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.
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.
Story No. 1 – Athens, Malakoff picked for playoffs: The annual high school football predictions are on the stands in the form of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. In it, both Athens and Malakoff are predicted to be in the postseason this year.
Why it is important: Reading Texas Football is a annual event for many people.
Learn more: The Malakoff News and The Athens News had stories.
Story No. 2 – Drive-by anniversary: The Fourth of July marked the one-year anniversary of a drive-by shooting in Athens that left one dead and one injured. James Garfield Marshall of Athens, 20, allegedly fired several shots from an assault weapon into a crowd celebrating the holiday on Jonathan Street.
Why it is important: Marshall’s trial on murder and aggravated assault charges will start next month.
Learn more:The Athens News (remember to go to the end of the file).
Story No. 3 – GBC Bingo Bust: Last week, police from Gun Barrel City and the Sheriff’s Office conducted a raid at the Golden Belle Bingo Hall, seizing 98 “gambling devices.”
Why it is important: A lot of folks went to the Golden Belle to get their fix of flashing machines and a chance at a jackpot.
Learn more: Art Lawler at the Review has a report.
Story No. 4 – TVCC Orientation set: Freshman orientation has been set for July 19 at Trinity Valley Community College. However, those who would like to attend must register by July 12.
Why it is important: Because a large number of Henderson County residents start their college careers at The Valley.
Learn more: Check out TVCC’s website.
Story No. 5 – Texas worst in health care: That’s the findings in a new report by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. “Texas ranks worst in the nation in health care services and delivery.”
Why it is important: Texas ranks worst in the nation in health care services and delivery.
Learn more:The Tyler Paper.
Michael and Kenya Landers won the national championship last weekend and then landed jobs with the University of Mississippi women’s basketball program days later.
Story No. 1 – National Champions: The Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals notched the program’s sixth national title last weekend, beating Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, 69-55.
Why it is important: Did I mention it was No. 6? Plus, the win came on the day the court in Salina, Kansas was named for the late TVCC legend, Kurt Budke.
Learn more: Jayson Larson from the Review was there and has the story on the championship and the court being renamed.
Bonus Info: The public is invited to join Trinity Valley Community College for “No. 6: A Celebration” on Thursday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at Cardinal Gym when the college will celebrate the undefeated season and sixth national championship of the Lady Cardinals.
Story No. 2 – TVCC loses women’s basketball coaches: Less than a week after winning the national title, Lady Cardinal co-coaches Michael and Kenya Landers accepted offers with the University of Mississippi.
Why it is important: Now the best coaching position in JUCO women’s basketball is open.
Learn more: Here’s the story from the college.
Story No. 3 – County OKs premises use policy: Commissioners’ Court this week approved a policy listing the rules for using county property.
Why it is important: This particular policy figures to come into play when the Freedom From Religion Foundation (remember them?) comes back asking to put one of its banners on the Courthouse lawn at Christmas.
Learn more: Both the Review and The Malakoff News have stories.
Story No. 4 – KAB wins again: Keep Athens Beautiful has won the Governor’s Community Achievement Award for the eighth straight time.
Why it is important: Because the award comes with money (about $160,000), which KAB uses for projects around the city.
Learn more: The Review has a story.
Story No. 5 – Atheist drops complaint against judge: The nativity scene controversy is the issue that never stops giving stories (see Story No. 3). Now, San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene has asked the state Commission on Judicial Conduct to drop his complaint against County Judge Richard Sanders.
Why it is important: While nothing was ever expected to come from the complaint to begin with, the change in Greene has become a story in itself. Consider, Sand Springs Baptist Church Pastor Erick Graham was on the Fox News Channel this week talking about the story.
Learn more:The Malakoff News seems to have a pipeline to Greene.
Story No. 1 – Questions over AHS principal contract: Several community members turned out to support AHS Principal S.D. Loyless Thursday night after the school board decided against renewing his contract last month.
