Jun

28

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 28, 2013

discover 2013

EAST TEXAS–The premier visitor and newcomer’s guide, Discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens, is inside this week’s The News – Serving Athens and Malakoff issue, sold in stores and from the racks.

Discover the region’s stunning natural scenery and learn about the rich histories of the surrounding communities and cities.

Also discover great shopping, fine dining, fun entertainment and a variety of excellent services throughout the area.

Free copies of Discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens are also available at the newspaper office, 1316 S. Third Street, Suite 108, Mabank, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Enjoy the 2013 publication and discover Cedar Creek Lake and Athens!

Jun

27

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 27, 2013

Principal

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF–Malakoff ISD trustees approved hiring Martin Brumit as the high school principal during its June 20 meeting.
Brumit will begin his duties on July 1. He was most recently an assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School, and had been with the district for the past five years. He replaces previous principal Daniel Barton, who moved to Tarkington ISD near Cleveland, Texas, in the same capacity following a two-year stint in Malakoff.

Excited about his move to Malakoff, Brumit said that while Denton Ryan is a large school (more than 2,000 students), it had a small town atmosphere, and that experience will serve him well in Malakoff.

The new principal was recently chosen as a finalist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators statewide Administrator of the Year award, which will be bestowed in July. Brumit graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in history and kinesiology, and has a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.

Trustees also heard a report from superintendent Randy Perry about preliminary state test results for the district, which includes the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).The STAAR has replaced the TAKS, but the TAKS is still administered to students who entered high school before the 2011-2012 school year.

“The STAAR scores were excellent, especially the elementary schools,” Perry said. Preliminary results included 100 percent of Tool and Malakoff elementary schools’ third-graders passing the reading and math portions. “That’s amazing. We’re thrilled,” Perry said.
Other STAAR highlights for the district included Tool Elementary’s fourth graders, who passed the writing portion at a 98 percent rate. Also, scores for eighth grade reading rose 21 percent in one year.

Perry said that the high school English I writing results marked the greatest need for improvement, with Malakoff students finishing behind the state average. Eighth grade social studies also came in slightly behind the state average, but Perry noted that Malakoff students still scored better compared to surrounding school districts.

Additionally, the superintendent told board members that the district’s TAKS science results for its African-American students showed a big increase from last year, with all students in that demographic passing that portion of the test. Overall, students who took the TAKS passed the English Language Arts test at a 91 percent clip, math at 92 percent, social studies at 97 percent and science at 97 percent.

Also during the superintendent’s report to trustees, Perry said that Malakoff Middle School’s first place entry in the Texas Schools Rock! video contest was recognized during the Texas Association of School Boards’ Summer Leadership Conference, which was held in Fort Worth in mid-June.

In other business, trustees approved buying two 2014 Thomas school buses at $90,765 each. Funding for the new buses comes from $463,000 in bond money returned to the district after contractors came in under budget following recent Tool Elementary School additions. Also, board members gave the go ahead to replace tile at the 17 year-old high school’s cafetorium with carpet in the school’s black and gold colors. This project will be handled by Gallagher Construction Services of Richardson for $31,100. Similar carpeting has already been installed in the high school’s hallways.

During the meeting, trustees heard from its tax collection attorney, Alison Wylie of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson’s Tyler office. Wylie said that the district will sell property located at 502 N. Martin in Malakoff which was previously removed from the district’s tax roll following the delinquency. The property will be up for bid at the sheriff’s sale Aug. 6 on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens.

In addition to a new high school principal, the board approved Gary Lucius as assistant high school principal.
Lucius had served as director of the district’s Leo Orr Sr. Education Center. Other hires include: Chrissy Humphrey, high school math; Brenda Clark, high school English; Tawna Walden, elementary teacher; and Hagen Keele, high school math and coach.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2013

kimpixHumble Enough Pic

By Loretta Humble
Special to The News

I’ve been thinking about body size. I think about it a lot because I have been real proud of myself for losing thirty pounds in the last few months.

