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  No appeal sought by Appraisal Office
By Michael V. Hannigan
The News Staff

ATHENS–On second thought, there will be no appeal.
Henderson County Chief Appraiser Bill Jackson confirmed this week that the appraisal district will not be filing an appeal of the state’s 2009 Property Tax Report, which flagged appraisals in Malakoff ISD as too low.
According to the State Comptroller’s Office, which prepares the report, it is a “study that estimates the taxable wealth of each school district in Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) uses the study results to allocate state aid to local school districts. “
The study also “evaluates the level and uniformity of appraisals by the ... county appraisal districts.”
According to officials, the property values assessed by the local appraisal district must be within 95 to 105 percent of what the State Comptroller assesses in its study.
Malakoff’s appraisals came in at 92 percent, according to Jackson, who said MISD was the only school district in the county to have a problem. Jackson last week told the Athens Daily Review that he would file an appeal over the issue, but changed his mind.
“After looking at it, we could not prevail,” he said.
MISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies said the issue is an important one, because the state uses the appraisal numbers to determine school funding.
In this case, Malakoff’s low appraisal would catch the state’s attention because if the district is bringing in less local taxes (based on lower property appraisals), then the state would have to send more money.
That is something the state doesn’t like to do, Spies said.
But Malakoff has a one-year grace period.
“There is no penalty in the first year, but if the discrepancy continues, then the state will penalize the district,” Spies said.
Spies said the penalty is that the state uses its own appraisals for determining how much funding to send the district. Even a few percentage points can mean thousands of dollars to the district.
“But (Jackson) has assured me that when this is done next year it will be right on,” he said.
Jackson told The Monitor the same thing.
“We can correct the problem,” he said. “We don’t foresee it being a problem for next year.”
Jackson said one of the problems this year was that local appraisals of “high dollar” lake properties were too low.
Since the state’s property tax report indicated MISD’s appraisals were too low, does that mean area property owners can expect higher appraisals? Jackson said not necessarily.
“We won’t treat Malakoff any differently than we do every year,” he said.
“Just by adequately appraising Malakoff, we will be within the margin of error.”

Athens Daily Review cuts production
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County’s only local daily newspaper is going to be delivering one less edition each week – and that’s going to be coming through the mail.
In a letter to readers last weekend, Athens Daily Review publisher Lange Svehlak announced the paper will be dropping its Monday edition starting in April; the paper will publish Tuesday through Saturday.
In addition, Svehlak also announced the Review will be delivered through the U.S. Postal Service beginning in April.
In his letter, Svehlak said, “During the past several years, many newspapers across the country have moved to mail delivery because of the efficiencies it offers. In addition to changing to meet the current economic demands facing many businesses, newspapers also have faced the growing challenge of maintaining its own internal delivery force, as well as higher production and delivery costs.”
In an interview Tuesday morning, Svehlak said the paper’s carriers were contract laborers and not actually company employees. He said the paper will continue to maintain a circulation department for delivery to racks and local dealers.
Svehlak declined to either confirm or deny reports that the company has asked employees to take an extra five unpaid days off sometime between April through June.
Svehlak said the paper is not expecting future layoffs.
Tuesday, Svehlak again pointed to the rising cost of producing a daily newspaper when talking about the reasons for the actions.
“The cost of production and maintenance has gone up, while ad rates and subscription rates haven’t,” he said. “We decided to do this instead of raising rates.
“I didn’t feel comfortable raising people’s rates with the way the economy is,” Svehlak said.
The Jacksonville Daily Progress announced similar measures this weekend.
Both the Athens Review and Jacksonville Daily Progress are owned by Alabama-based Community Newspapers Holdings, Inc. (CNHI).
The company also owns the Cedar Creek Pilot in Gun Barrel City, the Corsicana Daily Sun and the Palestine Herald-Press.
The moves highlight the troubles facing the daily newspaper industry these days. Monday, the Pew Research Center released its annual “State of the News Media,” calling it the “bleakest” yet.
According to the report: “The newspaper industry exited a harrowing 2008 and entered 2009 in something perilously close to free fall. Perhaps some parachutes will deploy, and maybe some tree limbs will cushion the descent, but for a third consecutive year the bottom is not in sight.”
The report is compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonpolitical, nonpartisan research institute.
According to the Texas Press Association (TPA), the trouble is mostly with the daily newspaper segment.
In December, the TPA reported circulation for weekly newspapers actually increased. The numbers come from each newspaper’s October U.S. Postal Statement of Ownership.
During the same audit, daily newspaper circulation dropped nearly 143,000 readers, more than double the loss just five years ago.

East meets West at Rotary meeting
Teens from Japan dine on pizza with Rotarians
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The local Rotary club meeting Friday lived up to its name – Rotary International.
A group of excited, polite and somewhat tired teenagers from Japan arrived at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport that morning and were whisked to Gun Barrel City for a 1 p.m. meeting with members of the Cedar Creek Lake Rotary.
It was their first stop in Texas, with other stops planned at more north Texas clubs.
In Japan, the presentation of a business card upon meeting is customary, and local Rotarians were treated to this cultural introduction.
The students knew rudimentary English and the Rotarians knew only one or two words of Japanese. However, smiles, nods, hand signals and slowly spoken English carried conversations back and forth at the various dining tables across the room.
The young people arrived on a cold, rainy day in Texas, having completed an 11-hour plane trip. Their first meal was a delicious Italian spread at Vetoni’s.
The teens especially appreciated the pizza slices.
Activities planned throughout the weekend included a Texas barbecue at the Triple N Ranch in Trinidad and an introduction to real Texas Longhorn cattle, a trip to the Western Museum at Navarro College in Corsicana and a trip to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler.
Monday, they visited with members of the Christian Life Center on West Main Street in Gun Barrel City.
Besides greetings from their home club in Rotary International District 2560 – Wings of Rotary, the youth brought club banners.
Four members of the student party, three boys and their leader, weren’t able to make the meeting, as they were busy chasing down a lost set of luggage with Barbara Turner’s help.
Among the announcements, Rotarians were reminded of a book giveaway in Kemp set to follow the April 3 meeting. A special surprise guest may also be present, Bob Burns said, adding, “You’ll be sorry if you miss it.”


Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Rotary Club president Ted Ingersol (center) and Rotarian tour guide Dale Molander
stand with teen guests displaying Rotary banners from their sponsoring clubs in Japan.


Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Sixteen-year-old Reiko flashes the peace sign and
Rotarian Sue Stalcup teaches the UT “hook'em Horns”
sign to match the hats Rotarians gave to their visitors.

 

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Nelson. I am a beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever home.

My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new home.

We are a whole litter of Shepherd mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so we have no history. We have been started on our first set of shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.

I am a beautiful Border Collie, who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful kid looking for a new home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at petfinder.com


 


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