Week of October 1, 2012


Replacement ref Mike Peek.

Story No. 1 – Replacement ref talks, and he’s from Athens!: TVCC professor Mike Peek spoke last week about his experience as an NFL replacement referee.
Why it is important:
In addition to getting to call games at the highest level, Peek is the only replacement ref who has agreed to give interviews.
Learn more:
Everybody has been talking to Peek, from the Washington Post to Good Morning America. You can check out the local treatment at the Review and The Malakoff/Athens News.

Story No. 2 – Dr. Steeber may be leaving AISD: Athens ISD Superintendent Dr. Robert Steeber has tentatively accepted a job with Region XI.
Why it is important:
Steeber has only been with the district a year.
Learn more:
Again, there are stories in the Review and The Malakoff/Athens News.

Story No. 3 – Jackie Guthrie indicted: Frankston resident Jackie Guthrie was indicted last week for Capital Murder.
Why it is important:
Guthrie was the focus of a statewide manhunt in July after he allegedly shot and killed one woman and kidnapped another.
Learn more:
The Malakoff/Athens News and KLTV.

Story No. 4 – City sponsors Christmas parade: The City of Athens announced late last week that it would sponsor the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 1
Why it is important:
The decision came after social media came alive with rumors that the Chamber of Commerce decided to not sponsor the parade (true) and that the parade had been cancelled (not true).
Learn more:
The Review and The Malakoff/Athens News.

Story No. 5 – Carroll Mayberry dies: Longtime Athens City Councilman Carroll Mayberry passed away this week.
Why it is important:
Mayberry served on the council for 17.5 years, starting in 1992. He was 73.
Learn more:
The Athens Review.

Week of September 24, 2012


Brenda Juarez was crowned Athens High School Homecoming Queen during last Friday night’s football game.

Story No. 1 – Athens Homecoming: Athens ISD held its homecoming last Friday, with Brenda Juarez crowned queen.
Why it is important:
It’s homecoming!
Learn more:
We have a photo of the homecoming queen, but you can see the whole court on the Review website.

Story No. 2 – Plans for splash pad: Officials with the Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Athens Leadership Institute and City of Athens are working on a plan to bring a splash pad to the park.
Why it is important:
Kiwanis Park has needed a water feature ever since the old wading pools were closed.
Learn more:
The Athens News has a story.

Story No. 3 – Memorial at the Arboretum: A Veterans Memorial Plaza will be built at the Arboretum in Athens.
Why it is important:
It is important anytime we can honor our veterans.
Learn more:
The Athens Review story.

Story No. 4 – Half a burn ban: Commissioners’ Court placed everything west of State Highway 19 under a burn ban this week.
Why it is important:
Fire danger is high, so you need to know where you can burn.
Learn more:
Both papers had a story: The Malakoff Newsand the Review.

Story No. 5 – Cricket Crunch: It is that time of the year again, when the crickets swarm and wind up seemingly everywhere.
Why it is important:
While there are some things you can do to keep crickets away (turn off the outside lights!), the real thing to remember is that this is an annual event and will end soon.
Learn more:
The Review has a story online, but it doesn’t have that great photo taken by Jayson Larson which was in last Sunday’s paper.

Week of September 17, 2012


Senior homecoming queen nominees include (top to bottom, from left) Kenzi Parrish, Hannah Windham, Demi Cumby, Yoselyn Robles, and Brenda Juarez.

Story No. 1 – Athens Homecoming: That’s right, it is that time of the year. Tonight is Athens Homecoming, with the Hornets taking on Rusk.
Why it is important:
It’s homecoming! Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Learn more:
The Athens Review website has photos of the court.

Story No. 2 – West Nile case No. 3: A third case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Henderson County.
Why it is important:
From 1999, when West Nile was first discovered in the U.S., until 2011 there were only two human cases of the disease in Henderson County. This year there have been three.
Learn more:
The Malakoff News and The Athens News have the story

Story No. 3 – Burn ban expires: Henderson County commissioners allowed the burn ban to expire this week. This is the first time without a ban since the first week of August.
Why it is important:
Looking forward, the weather will be warm and dry. Officials expect to be putting the burn ban back in place pretty quickly, so if you have something to burn you better do it now.
Learn more:
The Review had a story.

