Posted by : October 20, 2016| On :
Special to The News
ATHENS – With more than 700 arrests made in his first four months in office, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse continues his campaign against illegal drugs with the arrest of two men Monday, one a felon with methamphetamines and a firearm.
“Lead Narcotics Investigator Kay Langford, and investigators Brad Beddingfield and Josh Rickman are leading the charge in this war on illegal drugs,” Hillhouse said. “With the rest of my fine team, hundreds of drug dealers and users have been pulled off the street, put in jail and are facing serious time for their crimes.”
James Bedard, 42, has been charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance believed to be methamphetamines between 4 and 200 grams, a first degree felony.
He was also charged for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third degree felony.
Bedard faces up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the first degree felony charge if convicted. He is being held on bonds totaling $14,000
Jerry Thomas Jr., 52, was arrested at an address on FM 2494 in Athens for possession of marijuana.
“It was during that initial arrest of Jerry Thomas for an outstanding warrant that the investigators saw the suspected methamphetamines,” Hillhouse said. “We obtained a search warrant from Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Milton Adams, and arrested Bedard.”
Thomas was released the following day with a $1,500 bond.
Hillhouse took office June 1, promising to lead a campaign against illegal drugs in Henderson County. His efforts have won the praise of civic and community groups.
“The people told me their biggest concern was illegal drugs – especially the devastating impact of methamphetamines on the community,” Hillhouse said. “So, I made it this Office’s mission to spend every hour fighting drugs on the streets, and in homes, hotels, motels and trailer parks.
“To the dealers and users who don’t believe me, rest assured I have plenty of beds in the jail and if you bring your poison to my county, I’ll find you,” Hillhouse said.
Posted by : October 13, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–A dangerous felon was arrested after a late-night shooting; and two other men were charged with unrelated possession of illegal drug Oct. 6, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reported.
Michael McFarlin (aka Little Mike) 29, was arrested in Tyler last Thursday following a shooting incident south of Chandler.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance call and found two victims, a man and a woman, who had been beaten with a baseball bat. Emergency Medical Service was called and took the male victim to Tyler for treatment.
Deputies also found bullet holes in both the home and vehicles at the residence.
After a day-long investigation, Hillhouse’s team – Chief Kevin Halbert, Captain David Jones, investigators Ray Yockey, Wick Gabbard, Deputies Kyle Pochobradsky, Gabriel Shue, and Jacob Sumrall – arrested McFarlin at a medical clinic in Tyler.
Additional charges are likely, and McFarlin remains in the Henderson County Jail. He is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, deadly conduct discharge of a firearm. His bonds total $75,000 and he is being held without bond on a parole violation.
Prior to going to prison in 2007 for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery, he was involved in the manufacture and delivery of controlled substances. Soon after his release from prison, in 2011 he was arrested again for assault, causing bodily injury. He was on his way back to prison when he racked up more charges for family violence, drug trafficking and possession of a firearm by a felon. Upon release from prison a second time a bench warrant was issued for another assault causing bodily injury charge in 2012 and he was returned to prison to serve more time.
“This is one we worked overtime to get off the streets,” Hillhouse said. “He is a danger to this community, and I am proud of my team of deputies for working through the night to get him,” he said.
Meanwhile, lead narcotic investigator Kay Langford and investigators Josh Rickman and Brad Beddingfield arrested Allen Ray Key, 60, at his home of FM 1615 in Athens.
County Court at Law Judge Nancy Perryman granted a search warrant after the Investigators gathered probable cause evidence and information.
Key was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine and charged with manufacturing or delivering of a controlled substance up to 200 grams. He was released on a $15,000 bond.
Also Thursday, Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Thomas Goodell arrested James Paul Wilson, 33, of Gun Barrel and charged him with felony possession of suspected methamphetamine.
The Deputy also confiscated $1,002.59 found with the suspected methamphetamine. Wilson and a woman had stopped their vehicle in the median on U.S. Highway 175 between Athens and Eustace and were arguing, which prompted the investigation.
He is being held on a $8,500 bond for possession of a controlled substance less than a gram.
Posted by : October 13, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–A stone monument with bronze plaque was unveiled Saturday to pay tribute to longtime Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Rick Hirsch.
He served Henderson and McLennan counties for 28 years, teaching the Henderson County Master Gardener class from 2000 to 2015. “We remember Rick as a man of wit and humor,” the plaque placed at the entrance to The Master Gardeners’ Dream Garden at the East Texas Arboretum states.
Master Gardener Vice President Evan Sparks called him, “the rock of our organization. We would have thought we were Rick’s favorite project in Henderson County. But every group he worked with felt that way.”
Rick died April 24, 2016 at the age of 51.
