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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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