By Emmalee Doss
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–The Henderson County Commissioners Court met to determine whether a burn ban needed to be in effect, pay bills and accept the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission in honor of the Henderson County Historical Commission.
Much discussion passed as to how the upcoming rain would reduce the number of fires and whether it was time to put a burn ban into effect. Fire Marshal Shane Renberg made clear that there has not been a burn ban in effect up until this point, and the burn ban will be reconsidered at the next meeting if dry conditions continue.
The Commissioners Court accepted the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission in honor of the hard work of the Henderson County Historical Commission. The certificate awarded stated that the award was “in recognition of the county’s active and balanced preservation program.” Special thanks went to Sarah Jane, Betty Hallwell, Ivy Joe and everyone involved.
Commissioners agreed to pay the $137,601.97 in state fees and $159,818.57 for regular bills. There was speculation as to whether or not they were going through the budget faster than expected due to the state policy change regarding the addition of mental health care not budgeted in the medical budget.
The commissioners voted to approve a contract between the Department of State Health Services and the Henderson County Clerk’s Office regarding birth certificates.
Posted by : July 28, 2016| On :
By Emmalee Doss
Posted by : July 28, 2016| On :
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–On Saturday, July 23, at approximately 8:25 a.m., the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a witness reporting there was a man near FM 315 outside of Chandler who had been held at gunpoint and was being beaten. The caller said that the suspect then tied the victim’s hands and feet together with a rope, threw him in the bed of a tan colored Ford pickup and drove away.
HCSO Sergeant Thomas Goodell and Deputies Tell Walker and Ray Yockey responded to the call. Deputies located the victim at his residence. The victim showed signs of having been assaulted and was bleeding. The victim, 54-year-old Dwayne Welch, told deputies that he was asleep in his tent. He said that the next thing he knew, he was thrown out on CR 4307 a mile or two from his residence. Welch suffered cuts and abrasions to his head, along with other contusions and bruises on his body. Welch was transported to East Texas Medical Center in Athens where he was treated and released.
Deputies searched the area for a truck matching the description given by the witness. Sergeant Goodell noticed a vehicle matching the description parked at a residence located near the end of CR 4307. Sgt. Goodell observed evidence indicating that the bed of the pickup truck had been recently washed. Goodell also observed what appeared to be traces of blood in the bed of the pickup.
Sgt. Goodell made contact with Derrick Cofer at the residence. Cofer admitted to striking the victim with a shotgun, assaulting him, binding him and transporting him against his will. Cofer said that he thought Welch had something to do with Cofer’s wallet going missing earlier in the morning.
Derrick Cofer was placed under arrest and booked into the Henderson County Justice Center on the offense of Aggravated Kidnapping, a First Degree Felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Judge Kevin Pollack who set bond at $5,000. Cofer posted bond and was released.
Posted by : July 21, 2016| On :
News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jannell Dunnington retired July 15 after serving the department for more than 21 years. She began her career with the department as a detention officer.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said, “She has been an outstanding deputy and helped and touched many people throughout her career here. She will be missed by so many. Once again, thank you Deputy Jannell Dunnington for your outstanding and dedicated service to Henderson County.”
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY — The community mourns the passing of a nine-year-old girl after a boating accident ends in tragedy on the Fourth of July weekend.
Cierra Morman was boating with her family at about 7:15 p.m. July 1 near Malakoff, feeding rope to an inner tube, when she was tangled in the rope and fell overboard, striking the rear of the boat near the motor.
The girl’s death sent shockwaves through the community and devastated family and members of the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, for whom her father, Zach Morman, is a five-year member.
There were four adults and four children on board when the accident occurred. Investigators ruled the tragedy was purely an accident and no alcohol was involved. All the children were wearing life vests.
Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Conn said he and his entire department are still in a state of disbelief.
“This is hard. Really hard. We’ve shed a lot of tears and said a lot of prayers. We are going to miss her,” Conn said.
The fire department released a statement on Facebook saying the tragedy brought the “deepest sorrow and pain,” and asked for the support of the community.
Game Warden Mike Hanson said the Zach Morman was driving the pontoon boat at the time of the accident.
“It was purely an accident,” he said “It was a typical family outing turned tragic. These are by far the worst types of accidents. You just can’t explain it.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Malakoff Police Department, and several area volunteer fire departments responded.
A memorial fund was established to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be made directly to Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, or donations can be made online via PayPal. A link to the PayPal account can found on the fire department’s Facebook page.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Morman on July 8. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. at Huckabee-Tomlinson Funeral Home in Seven Points. The funeral will be July 9 at 2 p.m. at Lake View Assembly Of God in Seven Points.
