Jul

13

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : July 13, 2013

By Loretta Humble
Special to The News

Christmas will be here before you know it. Really before you know it. Like in another week or so here in Malakoff, where downtown merchants are getting out their Christmas decorations for their second annual Christmas in July event. And this year they plan to have twelve days of it, like the song, having some special event every day, starting Friday, July 19 and going through Tuesday, July 30. There will be an art show, and a couple of teas, and a book sale, and cash drawings, and demonstrations, and I don’t know what all. There will be refreshments in many shops, and of course, extra special specials. My Cedar Lake companies are going to be participating by offering some checkups like blood pressure, glucometer and oximeter readings, and whatever else we can think of. Maybe we’ll even weigh you if you want us to. The list of events will be elsewhere in the paper, and in Henderson County Now and all over the Internet. I sure don’t have room to list them all here. Don’t miss the fun!

I got a late birthday present last week, when my daughter Liz and daughter Tina and her whole family took me blueberry picking at Echo Springs Blueberry Farm. That was fun. I’ve posted a lot of pictures of that on www.facebook.com/aroundthetown. They have great muffins and free coffee and all sorts of other delicious goodies. It is a nice place to go even when the blueberries aren’t ripe.
Another good thing that happened is that I got a garden fence. I got that because my grandsons Hunter Norwood and Jon Baker needed to get to Costa Rica. They are both studying Hospitality Management at North Texas University, and they’ve chosen to learn Green Hospitality in Costa Rica for their summer semester. We all chipped in to help them get the funds they needed, but they were still short. They asked me if I had a job for them, and I told them I needed a good garden fence. So they made me a great one, with a lot of help from their parents. I also have pictures of that adventure posted on aroundthetown.

Now I have a fantastic fence which encloses a really pitiful garden. I had a great crop of lambsquarters, which got old and tough and were just a hideout place for the millions of grasshoppers who ate every onion blade, every bean, every flower the zinnias tried to make, and nibbled on everything else. So we mowed down what had been my best crop, which was the lambsquarters. Luckily grasshoppers seem to not like tomatoes, which is the second best crop. They’ve done okay, but nothing in that garden is one-third as great looking as the Malakoff Housing Authority’s garden. Or one-fifth as great as Don Hughes’ garden right down the road from me. But mark my word. Next year my garden is going to be a beautiful thing to behold. I’m going to spend from now till next spring feeding that soil compost, and next year I’m going to have a garden worthy of that fence.

Meanwhile, we continue to spread Humbles throughout the health care industry in East Texas. Granddaughter Ariel, who recently graduated from TCU, is our latest success. She just landed a job with Navarro Regional Hospital as marketer for their Healthy Woman Program. Then, there is Ashley Humble, bride of grandson Beau Humble, who has recently been hired as vice president for development of Cornerstone Hospice. And of course I’ve already told you that Beau is administrator of the beautiful new Kemp Care Center. That means everybody in our family named Humble works in healthcare. And they all work for excellent companies. We are very proud of all of them.

I have another piece of good news, but I don’t have room to tell it like I want to, so I’m just going to tell you a little and tell you more later, because I think this might be valuable information for some of the rest of you. As many of you know, I have been doing everything I can to keep from having a knee replacement. And some of it helped, but lately I’ve been having a lot of pain. I went to the doctor and he set me up on a new program I’d never even heard about. He fitted me with a knee brace that promises not only to relieve pain from my arthritis, but also has been proven to actually improve the condition of the knee, eliminating the need for surgery in a lot of people. I’m pretty excited about it. You can learn about it at www.vqorthocare.com. And I will be keeping you updated on how it works for me.

Jun

27

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 27, 2013

Principal

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF–Malakoff ISD trustees approved hiring Martin Brumit as the high school principal during its June 20 meeting.
Brumit will begin his duties on July 1. He was most recently an assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School, and had been with the district for the past five years. He replaces previous principal Daniel Barton, who moved to Tarkington ISD near Cleveland, Texas, in the same capacity following a two-year stint in Malakoff.

