Jan

04

Posted by : admin | On : January 4, 2018

Special to The News
ATHENS–Henderson County Republican Chair, Betty Holland, announced two forum dates for the 2018 Republican Primary candidates. These are official forums hosted by the Republican Party in Henderson County.
“We have scheduled two forums that allow Henderson County voters the opportunity to hear from the candidates,” Holland said. “Our focus will be on providing unbiased questions from unbiased moderators, and I’m encouraging all candidates seeking office next spring to participate. We want everyone to walk away from these events feeling good about how the forums served our voters.”
Detailed schedules for the upcoming forums will be released shortly, and Chair Holland hopes the community will come out and support all of the candidates who will be working hard over the coming months. “I appreciate the strong voter support across our county over the years, and will continue to provide Republicans with a well-run primary throughout the county. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the forums this year.”
The first forum will be held in Athens at Living for the Brand Cowboy Church at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, located at 902 NE Loop 7 in Athens. The second forum will be held in Brownsboro at Rockhill Baptist Church at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, located on State Highway 31 East in Brownsboro.
Bob Miars will be the Moderator at both forums.
Running for county judge are attorney Jeff Weinstein and Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney. County Judge Richard Sanders is not seeking re-election, ending his term in office at the close of 2018.
Three candidates have lined up for McKinney’s commissioner seat: David Conner, Joshua Bardwell and Scott Tuley. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin has filed for re-election as has Kelly Harris. JP 5 is being contested by incumbent Belinda Brownlow, Patrick Gresham and Rick Simmons.
Precinct 2 JP will be contested by sitting justice Kevin Pollock and former officeholder Dale Blaylock.
State House of Representatives for District 4 has drawn fourRepublicans, including Dr. Stuart Spitzer, who has filed for his former seat – also Ashley McKee, Keith Bell and Earl Brunner. Democrat Eston Williams has also filed for the seat.
John Wray is running unopposed for House Seat District 10, which covers those living on the west side of Cedar Creek Lake.
The District 5 Congressional seat being vacated by Jeb Hensarling has attracted nine contenders including: Dist. 4 Texas House Rep. Lance Gooden, Jason Wright, Sam Deen, Bunni Pounds, Danny Campbell, David Williams, Charles Lingerfelt and Kenneth Sheets, as well as Dan Wood, the Democrat candidate.
District 5 serves an area of a southeast portion of Dallas County plus Mesquite and a number of smaller counties south and east of Dallas including Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson and Kaufman counties. As of the 2000 census, District 5 represents 651,620 people.

Dec

28

Posted by : admin | On : December 28, 2017

Forth Worth Stock Yards CMYK

By Bodey Cooper
The News Staff Writer
FORT WORTH–The 122nd Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo kicks off in 2018 Friday, Jan. 12 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 3.
The first event is the AQHA Versatility Ranch horse show at Justin Arena starting at 8 a.m.
That is followed up by the Junior Agricultural Mechanics class, “Tractors on Parade,” at 3 p.m.
The first day wraps up with the Best of the West Invitational Ranch Rodeo at the Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.
On the first Saturday, Jan. 13, you won’t want to miss the All Western Parade, which begins at 11 a.m.
Tickets are $15 and $25 depending on seating preference, and must be purchased in advance.
The Stock Show Parade is held each year on the first Saturday of the Show. More than 100,000 spectators line the streets of downtown Cowtown to watch this spectacular annual event.
The premium list of stock shows included at the event are endless.
There are open beef cattle shows, a commercial heifer show and sale, dairy cattle shows, dairy goat shows, llama shows, breeding sheep shows, swine shows, Boer goat shows and sheep dog trials.
Also, there are junior shows for children at the event.
There are also shows for donkeys and mules, miniature horses, paint horse, Palomino horse, Pony of the Americas and a quarter horse show.
There are six rodeos for this year’s event, beginning with the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo on the first day, Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 is Family Day, so enjoy activities for the kids at Kids Gone Wild and enjoy competitions for young ranchers. Also included is the Best of Mexico Celebration Rodeo.
The Cowboys of Color Rodeo will be held Jan. 15 at 2 p.m., highlighting the rich diversity and culture of rodeo and the western way of life.
The Bulls’ Night Out Rodeo follows that Jan. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Fort Worth Super Shootout will be Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m., followed by the PRCA Rodeo with dates running from Jan. 19 through Jan. 27.
All tickets for the rodeos may be purchased through TicketMaster.
Gates open daily at 8 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Exhibit hall hours run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays.
The FFA Children’s Barnyard runs from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.
Midway hours range, and can be found at fwssr.com.
Kids and families alike can take in history and culture at the Nation Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History runs the same hours, and gives families something to look forward to outside the rodeos and stock shows.
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is located at the Will Rogers Memorial Center at 3400 Burnett Tandy Dr. in Fort Worth.
Buck the trend and go have some fun with the family, enjoying all that the event has to offer.