Story No. 4 – New bus line gets started: The Chariot bus line began operation between Athens and Tyler on Monday.
Why it is important:
The project is a mission of Gates Community Church and is aimed at filling a real need in the city.
Learn more:
Both The Malakoff News and the Review have stories.

Story No. 5 – County approves 2013 budget: After hearing from a group of folks upset at cuts to the library part-time employee budget, Commissioners’ Court approved the 2013 budget on Tuesday.
Why it is important:
The budget represents about $1 million in cuts from the present year, including the loss of 14 positions (eight employees will lose their jobs in January). 
Learn more:
Both papers and KCKL have reported extensively on this subject.

Week of September 10, 2012

Story No. 1 – Henderson County budget approval on the horizon: Henderson County Commissioners’ Court is expected to approve its 2013 budget and tax rate on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Why it is important: It looks like the commissioners are going to keep the tax rate the same, but because of big increases in costs and flat property values, deep cuts to the budget were needed. As many as 10 county employees could lose their jobs this January.
Learn more: Both the Athens Review and The Malakoff/Athens News have done multiple stories on this subject.

Story No. 2 – Athens approves tax rate: This past Monday, the Athens City Council approved its tax rate and budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Why it is important: The new tax rate includes a 3-cent increase. The city tax rate will go from .600387 per $100 valuation to .630387.
Learn more: The 3 cents will raise about an extra $190,000 for the city, nearly all of which will go to pay for a new fire truck and street sweeper.

Story No. 3 – County loses community leader: Longtime Athens businesswoman and community activist Mary Lou Williams died Monday.
Why it is important: Mary Lou was a tireless volunteer who was active in many organizations in Athens.
Learn more: The Athens Review has a story.

Story No. 4 – Volunteer Connect helps you plug in: The Volunteer Connect will be a showcase at the First Methodist Church Saturday, Sept. 22, which will allow folks who want to volunteer a chance to find a place they fit.
Why it is important: There are a lot of good organizations doing work around Henderson County and nearly all of them need help. On the other hand, you’ve always said you wanted to get more involved, but didn’t know what to do. Here’s your chance to find out where you can make a difference.
Learn more: The Athens Review.

Story No. 5 – Church rises from the ashes: It seems like a long time since a pair of arsons were running around East Texas burning down churches … and it is, it has been more than two years. But one Henderson County church never gave up and finally reopened its doors this past Sunday after losing everything in January 2010.
Why it is important: By never giving up, Grace Bible Church members showed the type of spirit we can all learn from.
Learn more: The Tyler Paper has a story.

Week of September 3, 2012

Story No. 1 – Another case of West Nile: The second case of West Nile Virus was reported in Henderson County, and a fatality from the disease was reported in nearby Cherokee County.
Why it is important:
The danger from West Nile continues to be on the minds of area residents.
Learn more: The Review.

Story No. 2 – Dry weather taking a toll: Commissioners’ Court extended the burn ban another two weeks and the City of Athens initiated Step 1 of its Drought Contingency Plan this week.
Why it is important: The drought may not be as bad as it was last year, but it is still bad.
Learn more: Details of the Athens Stage 1 Drought Contingency are listed on the front page of the city’s website.

Story No. 3 – Athens council to vote on tax rate: The Athens City Council are expected to approve a 3-cent ad valorem tax increase during its regular meeting Monday night.
Why it is important: Taxes — and the services they provide — are always important.
Learn more: The Athens/Malakoff News had a story a couple of weeks ago.

Story No. 4 – Family Peace Project wants to go viral: The Family Peace Project has been selected to be a part of the Chase Community Giving online contest.
Why it is important: Because there is a share of $2.5 million on the line for charities.
Learn more: Check out the Chase Community Giving Facebook page and vote!

Story No. 5 – Big game for TVCC: The No. 6 TVCC Cardinals will play host to the No. 7 Iowa Western Reivers (yes, that’s spelled correctly – best I can tell it is a sort of pirate) Saturday at Bruce Field. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.
Why it is important: This game could tell us if the Cards really do have a shot at a national championship.
Learn more: Jayson Larson at the Review has an advance.

Week of August 27, 2012


Area high school football players will put on the pads and go at it for real tonight as the 2012 season opens around the county.

