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Current Issue
May 1
, 2011






News in Brief

Immunization clinic
The Texas Department of State Health services holds monthly immunization clinics from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., on the fourth Tuesday, odd months only, at the Mabank Fire Department, 111 E. Mason, Mabank. No clinics on holidays. For information call (972) 932-2038.

TVCC free concert
A farewell concert featuring the compositions of Velma Burnett will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday (today) 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 information call Sue Capps at (903) 451-9651.

CCL Literary Club
The Literary Club of Cedar Creek Lake executive board meeting is at 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at the library. For information call the library at (903) 432-4185.

Book & plant sale
A book, bake and plant sale is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 5-6, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, sponsored by Best Friends of the Library. For information call (903) 432-4185.

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.

Republican Women
The Kaufman County Republican Women’s annual “Potato Supper” fundraiser is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, at Cedar Mountain Lodge. Live music, live and silent auctions will be featured, along with speaker justice Robert Fillmore. For information, tickets and sponsor information call Janas Byrnes at (214) 202-3916 or visit the website,

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 information and price, 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.

Green seminar
The Green Business Initiative Seminar is set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Kaufman County Library, 3790 S. Houston St. Kaufman. Seating is limited. For information or to reserve a spot call (972) 524-007 or e-mail

Van Zandt dance
The Van Zandt Senior Citizens Club Monthly dance is set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the Henderson County Senior Citizens Center in Athens. Country, Western music by Joe Walenta and the Ranch Hands. Everyone is welcome.

KC clean-up
The annual Kaufman County-wide Clean-up is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, at various locations, including the cities of Mabank, Kemp and Scurry. Free to all Kaufman County residents. For information call Texas AgriLife Extension Service at (972) 932-9069.

Howard tourney
The sixth annual Courtney Howard Memorial Scholarship golf tournament is set for Saturday, May 14. 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).

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.

News in Brief policy
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Top News

‘We were very, very lucky’
Area escapes damage from tornadoes
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–It seemed bad enough at the time, but the storm system that spawned Monday’s and Tuesday’s series of severe thunderstorms that rolled across the Cedar Creek Lake area turned deadly as it headed farther east.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Visitors in a golf cart trundle past one of several downed trees on the front nine of the Cedar Creek Country Club course early Wednesday. Tuesday evening's tornado damaged trees on holes 4, 5 and 6, but caused no other damage to the club or to nearby homes, club manager Mike Horton reported.

There were at least two tornadoes sighted in the Mabank area Tuesday evening – one much-photographed funnel tracked across the lake and through the Cedar Creek Country Club golf course, while a second rain-wrapped funnel cloud reportedly tracked between the Phalba community and Purtis Creek State Park northeast of Mabank.
Despite the storms, there were no reports of any serious damage to any homes or businesses in the immediate lake area.

Monitor Photo/
Kerry Yancey
Seen from the rear of Groom & Sons’ Hardware in Mabank, a funnel cloud tracks across Cedar Creek Lake and the Cedar Creek Country Club golf course Tuesday. Another funnel cloud from the same storm was seen tracking between the Phalba community and Purtis Creek State Park before the cell turned northeastward, spawning another tornado that damaged homes in the Ben Wheeler/Edom area.

