By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff City Council approved nearly $71,000 for emergency roof repairs for the city’s municipal building during its monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 11.
The roof of the 1978 building has needed repair for a while, City Administrator Ann Barker said, and recent rains caused interior flooding in several areas. The Red Waller Community Library housed in the building closed for three days, and Barker estimated about 20 buckets there, catching drips. Library books were damaged, and officials feared computer and electrical damage, but that was not the case, Barker said. Employees arriving in the morning first noticed the problem, she added, and the city administrator’s office also was affected.
King Roofing of Gun Barrel City was the low bid at $70,860. Seventy percent of that comes from the utilities fund, while 30 percent comes from the general fund, the city administrator said.
Also during the meeting, which fell on Veterans Day, the city recognized those who served. Noted were employees police Lt. Floyd Thomas and Clyde Bowman Jr., council member Jerry Savage, municipal Judge Bill Burton, Mayor Pro Tem Tim Trimble, and Buster Carter. Two vets also were in the audience: former Green Beret Clyde Bowman Sr., and Johnny Davis. The city employees were presented with a banner and a $20 gift card from Ole West Steakhouse in Athens.
Additionally, the council agreed to pay insurance on a new tanker truck recently acquired by the Malakoff Volunteer Fire Dept., which was requested by Chief Kirk Kebodeaux and Assistant Chief Bubba Matthews. The VFD bought the $240,000 vehicle with help from a $200,000 grant. The insurance premiums will cost the city $1,300 per year, Barker said.
The council also set a citywide cleanup for Saturday, Nov. 23. It will take place at the city warehouse, which is at 206 N. Terry Street, north of the traffic signal. Approved, too, was paying off 1977 sinking-fund series bonds with money remaining from 1976 bonds of the same type. The city had budgeted to pay off those 1977 bonds, but by making early payments, $79,000 of that now can be used for other purposes.
In other action, Homer Ray Trimble received the city’s votes to serve on the Henderson County Appraisal District board of directors. Mayor Pro Tem Trimble, who is Trimble’s son, abstained from the vote.
Posted by : November 15, 2013| On :
By Russell Slaton
Posted by : August 29, 2013| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
ATHENS–Athens Hornets Head Coach Paul Essary is working hard to establish a culture of winning.
Now in his fifth year at the helm, Essary brought the Hornets to the playoffs three out of his four seasons.
When he was brought on board as the Athletic Director and Head Coach in 2009, the team made the playoffs two consecutive seasons. It was the first time in 51 years that a Hornet team made the playoffs back-to-back.
“I tell the boys that they are part of starting a tradition of winning at Athens High School,” Essary said. “One or two good years doesn’t start a tradition. It takes longer.”
If this year’s Hornets can make the playoffs, as they except to, a whole new class would achieve success after Essary’s arrival. It’s an important step in his vision.
“The most important part of winning is to get the kids to buy in and believe in themselves,” Essary said. “When it’s really become all about winning, losing is no longer an option. When this gets into a kids head, real results start to show. Winning is bigger than the individual. When the kids realize its important for the team, the family and the community, they finally start to believe in what they can do.”
Coaching well takes a high level of tenacity. Essary explains the difference between successful coaching and mediocre coaching.
“It’s hard to be a good coach. It’s easy to let the students slide on little things and not give their full effort. But how does that profit them? How does that profit the team? How would that reflect on me? It’s easy to not constantly demand they give their best effort and constantly reinforce it. The same with a coaching staff. It’s easy not to demand their best. But when you do, it forms a culture of winning.”
According to Essary, a culture of winning will field well-prepared teams that come ready to play at their highest level each week. They may not always win the game, but it won’t ever be because they didn’t give 110 percent.
“I tell kids when they give all they have they are getting close to what it takes to win. Once they give everything, they need to give just a little bit more to get there.”
That little bit more can be the difference between a win and a loss. Essary says that when the whole team gives all they have, plus more you will no longer beat yourself. This forces a good team to play its best to win.
“We do not accept losing here,” Essary said. “Losing means we caused the loss. Getting beat, however is a different story. If we are well prepared, played our best, but the other team is just better, we can accept this kind of loss.”
“We want to be a team that does not lose, that forces other teams to beat us.”
