Tuesday morning opened with the Athens Chamber of Commerce hosting the 55th annual Farm and Ranch tour. At noon, Athens ISD held a ribbon cutting to celebrate a radical overhaul of the district’s schools. The day ended with the City of Athens holding an open house at the new Texan Theater.
Like any year, 2017 had its ups and downs, its celebrations and its tragedies.
In the past, I would spend the last week of December sorting the top stories according to the ones I thought were the most important. This year, however, I will leave that for others. Instead, here in no particular order are five things I think I think as we head into 2018.
People Still Care (Part I)
It is fashionable to think that charitable giving is a dying art, but people are still willing to give when there is a focal point to rally around.
In 2017, those rallying points came in the form of a hurricane in Houston and a tornado in Canton. Henderson County mobilized people and supplies to aid in both calamities.
And it isn’t just the big tragedies. Kevin Lilly’s McDonald’s — with a little help from Henderson County Now — raised thousands for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. But it took someone standing in the drive-thru in the cold asking each passing car to get those donations.
There is something to be said for knowing when to leave.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) has been Henderson County’s Congressman since 2003, but his time as our representative in Washington is coming to an end. Tuesday, he announced he would not run for re-election in 2018.
In a statement on Facebook, Hensarling noted a desire to spend time with his family and wrote, “Although service in Congress remains the greatest privilege of my life, I never intended to make it a lifetime commitment, and I have already stayed far longer than I had originally planned.”
The Athens City Council and the Athens Municipal Water Authority (AMWA) Board of Directors met together Monday afternoon to discuss their “working relationship.”
There were times when the process got a little sticky but, at least from my vantage point, the two entities moved forward in a way that should encourage city residents.
Notably, the City and AMWA discussed taking steps toward getting the water well at the treatment plant functioning as needed and rearranging the chlorine line in the water treatment plant. According to officials, both those actions would help alleviate the troubles with haloacetic acids the system has had over the past year.
The Athens City Council met in executive session Tuesday night to discuss a potential deal to sell Central Park and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC or old armory) to Trinity Valley Community College.
No details are publicly known at this time, which is normal. A real estate deal takes time and negotiations and state law allows governmental agencies to do that behind closed doors to help the process.
That’s all very typical.
What isn’t typical, however, is when the deal involves two governmental agencies and a piece of public land.