Aug

17

Posted by : admin | On : August 17, 2017

Hensarling Meeting
By Tom Chapman
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Local citizens gathered Thursday for a town hall meeting with U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R).
After opening remarks and introduction by County Judge Sanders, Congressman Hensarling stated that he was honored to occupy the “citizen’s seat” and recognized that despite political or philosophical differences “our citizenship unites us.” He then talked about recent legislative actions in the U.S. House of Representatives. Hensarling informed constituents that the House had been busy, passing about 300 bills. He went on to say that “about 200 of them are sitting in the Senate awaiting action.”
After talking about challenges the country and Congressional District 5 are facing, including healthcare reform, actions on entitlements, fiduciary concerns he opened the floor for questions and comment.
Several citizens asked about healthcare reform, expressing frustrations that deductibles have risen along with costs. The congressman stated the house had been working on a reform bill which preserved choice in providers and made the healthcare exchanges more easily accessible.
Other citizens asked insightful questions about campaign finance, with the general consensus that the citizens thought there were potential conflicts of interest by Congress accepting monies from industries in which congressmen had regulatory oversight.
Congressman Hensarling has represented the 5th district since 2003 and currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee.

Aug

17

Posted by : admin | On : August 17, 2017

Clyde Jason Tennison

Special to The News
ATHENS–Three years from the date he brutally killed Deborah Denise Allen, and just days before he was set to begin his trial in front of a Henderson County jury, Clyde Jason Tennison entered a plea of “Guilty” to her murder before visiting Judge Joe Clayton Aug. 11.
In exchange for his plea, the 53-year-old Tennison, received a sentence of 45 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division. He will be eligible for parole after completing half his sentence (22.5 years), with time served in the Henderson County Jail. He will be 73 before that time arrives, and “eligibility” for parole does not mean he will be released at that time.
On Aug. 2, 2014, Tennison claimed that he and the victim, who was his girlfriend, had been arguing in the days leading up to her death. He told investigators that on the that day, he had just informed her that he was leaving, and went to take a shower first. According to him, when he got out, he looked in her room and saw her body lying on the bed. He then left the house and traveled to the home of his parents, telling them that Deborah had committed suicide by cutting her own throat. He later told Sheriff’s Deputy Cayce Hampton that Allen had used his knife to cut herself.
Tennison and members of his family went back to the residence located in Gun Barrel City and determined that Ms. Allen was deceased before contacting law enforcement.
At some point, Tennison consumed and overdosed on Xanax resulting in him being admitted to ETMC the same morning after Allen’s death. He also tested positive for PCP.
As the investigation progressed, Tennison’s account of the events became less plausible. Investigators located the defendant’s wet clothes in the washing machine, yet they still tested positive for the presence of blood. According to lab results, he also had the victim’s blood under his fingernails, along with a distinct bite mark on the inside of his thigh.
The medical examiner who performed the autopsy believed that the wounds to the neck of Ms. Allen were unlikely to be self-inflicted. Physical evidence, and the position of the knife found in Allen’s hand were incompatible with the injuries and blood evidence.
Investigators believed that after bludgeoning and cutting his victim, Tennison attempted to stage the scene to appear as if it had been a suicide.
Several weeks after the murder, Tennison made an unsolicited comment to jailers that, “I never thought I would be capable of something like that. I slit her throat and watched her bleed out on the ground.”
During most of the plea, Tennison was quiet and reserved, however during the victim impact statement given by Ms. Allen’s daughter, he momentarily sobbed, and said that he was sorry.
Henderson County District Attorney Mark Hall, and First Assistant Nancy Rumar were set to prosecute the case beginning on Tuesday of this week. Hall said the plea agreement was one that ensured that Tennison would be in prison for a long time to come, and that the family of Ms. Allen was fully on board with the 45-year offer.
“This has been a long, hard road for the family of Deborah Allen, and I am glad that they can finally put this chapter behind them. Although the pain of her death will never go away, the fact that Clyde Tennison finally admitted his guilt in open court will help them deal with her horrible death,” Hall said.
“I want to thank the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Ranger Michael Adcock, D.A. investigators, and the other law enforcement agencies and personnel that worked this case and did such a thorough and professional job of sorting out truth from fiction.”

