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Current Issue
April 28
, 2011






News in Brief

Kemp candidate forum
A Kemp “meet the candidate night” is set for Thursday (tonight) in the Kemp High School auditorium. Both city and school candidates are invited, Kemp Business and Civic League president Diana Chambers said.

Howard tourney
Entries are being accepted through 5 p.m. Thursday (today) for the sixth annual Courtney Howard Memorial Scholarship golf tournament, set for Saturday, May 14. For entry form, contact Groom & Sons’ Hardware and Lumber at (903) 887-1689.

Pet transport sought
With the increase in gasoline prices, the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is seeking help on Mondays transporting animals to Crandall for spay/neuter services. It’s possible to use the shelter van if necessary. For information call (903) 432-3422.

Pet food needed
Happy Tails runs a pet food bank and has been hit hard with the rising gas prices. Please donate if you can by calling (903) 880-4124 or cell (903) 275-5990,, Adopt a Happy Tail Inc. (a 501(c)(3) organization).

CC Republican Club
The Cedar Creek Republican Club meets for dinner at 6:15 p.m. Thursday (tonight), followed by a program from retired Henderson County attorney James Owen at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant, 428 N. Gun Barrel Lane, GBC. Everyone is welcome.

MAGS pasta dinner
The Mabank Area Good Samaritans are hosting a pasta dinner benefitting the Tri-County MAGS Food Pantry from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, at First United Methodist Church, Mabank. For tickets and information, contact Bill Burnett at (903) 498-4324.

Vegetable seed sale
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service/Kaufman County Master Gardeners sale of vegetable seeds recommended for this area and a variety of plants will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the Garden Learning Center, the SW corner of FM 1388 and SH 34 intersection, Kaufman. For information call (972) 932-9069.

TVCC workshop
Trinity Valley Community College will host a professional development workshop for social workers, therapists and counselors from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 29. Tuition charged and need to bring a difficult case for discussion. For information call (903) 675-6212 or visit

Styx gospel event
The Styx monthly Gospel singing is set for 7 p.m. Friday, April 29. Everyone is welcome to bring their music, family and friends. For information call (214) 616-4659 or (903) 498-8182.

TVCC Zumbathon
Trinity Valley Community College is hosting a Zumbathon to benefit the Henderson County Relay for Life. The Zumba class is set for 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the Student Union Building ballroom. The class is taught by Donna Godwin. All proceeds will benefit the Henderson County Cancer Society. For information call Godwin at (9030 675-2627.

Boating garage sale
Friends of Boating are hosting a garage sale benefitting the Coast Guard Auxiliary, starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 30, at Tom Finley Park. For information call Betty Abbott at (903) 432-2272.

Drug take-back
Bring outdated, unused prescription drugs, no questions asked, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, to the Kaufman City Police Department, 105 Chestnut St., or the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office at 1900 U.S. 175. The program’s goal is to prevent pill abuse and theft, a growing problem.

TVCC free concert
A farewell concert featuring the compositions of Velma Burnett will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at the Dogwood Church at 6467 FM 2494 in Athens. Burnett leaves TVCC after a decade. TVCC students will be performing under the direction of choir director Dr. Byron McGilvray.

WCR committee meets
The Henderson County Women’s Council of Realtors golf tournament committee meets at 6 p.m. Monday, May 2, at Cedar Isle. Volunteers and prize items still needed. For information call Shirley at (214) 695-0664, or Sue at (860) 276-7355.

Model A Ford Club
The Cedar Creek Model A Ford Club meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3 (first Tuesday of each month), at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Visitors are always welcome and you do not have to own a Model A to join. For info, call Sue Capps at (903) 451-9651.

CCL Garden Club
The Cedar Creek Garden Club meets at 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 6, in the Community Room at Tomlinson’s Funeral Home. The meeting begins with a covered dish luncheon, followed by a plant auction. Those interested are welcome to attend.

AL hot dog supper
The American Legion Post 310 Auxiliary offers Coney Island style hot dogs with all the trimmings, plus homemade desserts from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 6, benefitting various veteran-related activities. The Post is located on south SH 198, GBC.

MHS car show
The Mabank High School Automotive Department is hosting a Car Show fundraiser from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, in the automotive department parking lot at Mabank Junior High. Proceeds benefit the high school automotive department. For information or to register, call (903) 340-9105. Leave name and contact number.

