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.

Kendall Sanders: Humility, Honesty, Hunger

Kendall
Kendall Sanders concentrates on the ball during practice in Austin.

You are a freshman at the University of Texas, and you just played a part in the Longhorns’ thrilling 31-27 come-from-behind win over Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. What do you do now?

If you’re Kendall Sanders, you come home to Athens.

The 6-foot, 183-pound former Hornet visited with Henderson County Now this week to talk about what it’s like to play football in Austin — and to no one’s surprise, it’s amazing.

“Just being there, the atmosphere will open your eyes,” he said. “Practice is like Friday nights here.”

“I (stand in awe) a lot,” Sanders said. “When I first got there, I’d do that in practice. Then I got used to it, and we started bowl practices and it hit me again. It’s my first bowl game and I’m at Texas.”

He also learned quickly that he was playing on a different level, talent wise.

“At the All-American game, that’s when I got perspective (on talent),” he said. “Because all those people were All-Americans, all those people were great. I thought, that’s where I’m going to, Texas, where everyone is great, so I just kind of prepared myself there so I wouldn’t be (overwhelmed) when I got to Texas.”

He might have known he was on a different level, but grabbing two interceptions in that U.S. Army All-American Bowl last year also proved he belonged on that level.

He proved it again when he got to Austin and earned a spot on special teams as a true freshman. He also earned time at wide receiver. His first catch came against Wyoming in the season opener and yes, he heard the crowd.

“When I caught that ball, I felt like I had never played football before in my life,” he said with a laugh. “When I caught the ball, I didn’t know what to do. I heard the crowd (roar) and I stopped, and then I went on with the play.”

Like any season, Sanders’ freshman year had ups and downs. Even though he was playing, it was much less than in the past.

“But at the same time, it was a learning experience because I never played just that position,” he said, “so i was learning from the guys in front of me.”

Sanders said that positive spirit comes from God and his family.

My family instilled the three “H’s” in my life: Be Humble, Honest and Hungry,” he said. “So I just try and live by that.”

That ethic also helped Sanders nail down a solid “B” average in the classroom.

And believes he’s at Texas for a reason.

“I believe God led me to Texas. He sets my whole life, and so I’m just following his footsteps,” he said.

Looking forward, the path seems ready for Sanders to take on a bigger role in the offense for the Longhorns next season.

The 18-year-old isn’t surprised, but still manages to be both humble and confident about the future.

“Like I said, God is setting up my road,” he says.