People, Places & Events

     
   

VZ Historical Commission appointments discussed
By Wilbur Callaway
Monitor Correspondent

CANTON—Precinct 4 Van Zandt County Commissioner Ron Carroll stirred up a lively fuss in the commissioners court Tuesday morning with his insistence that the commissioners should be able to appoint members of the Van Zandt County Historical Commission.
A large crowd of elderly citizens, many of whom support the historical commission, attended the meeting to see what was going to happen.
“We need the county commissioners to have authority to put members on the historical commission board,” Carroll said.
“Are we (the commissioners) only here to approve the recommendations of the historical group? We don’t want to just rubber-stamp their people and let it be a cut and dried deal. I want to know where this court stands,” he queried.
Donald and Annette Plemmons of the Van Zandt County Historical Commission explained to Carroll and the rest of the court (minus Van Zandt County Judge Rhita Koches, who was in Lubbock) that the group’s bylaws call for members to screen all applicants and determine by a majority vote who is to sit on the board.
Those people who are approved by the commission are then presented to the commissioners court for approval, Plemmons said.
“If the system is not broken, why try to fix it,” Plemmons questioned.
“I’ve had some people ask me about being on the board,” Carroll retorted.
They should be encouraged to apply, Plemmons said. However just now, there is a waiting list of applicants wanting to be on the commission.
“Currently there are no openings, although one member has indicated plans to resign soon,” Plemmons added.
The commission is required to have no less than seven members, and currently has 14, she said.
“Why is the commissioners court trying to put people on this board anyway,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Kelles Miller asked.
“Because I have some people who want on the board,” Carroll replied.
“I make a motion to table this for research into who has the authority to name the board members, and bring it back to the court when the county judge can be present,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Ricky LaPrade, who conducted the meeting, agreed and the court voted to put it off until a special meeting to be held later.
In other business, the commissioners:
• approved the county bills for payment.
• heard the annual “Kids Fishing Day” will be held noon-3 p.m. Feb. 10 at the two-acre pond behind Wal-Mart.
• approved monthly reports as submitted.
• approved using jail trustees to help with the Van Zandt County Relay for Life, to be held April 27-28 at the Canton High School football stadium.
• appointed Mary Ann Ritchie, John Teague, Joe Sutton, Doyle Milliorn and John Pryor to the Van Zandt County Emergency Services District No. 2.
• appointed Stacia Bragg to the Van Zandt County Rural Rail District.
• authorized Van Zandt County Sheriff Pat Burnett to participate in the Rockwall Vehicle Auction in an effort to find some replacement vehicles for four or five vehicles which need to be retired.
• adopted a resolution requesting a House Bill be passed in favor of a half-cent sales tax on fuel for Van Zandt County, to be used specifically for Van Zandt County Roads & Bridges.
• approved an annual lease agreement with Janie Mullins and Van Zandt County to stock pile road materials and purchase sand and clay.
• approved Texas County lateral road and bridge expenditures yearly report.
• approved a budget amendment for the sheriff’s office to transfer funds from autopsies to radio repairs.
• approved bonds for Precinct 1 JP Donald R. Kirkpatrick and Precinct 4 Constable Pat Jordan.
• set the next regular meeting of the commissioners court for 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16, due to the county judge and commissioners being in Austin for a continuing education conference Feb. 13-15.