I did it because I wanted to get weight off my arthritic knee, so maybe I wouldn’t have to replace it. I’m not sure I’ve saved the knee, but in other respects, I’ve felt like I got a nearly new me. It has been wonderful fun every time I found I could get into another size smaller jeans. I gave away my men’s golf shirts and baggy jeans, which had been my normal attire, and started dressing like a normal person. I bought me some earrings. I bought some makeup, and sometimes, I put it on.

I met a really nice (and trim) man that I now enjoy going places and doing things with. Could be he would have liked me if he’d met me when I weighed a few pounds more than he does, but I probably wouldn’t have been where he could find me if I hadn’t got to feeling good about the way I look. I was getting lots of compliments and I was loving it.

Then I discoved this wonderful painting by Celene Terry. It shows a beautiful woman with a self-assured twinkle in her eye, and beside her this quote from Anna Quindlen:

“After all these years as a woman hearing not thin enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough, almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m enough.’ ”

I totally fell in love with the picture, and have posted it all over the Internet.

Now I’m having this dialog with myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone so crazy patting myself on the back for losing all that weight and looking better. Why did my self-esteem go up so much when I became thinner? I didn’t become a better person when I got thinner—in fact, maybe I got worse, as I got to thinking how cute I was getting.

On the other hand, that woman in the painting, like Celene herself, is slim and beautiful, so why shouldn’t she say she is enough?
I called Donna Rinn to see what she thought. Donna has long been preaching the message that we are okay just like we are. A while back she was passing out stickers telling us all we are beautiful, or perfect, or something like that. But in the meantime, she got busy losing weight. She has lost more weight than I have. I asked her how she reconciled this. She said she watched one of those documentaries on how obesity can kill you, and decided while she was okay just like she was, she wanted to stay around to love on her grandkids. She is doing great—she has discontinued a lot of her medicines, cut others in half, and is feeling much better. She says she is glad she can find some clothes that fit her now, but she doesn’t make a big deal out of it like I have. She has a bigger goal.

I tried to reach Celene to get her take on this, but I couldn’t reach her. Maybe she will tell me later.

Best I can figure, the point is, each of us, and nobody else, gets to say what our “enough” is. If or when we decide to get skinnier or smarter or whatever—or not—that is our business. And what other people do is their business. And it is probably fine to be pleased with our choice if we don’t over do it. We need to be gentle with ourselves and one another. We need to let one another be what we will be.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

EUSTACE–Sometimes a great legacy can propel us to our former glory. The Jesus Connection in Eustace is experiencing just this kind of renaissance.

For 20 years the First Baptist Church in Eustace has operated a food pantry. Its had times of growth and decline – sometimes servicing a single family, other times filling the entire parking lot with people in need of a meal.

The early 2000’s were a period of prosperity for the food pantry. It was open one Tuesday every month and people came in from the surrounding tri-county area for its services. After a time the leader that organized the weekly pantry fell ill and the ministry transitioned back to a one-room service. It stayed that way for nearly a decade until some of the church’s faithful started talking about a growing need in the county and their ability to do something about it.

“It started during the pantry’s charity golf tournament,” The Jesus Connection organizer Gary Walsh said. “Larry Albertson approached me about it. A conviction was heavy on his heart that the pantry should be bigger than it was. Since I had been organizing the pantry it was on my heart, too. We prayed about it with (pastor) Paul McKinney and God has been leading us in this direction ever since.”

Today, Walsh and Albertson, along with their wives Patty and Carol spearhead the community service ministry with two goals in mind for recipients: feeding both the spiritual and physical sides of man. After some preparation the pantry is again open the first Tuesday every month from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Considering future plans, Walsh said that he hopes the pantry will grow to be open each week to serve more people. If or when the ministry grows again, it surely means more trips to “The King’s Storehouse” in Tyler, where Walsh and Albertson purchase the food. You can count on them being up for the drive.