“We continue to mourn the loss of a great leader in Ag Extension,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin said Oct. 8. “He was the first to address any issue related to agriculture. It was just normal to call Rick.” From issues dealing with bees dying to 4-H; the Hunters Rendezvous to the elected officials’ luncheon; he was the county’s go-to resource, Geeslin said.
“His radio programs were always very interesting and he always ended with the Henderson County Ag Extension motto: If you eat, wear clothes, or live in a house, you have a definite state in agriculture.”
4-H Texas A&M AgriLife Coordinator Kate Pittack described Rick as “a fixture at the Henderson County Junior Livestock Show. He helped youth reach their potential. He was a friend, mentor and role model,” she said.
Catholic Father Nolan Lowry of St. Edward Church blessed the monument and spoke of Hirsch’s abiding faith in God, of his superb role as father and husband to his widow, Bronte and said his life was an example of service working through love.
Texas District 4 Representative Stuart Spitzer recognized the impact Hirsch had in the area of agriculture contributed to the entire state of Texas.
He presented two flags to Bronte on behalf of himself and Sen. Robert Nichols. The Lone Star flag was the same one flown over the capitol in Austin just a few days after Rick’s death on Aggie Muster Day. “He was a true Aggie and a good man,” Spitzer said. He also presented Bronte with Old Glory, which had been flown over the Capitol in Washington D.C. and read a proclamation honoring Hirsch.
The proceedings were a highlight of the park’s annual fall festival in Athens.
Master Gardener Cecilia Boles, who attended Rick’s first Master Gardener Class, summed up Rick’s contribution to the lives of all he touched with a garden simile. “He was able to step into any situation with aplomb and grace. He was like well-composted manure in a spring garden.” Henderson County memorialized
Posted by : September 15, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Athens attorney Nancy Perkins has pledged a multi-million-dollar gift in honor of her mother, naming the Trinity Valley Community College Foundation as the beneficiary of her entire estate, the largest single gift ever made.
The gift will be formally announced and celebrated at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the auditorium attached to the Orval Pirtle Administration Building. The auditorium will ultimately be named the Pauline Knight Perkins Performing Arts Center.
Pauline graduated from Athens High School in 1944 and spent the summer as a model for Neiman Marcus. “My mother was a beauty at 5-8 and 115 pounds,” Nancy told The Monitor “She was stunningly beautiful.” After that she worked as a stenographer for the state and applied to work at the college, she added.
Pauline Perkins was the first secretary to college founder and President Orval Pirtle, and ultimately became the longest-living member of the original faculty. Pauline passed away May 22, 2016 at the age of 90.
Nancy will present a 1946-47 signed yearbook belonging to her mother to the TVCC Foundation as a token of the gift yet to come.
While at the college, Pauline studied to obtain her teaching degree and fulfilled a 27-year career in education. Her first position was as a sixth grade teacher for the Mabank school district, Nancy said, though most of her mother’s teaching was at the middle and high schools in Athens. She retired from teaching in 1989 but continued to live a life of service, assisting her daughter in her law practice.
“TVCC is where my mother began her professional career and where she was happiest,” Nancy told representatives of the college. “Her gift is her legacy, which we believe will help future generations and will forever commemorate her beauty and generosity.”
Nancy Perkins is a practicing attorney throughout the state of Texas and a Mabank High School 1973 Valedictorian. “It is because of her encouragement that I have what I have,” she told The Monitor.
“Nancy’s extraordinary generosity in leaving a legacy gift to TVCC in her will and estate plans is truly inspiring to everyone at TVCC. The kindness and humbleness demonstrated by Nancy will live on for generations to come,” said TVCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the TVCC Foundation Kristen Bennett. “This gift will make a monumental impact in the lives of students for decades. Because of Nancy and her mother — their indelible love of TVCC and concern for others — their gifts will remind us all that we, too, can make a difference in the lives that follow.”
“Trinity Valley has been blessed by the support and contributions of former students and community members. We want to express our deepest thanks to Nancy Perkins,” TVCC President Dr. Jerry King added. “The generosity of this gift in honor of her mother, Pauline Perkins, to Trinity Valley will provide a legacy that will positively impact the lives of our students and their families for generations.”
After high school, Nancy earned an Associate’s degree at Henderson County Junior College and a triple bachelor degree in history, political science and criminal justice at University of Texas-Austin on a four–year fellowship in 1976. From there she attended the University of Houston, where she became the youngest (22) to graduate with a doctorate of Jurisprudence. She passed the bar exam at Southern Methodist University and opened a law office in Athens in 1979.
The usual seven years or more most take to complete a law degree, she pared down to five short years. She said she was in a hurry to be useful, an attitude she gets from her mother.
