Apr

27

Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

News Staff Reports
LAKE PALESTINE–The man who survived his boat going over the spillway at Lake Palestine April 19 died Sunday. His wife, Billemarie, 67, was pronounced dead at the scene. A double memorial service is set for Bille and Keith Wagnon, 69, was held Wednesday (April 26) at Rhone Memorial Chapel in Palestine. They were both local residents.
The News reporter Russell Slaton happen to have witnessed the horrific event from a distance, catching it on video, using his cell phone. Slaton said he felt helpless to do anything to prevent the tragedy from occurring. “I looked and kept thinking he would turn back, but he didn’t,” Slaton said. “Suddenly it went over and then there were several loud bangs or thuds.”
Game Warden Mike Hanson said freeing the boat to remove it was a problem because it got caught on some concrete pillars.
According to Hanson, the boat, occupied by a man and a woman, was traveling at a fast pace along the lake, traveling southward toward the dam. Hanson said the boat continued to travel and then passed the buoys which indicate the spillway’s edge, and continued straight on.
Hanson said some fisherman on the river near the spillway rushed over to try to save the boat’s occupants.
The man survived, but the woman was declared dead by Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Phillip Grimes from Cherokee County. He was taken to a Tyler hospital and placed in Intensive Care, where he later died. Keith and Billemarie Wagnon were married for 50 years.
No foul play is suspected.

Apr

27

Posted by : admin | On : April 27, 2017

Athens Fire
The New Staff Reports
ATHENS–Investigators are still looking into the cause of a deadly fire Saturday that resulted in the death of a man said to be in his 70s.
Fire at a boarding house on East College Street was reported at 8:36 p.m. However upon arrival, Athens Fire Department firefighters found the two-story structure fully involved. The name of the deceased was not disclosed as authorities hadn’t reached a next of kin by press time Wednesday.
The house was more than 3,500 square feet and built in the 1920s, Fire Chief John McQueary estimated.
The man was one of five or six individuals renting rooms in the house.
The chief reports rescue attempts made by the neighbors and another resident who saw the man on the second floor. “We assume he was overcome by smoke and probably collapsed. When the fire got intense enough for the floor and roof to fall, he ended up on the bottom floor,” McQueary said.
The blaze was so powerful firefighters were prevented from going inside upon arrival due to the flames. Their efforts prevented the fire from spreading to the two neighboring houses on either side. However, these structures sustained minor damage from the heat, McQueary said.

Apr

20

Posted by : admin | On : April 20, 2017

Mugshots ready CMYK

Mugshots
ready CMYK


The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–The Henderson County Fire Marshal’s Office arrested a Malakoff man for arson after investigating a fire on Monday.
Troy Lynn Tucker, 29, was arrested on the scene for Arson of a Habitation/Place of Worship, a first-degree felony. Bonds were set at $23,500.
The fire was extinguished at lot 18 Spring Creek Parkway in Malakoff.
In addition, Assistant Fire Marshal Sherry Powers found a clear small plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine on Tucker’s person during the arrest. A drug possession charge was added to Tucker’s intake at the Henderson County Jail.
Sheriff Botie Hillhouse has set a no tolerance policy for drugs in the county and the Fire Marshal’s Office fully supports those efforts. “If we have to deal with you, and you have drugs, you’re going to jail for those charges along with any charges we have to file on you,” Fire Marshal Rodney Renberg stated in a press release. “We take arson very seriously and it will not be tolerated. We will investigate the cause and if you’re responsible, you’re going to jail.”

Apr

20

Posted by : admin | On : April 20, 2017

Jerry Spiva is sworn in as a member of the Malkakoff ISD Board of Trustees to replace resigned board member Dustin Youngman.

Jerry Spiva is sworn in as a member of the Malkakoff ISD Board of Trustees to replace resigned board member Dustin Youngman.


