Dec

29

Posted by : admin | On : December 29, 2016

HENDERSON COUNTY–2016 may well go down in history for its tumultuous and many would say dysfunctional election season which began with contentious primaries. The outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election, drew about 1.4 million more Americans in this year’s election than in 2012, but the numbers of those eligible to vote also rose during the interval. Approximately 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the presidential election, according to the latest estimates from Michael McDonald, associate professor at the University of Florida, who gathers data at the U.S. Elections Project, down from 58.6 percent in 2012 and 61.6 percent in 2008, which was the highest mark in 40 years. Turnout remained well above levels for most presidential election years from 1972 to 2000.
The outcome seated capitalist businessman and non-politician Republican candidate Donald Trump as this country’s 45th top executive. The upset was one of just five elections in our nation’s history where the Electoral majority votes outweighed the popular vote, which went to Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton. Trump won 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. Clinton won 48.3 percent of the popular vote to Trump’s 46.2 percent. The electoral college system was put in place by the nation’s founders to ensure cooperation across all segments of American society as explained by Prager University.
Locally, the elections while less contentious, resulted in one recount in the Republican primary for the Henderson County Sheriff race which was between long-term Henderson County Law Enforcement employees Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse and Criminal Investigator Billy Jack Valentine. Ultimately, Hillhouse was declared the winner by a margin of 61 votes, proving to many that every vote counts. Hillhouse took office on June 1 upon Sheriff Ray Nutt’s retirement on May 31.
Storms hit the area
A 70-mph tornado which hit Eustace late in December, 2015 was major news the first part of January as damage was surveyed. The twister, estimated to be 40 yards wide had stayed on the ground for approximately three minutes. Other parts of Texas, especially the Rowlett/Garland area were much worse and Payne Springs VFD assisted there.
March 8 brought more severe storms with straight line winds and reported tornadoes damaging areas of Malakoff, including the Flagg House which was built by Harry Flagg in 1921 and now serves as the Malakoff Historical Society and museum, along with the local Chamber of Commerce.
Schools make the grade
Many area schools proudly displayed banners touting their achievements as Texas Education Agency announced ratings but one school stood out. Malakoff ISD achieved back-to-back annual national recognitions as Blue Ribbon Schools. In 2016, Tool Elementary School joined Malakoff Elementary School (2015 recipient) in gaining the honor this year, under the direction of all the teachers and Principal Christal Calhoun. Tool Elementary was one of 26 Texas schools nominated to receive the award.
Every year, the U. S. Department of Education seeks out and celebrates great American schools, which demonstrate that all students can achieve to high levels. More than 7,500 of schools across the country have been presented with this coveted award. The National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing an entry or flying overhead is a widely-recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. Calhoun, along with teachers Kristi Dalrymple, Tasha French and Kristina Page attended a two-day ceremony in Washington, D.C. Nov. 7-8 to celebrate their achievement. After returning, Tool Elementary School celebrated the honors Nov. 16 with all of the students and about 100 community members.
In addition, the Malakoff Tigers Football Team broke a school record making it into the final round of statewide competition on the gridiron. A parade and celebration are being planned to honor the high achievement of the student athletes at Malakoff ISD.
Trinity Valley Community College made plans for future expansion with the purchase of the former National Guard Armory and adjacent Central Park Nov. 28. In similar fashion, TVCC purchased the former hospital site on State Highway 34 in Terrell to establish a Health Science Center.
Law Enforcement in the News
Another record-breaker was seen in the ending of the longest standoff with law enforcement this country has never heard about. The 15-year standoff with the law, came to an end Jan. 6, as a result of a news reporter informing the Henderson County authorities that the Anderson County DA’s Office had dropped charges against John Joe Gray. News of the dropped charge came to light in the aftermath of another armed standoff on public lands in Oregon. Gray, now 66, was arrested in 1999 for assaulting a state trooper during a traffic stop in Anderson County. Gray said it was his God-given right to carry the pistol he had that day, without a concealed handgun license. When the trooper tried to arrest him, Gray admits getting into a scuffle and biting him.
Gray was eventually charged with assaulting a public servant. But after being freed on bail, he refused to return to court, and instead, armed himself at home.
“If they come out after us, bring extra body bags. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword,” Gray told ABC News in a 2000 interview.
Since the felony charge in 1999, Gray reportedly hadn’t left his 47 acres along the banks of the Trinity River between Tool and Trinidad. The impasse may well be the longest armed standoff in American history, which few knew anything about.