Why it is important: Mainly because the biggest question about the Loyless issue hasn’t been answered: Why not renew? Communication with the community seems to be at an all time low for Athens ISD. And new superintendent Dr. Robert Steeber doesn’t seem to be going out of his way to fix the problem.
Learn more: Art Lawler from the Review was at Thursday’s meeting.
Story No. 2 – Lady Cards reach Final Four: The TVCC Lady Cardinals reached the Final Four of the NJCAA National Tournament by beating an Alabama squad Thursday night.
Why it is important: With a win Friday night, the Lady Cards will be in the national title game on Saturday for a second straight year.
Learn more: Jayson Larson is in Kansas following the action.
Story No. 3 – Rope Myers is jousting: Jousting? Yep, the former Athens resident and PRCA World Champion Steer Wrestler is one of the contestants on The History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting.
Why it is important: Because one of our own is starring (and no doubt he’s a star) in a reality series … plus, it’s jousting!
Learn more: The Malakoff News has a story.
Story No. 4 – What drought: There were some flooded roads in Henderson County early this week following torrential downpours, but you didn’t hear too many complaints.
Why it is important: After one of the longest droughts in Texas history, the rains were welcome.
Learn more: The Athens Review had a photo of all six gates on the Cedar Creek Lake dam open; can’t remember the last time that happened.
Story No. 5 – Regional Citizen of the Year: Dwayne Garner, 77, of Brownsboro was named the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) Regional Citizen of the Year.
Why it is important: ETCOG covers a 14-county area, so being the top citizen is no small feat.
Learn more: The Review story is here.
BONUS STORY – Henderson County goes national … again: The story about San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene getting help from county Christians has been picked up by national outlets.
Why it is important: How many times can a small, East Texas county end up in the national news? Apparently, a lot.
Learn more: Here’s a story from MSNBC.
TVCC Lady Cardinals celebrate winning the Regional Tournament last weekend in Tyler.
Story No. 1 – TVCC Lady Cardinals in National Tournament: After taking care of business in the Regional Tournament held in Tyler last week, the TVCC Lady Cardinals are taking their No. 1 ranking to the National Tournament in Salina, Kansas.
Why it is important: The Lady Cardinals are looking to take care of unfinished business; TVCC was the national runner-up last year.
Learn more: Jayson Larson was at media day Thursday.
Story No. 2 – Primary filing wrapped up: After waiting and waiting … and waiting, the ballots for the Republican and Democratic primaries are set. Voters will go to the polls May 29.
Why it is important: They say you can’t tell the players without a scorecard … well, the ballot is your scorecard.
Learn more: Both the Athens and the Malakoff papers have updates.
Story No. 3 – Voting box problems: There may be an election scheduled, but that doesn’t mean that redistricting isn’t still a pain in the neck. County commissioners this week had to split one voting box, and there is still controversy over another.
Why it is important: You gotta know where to vote in order to exercise your right.
Learn more: Again the two papers, Athens and Malakoff have stories.
Story No. 4 – Patrick Greene saga continues: San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene just won’t go away … but really, who expected he’d still be around like this?
Why it is important: Greene dropped his interest in the Henderson County nativity controversy because he’s going blind, but area Christians are stepping in to help. Not all Christians think that’s the right approach, however.
Learn more: Michael V. Hannigan at The Malakoff News has been tracking this story, and the comments section on the paper’s website has become the playing field for debate among Christians … including occasional appearances by Patrick Greene.
Story No. 5 – Danny Glover in Tyler: You loved him as “the other guy” in the Lethal Weapon movie franchise and wondered how he beat the alien in Predator 2, but did you know that actor Danny Glover was in Tyler last week. Yep, he was the master of ceremonies at the Texas College Legacy Dinner last week at Harvey Convention Center.
Why it is important: How often does someone like Danny Glover come to the area?
Learn more: The Tyler Paper has a story, but it is mostly about the Legacy Dinner. The photo of Glover is pretty good, though.