Excited about his move to Malakoff, Brumit said that while Denton Ryan is a large school (more than 2,000 students), it had a small town atmosphere, and that experience will serve him well in Malakoff.

The new principal was recently chosen as a finalist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators statewide Administrator of the Year award, which will be bestowed in July. Brumit graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in history and kinesiology, and has a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.

Trustees also heard a report from superintendent Randy Perry about preliminary state test results for the district, which includes the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).The STAAR has replaced the TAKS, but the TAKS is still administered to students who entered high school before the 2011-2012 school year.

“The STAAR scores were excellent, especially the elementary schools,” Perry said. Preliminary results included 100 percent of Tool and Malakoff elementary schools’ third-graders passing the reading and math portions. “That’s amazing. We’re thrilled,” Perry said.
Other STAAR highlights for the district included Tool Elementary’s fourth graders, who passed the writing portion at a 98 percent rate. Also, scores for eighth grade reading rose 21 percent in one year.

Perry said that the high school English I writing results marked the greatest need for improvement, with Malakoff students finishing behind the state average. Eighth grade social studies also came in slightly behind the state average, but Perry noted that Malakoff students still scored better compared to surrounding school districts.

Additionally, the superintendent told board members that the district’s TAKS science results for its African-American students showed a big increase from last year, with all students in that demographic passing that portion of the test. Overall, students who took the TAKS passed the English Language Arts test at a 91 percent clip, math at 92 percent, social studies at 97 percent and science at 97 percent.

Also during the superintendent’s report to trustees, Perry said that Malakoff Middle School’s first place entry in the Texas Schools Rock! video contest was recognized during the Texas Association of School Boards’ Summer Leadership Conference, which was held in Fort Worth in mid-June.

In other business, trustees approved buying two 2014 Thomas school buses at $90,765 each. Funding for the new buses comes from $463,000 in bond money returned to the district after contractors came in under budget following recent Tool Elementary School additions. Also, board members gave the go ahead to replace tile at the 17 year-old high school’s cafetorium with carpet in the school’s black and gold colors. This project will be handled by Gallagher Construction Services of Richardson for $31,100. Similar carpeting has already been installed in the high school’s hallways.

During the meeting, trustees heard from its tax collection attorney, Alison Wylie of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson’s Tyler office. Wylie said that the district will sell property located at 502 N. Martin in Malakoff which was previously removed from the district’s tax roll following the delinquency. The property will be up for bid at the sheriff’s sale Aug. 6 on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens.

In addition to a new high school principal, the board approved Gary Lucius as assistant high school principal.
Lucius had served as director of the district’s Leo Orr Sr. Education Center. Other hires include: Chrissy Humphrey, high school math; Brenda Clark, high school English; Tawna Walden, elementary teacher; and Hagen Keele, high school math and coach.

Jun

17

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 17, 2013

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF–Risking his own life to save a fellow citizen, the commendation reads. But ask Officer Robert Siegmund of the Malakoff Police Department about the act, it was just another day on the job.

Siegmund was recognized by Police Chief Billy Mitchell and the Malakoff City Council during its regular meeting June 10 for pulling resident Robert Nokes to safety before fire engulfed Nokes’ vehicle and the Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church on April 25. Nokes, 38, experienced a medical episode while driving and accidentally crashed into the building.

“The chief was right there with me the whole time. It was a team effort,” said Siegmund, who has been with the department for nearly three years. The officer also noted the help of Father William Palmer of the church, who Siegmund said helped extract Nokes from the burning vehicle.

While Chief Mitchell battled flames with a fire extinguisher and with the front driver’s side door wedged shut, Siegmund entered the vehicle through the rear passenger door. At one point, Siegmund was overcome by smoke before the officer eventually tugged Nokes loose after the injured man’s seat belt was cut. Soon thereafter, “something blew up, maybe the engine or one of the tires,” according to the officer.