Nov

16

Posted by : admin | On : November 16, 2017

Christina Roberts pins a commemorative ribbon on World War II Veteran Jesse Garrett. All the veterans attending the service were presented with ribbons, thanking them for their service.

Christina Roberts pins a commemorative ribbon on World War II Veteran Jesse Garrett. All the veterans attending the service were presented with ribbons, thanking them for their service.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–The East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society welcomed a crowd to the Annual Veterans Day Ceremony Nov. 10, where veterans, families and friends paid honor to veterans past and present.
Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders welcomed the veterans and family members and thanked those who journeyed out to support and honor the veterans. “I think about our freedoms, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, the right to assemble and our freedom of speech,” Sanders said and then asked the veterans who were able, to stand. “This is why we have these freedoms, the reason we can smell the sweet smell of freedom in this country.”
He went on to say, “This nation was founded on freedom, but it has taken the great sacrifice of these men and women to preserve our freedom.”
Athens Mayor Monte Montgomery gave the invocation and led the pledges to the American and Texas flags. Boy Scout Troop 343 members Gabe Carbajal and Ethan Kobelia posted the colors.
Second-generation U.S. Marine Veteran Michael Goodman who served two tours of duty overseas, said, “Today is a double honor for me as it is the official birthday of the Marine Corps., founded in a tavern 242 years ago.”
He went on to say, “As veterans, we took an oath to defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic and to date, no one has delivered us of that oath.” Goodman pointed out that 7.3 percent of the population has served in the armed forces and 20 million veterans are alive today. “It is the mission of these veterans to carry the torch of freedom and pass it down to future generations, to be keepers of the oath.”
Goodman quoted Thomas Paine who said, “Those that want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.”
Featured speaker Representative Lance Gooden was unavailable to speak since he was at a hearing fighting against the forced annexation of Kaufman County land by the city of Mesquite. Athens City Councilman Ed McCain stood in his place, praising Gooden for his accomplishments in the past legislative session including reduced fees for license to carry permits and tax relief for disabled veterans.
McCain told the story of two Marines in his life, his grandfather and his brother. Colonel Warren McCain, his grandfather, who joined the Marine Corps in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor, after having served in the Army and getting his education. He went on to fight in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. “He lived the American Dream, born in the dustbowl and went on to defend his country honorably. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery. This was always a huge source of pride for our family.”
A few months after Sept. 11, McCain’s brother Ryan felt the call to serve his country. McCain had taken on a fatherly role with his brother, so he was the one who took him to the recruiting depot and stood at Parris Island as he graduated.
“One day he called me and said he was going to Afghanistan. At that moment when the most important thing in my life was threatened, I began to understand the sacrifice. The message I would like to give our millionaire athletes who play children’s games on Sunday, is that if you felt for an instant, that terror I felt, you wouldn’t kneel during our National Anthem.”
McCain’s brother served his country and is now an air traffic controller.
South Athens Elementary fourth-graders, led by teacher Barbara Railsback, entertained the crowd with patriotic songs including a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful.” Boy Scout Troop 343 presented a commemorative wreath from the Daniel McMahon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Sep

14

Posted by : admin | On : September 14, 2017

Jeff Weinstein (right) holds a proclamation making Sept. 23, 2017 "Unlce Fletch Festival Day" in the city of Athens. Mayor Monte Montgomery (left) read the proclamation and the council approved execution of an agreement with TxDOT for closure of State Right-of-Way for the festival.

