High winds fan flames
300 acres scorched in Seven Points
Monitor Staff Reports
POINTS–Volunteer firefighters from 12 different fire departments plus
the Texas Forestry Service responded to a grass fire Sunday, which
spread quickly in winds gusting up to 30 mph in Seven Points.
Monitor Photos/Janis Grubbs
BELOW: Volunteer firefighters take a breather
from fighting a grass fire which scorched 300 acres in Seven Points
Sunday. ABOVE: A rehab area was set up in the parking lot of the
Lakeview Assembly of God on State Highway 334 for the scores of
volunteers who fought the blaze. Eleven fire departments responded as
well as the Texas Forestry Service. Burning firecrackers is strongly
suspected for causing the fire.
Fire investigators strongly suspect burning
firecrackers started the blaze, which covered 300 acres between Arnold
Hills and Wood roads and reaching nearly to State Highway 334 from
No one was seriously injured and though threatened, no houses were
Seven Points Fire Department Lt. George Johnson reported people in the
area jumping in and helping fight the fire “with blankets and shovels
and everything else.” The windy conditions caused sparks to jump up to
20 feet to a new location, spreading the fire, Johnson said.
He estimated up to 30 pieces of equipment were on the scene. Since more
volunteers are available on Sundays, there was a rapid response time, he
Johnson also credited the fast response to the fire being located within
Monitor Photo/Janis Grubbs
A Payne Springs tanker truck and crew were stationed here to monitor
sparks being carried by the wind. A brush hog was also used to cut down
on the high grasslands. Other departments were similarly deployed to
contain the fire.
Sonic drive-in lent a hand by providing food for the
hungry firefighters, Johnson said.
Units responding to the 11:11 a.m. call included Tool, Trinidad, Scurry,
Log Cabin, Payne Springs, Malakoff, Kemp, Eustace, Gun Barrel City,
Mabank, Kaufman and of course, Seven Points.
Neal McCoy to perform at Gater’s
Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY – Country performing artist Neal McCoy will be in
concert Friday, Jan. 11, at Gater’s Sports Bar & Grill, located at 623
S. Gun Barrel Lane, Suite A in Gun Barrel City.
McCoy has achieved several awards, which include Entertainer of the
Year, 1998 and 1999, and ’97 TNN/Music City News Country Awards; Video
of the Year “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye,” ACM/Home Depot Humanitarian
Award 2005; three platinum albums and one gold album.
His albums include At This Moment, Where Forever Begins, No Doubt About
It, You Gotta Love That, Neal McCoy, Greatest Hits, Be Good At It, The
Life Of The Party, 24/7 365, and That’s Life.
His influences are Charley Pride, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.
McCoy got his start as an opening act for Charley Pride, soon earning
his own slot on the show.
“Charley was so good on stage, making people feel relaxed,” McCoy
recalls. “And offstage, he was still the same guy, very approachable. I
tried to learn that from him.”
Performing really makes McCoy’s day.
“When the audience is really into it, it just doesn’t get any better. On
stage is where I belong,” McCoy said.
Also coming Friday, Jan. 18, to Gater’s is six-time Grammy award winner
Asleep at the Wheel. This group has played at the Grand Ole Opry in
Nashville numerous times, Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid, CMA Awards, State
Fair of Texas, CMT and GAC.
Rock n’ roll legends Bad Company will be performing at Gater’s pre-Super
Bowl XLII bash Saturday, Feb. 2.
Tickets are on sale now at Gater’s, Rowan’s Western Wear in Mabank, Lone
Star Wear in Athens and Corsicana, or call Gater’s to reserve your
tickets by credit card at (903) 880-9960.
IRS refund delays expected
Monitor Staff Reports
WASHINGTON–January income tax filers, who use one of five tax forms,
will have to wait till February before their tax returns can be
According to the IRS, the delay will most likely affect 3 million to 4
Everyone else’s return will be processed in the usual, timely way,
according to a statement released Dec. 27.
The potential delay was caused by the legislature enacting changes in
the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
The IRS has targeted Feb. 11 as the potential starting date for
processing returns which include forms:
• 8863 – Education Credits
• 5695 – Residential Energy Credits,
• 1040A’s Schedule 2 – Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A
• 8396 – Mortgage Interest Credit,
• 8859 – District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit.
These five forms require significant additional reprogramming. The
February date allows the IRS time to update and test its systems to
accommodate the changes without major disruptions to other operations
related to tax season.
Congress was informed it would take about seven weeks to update IRS
processing systems completely.
“We regret the inconvenience the delay will mean for millions of early
tax filers, especially those expecting a refund,” Acting IRS
Commissioner Linda Stiff said. “We’re taking extraordinary steps to
figure out a way that we can start the filing season on time for most
taxpayers, including some using AMT-related forms.”
She reminds taxpayers that printed tax packages, which will begin
arriving in the mail this week, went to the printer in November before
the AMT changes were enacted.
Taxpayers using those forms are urged to submit their tax returns
electronically after Feb. 11; similarly, paper filers should also wait
until Feb. 11 to file their returns. All other tax returns will be
accepted in January.
“E-file is a great option for everyone, especially if they are affected
by the AMT,” IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support Richard
Spires said. “Filing electronically will get people their refunds
faster, and e-file greatly reduces the chances for making an error on
the AMT or other tax issues.”
E-filers are cautioned to update their tax software in order to get the
latest AMT updates. Updated forms are also available at IRS.gov.
The IRS is working closely with tax professionals and tax preparation
software community to make sure they can help taxpayers with all of the
latest developments on the enactment of the AMT patch and other tax
Taxpayers with $54,000 or less in adjusted gross income can use Free
File to electronically file their returns for free. It is only available
by visiting the official IRS web site at IRS.gov.
It is estimated 90 million taxpayers qualify for this free service.
The alternative minimum tax began in 1969, as a means to target 155 very
wealthy families who used deductions to avoid paying any federal income
The AMT disallows certain deductions and credits. However, it was not
adjusted for inflation and as a result, it has hit a growing number of
More than 4 million were subject to it in 2006. Without the
congressional fix, more than 20 million families would have been faced
with an extra $2,000 tax hit.