Dec

16

Posted by : admin | On : December 16, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

There will be no banner from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn this year, a foundation attorney confirmed this morning.

But that does not mean the legal battle is over.

Attorney Stephanie Schmitt of the FFRF told The Malakoff News that Henderson County has outlined a procedure for requesting a display, and the procedure includes asking Commissioners’ Court. Because commissioners

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Dec

12

Posted by : admin | On : December 12, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

Like shadow footprints laid out on a floor, the next steps in the legal dance between the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and Henderson County government seem to be in place, and they lead directly to Commissioners’ Court.

The FFRF is the Wisconsin-based organization that demanded the county remove a nativity scene

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Dec

09

Posted by : admin | On : December 9, 2011

Rep. Jim Pitts

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

District 10 State Rep. Jim Pitts today called the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn a “community tradition.”

“I’m disturbed that an out of state group has tried to interject itself into what has been an annual tradition at the Henderson County Courthouse for many years,” Pitts said. “That nativity scene is a holiday tradition for the entire community, and shouldn’t be used as a tool for some group to pursue an extreme agenda.”

Monday, Henderson County officials

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Dec

08

Posted by : admin | On : December 8, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The media and community response was swift after news broke that a group was trying to force Henderson County to remove its nativity scene.

So was the county’s answer.

Less than two days after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which claims the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal, County Attorney Clint Davis answered by writing, “Henderson County believes that it is in complete compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and acting very much in accord with prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings.”

The letter from Davis is dated Dec. 7 and is addressed to the FFRF attorney Stephanie A. Schmitt.

Wednesday night, Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders explained the county’s position, saying, “Because we have other decorations on the square other than the nativity, we feel we are in compliance with federal law.”

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Dec

06

Posted by : admin | On : December 6, 2011

The center of the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn.

(UPDATE: Added text of letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation at end of story)

(UPDATE 2: Adds quotes from Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president. Rewrites for clarity.)

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to Henderson County commissioners saying the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal.

“We request that, as the Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps

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Dec

01

Posted by : admin | On : December 1, 2011

(UPDATE: Adds McGlaun to Pct. 1 Commissioner list)

From Staff Reports

Filing for the party primary elections in March opened up this week and Henderson County saw a flurry of activity, with most of the action centering on the Pct. 1 Commissioner’s race.

Four have signed up so far on the Republican side: Ken Hayes, Skip Smith, Scott Thomas, and Ron Welch. No one had filed for the Democrats as of press time Wednesday. Late Wednesday, after this week’s print edition went to press, the Democrat Party announced that David McGlaun filed for Pct. 1 Commissioner on that side.

Officials from both parties said this week there could

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Nov

28

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 28, 2011

From Staff Reports

Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reported last week that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards made an unannounced visit to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, Nov. 17, for the annual inspection of the Henderson County Jail.

The inspection took two days, according to Nutt, during which

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Nov

25

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 25, 2011

By Pearl Cantrell
MediaOne L.L.C.

TOOL – The Malakoff ISD school board opted to move its elections to the November General Election date on even-numbered years to combine its early voting with the county and share the election expense.
The action is to accommodate new state and federal laws

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Nov

23

Posted by : admin | On : November 23, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan

Malakoff ISD will be joining a lawsuit against the State of Texas aimed at problems with school funding.

Monday night, school board members unanimously accepted Superintendent Randy Perry’s recommendation to join the suit led by the law firm Haynes and Boone. Perry said the suit

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Nov

17

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 17, 2011

A federal court this afternoon issued new redistricting maps for Texas House and Senate districts. According to the Associated Press, these maps will remain in effect until a lawsuit over redistricting is settled — that likely means until after next year’s election.

The important point for Henderson County residents to know is that the county is still divided between two House districts. There are actually two proposed House plans – one looks like it has the county divided the way the Legislature planned it, between Rep. Pitts’ District 10 and Rep. Gooden’s District 4; the other actually places a little more of the Cedar Creek Lake area in District 10 than the original plan.

Here is a story from the Texas Tribune that includes the maps.