Thursday, May 17, 2007





Propositions pass
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–All the propositions passed this round.
Kemp ISD voters approved a $23 million bond to build a new high school and upgrade various campus buildings.
Seven Points and Payne Springs voters approved propositions to fund much-needed road repairs.
Seven Points voters also agreed to divert a portion of economic development monies towards road repairs.
In Payne Springs, voters okayed a .25 percent increase in sales tax, to be earmarked for maintaining roadways.
And finally, voters statewide approved a proposed state constitutional amendment.
The amendment allows those whose property tax amounts have been frozen, due to age or disability, to take advantage of the recent property tax cuts passed by the state legislature last summer.
However, the wording of the amendment was so difficult to understand, containing a double negative, many voters found it particularly vexing to figure out what it meant.
Those processing voters at the polls had been sworn not to influence anyone’s vote, and so were barred from discussing its possible meaning, even when begged.
Other confusions occurred as voters on the west side of the lake were sometimes called to visit three different polling places to cast their votes for school board, city and county elections.
Taking the advice from the early voters on where to go to vote, some voters tried to cast a vote at the county sub-courthouse, instead of in their voting precinct.
The other issue that became abundantly clear in small cities and schools holding elections was the high cost of each vote cast electronically.
In Seven Points, it worked out to about $100 per vote, when the number of voters using the e-Slate was compared to the cost of its operation.
Rep. Betty Brown will be gathering this type of data to bolster a bill calling for exemptions to the HAVA act for smaller political entities.
Kemp ISD is the only local entity that is conducting a recount because of a close outcome between the Place 5 school board incumbent Chip Chambers – 190 votes – and his challenger, Curtis Donovan, with an unofficial total of 191 votes.
Again, it was not surprising to see the small percentage of voter turnout for this minor election.
In Kaufman County, just 3,147 votes were cast, according to the county’s website. The total number of votes cast in Henderson County was not available at presstime.

Cason makes time for music
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Few passions survive a lifetime, however music is one of them – as demonstrated by Mabank resident David Cason.
Cason, a violinist, recently started teaching music lessons on Wednesday afternoons at the Williams Music Co. in Athens.
This in itself wouldn’t be noteworthy, except for the fact that he’s 77 years young.
His current students range in age from 8 to 62. And he teaches everyone in the same classical style he learned from his music teacher and training at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

David Cason has been playing the violin since he was 5-years-old.
He’s now 77 and loving music more and more.

With credentials like that, you may think he taught music all his life – well, you’d be wrong.
Like many of us, Cason wears, and has worn, many hats throughout his career.
He has been a “printer’s devil,” performing violinist, map maker, typist, photographer, husband and father.
Currently, Cason is employed as a man of varied skills for The Monitor.
Cason was born in Dallas, the year of the Wall Street stock market Crash in ’29 to Marguerite and Lonnie Cason.
His dad got him started with music lessons when he was just 5 years old, bringing home a picture book of instruments and telling him to pick one because he was getting music lessons. “He and my mother both loved music and could play a little piano and mandolin,” Cason said.
“When I was about 12 or 13, I studied violin at SMU, under Josephine Gresham and her husband Phillip Williams till I went into the Army in 1951,” Cason recalls.
At about the same time, Cason’s father, who worked as a linotype operator for the Dallas Times Herald, introduced him to his trade. Cason became a printer’s devil.
“I shagged metal and looked over the machines,” he said. “It wasn’t difficult for a young boy to get a job then, as employees were very scarce,” he explained.
“All the men (old enough to work) were in the service,” Cason added. “It was all right, but it really got interesting when the men returned from World War II, and I got to hear their stories.”
Cason was 16 when the war ended, and he continued working with the printers until that special age that signified to the government he was a young man. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, and served 24 months.
“The term for being drafted was 21 months, but my term was extended three additional months,” he said.
“I served in the first NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) troops,” he said.
Basic training was spent at Fort Belvoir, Va., the engineering center for the U.S. Army, he explained.
Cason served with an engineering group that made topographical maps while he was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.
After collecting the necessary information, they parked somewhere secluded and printed them in the back of a truck.
After his discharge from military service, Cason attended the New England Conservatory of Music for five years.
He got to study under world-renown symphonic concert master Richard Burgin.
“He was one of the greatest musicians in the world,” Cason said.
Following graduation, he fell back on his old press experience, spending the next six years working at newspapers in Washington D.C.
“They called us ‘tramp printers’ because we moved around a lot,” he said.
In that position, Cason worked at The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Washington Star, Indianapolis Star, St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Dallas Times Herald and The Dallas Morning News.
During these years, he met and married his first wife, and they had a son. However, the marriage didn’t last.
And then finally in 1966, Cason got to live out the dream of playing with an orchestra. From 1966 to 1992, Cason played with the Mesquite Symphony.
“That was something I really liked to do. That was my real passion,” he admitted. “It was a good orchestra.”
Cason was sorry to leave them in 1992, but did because he had lost part of his hearing for the higher register.
In 1967, he married his wife, Grace. It must have been true love because at the time Grace had eight children, ranging in age from 4 to 16.
The couple went on to add two girls of their own, making a large “yours, mine and ours” family of 11 children.
As time went on, graduations and weddings reduced the number somewhat.
“But for a little while, we had them all, and there’s been a crowd in the house ever since,” he joked.
There was a period when he didn’t spend much time playing his violin.
“The main reason was I had to make a living, and I was good at printing,” Cason said.
But he always loved his music, and kept his amateur standing, even though he sometimes played for friends at graduations and weddings.
Over the years, he has passed that passion on to approximately 30 to 40 students, he said.
Most of his students have moved on, but he doesn’t know if they were able to continue with their music.
He said he remembered twin girls who took lessons from him and they are teaching music in public school today, he said.
“Music is a real personal enjoyment for me. It introduces one to the world and different cultures,” Cason said.
Music also becomes a unifying language.
“When people from China, Russia and Africa, can all sit down and express the same thing in music – to me, it just makes the world a lot smaller,” he said.
Cason is an active member of the community, serving as the sergeant-at-arms in the Athens chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
He has performed often on holidays with local pianist and music teacher Kay Williams.
Cason is a member of The First Baptist Church in Mabank, where he plays for Sunday services, sometimes with the congregation singing along.
He is involved with other artists in the preludes and specials for both morning services.
“We have a neat little ensemble – (there are) flutes, oboes, a trumpet and two violins. We have some real good people,” he noted.


Pie in the face raises funds
Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Who wouldn’t want to put a pie in the face of a banker for all the times banks have turned you down for a loan? This fun change collecting challenge pitted area bankers against one another for fun and fund-raising on behalf of the area Chamber of Commerce.
The “Pie in the Face” winner was Ralph Fortner of Southside Bank. He raised the highest dollar amount in the fund-raiser.
Tate Cramm received the most pennies, earning the right to throw the pie.
Another $25 was added to the pot when Cramm decided to auction off his privilege.