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Current Issue
March 27, 2011






News in Brief

Meals on Wheels drivers
Kemp Senior Citizen Center is seeking volunteer drivers for its Meals on Wheels program. Only one hour a day and you can pick the day or days. Call Lisa Stinnett at (903) 498-4046.

Gospel music program
The Overcomers choir from Neosho, Mo., will present a gospel music program at 10:30 a.m. Sunday (today) at Lakeview Church, located across from Seven Points city hall, on the corner of SH 334 and Wood Street. For information call (903) 432-2682 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

CCL Garden Club
The executive board of the Cedar Creek Lake Garden Club meets at 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, in the home of Judy Sullivan. For information call (903) 498-6544.

CC Civic League
The Cedar Creek Civic League meets at 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, at Tri-County Library, Mabank. Project is Meals on Wheels. Guests welcome. For information call Joyce at (903) 451-3229.

HPPOA Crime Watch
The Harbor Point Property Owners Association Crime Watch meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, at the HPPOA Park Pavilion. Game Warden Dustin Balfanz will present a program on his role and safety on the lake. For information call Carol Calkins at (903) 887-1630.

Merchant fraud info
A merchant fraud training session is set for 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Trinity Valley Community College Student Union Building. The event is free to all businesses, merchants and employees, sponsored by the Henderson County District Attorney and County Attorney’s offices and the Athens Police Department. Topics cover counterfeit money, hot checks, fraud, credit cards and more. RSVP to County Attorney Clint Davis at (903) 675-6112 or e-mail to

Lenten fish frys
The Knights of Columbus Council 8806 and St. Jude Catholic Church have scheduled six Friday fish frys during Lent. All you can eat fish, hush puppies, fries, cole slaw, drinks and home-baked goodies, from 5 to 7 p.m. April 1, April 8 and April 15, at the church on Luther Lane, behind Pizza Hut. All proceeds benefit local, state and national charities. For information call Paul Ciardo at (903) 432-3529.

Tri-county book sale
Friends of the Tri-County Library are hosting a book, jewelry and bake sale from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, and from 8:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 2, in the community room of the library, across from Mabank City Hall on Market Street. Proceeds benefit the library.

Pinewood derby
The Christian Life Center Church is hosting its second annual Car Show and Pinewood Derby with registration at 8 a.m. and event beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 2, featuring fun, food and entertainment. T-shirts for car registries and winning trophies. For information call (903) 887-5429.

Tool Trash Off
The city of Tool Trash Off is set for 8 a.m. until noon or until the dumpster is full, Saturday, April 2, at the city maintenance barn, on the corner of Sunset and Tool Drive. Proof of residency by driver’s license, utility bill or voter registration card, is required. Not accepting paint, Freon, tires, carpet, brush, hazardous items or roofing material. For information call (903) 432-3522 - 6.

CCLUMC annual sale
The Cedar Creek Lake Untied Methodist Church is hosting its annual garage sale 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 1, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, located at 100 South Indian Trail, Tool. Proceeds benefit our Outreach Night and Parents Night Out, as well as several local charities, including the Food Pantry, along with the annual community dinner in December.

FBC GBC revival
The First Baptist Church in GBC is hosting a revival/bible conference a 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, April 3, and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, April 4-6, led by Mark Fried and Don Cass.

Weed ID program
A program, “Learning When to Pull or Not to Pull,” presented by Kaufman County Master Gardeners, is set for 9 a.m. Monday, April 4, at First Community Church, 1401 Trinity Drive, Crandall. Refreshments provided. Business meeting follows. For information or handicapped accommodations, call the KC AgriLife Extension Office at (972) 932-9069.

Guided autobiography
A free 10-week program assisting participants in writing the story of their lives is being offered at two local libraries, from 6 to 9 p.m. Mondays, beginning April 4 at The Library at Cedar Creek, Seven Points, and from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays, beginning April 7, at Tri-County Library, Mabank. To register or for information, e-mail or call (903) 880-2446.