Essary knows that some days students, and even coaches, don’t want to work hard. But it’s those days when it is more important to push through to success.
“I tell them there will be days when they have a family and they may not feel like getting up to go to work. Who’s going to feed their family then? They will need to get up and do it anyway. I teach the boys that lesson here and now.”
Posted by : August 29, 2013| On :
By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent
ATHENS-Henderson County fire marshal Shane Renberg asked commissioners Aug. 27 to consider taking the burn ban a step further, banning both fire works and outdoor welding. “People are following the burn ban, we’ve had fewer grass fires and issued fewer citations, but fires are starting from people setting off fireworks, and one grass fire started from just a few welding sparks,” he reported. “We’re getting complaints all over the county about fireworks, but can’t do anything more than ask them to stop.”
Halting the use of fireworks can happen if an emergency declaration is issued. The current burn ban continues through Tuesday, Sept. 3, but commissioners do not meet until the following week, which could allow the ban to expire.
County Judge Richard Sanders plans to stay in contact with updates from Renberg and has the authority to either extend the ban or declare an emergency to further limit what can and cannot be burned.
Fireworks are not included in the parameters of the current burn ban and can only be banned under an emergency declaration.
According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a model measuring moisture in the ground and plants and used to predict the likelihood of wildfire, Henderson County’s western portion rates a 724 out of 800, signifying a complete absence of moisture. The eastern portion scales at 624.
On Sept. 4, 2011, over the Labor day weekend under similar conditions, a fire started in Bastrop County which burned 35,000 acres, destroying 1,645 homes and killing two people. With drought conditions close to the extreme, officials are urging caution.
In other business, commissioners:
• acknowledged the appointment of Carolyn Tyler as the new 4-H County Extension Agent. Tyler holds a B.S. from Texas A&M and will develop and implement education programs.
• agreed to contract revisions and renewals with United Healthcare for group healthcare and choice silver benefit plan.
• approved the hiring of a part-time medical technician, to fulfill insurance requirements preparing medications for inmates, now required because the inmate population exceeds 350. Current inmate population is 373, of which 104 are from Smith County, housed while a new jail construction project is underway.
• revised the county personnel policy manual.
• renewed a contract with U.N.T. to allow historic data to be collected, scanned and made available to the public. Some records date back to the 1800s.
• accepted the price of $5,000 for a lot in Willowwood in Gun Barrel City, Precinct 2, as a resale deed.
• set a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 17, to consider a speed limit of 35mph on a section of CR 4530 in Precinct 3, as requested by local residents.
Posted by : August 3, 2013| On :
By Loretta Humble
Special to The News
We’ve had a lot of wildlife action down here at the farm lately. Let’s start with the rodents.
The mystery squirrel has returned. I saw him once, from a distance, snapped a really grainy picture before he disappeared. He is a little larger than the average squirrel, with a regular squirrel-colored belly, but the top of his head, his back, and part of his sides, look like they’ve been dredged in flour. Or maybe like he just got a frosting job. I couldn’t find anything like him on the Internet, and nobody I asked had ever seen anything like him. This time I got good pictures so I can prove I’m not nuts. I don’t know if they would show up in the paper, but I’ve posted it on www.facebook.com/aroundthetown.
Then there is rat situation. Some of you may remember I had a big battle going on with some huge good looking rats two years ago.
Finally trapped them and carried them off to a pasture near Post Oak cemetery, and haven’t seen another one since. Till now. And this one is a doosie. The last ones just ate my wiring, and shoved insulation out from under my steam shower unit. This one started there, then – you know those folding cloth boxes you sit on shelves to hide your messy stuff – he came out and demolished two of them. One of them had nothing left but its wire frame to guard all the stuff it was supposed to hide, and since it was black, black shreds all over the floor. We are setting the live trap again. So far we’ve only caught and transported a small one, but the big one is still getting away.
Moving on from rodent to ruminant, we have a deer with mossy antlers and an orange collar hanging out with us. The dogs bark at him a lot but he kind of ignores them. He is very friendly, and licks our hands when we pet him. We all tried to find something to feed him. When Shelly heard deer eat corn, she opened a can and offered to him. We tried pears and dog food. He did take a bite of the canned corn, maybe just to be polite, but totally ignored the other offerings. His name is Giselle. He is the ward of Susan Kjeldgaard, who now owns the land and red barn house we used to visit when the kids were young and Ben and Patsy Johnson owned it. Susan adopted him as an orphan and raised him to young manhood.
