The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

December 31, 2013

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



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.

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