Thursday, July 30, 2009

     

 

 

 

 

 

$18K suspected drug money seized
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–Another traffic stop for Kemp police turned out to be a drug bust, where some $17,900 in cash was seized.
Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo reported a routine traffic stop Saturday resulted in the arrest of Michael Nichols on the charge of possession of a controlled substance, more than four grams.
Kemp Police Sergeant Johnny Law had made the traffic stop on a vehicle for defective equipment, Clemmo said in a prepared news release.
Law requested permission from Nichols and his female passenger to search the vehicle. Both gave their permission.
When Law opened the driver’s door, he discovered a brown plastic bag containing a large amount of currency.
Review of the in-car video revealed the suspect had thrown something in the grass alongside the road.
The area was searched, and a glass pipe with a crystal-like substance in it was discovered, Clemmo reported.
After asking the standard questions concerning what the suspect might have on his person, Nichols admitted to having a clear plastic bag of a crystal-like substance in his possession.
When Law arrived at the Kaufman County Jail, Nichols was searched prior to booking, and a large plastic bag continuing approximately five grams of suspected methamphetamine was found.
Nichols was charged with possession of a controlled substance, more than four grams.
The currency was taken for seizure through the District Attorney’s office.
A K-9 drug-sniffing dog was used during the search of the vehicle, and is a real asset to the department, Clemmo said.
“They’re working hard,” Clemmo said of his department. “They’re doing a good job and I’m proud of them.”
Law also was involved in a second incident over the weekend. Although the subjects got away, a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
Law conducted a traffic stop on a 2007 Chevrolet pickup at U.S. Highway 175 and City Lake Road.
The driver was identified as Frank Rains, and his passenger was identified as Mary Deal.
Rains is from the Kemp/Mabank area, while Deal’s address is listed as Peachtree Street in Balch Springs.
The subjects had identified themselves, but both began to act nervous, Law reported.
Rains then put his vehicle in drive and left the scene, fleeing down City Lake Road to Nichols Lane, Law reported.
The truck continued through the dead end, damaging a pipe fence and trees. Both passengers made their escape on foot.
Since both subjects were identified in the initial stop, warrants are being issued for their arrest, Clemmo said.

Guaranty Bank may face FDIC control
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–The bigger they are, they harder they fall, may prove true for Texas’ No. 2 bank, Guaranty Financial.
With more than 150 branches across the state and in California, including a branch in Kaufman, the Austin-based institute has assets totaling more than $16 billion.
In an effort to reassure its customers, the bank issued the following statement.
“We are open for business. We continue to work with our regulators on providing the best customer service possible and believe we can avoid disruptions to our customers.
“As a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Guaranty depositors have the same coverage as customers of other FDIC member banks,” Guaranty Bank Executive Vice President John Wessman said.
Even with the large amount in assets, the bank has filed regulatory papers declaring major loan losses and write-downs, leaving it “critically short of capital.”
The fall of Guaranty Financial would be the largest bank in the nation to go under this year.
Guaranty Bank is a subsidiary of the financial institution.
In the regulatory papers filed July 23, the bank has assured its customers that “all their deposits are fully insured to the FDIC’s fullest limits.”
In the history of the FDIC, no customer has lost any part of their insured deposits.
Two of the largest investors are billionaires Carl Icahn and Robert Rowling.
Their investment chain runs the Omni Hotels chain.
Guaranty Bank has been involved in trying to raise new capital from shareholders, but will probably not be able to raise enough to be in compliance with an April cease-and-desist order.
But considering the developments, the company believes that it will not be able to continue as a going concern.
Guaranty said it has agreed to an OTS (Office of Thrift Supervision) demand for an appointment of the FDIC as a receiver or conservator.
The appointment has not yet happened, and no date has been set for a takeover. However, the OTS is exercising a “significant degree of control” over what previously was the function of the board of directors, Guaranty said.

Trustees purchase laptops
for all high school students

School board okays rebuilding high school track
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–After more than a year of discussion and planning, Eustace school trustees agreed to spend about $213,000 to provide every high school student with a book-sized laptop computer.
At least a couple of the trustees were under the impression the board had already given a final go-ahead on the project, which involved installing wireless repeaters throughout the high school campus and the purchase of 600 laptops.
Board members held their last extended discussion on the laptop project back in January, but delayed action until the district’s tax collections and 2007-08 audit report were on hand.
In January, technology supervisor Gene Myers and head technician Rusty Meyners said some delay might enable the district to obtain a lower price for newer models.
At that time, Myers and Meyners thought the district would be able to get around 450 laptops for about $250,000, so the board’s action July 21 will provide 150 more computers at a lower cost than originally projected.
Turning to another major expense item, trustees authorized superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe to negotiate with Pro Tech Track & Tennis Surfaces Inc. for a complete rebuilding of the existing track at Bulldog Stadium.
Trustees told Holcombe they wanted either Option 2 ($102,000 for a ¾-inch latex surface) or Option 3 ($131,000 for a ½-inch polyurethane surface).
The current track is 15 years old. The average life of a track surface is about five years before it has to be scraped down to the base and refinished, Holcombe said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we got 15 years out of it,” he said. “We need to be proud of that.”
Pro Tech has handled patching/repair work on the track in the past, Holcombe said.
Most of the discussion centered around the time frame for the 14-to-21-day project, as trustees were reluctant to disrupt football practices in the stadium, but realized waiting until after football season might engender some weather delays.
Trustees eventually agreed to have Holcombe work with Pro Tech to have the work done before the weather cools off, with a request to minimize football practice disruptions.
In other business, trustees:
• took no action on repairs to Bulldog Stadium’s artificial turf, damaged by joyriders July 18.
“We’re waiting on our insurance company to tell us how they’re going to handle this,” Holcombe said.
He added the best scenario would be for the district’s insurance providers, Trident, to work directly with the turf manufacturer.
• agreed to renew the district’s property and liability insurance with Trident for $69,908.
• agreed to fund a new aide position to return the Alternative Education Program (for suspended students) to Eustace.
Analysis showed the district could fund an in-house AEP program for about what it cost to operate a cooperative program with the Mabank Independent School District, Holcombe reported.
• approved a minor change to the class ranking policy, requiring a student to be enrolled for seven consecutive semesters to be eligible for class ranking.
• approved graduation requirement changes authorized by the Texas Legislature.
“We basically didn’t change a thing for this year’s seniors, but we had to word (the policy) differently,” Holcombe explained.
• approved a tax refund at the request of the Henderson County tax assessor/collector’s office.
• agreed to purchase Springboard math materials for sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
“This is a full textbook and full math curriculum,” Holcombe said. “This will be a big step up for our whole math program.”
• accepted a revised bid from Kirby Restaurant Supply for commercial-grade washer/dryer combos for the new competition gym’s locker rooms.
 


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