Youth summit
The Retro Student Ministries presents “Unleashed Youth Summit 2011,” a lock-in set for 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday/Saturday, May 6-7, at the Cain Center, Athens. A jam-packed service with games, dramas, give-a-ways, worship and national speaker Trammel Orr is planned. The night includes pizza, bungee run, sumo wrestling, jousting, boxing, swimming and tons more. For info, call (903) 887-5429 or visit

Gospel Lectureship
The Trinidad Church of Christ is hosting a Gospel Lectureship at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the church, located at 241 West Scruggs, Trinidad, featuring the format, “Seven Men for Seven Minutes,” with the theme “Unity of Spirit.” For information call the church (903) 778-2536.

CCL Car Show
The annual Cedar Creek Lake Car Show and Krawfish Boil starts at 8 a.m. for car registration, with awards at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Pavilion in Mabank. Crawfish served starting at 10:30 a.m. until gone. Event is over after awards are presented.

WCR Golf Tourney
The Henderson County Women’s Council of Realtors’ annual golf tournament is set for Monday, May 9, at Cedar Creek Country Club. Check-in for the 18-hole scramble at 10:30 a.m., followed by lunch and 1 p.m. tee-off. For information call Shirley Salmon at (214) 695-0664 or Sue Hosack at (860) 276-7355 or Lajean Fenske at (903) 880-6628.

Caney Creek Baptist
Caney Creek Baptist Church is hosting a family night at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, at the church located at 5441 FM 3054, Malakoff. The public is invited to enjoy a meal at 6 p.m., with Bible study and programs following. For information call (903) 489-3500.

Gardener is ‘in’
The Henderson County Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions by phone during 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.

Meals on Wheels
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.

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Top News

Skeletal remains found
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–A Kemp resident walking in the woods near his house at the end of 9th Street made a gruesome discovery late last Thursday.
He came across a human skull and various other bones in a wooded area about 75 to 100 yards from the exit ramp, just east of the former First National Bank drive-thru, located at the corner of 9th Street and eastbound lanes of U.S. Highway 175.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Friday, Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department investigators search the woods for skeletal remains near the State Highway 274 exit ramp off U.S. 175. The crime scene tape encircled the wooded area, and the sound of chain saws could be heard as investigators cleared brush and trees from the site where a skull and several bones were found.

The resident called the property owner, who in turn called the Kemp Police Department.
“I went over there with one of my officers and then we went back to the station and looked up the property and determined it was in the county,” Chief Richard Clemmo said.
Clemmo and officer Steven Crowley confirmed the find and location and called the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department to turn the information over to them.
That call came in at 5:30 p.m., according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department.
The next day, eastbound motorists noticed the county’s mobile communications command post set up along the side of the roadway.
County investigators confirmed the skeletal remains were found in a heavily wooded area, and called in the Texas Rangers.
“The remains appeared to have been at the location for an extended period of time,” the release stated.
The find was turned over to a forensic pathologist for identification and possible cause of death.
Anyone with any information regarding the remains is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (972) 932-4337 or to remain anonymous, call in any information to the tip line at Kaufman County Crime Stoppers toll-free at (877) 847- 7522.

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Tornadoes threaten Cedar Creek Lake area

Monitor Photo/Kim Breeze

This tornado photo was taken from the Seven Points-Kemp side of Cedar Creek Lake shooting toward the Cedar Creek Country Club shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. No injuries or major damage was reported by police scanner from Mabank Police Department by 5:30 p.m. Country club personnel reported hearing the sound of a freight train over the back part of the golf course, but no damage was observed. At 5:40 p.m., the police scanner reported a confirmed touchdown in Roddy. The National Weather Service predicted a series of storms to roll through the area as the night progressed with the area under a continued tornado warning until 10 p.m. See more storm coverage in Sunday’s issue.


