By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Writer
ATHENS– Sheriff Ray Nutt celebrated his last day on the job with friends and fellow officers at the Henderson County Justice Center May 31 and Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse swore in as the new Sheriff of Henderson County June 1.
Nutt has served in law enforcement more than six decades and has held this position since January of 2009. Nutt has retired to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
County Judge Richard Sanders said he will miss Nutt on the job, as will Henderson County. “It’ll be difficult for Henderson County to replace Sheriff Nutt,” Sanders said.
During the ceremony officers who served under Nutt spoke highly of him and Nutt said he expects them to maintain the same standards under Sheriff Hillhouse.
“I want to thank the people for what they’ve done, showing me their support,” Nutt said.
Botie Hillhouse was elected in March. “It’s an honor to be the sheriff-elect for Henderson County,” Hillhouse said, “I’ve been his (Nutt’s) right hand man the whole time. But I’m ready to move forward and I appreciate the court’s support.”
Posted by : June 1, 2016| On :
By Sariah Kendall
Posted by : January 29, 2016| On :
Posted by : January 14, 2016| On :
THE NEWS PHOTO/RUSSELL SLATON
Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry (right) tells fellow Malakoff Rotarians Jan. 5 about construction projects at Malakoff High School, including the new fieldhouse building underway at the football field featuring bigger and better concessions and restrooms.
Former state Educator of Year joined MISD
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Malakoff Rotarians hosted Malakoff High School principal Martin Brumit during the club’s weekly luncheon held at the Flagg House Jan. 5.
Before Malakoff, Brumit served as assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School until he was hired by Malakoff ISD in the summer of 2013. Soon after, Brumit was awarded Educator of the Year by the Association of Texas Professional Educators for his work as an administrator and later accepted the award in Austin.
Brumit began by highlighting a “very successful fall” for Malakoff High School athletic teams, including the powerhouse Tiger football team under Coach Jamie Driskell getting within one point of taking down the three-time defending state champion in the playoffs.
The MHS volleyball team made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Basketball is underway now, with the girls team ranked No. 12 in the state, including defeating a Class 6A team (Malakoff is 3A) by 20 points at the Kaufman tournament, which the Lady Tigers won.
One-act play is in full swing, with the students putting in much practice over winter break. One-act play did very well last spring, Brumit said, and has a chance this year to move to state competition. Brumit added that 20 Malakoff students went to University Interscholastic League (UIL) regional academic competition under the guidance of Jessica Bentley, MISD UIL director.
Spring sports, including golf, track, baseball and softball, begin at the end of January. The MHS softball team boasts two college-bound pitchers, senior Candace Denis (University of Massachusetts) and Hazel Puempel (Texas Woman’s University in Denton). Coach Matt Wittram’s softball team last season included six freshmen and the team advanced three rounds into the playoffs, Brumit added.
February 1 will see the next round of biannual UIL realignment, with Malakoff possibly being matched up with different teams in district as well as regional play. Malakoff is hoping to play schools that are closer, Brumit said.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) agriculture program at MHS will compete at the Fort Worth Stock Show Jan. 21, then San Antonio, Houston and back to Henderson County in April. Brumit said the school’s ag barn is “very nice” and includes cameras for remote animal monitoring. Coach Driskell’s son had a best-in-show pig last spring, Brumit added.
A new ninth-grade English teacher and published author, Beth Fehlbaum, has charged her class with writing a novel of several thousand words, Brumit reported. Malakoff High School administers the SAT on campus (a change), and with unlimited dual courses, more students are able to graduate from Malakoff with both a high school and associate’s degree. Every college student who took Microsoft’s software certification test passed the exam, he reported.
Malakoff High School is expecting 90-95 graduates this spring, which is up from 70 last year. Brumit said he was ready for spring and to “spring into the New Year.”
Superintendent Randy Perry, a Rotary member and the club’s past president, also informed Malakoff Rotarians about the nesw of the school district. Student enrollment stands at 1,287 students, up about 60 over this time last year. Perry said the district’s greatest challenge is to get all the students to the highest academic strata, across all socioeconomic backgrounds. “Our middle school has been doing wonderful and it bodes well for the future,” Perry said.
He also told Rotarians that state law allows districts to measure the daily attendance rates of attendance by minutes, instead of days. So, instead of 180 days, students must attend for 75,660 minutes. “That gives us flexibility to go longer days to get instruction finished by Memorial Day,” Perry said, adding that he hoped to do so for the 2016-17 school year.
