The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review Part 2: End of year marked by fire, festivals

By MARY RAINWATER & CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

The second half of 2013 was marked by a tragic downtown fire, the naming of the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year, the Hot Pepper Festival and the city of Palestine's annual holiday celebration.

Some of the other newsmakers during the second six months of 2012 included:

 

JULY

3 — Officials with AAA report a drop in fuel prices just in time for summer vacation, at about $3.21 per gallon locally for regular unleaded gasoline.

3 — A Palestine food ministry director reports an increased need for food among Anderson County families, serving 245 families — up from the 210 average — the week before.

5 — Law enforcement officials warn citizens to be aware of a phone phishing scam targeting PC users, where “phishers” gain access to a computer and then can install or will get the computer’s owner to install malicious software that could capture sensitive data.

7 — Two Palestine men were arrested and a third man was being sought for their role in the burglary of an Elkhart residence in late June. A neighbor contacted law enforcement while witnessing the three suspects attempting to steal a washing machine from a yard on ACR 174 near Elkhart.

8 — The Palestine City Council unanimously approved raises for the city’s police force, including 4 percent raise for patrol officers and cadets; a just over 1 percent raise for corporals and sergeants; and a 1 percent raise to lieutenants.

9 — Texas conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Pauken spoke to the Anderson County-Palestine Texas Tea Party/Citizens for the Constitution during a stop in Palestine about his plan to form a grassroots campaign for governor, touching upon the need for more vocational education for students, border issues and term limits for state officials.

9 – The Palestine Hospitality Association met to discuss their desire to see city officials get serious about attracting tourism dollars to Palestine – especially sports tourism dollars – and supporting the Texas State Railroad.

11 — Texas Agriculture Commissioner and Palestine native Todd Staples announced his intentions to run for Texas Lieutenant Governor during the Anderson County Republican Club fundraising dinner.

11 — Elkhart city officials issued a boil water notice for residents after a 6-inch water main broke – not once, but twice in two days.

12 — Anderson County Commissioners approve the establishment of a reinvestment zone for the operation of a compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant in the county. The $420 million Bethel Energy Center, part of Houston-based Apex, is set to be located in a 180-acre area off FM 2706 at ACR 2504 in northern Anderson County.

12 — Due to increasingly dry conditions, Anderson County Commissioners ordered a burn ban for Anderson County.

12 — Slocum Water Supply officials issued a Stage 1 Water Restriction, curtailing all outside watering between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight, until further notice.

12 — Two East Texas men — one a 28-year-old Palestine man — died in a head on collision on Texas 19 in Trinity County.

15 — Palestine Independent School District announced the receipt of the $8.5 million 5-year 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant that will provide additional learning opportunities for PISD students before and after school.

16 — After being identified by an Anderson County Sheriff's Deputy, an Elkhart man was arrested for several drug-related and others charges at a Palestine convenience store.

17 — Just five days after approving a burn ban order, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston lifted the ban on outdoor burning in unincorporated areas after consulting with the Texas Forest Service.

17 — A Fort Worth man was arrested for drug-related charges after an early morning traffic stop led to his arrest in south Palestine.

17 — One Palestine man was hospitalized and another arrested after a shooting in the 100 block of West Huffsmith Street. Palestine Police responded to Palestine Regional Medical Center after receiving a report from hospital officials that a victim had been brought in with a gunshot wound to the chest.

18 — Atmos Energy crews work to cap a ruptured natural gas line at the intersection of Crockett and Church streets after city workers inadvertently punctured the line while making other infrastructure construction in the vicinity. Crockett Street was blocked from the light at Crockett and Park Avenue to Reagan Street for about two hours.

22 — Anderson County Commissioners approved a contract and source of payment for a new system that will allow the general public as well as area land men online access to indexes of land records dating back to 1974.

22 — The Palestine City Council approved a contract with Gary Traylor & Associates of Tyler to begin preliminary work on a new round of HOME grant applications, which promises to help repair or replace substandard homes in the city of Palestine.

23 — An Anderson County man was arrested at a county residence for a parole violation warrant and drug charges. While serving the warrant, deputies saw a glass pipe commonly used for smoking illegal narcotics, leading to additional drug charges.

24 — Palestine’s Utilities Department reports the continuation of a series of sanitary sewer infrastructure upgrades, with contractors in the process of installing larger sewer lines on the east side of town, along Church Street and Crockett Road, as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency more than 10 years ago.

27 — Sabor a Pasion hosts its first-ever grape stomp event to benefit Montalba and Elmwood volunteer fire departments.

27 — Three Crockett men were arrested after Palestine police received a call about a possible kidnapping. A 911 caller reported a man had allegedly been taken at gunpoint and was being held inside a truck.