Project gets large dog sterilization grant
Special to The Monitor
CRANDALL–Kaufman County Animal Awareness Project (KCAAP) has been awarded a $10,000 Spay Neuter Assistant Grant from a private foundation to sterilize dogs weighing more than 45 pounds, or puppies that will mature to over 45 pounds.
The foundation grant is willing to pay for the complete cost of the surgery, but does ask owners to make a small co-pay towards the surgery if they can afford to. 
A dog weighing more than 45 pounds can produce 12-15 puppies per litter, twice a year. 
Fifty percent of those will be females and can produce at the age of six months.  Within 12 months, a single female and her offspring will produce 450 puppies. 
“If you have visited a shelter in the last year, you know that there are thousands of big brown and black dogs killed every day,” KCAAP president Bonnie Hill said.
“With this grant, there is no excuse for people not to get their large-breed dogs fixed,” she added.
Residents from anywhere in the northeast Texas area can take advantage of the programs, thanks to their shuttle service. The KCAAP Critter Cruiser travels once a month to Canton, Garland, Mesquite, Athens, Mineola, Corsicana, and Waxahachie.
Because Texas law requires current rabies vaccination, if proof cannot be provided at the time of surgery, animals must be vaccinated for $6. 
Interested dog owners must call KCAAP, (972) 472-3500, to schedule the surgery.
 The special offer is made possible by a grant to KCAAP, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) volunteer organization that has provided low-cost pet sterilization surgeries and vaccinations for over two years, performing more than 6,000 surgeries.  This grant can not be used for animals up for adoption through shelters or non-profit rescue groups. 
KCAAP’s low cost spay/neuter regional clinic is located at the corner of U.S. Highway 175 and Farm-to-Market 148 in Crandall.
For more information, to schedule surgery, arrange for shuttle service or to become a volunteer, call (972) 472-3500.

BBB issues warning of surge in bogus loan web sites
Special to The Monitor
MABANK–The Better Business Bureau system warns of a proliferation of Web sites that are impersonating legitimate lenders to steal money from consumers.
Victims across the U.S. and Canada report losing money, sometimes more than $1,000 each.
The Web sites in question promise loans to anyone, regardless of the person’s previous credit history.
People with the poorest finances are being victimized. Many mistakenly believe they have no other option.
According to BBB experience, victims used Internet search engines to locate lenders that “guaranteed” low-interest rate loans for people with bad credit histories.
After submitting the online loan application, they were contacted by a company “representative” who said they were approved.
Before they can receive their loan funds, however, they must first pre-pay a fee.
The loan applicant is told to wire the money or send a money order, usually to a location in Canada.
The consumer never receives the loan and cannot recover their money. They also risk having their identity stolen if they provided their Social Security number or bank account number.
These bogus lenders are clever. They use a variety of tools to imply legitimacy.
• Interest (sic) Plus Financial used a Milwaukee address that was home to a legitimate company, not affiliated with the scam lender.
• Statewide Capital Group, falsely claimed to be located in Omaha, and presented a sophisticated Web site offering a variety of lending services at low rates.
• Lloyds Financial Group used a false street address in East Peoria. Its Web site promised debt consolidation, personal loans and business loans “regardless of the person’s previous credit history.”
• Home Guard Funding Ltd. (a.k.a. Principal Investments) used a name similar to that of a legitimate Canadian mortgage broker and an address belonging to a Zion, IL law firm that had no connection to the lender.
• City Financial Corp. (a.k.a. PeachState Financial Services) fraudulently claimed the BBB of Central Georgia’s address in Macon as its own.
Advance fee loan scams are illegal in the U.S. and Canada!
To avoid law detection, fraudulent loan operators move quickly, frequently reopening under new names.
BBB “Do’s and Don’ts” to Avoid Bogus Loan Web Sites:
• Do not use online search terms like “bad credit loans” or “guaranteed loans” that may lead you to fraudulent sites.
• Do not wire money or send a money order to secure a personal loan. Legitimate offers of credit do not require an up-front payment of a fee for collateral, processing, insurance, taxes or any other purpose.
• Do not do business with lenders that “guarantee” a loan before you apply.
• Do not do business with Web sites that refuse to provide a street address and a working telephone number.
• Do use the BBB to check if a Web site can be trusted. In addition to informing you of any complaints, BBB staff can visit the business location and conduct other research to verify a site’s legitimacy.
• If the site has a BBBOnLine seal, do click on it to check the BBB’s report.
• If you are victimized by an advance fee lender, DO file a complaint with the BBB. While the chance of recovering the payment fee is minimal, your experience will help BBBs warn other consumers and assist government investigations.
If you have trouble qualifying for a loan, you do have options. There are nonprofit organizations in every state with trained credit counselors who can assist individuals with debt problems.
Contact your local BBB (www.easttexas.bbb.org) for tips on selecting a trustworthy credit counselor.