The Malakoff superintendent also briefed Rotarians about construction projects proceeding at Malakoff High School. All are funded by a May 2015 bond package, approved by voters. The football fieldhouse, concessions and restroom facility will be bricked to match the high school, Perry said. Restrooms will be on each end, with more allotted to the home side. The visiting team will enter the building through the back, with concrete all around the facility, especially in the front.
The baseball field’s lighting project has been delayed by the weather, but the concrete bases are in place. The brick backstop is almost finished, and the perimeter behind home plate will feature netting instead of chain-link fencing.
Contractors have completed wiring for high-definition video cameras at the high school, with its front entrance being more secure, requiring visitors to buzz in at the double doors. Video cameras will be installed in all campus buildings, including Tool Elementary School. Perry and the district maintenance director will have remote access, he said.
Posted by : December 22, 2015| On :
Posted by : December 9, 2015| On :
Mistletoe Market and museum tours also
Special to The News
MALAKOFF-The Malakoff Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Christmas Parade, Mistletoe Market and photos with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 12. Parade line-up begins at 8:30 a.m. on the parking lot side of the First Baptist Church. Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. and goes down Mitcham Street to College, to Jackson, turns left on SH 198, right on SH 31 to Melton and then turns left to return to church parking lot.
Awards will be given for Most Beautiful (commercial and non-commercial), Excellence in use of Parade theme, Best Overall winner. Smaller prizes will be awarded for Best Decorated Bicycle, Best Decorated Vehicle (including four-wheelers) and Best Decorated Boat. Floats should not include Santa. Winners are asked to return to the church parking lot and go to the southeast corner, where trophies will be handed out and pictures taken.
The Mistletoe Market is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with more than 30 vendors displaying gifts, decorations and creative Christmas ideas at the Malakoff Community Center located at 504 N. Terry St.
Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their favorite elves will be available for photos from noon-2 p.m. at the Malakoff Historical Society located at 207 E. Main St. Bring your camera. Museum tours will be available from 1-3 p.m. Pat Isaacson has been busy decorating the museum in vintage Christmas décor.
For more information, give her a call at (903) 489-1346 or email patisaacson5@aol. com.
Posted by : December 3, 2015| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–Malakoff Rotarians heard from Henderson County native Roy Clay, who owns the Malakoff Trading Post east of Malakoff on Highway 31, at their weekly meeting Nov. 24.
Clay has deep ties to this area. He was born in Malakoff and attended Cross Roads schools. His grandmother was the late Martha Rainwater of Malakoff, and his parents graduated from Malakoff High School.
Roy’s family settled in the Willow Springs area (between Cross Roads and Shady Oaks) around the time of the Civil War, he told Rotarians.
Clay bought the Trading Post in July. “Ultimately it’s old construction that I love,” he said. The business offers stone for domestic needs, including house veneers and patios. It offers landscape mulch, pea gravel and sod, among other landscaping-related products.
With the holidays approaching, the business is offering Christmas trees, which are Fraser firs from North Carolina. Those evergreen trees are widely used in the Christmas tree trade. The stones mostly come from Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and quarries in Central Texas, Clay said.
The Rotary Club also hosted Julie Brown, who is administrative assistant for the Malakoff Housing Authority, the office of which abuts the Flagg House property, home of the Malakoff Historical Society and Museum, and host of the Malakoff Rotary Club. The Flagg House is on East Main Street while the Authority’s office is at South Martin Plaza.
The housing authority has set up an Angel Tree at the office, and is seeking children’s gifts, clothing, gift cards and monetary donations.
Posted by : January 7, 2015| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
ATHEN–Each Jan. 1, elected county officials across America are sworn in to begin their tenure. This year five such officials gathered at the Henderson County Courthouse Annex to make their vows of service, while simultaneously three more affirmed their oaths across the street at the County Court at Law Courtroom.
At the Courthouse Annex, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Daniel, JP 2 Judge Kevin Pollock, JP 3 Judge Tony Duncan, District Clerk Betty Herriage and County Commissioner Precinct 2 Wade McKinney took the honored vows to serve the residents of Henderson County. Former JP 3 Judge Sue Starnes swore in Duncan in a touching ceremony and exchange between friends, while Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders swore in Daniel, Pollock, Herriage and McKinney.
Former Athens Mayor Randy Daniel began his first full term as JP 1. He has already served in that capacity since 2013 after being appointed to an unexpired term. Likewise, former Seven Points Mayor Kevin Pollock and Tony Duncan began their first terms as justices. Betty Herriage made the move to District Clerk from the District Attorney’s office, where she served since 1996.