Jeff Weinstein (right) holds a proclamation making Sept. 23, 2017 “Unlce Fletch Festival Day” in the city of Athens. Mayor Monte Montgomery (left) read the proclamation and the council approved execution of an agreement with TxDOT for closure of State Right-of-Way for the festival.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Disannexation of property around Lake Athens came before the city council once again at their Sept. 11 meeting. Landowner Tom Potthoff spoke briefly, thanking the council members and Fire Chief McQueary for consideration relating to the disannexation of his property, which the council voted in favor of initiating Aug. 14 in a 4-1 vote, with Councilwoman Toni Clay opposing the move. The first reading of the Ordinance took place at the meeting. The second reading is scheduled for September.
City Managing Director of Planning Barbara Holley presented a report to the council regarding the possible impact of disannexing property within the city limits, pointing out that the affected area could be as much as 106 acres total with some additional amount of the spillway acreage.
“Due to the changes in the legislation regarding annexation, it is less likely. Currently, our growth boundary is at 80 percent.” Holley also described a situation where a property owner on the outskirts of the city could possibly enjoy city services without paying city taxes.
“From a planning perspective, I don’t think disannexing is a good idea because we have a significantly contracted growth boundary at this point,” Holley said. She also informed the council that when disannexing property, there is a mandatory refund of all taxes paid on a property from the time it was annexed to the time it is disannexed. For the Potthoff property, the amount is around $400.
Mayor Monte Montgomery questioned the fiscal impact of not only the taxes, but the work it would take city staff to process requests if they begin coming in succession. Councilwoman Clay reiterated her opposition to disannexation, “For me it is not about tax revenue now. Our job is to have a vision for the future. I feel that 40, 50 or 100 years from now, we will have made the wrong decision by de-annexing this property, especially when it is so much more difficult to annex in the future.”
Mayor Montgomery said, “It will always be my stand that we should never go after tax money without providing services. If we annex property, water and sewer should be right behind it.”
The council then considered the request of James and Carolyn Ray to disannex 0.260 acres (F.M. Trimble, A-766). Stan Taylor spoke to the council in favor of granting the request as it will affect how the Ray’s build their new home. The proposed porch and firepit will be in the section of land currently within the city. The portion of the lot is 100 feet by 71 to 90 feet.
After discussion, the motion failed 3-2.
In other business, council members:
• Mayor Monte Montgomery read a proclamation making Sept. 23 “Uncle Fletch Festival Day.”
• Approved selection of Gallagher Construction Company, L for construction management services (Construction Manager as Advisor) for the Cain Center Project.

Aug

17

Posted by : admin | On : August 17, 2017

Hensarling Meeting
By Tom Chapman
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Local citizens gathered Thursday for a town hall meeting with U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R).
After opening remarks and introduction by County Judge Sanders, Congressman Hensarling stated that he was honored to occupy the “citizen’s seat” and recognized that despite political or philosophical differences “our citizenship unites us.” He then talked about recent legislative actions in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hensarling informed constituents that the House had been busy, passing about 300 bills. He went on to say that “about 200 of them are sitting in the Senate awaiting action.”
After talking about challenges the country and Congressional District 5 are facing, including healthcare reform, actions on entitlements, fiduciary concerns he opened the floor for questions and comment.
Several citizens asked about healthcare reform, expressing frustrations that deductibles have risen along with costs. The congressman stated the house had been working on a reform bill which preserved choice in providers and made the healthcare exchanges more easily accessible.
Other citizens asked insightful questions about campaign finance, with the general consensus that the citizens thought there were potential conflicts of interest by Congress accepting monies from industries in which congressmen had regulatory oversight.
Congressman Hensarling has represented the 5th district since 2003 and currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee.

Jun

08

Posted by : admin | On : June 8, 2017

The News Staff Reports
MABANK–It’s time to polish your boots and dust off your chaps. Western Week in Mabank is coming!
The rodeo begins on Friday night at 8 p.m. at the Alene and Andrew Gibbs Memorial Arena on Business 175 in Mabank. Each event is sponsored by the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department.
Rodeo events include calf roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc, ranch bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies’ open barrels, bull riding, bareback and calf scrambles.
The festivities this year begin on Saturday, June 17 with the Third Annual CASI Chili Cook-Off at the Mabank Pavilion. Registration time begins at 9 a.m., with bean turn-in time at noon and chili turn-in time at 1 p.m.
The Rodeo Queen Rehearsal will be held at the arena Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m. Rodeo queen nominees have already started pouring in, so the competition is bound to be tough this year.
Tuesday, June 20 is game day. The games begin at 6:30 p.m. with the ever-popular bed races set for 7:30 p.m.. Join the fun at the Mabank Pavilion. This is always a don’t-miss event.
Wednesday at 7 p.m. is the Queen’s Dinner at B-n-R Country.
Saturday is a jam-packed day with the Rodeo and Western Week Parade kicking off the events at 4 p.m. starting at the arena. Line-up begins at 3 p.m. .
The rodeo start time is 8 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, with a street dance after the rodeo Saturday evening at the pavilion.
Come celebrate the rich heritage of Mabank at the Rodeo and Western Week.

