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.”

Mar

30

Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS — It took a couple of weeks longer then expected, but Henderson County commissioners approved a premises use policy this week to “clarify and memorialize” the way county property is used.

The policy covers rules for using county property for rallies or demonstrations, including when to apply for a permit and the need for insurance, and for establishing public displays, decorations or monuments.

The approval came without much discussion on Tuesday, but when the policy was

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Mar

29

Posted by : admin | On : March 29, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

The man who filed a complaint with the state against Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders in connection with the continuing nativity scene controversy has changed his mind.

San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene filed a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct earlier this month, saying, “By refusing to take a neutral position in a sectarian issue, and to fail to publicly chastise Commissioner Hall in his comments as a standing county commissioner, which stated that ‘This is a Christian nation,’ Judge Sanders violated the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.”

This week, however, Greene sent a letter to Commission Chairman Tom Cunningham, writing, “I hereby request that you drop my complaint against Henderson County District Judge Richard Sanders. After due deliberation

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Mar

16

Posted by : admin | On : March 16, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – From the smallest voter box to the biggest Congressional district, lawyers and politicians and judges have been fiddling with and adjusting the boundaries of political subdivisions in Texas since the House Committee on Redistricting met on March 1, 2011. And despite the fact that May 29 primary elections are on the schedule, redistricting will continue to be a bone of contention for months to come.

Just consider Henderson County. Commissioners this week had to split off part of a Malakoff voter box in Precinct 1 and send it to Cross Roads.

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Mar

16

Posted by : Press release | On : March 16, 2012

From Staff Reports

Republican and Democratic parties in Henderson County have drawn positions for placement on the ballot for the Primary Election to be held May 29.

Candidate filing for county, state and national offices ended March 9.

The most widely contested race in Henderson County is Precinct 1 Commissioner,

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