By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–More than 100 souls came out for a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Jeb Hensarling Aug.3 at the Senior Center in Athens. Each audience member who wanted to comment or ask a question was given two minutes to present, after which the 5th District Congressman from Texas responded.
The meeting was prefaced with a prayer by local minister Mark Hall, who asked God’s forgiveness for America’s departure from its founding principles of truth, morality and justice and asked courage on behalf of local citizens to stand united against tyranny and injustice.
The first question taken asked why so many Republicans in national office talk down about Donald Trump. “Why is he regarded so poorly?”
“I have publicly endorsed him as the Republican nominee for president, even though he wasn’t my first choice,” Hensarling responded. “I don’t know how he would govern, but I do know how Hillary Clinton will, and I vehemently oppose all her major policies. We can’t allow another liberal to be named to the Supreme Court for a generation. Further, I know Mike Pence, well. He’s a true conservative leader of high moral character and integrity. It speaks volumes that Trump named him as his running mate. I have no problem endorsing Trump, but reserve the right to disagree with him from time to time.”
Most of the other questions and comments had similar responses, pointing out that a change in the White House will be able to solve a lot of the issues under discussion. Those included dissolving the Sanctuary City program, birth-right citizenship to children of illegals, entitlement programs that attract illegal immigrants, accepting immigration from enemy countries such as Syria and Iraq and requiring work from welfare recipients.
Commenting on the latest news, Hensarling said Congress would launch a full investigation into the $400 million payment from the administration to Iran and the subsequent return of three Americans being held in Iran. “The paying of ransom for hostages is against U.S. policy and hadn’t been approved by the House,” he said.
Someone asked why Congress and the president were not enforcing the McCarran–Walter Act of 1952, which was enacted over President Truman’s veto. Sponsor Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), in a speech on the Senate floor March 2,1953 defended the legislation with these words:
“I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors. … However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain. The solution of the problems of Europe and Asia will not come through a transplanting of those problems en masse to the United States. … I do not intend to become prophetic, but if the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation’s downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.”
Posted by : August 11, 2016| On :
Posted by : August 4, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
The News Sports Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–The helmets and pads came out again as Texas high school football teams began two-a-days on August 1. Several local teams around the lake are gearing up for the first game of the season August 26.
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 with Malakoff in first place followed by 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 able 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.
“We have to take things one game at a time,” Driskell said. “Having all the pre-season hype is great, but the games are won on the field not on paper, and we have to show up ready to compete every week if we want to accomplish our goal.”
Driskell also said that he hopes for a rematch with Cameron Yoe in the playoffs this season. “The loss still stings,” he said. “I don’t know if it will ever fully go away but if we get another chance I think that things would go differently this time around.”
The Athens Hornets are in district 8-4A. Athens will be led by Head Coach Paul Essary who is in his eighth year at the helm.
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 try 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.
“It’s an exciting time for Hornet Nation,” Essary said. “We are working on building a tradition of winning and anything short of the playoffs isn’t acceptable. We lost a lot on offense, but younger guys are going to step up and play hard for us. I think the sky is the limit for our team.”
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 hopes to stay healthy to lead Cross Roads to more victories.
If everyone can stay healthy and the players buy 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.
“We have the pieces in place to make the playoffs,” Gain said. “I like what we have on offense and defense, and we are all working hard every day to end the 13-year playoff drought. I want to make every day an adventure, and I want to get better while we have fun working.”
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 hired a new coach after Scott Hayes announced that he was leaving to take a coaching job at Rice High School June 29. James Massarelli will step in and try to guide the Trojans back to the playoffs.
Massarelli will have one of the most exciting players in the district at his disposal in receiver 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 high school football season starts on August 26. Malakoff will take on Bullard at home, Athens will be on the road at Mexia, Cross Roads will take on Frost and Trinidad will play Campbell.
The News will release its fall sports preview August 25. It will have information on all the local football, volleyball and cross country teams.
Posted by : August 4, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested four people July 28 for various crimes, including illegal drug possession, outstanding warrants and evading arrest.
According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, investigators arrested a 26-year-old Malakoff man at his home on Royall Blvd., where he was allegedly growing marijuana. “I’m proud of my team,” Hillhouse said. “A citizen complained about possible drug activity at a residence. Investigators Brad Beddingfield, Kay Langford and Josh Rickman followed up on that complaint and found Joe Eldon St. Clair to be in possession of marijuana.”
In a separate case, investigators Beddingfield, Langford and Rickman attempted to stop a vehicle in the Cherokee Shores subdivision. After a pursuit, they arrested two suspects. Bailey Marie Hefley, 26, of Gun Barrel City was arrested for evading arrest with a vehicle. Mabank resident James Noel Nelson, Jr., 30, was arrested for outstanding warrants for assault causing bodily injury.
After a traffic stop on Henderson County Road 2514, Patrol Sergeant Daniel Wright arrested Jefferson Daugherty for outstanding warrants for possession of a controlled substance, parole violation, bail jumping and misdemeanor theft.
