Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 150, No. 15, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 3, 1999 Page: 1 of 16
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2627 E i ANDELL DR
EL PASO TX 79903-3743
Texas' Oldest, Continuously Published Weekly Newspaper - Established Feb. 27, 1850 as the Cherokee Sentinel
Alto flu Sports
Athletes honored at
see page 4B
Vol.150, No. 15-16 Pages
Thursday, June 3, 1999
Rusk, Texas 75785
MHMR Commissioner to speak at hospital luncheon
Karen F. Hale, MSSA Commissioner of
the Texas Department of Mental Health
and Mental Retardation will be speaker
at the annual volun-
teer and employee
11:30 a.m. Thursday
June 3 in the park
at the Rusk State
Hale will be
Member James I.
guests include State
Representative Todd Staples, Palestine
and Senator Drew Nixon, Carthage. Staff
from the Austin Central Ofñce will in-
clude Kenny Dudley, director, mental
health facilities, Peggy Perry, assistant
director, MH facilities, Sharon Hunter,
director, support service and Jo Ann
Elliott, accreditation/certification coordi-
nator. Others invited include local county
and city officials. The awards recipients
Volunteer Individuals and Groups:
100+ Hours, Mita Bagchi of Rusk, Mary
Carlile of Rusk, Amy Covington of Jack-
sonville, Montel Duncan of Rusk, Shaneca
King of Lufkin, Dana Olson of Houston,
Marie Trawick of Maydelle, First United
Methodist Youth Fellowship of Rusk, Jr.
High Christian Youth of Rusk, Methodist
Church of Rusk.
200+ Hours, Carmen Kirila of Com-
merce; Thomas Talbott of Greenville, and
Jack & Jill Square Dancers of Jackson-
400 + Hours. Evelyn Cotton of Pales-
500+ Hours,. Kerri Noeldner of
Nacogdoches, American Association of
Retired Person Number 927 of Longview.
700 + Hours, Neita Byrd of Rusk.
800+ Hours, Rusk High School Key Club.
1,000+ Hours, Toney Charles of Shreve-
port, La., Charles Keenan of Windom.
1,500+ Hours, Mary Buchanan of Rusk.
2,500+ Hours, Emira Chapel
Cumberland Presbyterian of Longview,
First Lutheran Church of Longview, Li-
oness Club of Onalaska, Top Teens of
Longview, Trinity Episcopal Church of
3000 + Hour, Ginney Penney of Rusk,
Starville Church of the Living God of
5000+ hours, Woodland Christian
Church of Longview.
Star Awards, First Presbyterian
Church of Henderson, Gerald Chapman
Chapter National Honor Society at Rusk
Five years: Stacey Ambroson, Michael
Edwards, Regina Smith, Julie Arndt,
Angela Fenimore, Eugenia Sowell, Julie
Bartton, Sandra Fortenberry, Rubie
Sparks, Stephanie Beathard, Robert
Higginbotham, Lana Starkey, Tommie
Bennett, Delton Jeter, Norma Stewart,
Travis Benton, Anita Kellum, Mary
Tessaro, David Berry, Kathryn Kombos,
Jesse Thompson, Maijorie Birkelbach,
Wilbur Little, Rachel Trawick, John
Blackmon, Clara MacMillan, Tracy War-
ren, Mary Blackmon, Monica McGowan,
Janett Watson, Christine Clark, Lsyuana
Milstead, Karla Wilson, Johnny Croft,
Shunnon Ratcliff, Brandee Wofford, Caton
Cuellar, Sharon Reed, Bonnie Wolf, Dwain
Easley and Clifton Scroggins,
10 years: Lena Argumon, Allen Garner,
Holly Owens, Ruby Arnold, Vicki Guinn,
Roy Perkins, Bettie Birdwell, Jimmy
Harper, Georgia Ralson, George Buckholt,
Please see MHMR, page 8A
teachers to get
It's a done deal. All state employees will
receive a $100 per raonth raise and teachers will
be given a $3,000 per year salary increase. These
two were major items of the Appropriations Bill
that was finally passed by both the House and
Senate in the closing days of the seventy-sixth
It was a nip and tuck battle for the employees
pay raise. The Senate passed a 3 percent raise,
and the House held off passing anything and bet
they could work out a better deal in the House-
Senate Conference Committee.
Rep. Todd Staples was a strong proponent of
the $100 per month across the board increase.
"When State Comptroller Carole Rylander an-
nounced an additional $807 million dollars would
be available, the employee pay raise moved to
the front burner of the committee. A $100 per
month raise cost the state approximately $400
Both of Cherokee County's representatives in
the legislature, Rep. Todd Staples and Senator
Drew Nixon were strong advocates and worked
diligently to secure both teacher and state em-
ployee pay raises.
Cherokee County's two largest employers, the
Skyview/Hodge TDCJ Unit in Rusk and the
Rusk State Hospital have been experiencing
problems in keeping qualified employees due to
the higher salaries paid in the private sector.
The two TDCJ Units employ approximately
930 employees-and Rusk State Hospital's staff
numbers around 950.
Final passage of the legislation that allows the
City of Rusk to purchase 12.7 acres of surplus
Rusk State Hospital land gained approval in the
Senate on Wednesday May 26. Rep. Todd Staples
introduced the bill and passed it through the
House of Representatives this
month. Senator Drew Nixon
picked up the bill and
passed it out of the senate
The House Bill 2019 is now
in the Governor's office for
The legislation requires the
city to pay fair market value
as established by the General
Land Office. The property
had been valued at $51,000
Rep. Staples wrote the bill
~~ at the request of the City of
Rusk and civic leaders.
