Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

On second thought, there will be no appeal.
Henderson County Chief Appraiser Bill Jackson confirmed this week that the appraisal district will not be filing an appeal of the state’s 2009 Property Tax Report, which flagged appraisals in Malakoff ISD as too low.

According to the State Comptroller’s Office, which prepares the report, it is a “study that estimates the taxable wealth of each school district in Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) uses the study results to allocate state aid to local school districts. ” {{more}}

The study also “evaluates the level and uniformity of appraisals by the … county appraisal districts.”

According to officials, the property values assessed by the local appraisal district must be within 95 to 105 percent of what the State Comptroller assesses in its study.

Malakoff’s appraisals came in at 92 percent, according to Jackson, who said MISD was the only school district in the county to have a problem. Jackson last week told the Athens Daily Review that he would file an appeal over the issue, but changed his mind.

“After looking at it, we could not prevail,” he said.

MISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies said the issue is an important one, because the state uses the appraisal numbers to determine school funding. In this case, Malakoff’s low appraisal would catch the state’s attention because if the district is bringing in less local taxes (based on lower property appraisals), then the state would have to send more money. That is something the state doesn’t like to do.

But Malakoff does have a one-year grace period.

“There is no penalty in the first year, but if the discrepancy continues then the state will penalize the district,” Spies said.

Spies said the penalty is that the state uses its own appraisals for determining how much funding to send to the district. Even a few percentage points could mean thousands of dollars to the district.

“But (Jackson) has assured me that when this is done next year it will be right on,” he said.

Jackson told The Malakoff News the same thing.

“We can correct the problem,” he said. “We don’t foresee it being a problem for next year.”

Jackson said one of the problems this year was that local appraisals of “high dollar” lake properties were too low.
Since the state’s property tax report indicated MISD’s appraisals were too low, does that mean area property owners can expect higher appraisals? Jackson said not necessarily.

“We won’t treat Malakoff any differently than we do every year,” he said. “Just by adequately appraising Malakoff we will be within the margin of error.”



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

The slates are set for upcoming elections – well, almost.
Potential candidates have until Monday, March 16, to file as a write-in candidate for upcoming city council and school board elections; but the official filing period ended this past Monday.

Election Day will be May 9. {{more}}

Barring a last-minute entry of the write-in variety (something that changed the Malakoff city election last year), here is how area municipal elections will shake out this year:

– Malakoff City Council: Malakoff has two City Council spots open and the mayor’s seat. Three men have filed to run for mayor: Ricky Layne Baker, Jr.; Dennis Haws; and John Shumate. The two incumbents have filed for the council seats: Tim Trimble and Jeanette King.

– Caney City: It looks like Caney City will not have an election this year. It has also has two council seats and a mayor’s seat open, however, only one candidate filed to run. Incumbent Ron Welch filed for the City Council. What happens during the write-in period will determine what will happen in that town.

– Log Cabin: Log Cabin will definitely get new council members this year; neither of the incumbents filed. Lined up to run for two council seats are: Tom Garrett, Charles Hayes, Larry Nolan, and Steve Sutton. Incumbent Billy Goodwin was the only one to file for the mayor’s position.

– Star Harbor: It appears Star Harbor will not have an election this time around. Three council seats were up for grabs in the city, and three men signed up: Oliver Murray, O.R. Perdue and Bob Scible.

– Trinidad: A full slate of candidates will greet voters in Trinidad come election day. Squaring off in the mayor’s race will be Larry Estes and Jason N. Tatom. Fighting for two council seats will be incumbents Gary Brett Nolan and Mary E. Johnston, and challengers Linda Brock, Susan Latham, and John Lewis.

– Malakoff ISD: Three have signed up for two seats on the MISD school board: Incumbents Rick Vieregge and Gary Woolverton, and challenger Pat Smith.

– Trinidad ISD: TISD has four seats available of varying terms. Signing up for the two regular, three-year, seats were Jay Tart and Eric Airheart. Ricky Stanfield has filed to fill a two-year seat. No one filed for a one-year seat that is open.