Now he has wandered off to seek his fortune, which he seems to think lies around here. Susan has come and picked him up a couple of times, but he keeps coming back. We asked Susan what he eats, but she said she would prefer we didn’t feed him, as she fears he never will come home if the pickings keep getting better over here.
And then I’ve been watching the birds. I’ve always fed them, but this is the first year I’ve really paid attention to them. I know what kinds are feeding at my feeders, and I know what they want to eat: Sunflower seed. Period. The ones that are here now do not care for the cheaper grains, or the fancy stuff that adds fruits and nuts to the sunflower seed. They want pure unadulterated sunflower seed. The ones here now are cardinals, tufted titmice (yes, titmice, I looked it up), chickadees, a couple of doves, and purple finches. If purple finches have been around, I have never noticed them before. And they aren’t purple. They are brownish with a raspberry colored head and breast. They particularly love to eat my sunflower seed. Oh, and two hummingbirds. At least two at a time is all I ever see, and they are usually fighting. And they ignore my pretty feeders in favor of the cheapest plastic one you ever see. I finally put the pretty ones away because they were just wasting hummingbird food.
Then I saw the other birds trying to perch on the little plastic feeder, so I figured they were thirsty. So I got them a big hanging waterer. I thought I’d see them bathing and drinking and having a big time. Every now and then I see one sneaking to take a drink, but very little. They are still perching on the hummingbird’s cheesy little feeder. Now I’ve set up a regular bird bath. Nothing. Not one bird bathing or drinking. So then I read about a water wiggler, a little battery-operated thing that sits in bath and wiggles the water to attract birds and repell mosquitoes. Still no luck. I did see one chickadee on the edge of it one day. But I think he was just looking.
Posted by : August 1, 2013| On :
By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent
ATHENS–Voters will decide whether alcohol will be sold in Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, which includes Brownsboro and Chandler to the Smith County Line. Residents gathered more than 1,600 signatures to get it on the ballot, surpassing the requirement of 1,389. The Henderson County Commissioners received approved the petition for a local option liquor election on November 5.
If the approximately 8,000 registered voters in JP3 decide to allow alcohol sales, area convenience and grocery stores will be able to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption.
Commissioners also set a public hearing for 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20. to close a portion of County Road 3718 in Precinct 3. The request from adjoining landowners who ask it be turned into private property and blocked off claim the road is used for dumping and is littered with tires, trash and construction debris. The landowners have agreed to clean the road at their expense, if allowed to block it off.
In other action, commissioners:
•approved an interlocal agreement for the county to provide voting equipment and conduct elections for Coffee City, Gun Barrel City, Tool, Trinidad , Payne Springs and Malakoff ISD.
•approved the hiring of a part-time administrative assistant for the District Attorney’s Office, to be funded from law enforcement budget line.
•accepted tax re-sale deeds of three properties in Precinct 1, bids were accepted for two properties in Cedar Knoll for $1,250 and one property in Woods West, near Seven Points for $300. Precinct 1 Commissioner Scotty Thomas inspected the land and reported the distressed condition and recommended the bids be accepted.
•approved county assistance for road repairs in and around the Poynor Cemetery in Precinct 4.
•agreed to allow Virginia Hill Water Supply Corp to lay 500 feet of water line on CR 4336 in Precinct 4, after a homeowner’s well dried.
•discussed the appointment of five board members to the new Emergency Service District 6. The board positions are open to residents in portions of precincts 3 and 4, those interested can apply to Commission Court Judge Richard Sanders. Applications will be accepted through the end of August.
Posted by : August 1, 2013| On :
By Tracy Martin
The News Corespondent
CRESCENT HEIGHTS-Around 2 in the afternoon July 24, a 12-year-old girl allegedly started a fire that destroyed her family’s home. Sources and witnesses spoke with The News about the fire, but will not be named to guard the identity of the juvenile. It took mere minutes for the fire to spread from room to room. The child’s mother attempted to put the fire out, while trying to get two other children out of the mobile home.
