Posted by : admin | On : February 18, 2016


Courtesy Photo
Bro. Cameron Hornbuckle co-hosting the “We Love Our Youth” program and doing a great job.

By Delanda S. Johnson
Special to the News
MALAKOFF–Well, it’s that time of the year and the Henderson County Black History Committee started the month of February off with a bang!
On Feb. 7, the youth of Henderson County celebrated its Annual “We Love Our Youth” program at the First Baptist Church (Walker St.) in Malakoff.
The event was called to order by Master of Ceremonies Bro. Cameron Hornbuckle followed by the traditional song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Bro. Karter Walker delivered a moving prayer with Sis. Rayona Runnels expressing in her own way a musical welcome to the congregation.
First Baptist Church youth set the mood of the church with a heartfelt song.
Bro. Marcus Hornbuckle, Jr., read a paper on Alexander L. Twilight, the first African-American to get a college degree. Bro. Cornelius Hambrick rendered the touching speech “I Have A Dream” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
After the Black History moments Co-Host Bro. Cameron Brookins introduced the youth from each of the area churches. This year was filled with praise dance teams, mim teams, choirs, etc., helping to celebrate Black History Month.
The National Theme “Hallowed Ground: Sites of African American Memory” with sub-theme “I’m Pressing On” Philippians 3:13-15 gave a special meaning.
Sis. Gabrielle Williams gave an heartfelt introduction of the guest speaker which happen to be her father, Rev. Rickey Barnes, the proud new Pastor of First Baptist Church.
Rev. Barnes first wanted to express to the congregation that the message he was giving was just for the youth. “I need the 19-year-olds and below to please stand. I’m here to let you know that you have greatness with you. Don’t let anyone say or do anything to you that will let you think you do not have greatness within you. So, “What is your purpose?” said Rev. Barnes. (Proverbs 7:6:21)
Rev. Barnes cautioned adults to watch what they do and say in front of their children. He noted that America today is designed to keep the youth’s mind simple; that this will stop you (the youth) from being great.
“If you are looking in today’s society, thugs and bad girls are paid to entertain you. We know that this is a fast-paced world, but don’t buy into all the glamour, music, etc., know that God has a gift that is just for you. God has set your life up for success, but know that Evil is looking at you, too. Parents don’t trust the world; be more involved with everything your child does. Don’t just say, ‘I don’t know anything about social media/computers; you better learn,’” Rev. Barnes said.
“Youth of Henderson County know that Evil is always there, but know that Jesus is there also. Thugs and Bad girls are always there to influence you; know that Jesus is there, also. All you need to do is just crack a door just a little and Jesus will be there to help you,” Rev. Barnes said.



Posted by : admin | On : February 4, 2016


Courtesy Photo
Jacob Cole has been named the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador for the East Texas Beekeepers Association.

Special to The News
MALAKOFF–The East Texas Beekeepers Association (ETBA) recently named Malakoff High School freshman Jacob Cole as the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador.
Cole will travel throughout East Texas speaking at fairs, schools and other venues about the importance of honey bees and keep the media and the public up-to-date on the ETBA Ambassador Program Facebook page.
“The perfection of the honey bee cells always amazes me,” Cole said.
“It is fascinating how each cell is built for a specific need, and the size varies depending on whether the cell is for a queen, worker or dron bee to grow in. Being able to watch the bees fly in and out of the hive loaded with pollen and nectar is one of my favorite things to do.”
Cole began beekeeping in 2013 through the ETBA Youth Scholarship Program. He has spoken at various Henderson County Master Gardener events and loves passing along his knowledge of beekeeping and inspiring others to get involved too.
Cole earned his Master Beekeeper certification in 2014, and will advance to the next level this year.
Coles also loves to hunt, read and participate in 4-H activities. He is a food pantry volunteer and teaches children in the garden at South Athens Elementary School. He hopes to become a Texas Game Warden.
To book Cole for a speaking event, contact Lani Lanchester at lanilanchester@hotmail.com.



Posted by : admin | On : January 21, 2016

Celebratory reception set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Tool Elementary

Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Rep. John Wray, which superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple, Billy Sparks, board president Rick Vieregge, Perry, xxxx and xxxx. Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Rep. John Wray, which superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple, Billy Sparks, board president Rick Vieregge, Perry.

the news Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored Jan. 14 with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Texas House Rep. John Wray, which Superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple (Vice President), Billy Sparks, Rick Vieregge (President), Perry, Tim Mattingly (Secretary) and Mike Monroe. Not pictured are board members Gary Woolverton and Dustin Youngman.