Nokes was present during the council meeting. He spent 22 days in a Tyler hospital, and is about to start physical therapy. Nokes uses a cane and has “a little nerve damage, but if that’s the worst that happens, I can live with that,” he said.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Nokes added. “Very few people get a second chance.”

The council also authorized the city to extend for two more years its participation in the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs HOME program, which provides grants to cities to build housing for senior and low-income citizens.

Four homes have been constructed so far, with one more expected to be completed in about two weeks, said City Administrator Ann Barker. Another two homes are early in the construction process, Barker added, and two more properties qualify for the program. The city hopes in the future to rehabilitate three or four more properties, Barker said. The council also awarded a bid to Angus Home Center of Corsicana to provide a manufactured home using grants from the program.

Also during the meeting, council members Jeanette King and Tim Trimble were sworn in along with Mayor Delois Pagitt following the trio’s re-election May 11. The council selected Trimble to continue as mayor pro tem.

Mar

21

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : March 21, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

MALAKOFF–Students at Malakoff Middle School found out that a little hard work and good presentation can be well rewarded.

Students submitted a video about what makes Malakoff Middle School exceptional to the “Texas Public Schools Rock!” video contest. By early March, the video was floating around the Internet and social media sites, racking up the views.

On March 19, the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) announced that Malakoff Middle School won first place and a $5,000 reward to be given to the district to be used in the students’ classrooms and campus.
Only one first place prize was given for all Texas Middle Schools. The context was open to all Texas elementary and secondary public school students.

Malakoff Middle School Principal Quintin Watkins is extremely proud of the students.

“They did such an amazing job,” Watkins said. “Malakoff Middle School has the best students in the state of Texas. They play, learn and grow together so well. Teachers and parents make sure they get the best education they can every day.”

The school will be deciding what will be done with the prize money soon. According to Watkins the students that were a part of the video will meet with teacher Jerri Cheek (who organized the submission) and the campus improvement team to determine the best way to spend the money.

“Whatever we end up doing, we want to make sure to recognize all the students that participated in the video so that future students will know of their legacy,” Watkins said.

There were many videos from Texas public school that TASB sifted through to determine the winner.

“With so many excellent entries, the final choices were extremely difficult,” says said Viola Garcia, TASB president. “We are thrilled that students from all over the state showcased their creativity and enthusiasm for the great things going on in their districts. These winning entries help explain why local schools deserve the support of their communities and appropriate funding from the state. Our students’ voices underscore why all Texans should be proud of their public schools.”

Mar

14

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : March 14, 2013

By Russell Slaton
The News Staff

MALAKOFF–Malakoff’s financial footing is firm, the city’s auditor told the city council at its monthly meeting Monday, March 11.

Reporting on the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, Frank Steele of Anderson, Marx & Bohl, an association of certified public accountants in Corsicana, told the council that it was a “year of progress from a liquidity standpoint.”

“You’re doing OK,” Steele said. “If you are putting back into the fund balance, then you are doing better than most.”

Malakoff’s general fund pretty much broke even, increasing by about $7,000, Steele said, raising the overall general fund balance (assets minus liabilities) to $1,303,000 from $1,296,000 the previous year. He noted that the general fund within the 2012 fiscal year had $450,000 in cash, with a fund balance of $400,000. The city’s water and sewer fund had $327,000 in cash and $3.8 million in the fund balance, Steele said, including an increase in operating income to $151,000, which was $100,000 more than last fiscal year.

That excess revenue from the water and sewer fund will be invested in a $100,000 certificate of deposit through First State Bank-Athens’ branch in Malakoff, an agenda item that later was affirmed at the meeting by the council. This certificate of deposit purchase was the city’s first in about a decade, Steele said.

Certificates of deposit through banks are backed by the federal government via the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Such purchases are standard procedure for government entities, according to City Administrator Ann Barker.
As for debt, the general fund carried $138,000 in notes that was paid down to $96,000, Steele said. The water and sewer fund took on $400,000 in debt last fiscal year for water storage facility improvements, he added, which increased overall water and sewer debt to $1,260,000.

