Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

December 28, 2012

County’s biggest stories for 2012

Tumultuous year comes to quiet close

Athens — After a sometimes tumultuous 12 months, 2012 came to a quiet close in Henderson County.

In January, the Commissioners Court voted to fund the new Southside Fire Department. The new firefighting entity was formed to serve the area that was once protected by the Shady Oaks Fire Department, which became insolvent in November, 2010.

Also in January, confusion reigned, as Republican and Democratic Party officials watched the Federal courts as they considered redistricting litigation. On Jan. 18, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a 3-judge panel in San Antonio to look at disputed maps.

In February, Commissioners heard from County Election Administrator Denise Hernandez concerning an upcoming election to close the open range in the county. The law, that had been in effect for more than a century, did not require landowners to fence-in livestock. In November, the county voters opted to end the open-range era.

The controversy over the Nativity scene on the County Courthouse lawn grew as it was reported nationwide in December. In March, the county took a look at its property-use policy to remove any doubt as to who was in control over how the county properties are used. Ultimately, the manger scene returned to the courthouse lawn in December, but County Judge Richard Sanders denied a request from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to place a sign among the Christmas decorations.

Election Day finally came May 29. Incumbent State Rep. Lance Gooden defeated Athens doctor Stuart Spitzer in the Republican Primary. A crowded race for County Commissioner Precinct 1 set up a Republican runoff between Scotty Thomas and Ken Hayes for a spot on the November ballot.

In June, County Judge Richard Sanders began work on the 2013 budget. Early indications were that revenues would fall below the amount needed to run the county in the coming year without making cuts. More bad news came in July, when Auditor Ann Marie Lee told the court that tax collections are coming at about 93 percent, slower than the projected rate of 94.45 percent.

The primary election season finally ended on July 31, with runoffs in several races. Scotty Thomas won the Republican runoff in the Precinct 1 Commissioners race, while incumbent David Grubbs overcame a stiff challenge for Precinct 3 Constable.

August brought dry weather and a burn ban for the county. Fire Marshal Darrell Furrh announced Aug. 7 that 90 percent of the county was extremely dry.

On Sept. 18, after several weeks of trimming, Commissioners approved a budget for 2013. After hearing from citizens who’d come to object to cuts, which included eliminating some positions, the document passed. The final result was a budget about 5-percent lower than one passed in 2011.

In October, Commissioners approved a resolution supporting legislation that allows the county to intervene on behalf of its rural water-rate payers, who complained of being gouged by large water companies. Customers of Monarch Water Company and Agua Texas attended the meeting in protest of 67-percent rate increases.

Also in October, the county was shocked by the death of Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Henry Ashford. Interviews for the open position began in November, and resulted in the choice of Athens Mayor Randy Daniel as Ashford’s replacement.

November brought the General Election. Henderson County went against the grain and voted for Republican Mitt Romney over Barack Obama, who was, indeed, elected to another four years in office. Among the county winners were Sheriff Ray Nutt, County Tax Assessor/Collector Milburn Chaney and Republican Precinct 1 Commissioner Candidate Scotty Thomas.

On Dec. 18, Commissioners met for the last time in 2012. Judge Richard Sanders thanked outgoing Commissioner Joe Hall for his 12 years on the court, and 16 years in total service to the county.

Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0127.JPG McDonald’s coming to Mabank

    The corner of North First Street and North Third Street in Mabank is about to look a lot different as a construction crew broke ground Monday.
    A formal ceremonial groundbreaking will be held within the next week to welcome McDonald's to the location just off of Highway 175.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Funeral held for 15-year-old drowned Eustace student

    Funeral services were held on Sunday for a 15-year-old Eustace student who drowned Thursday evening after diving into Cedar Creek Lake.
    The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigated the drowning. According to reports, a medical emergency call came to 9-1-1 shortly after 5 p.m. from Timber Bay in the Payne Springs area.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 PSCA open house.jpg PSCA seeks new student enrollment

    “Striving to make a difference in each child for eternity,” reads the motto of one local private school seeking new enrollment.
    Payne Springs Christian Academy is looking to enroll new students for the 2014-2015 school year.
    “We are in need of some kids this year,” said Amanda Beets, a mother of one of the school's current students.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery to dedicate historical marker

    The Texas Historical Commission, Henderson County Historical Commission and descendants of those who are buried in the Lightfoot-Miller Cemetery invite the public to the dedication of a historical marker at the property.
    The observance is set for 10 a.m. on Aug. 2.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 HCHS.jpg ‘Party for the Paws’ event great success

    The Henderson County Humane Society in Athens as well as  Beckham are continuing to celebrate results of the Party For The Paws fundraiser.  Beckham is a dog that was recently adopted from the HCHS.
    HCHS Treasurer Ellen Barton commends those who were involved in the event’s planning and execution. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0018.JPG Volunteers now needed for Athens Soup Kitchen

    Athens resident Terry Mayhall walked through the doors of the Athens Soup Kitchen asking if he could just volunteer. Mayhall now spends his Thursdays cooking soup for people who are hungry.
    Athens Soup Kitchen, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to feed those who are hungry. The facility that feeds 30 to 63 people weekly, opened its door in March 2014.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-26 Mike chamber.png Coston named chamber president

    After a diligent search, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board has named Mike Coston president. 
    “The chamber board selected a search committee, which consisted of Chamber members, community leaders and business owners,” Ashley Adams McKee, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board, said. “Our committee knew that we wanted to take our time to find the most qualified person to serve as our new president. We had more than 10 applicants and in our first round of interviews we were all equally impressed and excited about Mike's experience and passion for chamber business.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Update on restaurant projects given

    City of Athens officials gave an update on some ongoing projects and financial information at a meeting on Wednesday.
    Director of Planning and Development Gary Crecilius said progress on the Cotton Patch Cafe has slowed considerably with the discovery of a possible environmental hazard. The restaurant is being constructed east of the Walmart store on East Tyler Street.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3092.JPG HCPAC announces ‘Mattress’ sales

    Why would HCPAC be selling mattresses? Actually, the “mattresses” are tickets to “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 7.
    The 26th Annual Youth Summer Musical stars 24 very talented area students, ages 10 through college, and tells the “fractured fairy tale” version of the “Princess and the Pea.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-26 CCL Rotary Celebrity waiter.jpg Gearing up for Celebrity Waiter event

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is gearing up for its annual Celebrity Waiter event. The Celebrity Waiter committee met on Thursday to discuss last minute items. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at Athens Country Club. This will be the 18th year the CCL Rotary Club has hosted the fundraiser. For ticket information call Erin Osborn at 903-887-7486.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo