Sunday, March 25, 2007



  Rural firearm ban set
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Landowners with 10 acres or less located in a subdivision in unincorporated areas of Kaufman County are no longer allowed to discharge firearms on their lots.
Monday, Kaufman County Commissioners approved the ban, citing public safety issues.
“That doesn’t mean the sheriff will be going out anytime someone shoots a snake or other varmint,” County Judge Wayne Gent said.
Commissioners stressed the rule pertained more to indiscriminate and careless shooting.
In other business, commissioners:
• accepted the treasurer’s February report as presented by Johnny Countryman.
• awarded contracts to Duncan Disposal and to IESI for solid waste disposal for the Kaufman County-wide Clean-up.
• acknowledged the receipt of Precinct 2 Commissioner Ray Clark’s certificates of open meeting and open records training.
• renewed the membership for software with Indigent Healthcare Solutions.
• noted the recent dedication of the new courtroom of the County Court-at-Law in the name of former judge Floyd A. Shumpert.
Shumpert was the first county judge to move into the Kaufman Courthouse when it was new in 1955. The judge turned 90 March 21.
Shumpert lost a leg and received a Silver Star for action he saw in the Normandy Invasion during World War II.
• approved budget transfers as presented by County Auditor Hal D. Jones.
• paid bills totaling $482,354.73.

Quilts for missions
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Darlene Frankum (left), Charlotte McDonald and Erlene Ball hold one of the entries in Calvary Baptist Church’s annual quilt show, held this weekend at the church, located north of Seven Points on State Highway 274. Approximately 100 quilts were to be judged in eight different categories at the third annual show.


Habitat can’t count on utility’s help
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–East Cedar Creek Freshwater Supply District will not be lending an official hand to the Habitat for Humanity.
The decision was made Thursday, in part because of an incident in Henderson County where an official – Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall – helped two churches with their parking lots, and ended up with legal problems.
The attorney for ECCFWSD advised the district not to have their general manager assist in any way.
“But, any individual can help out on their own time,” general manager Bill Goheen told directors.
In other business, directors:
• awarded a contract to low bidder DDD of Keller for the Brookshire raw water pump improvement project.
“The project was budgeted at approximately $150,000, but will end up shorter than that amount,” Goheen said.
• saw plans for the gravity sewer system for Harbor Lights Villas Condominiums.
Approximately 1,000 feet of six-inch line will tie into the eight-inch main. Also included are two fire hydrants, engineer Chris Weeks explained.
Two new lift stations, 12 feet in diameter and 17 feet deep, will be added to replace the existing small lift stations that in the past have overflowed during heavy rains, he said.
Other planned projects that are on-going include soil testing for the irrigation field at the Southwest Water Treatment plant, Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) amendments (no time line has been received from Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), and the remediation project on the Prairie Cove channel.
• heard Goheen’s report concerning a bulk water agreement with the West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District.
“(West Cedar Creek MUD general manager Tony) Ciardo is going to contact their attorney to see what the hold up with the agreement is,” Goheen said.
“Our conservation and drought contingency plan remains the same,” he said.
“Also, we have received a $30,841.80 credit from Tarrant Regional Water District on its estimated charge for raw water,” Goheen said.
• witnessed a lengthy discussion about a perceived disagreement between director Ken Landers, Goheen and Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation board president Dennis R. Wood.
After a conference call in which the three discussed what each thought the other had said, the problem was straightened out.
Wood said there was a miscommunication that resulted in a “misunderstanding all around.”
• evaluated the general manager. Goheen requested the discussion be held in the open meeting.
One problem discussed was a recent need to transfer funds from one account to another to pay bills.
“We need to control our expenses, and not spend for anything that is not necessary,” Landers said.
All directors agreed state regulations are affecting costs, as new and more expensive tests are being required.
“At the end of the year, the bottom line shows our expenses are lower than we projected,” Goheen said.
Directors agreed they did not want any more surprises on the bills being paid.
“It’s not a disaster, but it is something we don’t want to continue,” board president David Burch said.
Expenses must be within what the board approves, directors agreed.
“But, it’s my opinion we can probably make Bill and East Cedar Creek the best in the state,” Burch said.
• discussed having a workshop to review district sewer rates.
“The wastewater is not paying for itself,” Burch said.
• approved the district’s holiday calendar for 2007-08.
• removed two items from the agenda, considering a new dispatcher position for the coming year, and a fleet tracking system, as suggested by Goheen.

Children whose fathers read to them have brighter futures
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–One of the best ways parents can bond with their children and help them sharpen literacy skills at the same time is by reading to them.
A lot of times in families, the role of storybook reader is played by the mother.
In fact, reading to your children can be done by both parents!
Studies show that kids whose fathers read to them are more creative, read better and make better grades. They also know more words, speak better and write better than other kids.
Texas Cooperative Extension has a wonderful program called Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) that kicks-off Saturday, March 31, for the fathers and male role models of Athens Head Start and Pre-K students.
Even if you’re not involved in this event, FRED is a program for any father, grandfather or other male role model to enjoy. Here’s why:
• It’s great for any age. Even babies enjoy being read to. Even if your kids don’t understand all the words, hearing your voice, watching your face and being close to you are important.
• It doesn’t cost much. You can read anything that’s handy, even the newspaper or a comic book. Or, you can tell stories from your childhood, your family, your favorite sport or something you make up yourself – that’s free!
• There’s no pressure. When you read or tell stories, there aren’t any rules, and there’s no “right way” or “wrong way.” The most important thing is that you and your kids just have fun.
• It’s quality time. Not sure what to do on a rainy afternoon or if you’re keeping the kids for the weekend? You don’t have to go to the movies or to a theme park. Your kids want to spend time with you. Reading is great quality time!
• You can do it from a distance. If you travel or if your kids live with someone else, try reading to them over the phone. If you both have a copy of the book, your kids can follow along as you read it to them. The important thing is making the connection.
• You’ll be a Hero! When you read to your kids and talk about what you’ve read, you get to know each other better. You can share things you like and the things that are important to you. You’ll do what nobody else can do – set your kids on the road to a bright future.
Important Dates
• Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) will kickoff for parents of Athens Head Start and Pre-K students at 10 a.m. Saturday March 31, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center on Farm-to-Market 2495 east of Athens. Come enjoy snacks, fish and family fun!
• The Henderson County Master Gardener Association presents its seventh annual Spring Conference at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the Cain Center.
Lucinda Hutson, author of Herb Garden Cookbook, will speak at the event. Hutson will share information on designing gardens and intimate outdoor spaces.