The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

December 28, 2012

2012 Year in Review (Part 1): Railroad woes, festival mark first part of year



2 — American Heritage Railways (which at the time operated the Texas State Railroad) asks for financial relief from city officials from Palestine and Rusk.

2 — Christian Heritage Academy students host a welcome-back celebration for teacher Roxanne Curbo following her breast cancer surgery.

2 — Charles Neal Carroll, 50, of Palestine was no-billed by an Anderson County grand jury in relation to a case involving a knife fight May 16, 2011 with Johnny Lynn Weaver, 48, of Palestine. Weaver was transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead after being stabbed in the chest area, authorities said. Carroll also was injured in the incident and was life-flighted to a Tyler hospital. When a case is no-billed, it means the grand jury determined there was insufficient evidence to return an indictment.

2 — Larry Wayne Adams, 50, of Palestine, was indicted on the felony charge of intoxication manslaughter by an Anderson County grand jury. Keith Robert Gardner, 60, of Palestine, was pronounced dead at the scene of the two-vehicle wreck which occurred at the intersection of Court Drive and Bristol Street inside the Palestine city limits shortly before 9 p.m. on June 9, 2011, according to local police.

4 — Anderson County Sheriff deputies seized six horses and four donkeys from property off of CR 2608 in the Cayuga area. In addition to the 10 seized animals, the carcass of a deceased horse also was found on the property, according to officials.

10 — Retired real estate attorney Kirby McCord’s historical fiction novel “Cemetery Ridge,” set in the Civil War era, is released. McCord also writes movie reviews for the Palestine Herald-Press.

11 — The body of pilot Fred Scholz, who was in his mid-80s, was found  near the Lake Palestine dam following a single-engine plane accident on Feb. 8. The pilot departed from the Cherokee County Airport between Jacksonville and Rusk on Feb. 8 but failed to reach his destination at the Aero Estates Airport in Berryville. His plane was found Feb. 9 in about 18 feet of water after teams had been searching for it throughout the night.

11 — Extravagant floats, live music and lots of colorful Mardi Gras beads made up the second annual Main Street and Mardi Gras Parade in the Palestine Main Street District.

13 — Anderson County Commissioners’ Court approve the creation of a new position in the county — a Bond Supervising Officer.

13 — The Palestine City Council votes to confirm Alan Wilcher, 48, of Palestine, as the city’s fire chief. Wilcher, who previously served as the city’s fire marshal for nine years, began working for the Palestine Fire Department in February 1986. He succeeds former Palestine Fire Chief Henry York who retired in 2011.

13 — The Texas State Railroad Authority votes to speed up its method of reimbursement for a grant to American Heritage Railways, giving the company that managed the Texas State Railroad approximately $134,000 for operating capital for March.

16 – Kay and Ed White are named the Friends of the Year during the annual Palestine Library Friends Inc. meeting. Ana Sanchez was named the Palestine Public Library Employee of the Year.

16 — Approximately 40 people attend a public meeting conducted by the Palestine campus of the University of Texas at Tyler’s Innovation Academy, presenting information about the school, which opened for the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. The school initially will offer grades 3-6, adding a grade annually.

17 — Anderson County sheriff’s authorities seek the public’s help in a rash of incidents in southern Anderson County during which vehicle and residential windows have been shot out with a BB gun. Since Feb. 7, 13 criminal mischief reports had been received.

22 — A subject armed with a handgun attempts to rob Pitt Grill, 1600 W. Palestine Ave., by entering the back door, where a struggle takes place with an employee and the gunman flees the scene without obtaining anything of value.

23 — Aaron Wade Pennington, 31, of Grapeland is formerly 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.

24 — The Palestine YMCA starts a capital fundraising program in hopes of raising $1.3 million in pledges to purchase the old Meadowbrook Country Club. Y leaders envision the long-time country club being transformed into a multi-purpose facility, including a nine-hole public golf course; four soccer fields; five tennis courts; a swimming pool; community recreation center; and community hiking trails. The entire complex would be called the Palestine Area Recreation Center (PARC).

24 — Robert Laughlin, 58, of Palestine was indicted by the grand jury on four counts of the felony charge of sexual assault of a child.

27 — The Anderson County Annex employees evacuated briefly as Palestine firefighters investigated reports of smoke in the building. According to Palestine Fire Chief Alan Wilcher, an HVAC unit burned out and was located and shut down. During the inspection by firefighters, a breaker was found to be tripped as a result from a direct short. The breaker was totally separated from the above incident and was isolated as well. Both problems were fixed.

27 — The Palestine City Council offers a “gesture of support” for the operators of the Texas State Railroad, approving the reduction of the interest rate on a $500,000 loan the Texas State Railroad Authority has with the city. The council agreed to reduce the interest rate from 5 percent to 2 percent for the 2012 calendar year and maintain its existing 1-year delay on the principal payment from American Heritage Railways.

28 — James Yarbrough Sr., 66, of Palestine, was killed in an 18-wheeler rollover on U.S. 79, south of Jewett.

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