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Current Issue
March 6, 2011






News in Brief

Workforce job fair
The East Texas Workforce is hosting a Spring Job Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, March 8, at East Texas Workforce Solutions, 205 E Murchison Street, Athens. Come dressed for an interview and bring your resume.
For information call (903) 677-3521.

TVCC concert
The Trinity Valley Community College Music Department will present a concert titled “We Sing of America – Our Heritage of Freedom,” at 3 p.m. Sunday (today) at Dogwood Church in Athens.
The event features a variety of patriotic songs performed by the Cardinal Singers and Cardinal Brass Ensemble.
The church is located at 6467 FM 2494, three miles west of the college in Athens.
For information call (903) 675-6327.

Radiate 2011
The First Baptist Church of Malakoff is hosting “Radiate 2011,” a chance to worship free with Godly men, at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday (today), and at 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, March 7-9. The church is located at 220 W. Mitcham, Malakoff. For information call the church at (903) 489-0228.

Enabling gardening
The Kaufman County Master Gardeners are hosting a free program on Enabling Gardening, presented by Master Gardener Rebecca Morrow, at 9 a.m. Monday, March 7, at First Community Church, 1401 Trinity Drive, Crandall. A regular business meeting follows the program. For information call the KC AgriLife Extension Office at (972) 932-9069.

Methodist OWLS study
Mabank First United Methodist Church OWLS (Older, Wiser, Loving Seniors) are sponsoring “From Age-ing to Sage-ing,” a study by Zalman Schichter-Shalome and Ronald S. Miller, taught by the Rev. Eston Williams, pastor of Aley UMC. Sessions remaining are planned for 7 p.m. Mondays, March 7 and 14, at Mabank FUMC. Free except for study book.

CCL Literary Club
The Literary Club of Cedar Creek Lake meets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 8, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. Charles Finsley will review Hannah’s Letters. Guests are welcome. For membership information call Ruth Pimm at (903) 778-4752.

Athens Alzheimer’s
The Lakeland House Assisted Living is hosting its monthly Alzheimer’s Support Group at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 (every second Tuesday), at 213 Cayuga, Athens. For information call (903) 677-1272.

HC Republican Women
The Henderson County Republican Women meet, beginning with refreshments at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 9, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. District Attorney Scott McKee is the speaker. For information call Kristin at (903) 519-3635.

Alzheimer’s Support
The Greater Cedar Creek Alzheimer’s Support Group meets at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 10 (every second Thursday), at 256 Harbor Drive, GBC. For information call Bill Shaw at (903) 887-4789 or (214) 952-8347.

Composting classes
Environmental Co-op hosts Master Composting Classes from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 10 (organic gardening), at 100 E. Aimiee Street, Forney, and (building a compost pile) from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 12, at 200 E. Main Street, Forney. For information call the Co-op office at (972) 525-0007, or e-mail to reserve your spot.

GBC Beautification
The Gun Barrel Beautification Committee meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at Brawner Hall. All interested POA groups are invited to enjoy as Carol Morton of Keep Athens Beautiful presents a PowerPoint program. For information call GBC city hall at (903) 887-887-1087.

Basic Internet class
Navigating the Internet classes, taught by A.J. Amyx, marketing director of A New Way to Market, are set for 6 p.m. Tuesdays, March 8 and 15, at Tri-County Library. Class fee charged. To register or for information, call the library at (903) 887-9622.

Kemp PS fundraiser
Kemp Primary School is hosting a silent auction during school hours. Place bids in person from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by calling the school between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Bidding will extend from 5:30 to 7 p.m. during Open House Thursday, March 10. Proceeds will be used to purchase “SMART Boards,” a computer-based learning tool.

AARP Driver Safety
A one-day AARP Driver safety Course is set for 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 10, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. Designed for drivers age 50 and over, but open to anyone. Drivers may qualify for reductions in auto insurance. For information, call Jean Dirks at (903) 887-3836 or the library at (903) 432-4185.

‘Unleashed’ youth summit
The “Unleashed Youth” summit, featuring swimming, 3-on-3 basketball tournament, jousting, sumo wrestling, boxing and a rock wall, pizza, worship services and guest speakers, is set for 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday/Saturday, March 11-12, at the Cain Center in Athens. A fee to cover the Cain Center cost will be charged. For information, call (903) 887-5429 or visit Sponsored by Retro Youth, a division of Christian Life Center.

