Dec

06

Posted by : Erik Walsh | 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 : Erik Walsh | 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 : Erik Walsh | 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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Nov

01

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : November 1, 2011

County Beat

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The burn ban continues.

Henderson County Commissioners’ Court decided against lifting the burn ban Tuesday when a motion by Pct. 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence to end the ban died for a lack of a second.

The ban has been in effect continuously since April.

Henderson County Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh told commissioners the Keetch-Byram Drought Index had gone up over the past week

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Oct

25

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : October 25, 2011

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – The burn ban in Henderson County remains in effect, but the end may be in sight.

Tuesday morning, Henderson County Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh told Commissioners’ Court the Keetch-Bynum Keetch-Byram Drought Index score in the county had dropped to 626, the lowest it has been in months. The index goes to a high of 800 and the county had been knocking on that ceiling for weeks prior to the recent rains.

Another good sign is that more rain is forecast for

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Oct

21

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : October 21, 2011

Malakoff Detective Sergeant Floyd Thomas holds his Hope Award in front of the Clothesline Project at last week’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month rally.

By Michael V. Hannigan

Malakoff Detective Sergeant Floyd Thomas recently received the Hope Award from the East Texas Crisis Center.

The award was presented at the Crisis Center’s annual Wine and Cheese event held this year on Oct. 7.
Recipients are chosen because of “their dedication in helping victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in the community.”

In a letter announcing the award, Crisis Center Director of Outreach Donna Johnson wrote, “Officer Thomas’s work

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Oct

20

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : October 20, 2011

Above, a shirt in memory of Kristi Morris hangs on the Clothesline Project at last week's Domestic Violence Awareness Month rally at the courthouse in Athens. Kristi was 22 when she was gunned down in front of her 2-year-old daughter. The shooter was her husband. Her mother, Terry Dreier spoke about the experience at the rally.

By Michael V. Hannigan

ATHENS – In June 2009, 22-year-old Kristi Morris was gunned down in front of her 2-year-old daughter. The shooter was her husband, Matt Morris.

“Every day since that day my heart aches for my daughter,” said her mother, Terry Dreier. “I miss her so much and my life will never be the same.”

Dreier spoke at the Domestic Violence Awareness Month rally on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse last week.

“When you hear somebody talk about domestic violence, you tend to think, ‘It could never happen to me,’ ‘I could never let anyone treat me like that,’ or ‘That just happens to a few people,’” she said. “You might wonder how anyone could stay in such a situation.

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Oct

20

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : October 20, 2011

Billy Fred Wray Jr.

(Update 1: Malakoff ISD reaction added.)

(Update 2: Adds name, details from Henderson County Sheriff’s Office press release, correct time MISD learned of incident, rewrites for clarity.)

(Update 3: Adds photo.)

A fugitive who fled from police during the execution of a narcotics search warrant in Tool Wednesday night was in custody Thursday morning, according to county officials.

Billy Fred Wray Jr., 45, of Mabank was arrested Thursday morning and taken to Henderson County Jail where he was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer. Wray also had three other unrelated active assault warrants outstanding.

The warrant was executed around 7 p.m. Wednesday at a residence off County Road 2350, west of Tool. During the search, Wray reportedly swung a machete at officers and fled the scene on foot. Officers chased him, but

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