Lawmakers honor Bettis
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–A month after winning the gold medal in the Class 3A 100 meter
hurdles at the state track meet, Sharda Bettis was honored by the area’s
state and federal legislators Thursday.
incoming Kemp High School senior received an official Texas resolution
signed and presented by State Rep. Betty Brown, and congressional aide
Richard Sanders presented Bettis with a certificate signed by U.S. Rep.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
State Rep. Betty Brown (right) reads an official resolution Thursday
honoring incoming Kemp High School senior Sharda Bettis (left) for
winning a gold medal at the state track meet June 6. Congressional aide
Richard Sanders (background) awaits his turn to present Bettis with a
certificate signed by U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling during a brief ceremony
at Kemp High School.
At the time, KHS coaches were not sure if Bettis had made school
history – they were sure she set a new school record with her time,
14.53 seconds – but it appears now she did make history.
“As far as my research can determine, she is the first (KHS athlete) to
win the gold medal at state,” girls athletic coordinator and track coach
Peggy Swierc said Thursday.
Brown told Bettis she was happy to honor a youngster for such a positive
achievement after reading the resolution aloud, and Sanders echoed her
sentiments, noting Hensarling was proud to recognize her accomplishment.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
State Rep. Betty Brown (center right) presents incoming Kemp High School
senior Sharda Bettis (center left) with an official Texas resolution
honoring her for winning the gold medal in the Class 3A 100 meter
hurdles at the state track meet Thursday. Witnessing the presentation
were (from left, front row) KHS head coach and athletic director Greg
Anderson, track coach and girls’ coordinator Peggy Swierc, guardian
Sandra Sterling and The Monitor general manager Susan Harrison; (back
row) congressional aide Richard Sanders, assistant superintendent Sam
Swierc, superintendent Dr. Peter Running and KHS principal Kurt
Bettis’ win at state capped a spring filled with heartache, as her
father died shortly after the Christmas break and boyfriend Nick Lane (a
2008 KHS graduate) died in a tragic fall during spring break.
She dedicated her efforts in their memory, setting a new school record
(14.6 seconds) at the Region II track meet in Commerce, and then
breaking that record at the state meet, winning by more than a stride
over Stafford’s Jasmine Oyewuml, who was second in 14.82 seconds.
Bettis was clearly overwhelmed by all of the acclaim Thursday morning,
saying little, but wearing a huge grin.
When asked if she had gotten any rest yet this summer, she said no.
“I may try,” she added. Volleyball practice opens in just three weeks,
Monday, Aug. 3.
Horse trading in progress
Isaiah Robertson, troubled youth educator, seeks
reprieve on water bill
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–It was a night of horse trading at Tuesday’s Mabank City Council
Council members told a water customer that it would negotiate a $2,100
water bill, if it could be proven the leak was a result of a
Council members also agreed to swap property with a real estate agent,
and promised $100 toward a grant application seeking support for public
transport in the area – if nine other cities also put up $100.
The deal the council had no trouble accepting was $350,000 in federal
economic stimulus funds to finance improvements to the city’s sewer
“I’ll take that deal,” councilman Tim Johnson said without hesitation.
His motion was just as quickly seconded, and passed unanimously.
Utility supervisor Ronnie Tuttle produced a list of materials and
equipment he plans to purchase, totaling $353,000.
The city’s grant match will go through Grant Administration Services,
which will oversee the Office of Rural Community Affairs grant for sewer
improvements. The council also agreed to award a contract for project
engineering services when the time comes.
Isaiah Robertson petitioned the council to “give him grace” on a
$2,140.20 water bill.
Robertson argued that the leak likely was caused by a grass fire that
spread from the highway to a storage trailer on his property, which
“burned to the ground.”
Robertson was away from the property when these events occurred, he
said, adding “none of it was his fault.”
A water meter reader shut off water to the property when he saw the
needle spinning. City staff left a message at Robertson’s office about
the incident, which Robertson denies ever receiving.
City administrator Louann Confer agreed to track down the exact sequence
of events, checking with the Gun Barrel City Volunteer Fire Department,
who responded to the March fire.
Robertson argued since he has contributed a great deal to the city, by
means of educating troubled youth, he ought to get a break.
Council members countered that as administrators of the public trust,
they could not simply give away city property, such as treated water.