KofC fish fry
The Knights of Columbus Mary Queen of Heaven Council 12253, Malakoff, is hosting an all-you-can-eat fish fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 11. Meal includes catfish, French fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw, drinks and home-baked goods. Take SH 198 to Star Harbor Road (CR 3062) in Malakoff. Follow Catholic Church sign to CR 1703.

Rosser VFD chili supper
The Rosser Volunteer Fire Department’s annual chili and stew supper is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at the Rosser VFD. Auction begins at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the RVFD.

BBQ judges sought
The annual Kaufman County Junior Livestock Show Barbecue Cook Off Scholarship fundraiser needs judges at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12, to help judge beans, chicken, ribs and brisket. Call Bill Thornton at (972) 452-3290 or (214) 729-4522.

VFW style show
The VFW Post 4376 and its Ladies Auxiliary are hosting a “woman-less style show” at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13. A donation will help support our veterans. There will be snacks, and plenty of laughs as patrons see what “real” modeling is about. For information call the VFW at (903) 432-2138.

Grief counseling meeting
Restoration House Ministry is hosting grief counseling meetings at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17 and 24 (first, third and fourth Thursdays of each month). All in need of healing are welcome, as grief comes in many forms – death, divorce, separation or a major change. For information call Pastor Barker at (903) 887-4881, or the Rev. Kathey Floyd at (903) 880-9692.

PS Fire Rescue benefit
The annual all-you-can-eat fish fry benefitting the Payne Springs Fire Rescue is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9. A 2007 Harley Davidson FX/ST is a part of the fundraiser. View pictures at For information, call the fire station at (903) 451-4511 and leave a message.

Kiwanis Pancake Day
The Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis club will hold its annual Pancake Day fundraiser from 6 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 24. Breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, sausage, syrup and butter are $6 each, with delivery to businesses available (minimum three orders) after 7 a.m. Fax orders to (903) 432-2415 no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 23. Dine-in at St. Peter Lutheran (next to Pizza Hut) in GBC.

Free tax help
Free tax help is available at Tri-County Library, Mabank, with Peggy Rogers, VITA. Rogers worked for the IRS for many years and keeps up with current changes. Call the library at (903) 887-9622, leaving name, local phone number (calls from cells with long distance numbers will not be returned), and the best time for her to return your call to set up an appointment.

AARP free tax help
AARP free tax services will be available from 8 a.m. to noon through Wednesday, April 13, at the following locations – Fridays at the Henderson County Senior Center, Athens, Mondays at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points, and Wednesdays at the Senior Citizens Center, Malakoff. For information call (903) 778-2423.

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Top News

Utility to raise rates
Water, sewer customers to see $16.25 hike in base rates
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–Beginning with April’s billing cycle, West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District customers will see a $5 increase in the minimum base charge.
The base water charge increases from $18 to $23. Another $3.25 is charged for the first 1,000 gallons and every 1,000 there after. Sewer customers’ base charge rises from $17 to $23, with a $3 charge starting with the first 1,000 gallons.
The increase totals $16.25 in new monthly charges, manager Tony Ciardo said in answer to director Eldon Cox’s question.
Those on water service only will see an increase of $8.25, comprising about half the district’s 6,144 customers.
The last rate hike was 18 years ago, board president Clifton Smith pointed out. “It’s been 18 years since we had any kind of increase like this. We should have looked at this thing before now,” he said.
“No one likes an increase. We’ve worked over this budget thoroughly trying to work it out,” he added. “This has been a bad year for us in several ways, but it will get better.”
The Budget Committee sought to increase the District’s revenues by $750,000 to complete projects currently in progress, Ciardo explained.
If spread over 18 years, the increases averages 90 cents per year.
Several years ago, the board decided to forego traditional financing and pay cash for purchases and needed improvements.
Ongoing projects include doubling the Tolosa Water Plant and carrying out needed refurbishments at the Tool plant, Ciardo said.
Though an action no one wanted to make, the directors unanimously approved a FY 2011-12 budget and corresponding billing increase for water and wastewater services Feb. 28.
“I’ve been on the board for 10 years,” Cox said. “This is the hardest pill I’ve had to swallow.”
“Costs are phenomenal to operate the company,” Ciardo said. “Prices have skyrocketed. Everything we do is tied to petroleum costs.
“Ten years ago, we built the Tolosa plant for $1.2 million. This expansion will run $3.5 million,” Ciardo said.
He added that the district was about to issue a check for $537,000 on the new ground storage tank erected at the Tolosa Plant and put into service this week.
No economic growth in the area has only made the problem worse, and interest income has fallen off sharply. The 2010-11 budget forecasted $56,250 in earnings. Actual earnings totaled $18,458, Ciardo reported.
In other business, directors:
• received a clean audit from Smith Lambright & Associates Smith. Directors unanimously voted to retain the firm to do next year’s audit, and to work closely with the district.


