens

6. Xavier McCullar
Judd Miller
Tyler Crawford
Jatarian Walker-3:45.69a-Malakoff

Shot Put
2. Payton Lowery 41-06.50-Malakoff
3. Larry Coker 40-03.00-Malakoff

1. Larry Coker 135-05 PR-Malakoff
5. Danyal Littleton 125-05 PR-Malakoff

High Jump
1. Tyler Russell 6-06.00 SR-Malakoff
2. Rowdy Dunklin 6-01.00 PR-Malakoff
4. Jabrille Richardson-5-10.00-Athens
7. Jatarian Walker 5-08.00 PR-Malakoff

Pole Vault
7. Zee Bailey 10-06.00 PR-Malakoff

Long Jump
3. Braeshawn Williams 20-06.50 PR- Malakoff
6. Rowdy Dunklin 18-06.25-Malakoff
14. Rhe’jhi Sherfield 15-11.50 SR-Athens

Triple Jump
1. Tyler Russell 43-06.00 PR-Malakoff
2. Xavius Fulton 42-10.50 SR-Athens
4. Maalik Hall 41-07.50 PR-Athens
9. Kaddarius Thomas 36-07.00-Malakoff

Girls Results
100 Meters
1. Jordan Ickes 13.30a PR-Athens
2. Raveon Rodriquez 13.51a-Athens
3. Jalie Dawson 13.69a SR-Malakoff
4. Beekayla Thompson 13.85a PR-Athens
5. Keikei Walker 13.91a PR-Malakoff
7. Taliha Dora 14.06a PR-Malakoff

200 Meters
1. Kyra Robison 26.73a SR-Athens
3. Taylor Stiles 28.11a PR-Athens
4. Keaire Dunn 28.36a-Athens
5. Monica Ovieda 28.43a-Malakoff
9. Daja Barron 29.45a SR-Malakoff
12. Taliha Dora 29.81a-Malakoff

400 Meters
1. Joey White 1:02.05a PR-Malakoff
6. Nakeya Kelley 1:08.59a-Malakoff
8. Jazzmine Johnson 1:08.99a-Athens

800 Meters
4. Hayley Myers 2:38.11a PR-Malakoff
10. Paton Willbanks 2:50.02a PR-Malakoff
11. Cameron Roberts 2:51.21a-Malakoff

1600 Meters
3. Aracely Castillo 5:42.00h PR-Athens

3200 Meters
5. Aracely Castillo 12:37.29a PR-Athens

100m Hurdles
1. Charlsey Stearman 17.52a PR-Malakoff
4. Kenzi Crist
18.71a PR-Malakoff
6. Shaylea Boles 18.75a PR-Malakoff

300m Hurdles
1. Charlsey Stearman 51.16a-Malakoff
4. Shaylea Boles 52.59a PR-Malakoff
7.Kenzi Crist 55.08a-Malakoff
8. Bayleigh Collins 55.72a PR-Athens

4×100 Relay
1. Jordan Ickes
Beekayla Thompson
Raveon Rodriquez
Kyra Robinson- 50.84a-Athens

2. Keikei Walker
Monica Ovieda
Joey White
Jalie Dawson-50.93a-Malakoff

4×200 Relay
1. Jordan Ickes
Raveon Rodriquez
Taylor Stiles
Kyra Robison -1:47.42a- Athens

2. Keikei Walker
Daja Barron
Monica Ovieda
Jalie Dawson -1:52.15a- Malakoff

4×400 Relay
3. Nakeya Kelley
Charlsey Stearman
Shaylea Boles
Joey White -4:27.17a- Malakoff

5. Jazzmine Johnson
Boister Missy
Keaire Dunn
Taylor Stiles
4:32.07a- Athens

Shot Put
1. Tamiyah Thompson-33-09.50-Athens
8. Ebony Kiser-29-07.75 PR-Athens

7. Tamiyah Thompson-87-07-Athens

High Jump
1. Kyra Robinson-4-10.00-Athens
3. Taylor Stiles-4-08.00 PR-Athens
6. Kenzi Crist-4-06.00-Malakoff
Paton Willbanks-4-04.00 SR-Malakoff

Pole Vault
6.Paton Willbanks 7-05.00 PR-Malakoff

Long Jump
2. Taylor Stiles-15-07.25 PR-Athens
4.KeikeiWalker 14-08.00-Malakoff
6. Boister Missy-14-01.50 PR-Athens
7. Jalie Dawson-13-09.25-Malakoff
12. Jazzmine Johnson-13-05.75 PR-Athens
18.Tyler Wittram 12-08.50 PR-Malakoff

Triple Jump
5. Kenzi Crist-30-02.25-Malakoff
10. Daja Barron-28-06.00-Malakoff
14.Tyler Wittram-
26-11.00 PR-Malakoff