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
CROSS ROADS–Vandals recently struck Beck’s Chapel Church in the Cross Roads area. The doors appeared to have been kicked in, and several items were vandalized. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office took the report June 22, and the incident seems to have occurred between June 19 and June 22.
The historical church is located at 13960 County Road 1114. Regular services are no longer held at the church. It is only used for special events.
If you have any information about this crime, contact Henderson County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-545-8477. Callers will remain anonymous. If your information leads to an arrest, you could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000.
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE AREA–The newest issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine hit stores June 26 and gave fans a first look at over 1,400 Texas high school football teams.
The magazine had different takes on teams around the area. Three local teams in Kemp, Athens and Malakoff were picked to make the playoffs.
The Mabank Panthers are competing in district 8-4A this season and are picked to finish last. The seven team district is picked to finish in the order of Terrell, Kaufman, Van, Athens, Crandall, Brownsboro and Mabank.
The Panthers still have improvements to make before they can become a playoff team but a 7-2 JV team could mean that things are about to turn around.
Second year coach Mikey Thompson will have strong lines on both sides of the ball. Noel Rojo and Brandon Pierce headline a big offensive line that will protect whoever plays quarterback.
Running the ball against Mabank will be a tough task with defensive lineman Jacob Felts and Kevin Turner returning from last season.
Mabank has a solid foundation to build up from but the skill players are young and inexperienced. If Mabank wants to have success and take steps toward becoming a playoff team, those young players must grow up quickly.
Mabank went 2-7 last season with wins over two playoff teams in Kemp and Canton. The Panthers went winless in district and missed the playoffs.
The Athens Hornets are also in district 8-4A and are picked to finish in fourth place and to secure the final playoff spot in the district. Athens will be led by Head Coach Paul Essary.
The biggest hump that the Hornets will need to overcome is replacing running back Logan Fuller who had over 6,000 career rushing yards and signed to play at Tyler Junior College. Maalik Hall will split time at running back with Jaqualyon Bowman and they will hope to make up for Fuller’s absence.
Xavius Fulton will make the switch from receiver to quarterback. He will be tasked to replace Brandon Boyd. Athens is hoping to run the pistol on offense this season.
Defensively, linebacker Noah Bush might be the best player for the Hornets. He had 120 tackles last year as a junior and has already been getting attention from division one colleges. Between Bush, Hall, Zach Carson and Taylor Carson, Athens might have the best linebacker core in the district.
The Hornets will have the talent they need to compete on defense. In order to make it into the playoffs in a district with two state ranked teams, they must find what it takes to keep up on offense.
Last season, Athens went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Kennedale. The Hornets finished second in the district behind Kaufman.
The Malakoff Tigers enter the season with more hype than any other team in the area. They are picked to win district 9-3A and are ranked number four in the state. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Malakoff, Teague, Groesbeck, West, Palestine Westwood, Elkhart, Whitney and Eustace.
Everything starts with the quarterback for Malakoff. Judd Miller had 3,199 total yards and 46 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore. He returns as a junior with more experience and with two big targets to throw to in QT Barker and Tyler Russell.
Jamie Driskell’s defense will be led by Dan’Yal Littleton, a fierce defensive end who can get after the quarterback. Other standouts on defense are Larry Coker, Zee Bailey, Caleb Adams and Breashawn Williams.
Malakoff has an explosive offensive that has a chance to be even better than they were last year. They have a defense to match up with anyone and should be in the running to make a deep playoff run. The Tigers have a legitimate shot to hold up a championship trophy at AT&T Stadium at the end of the year.
Malakoff went 10-2 last season and was knocked out of the playoffs by three time defending State Champion Cameron Yoe by one point. The Tigers finished second in district behind Teague, who beat Malakoff 28-7 in their rain soaked match-up. Malakoff returns 13 starters and the varsity roster will be bolstered by a JV squad that went 8-2 last season.
The Eustace Bulldogs and coach Heath Ragle find themselves in a tough spot. They are picked to finish last in district 9-3A and have a lot of people to prove wrong. The Bulldogs only return nine starters and have a JV team that went 2-7 last year.
On offense the Bulldogs will have to replace running back Keenan Hargest who did almost everything for the team last year, including playing quarterback.
James East and Cam Rodgers will split carries and take the load off new quarterback Alejandro Sanchez. Under Ragle, the Bulldogs have never been known as a passing team but they are hoping Sanchez’s speed gives them an edge.
