Category: Top Headlines

Capital Murder: Continuance Denied — for now — on Murder Trial

“I can’t let this case be drug out any further, we need to get this done,” explained Judge Patrick Simmons in response to a motion for continuance in the case of The State of Texas vs. Lawson Lee Abram. Abram, along with co-defendants Amber Hope Halford and O’Jarion McClenon, is charged with Capital Murder for his alleged involvement in an incident occurring in March of 2015 that resulted in the death of Teague resident, Douglas Carr Hurst. Defense Attorney, Steve Keathley, previously filed several motions and addressed each one during the special hearing held on Friday, July 29, 2016.–1: Ballistic testing results have yet to be returned. Guns confiscated from the crime scene have been sent to the DPS Crime Lab in Austen to determine which gun was used as the murder weapon. According to District Attorney Chris Martin, he was told that reports should be available by August 19th.–2: Keathley requested the Court to appoint a co-counselor for the trial. He has requested Bob Gage or Val Fulcher. Judge Simmons explained that he would allow co-counsel only for the purpose jury selection; not for the trial itself. He told Keathley to discuss with Gage and Fulcher to find out if either would be interested / willing to assist and they would further discuss the issue at the next status hearing.–3: Keathley wanted to have a Physical Evidence Review...

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Headway on Dilapidated Properties in Fairfield

“I feel like it is our responsibility to make sure we are in compliance with health and safety codes,” began Opal Oliver Code Enforcement Officer, explaining that City Councilmen and citizens have a vested interest in maintaining the well being of their City. “We are willing to work with residents to get them in compliance.” With that said, Mrs. Oliver presented a list of five dilapidated properties currently in violation of Fairfield’s health and safety ordinances to be reviewed by the Council during the public hearing Tuesday, July 26, 2016. She reported that several certified letters have gone out to all known property owners. Following proper procedure, the public hearing was scheduled to allow property owners to address the Council before a second hearing is set. Of the two property owners present, Vernon Smith was the first to address the Council. Mr. Smith shared that he inherited the property from his father, and currently lives out of town. He requested additional time to bring his property up to code. Councilmen granted him thirty days to submit a plan of action, pending further discussion during the next hearing. Next, Michael Daniels presented a slideshow of completed renovations to his rental properties, and detailed his plan for moving forward. Mr. Daniels was informed that, as a multi-family dwelling, the property must comply with the International Building Code, using only certified contractors...

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Pigskins: Countywide Preview

 Freestone County athletes begin two-a-day training…        ABOVE: Running the new Eagle team through their daily drills are the superlative  coaching staff of Fairfield High School, as Two-a-Days gets started this week. (Photo by Karen E. Leidy)   The summertime breeze will bring about the sound of whistles and water cans as teams prepare for the 2016 football campaign.  The local teams have new districts and high hopes for the season ahead.EAGLES The Fairfield Eagles advanced a couple of rounds in the 2015 edition.  Head coach and athletic director John Bachtel will lead the Eagles to potentially another postseason bid and a deep run if the bracket works out for them. The Eagles will miss Charles Oliver, heading onto the practice fields at Texas A & M, but bring a few starters at key positions.  The 2016 version of the Fairfield Eagles will be young but that method has worked well for the maroon and gold with a continuous streak of playoff appearances. Kameron Ransom and Tarrence Rischer will return to the Eagle lineup and play key roles on both sides of the ball.  Zac Barlow and Akeem Jackson are multi-sport players and should factor in the skill positions.  The Eagles have always had solid lines on both offensive and defensive fronts and should be able to perform well. After two scrimmages, the Eagles head straight to...

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County Employees Pick Their Own Plan

 Commissioners work to meet county employees insurance needs…                                  “There is no way to pick one plan that works best for all 95 employees,” explained Freestone County Auditor, Donna Williams. “Changing our health plan to a private exchange allows the employee to choose which plan works best for their own personal needs, and those of their family.” Freestone County Commissioners voted to change the employee health plan to a private exchange plan through Texas Association of Counties (TAC) with Blue Cross Blue Shield at a meeting held Thursday, July 28, 2016. Currently, every employee opting to have county insurance is on the same exact health plan; of which the county pays $706.82 per employee. If commissioners had voted to keep that same plan, the cost would have risen to $735.08 per employee, a total increase of $2,684.70 per year. Changing to the private exchange allows each employee to choose their own plan. The county will contribute a set amount, the same for each employee. The employee is responsible to pay the difference should they choose a plan costing more than that set amount. The dollar number has yet to be determined, but should be close to what the county currently pays. Williams noted that the private exchange does offer a plan that is comparable...

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County Employees Pick Their Own Plan

 Commissioners work to meet county employees insurance needs…                                  “There is no way to pick one plan that works best for all 95 employees,” explained Freestone County Auditor, Donna Williams. “Changing our health plan to a private exchange allows the employee to choose which plan works best for their own personal needs, and those of their family.” Freestone County Commissioners voted to change the employee health plan to a private exchange plan through Texas Association of Counties (TAC) with Blue Cross Blue Shield at a meeting held Thursday, July 28, 2016. Currently, every employee opting to have county insurance is on the same exact health plan; of which the county pays $706.82 per employee. If commissioners had voted to keep that same plan, the cost would have risen to $735.08 per employee, a total increase of $2,684.70 per year. Changing to the private exchange allows each employee to choose their own plan. The county will contribute a set amount, the same for each employee. The employee is responsible to pay the difference should they choose a plan costing more than that set amount. The dollar number has yet to be determined, but should be close to what the county currently pays. Williams noted that the private exchange does offer a plan that is comparable...

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