TVCC Lady Cardinal coaches Kenya (left) and Michael Landers keep an eye on the action during a recent game.
Story No. 1 – TVCC basketball teams in Regional Tournament:The Cardinals and Lady Cardinals are playing in the NJCAA Regional Tournament in Tyler this weekend with a berth in the National Tournament on the line.
Why it is important: Both the men and women are red hot and playing well. The women are the No. 1 team in the nation and finished the regular season unbeaten for the fifth time in school history. They are a team with legit National Championship aspirations.
Learn more: Here’s Jayson Larson’s preview on the women and the men.
Story No. 2 – County looks at premises use policy: Henderson County Commissioners’ Court tabled a policy detailing the rules for outside use of county property Tuesday, but the policy is expected to come before commissioners again next week.
Why it is important: Remember the nativity scene fiasco (like you could forget)? Well the Freedom From Religion Foundation is expected to be back next month, and when it asks to place a banner on the courthouse lawn it will run square into the county premises use policy.
Learn more: Here’s a little bit from the Athens Review, but expect to hear more about this next week.
Story No. 3 – What elections?: Filing for municipal and school board elections in Henderson County closed on Monday. Most of the elections were cancelled because of a lack of candidates.
Why it is important: In Athens, only incumbents filed for the City Council and School Board. Malakoff, Log Cabin, Star Harbor all also cancelled elections because there were the same number of candidates as seats. This is either proof of deep satisfaction with our local government officials, or a sign of apathy. I’ll leave it to you to decide.
Learn more: Elections that are not.
Story No. 4 – Christians showing love to atheist: In the strangest twist to the nativity scene saga, a San Antonio atheist who is going blind is finding support from among Henderson County Christians.
Why it is important: Opposite sides loving each other? Dropping differences to focus on a real problem? Is Congress watching and learning anything?
Learn more: There’s not really a story on this yet; instead it is all playing out in the comments section of The Malakoff News.
Story No. 5 – Clownzo hurt in accident: The man who says he invented Ronald McDonald and who hung out with Buddy Holly the night of his death was critically injured when hit by a tow truck while riding his bicycle in Tyler.
Why it is important: This is one of those strange, strange stories you are going to love telling your friends.
Learn more: The Tyler Paper has an interesting read on Clownzo.
Story No. 1 – Jewelry heist foiled: Harold Durham had enough when a couple apparently tried to rob his jewelry store for the second time since December. He whipped out a gun, catching one of the robbers.
Why it is important: This has to be the most talked about story of the week. How often does a 79-year-old businessman shoot at thieves?
Learn more: The Review had a good story with quotes from Durham.
Story No. 2 – STAAR 15 percent rule: The Texas Commissioner of Education recently gave school districts the opportunity to push back the so-called 15 percent rule one year. Public schools will start taking the TAKS-replacement starting next month.
Why it is important: It is a big deal for high school freshmen, who otherwise might have their whole high school record impacted by a test nobody has seen yet.
Learn more: The Malakoff News explains the issue.
Story No. 3 – The range is still open?: Henderson County Commissioners’ Court approved holding an election to close the range to hogs, sheep and goats.
Why it is important: The way things stand, if your neighbor’s hog comes on your property and roots up your yard, you have no recourse. The law says it is your job to keep them out.
Learn more: There were stories in both the Review and The Malakoff News.
Story No. 4 – TVCC starts scholarship to honor Budke/Serna: The TVCC Foundation has announced the creation of the Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna Lady Cardinal Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, once completely-funded, will benefit future students involved with the women’s basketball program.
Why it is important: Because it is a classy move by the college, honoring the two coaches who lost their lives in a plane crash in November.
Learn more: Here is the announcement from the college.
Story No. 5 – Black History Scholarship Banquet: The Henderson County Black History Committee will wrap up February with its annual Scholarship Banquet.
