Posted by : admin | On : January 30, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Malakoff High School junior Dalton Simeone became a part of American history last week.

Simeone, 16, traveled to Washington, D.C., to be on hand for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He went as part of the Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference (PYIC).

Simeone was one of the estimated 1.5 million people on the National Mall who braved the frigid temperatures to watch Obama be sworn in; and while the historic nature of the event wasn



Posted by : admin | On : January 30, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

The troubled economy is starting to hit home.
Wednesday, the Acme Brick Company announced plans to close one of its two plants in Malakoff, laying off 28 employees in the process.

“Both of those plants have been running at less than capacity due to the downturn in the housing market, and our expectations are that things aren’t going to improve anytime (soon),” said Ed Watson, Senior Vice President of Production for Acme Brick Company. {{more}}

Watson said the decision was made to close one of the plants and increase production in the other. In the process, Acme Brick transferred 22 employees from the closed plant to the active plant.

“Unfortunately, it did involve some layoffs of some good people,” said Watson. “It is just the economy and the housing market. We are so tied to the housing market in our industry; this actually makes the seventh plant out of 24 that we’ve closed in the past couple of years.”

Watson said the layoffs came with severance pay, and that the company is working with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to help those employees try and find work.
Watson said Acme Brick does intend to reopen the plant as soon as there is a turnaround in the housing market.

“We want (those laid off) to stay in contact with us because we hope, as soon as the economy turns, to restart the plant and we’ll need to get these fine people back to work for us,” he said.

The layoffs will not help the county’s unemployment numbers, which were already at their highest point in four years.

According to the TWC, Henderson County’s jobless rate was 6.5 percent in December. That number has climbed steadily for the past nine months since the year’s low of 4.3 percent in April. (Numbers are not seasonally adjusted.)
Unemployment in December in Henderson County was higher than in neighboring Smith County (5.6 percent), Navarro County (6.1 percent), and Van Zandt County (5.1 percent).
The numbers are troubling.

“We are certainly concerned about the economic condition of Henderson County,” said County Judge David Holstein.
“Along with the Texas Workforce Commission and the East Texas Council of Governments we are always trying to push for job retraining capabilities and searching for ways to get new jobs,” he said.

Statewide, Texas saw large job losses in December, according to the TWC.

“The Texas unemployment rate continued to follow the national unemployment rate’s upward trend,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “For the first time since 2004, our state hit the 6.0 percent unemployment mark after record lows of 4.2 percent just a year ago.”



Posted by : admin | On : January 25, 2009

By Britt Thompson and Amanda Miles Thompson

From The Malakoff News
Friday, January 24, 1947

Appointment of Miss Ruth Tucker as home economist for Lone Star Gas Company in this territory has been announced by Frank V. Williams, division superintendent for the company. Miss Tucker is available for consultation on menu planning and meal preparation and will advise on how to get the most economical use from modern gas appliances. She will have headquarters in Corsicana.

A native of Weatherford, Miss Tucker graduated from the Azle High School and received her B. S. degree in home economics from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. During her junior year at T.C.U., she worked as a student assistant in the home economics department. She joined Lone Star Gas Company in 1945 and underwent training in the home economics department in Dallas and Fort Worth to prepare for her assignment in this territory..

CONTRIBUTE TO LOOKING BACK! – If you have photographs, articles, or family histories that you would like to see in the Looking Back column, please contact Britt Thompson at the following email address: rbtnyu81@sbcglobal.net or mail to Britt Thompson, 7033 Blalock Drive, The Colony, Texas 75056. Photographs and text can be in any format.

DOWN MEMORY LANE – Click on the Down Memory Lane link. Share your memories as new pictures from Malakoff



Posted by : admin | On : January 24, 2009

From Staff and Wire Reports

The mother of religious sect leader David Koresh, Bonnie Clark Halderman, has been found stabbed to death and her sister, Beverly Clark has been arrested for the murder.

Clark was booked into Henderson County Jail.