Another tornado spawned by the same storm cell touched down just a bit farther north, along the southeast corner of Van Zandt County, damaging more than 100 homes in the Ben Wheeler/Edom area.
One Ben Wheeler area woman, Thelma Barker, 76, was severely injured when a tornado overturned her mobile home with her hiding inside.
At least four more tornadoes were spotted on the ground in far east Texas, between Carthage and the Louisiana state line, with one of them leaving a track 45 miles long – an almost unheard-of distance.
“We were really lucky,” Cedar Creek Country Club manager Mike Horton said Wednesday morning.
“Basically all the damage we had was on three holes – 4, 5 and 6,” he said. “Those will be a lot easier to play, because there’s not as many trees to hit now.”
Horton said he had been out surveying the damage, and was amazed to see there was no major damage to any of the homes, or even roofs, next to the fairway where the twister uprooted or splintered trees.
“We were very, very lucky,” he said.
Storm cell after cell moved east across Ellis, Navarro and Henderson counties Tuesday afternoon and evening, tracking along State Highway 31 from Corsicana through Kerens before splitting, with some going northeast through the Cedar Creek Lake area, while others took a more southerly track through Malakoff and just south of Athens.
Once through the Athens area, that storm cell took a right-hand turn and headed southeast, tracking across the Palestine and Nacogdoches areas.
When the storm system that spawned all the bad weather in East Texas reached the Mississippi River valley, it turned deadly – the deadliest tornado outbreak in at least 40 years.
As of Thursday afternoon, at least 269 people were confirmed dead, with more fatalities anticipated as rescue workers combed through smashed debris and the storm system continued to churn northeastward along the Atlantic coast.
More than 160 people died in Alabama, with another 33 in Mississippi, 30 in Tennessee, 12 in Georgia and eight in Virginia, according to the MSNBC website.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., announced it received 137 tornado reports Tuesday and Wednesday, 66 of them in Alabama and 38 in Mississippi.
Van Zandt County Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Allen confirmed more than 100 homes were damaged or destroyed in the far southeastern portion of the county.
Gandy’s Nursery, located on Farm-to-Market 858, was heavily damaged, as was the Friendly Center Church off FM 314.
“Damage starts at (VZCR) 4702, and it appears to have turned northeast up through the city of Ben Wheeler to 858 and the Friendly Center area,” Allen told The Monitor’s sister publications, the Van Banner and Van Zandt News.
“Every indication we have seen is that this was definitely a tornado,” Allen added. “We had an unconfirmed spotter see the tornado touch down at 858 and 314.”
Most of the people displaced by the storms found temporary shelter with family and friends, Allen reported. The American Red Cross also will be providing aid in the coming days, he added.
“This storm came through Phalba (just north of Mabank) originally,” Allen said. “It made a deep (left) turn and then took a northeast approach.”



Trinidad improves ISO rate
Monitor Staff Reports
TRINIDAD–Trinidad fire chief Arthur Arnold reports the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has recommended an improvement in the city’s insurance rating.
Beginning Aug. 1, Trinidad and the Henderson County Emergency Services District No. 1 will have a rating of 5 for any area within five miles of a fire station. There are three fire stations within the district, qualifying every service area the improved rating. At present, some areas are rated at an 8.
For months, the fire department has worked to lower the ISO rating for areas outside the city limits, Arnold said.
It has met certain requirements for personnel, equipment and water supply that enabled the area to qualify for an improved rating, he said.
The ISO rating is used by insurance companies to calculate fire insurance premium rates. Ratings range from one to 10, with one being the best.
Questions regarding your insurance should be directed to your agent.

Stalking suspect gets guilty verdict
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee reports a rare stalking case had recently been tried and a verdict given.
After six hours of deliberation, a Henderson County jury convicted Earnest Ray Shirey, 42, of Frankston, of the third-degree offence.
A sentencing hearing is set for June 1.
Shirey had been charged with stalking his ex-wife over several months prior to and after the couple’s divorce in September, 2009.
His stalking activity led to an assault in July, 2010, on which charges are still pending with the County Court at Law, McKee stated.
Testimony from several witnesses, including his ex-wife and stepdaughter, related a constant barrage of text messages, phone calls, driving by their home, chasing and following the victim.
These types of crime do not often get reported, let alone tried, McKee said.
“Often times, the victims are not interested in pursuing the charge, or there simply isn’t enough evidence tot take the case to trial,” he said in a press release Monday.
“But we take the claims seriously as this type of situation, especially when it involves domestic violence as this one did, can turn ugly fast,” he added.
“Obviously, we felt this was a case that needed to be pursued. Given the length of time it took for he jury to reach a verdict, they certainly took it seriously as well, and we are pleased with the outcome,” McKee said.
Assistant district attorneys Mark Hall and Justin Weiner prosecuted the case.










































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