Posted by : admin | On : March 17, 2016

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



Posted by : admin | On : March 3, 2016

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 : admin | On : March 1, 2016

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 : admin | On : January 29, 2016

Wrong form filed to blame
By Doug Gibbs
Monitor Correspondent
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.



Posted by : admin | On : January 7, 2016

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Texas State Representative Stuart Spitzer’s staff will hold ‘mobile office’ hours to meet local constituents regarding issues and concerns with state agencies. Staff will be available at the following times and locations:
Monday, Jan. 11
• 8 a.m. to noon at Chandler Community Center.
• 1-5 p.m. Brownsboro City Hall.
Tuesday, Jan. 12
• 8 a.m. to noon at Gun Barrel City Hall.
• 1-5 p.m. Mabank City Hall.
Thursday, Jan. 14
• 8:30 a.m to noon at Coffee City Community Center.
• 1-4:30 p.m. at Eustace City Hall.
‘Mobile office’ hours are set throughout District 4 in January and February, and will be repeated every quarter or sooner as needed in the local communities.
Community leaders wishing to schedule meetings for constituents should call Robert Shulter at (972) 932-3678.



Posted by : admin | On : December 30, 2015

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–On Dec. 23 Henderson County Republicans found out their ballot positions for the March 1, 2016 Primary Election ballot.
Drawing names for the ballot position order was retired Tax Assessor Collector Milburn Chaney in Athens.
Appearing on the ballot first for the Henderson County Sheriff’s position is candidate Botie Hillhouse, then Billy Jack Valentine. Current Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt is retiring and not seeking re-election.
Also serving his final term is 392nd District Court Judge Carter Tarrance. On the ballot for his position are first Marianne T. Warren followed by current Henderson County District Attorney R. Scott McKee.
Precinct 3 Commissioner’s order is Kevin Head, Charles “Chuck” McHam, Mark Tillison and Sammy Scott. For Precinct 1 Commissioner, Keith Pryor will appear first, followed by Ken Hayes.
Constable Precinct 2 has Mitch Baker, followed by Danny C. Howard on the ballot. Candidates for Constable Precinct 4 are John Floyd first, then Wilford “Wick” Gabbard and Precinct 5 are Eric Adair followed by current Constable Brad Miers.
The County Attorney order is current County Attorney Clint Davis first, then challenger James Owen.
Current State Representative District 4 Stuart Spitzer will appear first followed by Lance Gooden.
The presidential race order is Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Elizabeth Gray, Marco Rubio, Donald J. Trump, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, John R. Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson.



Posted by : admin | On : November 25, 2015

Payments due by January 1, 2016

Special to The News
ATHENS–Henderson County tax statements have been mailed out, according to Henderson County Tax Assessor Collector’s office Cindy Edwards.
More than 65,000 statements were posted with payments due by the end of January.
Although the bill comes from the county tax office, each statement may include a fee from more than two dozen entities from which the tax office collects. Some of them will be on all the statements, while others, such as school districts and emergency services districts, will only show up on a portion of the bill.
For a taxpayer living in the city of Athens, seven taxing entities are listed on the bill in alphabetical order. The Athens Independent School District appears first on the bill along with those accounts for the largest amount of the total tax owed. The AISD tax rate is $1.19647 per $100 property valuation.
Homeowners received an increase in their homestead tax exemption, following the Texas Constitution Amendment Election, Nov. 3. That exemption jumped from $15,000 to $25,000. The first $25,000 of property valuation is free and clear of property tax evaluation.
The City of Athens also assesses a property tax. The rate this year is 65.4140 cents per $100 valuation. That’s followed on the statement by the Athens Municipal Water Authority. AMWA’s tax rate of 11.9729 cents per $100 valuation.
The next few slots on the statement deal with taxes imposed by the county government.
Henderson County’s tax rate for 2015 is 47.79840 cents. This is to pay the county’s general fund expenses and debt service.
Also, on the statement is the county road and bridge tax of 41.490 cents, which generates funds for the precincts to use for services such as road repairs.
Trinity Valley Community College and emergency service districts also have their tax rates collected by the Henderson County Tax Office on their behalf.