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—School trustees heard that Malakoff ISD is the smallest district to ever have back-to-back years as nominations for the National Blue Ribbon School recognition. Now in its 34th year, the Department of Education program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels. A final criterion is that nominated schools have an enrollment of 20 percent or greater from an economically disadvantaged population.
Tool Elementary School was listed as one of just 26 schools in Texas to be nominated and its enrollment is nearly 80 percent from an “economically disadvantaged population.”
Principal Christal Calhoun credited the diligent work of her staff, teachers and especially the students for achieving the scholastic results on her campus. “The staff and kids are very excited,” she said.
Calhoun then described how she broke it down for the 213 children enrolled in pre-k through fifth grade at her campus. At a suggestion from one of the teachers at Tool Elementary School, “We first looked at a map of the entire United States and then of Texas. Then I told them how many schools there were in Texas, including private ones, upwards of 8,000. But they still didn’t get it. But when I showed them a clear plastic barrel containing 8,000 dry black beans and pulled out 26 of them, then I pointed out just one of these. Then they understood what a distinction the Blue Ribbon nomination really is!”
Since the announcement came Jan. 13 and Calhoun passed the news to her students, she said parents have been calling to find out when the “Blue Party” was going to happen and what they could do to help. The district has set a congratulatory reception for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 at the school. “All our loyal supporters from the community are invited to attend,” Calhoun said.
During the Jan. 14 school board meeting, Calhoun wrapped up her campus report by looking toward Assistant Superintendent Sybil Norris and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny. Snow for their assistance and guidance in setting the goals that need to be met and the necessary reporting instruments to bring the school through the process to win the 2016 Blue Ribbon Award. The final selections are made in September, school trustees heard. Malakoff Elementary School earned the National Blue Ribbon Award for 2015.
“We, the students and staff, are committed to coming to school every day and doing our very best,” she said. The average daily attendance at Tool Elementary School is an unheard of 97 percent and 14 new students have been recently enrolled, she added. The school, and all the other Malakoff ISD campuses, are beginning twice and thrice weekly individual tutoring sessions.
“Not many school boards get to see that!” Board chairman Rick Vieregge said. “This is a real honor,” Perry said. “We’re the only school district below 5A to do that!”
Snow reported that the State Board of Education has invited him and select teachers to join them in Austin April 8 for special recognition of their Blue Ribbon Award. Snow added that after school tutoring begins on his campus as well and that it’s a real grind that makes for long days, but one that he and his staff feel makes all the difference.
Both elementary schools are seeing the addition of iPads for third-sixth grade classrooms, so every class will have access to six to eight of these, Snow said.
In addition to special gifts and recognition for the school board members during January’s School Board Appreciation month, trustees were treated to a music video produced by students of Malakoff Middle School, that has also been played on the local radio station during morning drive time. Trustees were impressed by the words and sentiments expressed, both personal and individualized. “These are really neat kids,” Middle School Principal Quinton Watkins said.
In other business, trustees:
• Accepted the 2014-15 audit from Smith Lambright and Associates, who noted a strong fund balance of $5.6 million and a new accounting of unfunded liability from future retirement earnings. “You don’t have to budget for it,” J.W. Lambright said. “Just know that your share comes to $1,468,000.”
• Noted the school attendance is now being measured in minutes instead of days.
• Reviewed the highlights of the Texas Academic Performance Report. Malakoff ISD met state standards or above in all important indicators, Norris pointed out. The full report is available on line at www.Malakoffisd.org and as printouts at each campus and administration building.
• Heard progress on baseball field lighting and other improvements have been hampered by the wet weather and possible options for getting around that in time for the season to start.
• Reset the July board meeting from the third Monday in July to the second Monday, July 11, to accommodate a request from the superintendent.
• Evaluated the superintendent’s performance and extended his contract another three years, through 2019.



Posted by : admin | On : January 7, 2016


The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–In October of last year, the Malakoff Independent School District Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of then Malakoff Middle School football coach, Malakoff High School assistant varsity basketball coach and sixth-grade social studies teacher Paul Wayne Cook during a law enforcement investigation by the Malakoff ISD police department of his possible improper communications with a high school student.
Now, several months later, Cook explains, in an effort to clear up the situation, that he has been a teacher and coach for 15 years, and loves what he does and cares about the students.
He said he has not and would not ever, as a professional, maintain private communications with any student of any age.
Cook reportedly said he was not aware that the person he had communications with was a Malakoff school student. And he did not know her correct age at the time he began communicating with her.
From the female’s Facebook page, Cook thought she was 27 and from another town. He later found out she was 18 and a part-time Malakoff school student.
Cook also said he never had face-to-face meetings with the student or any physical contact.
He claims full responsibility for not being more diligent in doing research before starting an online communication.
Cook plans to continue teaching and shared that he was advised to resign by the superintendent.
He admits no guilt of any criminal offense in relation to the communication with the student.
He expresses appreciation of his friends, family and co-workers who believed in him and supported him during this time.
Cook said his is a private person and does not like attention. He says he decided to speak out after much prayer and to make things more clear since many news reports left out many details.
Cook has not hired a lawyer as he said he has done nothing wrong and feels he has been targeted by someone with a hidden agenda.



