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City upset over coverage, demands apology

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STAFF REPORT

The Ellis County Press

ENNIS - Last week’s article featuring Ennis city water filling up a private residents swimming pool and water rate increase is upsetting the city.

Steve Howerton, city manager wouldn’t respond to any calls made by The Ellis County Press.

According to the letter from city attorney Toby Mash, former law partner of now Ellis County District Attorney Joe Grubbs, "The situation you attempted to report in your paper did not involve free water. The water was paid for in advance. "The equipment used to transport the water was not City of Ennis equipment. The transfer of water was not accomplished by city employees who were on duty."

Ennis residents have been calling the ECP all week since this was made public and are furious. One resident even said she was told by Howerton himself, "you can’t believe everything you read in the paper, don’t believe what they write." When she asked him for a receipt he said he, "would have to find it."

After this office was referred to make all inquires about this matter to the city manager, the letter sent from Mash’s office said Howerton was "unaware of the water being purchased at this residence."

The letter also claims Mash "personally knows the couple who owns the residence you portrayed in your newspaper are good law abiding citizens who don’t deserve false accusations."

The article did not list names of the residents, just the street address. Mash demanded an apology and hinted of legal action against the paper if it didn’t apologize.

"I won’t apologize for the truth," said Charles D. Hatfield Jr., publisher.

"If Howerton had simply talked to our reporter and gave us the information, then his need to cover his backside wouldn’t have been necessary.

"Howerton is a public figure and his attempts to silence the media won’t work," said Hatfield.


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