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.”



Posted by : admin | On : July 14, 2015

Mal Rotary

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Prison ministry is now the name of the game for Bill Glass, a former Baylor football player who was inspired by Billy Graham to preach to the imprisoned.
Those facts and others were shared by A.J. Tusberg, who told Malakoff Rotarians Tuesday, July 7 about Behind the Walls, the prison ministry Glass started in 1972. “We show that there’s hope out there on the outside, and that they can make it,” Tusberg said. “We look at a person and think, ‘What would Jesus do?’”
The nationwide ministry has local outreach, including events at the Texas Department of Corrections complex in Anderson County as well as at the Henderson County Jail in Athens. The incarcerated reached by Behind the Walls can range from those biding their time on death row, or youthful offenders in correctional facilities. Last year, the ministry reached 45,000 people, and has served more than a million since its start.
Rotarian Jeanie Seely, a Malakoff insurance agent, also takes part in Behind the Walls’ ministry efforts. It’s an interdenominational outreach which “pulls all of us together,” Seely said. “Every time I go I enjoy it more and more,” she added.
Tusberg said that the prison events are very safe for the general public. “These are people who want to see and hear God,” he said. “We visit people who haven’t had visitors in years. We’re helping them understand there is hope and that life can change, even behind bars.”
Ninety-eight cents of every dollar donated goes to the nonprofit organization’s mission, Tusberg pointed out. Each event can cost between $6,000 and $8,000, he added.
For more information about joining the prison ministry, go online to BillGlass.org or call 972- 298-1101.



Posted by : admin | On : June 5, 2015

Cedar Creek flood
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–Late Thursday night, May 28, westbound State Highway 31 was closed between Trinidad and Malakoff by Texas Department of Transportation officials because of water washing over the road. That closure came because Cedar Creek spilled over the northern portion of the highway, which is lower in elevation than its eastbound twin.

The southern part of the duplexed highway, which normally carries two lanes of eastbound traffic, was divided into one lane each for east-west traffic flow, with orange traffic barrels denoting the division. Westbound vehicles were forced to take a left over an existing paved median crossing at the top of Booger Hill, joining the southernmost part of the divided highway into Trinidad. That southern side was the original routing before the road was four-laned with a median in the late 1960s, shortly after the completion of Cedar Creek Lake.
Even though Cedar Creek is dammed to form Cedar Creek Lake just above this portion of Highway 31, major flooding along the Trinity River has backed up into the creek. That, along with localized flood waters, caused the closure. Because of Cedar Creek Lake’s construction during the early-to-mid 1960s, TxDOT engineers believed the reservoir would control flooding sufficiently, requiring fewer bridges and a lower elevation for the new, northern, westbound lanes of traffic.

The last time State Highway 31 was closed because of high water in the Cedar Creek bottom between Malakoff and Trinidad was in the spring of 1990, which was another season of heavy rains. Westbound traffic seeking to go past Malakoff on Highway 31 was advised by TxDOT signs at Highway 31’s Y-intersection with U.S. Highway 175 in Athens to detour through Gun Barrel City along U.S. 175 and State Highway 334 to Seven Points, then down State Highway 274 to rejoin Highway 31 in Trinidad.

That 38-mile detour in 1990 past what normally covered the 15 miles between Athens and Trinidad came because state highway officials had already commenced construction on improving the eastbound bridges on the southern side of the Cedar Creek bottom. The 1990 construction had already narrowed that side’s traffic down to one lane, making two-way contraflow infeasible.

Further downstream, Cedar Creek also inundated FM 1667 (League Line Road) near the former Creslenn Park, south of Trinidad. That stretch remains closed as of The News’ June 3 press time for this edition.



Posted by : admin | On : June 5, 2015

Emergency worker COMP

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Four people went to the hospital over Memorial Day weekend after bailing off all-terrain vehicles to avoid an oncoming train while riding down its right-of-way.
The Saturday, May 23 incident occurred along the Union Pacific tracks, directly behind Malakoff’s Antioch Baptist Church. It prompted responses from the Log Cabin, Caney City and Payne Springs volunteer fire departments (VFDs).

The train rounded a slight curve about 2 p.m. when the engineer spied the four ATV riders and brought the train to a halt, said Mike Tanner, the Log Cabin VFD assistant chief. Tanner said none of the people or ATVs were struck by the train.

Most injuries appeared to be from the fall down the railroad right-of-way’s steep, rocky side, the assistant fire chief said. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, he added. First responders initially tried two different routes from nearby State Highway 31 in unsuccessful efforts to reach the scene. Muddy conditions and a creek that runs parallel to the railroad bed thwarted those efforts.

Eventually, medical personnel entered through an adjacent gated property and made their way to the scene by foot. One of those injured went to the hospital by East Texas Medical Center ambulance, while another was airlifted to the same hospital in Athens. Two more, Tanner said, went to the hospital by private vehicle.
No further word on the condition of the four people, nor their identities, is known as of Wednesday, June 3’s press time for this edition of The News.