Posted by : admin | On : December 23, 2015


Bishop Joseph Strickland (center) conducts Mass at Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Malakoff prior to the groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 20.


Monitor Photo/Ronald Wheeler
Tyler Diocese Bishop Joseph Strickland digs the first scoop of dirt at the Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Malakoff Dec. 20.


By Robyn Wheeler
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church held a groundbreaking on a new church building Sunday, Dec. 20.
Parishioners from Athens and Gun Barrel City were invited to attend the ceremony presided over by Mary Queen of Heaven Pastor Fr. McLaughlin and Tyler Diocese Bishop Joseph Strickland.
Mary Queen of Heaven parishioners have been meeting in a module building since April 2013 when the church building was destroyed after a car crashed into the front of the church and caught fire.
Construction is scheduled to begin soon and church members hope to be in the new building by September 2016.
Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church is located at 2269 CR 1703 in Malakoff. They can be reached at (903) 489-2366 or www.mqhmalakoff.org.



Posted by : admin | On : December 9, 2015

By Ryan Moulds
The News Staff Writer
MABANK–The Malakoff Tigers best Mabank in an overtime thriller Tuesday.
The Panthers were beaten 50-49 in overtime. “They are a great team,” Mabank coach Tracy Carter said. “They made some plays at the end to win.”
Both teams played well to start the game and Mabank found themselves leading 12-9 after the first quarter.
Jordan Thomas had five points in the quarter to lead Mabank and QT Barker had seven to lead Malakoff.
The Tiger’s defense stepped up in the second quarter and held the Panthers to five points.
Malakoff took advantage and scored 13 points including 3-point shots by Barker and AJ Cook.
The teams went into halftime with Malakoff up 22-17. Barker led the Tigers in scoring with 10 points and Thomas had seven to led the Panthers.
Both teams played even in the third quarter answering baskets from each other. Mabank entered the fourth quarter down by five points, 33-28.
Mabank was able to retake the lead in the fourth quarter behind hot shooting from Thomas and Mark Driskell.
The Panthers were up by three with only a few seconds left in the game when Cook was fouled on a lay up. The shot went in and Cook was successful on the free throw to tie the game up at 44.
Mabank got the ball back with one more chance but a half court shot by Thomas hit the front of the rim and the teams played overtime.
In overtime, Malakoff outscored Mabank 6-5. The Panthers got the ball back with a few seconds left but their last shot was missed and Malakoff escaped with the victory.
Barker had 15 points to lead Malakoff. Cook scored 11 and Tyler Russell had eight.
Mabank was led in scoring by Jordan Thomas with 25 points. Driskell and Cole Smith each had nine points for the Panthers.



Posted by : admin | On : November 12, 2015

softball players

Malakoff High School softball players Candace Denis (left) and Hazel Puempel each signed a letter of intent to attend college on a softball scholarship. Denis signed with the University of Massachusetts, while Puempel signed with Texas Woman’s University. The ceremony was held Wednesday, Nov. 11 in the Malakoff High School gymnasium.



Posted by : admin | On : November 12, 2015

malakoff city council

The News Photo/Russell Slaton
Malakoff Elementary School teachers receive applause Nov. 5 for their efforts in securing a 2015 National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Dept. of Education, as part of the school’s National Blue Ribbon Celebration.

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF–The City of Malakoff has severed ties with the Malakoff Volunteer Fire Department and will rely on outside agencies to provide first-response emergency protection for now, decided Malakoff city council members during Monday, Nov. 9’s monthly meeting, which included a two-hour executive session.

The volunteer fire department (VFD) works under an at-will agreement with the City of Malakoff, which was terminated immediately, said Malakoff’s city attorney, Hank Skelton of Athens. The future of the Malakoff VFD, which was organized in 1949, remains unclear, as does ownership of the fire station and equipment.

The point of contention was response times, with Skelton saying the department lacked the personnel to answer calls. Malakoff’s fire chief, Kirk Kebodeaux, said issues have arisen during weekday working hours, with VFD members working daytime jobs. Those calls have been picked up by other departments.

Kebodeaux said he was trying to address the situation by entering into an automatic aid agreement with a neighboring department, meaning that a single call summoned each VFD.

Kebodeaux also said he had three pending applicants to the 16-member VFD who would be available during daytime hours. The VFD chief also said he was recruiting more members on social media.

