The opening six months of 2007 started with one of Palestine’s favorite sons, Todd Staples, being sworn in as the state’s 11th agriculture commissioner and concluded with a former East Texas lawman being found guilty of six of nine charges in his Anderson County trial.

In between, former Palestine Police Chief Chuck Edge left to assume a similar position in Waxahachie; local attorney Mark Calhoon was appointed Third State District Judge by the governor’s office; and Rashad Q. Mims I finally laid absolute claim to the precinct 2 commissioner’s post.

Items making headlines from January through June in Anderson County included:


4 — Flanked by his wife and a host of family members and supporters, Palestine’s Todd Staples is sworn in as the state’s 11th agriculture commissioner in the Senate chambers at the state Capitol in Austin.

10 — The Texas Medical Board indefinitely suspends the license of local physician Michael Lee Williams, deeming him a “threat” to public welfare after arrests for family violence and prescription fraud.

16 — Downtown merchants express frustrations and concerns over recent acts of vandalism during a meeting of the Palestine City Council.

18 — Anderson County commissioners deny the request of Precinct 2 Commissioner Rashad Q. Mims I to pay his attorney’s fees in relation to a lawsuit contesting the results of his election victory over Larry Coker.

19 — Former Palestine physician Dr. Robert Byrnes, 48, whose medical license had been suspended several months earlier, is found dead at his Lake Jacksonville residence.

22 — Local businessman William George Jr. dies in a Houston hospital at age 86.

31 — Twenty-five year-old Gerald Glenn Turner of Palestine, whom authorities say has a penchant for wearing pink clothing, is sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.


5 — Palestine native Lamar Muse, who helped launch Southwest Airlines in the early-1970s, dies in Dallas at the age of 86.

6 — Rashad Q. Mims I and Larry Coker agree to hold a new election during the spring to decide the Anderson County precinct 2 commissioner’s race.

8 — Fifty-eight year-old Bennie Frank Parrish, who once worked as a Palestine police officer, is sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for possessing child pornography.

12 — Kathi Masonheimer is appointed to fill the vacant District 1 seat following a 3-2 vote of the Palestine City Council.

18 — Twentytwo-year-old Jason Perry of Frankston is murdered outside a residence on FM 315, southwest of Frankston, after being shot once in the back.

22 — Florida-based American Heritage Railways is selected as a potential operator of the 25-mile Texas State Railroad.


2 — Palestine Police Chief Chuck Edge confirms that he is among four finalists for the vacant police chief’s job in Waxahachie.

7 — A Palestine couple — 42-year-old Michael W. Jones and 31-year-old Kelly Gibson — is discovered deceased inside a residence in the 200 block of Shamrock Drive in what authorities believe to be a murder-suicide.

17 — Mike Bowden takes over as Palestine’s new postmaster.

20 — Palestine Police Chief Chuck Edge, who has been with the city for four years, accepts the position of police chief in Waxahachie, a city of approximately 24,000 located 25 miles south of Dallas.

23 — Palestine High School senior Brynne Herring is crowned 2007 Dogwood Trails Queen during a coronation ceremony at the Museum for East Texas Culture.

25 — Linda Johnson, 48, and Laura Reyes, 82, both of Carrollton, die as a result of injuries sustained in a head-on collision on U.S. 287 near Tennessee Colony.

29 — Local attorney and former Anderson County assistant district attorney Mark Calhoon is appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to fulfill the unexpired term of Third State District Judge Jim Parsons.


3 — Jeramy Lee Kennedy, 29, of Palestine, whom authorities describe as a long-time friend of his victim, is charged with murder in connection with the brutal stabbing death of 27-year-old Jerod Lee Evans in June 2006.

6 — Palestine High School’s soccer team blanks Brenham, 1-0, at Midway High School outside of Waco to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament.

12 — Frisco defeats Palestine, 7-1, in the semifinals of the Class 4A state soccer tournament in Round Rock.

15 — Forty-three year-old George Robert Guthrie is charged with murder after allegedly stabbing 37-year-old Regina Gayle Parker to death outside a unit at the Daisy Lane Apartments.

17 — After six years at the helm, Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce Director Gay Fuller resigns her position to devote more time to her family business.

23 — The Palestine City Council appoints Larry Coutorie as the city’s interim police chief during a regular meeting.

24 — Precinct 2 Commissioner Rashad Q. Mims I holds on his position by defeating Republican Larry Coker by a 2-to-1 margin in a special election agreed upon by the parties.

25 — Fire destroys the popular Coffee Landing Restaurant located on Texas 155 at Lake Palestine, just north of Frankston.

28 — Former Palestine High School and Oklahoma University standout Adrian Peterson is selected by the Minnesota Vikings as the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft.

30 — Nineteen-year-old Caitlin Creed, a student at Baylor University who resided in Homestead, Ala., is killed as a result of a two-vehicle colision, just west of the Palestine city limits.


1 — Forty-four year-old James Edward Vick of Elkhart, a long-time foster parent, is arrested at his residence for allegedly sexually assaulting two of his former foster children.

2 — Thirty-six year-old Charles Ralph Shelton of Anderson County is sentenced to five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to the charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

4 — Former Anderson County Commissioner Darrell Emanuel, who unsuccessfully ran for county judge in 2006, tells the Herald-Press he has applied for the vacant Palestine police chief’s job.

11 — Twentythree-year-old Hannah Peterson, a first-year social studies teacher and assistant coach at Westwood High School, is killed in an automobile accident.

12 — Dr. Carolyn Salter wins her second term as Palestine mayor by collecting 57 percent of the vote to defeat a pair of opponents, Jack Coleman and Alan Russell.

15 — Prominent Palestine businessman Stephen Wright Sussdorf is arrested and charged with possession of marijuana between 4 ounces and 5 pounds after authorities say they had received information he was transporting a felony amount of marijuana.

21 — The Westwood Independent School District’s Board of Trustees unanimously approves the resignation of Superintendent Ann Griffin who has accepted a job in Tennessee.

30 — The body of a missing 54-year-old Grapeland man, Harold Sissom, is found in his car near Lovelady after he apparently ran off the road and was submerged in a creek swollen by heavy rains.


1 — Palestine and Westwood high schools hold separate graduation ceremonies as Ajay Arun Patel and Hailey Bunnell are valedictorians of their respective classes.

2 — Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor tells the Herald-Press that foul play is suspected in the death of 51-year-old Melton Lewis Paris who had been discovered dead inside his northern Anderson County residence the previous day.

5 — The Palestine Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approve a tougher dress code which requires male students to tuck in their shirts and female students to keep midriffs covered.

6 — Palestine police are investigating their third robbery in a three-week span after a armed man enters the Pic and Go Food Mart at 1009 W. Palestine Ave. and makes away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

11 — Soon-to-be state district judge Mark Calhoon resigns his position as a member of the Palestine Independent School District’s Board of Trustees due to a law prohibiting persons from holding two elected positions simultaneously.

18 — Jury selection begins in the trial of James Finch, a 39-year-old former Van Zandt County sheriff’s investigator, accused of shooting and sexually assaulting his ex-wife at her residence outside of Frankston in June 2006.

19 — Kathi Masonheimer is selected as the new director of the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce.

23 — “Adrian Peterson Day” is held in Palestine to honor the Palestine native for his athletic achievements and entry into the National Football League.

29 — A 12-person jury deliberates for a total of 36 hours over the course of four days before finding 39-year-old James Finch, a former Van Zandt County sheriff’s investigator, guilty of six of nine charges, including aggravated sexual assault.

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