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.



Posted by : admin | On : November 6, 2012

Here again are the Henderson County polling places. I posted the 1M sample ballot yesterday, but you can find the sample ballot for your polling place here.

Polling Places:
1A – Seven Points City Hall
1CR – Willow Springs Baptist Church
1CR-CRISD – Willow Springs Baptist Church
1CR-MISD – Willow Springs Baptist Church
1M – Malakoff City Hall
1M-MISD – Malakoff City Hall
1M-Malakoff – Malakoff City Hall
1M-CRISD – Malakoff City Hall
1MN – Caney City–City Hall
1MN-MISD – Caney City-City Hall
1T – Trinidad Community Center
1T-MISD – Trinidad Community Center
1T-LOP – Trinidad Community Center
1T-MISD-LOP – Trinidad Community Center
1TC – Oran White Civic Center
1TC-MISD – Oran White Civic Center
1TC- TOOL – Oran White Civic Center
1TC-MISD/City – Oran White Civic Center
2 – United Pentecostal Church
2E – Eustace School
2E-ESD – Eustace School
2GBN – Gun Barrel City Hall
2GBS – St Peters Lutheran Church
2PSN – Payne Springs Community Center
2PSS – Pinnacle Club Fire Station
2PSS-MISD – Pinnacle Club Fire Station
3 – Henderson County Election
3B – Brownsboro Community Center
3B-BISD – Brownsboro Community Center
3C – Chandler Community Center
3C-BISD – Chandler Community Center
3M – Murchison School
3M-MISD – Murchison School
3M-BISD – Murchison School
3M-BISD/City – Murchison School
3M-Murchison – Murchison School
3N – Bethel Christian Church
3N-BISD – Bethel Christian Church
3N-MISD – Bethel Christian Church
3WS-BISD – Westside Volunteer Fire Dept.
4 – Athens First Baptist ROC
4A – Athens First Baptist ROC
4BV – Berryville Community Center
4CC – Coffee City-City Hall
4CC-City – Coffee City-City Hall
4CC-BISD – Coffee City-City Hall
4CC-BISD/City – Coffee City-City Hall
4MS – Moore Station Community Center
4MS-BISD – Moore Station Community Center
4NYL – New York Community Center
4NYL-BISD – New York Community Center
4PF – Poynor Community Center
4SE – Faith Fellowship Church
4SE-BISD – Faith Fellowship Church
4W – Shady Oaks Baptist Church
4W-CRISD – Shady Oaks Church



Posted by : admin | On : October 25, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan, The News Staff

ATHENS — A decision has been made.

Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders told the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) on Wednesday that its request to place a banner on the Courthouse Square has been denied.

The decision came as The News was going to press, so details were limited.

“Henderson County’s decision to deny our permit is appalling,” FFRF Co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told The News Wednesday. “County officials have continually given FFRF the run-around in an attempt to stonewall our application which they had no intention of approving. Using government power to promote religion and hinder criticism of religion is tyrannical, and is precisely what our secular Constitution prohibits.”

The FFRF is the Wisconsin-based organization that demanded the county remove a nativity scene from the Christmas decorations on the courthouse lawn last December. Later, the foundation shifted its focus from removing the nativity to allowing one of its banners.




Posted by : admin | On : October 15, 2012

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

The Malakoff City Council agreed to amend a city ordinance Monday, Oct. 8, effectively increasing how much residents will pay for their water and sewer bill.

The move increases minimums $1.25 per month for residential water and $2.58 per month for sewer, making the total for these utilities $27 for water and $17 for sewer.

The additional charges per $1,000 gallons will not be changing.

The city was told it was not charging enough for water and sewer back in April, following a rate study by a non-profit group.

Harold Hunter of Community Resource Group, Inc. told the council that at the current rates, the water and sewer fund would be running at a loss in the coming year.

“You are not going to generate enough revenue to cover your costs,” Hunter said at that time.




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.




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