Humane Society Shelter Collapse Tops 2018 News

By BOB PALMER,

Jimplecute Editor

The year 2018 brought more than its share of drama and heart ache, but the top news story of the 365-day span also featured rescue and many Marion County families gaining a new member. Jefferson Jimplecute readers voted on-line with their clicks the Humane Society of Marion County shelter debacle as the top news story of 2018.

As conditions at the shelter with about 80 dogs kept in open cages, feces matted in their fur and showing other signs of poor treatment were uncovered Dec. 3, dozens of volunteers worked in a bone-chilling rain to move as many dogs as possible to the former location of Jayne’s Farm and Ranch on US 59.

Caroline Wedding who operated the shelter blamed a shortage of volunteer workers for the situation but was removed by the board and surrendered the organization’s bank account. New volunteers who stepped forward to walk, feed and clean criticized the HSMC board for tardiness in seeking a solution to the crisis. The volunteers contacted Marshall Animal Hospital and arranged a care and treatment package the board accepted a week after the dramatic rescue efforts.

The HSMC board has forwarded $10,000 to the Marshall facility to help pay for the dogs and has suspended operations. As of this writing, an additional $11,000 has been raised through the efforts of a new local advocacy group, Friends of Jefferson Animals.

All dogs have been either adopted, fostered or placed in the care of the Marshall facility. A spokesman for Marshall Animal Hospital said Wednesday about 18 dogs are still available for adoption.

HAGGARD – HUCKABEE

Shortly after newly elected Mayor Charles “Bubba” Haggard took office, Jefferson City Administrator Kevin Huckabee filed a criminal complaint accusing Huckabee of accepting a bribe. According to the offense report obtained from the Jefferson Police Department by the Jimplecute through a Texas Freedom of Information Act request, Huckabee accused Huckabee and former Alderman Richard Turner of bribery.

“All I’ll say is, it is bogus,” Turner said. “There is absolutely no truth to it.” Huckabee’s complaint alleged Haggard told Huckabee “he would be appointing former Alderman Richard Turner to the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation Committee (JEDCO) at that night’s meeting.”

Huckabee complained the appointment came as the fulfillment of an election promise. The public responded to the accusation with a petition containing almost 200 signatures calling for Huckabee’s removal. The crisis which began in late July came to a resolution in late August. Jefferson aldermen voted 6-0 to terminate City Administrator Kevin Huckabee effective Sept. 21.

The move included a severance pay package of between four and six months “depending on medical insurance.” The action did not please everyone. Turner was seen shouting on Polk Street in front of City Hall at Alderman Shawn Humphrey who made the motion to terminate Huckabee. “That’s my tax money,” Turner screamed, apparently referring to the severance package.

 

FORMER TROOPER INDICTED

Louis Paul Weems, a former state Trooper with the Department of Public Safety stationed in Marion County was indicted April 6, 2018 by the Cass County Grand Jury for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Indecency with a Child by Contact, and Indecency with a Child by Exposure, according to a press release from the Cass County District Attorney’s office.

After an investigation by the Texas Rangers regarding these allegations, Weems was terminated from the Department of Public Safety. In 2009 the child victim and her mother were living with a friend. Weems was dating the friend and had almost daily contact with the victim, according to the DA’s statement.

FORMER TEACHER REMEMBERED

Former Jefferson teacher Vera Ethridge Henderson Walker, age 73, passed away on Jan. 29, 2018. Mrs. Walker was remembered by friends as someone who loved the Lord, her family and church family and made everyone around her feel like family. She was a member of Eastside Missionary Baptist Church of Minden, LA.

She was born on December 16, 1944 in Little Rock, AR to her parents Charlie Mason and Daisy Ethridge. She is preceded in death by her husband, Glenn Henderson, Sr., both parents and stepfather, Jack Morgan; one brother, Charles Ethridge.

She retired from Clarksville School System in Clarksville, TX and also worked at the Jefferson Independent School District as well as the Steamboat Warehouse in Jefferson, TX. She was survived by her husband Robert Walker of Minden, LA; two sons, Glenn Henderson, Jr and wife Robin of Jefferson, TX, Russell Henderson and wife Shelley of Conway, AR; three daughters, Amy Parrault and husband George of Sheridan, AR, Lisa Lewis and husband Eric of Flower Mound, TX and Melanie Strickland at Grapevine, TX; two brothers, Jimmy Ethridge and wife Lori of Heath, TX, Curtis Ethridge and wife Sharon of Texarkana, AR; one sister, Sue Fletcher of Detroit, TX; two sisters-in-law, Vicki Stanley and Torchie Walker both of Minden, LA. She also has 13 grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

TWO TEENS SHOT 

Out of the 11 shots fired on Owen Street on June 26, six struck Malik Cannon, 16. Another shot hit Tyron “Tybo” Williams, 17. Another shot was fired toward an area resident.

Both Cannon and Williams are students at Jefferson High School. Both have played football for the school. Jefferson Police Department Sgt. Jason Carroll said the dispute between Deontra Lilly and Cannon should not have reached this level.

“It was just a lot of childish trash talk that got out of hand,” Carroll said. Lilly and three others were charged in the shooting. Members of FRESH held a fun fundraiser to support Cannon and Williams. Both are believed to have recovered from the attack.

Other top stories of the year included: Richard Collins creates sculpture garden along bayou, Bulldogs Go Undefeated in Regular football season, Dogs rescued from Pine Harbor, U.S. Senate candidates campaign in Jefferson, Leward LaFleur elected county judge, and Haggard elected mayor of Jefferson.


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