“Jesus said we are to take care of the poor and needy,” Walsh said. “We are not here to judge anyone, just to serve. We just ask that they take part in a 15 minute Bible study before they leave.”

The response from the community to the resurgence of The Jesus Connection has been phenomenal, Walsh said.

“We already have 12-14 faithful volunteers,” he said. “And we raised $5,000 at Twin Lakes Golf Course earlier this year.”
Walsh draws upon a story Jesus concludes in Matthew 25:40 for inspiration and guidance. The scripture reads; “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Roughly translated, that means “If you’re serious about loving me, be serious about loving people.”

The Jesus Connection is seeking sponsors and donations to better serve the region. For more information call the Eustace First Baptist Church at 903-425-2261.

Jun

25

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 25, 2013

By Buddy Hazell
Special to The News

On January 15, 1952 I went to work for the Houston Fire Department as a Probationary Pipe and Ladder man. My salary was $100.00 a week. Six months later, my probationary time was over and I received a raise and my salary went to $150.00 a week. In all my life, I had never seen that much money at one time. I thought I had found a gold mine. I was still living at home, eating Mother’s groceries, letting her do the washing and ironing of my clothes and me just enjoying life.

But, on November 16, 1952, I married the girl of my dreams. We only dated three times in three weeks; however I knew she had to be mine. I was still making $300.00 every two weeks, and now I had rent to pay, utilities to pay, groceries to buy, a car to keep up and a wife to support. Where did my $300.00 go?

One day, Lulu said, “Buddy we are going to have a baby.” “WHAT?” I replied, “A BABY!” I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry; I may have done both. Then there were all the things babies need. Lulu supplied the baby’s milk, but there were diapers and countless other things. $300.00 just wouldn’t cover it all; what am I going to do? Pride kept me from asking my Mother for help, so I found a part-time job.

In the Fire Department, we worked days one week and nights the next week. I went to work for a company that made and installed insulation bats for oil-field boilers. When I was working nights at the fire station, I worked days insulating boilers.

As time went on, there came another baby and before I knew it there were two more, making four babies in all. What a litter! Even with me working two jobs, there was still not enough money. What to do, that was the question. Lulu couldn’t go to work; she had babies to take care of. I soon got a job as a night watchman, and when I was working days at the fire station, I worked from 9 PM until 5 AM five nights a week.

One day I got off early from the fire station and went home, as I got out of my pick-up, our dog bit me, and the kids said, “Mother, there’s a man here.” I walked in the house and hugged and kissed my wife and the kids all said, “Oh, Mama, I’m gonna tell Daddy.” I knew right then that money wasn’t that important, I had to be home more with my family. The next day, I gave notice that I was going to quit the night watching job and the oil field job. We couldn’t live on $300.00 every two weeks, so I had to do something. A few days later we had a hard rain, and our roof started leaking; something else to spend money on, and I had just quit my part-time jobs. I borrowed some money from the bank to buy shingles for the house and roofed it myself.

Now, I am back to just $300.00 every two weeks and along with our regular bills, we now owe the bank as well. What to do, what to do? A neighbor asked me if I would roof his house, and I did. Then word got around and I soon had more and more houses to roof. I started roofing and just worked three or four days a week and made more money than I had made working on three jobs.
Working never hurt anyone, but DON’T PUT IT BEFORE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY!

Jun

21

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 21, 2013

Special to The News

The annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) is coming up on Thursday, July 4. The show will last approximately one-half hour and is one of the biggest in East Texas.
The fireworks show is directed and produced by Alpha-Lee Enterprises, Inc., of Liverpool, Texas. The show is a Keep Athens Beautiful event.