Cross Roads ISD holds its elections in November in even-numbered years and will not have an election this year.
Voters have until April 9 to register, and early voting will be from April 27 through May 5.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

My friend Old Fogy says I write best when I write about myself. Sometimes my life is so boring I don’t have much to tell. But this week I have too much to tell. I can’t tell which part to save for another week.
I did go to Little Rock to hear my soon-to-be world traveler, Italy opera singer grandson Beau, perform in a recital. I was in the company of son Doug and my two other world-traveler grandchildren, Jonathan and Laken. Of course he was great. I’d probably think so even if he wasn’t, but I can assure you, he really was exceptional.
The next day Jonathan and Laken and I went to Dallas to see the BodyWorlds, “an anatomical exhibition of real human bodies.” These bodies were donated by their previous owners, not snatched, which made me feel better about the whole thing. This fellow, Gunther von Hagens, invented something called Plastination, where through a long process, he can preserve everything about the human body intact except the eyeballs. He has them posed in lifelike poses, with cut-aways where you can see every part, bones, organs, muscles, nerves, veins, everything. Jonathan is going to be a doctor, so he just really loved it. They wouldn’t let you take a camera in. I wish I could have, in order to get a picture of Jonathan gaping at everything.
Saturday was a big day. Daughter Liz and I went flea market shopping. We walked around Big Daddy’s buying things and telling folks we’d be back to pick them up in Liz’s Suburban. We nearly forgot some of the places where we had stuff, and just about ran out of room. I finally picked up a Jenn-aire range top I’d bought for Liz that she decided wouldn’t work, that we were hoping the vendor would sell to somebody else. Now I’m going to use it in my new – well, new to me – house, which I’ll get around to telling you about in a minute.
Carl joined us for lunch at McClain’s, our favorite place to eat when we are in that direction. I told him about a travel trailer I’d seen advertised in a flea market booth.
I want Carl to have a trailer here at my place in the country, so he’ll stay out here more and tend to his darn horses.
Then we headed to Athens for an afternoon showing of “Shrek III” with all of Liz’s family. (We go while the tickets are cheap.) We were nearly late.
After the movie, Carl and I went to look at the trailer. It looked great, and the owner haggled himself down to an even better price than advertised. Carl bought it. Not only can he camp down here near his horses, he can take it on his week-long Indian gatherings.
Speaking of his Indian gatherings, after buying the trailer, we picked up our toothbrushes and headed to Lampasas where he will be doing this once-a-year thing soon. He needed to check on things, he said, and I guess I was in the habit of traveling this week and couldn’t stop.
We found a motel late, and next morning headed way out in the hills to the encampment, where we found a creek too high to pass, so we headed to Fredricksburg, where we visited our friend, Bill Kilpatrick, who has become an import mogul. He and Carl once bought a little trolley together in Jefferson. Bill ran it there for a while, pulling tourists around town, then moved to Fredricksburg where he did well with it. Then somebody asked if they could put some Mexican wrought iron in front of his place and sell it on consignment. That did so well Bill decided to sell the stuff himself, and gradually grew into a big store, selling both the regular stuff you see everywhere as well as some very unique and expensive furniture and accessories, some of them costing thousands. He no longer runs the trolley, which has aged considerably, and gave the engine to Carl several years ago, for part of his equity. It has set behind the nursing home for several years, since Carl didn’t really know what to do with it. Now Cedar Lake thinks it would be a great PR vehicle if we can get it running. We could take it to parades and the Corn Bread Festival. We were there to try to get the other part – the part where riders sit. Kilpatrick had sort of loaned it out, and when we found it, it was not a pretty sight.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Apparently the stories saying Lewis Vieregge first started making bricks by stomping straw into clay with Moses are a little off, according to Malakoff Acme Brick plant manager Luke Odenthal

But still, 60 years is a mighty long time.

Wednesday friends, family and even the company president and CEO packed into the Acme Brick break room to wish Lewis Vieregge a happy retirement after more than 60 years at the plant. {{more}}

Fighting back tears, Mr. Vieregge told the crowd, “Retirement is a happy time, but it is a sorrowful time (also), because each of you has become family. I’ll treasure this day the rest of my life.”

Mr. Vieregge joined the brick plant in January 1949 after serving in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. He started out breaking up clumps of clay with a pick ax and rose to plant superintendent. According to those in attendance Wednesday, there wasn’t anything to do with the Malakoff brick plant that he didn’t know.

Wednesday, Mr. Vieregge received a gold watch and a framed letter from Acme Brick president and CEO Dennis Knautz.

In the letter, Knautz wrote, “Brick-making technology has come a long way since your first brickyard job



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Filing for the upcoming municipal and school board elections will close on Monday, March 9. Those wishing to file to run for either the City Council or the School Board can pick up application packets at City Hall or the Administration Building.

