Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

It’s been a nice week. I have a new tin roof cover over my deck, and my family all came over so I could show it to them.
Actually we were celebrating because my two oldest grandsons were in from other states, and we wanted to get them together. Sadly, we made plans than conflicted with previous plans that Jonathan, our soldier, had already made, so he didn’t get there. But Beau, the opera singer, did show up, and we all had a good time eating home made ice cream. We were going to have watermelon too, but we got full on ice cream and the watermelons went begging. We were going to do all this on the newly covered deck, but it was a little warm. However it started to rain, so most everybody did go out for a little while to experience the wonderful sound of rain on a tin roof. I said I couldn’t wait till it rained at night while I’m in bed. Sure enough, that night it did. It was wonderful. My bedroom has French doors opening to the deck. That is the only way to get there from inside the house. That means I have to keep my bedroom looking respectable, at least when I have company.
I was having a little computer-internet trouble last week, and didn’t get a column in, but I see you didn’t miss hearing from me. I appreciate my sister giving you a little update on my garden prowess. She has named me the Garden Goddess. I appreciate that, too. I sometimes think I deserve that title. But this week, I’m a little discouraged. My zucchini and my yellow squash have almost all turned up their heels and died. I’m going to miss them. I could eat zucchini nearly every day. And I never even got around to trying zucchini bread. I’ve got to study up and see if I can stretch zucchini season out longer next year. Maybe I should freeze some, too. And my tomatoes, though they are still producing, are looking none too good. I’m going to see if I can figure out how to build them a shade next year when it gets so hot. I bought another plant the other day and have planted it where it gets some shade in the afternoon. We’ll see how that works. Some of my cucumbers are bitter. I read that the weather could do that. That is embarrassing – to give away a bitter cucumber. Somebody needs to take me in hand and coach me about these things.
Deuce, the neighbor dog who thinks he lives with me, didn’t learn his lesson. He dug in my flower beds again. I hurt his feelings again. He lurked off home. But he is back. So I have been gathering old dead limbs and laying them around each and ever plant. It actually looks nice. Looks kind of like grape vine furniture. We’ll see if this works.
And I don’t think I told you about my green house. Aaron made it for me out of the windows that were in my house when I bought it. I wanted it to look like it had been sitting there for 50 years, but he had to use some new lumber to hold them together. I wanted him to use some rusty tin that came with the house for the roof, but Aaron persuaded me there were too many nail holes in it, and it would leak too much, so it has a new roof on it. He did put some of the rusty tin on one side, and that looks good. When the weather cools I’m going to try to do something to hide the newness of the new boards.
My niece Margaret gave me one of those wonderful porcelain over metal sinks with the drain boards on either side, and I had it installed in the greenhouse. That’s cool. And I have a bunch of imperfect but beautiful stained glass, that I was storing till I figured out what to do with it, and it is going in there. That’s cool too. I may even grow some plants in there some day. Or maybe I’ll just admire it.


Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Attorney Brian Schmidt is still digging around Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Hall’s rubble pile – figuratively if not literally.

On Monday, Schmidt filed a series of three open record requests with Hall’s office, and one with Malakoff ISD, regarding the large pile of concrete and construction rubble located on land owned by the county between The Lindy Mall and Spring Creek Mobile Home Park in Malakoff.

The rubble has been a source of concern for area business owners and residents. Schmidt represents Ray and Janet Brown, owners of The Lindy Mall. Opponents say the pile “poses a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Henderson County” because of dangerous dust rising from the pile, the possibility of asbestos in the rubble, as well as the danger to children who might climb on the pile.

For his part, Hall admits there is a lot of rubble now at the site – most which came from the demolition of the old Malakoff Middle School auditorium – but says the material is safe and very valuable to taxpayers. He said it can be used for filling in washouts around culverts and can be ground up and made into road base. {{more}}

In May, Schmidt wrote to Henderson County Judge David Holstein and Commissioner’s Court complaining of the situation. Hall said he was looking for another piece of land to move the rubble, but that has yet to happen.

So Schmidt filed the open record requests.

“It is pretty sad that government can be so unresponsive that we have to resort to this,” he said.

In his requests, Schmidt asks Hall for:
– copies of any contracts, letter agreements, environmental impact studies, or any other written communication between Henderson County and Tyler Demolition regarding the transfer of the demolished Malakoff Middle School auditorium to county property;
– a copy of the bid received by the county to crush the concrete for road base;
– copies of any bids on the proposed chain link fence to be erected around the large pile of rubble.

In his request to Malakoff ISD, Schmidt asked for:
– a copy of the district’s Asbestos Management Plan required by federal law;
– copies of any inspections or re-inspections of the recently demolished auditorium conducted in compliance with federal law;
– a copy of the most recent document assigning a “designated person” for contact regarding asbestos compliance.

“I’m trying to figure out how a 10,000 square-foot building that the school district paid taxpayer money to have demolished and hauled to a dump really ended up in a completely different place next to homes and a business on a handshake or phone call with a party who wasn’t involved in the original contract,” Schmidt said. “That is amazing to me.”

In May, MISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies said the agreement which sent the remnants the auditorium to the county site was between Hall and the contractor, but did not include the school district.

Schmidt said he is also trying to find out the value of the material to taxpayers.

Hall said he turned the open record requests over to County Attorney Clint Davis.

Hall said the county has identified 18 acres on County Road 1402 and is waiting for the title search and contract. If that goes through, he said the pile will be moved this winter.

“When we are not working on roads,” the commissioner said.
According to state freedom of information rules, if the requested material cannot be produced within 10 business days, the governmental entity will have to notify Schmidt in writing of a reasonable date and time when it will be available.

If the governmental agency believes the information can be withheld because of an exception to state law, it must request an Attorney General opinion stating which exceptions apply and notify Schmidt of the AG request by the 10th business day.

Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Malakoff ISD has spent nearly $2,500 in legal fees in connection with the Old Rock Building debate, according to documents obtained by The Malakoff News.

The fees go back to February 2008.

The building, located next to the current Malakoff Elementary School, has been at the center of controversy since trustees voted to tear it down in February 2007. Since that time, activists including the Malakoff Historical Commission have fought for a chance to save the structure.
The debate has continued for more than two years, with the latest deadline set for Sept. 1. The Historical Society was required to have the building moved off school property by that date, according to a plan approved by trustees last December. {{more}}

Historical Society officials have said they do not have the money to move the building.

Last month trustees voted 4-3 to adhere to the Sept. 1 deadline.

As of Tuesday, the issue was not scheduled to appear on a board agenda this month.

According to the billing records obtained by The Malakoff News through an open records request, most of the legal fees came from conference calls with Superintendent Dr. John Spies, as well as work done on various lease possibilities and official opinions.

On at least three occasions last year, the school district’s attorneys held telephone conferences with attorneys for the Historical Society.

The Historical Society was not billed for attorneys’ fees, according to society spokeswoman Pat Isaacson.

School officials said there were no legal fees related to the Old Rock Building issue before February 2008.

In response to The Malakoff News open records request, school officials said the district has incurred no additional costs other than the legal fees as a result of the ongoing debate over the fate of the building.

Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

From Staff Reports

A 24-year-old Colorado man was arrested in Tool last Friday for possession of child pornography, Henderson County District Attorney R. Scott McKee announced this week.
Robert Leroy Baldwin was found in possession of child pornography videos at a home in the Cedar Creek Shores sub-division. He is currently in Henderson County Jail with bond set at $100,000.

According to information released by the DA

Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

A Texas Education Agency (TEA) spokeswoman said Malakoff ISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies did not break any rules or laws when he allowed a student to attend middle school late last year without officially registering.

TEA spokeswoman Suzanne Merchman said it was unusual, however.

Jul

09

Posted by : admin | On : July 9, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

When Republicans and Democrats clashed over a voter identification bill during the final days of the Legislative Session earlier this year, the Henderson County-based Texans Against Monarch’s Excessive Rates (TAMER) was one of the losers.

