May

25

Posted by : admin | On : May 25, 2017

Raygan YoungCMYK

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Athens High School senior defender Raygan Young will continue her soccer career in college after signing on Wednesday, May 17 to play for Navarro College. Raygan was a team captain as a senior, an All-District Utility Player of the Year, All-State Player, and played varsity throughout high school, the last three as a starter.
“Raygan has done a magnificent job leading this team,” Athens High School Girls Soccer Coach Mark Hall said. “She’s not only a great player, she’s also a scholar.”
Young helped lead the Lady Hornets soccer team to the UIL State Semifinals before being ousted by eventual state champion Stephenville. The Navarro Bulldogs soccer program has won eight Region XIV championships and seven district championships.

May

18

Posted by : admin | On : May 18, 2017

worked up mugshots Christina Julian

worked up
mugshots
Christina Julian

worked up  mugshots Rebecca Brannon

worked up
mugshots
Rebecca Brannon

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports a major drug arrest Tuesday.
During a routine traffic stop on Lake Arrowhead Drive near Payne Springs, sheriff’s deputy Sgt. Matthew Jistel discovered a stash underneath the passenger seat containing approximately 53 grams of suspect crystal meth.
Rebecca Brannon, 25 is charged with first-degree felony drug charge. Her backseat passenger, Christina Julian, 52, was also found to be in possession of suspected meth. She exited the car and appeared unstable according to a press release. Both women were taken to jail soon after the 2:45 a.m. traffic stop. Brannon is held on a $15,000 bond and Julian’s bond totals $8,500.
“These dealers can’t sneak around in the dark of night hoping to spread their poison,” Hillhouse stated. “Our deputies have been instructed to keep a keen eye out for anyone suspected of wrongdoing, no matter what time of day or night.”
The National Drug Intelligence Center states methamphetamine is a significant drug threat to Texas. High purity, low-cost methamphetamine is readily available, and the drug is widely abused, particularly in rural areas. Methamphetamine produced in Mexico is the predominant type available.
According to one online source, the price of meth in Texas is around $80 per gram, though smaller increments may cost more. At $80 to $100 per gram, the estimated value is between $4,240 and $5,300. The confiscated 53 grams equals a little less than two ounces, a sizeable amount in crystal meth.

May

11

Posted by : admin | On : May 11, 2017

The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Athens has a new mayor. Monte Montgomery who gave up his council seat to run, unseats Jerry Don Vaught who has been mayor since 2012 when Randy Daniel resigned to become Justice of the Peace.
Former councilman Monte Montgomery garnered 736 votes to Vaught’s 490. Montgomery’s council seat had two contenders. Toni Clay won the seat over Chetan Patel, 632 to 529 ballots.
Athens ISD had three contenders for incumbent Steve McElhaney’s seat, who chose not to run for re-election. Of the three Eugene Buford was the top vote getter for Place 1 with 708 votes. Thomas Faulk garnered 423 votes and Bryan Barker got 288 votes. Alicea Elliott was unopposed for her Place 2 seat.
City of Star Harbor City Council canvassed the results of the election Monday. Voters agreed to join ESD No. 1 and council seats will be filled by incumbents Warren Claxton and Jackie Robinson; as well as challenger Ray Batten, who garnered more votes than incumbent Duane Smith. Smith had been acting as the mayor since Dr. Bingham resigned for health reasons two months ago. The council selected Warren Claxton as Mayor and is expected to appoint someone to fill his seat on the council next month.
In Eustace, Mayor Elisha Sanders lost her seat to Dustin Shelton, 94 to 52. There are 12 provisional votes still to be determined by the Henderson County Elections Office. The ballot board is set to convene May 15. Since Tim Howard opted not to run for re-election to the council, the top two vote getters incumbent Daniel Smith with 112 votes and new face Tim Meyer with 90 votes look to fill the council seats. Both Tim Meyer and Dustin Shelton also serve as volunteers on the Eustace Volunteer Fire Department. Meyer is one of the planners of the May 13 barbecue cookoff, raising funds for the fire station.

