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Daily Brief: Tuesday, Jan. 8

It is Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 … the first day of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session.

Not a whole lot expected to happen today other than lawmakers taking the oath of office and some paperwork.

Later today, we will have a story about a bill filed by State Rep. Jim Pitts regarding the use of cellphones while driving around schools.

Today also marks the first meeting of Henderson County Commissioners’ Court.

I went by there this morning but, as one official said, the agenda was “long and laborious” so I didn’t stay. I did get an interview with the County Judge and couple of the commissioners regarding their take on the upcoming Legislative Session. That story will be posted later today or early tomorrow.

Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way, we can move on to the important news. Local high school sports returns in full swing tonight.

It is also registration day at Trinity Valley Community College. This is from the TVCC Facebook Page. 

It’s registration day at The Valley! Welcome new students and those of you coming back for another semester. It’s going to be great to see all of you on campus today. If you have any questions you need answered, please remember you can ask them here and we’ll do our best to help you out. Here’s a link to the schedule finder if you’re needing your registration time. Just type in Spring 2013 and it will bring up the info. Have a wonderful day Valley family!

Check it out here.

 

AISD faveOne of the important area Facebook pages is the one for Athens ISD. 

Here is my favorite photo posted over there this week.

Ending on a down note today. It has been announced that My Favorite Things in Malakoff will be closing. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. Jessica Crye and her mother have been a wonderful addition to the Malakoff downtown and their absence will surely be felt.

We’ll miss you.

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.