Dec

29

Posted by : admin | On : December 29, 2016

HENDERSON COUNTY–2016 may well go down in history for its tumultuous and many would say dysfunctional election season which began with contentious primaries. The outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election, drew about 1.4 million more Americans in this year’s election than in 2012, but the numbers of those eligible to vote also rose during the interval. Approximately 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the presidential election, according to the latest estimates from Michael McDonald, associate professor at the University of Florida, who gathers data at the U.S. Elections Project, down from 58.6 percent in 2012 and 61.6 percent in 2008, which was the highest mark in 40 years. Turnout remained well above levels for most presidential election years from 1972 to 2000.
The outcome seated capitalist businessman and non-politician Republican candidate Donald Trump as this country’s 45th top executive. The upset was one of just five elections in our nation’s history where the Electoral majority votes outweighed the popular vote, which went to Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. Clinton won 48.3 percent of the popular vote to Trump’s 46.2 percent. The electoral college system was put in place by the nation’s founders to ensure cooperation across all segments of American society as explained by Prager University.
Locally, the elections while less contentious, resulted in one recount in the Republican primary for the Henderson County Sheriff race which was between long-term Henderson County Law Enforcement employees Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse and Criminal Investigator Billy Jack Valentine. Ultimately, Hillhouse was declared the winner by a margin of 61 votes, proving to many that every vote counts. Hillhouse took office on June 1 upon Sheriff Ray Nutt’s retirement on May 31.
Storms hit the area
A 70-mph tornado which hit Eustace late in December, 2015 was major news the first part of January as damage was surveyed. The twister, estimated to be 40 yards wide had stayed on the ground for approximately three minutes. Other parts of Texas, especially the Rowlett/Garland area were much worse and Payne Springs VFD assisted there.
March 8 brought more severe storms with straight line winds and reported tornadoes damaging areas of Malakoff, including the Flagg House which was built by Harry Flagg in 1921 and now serves as the Malakoff Historical Society and museum, along with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Schools make the grade
Many area schools proudly displayed banners touting their achievements as Texas Education Agency announced ratings but one school stood out. Malakoff ISD achieved back-to-back annual national recognitions as Blue Ribbon Schools. In 2016, Tool Elementary School joined Malakoff Elementary School (2015 recipient) in gaining the honor this year, under the direction of all the teachers and Principal Christal Calhoun. Tool Elementary was one of 26 Texas schools nominated to receive the award.
Every year, the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, which demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels. More than 7,500 of schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award. The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely-recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. Calhoun, along with teachers Kristi Dalrymple, Tasha French and Kristina Page attended a two-day ceremony in Washington, D.C. Nov. 7-8 to celebrate their achievement. After returning, Tool Elementary School celebrated the honors Nov. 16 with all of the students and about 100 community members.
In addition, the Malakoff Tigers Football Team broke a school record making it into the final round of statewide competition on the gridiron. A parade and celebration are being planned to honor the high achievement of the student athletes at Malakoff ISD.
Trinity Valley Community College made plans for future expansion with the purchase of the former National Guard Armory and adjacent Central Park Nov. 28. In similar fashion, TVCC purchased the former hospital site on State Highway 34 in Terrell to establish a Health Science Center.
Law Enforcement in the News
Another record-breaker was seen in the ending of the longest standoff with law enforcement this country has never heard about. The 15-year standoff with the law, came to an end Jan. 6, as a result of a news reporter informing the Henderson County authorities that the Anderson County DA’s Office had dropped charges against John Joe Gray. News of the dropped charge came to light in the aftermath of another armed standoff on public lands in Oregon. Gray, now 66, was arrested in 1999 for assaulting a state trooper during a traffic stop in Anderson County. Gray said it was his God-given right to carry the pistol he had that day, without a concealed handgun license. When the trooper tried to arrest him, Gray admits getting into a scuffle and biting him.
Gray was eventually charged with assaulting a public servant. But after being freed on bail, he refused to return to court, and instead, armed himself at home.
“If they come out after us, bring extra body bags. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Gray told ABC News in a 2000 interview.
Since the felony charge in 1999, Gray reportedly hadn’t left his 47 acres along the banks of the Trinity River between Tool and Trinidad. The impasse may well be the longest armed standoff in American history, which few knew anything about.
2016 came in allowing those licensed to own a gun to carry it in a holster without needing to conceal it. A bunch more rules were erected around the practice, regarding places of instruction and education and its prohibition if a sign is posted at private or public buildings restricting it.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse hit the ground running when he took office on June 1 and has been a frequent contributor to major news stories as he and his deputies crack down on drugs in Henderson County. In the last six months, Hillhouse’s campaign against illegal drugs has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests, most for drugs and drug related crime.