Nancy described the years since her mother’s retirement in 1989. Her mother helped her in her law practice as a trial lawyer, handling both civil and criminal cases from east, north and central Texas. “We both worked and we both saved and along the way we accumulated a large estate,” Nancy said.
“My mother went with me into prisons and jails. She attended seminars with me and helped me with the paperwork and scheduling. Right up to the day of her death, she asked me if I had any new cases. I told her ‘yes, in Tyler and I want you to be with me.’ She never quit. She was truly the wind beneath my wings.”
She then went on to attend law school at the University of Houston, where she was the youngest person (22) to graduate with a doctorate of Jurisprudence degree. She took her bar exam at SMU and began her law career in Athens in 1979.
Posted by : September 8, 2016| On :
By Delanda S. Johnson
Special to the News
MALAKOFF–On Aug. 28, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church celebrated its 119 years of existence.
Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church was organized in 1897 in the Cedar Creek bottoms,under a brush arbor on Abe Johnson’s Farm.
Johnson Chapel has gone through many trials and tribulations, but with the courage and strength of its members, descendants of Bro. Abe Johnson, and the local community, Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church stands strong in the 21st century.
The program moved forward with Evangelist Alma Berry opening service along with Sis. Delanda S. Johnson interacting with the congregation with songs of praise and worship.
Bro. Gilbert Smith welcomed everyone to Johnson Chapel, “the friendly church where everybody is somebody and Christ is ALL.”
Rev. Rickey Barnes, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Malakoff and who is also a fourth generation descendant of Abe Johnson, spoke on behalf of the Johnson family. “We are honored to be here once again at this Annual Homecoming service to remember the past and to help keep the future of Johnson Chapel A. M. E. church alive and well.”
Rev. Linda Ross, Pastor of Johnson Chapel introduced the speaker; who was none other that the former Pastor of Johnson Chapel, Rev. I. B. Wells, Jr.
Rev. Wells is currently the Pastor of Stearne Chapel A. M. E. church in Bryan, Texas.
Rev. Wells graduated from Brownwood High School and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Tarleton State University. He is an educator certified to teach History and Physical Education. He has won Area, District and Regional championships and in 2014 he coached the Calvert Lady Trojans to play for the State title in basketball and became the State Championship runner-up. He was also selected as Brazos Valley Coach of the Year in 2013-2014.
Even though he loves coaching sports, he loves being a coach for God, winning souls on the battlefield of life. Spreading the gospel and leading people to Christ is what he is passionate about, praying for the sick, offering counseling to adults and students hoping to make a difference in the lives of God’s people.
Sis. Cydnei Wells performed a strong and spiritual praise dance before her father preached.
Rev. Wells acknowledged that he was happy to be back home (Johnson Chapel) and in the Malakoff community. “When I was Pastor here at Johnson Chapel, the Malakoff community supported me. Even when I was coaching at Calvert and we were playing for the State Championship, the Malakoff community supported me by watching the game on television. Also now that my Oakwood team comes to Trinidad and beats them, the Malakoff community supports me,” said Rev. Wells.
The service moved on with Rev. Wells giving his sermon, “Wake-up You Sleepy Head,” coming from Genesis 28:10-22.
Rev. Wells said that sometimes we feel that we are all alone, but as a child of God we must know that God is everywhere. He will never leave you nor forsake you; God will be with you know matter what.
“Ask yourself, how many times have you felt stressed out? How many times have you felt tired of running? How many times have you felt depressed? How many times have you just gone back and forth trying to find peace? You must know that God is there through all of your situations. He is the way out of no way. He is the Prince of Peace. All you need to do is turn everything over to the Lord,” said Rev. Wells.
Rev. Wells said that everything that God gives to you is holy and you must know that God will walk with you no matter what. “God will never turn His back on you. He shows grace and mercy on you each and everyday. So, “Wake-up You Sleepy Heads” and know that Jesus died to set us free from all sins. He is our salvation and He has all power in His hands,” said Rev. Wells.
After a soul stirring sermon, the Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr. award was presented. This award was started by Rev. Bill Burton, former Pastor of Johnson Chapel in honor of the late Rev. G. B. Bailey, Sr., who was also a former Pastor of Johnson Chapel and Presiding Elder of the Northeast Texas Conference (known now as North Texas Conference).
This award represents the faithfulness and helpfulness that the person gives to the community and to Johnson Chapel.
This year’s winner was Bro. Clyde Bailey. He is a native of Malakoff and a graduate of Malakoff High School. He attended Henderson County Junior College (now known as Trinity Valley Community College).