She was one of five treated for smoke-inhalation, including three firefighters who required medical attention due to the extreme heat and smoke. Two other residents of the small mobile home park needed hospitalization, one wheelchair bound, another with emphysema and high blood pressure.
The home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived from Malakoff, North 19, Trinidad and Southside, two mobile homes on either side were saved because of the efforts by these fire departments. Had the fire not been contained, witnesses say three or four other residences could have been destroyed. They told firefighters how thankful they are for the saving of their homes. Bob Norris with North 19 fire and rescue says it was an incredibly hot fire. “The biggest concern was the proximity of the other homes and getting people away from the fire and heat. The smoke was very dangerous for everyone near the fire,” he said.
Henderson County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg was immediately called to the scene when arson was suspected. “It is always a delicate investigation when dealing with a juvenile and a serious crime like arson, especially when victims and firefighters battling the fire suffered injuries,” Renberg said.
One source told The News the mother had been dealing with behavior issues with the child, including treatment and medications, the 12-year-old attended school and is described as being a sweet, pretty girl. Renberg transported the child from the scene to a juvenile detention facility in Anderson County, where she is being held, undergoing evaluation and facing felony charges of arson to a habitation with injuries.
The family is described as hard-working and had purchased the mobile home after renting it and had been doing renovations and making improvements. The home is a total loss, and the family did not have insurance. The Red Cross provided emergency aid and temporary accommodations. Sources say the mother, father and three children had recently gone on a family vacation and are devastated by the fire and charges their little girl now faces.
Posted by : July 14, 2013| On :
By Buddy Hazell
Special to The News
Let’s go back to the 1960s once again. I killed more deer on our little 5 ½ acre place every year than most people kill on their $1,000 deer leases. The deer ate out of our garden and our yard at night, we could look outside late in the evening and there would be as many as 5 or 6 deer around the house.
Three acres of our place was wooded and fenced with hog wire, and I used it as a hog-pasture when I had sows with young pigs. Just about any time you walked out there, you would see deer eating out of my hog feeders. It was easy to keep meat in our freezer.
We had a young Probationary Pipe and Ladderman at our Station who had never killed a deer. I told him that if he wanted to kill a deer, on the next day we were off duty come to my house and I would put him where he could see a deer. However, the killing would be up to him; but to call before he comes.
A few days later he called and I said be here before daylight. The next morning, he pulled in the driveway just before it broke daylight. I took him to the back of the hog pasture and put him in a stand about 25 yards from a feeder, and told him that I would be back when I heard him shoot.
About an hour passed, the sun was coming up and I heard three shots, one after the other. I didn’t hear any of them hit anything, and told my wife, “Surely he couldn’t miss three times.”
About five minutes later I heard it again, “POW, POW, POW.” I told Lulu, “I better go check on him;” I eased down the fence line, and when I got close to his stand he called out, “Watch out, watch out, there’s a Bear by the feeder!” I responded, “BEAR!, what are you talking about boy? There are no bears in this part of the country.”
“There is, there is,” he shouted; “It was right there in that brush a few minutes ago,” he said, while pointing toward the hog feeder.
I thought to myself, “This kid is nuts, he doesn’t know a deer from a bear.”
I walked over to the feeder looking at tracks, there were deer tracks and hog tracks but nothing that looked like bear tracks. Then I thought, “Oh me, I know what he saw,” and I cried out, “Yo, yo, come on, come on,” and here he came.
I had left my Duroc boar in the pasture. He was dark red and came up to my belt line in height. I was glad the kid wasn’t ‘Bear hunting.’ His bear was my boar hog.
Well, I am going to take a few weeks off, to vacation, rest my brain, and just relax. I’ll be back the first of September. Have a good Summer, I love you all.
