Special to The News
AUSTIN – State Representative John Wray took the oath of office Jan. 10 inside the Texas State Capitol, marking the beginning of his second term in the Texas House.
“I’m honored to represent House District 10 again in the Texas legislature, and will continue to fight tirelessly for the people and values of Ellis and Henderson Counties,” said Wray. “I am proud of the accomplishments we achieved last session, and although we face new challenges, I believe the House will continue to approach issues in the same conservative, pragmatic, and fiscally responsible manner that has helped our state prosper.”
In his first term as State Representative, Wray was appointed to the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. As a member of those committees, Wray helped pass open carry legislation, increased security at the Texas-Mexico border, and provided nearly $4 billion in tax relief to Texans.
Wray also passed the most bills of any freshmen representative, and filed bills to repeal taxes, honor Texan and American hero Chris Kyle, establish a higher education campus in the district, and protect private property rights and taxpayers funds from the planned High Speed Rail project.
The Texas Constitution dictates that the legislature meet in a regular session every two years, convening on the second Tuesday in January of every odd-numbered year. These sessions are limited to 140 days. The governor can also call additional special sessions as necessary, which cannot exceed 30 days. The 85th Legislative Session is Jan. 10 through May 29, 2017.
John Wray is a principled conservative, serving his second term as Texas State Representative of House District 10, the area encompassing Ellis County and part of Henderson County.
Wray currently resides in Waxahachie with his wife, Michele, and their two children, Morgan and Patrick.
Posted by : January 19, 2017| On :
Posted by : January 12, 2017| On :
By Rachel Williams
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–With a waiting list a year long for hangar space at the municipal airport, Athens City Council members are looking at ways to capture that lost revenue through a master plan to expand the airport’s capacity. However, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that all repairs be completed first.
The Athens Municipal Airport is a city-owned public-use airport located southeast of the central business district of Athens. Since the summer of 2016, city officials and the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) have coordinated efforts to conduct required maintenance on critical sections of the airport, such as the taxiway. Funding for maintenance projects comes from a variety of sources, including city, state and national designated for airport upkeep.
On Monday, a master plan was discussed for the airport. The major options in front of the master planners are expanding the airport itself or increasing the number of hangars available for lease. At current capacity, the airport can host at least 6,000 aircraft operations in a year. Expanding the airport will only increase activity, thus increasing revenue.
Increasing the number of hangars at the airport, will allow those on the current hangar waiting list the opportunity to store their aircraft. A hangar waiting list has been in place for more than a year. Hangar leases are renewed annually and two new lessees will be removed from the waiting list to use hangars left unleased at the close of fiscal year 2016. As part of the master planning process, analysis will be conducted to ensure that hangar leases are appropriate for the market. The master planners will consider all options in the development of the best case scenario for Athens Municipal Airport.
The city council is also seeking public input during a special meeting planned for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Partnership Center, 201 W. Corsicana St. in Athens to discuss capital improvements and changes to the water treatment plant. At a recent meeting, repairs to an existing water well were discussed. By shortening the well, adding a vacuum and two pressure reliefs, the water system will now have greater capacity. Additionally, the ground water drawn from this well will not require as much treatment as surface water does.
In other business, the city council:
• Approved the implementation of a Records Management Program.
• Resolved to apply to TEXSTAR, an investment service created by local governments for local governments, as a means of diversifying the city’s portfolio of investments.
• Approved a request from the Athens Economic Development Corporation regarding Minor Plat, Lot 6 Block 1 Industrial Park Addition, Unit III.
Posted by : January 5, 2017| On :
Posted by : October 20, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.
The Presidential election is of course, top of mind for most. Running on the Republican ticket is Donald J. Trump/Mike Pence and the Democratic ticket is Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine. Also running are Libertarians Gary Johnson/William Weld and Green Party candidates Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka.
United States Representative, Dist. 5 comes down to Republican Jeb Hensarling and Libertarian Ken Ashby.
Railroad Commissioner candidates are Republican Wayne Christian, Democrat Grady Yarbrough, Libertarian Mark Miller and Green Party candidate Martina Salinas.
There are several Justices of the Supreme Court elections. In the running for Place 3, is Republican Debra Lehrmann, Democrat Mike Westergren, Libertarian Kathie Glass, and Green Party candidate Rodolfo Rivera Munoz. Place 5 candidates are Republican Paul Green, Democrat Dori Contreras Garza, Libertarian Tom Oxford and Green Party candidate Charles Waterbury. For Place 9, the candidates are Republican Eva Guzman, Democrat Savannah Robinson, Libertarian Don Fulton and Green Party candidate Jim Chisholm.
Court of Criminal Appeals Judge, Place 2 candidates are Republican Mary Lou Keel, Democrat Lawrence “Larry” Meyers, Libertarian Mark Ash and Green Party candidate Adam King Blackwell Reposa. Place 5 candidates are Republican Scott Walker, Democrat Betsy Johnson, Libertarian William Bryan Strange III and Green Party candidate Judith Sanders-Castro. Place 6 candidates are Republican Michael E. Keasler, Democrat Robert Burns and Libertarian Mark W. Bennett.