The last day for write-in candidates to file is March 16.
Voters have until April 9 to register, and early voting will be from April 27 through May 5.

Election Day is May 9. {{more}}

There are three positions open at Malakoff City Hall, the mayor and two council seats. As of Tuesday, only two people had filed for election so far, however. Ricky Lane Baker Jr. has filed to be mayor, and incumbent Tim Trimble has filed to run again for council.

Incumbent Councilwoman Jeanette King had not filed as of Tuesday, and former Mayor Pat Isaacson resigned from the position in November.

At Malakoff ISD, there will be two seats open for the Board of Trustees. Incumbents Rick Vieregge and Gary Woolverton have both signed up to run again, along with Pat Smith.

Other area races will include:

– Cross Road ISD: No election. Cross Roads holds their elections in November every other year.

– Trinidad ISD: Trinidad has four seats up for varying terms. The regular seats will be those of Eric Airheart and Willie Lundy, which are both for three-year terms. In addition, Ricky Stanfield’s seat, which he took when Tanya Norris resigned, is up for a two-year term. Also Ricky Burton’s seat, which he took when Jay Tart resigned, is up for a one-year term.

– Caney City: Seats up this election include Mayor Joe Barron and council members Jack Boykin and Ron Welch.

– Log Cabin: Seats up include Mayor Billy Goodwin and council members Royal Johnson and Francis Hinton.

– Star Harbor: Council seats up include Van Limerick, Jim Gilfillan and Bob Scible.

– Trinidad: The mayor’s seat is open after Chris Quinn resigned last year. Also council members Brett Nolan and Mary Ellen Johnston.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

By Pearl Cantrell

ATHENS – Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers are investigating the crash of a Beechcraft Bonanza single-engine aircraft just east of Athens Wednesday. The aircraft is believed to have been stolen from the Athens airport.

According to reports, no one was seriously injured in the crash, which left the plane destroyed and hanging in a stand of trees on private property off County Road 4506.
Authorities took a suspect into custody just hours later, reportedly when he returned to the airport to get his maroon pickup truck after the plane crashed. {{more}}

Carroll Dyson, owner of Dyson Aviation, called the plane’s owner when Dyson began to suspect the plane was being stolen from the Athens Municipal Airport off Loop 7 around 9:15 a.m.

A couple of signs tipped Dyson off to the possible theft.

While eating some breakfast in front of a window facing the airport ramp, where planes are parked and tied down, he saw the suspect unlock the plane’s door and go through a preflight check. That was around 7:30 a.m.

“He looked a lot like the owner – the same build and height, clean-cut,” Dyson said.

However, when the man tried to start the engine, it didn’t catch after three tries. The man then left, but later returned and succeeded in getting the engine started.
Dyson had been doing some paperwork when he heard the plane’s engine revving up.

“I can’t not watch a plane take off,” Dyson said. So, he stepped out his office door.

The pilot didn’t go to the far end of the runway to take off, but began his run at the T, which was near the ramp, Dyson reported.

Also, the pilot’s truck was parked on the ramp, instead of in the parking lot. That was unusual, he said.

Then, Dyson noticed the aircraft’s door was still open as it was taking off. That’s when Dyson decided to call the owner.

“Did you loan anyone your plane?” he asked. “No,” was the answer, and the keys were in his sight, Dyson said.

“Well, you better call the police, then, because someone has just taken off with your plane,” Dyson told the owner.
However, the suspect didn’t get far.

The plane came back down about five miles away from the airport, crash-landing in the stand of trees, located some distance behind Athens Tractor Supply on U.S. Highway 175.
A search for the craft by air was under way, employing the Air One medical helicopter from East Texas Medical Center. The chopper located the crash site about 10:30 a.m.
Law enforcement officers came out to the airport to question Dyson about what he saw, and while they were there, Dyson noticed someone getting into the truck on the ramp and driving away.

After a short chase, officers returned to the airport with the suspect in custody.

Dyson made a positive identification of the man as the same one who conducted the preflight check earlier and took off with the plane.

The suspect was taken to ETMC-Athens to be checked out, but did not appear to be seriously injured, Dyson said.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

The theme for the Henderson County Black History Committee’s Scholarship Banquet last weekend might have included “Technology” and a “New Vision,” but it was the committee’s old-fashioned support for education that dominated the evening.