Offensive lineman Mikey Marshall missed 2015 with an injury but returns for his senior season to anchor the line.
Defensively, the biggest player for Eustace will be linebacker JJ Hughes, who had 87 tackles last year. The defensive line will be stacked with Michael Schultz and Dylan Hunacker both returning. Stone Wadsworth will roam the secondary and is the most experienced defensive back on the team.
Eustace went 3-7 and 0-5 in district last season and missed out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs only have one district win in the past two seasons.
After nearly a decade of hard times, things are finally looking up for the Kemp Yellowjackets. They will compete in district 6-3A and are picked to finish fourth in the district, grabbing the last playoff spot. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Sunnyvale, Grandview, Dallas Madison, Kemp, Scurry-Rosser, Maypearl, Life Oak Cliff and Palmer.
Third year coach Brandon Hankins has turned the football program around for Kemp. The winless season of 2014 is a distant memory as the Yellowjackets enter this season looking to prove that they belong back in the playoffs.
Kemp returns 17 starters and everything starts with sophomore quarterback Dreyson Watters. Watters was the District Newcomer of the Year last season when he ran for 2,500 yards and threw for 1,950 more as a freshman. He had 28 total touchdowns.
Watters won’t be short on targets to throw to either. Receivers Elijah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington and Alec Cooper all return for their senior seasons. Running back Alan Quezada ran for 750 yards and six touchdowns in a back-up role last year. Kemp will lean on him as the starter this year. Tyler Garrett, Kasey Cockrell and Joseph Lopez all return on the offensive line.
The biggest question mark on defense is linebacker. All three of Kemp’s linebackers graduated leaving a huge void. Sophomore Boomer Irvin will step in from a JV team that went 8-2 last year to help make up for the loss.
Passing against the Yellowjackets will be a risk with a secondary led by safety Kane Johnson. Corner back Jaise Bowie started as a freshman and will look to improve in his second season.
Kemp finished with a 4-7 record last season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and lost to Kirbyville in the first round of the playoffs.
The Cross Roads Bobcats will be playing in district 10-2A this season. They are picked to finish last. The six team district is picked to finish in the order of Big Sandy, Kerens, Gladewater Union Grove, Cayuga, Hawkins and Cross Roads.
The Bobcats are under new leadership this season. Former Skidmore-Tynan assistant coach Michael Gain takes over for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2003.
Despite history not being on their side, it may finally be time for optimism. Cross Roads won three games last season and only has one team on their schedule that finished last year with a winning record. Gain has been working hard with the team and thinks that they have what it takes to have success.
Taylor McKenzie will take over as quarterback for the Bobcats and Tyler Johnson is a proven work horse at the running back position. Johnson was injured halfway through the season last year and will hope to stay healthy to lead Cross Roads to more victories.
If everyone can stay healthy and the players buy in what coach Gain is selling them, Cross Roads could sneak into the playoffs in a weak district.
The Bobcats went 3-7 last season and looked strong early on but they went 0-5 in district play to end the year.
The Trinidad Trojans are picked to finish last in district 15-1A. The four team district is picked to finish in the order of Milford, Mount Calm, Oakwood and Trinidad. The top two teams make the playoffs.
Trinidad is looking for a new coach after Scott Hayes announced that he was leaving to take a coaching job at Rice High School June 29.
Whoever the new coach is will have one of the most exciting players in the district at their disposal in Jerry Bannister. Colby Snider is a proven quarterback and will make the coaching transition easier.
Other players to watch include Johnny Ayala,Eli Arnold, Talon Sims and Ronald Marcus. The toughest task will be to replace Javonte Hornbuckle and his 18 total touchdowns. No one player will be able to pick up the slack by himself but collectively it’s possible.
The district is very top heavy and Trinidad is a very experienced team. The Trojans have the chance to compete and play spoiler. Trinidad finished with a 3-7 record last year and was 0-3 in district.
The Athens Christian Prep Storm will be playing in TAPPS Division II District Four. They are picked to finish second. The five team district is picked to finish in the order of Longview Trinity, Athens Christian Prep, Greenville Christian, Longview Christian and Henderson Full Armor.
Coach Shawn San Miguel admitted that the team has a series of question marks this season. Younger players will have to step up if they want a winning record and a return to the playoffs.
Quarterback Zay Ridgle returns this season after putting up record numbers last year. Other returning players include Micah Santelli, Eli Ridgle, Gavin Hardin, Kaenan Nix and Cody Hershey.
