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Current Issue
January 15, 2012






News in Brief

Martin Luther King Day
County offices of Henderson, Kaufman and Van Zandt will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Post offices, banks and some city offices will close. Cities closing are Eustace, Gun Barrel City, Kemp and Tool.

Kemp community prayer
A community prayer with the mayor of Kemp is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16 (every third Monday) at Kemp City Hall. All citizens are invited.

Need outreach sought
Calling all churches to participate in a needs outreach planning session for Henderson County at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Sand Springs Baptist Church in Athens, located at 1212 FM 1616.
For information, call Pastor Erick Graham at (903) 675-4387.

Rootseekers meeting
The Rootseekers Genealogy Society is at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Meetings are open to the public.

CCL Women’s Club
The Cedar Creek Lake Women’s Club executive board meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points.

Sarah Maples meeting
The Sarah Maples Chapter DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, is at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Tri-County Library in Mabank. This is the annual business meeting.

Triad chili supper
The Triad annual Chili Supper is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Senior Citizens Center in Athens. Monies earned will benefit the senior programs.

Welcome home the troops
The Monitor would like to recognize returning troops with a special tribute and asks readers to submit photos and stories about their loved ones recently returned from overseas as a result of the President’s troop recall. E-mail your stories and photos by Friday, Jan. 20 to,  or mail to The Monitor, P.O. Box 48, Mabank TX 75147, or simply drop it off at 1316 S. Third St. next to Groom & Sons Ace Hardware between 8:30 a.m and 4:30 p.m. M-F. All submissions should include a contact name and phone number, details of military service and a photo.

Mabank VFD chili supper
Mabank Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 18th annual chili supper from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Mabank Fire Station (111 E. Mason/Business 175). All donations benefit the Mabank Fire Department.

AL shrimp dinner
The Sons of the American Legion are hosting a shrimp dinner with cole slaw, hushpuppies, dessert and tea from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan 21. Proceeds benefit local charities. The American Legion Post 310 is located at 111 Lee Way, Gun Barrel City.,

Log Cabin dance concert
Square dancing and country-western dance to the stylings of The SWAGS, a live band from Fort Worth, at Promenade Hall in Tool with special appearance from “Dina Garcia” from Disney’s Shake It Up for autographs. Rediscover the joy of community dancing. Beginning square dance lessons start Wednesday, Feb. 1. For information, call Phil at (903) 880-8822 or Cindy at (214) 543-8641.

CCL Women’s Club
The Cedar Creek Lake Women’s Club meets at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Cedar Creek Country Club, Kemp. “The Life and Loves of Becky Thatcher will be presented by Sharron Lucky.

Annual chili luncheon
The Malakoff Masonic Lodge is hosting its annual chili luncheon from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Lodge, 110 Jackson St, Malakoff, across from the elementary school. Menu features homemade chili, ice tea and coffee. Donation requested.

Tri-County soccer
The Tri-County Soccer Association 2012 spring sign-up is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 and for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at McDonalds in Gun Barrel City. Players must have turned 4 years old by Jan. 1. For information call Candi Conner (903) 887-3138.

Kemp teen account set
An account is open at First National Bank in Kemp for Alyssa Olivarez, 14. She was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma.

heaters needed
The Family Resource Center, located at 107 Spring Valley, Gun Barrel City, is looking for your help with providing heaters for babies, the elderly and people without heat. For information, call Debbie at (903) 887-4711.
Donations are greatly appreciated.

Meals drivers needed
The Senior Center at the Ball Park is in desperate need for “Meals on Wheels,” drivers in Kemp and Mabank.
For information, call Lisa Smith, director, at (903) 997-0643.

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Top News

Man gets life for 2009 fatal crash
Jury hands down life sentence for intoxicated vehicular manslaughter
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A jury sentenced a Palestine man to life imprisonment for Intoxicated Manslaughter in the death of his niece Michelle Coaster, 21, who was also a mother of two.
A Third District Court jury sentenced Manuel Clerkley, 41, Wednesday.
Clerkley had been out of the penitentiary on parole for only two months when the car he was driving shortly before 9 a.m. June 9, 2009, crossed southbound lanes of South Palestine Street in Athens, near the intersection of Ben Bent Drive, left the roadway and collided with a tree.
Coaster died soon afterwards at ETMC-Athens.
Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee prosecuted the case at trial and the jury heard a recorded statement taken by Athens detective Bill Carlow of Clerkley a few days after the crash.
In his statement, Clerkley admitted that he had been up partying with family the night before. He indicated that he had three or four beers and had smoked crack cocaine at around 4 a.m.
At trial, Clerkley testified he was driving from Palestine to Athens to meet with his parole officer when the crash occurred.
In closing arguments, McKee highlighted Clerkley’s extensive criminal history as well as the fact that the crash occurred during a Monday morning rush hour prior to asking the jury to sentence Clerkley to life.
“This was a very tragic case all the way around,” McKee said. “Asking for a life sentence is something I take very seriously. With five prior sentences to prison and the facts and circumstances surrounding this case, I just didin’t see any other option.
“Apparently, the jury agreed with me,” McKee said.
Since this is not a capital murder sentence of life, Clerkley will be eligible for parole after he serves 30 years.


 Welcome home the troops
The Monitor would like to recognize our returning troops with a special tribute in January and asks readers to submit photos and stories about their loved ones recently returned from Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of the President’s troop recall.
Send your stories and photos to the newspaper by Jan. 20, 2012 by e-mail at,  or by mail at The Monitor, P.O. Box 48, Mabank TX 75147, or simply drop it off at the office, located at 1316 S. Third St. next to Groom & Sons Ace Hardware between 8:30 a.m and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
All submissions should include a contact name and phone number, details of military service and a photo.


Voter registration on hold until redistricting dispute settles
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–If you are waiting for your voter registration card, you are going to have to wait a little longer; redistricting in Texas has really become a headache.
Voting districts for the Texas Legislature and the state’s Congressional delegation are in limbo with two sets of maps drawn, one by state lawmakers and one by a group of federal judges in San Antonio, with neither approved yet. The confusion has pushed back the primary election once, and word this week is that the date could be pushed back again.
In addition, Henderson County officials are still waiting for U.S. Department of Justice approval for local redistricting of voting precincts. The county also moved the lines of the commissioner precincts and eliminated one Justice of the Peace precinct.
That’s a whole lot of shuffling with many voters still up in the air, which is why the state has ordered county officials like Election Administrator Denise Hernandez to wait.
“We’ve been mandated by the state (to wait),” Hernandez said this week. “We are waiting on the state and the fed.”
Hernandez said her office has been receiving numerous phone calls from area residents looking for their new voter registration card. Voters normally receive their new card every two years automatically, but that didn’t happen because of the redistricting mess.
“We are aware cards have expired,” Hernandez said, “but there’s nothing we can do right now.”
She is hoping state and federal officials will make their decisions quick enough to allow cards to be mailed by mid to late February – but even that it just a guess.
Hernandez also reminded area residents that you can still register to vote up to 30 days before any election.


Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday Monday
Monitor Staff Reports
Government offices and public schools will be closed Monday, Jan. 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Libraries, banks and mail delivery service will also be suspended. Grocery stores, retail stores, gas stations and restaurants will be open for business.
King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. The federal holiday has been observed since 1986.
Besides non-violent protests, King is most known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on Aug. 28, 1963. In the speech, he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech was delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.



























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