State Board of Education, District 9 candidates are Republican Keven M. Ellis, Democrat Amanda M. Rudolph and Libertarian Anastasia Wilford.
Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees candidates are Peggy Dewberry, Stephen Burkhalter, Duana Busch, Michael Kent Monroe and Jerry Spiva. Voters may choose up to three of the candidates.
Crossroads ISD Board of Trustee candidates are Shelly Robertson, Darren Himes, William “Russell” Giles, Jr., Dustin Cook, Kevin Hazelip and Shane Stanfield. Voters may choose three candidates
The City of Caney City has a bond election for $191,000 tax bonds for structing and equipping a fire station.
Also on the ballot for some voters in Precincts 1 and 4 is The Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 special election proposition to confirm the creation of the Henderson County Emergency Services District 11 and the levy by the District of a tax not to exceed the rate allowed by the Section 48-e of the Texas Constitution.
See page 3A for polling locations.
Posted by : September 15, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff City Council adopted its 2017 budget and tax rate Monday. The $1,853,000 budget includes adding staff and pay raises, an $87,000 bond payment and increases in the fire and police departments. The council approved a penny increase in the tax rate from 48 cents to 49 cents per $100 property value. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Commenting on the budget, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble said, “We’ve given our employees all the tools they need to get the job done.”
During the same meeting, council members unanimously approved a monetary gift for city employees of $250 each. No reason was given.
Two members of the Malakoff Economic Development Corp, Kasey Jamison and Vincent Bailey Jr. were reappointed for another two-year term. million budget.
During a public hearing on the budget and tax rate, David Hennessee pointed out that the ditch cleaning operations on Martin Street, where he lives has not been effective as now there is standing water where it has not been before, even washing back under the street and power pole. “The water is not flowing as it should,” he said.
City employee Tim Whitley answered that a water study is now underway by engineers to determine how best to correct the issue. Once done, the Texas Department of Transportation is to be brought in to help correct it.
Hennessee also noted that the administration line item went up quite a bit, to which City Administrator Ann Barker said that more personnel was being added.
Another resident asked that a street light be installed on North Lincoln, to which she was answered one is being ordered from TXU and that the paperwork had been sent in.
Also on the agenda were closed sessions with three employees, individually for evaluation; and a session with the city attorney regarding pending litigation touching on the fire department, and non-emergency calls being directed to the Malakoff Police Department.
Posted by : April 21, 2016| On :
Cross Roads, Malakoff and Trinidad ISDs vote in November
Special to The News
TEXAS–Early voting begins Monday, April 25 and continues through May 3, for city councils, school board trustees and water boards.
City of Malakoff candidates for three positions include Kevin Killman, Robert C. Cole, incumbants Vincent Bailey, Jr. and Jerrily Tarver, Pat Isaacson, Rickey Baker, Bubba Matthews. Voting takes place at Malakoff City Hall located at 109 Melton St.
Athens Muncipal Water Authority (AMWA) candidates for three seats include incumbents Donald A.Foster, Stephen R. Sparkman and David Thomas, and Milburn Chaney and Frank Lunceford. Voters may cast their ballots for AMWA candidates at the Henderson County Elections Administration at 201 E. Larkin in Athens.
Cross Roads and Malakoff ISDs will hold elections in November.
The City of Trinidad and Trinidad ISD will conduct November elections also.
Election Day is Saturday, May 7.
Athens ISD’s election has been cancelled due to candidtates running unopposed.
Posted by : March 17, 2016| On :
Special to The News
WASHINGTON – Staff from U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling’s office will meet constituents from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Malakoff City Hall Council Chambers to provide assistance with federal agencies.
“Dealing with federal agencies can be an intimidating experience. I want my constituents to know that my staff and I stand ready to help. I hope that you will let my office assist you in your dealings with federal agencies or bureaucracies,” Hensarling said.
Providing outstanding constituent service is a priority of Hensarling, and this meeting provides an additional opportunity for constituents with questions or concerns to bring those to his attention.
District offices located in Dallas and Athens are always open for constituents to visit, as well as mail, fax, email or call for assistance.
“This is an opportunity that allows 5th District constituents to have a face-to-face discussion with my staff and to make it more convenient for Henderson County residents to get help.” Hensarling added.
All constituents with questions or concerns regarding immigration, passports, IRS, Medicare, the military, Social Security, USDA, Veterans Affairs, or other federal issues are welcome to attend and will be assisted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For more information, call Hensarling’s office at (903) 675-8288 or go to www.hensarling.house.gov.
Posted by : March 3, 2016| On :
Gooden beats Spitzer; McKee new judge, Hillhouse new sheriff
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–Super Tuesday turned out to be a day of celebration for many politicians running for office.
Former House District 4 State Representative Lance Gooden overtook his seat from incumbent Stuart Spitzer, who defeated Gooden in 2014.
In Henderson County, Gooden won 51.98 percent to Spitzer’s 48.02 percent.
