Boy Scout Troop #398
meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For
more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society
meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the
Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club
meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department.
For more info, call (903) 887-6549.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON
meets at 8 p.m. on Thursday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous
meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and
Saturday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
There is a 2 p.m. Sunday meeting, also.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club
meets every Thursday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m.
The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more
information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club
meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City,
except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in
conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club
meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more
information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club
meets every fourth Thursday. For more information
call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club
meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more
information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333
meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and
fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903)
451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112
meets at the First United Methodist Church in
Mabank on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at
(469) 323-7943, email
email@example.com, or (800) 422-2260 or visit
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101
meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on
Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley
United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith
at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild
meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the
Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903)
Henderson County Retired School Personnel
meets at 2 p.m. the second Wednesday each month at
the First United Methodist Church of Athens. Call (903) 451-3585 for
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club
meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance
Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call
(972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club
meets at noon each Thursday at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant in Kemp. For
more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind
meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens
Lake Area Democrats Club
meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Library at
Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Email
for more information.
Mabank Al-Anon Family Group
meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mabank First Baptist Church Fellowship
Hall. Families of alcoholics are welcome. Call (903) 887-2781 for info.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club
meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County
Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club
meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of
every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch
meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard
Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Rainbow Girls, Masonic Youth organization
meets on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10
a.m. at the Cedar Creek Masonic Lodge. For more information contact
Donna Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Roddy Masonic Lodge
meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for
meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in
the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center
Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the
fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas
Street in Kemp. For info, call (903) 498-2140.
Suicide Survivors Group
for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at
6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
Tamarack Ladies Club
meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)
meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank.
Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center
at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a
support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more
info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 675-7270.
First in a series on volunteerism
Volunteering during a taxing time
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–Gil Betts started his volunteer activities nearly 25
years ago, soon after he retired from his government job as an
accountant and relocated to Cedar Creek Lake.
So what does a retired accountant do as a volunteer?
More accounting, of course!
And lots of local senior citizens are glad he does.
“I bring my tax return to him every year,” Claudette Alsup told The
Monitor. “He knows all the changes to the tax law and makes sure I
get every penny I have coming to me.”
During tax season (Feb. 1 to April 15), Betts and his team of half a
dozen or so counselors serve as tax aides at three local libraries.
“The service is free. I’d like to see more people take advantage of
it,” Betts said. “I get great satisfaction from making sure people’s
returns are done right, and did I mention that it’s free?”
Supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Foundation, a charitable organization, the tax help program works in
conjunction with the IRS, which has also funded the program for the
last 20 years – your tax dollars at work, Betts said.
“It’s the largest income tax filing service in the United States,”
Betts started as a counselor (an entry-level position) in 1994.
After a time, the local coordinator, who oversees a district with
three sites resigned, and Betts stepped up. Then he became an
instructor. When the first electronic filing program came out, he
became the technology coordinator, too.
Every year, instructors attend special training sessions and must
pass an open-book test. Then they can teach counselors, who must
also attend a three-day training and pass an open-book test every
year, Betts explained.
For those counselors who are just joining, some extra instruction
may be needed, but generally the three days are enough.
Counselors are those who can volunteer at least 20 hours a tax
season, are familiar with using a computer, can work with numbers or
learn how, and have some good people skills.
“You can’t get the answer you’re looking for unless you’re asking
the right question,” Betts said, noting that is stressed during the
Counselors also take a confidentiality pledge, he added. Every
return is double-checked by a different person to make sure they are
All in all, Betts has four leadership roles in the organization. The
last is that of District Coordinator.
This district is made up of two chapters, on in the Cedar Creek Lake
area and another taking in Ennis and Waxahachie, for a total of five
service sites people can go to and get the free help with filing
Of course, there are limitations to what the counselors will accept.
No complicated tax returns, and none requiring a Schedule C.
Self-employed people who have a simple business and would fall under
Schedule CE, counselors can handle, Betts said.
“We will do itemized deductions on a Schedule A,” he added.
The service is not liable to represent the filer before the IRS, as
a paid tax return preparer would, he pointed out.
“We see screwups from paid preparers all the time,” Betts said.
Catching those mistakes and correcting them also gives Betts a lot
of satisfaction. Each return is also reviewed by a dedicated
reviewer to catch any mistakes a counselor might make, he said.
The free service also includes a review of last year’s return and
this year’s figures. “Counselors advise the taxpayer on how much
withholding to carry, what things they should track for their
records next year, and so on,” Betts said.
The service does not give anticipation loans for expected refunds,
which Betts clearly thinks is a waste of good money.
“First, they overcharge to prepare your return and then they charge
exorbitant interest to loan you the money,” he said.
Counselors are not allowed to accept compensation for their
services, though Betts said he’s been know to accept a freshly baked
batch of cookies.
“On the whole, people we get here are very appreciative (of the
service) and return year after year,” Betts said.
“The program is designed primarily for seniors, but we’re getting
many younger people, too,” he added. “Professional tax preparers
often refer clients to us, when they can’t afford their services.”
During the tax season, Betts puts in 20 to 25 hours a week as a tax
aide. By far the Library at Seven Points gets the most people
seeking the service.
“We do about 200 returns a year at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake
and half that much at Malakoff and Athens,” he said.
Any client wanting to donate a few bucks – because they’re so
grateful for the service – is directed to the library.
“They always need and accept monetary donations,” Betts said. He
In addition to his tax season volunteering, he has been a longtime
member of the Best Friends of The Library, serving as treasurer,
president and currently as a member of the library’s board of
directors. He feels the tax service is another benefit the library
offers the community.
“My wife and I are very involved with the library. We contribute our
time and money because we want to see the library stay open,” he
said. “It’s a fine asset to our community and we are extremely lucky
to have it.”
When it comes to choosing an area in which to volunteer one’s time,
Betts said it’s important to follow your heart.
“When in doubt, do it. And if you do it, do it well and
whole-heartedly,” he advised. “There’s something everyone can