Sunday, February 24, 2008






  Reward offered in arson cases
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Fire Marshal is offering a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects involved in burglaries and arsons in the Tamarack subdivision in December and January.
Henderson County CrimeStoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in these cases.
Both the city fire and police departments have been investigating these cases. Several leads have turned up, but no real suspects, according to a press release issued by investigator Dusty Bryant.
“So far, there have been at least four fires believed to be arson and several burglaries,” Bryant said in the release.
Those with information may call CrimeStoppers at (903) 675-8477 (TIPS), or toll-free at 1-800-545-8477, or call the Gun Barrel City Police Department at (903) 887-7151.

Beware IRS refund scam
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–A very convincing e-mail has been received by a lake-area resident, representing itself as coming from the Internal Revenue Service.
Bill Hanstrom alerted The Monitor to a scam to get taxpayers to reveal their personal financial information, under the guise of processing a tax refund to your bank account – in this case, one worth $279.30.
The subject is directed to click on a link to an IRS website, where a very official-looking form appears with the IRS logo, using very official-sounding language. The link address cited is
Other than the fact the IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail, Hanstrom was alerted by a small mistake in the last line of the e-mail message.
It reads as a note: “Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.” The last word should have been indicted.
“I knew when I saw that misuse that it wasn’t legit,” Hanstrom told The Monitor.
The Monitor attempted to reach the link by typing in the address, which is very similar to other IRS website addresses, but could not access it in this way. Only by clicking the link line can one access the fraudulent form, suggesting the link sends you to another address in no way connected to the IRS.
At the official IRS website, under consumer alerts, the federal taxing authority says it “does not use e-mail to contact taxpayers about issues related to their accounts. Official taxpayer contact usually includes a letter on IRS stationery in an IRS envelope. IRS letters also contain a contact phone number.
“Taxpayers who believe they have received suspect communication are encouraged to call TIGTA’s toll-free fraud referral hotline at 1-800-366-4484. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. An IRS representative will be able to verify the taxpayer’s account status and determine whether a communication is legitimate.”
Forewarned is forearmed, so the saying goes.

No bad meat at Mabank ISD
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–The recent beef recalls have not affected Mabank Independent School District.
“One of the advantages of using Chartwell Food Service is they stay informed,” Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said.
Wednesday, Marshall told the board of trustees the company buys meat from Mineola Packaging.
“We do not, and have not ever had any of the meat in question,” Marshall said. “I am very pleased Chartwell has been on top of the information on the recall.”
In other business, trustees:
• changed the time of the Monday, March 24, board meeting to 4:30 p.m. for the closed session and to 5 p.m. for the open session.
The annual “Taste of Cedar Creek” event begins at 6:30 p.m. and the MISD campus “Teachers of the Year” will be honored at that time.
Board members were also reminded the event will take place at Mabank High School’s commons area.
“We are thrilled to be hosting it again,” Marshall said.
• elected trustee Darrell Kinnard as secretary of the school board.
Kinnard will fill the position vacated by the resignation of former trustee Cindy Holstein.
• accepted the amendments to the 2008-09 Cheer Constitution as presented.
• approved the 2008-09 high school course guide as presented.
• approved naming four designees for bank purposes.
Assistant superintendent of business administration Scott Adams explained the automated computer designation will still have just two signatures on the payroll checks.
He suggested having four names listed, however, to carry on business such as transferring needed investment funds.
“I am the only one that can do that when funds need to be transferred from one investment to another,” Adams said. “We need to name four in case something happens (to him), so we are not dead in the water.”
The four positions named include the board secretary, board president, district superintendent and the business manager.
• approved an amendment to MISD Policy EHBE (local) first reading, special programs for gifted and talented students, as presented.
• approved requests to file for the following grants: The First Lady’s Family Literacy, TEEG Cycle III - middle school, HP Technology for teaching grant 2008 – middle school and high school, and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.
• approved an engagement letter to audit the district’s financial statements for the school year ending Aug. 31.

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