PSUMC fellowship
The Payne Springs United Methodist Church monthly fellowship night is set Wednesday, April 6, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. covered dish dinner, followed by gospel music program by the “Fragile Existence” band. The public is invited. The church is located across from the PSVFD on SH 198. For information call (903) 451-3131 or (903) 451-2978.

All you can eat fish fry
The Knights of Columbus Mary Queen of Heaven Council 12253 in Malakoff is hosting an all-you-can-eat fish fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, April 8, and a take-out lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meal includes catfish, hush puppies, coleslaw, drinks and home-baked goods. The event benefits Spina Bifida research and treatment and local charities. Take SH 198 to Star Harbor Road (CR 3062), across from Malakoff High School.

Van Zandt senior dance
The Van Zandt Senior Citizens Club monthly dance is set for 7 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Henderson County Seniors Center in Athens. Joe Walenta and the Ranch Hands will provide country music. For information call Duane Stevens at (903) 675-3774.

Texas Trash-Off
The Environmental Co-op encourages everyone to “Take Trash Personally” by participating in the “Don’t Mess With Texas Trash-Off” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 9. Wear comfortable shoes and meet at Southwestern Christian College, 200 Bowser Street, Terrell. Refreshments, trash bags and other supplies provided. Door prizes following clean-up. To register or for information, call the Co-op at (972) 524-0007 or e-mail

Vaccination clinic
A low-cost vaccination clinic, sponsored by Friends of the Animals Clinic, is set for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the southeast corner of SH 334 and 198, behind the Huddle House Restaurant. No appointment necessary. Fee charged. For information call (903) 887-PETS. Dogs must be on leash and cats in carriers.

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, at the Payne Springs Fire Station, 9674 SH 198. 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.

Outdoor Fools Day
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens is holding its annual Outdoor Fools Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9. Information about outdoor recreation opportunities in East Texas, plus hands-on skill-teaching activities – archery, pond management, how to camp and more, all free with paid admission.

Mabank VFD fish fry
The 24th annual Mabank Fire Department Fish Fry is set for 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the fire station, 111 E. Mason Street (Business 175). All proceeds benefit the Mabank Fire Department.

Master Gardener is ‘in’
The Henderson County Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions by phone during March, April and May. Call the AgriLife Extension Office between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at (903) 675-6130, and ask for your Master Gardener.

Free skating
Cedar Creek Bible Church is hosting free skating from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays in March and the first two weeks of April for children ages 4 to sixth grade. Parents may drop off their children. Skates are free, along with sodas, popcorn, hot chocolate and snow cones. The church is located one mile north of the Seven Points traffic light on SH 274. For information call the church at (903) 432-2175.

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

Malakoff ISD eyes budget cuts
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

