No burn ban; use caution
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–New Henderson Country fire marshal John Holcomb made his first
public appearance at the first 2009 meeting of county commissioners
Tuesday. The former Mabank fire marshal opposed instituting a burn ban
in the county at this time.
On Jan. 1, the Texas Forest Service rated the county at high risk for
fire danger, but weekend rains dropped that rating back down to low by
However, Holcomb warned county residents to put off outside burning when
windy conditions may increase higher than 10 mph and pay attention to
television news reports for updates on daily fire danger conditions.
“Just be very aware of current conditions and use good sense,” he said.
Commissioners approved the closing documents for the sale of the
Memorial Hospital for $50,000 with the purchaser picking up all closing
costs including the owner’s title insurance.
A resolution abating the $250 property tax was also included in the sale
agreement and will be handled separately at a future meeting.
“By authorizing the sale and approving the closing, the court is
obligating itself to pass the resolution,” new County Attorney Clint
Though the vote was unanimous, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry West
expressed his reservations to the county passing on its responsibility
to someone else and the absence of a timetable stipulating when the
property should either be demolished or renovated.
“We’ve had this eyesore for a long time,” he said. “I hate to see it
continue sitting there in this state.”
“What changed the situation is that we did the (asbestos) abatement,”
responded Judge David Holstein. “Free enterprise will drive the rest.”
The bid to purchase the property came from two couples from the Cedar
Creek Lake area. Their plans have called for reselling the property to a
nursing home developer.
In other business, commissioners:
• reappointed two members, Neil Hunter and Bill Key, to the Henderson
County Hospital Authority Board and appointed new member Kenneth McGee,
all from Precinct 4.
• revised the use of State Criminal Alien Assistance grant funding to
include the federally approved purchase of an inmate transport vehicle.
Assistant Chief Kevin Haynes informed commissioners about the failure of
one of his vehicles and the trend of transporting inmates from long
Grant officer Jennifer Nicholson presented a list of federally-approved
expenditures for the funds and also explained that the funds may
accumulate from year to year and that the county had the mechanism to
track expenditures for the making of timely reports.
The county has a 2008 grant of $17,377. Haynes said he’s eyeballing a
Chevrolet Impala at just under $17,300 and possibly lower.
“We wouldn’t have to equip it because we have all the equipment from the
car with the blown engine,” he said.
• accepted submitted plats from Gun Barrel City and a formerly approved
and disallowed plat for lack of sufficient payment.
• approved budget amendments 3-1 with Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade
McKinney opposed. The amendments included a $157,960 payment to
• approved position budget amendments.
• paid bills totalling $123,889.69.
Foot pursuit nabs juvenile
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Henderson County Sheriffs Office conducted a manhunt Friday
that became a foot chase along Racetrack Road in Seven Points.
Upon the recovery of two stolen Polaris four-wheelers and a toolbox,
deputies Thomas Goodell and Kenneth Martin observed Charles Pyburn in
the area. Pyburn was known to have outstanding arrest warrants for
When they attempted to arrest Pyburn at around 2 p.m., he and a juvenile
took off on foot. The pursuit continued until around 8:30 p.m.,
according to Lt. Botie Hillhouse, a spokesman for the sherrif’s office.
The juvenile was apprehended and released to a legal guardian. Pyburn
got away, but turned himself in the next day. Deputies Billy Jack
Valentine and Danny Cope also worked on the case.
‘It’s a blessing’
ETMC Athens welcomes first baby of 2009 on Jan.
By Toni Gerrard Clay
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Little Jeorge Luis Fernandez may not have been born on New Year’s
Day, but he still managed to achieve first-baby-of-the-year status at
ETMC Athens with a Jan. 2 arrival.
The beautiful boy was born at 9:32 a.m. weighing in at seven pounds,
2.75 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.
The little boy’s mother was also hoping for a Jan. 1 arrival for her son
because, among other reasons, she thought it would be fun to share a
birthday with him. Esmeralda Juárez turned 25 Jan. 1.
Jeorge Luis was a planned C-section delivery, and Ms. Juarez had asked
if it would be possible to schedule the delivery on New Year’s Day.
However, planned surgical procedures aren’t scheduled on holidays.
It was a surprise, then, when her baby boy – boasting a gorgeous, silky
explosion of dark hair – still ended up being the first 2009 baby born
at ETMC Athens.
It was also a blessing, because along with the first delivery comes a
basket full of goodies for Mom and baby, courtesy of the hospital.
“Thank you very much. I needed these things,” she said through an
interpreter. “It’s a blessing.”
Ms. Juarez lives in Athens with Jeorge Luis’ father and her firstborn
son, 3-year-old Jeffry. She said she is content, and her baby’s safe
arrival indicates, “it’s going to be a better year.”
Gifts from the hospital include bottles and nipples, pacifiers, diapers
and wipes, a musical toy, blankets, onesies and socks, lotion and bath
items, various baby-care items, a car mirror, chocolates and bath and
body items for Mom, a photo album and a gift certificate to the Olive
The first Kaufman County baby born in 2009 will also be the first to
hospital’s new name, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Kaufman, on her
certificate. Nurse Angela Robinson (left) presents a basket of baby
items to mom
Sandra Ducote of Terrell, and baby daughter Makayla. The baby was born
p.m. Jan. 1. She weighed in at 9 pounds and 2 ounces and measured 20˝
long. The hospital’s new name also took effect on Jan. 1.