Thursday, May 3, 2007



  One man dead in three-car pileup on SH334 bridge
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–A three-car pile up on the bridge in Seven Points by the new Lighthouse Restaurant left one man dead Monday.
Witnesses at the scene reported that Mabank resident Rex Baugus has just stopped breathing, Seven Points Police officer Dusty Bryant reported.
Bryant and officer Brad Hendricks began CPR and continued until medical technicians arrived on the scene minutes later or a little after 2 p.m..
Baugus had been driving a 2001 Ford van and was traveling eastbound on State Highway 334, when all of a sudden he went into the westbound lane of traffic and was stopped by the guardrail of that lane, Bryant reported.
When the van crossed into oncoming traffic Malakoff resident Franklin Thompson slammed on the brakes of the rock hauler he was driving and avoided running into Baugus.
The 1996 Ford Mustang driven by Michael Roberts was also able to stop before colliding into the rock hauler
However the driver of a third vehicle, a 1984 Dodge pickup, was unable to stop in time and rear ended Roberts’ car running him into the rock hauler.

Baugus was transported to East Texas Medical Center – Gun Barrel City, where he was later pronounced dead.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

No one else was transported to the hospital.
The Seven Points Police and Volunteer Fire departments were also assisted by Gun Barrel City Police officers.

Coutesy Photos/Brad Hendricks
The Ford van Mabank resident Rex Baugus was driving came to rest on the guard rail after crossing the stream of traffic.

Telephone wires stolen off its poles
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–The theft of about 300 feet of four-inch diameter communication cabling left 600 Embarq customers without service early Tuesday.
The cable was taken from poles stung along State Highway 274 near the intersection of Farm-to-Market 148, where road work has started on the repair of Kings Creek Bridge.

Authorities in both Henderson and Kaufman counties are looking into the incident, Embarq spokesman Don Houston told The Monitor.

It appears the cable was torn apart, not cut, Houston said.
Embarq officials estimate the damage was done around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
That’s when an alarm sounded from a remote switching unit located just behind the Kings Creek Golf Club, Houston said.
Embarq crews worked all day Tuesday in the mud and rain to restore service to 500 customers by 2 p.m., Houston said.
Leaving another 100 customers in the vicinity of Kings Creek without service, he said. But he expected full service to be restored by end of day, he said.
Anyone who may have been traveling SH 274 between midnight and 1:30 a.m. and may have seen activity in the vicinity of Kings Creek Bridge are urged to call the Henderson County Crime Stoppers at (903) 675-8477 or the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office at (972) 932-4337.

Courtesy Photos/Don Houston
The circle shows the frayed ends of 880 conductors within the insulation. The new cable is connected to the shovel of the backhoe and being driven into place.

New sign for historic bell
Special to The Monitor
KEMP–The First Baptist Church in Kemp announces a special homecoming celebration set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6.
Members of the Oak Grove Baptist Church will also play an important role.
The occasion features the dedication of a new sign, which includes the church’s historic bell.
A recent decision to build a new sign for the church, located at 1320 S. Elm Street across from the Kemp fire station, brought to mind the long history of the church and stories concerning a very special church bell.
There are several versions of the story, but most go like this.
The bell was given to the church in 1920, when its leaders decided to build an education building.
The new building would complement the original structure built in 1884 and plans were adjusted to include a bell tower.
However, in the process of building the education building and tower, the church made an agreement with the Oak Grove Baptist Church to loan them the bell while the construction was ongoing.
Signing the agreement on behalf of First Baptist Church of Kemp were deacons D.H. Creecy, H.L. Guy, E.B. Tuggle and Hood Barryman.
Among those signing the agreement on behalf of Oak Grove was deacon Britt Hayes.
The agreement stated that the bell would be returned when the tower was complete.
For a variety of reasons, the building project was not completed until 1938 and was formally dedicated in November, 1941.
An open-faced bell tower became the bell’s new home.
The bell was faithfully rung every Sunday until 1985, when the bell clapper was stolen.
The theft however, did not deter Horace Williamson from continuing his practice of sounding the bell at precisely 9 a.m.
Instead of ringing it, he used a ball-peen hammer. “This was pretty hard on the bell,” Williamson was quoted as saying.
The new sign and historic bell now stand on the property occupied by a modern multipurpose sanctuary where the church is celebrating its history of “ringing forth the truth since 1882,” during special ceremonies 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6.

Van Zandt is in the black
First time in three years, county improves finances
By Timna Rutledge
Monitor Staff Writer

CANTON–Van Zandt County is in the black, according to auditors Pattillo, Brown and Hill, LLP.
“You were able to delete more debt than what was added this year,” Auditor John Manning reported to commissioners Tuesday, April 24.
It is the first year in the last three the county has achieved a positive fund balance, County Judge Rhita Koches said.
“We do have a recovery plan, and the District and County Clerk had some substantial revenue increases,” Koches added.
Auditors recommended a narrative be added to the county manual to warn employees of procedures designed to protect the county against fraud.
The Salary and Personnel Review Committee is reviewing employee salaries and studying ways to monitor accounting practices to prevent fraud, with its attendant repercussions.
Committee members include Juvenile Probation director Bobby Colacino, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Ozelle Wilcoxson, Koches, County Treasurer Terry Sheppard, Homemade Gourmet human resources director Vicky Slaughter and Precinct 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton.
In other business, commissioners:
• supported the nomination of Tim Gothard as Texas Firefighter of the Year.
Gothard has already been named the regional Firefighter of the Year.
• set a National Day of Prayer ceremony for noon Thursday, May 3, on the courthouse square. A prayer breakfast is set for 6:45 a.m. at the First Baptist Church.
• approved license plates for a new van provided to the Sheriff’s Department via the Abandoned Vehicle Act.
The van was seized by the department several months ago, when it was found transporting illegal aliens.
The department expects to receive another van seized under similar circumstances in the near future.
• passed a resolution requesting the legislature to establish a county Court-at-Law, effective 2010.
The Texas Legislative Council is drafting the bill. The court may repeal or revise the resolution, if it finds the county is not in a financial position to sustain the new court.
• approved a bond for deputy district clerk Sandra Carter.
• approved leasing a Xerox copier for the sheriff’s office, and declared a budget emergency to cover the lease.
• declared a budget emergency to increase funds for equipment purchases from RVI and NetD Online, with the County Records Fund.
• awarded multiple bids for road and bridge work, with contracts for various materials from hot mix to crushed rock.
With several components, such as road oil, commissioners were given leeway to purchase materials needed from the company with the lowest available price at the time materials are ordered.
• awarded a fuel bid to the lone bidder, Chick’s Chevron.
• awarded the office supplies bid to Story-Wright.
• approved budget amendment for county librarian.
• approved the purchase of a DBR 50 boom mower for Precinct 4 from Tripe Blade and Steel. The $66,543 cost includes a Kubota tractor.
• approved funding to rent tower space for two repeater transmitters for the sheriff and fire departments.
The county anticipates getting funds from the South Van Zandt Volunteer Fire Department’s FEMA grant.
The expected grant funds of $74,170 will require a 5 percent local match from the county, totaling $3,708.
The tower is located in Henderson County, just south of the Van Zandt County line.
• set 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, for its next meeting.