TFFC will be open for regular paid visitation from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission for the fireworks show will start at 4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to fish in the stocked casting pond while waiting for the fireworks, which will begin at dark. No license is required to fish, and bait and tackle are furnished for free. Fishing ends at 8:30 p.m., and the fireworks will begin approximately one-half hour later.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and people are encouraged to bring picnics. KCKL (FM 95.9) will broadcast patriotic music during the show.

Pets, alcohol and private fireworks, including “snap caps” and sparklers, are not allowed. TFFC is a tobacco-free facility, and smoking or the use of tobacco products are not allowed on the premises. The public’s cooperation will be appreciated.
The fireworks show is sponsored and paid for by the City of Athens, local businesses and individuals.

Contributors include: City of Athens, The Cain Foundation, Charlie and Cindy Akins, First State Bank, Steve Sparkman, Athens Steel Building Corp., Lance and Kathryn Etcheverry, Carol and Pat Wallace, Dan and Kathleen Chaney, Stephen and Karen Jones, Ellen Key, Lake Athens Property Owners Association, Athens Marina LTD and other public-spirited individuals and organizations.
The event has become an area tradition, with many people dressing in red, white and blue in keeping with the holiday theme. Parking is available in the main TFFC parking lot and in an overflow parking area on Peninsula Point Road. Persons using the overflow parking area may enter through Gate C, which is across the street from the parking area.

For more information or directions call (903) 676-2277.

Jun

20

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 20, 2013

By Erik Walsh
The News Staff

A DPS trooper pulled over a teen near Browsnboro Tuesday and found 200 pounds of valuable cargo in his vehicle that was allegedly stolen.
According to Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt, Patrol Sergeant Charles Severn was notified that the DPS trooper needed assistance on FM 314 after a juvenile female fled a traffic stop.

When Severn arrived on scene he was notifed that there was more than 200 pounds of spooled copper wire in the vehicle. Severn began questioning the driver, Frank Bauer Jr, 18, a white male. Bauer told Severn that he picked up the wire on the side of the road on FM 607.
After making some calls Severn determined that the copper wire was stolen from a Gulf Shores Communication vehicle. The wire missing from the vehicle was described as “100 feet and 400 pair copper cable with black plastic sheathing and weighing about 200-300 pounds.” The wire matched the description and Severn arrest Bauer on a State Jail Felony for Theft of Copper, less than $20,000 dollars.
Bauer was transported to the Henderson County Jail where he remains on a $10,000 bond.

The juvenile female that fled was identified by police and is without charge. The copper wire has since been returned to Gulf Shores Communications.

Jun

20

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 20, 2013

June 17 Athens fire

By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent

ATHENS-Athens firefighters responded quickly to a house fire at 911 Cayuga Drive Monday afternoon. A passerby called in the fire after seeing thick, black smoke billowing from the home just after 4 p.m.

Athens Fire Chief John McQuery says flames were coming from the back of the structure and his men had to break down the locked front door. It took about 20 minutes to put out the blaze and clear the smoke.

Nine firefighters were involved, in full gear, using both the ladder truck and the pumper truck to extinguish the blaze.
McQuery reports the fire started in the back of the home, near the bedroom. The home sustained major smoke and water damage and the roof is completely destroyed.

The owner was away at the time and didn’t learn about it until the following day.
Athens Fire Marshall Ronnie Denton is conducting the official fire investigation. The home is not insured, the Athens Fire Department provided Red Cross contact information to the homeowner to help with any emergency needs.

Jun

18

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 18, 2013

By Tracy Martin
The News Correspondent

CROSS ROADS–Leland Hand worked most of his career building the credentials to become a school district superintendent. His hard work has paid off and now just a couple weeks are between his official hiring by the Cross Roads School Board and the realization of his goal.

After graduating from East Texas Baptist University with a degree in history, his first job was teaching high school in Daingerfield (Morris County, north Texas). Soon afterward, Hand was hired as the men’s basketball coach at ET Baptist, but returned to public schools to become a high school teacher and basketball coach in Smith County.

