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Current Issue
Sunday,
May 29
, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 
News in Brief

Holiday ad deadlines
The Monitor will be closed Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day, and advertising deadlines have been changed.
The display ad deadline for the Thursday, June 2, issue of The Monitor has passed. Classified ads are due by noon Tuesday, May 31.

Holiday closings
Henderson and Kaufman county offices closed Friday and will be closed Monday, May 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.

ESL summer school
The deadline to enroll children (incoming kindergarten or first grade) with limited English language proficiency for Kemp Primary School summer school classes is Tuesday, May 31. 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. Enrollment forms are available in the Kemp Primary office. Classes will be held at the Kemp Junior High.

Summer food program
Malakoff ISD is participating in the Summer Food Service Program to all children without charge at Malakoff Elementary, 310 North Terry, Malakoff, and at the Oran White Civic Center, 701 North Tool Drive, Tool. Malakoff Elementary will offer breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch from noon to 1 p.m., while the Tool site offers lunch only from 11 a.m. to noon (first come, first served) starting Monday, June 6, through Thursday, June 30.

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.

Pet adoption event
The largest adoption event in East Texas, the PETPALOOZA, is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4, and sponsored by the Henderson County Humane Society and several other East Texas shelters. Activities will go all day. For information, call Melinda Campbell at (903) 675-5543 or e-mail to lona@lonamauk.com.

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 www.lftbcowboychurch.com, or call (903) 675-9177.

VBS at FBC-GBC
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) 880-2488.

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.

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The deadline for submission is 4 p.m. Monday for each Thursday’s issue and 4 p.m. Wednesday for each Sunday’s issue. Announcements will run for four issues (two weeks).
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Top News

Council backs July Fest alcohol

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–A special meeting called to fulfill a campaign promise and to accommodate new city hall builder Sarah Lucksinger drew a large crowd to Brawner Hall Tuesday.
The main event called for rescinding an action taken at the Jan. 11 meeting, allowing coolers (which may contain wine and beer) into the upcoming July Fest for a set fee.
After hearing about a dozen speakers from both sides of the heated debate, council members agreed, 4-1, to leave things as they were previously decided – coolers containing alcohol will be permitted.
“I got a big problem trying to put the poop back into the horse,” new councilman Rodney Beville said as he cast the last vote.
However, even if he had voted the other way, the issue would have come out the same.
“At least I’m not the swing vote, and I can get some sleep tonight,” he added.
The lone opposition came from the other newly elected councilman, Ronnie Johnson.
“I did some research on this issue, and you might be interested to learn that Bedford and San Antonio allow coolers at their city-sponsored park events, but not alcohol,” Johnson said.
Even New York City doesn’t allow alcohol at its New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, he added.
Johnson pointed out that the ticket prices – $5 for kids and free for those younger than 5 – advertise the event as child-friendly.
“We haven’t advertised that alcohol is allowed in coolers,” he said, “only that coolers were allowed.
“Tonight, we are not limiting the sale of alcohol in a restaurant or a bar. We are voting to enforce ordinances we already have – namely no drinking in a city park,” Johnson said. “Considering that the entire event is nine hours, I don’t think it too much to ask.”
However, no one else on the council agreed with his logic.
“We’re about to beat this horse to death,” councilman Curtis Webster said. “The ordinance bars alcohol, with exceptions for a festival, like this one. Let it go on as it was voted in January.”
Councilman Dennis Baade agreed. “We voted in the past and decided on it,” he said. “I don’t see the need to bring this up again.”
With the vote now 2-1, Melvyn Hayes still had difficulty casting his vote with the majority, due to the hall being packed with his fellow church members.
“It’s true that it (2010’s festival, redone in November because of inclement weather) didn’t bring in as many people as we hoped, but it was a new event,” Hayes said. “Putting stoppers in it right off the bat, it probably won’t grow. I apologize to my church members, but I was elected to do what is best for the city. We need to stay with what the council already approved.”
Mayor Dennis Wood denied allegations that the meeting was called on Mabank’s graduation night so fewer people would know about it or come out for it.
Wood explained his logic in setting it when he did, with primary consideration to July 2 being only six weeks away, and secondly because, “I believe that the majority of citizens in Gun Barrel City asked us to take the alcohol away.”
He also pointed out that the city lost a great deal of money on both concert attempts, with only 288 tickets sold for the November date, which allowed alcohol.
“We gave alcohol a chance. I say give family atmosphere its chance,” Wood said. “Many voters were informed on this issue when they voted (May 14) and their view is reflected in the change in council members.”
Each one who signed up got three minutes to have their say before the council deliberated on the matter. City manager Gerry Boren acted as timekeeper.
Each spoke passionately for his/her position, with a majority opposed to alcohol consumption, but the minority gained the most applause for their comments.
Rob Ray, the owner of Rita’s Club, and who lost the most at the two previous concert attempts, quoted Thomas Jefferson: “Organized religion has no place in a country based on individualism and capitalism.”
Fred Kurlander, owner of Solar Screen, who was credited with getting the word out about the meeting, suggested it had been called to “blindside” those who considered the issue closed.
“Don’t bar the greater public who support alcohol consumption at events like these. Why change now?” he asked.
“It’s not the right way to do things in Gun Barrel City – a change of council to change the ordinance. Remember, sales tax is the only source of revenue this city has,” Kurlander pointed out. “Alcohol consumption is what supports the restaurants, bars and retail outlets that provide most the jobs here.”
Voices on the other side of the debate pointed out children learn from the adults around them, adding alcohol should be prohibited from public parks.
Former councilman Keith Crozier asked, “Is this going to be a place where people gather up the kids to a place where they can get drunk?”
“Everyone should be welcome at a public event, and alcohol does not send that kind of message,” Billy Smith added.
David Brown, a recovering alcoholic for 11 years said, “People can’t drink responsibly at an event like this.”
“Who’s going to be responsible for these people drinking and all leaving at the same time? Are the police going to be waiting outside the gates to issue tickets for DWI?” Tom Reneau of Reneau Painting and Remodeling asked. “Last time I checked, you got a DWI after drinking just two beers.”
“The city doesn’t need the added burden of an alcohol-allowed public event,” Christian Life Center pastor Barry Boatright said.