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–In a unanimous decision, the Malakoff Board of Trustees voted for a resolution to become a “District of Innovation.” The “District of Innovation” was created by the passing of HB 1842 in the 84th Legislative Session and allows traditional independent school districts to assess most of the flexibilities that are available to open enrollment charter schools.
To be eligible, a school district must be rated acceptable in its most recent academic rating. “Being a District of Innovation is all about local control,” said MISD Director of Curriculum and Instructional Technology Mike Burns. “We will have control over our school calendar start and end dates, class size and teacher ratio, teacher certification, contracts and appraisal systems.”
Things that cannot be changed include elected board of trustees, along with their duties and powers, curriculum and graduation requirements, open meetings, public records and other state and federal laws outside the Texas Education Code which apply to schools.
Once the resolution passed, the board meeting counted as a required public meeting and a District of Innovation Committee was named and includes Superintendent Perry, Assistant Superintendent Sybil Norris, principals and teachers from several campuses, community members and board member Peggy Dewberry. The committee will now work on the innovations they want to develop.
Jerry Spiva was appointed to replace board trustee Dustin Youngman who recently resigned. Spiva ran in the last school board election, garnering the next highest number of votes.
In other business, the board:
• passed Update 107 to district policy,
• passed amendments to the budget to accommodate increases in post-season travel. MISD One-Act Play, several academic students and sports students have gone on to compete at state this year,
• discussed repairs to be made over the summer to the high school, Malakoff Elementary, Malakoff Middle School and the Orr Campus and
• agreed to no more than $35,000 to be spent on replacing playground equipment at Malakoff Elementary School for 4th and 5th grade students. The board reviewed several bids and agreed to take teacher input before making a final decision.

Apr

13

Posted by : admin | On : April 13, 2017

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–Malakoff Rotary, a staple of the community since 1939, is looking for new members, said club President Carlos Padron.
“Our meetings allow members of the community to make connections and to share the good news of serving others,” Padron said. “The Rotary Club has played a big role in Malakoff’s business community, its schools and among its people for more than 75 years,” he added. “Some of the most well-known names in Malakoff history have been Rotary members.”
Locally, Malakoff Rotary raises scholarship money for Malakoff and Cross Roads high school students, sends junior students from both schools to Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp at Clements Boy Scout Ranch in Athens, is involved in welcoming Malakoff ISD staffers back to school, and provides customized dictionaries to Malakoff and Tool elementary school third-graders, among other activities.
Malakoff Rotary is also part of an international group of clubs that has nearly eradicated polio around the world, has fought famine and thirst in Africa, and is known worldwide for its motto, “Service Above Self.”
Some members have multi-generation connections with Rotary, while others have been totally new to the club. The club meets each Tuesday at noon at the Flagg House, home of the Malakoff Historical Society and Museum, as well as the Chamber of Commerce.
Members share weekly duties of presenting a program, or bringing a guest speaker. Those speakers or programs can deal with important local issues and include elected officials, students from local schools who have achieved notable success or from the Malakoff club’s sponsored Interact group at Malakoff High School, who perform service projects like their parent club.
Malakoff Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 12 p.m. Those interested in joining the club may contact Carlos Padron at (903) 203-8973.

Apr

06

Posted by : admin | On : April 6, 2017

Tommy Barnett
The News Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–Henderson County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Tommy Barnett died Saturday, after an illness.
Based in Malakoff, Judge Barnett died at the age of 66, having served for about 10 years as judge. The funeral service was held Wednesday at the First Baptist Church in Malakoff.
Voters named Barnett to the J.P. position in 2006, when he defeated Lloyd Arthus by more than 500 votes to win the election. Barnett replaced longtime Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Judy Newman, who had held the office since 1979.  
Barnett was the Vocational Agriculture teacher at Cross Roads ISD for 32 years and served as the high school principal for a time. On March 30, Cross Roads ISD trustees named the new Ag-Science building in his honor “The Tommy Barnett Ag Complex.”
Besides mentoring hundreds of ag-science students, Barnett was also known for his involvement with Senior Olympics and the local nursing homes.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Dorothy Durham Barnett, three sisters and many nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Tommy Barnett Scholarship Fund at the First State Bank of Malakoff.