“What seems fair to you?” Mayor Larry Teague asked.
Robertson suggested he pay $300 and the city forgive the rest. Teague
suggested the terms be reversed, with Robertson paying the larger sum.
“We’ll work with you, as we do with everyone for whom this situation
would present an undue hardship,” Teague said. “You and staff can meet
and come up with a payment schedule that you can afford.”
Confer told Robertson the water can be turned back on, if Robertson
installs a shut-off valve on his side of the meter, a payment plan is
put in place and a $50 deposit provided.
“If that leak occurred before the fire, what will you do?” Mitch Odom
“I’ll pay every penny and not trouble you further,” Robertson answered.
Robertson also informed the council that he has been named president of
the Dallas chapter of retired NFL players, noting his work keeps him on
the road a good bit of the time.
“I plan to deed the property to the Christian Life Center. I just don’t
want to leave them a $2,100 water bill,” he said.
Jim Ragsdale, the new owner of a block of six lots bordered by Glenwood,
Second and Pine streets, asked the city to vacate a 20-foot alley
dividing the block in half.
“I bought me a lemon, and now I’m trying to make lemonade out of it,”
He’s trying to market the property to a developer for a nursing home or
possibly a childcare center, he said. The alley going down the center of
the property presents a problem.
The city agreed to trade the alley for 10 feet of easement along the
outside of the property, along Pine and Glenwood streets.
Golden Oaks resident James Crowhurst requested the city council assist
him with grant applications to fund a small public transit system in the
He told council members of several grants from the Texas Department of
Transportation, the USDA, and the Texas Enterprise Fund.
Crowhurst asked for $1,000 for a nonrefundable application fee. The
council agreed to give him $100, if he can get nine other cities to
agree to also contribute $100.
In other business, council members:
• adopted an ordinance pertaining to identity theft prevention.
“It’s similar to what we are doing already,” Confer said. “It’s just
accepting TML’s guidelines. There are no additional costs to the city.”
The program outlines ways to prevent someone from using a fictitious
name to obtain water/sewer services, or be able to discontinue service
on behalf of someone else, she explained.
• heard staff reports.
County moves ahead on attorney
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Monday, after a two-hour closed session, Kaufman County
commissioners voted to file for a rehearing in the case of Kaufman
County versus attorney Jo Ann Combs.
The case stems from Sept. 9, 2004, when Combs filed against the county
for a sum of approximately $150,000.
Prior to the filing, she had appeared in commissioners court with a
claim stating the county owed the money for her service as guardian of
the estate of Joseph Darst, had exceeded the worth of the estate.
Therefore, she said, the county (taxpayers) was responsible for the
At the time, commissioners declined, so Combs sued the county for the
Her guardianship of the estate in question began in July, 1994.
County Judge Wayne Gent declined to eleborate, noting the matter is
still in litigation.
In other business, commissioners:
• tabled awarding the annual contract for a dust control, soil
stabilizer product for all precincts.
“Since the price of oil (main ingredient in the control product) has
gone sky high, we are looking for another product,” Precinct 4
Commissioner Jim Deller said.
Other stabilizers, made from reclaimed products and other materials, are
currently being considered, purchasing agent Jack Sebastian and Deller
The county is already trying out one such product.
“Precinct 3 Commissioner J. C. Jackson has had some down for a month,”
Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry Rowden said he was ready to try the
material and Deller said he is going to give it a try on his own road.
The stabilizer contract will be on the Monday, July 13, agenda, it was
• approved an interlocal agreement with Precinct 1 and the city of Oak
• approved an interlocal agreement for subdivision regulations for the
city of Oak Ridge.
• acknowledged receiving a copy of the certificate of completion for
Jackson, on the open meetings seminar from the Attorney General’s
• presented Leadership Kaufman County plaques to county clerk Laura
Hughes and Assistant Chief Deputy Troy Graham for the completion of the
2008-09 Leadership Council Program.
• accepted the Precinct 4 commissioner’s annual road report.
• approved the deputation of Bruce M. Ragsdale and George C. Shamlin II,
for the Sheriff’s Department.
• approved a request from Embarq to install buried communications cable
on County Road Reese Road, Precinct 1.
• approved budget transfers as presented by auditor Hal D. Jones.
• paid bills totaling 234,650.01.