By David Webb
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Commissioners Court is proposing about a two-cent increase in the tax rate for 2014-15 to pay debt on road improvement bonds voters approved in November 2013.
The proposed tax rate is 57.62 cents per $100 property valuation. Without the increase, the tax would have been 55.3513 cents to raise the same amount of revenue assessed last year.
The court scheduled public hearings on the proposed tax increase for 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 5 and Monday, Sept. 8. The hearings will take place at 100 N. Washington St. in downtown Kaufman.
County Judge Bruce Wood noted that the tax rate in 1999 was 48.90 cents, growing to 55.65 by 2007 and remaining there through last year.
Prior to the court considering the proposed tax rate, two residents of Precinct 4 spoke during the public comment section of the agenda. The two residents complained about the condition of the county’s roads with one complaining about large potholes that damage cars.
Another resident complained that the precinct commissioners do not work together by sharing materials and equipment to keep roads, county-wide, in good repair. He said taxpayers routinely vote commissioners out of office because of their failure to improve road conditions.
County Judge Bruce Wood noted a tax rate analysis showed that the amount of tax revenue dedicated to roads and bridges had decreased from 11.40 cents in 1999 to 7 cents or less ever since.
The court has not yet determined how much of the new proposed tax rate will be dedicated to roads and bridges for 2014-15, but Precinct 1 Commissioner Jimmy Vrzalik said he would like to see the amount increased significantly.
“I’d like to get that back as close to 11 cents as possible,” he said. (See related story in a follow up story in either the Sept. 4 or Sept. 7 issue of The Monitor on Road and Bridge funds, portion spent through Aug. 25 and percentage left to take commissioners through to fiscal year’s end Sept. 30.)
In other action, the court:
• approved a final plat for 9-0 Ranch Subdivision in Precinct 3. Wood said the county would be developing a checklist of steps needed to be undertaken by developers submitting plans to the court for approval.
“We’ve been through a period where we didn’t have a lot of development, and now we’re beginning to see development,” he said.
• approved spending $37,227 for the printing of the new annual tax statements.
• appointed Veterans Services Officer Clayton Kelley as the new vehicle fleet policy manager for the county. Kelley said his first project would be to inspect the inventory of county vehicles and assess their quality.
• proclaimed the month of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness.
• deputized Hepitasio L. Perea, Mitchum K. Patterson, Michael G. Breadon and Joe Harris for Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
• approved the retirement of a canine known as “Certtis” from the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office.
Posted by : August 31, 2014| On :
By David Webb
Posted by : August 31, 2014| On :
Ready to lead the Yellowjackets to playoffs and build a legacy in Kemp
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor
KEMP–Coming back from a devastating football injury isn’t easy. It takes an athlete months of rehabilitation and training to get their muscles and joints back to their pre-injury condition. A determined athlete can do it –and Kemp’s David Dennis fits that description perfectly.
The injury happened last year, in the second game of the season against Ferris. Last September Head Coach and Athletic Director Brandon Hankins was an assistant coach in Kemp, and he was looking to help the orange and white win against his former employer. It didn’t take long for disaster to strike.
On Kemp’s first possession, Dennis took his usual place in the Yellowjackets backfield. The handoff went smoothly, but everything collapsed after that. Ferris had a particularly large defensive lineman sneak by his blocker and flatten him as he approached the line of scrimmage. There was a hit and a crack.
The lineman fell on Dennis’ shoulder, and he knew right away it was bad. He was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone. Just like that, after one game and one play, one of Kemp’s brightest star players was out.
Not to be deterred by a broken collarbone, Dennis got right to work with rehabilitation. He spend the next two months strengthening his muscles and joints to perform the rotations needed for a football player. Dennis managed to make it back on the field for week nine’s game against Winnsboro. The timing was key for the Yellowjackets, as Kemp was trailing Eustace by just one game for the final playoff spot in 2A Region II District 7.
In the next two games the Kemp offense scored 71 points against Winnsboro and Grand Saline, including a 43-18 romp over the Grand Saline Indians. The 71 points were the most Kemp had scored in consecutive games all year, and frankly, was more than they had scored in the previous four games combined.