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STAAR replaces TAKS
Spring break changed to accommodate testing
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Spring break has always been planned in March – but not the upcoming school year.
Thanks to the new test, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), which replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test, school calendars across the state are being scrutinized.
Monday, Mabank Independent School District trustees approved a few changes to its 2011-12 school calendar.
Since STAAR testing is set for the fourth week in March, spring break was moved to the first week in April. Easter falls on April 8, 2012.
“This allows us enough time to prepare students for the STAAR,” assistant superintendent Linda McKee, said.
An unrelated calendar change moves the date for returning to school following Christmas break to Monday, Jan. 2, one day earlier than usual. However, students will get an extended time off during the Presidents’ Day weekend, with an early release day, Thursday, Feb. 16, and no school Friday, Feb. 17. Students return to school Tuesday, Feb. 21.
In other business, trustees:
• heard about the second cycle of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Co-op grant.
The district applied for the first cycle of the grant several years back and received $42,000, which went toward the purchase of camping and outdoor gear, such as tents, sleeping bags and coolers.
As a community project the students involved built an information kiosk for Purtis Creek State Park.
The second phase was applied for in 2010, and the district received $28,593.
The funding will be used to maintain the present equipment and to purchase a small trailer for hauling bicycles and other gear.
The program has served more than 200 students from sixth grade through 12th.
• approved the consent agenda which included a budget amendment to accept $7,500 from the Mabank Booster Club.
• approved an out-of-state trip to Anaheim, Calif., for one FCCLA student and chaperon. The student was elected as a state officer and will attend the 2011 National Leadership Conference in that capacity.
• approved the second reading of Mabank ISD Policy DEC (Local) Compensation and benefits.
• approved TVCC’s memorandum of Understanding for the 2011-12 Certified Nursing Assistant Course.
• approved Mabank High School and Texas State Technical College-Waco articulation agreements as presented.
• joined in the Pledge of Allegiance with intermediate students Colton Banghart, Ashli Watkins and Kylee Crist.

Tool seeks petition to dissolve ESD No. 4
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–Another step is now being considered to get rid of Emergency Services District No. 4.
At their regular May 19 session, the Tool city council agreed to attempt putting a petition together to present to the Henderson County Emergency Service District Board, asking for a hearing to consider the dissolution of ESD No. 4.
The petition will require signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters in the city. Suggestions were made on creating a committee to present the petition to Tool voters.
“This is not the action to dissolve the ESD, rather to collect the names for a petition to present to the Henderson County ESD Board, to call a hearing,” Mayor Leland Pitts explained.
“It will then be up to the board to call an election,” Pitts pointed out.
“I think we need to get volunteers (to serve on the committee), not council members,” Councilman A.J. “Red” Phillips said, and council members indicated they agreed with him.
A final judgement in the ongoing dispute between the city of Tool and the ESD No. 4 left both entities unhappy with District Judge Carter Tarrance’s ruling.
Tarrance ruled the city is within the ESD boundaries, and cannot withdraw its taxes by a council action.
At the same time, Tarrance also ruled the $223,057 loan the ESD No. 4 used to build a new fire station should not have been secured by tax revenues without voter approval.
Voters approved the creation of ESD No. 4 May 3, 2003, by a vote of 149 to 29, and the county commissioners canvassed and certified the election May 12, 2003.
In other business, council members:
• authorized Phillips, police chief Warren Losquito and city judge Rhonda Peterson as signators on the city’s bank account.
Pitts works for Citizens State Bank, and is therefore not eligible to be on the signature card.
• canvassed the votes for the May 14 election, and declared incumbents Nathan Reeder and Nelson Wright winners.
• heard police department took 175 calls for service in April, along with 106 citations issued and 28 criminal cases filed; the building department colelcted $1,457.85 in April permit fees; fire rescue answered 22 calls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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