Expect traffic delays
SH 334 widening project begins
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Expect delays when traveling through Seven Points on your way
to Gun Barrel City and vice versa.
Starting Monday, March 26, road crews will begin closing lanes on State
Highway 334 as they upgrade the drainage system roadside, according to a
press release from the Texas Department of Transportation, Tyler District.
Work will be done during only daylight hours.
This preparation work is expected to last a month, before the actual
However, after the first month, traffic flow should not be impacted, the
press release states.
TxDoT is expanding the two-lane highway to five lanes, from the bridge to
just past the intersection with SH 274, to include a central turning lane
and two lanes in each direction.
The widening will continue through the intersection and onto Farm-to-Market
85 for a short distance to improve traffic flow going into the intersection.
The work is expected to be completed in the fall of 2009.
$2M in cocaine, cash seized on I-20
Authorities uncovered 49 kilos of cocaine in a
computer box as part of a load being hauled by a
tractor trailer on I-20 March 8.
Monitor Staff Reports
TALTY–The newly-formed Kaufman County Drug Interdiction Division seized cash
and narcotics valued at more than $2 million on Interstate 20 west of
Sgt. Charles Sexton stopped an 18-wheeeler on I-20 at Farm-to-Market 1641
Thursday, March 8.
During the traffic stop, Sexton decided a more thorough investigation was
warranted, and employed his K-9 partner.
When the dog alerted him narcotics were present, Sexton served the two
Hispanic men in the truck’s cab with a search warrant for both cab and
The search uncovered 400 Dell computer boxes.
In one of the boxes, however, instead of a computer, the dog sniffed out 49
kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $2 million.
A subsequent search of the cab turned up $20,000 in cash.
The two men denied knowing about the cash and narcotics.
Both were taken into custody and transported to the Kaufman County Law
No other details were released, as the investigation, involving several law
enforcement agencies, is ongoing.
Fire house gets new
By Mary Landrie
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Council members approved the purchase of a 3,000 gallon
pumper tanker for use by the Gun Barrel City Fire Department during a
special meeting Tuesday night.
The $204,558 tanker, which has an automatic transmission, will house a foam
pumper. Once airpaks are added, the tanker will be considered a Class A
A foam pumper will allow firefighters to not only conserve water but to
minimize structural water damage while extinguishing fires.
“After speaking with a representative of the Insurance Services Office (ISO)
I learned that having this piece of equipment could allow home owners up to
a 25 percent savings on insurance policies,” Gun Barrel City Fire Chief Joe
The Texas Department of Insurance rates and grades cities and fire districts
on a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the worst. These ratings are reported to
insurance companies to set premiums.
“I chose this particular truck because I feel it will ensure the safety of
my men and of the citizens of Gun Barrel, and possibly put money back into
the pockets of home owners,” Lindaman added.
Currently, the city has only one tanker.
After an accident which resulted in the rolling of a tanker, the only one
left in operation is considered ‘home built’ and is not National Fire
Department Association compliant, Lindaman said.
“In the event that an accident were to occur in that tanker and one of our
men is injured or killed, we could be looking at a lawsuit,” Lindaman
This new tanker will serve a workload equivalent to the other two tankers,
“We’re building up a stockpile of equipment around the fire station, but
only three pieces can be driven at one time,” Councilman Keith Crozier said
in opposition of the purchase.
Mayor Pro-Tem Marty Gross noted the new tanker would in turn replace the
existing outdated equipment.
“As far as legal, NFDA approved tanker trucks go we have none,” councilwoman
Kathy Cochran pointed out.
“We really need something like this,” she said.
The foam pumper will conserve water 10 fold, former city fire chief Chuck
Harley said. 3,000 gallons of water could be turned into as much as 30,000
gallons of fire-smothering foam.
“This tanker will have 10 times the cooling power and could have 10 times
the volume,” he said.
“It also won’t run out of water in less than five minutes, like the ones we
were using,” Harley added.
And having this updated equipment could draw in potential volunteers, he
“This gives me the security as a homeowner to know that in the event of a
fire I don’t have to worry about them running out of water,” Harley said.
The Neal and Associates tanker purchase will be on a three-year lease with
The council also accepted a report from the city Planning and Zoning
Commission. A public hearing is set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 10 to discuss
proposed changes to the building code for the Harbor Point Subdivision.
Some items included for discussion are Single Family Detached Residential
District R–4A, changes in zoning to General Business District B–2,
designating certain portions as non-buildable, and changing references to
‘minimum building floor space to living area (that which is under heat and
Council members also scheduled a workshop for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 27
to outline what is needed in a city manager and a time table for hiring one.