Athens Christian Prep finished with a 6-5 record last season. They went 1-3 in district but it was enough to make the playoffs. They lost in the first round to end their season.
Posted by : April 14, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–As of last Sunday, the price of a stamp to mail a letter dropped by two cents. Now those Forever Stamps cost 47 cents a stamp, instead of the 49 cents it has been since January 2014.
It is the first time in 100 years the price of a stamp has been reduced. The last cost reduction in stamps occurred in July 1919, when prices dropped from 3 cents to 2 cents. This is only the third price decrease on record going back to the Civil War.
The Postal Service isn’t funded by tax dollars, so it has to cover the cost of its operations through revenue sources such as postage. It has also reached its borrowing limit.
The Postal Regulatory Commission, the independent government agency which oversees the USPS and its pricing, stipulated the return of pre-2014 rates, while acknowledging the Postal Service will lose $2 billion due to the decrease.
The service posted an operating profit in each of the last two fiscal years, according to PRC’s annual report. But after accounting for future expenses, such as pension costs, the service posted a $5.1 billion net loss for the most recent year.
USPS losses got worse during the Great Recession (2008), as businesses cut back on mailing. To help make up for the shortfall it got permission to increase rates in 2014, raising the price of a stamp by 3 cents to its current 49 cents. But that increase was only meant to be temporary, and now it has to give up a 2-cent increase.
“Given our precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs, the price reduction…exacerbates our losses,” Postmaster General Megan Brennan said in a statement April 7, as it filed a petition seeking a new rate setting process. “This unfortunate decision heightens the importance of the review of our ratemaking system.”
The service is still seeking relief from a congressional mandate to pre-fund retiree health benefits, something that neither the government nor private companies are required to do, as well as greater flexibility in setting rates.
“To properly compete for customers and continue to meet America’s evolving mailing and shipping needs, the Postal Service needs the financial capability to invest in the future,” Brennan said. “We continue to seek legislative reforms to put the Postal Service back on a sustainable financial path, and pricing is an important component.”
Other reductions in domestic mailing include:
• The discounted “Metered Mail” category for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will decrease from $0.485 to $0.465. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
• First Class Mail Flats (1 oz.) will decrease from $0.98 to $0.94. Each additional ounce will cost $0.21.
• Postcard rates will decrease from $0.35 to $0.34.
• Media Mail rates will start at $2.61 instead of $2.72 for a 1 lb. package.
• First Class Mail – Parcels available at the Post Office will also see a decrease and rates will start at $2.45 (previously $2.54) for a 1 oz. package.
Changes in package service:
• First Class Package Service will see an average rate increase of 12.8 percent in 2016. Additionally, the maximum weight for First Class Package Service Commercial Base pricing (online postage) will be increased from 13 ounces to 15.99 ounces. Also, Commercial Plus pricing for First Class Package Service will be eliminated this year.
• Parcel Select Nonpresort (purchased online) will be renamed to Parcel Select Ground. Standard Post will be renamed Retail Ground.
• Priority Mail Express International will see an average rate increase of 11.6 percent in 2016.
• Priority Mail International will see an average rate increase of 10.2 percent.
Posted by : March 10, 2016| On :
Posted by : March 3, 2016| On :
Head to Tail Equine Massage owner Robyn Wheeler gives a massage to Gale, an ex-racehorse, at the Doris Day Equine Center in Murchison.
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Head to Tail Equine Massage in Mabank, is now accepting new clients from the Cedar Creek Lake and surrounding areas.
Equine massage has many benefits including increased range of motion and muscle tone, increased circulation and rapid healing of injuries, and decreased swelling and fibrosis. Massage also enhances your equine athlete’s performance and overall disposition.
Head to Tail Equine Massage also offers massage to mules, donkeys, zebras, other livestock and large dog breeds. Individual owners may contact Head to Tail and referrals from veterinarians, breeders, trainers and groomers are also accepted.
Owner Robyn Wheeler is certified in equine sports massage therapy by Equissage Texas and has years of experience handling horses, livestock and domestic animals. She is the former owner of The Creature Teacher wildlife education service and is a volunteer at the Doris Day Equine Rescue and Adoption Center.
Massage therapy does not replace veterinary treatment but serves as a compliment to the current care animals are receiving for muscular- and skeletal-related issues.
To learn more about the many benefits of massage to your animal athletes, call (972) 345-8544, go to www.headtotailequinemassage.com or e-mail email@example.com.
Posted by : March 3, 2016| On :
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.