Aug

10

Posted by : admin | On : August 10, 2017

Mabank resident Scott Tuley announces his bid for Henderson County Precinct 2 Commissioner Saturday at Gun Barrel City Park Pavilion.

Mabank resident Scott Tuley announces his bid for Henderson County Precinct 2 Commissioner Saturday at Gun Barrel City Park Pavilion.

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–About two dozen family and friends gathered Saturday at the Gun Barrel City Park Pavilion to hear Scott Tuley announce his intention to run for Henderson County Precinct 2 Commissioner.
Current commissioner Wade McKinney announced last week in Commissioners Court that he would not seek re-election this November, pointing out that over his last six terms he’s gathered enough experiences to fill two life times with both memories and lessons.
During Tuley’s heartfelt speech, he said becoming commissioner would fulfill a goal of his to be of greater service to those living in the southern part of the county.
“I chose this location, the pavilion in Gun Barrel City (to make this announcement), because it is the heart of Precinct 2 and home to the many citizens who have always supported me in the past,” he said.
Tuley retired after 21 years with TXU Energy and has operated businesses, including Titled T Distributors, the last 12 years; and a mobile disco entertainment business for the last 10 years, along with his wife, Angie Harley Tuley.
He is best-known for his eight years of service on the Mabank ISD school board, where he participated in the planning of the high school on U.S. 175 and the remodel of all three elementary schools. He has also served on local youth sports organizations, including the Tri-County Football Association, MLLFA and the Mabank Baseball and Softball Association.
He is a member of Gun Barrel City Toys for Tots and the Cedar Creek Lake Parrot Head Club.
“We are a political powerhouse here in Precinct 2. We need someone with a voice to represent our lake area,” he said, asking for volunteers to help with his Republican campaign. “We already have several people who have volunteered to host events, but we need more.”

Aug

10

Posted by : admin | On : August 10, 2017

The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–This weekend’s tax-free back-to-school shopping frenzy focuses parents’ minds on the beginning of a brand-new school year. The first day of school comes earlier for some than others.
Athens High School (AHS) seniors will begin school Monday, Aug. 14 and will be the only students in attendance until the other classes arrive Aug. 16. Buses will run their normal routes beginning Aug. 14 and dress code applies.
AHS Fish Camp will be held from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 at the high school.
Students will begin in the gym and attend sessions to learn all about AHS. Parents are welcome but not required and schedules will be given at the end of the camp. Online registration is required.
Athens Elementary schools will hold Meet the Teacher night Aug. 14 for all three campuses, South Athens Elementary, Central Athens Elementary and Bel Air Elementary. A come-and-go event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. will allow flexibility for parents and students to meet teachers and visit the campus.
Athens Middle School students will have online access to their schedules on Aug. 12.
Malakoff ISD begins classes Aug. 28. Malakoff High School will hold Fish Camp from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24 for incoming freshmen who will receive their schedules at the end of the camp.
Malakoff High School seniors may pick up their schedule from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 21, juniors from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22 and sophomores from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug 23. Parents are requested to accompany their students when picking up schedules.
Meet the Teacher for Malakoff Elementary School is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24. Students may bring their school supplies. Tool Elementary School sets Meet the Teacher for Thursday, Aug. 24, at 5:30 p.m.
Other local school beginnings and important dates follow
Trinidad ISD
Meet the Teacher is set for Thursday, Aug. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students pre-k through fifth grade may bring their school supplies with them.
Grades sixth-12th may pick up their class schedules and complete enrollment forms. High school students who plan to drive to and from school should bring proof of insurance and copy of their driver’s license with them.
Athens Christian Preparatory Academy
Classes begin Aug 16. Junior High orientation scheduled for Aug. 15 at 5:30 p.m. Orientation for freshmen and sophomores is scheduled for Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m., for Juniors Aug. 21 at 5:30 p.m. and for seniors Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Cross Roads ISD
Classes begin Aug. 24 with Meet the Teacher scheduled for Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. for Elementary and Junior High students.