May

11

Posted by : admin | On : May 11, 2017

The News Staff Reports
GATESVILLE–The Athens Hornets used stellar pitching to sweep Gatesville in their best-of-three bi-district playoff series.
After a scoreless first two innings in game one, Athens jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
Luis Valdez walked to start the inning and moved to second on a groundout by Emanuel Hernandez. After Valdez stole third, Jacob Ickes was hit by a pitch and Valdez scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Noah Sikes. A Casey Pitchford single and a Kobe Kale walk loaded the bases. Sikes scored on a wild pitch for the 2-0 lead. Gatesville got a run back in the top of the fourth on a double, a walk and an error. That would be the only run Gatesville would score in the series.
The Hornets went up 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth on two walks and two groundouts.
The Hornets added to their lead, going up 7-1 in the sixth inning. Valdez led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a Hernandez single. Pinch runner Grant Echols moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ickes. Trent Harris, running for Hernandez, scored on an error and Sikes scored after Kale stole second and third.
Hernandez went the distance on the mound, giving up just the one unearned run on two hits while striking out six and walking only one batter. Cameron Woodard was 1-2 with a run scored and an RBI, and added two walks. Valdez walked three times, drove in a run and scored a run, Hernandez finished 1-2 with two walks, Pitchford was 1-3 and Kale was 1-2 with two walks. Ickes, Sikes and Pitchford had the other runs batted in. The Hornets had only four hits, but drew 12 walks in the game.
In game two, Cameron Woodard threw a complete-game shutout, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out four and Valdez was 2-4 with an RBI to lead the Hornets to the sweep. Woodard, Peyton Brewer, Ickes, Kale and Preston Benton added one hit each for the Hornets.
The Hornets scored once in the first on an error, allowing Echols to score. Athens went up 2-0 in the third inning on an RBI single by Valdez.
Athens added two more runs in the fifth on a Hernandez sacrifice fly and an error to lead 4-0.
Benton scored on a passed ball for the Hornets’ final run of the game.

May

11

Posted by : admin | On : May 11, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A night of swimming in Coleman Park in Athens went tragic May 4 when a 19-year old drowned while swimming to an island in the pond.
A water rescue team from the Longview fire department retrieved the dead body of James Riley Wallace, of Athens, from the water. His mother and family was brought to the scene a short time later to grieve the loss of their loved one.
According to Athens police chief Buddy Hill, the group of teens, two male and two female, were fishing at the pond in Coleman Park on the north west side when Wallace decided to swim to the large island in the lake. Wallace only made it about halfway before the cold water made the swim difficult and he went under.
According to reports the other male attempted to swim out to Wallace but quickly experienced exhaustion and had to return to shore.
The Athens Fire Department and Athens Police Department immediately responded to the 9-1-1 call at about 8 p.m. and begun searching for the teen while swimming and manning the AFD rescue boat until the water rescue team arrived from Longview at 11:20, and located Wallace’s body 12:53 a.m. Friday morning. Water temperature was measured at 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
A helicopter from East Texas Medical Center flew over the water to spot the teen as water rescue attempts were made.
Foul play is not expected, but Justice of the Peace Milton Adams sent the body off for an autopsy to American Forensics in Mesquite.
The pond was created from an old clay pit and has long had a pier on the south side for fishing. The pier was recently damaged by a fire and closed off. Swimming is not permitted in the pond.

May

04

Posted by : admin | On : May 4, 2017

Athens-Eustace Tornado 4-29

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
CANTON–According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth Tuesday, a total of seven tornadoes formed Saturday, April 29. Four of them were rated EF-0 (65-85 mph) appearing with brief tracks near Grand Saline at 4:15 p.m., near Canton at 5:10 p.m., near Cumby from 5:30-5:50 p.m. and southwest of Canton leaving a brief track around 7:13 p.m. The EF- 4 (166-200 mph) that left a long track from Eustace moving into Van Zandt County west of Canton left a mile-wide swath of damage between 5:29 and 6:09 p.m.
An EF-2 tornado tracked east of the EF-4 from Eustace into Van Zandt County west of Canton between 5:41 and 6:04 p.m.
However, an EF-3 (136-165 mph) tornado stayed on the ground for 51 miles tracking from Van Zandt County through Canton and into Rains County and lasted from 6:08 p.m. to 7:28 p.m., the result of which were four deaths including a welder from Corsicana Russell “Rusty Barlow, 51, who was crushed under a race car lift when the tornado hit. He was at his step-daughter’s wedding.The other victims were identified Monday as Kenneth Hughes, 57, of Van Zandt County who was at home with his wife on VZCR 2434 when the tornado hit, his wife was injured, Lucretia Sykes, 49, of Fort Worth and James Clayton Young, 39, of Alba who was traveling on State Highway 64 just outside of Canton when the tornado hit, dragging his car off 200 yards.
Three hospitals in Tyler, Athens and Cedar Creek Lake treated 56 people with six remaining hospitalized Tuesday and one in critical condition.
At least one of these tornadoes, probably the EF-3, caused a pile up of around 30 cars on the I-20 near Canton, perhaps the same one that left a mile-wide swath of destruction on Old Bethel Road, VZCR 230, north of Phalba. The historic Bethel Cemetery suffered its gate and fencing twisted, and it was reported a wedding was also being conducted at a residence in the path of the tornado.
Utility poles were struck as were transformers, turning the lights off in about 14,000 homes. Oncor contractors and other companies were seen throughout the weekend repairing downed power lines and poles. Linemen worked tirelessly and most of Canton had electricity by 8 a.m. May 1. However, homes in the Phalba area and on Old Bethel Road were still using portable generators to get power on Tuesday.
The intersection at State Highways 243 and 19 was deserted, an intersection that once saw thousands of motorists a day, especially during First Monday. Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett was televised Sunday asking visitors to refrain from coming to Trade Days, as the city fights to recover from the devastation.
On Monday and Tuesday, tree trimming crews were out in force and the buzz of chain saws could be heard throughout the affected areas.
On Monday, the Office of the Governor released a statement that Gov. Abbott had declared a State of Disaster in three Texas Counties: Henderson, Van Zandt and Rains. “The recent severe weather across our state has had a devastating impact on the people of East Texas,” Abbott said. “Texans by their very nature are resilient, and I am confident we will remain steadfast in our response to this disaster. I ask that everyone keep those impacted in your prayers as we come together to rebuild in the aftermath of these storms.
Unhappily the weather forecast for Wednesday was more severe weather.