MALAKOFF–With a $27 billion budget deficit to close, no one knows for sure what lawmakers in Austin are going to do with education funding. That has school districts preparing for a wide variety of scenarios.
The only thing for sure is that there will be less money in the next biennium.
The Malakoff ISD Board of Trustees recently reviewed two levels of actions; the first to go into effect if Austin’s decisions cost MISD around $600,000, the second if the reduction is closer to $2.5 million.
That is the possible range of cuts, outgoing Superintendent Dr. John Spies said. However, he told board members he expects the number to be around $1 million.
“But this is going to change another 40 times before (the budget) is passed,” Spies warned.
Spies also warned board members that lawmakers in Austin aren’t the only ones looking at budget cuts – Congress is also likely to cut federal education funding.
That would hurt MISD, which gets extra federal money because of its large low-income student population.
“We could be losing substantial federal dollars,” Spies said.
Responses trustees looked at include both cuts to expenditures, like reducing personnel or targeted spending, and increasing revenue.
“Ideally, I would like to see us do this 50 percent with revenue and 50 percent with cuts,” Spies said.
If all the actions listed in Level 1 are taken, it would save the district about $1.1 million.
Some of the big items on the Level 1 list include:
• Adjusting revenue by taking $150,000 from the fund balance, which currently stands at about $4.6 million.
The district would also add $400,000 in state funding because of the growth in student population and another $5,000 from increasing the cost of lunches.
• Funding cuts would include losing four professional employees, one at each campus, and four paraprofessionals.
Also, the district would cut some administrators to four days a week, saving $21,000. Other suggestions on the list include things such as eliminating student meals for day trips and cutting staff travel.
If all the actions listed in Level 2 are taken, it would save the district about $2.5 million. Some of the cuts on the Level 2 list are the same as Level 1, just deeper.
Where applicable, the items below are the total cuts:
• In addition to the $400,000 from growth and $5,000 from lunches, the district would take $500,000 out of the fund balance, shift 1 cent from the tax rate’s I&S fund to the M&O fund for another $55,000, and consider raising the tax rate 2 cents for $110,000.
• Cuts would including losing a maintenance position, a total of seven paraprofessionals, three professionals at the high school, two professionals at the middle school (still one each at the elementary schools), four special education positions, eliminate elementary summer school, eliminate adult ESL, eliminate extracurricular insurance, reduce extracurricular supplies 20 percent, and reduce instructional supplies 10 percent.
Items that could also be eliminated if grants are cut include the district’s police officer and full-day Pre-K (district would go to half-day).
While the Level 2 cuts are much deeper, Spies said, “I don’t think the state is going to get us to that point.”
As for the personnel cuts, Spies said the district hoped to do as much of that as possible through attrition.
“I want to do everything we can to treat people right,” he said.
Board members approved the first cut early this month – eliminating the Middle School band director.
MMS band director David Baggett was a casualty of a Reduction in Force (RIF), as the district will not have that position next year.

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Scale leads to meth bust
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A late-evening traffic stop turned into a drug bust Wednesday, when the officer noticed a digital scale sitting out in plain sight.
Around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Henderson County sheriff’s deputy Joseph Durr saw a vehicle turn off Farm-to-Market 3506 onto Valley View Drive (the back entrance to the Briarwood Bay subdivision) without using a turn signal.
Durr initiated a traffic stop, and identified the driver as Spencer Stokes, 42. Durr also observed a digital scale sitting on a jacket between the two front seats.
“Deputy Durr knows, through training and experience, that digital scales are commonly used to weigh narcotics, and furthered the search,” Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reported in a prepared news release issued late Thursday.
During the search, Durr found a clear plastic baggie containing a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine, and placed Stokes under arrest for Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance, more than four grams and less than 200 grams, which is a first degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison, Nutt reported.
Stokes was transported to the Henderson County Jail, where faced additional charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and displaying wrong/fictitious/obscured vehicle license plates/registration.
As of presstime Thursday, he remained jailed under bonds totaling $104,000.

County plans for hot summer
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County commissioners approved a plan to replace air conditioners and install programmable thermostats, along with other energy-savers, at the records building, the jail and the senior citizens center Tuesday morning.
The project will be completely paid for with federal grant money.
That part was easy – actually awarding the Request For Proposal (RFP) was a little harder.
Commissioners awarded the project to low-bidder Cole Air Conditioning & Appliance Company of Athens, but not without 30 minutes of debate. Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall voted against Cole. “I am not a fan of Goodman units,” he said.
Discussion centered on the difference between Goodman manufactured air conditioners, which was used in the Cole RFP, and units made by Carrier.
County maintenance workers wanted Carrier units because of their quality.
Janie Cole of Cole Air told commissioners they could have bid Carrier units, but said the Goodman units fit the project better.
“We didn’t submit Carrier, because we were trying to save the county some money,” she said.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin noted the warranty with the Goodman units was better and longer.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said, “I am a firm believer in using local.”

























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