While the majority of officials took their first county-level oath during the brisk January morning, one official reaffirmed his oath for a fifth term in office. Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney was first elected commissioner in 1999 at 28 years of age. McKinney begins his 16th year as County Commissioner.
During a break from the seriousness of the swearing in cremony, McKinney lightened the mood by stating of all the County Judges he’s served with, Sanders was “My favorite.”
In another light-hearted moment, Starnes advice to incoming justices was a reminder that common sense is “not common.”
Across the street at the County Court at Law Courtroom, three other officials began their terms or renewed their oaths. Prescient 4 County Commissioner Ken Geeslin began his second term after successfully gaining reelection in November.
New County Court at Law Judge Matt Williams was sworn in to his first term after winning the Republican Primary last March. He was unopposed in the November general election.
Also, Mary Margaret Wright began her first official term as County Clerk after serving in that capacity by appointment since the retirement of Gwen Moffeit last March.
Former Court at Law Judge Matt Livingston administered the oaths.
Posted by : March 31, 2014| On :
By David Webb
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Part of North Prairieville Street will be closed for four hours on May 17 for a 100-year anniversary celebration of the courthouse.
The Athens City Council approved the request by Henderson County during a meeting March 24. The street will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event.
County officials have not yet released details of the planned event.
City officials said they can close a street for up to four hours without requiring a permit from the Texas Department of Transportation.
The historic three-floor courthouse on the town square was built in 1913. It is constructed of red brick in Classic Revival style. The building, which includes a full basement, was designed by L. L. Thurman. It has angled wings and a cupola. It is Henderson County’s fourth courthouse, and the second one to be constructed in Athens.
Henderson County’s first courthouse was built in Buffalo in 1850, and the second one was built in Centerville in 1861, according to pictorial histories of Texas’ 254 counties depicting grand courthouses. Both cities are now considered ghost towns. The third courthouse was built in Athens in 1887.
The Texas Legislature established Henderson County on April 27, 1846, and named it in honor of James Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas. In 1848 the legislature broke up Henderson County to form Van Zandt and Kaufman Counties. Athens was founded as the county seat and given its name with the hope that it would become a center of learning.
In other action, the council:
• rezoned a lot on Frizzell Street from single-family residential to two-family residential duplex.
• abandoned an unused alley in Bishop Heights Addition.
• authorized a contract with Henderson County Girls Softball Association for use of Cain Park.
• appointed an election judge and an alternate for the May 10 city election that will include a proposition to consider abolishing the Athens Municipal Water Authority, which the city is now engaged with in a lawsuit. The ballot will also include three contested council seat races.
• approved a replat of two lots into one in the South Platte Subdvision of the Lake Athens area.
• tabled appointing a new member to the Zoning Commission until more candidates come forward.
Posted by : December 27, 2013| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff
EUSTACE–This year was the biggest year yet in distributing toys for the Chapman House in the three years it has been doing it.
More than 400 children received gifts, sweets and treats at the men’s residential treatment center in Eustace Dec. 14 with the help of community volunteers and toy donations.
“This has been a good fit for the residents of the Chapman House because it gives the men a chance to give back to the community in a tangible way at a time of year when many of them are not able to be with their families,” founder Kevin Chapman told The News. “The activities bless the residents in very real, deep ways.”
The official local Toys For Tots organization was still filling requests for children’s Christmas wishes right up until Dec. 21.
Some female applicants (fearing reprisals) specifically asked that their mates not find out they were getting toys for free, house director Donna Bega said.
One 12-year-old girl said this was her first time ever meeting Santa, she added.
The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots, with the red train logo, has its East Texas headquarters in Tyler, and coordinator Larry Atkins was on hand to help with the distribution.
Tool Police Department Sergeant Steven Lampert also helped and as a result the department received a few comfort toys for officers to give away when dealing with families.
Posted by : June 28, 2013| On :
EAST TEXAS–The premier visitor and newcomer’s guide, Discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens, is inside this week’s The News – Serving Athens and Malakoff issue, sold in stores and from the racks.
Discover the region’s stunning natural scenery and learn about the rich histories of the surrounding communities and cities.
Also discover great shopping, fine dining, fun entertainment and a variety of excellent services throughout the area.
Free copies of Discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens are also available at the newspaper office, 1316 S. Third Street, Suite 108, Mabank, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Enjoy the 2013 publication and discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens!