Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Emily Lundy
Special to The News
Our week began with the sad news of the death of Carroll Baker, 69, a long-time resident of Trinidad, who was a business man, a husband to Annaleise, and the father of three grown children and grandfather to several.
His untimely death came in a Tyler hospital where he had been since a debilitating stroke occurred over a week ago. He recognized friends and family in ICU, but Sunday, March 8, word went out his vital signs were showing a worsening of his condition as he slipped into a coma. Baker graduated from THS in 1958.
When his wife, Annaleise, transferred into the Trinidad schools from Germany in 1958, coming here with her mother who married one of the late Jim Williams’ sons, Annaleise was a sophomore. The young couple met at the next Friday night dance TP&L provided teens at the community building every Friday night by its main gate. Carroll knew instantly he had met the true love of his life. The two married in 1960, lived out of Trinidad for a short while, then returned to Trinidad. Carroll was a popular guy around town, a gentleman, always having something to say, and interested in all the activity of town. He will certainly be missed.

J.W. Morgan, husband of Minnie Lou (Counts), finally has his skin grafting and surgeries for skin cancer in the past. He has healed nicely on the face and is handsome as ever.

Dan Taylor has fought his battle with the shingles and won. He urges anyone who has never had this malady to take the shot currently out for its prevention. He was out of circulation for almost a week with this strange condition, which can strike anywhere on the body. Someone said his was even in his mouth.

Mondo Renteria lost his mother this week. She had been sick for quite a while in Ranger. She was buried in West Texas. Lauretta and Norman Lawler traveled from here Saturday, to and from, as did their other relatives from the Metroplex and elsewhere. Mondo and Mary Nell (French) Renteria live in Kemp.

Mary Lou Hines was not well last week.

Billy Ray Hornbuckle had serious surgery last week and is still hospitalized. He is president of the local school board.

Joel Ardoin has his good days and bad days and can be seen about town or working in his yard frequently.

Billy Don Avant and wife Karen have been here visiting his mother Beaula from Malakoff. They were here when Carroll Baker became ill and stayed. Bill and Carroll were cousins. The Avants call home Hobbs, N.Mexico, now. Their two sons are there.

Harding Airheart, now 86, is living with his older sister Flora Bell Robb in Trinidad now. She has recovered from breaking a hip. Harding says he makes it to his church every Sunday and even teaches a class on Wednesday nights. He and Flora have not been able to get in touch with Lila Ruth.

Eugene Berry is living in Tool presently and doing well but staying close in. He can get out some days to make his days more enjoyable.

Thelma Smith, devoted wife of the late Everett Smith, still lives with Shirley and Don Belville of Carthage and is doing quite well.

Our friend Larry Delong, 55, of Mabank, is in Baylor hospital, having undergone five bypasses to his heart. He probably will have been home several days when this is read.

Election signups were over this week for City and School board places. Elections are in May.

Surely, rain will find us soon. The warmer weather this weekend was wonderful but a frightful harbinger of what can lie ahead in those summer months.

Dot Meadows, of Tool, has had her hands full recently. Her mother had surgery, her dad had a stroke, and her father-in-law has cancer.

On the prayer list this week are these: Joe Greenhaw, Martha Perry, Joe Wilbanks, Toni Steele, Roselee Loven, Loretta Fugate, Chester Brandley, Gertrude Stanfield, Geraldine Stanfield, Fran Edgar, Raymond Tubbs, Evelyn Beavers, Lena Goodenough, Barbara Thompson, Valerie Cooley, David Lohman, Russell and Cecil Yates, Charles Shannon, our fighting men and women in uniform, the grieving, the hungry and abused or neglected, the Baker family, Adrian Parks, anyone we should be thinking about.



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

Usually these columns consist of my telling you something nutty I did the previous week. Last week, I demonstrated. I had cleverly filed this column under March 3 in my computer. I have kept all my old columns there – who knows why – usually under some word that tells what I was thinking about that week. Sometimes, an hour or two later, when I try to find the one I just wrote, I can’t remember what I called it. So it seemed like it would be easier just to date it. Problem is, since I don’t usually do that, when I got into the M’s and saw a date, I just clicked it and sent it on. Turned out it was last May. Sorry about that. But I was able to dig out last week’s column, which you may not like much better.