On the Tigers’ charge to the football finals, Malakoff ISD Police Chief Stacy Hillhouse distinguished herself with fast action at an away game when Malakoff played the Teague team in Palestine. Hillhouse effectively disarmed a volatile shooting altercation between two Teague fans in the parking lot prior to the gridiron action. She held the perpetrator until local police officers could arrive on the scene. She was recognized by the Malakoff School Board for her heroism and quick response to the situation.
Economic
Development
The City of Athens saw the long time battle of what to do with the abandoned hospital resolved when it all came tumbling down as the hospital was demolished in January.
The city took over the Cain Center and began major renovations which include relocation of municipal offices and improvement of the pool and recreational facilities. To get all the work done, the Cain Center will remain closed for all of 2017.
Malakoff saw the move of McDonalds to a new location and the grand opening of the new Whataburger as well as some work on downtown buildings.
The Henderson County Commissioners Court announced in April its final payment on the 2005 county jail expansion, making the county debt free for the first time in recent history.
Unprecedented
generosity
The Athens branch of Trinity Valley Community College was on the receiving end of the largest single endowment in its history when Athens attorney Nancy Perkins pledged a multi-million-dollar gift in honor of her mother, naming the Trinity Valley Community College Foundation as the beneficiary of her entire estate, Pauline Perkins was the first secretary to college founder and President Orval Pirtle, and ultimately became the longest-living member of the original faculty. Pauline passed away May 22, 2016 at the age of 90. Nancy presented a 1946-47 signed yearbook belonging to her mother to the TVCC Foundation as a token of the gift. While at the college, Pauline studied to obtain her teaching degree and fulfilled a 27-year career in education. Her first position was as a sixth grade teacher for the Mabank school district, Nancy said, though most of her mother’s teaching was at the middle and high schools in Athens. She retired from teaching in 1989 but continued to live a life of service, assisting her daughter in her law practice. “TVCC is where my mother began her professional career and where she was happiest,” Nancy told representatives of the college. “Her gift is her legacy, which we believe will help future generations and will forever commemorate her beauty and generosity.” Nancy Perkins is a practicing attorney throughout the state of Texas and a Mabank High School 1973 Valedictorian. “It is because of her encouragement that I have what I have,” she told The News.
Those we lost
Losses of local citizens who impacted many of us by their leadership and service include Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch. Hirsch was honored as Agriculturist of the Year and in October a stone memorial was laid in the DREAM garden of the East Texas Arboretum by the Henderson County Master Gardeners.
Randy Thornhill, an acclaimed author who lived in Malakoff in his younger days died on May 6. He had written two novels In the Southern Gothic style that made the top 20 list in 2015 of the best Southern America novels ever written as compiled by Oxford American, the Southern literary magazine.
Malakoff Heads gain a home
Three large enigmatic stones, referred to as the Malakoff Heads, found a permanent home in the Cook Education Center of the Pearce Museum of the Navarro College Campus in Corsicana.
Two of the heads (No. 1 and No. 3 – found in 1939 in the same general location between Mala-koff and Trinidad , in the Trinity River Valley overlooking Cedar Creek) have been stored with the University of Texas.
Experts have studied and argued about the Great Depression,-era finds. Some saying they are the oldest human artifacts uncovered in North America (10,000+ years ago). Others place them at a more recent Archaic Period (6,000 or less years ago).
People in The News
2016 brought many distinctions and awards as well as new jobs for many. This is by no means an exhaustive list as we are sure to miss some.
Athens High School graduate and businessman Drew Douglas was named 2015 Athens Citizen of the Year by the Athens Chamber of Commerce Jan. 22.
Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King was named President Pro Tem of the college May 2.
Three cities named new Police chiefs; Rickey Smith in Trinidad; Darrell Dean in Kemp and Raymond Wennerstrom as police administrator in Seven Points
Region 7 Education Service Center announced that Palestine ISD Superintendent of Schools Jason Marshall had been selected as the 2016 Region 7 Superin-tendent of the Year. Region 7 serves many districts in East Texas, including Athens, Cross Roads, Malakoff and Trinidad.
Court Appointed Spe-cial Advocates (CASA) of Trinity Valley announced that resource development officer Emily Heglund would replace Lee Ann Millender as the organization’s executive director.
Athens High School class of 1940 graduate Vivian Anderson Castleberry 1977 AHS graduate Drew Douglas and the late historic Athens educator R. C. Fisher were inducted to the Hornet Hall of Fame.
Athens native John Torrez was named national Postal Customer Council member for 2016
Other worthies recognized for their achievements include Joe Walenta, local musician and band leader, who was inducted into the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame this year; Outstanding Principal of the Year for Region 7 Eustace Middle School administrator Truman Oakley; and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny Snow nominated one of nine Texas National Distinguished Principal finalists.
Four Athens volunteers were applauded during the mayor ’s third annual Outstanding Leadership Luncheon Oct. 26. Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught recognized Steve Grant, Ginger Morton, Mary Lynn Smith and John Glover for the strong leadership they exhibited making life better for everyone living in the city. Ginger Morton and John Glover were the Grand Marshals at the Athens Christmas Parade.
There were festivals and parades, beautiful ceremonies honoring Veterans, celebrations and many good works by citizens and groups. It was a newsworthy year in every sense of the word and we at The News look forward to 2017.

