Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Special to The News
ATHENS–Athens Independent School District athletic director Paul Essary has announced the head coaching changes for the 2017-18 school year.
The Hornets and Lady Hornets will welcome in new head coaches in volleyball, girls’ basketball, boys’ soccer, softball and golf.
Those coaches are Joanna Johnson in volleyball, Jeff Teague in girls’ basketball, Brent Achorn in softball, Brendan Rich in boys’ soccer and Ricky Brooks in golf.
Brooks takes over the golf program from Alec Wofford, who was the coach last year.
In the football program, Essary also announced changes with the assistant coaches.
“On the high school football staff, we have had a little bit of a turnover this year,” Essary said. “We have promoted Jarrett Buchholtz up to the varsity. We have moved up Desmond Bowie to varsity football, Devon Bowie to varsity and Allan Carroll to varsity football. We have a guy named Franklin Scott, who is coming in from Garland ISD, that will be freshman and varsity football. Coach (Cody) Hines will still run the middle school program and be the middle school coordinator.”
Johnson takes over the volleyball program from Kayla Benton, who is now an assistant coach with basketball and softball.
She comes to Athens from Holland High School, where she has ties to the Henderson County area.
“She is an Athens alumnus and she came to us from Holland ISD and she has also coached at Mabank ISD,” Essary said. “She has great credentials and I am excited to have her in the coaching family. She is a go-getter and will be an excellent addition to our staff.”
Johnson will make her Athens head coaching debut Aug. 8 in a dual match against Eustace and Mildred at E.L. Kirk Gymnasium in Eustace.
Teague makes the move to Athens from West Rusk after replacing Emily Martinez, who is now the girls’ basketball and volleyball coach at Cross Roads ISD.
“He grew up at least part of his youth in Athens,” Essary said. “I am excited about having him and the things he will bring to our girls’ basketball program.”
Achorn takes over the softball program following the departure of Michelle Forsman, who is now the head softball coach at Scurry-Rosser High School.
“He will have the girls in softball ready to go and we are excited to have coach Achorn over here,” Essary said.
Achorn was the softball coach at Mabank High School last year.
“He has been a head softball coach at Class 5A Keller Fossil Ridge,” Essary said. “He has also coached at Abilene High, which is a Class 6A school. I talked with a gentleman that I knew back when he was at Abilene High that I respect. He bragged on coach Achorn and said he did a great job.”
The boys’ soccer program is getting a first-year head coach in Rich, following the departure of Jonathan Ryal during the spring.
“He is coming from a very successful soccer program in high school,” Essary said. “He played for one of the best soccer coaches from Nacogdoches who just retired. He (Rich) went to Stephen F. Austin University and just graduated. He loves the game and is a very intelligent young man. He has a lot of fire in him and when I was checking references, they said he can do the job.”

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

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 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.

Jul

06

Posted by : admin | On : July 6, 2017

Sentator Nichols with Superintendents
Special to The News
AUSTIN–Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) met with school superintendents from around Senate District 3, June 28 to discuss items which will be addressed during the Special Legislative Session, beginning on July 18, 2017. In addition, they also discussed what occurred during the 85th Regular Legislative Session.
“As we head into the upcoming special session, many of the items which will be addressed are education related. I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to discuss these important issues with the Superintendents from our local school districts,” said Senator Nichols.
Some of the items discussed included administrative flexibility, teacher pay increases, property tax reform, school vouchers and school finance reform.
“I do not believe the Legislature can successfully make good decisions, unless we are listening closely to those we represent,” said Nichols. “Education is and always will be one of the most important issues we face as a state.”
Senate District 3 represents 101 school districts throughout 19 counties including Henderson County.

Jul

06

Posted by : admin | On : July 6, 2017

murder CMYK

The News Staff Reports
EAST TEXAS–A Henderson County man who was serving time for the fatal shooting of a Trinidad resident in 2009, was killed in a prison unit in Bowie County last week.
According to news reports, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is investigating the death of 29-year-old Pete Armando Ayala, of Trinidad, who was serving a 40-year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon for the death of 21-year-old Johnny Lee Brown, also of Trinidad.
TDCJ Public Information Officer Robert Hurst said in a statement to the Bowie County Citizens Tribune, prison officials discovered Ayala unresponsive in his cell on Sunday. They restrained Ayala’s cellmate, Justin Williams, 22, and removed him from the cell. Ayala was transported to a Texarkana hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday.
The TDCJ is investigating the case as a homicide.
Ayala had been in the Telford Unit since December of 2009, and was not eligible for parole until 2029. His sentence was to run until 2049.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Department reports said dispatch received a 9-1-1 call on Feb. 18, 2009, telling of a gunshot victim at a residence on Leagueline Road. HCSO investigators responded to the scene to assist the Trinidad Police Department with the case. Brown’s body was found in the master bedroom of the residence.
The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department obtained an arrest warrant in connection with the fatal shooting. Ayala was arrested in Garland after he was seen at a McDonald’s restaurant.
Williams joined the unit in November, 2016 to serve a 50-year sentence for murder with a deadly weapon.

Jun

22

Posted by : admin | On : June 22, 2017

Andrew Page

Special to The News
ATHENS–A 36-year-old suspected drug dealer riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the road was arrested this weekend in a subdivision just south of Chandler.
Andrew Allen Page was stopped by Deputy Jacob Sumrall Saturday for traveling southbound on Sunrise Dive in the Sunrise Shores subdivision. He was found to be in possession of a substantial amount of suspected methamphetamine and several clear plastic bags commonly used is the distribution of the illegal drug.
“Our deputies are constantly on the look out for anything out of the ordinary,” Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said. “This suspect was going the wrong way, acting nervous and had trouble communicating with the deputy.”
Page was carrying more than 5 grams of the contraband.
“This is part of our concerted campaign against drugs in Henderson County,” Hillhouse said. “Hopefully, this arrest takes us to an even bigger supplier in the criminal drug chain that we are systematically breaking here.”
Page was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. He is currently being held on a $30,000 bail.