In Kaufman County, Gooden captured 8,346 votes as of Wednesday morning with 30 of the 31 precincts reporting. Spitzer claimed 7,816 votes.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse reportedly took 6,817 votes.
Billy Jack Valentine took 49.8 percent with 6,762 votes. Hillhouse will take over when Sheriff Ray Nutt retires after two terms.
Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee won by a landslide with 9,361 votes, defeating his opponent Marianne Warren, who took 3,890 votes.
Henderson County Attorney Clint Davis defeating James Owen, 9,970 to 2,872.
The Precinct 3 County Commissioner had four candidates including Charles “Chuck” McHam, Kevin Head, Mark Tillison and Sammy Scott.
McHam lead with 1,520 votes while Head came in second with 913, Tillison, third with 802 votes, and Sammy Scott, fourth with 456 votes.
McHam and Tillison will face each other in the May 24 runoff election and the winner goes against Democrat Aleciah Joyce Sims in November.
Ken Hayes won the Precinct 1 Commissioner spot against Keith Pryor. Hayes finished with 1,571 votes to Pryor’s 1,344 votes.
Constable races went to Mitch Baker for Precinct 2, John Floyd for Precinct 4 and Brad Miers for Precinct 5. Miers won against Eric Adair1,692 to 985.
Floyd beat Wilford “Wick” Gabbard 1,709 to 1,416. Baker had 72.88 percent of the vote while his opponent Danny C. Howard received only 27.12 percent of the vote.
The November election will determine the winner of the Precinct 1 Constable race with Democrat incumbant Darryl Graham seeking a sixth term against Republican former Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigator and patrol deputy Kay Langford.
Posted by : March 1, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–Local May 7 elections closed its filing period for write-ins, resulting in a few races for cities and school boards.
Among them are: the Athens Municipal Water Authority in which five candidates have signed up to fill three seats on the board of directors now held by Donald A Foster, Stephen R. Sparkman and David Thomas. The challengers are former county tax assessor/collector Milburn Chaney and Frank Lunceford.
The City of Malakoff has five challengers: Kevin Killman, Ricky Baker, Bubba Matthews, Robert C. Cole and Pat Isaacson, versus incumbents Jerrilyn Tarver and Vincent Bailey, Jr. for three council seats. In Star Harbor a mayor’s race is set between former mayor Walter Bingham and Roy Scruggs. Current Mayor Bobby Howell is not seeking re-election.
The Athens City Council, Athens ISD, Caney City and Eustace will cancel their elections as the right number of candidates have filed for the available seats in each entity.
Serving in Caney City will be incumbents Gwen O’Dell and Travis Lamar Mathews, a third seat will like be filled by appointment.
In Athens, city council members Tress Winn and Joe Whatley are joined by newcomer Ed McCain, who applied to fill the vacated seat of Charles Elliott. Athens ISD trustees Eric Smith and Bob Spears are running unopposed and Renda Garner is to fill Place 6, with the officeholder David Freeman choosing to not seek re-election.
In Eustace, incumbents Chuck Powers, Marlin Chambers, and Adrian Parham will return to seats on the council.
In Log Cabin, incumbent Tom Garrett will be joined by new faces David Campos and Belynda Figueriedo. Also new city secretary Alisa Corn is taking Pat Hayes place, as she retired recently.
Star Harbor will see the uncontested return of David Morris on the council along with former councilman O.R. Perdue for two-year terms.
Other area cities, school districts and water boards conduct elections in November, including the City of Trinidad and Trinidad ISD, along with Malakoff ISD and Cross Roads ISD.
Early voting in local general elections begins April 25 and continues through May 3. The last day to register to vote in this election is April 7.
In a previous May 7 election story, it was reported that Cross Roads was holding an election and named the individuals running. That Cross Roads is a city located near Denton and not the one located near Malakoff.
The News regrets the error.
Posted by : January 29, 2016| On :
Wrong form filed to blame
By Doug Gibbs
TOOL–The transfer of Kemp’s water utility certificate and operations to West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District was denied, utility directors learned Monday.
After months of negotiations and assistance from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) denied the application because it was submitted on the wrong form. Ciardo noted that the State had sent a contractor to assist in filling out the 60-plus page application.
The news came as a disappointment to the board overseeing the progress of the transfer, which included laying water pipe along 10 miles and building and opening a local office in Kemp.
Ciardo expressed frustration about the disapproval, having relied on the state’s representative for guidance. Ciardo said that PUC will be sending a representative to help in filing out the proper forms, but that he had turned the issue over to the District’s attorney to handle due to its complexity, the extensive time required and the importance of getting it done correctly.
Ciardo further informed the board that the City of Kemp would also be sending letters to PUC and TCEQ saying they will transfer all their assets and service area to WCCMUD.
In other business, board members:
• called an election for board members for May 7 and Ciardo as Election Administrator and Kesha Paterson as Early Voting Clerk.
• heard an update on tank replacement at 148 pump station from Engineer Tyler Hendrickson of Velvin & Weeks Engineering.