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.
The Rootseekers Genealogy Society is at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16,
at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Meetings are open to the
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
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
email@example.com, 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)
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.
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.
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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Man gets life for 2009
Jury hands down life sentence for intoxicated
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,
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
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
“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.
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
Send your stories and photos to the newspaper by Jan. 20, 2012
by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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
“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
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.