Dec

08

Posted by : admin | On : December 8, 2016

Brinson Ford puts the finishing touches on Whovile

Brinson Ford puts the finishing touches on Whovile


Brinson Ford float

Brinson Ford float


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–The Trinity Valley Community College parking lot was ablaze with Christmas lights as participants gathered for the “Home for Christmas” parade Dec. 6.
The parade, originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, was a huge success despite being rescheduled on a weekday. It was reported to The News that there were over 50 entries in the contest.
The parade kicked off with cars carrying the Grand Marshals Ginger Morton and John Glover along with the mayor, city manager and the city council. Notable personalities for the children were Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Olaf, the Grinch and of course, Santa Claus.
The Church of the Living God did a series of floats that depicted the Christmas Nativity story with characters and banners with Bible verses.
Brinson Ford was the first-place winner with a “Grinch” themed float complete with a larger-than-life Whoville. Athens Café took second place with a realistic dining theme and Bristol Hospice took third place with princesses in a beautiful holiday setting.
Citizens lined the streets, the band performed and Christmas music played from many of the floats, bringing everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Dec

08

Posted by : admin | On : December 8, 2016

Special to the News
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Christmas Parade originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10 is postponed until January, but for a good reason.
The Malakoff varsity football team is on fire! The team, along with the staff and over half of Malakoff’s residents are on their way to Austin for a semi-final playoff football game. The Tigers are just a couple of steps away from a State Championship and all of Malakoff just couldn’t be more proud. This does not, however fare well for the Malakoff Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Parade.
So, it is being changed. There will be a huge rally for the varsity football team and the entire Malakoff ISD team at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at the Malakoff Community Center, 504 North Terry St. in Malakoff.
Plans are being formed now for entertainment by the band, the cheerleaders and one-act play students. But there is much more! The City of Malakoff, the Malakoff Chamber of Commerce, the Malakoff Booster Club, the Malakoff Alumni Association and many more orgainizations and citizens are on board to make this celebration a fantastic event for all, the likes of which will be remembered for years to come.
Stay tuned to The News for further updates. If you would like to get in on the planning, contact the Malakoff Chamber of Commerce at (903) 489-1346 or email malakoffchamber@yahoo.com.