Plans are to sell the land to individuals who
stated they would construct a beautiful motel
Rusk Mayor Emmett Whitehead explained
that Rusk does not have sufficient overnight
facilities for tourists at this time.
"We do not plan to make any money from the
land purchase. The council agreed to sell the
property for the amount that the city was re-
quired to pay," said Mr. Whitehead.
Under the terms of the bill, the General Land
Office will reserve ownership and removal rights
of all oil, gas, and other minerals in and under
the property. Rusk State Hospital officials and
the MHMR board Btated they had no plans for
the property. Rusk State Hospital has 1,023
acres of land in and around Rusk.
Boxcars, Barbeque and Bridge
After distributing almost 30,000 color
brochures, the Rusk Chamber of Commerce
says It's ready to entertain visitors with
"Boxcars, BBQ and The Bridge."
Every member of the Texas Legislature
received an invitation and a gold spike to
attend the Thursday premiere. Also, the
Chamber contacted every newspaper,
television station and radio station in Texas,
along with 2,400 churches.
For the complete story and photo, see
Last summer's hit
returns to the
Theatre for a
month-long " ' |
during June on
the musical score
and play, which
will be directed
by Karen Hendley
Kathy Peyton and
who are featured
actors in the
Tickets may be
advance from the
Rusk Chamber of
$10 each, or they
will be available
at the Box Office
on the day of the
Sexual 'predators' to be monitored
The Texas House passed a measure which will
require the civil commitment of sexually violent
predators upon their release from prison. The issue
appeared to be dead until the Conference Committee
on the Texas Department of Criminal J ustice (TDCJ)
Sunset bill agreed to consider this proposal. The
measure had been a bill sponsored by State Repre-
sentative Todd Staples, Senate Bill 29, which was set
to be heard, but failed to pass before time ran out to
hear bills on the house floor.
Rep. Staples explained, "The last few days of the
session we passed only a small number of bills and
could not get to all of the bills on the schedule. On our
last day to hear legislation, there were about 60 bills
on the calender that were not heard before the
midnight deadline. Senate Bill 29 was one of the
casualties. However, I am extremely pleased that
this important law was added to another bill by the
members agreeing to suspend the rules in order for it
to be adopted."
The bill requires repeat sex offenders, who are
going to be released from the TDCJ, to be assessed to
determine their likelihood of committing futher sexual
offenses upon release.
If the offender is determined to be a "predator,"
such persons will be tracked via Global Positioning
Satellite devices and required to participate in a
treatment program. Failure to comply with these
requirements could result in a third-degree felony.
"Every year the state must release sex offenders
who have completed their sentence. Of the 1700 sex
offenders that will be released this year, we know
that there is a percentage of these offenders who
possess a behavioral abnormality which, untreated,
will lead to a future sexual assault. Currently, there
is no mechanism to address this problem," said Rep.
■ Sheriff's department
keeps heat on drug dealers
with aerial reconnaissance
* From a bird's eye view in a helicopter, a special
task force spotted 480 marijuana plants in Chero-
kee County last week.
Members of the Cherokee County Sheriffs De-
partment Special Operations Group, Department
of Public Safety Narcotics, Drug Enforcement
Agency, Texas National Guard and East Texas
Narcotics Task Force out of Nacogdoches County
confiscated the plants during an unannounced
aerial drug sweep.
The plants were located on timber company
property in the Pierces Chapel community on May
The plants ranged* in size from five inches to
three feet tall. If allowed to mature, the plants
could produce marijuana with a street value in
excess of 300,000.
No arrests have been made at this time.
•file photo by Chrla Davis
To the untrained eye, marijuana plants are
difficult to spot from the air. The Cherokee
County Sheriff's office, in cooperation with
several agencies Including the Texas National
Guard, recently completed an aerial sweep
which netted 480 plants.
If the person is incarcerated for a sexual offense
and previously convicted for at least one other sexu-
ally violent crime, and who is found to suffer a
behavior abnormality with the propensity to commit
future predatory offenses, the state could pursue
civil commitment proceedings against this person.
The original proposal of SB 29 would have required
such predators to be confined in a secure facility.
However, due to budgetary concerns, a compromise
was reached and confinement was substitutes for
Rusk was the front-runner to be selected for this
unit. There is a strong possibility for the program,
once it is established, as it will require a place of
confinement for these individuals who require long
will assist TDCJ
Criminal Justice grant
will fund position, which will
serve 4 East Texas counties
The House Appropriations Bill, H.B. 1, adds one
* prosecutor and one investigator to the state's Special
Prosecution Unit. The new position will be assigned
to Anderson, Cherokee, Houston and Bowie counties
to help with prison associated cases.
"This is a positive opportunity for Anderson and
Cherokee counties and will greatly enhance their
resources," explained State Representative Todd
The Special Prosecution Unit is a division of the
Office of the Attorney General designed to prosecute
offenses committed within the prison system. The
new prosecutor and investigator will assist district
attorneys in prosecuting these cases.
The positions are coordinated through the Comp*
troller of Public Accounts at no cost to.the counties.
Please see NEW PROSECUTER, page 8A
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Whitehead, Marie. Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 150, No. 15, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 3, 1999, newspaper, June 3, 1999; Rusk, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth152427/m1/1/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Singletary Memorial Library.