Sunday, March 30, 2008






  Community bids farewell to Groom
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–A standing room only crowd squeezed into the First Presbyterian Church in Mabank to pay last respects to Leon Groom, co-owner of Groom & Sons’ Hardware and much-loved member of the community, who died March 23.
His younger brother Roger categorized his brother’s exemplary example as casting a shadow that he and brother Terry always had to live in.
Regardless of fighting the effects of adult onset diabetes, diagnosed when he was 18, Roger said his brother lived life to the fullest.
He listed the major loves of Leon’s life, besides his family, as:
• cars – he knew more about cars, owned and traded them, more than anyone. “But he was at such peace on his motorcycle.”
• horses – he and Dad got into thoroughbreds. “They bought, raised and went to tracks. They used the horses to help Dad recover from Mother’s death.”
• road trips in RVs (recreational vehicles) with his wife Janice and family members.
• peanut M&Ms, and
• his dogs.
Most of all, Leon loved his family, an emotional Roger said as he tenderly named each one during the most moving part of the tribute.
A choir sang, “My Sheperd Will Supply My Need,” from the 23rd Psalm.
He was only a few weeks away from his birthday (April 6), which he thought he would reach.
A DVD pictorial covered the stages of his life, including many of the trips, from Alaska to Churchill Downs, auto race tracks, the Smokies and other scenic places.
His pastor and friend, Ron Hollomon, titled his talk “His Longest and Greatest Road Trip.”

County signs contract with Humane Society
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners approved the county’s first contract with the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake.
The county agreed to pay $13,000 per year in equal monthly installments of $1,083.33, and released those checks for January and February to Society president Tamara Rhodes.
In exchange, the Humane Society will receive animals picked up by animal control in the unincorporated areas to impound and eventually dispose of after a redemption period of 73 hours. The Society may then humanely dispose of any such animal in accordance with state law.
The Society tries to return any animal to its former owner, or tries to place then in a new home, first, Rhodes told The Monitor. However, those left unclaimed and deemed unsuitable for placement in new homes will be euthanized as prescribed by law, the agreement stipulates.
In addition, the shelter will provide an after hours drop-off facility for county officers, such as access to a cage suitable to hold a dog or cat, as well as emergency phone numbers for after hours contact.
Owners will be charged a $30 to $100 reclaim fee within the 73-hour holding period of as determined by the Society.
Any county citizen surrendering stray domestic animals to the shelter may do so without incurring a fee. However, if an animal control officer should charge an owner to surrender his animal, the shelter may charge $10 per animal.
The Society will provide a monthly report of animals received from the county and area of origination, as well as the animal’s disposition.
“Will they be able to do this?” Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall asked of the volunteer organization.
“It’s doable,” Rhodes replied. “We have a new computer program that is able to generate reports.”
These reports will help the society know just how many animals from Henderson County and Kaufman County are being processed. This will help with writing future contracts, as well, she told The Monitor.
The shelter also serves Kaufman County, where there are only one or two small city pounds available. Kaufman supports the shelter with $30,000 a year, she added.
Henderson County also has the right to access and audit the financial records of the Society at any time during the life of the agreement.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved payroll changes
• approved four contracts – two of which were the purchase of backhoes by Precinct 3 and the county fair grounds.
One contract was for a wireless Internet service to The Cain Center to facilitate the county’s use of it to hold several trials, including the impending trial of Randall Mays for two counts of capital murder.
The two-year minimum contract with Sprint will cost $59.99 a month, county auditor Ann Marie Lee said.
After the first month, government discounts apply.
The portion of the contract used for capital murder trials will fall under grant monies from the state for such trials, commissioners heard.
The fourth item was to update a credit purchase agreement with Harry’s Building Supply for any possible purchases.
• approved budget amendments, 3-1, with Hall opposing items related to the change of a DPS clerk post to an executive assistant with a $4,000 raise.
• paid 2007 bills totaling $602.94.
• approved a check cut to deputy sheriff Kay Langford for $3,000 related to drug investigations.
• paid 2008 bills totaling $961,866.21, of which $735,223.46 was issued to Templeton Construction for the jail expansion project.
• rejected a settlement offer, 3-2, of a lawsuit against the county for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Whistle-Blower Act. Commissioner Jerry West, who participated in the mediation process, made the motion to reject. Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence seconded.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall and County Judge David Holstein opposed the rejection.

Early voting starts tomorrow for runoff
Monitor Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–Early voting in the runoff starts Monday (tomorrow) and continues through Friday, April 4. Early voters may cast ballots at the courthouse basement in Athens, Seven Points City Hall and the sub-courthouse in Chandler during business hours.
Those who voted in the primary election will get to vote again on the party ballot they voted for previously.
Those who didn’t vote, but are registered to vote may chose Democrat or Republican.
On the Republican ballot, county sheriff candidates Ray Nutt and Tony Allison square off.
On the Democratic ballot, there’s a runoff for State Railroad Commissioner between Mark Thompson and Dale Henry.
The winners of the runoff election will go on to run on the general election ballot Nov. 4.
The date set for the runoff election is Tuesday, April 8.
County commissioners have approved four consolidated polling places for the April 8 runoff election.
They are Malakoff City Hall, Payne Springs Community Center, Brownsboro Community Center and the Cain Center in Athens.

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