Sep

08

Posted by : admin | On : September 8, 2016

church-ann-3

By Delanda S. Johnson
Special to the News
MALAKOFF–On Aug. 28, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church celebrated its 119 years of existence.
Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1897 in the Cedar Creek bottoms,under a brush arbor on Abe Johnson’s Farm.
Johnson Chapel has gone through many trials and tribulations, but with the courage and strength of its members, descendants of Bro. Abe Johnson, and the local community, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church stands strong in the 21st century.
The program moved forward with Evangelist Alma Berry opening service along with Sis. Delanda S. Johnson interacting with the congregation with songs of praise and worship.
Bro. Gilbert Smith welcomed everyone to Johnson Chapel, “the friendly church where everybody is somebody and Christ is ALL.”
Rev. Rickey Barnes, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Malakoff and who is also a fourth generation descendant of Abe Johnson, spoke on behalf of the Johnson family. “We are honored to be here once again at this Annual Homecoming service to remember the past and to help keep the future of Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church alive and well.”
Rev. Linda Ross, Pastor of Johnson Chapel introduced the speaker; who was none other that the former Pastor of Johnson Chapel, Rev. I. B. Wells, Jr.
Rev. Wells is currently the Pastor of Stearne Chapel A. M. E. church in Bryan, Texas.
Rev. Wells graduated from Brownwood High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Tarleton State University. He is an educator certified to teach History and Physical Education. He has won Area, District and Regional championships and in 2014 he coached the Calvert Lady Trojans to play for the State title in basketball and became the State Championship runner-up. He was also selected as Brazos Valley Coach of the Year in 2013-2014.
Even though he loves coaching sports, he loves being a coach for God, winning souls on the battlefield of life. Spreading the gospel and leading people to Christ is what he is passionate about, praying for the sick, offering counseling to adults and students hoping to make a difference in the lives of God’s people.
Sis. Cydnei Wells performed a strong and spiritual praise dance before her father preached.
Rev. Wells acknowledged that he was happy to be back home (Johnson Chapel) and in the Malakoff community. “When I was Pastor here at Johnson Chapel, the Malakoff community supported me. Even when I was coaching at Calvert and we were playing for the State Championship, the Malakoff community supported me by watching the game on television. Also now that my Oakwood team comes to Trinidad and beats them, the Malakoff community supports me,” said Rev. Wells.
The service moved on with Rev. Wells giving his sermon, “Wake-up You Sleepy Head,” coming from Genesis 28:10-22.
Rev. Wells said that sometimes we feel that we are all alone, but as a child of God we must know that God is everywhere. He will never leave you nor forsake you; God will be with you know matter what.
“Ask yourself, how many times have you felt stressed out? How many times have you felt tired of running? How many times have you felt depressed? How many times have you just gone back and forth trying to find peace? You must know that God is there through all of your situations. He is the way out of no way. He is the Prince of Peace. All you need to do is turn everything over to the Lord,” said Rev. Wells.
Rev. Wells said that everything that God gives to you is holy and you must know that God will walk with you no matter what. “God will never turn His back on you. He shows grace and mercy on you each and everyday. So, “Wake-up You Sleepy Heads” and know that Jesus died to set us free from all sins. He is our salvation and He has all power in His hands,” said Rev. Wells.
After a soul stirring sermon, the Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr. award was presented. This award was started by Rev. Bill Burton, former Pastor of Johnson Chapel in honor of the late Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr., who was also a former Pastor of Johnson Chapel and Presiding Elder of the Northeast Texas Conference (known now as North Texas Conference).
This award represents the faithfulness and helpfulness that the person gives to the community and to Johnson Chapel.
This year’s winner was Bro. Clyde Bailey. He is a native of Malakoff and a graduate of Malakoff High School. He attended Henderson County Junior College (now known as Trinity Valley Community College).
Bro. Bailey works for Lumia Energy in Henderson and also does carpentry work, where he is a skilled brick layer and deals with concrete.
Bro. Bailey’s Christian walk started at Johnson Chapel A. M. E. Church. However he is now a member of Antioch Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the Trustee Board. Even though Bro. Bailey is no longer a member of Johnson Chapel, he gives his time and service whenever there is a need.
It is said that he is a man of the community, who gives a helping hand.