Two more important decisions came when he accepted the job of principal at Campbell Elementary, and than as a junior high principal, near Abilene. Taking on the duties of superintendent requires a broad background and Hand wore all the hats necessary to be considered for the important position of leading the helm of an Independent School District.

What sealed the deal for Hand’s selection by the board of trustees from a field of 10 applicants was his major accomplishments at Winona High School (north of Tyler). He served as principal there the past seven years, in which the school enjoyed huge strides in both academics and athletics. It earned the Texas Education Agency designation of an “Exemplary” Campus for its 300 students.

Having surpassed all required credentials to lead Cross Roads ISD nothing on Hand’s resume can describe the enthusiasm in his voice about his new role. “It’s just so exciting, there have been opportunities to go to larger school districts, but I really value what can be done in a smaller district, building personal relationships, knowing students, teachers and parents,” he said.

Hand is already working with retiring Superintendent Clay Tompkins, so the transition should be smooth. Hand said he’s fortunate to have Tompkins as a resource, and he’s already meeting people, touring the school facilities and getting ready to take the reigns when Tompkins leaves in August.

Cross Roads ISD has about 600 students, 50 faculty members, three principals and a budget of five million dollars.

A former coach, Hand said he will support the athletics department, while helping teachers in any way he can. “I’ll look at what’s already in place and listen to the faculty to find successful approaches to academic growth and development of new and existing programs,” Hand said.

His wife, Natalie, is a school counselor in Smith County and recently received her doctorate degree in psychology. The couple has three children. A daughter Lynlee, who just got a job as a teacher in Houston and two boys, Brice, 15, and Brayden, 10.
As for making the move to the area, Hand says he loves small towns and communities and the family is looking at all their options.
Tompkins says he and the Board believe this is a great fit and says Cross Roads is very lucky to have Hand coming to the district.

Jun

17

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 17, 2013

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent

MALAKOFF–Risking his own life to save a fellow citizen, the commendation reads. But ask Officer Robert Siegmund of the Malakoff Police Department about the act, it was just another day on the job.

Siegmund was recognized by Police Chief Billy Mitchell and the Malakoff City Council during its regular meeting June 10 for pulling resident Robert Nokes to safety before fire engulfed Nokes’ vehicle and the Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church on April 25. Nokes, 38, experienced a medical episode while driving and accidentally crashed into the building.

“The chief was right there with me the whole time. It was a team effort,” said Siegmund, who has been with the department for nearly three years. The officer also noted the help of Father William Palmer of the church, who Siegmund said helped extract Nokes from the burning vehicle.

While Chief Mitchell battled flames with a fire extinguisher and with the front driver’s side door wedged shut, Siegmund entered the vehicle through the rear passenger door. At one point, Siegmund was overcome by smoke before the officer eventually tugged Nokes loose after the injured man’s seat belt was cut. Soon thereafter, “something blew up, maybe the engine or one of the tires,” according to the officer.

Nokes was present during the council meeting. He spent 22 days in a Tyler hospital, and is about to start physical therapy. Nokes uses a cane and has “a little nerve damage, but if that’s the worst that happens, I can live with that,” he said.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Nokes added. “Very few people get a second chance.”

The council also authorized the city to extend for two more years its participation in the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs HOME program, which provides grants to cities to build housing for senior and low-income citizens.

Four homes have been constructed so far, with one more expected to be completed in about two weeks, said City Administrator Ann Barker. Another two homes are early in the construction process, Barker added, and two more properties qualify for the program. The city hopes in the future to rehabilitate three or four more properties, Barker said. The council also awarded a bid to Angus Home Center of Corsicana to provide a manufactured home using grants from the program.

Also during the meeting, council members Jeanette King and Tim Trimble were sworn in along with Mayor Delois Pagitt following the trio’s re-election May 11. The council selected Trimble to continue as mayor pro tem.