2016 came in allowing those licensed to own a gun to carry it in a holster without needing to conceal it. A bunch more rules were erected around the practice, regarding places of instruction and education and its prohibition if a sign is posted at private or public buildings restricting it.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse hit the ground running when he took office on June 1 and has been a frequent contributor to major news stories as he and his deputies crack down on drugs in Henderson County. In the last six months, Hillhouse’s campaign against illegal drugs has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests, most for drugs and drug related crime.
On the Tigers’ charge to the football finals, Malakoff ISD Police Chief Stacy Hillhouse distinguished herself with fast action at an away game when Malakoff played the Teague team in Palestine. Hillhouse effectively disarmed a volatile shooting altercation between two Teague fans in the parking lot prior to the gridiron action. She held the perpetrator until local police officers could arrive on the scene. She was recognized by the Malakoff School Board for her heroism and quick response to the situation.
Economic
Development
The City of Athens saw the long time battle of what to do with the abandoned hospital resolved when it all came tumbling down as the hospital was demolished in January.
The city took over the Cain Center and began major renovations which include relocation of municipal offices and improvement of the pool and recreational facilities. To get all the work done, the Cain Center will remain closed for all of 2017.
Malakoff saw the move of McDonalds to a new location and the grand opening of the new Whataburger as well as some work on downtown buildings.
The Henderson County Commissioners Court announced in April its final payment on the 2005 county jail expansion, making the county debt free for the first time in recent history.
Unprecedented
generosity
The Athens branch of Trinity Valley Community College was on the receiving end of the largest single endowment in its history when Athens attorney Nancy Perkins 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, 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 presented a 1946-47 signed yearbook belonging to her mother to the TVCC Foundation as a token of the gift. 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 News.
Those we lost
Losses of local citizens who impacted many of us by their leadership and service include Henderson County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch. Hirsch was honored as Agriculturist of the Year and in October a stone memorial was laid in the DREAM garden of the East Texas Arboretum by the Henderson County Master Gardeners.
Randy Thornhill, an acclaimed author who lived in Malakoff in his younger days died on May 6. He had written two novels In the Southern Gothic style that made the top 20 list in 2015 of the best Southern America novels ever written as compiled by Oxford American, the Southern literary magazine.
Malakoff Heads gain a home
Three large enigmatic stones, referred to as the Malakoff Heads, found a permanent home in the Cook Education Center of the Pearce Museum of the Navarro College Campus in Corsicana.
Two of the heads (No. 1 and No. 3 – found in 1939 in the same general location between Mala-koff and Trinidad , in the Trinity River Valley overlooking Cedar Creek) have been stored with the University of Texas.
Experts have studied and argued about the Great Depression,-era finds. Some saying they are the oldest human artifacts uncovered in North America (10,000+ years ago). Others place them at a more recent Archaic Period (6,000 or less years ago).
People in The News
2016 brought many distinctions and awards as well as new jobs for many. This is by no means an exhaustive list as we are sure to miss some.
Athens High School graduate and businessman Drew Douglas was named 2015 Athens Citizen of the Year by the Athens Chamber of Commerce Jan. 22.
Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King was named President Pro Tem of the college May 2.
Three cities named new Police chiefs; Rickey Smith in Trinidad; Darrell Dean in Kemp and Raymond Wennerstrom as police administrator in Seven Points
Region 7 Education Service Center announced that Palestine ISD Superintendent of Schools Jason Marshall had been selected as the 2016 Region 7 Superin-tendent of the Year. Region 7 serves many districts in East Texas, including Athens, Cross Roads, Malakoff and Trinidad.
Court Appointed Spe-cial Advocates (CASA) of Trinity Valley announced that resource development officer Emily Heglund would replace Lee Ann Millender as the organization’s executive director.
Athens High School class of 1940 graduate Vivian Anderson Castleberry 1977 AHS graduate Drew Douglas and the late historic Athens educator R. C. Fisher were inducted to the Hornet Hall of Fame.
Athens native John Torrez was named national Postal Customer Council member for 2016
Other worthies recognized for their achievements include Joe Walenta, local musician and band leader, who was inducted into the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame this year; Outstanding Principal of the Year for Region 7 Eustace Middle School administrator Truman Oakley; and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny Snow nominated one of nine Texas National Distinguished Principal finalists.
Four Athens volunteers were applauded during the mayor ’s third annual Outstanding Leadership Luncheon Oct. 26. Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught recognized Steve Grant, Ginger Morton, Mary Lynn Smith and John Glover for the strong leadership they exhibited making life better for everyone living in the city. Ginger Morton and John Glover were the Grand Marshals at the Athens Christmas Parade.
There were festivals and parades, beautiful ceremonies honoring Veterans, celebrations and many good works by citizens and groups. It was a newsworthy year in every sense of the word and we at The News look forward to 2017.

Dec

22

Posted by : admin | On : December 22, 2016

michael-jones
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS– A traffic stop in Athens Monday resulted in the arrest of the driver on two felony charges, related to suspected methamphetamine.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports Michael Brian Jones, 42 of Poynor, was observed committing a traffic violation on U.S. Hwy 175 in the city.
Narcotic Investigator Josh Rickman pulled him over and saw the suspect throw a silver wrapper out the drivers’ window.
Rickman located the wrapper which contained a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine, and during a search of the vehicle, more of the illegal substance was found on the floorboard.
“Even during the holiday season, we find these folks and we find their drugs,” Hillhouse said. “It is a problem that I am committed to working on, one arrest at a time, until the users and dealers know they cannot bring their poison into this County.”
Jones faces a third-degree felony, punishable by a term of not more than 10 years or less than two years in the Texas Department of Corrections – and a fine of up to $10,000 – for tampering with evidence.
He also faces a state felony charge, punishable by term of up to two years in jail – and a fine of up to $10,000 – for possession of the methamphetamine.
“Our Investigators and Deputies are out around the clock all over Henderson County looking for these folks,” Hillhouse said.
Jones, whose criminal record dates back to 1999, is being held on bonds totaling $13,000 for Possession of a Controlled Substance less than one gram and Tampering with Physical Evidence.

