Oct

12

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.

TO READ MORE OF THE STORY, SEE OUR ONLINE EDITION.

Oct

11

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

Sep

21

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.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION.

Sep

11

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.”

Aug

31

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.

READ MORE IN OUR ONLINE EDITION

Aug

24

Posted by : admin | On : August 24, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — Don’t strike that match, there’s still a burn ban in Henderson County.

Henderson County Commissioners’ Court extended the current burn ban another 14 days Tuesday morning. The move came at the recommendation of Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh, who said the county’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index average score is 613, despite recent rains.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THE ONLINE EDITION.

Aug

24

Posted by : admin | On : August 24, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

The City of Malakoff has increased its annual mosquito spraying program because of the threat of the West Nile virus.

An outbreak of West Nile virus in Dallas County has killed 10 and left more than 200 sick this year. Last week, the first case in Henderson County was confirmed in Eustace.

Malakoff Public Works Director Tim Whitley said the city sprays for mosquitoes every year, but usually only about twice a month. For the last month, the city increased that to twice a week, and Whitley said they were planning to spray three times this week.

“We’re just trying to do the best we can for our city,” Whitley said.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THE ONLINE EDITION.

Aug

17

Posted by : admin | On : August 17, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — The Athens City Council is proposing a 3-cent increase to the ad valorem tax rate for the 2012-13 budget year.

If approved in September, the city tax rate will go from .600387 per $100 valuation to .630387. The proposal came after city officials met in extensive budget workshops last week at the Athens Training Center.

“We really didn’t want to raise taxes at all this year if we could possibly get by without it, but the need for a fire truck was there … and certain other capital items that we could not cut enough out of the budget to pay for,” Mayor Randy Daniel said. “It was a last resort so to speak. It wasn’t done lightly, I can tell you that.”

Read the rest of the story here with our online edition.

Apr

06

Posted by : admin | On : April 6, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — A Commissioners’ Court agenda item that didn’t pass Tuesday morning instead shed a different light on a long-running controversy in Malakoff.

Three years ago, a debate started over a large pile of construction rubble located on land owned by the county in Precinct 1 between The Lindy Mall and Spring Creek Mobile Home Park in Malakoff.

The owners of the Lindy Mall, through attorney Brian Schmidt, call the pile an eyesore and “a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Henderson County.” 

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Mar

30

Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

TOOL — The Malakoff ISD school board officially moved forward this week to request a delay in the so-called STARR 15-percent rule.
The action came during Monday’s regular board meeting held at the Tool Elementary School.

“I have felt all along that the 15 percent rule was unfair to our ninth graders,” MISD Superintendent Randy Perry told school board members in February, when the issue was first addressed. “They are the guinea pigs in this new system.”

The rule requires the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course tests to count as 15 percent of a student’s final grade.

The STAAR is replacing the TAKS. According to the Texas Education Agency: “The STAAR program at grades 3–8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.”

As things were, Perry said, 15 percent of a freshman’s end-of-course grade would have been based on a test no educator has actually seen.
“(The student’s) GPA and class rank could be adversely affected for their entire high school career,” he said. “Some of these ninth graders may fail the new test and lose credit, even if they passed in the classroom for the year.”

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) gave school districts the option of delaying the rule one year in February.

In a statement following the announcement, Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott said the move came “after receiving input from parents, educators and State Board of Education members, as well as … clarification from state leaders.”

“I remain committed to rigorous public school accountability,” Scott said. “The new assessment system will be better for students and educators.”