“We search homes, stop vehicles, follow up on tips and confront suspects about illegal drugs every day and will continue to do so,” Sheriff Hillhouse said.
Posted by : July 21, 2016| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–The Red Waller Community Library of Malakoff hosted Miss B and her assistant Lauren, who showed off several animals during the library’s weekly summer reading program, held July 14 at Malakoff Community Center.
The animals shown included a kangaroo, a wallaby, a bearded dragon, a sugar glider and a tarantula.
The weekly program continues through July 28.
Posted by : July 14, 2016| On :
By Robyn Wheeler
News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees approved eight properties to be entered into the Henderson County Sheriff’s tax foreclosure sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2 at the courthouse. Of the eight properties, one is located in Key Ranch, two in Beachwood Estates, one in Esquire Estates and one in Royal Oaks Subdivision. If all properties sell for the estimated value, allowing MISD to make 25 percent of the sales, the district stands to make more than $36,000.
In addition, trustees approved the contract extension with Dr. Pepper until 2022. The district will receive $1 for every case sold.
Superintendent Randy Perry has been assigned to the Texas Association of Community Schools and signed two MOU’s for Trinity Valley Community College dual credit courses for 2016-17.
Perry said the STAAR scores will not be in until August but will be discussed in detail at the Aug. 15 meeting.
In other news, trustees:
• Approved the Region VII and 12 contracts for the 2016-17 school year.
• Heard a budget meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8.
• Received an excess check of $3,994.58 from Linebarger Gogagn Blair and Sampson, LLP.
• Heard two letters were received. The first from the Texas Education Agency approving the MISD audit for 2015-16. The second, from Texas State Representative John Wray congratulating the district on the finishing the construction on the field house and concession stand.
Posted by : June 9, 2016| On :
By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Reporter
MALAKOFF– Julia Armstrong presented two scholarships to Malakoff High School students Jonathan Hernandez and Madelaine Walker, who also is Malakoff’s 2016 valedictorian, on May 26.
Both Hernandez and Walker have distinct and ambitious career goals planned for their futures.
Walker will study Genetic Research and Treatment at Baylor University and Hernandez will attend Tarleton State to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice upon completing his advanced individual training at Ft. Lee, VA., for the Army National Guard.
Posted by : May 26, 2016| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Malakoff Rotarians met two critical care helicopter technicians from East Texas Medical Center’s (ETMC) Air Medical Services during Tuesday, May 24’s weekly luncheon meeting at the Flagg House.
Michael Lawyer is a chief flight nurse based out of Tyler, while air flight medic Brad Pace is based out of Athens. “They do a great service for the community,” said Mike Burns, Malakoff ISD Director of Curriculum and Classroom Technology, who served as May 24’s program chair.
Lawyer has been in Henderson County for about 23 years. First an emergency medical technician (EMT) then progressing to a paramedic, Lawyer in 2009 earned his nursing degree from Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC). Pace went to Tyler Junior College (TJC), is a former firefighter in Jacksonville and also has his peace officer’s license.
ETMC Air 1 has flown from Tyler since 1985, while the Athens base started in 2004, while the Mt. Pleasant base became operational in 2005. There’s a helipad next to the Malakoff Volunteer Fire Department building often utilized by ETMC helicopters.
ETMC Air 1 provides critical care comparable to an intensive care unit, including heart and stroke treatment, all available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Air 1 has bases in Athens, Tyler and Mt. Pleasant that serve a swath of East Texas, ranging from the Red River to Trinity County, north of Houston. ETMC Air 1 flew Hurricane Katrina medical patients from Louisiana to Beaumont in 2005.
ETMC’s Air 1 program has a perfect safety record over the past 30-plus years, with a stable of three helicopters equipped with twin engines as backup in case on engine goes down. Each helicopter includes a nurse, medic and pilot. The ETMC helicopters also provide search-and-rescue services, at no cost to the community, including searches for missing children, stranded boaters and wayward elderly. In addition, hospital transfers are part of the program’s mission.
Many pilots have military backgrounds because of the rigorous flight-hour requirements to be eligible for ETMC Air 1. ETMC partners with Metro Aviation of Shreveport for maintenance and air-traffic services. “They are amazing mechanics and pilots,” Lawyer said.
Posted by : May 5, 2016| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–The Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the former Soviet empire took place 30 years ago, Malakoff Rotarians learned May 3, leaving an eerie aftermath.
Rotary program chair Jeanie Seely said the nuclear reactor fire and explosion happened April 26, 1986. It is considered the worst in world history, with radiation spreading across a great deal of Eurasia. The facility was shoddily built, Seely said, and that, along with human error, contributed to the disaster.
The aftermath included placing a 36-ton concrete cover over the destroyed reactor, but that, too, is falling apart. Efforts are underway to replace it, funded by more than 30 nations. Thyroid cancer has been the main radiation-related cause of death.
The Chernobyl area is still off-limits, even though about 150 people moved back to the city within two years of the explosion. Dead trees and leaves that fell have not decayed in the three decades since the nuclear disaster. Animal life, instead of extinction, has instead adapted, Seely said.
