People, Places & Events



Man drowns in lake
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Henderson County officials recovered the body of a 20-year-old Seven Points man, who drowned in Cedar Creek Lake while swimming off the Eastwood Isle Property Owners Association’s park in Gun Barrel City late Monday afternoon, June 16.
According to Henderson County Sheriff’s Office information officer Lt. Pat McWilliams, the young man, identified as Gregory Eugene Fields (also known as Greg Wagner) was swimming with a 14-year-old friend off the POA park.
The young friend decided to swim from an inflatable raft to the park’s pier, but looked back to see Fields in difficulty, and disappearing under the water, McWilliams reported.
The youth immediately called 911 near 3:45 p.m., McWilliams said. Volunteer firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and state game wardens all responded to the call. About 35 water vehicles and one helicopter joined in the search.
Using a sonar imager, sheriff’s deputies spotted what was thought to be Fields’ body at 5:33 p.m. close to where he disappeared, and game wardens recovered the body near 7:15 p.m., McWilliams reported.
“It was a really tragic deal,” McWilliams added. “He was in 18 feet of water, but only 50 or 60 feet from shore.”
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock held a brief inquest, and ordered Fields’ body taken to the Southwestern Institute for Forensic Medicine in Dallas for an autopsy.
(Editorial note: This article did not appear in its entirety last issue. So The Monitor has reprinted it. We regret the omission.)

Couple escapes injury when
truck slides into lake

Monitor Photos/Kerry Yancey
ABOVE: A 2003 Mazda pickup rests upside down at the bottom of a riprap slope
after smashing off a tree and through the underbrush as it slid off U.S. Highway
175 and into Cedar Creek Lake during a heavy thunderstorm around 1:45 p.m.
Tuesday. BELOW: Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo (center) speaks with the
two passengers, who said they were westbound on the highway when their pickup
hydroplaned as they approached the last bridge, just east of the Kemp city water
treatment plant. “I think we can attribute it to the heavy rain,” Clemmo said later.
Although shaken and wet, the young couple escaped injury.

On-line access to tax and court docs coming soon
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Soon Henderson County citizens will be able to download information from their computers that they are currently getting by making a time-consuming trip to county offices.
Commissioners approved two contracts with NET Data for tax records access and Tyler Technologies for judicial records.
The contracts are going to cost the county $9,000 and $49,365, respectively.
The latter cost for court documents will come out of the County Attorney’s discretionary funds.
County IT Director Betty Spencer told commissioners Tuesday that making the tax records available online will save time and money in the long run as the 17 title companies and more than 600 mortgage companies in the county will be able to view property tax information without tying up a tax office employee.
Net Data will construct links from the county website to enable the public to access the data via the Internet
The $9,000 service does not require an annual maintenance fee or any support cost, Spencer said.
It will also automate the property tax paying process, as the system will also be able to accept credit card payments on-line.
Spencer reported credit cards were used to make tax payments totaling $345,339.

EDC to make ‘a walk in the park’
easy again

By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation signed a formal agreement with the city Tuesday to improve existing walking trails around the city park.
Directors also discussed two other items – providing funding for the long-delayed S.O. Sportsplex project and expanding/lighting the ballfields at the city park.
All three of those projects were among five priority items determined by the EDC and the Gun Barrel City Council during a special joint workshop meeting June 14.
The other two priority items the two panels agreed to pursue were public tennis courts and a major multiple-use pavilion, similar to Mabank’s facility in George Watts Park.
Under the agreement with the city, the EDC will spend up to $27,100 to improve the existing walking trails to eight feet wide, and also install two recycled benches, as well as three kid’s workout stops along the trails.
“Basically, this is being done in-house,” EDC board president Steve Webster said.
Street superintendent Mike Horton will be overseeing the walking trails improvement, as well as installing the benches and workout stops.
“When we finish, the city will invoice us, and we’ll pay,” Webster explained.
Board members also briefly discussed developing a Frisbee® golf course in the area enclosed by the walkway.
City manager Gerry Boren said a flying disc golf course would be inexpensive to develop.
Turning to the ballfields, directors heard one of two existing softball fields has lights, and a T-ball field next to the adult fields remains mostly unused.
That T-ball field could be developed into an adult-size softball facility, and lights on all three fields will enable the city to host tournaments, Boren said.
Boren added he will be asking the city council to consider establishing a new parks coordinator position in the fiscal year (FY) 2009 budget, which opens Oct. 1.
Board treasurer Dennis Baade said the EDC will need to consider its FY 2009 budget in July, to allow time for tweaking and submitting the budget to the city council for approval.
That may require a budget workshop, or the board may want to schedule a special meeting, Webster said.
“We’ve got a lot on our plate,” he pointed out.
In other business, the board:
• discussed the S.O. Sportsplex project at length, but took no action, pending further discussions with local lender Franklin Bank.
Funding difficulties have held up the indoor soccer facility project for nearly two years, and during the joint workshop, the city council made it clear they wanted that project to go forward, possibly through the EDC putting up some collateral.
Webster asked Baade, consultant Jack Thompson and board member Sandy Janow to speak with Franklin Bank representatives, offering to put up a $300,000 certificate of deposit to back the project.
Janow said he had a source of private funding, which would make it possible for the EDC to build its own structure (it owns the land, located across Municipal Drive from the East Texas Medical Center-Cedar Creek Lake) and then lease it out.
Janow said he had to let his people know immediately, and Webster said the EDC was already under an agreement that lasts until July 17.
“After that agreement expires, we’ll have all the flexibility in the world,” Webster said. “That is a way we could go, but not a way we could go tonight.”
• heard Boren report he will be meeting with two professional land-use planners to help formulate a long-range land-use plan for the city.
Cautioning that land-use is not zoning, Boren said he hoped to bring the EDC, the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the council together “to look ahead, so we can plan where to put the roads.”
With a land-use plan in place, the city can seek park grant funding from the East Texas Council of Governments and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Boren explained.
• heard Thompson report a $90,000 project is underway to build a 60-room motel along Main Street (State Highway 334) near the Big Chief Landing.
“We did confirm they had secured the Holiday Inn Select name,” Thompson said. Plans are not far enough along for the developers to be approaching the EDC with a formal project request, he added.
• heard Thompson report on a proposed retail/restaurant project on a tract of land next to Southside State Bank off Welch Lane.
The project would have approximately 33,000 square feet of retail space next to the proposed new Brookshire’s grocery, Thompson said, cautioning that Tyler-based Brookshire’s has not yet officially committed to building a new store.
“We’ve talked to Brookshire’s, and they’re definitely coming,” he said. “We just don’t know when.”
The group developing the retail center also handled the Chili’s restaurant and CVS pharmacy projects across from Wal-Mart, Thompson said.
• agreed to continue efforts toward applying for certified retirement community status.
• agreed to drop plans to pursue continuing education programs, as Baade said a 2004 survey by the area chamber of commerce received just 16 replies from 85 businesses surveyed.
• agreed to pay $1,500 in expense reimbursement for Thompson’s recent visit to the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, Nev.
Thompson said he was able to make contact with many of the more than 50,000 retailers and developers attending the annual convention.


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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