Thursday, April 9, 2009

     

 

 

 

 

 

Two die in fiery head-on collision on U.S. 175
Motorist tries to warn wrong-way driver, witnesses deadly crash
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–An accident in which two people were killed and five others injured was witnessed by another driver, who tried to prevent it, and a Kemp Police officer.
At almost 11 p.m. Sunday, a motorist, who was almost struck by a woman driving west in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 175, called the Kaufman Sheriff’s Department dispatcher. The call was logged in at 10:56 p.m.
A 45-year-old Dallas woman was driving a 2001 Kia SUV in the wrong lane.
The caller followed the car from the westbound side of U.S. 175, staying in contact with the dispatcher.
It was only a few minutes later, at 11:02 p.m., the caller told the dispatcher the SUV had collided head on with a 2001 Lincoln Town Cruiser.
The driver of the Lincoln, Vernon Ray Hamilton, 41, of Tyler, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Mike Smith, who ordered an autopsy.
Also in the Cruiser was a woman and four children.
The driver of the Kia was pulled from her vehicle just before it burst into flames.
She was transported to the emergency facility at East Texas Medical Center in Gun Barrel City, where she was pronounced dead by medical attendants.
“It’s a tragic accident,” Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo said. There was no way to tell if alcohol was involved at this time, he added, while he and investigators wait for a statement from the medical examiner’s office in Dallas.
Kemp police officer Damon Smith and the motorist who called it in witnessed the horrific accident.
Although Smith had been trying to get in front of the woman’s car to get her to stop, she continued on until she collided with the Cruiser.
Fire rescue units and police from Kemp and Mabank responded to the scene.
Also dispatched were officers from the Texas Department of Public Safety, who assisted with the accident investigation.
Some of the occupants of the Lincoln were pulled free by emergency personnel but the others were outside on the roadway.
Three of the children were airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
The woman passenger in the Cruiser and another child were transported by ambulance to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Authorities had not released the names of the victims by presstime Tuesday.

City approves ‘child safe zones’
Sexual predators banned from kid-friendly areas
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–While Henderson County Commissioners were declaring April Sex Assault Awareness month and Child Abuse Prevention month Tuesday, the Seven Points City Council adopted an ordinance to spell out restrictions for registered sex offenders.
The ordinance includes a map blocking out “child safe zones” as strictly off limits to those convicted of sexual assault of a child.
Police Chief Tim Meadows identified several areas and businesses he’d like covered by the ordinance, with the consent of specific businesses.
Those areas that would be off-limits to sex offenders include the Optimist Park and athletic fields on John Thomas and Pritchett Lane, and child-friendly entertainment centers off Cedar Creek Parkway – Main Place Cinema, Sonic, the city park and Whatz Up Family Entertainment Center.
Also, off State Highway 274 on Veterans Lane, the Lakeplex Lanes would be off limits, along with the Dairy Queen on Farm-to-Market 85.
Not all these businesses have given their approval, Meadows said. Some need to get approval from those owners outside the city. “I’m hopeful all of them will be designated Child Safe Zones,” he said.
The ordinance also prohibits sex offenders from loitering in the pathways to these child safe zones, and prohibits them from putting on their porch light on Oct. 30 or 31, whichever date is Halloween.
Penalties are those set by statute.
“This is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fine up to $500 fine, or jail,” Meadows said.
Though sexual assault affects not just children but also men and women of all races, ages and economic status, Meadows said this ordinance targets sexual predators.
“With Seven Points, we’re trying to make it a family-friendly atmosphere, where kids can be free to play and parents don’t have to worry as much,” Meadows said.
He reports six sex offenders residing within the city limits would be affected by this ordinance.
“I’ve informed all of them about this ordinance,” Meadows said.
Signs will also be posted on the driveways and doors of designated businesses, featuring stick figures of a girl and boy and the words “Child Safe Zone.”
Each city registrar of sexual offenders in the county will also receive a copy of the ordinance and map, so sex offenders there can be informed of the areas off-limit to them, Meadows said.
The idea for the ordinance came up from discussions among police officers attending a state-sponsored sex offender class recently.
Seven Points is believed to be the first city to adopt such an ordinance featuring child safe zones.
“It’s not that I wanted to be the first to do it,” Meadows said. “I saw it as an opportunity to support and promote the city while protecting its children and the children who come to play here.”
Besides children’s soccer teams, a new baseball and softball Little League is starting up in Seven Points, using the ball fields at the Optimists Park, Meadows noted.
“I wanted to make an ordinance with more bite than a trespass law. It’s up to the businesses to say, ‘yes,’” he said.
The ordinance and map of child safe zones will be on the city’s website, he added.

‘Tea party’ tax day protest set April 15
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Those unhappy with how tax money is being spent are meeting in a non-partisan ‘tea party’ set for 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 (tax day) to send a message to Washington, D.C.
“We’re just a group of concerned citizens who want to show ‘no support’ for the federal policies and tax increases on our horizon,” event spokesperson Carol Yarboro said.
“We want people to support this national protest over the handling of our tax money,” she explained. The tea party is a nationally planned event and similar parties are being held throughout the nation, she added.
Regardless of political affiliations, citizens are urged to bring envelopes, tea bag tags (not the tea bags themselves), stamps, balloons or a sign, Yarboro said.
The non-partisan group she represents will mail all envelopes to Washington, D.C.
The event is based on the Boston Tea Party, one of the key events leading up to the American Revolution, a direct protest of the Tea Act tax passed by the British Parliament in 1773.
American colonists objected to the Tea Act for many reasons, but one of the chief ones was a conviction the colonies should not be subjected to a tax by a government that did not include representatives from the colonies.
Also, the Tea Act gave the British East India Company a legal monopoly on the tea trade to the colonies, threatening those importers not selected as cosignees with economic ruin.
Colonists were rightly afraid that importers of other commodities also might be threatened by future government-imposed monopolies.
Protesters successfully prevented taxed tea from being unloaded in three other colonies, but in Boston, Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson (whose sons were directly involved in the tea trade) refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain, not expecting the protesters to destroy the tea.
Other Royal Governors allowed ships to return to England without unloading any tea, and avoided direct confrontation.
On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, a group of colonists boarded the tea ship Dartmouth and over the course of three hours, threw all 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, worth £90,000, a huge sum in that time.
Faced with open defiance by an important colony, Parliament responded with the Coercive Acts, which included closing Boston Harbor until the British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea.
The Coercive Acts, in turn, prompted more protests, eventually leading to active rebellion and a shooting war, which began near Boston in 1775.
As one of the seminal events of the American Revolution – and, in turn, the dismantling of the British Empire – the Boston Tea Party has been a reference point for many other protests during the past 236 years.
Already, tea parties and individuals are sending protest tea bags to Congress and making an impact on the nation’s representatives.
The event will take place at the intersection of State Highway 334 and Harbor Point Drive, near GBC city hall.
An invitation is extended to all Cedar Creek Lake residents to take part.
“We have no idea what to expect. We don’t know how many will come. We wanted to provide a protest venue of our own,” Yarboro said.


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