Although Dennis scored four touchdowns in those two games, the Eustace Bulldogs won their final two games against Lone Oak and Grand Saline to take the final playoff spot.
Now a senior, Dennis is healthy and has renewed goals after the struggles of last year.
“Kemp hasn’t made the playoffs in awhile,” Dennis said. “And I want to be part of the group that gets us back in there. This is my last year here and I want to lead my team. It’s a big goal for me.”
Dennis says making the playoffs isn’t just a pipe dream for Kemp. They have the drive and work ethic needed to succeed. He gives credit to Coach Hankins for motivating the team and pushing them to accomplish more.
“Practice and training have been so much harder this year under Coach Hankins,” Dennis said. “Practice and workouts are about ten times harder than last year.”
All the work has visible results for Dennis. His maximum bench press has shot up from 185 pounds at the time of his injury last year to 240 right now.
Dennis hopes all the training he has been doing will help him set a school record this year.
“I want to set a Kemp High School record for interceptions this year,” he said.
While Dennis’ short term goals include school records and a Kemp playoff game, he has his sights set on football after high school.
Several Division 1 and 2 schools have shown interest in Dennis playing college football for them next year, including: SMU, Midwestern State University, University of Central Oklahoma, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southern Arkansas University and Henderson State University.
Posted by : August 31, 2014| On :
Cafeteria features salad bar, homestyle-cooked items, pizza station and more
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–College cafeteria food doesn’t always have the greatest reputation but a major summer renovation is about to change all of that at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC).
When students returned to classes for the Fall 2014 semester, many discovered the cafeteria had been replaced with a much-improved dining experience.
The renovated cafeteria, rebranded as “The Nest,” provides campus students with upgrades in food quality, variety, service, facilities and retail offerings.
The changes were set into motion when the current campus dining contract expired May 31.
A comprehensive college committee consisting of faculty, staff and students was selected to set specifications for the next service provider. That committee scored proposals from four companies based on factors including the quality of meal program options and overall improvements.
After an extensive review process, the committee unanimously recommended Aramark, which was subsequently awarded a contract by TVCC President Dr. Glendon Forgey and the Board of Trustees.
As part of the contract, Aramark agreed to make a number of capital improvements that have changed the look and feel of the campus dining space.
“Our intent was to improve the quality and options of our dining services for our students and our community,” TVCC Vice President of Student Services Dr. Jay Kinzer said.
“I think we have certainly done that.”
One of the highlights for students will be an increase in food options, with nine serving stations offering a variety of all-you-can-eat choices.
The Home Zone will offer:
• homestyle-cooked items.
• a grill for ordering hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and more.
• a pizza and pasta station.
• an “exhibition” station where food, such as omelets, will be made-to-order and prepared in front of the customer.
• a soup and sandwich station.
• a full-service salad bar.
• a breakfast bar.
• a dessert bar, and
• a beverage station that will increase the number of drink options to nine, including all-day juice, Vitamin Water and Powerade.
The increase in service areas is expected to reduce service time, Kinzer said, which will improve the overall student experience.
Aramark Campus Dining Director Cynthia Crouch said special-themed foods will also be offered during holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras.
“The kids have really enjoyed it,” Crouch said, of the renovations and improved offerings.
“Everyone has been really excited. This is all for the students, we want them to be able to enjoy it.”
New signage will also be included in The Nest, and four flatscreen televisions are being installed for entertainment and informational purposes.
There is also a “Healthy for Life” information center that provides a rundown of nutritional facts for items being served that day.
Plans are in the works to soon be able to allow students to access nutritional information via the Internet and through a smart phone app.
Another part of the project includes a renovation of the first floor of the nearby Student Union Building, where a coffee bar called “We Now Proudly Brew Starbucks” and a convenience store called “P.O.D. Express” will be constructed.
The existing GrilleWorks will also be renovated and re-named “The Cardinal Grill.”
Additionally, the Cardinal Gym concession area will also be upgraded.
Those projects are scheduled to be finished later during the Fall 2014 semester.
“We’ve been very pleased with the work Aramark has done with this project,” Kinzer said.
“We’ve only been serving for about a week, but we’re already seeing a very positive response from our students, faculty and staff.”