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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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
email@example.com to reserve your spot.
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
facebook.com/retroyouth. 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 www.psfirerescue.com. 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
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Utility to raise rates
Water, sewer customers to see $16.25 hike in
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
If spread over 18 years, the increases averages 90 cents per
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
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
“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,
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
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
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
“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
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
Eustace FFA members and boosters raised $1,000 for Carpenter’s
family at their 14th annual chili cookoff and auction Feb. 26.