Sunday, August 2, 2009




  Jesse Prestridge –community icon – dies
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The man who was the very image of Christmas for so many area children and adults alike has died.
Jesse Prestridge died during his first night at the Town East Rehab Center in Mesquite Tuesday.
The cheery face who was Santa Claus at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake’s annual Breakfast with Santa, who led countless holiday parades, visited with thousands of school children and brought peace into stress-filled rooms will no longer be available for the Friends of the Animals holiday pet pictures, nor bring Christmas joy and greetings.
“No one will be able to fill his big black Santa boots,” Sydney Busch of Friends told The Monitor. “Boy, is everyone going to miss him!”
Longtime friend Judy Dickerson tells of the numerous Christmases Prestridge cheered for her son, Casey, who was born with a rare bone disease and who underwent 34 surgeries.
“He prayed with us and kept us all at peace, because he himself was so peaceful. God was working through him,” Dickerson said.
“He was just such a spiritual man. He was the real deal,” she added.
Dickerson and her son were planning a visit with Prestridge the next day at his new room, and spoke to him about an hour before he died.
“‘You’ll have to come see me now, because I can’t see you, I don’t feel so well,’ he said,” she recounted.
Prestridge was also noted for his fine singing voice and his years of service as an ordained minister.
It was widely known that Prestridge was ailing and was put on kidney dialysis in May. He had cut back on his many charitable activities this year.
“He was Santa year-round – just a very kind, generous man, and loved animals,” Busch said.
“He’s raised a lot of money for us and created lots of good will for Friends of the Animals. He will be greatly missed. He was greatly loved,” she added.
“He did a lot for this community over the years. He should be remembered with love and gratitude,” Jerry Moorhead said.
Prestridge’s service was held Saturday morning at the Moorhead-Epps Funeral Home.
His widow, Toni, works as the photo lab manager at CVS Pharmacy in Gun Barrel City.
See page 11A for the complete obituary.

Lawmakers honor Truitt
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–About three weeks after honoring another Cedar Creek Lake area athlete, State Rep. Betty Brown and Congressional aide Richard Sanders recognized Eustace High School graduate Chelsea Truitt Tuesday.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
State Rep. Betty Brown (left) reads an official resolution congratulating May Eustace High School graduate Chelsea Truitt (center) on winning the silver medal in the Class 3A pole vault competition at the state track meet Tuesday in the EHS lobby. At right, Congressional aide Richard Sanders waits his turn to present Truitt with a certificate of recognition from U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

Truitt, who graduated in May, took the silver medal in the Class 3A pole vault at the state track meet in Austin June 6, becoming the first EHS athlete to medal in that event.
A multi-sport standout, Truitt qualified for the regional track meet in five different events every year of high school, except her senior year, when she qualified in four different events, including the pole vault.
Truitt set a new school pole vault record to win at the Region II meet, and then broke her own school record at the state meet – competing with a broken bone in her foot.
Her foot, broken back during soccer season, still hasn’t been fixed yet, but Truitt said she’ll probably be getting that minor detail attended to in the next few weeks.
During a brief ceremony in the EHS lobby, Brown read a lengthy official resolution detailing Truitt’s accomplishments, and adding her personal congratulations.
Sanders, aide to U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, presented Truitt with an official certificate of recognition from Hensarling and added his own congratulations, as well.
Witnessing the brief ceremony was veteran EHS coach Chuck Powers.
Powers, who worked with her in both volleyball and track (particularly the pole vault), has said Truitt is one of the 10 best female athletes he has seen in 40 years of coaching.
A straight-A student, Truitt had planned to start studying marine biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston this fall, but will attend Tyler Junior College instead.
An A&M policy requiring freshmen to live in a dorm didn’t appeal to Truitt, who didn’t want to chance being placed with a roommate she didn’t know or like.
By attending TJC for one semester for some general courses, Truitt can transfer to Texas A&M at College Station as a sophomore, thanks to some dual-credit courses she took in high school.
Truitt said she may decide to try out for the TJC track team next spring as a walk-on, citing an offer by her parents to pay her expenses if she continues to vault.
“Vaulting is easier than working,” she said with a giggle.
Truitt said she would be meeting with her TJC advisor Thursday, and likely will major in biology at first.
“I’ll probably change to zoology at A&M,” she added. “But I may go ahead and try out (for track) there as a walk-on.”

Local dealers participate in federal car rebate program
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Lake-area automobile dealers are ready for customers to take advantage of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) to exchange older, less fuel-efficient vehicles for new, more efficient cars and trucks.
Both local Chevrolet and Ford dealers are registered to accept that old car in trade on a newer model, and lop thousands off the sticker price.
The incentive buying program aims to get 250,000 inefficient vehicles off the road by Nov. 1, when the rebate program officially ends. However, if the funding is used up beforehand, that will be the end of the program, although Congress may opt to provide more funding.
“We are registered, and we are participating,” Robby Teague, financial manager at Teague Chevrolet, said.
Of the $1 billion set aside for the “Clunkers” program, approximately $858 million remains, Teague said.
Potential buyers can get anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500, depending on their qualifications, he added.
Buyers who are able to increase their gasoline usage by as much as 10 miles to the gallon can get the full $4,500, he explained.
Tri-County Ford has already sold a few vehicles under the new program.
“You just come in, and if you meet the three main requirements, you are ready to proceed,” sales manager Alex Harrill said.
To qualify:
• you must have a clear title in your name,
• the 1984 model vehicle or newer must have been registered for a full year, with insurance coverage for that period, and
• the vehicle must be drivable and getting 18 miles per gallon (mpg) or less in combined highway/city rating. (Go to  to see your car’s estimated mpg rating.)
Unlike the recent state program, there are no vouchers to get in the mail or exchange for thousands of dollars in savings on the cost of a newer model.
Under the federal program, the dealer subtracts the qualified amount from the cost of a new vehicle, and gets reimbursed by the government.
The trade-in is turned into scrap. If you think your trade-in is worth more than the rebate, you might not want to participate in the program, but rather deal based on the vehicle’s trade-in value.
Under the program, you can’t get the rebate and the trade-in value at the same time.
Information on the car being traded in and the new vehicle being considered for purchase is fed into a computer linked to the program, Harrill explained. The amount of the rebate the buyer is entitled to is then calculated.
The amount of the incentive is tied to the improvement in fuel economy and the minimum trade-in value.
For instance, to qualify for $3,500, the new purchase should get at least 22 mpg, and at least four mpg better than the trade-in.
To qualify for the $4,500 a purchaser must buy a car that averages at least 10 mpg more than the former vehicle.
Harrill said he had no idea how the figures were calculated, but the computer program allows buyers a rebate as long as the new vehicle moves them up even one to three mpg, he said.
The vehicle being purchased must be new. Used vehicles are not accepted.
Another condition – the new vehicle cannot exceed $45,000 in price.
For information and a list of registered dealers, visit,  or call the program hotline toll-free at 1-866-277-7891.


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