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Cumby ISD board extends Slaughter’s contract PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 14:46

Trustees at Cumby Independent School District this month showed their approval of Shelly Slaughter’s job performace, extending her four-year contract as superintendent by an additional year.

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Sulphur Springs, Sulphur Bluff announce school science fair winners, regional qualifiers PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 14:33

Sulphur Bluff and Sulphur Springs Elementary schools have announced two students each who are advancing to the regional science fair contest after earning top honors at the school contest; top winners from each level were also announced.

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County seeking novel way to pay for jail construction PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 14:09

Members of Hopkins County Commissioners Court were in Austin last week to meet with State Rep. Dan Flynn and State Sen. Bob Hall seeking support for proposed legislation that could change the way the county pays for the new county jail. Just more than a year ago, county voters approved a $16 million bond issue to fund construction of a new county detention center. To repay the loan, a majority of county voters agreed to a six-cent increase in the county's ad valorem tax rate. However, County Judge Robert Newsom said county officials proposed an idea to lawmakers which calls for the use of money generated by the half-cent sales tax the county collects on retail sales to help pay the jail bonds. “Our proposal is that we would like to lower that property tax by using our half-cent sales tax,” Newsom said. “This could well bring in enough money to pay our annual debt on the jail, which is a 20-year note.” A number of years ago, the legislature and voters statewide gave approval to a measure that enabled counties to collect the half-cent sales tax with the proviso that it be used to reduce property taxes. The amount of sales tax collected by entities in the county is capped at 2 percent and the county collects the half-cent. Newsom said the annual bond payments for the jail project run about $1 million and the sales tax should easily offset that amount. In the past 12 years, the sales tax money received by the county has averaged just over $1.549 million per year. “We are going to ask the legislature, for our particular county for this particular project, to be able to raise another half-cent for this project,” Newsom said. “As taxpayers know very well, once a tax is inaugurated, it's rare that you ever see a tax go down or go away. In this case, it would written into the law that once the project is finished, the 20-year program of paying for this jail, the sales tax would automatically revert to a half-cent, property taxes would remain the same or whatever is necessary to maintain the rest of the county.But, this 20-year loan, $16 million that has been borrowed by the county to pay for this jail through a sales tax, would actually pay for the jail itself.” The commissioners court said the concept would more fairly distribute the $16 million debt to all county residents, not just the property owners. To further explain, Newsom offered this analogy. “Let's say a person who doesn't own any property, let's say he just got out of jail on bond and goes to a store and buys cigarettes or a case of beer — whatever he buys, he will pay a sales tax. More than likely, he may never pay a property tax,” he said. “So, what we are trying to do is shift the burden of paying for that jail to all the citizens rather than just the property owners.” The proposed legislation still must be written and introduced in both houses of the state legislature. If the measure is approved, it still must go before voters before property owners will see any relief from the additional six-cent increase in their tax rate.

 
More charges may stem from Walmart incident PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Monday, 26 January 2015 15:35

Hollis Blaine Sartin, the 40-year-old Sulphur Springs man arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle Saturday morning, could face additional charges related to the Walmart evacuation late Friday night.

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Drug offenses result in life sentence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Monday, 26 January 2015 14:31