I’m sorry I missed you last week. I was under the weather with one of those virus things that won’t kill you, but will make you wish it would. I felt awful. In fact, I still don’t feel great. I think I’ve had a relapse.
The worst thing about this relapse is I’m hosting the Garden Club this Thursday night. I’ve been wanting to show off my farmhouse. But, now, after being sick for a week, it is in a mess. And I don’t feel like cleaning it up. But the place is small. Maybe I can shove things in closets and lock those doors.
Maybe I’ll get my buffet fixed before Thursday. It has been through a lot.
I bought it in December from Travis Durham, my favorite purveyor of good old furniture. Somehow, as Carl and I were bringing it home, the top, glass-doored china cabinety part managed to jump out of the back of Carl’s pickup and hit the highway. It happened pretty close to where part of a sectional jumped off a trailer on its way to Carl’s house in Trinidad a couple of years ago. I wrote about that at the time. Needless to say, the cabinet broke into many pieces.
Carl said we should toss it. But I insisted we show it to David McCann, and sure enough, he was able to put it back just about good as new. He went and got some glass cut to fit the curved top of the doors. It looks great in my little kitchen. Well, it did.
I decided to paint the inside of it. To make it all match, I needed to paint the back side of the little boards that make the doors look like they are in panes. David had glued the glass in with silicone sealant. In the process of trying to get the glass back out, we cracked it a little, and it still didn’t come out. Now I understand that silicone sealant, like diamonds, is forever. Now the decision is, do I just keep the crack, and the unpainted little boards or break both panes and fight the silicone.
You didn’t want to hear all of that, but I feel like I should write something, and I don’t feel well enough to write anything funny.
On a happy note, Carl did till the goat poop a number of you helped Tina get to me. My garden eagerly awaits lots of little seeds and plants I am nearly ready to deposit there.
Another happy note: poke salad is nearly here. My sister Mary may have already told you that – I haven’t seen last week’s paper. She called and told me she had some peeking up in her back yard, so I had to go see if I could find some, and sure enough, I found some tiny shoots in my back pasture. I’ll bet by the time I write again I will be bragging about eating fresh poke salad.
One more happy note, well two. My fancy-dancy steam shower is all fixed and working great again, and that fancy-dancy double oven stove that has been beeping in the middle of the night and sending me messages to call a repairman has also been shut up and made new. Julius Loosier, a really neat Jeff Foxworthy kind of guy, who contracts for Abco came out this morning and changed its brain out. He is nearly worth the cost of the service call just for entertainment value. He says Abco is going to become Mr. Appliance.
Maybe I’ll write a better column next week. Maybe not.



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

In January, R. Scott McKee took over as Henderson County District Attorney and Ray Nutt took over as sheriff.
Since then, it has been open season on sexual predators out on probation.

“We are looking closely to see if these guys are doing what they are supposed to and if not we’re working to take them in front of the judge,” McKee said.

In February, officials arrested Curtis Cook of Gun Barrel City for failing to register as a sexual offender. Cook originally pleaded guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in September 2008. His victim was younger than the statutory 14 listed in the indictment. {{more}}

The Cook case was highlighted in an October 2008 front page story by The Malakoff News exploring why some pedophiles receive probation rather than prison sentences. In interviews for the story, District Judge Dan Moore and then-District Attorney Donna Bennett spoke about how the judicial system sometimes listens to the desires of the victim’s family when deciding how to proceed in a child sexual assault case.

That was the case in the Cook case, Moore said.

At that time, both Moore and Bennett said revoking probation is easier than getting a conviction; revoking probation does not require a trial, only a hearing before a judge.

Now Cook is going back in front of Moore. Cook was expected to have a status hearing in his case on Thursday, March 12.

That was followed last week by Michael Keith Luera, 22, of Bay City, Texas, getting sentenced to four years in prison for violating terms of his probation. Luera pleaded guilty to Indecency with a Child in January 2005 and was sentenced to eight years probation in a plea bargain agreement.

Last Thursday, Moore agreed with the state’s allegations that Luera had failed to maintain suitable employment and had used a computer to watch pornography, sending him to the penitentiary.

At the time of the sentence, Assistant District Attorney Lenda Burnett said, “This is a new administration and we are not going to tolerate child predators in our community. I hope this sends a message to offenders that our office is working closely with the probation department to identify and prosecute those who are not complying with their court-ordered conditions.”

Then on Monday, sheriff’s officials arrested Jerry Don Wilson of Eustace for a first degree felony warrant for failing to register as a sexual offender.

According to sheriff department reports, Monday afternoon officials went to Wilson’s residence, contacted his wife, Katie Wiggins, and asked her of Wilson’s whereabouts when Wilson was seen running from a parked car by a stock pond in the back of the property toward a wooded area. Deputies brought in tracking dogs and followed Wilson for more than a mile through the woods, where he was apprehended about two hours later.

Wilson was booked into Henderson County jail on charges of Sex Offenders Duty to Register Life/90 Days with Previous Conviction, Fleeing a Police Officer, Capias Pro Fine (DWLI w/previous conviction), Probation Violation out of Dallas County for failure to register as sex offender.

According to the sheriff’s department, Wilson’s duty to register comes from three Indecency With a Child by Contact convictions, and one Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child conviction.

Wilson’s wife was also arrested for hindering apprehension.



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

The discovery in Chandler last Friday of a mentally disabled man locked in a room, wearing a diaper and covered in feces made headlines across the state.

