Thursday, May 29, 2008





EHS student jailed
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–A Eustace senior was arrested a week before graduation and taken into custody.
Eustace Police Chief Robert Walker felt he had enough evidence to charge the 18-year-old with making a terroristic threat May 22.
Rumors of the existence of a “hit list” resulted in Chris Underhill being removed from the general school population and placed in the Discipline Alternative Education Program for his own safety.
As rumor and speculation heightened, students harassed Underhill with questions about the list and if they were on it.
Following Underhill’s arrest, Eustace High School Principal Stan Sowers was still “putting out fires,” fielding calls from school groups and parents.
“No actual list was ever found,” Sowers said.
He hoped the situation would simmer down once Underhill was transferred to DAEP, but it resurfaced.
Underhill had been attending DAEP for nearly a week with school security escorting him to and from school.
“He was taken out of the general population in his best interests, and he was happy with that,” Sowers said.
However, soon students in DAEP began telling school officials that Underhill was making threatening comments.
That’s when the police stepped up its investigation of the matter, interviewing a student at DAEP.
“The police were involved from the get-go,” Sowers said.
Sowers knew the arrest would take place the morning of May 22, and he initiated a “code orange” until the young man was taken into custody.
“At no time was the school under lock down. We were just cooperating with police during the arrest,” Sowers said.
A “code orange” nixes any activities on the grounds outside the school and places a staff member at each entrance to monitor the movement of students in transit, Sowers explained.
As a precautionary measure, the code will continue in place until school is dismissed for the summer, he said.
“We, the staff and students, don’t have any fears. We’re not chasing ghosts or running away from ghosts. Everything is pretty much normal,” he told The Monitor May 23.
Most of the staff have known Underhill for a long time, he said, and know to take what he says with a grain of salt.
“No one really knows how these things get started.
“A lot of it is speculative,” Sowers said.
As of Tuesday, Underhill was still in custody at the Henderson County Jail with a bond set at $50,000.

Mabank’s long-awaited road widening project underway
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Work crews are hard at work installing channels, boring and excavating tunnels under U.S. Highway 175, and setting drainage boxes in Mabank as part of the long-awaited road widening of State Highway 198.
While only about a mile of roadway is being widened from two lanes to five lanes, the project encompasses miles of channels and drainage structures to move storm water out of the city and eventually back to Cedar Creek.
“We’ll be lowering the street level so water will flow toward the drainage structures going in along both sides of the road,” Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) project manager Gary Whitton said.
When completed, the two-year $7 million public works project will greatly enhance the city’s economic outlook.
Mabank Economic Development executive director Scott Confer said he’s had a steady stream of inquiries since the project was let for bid..
“There are many people interested in development here and adding to the vitality in Mabank,” he said.
Work actually began on the two-year-plus project April 15, and has continued mostly out of the traveling public’s view.
Behind the Middle School, a new rock-lined drainage channel runs toward the new high school.
Another drainage structure is being constructed at the end of Mt. Vernon Street, in anticipation of a second school road being built primarily for bus traffic.
There are eight major drainage structures to be installed – all will bring storm water runoff from city neighborhoods into the main drainage along SH 198.
“You always start from the outside in,” Whitton explained.
Whitton is responsible for the efficient and cost-effective working of the project. He also assures affected businesses will continue to have access to traffic flow throughout the widening project.
The one-mile section being affected runs from Enterprise Car rental to the U.S. 175 overpass.
Traffic shouldn’t be unduly inconvenienced for another two months, he said.
But when work moves to the narrow two-lane section of SH 198 through the downtown area, motorists can expect daily lane closures, with flagmen directing traffic.
“Plan for delays,” Whitton said.
City officials, including fire and police officers, are forging an emergency response plan for every phase of the project to insure public safety, Mabank public works director Ronnie Tuttle said.
“We’re examining every contingency and planning for it,” he said. Conversations with contractor Texas Sterling, city officials and Whitton take place daily to keep everyone informed, he added.
Additionally, the public will be kept informed on any traffic pattern changes, Whitton said.
The project is expected to be completed in June, 2010, but the schedule will be adjusted to take in actual field conditions as necessary.
“We’re not sure exactly what’s down there,” Tuttle said.
City records going back to the ’30s and ’40s may be incomplete, and there may be a number of now-unknown gas or water lines running under or very near the street, Tuttle explained.
“This is a major undertaking, and it takes time and care,” Tuttle added.
“In the not-too-distant future, Mabank is going to have a fresh, brighter look with a wide highway and sidewalks,” Confer said.
During the project, if anyone has concerns or questions, Whitton invites them to call him at (903) 887-0017 and leave a message.
“I return all my calls,” he said.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
A crane stands ready to lower concrete pipe through
a bore under SH 198. The work is one small part of a
$7 million TxDoT road-widening and storm drainage
project in Mabank.

Log Cabin teen indicted for rape
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A Log Cabin teenager was indicted on three counts of rape by the Henderson County Grand Jury.
Jose Wilbanks Rojas, w/m (white male), 19, from Log Cabin, indicted for Aggravated Sexual Assault/Aggravated Sexual Assault/Aggravated Sexual Assault by the grand jury during a session May 22.
The indictment against Rojas was one of 36 True Bills returned by the grand jury, according to information released by District Attorney Donna R. Bennett.
Other indictments were returned against:
• Dennis Ray Wood III, w/m, 24 from Seven Points, indicted for Assault on a Public Servant; also indicted for Harassment of a Public Servant (repeat offender enhancement on both indictments).
• Kacey Dale Hankins, w/f (white female), 20, from Eustace, indicted for Injury to a Child; also indicted for Endangering a Child.
• Jason Lindall Cook, w/m, 27, from Kemp, indicted for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (repeat offender enhancement).
• Joshua Harold Golmon, w/m, 30 from Athens, indicted for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child; also indicted for Aggravated Kidnapping/Aggravated Kidnapping; also indicted for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (repeat offender enhancement on all three indictments).
• Karie Sue Redden, w/f, 36, from Mabank, indicted for Abandoning/Endangering a Child (two indictments).
• Tara Lynn White, w/f, 50, from Gun Barrel City, indicted for Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger.
• William Joseph Standard, w/m, 29, from Seagoville, indicted for Burglary of a Building (two indictments).
• Shonda Nicole Smith, w/f, 22, from Mabank, indicted for Burglary of a Habitation.
• Johnny Lee Givan Jr., w/m, 18, from Eustace, indicted for Burglary of a Building.
• Kevin Jay Dooley, w/m, 38, from Crandall, indicted for Possession of Marijuana.
• Michael Lee Stephenson, w/m, 42, from Kilgore, indicted for Theft Over $1,500 (habitual offender enhancement).
• Debra Lee Newton, w/f, 56, from Athens, indicted for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Two Prior State Jail Convictions.
• Cynthia Sue Christopher, w/f, 50, from Mabank, indicted for Burglary of a Building with Two Prior State Jail Convictions; also indicted for Credit/Debit Card Abuse with Two Prior State Jail Convictions.
• Blaine Anthony Christopher, w/m, 20, from Athens, indicted for Burglary of Habitation (three indictments); also indicted for Burglary of a Building (four indictments); also indicted for Credit/Debit Card Abuse.
• Brian Carasco Santillan, w/m, 25, from Seven Points, indicted for Possession of a Prohibited Substance in a Correctional Facility.
• Wesley Wade Black, w/m, 37, from Athens, indicted for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (habitual offender enhancement).
• Rocky Dewayne Rogers, w/m, 37, from Murchison, indicted for Possession of a Controlled Substance; also indicted for Escape; also indicted for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver/Possession of a Controlled Substance (habitual offender enhancement on all three indictments).
• Truman Kevin Sloan, w/m, 30, from Kemp, indicted for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Two Prior State Jail Convictions.
• Terrie Louise Gray, w/f, 34, from Kemp, indicted for Driving While Intoxicated with a Child Passenger.

An evening of music in the park

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
The city of Kemp had its first “Concert in the Park” event Saturday, providing
local entertainment during the Memorial Day weekend. The Kemp High School
Yellow Jacket band, led by KHS music director Kenneth Pointer, provided a program
of popular hits. Mayor Billy Teel (not pictured) said he hopes to see other similar
events staged at the new city park pavilion in the near future.

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