People, Places & Events



Mabank ISD lowers tax rate
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Even with a new high school and a beautifully refurbished junior high, Mabank Independent School District board of trustees approved a total proposed tax rate of $1.355 per $100 property valuation for the 2008-09 school year.
“That’s a penny less than last year’s rate,” assistant superintendent of business management Scott Adams said.
A public hearing on the proposed budget and tax rate was set for 7:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25.
Monday, Adams presented the proposed rate, which includes $1.04 M&O (maintenance and operation) and 31.5 cents for I&S (interest and sinking fund or debt service), he explained.
The current tax rate has $1.04 in M&O and 32.5 cents for I&S, for a total of $1.365 per $100 valuation.
The tax rate supports a proposed 2008-09 budget of approximately $23,726,700 which includes just over $17 million in salaries, $1.6 million for utilities and $1.2 million for maintenance and custodial expenses.
All were slightly increased over the just-ending 2007-08 budget.
Many items listed on the budget were increased, but many took a cut, as the district looked at where to reduce costs.
Small amounts, from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand were trimmed from campus budgets, athletics and administration.
Some items remained the same, such as the employee health program, library technology and student assessment.
In other business, trustees:
• heard Adams report July 18 he was informed the Texas Education Agency recalculated the state revenue for school districts.
“And MISD’s (revenue) went up,” he said.
The new calculation will pay the district $285,000 per year, retroactive for the past two school years (2006-07 and 07-08), he explained.
The district can expect a check for $570,00 for those past years, and $285,000 for the 2008-09 school year.
The money will be applied to the general fund, he said.
“To pay for gasoline,” someone quipped.
• approved an increase in meal prices, the first boost in four years.
Breakfast for all students will be $1, and $1.75 for adult employees and visiting children, and $2 for visiting adults.
Lunch will be $1.75 for the elementary and intermediate campuses and $2 at the junior high and high school. Adult employees will pay $2.50 and visiting adults $3.
• approved contracts at a variable price rate as presented from Borden’s for dairy products, Flowers Inc. for bread and Blue Bell for ice cream.
• approved Todd Grimes as delegate and Tyson Johnson as alternate to the Texas Association of School Boards convention in Dallas, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 26-28.
• heard the tax collections report as presented by Adams.
“The collection rate is 91.9 percent, a ½ percent higher than this time last year,” he said.
• were reminded by Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall of the upcoming New Teacher Luncheon at noon Thursday, Aug. 14, at the high school cafeteria.
• a public walk-through for the completed junior high is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12.
“I want to publicly reinforce the job the workers and personnel have done in getting the campuses ready for school. The campus leaders have done a great job getting the furniture in on their campuses,” Marshall said.
• heard only one portable building remains to be sold.
• approved the list of personnel to be hired as presented.
• accepted bids on eight lots sold for tax purposes. Once all entities involved have approved the sale, the properties can be closed.
Although the district was the conservator of the properties, it was not the owner, Marshall said.
“In a lot of the cases, the neighbors are buying up the property and cleaning it up. This way, there will be an owner and the sale will put the property back on the tax rolls,” Marshall explained.

Choate entertains at Rotary luncheon
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Being a mom is tough, but sometimes it can be humorous.
Nationally known speaker Dee Dee Choate has been convincing audience of that fact for more than 20 years.
Chaote added the weekly Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake luncheon to her list of impressive credits Friday, having appeared at many events, including conferences and family reunions.
Choate is the daughter of Charlotte and Ronnie Featherston of Mabank and a favorite granddaughter of The Monitor columnist, Opal Toney.
She currently lives in Rockwall with her husband Jim, son Landon, 16, and daughter, Anna, 12.
In other business, Rotarians:
• were reminded the Celebrity waiter event still need auction items.
• heard an update from Rotarian Bob Burns concerning the dictionaries to be presented to local third grade students.
The books will be arriving soon and be distributed Thursday and Friday, Sept. 11-12.
• the Traveling Vietnam Wall, the only one outside Washington, D.C., has been procured for the Memorial Park in Kaufman.
the wall is 7/8th the size of the permanent one in Washington, and will arrive about Saturday, Aug. 30.
• heard the announcement that Rotarian Bruce Easley, owner of Capt’n “B”s Florist, presented flowers to all the ladies at Mabank Nursing Home in honor of “Make Someone Smile Week.”

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Dee Dee Choate entertains members of the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake
at their weekly luncheon with things a mother says daily.

Tool City Council approves oil well permit
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–In a special meeting July 24, the Tool City Council approved an oil well permit request by BlackBrush Oil & Gas.
The approval was contingent upon the Tool fire and police departments and Malakoff Independent School District Superintendent Dr. John Spies accepting the company’s emergency plans.
“I have talked to Bill Morgan (principal, Tool Elementary). He said all the talks he has had with BlackBrush have gone real well. He said he has no problem (with the well plans),” Mayor Michael Black explained.
“The purpose of the well is to go 7,200 feet, straight down. There will be no slant drilling,” BlackBrush representative from Tyler James Smith said, adding “a letter to confirm that can be provided.”
Tool resident and audience member John Steele tried to declare a point of order, stating the action was illegal.
However, Black assured him the process had been studied thoroughly by both sides.
Steele and other members in the audience continued to insist there needed to be an oil and gas official city representative.
Several times, members of the council tried to explain they had chosen Black to serve in that position several meetings back.
In that position, Black could have issued the permit several weeks back, however, he said he preferred to bring the matter to the council for approval.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
A woman on the front row turns to hear what Tool resident John Steele (standing
in rear) has to say concerning the proposed BlackBrush oil well at the July 24
city council meeting. The council approved a city permit for the company to dig
7,200 feet straight down in a search for oil. The well will be near Tool Elementary
off State Highway 274.


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


Copyright © 2008, MediaOne, L.L.C.