The committee handed out 17 scholarships to area students Saturday night at the Malakoff Community Center. {{more}}

The students honored with scholarships by the committee include: Bree Anna Tilley, Morgan Coker, Landon Graham, Jordan Richards, Kaylee Callahan, Grant Lewis, Brittany Ayala, Gaston Wilder, Paige Hurt, Ta’Meshia Overton, Traci Mason, Amanda Bunger, Ariel Clendening, Gabriel Williams, Ariel Humble, Darius Neal, and De’Marcus Sparks.

In addition to the scholarships, Trinity Valley Community College Vice President Rip Drumgoole, a founding member of the Black History Committee, said the college would add at least $100 and maybe more if the students went to TVCC.

“The next step is an important one,” Drumgoole said. “I know you will make the right choices.”

Harlee Wright of Texas College in Tyler also spoke to the students about higher education.

“Anybody who wants to go into teaching, we are the place to go,” he said.

The event featured dual keynote speakers from KLTV Channel 7 News in Tyler: reporters LaKecia Shockley and Layron Livingston.

Both speakers highlighted their faith in God and told students to look to the future.

“You are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Shockley. “The vision each of us has, that you have, comes from within.”
The evening also included a raffle featuring several high quality prizes such as a cruise, airline tickets and professional sports memorabilia.

The Henderson County Black History Committee thanked the following individuals and businesses for making donations to support the banquet:

– George Brett, Kansas City Royals
– Bassett Furniture in Tyler
– Bacon Auto Ranch of Athens
– 1st State Bank of Athens
– Brinker International of Mesquite
– Lawry’s of Dallas
– Oasis Travel of Palestine
– Mesa Airline of Phoenix, Arizona
– El Dorado Casino of Shreveport, La.
– Durham’s Jewelry of Athens
– Dallas Stars of Frisco
– Isle of Capri of Lake Charles, La.
– Walmart of Athens
– Texas Rangers
– Lilly Enterprises of Athens
– Brookshire’s of Malakoff
– Subway of Malakoff
– First Baptist Church of Malakoff (Walker Street)
– First Baptist Church of Malakoff (Mitchum Street)
– Church of Living God of Athens
– Antioch Baptist Church of Malakoff
– Marsha Head of Athens
– Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Athens
– A&B Importhouse of Malakoff
– Bluebell Creameries of Mesquite
– Ben E. Keith/Budweiser of Palestine
– Faith Community Baptist Church of Payne Springs
– Cedar Fork Baptist Church of Trinidad
– Henderson County Democratic Party of Athens
– Johnson Chapel AME Church of Malakoff
– Discovery Science Place of Tyler (Donation for the upcoming pageant)
– The Malakoff News



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

Vernon W. Rosson, 84, of Kerens, died Feb. 27, 2009, in Kerens. He was born Oct. 17, 1924, in Glen Dale, Ariz., to the late Ferman Rosson and Ola Mae Quick.
Mr. Rosson was in construction and was married to Jean Rosson for 49 years.
He was preceded in death by daughters, Sally Rosson, Grace Eldridge, Rachel Rosson; sister, Tommie Martin; brother, Jim Rosson.
Survivors include daughter, Dana and Cliff Miller of Malakoff; son, Bill and Dixie Akerly of Alabama; brothers, Frank Rosson of Arizona, Carl Rosson of Arizona; sister, Betty Rosson of Arizona; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

Thomas S. Johnson, 81, of Mabank, died Tuesday, March 3, 2009, in Kemp.
He was born Sept. 19, 1927, in Geneva, Ohio, son of the late Fred and Helen Johnson. He was a member of Beacon Church of Christ and was retired as a lineman for TXU Electric.
Surviving are his wife, Eugenia Johnson and sons, Scott and wife, Gayle Johnson, Jeffery and wife Deborah Johnson; 16 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren
He was preceded in death by parents, Fred and Helen Johnson; son, Jason Johnson.
Services were held at Beacon Church of Christ Gun Barrel City, Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 11 a.m. with Ken Maddox officiating under the direction of Tomlinson Funeral Home Seven Points.



Posted by : admin | On : March 6, 2009

Services for Wilma Mae Howell, 86, of Payne Springs, were held 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2009, in Forney.
Mrs. Howell died Friday, Feb. 27, 2009, in Athens. She was born Nov. 15, 1922. She was a realtor.
Survivors include daughters, Mary Jean Gates of Payne Springs, Melanie Johnson of Georgia; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.