27 — The City of Palestine concludes its first-ever 12 Days of Christmas in July event.

29 — An Iowa man was arrested on drug and weapon charges following his involvement in a child custody-related disturbance at an Anderson County residence.

31 — The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce names Marc Mitchell, 42, as its new director. He officially started on Aug. 19.

 

AUGUST

1 — Elkhart Independent School District announced that Elkhart Elementary School Principal Tana Herring will serve as 2013-14 District 7 President for the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA).

2 — An attempted traffic stop turned into a chase in Anderson County and parts of Palestine, after a deputy attempted to stop a beige Chevy SUV traveling on North Jackson Street for a traffic violation.

The driver gave chase and led law enforcement around Loop 256 and onto Texas 155 and back onto the Loop. Deputies later found the vehicle wrecked out on Salt Works Road with the driver no where in sight.

3 — Roy Tyrone and Phil Rask of Pasadena placed first in the professional class of the 23rd annual Neches Wilderness Canoe Race, held on the Neches River and organized by the Neches River Runners, a local conservation and education group.

6 — Local 4-H club members were honored during the annual Anderson County 4-H end-of-the-year awards banquet held at the Palestine Senior Activity Center. The banquet is held to honor members of local 4-H groups and their accomplishments through the year.

8 — An 86-year-old local woman was killed in an accident in the parking of the Palestine Post Office.

Police reports indicate the woman died after apparently failing to put the car she had been driving in park before trying to exit the vehicle and was run over.

8 — In a joint effort with the Teague Police Department and the Freestone County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and recovered more than $30,000 in stolen property.

9 — Longtime Palestine veterinarian Don Scarbrough, D.V.M., 59, died at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He was admitted to the hospital in mid-June from complications from an infection.

9 — Eilenberger’s Bakery announced a new owner and reopening set for the fall, with plans to employ about 50 employees. Palestine businessman Bill Jones purchased the bakery in late July from its most recent owner, Southern Fulfillment Services, LLC, based out of Vero Beach, Fla., which had purchased the bakery in 2009.

12 — Due to the continuous dry weather conditions and an increasing number of grass fires, Anderson County commissioners implemented a 90-day burn ban.

12 — Anderson County commissioners heard reports on property values and tax rates, with Tax Assessor-Collector Teri Garvey reporting that overall property values for the county dropped $25 million over the previous year, due to a $33 million loss in mineral values and a $5 million loss in new construction values.

13 — A fire severely damaged a residence in northwest Anderson County on County Road 2303, located north of U.S. 287 between Tennessee Colony and Montalba. The house, rented by a family of five, was deemed unlivable. No one was at home at the time of the fire.

13 — The North Richland Hills Police Department announced it is seeking information leading to the suspect(s) responsible for the 2007 murder of a 67-year-old woman, believing a person of interest might be living in Anderson County. That same subject was a person of interest in a local “cold” murder case as well.

14 — A Palestine woman was arrested for burglary of a building after reportedly being seen entering a local restaurant’s window.

15 — Longtime educator and coach Carl Saxon, 64, passed away during surgery at the Heart Hospital of Austin. He worked in education for 43 years and served as a coach at Frankston, Grapeland and Westwood school districts.

18 — Three Rusk residents were arrested for allegedly assaulting a Frankston man with a pipe and injuring another bystander during a disturbance call at the Deep End Marina, located at FM 1892 near Lake Palestine.

19 — Westwood Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a total budget of $13.8 million, dipping into the district’s fund balance by slightly more than $1.5 million to balance the budget for its campus improvements and 1:1 Technology Initiative for students.

19 — A former Neches Independent School District board member was re-arrested (and immediately released on bond) after being indicted by an Anderson County grand jury for possession of child pornography.

19 — Westwood ISD announced the internal promotion of longtime district official Shane Jones to Westwood High School principal following the recent departure of WHS principal and assistant superintendent Dr. Clint McClain.

19 — A missing Palestine woman’s body was recovered from Richland Chambers Lake in Freestone County, after she had been reported missing to the Palestine Police Department on Aug. 16, by a close friend. According to police reports, the woman's vehicle was reportedly found on Aug. 17.

23 — Robert Kubara was named interim Westwood High School principal following a second reorganization of leadership at Westwood Independent School District in just a few days. Kubara formerly served as principal at Westwood Elementary School with Breanna Jones serving as the new elementary principal.

23 — The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Frankston Police Department took part in a six-hour “zero tolerance” patrol in the Frankston and Lake Palestine area, making a total off 66 traffic stops and arresting 15 people.

26 — An area pilot attempted an emergency landing at the Palestine Municipal Airport, and came up just a bit short of the runway. The pilot made “a good landing,” according to officials at the scene.

26 — The Anderson County Commissioners Court approved its 2014 budget of $19.7 million and supporting tax rate of .52550 per $100 of valuation, giving a 2 percent pay raise to all county employees.

26 — Palestine Independent School District’s Board of Trustees adopted its 2013-14 budget of $32.1 and tax rate of 1.566 per $100 of valuation, following a public hearing.

26 — Palestine City Council approved entering into a contract with Tip411, after officers presented data collected during a recent survey conducted by the department. Tip411 is a web-based community notification system that would allow the PPD to receive anonymous tips via text and email as well as help local officers use social media, like Facebook, to help solve crimes and alert the community about what’s happening in their neighborhoods.

28 — An Elkhart man was arrested for his role in burglary that occurred at the Kim’s No. 6 convenience store, located on Texas 19 in Elkhart, on Aug. 17.

28 — 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher sentenced Larry Warren to 60 years in prison and a $1,000 fine after being found guilty of murder three months prior for the shooting death of another local man at a residence in the 100 block of CR 1121, just south of Elkhart, on Aug. 29, 2010.

29 — The City of Palestine named Greg Laudadio as its new assistant director of the Palestine Economic Development Corp.

29 — Palestine's Jhamerrick Milton, 19, was sentenced to 25 years and fined $7,500 by an Anderson County jury for the shooting of a local man during a convenience store robbery in 2012. Milton was the third person arrested in connection with the Aug. 19, 2012 early morning robbery of Mr. D’s convenience store at 3209 W. Oak St. during which a 62-year-old store clerk was shot in the face with a .22-caliber rifle.

29 — An Anderson County man was arrested on the charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child involving a 13-year-old boy after an outcry was made by the victim.

29 — Due to a new line install on ACR 181, the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality required Slocum Water Supply Corporation to notify all customers located on ACR 181, ACR 1814, ACR 1811 and ACR 1812 area to boil their water prior to consumption.

 

SEPTEMBER

3 — A Tyler man was arrest for numerous charges, including possession of over 33 grams of illegal mushrooms, during a routine traffic stop at the corner of Bridges and Parker streets in downtown Elkhart.

5 — Two local residents were arrested on a warrant in Elkhart for a burglary that occurred in the 3000 block of ACR 153 on Aug. 30, with several items, including miscellaneous tools and personal items reported stolen.

6 — A boil water notice for residents of parts of the Slocum area on Aug. 30 was extended by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) through the Slocum Water Supply Corporation.

9 — The Palestine City Council proposed a general fund budget of just over $14 million for fiscal year 2013-14 and elected to keep the city’s property tax rate the same as last year — $0.639 per $100 valuation.

9 — Neches Water Supply Corporation issued a boil water notice to some of its customers after mechanical failure took one of the corporation’s wells offline over the weekend.

9 — Anderson County Commissioners Court set a public hearing on a petition for the creation of an Emergency Service District, which would include the coverage areas of Tennessee Colony VFD, Westside VFD and the Bethel-Cayuga VFD during its regular meeting.

9 — Westwood Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved $692,018 worth of improvements for the construction of tennis courts, batting cages and a softball field concession stand/restroom building during a regular meeting at Westwood Primary School.

10 — Longview area resident David Watts, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, visited with members of the Anderson County-Palestine Tea Party/Citizens for the Constitution.

11 — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3907 hosted a 9/11 Patriots’ Day memorial service in remembrance of those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

13 — A Palestine couple was arrested for forgery, with a connection to over $10,000 in forged checks, credit cards and related items discovered, after an ASCO employee charged with overseeing the office’s inmate trust fund discovered approximately $600 in unauthorized checks written from the account.

13 — An accident involving a semi-truck and an SUV occurred at 2:30 p.m. on Loop 256 near Texas 155 north. The couple in the SUV was transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center for treatment and reported to be in stable condition.

15 — An unknown suspect was sought for armed robbery of a Palestine convenience store, during which the suspect got away with an undetermined amount of money.

16 — Palestine Independent School District Superintendent Jason Marshall reported an attendance of 3,262 students as of the 15th day of school on Friday to the PISD Board of Trustees during the regular board meeting. Attendance was up on the 15th day by 146 students, compared to the first day of school enrollment of 3,116.

17 — The body of an unidentified man was discovered by Texas Department of Transportation mowing crews under the Neches River bridge on U.S. Highway 79 at the Anderson-Cherokee county line. Investigators report that no foul play was suspected in the man's death.

18 — Members of the East Texas Joint Fugitive Task Force, which included officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Constables, the U.S. Marshal’s office and Texas the Department of Public Safety, participated in a mass compliance check on Anderson County's 86 registered sex offenders. Five of the 79 contacted were found to be non compliant with possible charges pending.

