Jan

29

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : January 29, 2014

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF—A Texas Rangers investigative report into a December 2013 incident involving an off-duty Malakoff police officer during which an Iowa man died has been forwarded to the Navarro County District Attorney.
“It will be reviewed to see if any criminal charges will come out of the action,” Navarro County District Attorney Lowell Thompson said, “and if there are, it will be presented to a grand jury Feb. 19.” Thompson said the report was received Tuesday, Jan. 28. The district attorney declined further comment.

Navarro County Sheiff Elmer Tanner named Ernest Fierro Jan. 9 as the Malakoff police officer involved in the incident in which William Livezey of Iowa died. On Jan. 11 final autopsy report obtained by The News from American Forensics in Mesquite ruled Livezey’s “manner of death” as “natural,” with the cause of death listed as “hypertensive and cardiovascular disease.” The report states Livezey had a “history of congestive heart failure and diabetes mellitus” with “evidence of coronary artery bypass grafting.”
The autopsy report also noted “no evidence of significant trauma,” but did list an “abrasion on top of the head with no underlying injuries,” and “two quarter-inch abrasions right lower abdomen.” The autopsy report notes a “history of collapse while in police custody during an arrest,” but that refers specifically to the single Navarro County incident in question, according to Amy Gruszecki, the forensic pathologist who signed the report. Additionally, the final autopsy report concluded that “if any additional investigative information becomes available, this report may be amended.”

Livezey died Dec. 11. Calls that morning to the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office reported reckless driving involving Livezey and a motorcyclist, later learned to be Fierro, but it is not clear which party was reported as driving recklessly. Moreover, little is known about what happened specifically during the incident along Highway 31 in the Chamber Creek bottom east of Corsicana besides accounts from two Navarro County deputies who found Livezey on the side of the road in handcuffs, presumptively from Fierro. Livezey then fell ill, and deputies removed the handcuffs and began CPR on him while awaiting an ambulance. Livezey later died at Navarro Regional Hospital.

Fierro has been employed by the Malakoff Police Dept. since mid-summer 2013, after serving previously with Dallas police, then as a Dallas County district attorney’s office investigator, and then as a member of the Ferris Police Department. Fierro resigned from the Dallas police in November 2005 during an investigation into questionable activities during his stint, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2008, but kept his peace officer’s license. Fierro was still on-duty with the Malakoff police force as late as Jan. 13.

Jan

09

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : January 9, 2014

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

Ernest Fierro is the off-duty Malakoff police officer involved in the Dec. 11 incident near Corsicana in which William Livezey of Iowa died, the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office confirmed. It turns out that Fierro has a checkered history as a Dallas police officer.

Fierro became a Malakoff officer in August 2013 after serving with the Dallas police and as a Dallas County district attorney’s office investigator, and then as a police officer in Ferris.

The Dallas Morning News reported in 2008 that Fierro was involved in several driving incidents as a Dallas police officer. Also, the paper reported that Fierro was disciplined in 2000 for violating the Dallas Police Department’s off-duty employment policy and working another job the same day he called in sick.

In 2001, an investigation showed that Fierro fled a minor car accident in Northwest Dallas, and soon thereafter, hit a truck and wooden pole, Dallas police said. Automated tracking information showed that Fierro had been in that area, and was recorded as driving at speeds more than 100 mph. The driver of the car involved in that wreck also picked him out of a lineup, but did not pursue prosecution. He received a written reprimand from the second accident.

Fierro, citing injuries from that second accident, told investigators that he did not remember being in the area, and did not recall driving over 100 mph. Fierro eventually was fired from the Dallas Police Department in May 2001. He was later reinstated in October 2001.

In 2005, Fierro got a one-day suspension after a police investigation found that he again left the scene of an accident. He told investigators that he barely bumped the vehicle, that he was responding to the request of another officer for help, and that when he returned to find the vehicle, it wasn’t there.

Later that year, Fierro’s squad car was struck when he pulled his police vehicle into the path of a fleeing auto. Later still, he was accused of using another officer’s name badge number to generate a theft report in which he was listed as the victim.

Fierro resigned on November 7, 2005, while these investigators were taking place. Internal investigators subsequently concluded that he violated the department’s chase policy and filed a false report.

Resigning under investigation usually would have meant that Fierro would have lost his peace officer’s license, but he appealed and state officials allowed him to keep it.

Fierro’s name was released Thursday in response to an open records request filed by the Corsicana Daily Sun. A previous request made by The News was declined.

Not much is known on what happened to Livezey Dec. 11 besides accounts from two deputies
who found him on the side of the road in handcuffs, presumptively from Fierro. Livezey then fell ill, and deputies removed the handcuffs and began CPR on him while awaiting an ambulance. Livezey later died at Navarro Regional Hospital.