Dec

15

Posted by : admin | On : December 15, 2016

john-glenn-space

Special to The News
COLUMBUS, OHIO–Flags around the nation have flown at half-staff since American space hero and longtime Ohio U.S. senator John Glenn died Dec. 8 at the age of 95. He had been hospitalized for more than a week at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth in a flight lasting just five hours aboard the Friendship 7 capsule in 1962. He was 40 years old for that historic flight on Feb. 20, 1962 from Cape Canaveral.
He was 77 years old at the time he became the oldest space traveler. He spent nine days aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
NASA tailored a series of geriatric-reaction experiments to create a scientific purpose for Glenn’s mission, but there was more to it than that: a revival of the excitement of the earliest days of the space race, a public relations bonanza and the gift of a lifetime.
“America owed John Glenn a second flight,” NASA Administrator Dan Goldin said.
A news conference from space in 1998 said, “To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible.”
However, Glenn’s passion for flight took hold on him from his youth, being lived out as a fighter and test pilot for the U.S. Marine Corp. in World War II and Korea racking up 149 combat missions. He continued to pilot his own plane until the age of 90.
As a test pilot, he broke aviation records.
Glenn’s public life began when he broke the transcontinental airspeed record, bursting from Los Angeles to New York City in three hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds. With his Crusader averaging 725 mph, the 1957 flight proved the jet could endure stress when pushed to maximum speeds over long distances.
In New York, he got a hero’s welcome — his first tickertape parade. He got another after his flight on Friendship 7.
That mission also introduced Glenn to politics. He addressed a joint session of Congress, and dined at the White House. He became friends with President Kennedy and ally and friend of his brother, Robert. The Kennedys urged him to enter politics, and after a difficult few starts he did.
Glenn spent 24 years in the U.S. Senate, representing Ohio longer than any other senator in the state’s history. He announced his impending retirement in 1997, 35 years to the day after he became the first American in orbit, saying, “There is still no cure for the common birthday.”
Glenn joked he was envious of a fellow astronaut and Ohioan: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of great experiences in my life and I’m thankful for them,” he said in 2012.
In 1943, Glenn married his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor. They met when they were toddlers, and when she had mumps as a teenager, he came to her house, cut a hole in her bedroom window screen, and passed her a radio to keep her company, a friend recounted.
“I don’t remember the first time I told Annie I loved her, or the first time she told me,” Glenn would write in his memoir. “It was just something we both knew.” He bought her a diamond engagement ring in 1942 for $125. It’s never been replaced.
They had two children, Carolyn and John David.
He and his wife, Annie, split their later years between Washington and Columbus. Both served as trustees at their alma mater, Muskingum College. Glenn spent time promoting the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, which also houses his private papers and photographs.

Dec

01

Posted by : admin | On : December 1, 2016

Special to The News
ATHENS–Henderson County D.A. R. Scott McKee reports the July Term, 2016, Grand Jury returned the following True Bills for the Nov. 9 meeting. In addition, three cases are indicted under seal.
•Raul Almaraz, JR, 20, Racing on a Highway,
• Michael Glenn Barnes, 35, Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear,
• James Edward Horton, 69, Cruelty to Animals,
• Phillip Wayne Brown, 62, Driving While Intoxicated,
• Gerald Don Williams, JR, 49, Possession of Controlled Substance (PCS),
• Tyler Jimmy Ray Brown, 21, Escape,
• Tommy Clyde Hurt, 40, Tampering with Evidence,
• Jose Antonio Carreon-Aguilera, 49, PCS,
• Blaine Anthony Christopher, 28, Unlawful Possession of Firearm ,
• John Tanner Forrester, 22, three countsof Burglary and Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse,
• Randall Clayton Boone, 27, Burglary
• Paula Kay Forester, 51, Hindering Apprhension or Prosecution,
• Travis Brax Davis, 19, Theft of Property
Benjamin Douglas Harmon, 22, Assault,
• Dvahje Marquel Hayward, 20, Theft of Firearm,
• Gary J Hampton, 61, Forgery,
• Christopher Doyle Savage, 29, Aggravated Assault,
• Scott Matthew Butler, 26, Driving While Intoxicated with Child Passenger,
• Terrance Joseph Samuel Benton, 25, PCS,
• Shandra Suzette Oliphant, 29, PCS,
• Dustin Ray Snyder, 28, Aggravated Assault
• Zanon James Sherman, 44, PCS,
• Lorenzo Demarkas Patton, 34, PCS,
• Michael Dwayne Lindley, 50, PCS,
•Danny Lee Mclemore, 61, Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle,
• William Lee Shaddox, 53, Burglary,
• Terry Paul Bevill, 54, Burglary,
• Robert Allen Shaddox, 49, Burglary,
• James David Walker, 27, PCS,
• Steven Michael Green, 45, PCS,
• Joshua Lynn Epperson, 35, PCS ,
• Johnny Craton Pope, 49, indicted for Aggravated Assault,
• Kristen Tennile Patterson, 40, PCS
• Jeffrey Mark Keith, 61, Evading Arrest,
• Kristy Anne Kidan, 37, Credit Card Abuse,
• Phillip Norman-Clinton James, 29, Assault Public Servant,
• Joshua Paul Rogers, Attempted Burglary of Habitation and Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument,
• Robert Britt Gandy, 36, Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon,
• Christopher Lee Fischer, 27, Burglary,
Jeremy James Strawn, Burglary,
• Dean William Kjeldgaard, 54, Indecency with a Child.