19 — An Anderson County Jail inmate died at Palestine Regional Medical Center after being found facedown and unresponsive by jailers. The 64-year-old black male had been in custody after being arrested two days prior for criminal trespass by Anderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The preliminary autopsy report revealed the cause of death as “natural causes due to heart-related issues.”

21 — One man was hospitalized and four others arrested after an alleged drive-by shooting that occurred at a residence in the 1000 block of South Magnolia Street in Palestine. The victim, a 20-year-old Palestine man, was taken to a Tyler hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds to the back and leg.

21 — After a deluge of rain, Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston lifted the ban on outdoor burning in unincorporated areas. The 90-day burn ban was called by commissioners on Aug. 12, due to continuously dry conditions.

23 — The Palestine City Council unanimously approved keeping city’s 2013-14 tax rate at $0.639 per $100 valuation, also approving an increase in water, sewer and sanitation rates for Palestine residents.

23 — Anderson County Commissioners approved a two-option health insurance plan for county employees, also adjusting the definition of a part-time employees in regard to hours worked.

24 — Ricky Eugene Johnson, 38, of Palestine, was issued a 35-year prison sentence from 3rd District Judge Mark Calhoon for evading with a vehicle, regarding a chase that occurred on Sept. 13, 2012 just as school buses began their afternoon routes.

25 — A jury verdict of 58 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for Anthony Mares, 37, for the 1998 armed robbery of Chang’s Chinese restaurant in Palestine was upheld by the Tyler Court of Appeals. The decision means Mares will continue serving the sentence for aggravated robbery he received in July 2011 as a result of the re-trial of the case which was originally tried in April 1999. Retired visiting Judge Jerry L. Calhoon presided over the 2011 trial and ruled that statements allegedly made in 1998 to then District Attorney Jeff Herrington by the shooting victim of the robbery, Yin-Lu Yao, describing the shooter as the taller of two assailants could not be presented to the jury.

25 — Law enforcement released the identity of a deceased male discovered underneath a bridge last week on U.S. 79 as Joseph Lee Richard, 57, a transient with ties to the Neches area. Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor reports no signs of foul play in the case.

25 — Traffic on Texas 19 west through Montalba was diverted after a load of hay caught fire. Montalba Fire Chief Joel “Tiny” Parish said nearly 30 round bales of hay were consumed by the flames and the flatbed, gooseneck trailer the hay was being transported on also was destroyed.

24 — The City of Palestine and Anderson County were notified of Sanderson Farms Inc.’s intent to begin its multi-facility construction project, with plans to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2015. Sanderson Farms plans to build three facilities in the area, two of which will be located in Anderson County and one in Freestone County.

27 — A 33-year-old male suspect was arrested by Palestine police for drug-related charges during the execution of a search warrant on North Jackson Street. The arrest was the result of a narcotics search conducted by officers from the Palestine Drug Enforcement Unit and the Palestine Tactical Unit.

28 — Two Anderson County residents were killed in an early morning fire that destroyed a 100-plus year-old building at 119 E. Oak St.in downtown Palestine. Fire fighters battled the blaze for several hours, which involved a series of collapses and minimum damage occurring at nearby buildings. The cause of the fire has still not been determined.

28 — The Palestine's Municipal Airport's 80th anniversary celebration was held, with city officials and local pilots collaborated to mark the event held at the local airport.

29 — A 45-year-old Dallas man was arrested for burglary of a building after a Palestine Police Department officer took action regarding a suspicious vehicle at a local business.

30 — The Palestine High School homecoming parade is held.

 

 

OCTOBER

1 — The Palestine Police Department hosts its 2013 National Night Out celebration at Reagan Park.

2 —The federal government's shut-down was felt locally as the local branches of the U.S Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service closed for the duration.

4 — Palestine Fire Department officials continue to search through the debris of a downtown building that was destroyed by fire that killed two people.

4 — The City of Palestine announces the music lineup for the Hot Pepper Festival on Oct. 25-26, with JB and the Moonshine Band to headline the dozen performances.

5 — The Palestine Community Theatre holds opening night for its “Red Velvet Cake War” show.

5 — The Davis/Reagan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the John H. Reagan Camp No. 2156 Sons of Confederate Veterans celebrate the 195th birthday of historical figure John H. Reagan at the Reagan home site on West Reagan Street.

5 — BARC, The Humane Society holds its annual BARCfest.

7 — A private contractor working at Reagan Park was injured after debris from a nearby city mower struck him. The worker was transported to the hospital.

8 — Students visited the Palestine Civic Center Wednesday for a Fire Safety Week program. Palestine, Montalba and Tennessee Colony fire departments, the Texas Forest Service, Palestine Regional Medical Center’s EMS and the Palestine Police Department all participated.