The death is still under investigation by the Texas Rangers, and details remain unclear to the public.

Dec

27

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 27, 2013

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By Russell Slaton
The News correspondent

MALAKOFF–Christmas was in the air at Malakoff High School Dec. 20 as children from Malakoff Elementary’s Head Start program received gifts provided by students.
The mood was festive, with almost every room full of food, and students gathering around youngsters tearing into their gifts. Each third-period class adopted a child, with the elementary school counselor sending home a flyer asking Head Start parents to give details about their child’s shoe, pant shirt or dress size. The school also asked the parents to put an item on the list their child would like to receive. Those gifts included such items as bicycles and motor-powered mini-cars, upon which Head Start students tore up and down the halls, beaming with glee.
“Our students were very excited about this, along with our teachers,” said Malakoff High School principal Martin Brumit. “I believe this was a great way for MHS students to directly influence our community positivly.”

Dec

27

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 27, 2013

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.

Dec

16

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 16, 2013

San Luis customersWEB

By Tracy Martin
The News
Corespondent
ATHENS-Just before noon on Monday, the lunch crowd started pouring into El San Luis. The chips and familiar salsa were served, and owner Antonio Bolanos walked from table to table thanking his regulars for coming back.
On Nov 21, a fire swept through the restaurant’s Pinkerton St. location destroying everything in the building.
The fire started in the kitchen but quickly spread throughout the structure, leaving nothing to be salvaged.
Undaunted, Bolanos located a building, which had previously housed a restaurant and got to work. In two weeks, he was able to re-open, saying he just knew people would come to the new location. “See they’re here and I’m so thankful,” Bolanos told The News.
The new location on Murchison Street is situated right across the street from the county jail. Though the new location already had some of the restaurant supplies in place, Boanos notes it was still a challenge to open for business so quickly. “Oh yes, it was morning til night, and we all worked very hard,” he said.
Customer Norma Liliana Meeks was a regular at the old location and was happy to hear the restaurant was already re-opened. “We just love the food, it’s authentic, the menu is the same and it’s great that Antonio could come back so fast from the fire,” she said.

Dec

16

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 16, 2013

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF—Malakoff City Council gave the green light to honor with a plaque a longtime computer advocate at the Red Waller Community Library during its monthly meeting Monday, Dec. 9.
Dr. Ann Fowler White was “very dedicated in supporting the library of the city of Malakoff” and foresaw the need for computers, said Edward DeLoach, who made the request on behalf of the Friends of the Library, of which he is secretary. DeLoach said White was instrumental in obtaining computers and software for the library, and maintained grants that ensured upkeep. White, who died in July, was a math teacher who, upon retirement, was head of the Department of Math and Engineering at Southwest College in Stafford, which is part of the Houston Community College System.
The Friends of the Library originally requested naming the library’s computer resource center after White, and also placing a small brass plaque on each computer desk in White’s memory. Council members including Jerrilyn Tarver believed one larger plaque would suffice so as to leave room for other library contributors from the past. Librarian Charlotte Regester also recommended a single plaque, Tarver added. Other people honored at the library include namesake Red Waller with a mounted picture, according to City Administrator Ann Barker, and the original library board is noted with a plaque outside the library entrance, DeLoach added.
“I don’t think this particular service would be there without the contributions of Ann White,” DeLoach said. Even though DeLoach believed there wasn’t a single spot available to place the plaque, he said he would share the results of the council vote with the Friends of the Library, and will work with the librarian to find a suitable location.
In other action, the council awarded a bid for two trucks for the utility and street departments to Tri-County Ford in Mabank for $47,616. Teague Chevrolet-Buick of Mabank also submitted a bid for $50,552.54.
Also during the meeting, Chief Billy Mitchell released the police department’s November activity report, including:
- Service Calls: 71
- Offense Reports: 42
- Arrests: 20
- Agency Assists: 16
- Citizen Assists: 8
- Accidents: 0
- Citations: 146
- Warnings: 41
- Alarms: 9
- Cases filed in the District Attorney’s Office: 8
- Cases filed in the County Attorney’s Office: 3
- Total Fuel: 617 gallons
- Total Miles: 6,022

Dec

09

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 9, 2013

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
LONGVIEW–The Malakoff Tigers’ unprecedented run through the high-school football playoffs ended Friday, Nov. 29 in the regional semifinals in Longview with a 34-27 loss to New Boston.
Malakoff finishes the season at 11-2, which includes a district, bi-district and area championship. The 11 wins tie the 1940 Malakoff football team for most-ever victories in a season, and bested 1947’s 10-win season. The 1940 team went 11-0, won its district, and beat Tatum 19-7 to claim a class B bi-district championship. That was as far as Malakoff could advance at that time, as the University Interscholastic League held a single state championship game between larger schools until 1948, when state championships expanded to all school-sizes.
“Do not let this (loss) dictate your season. It was the best season in Malakoff history,” coach Jamie Driskell told his team following the game.
After falling behind 20-7, the Tigers tied the game on a three-yard quarterback keeper by Deric Greenhaw with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter. New Boston pulled away with two quick scores, including a 76-yard touchdown to Jeff Gladney, then linebacker Wes Teague returned an interception 42 yards for a touchdown on Malakoff’s next possession to give New Boston a 34-20 lead with 3:27 left in the game. Malakoff responded with a 19-yard Damontes Dowell touchdown run to pull within seven with 52 seconds left, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by New Boston, which ran out the clock.
New Boston scored on the first Tiger play on offense when Quinn Dedmon picked up a Malakoff fumble and ran 56 yards for a touchdown. Dariuhn Jackson returned a punt 41 yards for a Malakoff touchdown to knot the score at 7 with 53 seconds left in the first quarter. New Boston then struck with a 15-yard slant pass to Gladney to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Gladney finished the game with four catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns, and included a key third-and-long conversion.
New Boston tacked on a third-quarter touchdown on a five-yard pass to Juwaun Johnson, missed the extra point, but extended its lead to 20-7. Malakoff responded with two three-yard touchdown runs, one by Damontes Dowell, the other by Greenhaw which tied the game for the final time.
The Tigers racked up 256 yards rushing, led by Damontes Dowell’s 121 yards on 16 carries, with 88 more from Marcus Dowell. Malakoff held New Boston to only 114 yards on the ground, but gave up 180 yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Dec

09

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : December 9, 2013

Library Polar Express2

By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent
ATHENS-From a field of six applicants, Rachel Cox was selected as the new head librarian at the Clint W. Murchison Library in Athens. Henderson County Library Advisory Board members chose Cox and county commissioners approved their choice during their regular Dec.3 meeting.
Cox graduated with honors from Eustace High School in 2002, University of Texas-Tyler and received her masters in library information science from the University of North Texas.
Board chairman Terry Warren says it was her breadth of experience at other libraries and sterling recommendations that put Cox at the top of the list. “Rachel worked in California and New Jersey, both libraries told us about the great work she did implementing new programs as an assistant librarian.” Warren said. “Both [libraries] said they’d love to hire her back.”
After the resignation of Lorie Travi six weeks ago, the board started the search for a replacement, assistant librarian Erin Holyfield has been in charge during the interim.
Cox says she’s very excited and plans to bring some of the programs she started at other libraries to Athens, “I want to make the library a cultural center for the county and bring as many people through the doors as possible.”
Some of her plans include providing computer classes to teach basic skills, help with resume’ writing, a teen outreach program to bring more young people into the library and extending the operating hours.
Cox and the board are optimistic that getting the word out that the library is moving in a new user-friendly direction will increase traffic.
Work has been in progress to improve and update the look of the library, including outdoor tables, expanding the children’s section and the addition of eBooks.
The doors in the rear of the building are slated for replacement with handicapped accessible doors and more fundraisers are in the works.
Holyfield is organizing the Saturday free movie showing of “The Polar Express” in the children’s section and plans to stay on as assistant librarian.
Cox only recently moved back to Henderson County from New Jersey and plans to start her new role in the next few weeks.

Nov

15

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : November 15, 2013

Veterans Memorial 11 11 046 WEB

An estimated 1,000 people attend the dedication of the Henderson County Veterans Memorial Nov. 11 at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens.

Nov

15

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : November 15, 2013

KAB sat WEB

By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent

ATHENS–Old computers, broken televisions, mattresses, yard waste and junk were some of the items Athens residents got to freely dispose of Nov. 9.

Keep Athens Beautiful sponsors the event twice a year to assist residents with disposing their e-Waste and to promote recycling. Most of the broken equipment and electronics will be hauled off and recycled.

KAB director Carol Morton says it’s great to see the community participate.

“It’s an exciting day for us to see Athens come out and get rid of so much stuff. It keeps the city beautiful and keeps it (electronics) out of our local landfills,” she said.

The local fall clean-up day is part of the Texas Recycling Day and Keep America Beautiful initiative. Both events fall in mid-November and have been going on for more than 10 years.

The collections were accepted from 8 a.m. to noon, and hot dogs, snacks and drinks were free to all those making a drop. A second clean-up day will be held in the spring.