Aug

03

Posted by : admin | On : August 3, 2017

Driver, TrinityThe News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse today said an early morning traffic violation led to a Deputy to arrest a man with methamphetamines and a pipe used to smoke the contraband.
Trinity Driver, 28, of Arp was stopped around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday traveling north on FM 315 south of Chandler.
Deputy William Thornton was patrolling the area when he noticed Driver commit a traffic violation. He stopped the suspect, removed him from the vehicle and checked him for weapons.
The Deputy then discovered a glass pipe commonly used to inhale illegal narcotics and a plastic baggie hidden in a cigarette pack containing a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine.
“This is another case where our team is always on the lookout for the unusual,” Hillhouse. “Driving around this County in the dark of night carrying illegal drugs is a sure way to find yourself waking up in our jail.”
Driver was charged with a state jail felony for possession under a gram.
He faces up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine. He is being held with a $8,500 bond.

Aug

03

Posted by : admin | On : August 3, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Coming off a fourth straight conference championship, Trinity Valley coach Brad Smiley knows a target is on the backs of his Cardinals.
Trinity Valley is the preseason favorite to win the Southwest Junior College Football Conference by the coaches and media members at Friday’s conference media day.
In the media poll, the Cardinals received nine of 12 first-place votes, plus three more votes no less than fourth place.
The media poll has Tyler in second, followed by Kilgore, Navarro, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Blinn, New Mexico Military and Cisco.
In the coaches’ poll, TVCC had six of the eight first-place votes.
The Cardinals were followed by Kilgore, Navarro, Tyler, NEO, Blinn, New Mexico Military and Cisco.
“There are no weak links in our league,” Smiley said. “The teams in this conference are extremely competitive and powerful.”
If the Cardinals are to win the conference title for a fifth straight season, it would be the first time in school and league history.
During the coach’s comments, the recurring theme among all teams was how young their teams would be when camp opens Aug. 5.
Even with 25 lettermen returning from last year’s 11-1 team, Smiley has only four offensive and five defensive starters returning.
“At this level, we have to reload every year — always a fun challenge,” Smiley said in the media guide.
If one position is strong for the Cardinals, Smiley said the linebacking core, which is coached by former Cardinal Cortney Finney is that position.
They are led by leading tackler Blake Stephenson, who recorded 107 tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups last year.
Other players to watch are Brandon Floyd, Jaquay Pough, Mike Carrillo, Sean Milligan, Trey Baldwin and Jack Lechman.
“Easily the most experienced, deepest position on the team,” Smiley said. “We expect a lot out of this group.”
At quarterback, the battle heading into camp is between returner Shelton Eppler and UT-San Antonio transfer Jaylen Henderson.
“Though Shelton was not a starter, he played in all 12 games last year and was very productive,” Smiley said. “We also added an exciting transfer from UTSA and signed two very talented freshmen. We are excited to see this group compete.”
Smiley said Eppler looked good during spring drills.