10 — Johnny Paul Sutherlin, 43, of Elkhart, was found guilty of four counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of aggravated kidnapping by an Anderson County jury for the 2012 rape of a female victim.

10 — Anderson County resident Frank McMullen was one of 27 WWII veterans from the area to take a trip to Washington, D.C., sponsored by Brookshire’s Grocery Co. out of Tyler, recently. The group visited the WWII monument and several others while in the nation’s capital.

11 — Johnny Paul Sutherlin, 43, of Elkhart, was sentenced to the maximum five life sentences for the sexual assault and kidnapping of a woman at a Palestine apartment complex in November 2012.

12 — Locals raised breast cancer awareness and money for mammograms through the annual Paint Palestine Pink event, which included a 1.5 mile fun walk or 10.5 mile walk/run around the loop.

12 — The three-day 68th Annual Peanut Festival kicked off in Grapeland with events including the Peanut Queen coronation and parade.

14 — After just over an hour in executive session, the Palestine City Council unanimously approved offering interim City Manager Wendy Ellis the chance to make her interim gig permanent.

14 — Longtime East Texas assistant principal, former teacher and coach Kyle Lock of Elkhart was named the new principal of Westwood High School at the Westwood Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting.

14 — Amtrak 22, the northbound "Texas Eagle" makes its first trip through Palestine on a month-long detour due to track work between Longview and Edgewood. The train, which goes from San Antonio to Chicago, holds an average of 150 to 300 passengers with its sleepers sold out almost every day.

14 — Anderson County Sheriff Office investigators seek the public's help in finding the suspect of an armed robbery that occurred at the Cayuga General Store on Oct. 12.

14 — Westwood Primary School plans to start its Watch DOGS (Dads of Good Students) program. It is a national program that encourages fathers, uncles, grandfathers or any adult male role to serve as mentors to students while offering a new presence on the respective campus.

15 — Anderson County Commissioners took the next step in the creation of Emergency Service District 1 by holding a public hearing that essentially puts the decision on the ballot for November 2014.

17 — City of Palestine employees help artists place their sculptures in designated locations in downtown Palestine as part of Palestine Main Street's Art Tracks Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit.”

18 — The Palestine Fire Department's 4th annual Fright Night haunted house kicks for its three-weekend event.

19 — The Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce holds its annual banquet with the theme “Palestine Pairings at Ben E. Keith Distributing Warehouse.” Local business owner and outgoing Chamber board member Linda Dickens was presented with the Chamber's Citizen of the Year award. Ben E. Keith Co. was named the Chamber’s Business of the Year. Davi Ingram was named Ambassador of the Year and Delilah Malone was named Rookie Ambassador of the Year. Ahnise Summers won the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year award. 369th State District Court Judge Bascom W. Bentley was presented the Chamber's Lifetime Achievement Award.

19 — The Hall Brothers headlined the Dogwood Jamboree's October show.

19 — The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus from Hugo, Okla. presented two shows in Elkhart, thanks to the sponsorship of Keep Elkhart Beautiful.

19 — A “Light the Way for Survivors” candlelight vigil was held at the Palestine Mall parking lot in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

21 — Anderson County's WIC office moves to its new location, 305 E. Lacy St., Suite 130 in Palestine.

21 —Bon Appetit Restaurant & Bakery opens in its new location at 1734 Crockett Rd. in Palestine.

23 – Palestine Police Department asks the public for help in identifying the suspect in a armed robbery at the Subway restaurant located in the 2900 block of West Oak Street.

25 — The Hot Pepper Festival kicks off with live music in The Hollow in Old Town and local cook-off teams competing for the “best barbecue” title.

25 — Elkhart State Bank holds a farewell party for drive-through teller Glenda Starr, who retired after 32 years as an employee at the bank.

26 — More than 10,000 people attend the Hot Pepper Festival in downtown Palestine featuring a parade, barbecue cook-off, pepper-eating contests and live music headlined by JB and the Moonshine Band.

26 — The second annual Art Tracks Sculpture Exhibit makes its debut during the Hot Pepper Festival. Thirteen new unique pieces of outdoor art were installed throughout the Main Street Palestine District and downtown Palestine.

26 — First Presbyterian Church's congregation celebrated the church's 125th anniversary by hosting events during the Hot Pepper Festival. Descendants of original church members and visitors to the church rang the church's historic bell until it was rung 125 times that day.

28 — An 81-year-old Palestine man was found dead at his residence in the 100 block of Longhorn Drive. The Palestine Police Department are investigating the case as a homicide.

28 — Anderson County Commissioners approved a 5-year tax abatement agreement with Eagle Railcar Services, LP, who is planning a $1.1 million expansion and an additional 30 jobs. Eagle Railcar is a railcar repair center located in Elkhart that services Union Pacific Railroad.

