Sunday, May 23, 2010



  Pursuit may get city a patrol vehicle
Payne Springs presses seizure proceedings on Chevy Blazer in drug chase
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–Seizure proceedings are underway to claim a 2002 Chevy Blazer following a Payne Springs police pursuit May 7.
Officer Kenny Boyle attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle for failure to signal a right turn off State Highway 198 at about 11:30 p.m., when the driver thought he could evade capture, police chief Tim Meadows retold council members Tuesday.
He said the chase continued through Southwood Shores, included several sharp turns, and a cut through a property in Golden Oaks.
As the Blazer made a sharp right-hand turn into Crawfish Road, an occupant tossed out a rifle, Meadows said.
Boyle didn’t see this occur due to the direction of the turn.
Later, the vehicle made a sharp left turn, and the occupant tossed out something else – this time seen by the officer – which turned out to contain some drugs and cash.
The pursuit came to a successful conclusion with the arrests of Christopher Sean Howell, 37, and Sharon Watkins Ororke, 38.
Howell was charged with evading arrest, possession of a controlled substance less than 1 gram and criminal mischief less than $500.
Ororke was charged with possession of a controlled substance.
A weapons charge is pending, Meadows added.
After questioning, police started searching for the discarded weapon without success through the night.
When in the morning, it was still not found, fire chief Randy Harley offered to use his thermal unit to find the cold metal.
He located it on a Golden Oaks property.
“The rifle will be destroyed, along with the narcotics,” Meadows told the council. “We should be able to keep the vehicle. If it is used as a patrol vehicle, we won’t owe anything. If it is sold, then 30 percent has to be given to the county,” he said.
In a related item, the council decided to pay city officers time and a half for overtime hours and trust Meadows to manage their schedule to avoid as much OT as possible.
In other business, the council:
• accepted the resignation of councilwoman Ethel Hagin and police officer Mark Boyett.
• appointed Ida Zimmerer to replace Hagin on the council. She was sworn in and took her seat.
• hired Ricky Garza as a police officer per the recommendation of Meadows.
• named Michael McDonald mayor pro-tem.


Booster seat law tickets start June 1
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The booster seat law signed into law last June is now going to result in citations for some parents who haven’t complied.
Any child younger than 8 and shorter than four feet, nine inches, or 57 inches tall, has to travel in a booster seat.
Until June 1, officers have only issued warnings, but now the citations begin for noncompliance.
That’s the law and also the best practice from a safety standpoint, according to doctors.
Texas became the 47th state to institute a booster seat law.
Until June 1, police officers have only been issuing warnings. But after June 1, it’s the real thing.
The first violation wins a $25 fine plus court costs. A second offence results in a $250 fine, plus court costs.
“So, it’s cheaper to use the booster seat than to pay the fines,” Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Beth Warren said.
If they are installed correctly and your little one is properly harnessed, your child is much more likely to survive a collision, she said. “And you avoid the ticket.”
Texas is the 47th state, including the District of Columbia, to enact a booster seat law.
The law does not specify what type of car seat has to be used, but in general, most children outgrow car seats with a harness system at 40 pounds, usually around 4 years of age.
Some car seats now have harnesses with higher weight limits. Once a child grows out of the car seat, a booster seat should be used. Booster seats work with the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt.
There are two types of booster seats: high back (for use when the car does not have a headrest in the child’s seating position) and no-back (for use when the car does have a headrest). Booster seats are widely available at area retailers and range in cost from $15 to $45.
According to Dr. Todd Maxson, Trauma Medical Director, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, “children need booster seats until the seat belt fits them properly. Without the booster seat, the seat belt can cause serious, even deadly, injuries during a car crash.”
Maxson supports the new law because of his first-hand experience with improperly restrained children who were injured while wearing an ill-fitting seat belt – which was allowable under the old standards.
Maxson says, “the patients I treat, who are restrained by a seat belt alone, suffer serious injuries to the spine and internal organs, known as seat belt syndrome. Parents were devastated when they learned that the law didn’t match the best practice. This new law now endorses the best practice and provides the appropriate amount of protection for children in crashes.”


Music fest weekend
Monitor Staff Reports

ATHENS–Next weekend, a very special event for music lovers comes to Athens. It’s the 79th annual Old Fiddler’s Reunion, Thursday - Friday, May 27-28, followed by the inaugural Texas Swing Music Festival Saturday at the Cain Center.
Staged on the Courthouse Square every year, the Old Fiddler’s Reunion attracts folks from all around the county and the state.
They bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy the sounds of Texas fiddling at its finest!
Some also bring card tables and dominoes or cards for a gaming repast with old friends, along with fiddles and other string instruments for impromptu jam sessions on the courthouse lawn.
The main attraction is the Fiddler’s Contest, likely the oldest such contest that has run continuously year after year.
This is broken into five divisions - Ages 18 and Under; Ages 19 - 30; Ages 31 - 65; Ages 66 and above; and Ladie’s Division. Each division pays five places.
There will be a play-off between the first place winner of each of the five divisions. The winner of this round will be our Grand Champion. In addition to vendors, there will also be carnival rides for the younger set.
The festivities begin at 9 a.m. and continue until early evening. Following the competition Friday, everyone will have the opportunity to do some energetic toe-tapping during the famous Street Dance in front of the bandstand.
Attending this event is free of charge.
On Saturday, get ready for a rip-roaring goodtime with the firstTexas Swing Festival at Cain Center, 915 S. Palestine Street in Athens.
The free outdoor music festival features live band performances on two stages all day and into the night.
Vendors will also offer crafts, art works and refreshments. Other family activities are also planned.
You won’t want to miss the afternoon when the Texas Swing Dance Competition with Youth, Adult and Senior divisions will take place. Entry fee is $25.
Saturday evening performances include Dallas’ Shoot Low Sherriff and Austin-based Marshall Ford Swing Band featuring State Champion Fiddler Dennis Ludiker.
For more information on this event, call (903) 677-2001.

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