Aug

03

Posted by : admin | On : August 3, 2017

By D.A. Mark Hall
Special to The News ATHENS–Beginning Aug. 9, a three-day hearing in the 392nd District Court has been scheduled in the Randall Mays case to determine his competency to be executed. Mays has resided on Death Row since 2008 for killing Henderson County Sheriff ’s deputies Tony Ogburn and Paul Ha-belt at Mays Henderson County home. Mays has exhausted all of his State and Federal appeals, with his last execution date previously set in 2015. Days prior to imposition of his sentence, his new attorneys from the Texas Office of Capital and Forensic Writs,filed a motion suggesting that he was legally incompetent to be executed under Texas law. After an initial determination by then judge Carter Tarrance that Mays was competent, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the decision and ordered that experts be appointed to evaluate Mays for competency to be executed which requires that the defendant understand why he is being executed, and that it is imminent. Tarrance appointed three separate experts to evaluate him, which took place over the last year and a half.
The August hearing will provide visiting judge Joe Clayton with the information needed to make a ruling upon the issue of competency, and ultimately deter-mine if the death sentence received by Mays will be carried out.
“This has been a long running battle to fulfill the sentence imposed by a jury in 2008 that has spanned the administration of three different District Attorneys,” Hall said. “I sincerely hope that we can bring this painful chapter to a close, and allow the families of the slain officers the opportunity to know that justice has been carried out.”
The week following the Mays hearing, Hall and Rumar will be back in court selecting a jury in the case of Clyde Jason Tennison, who is alleged by indictment to have killed his girlfriend Deborah Allen, in July 2014 in rural Henderson County near Payne Springs. The case is expected to last at least a week in the 3rd Dis-trict Court before Judge Mark Calhoon.

Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Trinity Valley will be hosting their first ever Hearts on Horseback charity trail ride at Trace Trails in Athens on Saturday, Oct. 7.
The event will have a morning of exciting and challenging trail rides. A barbecue lunch will also be provided for the riders and their families including a silent auction, music and much more.
The charity trail ride will support a very serious cause by providing volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care.
CASA volunteers have been and continue to be the only consistent presence a child experiences while in the foster care system. Many things change over time, but CASA volunteers stand by the children until their cases are closed. Volunteer advocates get to know the children, learn about their situations and regarding the children’s best interests, make recommendations to the courts.
Volunteers can come out and help abused and neglected children in Henderson, Anderson and Cherokee counties.
They can also review the sponsorship opportunities that they can offer and help the CASA. To ensure maximum exposure, the CASA is asking that the Hearts on Horseback partners send their logos and media information by Tuesday, Aug. 15.
For more information, you can visit their website at www.casaoftv.org or call them at (903) 675-7070.

Jul

27

Posted by : admin | On : July 27, 2017

Rodriguez

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.

Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill (from left) presents Life Saving Awards to Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith for their bravery and outstanding sevice for rescuing a trapped resident from a multi-story structure fire June 28.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–The Athens City Council accepted the resignation of City Manager Philip Rodriguez at the July 25 meeting.
Rodriguez, who has been city manager for about two years, leaves to take a city manager position in Brighton, Colo., his home state. During his tenure in Athens nearly $13 million of capital improvements have begun, including the Cain Center revamp and major work to the water system.
In his resignation letter, Rodriguez detailed accomplishments made and said, “We did all of this and more while establishing a truly impressive city staff that is one of the most capable group of professionals and public servants I have ever worked with.”
Although his resignation is effective Sept. 10, it was announced at the city council meeting that his responsibility for the City of Athens would end on Aug. 8. Rodriguez thanked council members and the city for the opportunity and said a special thanks in his letter to former mayor Jerry Don Vaught for his “consistent support and mentorship.”
Athens Chamber of Commerce President had high praise for Rodriguez. “In the time that I’ve been a part of the Athens community, first with Cain Center and now the chamber, Philip has been very supportive. He is someone I’ve enjoyed working with and I’m very thankful for his service to the Athens community and his part in helping to move things to a place where good things are happening all around.”
Councilman Ed McCain said, “Philip and his family are going home to Colorado. I am very happy for him and he has done a really great job. But I am positive and forward looking. This is a great opportunity for Athens to get even better.”
McCain told The News that Athens has a great city staff and the city is primed for a great next 10 years with projects that are well underway and will be completed in a fiscally responsible manner. He also stated the city has a great possibility for an interim city manager.
Two Athens police officers were presented Life Saving Awards for rescuing a trapped resident during an early-morning structure fire in a multi-story building June 28. Patrolman Jonathan Hutchison and Corporal Roger Keith were the first to arrive on the scene and once they ascertained that there was indeed a trapped resident, they went into action to rescue her. Chief Buddy Hill said, “Without regard to their own personal safety, they pushed past the flames, entered the burning structure, located the resident and removed her.” Both officers and the resident were treated for smoke inhalation but no lasting damage.
Athens Fire Chief John McQueary praised the officers for their extreme bravery in rescuing the woman. “Those flames put out 1,200 degrees of heat and without protective gear or specialized training, they went in. All they saw was a life that needed to be saved.”
When a citizen’s request for de-annexation of his property came before the council, much discussion ensued. This was not the first time this had been brought before the council and was denied in November, 2016. The issue concerns a 31-acre tract of land (Tract 4A Abstract 135 D Cherry Sur) which the property owner was not aware was within city limits as a Lake Athens property when he purchased it.
Property owner Tom Potthoff wishes to develop the land for four homes. The city provides no services to the acreage, some 40 miles outside the city. After presentations by Potthoff and Planning and Development, council members voiced differing opinions and the item was tabled.
In other business, council members:
• heard a resolution presented by Councilwoman Toni Clay honoring Richard “Dick” Dwelle for 63 years of outstanding service to the people of Athens. Dwelle was instrumental in founding the Henderson County United Way, Keep Athens Beautiful, the Athens Industrial Foundation, the Public Library Fund and the Civic Center and Park Fund, serving on several of their boards. Dwelle passed away in June.
• agreed to allow heavy vehicles in commercial property by special-use permit so a business selling new and used trucks may operate on US 175.

