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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Dec

08

Posted by : admin | On : December 8, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS – The media and community response was swift after news broke that a group was trying to force Henderson County to remove its nativity scene.

So was the county’s answer.

Less than two days after receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which claims the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal, County Attorney Clint Davis answered by writing, “Henderson County believes that it is in complete compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and acting very much in accord with prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings.”

The letter from Davis is dated Dec. 7 and is addressed to the FFRF attorney Stephanie A. Schmitt.

Wednesday night, Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders explained the county’s position, saying, “Because we have other decorations on the square other than the nativity, we feel we are in compliance with federal law.”

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Dec

07

Posted by : admin | On : December 7, 2011

Dec

06

Posted by : Press release | On : December 6, 2011

Special to The News

Dallas Andrew Fidler, 27, formerly of Seven Points, was sentenced Monday to 35 years in prison by 173rd District Court Judge Dan Moore in connection with the aggravated sexual assault of two children. Fidler elected to have the judge assess his sentence rather than a jury.

Fidler’s jury trial came to an abrupt end in October, when after four days of a jury trial he decided to change his plea from “not-guilty” to “guilty,” rather than have the jury assess his guilt. Fidler was on trial for two

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Dec

06

Posted by : admin | On : December 6, 2011

The center of the nativity scene on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn.

(UPDATE: Added text of letter from Freedom From Religion Foundation at end of story)

(UPDATE 2: Adds quotes from Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-president. Rewrites for clarity.)

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, sent a letter dated Dec. 1 to Henderson County commissioners saying the nativity scene located on the courthouse lawn is illegal.

“We request that, as the Henderson County Commissioners, you take immediate action to ensure that no religious displays are on city or county property. Please inform us in writing of the steps

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Nov

28

Posted by : Staff Reports | On : November 28, 2011

From Staff Reports

Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reported last week that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards made an unannounced visit to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Thursday, Nov. 17, for the annual inspection of the Henderson County Jail.

The inspection took two days, according to Nutt, during which

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Nov

17

Posted by : admin | On : November 17, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – For the second straight week, Henderson County commissioners did not institute a burn ban. They are not alone, as Anderson, Cherokee, Kaufman, Smith and Van Zandt counties are also without burn bans right now.

So why is non-action news? Because Henderson County had been under a burn ban for seven consecutive months

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Nov

08

Posted by : admin | On : November 8, 2011

CLARIFICATION: The burn ban officially expires at midnight Tuesday, Nov. 8.

By Michael V. Hannigan

The News Staff

ATHENS – Henderson County commissioners have put an end to the seven-month burn ban, but it might be just a temporary reprieve.

Tuesday, Commissioners’ Court allowed the bun ban to lapse, citing growing trash and brush piles and an approaching frost as the main reasons.

The move came despite the Keetch-Byram Drought Index rising to an average of 647 across the county this week. A burn ban is usually initiated when the index reaches 575.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney acknowledged there was a danger

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Nov

03

Posted by : Press release | On : November 3, 2011

Fidler

Special to The News

ATHENS – It took four days of a jury trial for Dallas Andrew Fidler, 26, formerly of Seven Points, to decide to change his plea from “not-guilty” to “guilty,” rather than take his chances with a Henderson County Jury. Fidler originally pleaded not guilty and was on trial for two charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault against two children in 2003. The children were 7 and 8 years old at the time of the assault.

Assistant District Attorneys Nancy Rumar and Justin Weiner prosecuted

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