Ed Gatlin, who is running for reelection to the Athens Municipal Water Authority (AMWA) board, just said during a candidate forum that the AMWA board voted today to drop the $4 million demand from its lawsuit against the City of Athens.

To clarify, AMWA dropped the money demand but not the lawsuit.

“It was never about the $4 million,” Gatlin said.

For more background on this issue, click here.

Pictured are 1st Vice President Julie Gustafson. Glenda King and President Margaret Ann Trail.

Pictured are 1st Vice President Julie Gustafson. Glenda King and President Margaret Ann Trail.

Rootseekers press release

One of the favorite topics for the Rootseekers Genealogy Society is the Civil War. It is a favorite of Glenda King’s also. As a member of the Confederate Rose Chapter (UDC) United Daughters of the Confederacy she is always on the lookout for collateral blood lines. Glenda’s ancestor is William Warren Ware who was born in 1838 in Georgia. He was a PVT. and then was promoted to 2nd Lt. He was captured near Malvern Hill, Va. in 1864 and released at Ft. Delaware in 1865. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. He died in 1924.

His father served in the War of 1812 and his grandfather served in the Revolutionary War. Both are buried in Floyd Co. Ga. in the Ware Family Cemetery.

William had five brothers and four of them served in the Civil War. One brother was killed in Va. in battle. She can use these brothers as collateral blood line. In the UDC you do not have to use straight lineage but it has to be close blood lines.

Glenda also spoke of the first major battle which was the “Battle of Bull Run” also known as First Manassas ( this name used by the Confederate Forces. Glenda spoke of the 618,000 Americans who died in this war. Mortality was greatest among the Confederates because of the inferior medical service.

The UDC meets on the third Saturday of the month except in July, August and December at the Tri-County Library.

Glenda King has been married for 59 years and has two children. She graduated from Irving High School and from Prince George’s College, MD. She volunteered at the Charleston A.F.B. Dental Clinic for the Red Cross. She worked for two dentists as a Certified Dental Assistant. She is a member of Sarah Maples DAR, member of the Confederate Rose, member of DRT, member of Dallas Association Church Library Organization, member of American Legion Auxiliary, member of the First Baptist Church, GBC and she has time left to volunteer in the church library.

TVCC Horse

By Jayson Larson/TVCC Public Information

PALESTINE – Carlos Hunt knew he had to get to class last Thursday, but he didn’t have his vehicle. So he decided to use a little horsepower, instead.

Hunt, an 18-year-old student in the GED program at Trinity Valley Community College’s Palestine campus, caught the attention of his classmates and instructors last week when he showed up to class on his horse. What resulted were a few chuckles and a reminder that some students will do whatever it takes to get an education.

It started last Thursday, when GED instructor Mike Murray learned from his wife, Deb (an ESL instructor at the Palestine campus) that Hunt had called about 30 minutes before the start of class. She couldn’t quite hear what Hunt was saying over the phone, but heard enough to inform her husband, “It was something about a horse.”

The purpose of the call became a little more clear as Mr. Murray drove to class a few minutes later and saw Hunt headed toward the Palestine campus on horseback. Hunt, wearing his backpack, waved to Mr. Murray as he drove by. A few minutes (and a 1 ½-mile horse ride later), Hunt arrived on campus and tethered his horse to a pole near the Calhoun Building.

As the class began, an Anderson County deputy sheriff walked into the room to politely inquire if the horse tied up outside belonged to anyone in the class. Sure enough, Hunt spoke up and explained the horse was his and that he had to ride it to get to school because a family member had borrowed his vehicle.

“Now that’s dedication,” the deputy said, laughing.

Mr. Murray, always one to take advantage of a teachable moment, took the class outside to look at the horse. Inevitably, talk turned to the dedication Hunt had shown to get to class – which meets four hours, four nights a week for four weeks. “You don’t want to miss Mr. Murray’s class,” one student said.

Reflecting on that comment later, Mr. Murray said, “I like that. It shows a lot of commitment and determination just to get there and be a part of class. A lot of these students, sometimes they get a bad rap for whatever reason – they just don’t get the credit they deserve. I work them pretty hard, so I thought this was a pretty neat deal.”

Hunt – who said his entire family owns and rides horses – said he didn’t think twice about hoofing it to class. He dropped out of school two years ago, ran into a few road bumps in life and soon decided – with the help of his stepmother – to turn things around. That road began with education and earning his GED.

“I want to have a better job and a better life,” Hunt said. “And this class is going to better my life.”

WFAA's Paige McCoy Smith talks to Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught on the porch of the Wofford House at the Arboretum Wednesday, April 23.

WFAA’s Paige McCoy Smith talks to Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught on the porch of the Wofford House at the Arboretum Wednesday, April 23.

During all the photos and running from City Hall to the Arboretum yesterday, I had the chance to ask Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught a couple of questions about being on “Good Morning Texas.”

How did the interview go:

“This is my first actual live interview, doing something like this, so its pretty cool. Paige (McCoy Smith) has been very great to work with me and keep me going.”