Police said Kerry Paul Cotton, 42, could only grunt and was unable to communicate with officers; and it was reported that the moment he was released from the room he ran to the kitchen and tried to eat frozen bacon and a TV dinner through the box. {{more}}

The situation was appalling, according to police. The house had holes in the ceiling and the floor, and officers said the stench was overpowering. Two teenagers were arrested at the scene in connection with the abuse, and Cotton’s brother and sister-in-law were arrested later in Tyler.

Kerry Cotton wound up with Adult Protective Services (APS), which took him to the hospital for medical evaluation where he was treated for dehydration.

What followed was the usual round of denials and accusations: the teenage niece didn’t know any better, the authorities were called and nothing was ever done, the media sensationalized the whole thing. In time a new, sensational story will take its place and people will forget.

But APS will continue to work.

APS is a part of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the same agency that runs its much better known counterpart, Child Protective Services (CPS). But whereas everyone seems to know CPS, not everyone is aware of APS.

Doug Humble III is one who is working to change that.

Humble, the administrator of Cedar Lake Nursing Home in Malakoff, is the president of the Henderson County APS Board. He said the board serves as “an advocate for abused, neglected or exploited seniors and disabled adults in and around Henderson County.”

Humble said the board also works to “increase the awareness, recognition and overall connection of the Adult Protective Services program around our community.”

Humble said the board’s primary goal is to help APS through donations and by generating community support.

So what does APS do? According to the state website, the agency’s mission statement is: “To protect older adults and persons with disabilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation by investigating and providing or arranging for services as necessary to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment.”

The need for APS might come as a surprise. Alice Bethke, an APS supervisor over Henderson and Anderson counties, said the two counties combined for about 800 cases a year, with about 200 cases open at any one time.

Bethke said each county has four staff members to handle the caseload.

“I don’t know how they do it,” she told a meeting of the Henderson County APS Board Tuesday afternoon.

In fact, in 2004 APS completed nearly 60,000 investigations of abuse, neglect or exploitation and confirmed about 45,000 cases.

As for what happened in Chandler, Bethke said, “The abuse cases get all the attention, but the others can be just as bad.”

One big focus for APS is exploitation, which is defined as “misusing the resources of an elderly or disabled person for personal or monetary benefit, including taking Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) checks, abusing a joint checking account, and taking property and other resources.”

“Financial elder abuse is the most underreported abuse,” said Mark Birkelbach, an APS official speaking to the board this week.

Bethke agreed, saying exploitation can run into the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.

“And it happens in this county,” she said.

As the population gets older, the APS caseload increases. According to the agency, in the last decade the number of in-house abuse investigations by APS has doubled. In 2005, more than 2.2 million Texans were age 65 or older, and nearly one in five people had a disability. The numbers are only going to increase.

If you suspect a senior or a disabled person is being abused, neglected or exploited, call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400; or make a report through the agency’s website at

Reporting is anonymous.

On the web:



Posted by : admin | On : March 12, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

In November the voters in Malakoff approved it, and this week the City Council made it real: the City of Malakoff Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Monday, City Council members accepted the name, appointed the first seven directors, and approved the Articles of Incorporation for the MEDC.

In November, voters approved adding one-eighth of a penny to the city’s sales tax to fund the MEDC. {{more}}

According to the Articles of Incorporation approved Monday, the purpose of the MEDC is “for the promotion and development of industrial and manufacturing enterprises to promote and encourage employment and the public welfare of the city, and the corporation may issue bonds on behalf of the city for the financing, development and operation of projects …”

The MEDC can do very little without getting approval of the City Council first, however.

Picked to lead the MEDC in its first year were: Ronny Snow (president); Tim Trimble; Eva Wright; Phil Tucker; Melba Tomacen; Haywood Thomas; and Vincent Bailey.

According to the Articles of Incorporation, directors must be a qualified voter in the city, and serve at the discretion of the City Council. They will serve for two year (except for three members of the first group who will serve for one), and are eligible for reappointment by the City Council.

As soon as the city gets its Certificate of Incorporation from the state, the MEDC board will begin meeting.
In other action, the council:

– appointed Wade Hampton to the Zoning Commission to fill the spot of Tom Ewers who recently resigned;

– directed members of the police department to turn on their parking lights when parked on the side of the highway at night for safety reasons; and,

– directed City Administrator Ann Barker, Police Chief Billy Mitchell, and Municipal Judge Henry Ashford to meet to discuss a time and ways to conduct a warrant round-up.

Police Chief Billy Mitchell released the department’s monthly activity report for February, including:
– Service calls: 72
– Offense reports: 22
– Arrests: 12
– Agency assists: 12
– Citizen assists: 42
– Accidents: 4
– Citations: 46
– Warnings: 18
– Alarms: 15
– Cases filed with District Attorney’s Office: 1
– Cases filed with County Attorney’s Office: 2
– Total fuel: 596.6 gallons
– Total miles: 6,856



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