May

04

Posted by : admin | On : May 4, 2017

Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders (center), along with county commissioners proclaim the month of May as May Elder Abuse Prevention Month alongside adult protective services board and case workers.

Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh
Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders (center), along with county commissioners proclaim the month of May as May Elder Abuse Prevention Month alongside adult protective services board and case workers.


By Erik Walsh
The News Staff Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–The night skies in Henderson Country are going to be brighter this Memorial Day after commissioners agreed to allow the sale of fireworks in Henderson County for the Veteran holiday.
The approval is noteworthy because last May the court denied vendors the lawful right to sell fireworks in the county, citing that the holiday is one of sober reflection, not explosive celebration.
Commissioners sang a different tune Tuesday, approving the resolution 4-1 with only Judge Richard Sanders opposing. There was some discussion prior to the vote, with a representative from the firework sales community appealing to the commissioners.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin weighed the negatives to fireworks, stating that some people are irresponsible with their use and uncourteous with the times they fire them.
Texas Counties decide their own fate concerning fireworks sales for three Texas Holidays: Feb. 25-March 2 (Texas Independence Day); April 16-April 21 (San Jacinto Day) and May 25-30 (Memorial Day).
Commissioners also approved the transfer of a flying drone to the possession of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office. Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse addressed the court concerning the acquisition of the new drone.
“We will only use the drone for search situations with warrants signed by a judge,” Hillhouse said.
Hillhouse said the drone could provide valuable intelligence of protentional hostile environments and keep his deputies out of harm’s way. The Sheriff’s Office will not need to purchase any additional parts and will receive proper training to operate the drone.
Commissioners also accepted donations of children’s blankets to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office from the Linus Project. The blankets will go in deputies’ cars to be given to children in stressful situations for comfort.
Commissioners also made two proclamations, calling May Elder Abuse Prevention Month and Older American Month.
“We need to highlight these issues when they come before us,” Sanders said. “I think it’s despicable to take advantage of elderly and disabled people.”
Geeslin agreed. “Child abuse is rightfully getting lots of attention and this problem is not unlike it,” he said. “The victims cannot speak up. I proudly support this proclamation.”
Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney said he draws strength from the older generation. “There is a lot of wisdom that gets overlooked,” McKinney said. “They really are one of our greatest assets.”
Commissioners took the time to thank first responders and emergency service workers for their toil over the weekend and weeks to come after the tornadoes in Henderson County and reminded the court not to forget their neighbors to the north that lost much in the disaster.
Commissioners took a lengthy executive session to interview up to 15 applicants to fill the unoccupied seat of Justice of the Peace Precinct 5. No action was made on Tuesday.
In other action, Commissioners:
• appointed Precinct 1 Commissioner Ken Hayes to fill Geeslin’s seat on the IT Committee. Geeslin served on the committee for more than six years,
• approved paying bills totaling $157,591.63 and
• extended the bidding window for pest control services for another three weeks. The court dropped the former contractor for “lack of service and overcharging.”

Apr

27

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.

Apr

27

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.

Apr

20

Posted by : admin | On : April 20, 2017

Mugshots ready CMYK

Mugshots
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.”