Also during the Malakoff Rotary meeting, member Teri Caswell announced an AmeriCorps-affiliated program called “Food on the Move,” which will provide free meals to children ages 1-18 at Caney Creek Baptist Church in Log Cabin and Trinidad Methodist Church. CitySquare, North Texas’ largest AmeriCorps program, administers “Food on the Move.” The summer food program lasts from June 6 to Aug. 12 and will be held Mondays through Fridays. Times will be determined later this month. Call (903) 489-3500 or (903) 489-7500 for more information.
Rotary member Julie Armstrong told fellow Rotarians about a $5,000 grant for the Malakoff Education Foundation, which benefits the Malakoff school district, courtesy of Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative (TVEC).
Posted by : April 21, 2016| On :
Cross Roads, Malakoff and Trinidad ISDs vote in November
Special to The News
TEXAS–Early voting begins Monday, April 25 and continues through May 3, for city councils, school board trustees and water boards.
City of Malakoff candidates for three positions include Kevin Killman, Robert C. Cole, incumbants Vincent Bailey, Jr. and Jerrily Tarver, Pat Isaacson, Rickey Baker, Bubba Matthews. Voting takes place at Malakoff City Hall located at 109 Melton St.
Athens Muncipal Water Authority (AMWA) candidates for three seats include incumbents Donald A.Foster, Stephen R. Sparkman and David Thomas, and Milburn Chaney and Frank Lunceford. Voters may cast their ballots for AMWA candidates at the Henderson County Elections Administration at 201 E. Larkin in Athens.
Cross Roads and Malakoff ISDs will hold elections in November.
The City of Trinidad and Trinidad ISD will conduct November elections also.
Election Day is Saturday, May 7.
Athens ISD’s election has been cancelled due to candidtates running unopposed.
Posted by : April 21, 2016| On :
THE NEWS PHOTO/RUSSELL SLATON
Malakoff ISD school board members learned April 18 about STEMscopes, a digital science curriculum used by Malakoff ISD K-5 students, during the district’s monthly meeting. Pictured following the presentation are (from left) fifth-grade science teacher Leighanne Austin, students Reid Snow, Rayona Runnels, Emma Blaser, Madison Brumit and Derek Johnson.
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–Malakoff ISD trustees were warned April 18 about a looming budget shortfall of more than $600,000 that could lead to higher taxes and a magnifying glass turned on personnel expenses, which make up about 80 percent of the school’s budget.
That scenario was presented to trustees during the school board’s monthly meeting by MISD Superintendent Randy Perry, and hinges on loss of state funding called ASATR (Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction), which came about following Texas Legislature promises to ease property taxes through an increase in the homestead exemption.
However, ASATR funding expires in September 2017. In May 2015, the Texas Legislature voted 78-52 against a one-year ASATR extension, and legislators next meet in the months preceding the additional funding’s expiration. The school district fiscal year ends in the summer, so upcoming budget talks will focus on cushioning the blow, with “no sacred cows,” Perry said, who also pointed out that most expenses are on personnel. Malakoff ISD had to cut $900,000 from its budget in 2011, Perry added.
Christy Rome, executive director of the Texas School Coalition, a school-district advocacy group in Austin, gave board members a presentation on the subject, and said state lawmakers are already clamoring to provide more property-tax relief in that 2017 legislative session. She urged board members to take a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” attitude about the possible funding reductions.
School districts and the State of Texas are currently embroiled in a lawsuit over school funding, which includes the model of taking money from “property rich” schools and transferring those funds to districts with inferior tax bases.
Known as “recapture,” Malakoff ISD will next year give back $1.5 million of its own tax collections to be redistributed by the state government, Perry said. In essence, Rome said, the State of Texas is taking away funding meant to lower property taxes, but is forcing some district to in fact, raise taxes.
Local schools, which are capped by state law on how high their tax rate can go without an election, believe that limit is a form of setting a property tax, and therefore violates the state constitution, which outlaws a property tax to fund state government.
Malakoff ISD, which Perry said had the lowest tax rate in the area, is five cents under the state limit for its maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate, proposed rates above which require local blessing at the ballot box.
Malakoff ISD is not alone in the East Texas area among property-rich districts that face ASATR reductions. While Malakoff ISD got about $670,000 in ASATR funding for its 2015-16 budget, Groesbeck ISD received more than $4 million, Leon ISD got $3.7 million, and Fairfield ISD budgeted $1.2 million. Mildred ISD got nearly a half-million dollars in FY 2015-16, while LaPoynor ISD got about $325,000 and Cayuga ISD, another $200,000.
Also during the MISD monthly meeting, board members accepted the resignation of trustee Billy Sparks, who has taken an out-of-state job. Trustees also approved hiring Reilly Landscaping to handle the area around the new sports fieldhouse at the high school, which tentatively has its ribbon-cutting ceremony set for Monday, May 23 at 6 p.m.