Posted by : admin | On : April 5, 2017

By Toni Garrard Clay
AISD Communications Coordinator
ATHENS–Thanks to a solid foundation of community support, 2017 is a year of building at Athens ISD — literally. Topnotch instruction and dedicated leadership continue to flourish within the walls of each campus while new walls rise around the district.
At Athens High School, the courtyard that once stood empty between the main building and the high school annex is now a construction zone. A new structure is rising up to tie the two facilities together into a single footprint.
A Career and Technical Education (CTE) building to the north of the annex is on track to be completed for the fall of 2017, and within the main high school building, renovation of existing space is planned. Upon completion, AHS students will enjoy new science classrooms, a new and larger shop class, and a new gym that will allow all students to assemble under roof in one space for the first time in years.
“This building project is not only good for the students and staff,” said Superintendent of Schools Blake Stiles, “it’s good for the community at large. I believe strongly, as I know others do, that as our schools thrive, so do our communities. This is an important and critical moment for us all.”
In addition to the work at the high school, all three elementary schools, which accommodate grades pre-K through fifth, are part of the master construction plan. The work there – which should be finished by or near the 2017-2018 school year – includes a new and larger library at Central Athens and new assembly/activity spaces at Bel Air and South Athens.
Just in time for the 2017 football season, the public will also enjoy brand new (greatly needed) restroom facilities at Bruce Field. The restrooms are part of a building on the east end of Bruce Field that will also serve concessions to both home and visitor sides. On the west end, a new field house will accommodate a weight room, the football program and the girls and boys soccer programs.
Even as construction continues, the primary focus remains on what happens in the classroom. All Athens ISD campuses once again “Met Standard” on the most recent Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings. Public schools in Texas receive one of three ratings: met standard, met alternate standard or improvement required. In order to meet standard, a school must satisfy criteria in areas such as student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. Athens ISD has done that at all three elementary campuses, the middle school and high school, securing a districtwide “met standard” label. In addition, banners of academic achievement continue to flourish across the district.
In other news, Athens ISD, in conjunction with Trinity Valley Community College, will begin offering an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) certification program to Athens High School students in the fall of 2017. The program is possible thanks to AISD securing a Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant which covers 95 percent of the purchasing price for necessary training equipment.
AISD’s attention to detail when it comes to financial matters was reflected once again in the most recent report of the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System. The district achieved a perfect score of 100 points and an accompanying “superior” rating.
As 2016 came to a close, the board of trustees was also informed that the TEA awarded $120,339 in compensatory funding to the school district through the Highly Qualified Pre-K Grant Program. Money spent on pre-K for supplemental curriculum, progress monitoring, highly-qualified teacher professional development, parent involvement and technology is reimbursed through the grant.
“Athens ISD is a leader among school districts in East Texas,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims. “We have outstanding instructors and outstanding leadership at each of our campuses. In fact, we have some of the absolute finest campus-level leaders anywhere around. It’s a great time to be a Hornet.”



Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2017

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Athens City Manager Philip Rodriguez informed council and audience members that TCEQ confirmed the city is in compliance with water standards at the Athens City Council meeting March 27.
Rodriguez broke the news in a full council chamber at the Athens Partnership Center after getting the information himself earlier in the day from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Mayor Jerry Don Vaught was pleased with the outcome, thanking the city staff for its hard work finally getting the city water on the right side of regulation. Athens water had been out of compliance since 2015. He expects the city will remain in compliance now.
The compliance problem was explained in a press release. The city’s water had too much of a disinfection byproduct knows as HAA5. To stay in compliance with TCEQ, the city water must stay below .06 micrograms per millileter. When the water first fell out of compliance back in 2015, two of the testing sites had too much HAA5, and one had been rectified by November 2016. The most recent results were from a February test.
Rodriguez also clarified the city’s potential plans for annexing property outside the city. According to Rodriguez, the council has annexed a couple of properties within the last two years, and may add more.
The key is to keep an eye on the future in case economic growth spurts up outside the city limits.
“It’s a big deal for us to be thinking about the long-term commercial growth in the city,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve seen cities in Texas that have not been as thoughtful about that, he said. Some cities have had development grow up outside the city limits. The city gets none of the sales tax collected in those areas, so it is important to make sure that we’ve got access to future economic corridors.”
Rodriguez told council members that most of the property along Loop 7 is not within the Athens city limits and major exits on highways that enter Athens are prime targets for annexation. The city recently annexed property near the intersection of the loop and State Highway 19 south for development. He added that most of the locations planned for future growth with the airport master plan are not part of the city.
In other action, council members:
• held a public hearing recommending approval of changes to zoning ordinances to eliminate farming and ranching operations from residential zoning districts to allow no more than six hens as backyard chickens, or one horse per acre, and establishing a maximum number of farm animals allowed per acre in agricultural zones lands, and establishing the minimum size of future agriculture lots to be five acres.
• discussed the first reading of the zoning ordinance changes.