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ETMC unveils new helicopters

New ETMC helicopter(Press release from ETMC)

The East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System unveiled today two new emergency transport helicopters, valued at over $9 million, to provide patients in East Texas with critical, fast access to the region’s only level 1 trauma center at ETMC Tyler.

The Eurocopter, EC135 P2+ helicopters will be stationed at ETMC Tyler and Titus Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant. The EC135 that currently is stationed in Tyler is being upgraded and will be positioned at ETMC Athens. This allows ETMC to provide high quality care and rapid transport to residents within a 150-mile radius around each helicopter base, covering 38 counties in East Texas.

“Since 1985, ETMC Air 1 has been flying the skies of East Texas and saving thousands of lives,” said Art Chance, vice president of operations for ETMC. “Reducing transportation time to ETMC Tyler’s level 1 trauma center, helps severely injured or seriously ill patients arrive within the ‘golden hour,’ significantly improving their chances for recovery.”

Jim Speier, operations coordinator, said safety is the focus on every flight. “Our goal is to safely complete each mission without having any issues. The new helicopters have updated safety features, including a terrain avoidance warning system that gives an audible voice alert message if an obstacle appears along the flight path. They also have a traffic collision avoidance system to warn the pilot of another aircraft in close proximity.”

Other features include live weather radar, which allows the crew to monitor area weather systems; an OuterLink satellite tracking system, which allows the communications center to track the entire flight; a black box recorder system, which stores critical data regarding each flight; night vision goggles; an automatic flight control system to assist the pilot; an improved environmental system, which allows for better patient comfort and a wire strike protection system that cuts power lines in the event of a wire strike.

The helicopters have updated medical equipment, including a new ventilator, which allows medical personnel to better treat patients of all ages. The overall interior has more room for equipment storage and is more user-friendly. The cabin also includes improved lighting, dual redundant oxygen storage systems and a restraint system to help when carrying larger patients.

“Each aircraft is staffed with a pilot, nurse and paramedic who are ready 24 hours, 7 days a week,” said program director Terri Rowden. “Air 1 is especially beneficial to our rural areas. We average 1,500 transports a year.”

The program is endorsed by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport and was the first program in Texas to receive accreditation in 1994.

ETMC Air 1 can fly up to 158 miles per hour, can transport up to two patients at a time and can fly as far as Houston on a single fuel load.

Sweet Assurance sings at PSUMC

Sweet Assurance. (Courtesy Photo)
Sweet Assurance. (Courtesy Photo)

Those who attended Fellowship Night at Payne Springs United Methodist were entertained Jan. 2nd by “Sweet Assurance,” a quintet from the First Baptist Church Malakoff. Their voices were perfect harmony, pleasing to everyone. Singers included: Barbara Monroe, Kay Downey, Dottie Crye, Adabeth Routt, and Kathy Clardy. The public is invited to every Fellowship Night. (COURTESY PHOTO)

SBDC/AEDC join up to help small business

By Jennifer Hannigan, TVCC Public Information

Athens Texas LogoA new partnership between two Athens agencies could result in big dollars for one budding entrepreneur.

For more than a year, the Small Business Development Center and the Athens Economic Development Corporation have been neighbors in the Athens Partnership Center. Earlier this year, AEDC President Brian Malone and SBDC Director Mike Ellsberry realized their services could work together.

So beginning in February, the two will pool their resources to offer a new program, and their effort will give one business venture $30,000 in startup funds and the training to give a new business owner the tools to succeed.

Malone said the AEDC has been going through a strategic planning process for the past year. During that process, the group has realized it needs to do more to encourage new small businesses in Athens. However, he said, he also wanted to include a way to train new business owners in the specifics of opening an establishment.

“We needed a way to make sure we had qualified people who wanted to begin businesses,” said Malone. “We realized that new business owners who are properly trained have a greater potential for long-term success.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the building, the SBDC has the resources to train those who want to start a business, but relies on outside sources to fund those new ventures.

“With the economy and banking the way they are, it’s very hard to secure funding for start-ups,” said Ellsberry. The SBDC – a venture of Trinity Valley Community College, the State of Texas, and the U.S. Small Business Administration – provides consulting for new business owners and existing businesses.

Starting on February 19th, the SBDC and AEDC will offer a high-level Going into Business Seminar forsix Tuesdays. The class will run from 5:30-7 p.m.

The course, said Malone and Ellsberry, will be fast paced and will include work both inside and outside of class. Potential business owners will build a full business plan which will address virtually all the significant decisions which need to be made for a start-up.

“This class will be very intensive,” said Malone. “It will not be for the faint of heart, but will provide real training to help a new business succeed.”

