Dec

09

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 9, 2011

Rep. Jim Pitts

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

District 10 State Rep. Jim Pitts today called the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn a “community tradition.”

“I’m disturbed that an out of state group has tried to interject itself into what has been an annual tradition at the Henderson County Courthouse for many years,” Pitts said. “That nativity scene is a holiday tradition for the entire community, and shouldn’t be used as a tool for some group to pursue an extreme agenda.”

Monday, Henderson County officials

Continue Reading

Dec

09

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 9, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The message was clear Friday morning at a meeting that saw more than 70 Christian church leaders from across the county join to discuss holding a rally next week: We want to do this, but we want to do this right.

“This is not about defending a symbol of our faith, this is about defending our faith,” said pastor Nathan Lorick of FBC Malakoff.

“The reason is to unite believers for a spiritual awakening and rally,” he added.

Lorick is one of four pastors to initiate the rally movement.

The rally is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, on the west side

Continue Reading

Dec

08

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 8, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The media and community response was swift after news broke that a group was trying to force Henderson County to remove its nativity scene.

So was the county’s answer.

Less than two days after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which claims the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal, County Attorney Clint Davis answered by writing, “Henderson County believes that it is in complete compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and acting very much in accord with prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings.”

The letter from Davis is dated Dec. 7 and is addressed to the FFRF attorney Stephanie A. Schmitt.

Wednesday night, Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders explained the county’s position, saying, “Because we have other decorations on the square other than the nativity, we feel we are in compliance with federal law.”

Continue Reading

Dec

07

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 7, 2011

Dec

06

Posted by : Press release | On : December 6, 2011

Special to The News

Dallas Andrew Fidler, 27, formerly of Seven Points, was sentenced Monday to 35 years in prison by 173rd District Court Judge Dan Moore in connection with the aggravated sexual assault of two children. Fidler elected to have the judge assess his sentence rather than a jury.

Fidler’s jury trial came to an abrupt end in October, when after four days of a jury trial he decided to change his plea from “not-guilty” to “guilty,” rather than have the jury assess his guilt. Fidler was on trial for two

Continue Reading

Dec

06

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 6, 2011

The center of the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn.

(UPDATE: Added text of letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation at end of story)

(UPDATE 2: Adds quotes from Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president. Rewrites for clarity.)

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to Henderson County commissioners saying the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal.

“We request that, as the Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps

Continue Reading

Dec

01

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 1, 2011

(UPDATE: Adds McGlaun to Pct. 1 Commissioner list)

From Staff Reports

Filing for the party primary elections in March opened up this week and Henderson County saw a flurry of activity, with most of the action centering on the Pct. 1 Commissioner’s race.

Four have signed up so far on the Republican side: Ken Hayes, Skip Smith, Scott Thomas, and Ron Welch. No one had filed for the Democrats as of press time Wednesday. Late Wednesday, after this week’s print edition went to press, the Democrat Party announced that David McGlaun filed for Pct. 1 Commissioner on that side.

Officials from both parties said this week there could

Continue Reading

Nov

28

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 28, 2011

From Staff Reports

Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reported last week that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards made an unannounced visit to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, Nov. 17, for the annual inspection of the Henderson County Jail.

The inspection took two days, according to Nutt, during which

Continue Reading

Nov

17

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 17, 2011

A federal court this afternoon issued new redistricting maps for Texas House and Senate districts. According to the Associated Press, these maps will remain in effect until a lawsuit over redistricting is settled — that likely means until after next year’s election.

The important point for Henderson County residents to know is that the county is still divided between two House districts. There are actually two proposed House plans – one looks like it has the county divided the way the Legislature planned it, between Rep. Pitts’ District 10 and Rep. Gooden’s District 4; the other actually places a little more of the Cedar Creek Lake area in District 10 than the original plan.

Here is a story from the Texas Tribune that includes the maps.

Nov

17

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : November 17, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – For the second straight week, Henderson County commissioners did not institute a burn ban. They are not alone, as Anderson, Cherokee, Kaufman, Smith and Van Zandt counties are also without burn bans right now.

So why is non-action news? Because Henderson County had been under a burn ban for seven consecutive months

Continue Reading