One issue brought up by Steele during his fiscal report to the council was “bank reconciliation,” which is similar to the balancing of a checkbook. When asked by Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Trimble to explain, Steele said, “Last year, the final audit adjustments either didn’t get posted or it was lost being sent over.” That adjustment accounted for the final difference in the city’s balance, Steele said. Council member Jeanette King noted after Steele’s presentation that bank reconciliations are done by the city “every month.”

In other business, the council approved the low bid of $86,363 for Malakoff’s public works department to purchase a third backhoe for the utilities division. This backhoe will be used to help fix ongoing drainage issues and to tear down substandard structures within the city limits, Public Works Director Tim Whitley told the council.

The new backhoe will be a 2013 Case Model 580SN. The department currently owns two backhoes, a 1998 model Case and a 2002 Caterpillar. “The backhoe is something we use every day,” Whitley said, noting that recent creek improvements have put a strain on the department. To pay for the new backhoe, the department “could stay within its means (budget) without increasing costs,” he said.

Whitley told the council that more creek drainage work needs to be done near Pennsylvania Street and Washington Avenue, as well as near the water treatment plant on the city’s west side.

Within the past month, the city has cleared the same creek near Cole and Moss streets, and plans more creek drainage improvements northeasterly toward the city’s Community Center, park and fire department at the intersection of State Highway 198 and Farm-to-Market Road 3062 (Star Harbor Road).

When asked by Council member Vincent Bailey Jr. whether the purchase could cause any budget problems for the public works department, Whitley reiterated, “No, we can put our heads together and keep it in budget. We aren’t coming after (the council) for anything, we’re pretty well set.”

After the item was approved unanimously, Trimble told those present that “we have had flooding problems in our city. If we ever get heavy water like in past years, it will help keep the creeks clean. It’s nothing but a plus for us.”

The new backhoe will be ready for use within the next month, according to Whitley. Bids for the backhoe were sought through the city’s membership in the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) buy board, a regional council of governments co-op.

The H-GAC Board awards all contracts, which can then be made available to local governments nationwide through HGACBuy, according to the HGACBuy website. The greater bulk purchasing power of HGACBuy allows cities, like Malakoff, to get a better deal, Whitley said.

The city council also approved the minutes of February’s regular meeting, as well as the specially called meeting Feb. 15. In addition, the council authorized paying the city’s financial obligations for February. The council’s next scheduled monthly meeting is Monday, April 8.

Mar

08

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : March 8, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Editor

The Malakoff Rotary Club is preparing to “walk the talk” by committing to serve at the Faith in Action food pantry Tuesday March 12.

Rotarians discussed their roles serving with the Malakoff-based food and clothes ministry during their regular meeting March 5.

“We are going to be working in the back, boxing food,” Julie Armstrong, Malakoff Rotary president said.

The relationship between the ministry and Malakoff Rotary is going so well, Faith in Action Director Teri Caswel is in the preliminary stages of becoming a member. Rotarians unanimously accepted her application. Now she just needs to come to the next meeting and be officially inducted.

Rotarians will be splitting duties among morning and afternoon shifts at Faith in Action. They will not have a meeting March 12.

Armstrong said they may not have a Rotary shirt for new member Scotty Thomas while they serve at the ministry next week.

“What a great problem!” Armstrong said. “More members than shirts is a good problem to have.”

The Malakoff Rotary club’s next business meeting will be at noon March 19 at the Flagg House.

Feb

08

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : February 8, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

County inmates will soon be serving the public by clearing fence rows at the Malakoff Historical Society and Museum.

Malakoff Historical Society Director Pat Issacson, is thrilled about getting the assistance.

“This is going to be so much help,” she said. “I am very excited.”

Issacson discussed the idea with The News just a few weeks ago while waiting for a “Friends of Malakoff” meeting at the Flag House to begin. Since then, Issacson made the calls and arrangements and put things into motion. Of course none of it would be possible without the help of county inmates and the approval of County Commissioners.

Issacson said no date has been assigned yet, and the workload is rather heavy, so it most likely will be taking several days to complete.