Apr

05

Posted by : admin | On : April 5, 2017

By Toni Garrard Clay
AISD Communications Coordinator
ATHENS–Thanks to a solid foundation of community support, 2017 is a year of building at Athens ISD — literally. Topnotch instruction and dedicated leadership continue to flourish within the walls of each campus while new walls rise around the district.
At Athens High School, the courtyard that once stood empty between the main building and the high school annex is now a construction zone. A new structure is rising up to tie the two facilities together into a single footprint.
A Career and Technical Education (CTE) building to the north of the annex is on track to be completed for the fall of 2017, and within the main high school building, renovation of existing space is planned. Upon completion, AHS students will enjoy new science classrooms, a new and larger shop class, and a new gym that will allow all students to assemble under roof in one space for the first time in years.
“This building project is not only good for the students and staff,” said Superintendent of Schools Blake Stiles, “it’s good for the community at large. I believe strongly, as I know others do, that as our schools thrive, so do our communities. This is an important and critical moment for us all.”
In addition to the work at the high school, all three elementary schools, which accommodate grades pre-K through fifth, are part of the master construction plan. The work there – which should be finished by or near the 2017-2018 school year – includes a new and larger library at Central Athens and new assembly/activity spaces at Bel Air and South Athens.
Just in time for the 2017 football season, the public will also enjoy brand new (greatly needed) restroom facilities at Bruce Field. The restrooms are part of a building on the east end of Bruce Field that will also serve concessions to both home and visitor sides. On the west end, a new field house will accommodate a weight room, the football program and the girls and boys soccer programs.
Even as construction continues, the primary focus remains on what happens in the classroom. All Athens ISD campuses once again “Met Standard” on the most recent Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings. Public schools in Texas receive one of three ratings: met standard, met alternate standard or improvement required. In order to meet standard, a school must satisfy criteria in areas such as student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. Athens ISD has done that at all three elementary campuses, the middle school and high school, securing a districtwide “met standard” label. In addition, banners of academic achievement continue to flourish across the district.
In other news, Athens ISD, in conjunction with Trinity Valley Community College, will begin offering an HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) certification program to Athens High School students in the fall of 2017. The program is possible thanks to AISD securing a Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant which covers 95 percent of the purchasing price for necessary training equipment.
AISD’s attention to detail when it comes to financial matters was reflected once again in the most recent report of the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System. The district achieved a perfect score of 100 points and an accompanying “superior” rating.
As 2016 came to a close, the board of trustees was also informed that the TEA awarded $120,339 in compensatory funding to the school district through the Highly Qualified Pre-K Grant Program. Money spent on pre-K for supplemental curriculum, progress monitoring, highly-qualified teacher professional development, parent involvement and technology is reimbursed through the grant.
“Athens ISD is a leader among school districts in East Texas,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims. “We have outstanding instructors and outstanding leadership at each of our campuses. In fact, we have some of the absolute finest campus-level leaders anywhere around. It’s a great time to be a Hornet.”

Mar

30

Posted by : admin | On : March 30, 2017

worked up photos mugshots Stephen Wilcox

worked up photos
mugshots
Stephen Wilcox


worked up photos mugshots Dustin Wilcox

worked up photos
mugshots
Dustin Wilcox

The News Staff Reports
ATHENS—Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports the arrest of a father and son involved in a truck chase Tuesday morning.
Stephen Wilcox, 44 and his son, Dustin Wilcox, 26, have been arrested for theft, and evading arrest.
A team of deputies, Department of Public Safety officers, police and tracking dogs participated in the investigation and chase, Hillhouse said in a press release.
Shortly after 8 a.m., a caller reported a truck stolen near State Highway 19 South. The vehicle was tracked down to an apartment complex on Gibson Road, where it had been abandoned. The men took off in a second vehicle.
According to witnesses recording comments on social media, the vehicle crossed the loop by the hospital and ran through a stop sign on Mill Run, while being pursued and never checked up. “They almost hit my fiancé and another vehicle,” Steve Sparks wrote. “They were probably doing about 80, I’m thankful no one was hurt or killed. No regards for anyone else.”
Sheriff Hillhouse said he is relentless. “We don’t give up. If someone tries to steal here and we get a call, I’ll put everyone at my disposal on the case right then and there,” he stated in a press release.
The vehicle was finally stopped on County Road 4600. The younger Wilcox is being held on bonds totaling $60,000. His father is being held on a $50,000 bond.
At press time, word from the Sheriff was he and his deputies were involved in another vehicular pursuit Wednesday morning.

