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Current Issue
May 26
, 2011






News in Brief

Holiday ad deadlines
The Monitor will be closed Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day, and advertising deadlines have been changed.
Display ads for the Thursday, June 2, issue of The Monitor are due by 4 p.m. Friday, May 27, and classified (word ads) are due by noon Tuesday, May 23.

Holiday closings
Henderson and Kaufman county offices will close both Friday and Monday, May 27-30, for Memorial Day. Van Zandt County offices will close Monday only.
Eustace, Gun Barrel City, Kemp, Mabank, Payne Springs, Tool and Seven Points city offices will close Monday.

Fiddlers’ Reunion
80th annual Fiddlers’ Reunion takes place on the Athens Courthouse Square Thursday (today) and Friday, May 27. Free. Concessions, carnival rides, street dance Friday night. Bring a lawn chair.

Tornado victims fundraiser
The Family Dollar Store in Gun Barrel City, 701 W. Main St., is holding a mini carnival to raise funds for the victims of the Alabama and Missouri tornados from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28. Baked goods, snow cones, games, car wash proceeds as well as donations will be sent to the American Red Cross. For more information, call (903) 880-5027.

Westside center
The Westside Senior Center is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday (today and every Thursday), at the Cedar Creek Bible Church (700 North Seven Points Boulevard) Activities Building, one mile north of Seven Points traffic light. Lake area seniors 55 and older can enjoy a light lunch, coffee, tea, snacks, card and domino games, exercise, fellowship and many other activities. For information call (903) 340-9672.

AL baked potato night
Build your own spud at the American Legion Auxiliary stuffed baked potato night at the Legion Post 310 in GBC from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 27. Your donation includes a large baked potato, salad and desserts.

VFW chili cook-off
VFW Post 4376, Seven Points, is hosting a chili cook-off benefitting needy veterans and their families. Cooking opens at 8 a.m., with judging at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28. All chili must be prepared on-site and no beans in the chili. Also, a bean contest will be held for an additional fee, but beans do not have to be cooked on-site. Activities include family games, dunkin’ booth, horseshoes and a lot more. For information, call the VFW at (903) 432-2138 or Mary at (903) 802-7388.

Largest bois-d’arc
Deadline is Saturday, May 28, to enter your largest bois-d’arc tree in Kaufman County, commonly known as a horse apple tree. Measure 4.5 feet from the ground, or where stems start to split, and send measurement to Kaufman County Urban Forester Pam Corder, P.O. Box 43, Rosser, TX 75157, or you may e-mail to  For information call (469) 285-3370.

PSUMC fellowship
The Payne Springs United Methodist Church monthly fellowship starts with a covered dish meal at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, followed by “Always Abounding” gospel music led by Billy House. The public is invited. The church is located across from the PSVFD on SH 198. For information call (903) 451-3131 or (903) 451-2978.

Arena dedication
Rope, Catch, and Ride for Christ Cowboy Church Arena Team plans a dedication of its arena from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the church. Drive north on SH 198 and turn right on CR 2807. The Cowboy Church looks like a red barn and is on the right. The dedication will honor the late Larry Hardgrave, who spent the last years of his life making the dream of the church a reality. For information call Peggy Haverly at (903) 887-2129.

Spring barrel race
The Living for the Brand Cowboy Church is hosting a Spring Fling Barrel Race Sunday, June 5, at the church on North Loop 7, Athens. Open 5D and Youth 4D, with 100 percent payback. For information visit the website,  or call (903) 675-9177.

Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church GBC is set for 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 6-10, for age 3 through sixth grade. The theme is the “Big Apple Adventure.” For information call (903) 887-6887, ext. 3.

Scholarships offered
The Lone Star Republican Women will award two scholarships, one for $1,000 and one for $500. Deadline for submission is Tuesday, June 7. Must be a single mother attending college or trade school with a GPA of 2.5 or greater and live in Henderson County. For information or an application form, call Ruby Fournet at (903) 498-3058.

ESL summer school
The Kemp Primary School is offering a summer school for children with limited English language proficiency who will be enrolled in kindergarten or first grade in the fall. Classes will meet from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 6 through June 23, and again from July 11 through July 28. Children who attend will be offered breakfast and lunch. Deadline to enroll is Tuesday, May 31. Forms are available in the Kemp Primary office. Classes will be held at the Kemp Junior High.