According to Henderson County Sheriff Department officials, police were called to the home of Clark in Chandler on Friday afternoon and when they arrived they found Halderman



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

I hope you all have noticed the former Malakoff News building on Terry Street is once more occupied, and filled with all kinds of wonderful stuff. Black-eyed Susan’s, the latest in the growing list of antique-and-pretty thing shops in Malakoff, is now open, having transformed the former newspaper office and previous post office building into a thing of beauty. Inside, at least.
I hope you will go by and see the shop. It really is lovely. And while you are there, try to look up Clint Smith. Clint, one of several vendors who make up the Black-eyed Susan community, has a really interesting story to tell. His great grandfather, also named Clint Smith, was captured by Commanches and lived with them for several years before he was rescued. Later he wrote a book about his life with the Indians, and Clint has copies for sale. I am reading one. It is really a fascinating book. I was going to tell you the story, but I think you need to go see Clint and either let him sell you a book, or tell you the story, or preferably, both.
I have another book I want to tell you about, that has some definite local connections, but I’ve got to find out how you can get a copy of it if you are interested. It is a book of poems by my late friend, Don Berggren, published after his death by his brother Ross. You’ll be hearing more about this in a week or two.
And for that matter, maybe you’d be interested in purchasing a copy of “The Golden Years of Jess Martin,” by Malakoff News columnist Jeff Davis. I happen to have an extra copy, and know where to get more. An excellent read if you can stand some naughty words and reading about an old codger behaving badly, not going “quietly into that dark night.” I don’t mean to be flip about it; it really is an exceptional book, I just wanted to warn you it is a little spicy.
I have a new garden plot, just finished today! I am so proud of it. Billy Quinn brought me a bunch of top soil, and he and Eric Gilbert spread it out and put timbers around it to make me an approximately 30 x 40 ft garden, out in the only sunny spot near my house, which was mostly clay. I have eight blueberry bushes I wondered how I would ever get holes dug for. Eric used his backhoe and dug me a big long trench where I can place my bushes, then fill in around them. I have a pile of gardening books, which I am reading, letting them argue with one another. I have some onions sets. I have a bunch of hay which I will use for mulch, and daughter Tina promises to bring me all the barnyard poop I could ever desire. This is the only sad thing about the horses being gone. No more automatic fertilizer.



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Tuesday – one day after the nation honored the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Barack Obama became the first African-American to be sworn in as the President of the United States.

And on MLK Day, Obama reminded us why this historic week was important to everyone regardless of race or political party.

“Dr. King taught us that we could no longer view our own day-to-day cares and responsibilities as somehow separate from what was happening in the wider world that we read about in the newspaper and saw on TV,” Obama said while working on a shelter for homeless teens in Washington, D.C. “Because ultimately, for each of us, our own story and the American story are not separate, they are shared.”
Malakoff shared in the history this week. {{more}}

On Saturday night the Henderson County Black History Committee held its annual Gospel Explosion at Johnson Chapel AME Church, and it followed up with its annual Candlelight Vigil honoring Dr. King at New Hope Corinth CME Church Monday night. Tuesday night in a less formal – but no less festive – event, members of the community came together at Joe’s Kitchen in Caney City to celebrate the inauguration.

At all events, from Malakoff to D.C., it seemed that the words to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” better known as the Negro National Anthem, had come true:
“Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of hope that the present has taught us.”

The song led off the candlelight service in Malakoff and the Rev. Joseph Lowry quoted the third verse in his benediction at the inauguration.
The connections between the county and the capital didn’t end there.
In Malakoff, the message was of service.
Derryl Jackson, emcee of Monday’s candlelight service, said, “Remember to be a servant, because (Dr. King) was a servant.”

The Rev. Haywood Thomas, associate pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Malakoff, challenged listeners to live their God-given dream.

“The poorest person is not the one without a nickel in his pocket,” Thomas said, “but the one without a dream.”
Thomas reminded the crowd what happened when Dr. King followed his dream.

“If not for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., many of us would not be living the life we are living,” he said.

Amanda Thomas sang “If I Can Help Somebody,” a song quoted by Dr. King in his sermons: “If I can help somebody as I pass along; If I can cheer somebody with a word or song; If I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong; Then my living will not be in vain.”

And in Washington, D.C., now President Obama visited the same theme in his inaugural address: “For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

The Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees was expected to name Jamie Driskell as Malakoff High School’s new head football coach and Athletic Director Thursday, Jan. 22.

The meeting came after the paper’s deadline for this week.
If hired, Driskell, 36, is expected to start next week.

Driskell has been with Palestine ISD since 2004, and was the offensive coordinator for the past three years and assistant head coach the past two years. While at Palestine, Driskell was also the head boys basketball coach one year, and the head girls track coach for three years.
Malakoff will be his first job as head football coach.
Other schools where Driskell coached and taught include: Westwood, Livingston, Groveton, and Crockett. {{more}}

In his application to MISD, Driskell wrote, “It is my belief that a well-run athletic program plays an intricate part in the educational process. A team sport is the ideal stage to teach young athletes a great lesson that can be learned in few arenas. The concept of the greater good of the team over the individual cannot be emphasized too emphatically. This idea spells success in the business world, the family, and our community. Combine these with the setting of proper team and individual goals, and the student athlete will have the opportunity to experience immediate and long term success.”

MISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies said the district received 150 applications for the position. Of those, 15 were interviewed and five were selected as finalists.
“It was an incredible response that we received,” Spies said. “We felt very blessed on the quality of resumes we got.”

A committee composed of Spies, MHS Principal Randy Perry, MES Principal Ronny Snow, and community member Don Murphy conducted the interviews. Except for Spies, all members of the committee have head coaching experience.

Spies said the committee scored the interviews separately, but that all four listed Driskell as their top pick.

Coaching runs in Driskell’s family. His father, Monte Jack Driskell, won 293 football games while coaching at Groveton, Lovelady and Crockett, and was inducted into the Texas High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998.

Driskell and his wife, Emily, have three children: Josie, 6; Judson, 5; and Jack, nine months.



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

Malakoff senior Zack Minter has reached the top.
Minter was recently chosen to be a member of the 2009 Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) All-State Band. Minter plays the euphonium.

“It is really exciting. It is just one of those things that you will always have with you,” Minter said. “I’m really glad it happened; not to be boastful.”

Minter will get to perform with the All-State Band in San Antonio Saturday, Feb. 14. {{more}}

Malakoff High School Band Director Mark Eastin said, “Zack has been very close to making All-State the past two years and made it his goal at the beginning of the year to make the band his senior year.”

Minter is the first Malakoff student to earn the honor in more than 20 years.

“Around here, having an All-State player is a very big deal,” Eastin said. “Since we haven’t had one in over 20 years, you can see how that might make it even more special.”

The honor didn’t come without a lot of hard work. Minter has been practicing the competition music for the past year.
“Everyone in the band has it memorized because they’ve heard me play it so much,” Minter joked.

On top of his music, Minter also has held a part-time job at McDonald’s in Malakoff and is the vice president of the Malakoff High School chapter of the National Honor Society as well.

Part of the credit for Minter’s success can be traced back home.

“My mother’s support is something that I can always count on to be there,” he said.

But in the end, he is the one who put in the hours.
“I’ve been working hard all year,” Minter said.

“One of the issues we deal with in a small school program is, we don’t have the staff or availability of private lessons for most of our students,” Eastin said. “Therefore, it really becomes a matter of a student with the talent putting in the time and effort it takes to improve to a level that allows them to compete at the state level and Zack certainly did that. I never doubted that he had the talent to be an all-state player.”

Minter’s individual honor is also a boost to the program as a whole.

“Now that Malakoff has an all state student, it gives us a little more validity as a top quality band program as it relates to some of the others in the State of Texas,” Eastin said. “Most of the students who make the ATSSB All-State Band are from 3A schools. Even 2A schools that are considered to be some of the best in the state don’t have any All-State musicians.”



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

By Michael V. Hannigan

CANEY CITY – The Caney City Volunteer Fire Department has a new truck – two new trucks, actually.

The CCVFD displayed its new engine and brush truck at a pancake breakfast last Saturday morning at Caney Cove RV Resort. The trucks were purchased recently at an auction in Athens and come from the Canton VFD.

The purchase of the fire engine marked an historic moment for the department. {{more}}

“This is the first ever engine in Caney City,” said former fire chief and current EMS chief David Ramsey. “This increases our capacity to fight fires and adds great value to the community.”

Ramsey, who has been a member of the CCVFD since its inception in 1981, said the department had been trying for “years and years” to get an engine.

Current fire chief Harry Stockton said the Caney City City Council was instrumental in getting the two new trucks.
“We want to say thank you to the council and to the citizens who have contributed,” he said.

Both Stockton and Ramsey said the trucks will be a big help to the department as the area continues to grow.
“We are preparing in advance for the expansion to come,” Stockton said.

Caney City Mayor Joe Barron said the purchases were a testament to teamwork.

“This shows progress,” he said. “It shows we are working together. Without a team effort you will have problems, but we have a team effort.”

In addition to regular firefighting duties, the CCVFD also engages in water rescue operations on Cedar Creek Lake and has an equine search and rescue team.

Those interested in becoming a member of the Caney City Volunteer Fire Department can apply in person at Caney City City Hall, 15241 Barron Road, or call 903-681-1017. Volunteers must be 18 or older.



Posted by : admin | On : January 22, 2009

The philosopher John Locke came up with a theory called “The Blank Slate.” It said that the mind of a baby was a clean, unmarked slate.
The converse is that there is an innate human nature of some kind; the mind has some hardwiring.
Evidently Marx had observed that if people were just left alone they didn’t seem to gravitate naturally to socialism. But if the slate was clean at birth it should be possible to fill the slate with socialism