28 — Palestine interim City Manager Wendy Ellis accepted the official position after a lengthy executive session held during the second monthly city council meeting on Monday. Ellis has been acting city manager since June, when former City Manager Mike Ohrt resigned to take a similar position with another city.

29 — An Anderson County jury sentenced Willis Demond Carwell, 32, of Palestine to a total of 375 years in prison on five counts of sexual assault of a child at the Anderson County Courthouse in the court of State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher.

30 — Heavy rains across Anderson County led to flooded roads, road closures and traffic issues, with rainfall in the area totaling more than eight inches.

31 — The Palestine Public Library hosts the annual Mall-O-Ween event on Halloween. Several churches also held fall festivals and “Trunk-or-Treat” events.

 

NOVEMBER

2 —Zombies invade Palestine for theZombie Fun Run at Palestine High School's Wildcat Stadium. The event was a fund-raiser for the PHS Wildcat Band's Disney trip.

4 — Westwood Primary School second-grader Caden Bailey, 8, was presented with honorary awards, fulfilling his dream of being a police officer during a special ceremony. Caden, son of James and Ashley Bailey of Palestine, was made a honorary Palestine Police Department officer, an honorary sheriff's deputy and junior Texas Ranger. Caden suffers from a rare neurodegenerative disorder, a terminal illness, called Niemann-Pick Type C Disease, which causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system.

5 — The United Methodist Women host its annual Feast of Goodness Luncheon at First United Methodist Church in Palestine — serving some of the recipes from its Feast of Goodness Cookbook.

5 — Anderson County registered voters weighed in on nine constitutional amendments during the state constitutional amendment election, overwhelmingly voting “for” the nine propositions on the ballot.

6 — With nine years of service under her belt — and over 20 years of service to Anderson County, County Clerk Wanda Burke announced her retirement, effective at the end of her current term on Dec. 31, 2014.

6 — A 23-year-old Palestine man was arrested by the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for his involvement in the exchange of photos of a pornographic nature with a 12-year-old girl from Iowa.

6 — After 15 minutes of deliberations, an Anderson County jury issued a maximum 20-year sentence and $5,000 fine to a Michael Unit inmate Willie Womack, 25, for his role in the May 2011 assault of a corrections officer.

8 — The City of Palestine, with the aid of various veterans groups, hosted a free breakfast and program for area veterans and active military in celebration of Veterans Day at the Palestine Civic Center.

9 — A Palestine man was arrested for felony evading arrest and on several outstanding Anderson County warrants after leading local law enforcement on a high-speed chase through Anderson County. The subject eventually lost control of his vehicle and crashed into at least one storage structure offered at a retail business in the area.

12 — A late night fire destroyed a double-wide mobile home on Texas 294, leaving a family of six without a home.

12 —The Anderson County Commissioners Court approve a loan for a Sanderson Farms construction project and OK'd an increase in records fees for the county and district clerks' offices during its regular meeting.

12 — Palestine philanthropist Ahnise Summers accepts the Spark Award during the National Philanthropy Day® celebration luncheon in Tyler. The event was sponsored by the East Texas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

12 —The city of Palestine announced, effective Oct. 1, changes to the city utility rates have been implemented and were seen on bills mailed out beginning on Nov. 12 with due dates of Dec. 1 and later.

15 — The City of Palestine confirms the identity of the second fire victim who died in an early morning fire that occurred that destroyed a historic downtown building at 119 E. Oak St.

15 — Braly Builder's Supply Co. holds its grand opening event at its new location at 420 W. Palestine Ave. in the renovated historic Rusk School facility.

15 — The Anderson County Sheriff's Office looks for a suspect who robbed the Elkhart Food Center.

15 — The Polar Express™ arrives at the Texas State Railroad for the holiday season.

17 — A 56-year-old Palestine man was killed in an accidental hunting incident in Anderson County.

19 — Allyson Mitchell announced her campaign for Anderson County district attorney, saying she plans to deal a tough hand to crime in the community and reinstate cooperation between law enforcement agencies to best serve citizens' needs.

19 — Palestine Fire Chief Alan Wilcher encourages the public to practice “safety first” and “common sense” to avoid fires during the holidays.

20 — A fire destroyed a wood-frame home in Palestine just a few blocks away from the Anderson County Courthouse. One occupant inside the home escaped and was treated at the scene.

20 — Grace United Methodist Church announces its purchase of 116 acres of new property at the location of the former Meadowbrook Country Club. The church is planning to relocate there early next year from its current location at 1918 E. Murchison St.

20 — Palestine's historic Eilenberger's Bakery held a “soft opening” under new owner Bill Jones.

21 — The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3907 host a Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and their families as well as emergency responders.

