Sunday, January 24, 2010





  Tornado slams Canton intersection
Store owner survives ‘Oz’ ride on the wind
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer

CANTON–It was like something taken straight from a Hollywood movie, but certainly something that Canton resident Tim Ellis can only describe as “a miracle.”
With word of a strong thunderstorm moving into the area Wednesday afternoon, Chick’s Chevron owner Terri Ellis had headed home. Her husband Tim was going to follow.
“I had already started home, and when I turned on the radio, I heard there was a storm coming,” Tim Ellis said. “I looked outside, and saw it was blue and looked bad.”
Tim Ellis said he decided to drive back to the service station to put his vintage Chrysler car under shelter.
“I noticed by the time I got to the DPS office that it (sky) was starting to swirl, and I noticed the clouds were starting to drop,” Ellis said. “So I pulled in (at Chick’s) and was going to put the Chrysler in the garage. Then it hit, and stuff started blowing, and I was off the ground and spinning and I hit my head.”
CantonTornadoCleanup.jpg (166183 bytes)

Monitor Photos/Julie Vaughan
Cleanup begins at Chick’s Chevron station at the Interstate 20/State Highway 19 interchange in Canton, following a late-afternoon tornado that heavily damaged the building, and damaged nearby businesses. Two Van Zandt County deputies saw the funnel cloud, but didn’t see it touch down. BELOW: An 18-wheeler lies on its side in the I-20 south service road, overturned by high winds.

Ellis said he remembered seeing metal in the cloud as he was thrown some 10 feet up off the ground before his head hit the awning of the building. He believes colliding with the awning stopped him from being taken any further off the ground.CantonTornadoTruck.jpg (139863 bytes)
“It felt like the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ which used to be my favorite show, but it’s not anymore,” he said with a smile.
Ellis said he didn’t have time to think when he was being tossed about, but he wasn’t afraid to die.
“I believe in God and I know where I’m going when I die,” he said. “I feel blessed. It just wasn’t my time.”
Tim and Terri Ellis purchased Chick’s Chevron two years ago from former owners Chick and Joy Chaney, who started the store in 1966.
Joy Chaney confirmed this was the first time the store had ever been hit by a storm.
Terri Ellis said customers were at the store when the storm hit, and they ran to take cover inside the store’s walk-in cooler, while the store clerk took cover at a doorway behind the counter, away from the windows.
“God has another plan,” Terri Ellis said. “This is devastation, but we are alive, and we will deal with all of this.”
The Ellis family expressed their thanks to everyone who had stopped to offer help.
Terri Ellis said they were offered assistance from Fuller’s Towing, Department of Public Safety troopers, Walmart and Church’s Chicken. She praised her Wallace & Murray insurance agent.
“I can’t say enough about Canton. It is the most wonderful place to live,” Tim Ellis said.
“Everyone wants to help. It’s amazing how people want to help,” Terry Ellis added. “By the grace of God we are okay. He has another plan for us.”


Fire marshal choice pondered
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners were to interview four candidates for the county fire marshal posting Friday in open session.
A decision will be made on filling the vacancy created when former Mabank fire marshal John Holcomb resigned Dec. 29 to take a similar job with the city of Forney.
Commissioners were to interview:
• interim fire marshal Shane Renberg, the former Payne Springs police chief;
• Wesley Meyers of Malakoff, with extensive background in law enforcement;
• Mike Grant, longtime Gun Barrel City fire chief, and
• James Furrh, a criminal investigator for Van Zandt County, with extensive experience as a firefighter and fire investigator.
Commissioners are planning to name the next fire marshal after a brief executive session during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Jan. 26, County Judge David Holstein told The Monitor.
In other business at Tuesday’s regular meeting, the commissioners:
• announced the need to appoint two volunteers to the Park Board and one person to the Emergency Service District No. 5 board during its Feb. 2 meeting. Persons willing to serve should contact their commissioner or county judge.
• accepted two replats of properties in Precinct 2 for filing purposes. One is located in the Pinnacle Club and the other in Harbor Point in Gun Barrel City.
• approved budget amendments as presented
• appointed Florence Gillium to the Henderson County Child Welfare Board for a three-year term.
• paid bills totaling $181,855.60 from the 2009 budget and $63,979.98 from the 2010 budget.


Students fete trustees
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE–The students of the Eustace Independent School District expressed their appreciation to school board members in a variety of ways Tuesday.
January is “School Board Appreciation Month,” and student performance seems to have made the effort of some eight volunteer trustees worth it.
Besides a rich dinner on an elegantly appointed table, trustees were presented with acrostics of their last name by students of the Junior High.

EISDdinner.jpg (125644 bytes)MonitorPhoto/PearlCantrell
Eustace school board trustees (clockwise from left) president Diane Russ, Gary Walsh, Mike Smith, superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe and assistant superintendent Janice Beasley, trustees Cotton Walker, board vice president Thomas Fraizier, trustee Sonny Hodge and board secretary Sarah McAtee enjoy a very special dinner hosted by the high school, primary and intermediate campuses Tuesday in honor of January being School Board Appreciation month. Dinner included sliced roast pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and steamed green beans, salad and bread (provided by the high school), special treats such as strawberries dipped in chocolate and caramel nut clusters also drenched in chocolate (intermediate) and desserts, featuring snowball cake, whipped gelatin and cream and chocolate cream pie (primary).

Two videos from the Primary and various high school departments shown during the regular January meeting warmed hearts all around.
Primary students used the word of the month – “fantastic” – generously in their video presentation to characterize the board members efforts on their behalf.
Students from various high school department created their own video vignettes, including one body-building student pictured in the gym facilities: “Thanks for the new weight room,” he said replacing his bench-press weight. “It really helps,” he says while flexing his biceps.
Other high school students from drama, band, cheerleading, FFA, athletic department, yearbook, girls athletics and boys basketball all submitted their own video messages of appreciation.


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