Mar

23

Posted by : admin | On : March 23, 2017

May use this one

May use this one


By Denise York
The News Staff Writer
TOOL–Tool Elementary School Principal Christa Calhoun and Malakoff Elementary Principal Ronny Snow received Region 7 awards in recognition of High Progress as Title 1 schools.
Federal Programs Specialist Vicki Weatherford presented the awards. Snow was also recognized as High Performing which means the school scored in the top 25 percent in performance.
Snow was also presented with an award from the Governor of the State of Texas in recognition of his being named District Educator of the Year by his alma mater Sam Houston State University. Snow received that honor at the university during an award ceremony March 4.
Superintendent Perry commented what an honor it was to receive such a distinction from one’s alma mater. “We are very proud of Mr. Snow,” he said.
The board saw a demonstration from Pasha French’s fourth grade class who recently learned about electrical circuits. Killian Ireland, Anna Svoboda and Alek Green presented a hands-on demonstration of what they have learned.
Superintendent Perry read for the first time, Update 107, an update to district policy. He gave the board what he called the “cliff notes” version and the board members were provided with the entire update.
Notable changes were in the gifts section which allows the superintendent to accept gifts on behalf of the district unless they are real property or have a condition attached to them, fund-raising which reinforces the requirement for parent-teacher groups and organizations to have principal approval in advance for all fund raising efforts. Perry pointed out that this has been an issue in the past with the school not being aware of a fund-raiser in progress.
The other portion Perry expounded on regarded compulsory attendance. In the State of Texas under §25.085[2], compulsory attendance applies to students who are at least six years old as of September 1 of the applicable school year. The law requires a student to attend public school until the student’s 19th birthday, unless the student is exempt under §25.086.
Exemptions currently include children who are enrolled in a private or parochial school, children who are eligible to participate in a special education program and cannot be served by the district, children who have a physical or mental condition of a temporary or remedial nature and are recuperating or children who are expelled. (There are others. For full information refer to §25.086, available online.)
For students who are homeschooled, the district requires a dated letter on file from the parent or guardian stating such. Perry added that if the district has evidence that a child is not being educated, the district can then investigate and pursue legal action to compel attendance. There must be a good reason, Perry added. The board will have time to review this update and vote on it during the next board meeting.
In other business, the board:
• approved the district calendar for the 2017-2018 school year with school starting Aug. 28 and ending May 25. May 29 is listed as a possible bad weather make-up day.
• noted current enrollment is 1,302, attendance at 94 percent down from 96 percent last year. Perry noted they would have to do well this last 10 weeks in order to get back up to 96 percent. Pervasive illness during the third six weeks (including closing one day), caused the drop in attendance numbers,
• approved five struck-off properties to be sold in the Henderson County Sheriff’s sale May 2,
• made plans for board members to attend summer leadership institute,
• approved Superintendent Perry to serve on the Region 7 ESC Regional Advisory Committee 2017-18.

Mar

16

Posted by : admin | On : March 16, 2017

Floyd Thomas

Floyd Thomas


By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–The Malakoff City Council is going ahead with the purchase of a Storm Warning Siren to be installed on the north side of the city at the water treatment plant. The council agreed Tuesday, March 13 to seek monetary support from the Economic Development Corporation. The siren system, including installation and computer software, totals $51,000.
The city conducted a test of the system at 2 p.m. to insure the siren can be heard by anyone outside within a two-mile radius. This was one of four actions taken after a lengthy executive session.
The council also named Interim Police Chief Floyd Thomas the official police chief. He received congratulations all around.
Council members agreed to the reformation of the Malakoff Fire Department. More applications from volunteers willing to serve are still being accepted for another two weeks, at which time the council expects to hold a special meeting to interview from the list of volunteers, suitable candidates for fire chief and fire marshal, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble said. Mayor Delois Pagitt was absent. Thus far, the city has received five applications, Trimble said. Applications are available at city hall and should be returned there once they are filled out.
The very full agenda also contained the approval of $7,300 in EDC funds to help pay for $10,000 worth of improvements at the ball fields.
Softball and Baseball Association representative Jason Hayes reviewed the three projects for the funding, including: clearing up a sewer issue, making repairs to lights and putting a concrete pad under the spectators’ bleachers.
Hayes said the organization was also seeking grant funding to assist with the installation of lights for field 4, replace or repair scoreboards and replace the backstop on Kilman Field.
In addition, the council renewed a five-year lease agreement with the association for the use of the ball fields through 2022 at a dollar per year, payable on each March 1.
“We welcome those big tournaments that bring in retail sales to Malakoff,” Trimble said. “So, we’re glad to help out.”
The council also agreed to change three items in a proposed service agreement with Star Harbor for wastewater treatment, at the request of Star Harbor.
The amended agreement must now return to Star Harbor’s city attorney and then to their council for a vote and signing before it takes effect. Earlier that day, the Star Harbor City Council also met and two people from that community attended the Malakoff City Council meeting held that evening.
Funds the Star Harbor community held in escrow for January and February’s billing, rather than pay toward the proffered service agreement, motivated Malakoff to negotiate, with Star Harbor Mayor, Walter Bingham, told The News by phone interview.