Posted by : admin | On : November 25, 2015

“Isis is not the ‘J.V. team,’ they are not ‘contained,’ and what happened in Paris was not merely a ‘setback.'”

Special to The News
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, made the following speech on the House floor to urge his colleagues to vote for the American Safe Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038), a bill which he cosponsored:
“Mr. Speaker, I do rise in support today of the safety and security of the American people. As members of congress, we have no more sacred responsibility. Thus, I rise in support of the SAFE Act.
“I join all Americans and all the people of the world in standing with the people of Paris. We are so sobered as to what happened to their homeland, but we are also sobered by the challenge and the grave responsibility to thwart the same evil from coming to our homeland.
“The director of the F.B.I. has testified before Congress just last month that a number of people who are of serious concern were able to slip through screenings of Iraqi refugees. That’s what the director of the F.B.I. said. This disturbing information, Mr. Speaker, obviously raises very serious red flags about lapses in the security within our current refugee vetting system.
“Again, it is why I support and I encourage all members to support the American SAFE Act of 2015. It would effectively hit the pause button on the refugee program – not the stop, but the pause button. And it’s simple legislation. It simply requires more rigid standards so that the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence would positively certify that each refugee from Iraq and Syria does not pose a security threat to us, to our homeland, to our families. Otherwise, they will not be permitted to set down on American soil. It is simple, it is common sense and it is needed.
“Mr. Speaker, our hearts also go out to the millions of refugees forced to flee their homes and save their lives. There is no other country in the world – no other country in the world – that has been more generous with their time and treasure to refugees than the United States of America, but today is not the day to share our territory. Not until and unless these people can be properly vetted to ensure they don’t threaten our families.
“Mr. Speaker, hopefully the world has awakened. There is a very real threat that ISIS poses, and it is not the ‘J.V. team,’ they are not ‘contained,’ and what happened in Paris was not merely a ‘setback.’
“I urge my colleagues to take the responsibility to secure our homeland seriously. This will be the first of what I know will be many steps that this chamber will take to address the growing threats that are posed to our families and our country. And I thank the sponsors of the legislation for bringing it to the floor. I urge all my colleagues to adopt it. I yield back the balance of my time.”



Posted by : admin | On : November 19, 2015

Special to The News
TEXAS–Small, nonfarm businesses in 46 Texas counties are now eligible to apply for low interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the drought in the following primary counties that began Oct. 13, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center – West.
Primary Texas counties
Coke, Concho, Fisher, Hays, Kent, Mitchell, Nolan, Schleicher, Smith, Tom Green and Wood.
Neighboring Texas counties
Blanco, Borden, Caldwell, Camp, Cherokee, Coleman, Comal, Crockett, Crosby, Dickens, Franklin, Garza, Gregg, Guadalupe, Henderson, Hopkins, Howard, Irion, Jones, Kimble, King, McCulloch, Menard, Rains, Reagan, Runnels, Rusk, Scurry, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Taylor, Travis, Upshur, Van Zandt.
“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.
Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
“Eligibility for these loans is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.
By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on Oct. 21, 2015.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. However, nurseries are eligible for SBA disaster assistance in drought disasters.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing
Individuals who are deaf or hardofhearing may call (800) 877-8339.
For more disaster assistance information, or to download applications, go to
Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for these loans is June 21, 2016.



Posted by : admin | On : January 3, 2013

Scotty Thomas taking an oath to serve as a Henderson County Commissioner.

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

Scotty Thomas accepted his role as Pct. 1 County Commissioner Jan. 1, when he took a nervous, solemn oath at the Henderson County Annex New Years Day.

Thomas admits the big moment was more intimidating than expected, surrounded by friends, family and other elected officials.

“I’ve spoke many times, in front of bigger crowds, but one is different,” he said after taking the oath.

Joining Thomas by taking their own oaths of office were Pct. 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence, Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh, and Pct. 3 Constable David Grubbs.

Grubbs’ public oath nearly didn’t happen, as a communication error resulted in him arriving just as Judge Richard Sanders wrapped up the ceremony.

This however, didn’t stop Grubbs. After a few minutes he settled into the front of the room with Sanders and was sworn in properly.