Story No. 1 – Turn on the lights!: Friday night football comes back to Texas tonight as area high schools hit the field for real. The game of the week should be in Malakoff, where the Tigers will take on the Mabank Panthers. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Why it is important: Because this is Texas and we’re talking football!
Learn more: The Athens Review’s annual “Fanfare” section is now on stands.
Bonus: The University of Texas Longhorns open up the season Saturday at home against Wyoming. Game time is 7 p.m.

Story No. 2 – Marshall sentenced in murder trial: James Marshall was convicted of killing Desiree Brown in a drive-by shooting, and he was sentenced this week to 28 years.
Why it is important: Marshall is well known in Athens and the shooting shook the community.
Learn more: Art Lawler at the Athens Review covered the trial from start to finish.

Story No. 3 – Federal courts knock Texas – twice: Two different federal courts ruled against the state this week — first over redistricting maps (not again!) and then over the Voter ID law.
Why it is important: Both of these issues are extremely important as far as the integrity of the election process. Democrats feel, in both instances, that minorities are harmed. Republicans feel that they are protecting Americans. So far, the courts have agreed with the Democrats.
Learn more: Here’s the latest story from the Austin American-Statesman, and a local take from the Athens Review.

Story No. 4 – County budget woes continue: Jobs are beginning to be cut in county government as Commissioners’ Court continues to work through the 2013 budget.
Why it is important: What is being balanced now is not only the cost of government, but the level of services provided.
Learn more: The Malakoff and Athens News had a story.

Story No. 5 – How much weed is that!?: Federal and state officials located a field of marijuana in neighboring Cherokee County that contained an estimated 15,000-20,000 plants.
Why it is important: It might not be in Henderson County, but it is close, and that much pot could’ve kept Woodstock rolling another three days.
Learn more: The Tyler Paper.

Week of August 20, 2012


Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Story No. 1 – School starts: Kids get back to class at all levels Monday, from kindergarten through TVCC.
Why it is important:
Back to school means there will be children on the roads and drivers must be careful.
Learn more:
Safe Kids USA has some great safety tips on their website.

Story No. 2 – County budget struggles: It has been a two-month grind for Henderson County commissioners as they are faced with a deficit, even after cuts.
Why it is important:
Obviously because we are all county taxpayers, but also because the drama playing out at the county is going on more quietly in all the other government levels.
Learn more:
The Athens Review.

Story No. 3 – Spraying for skeeters: Both Athens and Malakoff have stepped up spraying for mosquitoes following news that a case of West Nile Fever was reported in Eustace.
Why it is important:
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says this year has seen the worst outbreak of West Nile since the disease was first discovered in the U.S.
Learn more:
The Malakoff News.

Story No. 4 – Burn ban continues: It is that time of the year again, drought has settled in and a walk through the grass sounds like walking on potato chips. Commissioners’ Court wisely kept the burn ban in place another two weeks.
Why it is important:
The county has been lucky on the fire front so far this year, and it would be good to keep it that way.
Learn more:
The Athens Reviewand The Malakoff News have the story.

Story No. 5 – Athens recertified: The City of Athens was recertified as Texas Department of Agriculture Go Texan Certified Retirement Community recently.
Why it is important:
It is great promotion for the city.
Learn more:
The Athens Review

Week of August 13, 2012



Story No. 1 – County sees first case of West Nile:
The first case of West Nile virus in Henderson County was announced Thursday with a press release from the City of Eustace. Kudos to the city for being proactive and letting residents know.
Why it is important:
The outbreak of the disease in the DFW Metroplex has people in the county worried – and this first case is likely to increase that worry.
Learn more:
The Athens Review and The Malakoff News.

Story No. 2 – Athens council proposes tax increase: The Athens City Council has proposed a 3-cent tax increase for the coming budget year. The money raised by the increase will go to pay for a new fire truck and a street sweeper, officials say.
Why it is important:
Anytime anyone says the words “tax” and “increase” in the same sentence, it’s important.
Learn more:
The Athens News.

Story No. 3 – Drive-by trial gets under way this week: The James Garfield Marshall murder trial started this week. Marshall is accused of firing an automatic weapon into a crowd in Athens last Fourth of July, killing one and injuring another.
Why it is important:
Murder trials are always important, but this one is particularly sad because of the youth of both the victims and the accused.
Learn more:
The Athens Review.

