People, Places & Events



Lake Area

East Cedar Creek Freshwater Supply District meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the ECCFSD office on Hammer Road just off Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City.
Eustace City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Eustace City Hall the first Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 425-4702. The public is invited to attend.
Eustace Independent School District meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Eustace High School Library. For more information, please call 425-7131. The public is invited to attend.
Gun Barrel City Council meets in Brawner Hall at 6 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1087. The public is invited to attend.
Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation meets at 1831 W. Main, GBC, at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1899.
Henderson County Commissioner’s Court meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens. The public is invited to attend.
Henderson County Emergency Services District #4 meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at 525 S. Tool Dr. in Tool.
Henderson County Historical Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. in the HC Historical Museum.
Kaufman County Commissioner’s Court meets the first, second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9:45 a.m. in the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. The public is invited to attend.
Kemp City Council meets at Kemp City Hall at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 498-3191. The public is invited to attend.
Kemp Independent School District meets the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room in the Administration Building. For more information, please call 498-1314. The public is invited to attend.
Log Cabin City Council meets the third Thursday of the month in city hall. For more information, please call 489-2195. The public is invited to attend.
Mabank City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Mabank City Hall the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-3241. The public is invited to attend.
Mabank Independent School District meets at 7:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 887-9310. The public is invited to attend.
Payne Springs City Council meets at city hall at 7:30 p.m. every third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 451-9229. The public is invited to attend.
Payne Springs Water Supply Corp. meets the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Payne Springs Community Center, located at 9690 Hwy. 198.
Seven Points City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Seven Points city hall the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3176. The public is invited to attend.
Tool City Council meets at 6 p.m. in the OranWhite Civic Center the third Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3522. The public is invited to attend.
West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District is held at 5 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3704. The public is invited.

  Ragsdale celebrates 85 years with family and friends
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Community Senior Center was packed with friends, family and colleagues of Jim Ragsdale, to celebrate his 85th birthday.
“Getting to 85 is nothing anymore. It’s just a stepping stone,” Ragsdale exclaimed to the audience. RagsdaleCake.jpg (47888 bytes)
Ragsdale was born April 17, 1925.
People attending Saturday’s event included those he met while spanning a 30-year real estate career and from as far back as almost 50 years ago, while he was employed by the Atomic Energy Commission.
Ragsdale used his birthday event to also salute the city and the citizens of Malakoff and the Malakoff Chamber of Commerce for their support and for 35-plus years of continued progress.
There were plenty of flags in the decor, and Ragsdale wore one in his jacket pocket. He was also dressed in red, white and blue to continue the theme.
His long-time friend and associate, Earlene Vinings, came from Plano for the event. She went with Ragsdale during the nation’s bicentennial preparations.
They traveled throughout the state in 1975 and 1976, making presentations of bicentennial flags to dignitaries in various communities.
She presented a bicentennial flag replica to Malakoff mayor John Shumate.
The audience was enthusiastic, and enjoyed the presentations by Vinings and by another long-time friend, Ed Foreman.
A presentation of “Happy Memories and Times Shared with Jim Ragsdale,” was Foreman’s way of mixing both truth and fiction.
Those present gave several rounds of applause as they picked out “the real deal’ or what was definitely fiction in Foreman’s story.
Foreman also presented a U.S. Flag to the Malakoff Chamber of Commerce.
The time came for the grand entrance by the birthday celebrity, and true to his sense of humor, Ragsdale appear ed pushing a wheel-equipped walker – decorated in flags and balloons and with a horn, allowing for a noisy but fun-filled entrance.
There were many smiles and congratulatory comments before Dr. Ron Hollamon of First Presbyterian Church of Mabank blessed the food.
Ochoa’s of Malakoff catered a delicious Tex-Mex meal.
Ragsdale’s 85 years covers a lot of family history, which he recalled for the audience.
He and his wife, Jo. and their two boys, Doug and Dave, moved from Killeen to San Antonio in 1956, while Jim was still employed with the Atomic Energy Commission.
“At that time we bought our first home for $17,500, and I became a part-time real estate sales person for the builder’s broker,” Ragsdale said.
Then in 1978, two years before he retired from the civil service, Jim began to prepare for his second career and re-located to Cedar Creek Lake.
Since his mother was the daughter of W.M. Johnson, another real estate agent, he found the preparation not too difficult.
His mother sold 17 acres to Jim and his brother Bill in 1963, located in between the Bushwacker tracts developed in 1963.
“Jo and I bought a 45 acre farm and moved to our new home at 164 Bushwacker Drive in April, 1980,” he said.
“Ragsdale Real Estate, Inc. was born on Dec. 6, 1979 and approved by the Secretary of State on June 2, 1980,” Ragsdale said.
Jim received his real estate broker’s license in 1978 and his Senior Residential Appraiser designation from the Appraisal Institute in 1982.
“Licensing of appraisers didn’t begin until the 1990s,” he explained.
Business was so good, he said he encouraged son Doug, to join him.
“Jo was our secretary/treasurer. She served faithfully until the Lord called her home Dec. 22, 2002,” Jim recalled.
The company now has four licensed certified appraisers.
The main office address is 6000 Pinnacle Club Drive.
A branch office complex is located at 6440 Highway 198. The location was renamed “Hilltop Plaza.”

Commissioners defend bank purchase
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS – Westend Henderson County commissioners came out with strong statements last week supporting the move to purchase the Prosperity Bank building across from the County Courthouse.
“This is going to be a great thing for Henderson County,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall said during a workshop held in the bank Friday.
Hall addressed questions raised by Athens resident and former state representative Fred Head. Head says the county is paying too much for the building.
In February, commissioners approved buying the bank for $2.796 million. The deal includes 33,000 square feet of office space, 160 parking spots and the nearby bank drive-thru.
The bank will also receive property owned by the Ginger Murchison Foundation at the other end of the block, where Prosperity plans an 8,000 square-foot building. The bank will get the land in a deal where the foundation will raze the current buildings down to dirt, and then sell the land to the bank for about the cost of the demolition.
Head has criticized the plan because the county is paying about $1 million more than the appraised value of the property.
Head took the workshop as another opportunity to register his complaint. This time he said he had uncovered documents from the bank showing it had paid almost $2.4 million for the property last year.
Regardless of which document you consider, the county is paying too much for the building, Head said.
“It’s a good piece of property, but there’s no urgency (to buy) that I know of,” Head said.
The former state representative reiterated his opinion that the county should hold out for a better deal.
“I don’t want a fair deal, I want a good deal,” he told The Monitor, saying the bank should be a good community citizen and take a loss on the deal.
Although the workshop meeting examines financial details of the purchase, both Hall and Precinct 2 Commisioner Wade McKinney indirectly answered Head’s complaints.
McKinney said there was definitely some urgency for the county to find more office space. He pointed out that a Brinkley Sargent study of the county government facilities commissioned in 2008 showed Henderson County had 84,000 square feet of space, but needed 148,000 square feet.
“Even with the 33,000 square feet of the new building, we are still short of what is recommended by the facility study,” he said.
Both Hall and McKinney said it would be impossible for the county to build a facility for the purchase price of the bank building.
“To build would cost three or four times the money,” said Hall. “That needs to be understood.”
McKinney said the bank building will cost the county about $59 per square foot, with an added $11 per square foot for parking.
For comparison purposes, RSMean, a company which estimates construction costs, said that a two- to four-story office building in the Dallas area in 2009 cost about $150 per square-foot to build.
Also referring back to the Brinkley Sargent study, Hall said the bank building was the best option for the county.
“When we looked at other options, well there were no other options,” he said. “When the wheels started turning, it showed this was a way to solve all problems (the bank building purchase).”
Hall also said the county has been very frugal with its money in recent years and was in the position to purchase the building without borrowing money or issuing bonds.
“We are in great shape to do this now,” he said. “Who knows what the future holds.”
McKinney said when you take everything into account, the bank purchase is a good deal.
“The dollar amount on the far end, that’s what is driving me,” he said.
Demolition of the Ginger Murchison Foundation buildings is scheduled to begin the first or second week of May and be complete by mid June. When demolition is complete, the county and Prosperity Bank will move toward Closing Day.

Tool citizens hear school building plans
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL—A bond proposal on the near horizon for Malakoff Independent School District will directly affect Tool residents.
Wayne White, chairman of the “Our Kids First” committee, explained the expansion connected to the upcoming $4.9 million bond election to Tool City Council members, April 15.
In Malakoff, the plans are to add eight classrooms and two labs to the elementary school by renovating the “Old Rock Building,” White said. The passage of the bond issue on May 8 will add a penny to each $100 worth of property value.
The bond also includes six classrooms to be added to the Tool Elementary as it grows, he explained.
Huckabee and Associates of Fort Worth is the architect for the project, he added.
In other business, council members:
• canceled the special election planned to fill an unexpired term.
Incumbent Nelson Wright was unopposed, and was appointed to fill the position.
The one-year term expires in May, 2011. Wright will take office during the regular canvassing period.
• approved the re-platting of lots 59 and 60 in Lakeway Estates, combining the two into lot 59R, as requested by property owner Steve Slaughter.
• heard a short talk from each of the nine candidates vying for the three, two-year council seats. The candidates included A.J. “Red” Phillips (incumbent), Kathleen Crowden, Dennis Candage, Blake Farrar, Rick Williams, Marvin Coffman, Tommy Burleson, Tamra Brickey and Monte Harrison Pennell.
Although candidates were each given five minutes, none took advantage of the time, using only slightly more than two to three minutes.
A common subject and goal included the need to entice more business into the city and the need for road maintenance.
Another common subject was the wise spending of taxpayer money. The candidates agreed the city has always had a balanced budget.
Farrar and Brickey started to speak on the fire department division, but Mayor Mike Black reminded them because of pending litigation, the subject was off limits.
• heard the maps and assessments are under way for the road program.
Engineers Velvin & Weeks advised they need more time to access the information they are gathering.
Black said he was told the information will be in time for the next meeting, Thursday, May 20.
• heard the City of Tool Fire Department has received $72,000 in grant money for a brush truck.
The fire department has a fund-raiser currently underway to raise the 10 percent ($7,200) needed for its portion of the grant.
• heard the response time (from dispatched out) is now five minutes.




Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on. My name is Domino, and I got my name not only because I’m black and white like a domino tile, but also because my outgoing, cheerful personality causes my doggie roommates to smile. This also causes our human friends to smile, which even causes the kitties in the cat room to smile.
I am an 8-month-old male Pointer/Terrier mix. I love children, other dogs, and even get along great with kitties. I’ve had all my shots and am ready to be adopted. If you’d like to experience the domino effect, I am sure to put a forever smile on your face when you take me to my forever home.
I currently live with a foster family, so if you would like to meet me, call my friends at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake at (903) 432-3422 to make an appointment. You can also email them at

We have many animals at the
Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points
in dire need of a good home.
Please call or stop by the Humane Society today
and rescue one of these forgotten animals.
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on
10220 County Road 2403 in Seven Points.
For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at


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