Thursday, July 8, 2010



  Wind collapses GBC stage
Concerts to be rescheduled; 3 bands ‘save the night’
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–High winds collapsed a lighting and sound rig onto the stage, cancelling planned concerts at the Gun Barrel City’s July 4th Festival Saturday.
Torrential rains accompanied the thunderstorms, leaving the grounds a muddy morass and reducing the number of festival visitors to just a handful.

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Courtesy Photos/Gregori Starrett
ABOVE: A member of the Derek Sholl band watches in dismay as the lighting rig and the canopy above the stage collapses during a mid-afternoon thunderstorm at the Gun Barrel City July 4 Festival Saturday. The collapse damaged some of the No Justice band's equipment, but no one was injured. BELOW: Steve Rice, the lead singer for No Justice, grimaces at the camera as he packs up part of the group's sound system while helpers try to lift the stage's lighting rig off the group's crushed drum kit. High winds and heavy rain wiped out the afternoon’s activities, but No Justice and two other bands later played acoustic sets at the Gun Barrel City Fire Station before and after a 10 p.m. fireworks show.

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However, three of the four scheduled bands stuck around to play acoustic numbers and sign autographs at the fire station, and a goodly crowd was on hand for the traditional 10 p.m. fireworks show.
“We’re hoping to reschedule,” city councilman Marty Goss said Tuesday morning. “We’re looking at coordinating dates with the bands. The tickets sold this weekend will be honored at that time.”
“No Justice” had set up and just completed a sound check when the winds started picking up ahead of a squall line coming through from the south.
The lighting/sound rig also supported a canvas roof, and the wind began whipping the fabric, pulling the rig sideways and eventually causing it to collapse onto No Justice’s equipment, destroying the drum kit.
No one was on stage at the time, and there were no injuries reported.
The city was insured against potential losses at the festival, and the company who set up the stage and the lighting/sound equipment were also insured, Goss said.
No Justice, the Johnny Cooper band and Derek Sholl all remained, playing acoustic versions of their songs and signing autographs for more than three hours, both before and after the fireworks show.
“The drummer for No Justice – his drum kit got smashed, but he stuck around and pitched right in,” Goss said. “I thought it spoke volumes for them (the bands) and their professionalism. They helped save the night.”

Police chief charged
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

KERENS–Kerens Police Chief Wesley Brian Miers has been suspended, following an arrest on a domestic violence charge in Athens July 1.
Kerens City Administrator Cindy Scott confirmed Tuesday that Miers has been suspended for two weeks.
Any future action “will depend on what comes of his case,” she said.
The Kerens City Council had a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening, but Scott said she did not expect the council to take any action at that meeting.
Kerens PD Sgt. Roy Ivey will be the officer in charge until the council takes formal action, Scott said.
Miers, 34, was arrested without incident at a residence in the 200 block of S. Prairieville Street in Athens, when officers responded to a call reporting family violence.
Athens Police Sgt. Eddie Smith responded and spoke with Kimberly Miers, 30, the estranged wife of Brian Miers. She reported minor injuries to her wrist and hand, according to police reports.
Brian Miers was booked into the Henderson County Jail and was released after posting $3,500 bond.
The case will be referred to the Henderson County Attorney’s office, Athens Police Lt. Mike Davis said.

MISD sets tax vote
Voters asked to revise tax rate split
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–In an effort to get voters to contemplate the intricacies of a tax ratification election, instead of just casting a “no new taxes” vote, Mabank school trustees chose Tuesday, Sept. 14, as election day for an important school ballot.
A public hearing is set for 7:15 p.m. (just prior to the regular school board meeting) Monday, July 26, to explain what will be on the ballot, and the effect a vote either way will have on the school district and the taxpayer.
The initial notice about the budget and tax rate hearing will appear in an ad in The Monitor’s Sunday, July 11, issue.
Last year, the district had its tax rate election during the November general election.
Although the election failed, several trustees said they were told by friends they did not fully understand the concept and would have voted for the ratification had they better understood it.
This year, voters will again be asked to choose between a tax rate that goes neither up nor down – if that’s not confusing enough, the wording required by state law is more confusing still.
Currently, voters are paying $1.38 per $100 valuation, and whether the proposal passes or fails, taxpayers will still pay $1.38 per $100 valuation.
The difference lies in the district’s division of the tax payment.
Currently, $1.04 of the tax rate is deposited in the district’s maintenance and operation fund – the M&O fund.
The rest, 34 cents per $100 valuation, goes toward debt service (money owed by the district on big-ticket items, such as bonds approved by voters). This account is called the I&S fund.
The $1.04 M&O fund plus the 34-cent I&S fund equals the current tax rate of $1.38.
The proposed rate is $1.17 for M&O and 21 cents for I&S, which will still equal $1.38 – meaning property owners who don’t have an increase in value won’t see a tax increase.
If the proposed rate does not pass, it likely will cost the district about $400,000 in lost state funding, superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall explained.
He urges residents to attend the board meeting or talk to a trustee to get questions answered on the tax rate proposition.
In other business June 28, trustees:
• renewed the custodial contract with GCA Services Group of Texas for the fourth year of a five-year contract.
• approved the state-required policy on freedom from bullying, Mabank ISD Policy FFI (local), second reading.
• accepted bids on milk (Oak Farms) and bread (Earthgrains).
• approved salary schedules as presented.
Employee pay raises will average $750, with the lowest set at $170 and the highest at $1,200 per year.
• heard the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) meeting is set for Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 23-26.
• heard tax collections total 90.8 percent of levy to date.


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