Jul

20

Posted by : admin | On : July 20, 2017

Trevor Morris Obitpilot

The News Staff Reports
BROWNSBORO–Residents in the City of Brownsboro have been gathering around elementary music teacher Diana Morris and her husband, Calvin, over the sudden death of their son, Trevor Morris.
Union Hill Baptist Pastor Trevor Morris, also a Burton Oil Services Operations executive died in a plane crash July 13. He was 39 years old. He leaves a wife, Nafisa and their five children.
The Piper Cheyenne PA-31T went down at Pounds Field in Tyler soon after takeoff at 8 a.m. Morris was the vice president of Burton Oil Service Operations and traveled to Midland frequently for his job. It was where he was headed when the plane went down, said Aaron Greenwood, worship pastor for the church.
The pilot was also killed when the plane crashed in a pasture near Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. He was 62-year-old William Walls III of Huntsville and was a retired pilot from Southwest Airlines.
The wreckage was located one mile south of Pleasant Retreat Road by officers searching the area after reports of it going down.
According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board the plane went down at 8:10 a.m. “The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted an open field surrounded by trees,” the preliminary report reads. “The wreckage was located on the edge of a small pond about one-half mile from the end of runway 17. There was not a post-crash fire; however, fuel was found at the site.”
The report indicates the airplane was removed from the site and taken to a secure location for further examination.
Morris was lead pastor at Union Hill Baptist Church and worked for the oil services company owned by his best friend Preston Burton. Besides business, the two friends taught the men’s Sunday school class at Union Hill and reared their families together.
“Trevor was a man with great passion to love and serve the Lord first and foremost. If there was one message he wanted to get out, it was that this life was about God and not us,” Burton told the Tyler Telegraph. “His passion was to get the message to men, to disciple their families, to teach them so that the gospel of Jesus Christ would be shared for generations to come.”
His mother posted on Facebook that Trevor loved missions and in lieu of flowers, requests donations be made to the Baptist Missionary Association’s Missions Department, PO. Box 878 Conway AR 72033 or at BMAmissions.org. Trevor served as a missionary to Ecuador where he started a church before he was elected twice as pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church.
A memorial service was held July 18 under the direction of Autry’s Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens. A prayer vigil set for July 14 drew 300 participants, including pastors from churches in Chandler and Brownsboro taking turns praying during the event.