At the end of the six weeks, the entrepreneurs who have attended all the classes and completed their business plans will be eligible for consideration for the grant.

The plans will be judged on several criteria, including the potential size of the businesses and if there is a market in Athens for the proposed venture.

“Will the winning business help the community grow? Will it provide a place for future residents to work in Athens?” Malone asked. “We’re looking for businesses that have a real potential to grow and meet the needs in this community.”

For a business venture to be considered, it must be located in the city of Athens and potential owners will be required to meet other criteria as well as possibly undergo a background check before being considered for the grant. Those who currently own businesses but would like to take their current venture in a radically different direction will also be considered.

The cost for the seminar will be $50. For that amount, the attendee will also receive the textbook onwhich the seminar is based, Rhonda Adams’ “Entrepreneurship, a Real World Approach,” and other materials. Attendees will also be coached by an SBDC advisor and will be expected to meet weekly with that person.

Ellsberry said he sees the joint venture being a great way to help encourage new businesses in Athens.

“We are hoping to make this a regular event,” said Ellsberry. “It’s important for us to be collaborative. We’re hoping to build Athens into the future.”

For more information and to sign up for the seminar, contact the SBDC at 903-675-6390 903-675-7403. Pre-registration is required and the deadline is Feb. 12.

TVCC men drop Lee, 99-81

254814_10151313849267284_398758990_nBy Benny Rogers, TVCC Sports Information

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Talk about overcoming a slow start!

With 7:17 left in the first half Saturday at Cardinal Gym, the Cardinals found themselves in a 40-19 deficit to the Lee College Rebels, who had hit nine three-pointers. By halftime, they were back in the game, trailing by just six, 47-41.

In the second half, the Cardinals hit stride and blew away the Rebels for a 99-81 win.

Freshman Jarion Henry, in his first game of the season, led the assault with 32 points. Karon Phillips and Josh Gentry tossed in 13 and 10, respectively.

The win improved first-year coach Kris Baumann’s Cardinals to 12-4 on the season and 3-2 in the the conference. Lee dropped to 10-6 and 2-3.

The Cardinals are scheduled to return to action Wednesday at Brenhman against Blinn College. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

The Cardinals will be at home again Saturday against Coastal Bend Community College. Game time is 4 p.m.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

The fifth-ranked Lady Cardinals are scheduled to return to action Wednesday at Brenham against 14th-ranked and unbeaten Blinn College (15-0). Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Coach Elena Lovato’s squad will carry a 14-1 record into the game. The Lady Cardinals, who have won 11 straight conference championships, are 1-0 in league play. Blinn is 2-0.

The Lady Cardinals observed an open date Saturday. Blinn scored an impressive 84-71 road win against Tyler.

The next home game for the Lady Cardinals is Wednesday, Jan. 16 against Kilgore.

Daily Brief: Monday, Jan. 7

State Sen. Robert Nichols speaks with a staff member in this file photo. (Courtesy Photo)
State Sen. Robert Nichols speaks with a staff member in this file photo. (Courtesy Photo)

Welcome back to school for administrators, teachers and students. Hope you all had a great holiday.

The rest of us need to be very careful this week as kids and buses return to the roads for the first time in nearly a month.

The 83rd Texas Legislature will convene tomorrow and will play a big role in the news over the next few months.

In Henderson County, we have three lawmakers representing us in Austin. State Sen. Robert Nichols,

State Rep. Lance Gooden, and State Rep. Jim Pitts.

While Gooden represents most of the county, Pitts portions around Cedar Creek Lake during redistricting.

Gas prices are still rising:

Average retail gasoline prices in Texas have risen 5.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.16/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 13,114 gas outlets in Texas. This compares with the national average that has not moved in the last week to $3.26/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. Including the change in gas prices in Texas during the past week, prices yesterday were 4.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 6.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 9.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 6.8 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

The Malakoff Athletic Booster Club will be holding a meeting 6 p.m. tonight in the coaches office to discuss the upcoming powerlifting meet.

In just a few years, Malakoff has made this meet one of the best in East Texas. If you are in Malakoff, think about helping out. If you are not in Malakoff, think about attending.

For those who heard my anguished cries Friday on our Facebook Page, you know that our website was deleted in an industrial accident. I believe there were explosions and fire and mayhem involved. (Actually, we managed to copy over the database files, thereby erasing the site.)

We are back up and running and will continue to tweak the site of the next few months to try and bring you the best completely free news site in the county.

One of the modules lost was the one that emailed the Daily Brief to those who registered. I have not rebuilt that module yet, but will be working on it this week. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Have a great day and remember, ALWAYS backup your files.