Jul

14

Posted by : admin | On : July 14, 2016

worked up exercise1

worked up exercise1

By Sariah Kendall
News Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Positive vibes and laughter flow throughout the room as program leader Caren Anthony initiates an exercise class designed for helping people with Parkinson’s disease, stroke or traumatic brain injury.
There’s a feeling that everyone really wants to be there. The gentlemen are cracking jokes with one another, spouses are laughing back-and-forth. There’s something in the air. It’s a vibrant hope that these individuals in the free program hosted at Family Fitness in Gun Barrel City will get better.
“We laugh, cry and are loud,” Anthony says.
The program was created by Colorado resident Gary Sobol, who himself experienced severe motor skill loss from Parkinson’s disease in 2008 – and gained it back with regular exercise. He eventually founded GZSobol’s Parkinson’s Network in 2013 with the mission to help others. The network has three main principles: overcome challenges, improve quality of life and restore functions. After receiving training, Anthony runs the same class in Henderson County.
Anthony is also an emergency service first responder from Eustace and makes a living as the Marketing Director at Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice in Malakoff and Corsicana. She is one of only ten certified Parkinson’s instructors in Texas.
Anthony first learned of Sobol’s network at a conference she attended through another hospice care, and when the opportunity arose to change job positions, she made it a priority to bring Sobol to Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice and receive training. She wasted no time becoming certified and jump-starting classes.
Family Fitness owners Eric Castro and Steve Steerman have encouraged Anthony to offer the free classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week from 12:30-2 p.m.
As a first responder, Anthony also provides “Vial of Life” packets for emergency planning and promotes fire escape plans.
This class was initially planned for six weeks, but because of the success rate, Anthony plans to keep the class going.
“If we can change one person’s life in this room, which I think we’ve changed several, that’s what it’s all about,” Anthony said. “You just have to care about people and change their life. And that’s what we do, that’s what we’re up to.”
The Parkinson’s Network also provides exercise classes for people with MS, TBI, neurological disorders and for those that want to age well.

Mar

24

Posted by : admin | On : March 24, 2016

Coleman

The News Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–Early Tuesday, an active shooting scene was reported to law enforcement at the Walmart in Kaufman around 10 a.m.
After shooting a store employee, the shooter turned the gun on himself, in an apparent murder-suicide attempt.
According to Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Fred Klingelberger, the 55-year-old male suspect, who was identified as Donald Ray Coleman, was airlifted to a Dallas hospital from the scene in critical condition, having shot himself in the head.
The 59-year-old male victim was identified as John D. Morgan, Coleman’s neighbor.
Coleman targeted Morgan because Morgan was dating his wife.
There were other customers inside the store, but nobody else was targeted. “We understand there was an ongoing feud between the subjects,” Klingelberger told journalists at the scene.
Area businesses were advised to lock down and the Kaufman High School also went into lock down mode, but those were lifted by 10:30 a.m. The store remained closed the remainder of the day.
An official with Walmart released the following statement just after the incident:
“We’re deeply saddened by the tragic situation that occurred in our store today. We’re assisting law enforcement however we can and our thoughts are with the families and our associates at this time.”
Coleman was apprehended on an aggravated assault warrant out of Gun Barrel City for a family violence incident Jan. 17, involving a woman and her male friend.
Coleman was released Jan. 25 on bonds totaling $22,500. The incident was violent, with shots fired and the woman’s hands tied.
She reported being dragged and pistol whipped.
He was described as dangerous and the public was warned, if found, not to engage but to alert law enforcement to his whereabouts.
His description was publicized and he was apprehended later that week.
Morgan, doesn’t have a jail record in Henderson County.

Mar

24

Posted by : admin | On : March 24, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The sixth annual Athens Eggfest is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC).
Regular admission to TFFC is required. An $5 donation to the Friends of TFFC is required for tasting. Cooking will end at 3 p.m. No fee is charged to cook. Cooks may register at http://athenseggfest.wordpress.com/.
Demo cookers used at the event will be available for purchase at the end of the day.
For more information, call (903) 676-2277 or go to www.tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.

Mar

24

Posted by : admin | On : March 24, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The second annual Lake Athens Fly Fish Festival is set for 3-9 p.m. Friday, April 8 and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Lake Athens Marina.
Activities include bluegill contest on Friday, Big Bass Contest, casting and tying instruction and demos, casting games and competitions, kayak and boat division and much more.
Event is free. To preregister, go to johnnyonthefly.com.

Feb

18

Posted by : admin | On : February 18, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The City of Athens is making the bricks from the old Henderson County Memorial Hospital available to the public free of charge from 8 a.m. to noon Friday (today) Feb. 19, and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday Feb. 20 at the City of Athens Community Collection Site located at 500 Aaron St.

Jan

14

Posted by : admin | On : January 14, 2016

Special to The News
MALAKOFF–The Henderson County Black History Committee has scheduled two events to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The first annual Gospel Explosion is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at Johnson Chapel AME Church in Malakoff. The group is asking for choirs, soloists, praise teams, choruses, etc. to come help celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Please RSVP to Evangelist Alma Berry at (903) 489-1375.
The second event is the annual Candlelight Vigil scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at New Hope Corinth CME Church in Malakoff. The speaker for the event will be the Rev. Melvin Smith. Everyone is invited to attend to receive a blessing.