Terrell driver indicted for school bus death
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–The driver accused of striking a student attempting to cross from a Kaufman school bus was indicted for manslaughter by the Kaufman County Grand Jury Feb. 24.
Jan. 6, Terrell resident Salvador R. Hernandez, 47, failed to stop for the bus – which had its flashing lights on and its stop sign extended – and hit Monday Primary School student Nicholas Garza, 7, as the boy attempted to cross State Highway 34 to reach his home about four miles north of Kaufman.
Hernandez was arrested at the scene, and currently remains jailed under $200,000 bond.
Grand jury members also returned a murder indictment in connection with a March 30, 2008, drive-by shooting of two brothers in Terrell.
Terrell resident Rodney Lee Luckett, 20, was indicted for murder in the death of Jeremiah Jermaine Lee. His brother, Carl Robert Lee, also was shot but survived.
Luckett was arrested within hours of the shooting, but the Kaufman County District Attorney’s office misplaced the paperwork and the case languished for the next two years.
New DA Mike McLelland, who took office Jan. 1, found Luckett’s paperwork in a filing cabinet and presented it to the grand jury.
Luckett was being held under $400,000 bond on charges of aggravated robbery and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise – both relating to a July 17, 2010, incident that prosecutors say was “a drug deal gone bad.” At presstime, bond had not been set on the murder indictment.
Grand jury members issued 41 indictments against 31 individuals during the Feb. 24-25 sessions.

Traffic deaths in Van Zandt soar
Malakoff couple and Quitman FFA student die in separate tragic accidents
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer

CANTON–Two traffic accidents a week apart claimed the lives of four people in Van Zandt County, including a couple from Malakoff and an FFA student.
Three people died in a fiery two-vehicle crash on State Highway 19 south of Canton Feb. 23.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Landon Corbett said 19-year-old Sebastian Milan Ostoin of Canton was traveling north on SH 19 in a 2004 Mercedes, while Francisco Puga, 43, and his wife, Kathleen Shue, 60, of Malakoff, were traveling south in a 2005 Chevrolet 1500 pickup. (See related obituaries on page 11A.)
“The Mercedes, for an unknown reason, traveled into the southbound lane, striking the tan Chevrolet. Both vehicles sustained front left damage,” Corbett explained.
“Upon impact, the Chevrolet spun clockwise, entered the west ditch, rolled and came to rest on the left,” Corbett said.
According to witness statements, the vehicle caught fire upon impact in the roadway.
All three were pronounced dead at the scene. Corbett said the only known contributing factors for the crash were Ostoin driving on the wrong side of the road in a no passing zone.
The wreck came one week after another fatal accident in Van Zandt County in which a 15-year-old Quitman ISD student was killed.
She and classmates were on their way to an FFA competition in San Antonio Feb. 17.
According to police reports, the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban held six students and an adult driver and was traveling on Farm-to-Market 17 near Canton. A preliminary investigation deduced that the driver lost control, entered the bar ditch and overcorrected, causing the vehicle to flip several times.
The one-car accident occurred shortly after 2:30 p.m.
Two of the occupants were ejected, including Skylar Carpenter, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other ejected passenger was airlifted for trauma care, with three other students transported by ambulance to Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.
Eustace FFA members and boosters raised $1,000 for Carpenter’s family at their 14th annual chili cookoff and auction Feb. 26.



























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