A bill which would have prevented water and sewer utilities from assessing rate increases before a public hearing was killed during the crush of the Legislature

Jul

03

Posted by : admin | On : July 3, 2009

From Staff Reports

Separation and divorce can be traumatizing. Healing is not easy, but First Assembly of God Church in Malakoff is stepping up to help.

Starting Monday, July 6, First Assembly will be facilitating a DivorceCare seminar series. The 13-week series will run Mondays from 7-8:30 p.m. through Sept. 28.

The series is free. Each session is self-contained, and those interested can begin attending the group at any point. {{more}}

DivorceCare is nondenominational and features Biblical teaching for recovering from divorce and separation.

Each seminar includes a 30-40 minute video featuring renowned experts on divorce and recovery, followed by time spent as a support group, discussing what was presented in that week’s video and what is going on in members’ lives.

Some of the seminar topics include:
– What’s happening to me?
– Facing my anger.
– Facing my depression.
– Facing my loneliness.
– What does the owner’s manual say?
– Financial survival.
– Kid care.
– Forgiveness.
– Moving on, growing closer to God.

The series is facilitated by First Assembly of God pastor the Rev. Tommy Hayes and Mary Adams.

All sessions will be held at the church, located at 920 E. Royall Blvd., in Malakoff. Call 903-489-0188 for more information.

Jul

03

Posted by : admin | On : July 3, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Henderson County residents are breaking out the tea bags once again.

Two rallies – or “Tea Parties” – have been scheduled for Saturday, July 4, to protest what organizers call out of control government spending.

One rally will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Gun Barrel City, at the intersection of Highway 334 and Harbor Point Drive (near GBC City Hall). {{more}}

Another will be from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn in Athens.

The county saw similar rallies on April 15, the deadline for filing federal income tax returns.

Organizers of the Gun Barrel City event say it is “to show ‘no support’ for federal policies and tax increases.”
They are asking people to bring envelopes, tea bags, stamps, balloons or a sign to the event. Envelopes will be mailed to Washington, D.C.

Taking a swing at “pork barrel” politics, organizers ask that people bring a can of pork n’ beans to the event to be donated to a local food bank.

The Athens event will include speakers such as Clint Stutts, Melissa Pehle Hill, David Hill, and constitutional scholar Gerry Donaldson.

Mrs. Hill is an author, commentator, talk show host and co-founder of the Make A Statement Project.

Donaldson is the Central Texas director of Patriotic Resistance and Grassfire.org.

These events are promoted as non-partisan.

Jul

03

Posted by : admin | On : July 3, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

The Texas governor’s race got under way in Henderson County last weekend with a visit from one of the candidates, a female Republican.

No; not the senator.

Debra Medina, the chair of the Wharton County Republican Party, visited with local GOP members last Saturday. Medina says she advocates for private property rights, gun ownership, individual responsibility and adherence to the Constitution, while opposing big government, taxes, bailouts, mandatory vaccinations, the Trans-Texas Corridor and abortion. {{more}}

Her campaign slogan is “We Texans.”

Among several items she discussed Saturday, Medina, a registered nurse, talked about health care.

She said the reason health insurance premiums are high in large part is because Texas is a “mandate-heavy” state.

“Mandates are passed by the legislature and require insurance companies to include coverage for various conditions regardless of need resulting in increases in premiums,” she said in a press release following the event.

Medina advocated heavily for a free market in the healthcare industry, one in which consumers had the freedom to choose exactly what coverage they wanted, instead of being forced to pay for coverage that would never apply or was simply not desired.

Medina also spoke about Texas’ financial situation, specifically trouble with bond indebtedness, the elimination of property taxes, and gun rights.

On all the issues covered, Medina expressed her belief that the role of government in the people’s lives should be limited, and that the free market should be allowed to work without government interference.

Medina faces an uphill battle to win her party’s nomination next March with both incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison expected to vie for the office.

She doesn’t seem afraid of a fight, however. On May 30, she wrote the following on her website: “Republicans have been guilty of evasion and posturing, of creating bigger and bigger government even when they promise just the opposite. I want to change those policies.”

www.MedinaforTexas.com