A plea of guilty to charges of possession of methamphetamine, more than four grams but less than 200 grams, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and tampering with physical evidence resulted in a sentence of life in prison this morning in Hopkins County's 8th Judicial District Court. Roger Dale Gammons, 53, of Edgewood had entered the guilty pleas before District Judge Eddie Northcutt on Dec. 22. According to District Attorney Will Ramsay, there was no plea bargain offered and Gammons had elected to have sentencing set by the court. Based on the plea of guilty, there was the possibility of a sentence with deferred adjudication instead of a prison sentence. Ramsay said Gammons had previously served two prison sentences, which elevated the punishment range to a sentence of between 25 years and life in prison. During the sentencing hearing Monday morning, Gammons testified he had a “bad drug problem.” Under cross-examination it was revealed that Gammons had been a member of a prison gang. The questioning also provided evidence that he was not just a drug user, but a dealer of methamphetamine, according to the district attorney. Before pronouncing the sentence, Northcutt pointed out that Gammons was arrested for delivery of a controlled substance and tampering with evidence in Van Zandt County seven days after pleading guilty in Hopkins County. The judge drew the distinction between being a drug user and a dealer. Gammons was arrested last February on the charges. At the time of his arrest, Ramsay said Gammons resisted deputies and attempted to empty a bag of methamphetamine onto the ground before officers could deploy a Taser. After taking the man into custody, deputies found more than 14 grams of methamphetamine concealed behind the glove compartment in his car and also found a quantity of hydrocodone and Alprazolam pills. Ramsay said deputies also found pictures of drug activity on Gammon's cell phone. The district attorney credited Hopkins County Sheriff's Sgt. Corley Weatherford and Chief Investigator Lewis Tatum for their efforts in discovering the hidden drugs. "Most of us were asleep in our beds on Feb. 6, when Sgt. Weatherford was all by himself approaching this man's vehicle. He placed his life on the line,” Ramsay said. “Chief Investigator Tatum did a great job securing the remainder hidden narcotics, which could have been easily missed.” Methamphetamine, Ramsay said, is the common denominator in most of the felony cases handled in Hopkins County. “The more hardened dealers we can put behind bars, the safer we will be. I am quite certain that Mr. Gammons wishes he had never driven to Hopkins County that night,” he said. ”Because we have guys like Weatherford and Tatum who don't take kindly to dope dealers, we hope others continue to take notice."

 
Miller Grove students place in UIL competition PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 14:29

Miller Grove Elementary and Junior High students came home from their recent UIL competition with more than 30 individual awards and had one team earn top honors.

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Saltillo man jailed for holding woman against her will PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Monday, 26 January 2015 15:36

A Saltillo man was jailed Sunday afternoon for allegedly kidnapping a woman and holding her against her will at his residence.

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Filing opens Wednesday for city, hospital elections PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Monday, 26 January 2015 14:32

The 2015 political season officially opens Wednesday with the start of filing for places on Sulphur Springs City Council and for the Board of Directors for Hopkins County Memorial Hospital District. The filing period will continue through Friday, Feb. 27. In the city election, three city council seats — Place 1 held by Craig Johnson, Place 2 held by Clay Walker and Place 3 held by Oscar Aguilar — will be on the ballot. Two at-large seats on the hospital board will be on that ballot. Those seats are currently held by Suzanne Thomas Bankston, who has indicated she will file for reelection, and by Dr. David Black. Prospective candidates for the city election may file their intentions with City Secretary Gale Roberts at Sulphur Springs City Hall, 201 North Davis St. Prospective candidates for one of the two at-large seats on the hospital board may sign up at the administration offices at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital. The filing period for the May 9 elections begins Wednesday and will continue through Friday, Feb. 27. School Board Filing for candidacy in upcoming school trustees elections will get underway at three local school districts, also going from Jan. 28 until Feb. 27. Elections will be held on Saturday, May 9, if required. To file for one of the two seats up for election in Sulphur Springs Independent School District, candidate packets are available at and can be returned to the SSISD Tax Office, located on the first floor of SSISD Administration Building, 631 Connally St., during regular business hours. The two spots are for full three-year terms on the school board. Don Sapaugh and Jason Dietze currently serve in those positions Filing for the three spots on Yantis ISD’s Board of Trustees begins Wednesday in the administration office. Filing continues weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Feb. 27. See Kristi Beech for more information. Currently serving in those seats are Tonya Norris, Corey Ogle and Dr. Boyd McCreight. Candidate filing for four seats on Como-Pickton CISD Board of Trustees also begins Jan. 28 in the administration office. Each position is for a full, four-year term on the board. Currently serving in those CPCISD board seats are Shawn Carpenter, J.J. Cummings, Mark Humphrey and Gerald Walters.

 
Man alleged to have gun at Walmart apprehended early Saturday on stolen car charge PDF Print E-mail
Written by By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Staff   
Saturday, 24 January 2015 15:27

A man who caused an evacuation of Sulphur Springs Walmart by allegedly carrying a gun into the store Friday night has been apprehended.

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