Nov

23

Posted by : admin | On : November 23, 2016

parsons-stacie

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS–Jurors returned a guilty verdict in the trial of Stacie Marie Parsons, 27, who is charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter, Victoria Wyatt, on July 21, 2014.
The seven-man five-woman jury returned a verdict after roughly 90 minutes of deliberation Nov. 17.
Juror Barbara Meyer told The News that the defendant didn’t exhibit any reactions or emotions during the 10-day trial that she could tell. She described the members of the jury as open-minded and able to render an opinion based on what was presented.
Meyer said what was the most convincing came from the defendant during several interviews with investigators recorded on video. “She confessed to the crime and believed she’d spend the rest of her life in prison,” Meyer said. “She didn’t show any diminished capacity to know right from wrong.”
173rd District Judge Dan Moore rejected a motion by Parsons’ defense team, pleading diminished mental capacity as a defense. Moore ruled that Parsons’ could not avoid criminal culpability on that basis. “It is not a defense under the criminal law,” Moore said.
In that case, Parsons’ lawyers claimed that Moore was denying Parson her Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel and that they were rendered ineffective. Moore said the two attorneys have been very effective at representing their client.
The defense is sure to seek an appeal since its evidence of intellectual disability and diminished capacity was disallowed from being presented to the jury, but was recorded in a closed session — as well as evidence of Parsons’ mental state or awareness of criminal activity at the time of its commission.
This evidence included depositions from those who have known Parsons, as well as from witnesses who testified as to her childhood and the IQ test she was given shortly after her arrest. Dr. Joan Mayfield found Parsons IQ to be 70. A score of 100 is considered average.
District Attorney Scott McKee told the judge the people were not seeking the death penalty for Parsons because of her mental disability. “Under the law, she does not qualify for the death penalty,” McKee said.
Parsons’ defense team entered a guilty plea by reason of insanity. A guilty verdict carries a sentence of life in prison.
Shortly after 9 a.m. July 21, 2014, Parsons walked into the Athens Police Department and stated she had killed her daughter and informed that the body could be found in the trunk of her car parked at an apartment building on Martin Luther King Blvd.
Police found the little girl with trauma to her head and chest. Later Parsons lead police to the place where the crime was committed under a bridge on County Road 1500. The girl’s father, Gary Wyatt, told news outlets that the girl’s mother had never acted violently toward their daughter before and that the couple had been together for six years. When Parsons left that morning with the little girl it was presumed she was going to register the girl for pre-kindergarten. When she returned without the girl and started walking away, Wyatt approached the car to look for her, “I wouldn’t be in that car if I were you,” Parson is reported as having told Wyatt. When he and a family friend opened the trunk, they found a garbage bag with his daughter’s leg sticking out of it. The two men pulled the body out and started CPR. Water was expelled from her lungs, it was reported.
According to news reports, Wyatt said that the night before, he had threatened to leave Parsons. Looking back, Wyatt said, weeks ago she had threatened to kill the baby if he ever left her, but he had chalked that up to just “angry talk”
“I never thought for a second she’d actually do it,” he said.

Nov

17

Posted by : admin | On : November 17, 2016

On behalf of the city, Mayor Delois Pagitt (center right) presented veterans in attendance at the Nov. 14 city council meeting with trophies of gratitude and honor in recognition of their military service. Pictured are (from left) Kenneth Owens, Police Chief Lloyd Thomas, Mayor Pro-tem Tim Trimble, Pagitt, Johnny Davis and Municipal Judge Bill Burton.

