The first half of 2012 was marked by an array of news ranging from the start of new Elkhart Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Ray DeSpain to the beginning of financial trouble for American Heritage Railways, which at that time operated the Texas State Railroad.
Some of the other newsmakers during the first six months of 2012 included:
1 — Josiah Thomas Williams, son of Audrea and Adam Williams of Neches, is born at 2:05 a.m. at Palestine Regional Medical Center to become the first baby born in Anderson County for 2012.
2 — Texas Department of Transportation plans to resume work on the Loop 256 construction project.
3 — Dr. Ray DeSpain starts his duties as superintendent of Elkhart Independent School District.
6 — Martin DeAnda, 30, of Palestine, is sentenced of Criminal Justice after finding him guilty of three counts of aggravated robbery by an Anderson County jury. DeAnda was found guilty of robbing the Tractor Supply store at 2200 S. Loop 256 around 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2009.
9 — Anderson County Commissioners Court approves changes to the care of stray livestock during a regular meeting, designating land in Precinct 4 as a site for abandoned animals.
10 — Lucinda Hanks Presley of Palestine, director of ICEE Success (Institute where Creativity Empowers Education Success) speaks on the state of education in America at the quarterly Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
11 — David Delgado, outreach coordinator for NASA’s Mars Public Engagement Team, attends a Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce reception in honor of the Imagine Mars Project program.
12 — David Delgado, outreach coordinator for NASA’s Mars Public Engagement Team presents an Imagine Mars program to Palestine Middle School students involved in the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored educational pilot program with ICEE Success.
13 — The City of Palestine debuts new user-friendly website: www.cityofpalestinetx.com.
14 — Westwood High School senior David Reyes, 17, of Palestine, dies as a result of a gunshot wound at a mobile home park in the 2000 block of West Oak Street.
14 — More than $20,000 raised at the “Project Caden” benefit for Palestine 6-year-old Caden Bailey, son of James and Ashley Bailey. Caden has been diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Type C Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder which causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system.
16 — Local organizations join together to celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with the annual parade and program.
16 — Floyd Cooper, 58, of Lancaster, drowns after the boat he and his wife occupied capsizes near The Villages resort on the Smith County side of Lake Palestine.
19 — David Wayne Green, 39, of Palestine, was indicted by Anderson County grand jury on three counts of sexual assault of a child and a single count of continuous aggravated sexual assault of a child.
23 — Demolition crews remove bricks from the historic Ivanhoe building in downtown Palestine. The roof collapsed in October 2011 following heavy rains.
23 — Palestine Independent School District Superintendent Jason Marshall’s contract is extended by one year by a unanimous vote during the PISD board of trustee meeting. Marshall started in August of 2011.
23 — The Palestine City Council votes to buy AEDs (automated external defibrillators) for fire, police departments.
24 — About 40 people — mostly first responders from area volunteer fire departments — attend the annual National Weather Service’s SKYWARN severe weather training program at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex in Palestine.
25 — Straight-line winds or a possible tornado destroys a residence in northern Anderson County in the 500 block of FM 2706 in the Bethel area and then continued in a southerly direction to damage two other residences several hundred yards away.
26 — Aaron Wade Pennington, 31, of Grapeland is sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of sexual misconduct involving children. He pleaded guilty to seven separate charges at the Houston County Courthouse in Crockett and received the maximum prison sentence in each case.
27 — Avenue A reopened to the public traffic after more than three months of being closed due to the collapse of the Ivanhoe building.
30 — Longtime Elkhart State Bank employees Sherry Keeling and Rita Parker retire. Both spent more than 35 years at the bank.
30 — Ricky Lynn Adams, 48, of Palestine, was sentenced to 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after pleading guilty to three charges, including aggravated robbery, in connection with the December 2001 holdup of a local convenience store.
31 —The 12th Court of Appeals upholds the conviction of Michael Wayne Howerton, 39, of Tyler, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison after being found guilty of intoxication manslaughter in 2010 by an Anderson County. The conviction stemmed from a wreck on Aug. 8, 2008 that killed Howerton’s lone passenger, Misti Kroll, 26, of Tennessee Colony.