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 : April 14, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Posted by : March 1, 2016| On :
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 : February 25, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY—To get results from the March 1 Primary on races in Henderson County, readers may go online to Henderson-county.com/vote.
This site will be updated as election returns are tabulated precinct by precinct throughout the evening.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To track statewide elections and how the state voted in the presidential primary races, go to the Secretary of State site at http://sos.state.tx.us/elections/Index.shtml.
On the right side of the screen, find March 1, 2016 Primary Election. There you will be able to track voting results by county.
Posted by : June 5, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners saw to two main orders of business June 2: extending the county’s local disaster declaration and giving the Halyard Energy tax abatement final approval.
The County extended its local disaster declaration to match Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 4 date for the State of Texas, opening the county and its residents up to flood relief benefits from the state and federal governments. The funds are needed to recover from the storms and flood damages that drenched much of Texas throughout May.
County Emergency Management Coordinator Joy Kimbrough reported to Commissioners that the rains caused $4.5 million dollars worth of county and private infrastructure damage. She reported that $345,000 of it was purely damage to the county. The county easily qualifies for federal assistance, as $275,000 for damages are needed.
“The fact that the disaster has gone on so long and is not over yet have caused serious damage to the county and its residents,” Kimbrough said.
Precinct 4 was hit particularly hard in May, Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin said. Henderson County Road and Bridge EMployees have been working night and day since storms swept through May 10 and dropped 10 inches of rain on Henderson County.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney said the storms have placed his crew two months behind on other projects.
The tax abatement approval came after two workshops and months of discussion. The approval leaves the ball in Halyard Energy’s court to move forward with building a $120 million, natural-gas-fired peaking power plant on County Road 4402 at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 2588 in Larue.
If Halyard agrees to move forward, the plant will feed additional electricity into the Texas power grid at peak times to prevent brownouts. The abatement would be 95 percent for the first year, and step downward to 75 percent by year 10, the final year of the abatement.
County Judge Richard Sanders said the county will see an estimated $750,000 in tax revenues from the property over a 10-year period, an average of about $75,000 per year.
In other news, Commissioners;
• approved an interlocal agreement between the county and Log Cabin to allow repairs in the community;
• allowed the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office to transfer in-car repeaters to the Coffee City Police Department;
• renewed the inmate housing agreement between the county and Orange County to keep prisoners at a cost of $47 per day in times of disaster, such as a hurricanes;
• approved a contract between the county and the Baxter Volunteer Fire Department for $10,550; and
• paid bills in the amount of $286,708.66.
Posted by : March 18, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners made it clear they support giving small towns the ability to bring tougher restrictions to sex offenders that live in its jurisdiction.
The vote commissioners agreed on Tuesday backs State Rep. Stuart Spitzer’s December legislation, House Bill 384, to provide “general-law municipalities the ability to pass local ordinances to restrict sex offenders from child safety zones.”
The bill would put small towns on equal footing to cities with populations greater than 5,000, which already restrict where sex offenders live.
The commissioners’ vote will have no effect on the legislation, but shows the county’s support.
Talk of the legislation’s need was fueled this month when registered sex offender James William Cassels, 31, moved across the street from a Eustace Independent School District campus earlier this month. Cassels was convicted of assaulting a 5-year old boy.
Eustace Mayor Elicia Sanders voiced her displeasure of his residence location and the fact the city’s hands are tied to intervene.
“This monster was sentenced to 10 years in prison but is free now and cana live anywhere he chooses in small Texas towns because the law does not allow us to protect our kids from him,” Sanders said.
If the legislation is approved it will effect most of Henderson County, as the only cities in its borders with a population greater than 5,000 are Athens and Gun Barrel City. The bill was filed last legislative session by State Rep. J.M. Lazano, and former State Rep. Lance Gooden, but neither bill made it out of committee.
In other action, Commissioners:
• re-appointed four members of the Henderson County Regional Fair Park Board, Lee Tackett, Charla Hendrix, Charles Elliott and Brian Childress;
•authorized the transfer of a Brother Intellifax 4100e fax machine to the Henderson County Fire Marshal’s Environmental Crimes unit;
• required Atmos Energy to obtain two road bonds in the amount of $250,000 each for proposed pipeline contraction in Precincts 1 and 2.
Posted by : March 13, 2015| On :
Special to The News
EUSTACE–A registered sex offender who assaulted a 5-year-old boy has moved across the street from the Eustace Independent School District campus where children play on the school grounds, Eustace Mayor Elicia Sanders reports.
James William Cassels, 31, who also goes by “Pork Chop” and “Little James” registered this week with the Eustace Police Department as a sexual offender living on Farm-to-Market Road 316 S. in Eustace across from the town’s schools.
“This five-and-a-half foot tall, 280-pound monster was sentenced to 10 years in prison but is free now and can live anywhere he chooses in small Texas towns because the law does not allow us to protect our kids from him,” Sanders said.
Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Dist. 4) has filed HB 384 to prevent registered sex offenders from living near schools, daycare centers and other places children gather. “This is even more proof that we must pass Rep.. Spitzer’s legislation to prevent child molesters from living by our children near schools and parks,” Sanders said.
In larger cities, local laws regulate where sex offenders live.
“Rep Spitzer is leading the charge for his small town protection act and is urging other communities to join the fight against child predators,” she said.
Eustace Police Chief Jason Perrini said that people can rest assured that the police department will keep a close eye on him – “as we do with all sex offenders, to make sure the children of Eustace are safe no matter where they are in town, but this proposed law is needed to protect our schools.”
Posted by : August 1, 2013| On :
By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Voters will decide whether alcohol will be sold in Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, which includes Brownsboro and Chandler to the Smith County Line. Residents gathered more than 1,600 signatures to get it on the ballot, surpassing the requirement of 1,389. The Henderson County Commissioners received approved the petition for a local option liquor election on November 5.
If the approximately 8,000 registered voters in JP3 decide to allow alcohol sales, area convenience and grocery stores will be able to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.
Commissioners also set a public hearing for 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20. to close a portion of County Road 3718 in Precinct 3. The request from adjoining landowners who ask it be turned into private property and blocked off claim the road is used for dumping and is littered with tires, trash and construction debris. The landowners have agreed to clean the road at their expense, if allowed to block it off.
In other action, commissioners:
•approved an interlocal agreement for the county to provide voting equipment and conduct elections for Coffee City, Gun Barrel City, Tool, Trinidad , Payne Springs and Malakoff ISD.
•approved the hiring of a part-time administrative assistant for the District Attorney’s Office, to be funded from law enforcement budget line.
•accepted tax re-sale deeds of three properties in Precinct 1, bids were accepted for two properties in Cedar Knoll for $1,250 and one property in Woods West, near Seven Points for $300. Precinct 1 Commissioner Scotty Thomas inspected the land and reported the distressed condition and recommended the bids be accepted.
•approved county assistance for road repairs in and around the Poynor Cemetery in Precinct 4.
•agreed to allow Virginia Hill Water Supply Corp to lay 500 feet of water line on CR 4336 in Precinct 4, after a homeowner’s well dried.
•discussed the appointment of five board members to the new Emergency Service District 6. The board positions are open to residents in portions of precincts 3 and 4, those interested can apply to Commission Court Judge Richard Sanders. Applications will be accepted through the end of August.