Sunday, June 14, 2009




  Brookshire armed robber indicted
Armed-robbery suspect held in county crime spree
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–A Tyler man accused of robbing the Malakoff Brookshire’s gas kiosk twice within a month last year was indicted for Aggravated Robbery last week by the Henderson County Grand Jury.
Aaron Lamon Muse, 40, was the suspect in multiple armed robberies in towns including Malakoff, Athens, Murchison, Lindale and Mineola in a spree that lasted from November, 2008, to January.
Muse was arrested in January by Tyler police. He was on parole for a 1988 armed robbery charge.
Muse is suspected of holding up the Malakoff Brookshire’s in late November using a silver gun in that robbery, a fact which links all the crimes together. Then late in December, the Brookshire’s gas kiosk in Athens was robbed, and two days later the suspect came back and hit the Malakoff Brookshire’s again.
Malakoff Police Sgt. Floyd Thomas was instrumental in linking the Henderson County robberies to similar cases Smith and Wood counties.
On Jan. 2, two stores in Lindale and Mineola, a Family Dollar and Super Food Mart, respectively, were robbed.
Thomas read about those crimes in the Tyler paper and noticed similarities to the local robberies. When video from surveillance cameras in Mineola and Lindale were reviewed, it showed what appeared to be the suspect carrying the same gun, driving the same vehicle and wearing the same clothes as the suspect in the Henderson County robberies.
Muse was finally caught when a police officer in Mineola saw a truck sitting by the side of the road on Jan. 2 and called in the license plate number as a matter of routine. A short time later, the Super Food Mart robbery occurred.
Using the information obtained from the license plate check, police were able to get Muse’s name and track him to a residence in Tyler.


Forney bridge project gets $10M
State Highway 34 bridge in Terrell loses in tie vote
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN– Representatives of two bridge projects in Kaufman County packed the courtroom, competing for $20 million in highway funds.
The $20 milllion was assigned to Kaufman County by the North Central Texas Council of Governments for “shovel ready” projects.
The money comes from fees collected on toll roads.
After hearing from Terrell and Forney supporters, commissioners approved $10 million for the Forney Parkway Bridge.
Competing for the highway money was the State Highway 34 bridge in Terrell.
A tie vote, with County Judge Wayne Gent casting the deciding vote, awarded the funds to the Forney project.
Commissioner Ray Clark and Jim Deller supported the Forney project. Commissioners Jerry Rowden and J.C. Jackson opposed.
The $20 million does not affect Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) money or plans for the county.
“This will not reduce their already scheduled funded projects for 2011 and 2012,” Gent explained.
“Which of the projects (at Forney or Terrell) represent the greatest risk to public safety?” Terrell Mayor Hal Richards asked.
Richards then questioned the reasoning for putting off the Terrell project, adding the $10 million would not complete the project, therefore a $10 – $10 split would not be reasonable.
“The right decision for the county should be clear,” he said.
Other speakers included Forney Mayor Darren Rozell who said “more money was coming in later.”
“State Highway 34 is ready to go, having passed regional air quality tests and other required inspections, while Forney has not,” he argued.
The SH 34 bypass, also known as the Kaufman Thoroughfare project, of which the Terrell bridge is a part, has been in the planning stages and deemed a crucial need for about 40 years, Rowden said.
“A vote for Forney (bridge project) – you may as well tear up the KC Thoroughfare plan,” and with that he shredded the map showing the project.
The Terrell bridge is the biggest safety factor of all, he said and he challenged commissioners to search their hearts.
“There is a great need to move forward so we don’t lose these funds,” Gent reminded.
Gent was referring to the NCTCOG requirements that only projects that are “ready to roll” be considered now.
A NCTCOG workshop was set for Wednesday with Jackson and Clark attending. There is still $10 million “floating around out there,” Gent said.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved the purchase of 60 “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” campaign signs at a cost of $22 each.
• acknowledged the Collections Department being named the “Collections Program of the Year,” for the new strategies that earned the most dramatic increase in revenue for 2007-08.
Treasurer Johnny Countryman accepted the award and gave credit to his staff.
• approved the deputation of Brent Ryan Johnson as Precinct 2 Deputy Constable.
• approved a citizen request to TxDoT to conduct a traffic study on the intersection of CR 237 and SH 80 to consider installing a traffic control device in Precinct 3.
• approved a request from Embarq to install communications cable across or under CR 4023 in Precinct 4.
• paid bills, that included more than one week, totaling $1,027,229.24.


Kemp hires a fire marshal
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–A city fire marshal conducts safety inspections for new businesses and, in Kemp’s case, the new high school.
Kemp city administrator James Stroman described the duties of the new city fire marshal, Joshua Hidschman, whose hiring was approved by the city council Tuesday.
Hidschman is certified and has already helped the city with inspections at the new high school, Stroman said.
Hidschman lives in Crandall and works as a fireman and emergency medical technician (EMT) with the Balch Springs Fire Department.
He is also a member of the Crandall Volunteer Fire Department and serves as fire marshal in Crandall.
Hidschman replaces Kemp Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bryan Beavers, who resigned as fire marshal May 18.
Beavers remains the KVFD chief.
In other business, council members:
• observed Todd Weber take the oath of office as a council member.
• named councilwoman Barbara McFaul mayor pro tem.
• reassigned the city’s trash pickup contract with Nature’s Call to IESI, who has bought out the former carrier.
• received department head reports, including court report as presented by municipal judge Regina Kiser.
She reported $9,795.82 paid into the general fund, $152.37 into the security fund and $195.19 into the technology fund.
She also reported her office has collected $22,000 on “old warrants.”
“They don’t ever go away,” Kiser said adding that some of the warrants were dated pretty far back.
• heard an update from Police Chief Richard Clemmo.
He has been working on a “Safer Community” J.A.G. project grant to be submitted by Aug. 1, with a response expected after Oct. 1, he said.
Renovations of the police department have begun, he said.
“They’re making a better working area and adding a more secure area for records,” he added.
• approved the submission of the J.A.G. grant to the Criminal Justice Division.
• approved a contract with Southern Software for an integrated report and dispatch system.
“This program is very good. Most (law enforcement) agencies are going with it,” Clemmo said.
The program is easy to use and three officers are going in for training, he added.
• discussed possible changes to the pavilion-use policy, including a deposit fee for large gatherings to be used if cleaning up by city employees is necessary, setting the number in a group to be charged the fee, the return of the deposit if the clean up is not necessary and placement of a sign stating the rules.
Usage of the park is increasing, with more people meaning less vandalism as vandals avoid witnesses, several council members commented.
“I’m happy we have the playground equipment that people can use,” McFaul said.
• set a number to each council member for future elections. Odd-numbered places will be up in 2010.
Place No. 1 is occupied by Jessie Morton; No. 3 byTodd Weber; No. 5 by Leodis Buckley.
Even numbered places have terms up in 2011. They are: Place No. 2 - Jerry Hazelip; and No. 4 - Barbara McFaul.
• heard plans for the July 4 city event sponsored by the Business and Civic Organization. An old-fashioned picnic in the park is the centerpiece of the event, group president Dianna Clemo said. The event also marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of the organization.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, June 27, the Miss Kemp Pageant, featuring 18 high school seniors, will be held at the Kemp HS Cafeteria. Tickets cost $10 each and include a barbecue meal or just $2 without the meal, she said. Funds will benefit the scholarship program.

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