Posted by : July 13, 2013| On :
By Loretta Humble
Special to The News
Christmas will be here before you know it. Really before you know it. Like in another week or so here in Malakoff, where downtown merchants are getting out their Christmas decorations for their second annual Christmas in July event. And this year they plan to have twelve days of it, like the song, having some special event every day, starting Friday, July 19 and going through Tuesday, July 30. There will be an art show, and a couple of teas, and a book sale, and cash drawings, and demonstrations, and I don’t know what all. There will be refreshments in many shops, and of course, extra special specials. My Cedar Lake companies are going to be participating by offering some checkups like blood pressure, glucometer and oximeter readings, and whatever else we can think of. Maybe we’ll even weigh you if you want us to. The list of events will be elsewhere in the paper, and in Henderson County Now and all over the Internet. I sure don’t have room to list them all here. Don’t miss the fun!
I got a late birthday present last week, when my daughter Liz and daughter Tina and her whole family took me blueberry picking at Echo Springs Blueberry Farm. That was fun. I’ve posted a lot of pictures of that on www.facebook.com/aroundthetown. They have great muffins and free coffee and all sorts of other delicious goodies. It is a nice place to go even when the blueberries aren’t ripe.
Another good thing that happened is that I got a garden fence. I got that because my grandsons Hunter Norwood and Jon Baker needed to get to Costa Rica. They are both studying Hospitality Management at North Texas University, and they’ve chosen to learn Green Hospitality in Costa Rica for their summer semester. We all chipped in to help them get the funds they needed, but they were still short. They asked me if I had a job for them, and I told them I needed a good garden fence. So they made me a great one, with a lot of help from their parents. I also have pictures of that adventure posted on aroundthetown.
Now I have a fantastic fence which encloses a really pitiful garden. I had a great crop of lambsquarters, which got old and tough and were just a hideout place for the millions of grasshoppers who ate every onion blade, every bean, every flower the zinnias tried to make, and nibbled on everything else. So we mowed down what had been my best crop, which was the lambsquarters. Luckily grasshoppers seem to not like tomatoes, which is the second best crop. They’ve done okay, but nothing in that garden is one-third as great looking as the Malakoff Housing Authority’s garden. Or one-fifth as great as Don Hughes’ garden right down the road from me. But mark my word. Next year my garden is going to be a beautiful thing to behold. I’m going to spend from now till next spring feeding that soil compost, and next year I’m going to have a garden worthy of that fence.
Meanwhile, we continue to spread Humbles throughout the health care industry in East Texas. Granddaughter Ariel, who recently graduated from TCU, is our latest success. She just landed a job with Navarro Regional Hospital as marketer for their Healthy Woman Program. Then, there is Ashley Humble, bride of grandson Beau Humble, who has recently been hired as vice president for development of Cornerstone Hospice. And of course I’ve already told you that Beau is administrator of the beautiful new Kemp Care Center. That means everybody in our family named Humble works in healthcare. And they all work for excellent companies. We are very proud of all of them.
I have another piece of good news, but I don’t have room to tell it like I want to, so I’m just going to tell you a little and tell you more later, because I think this might be valuable information for some of the rest of you. As many of you know, I have been doing everything I can to keep from having a knee replacement. And some of it helped, but lately I’ve been having a lot of pain. I went to the doctor and he set me up on a new program I’d never even heard about. He fitted me with a knee brace that promises not only to relieve pain from my arthritis, but also has been proven to actually improve the condition of the knee, eliminating the need for surgery in a lot of people. I’m pretty excited about it. You can learn about it at www.vqorthocare.com. And I will be keeping you updated on how it works for me.
Posted by : July 13, 2013| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
ATHENS–The Henderson County Help Center has been helping residents in their time of need for more than a quarter century.
The Help Center originally got its start in 1987 as a place where local churches could organize and track where resources were going. Executive Director Leslie Saunders explained.
“There was some overlap on where some of the churches were dispensing funds,” she said. “The Help Center assisted in preventing the same people from going from church to church – making their rounds and starting over again at the first church.”
More than simply preventing potential abuse, the purpose of the Help Center was to find out why people needed help and assist them is becoming self-reliant.
In the early ‘90s, the Help Center finally found its home. First Baptist Church offered a very generous lease on a building at 309 Royal St. in Athenswhere it is to this day. The 99-year lease costs The Help Center a dollar.
“First Baptist has been a continued blessing to the county,” Saunders said. “They are still one of our biggest partners today.”