News in Brief policy
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Top News

JP arrested on burglary charge
Monitor Staff Reports

KAUFMAN–Kaufman County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Eric Williams was arrested Tuesday on a charge of burglary of a building.
Sheriff David Byrnes reported the arrest in a news release issued Tuesday.
County IT (information technology) director George York reported the possible theft of county property – computer components – from the IT office May 16.
An investigation over the next eight days developed evidence that the missing property was taken by Williams, Byrnes reported.
422nd District Judge B. Michael Chitty issued an arrest warrant and search warrant for Williams’ office and personal vehicle. The search turned up the missing components, Byrnes reported.
Williams was arrested and transported to the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center. As of presstime late Tuesday, a bond had not been set.
Williams was elected in November, 2010, and took office Jan. 1.

Eric Williams

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Toys for Tots starts fundraising campaign for Gun Barrel City youth

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Gun Barrel City patrol officer Kevin Roberts (left) guards jailbirds (from left) Paul Lyons, Dennis Baade, Harold Brunerand and Steve Shorrock until they posted $1,300 in bonds for the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser. The drive provides children with a Christmas gift who wouldn't have one otherwise. Donations are still being accepted at the Gun Barrel City Police Department.


County successfully saves $2 million for general fund
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Midst growing concerns over budget shortfalls, at least one entity is beginning to see a little black ink on its budget books.
Monday, Kaufman County commissioners were told the general fund isn’t out of trouble yet, but it’s looking a lot better.
In a seven-month comparison, the strict budgeting of department heads, an increase in the tax collection, the county employee furlough days and the decrease in the Road & Bridge budget all contributed to a $2 million savings in the general fund, County Judge Bruce Wood said.
“That shows we are on the right path, and that’s good news,” he said.
He expressed his thanks to commissioners, other elected officials and employees for their belt-tightening efforts.
Tax revenues collected for 2009-10 totaled $28,026,167; for the same seven-month period in the 2010-11 cycle, $28,853,383 was collected, an increase of $827,216.
But, the largest gain is in the expense column, at $19,997,578, compared to the first seven months of the fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget.
Expenses in the first seven months of the FY 2011 budget totaled only $18,758,114, a difference of $1,239,464.
Adding the differences together brings the total savings over last year’s budget to $2,066,680.
In other business, commissioners:
• authorized FPL Energy Services, Inc. to do a preliminary facility audit at no charge to find ways to save on utility costs and to make recommendations.
• heard a proposal from Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mike Smith to create a juvenile case manager for each Justice of the Peace, and assessing a $5 fee per citation to pay salaries and other needs.
The justices have been discussing this need for a few months, he said.
“The truancy problem has skyrocketed,” he said before citing the number of cases needed in order to authorize the position of case manager.
“It will take at least a year to collect approximately $10,000 to be used for salary in each office,” he said.
While commissioners agreed it was a good idea, they tabled any action until they could flesh out the details of such a plan.
They set it for discussion at a called meeting set for Tuesday, May 31.
• heard a presentation on Habitat for Humanity by Beverly Stibbens.
• approved the Health Matters preventative health program, a wellness service for county employees.
The presentation on keeping employees healthy was made by Roberto (Bob) Enrique.
• heard an update on the collection of delinquent JP fees and fines, as presented by attorney Jeff Brown.
The delinquent fees collected in Precincts 1, 2 and 4 ranged from $2,200 to $3,812.
However, delinquent fees collected in Precinct 3 were in excess of $17,000.
“The total increase collected in 2011 over the same period in 2010 was $227,932.14,” Brown said, adding his office will present monthly reports.
• accepted the treasurer’s report for April, as presented by Johnny Countryman.
• accepted the April tax assessor/collector report, as presented by Richard Murphy.
To date, $27,801,063 was collected for the general fund and $2,693,991 for Road and Bridge.
Those amounts represent 93 percent of the current taxes collected, he said.
• accepted the canvass results for the local option election allowing bingo games for charitable purposes in Precinct 2 (Forney area) and to legalize the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption in the city of Terrell.
Voters in the city of Crandall turned down the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption, as well as the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants.
• paid bills totaling $997,381.70.
































































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