Jun

08

Posted by : admin | On : June 8, 2017

Log Cabin Boat Ramp
The News Staff Reports
LOG CABIN—The City of Log Cabin marks its 30th anniversary with a celebration at 10 a.m. this Saturday. The city will hold a dedication ceremony of the “Gene Bearden Memorial Boat Ramp” in the city park with a celebratory meal to follow at the Red Barn.
In the 1980s the town began as a retirement development called Log Cabin Estates, located between the Caney Creek and Clear Creek arms of Cedar Creek Reservoir. The community incorporated in 1987, and in 1990 the population was 487. That figure increased to 733 in 2000. Current population is estimated to be 717 according to the city’s website.
Roger Eugene “Papa Gene” Bearden served the community of Log Cabin as a member of the City Council, Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem. And this was all after retiring from Southwestern Bell Telephone with 30 years of service.
From all accounts, Bearden was a “bigger than life” character, dedicated to his faith, his family and his community. He was instrumental in the implementation of the city’s new water treatment and sewer system, water tower, community park, fishing pier, boat ramp and dock. He and his wife Judy were married for 45 years before his passing in April 2014 at the age of 66.

May

25

Posted by : admin | On : May 25, 2017

By Kate Pittack
Extension 4-H Agent
HENDERSON COUNTY–AgriLife Extension urging Texans to Click It or Ticket.
This year’s Click It or Ticket Campaign will be May 22-June 4, which includes the Memorial Day weekend and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is urging Texas drivers to buckle up.
Once again, the agency is supporting efforts by the Texas Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety and police and sheriff’s departments across the state to save lives by promoting increased seat belt use.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars.
“They also reduce the risk of dying by 60 percent for drivers of pickups, because pickups are twice as likely to roll over as passenger vehicles,” AgriLife Extension vehicle safety program manager, College Station, Bev Kellner said.
Texas achieved a nearly 92 percent statewide seat belt use rate in 2016 per Texas Department of Transportation data. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the “Click It or Ticket” initiative in Texas saved 5,068 lives and prevented 86,359 serious injuries since its inception 15 years ago. It also saved more than $19.3 billion in related economic costs from 2002 to 2016.
“This year, the campaign is focusing on wearing seat belts all the time, especially at night,” Kellner said “Fifty-seven percent of fatal crashes in Texas happen at night. And last year, of all crashes in Texas in which people died and weren’t wearing a seat belt, 62 percent happened at night.”
She said Texas law requires the driver and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a seat belt.
“Unbuckled adult drivers and passengers, even those in the back seat, can be fined and face court costs of up to $250,” she said. “Children younger than eight must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4–feet 9-inches.”
Kellner said because this year’s campaign time frame includes Memorial Day weekend — when many people take to the road to enjoy a long weekend — drivers can likely expect to encounter additional law enforcement activity, including seat belt and child restraint checks.
“These officers are not out there just to write tickets; they want to help prevent needless tragedies associated with vehicle crashes.”

Apr

13

Posted by : admin | On : April 13, 2017

Like so much dirty laundry hung for all to see, survivors of sexual assault and abuse tell their stories through short messages. So many more T-shirts were not hung up Tuesday due to the threat of rain, East Texas Crisis Center Director Della Cooper said.

Like so much dirty laundry hung for all to see, survivors of sexual assault and abuse tell their stories through short messages. So many more T-shirts were not hung up Tuesday due to the threat of rain, East Texas Crisis Center Director Della Cooper said.

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–East Texas Crisis Center staffer Gwen Cox read some astounding statistics on sexual assault and abuse during a Sexual Assault Awareness Proclamation ceremony on the courthouse steps in Athens Tuesday.
She said 6.3 million Texans have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse. The Athens Office of the East Texas Crisis Center have served more than 200 such clients last year and is working 26 active cases.
County Judge Richard Sanders thanked all the volunteers that work each day to try to prevent this terrible crime “Without dedicated people who work each day, this problem could be a whole lot worse. To think almost a quarter of our population here in Texas has had some sort of sexual abuse happen to them or a family member is really mind-boggling to me.”
He read the proclamation making April a month to educate and raise awareness around the issues of sexual assault and abuse, which affects people of all ages, races and economic circumstances.
“The consequences of sexual abuse are often severe and long lasting. The risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder increases dramatically for victims of sexual assault. Therefore, let us extend our education campaign and build on the network of support to address this issue, including outreach to schools on topic issues of sexual assault.
“United in this effort we can continue to make a difference,” he read.
After thanking the many volunteers who work in this area, Sanders said he looks forward to the day when we can celebrate that sexual assault is no longer a factor in this county.
Rev. Ed Schauer of The Church of The Nazarene in Gun Barrel City closed the proceding in prayer asking God to “touch each of us to stand in the gap for these victims. Cure this disease by your touch, we pray.”

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.