Thursday, January 7, 2010







  Candidates prepare for March 2 Primary
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Candidates vying to represent the Republican Party in various Kaufman County positions have lined up to compete in the March 2, Primary.
The last day to register was Jan. 4.
86th District Judge Howard Tygret is seeking re-election.
He has one Republican opponent, Attorney Raymond Schackleford of Kemp.
County Judge Wayne Gent announced in August that he will not seek re-election to his office. Republicans William (Bill) Bedrick and James Bruce Wood are seeking the vacated position.
Court-at-Law Judge Erliegh Norville Wiley and Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge David Lewis are seeking re-election with no Republican opponents.
Criminal District Attorney Richard (Rick) Harrison is seeking re-election.
He has drawn two Republican opponents – Andrew Jordan and Michael McLelland.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Ray Clark has drawn a challenger in William H. (Skeet) Phillips.
Precinct 4 Commissioner James (Jim) Deller will be pitted against three Republicans in the Primary – Joe Windham, Thomas D. Kintz and Thomas S. Manning.
District Clerk Sandra Featherstone announced her plans to retire, and two candidates have signed up to run for that spot: Angela Webb of Kemp and Rhonda Hughey of Kaufman.
County Clerk Laura Hughes, of Forney, wants to serve again, and she is opposed by Democrat Sophia Clemon.
No one signed up to run against Johnny Countryman for County Treasurer this time around.
Two justices of the peace, Precinct 3 Judge Michael Smith of Terrell and Precinct 4 Judge Johnny M. Adams are running unopposed.
Precinct 1 Judge Eric Williams, of Kaufman, will face Democrat Johnny Perry in the November election.
Four candidates are seeking the Precinct 2 JP position, which Don Cates has decided to vacate at the end of his term. Those candidates are Wade Gent, Charles Floyd, Jacob Thomas and Patricia Ashcroft.
Long-time county surveyor Gregory Sjervan is running unopposed.
County Republican chair, Bill Baker of Terrell is opposed by Jessica Nixon of Scurry.
County Democrat chair Sarah Whitaker is running unopposed.

First babies of 2010 welcomed

Tool residents Rosa Becerra (left) and Juan Arredondo welcome
the arrival of their daughter Isabella, the first baby born in Henderson
County in 2010. The six-pound-seven-ounce baby was born at 8:40 a.m.
Saturday. She was 20 inches long. She has a 2-year-old big brother
named David. The happy couple work in restaurants located in the
Cedar Creek Lake area. The couple received many gifts from Athens
businesses, including a baby album, baby blanket, teddy bear and car
seat. East Texas Medical Center and Lakeland Medical Associates,
Always in Bloom, Ken’s Pizza, Applebee’s, Hallmark, Whataburger,
Waldenwood and KC Party Gifts contributed to the gifts.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
A baby girl, Journee Alyn Hack, born at 5:48 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, was the first
baby born in 2010 at Texas Health Presbyterian of Kaufman. Journee weighed six
pounds, eight ounces and was 18 ¾ inches long. Pictured are (from left, seated)
mother Lisa Gonzales and father Keven Hack; (back row) nurses Angela Scott
and Tammy Morgan. The baby received a basket filled with items donated by
hospital staff and volunteers, and a savings bond from American National Bank
of Kaufman. The family is from Forney.

DA McKee goes to war
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–A come-and-go reception was held Dec. 31 for newly-elected Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee, in order that friends and coworkers could wish him safe journey and return as he joined the Louisiana-based 256th Infantry Brigade Tuesday.
McKee told The Monitor he would hold one final staff meeting that morning and leave for Lake Charles for a short stint, and then proceed to Camp Shelby, Miss., directly afterwards. He’ll remain there throughout his training period before shipping out overseas.
McKee, 39, has been a member of the National Guard since he was 17, but never imagined he would be recalled to serve when he campaigned to become the DA last year.
The 256th was last deployed to Iraq four years ago, but McKee was not selected to serve at that time.
He participated in Desert Storm and Desert Shield as active military in 1994, and hasn’t been called up to serve since then.
McKee and other members of his unit were given a heads-up in September about a likely deployment, he said. But he didn’t receive his orders until a few weeks ago.
His unit is expected to deploy to Kuwait and Iraq sometime this spring, following a training period.
“I plan to remain in daily contact with my office through e-mails and phone calls,” he said.
In fact, he and the IT officer have already rigged his laptop, and that of 1st Assistant Mark Hall, with SKYPE software to enable video conference calling, McKee told The Monitor.
“We tried it out yesterday, and it works fine,” he said Dec. 31.
“It will be just like I was in my own office. I’ll be able to access all the same information I can now from my office on my laptop,” he added.
“I feel we’ve assembled a highly professional staff over the last 12 months, who will be capable of carrying on the day-to-day functions of the office while I am away,” he said. “Mark Hill, all the lawyers and my staff will continue – my office will not miss a beat while I’m gone.”
Though McKee has put plans in place to assure the smooth operation of his office while deployed, his first concern is his family.
He and wife Ashley have two young boys, ages 4 and 2, and an older son, age 15.
“I regret most missing those nine months I’ll be away from them,” he said. (McKee has been informed his deployment will last nine months. Including training and debriefing afterwards, the total time of his service will likely be a year.)
Since the news broke about his upcoming deployment, McKee said he hasn’t received a single negative comment.
“The support we’ve received has been overwhelming,” he said.
“I’ve been called to serve my country, just as I have been called to serve my community here. I’ll be back, Lord willing,” he added. “I want to go on serving as DA for many years to come.”

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