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 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 July 23, 2012

Mugshot of Guthrie.

Story No. 1 – Murder suspect back in Henderson County: Jackie Guthrie was arrested in Galveston last Friday on a murder warrant after a statewide manhunt. He is suspected of murdering an 18-year-old woman in Coffee City and kidnapping his 19-year-old pregnant girlfriend.
Why it is important:
This is the county’s first murder since July 4, 2011.
Learn more:
It seems like every media outlet had this story. Check out The Athens Review and The Athens News.

Story No. 2 – Tuesday is Election Day: Runoffs in the state’s primary election are set for this coming Tuesday.
Why it is important:
It seems like this primary has been going on forever, but really it has only been since late last year.
Learn more:
Check out The Malakoff News and The Athens News, because they have a list of combined polling places.

Story No. 3 – County budget coming: For the past few weeks, county officials have been going through the budgeting process for 2013.
Why it is important:
According to the Athens Review, the cost of running the county is going up, but the government has no more money.
Learn more:
Rich Flowers has the story.

Story No. 4 – Tool police chief fired: The Tool City Council fired Police Chief Warren Loscuito last week, citing “personnel problems,” in a 4-1 vote.
Why it is important:
Combined the change at the Tool PD with the craziness at Seven Points PD the past couple of years and you have to at least consider the problem of instability on the northwest corner of Cedar Creek Lake.
Learn more:
The (Mabank) Monitor and the Athens Review both had stories.

Story No. 5 – KAB Eco Camp: Keep Athens Beautiful and The East Texas Arboretum hosted an ECO Camp for children kindergarten through fourth grade all this past week.
Why it is important:
Because with murder, taxes and firings at the top of the list, I needed something happy. Plus, there are some great photos on the KAB Facebook page.
Learn more:
Check out the photos here.

Week of June 4, 2012

Flickr photo courtesy Eric Parker

Story No. 1 – Skull, human remains found near Tool: A county resident turned up a human skull outside of Tool last week, touching off a storm of Facebook conjecture.
Why it is important: Any time human remains are found it is important! Truthfully though, unless police get very lucky this may be an unsolved mystery. According to off-the-record sources, there was no DNA to be found on the skull.
Learn more: This is one of those stories that wound up all over the Internet, but we’ll stick with the local newspaper since everybody reported about the same thing. Here’s the Review story.

Story No. 2 – Leon Spencer nominated for Texas Sports Hall of Fame: Former Trinity Valley Community College basketball coach Leon Spencer was nominated this week for the Hall of Fame. The vote will come later in the summer. He retired the winningest coach in Texas junior college basketball with 809 wins.
Why it is important: Come on, it is the Hall of Fame!
Learn more: Read it at the Review.

Story No. 3 – Mizell honored by Dallas Theater Center: Athens High School theater director Maggie Mizell was recently named the Project Discovery Distinguished Educator of the Year by the Dallas Theater Center.
Why it is important: Mizell has been a big part of Athens High School for many years and it is good to see her recognized.
Learn more: The Athens News had a story. Remember, open The Malakoff News and go to the back for the Athens pages.

Story No. 4 – Purtis Creek a hidden gem: This month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine names Purtis Creek one of 10 hidden gems in the state.
Why it is important: When gas is so high isn’t it good to know you don’t have to leave the county for natural beauty.
Learn more: Check out the TPWD story.

Story No. 5 – Zombie Apocalypse coming: Since its been a slow news week around here, let’s talk zombies. Yep, apparently the country is going crazy after a series of grisly crimes that are apparently linked to a new drug concoction called “bath salts.”
Why it is important: On the funny side, because this has gotten big enough that the CDC had to issue a press release saying that there is no known way to make a zombie …. on the not-so-funny side, because a new drug that causes this sort of behavior is really scary.
Learn more: If you Google “Zombie Apocalypse,” you will learn more than you ever wanted to know … also, here is a Washington Post column from yesterday.

Flickr photo courtesy Eric Parker

Week of April 30, 2012

In this photo from last summer, Clay McKinney, then 14, poses with his father, Pct. 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney, and grandfather, Mac McKinney. Clay had just finished cutting 25 acres of hay by himself, something that might have been outlawed by new Bureau of Labor rules, but the proposed changes were dropped last week.

Story No. 1 – Proposed Farm Labor Changes dropped: Late last week, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it was dropping proposed changes to agricultural child labor regulations. The new rules for the employment of those under 16 would have put restrictions on the operation of tractors, and prohibited many animal husbandry practices such as branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating, and treating sick or injured animals.
Why it is important:
In a rural area like Henderson County, the rules were seen as an attack against a way of life.
Learn more:
The Malakoff News and The Athens News had the story. You can read it here. (The News has begun to post the entire paper online, so you will have to go to the page to read the story.)

Story No. 2 – Anonymous Group Enters Nativity Debate: An anonymous group concerned over the possible cost of a legal battle over the county nativity scene has hired Athens attorney Martin Bennett to represent them. County officials confirmed Bennett has had meetings with members of the Keep Athens Beautiful board and County Attorney Clint Davis.
Why it is important:
This is the first time a concerted effort for moving the nativity scene has come from within the county.
Learn more:
The story was only in The Athens News, but that paper doesn’t have a website.