Bro. Bailey works for Lumia Energy in Henderson and also does carpentry work, where he is a skilled brick layer and deals with concrete.
Bro. Bailey’s Christian walk started at Johnson Chapel A. M. E. Church. However he is now a member of Antioch Baptist Church where he serves as Chairman of the Trustee Board. Even though Bro. Bailey is no longer a member of Johnson Chapel, he gives his time and service whenever there is a need.
It is said that he is a man of the community, who gives a helping hand.
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 28, 2016| On :
Special to The News
HENDERSON COUNTY–On Saturday, July 23, at approximately 8:25 a.m., the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a witness reporting there was a man near FM 315 outside of Chandler who had been held at gunpoint and was being beaten. The caller said that the suspect then tied the victim’s hands and feet together with a rope, threw him in the bed of a tan colored Ford pickup and drove away.
HCSO Sergeant Thomas Goodell and Deputies Tell Walker and Ray Yockey responded to the call. Deputies located the victim at his residence. The victim showed signs of having been assaulted and was bleeding. The victim, 54-year-old Dwayne Welch, told deputies that he was asleep in his tent. He said that the next thing he knew, he was thrown out on CR 4307 a mile or two from his residence. Welch suffered cuts and abrasions to his head, along with other contusions and bruises on his body. Welch was transported to East Texas Medical Center in Athens where he was treated and released.
Deputies searched the area for a truck matching the description given by the witness. Sergeant Goodell noticed a vehicle matching the description parked at a residence located near the end of CR 4307. Sgt. Goodell observed evidence indicating that the bed of the pickup truck had been recently washed. Goodell also observed what appeared to be traces of blood in the bed of the pickup.
Sgt. Goodell made contact with Derrick Cofer at the residence. Cofer admitted to striking the victim with a shotgun, assaulting him, binding him and transporting him against his will. Cofer said that he thought Welch had something to do with Cofer’s wallet going missing earlier in the morning.
Derrick Cofer was placed under arrest and booked into the Henderson County Justice Center on the offense of Aggravated Kidnapping, a First Degree Felony, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. He was arraigned by Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Judge Kevin Pollack who set bond at $5,000. Cofer posted bond and was released.
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 7, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY — The community mourns the passing of a nine-year-old girl after a boating accident ends in tragedy on the Fourth of July weekend.
Cierra Morman was boating with her family at about 7:15 p.m. July 1 near Malakoff, feeding rope to an inner tube, when she was tangled in the rope and fell overboard, striking the rear of the boat near the motor.
The girl’s death sent shockwaves through the community and devastated family and members of the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, for whom her father, Zach Morman, is a five-year member.
There were four adults and four children on board when the accident occurred. Investigators ruled the tragedy was purely an accident and no alcohol was involved. All the children were wearing life vests.
Assistant Fire Chief Bobby Conn said he and his entire department are still in a state of disbelief.
“This is hard. Really hard. We’ve shed a lot of tears and said a lot of prayers. We are going to miss her,” Conn said.
The fire department released a statement on Facebook saying the tragedy brought the “deepest sorrow and pain,” and asked for the support of the community.
Game Warden Mike Hanson said the Zach Morman was driving the pontoon boat at the time of the accident.
“It was purely an accident,” he said “It was a typical family outing turned tragic. These are by far the worst types of accidents. You just can’t explain it.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Malakoff Police Department, and several area volunteer fire departments responded.
A memorial fund was established to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations can be made directly to Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, or donations can be made online via PayPal. A link to the PayPal account can found on the fire department’s Facebook page.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Morman on July 8. The family will receive visitors from 6-8 p.m. at Huckabee-Tomlinson Funeral Home in Seven Points. The funeral will be July 9 at 2 p.m. at Lake View Assembly Of God in Seven Points.
Posted by : June 1, 2016| On :
By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS– Sheriff Ray Nutt celebrated his last day on the job with friends and fellow officers at the Henderson County Justice Center May 31 and Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse swore in as the new Sheriff of Henderson County June 1.
Nutt has served in law enforcement more than six decades and has held this position since January of 2009. Nutt has retired to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
County Judge Richard Sanders said he will miss Nutt on the job, as will Henderson County. “It’ll be difficult for Henderson County to replace Sheriff Nutt,” Sanders said.
During the ceremony officers who served under Nutt spoke highly of him and Nutt said he expects them to maintain the same standards under Sheriff Hillhouse.
“I want to thank the people for what they’ve done, showing me their support,” Nutt said.
Botie Hillhouse was elected in March. “It’s an honor to be the sheriff-elect for Henderson County,” Hillhouse said, “I’ve been his (Nutt’s) right hand man the whole time. But I’m ready to move forward and I appreciate the court’s support.”