Sunday, July 1, 2007







Flooding rains rake area
Monitor Photos/Linda K. Holt and Kerry Yancey

Wind shear toppled trees onto Ray Lambert’s County Road 4024 residence, truck and stock fencing Wednesday. Waterlogged grounds also prevent him from harvesting his hay – in a June that will probably go down as the wettest in Texas history.





A rapidly moving storm front descends on Kemp, as shown in this photo taken from the westbound lane of U.S. 175.










BELOW: Candice Monk (pointing) and W. Market Street neighbor Brandy Adams (at right) are dwarfed by a giant 200-year-old Mabank tree felled by a fast-moving thunderstorm Wednesday.

Swollen Kings Creek threatens bridge
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Nervous area residents are starting to look around for animals gathering in pairs.
Thunderstorms raked the Cedar Creek Lake area every day this past week, a few bringing down trees that closed county roads and forced brief power outages and telephone disruptions.
Forecasters said rains may be hanging around through this coming week, including the Independence Day holiday.
The entire area has been under a flash flood warning since early Tuesday – the ground is so saturated, even a little sprinkle will run off, but there’s nowhere for the water to go.
Not only is the continual rain playing havoc with youth baseball and softball schedules, it’s starting to become dangerous for motorists, particularly around the Kings Creek area.
As of Thursday, Kings Creek was flowing less than a foot below the State Highway 274 bridge.
It is unknown how well the bridge will handle the rushing water. In November, 2005, a routine inspection by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) revealed the bridge’s steel support pylons were nearly rusted through.
The original 26-foot-wide bridge was built in 1955, and an additional 22 feet of width was added 34 years later, in 1989.
Although the bridge was already slated to be renovated, the discovery of the support pylons’ serious deterioration forced TxDoT to revise its plans from renovation to replacement.
Construction to replace the bridge began in November, 2006, and was projected to take 31 months, weather permitting.
Officials in all three area counties have been forced to close low-lying county roads when creeks and streams got out of their banks, although as of Thursday afternoon, The Monitor had not heard any reports of major area highways being closed.
Thursday afternoon, the lake was more than half a foot above normal pool (Tuesday’s routine check showed the lake at normal pool, 322 feet above mean sea level), and the Trinity River is already well above flood stage.
As bad as all that sounds, the situation late in the week was much worse in Central Texas and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
The small resort town of Marble Falls, northwest of Austin, reportedly got 19 inches of rain in less than 18 hours Wednesday and early Thursday, causing flash flooding throughout the area and forcing hundreds of residents from their homes.
In Haltom City, floodwaters tore through a mobile home park and washed away entire yards, and rain-swollen Johnson Creek covered most of the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park in Arlington with water Wednesday.
At least 11 people have died in Texas and Oklahoma during 16 straight days of flooding rains.
The vast majority of flash flood deaths occur when motorists are swept away by fast-moving water. It takes only a few inches of water to sweep a vehicle off the road, the Texas Department of Public Safety warned in a news release Wednesday.
“Many cars will float in only 12 inches of water, and two feet of rushing water will carry off pickups, SUVs and most other vehicles,” DPS director Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr. said. “Six inches of water can be enough to stall a car, or cause a loss of control over the vehicle.”
TxDoT lighted signs throughout the state flashed warnings for drivers to avoid flooded roads, with the slogan, “Turn around – don’t drown!”

Mays pleas ‘not guilty’
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Randall Wayne Mays made his first appearance in a Henderson County court Wednesday, accused of slaying two deputies and injuring a third May 17 near Payne Springs.
Mays, 47, appeared before 392nd District Court Judge Carter Tarrance. Attending the arraignment were the families of the slain deputies, as well as Mays’ relatives.
Mays is being defended by Tyler attorney Bobby Mims and Steve Green, and will be prosecuted by Henderson County District Attorney Donna Bennett.
Mims requested waiving the reading of the charges.
“He understands that he’s entitled to a jury trial. He wants to enter a ‘not guilty’ for each of the charges,” Mims said.
However, Tarrance denied his request, and Bennett recited the charges.
Mays is charged with two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of deputies Paul Habelt, 63, and Tony Ogburn, 61, and one count of aggravated assault of a public servant in the case of deputy Kevin Harris, 40, who took a bullet to his right leg.
Officers were responding to a domestic dispute call at Mays’ County Road 2529 residence. Mays is accused of shooting the officers with a deer rifle before being wounded by deputies returning fire. He was hospitalized for injuries to his side and elbow.
Randall is being held in Smith County under $2 million bond.

Independence Day holiday marked with fireworks displays
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Many feel America’s birthday celebration just isn’t complete without fireworks.
If you are one of those folks, there are several venues where fireworks displays are planned.
Closest to home will be the Seven Points Volunteer Fire Department’s annual fireworks display at dark-thirty (9-9:30 p.m.) beside the firehouse.
People usually bring their own picnics, lawn chairs and pickups to the grassy area behind the library for the best viewing.
Further afield, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center along Lake Athens is holding its annual fireworks display, one of the largest in East Texas.
Gates open at 6 p.m., and visitors are encouraged to picnic and enjoy free fishing in the stocked casting pond. Bait and tackle will be provided free of charge.
The Chamber of Commerce in Canton is hosting the city’s eighth annual July 4 parade and celebration, coinciding with First Monday Trade Days.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Fireworks displays are traditional features of July 4th celebrations.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. beginning at the First Baptist Church parking lot and going around the courthouse square. Lots of activities will follow on the square.
At dusk, the city will provide a fireworks display at the First Monday Grounds, off Farm-to-Market 859.
In Gun Barrel City, Hot Dog Day will be hosted by American Legion Post 310, beginning at 11 a.m. The event is aimed at attracting new members and in honor of July being Hot Dog Month.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4376 in Seven Points is hosting a barbecue in honor of the 4th of July and the Commander Jim Prisock’s birthday, kicking off at 2 p.m. The public is invited to join in. Favorite side dishes are welcome additions.
For the more adventurous, an early morning trip to Arlington may be worthwhile.
The Arlington 4th of July Association hosts one of the largest parades in Texas with more than 150 entries, including marching bands, antique automobiles, clowns, military color guards and unique presentations. The parade begins and ends near Maverick Stadium, and gets underway at 9 a.m.
The parade follows a 2.5-mile route, taking about two hours, and usually draws 50,000 to 70,000 spectators. Parade-goers should be in place by 7:30-8 a.m. to get the best viewing spots.
In the event of rain, the parade will be delayed on an hour-by-hour basis.
In all the years the parade has been held, it has been delayed once, but never canceled.
For more inquiries, call (817) 2754-3706 or visit

Clowning around with make-up
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey

ABOVE: Kemp Junior High eighth-grader Dylan Walker eyes himself in a mirror as he carefully applies clown makeup during a special clowning class at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake Wednesday. BELOW: Kemp Primary School third-grader Katie Keith squinches her eyes as library assistant Melissa Newland powders her face.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
AT LEFT: Kemp Primary School third-grader Amanda Anderson eyes herself critically as she applies white clown makeup during a special clown techniques class Wednesday.








Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey

Using a long mirror to check their progress, Lescilie Nicholson (left), Bailey Glenn, Katie Keith and Jasmine Mann apply clown makeup during a special clown techniques class Wednesday.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
A group of youngsters, most of them from the New Horizons Day Care Center in Kemp, donned clown makeup Wednesday as part of a special class taught by clowns Miss Dolly, Baby Girl and Sharlett Slovak Wednesday at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. The clowning class was one of the special programs in the library’s summer reading program.