The city council’s decision came about a month after Henderson County canceled its contract with the Malakoff VFD. That decision cost the fire department about $10,000 in annual funding from the county, Kebodeaux said.

Kebodeaux said he learned the department had its response areas outside Malakoff split up among neighboring departments after the decision had been made by Henderson County officials. “I was shocked I was not even notified in writing,” he said.

The Malakoff VFD had been limited to calls within the Malakoff city limits, with departments from Log Cabin, Caney City and Trinidad also answering calls. That arrangement with area departments is expected to be expanded to take up Malakoff VFD’s void, Skelton said.

Southside VFD, based in Shady Grove, also announced in a late 2014 mailing that its response area had expanded to include “Malakoff residents” on FM 2636 and FM 3441, along with county roads 1202, 1203, 1211, 1217, 1219, 1220, 1221 and 1309, as well as Crescent Oaks Drive, Fontenot Acres Road and Airstrip Road.

Volunteers comprise 69 percent of firefighters in the United States, according to the National Volunteer Fire council. Membership in the volunteer ranks has declined 12 percent since 1984, the national council states.

Also during the meeting, council members:
• adopted a proclamation honoring Malakoff Elementary School as a National Blue Ribbon School.
• nominated Phil Tucker for a one-year term as the Place 4 representative on the Henderson County Appraisal District board of directors.
• Set Saturday, Nov. 14 as the annual fall citywide cleanup, which lasts from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
• appointed Rebecca Ray as city prosecutor for the Malakoff Municipal Court. Municipal Judge Bill Burton said previous prosecutor Daniel Barnes has taken another job in Fort Worth. Ray has been with the county attorney’s office since 2009 and has been a city prosecutor in Payne Springs.
“She is ethical, honest and hard working,” city attorney Skelton said in recommendation, adding: “And one of the few lawyers to get the best of me.”



Posted by : admin | On : September 30, 2015

The News staff reports
MALAKOFF–Four banners marking the accomplishments of former Malakoff High School basketball coach Deartis Nickerson have been put back up in the Malakoff gym.
Last week, The News reported that several people expressed displeasure Sept. 21 over the decision during a MISD school board meeting. MISD Superintendent Randy Perry provided The News with the following statement:
“Not all of the banners were taken down,” Perry said. “Coach Nickerson’s 500th win banner remained to recognize his accomplishments. There were four other banners marking his 100, 200, 300 and 400th wins. Those banners were taken down and given to Coach Nickerson for him to keep. His picture remains on the wall of fame as the only non student-athlete from MHS.”
“Deartis Nickerson is no longer the basketball coach at Malakoff High School after retiring at the end of the last school year. We have a new coach now, and the thought at the campus was that some of the banners needed to come down, while of course, still respecting the accomplishments of Coach Nickerson. We had several members of the community get upset that four of the five banners had been removed. Several of these folks expressed their concerns to the school board, and have now been put back up in the gym out of respect to the wishes of the community members who spoke up.”



Posted by : admin | On : September 30, 2015

Blue Ribbon seal
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–It’s official: Malakoff Elementary School was named a National Blue Ribbon School on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
The announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was played over the Malakoff Elementary School intercom, said MES principal Ronny Snow. Snow credited the staff at MES for achieving the status, as well as its students. “This staff has pushed for excellence and students have responded,” Snow said.
In late January, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) nominated 25 Texas public schools for national 2015 Blue Ribbon Schools recognition. Founded in 1982, Blue Ribbon Schools is a U.S. Department of Education program that recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels.
In its 33-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed this coveted award on nearly 8,000 of America’s schools. All schools were selected as exemplary high performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. Each school has an economically disadvantaged population of 25 percent or greater.
“We have been asked by many other school districts that come spend time with us about what it is that we are doing,” Snow said. “I’ll tell them staff continuity and all recognizing the task at hand and every grade level being on the same page. Probably the two best specific things that we do for achievement are, number one, our afterschool tutorial program. It lets us work in small groups and has been very beneficial to our students. The second thing would be the use of mentoring minds as a supplemental instruction piece. It is very rigorous and if students are able to do it then any state testing is no issue for them.”
Nationally, only 332 campuses in 44 states were selected for this honor, said Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry. “Malakoff ISD wants to congratulate the teachers and staff at Malakoff Elementary along with their principal, Mr. Ronny Snow, for this distinction,” Perry said.
Snow, along with three teachers, will be attending the National Blue Ribbon Conference in Washington, D.C., on November 9 and 10 to accept the award. Those teachers are Christy Jackson, Kasey Holt and Shay Masterson.
“They represent third and fifth grades, which are the tested grades,” Snow said. “All are longtime Malakoff Elementary School employees and between them they have 50 years of experience, all at Malakoff Elementary School.”