$38K contract for court record management system expansion
Filing fees to pay for expansion and
a much-needed new server
By Mary Landrie
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners approved a five-year contract
Tuesday to allow for expansion of its judicial system records management,
and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Tyler Technologies, which provides the county with records management
software using the Ableterm–Legacy system, has agreed under its new contract
to supply the county with a new server and software to make county offices
The contract cost, about $38,000, is coming from a state-mandated fee
collected for records management.
Every time a document is filed in the county, a filing fee of $5 is
attached, Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney told The Monitor. The
legistlature initiated the fee system to assist counties in maintaining and
expanding their archival and records management systems, McKinney said.
This will keep taxpayers from footing the bill to replace the server and
hire a company to service and upgrade the system’s software.
During Tuesday’s regular scheduled meeting, the court heard from staff on
current imaging problems and the need for a new server.
The life expectancy of a server is about five years, commissioners heard.
The current server in operation is a 1998 model that is not supported by
“The server is almost full, and it’s on its last leg,” District Clerk Becky
The Ableterm-Legacy system will expand on the county’s current archival
capabilities by enabling all documents used in a certain case to be linked
together, McKinney explained.
“All actions taken on a case will now be transposed into one location, and
will be accessible throughout the life of the case,” McKinney said.
“This will allow for integration of documents and prevent a backlog, like we
currently have,” Hanks added.
“I’m really excited about being able to move forward and accomplish what we
need to accomplish,” County Clerk Gwen Moffett said.
According to a representative, Tyler Technologies guarantees the software
will perform just as well as those in other counties for the life of the
“We have never had a problem they couldn’t solve,” Hanks said.
In other business, commissioners:
• declared April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
• renewed a contract with the Northeast Texas Public Health District.
• tabled the purchase of web-based software.
• reappointed Reba McGee to the Andrew’s Center Board of Trustees.
• appointed CAC Director Marsha Allen and the Athens Help Center’s Chief
Operating Officer Leslie Saunders, to the Henderson County Child Welfare
Board to fill unexpired terms.
• took no action on the hiring of additional personnel for the Sheriff’s
• took no action on the hiring of additional personnel for County
• discussed holding a workshop to review hiring of personnel.
• approved payroll changes.
• tabled a plat for the Sanctuary at Cedar Creek Lake due to the absence of
Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall.
• denied a plat for Harborlight Villas because it has not been reviewed by
Gun Barrel City.
• paid bills totaling $57,774.07
Kemp Jr. High talent contest set
Kemp students Johnny, Diane and Patrick Polk run through their musical
number, “America The Beautiful,” at a rehearsal for the Kemp Junior High
talent show. They are one of 15 acts set to dazzle the community at 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 24, at the Kemp school cafetorium. The event is a
fund-raiser to purchase a marque for the junior high school. Tickets are
$3/$2 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with concessions available.
Don’s Port Marina work has
Workmen prepare to dredge and redo the boat ramp at Don’s Port Marina in
anticipation of a busy season on the lake. The Tiki Hut restaurant is
reopening for weekend business Friday, March 30, and will open six days a
week in the summer.
Lawmakers rescind HPV
Monitor Staff Reports
AUSTIN–Gov. Rick Perry’s mandate requiring girls entering sixth grade be
vaccinated to help prevent cervical cancer was shot down recently by
legislation passed in the State House.
House Bill 1098 addressed the mandatory vaccination of young girls against
the Human Papilloma Virus.
The vaccine had been available for eight months when the governor mandated
its use through an executive order issued in late January.
HB 1098 rescinded the mandate by a wide margin, 118 to 23 with one member
not voting – more than enough to override the governor’s veto.
“Gov. Perry’s heart is in the right place,” Rep. Dan Flynn said.
“The bottom line is, until we know more, it would just be irresponsible of
us to mandate something such as this.
“We’d be sending a false message to families that we know it is safe when,
in reality, there are so many questions left unanswered about its
effectiveness and long-term implications,” Flynn said.
A similar bill is making its way through the Senate.
The drug was barely approved by the Food and Drug Administration a short
time before it was mandated, and many experts question whether its testing
was sufficient to determine its safety and effectiveness.
Several groups in the medical community, including the Texas Medial
Association and the American College of Pediatricians, have opposed the
Representatives also objected to the governor setting public policy by means
of mandate, instead of going through the legislative process.
As before the mandate and passage of HB 1098, parents are free to choose to
have their daughters vaccinated against HPV by consulting with their doctor.