On behalf of the city, Mayor Delois Pagitt (center right) presented veterans in attendance at the Nov. 14 city council meeting with trophies of gratitude and honor in recognition of their military service. Pictured are (from left) Kenneth Owens, Police Chief Lloyd Thomas, Mayor Pro-tem Tim Trimble, Pagitt, Johnny Davis and Municipal Judge Bill Burton.

By Pearl Cantrell
The News Writer
MALAKOFF—Malakoff City Council members granted two requests for special use permits to citizens during its Nov. 14 meeting. The Zoning Board recommended fulfilling Francis Caro’s request to place a manufactured home at 109 N. Cole St., having met all requirements. Councilwoman Jerrilyn Tarver said she was excited for Caro’s getting a new home.
Also, Helen Richardson was granted a special use permit to erect a portable building on South Lincoln Street to be used as a church building. The Zoning Board recommended the permit to the council.
Board members also discussed the need for some prohibitions for heavy truck traffic using North Smith Street to get materials to a construction site just north of town. The posting of “No thoroughfare” signs to installing speed bumps were discussed. Interim-police Chief Lloyd Thomas said he has spoken with the construction project managers and developer about directing trucks to circumvent the town on two other possible routes rather than traveling through a residential neighborhood, lacking sidewalks and inhabited by children and senior citizens. “Since then traffic has decreased through the area,” Thomas noted. “However a sign and an ordinance would empower law enforcement to issue citations,” he said.
“Rest assured, something will be done to ensure the safety of residents,” Pagitt said, following a unanimous vote to adopt an ordinance prohibiting truck traffic there.
In other business, council members:
Awarded contracts to Public Management and KSA Engineering pertaining to the application for a Texas Department of Agriculture Texas Community Development Block Grant. A representative of Public Management explained that the process now requires applicants to name their contractors before being given a grant, to help with the grant-writing process. Should the city not receive a grant, the contracts become void, he explained. The deadline for the grant request is Feb. 9, 1917. The city has several utility development projects that would qualify for the matching grant program up to $275,000.
Agreed to become a member of the 2017 Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT) to receive member services benefits at a cost of $100 per year. One noted benefit would stabilize energy rates.
Approved the minutes of meeting held on Oct. 17 and Nov. 1.
Agreed to pay the city’s obligations for October.

Nov

09

Posted by : admin | On : November 9, 2016

amber-ferrguson-pic-2

By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
TRINIDAD—One Trinidad family is celebrating a reunion with their Petty Officer First Class daughter, who was recently released from military service. Amber Shardee Ferguson returns after six years serving in the U.S. Navy where she achieved the rank of E-6 Petty Officer First Class in just four years.
Amber is the daughter of Mike Ferguson of Trinidad and Lisa Straubing of Tulsa, Okla. Her stepmother is Debbie Ferguson, who told The News “I am extremely proud of Amber and all she has accomplished. She is a beautiful person, inside and out.” Debbie Ferguson’s father Charles Leo Whatley was also a veteran.
She enlisted in October of 2010 after graduating high school in Siloam Springs, Ark and has been an exemplary sailor, achieving Sailor of the Month several times and Sailor of the Year in 2015. She served as a gun specialist aboard the USS Mobile Bay for most of her years in service.
Ferguson has four sisters, the older two of which have retired from service in the U.S. Marine Corp. Her sister Kimberly, a former Marine resides with husband Shawn Jaggers, also a former Marine, in Alabama. Her sister Megan, who along with husband Scott Robbins is retired from the U.S. Marine Corp lives in Georgia. Her younger two sisters are Jackie and Shelby.
Ferguson is now employed by Epsilon Systems as a Ship Supervisor in San Diego, Calif.

Oct

20

Posted by : admin | On : October 20, 2016

worked up photos mugshots James Bedard

worked up photos
mugshots
James Bedard


worked up photos mugshots Jerry Thomas

worked up photos
mugshots
Jerry Thomas


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.

Oct

13

Posted by : admin | On : October 13, 2016

mcfarlin-michael

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.

Oct

13

Posted by : admin | On : October 13, 2016

hirsch-reshoot-1-hr

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