The Henderson County Commissioners Court set May 11 elections for two proposed emergency services districts on the east side of the county.
Voters in the Westside Volunteer Fire Department area on the west side of Lake Palestine will decide whether to create ESD No. 6. The territory served by the Murchison Volunteer Fire Department will cast ballots on whether to launch ESD 8.
Emergency services districts are political subdivisions of the state entrusted with providing emergency medical and fire services to many unincorporated areas.
During a public hearing on whether to set boundaries for ESD 6, Westside Volunteer Fire Department Chief Doug Nicholson said help is needed to raise revenues to build a second fire station. That station could respond in parts of the district that are blocked by portions of the lake.
“About 20 percent of our boundaries are covered by water,” Nicholson said. “There’s a big issue there as far as response time.”
In November 2011, voters defeated ESD 6 by a 49-41 count.
In other action, Commiss-ioners voted to accept the Fiscal Year 2013 Indigent Defense Formula Grant. The county’s share of the grant funds is $67,511. Jennifer Nicholson, who coordinates grants for the auditor’s office, said the total is a big jump from 2012. Despite the increase, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Wade McKinney said the funds are a drop in the bucket compared with the amount the county spends.
According to the Texas Fair Defense Act, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that indigent persons accused of a crime in a state court have the right to court-appointed counsel. Texas funneled the responsibility down to the counties to help supply legal counsel for indigent defense.
“They have shortchanged the counties for years,” McKinney said. “It’s a major unfunded mandate.”
Nicholson said the state has helped offset some of Henderson County’s spike in indigent defense costs through equalization payments. The equalization payments are intended to help counties with the largest percentage increases in indigent defense costs. Last year, Henderson County’s total of grant funds and equalization payments was about $61,000.
Commissioners also voted to:
• sell a 1991 Chevrolet dump truck to the City of Payne Springs for $7,500;
• accept a $1,000 donation for the Henderson County Clint Murchison Library;
• approve a proclamation setting March 2 as Texas Independence Day; and
• authorized payment of bills in the amount of $477,900.66.
County sets ESD elections
- Local News
Wet and wild
A line of severe thunderstorms roared throughout Henderson County on Tuesday afternoon, dropping significant rainfall and taking down trees and power lines.
The storm produced heavy rains in Athens, where the National Weather Service reports 2.16 inches fell. Residents in the county were seeing three or more inches in their rain gauges.
A Henderson County jury delivered a strong message to a 37-year-old Kemp man in the sentencing phase of a child sexual-abuse trial on Tuesday.
The jury, in Judge Mark Calhoon’s 3rd District Court, handed Danny Ray Lusk four life sentences and one 20-year sentence, the maximum jail time on each count.
Going to ‘WAR’
A program termed “We Are Responsible” was generated this year at South Athens Elementary School by its principal, Eugene Buford.
At first reading, the slogan appears to be for the school’s students. But, after looking at the slogan and noting that the abbreviation is WAR, Buford says the slogan is for educators.
A need that’s very easy to see
The Greater Athens Lions Club is asking for used eyeglasses, lenses, glass cases and hearing aids for the annual Lions Club White Cane Day this Saturday.
Too close to home
It was the kind of moment any parent would dread.
Give it to Jody!
The 50th annual Henderson County Farm and Ranch Tour concluded Tuesday with a luncheon on the floor of the Henderson County Fair Park Complex arena and the naming presentation of the Joe B. Fulgham Agriculturist of the Year.
The 25th recipient of the award was Jody Jackson of Murchison, whose farming and ranching operations started with a few cattle and some chickens then grew to one of the county’s most varied operations.
County votes to sell old annex building
Henderson County officials on Tuesday narrowly approved contracting with an Athens realtor to list the old Courthouse Annex building for sale.
Steve Grant Real Estate was chosen to sell the property by a 3-to-2 vote. Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin cast the dissenting votes.
Burk to serve as next ACA administrator
Athens Christian Academy (Kindergarten through 6th grade) is pleased to announce Dale Burk as the new administrator beginning July 2013.
Bullying just got tougher
To reduce the prevalence of school age bullying the Athens Independent School District has added a new communications tool called Anonymous Alerts, allowing individuals to quickly, easily and anonymously report urgent information that they may otherwise be uncomfortable revealing.
The Athens Odd Fellow Lodge No. 961 and Athens Rebekah Lodge No. 23 has seven students who are receiving a $500 scholarship to Trinity Valley Community College for this year.
- More Local News Headlines
- Wet and wild