Seven Points firefighters return from battling West Texas wildfires
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–“Texas is burning” has been heard on national news and in printed news for weeks, since the beginning of the worst fire season in many years.
Statewide, almost 1.5 million acres have burned in three major fire centers, costing the lives of two firefighters and destroying 1,370 homes.
Hurricane Alex last July may be the cause of the massive fires. Heavy rains from Alex brought on a bloom of lush growth, but then the extra-cold winter killed everything out.
An extremely dry February and March turned dead brush, grass and weeds into a tinderbox, just waiting for any spark to set it off.
One of the most costly and widespread wildfire areas is centered around Possum Kingdom Lake, where about 450 firefighters are working to save homes and lives. So far, about 150,000 acres have burned and more than 150 homes were destroyed during the past week.
Some were called in by the National Forest Service, while others, such as a crew from the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department, saw the need and volunteered.
“I called and volunteered with the state coordinator out of Dallas,” fire chief Joe Dobbs said.
They took two trucks, each with a crew of two firefighters – Stephen Van Huss, Emily Conn, Lt. Billy McKenzie and Dobbs.
“That still left us with 15 to 20 responders protecting our district (Seven Points and surrounding area),” Dobbs pointed out.
The little group spent seven days fighting fires in the Possum Kingdom Lake area, arriving back in Seven Points at 3 p.m. Friday.
Family and other SPVFD members welcomed the men home, greeting them with a huge water spray from Engine 1 and Rescue 3.
Group members were still riding an adrenaline high as they began talking about their dramatic adventures.
“The people were great, especially for the situation they were going through. They were extremely hospitable,” Van Huss said.
Seven Points firefighters were tasked with road and street patrols, protecting homes from the advancing flames.
Firefighters faced a constant battle against high winds, sometimes gusting more than 40 mph, a lack of humidity and the tremendous heat.
“At one point, our truck thermometer read 106 (degrees),” McKenzie explained.
The heat was so tremendous that when they put the fire out in an area, it would reignite only a few feet away, sometimes behind the firefighter.
“We would spray our hoses on the ground and steam would rise up, even when there was no fire,” Dobbs recalled.
The long hours were exhausting, so much so that once back at the place where they were staying, it seemed a lot easier to just fall asleep than to take time to enjoy a nearby pool.
“We were on the clock from 7:15 a.m. until we returned sometime after 10:30 p.m.,” Dobbs explained. “And, these people are all volunteers. They don’t receive any pay for what they do.
“The wind kept the smoke and ashes blowing around so that the white ash covered everything, even our lunches when we ate,” Dobbs said.
“I have never done this before,” Conn admitted. “It was crazy. I have never seen so much fire and smoke. But, it was a great experience that I will never forget.”
Many residents not in the immediate fire area were without utilities – water, electricity, gas and phone service – and had been for days, the firefighters reported.
“One woman called back here to Seven Points to tell how the Seven Points team had saved her brother’s home,” Dobbs said.
“They saved a deer rancher’s herd,” he added. “Almost 100 were in a pen. The rancher had turned a lot of others out, fearing the fire, but the ones in the pen (were saved because) the firefighters kept the flames back.”
All four returning firefighters were full of favorable comments on the people in the area, particularly the cafe where they ate – describing huge chicken fried steaks served with mashed potatoes and bowls of cream gravy.
Even though the residents were enduring tremendous hardships, “everyone was friendly and would wave at us as we went by,” Dobbs said.
“We are so concerned about the people. That’s why we do this job,” Dobbs pointed out. “One lady had lost two expensive homes. She looked as if she was in shock, and none of us knew what to say to her. But she turned around and bought dinner for all the firemen present.”
“At one point that first day (Monday), we were patrolling on a narrow country road. Someone called us and said the fire was near a house,” McKenzie said.
“We traveled on some back roads that were so small and rough, they made the roads in Seven Points look like highways,” he said.
“When we got there, the fire was less than a quarter-mile away and it was tree-topping (burning fast in the tops of the trees, jumping from one to another). That was a very intense situation,” McKenzie said. “The situation up close is a lot more real than when you see it on TV.”
If the current drought continues, what is happening in West Texas could very well happen in North and East Texas, and the Cedar Creek Lake area, the firefighters warned.
“The incident commander warned us that East Texas is a sleeping giant,” Dobbs said.
The U.S. Forestry Service has taken over the task of getting the fires under control, but the firefighters agreed they would return if asked.
Van Huss said his favorite part of the experience was the close bond firefighters formed.
“We were two complete companies, but within two days, we were family,” he said. “The camaraderie was sensational.”










































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