People, Places & Events



Safety is swim teacher’s main concern
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE/MARTINS MILL–Water safety, as well as, an increased interest in swimming is the goal of swimming instructor Stephanie Gurley.
Like most people, Gurley and her husband David, wanted their own pool and so they had one put in.
“But I soon discovered I was scared for my children’s safety,” Gurley admitted.
She attended college to become a court reporter but was diagnosed with a brain tumor before she graduated.
“I figured out what life was about,” she said.
“I didn’t want my kids drowning so I went out and earned my lifeguard credentials,” Gurley said.
“If a parent can’t swim, how can they save their child?” she asked.
Gurley took water safety and the instructor program through Trinity Valley Community College’s Red Cross program.
Gurley is in her sixth year of teaching swimming.
“I believe we all ought to know how to swim. And aquatics is great for your joints,” she said.
In the beginning, she didn’t know what to charge her older clients who were coming for the exercise in her 24,000 gallon pool.
“I just put out a bucket and let them pay what they wanted to,” Gurley admitted.
Benefits vary from the age of the student.
“Children learn how to save themselves, how to save others without risking their own life. It is excellent exercise, and a fun sport,” she explained.
There is a swimming team in the area, Gurley added.
The team swims at Cain Center in Athens and is taught by Athens coach Jonathan Meyer.
“Any high school can have a swim team whether it has a pool or not. As long as someone employed by the school district is with them, they can go to any pool facility,” Gurley explained.
“I just don’t think the area high schools support swimming like they should,” she added.
Gurley also does volunteer work.
“I volunteer to teach water safety to elementary-age children at schools, churches or any other grade school organization,” she said.
Because she believes strongly in the benefits of swimming, she said she would like to see the sport grow.
“I would like to see more kids become involved in swimming,” Gurley said.
“Obesity is a very serious health problem today, and swimming is a healthy physical activity for kids to be involved in,” she explained.
Her youngest students have been six-months-old. She also teaches adults.
Teaching water safety is her first priority.
“I always have a water assistant with me if I have four or more students. My assistant is Aimee Holmes, who was on her Houston high school swim team, she said.
“I teach them to ‘be cool and follow the rules, to reach and throw – don’t go’ and even rescue breathing. Plus, all levels learn to wear a life jacket.” Gurley added.
She gave a word of warning to parents contemplating swimming lessons for their child.
“You can’t expect a child to remember a weekly swimming lesson if they don’t get to practice it. They must have a chance to be exposed to the water,” she explained.
Gurley lives near Martins Mill and can be reached by calling (903) 479-0101.

Courtesy Photo
Kati Morris, a 2007 summer swim student blows bubbles as she swims in
instructor Stephanie Gurley’s pool.

Eustace shops for city attorney
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff writer

EUSTACE–The Eustace City Council is shopping for a city attorney.
Newly-elected councilman Mark Sanders said at the council’s June 5 meeting he had figures showing a total of $51,000 paid to the current city attorney, Blake Armstrong of Tyler.
A retainer of $300 plus an hourly rate of $175 is included in Armstrong’s fee, Sanders said, adding the drive time between Eustace and Tyler is paid by the city.
However, the year-to-date total is only $11,000, with $3,900 of that involving Armstrong, Mayor Laura Ward said.
“He does an extremely good job for the city,” Ward added.
Sanders’ motion to go for bids was seconded by councilman Scott Purl.
“I have no problem with seeking bids, as long as it is not a lowest bid (requirement),” Purl said.
In other business, council members:
• passed 3-1to keep the status quo on the number of keys to city property that are distributed.
Council members Purl, Karyn Mullen and Chuck Powers voted in favor. Sanders opposed.
While the rule on the keys has never been written down, there has always been a history of limiting the number of keys in circulation, Ward said.
Currently the city secretary, the court clerk, the water clerk and the mayor have keys to city property.
“I don’t carry mine. It is locked up in the city safe,” Ward said.
Sanders said he wanted an amendment to require any government elected person to have a key.
According to city policy, and the resolution passed most keys are kept at city hall in a designated place, including the second set of keys to all city vehicles and equipment.
Those authorized to have keys are the water/wastewater superintendent, street and road supervisor, general maintenance and the mayor.
Access keys to the water plant, water tower and water wells are the responsibility of the superintendent.
A log is maintained to show who has the keys.
Access keys to city hall are limited to office personnel and the mayor.
Until the community center is remodeled, access keys will remain at city hall with the city secretary.
• heard a presentation by Police Chief Robert Walker concerning the use of the community center.
Several offices, including his, training areas and other suggestions were presented.
No holding areas for detainees are included, he said.
• approved entering into an agreement with Cedar Creek Lake Animal Shelter in Tool at $12.50 per animal, contingent upon reviewing regulations in use by Log Cabin to be considered by the city later.
The contingency was added by Sanders.
• approved a $1 raise for Officer Shavarr Warren upon completion of his 90-day probation period.
“Shavarr has been a really good officer. He does a really good job,” Ward said.
Sanders suggested the raise be effective immediately, but other council members explained that would violate policy.
• approved creating a Eustace Economic Development Corporation.
Ward was against the item, explaining the residents of the city, at this time, are stretched financially to their limits.
“Establishing (the EDC) will not cost the city anything. Not establishing it will guarantee no progress,” Sanders said.
• accepted the resignation of part-time officer Michael Roach.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Eustace Police Chief Robert Walker presented a model of the community center
with suggestions for offices and training space.

ESD No. 4 gets new members
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners accepted the resignations of two Emergency Services District members Tuesday and appointed two new members to take their place on the Tool district board.
ESD No. 4 members Mike Whorton and Charles Powell tendered resignations.
Commissioners appointed Tamra Brickey and Monty Pennel to the board with terms ending Dec. 31 and Dec. 31, 2009, respectively.
Both ran in the last election for mayor and city council seat.
Brickey has expressed interest in forming an auxiliary to the volunteer fire department. Pennel wants to get involved in the building program, according to fellow board member Larry Moran.
Whorton cited restraints on his time as the reason he’s leaving the district board. He wrote of his regret in making his decision and summarized his service as “educational and rewarding.”
Powell resigned in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall said.
His son-in-law would like to bid on building the new Tool fire station, he explained, (see related story).
In other business, commissioners:
• approved a contract with Wharry Engineering to plan and execute repair of the Courthouse dome, 3-1. Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence opposed.
The contract for services amounts to $7,500 for the engineering plan and $8,600 to oversee the actual work by subcontractors.
• approved a lease agreement with the Public Library Fund, Inc.
• accepted reimbursement of $4,146.64 from Trinidad for road materials.
• paid bills totaling $268,294.06.



Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Nelson. I am a beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever home.

My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new home.

We are a whole litter of Shepherd mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so we have no history. We have been started on our first set of shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.

I am a beautiful Border Collie, who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful kid looking for a new home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at


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