“There are a lot of fence rows to move,” she said “It’s hard to tell when it was last cleaned out. It’s been years. They are going to help move some big things in the house then do the work outside.”
The city of Malakoff also said it will assist in the effort.

“The city said if we get the fencing close to the road, they will haul it off for us,” Issacson said

After a day’s work is done, Issacson said there would be more opportunities to continue the clean up.
“If there is more that needs done (after the day is over), all I need to do is call them up and they will come out again,” she said.

Issacson expects it will take two or three days to complete all of the work.

Jan

25

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : January 25, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities highlighted the Jan. 19-20 weekend around Malakoff and Athens and came to a close Monday night with a Candlelight vigil in Malakoff.

The annual event, hosted by the Henderson County Black History Committee, was held at New Hope Corinth CME Church and featured speaker Rev. Billy Wright.

During his speech, Wright reviewed the accomplishments of Dr. King.

“He was a great man and Baptist minister. Because of his efforts, today we have people of color in high public office all over the county.”

He also talked about Dr. King’s “I’ve been on the Mountaintop” speech, alluding to how, like Jesus, Dr. King had faith in the results of his work and persevered even though he suspected he may not live to benefit from it.
Dr. King said “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!

“We have overcome, just like Jesus did,” Wright said.

After the lighting of the candles and the singing of Christian hymns, Wright affectionately closed with the statement “I love you all, and there ain’t nothin’ you can do about it!”

Jan

17

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : January 17, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

SEAGOVILLE–A Malakoff High School student was killed Sunday in a wreck on U.S. Highway 175 just outside Seagoville.

Jamiya Givens Williams, 16, was a sophomore. Also perishing in the crash was Williams’ 11-month-old daughter.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety, the accident occurred when a Ford F-150 truck struck the Chevrolet Cavalier occupied by Williams and her daughter from behind.

Prior to the collision, the eastbound Cavalier, driven by Williams’ mother, Sheryk Givens, 40, blew out a tire and slowed to about 10-15 mph in preparation to exit. That’s when the F-150 struck the economy compact vehicle, last produced in 2005.

Givens’ 18-year-old son Jabari was also in the Cavalier, however no other injuries were reported.
Funeral services will be handled by the Tomlinson Funeral Home. The date of the services are still pending as of Jan. 15.

A fund has been set up to assist the family with funeral expenses for Jamiya Williams and her daughter, Alahna, through the First Baptist Church of Malakoff, P.O. Box 408, Malakoff, TX 75148,designate checks “Jamiya Williams.”

Dec

27

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : December 27, 2012

This is the final 2012 edition of The Malakoff News, the traditional time we release the Top 5 Stories of The Year.
The stories are selected based on three factors: the number of people impacted, the amount of media coverage, and the amount of discussion generated in the community.

1. The Friends of Malakoff form

It is always nice when good news provides the top story of the year, and The Friends of Malakoff made sure that is the case in the city in 2012.
The eclectic group of downtown merchants and Malakoff supporters came together in the summer, looking to add a little pep to the area. Before long, they began to organize and took the name “Friends of Malakoff.”
The first event the group organized was Christmas in July, which included holiday-themed sales across town, drawings, an art show, and an author’s reading.
Next up, the Friends of Malakoff challenged residents and businesses to dress up the city with scarecrows. The response was overwhelming. Scarecrows popped up in front of multiple businesses, and when organizers started posting photos on Facebook, the challenge exploded and the scarecrows seemed to be everywhere.
Eventually, all the scarecrows even caught the attention of the Tyler Paper, which did a story.
After that, the Friends were highly involved with the city’s Christmas celebration and worked on turning a vacant lot downtown into a pocket park.
There were also snowmen who replaced the scarecrows, and other events the Friends helped promote.
All in all, it was an impressive start for a new organization. We can’t wait to see what 2013 holds for the Friends.

2. Malakoff Housing Authority troubles

Read more in the 12-28 issue of the Malakoff News