Daily Brief: Jan. 14

Ornament and money found at the door to the Henderson County Courthouse this morning. (MICHAEL V. HANNIGAN PHOTO)
Ornament and money found at the door to the Henderson County Courthouse this morning. (MICHAEL V. HANNIGAN PHOTO)

Folks arriving for work at the Henderson County Courthouse this morning made an interesting discovery. Sitting by the door were two $1 bills and a beautiful “Noel” Christmas ornament.

Nobody knows who left the gift or why, but considering the controversy the past two Christmases, it seems at least possible that it is connected to the nativity scene.

Our hearts are heavy today and our prayers are with the staff and students at Malakoff High School. One of the students at the school was killed in a car accident near Crandall last night.

Jamiya (Givens) Williams and her infant daughter, Alahna, were both killed in the accident.

Officials at Malakoff High School reported that grief counselors were on hand today for those students who needed them.

It was cold this morning and it looks like it is going to stay that way through the first part of the week.

Average retail gasoline prices in Texas have fallen 0.5 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 fallen 0.6 cents per gallon 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 4.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 12.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 1.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 8.7 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

The City of Eustace will be holding a called meeting tonight to discuss the firing of Police Chief Troy Tucker. The meeting will be 7 p.m. in the Eustace Municipal Court. 

The City of Athens will also be holding a meeting tonight, 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers. The agenda looks to be fairly routine.

Bartlett HouseLoretta Humble’s “Around the Town” Facebook page has a cool photo spread about recent improvements to the historic Bartlett House.

In the photo, Cheryl Kietscheraski points out some of the work she’s done with the help of her brother, Dennis Haws, and bricklayer Billy Gray.

Daily Brief: Friday, Jan. 11

Michael Hannigan (yours truly) cuts the cake at a reception thrown by members of the Malakoff community. The event was organized to mark Hannigan leaving The Malakoff News. (LORETTA HUMBLE PHOTO)
Michael Hannigan (yours truly) cuts the cake at a reception thrown by members of the Malakoff community. The event was organized to mark Hannigan leaving The Malakoff News. (LORETTA HUMBLE PHOTO)


Looks like a fairly quiet weekend ahead. Enjoy it, because next weekend is going to be busy!

Monday, Jan. 21, is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Scheduled events include:

– MLK Parade: Saturday, Jan. 19 
– Gospel Explosion: Saturday, Jan. 19
– Candlelight Vigil: Monday, Jan. 21

Another big event on the horizon is the Athens Chamber of Commerce Banquet. The event will see big awards, like the Citizen of the Year.

The event is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18. Tickets are still available, but hurry. 

We won’t see as much rain this weekend as we have during the week, but the forecast is still calling for some drizzles. Prepare accordingly.

The Athens Daily Review has a story about the Athens EDC considering a funding request for the splash pad planned for Kiwanis Park.h

Finally, I owe a personal thank you to the folks in Malakoff who threw me a wonderful party last night to mark my departure from The Malakoff News. It was beyond anything I could have envisioned and a lot of nice people said some really nice things about me.

I have been very blessed to work in a community full of people who care, and the secret is that I should be the one thanking you for allowing me into your lives and being able to make a living doing what I love.

So, thank you.

Daily Brief: Thursday, Jan. 10

Gold watchIn the photo above, Athens Mayor Jerry Don Vaught (right) reads the inscription on a gold watch the city presented to former mayor and current Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Daniel during a council meeting yesterday. Daniel was also presented a plaque for his service. Daniel served as mayor from 2005 through 2012.

Vaught said the presentations were “With much appreciation from the city and the City Council.”

During the meeting, the council also looked at items that will be on Monday night’s agenda, including appointing Steve Grant to the Airport Advisory Board, a possible air show at the airport, and improvements needed at the facility. No action was taken, but the appointment is expected to be approved Monday.

Rich Flowers over at the Review has more details.

The UT Tyler Mobile Go Center (MGC) will be at Malakoff High School from 6-8 p.m. tonight.

According to the website:

The University of Texas at Tyler Mobile Go Center is an internet-equipped mobile computer lab providing college-going resources to individuals and their families. The mobile center is designed to increase the number of students enrolled and succeeding in higher education programs in Texas.

Parents of seniors, take note.

Speaking of Malakoff, the District Attorney’s Office issued a press release yesterday announcing a convicted drug dealer from that area was sentenced to 18 years. 

In case you missed it, San Antonio atheist Patrick Greene has changed his mind … again … about suing over the Henderson County nativity scene. 

Anyone want to make book on if he decides to file again?

Didn’t think so.

Malakoff drug dealer gets 18 years

James Earl Ray
James Earl Ray

Press release from Henderson County District Attorney’s Office

As the sun was setting on 2012, the sun was also setting on James Earl Ray’s time as a Henderson County resident. Ray, known on the street as “King James” was sentenced to 18 years in prison for crack cocaine.

Ray, 40 years old and formerly of Malakoff, plead guilty while a jury awaited the state’s first witness in the 173rd Judicial District Court with Judge Dan Moore presiding. Henderson County Assistant District Attorneys Justin Weiner and Nancy Rumar prosecuted the case on behalf of Scott McKee’s District Attorney’s office.

A little over a year prior to his sentence on Dec. 8, 2011, the Henderson County Drug Task Force and members of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff executed a search warrant on Ray’s residence. Immediately after making entry into the home, Ray was seen fleeing from the bathroom with his hands dripping wet. The toilet was running which indicated that it had recently been flushed. Some speculated that Ray had flushed a quantity of narcotics when he realized that law enforcement was at his home.

During the search of the home, the Task Force located a number of items confirming Ray’s involvement in drug transactions. Crack cocaine was found throughout the house along with razor blades used to size the rocks, a large amount of cash mostly in small bills, and a cell phone with text messages detailing various drug transactions. The residence was also home to two children. The search also revealed digital scales with cocaine residue found sitting on a baby’s highchair. Ray was the only person present at the time the search warrant was executed.

An additional warrant was also executed to search Ray’s cellular phone which indicated that he was trafficking in narcotics.

Following the sentence, Weiner said: “[T]his is a great example of why it is so important that our office works so hard with law enforcement and continues to fight and investigate these cases on the eve of and throughout trial.”