Mar

01

Posted by : admin | On : March 1, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

In what could be his final action in the Henderson County nativity scene controversy, San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene filed a complaint this week to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct against County Judge Richard Sanders.

Greene stepped into the county’s ongoing nativity scene debate in February when he wrote all members of Commissioners’ Court, threatening a lawsuit if the display is not moved to private property.

Greene, who has a long history of church-state lawsuits, told The Malakoff News he was becoming involved “to show that Christianity does not rule my state of Texas, the Constitution does. Christianity is only one of the many faiths represented in this state.”

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Mar

01

Posted by : admin | On : March 1, 2012

(UPDATE: Please see update at end of story.)

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

It appears that San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene may be leaving the Henderson County nativity scene controversy as quickly as he entered.

Greene revealed this weekend that he believes he has a detached retina, which he expects will leave him blind in the very near future.
In early February, Greene emailed several county officials promising to sue Henderson County if the traditional nativity scene is displayed on the courthouse lawn this Christmas. But because of his health, he has decided to back away from his threat to sue.

“There is no way for me to go up there if I’m blind,” he said.

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Feb

24

Posted by : admin | On : February 24, 2012

It might be time to pen all those hogs, sheep and goats in Henderson County.

Tuesday, Commissioners’ Court committed to an election to prohibit the free range of the animals in the county.

Currently, the county is an open range for those animals, which means if your neighbor’s goats come over and eat your garden, it’s your fault for not fencing them out.

Officials say the county closed the range — required livestock owners to keep their animals in rather than require property owners to keep them out — to cattle, horses and other animals in the mid 20th century, but did not include hogs, sheep and goats.

“Probably because there weren’t many of those animals in the county back then,” County Attorney Clint Davis told commissioners.

The election will only be open to county freeholders: residents who are registered voters and own real property.

A date for the election will be set at an upcoming Commissioners’ Court meeting.

Feb

17

Posted by : admin | On : February 17, 2012

By Michael V. Hannigan

A San Antonio atheist recently became the newest participant in Henderson County’s apparently-not-confined-to-Christmas nativity scene controversy.

Patrick Greene this week emailed a letter to all members of Commissioners’ Court threatening a lawsuit if the nativity scene is not moved to private property. In an email interview with The Malakoff News, Greene said, “… If they do not respond to my email by … Monday, February 20, 2012, I will assume that they have no intention of responding at all. In which case I will begin filling out the necessary forms, and file the lawsuit on the day they put up the nativity display.”

When asked his reasons for becoming involved, Greene said “to show that Christianity does not rule

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Jan

16

Posted by : Press release | On : January 16, 2012

District Attorney Office Press Release

On Wednesday, January 11, a Henderson County jury sentenced Manuel Clerkley, 41, of Palestine, to Life in the penitentiary for a June 9th, 2009 early morning crash that left his 21 year-old niece and mother of two, Michelle Coaster, dead. The crash occurred shortly before 9 a.m., in the 600 block of South Palestine Street near the intersection of Ben Bent Drive. Athens Police Department reports stated Clerkley was northbound in a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim that went out of control and crossed the southbound lanes before leaving the roadway and colliding head-on with a tree.
A woman, who stopped at the traffic signal at Ben Belt and South Palestine, reportedly saw the accident and described it to police.

Coaster died at East Texas Medical Center, Athens a few hours after the wreck. Clerkley was taken

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Dec

19

Posted by : admin | On : December 19, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

The question of whether or not a Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) banner will be included in the annual Henderson County Christmas display may have been pushed back to next year, but that hasn’t stopped the rhetoric.

Friday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott weighed in on the issue, promising “my support if the FFRF follows through on its threat to pursue legal action against Henderson County.”

Abbott’s declaration came in a letter to Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders.

The FFRF answered back Monday in a letter to Abbott signed by foundation co-presidents and husband and wife, Dan Taylor and Annie Laurie Gaylor.

“The imprimatur of the county of Henderson, and now the imprimatur of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, are being used to endorse Christianity,” the letter reads.

By now, the story is well known and

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Dec

16

Posted by : admin | On : December 16, 2011

From Staff Reports

The school finance lawsuit Malakoff ISD is participating in was filed last Friday in state district court in Austin. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionally of the Texas school finance system, claiming that it fails to provide schools with sufficient funding to meet state educational standards and that the system has become a statewide property tax.

“The Texas Legislature in the last session failed to meet their constitutional obligation to adequately fund our public schools,” said MISD Superintendent Randy Perry. “Malakoff ISD will have funding cuts over

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Dec

16

Posted by : admin | On : December 16, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

There will be no banner from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn this year, a foundation attorney confirmed this morning.

But that does not mean the legal battle is over.

Attorney Stephanie Schmitt of the FFRF told The Malakoff News that Henderson County has outlined a procedure for requesting a display, and the procedure includes asking Commissioners’ Court. Because commissioners

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Dec

12

Posted by : admin | On : December 12, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

Like shadow footprints laid out on a floor, the next steps in the legal dance between the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and Henderson County government seem to be in place, and they lead directly to Commissioners’ Court.

The FFRF is the Wisconsin-based organization that demanded the county remove a nativity scene

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Dec

09

Posted by : admin | On : December 9, 2011

Rep. Jim Pitts

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

District 10 State Rep. Jim Pitts today called the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn a “community tradition.”

“I’m disturbed that an out of state group has tried to interject itself into what has been an annual tradition at the Henderson County Courthouse for many years,” Pitts said. “That nativity scene is a holiday tradition for the entire community, and shouldn’t be used as a tool for some group to pursue an extreme agenda.”

Monday, Henderson County officials

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