Another Help Center partner which has been there since the beginning is The United Way. In fact, in its origin the program was called “The United Way Help Center.” Today it shows its support through the United Way Help Line,a clearing house of available resources to individuals and families by locating a way to meet their needs. There is a screening process that includes documentation. Residents may recieve financial aid in dire circumstances but ussualy only up to three times, with six month intervils.
In some rare circumstances these rules can be breached, but the need and situation must be merited and urgent, Saunders said.
The Help Center offers many services including various forms of counseling including assistance to physically or sexually abused children, pregnant mothers, school children and new parents.
Other programs include:
• PEP (Pregnancy, Education and Parenting), a school drop out prevention program for pregnant or parenting teens. The program can provide transportation, life skills and day care.
• SAP (Student Assistance Program) provides therapy services to at risk youth at school campuses.
• CAC (Child Advocacy Program) works with law enforcement, child protective services, the District Attorney’s Office and medical and mental health professionals to assist children from suffering abuse.
• Heritage Keepers is an abstinence and life skills education class developed to equip and empower adolescents to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.
For more information about The Henderson County Help Center call 903-675-4357 or visit their website at www.the helpcenter.org.
Posted by : July 12, 2013| On :
By Erik Walsh
ATHENS–Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders has called together a group of experienced professionals throughout the county to talk about, organize and add structure to a collective response to local emergencies.
The group, called the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), is filled with members from all over the career track, including energy production and distribution, emergency management, fire fighting, hospitals and media.
While the committee doesn’t function in actual emergency situations, its role is to identify and catalogue potential hazards, identify available resources, mitigate hazards and writing emergency plans.
Henderson County Emergency Management Coordinator Joy Kimbrough says the committee’s main goals are educating its members about proper safety and emergency protocol and communicating that information to each other and the public.
“It’s all about education and communication,” she told The News. “While we have no direct control on what people do, such as making laws, we can provide the education needed to assist in preventing a disaster.”
Important lines of communication include the facility owners, first responders, city officials and the general public. It is necessary for industry to be a part of this planning process to ensure facility plans are compatible with local emergency plans.
“Not every man-made hazard can be fixed,” she said. “But they can be identified and people will be more aware of what they need to be safe in case of an emergency.”
Emergency planning and safety is fresh on the mind of many leaders in Texas after the deadly explosion in West April 17.
Man made hazardous materials are part of life today, and since they are not going away, as a community, options include handling them safely and responding correctly if something does go wrong.
Athens fire chief and LEPC chair person John McQueary responded to a barrage of media inquires last month when channel 8, WFAA reported that ammonium nitrate, the chemical fertilizer blamed for the deadly explosion in West, was distributed in a building near the square in Athens.
While many people were alarmed to discover the hazardous material was distributed so close to the square, its location is not new. It’s been sold there for more than 15 years.
The News spoke with McQueary about the ammonium nitrate stored at 105 Larkin.
“In a nutshell, the government has deemed it a safe material,” he said. “It takes outside sources to make it volatile. As long as protocol is followed, there should be low risk of an accident. Every explosion is because of an error., not the substance. As long as we work in conjunction with each other and follow regulations, its safe.”
Some regulations McQueary cited to keep ammonium nitrate stable is good ventilation, keeping it clear of other chemicals that could leak or get near it, making sure the building owner is following electricity codes and ensure no gas operated vehicles are stored in the facility.
“We are making sure the building is in compliance,” he said. “Would it be better if it was somewhere else? Yes. Would it be better if it was in a new building? Yes. However, the reality is, it is safe right now. That fertilizer plant was here before most of the city was and consumers need it in a location that is easily accessible.”
McQueary was reassuring about the city’s capability to put out a fire if it broke out at 105 Larkin.
“We have a 2-3 minute response time to that location,” he said. “We have three hydrants right there that could be quickly accessed. In 5-7 minutes the whole place would be flooded.”
McQueary said comparing the facility to the one in West is like comparing apples to oranges.
“West had a huge facility. Transport trucks with gasoline were in it, as well as multiple substances. There was a greater chance of accidents to happen. We have one product in one building. And it’s prime season for farmers. It moves out quickly because farmers want it. It’s gone the next day or two after it arrives.”
He said he is making its safety as one of his highest priorities.
“You had better believe, after West, we are triple checking everything to make sure its in compliance,” he said.