How important is this for Athens:

“This is very important for Athens. We know how wonderful Athens is, but to get it televised and showcasing Athens about how wonderful Athens is, that’s going to help our tourism and that’s what we want, to bring people here to see how wonderful Athens is.”

If you missed the show, you can see the two clips here. 

You can check out photos we posted here. 

Pictured are Geneice Morris, Ruth Shelton, Helen Preston and Suzanne Fife.

Pictured are Geneice Morris, Ruth Shelton, Helen Preston and Suzanne Fife.

DAR press release

The Sarah Maples DAR Lineage research Workshop was a huge success. Many of the prospective members came to learn how to fill out the paperwork and just what proof they would need to join the DAR. Registrar Geneice Morris took them line by line on the four pages and she stressed how to correctly fill out the forms. All of the i’s have to be dotted and the t’s crossed or the papers will be sent back from Washington. Its always a good idea to fill out the blanks with pencil so any mistakes can be erased. If you put a date or name down you better have paper proof to back it up.

Regent Helen Preston and her crew took care of all the wonderful food and drink.

Suzanne Fife told the ladies a bit of history of the DAR. The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) was founded in 1889 and naturally some of the women who’s fathers served in the Revolutionary War wanted to join also. The matter was put to a vote and the SAR decided to officially exclude women from its membership. “BIG MISTAKE”. Discussions in the National Press caught the attention of Mary Smith Lockwood. She wrote a fiery editorial that was published in the Washington Post. In it, she demonstrated that women had contributed much to the Revolutionary cause that had previously been overlooked and ignored. She asked, “Were there no mothers of the Revolution?” William O. McDowell V.P. General of SAR believed that women should form their own patriotic organization. He wrote his own letter to the Post urging women to organize and offered his assistance. Eighteen women attended the first official meeting held on October 11, 1890. Mrs. Benjamin Harrison became President General and their first resolution pledged support toward completing the memorial monument to Washington, mother of George Washington. And so the DAR was off and running.

Lynn Young is now our President General NSDAR. She is the first Texas daughter to hold such an honor but we feel she won’t be the last Texan to become President General. Texas has 199 chapters with 17,350 members. There are 3,000 chapters in all 50 states, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. More than 920,000 women have joined DAR since it was founded October 11, 1890.

Loretta Humble

Loretta Humble

By Loretta Humble/Around the Town

My knee has been replaced, and I am home! Cedar Lake Nursing Home, that is, for a week or two of rehab. And this is just about as much home to me as my house, as it has been a huge part of my life since 1967. People, that is 47 years! Sonny, our 56-year-old administrator, was 9 years old when we got Cedar Lake. It boasted 30 beds, and consisted of the area next door that is now the Rehab gym and offices. It stopped where the fire doors are now. Each of those wings was added on later. We got this place with no money down, because we had no money. Just a lot of notes. And we didn’t have any other jobs to support us, and even those 30 beds were not all filled. If we’d had good sense, we wouldn’t have stuck our necks out on a risky venture like this. But I am so glad we did. It turned out just fine.

The main reason it turned out so fine was waiting for us when we got here. Her name was Charlene Abbe then, though its Owen now. She had way more than her share of common sense and old fashioned caring, and she was and is, a praying woman. She was fresh out of LVN school, and working the evening shift, but was already running the facility for Dr. Joe, who had built it for his son, Sam, who had other things in mind to do with his life. I’m thinking things could have turned out a whole lot differently if Charlene hadn’t been there with us every step of the way, helping us grow Cedar Lake into a place to be really proud of.

Then there was this nurse aide, Stella Tolliver, another woman of exception common sense and good will. They became not just trusted employees, but the family’s best friends as well. There were plenty of other excellent people there in the beginning, who worked with us for years, then retired or passed on, but those two are still going strong, and who still own my tremendous love and gratitude. In fact, Charlene came to see me yesterday, and she has already called Stella, and we are going to get together and do our annual memory-reliving session while I am a patient here.

This is probably real disjointed. I started to skip my column this week, as pain meds are keeping me slightly tipsy, and I don’t want to say anything much dumber than I usually do. But I wanted to let you know I made it, and that it looks like the surgery is going to turn out great. I’ve had some discomfort, but not all that much. They keep asking me “on a scale of 1 to 10…?” But I have no idea what a 10 would be like; I just know I haven’t got anywhere near to that.

Doug Humble Jr., Sonny’s dad and still co-owner of the nursing home, honored us with one of his rare visits today. We were sitting out front at the nursing home, because that was the only way we could get our cell phones to work, when all of the sudden Lola Mae Kitchens walked up. It took us a while to recognize one another, but all finally agreed we are actually holding up pretty well. Kitchens, as we always called her, was always a big cut up, and a great nurse. I remember her as a trim, feisty little thing in her white nurse dress and cap. Actually, at nearly eighty, she is still a trim, feisty little thing. She reminded me she was working at the nursing home when Doug and I and our three small kids first showed up.

She said she always told people we didn’t know a bedpan from a doorknob. I don’t think she was totally right about that. We knew what a doorknob was. We got in, didn’t we?

