Sep

21

Posted by : admin | On : September 21, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — Henderson County Commissioners’ Court approved the 2013 budget and tax rate Tuesday morning.
The tax rate remains the same at .472658 per $100 valuation.

The budget was set at about $33.7 million, which County Judge Richard Sanders said was around $1 million less than last year. These numbers do not include grants the county has received in the past, or expects to receive again in 2013.

“We did come up with a budget that did not increase taxes. I think that is very important in this day and time, with all the people who are hurting trying to make ends meet,” Sanders said.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION.

Sep

20

Posted by : admin | On : September 20, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed a third instance of human West Nile Virus in Henderson County for 2012.

An official from the agency said the case was reported Thursday, Sept. 13. The agency could not say in what part of the county the case occurred.

The new case is the milder West Nile fever. This year, the county has seen two cases of West Nile fever and one case of the more serious West Nile neuroinvasive disease.

This marks the most confirmed human cases of West Nile in the county since the disease was discovered in the United States in 1999. The only two other confirmed cases of human infection in Henderson County came in 2005, according to state records.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION.

Sep

11

Posted by : Press release | On : September 11, 2012

Congressman Jeb Hensarling issued the following statement today in recognition of the 11th anniversary of the al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

“It’s hard to believe 11 years have already passed since our country was attacked and our world was changed forever on that grave September morning. On 9/11, an unthinkable act of evil struck our nerve but it never came close to breaking our spirit. Instead of letting terror bring us to our knees, our nation stood tall and responded and rebounded in a way that has reminded the world that no adversary is too strong or severe to be overcome and defeated by the United States of America.

“No matter how much time passes or how many years go by, we will never forget the lives we lost or the families who still mourn them and miss them dearly. We must also remember the timeless axiom that all which is necessary for evil to prevail is for the good to do nothing. After all, it was 11 years ago today that the war against terrorism was begun in the sky above Pennsylvania by brave patriots who chose to fight back. When our military was called to action to defend our liberty, the men and women in uniform followed in the footsteps of those passengers and generations of warriors before them as they fought – and continue to fight – to defend freedom, bring evil to justice, and protect the land we call home.

“On this solemn anniversary, I join the American people in prayer as we pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 Americans taken from us in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon, as well as those who have given their lives since 9/11 in defense of our homeland and our cherished freedom. Their sacrifices continue to inspire a grateful nation every day as we continue the fight for a safer and freer world for our children and grandchildren.”

Sep

04

Posted by : admin | On : September 4, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The Chariot bus line is set to start carrying passengers Monday, Sept. 17, with trips from Athens to Tyler, and back, twice a day.

The buses will leave from Athens Central Transfer (Heritage Square) at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m., making stops in Murchison, Brownsboro, Chandler, and Tyler Pounds Field Airport (on request) along the way before hitting the Tyler Central Bus Transfer. The buses will also go through the hospital district, using Tyler Transit bus stops.

The process will reverse, with the buses taking the same route from Tyler to Athens at 1 p.m. and 5:40 p.m.

Cost is $5 per trip, although there are weekly and monthly rates available. Call 877-776-4335 for more details.

The best part of this business might be, well, that it isn’t really a business. It is a non-profit church outreach.

“The heart of it is as a ministry, not as a bus line,” said Helen Thornton, who is the vice chairman of the East Texas Transportation and Steering Committee (EasTexConnects) and one of the bus line’s founders.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION

Aug

31

Posted by : admin | On : August 31, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — When Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders filed his proposed budget for 2013 last month, he cut nearly half a million dollars in spending.
Turns out, it wasn’t enough.

Increased costs and declining revenue have the county discarding the knife and picking up a chainsaw to cut the budget. Now positions are being eliminated and some people are losing their jobs.

“I want the public to know that this has not been a short session, we have had multiple, multiple workshops,” said County Judge Richard Sanders. “This is serious business. Any time you cut employees it is serious business.

Commissioners’ Court continued the budget process this week, meeting with department heads and combing through pages and pages worth of numbers. Commissioners will likely being doing that right up until Tuesday, Sept. 18.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION

Aug

24

Posted by : admin | On : August 24, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — Don’t strike that match, there’s still a burn ban in Henderson County.

Henderson County Commissioners’ Court extended the current burn ban another 14 days Tuesday morning. The move came at the recommendation of Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh, who said the county’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index average score is 613, despite recent rains.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THE ONLINE EDITION.

Aug

17

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : August 17, 2012

From Staff Reports

EUSTACE — The City of Eustace reported to the Texas Department of State Health Services a single case of West Nile Virus this week. The case was initially reported on Monday. The person did not require medical treatment at the time of the report, according to a city press release.

According to state sources, the case marks the first to be reported in Henderson County in 2012.

“Eighty percent of people with West Nile virus show no symptoms. However, in a small percentage (less than 1 percent), symptoms can become severe. We are asking everyone to be diligent in containing the spread of this virus in the area,” said Mayor Elicia Sanders. 

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Apr

28

Posted by : admin | On : April 28, 2012

 

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — When the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed paperwork with the county last week to display an atheist banner on the Courthouse lawn in December, one of the questions percolating behind the scenes was: “Does it have to be this banner?”

The question wasn’t officially asked out loud; it wasn’t broached during the commissioners’ meeting, at least not yet. But the whispers were there.

The proposed banner reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts & enslaves minds.”

The FFRF has many different banners, however, including one that simply reads: “Reasons Greetings.”

FFRF attorney Charles Caperton admitted after last week’s meeting to at least hearing the question, but said

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Apr

05

Posted by : admin | On : April 5, 2012

The World Guy (Erik Bendl) poses for a photo with Gun Barrel City business woman Lulu Groom Thursday afternoon on Loop 7 in Athens. Bendl is walking across the state to raise awareness about diabetes. (Michael V. Hannigan Photo)

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — Erik Bendl walks with The World, The Dog, and The Stick.

And he walks … and walks … and walks.

Better known as “The World Guy,” Bendl walks across the country with his Blackmouth Cur mix named Nice and an inflated 6-foot ball painted like a globe, which he steers with his walking stick.

In the past seven years he has been on six long walks that have taken him through 34 states and more than 4,500 miles. His current walk started in Seminole, Alabama and included Mississippi, Louisiana and now Texas. He made his way through Athens on Thursday, April 5, just two days after his 50th birthday.

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Mar

30

Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — It took a couple of weeks longer then expected, but Henderson County commissioners approved a premises use policy this week to “clarify and memorialize” the way county property is used.

The policy covers rules for using county property for rallies or demonstrations, including when to apply for a permit and the need for insurance, and for establishing public displays, decorations or monuments.

The approval came without much discussion on Tuesday, but when the policy was

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