21 — The Anderson County Sheriff's Office arrested two Palestine men for burglary of a building after getting caught attempting to steal scrap metal from a property.

22 — Elkhart resident Gary Robbins, 82, recalls how he spent his day 50 years ago on Nov. 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. On that day, Robbins was a 32-year-old motorcycle police officer for the Fort Worth Police Department who was assigned to escort the JFK motorcade from the old Texas Hotel in downtown Fort Worth after his speech in front of the hotel to Carswell Air Force Base.

22 — Santa’s Magical Workshop & Wonderland Depot opens with a reception to kick-off the holiday season. This year, the Texas State Railroad Society teamed up with the Main Street program to create a magical and educational experience.

22 — An Anderson County jury sentenced a Michigan man to 35 years in prison without the possibility of parol for continuous sexual assault of child. A jury of five men and seven women deliberated less than 20 minutes before returning the verdict against Galo Gonzales, 63, of Bay City, Mich. in the district court of 369th District Judge Bascom W. Bentley III.

22 — A Palestine resident reported to the Herald-Press a telephone scam of which local citizens should be aware. A scam organization posing as a life insurance company called the woman's home asking medical-related questions and attempting to detract personal information.

25 — Lakeview Methodist Conference Center cut the ribbon on the first phase of a three-phase $10 million building campaign, with the dedication of its new “Sisk Shop.” The structure was named in honor of the center's maintenance supervisor, Jerry Sisk, who has served on staff at the Lakeview camp for the past 25 years.

25 — Precinct 2 Commissioner Rashad Q. Mims I reports during the regular commissioners court meeting that a bridge that had been completely washed out in his precinct due to heavy rains had been repaired.

26 — Incumbent Criminal District Attorney Doug Lowe said he plans to seek re-election for his fifth term in Anderson County and continue with progressive efforts he has made in the community — progress he's been building on for the past 15 years.

26 — The Leon County Sheriff's Office follows up on leads while searching for a fugitive homicide suspect Colt Mogan, 29, of Harris County. During questioning with a Buffalo police officer on Nov. 23, the suspect fled on foot.

27 — Four male suspects were arrested for burglarizing concession stands at the Elkhart High School football stadium.

28 — Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor issued a warning to local residents regarding the latest scam — a letter being sent out as being from “Publisher's Clearing House,” informing the recipient that they have won $1 million and need to claim their prize.

 

DECEMBER

2 — Workers utilize Palestine Fire Department’s Tower One ladder truck to place lights on the Christmas tree at the Anderson County Courthouse.

4 — Sanderson Farms, which plans to build three facilities in the area, holds a job fair for several salaried management positions at the Palestine Workforce Education Center campus located in the Palestine Mall.

5 — Following a 2 1/2 day trial and about 15 minutes of deliberations, an Anderson County jury found a Slocum man not guilty of the charge of sexual assault last week for a 2010 incident in which he was accused of relationship rape. Benny Earl Hodge, 50, was acquitted of the charge by a five-woman, seven-man jury in the court of State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher.

5 —An Anderson County grand jury returned a 2-count felony indictment against Frankston convenience store owner Phillip Chang on Dec. 5 for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana and other illegal substances out of his store.

6 — The Grinch's Lair opens in the old Anderson County Jail on Avenue A for the holiday season, open every weekend in December.

6 — The Christmas Parade of Lights is rescheduled for Dec. 14 due to icy weather expected in the Palestine area. Some of the activities planned for the 2nd Annual Frost Fest also are rescheduled.

7 — Pearl Harbor survivor and Palestine resident Victor Lively reminisces of the day that claimed the lives of more than 2,000 of his fellow soldiers from US naval forces on Dec. 7, 1941.

7 — Palestine residents tour historic homes decorated for the holidays during the “Hearth & Tinsel” Tour of Homes as part of Palestine's Frost Fest activities.

7 — Morgan Smith of Tyler was named the Youth Artist of the Year at the Dogwood Jamboree's Christmas show at the Palestine Civic Center.

8 —An Anderson County man was arrested for an incident during which he shot a firearm through his wife's vehicle.

9 —Anderson County Commissioners took steps toward obtaining a $300,000 grant to fund county road improvements, approving a retainer agreement with a law firm to help get the process moving during a regular meeting.

9 —A 45-year-old Palestine man was sentenced to 20 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for felony driving while intoxicated by District Judge Deborah Oakes Evans during a sentencing trial at the Anderson County Courthouse. According to District Attorney Doug Lowe, Robert Fitzgerald Clayton’s sentence was the maximum possible length and followed a jury finding Clayton guilty of DWI during a trial on Sept. 11.

