Posted by : admin | On : February 8, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

County inmates will soon be serving the public by clearing fence rows at the Malakoff Historical Society and Museum.

Malakoff Historical Society Director Pat Issacson, is thrilled about getting the assistance.

“This is going to be so much help,” she said. “I am very excited.”

Issacson discussed the idea with The News just a few weeks ago while waiting for a “Friends of Malakoff” meeting at the Flag House to begin. Since then, Issacson made the calls and arrangements and put things into motion. Of course none of it would be possible without the help of county inmates and the approval of County Commissioners.

Issacson said no date has been assigned yet, and the workload is rather heavy, so it most likely will be taking several days to complete.

“There are a lot of fence rows to move,” she said “It’s hard to tell when it was last cleaned out. It’s been years. They are going to help move some big things in the house then do the work outside.”
The city of Malakoff also said it will assist in the effort.

“The city said if we get the fencing close to the road, they will haul it off for us,” Issacson said

After a day’s work is done, Issacson said there would be more opportunities to continue the clean up.
“If there is more that needs done (after the day is over), all I need to do is call them up and they will come out again,” she said.

Issacson expects it will take two or three days to complete all of the work.



Posted by : admin | On : January 17, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office will soon have quick access to its own armored vehicle.
Tuesday, County Commissioners approved the purchase of a BearCat, the same kind of vehicle borrowed from the Tyler Police Department in 2010.

The BearCat served Athens well when it was used to confront survivalist Howard Todd Granger in a four-hour police standoff, in October, 2010.

Granger fired about 100 rounds from an AK-47 at the armored vehicle before getting taken down by a well-aimed sniper round. Not a single round fired at the SWAT team penetrated the vehicle, including the windows.

Sheriff Ray Nutt argued that in an emergency situation, the three hours or more it takes to do the paperwork and get the vehicle from Tyler could cost an officer’s life.

“We have a great working relationship with Tyler,” Nutt said, “but if there is an injured officer we need the vehicle quickly to extract him before its too late.”

Nutt added that BearCats are even protected underneath from grenade explosions. The BearCat will cost $132,000.

The 2010 incident was not without financial consequence to the county. Henderson County paid a hefty bill to repair damage the vehicle.

Nutt told Commissioners the County could have its own BearCat by July, if approved now.

BearCat is an acronym, standing for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin was vocal in his agreement.

“I think it’s a wise decision to invest in one of them,” he said.



Posted by : admin | On : October 20, 2012

Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace and Malakoff Municipal Judge Henry Ashford died today of an apparent heart attack, a county source confirmed.

There are no other details at this time.



Posted by : admin | On : October 12, 2012

Family Peace Project Executive Director Marlena Taylor stands by the Clothesline Project just before the start of the Domestic Abuse Awareness Month proclamation signing Tuesday, Oct. 9. The Clothesline Project is a collection of T-shirts designed and created by victims of violence and the loved ones of victims. The shirts help give a voice to those affected most by abuse and assault.

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – Donna Johnson started out the 2013 Domestic Violence Awareness proclamation signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon with a simple request: “I want everyone here, if they themselves or a family member have been affected by family violence, to please raise your hands and keep your hands raised.”

The East Texas Crisis Center Director of Outreach then asked for anyone who had a friend, or associate at work affected by domestic violence to do the same thing. Then she asked for anyone who knew someone who had been affected by domestic violence to do the same thing.

By that time, it looked like every one of the nearly 100 gathered on the courthouse lawn had a hand raised.

“Domestic violence in Henderson County is so prevalent,” she said.

October is about becoming aware of the dangers of domestic violence and the resources available in the community for victims.




Posted by : admin | On : October 11, 2012

State Sen. Robert Nichols met yesterday with school superintendents from Cherokee, Anderson and Henderson counties to talk about education issues and the upcoming Legislative Session. I’m working on a story for next week, but two quick things I noticed: It looks like the meeting took place in Athens, and in the above photo distributed by the senator’s office, that’s Cross Roads ISD Superintendent Clay Tompkins (left) sitting next to Nichols.

— Michael V. Hannigan



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.




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.




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.”



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.




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.