Trinity Valley Community College students Abby Baker (second from right) and Delores Stripling (far right) react as their egg flies across the parking lot during the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival and Egg Catapult Competition on Tuesday. Their team, the Splat Squad, won third place and each received a $250 scholarship. TVCC biology instructor Brian Baumgartner is seen in the background at left. The competition, hosted by the TVCC Science Club, included students from TVCC and area high schools.

Trinity Valley Community College students Abby Baker (second from right) and Delores Stripling (far right) react as their egg flies across the parking lot during the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival and Egg Catapult Competition on Tuesday. Their team, the Splat Squad, won third place and each received a $250 scholarship. TVCC biology instructor Brian Baumgartner is seen in the background at left. The competition, hosted by the TVCC Science Club, included students from TVCC and area high schools.

By Jayson Larson/TVCC Public Information

Antonio Aguilar, a biology student from Seven Points, was declared the winner of the Egg Catapult Competition held during the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival Tuesday at Trinity Valley Community College. The festival was hosted by the TVCC Science Club.

The competition, which included teams not only from TVCC but also area high schools, required students to launch eggs toward a target using a homemade trebuchet (which is similar to a catapult but uses gravity via a counterbalance to fire). Aguilar had the highest score, which was compiled by judges who considered accuracy, design and a cost analysis to build the trebuchet.

Aguilar – who received a $1,000 scholarship for his win – explained that his preparation was cut short the previous night by an unexpected factor – Mother Nature.

“I was working on it and then those storms came in (Monday night) and I couldn’t get back outside to work on it, so I just had to go with it,” Aguilar said.

A team of high school students, “Eustace 2,” claimed second place and each team member won a $500 scholarship. The team consisted of seniors Walter Baker, Shelby Marcom, Candace Rosado and Jonathan House. Third place, and a $250 scholarship each, went to the “Splat Squad” – TVCC chemistry students Abby Baker and Delores Stripling.

A number of vendors were also present to share information during the Earth Day Festival. Those vendors were: the Henderson County Humane Society; Keep Athens Beautiful; Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center; Purtis Creek State Park; Hope Springs Water; Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch; East Texas Arboretum; and the Science Club.

Trinity Valley Community College student Antonio Aguilar of Seven Points lines up his shot during Tuesday’s Egg Catapult Competition held during the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival. Aguilar won the event and took home a $1,000 scholarship.

Trinity Valley Community College student Antonio Aguilar of Seven Points lines up his shot during Tuesday’s Egg Catapult Competition held during the 2nd Annual Earth Day Festival. Aguilar won the event and took home a $1,000 scholarship.

analysisAgainst similarly sized cities in Texas

Using the 2010 U.S. Census data, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission lists 10 cities between 12,000 and 12,999 population in the state. Athens is listed with a population of 12,710.

Three CDPs, or census-designated places, are also listed. We dropped out the CDPs because they do not have a central government entity levying taxes.

The following is the current ad valorem tax rate for each of the 10 cities within that population range (all per $100 valuation).

1. Forest Hill: 1.06
2. Port Lavaca: .7568
3. Crowley: .696829
4. Freeport: .675586
5. Athens: .645140
6. Lockhart: .6077
7. Beeville: .53290
8. Kilgore: .40000
9. Alton: .4624
10. Santa Fe: .3702

Against neighboring cities

The following are cities close to Athens with at least 10,000 population (population in paranthesis).

1. Waxahachie (29,621) .6800
2. Athens: (12,710) .645140
3. Palestine: (18,712) .6390
4. Jacksonville: (14,544) .6375
5. Corsicana: (23,770) .6272

Luminant

Luminant representatives recently presented the property deed to Trinidad VFD’s Arthur Arnold. Pictured (left to right): Johnny Hawkins, Trinidad plant superintendent; Arthur Arnold, Trinidad VFD chief; Kyle Ray, Luminant real estate representative; and Terry Bagley, gas plant operations manager.

Luminant press release

Luminant recently donated nearly four acres of land to the Trinidad Volunteer Fire Department. The land is adjacent to the fire station and is the potential new home for a training center that would serve multiple area fire departments.

“The VFD originally approached us with an interest in acquiring the land for a training center. We determined that we didn’t have any business purposes for the land and thought it would be a nice gesture to give it to them,” said Terry Bagley, Luminant gas plant operations manager. “They’re planning to build an outdoor training facility that could potentially serve their needs and help area VFDs. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

A predecessor company, Texas Power & Light, originally acquired the property in 1935 for use by the Malakoff Fuel Company Railroad to deliver coal to Trinidad plant. The estimated value of the land donation is approximately $2,000.

Eustace

Thirty-one students from Eustace recently received certification in various components of Microsoft Office software. After learning the software during their technology classes at the High Schools, students are taken to the Region 7 Service Center in Kilgore to attempt the certification tests. The tests are furnished at no cost to the district or students by way of a career and technology consortium in which EISD is a member. Congratulations to the students on their accomplishments and to their teacher, DeDe Lancaster. (From Dr. Coy Holcombe’s blog)