Why it is important: More than 30 students from across the county will receive scholarships this year.
Learn more: Read about the banquet here.
Story No. 1 – Gov. Rick Perry back to Texas: On Thursday, Gov. Perry officially announced an end to his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Why it is important: First, because we don’t have to hear about his gaffes any longer. Second, because his supporters are unlikely to back Mitt Romney and could start a shift in the race. And third, because Texas has its own problems that need solving. Learn more: The Associated Press had a good story, and here it is in the Tyler Paper.
Story No. 2 – Lady Cards No. 1: The Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals are ranked No. 1 in the nation. Why it is important: Because Henderson County also loves TVCC and everyone loves a winner. You can catch the TVCC women at home this Saturday at 2 p.m. The Cardinals, who are undefeated in conference play, will take the court after the ladies. Learn more: Here are the current rankings. The Lady Cards will also hold a Play 4Kay event on Feb. 8.
Story No. 3 – Ride the GOBUS: Henderson County Commissioners’ Court heard a report on public transportation in the county … yep, there is public transportation through the East Texas Council of Governments and its called the GOBUS. Why it is important: Because you never know when you might need a ride. Learn more: The Review had a story.
Story No. 4 – Athens Partnership Center: That new Athens EDC-funded building that houses the Athens Chamber of Commerce and the EDC and the KAB and the TVCC Small Business Development Center and the Tourism Office (and maybe more) … it has a name now: The Athens Partnership Center. Why it is important: As a one-stop shop for business types coming to the city, the Athens Partnership Center is another de facto government building in Athens. Learn more: The Review had a photo of the ribbon cutting.
Story No. 5 – Supreme Court on Redistricting: Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court told a federal court in San Antonio to “take guidance” from the State Legislature in crafting redistricting maps. Why it is important: Because at this pace the primary election might be pushed back to May or even June. Learn more: Here’s a story in the New York Times.
Story No. 1 – Smoking ordinance public hearings: After months of discussion, residents of Athens are going to get the chance to be heard on the city’s proposed no smoking ordinance. The first of two public hearings is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 23. Why it is important: It doesn’t matter if you smoke or don’t smoke, or even if you are a resident of Athens or not … this ordinance will have an effect on you if you go in public in the city. Learn more: The Review has the story on the public hearing.
Story No. 2 – Election confusion: Federal and state officials are still having trouble figuring out the once-a-decade redistricting from 2011, and the result is confusion all across Texas politics. Why it is important: If you are waiting on a voter registration card, you are going to have to wait a little bit longer. Learn more: Both the Review and The Malakoff News had the story.
Story No. 3 – Time for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Monday is the annual MLK holiday. Johnson Chapel AME Church will be hosting the Annual Gospel Explosion starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and the annual Candlelight Vigil will be held 7 p.m. Monday at New Hope Corinth CME Church. Both churches are in Malakoff. Why it is important: Civil rights, nonviolence, service, equality, courage, faithfulness … Dr. King is an example for us in so many ways. Learn more: Check out the official website.
Story No. 4 – TVCC back in session: Students registered this week for the spring semester at Trinity Valley Community College. Why it is important: Basketball is back, for one. Another reason is a new requirement for students this semester is a bacterial meningitis vaccination. Learn more: Here’s info about the vaccination.
Story No. 5 – Meeting for big outreach: The big rally might be over, but Henderson County Christians are looking to keep the momentum going forward. A planning meeting is scheduled for Monday at Sand Springs Baptist Church for a February outreach. Why it is important: There are plenty of poor and down-on-their-luck people in Henderson County right now who need help – hopefully this is a step in that direction. Learn more: Henderson County Christian has info.
*BONUS STORY – Day for friggatriskaidekaphobia: That’s right, it is Friday the 13th… the first of 2012. There will be two more this year (April, July). Why it is important: Seriously, how many times do you get to use friggatriskaidekaphobia? Learn More: Time to turn to Wikipedia.