Story No. 4 – Malakoff looks to add liquor to beer and wine: The alcohol train keeps on getting longer in Henderson County. This November, voters in Malakoff will decide if they want to add liquor to the beer and wine they approved in November 2008.
Why it is important:
Because it is another referendum in the way county residents feel about alcohol.
Learn more:
The Malakoff News.

Story No. 5 – Nativity Rally pastor lands statewide gig:  First Baptist Church of Malakoff Pastor Dr. Nathan Lorick has been named the Evangelism Director for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.
Why it is important:
Lorick was one of the vocal leaders defending the Athens nativity scene after the county was confronted by the atheist organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Learn more:
 The Malakoff News.

Week of August 6, 2012


One of the new coaches in the county, Cross Roads Head Coach Brad Wallace, goes over plays with the offense during practice this week. Football players across the county hit the field for the first time this week.

Story No. 1 – Football gets started: High school football players returned to the gridiron this week, and although they’ve been in helmets and shorts thus far, hitting begins for real today. First scrimmages are scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 17.
Why it is important:
Simple: It is football.
Learn more:
Jayson Larson at the Review has a story.

Story No. 2 – Cross Roads calls bond election: The Cross Roads ISD school board called a nearly $6 million bond for November to build a new ag facility and a multipurpose building housing science labs and a 500-seat gym.
Why it is important:
It will be interesting to see if CRISD voters will bite the tax bullet for the project.
Learn more:
The Malakoff News has the details.

Story No. 3 – Burn Ban: Henderson County Commissioners’ Court extended its burn ban to the entire county this week.
Why it is important:
Ignoring the burn ban is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.
Learn more:
All the newspapers had a story, but the most important thing to remember is DON’T BURN.

Story No. 4 – Commissioners breakdown budget: Commissioners Wade McKinney and Ken Geeslin combined to produce a study showing the effect of rising expenses on the Road and Bridge fund.
Why it is important:
It is budget time and somewhere along the way the tension between the rising cost of services and the desire to keep taxes low is going to break.
Learn more:
Michael Hannigan at The Malakoff News and The Athens News had an extended story.

Story No. 5 – TVCC honors Leon Spencer: Trinity Valley Community College named the floor in Men’s Gym after former coach Leon Spencer.
Why it is important:
Spencer was the head men’s basketball coach at TVCC for 42 years and has the most wins in JUCO history. This is an honor that was earned.
Learn more:
Read the story on the TVCC website.

Week of July 30, 2012


Football camp at Malakoff this week.

Story No. 1 – Football starts: Local high school football teams will hit the field for the first time on Monday, opening up the 2013 season. Players will be in just shorts and helmets at first; pads will go on later in the week.
Why it is important:
It’s football, ‘nuff said.
Learn more:
There hasn’t been a lot of local coverage just yet. Area sports writers are hard at work getting their football preview sections ready (I am looking forward to the Review’s annual Fanfare.) For those who can’t wait, check out the Texas Football website.

Story No. 2 – Scotty Thomas wins runoff: After a primary campaign that was nearly as long as the presidential race (because of redistricting troubles), Scotty Thomas edged Ken Hayes for the Republican nomination for Pct. 1 County Commissioner.
Why it is important:
Henderson County is a Republican stronghold; realistically it will be very difficult for Democratic candidate David McGlaun to knock off Thomas during the November General Election.
Learn more:
Check out the story in the Review or in The Malakoff/Athens News.

Story No. 3 – Half the county under burn ban: On Tuesday, Henderson County commissioners set a burn ban for all of the county west of State Highway 19. There is no burn ban to the east.
Why it is important:
The county is very dry and I wouldn’t be surprised if the ban is extended to the entire county as early as next week.
Learn more:
Again, multiple papers had the story: The Review and The Malakoff/Athens News.

Story No. 4 – Teacher of the Year for AISD: Athens High School art teacher Cynthia Kling was named the Region 7 Secondary Teacher of the Year this week. She is now in the running for the Texas Teacher of the Year Award.
Why it is important:
Because excellence needs to be recognized.
Learn more:
This is getting to be redundant, but both papers had the story: The Review and The Athens News.

Story No. 5 – Ivey takes over at Athens High School: Jami Ivey moves from heading up the Pinnacle Program to taking over as principal at AHS this year.
Why it is important:
The AHS principal’s job is a very high profile gig in Henderson County.
Learn more:
Rich Flowers at the Review has the story.