Story No. 3 – Monarch at the Table: Monarch (a subsidiary of SouthWest Water Company), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a coalition of affected cities, and Texans Against Monopolies Excessive Rates (TAMER) have been engaged in negotiations over water and sewer rates the past two weeks in Austin.
Why it is important:
Thousands of Monarch customers live in Henderson County, particularly around Cedar Creek Lake and Lake Palestine.
Learn more:
Again, the story was in The Malakoff News and The Athens News.
The Malakoff News and The Athens News reported Friday that an agreement has been reached – details are expected to be released later.

Story No. 4 – FPP Annual Waffle Breakfast: The Family Peace Project will hold its annual Waffle Breakfast fundraiser Saturday morning, May 5.
Why it is important:
Because the waffles are awesome and the cause is important.
Learn more:
The 11th Annual Family Peace Project Waffle Breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the United Methodist Church (225 Lovers Lane) in Athens. Tickets are $6 per person in advance, $7 at the door. Children under 5 are free. Call 903-677-9177 for information.

Story No. 5 – Farm Market Comes Back: Fresh vegetables and crafts will be back on the city parking lot this Saturday as the Athens Farmers Market returns.
Why it is important:
Because the Farmers Market has a long history in the city — besides, who doesn’t like fresh veggies (eat more!!).
Learn more:
The Athens Review has the story


Week of April 2, 2012

Erik Bendl (The World Guy) and Nice the dog walk along Loop 7 in Athens Thursday afternoon.

Story No. 1 – Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Month: April is Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Henderson County. Law enforcement and activists fighting the scourge gathered on the Courthouse lawn Tuesday to try and raise awareness of the problem.
Why it is important: Because Henderson County has a severe problem in both areas. In 2011, the East Texas Crisis Center helped 222 children of mothers who were abused and worked with 96 sexual assault victims. Considering less than half of all sex assaults are reported, those numbers are pretty staggering.
Learn more: The Review had a story from the event.

Story No. 2 – Livestock Show Time: It is time for the annual Henderson County Livestock Show. Kids from all over the county will be hitting the Fairpark Complex in Athens April 9-14 for the culmination of a year worth of work.
Why it is important: This is the 52nd annual show … yeah, it’s pretty important in Henderson County.
Learn more: The Livestock Show has its own website.

Story No. 3 – The World Guy comes to Athens:  Erik Bendl is “The World Guy,” and he is walking across the state with his dog and a six-foot inflated globe to raise awareness about the dangers of diabetes. Thursday he walked through Athens.
Why it is important: Did I mention the guy is walking across the state with a six-foot globe? Plus, diabetes really is an insidious disease.
Learn more: The Malakoff News had a story and photo.

Story No. 4 – No Smoking Ordinance: The Athens City Council has been discussing a no smoking ordinance for the city since last November, but the process is coming to an end. Council members will hear the official “first reading” of the ordinance Monday night during their regular council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Final approval is expected to come during a meeting April 23.
Why it is important: The ordinance will impact nearly all public areas in Athens.
Learn more: Here’s the agenda, and here is the last story the Athens Review did on the subject.

Story No. 5 – TVCC Cheerleaders turn: The Lady Cardinal basketball team brought home a national title, and now it is the cheerleaders’ turn. The TVCC Cheerleaders are leaving for Florida Tuesday, April 10,  and will be going for a 10th national title.
Why it is important: Did I say 10 titles? When it comes to cheerleading, TVCC is the elite of elites.
Learn more: You can see the squad’s competition routine 7 p.m. Monday at Cardinal Gym and the cheerleaders go through their final tuneup before leaving.

Week of January 23, 2012

(Photo credit The Athens Chamber of Commerce)

Story No. 1 – Citizen of the Year: Judith McGilvray was named the Athens Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year during the chamber banquet last Friday. East Texas Medical Center was the Business of the Year. The Ambassador of the Year was Darlene Clark.
Why it is important: Because these are prestigious awards with a long history.
Learn more: The Athens Review has the story.

Story No. 2 – Limited time to save primary: Leaders from the Texas Democratic and Republican parties are scheduled to meet today to see if the April 3 primary date can be saved. All they have to do is agree on redistricting maps.
Why it is important: Get ready for more moving election dates.
Learn more: The Texas Tribune had a good story early in the week.

Story No. 3 – Brewery coming to town: First Athens went wet and now it is getting a brewery. The Cedar Creek Brewery will be opening on Highway 175 between Athens and Eustace.
Why it is important: New business is always good, plus the brewery is going to host tours on Saturdays.
Learn more: We first learned about this when The Malakoff News posted a link to this Pegasusnews.com story.

Story No. 4 – TVCC women still undefeated: The No. 1-ranked Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals are 20-0 after an easy win over San Jac Wednesday night.
Why it is important: We could be seeing a very special season unfolding in Athens. Remember, the coaches Landers (Michael and Kenya) took the Lady Cardinals to the national championship game last year but came up short. Could this year see a triumphant return?
Learn more: Jayson Larson has a story.

Story No. 5 – Power out at courthouse: There was some excitement at the Henderson County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon when a wire leading into a transformer in the basement shorted out and caught fire. Judge Richard Sanders said the fire was quickly extinguished with no other damage, although one employee did get stuck in the elevator when the power went out. She was rescued pretty quickly by maintenance, however, said Sanders.
Why it is important: Truthfully, it wasn’t THAT big a deal: the fire was put out, the employee got out of the elevator, and Oncor came and fixed the problem. But it is still the type of story that gets around.
Learn more: The Review had a short story.