9 — The Palestine Police Department starts its new initiative where the public can report anonymous information through the Palestine Alert Network. The program offers community members an interactive way to stay connected and informed through opt-in e-mail, text message and web-published public safety alerts. It also will enable anyone to report suspicious activities easily through a tip411 anonymous text messaging code.

10 — A 29-year-old man wanted for a Harris County murder was captured in Buffalo after eluding authorities for a couple of weeks. The Buffalo Police Department arrested Colt Morgan after he was found sleeping inside a maintenance building near the Hampton Inn & Suites in Buffalo.

10 — Filings for the March 4 primary election concludes, with Anderson County residents set to decide five local races, based on party affiliation, including that of the county district attorney and county judge and well as the district clerk, county clerk and county treasurer races.

11 — Meals on Wheels of Palestine, Inc. was recently awarded a $45,000 State Giving Grant from the Walmart Foundation for the purchase of a heated and cooled delivery truck. The truck, a 2013 model, is used to deliver around 600 meals per day from the Palestine kitchen to Frankston, Jacksonville and Henderson.

12 — Local law enforcement and emergency agencies conducted a mock disaster drill with Palestine Regional Medical Center to test response procedures and overall preparedness in the event of a disaster.

13 — The Palestine Community Theatre's one-weekend show “Christmas Gifts” opens at the Texas Theater. The production was written and directed by Palestine native Jamie Waldon King.

13 — Steps of Faith Dance Center kicks off the first of four performances of “Claire & The Land of the Sweets” in an original adaption of the Christmas classic “The Nutcracker” with a modern day twist.

13 — Several local artists are featured in Main Street Palestine's Christmas Pop-Up Art Gallery, which was open for two weekends in December.

14 — Shake, Rattle & Roll perform in a free holiday concert in The Hollow in Old Town Palestine as part of the City of Palestine's Christmas festivities.

14 — The rescheduled annual Christmas Parade of Lights is held.

14 — Karen “Beth” Tucker takes the reins as Postmaster at the Palestine United States Post Office.

15 — Members of the Anderson County Community Choir and Orchestra present their 10th annual show, 2013 Sounds of Christmas, at the Palestine High School Auditorium.

16 — Texas Department of Transportation representatives speak about road projects during a special Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Palestine Civic Center. Durign the event, Palestine City Council member Steve Presley was presented the TxDot Road Hand Award.

16 — Palestine Independent School Board District's Board of Trustees approved an interlocal agreement to lease a golf course, tennis court and golf support buildings from Grace United Methodist Church during a regular board meeting.

16 — An Anderson County couple was arrested for burglary of a habitation near Elkhart after being caught in the act by a homeowner.

16 — A 33-year-old Palestine man was issued a 20-year sentence by State District Judge Bascom W. Bentley III for his role as part of an organized drug ring that operated in the area from 2008-2010. Jamie Cortez Clewis, one of the last drug dealers targeted in operation “All in the Family,” received the sentence for the charge of engaging in organized crime.

17 — A man sustained non life-threatening injuries after his ultralight aircraft crashed on the runway at Palestine Municipal Airport. The pilot was care-flighted to a Tyler hospital.

17 — Palestine native and Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson's All Day Foundation representatives hand out Christmas toys to preselected families at the Palestine Senior Activity Center.

17 — A Palestine man was hospitalized after the car he was driving collided with a delivery truck on Texas 19 south of Athens.

18 — The 20 pre-K children who make up the Head Start program at Elkhart Elementary School get a special visit from Santa Claus while visiting the Palestine Hampton Inn and Suites.

18 — Firefighters at the Palestine Fire Department wrap presents collected by the Palestine Firefighters Association for their annual Christmas toy drive, with gifts contributed from the association, community members and the Anderson County Roughnecks football team.

19 — For the second year in a row, members of the Palestine Police Department made Christmas a little brighter for some local children. The department collected 20 bicycles to give to needy families as Christmas gifts.

20 — In their last meeting of 2013, Anderson County Commissioners held a public hearing that will allow for the creation of a transportation reinvestment zone, and give the county a shot at a grant totaling at least $314,000.

20 — The Texas Court of Appeals in Tyler affirmed the 30-year prison sentence of Leslie Ann Deltoro, 35, of Palestine after her conviction earlier this year for delivery of methamphetamine. Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe reported that the appeals court confirmed the sentence accessed by State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher on Feb. 25, after the defendant had pleaded guilty to the selling about 7 grams of methamphetamine to a “cooperating individual” at a local motel in April of 2011.

21 — Local residents and visitors were able to ride a snow tubing slide, ice skate and enjoy other Frost Fest activities in the Main Street Palestine District.

23 — The Antioch Church holds its “Birds and Bibles” giveaway at The Place Children/Youth Community Center. The giveaway included 200 bags of food and 200 bibles given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.