People, Places & Events



Three children removed from Combine meth lab
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–Authorities are currently looking for four suspects who fled following the discovery of their methamphetamine lab in Combine.
When they ran the suspects left behind an undisclosed amount of chemicals and supplies for the manufacture of methamphetamine and three children.
The children were taken into custody by CPS and remained there as of Tuesday, July 29.
Several agencies became involved on July 22 after someone called in a tip to the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department regarding possible stolen property located in the 1500 block of Davis road in western Combine, in Dallas County.
When the Kaufman investigators arrived they smelled a strong odor of anhydrous ammonia.
They subsequently obtained a search warrant from a Dallas County judge. Then they contacted the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Child Protective Services CPS).
The DEA along with Sheriff’s Investigators began searching the location and discovered an operational meth lab.
The lab was dismantled by DEA special agents. Sgt. Ramsey of the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office stated properly dismantling an operational meth lab can cost taxpayers and estimated $10,000.
The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office makes every attempt to follow up on all tips received.
The office has set up an e-mail just for tips regarding any type of criminal activity occurring in the county. The e-mail for the office is

Courtesy Photo
Supplies used in making methamphetamine were found in a Combine location
July 22. Alerted by a tip, several agencies were in on the discovery. Four suspects
are still being sought in connection with the operation.

Courtesy Photo
Kaufman County Sheriff’s deputies working with Drug Enforcement Agency
members and the Dallas Sheriff’s Office confiscated supplies used in the manufacture
and sale of methamphetamine. Pictured are a box of needles found among the supplies.

County eyes jail expansion costs
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County can’t expect to get any change back when it hands over a $12 million bill to pay for the jail expansion project.
County commissioners, representatives from Templeton Construction and the architect spent 90 minutes Tuesday reviewing costs involved in the jail expansion project, paying particular attention to the contingency funds for both the contractor and the county.
Although the commissioners didn’t take any formal action, there were some items cleared by the discussion:
• many of the project changes were directly requested by jail staff, with no consultation with the commissioners;
• a few of the change orders were generated when some items either weren’t listed on the plans or weren’t drawn in properly; and
• the lengthy delays caused by last year’s rainy weather and some last-minute design changes meant the county has missed generating maybe six months of revenue from housing other counties’ prisoners.
Project manager Fred Watkins, joined by Templeton president Gary McClure and architect Kenny Burns, moved methodically through a lengthy summation of the project costs.
The county’s June, 2006, contract with Templeton Construction called for a total cost of $11,684,424. The county built in roughly $200,000 into a construction contingency fund in this year’s budget, and Watkins said the Templeton estimate included about $300,000 in contingency funds.
As of the most recent billing/payment, Templeton Construction has billed the county $11.077 million, and the county has actually paid $10.524 million on the project.
That doesn’t include the 5 percent the county is entitled to retain until the project is closed out satisfactorily, Watkins explained.
One major item was reworking the smoke purge system in the existing jail, a $65,000 addition. The commissioners were well aware of that change, Watkins said.
Since the original jail was constructed, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has revised the purge system requirements. The old jail’s system worked – it just didn’t work fast enough, Watkins explained.
A revision to the dispatch center, new doors for the attorney/prisoner meeting room and a couple of privacy walls were among the items changed without formal court action.
The privacy walls were built after the new guard station was completed. Someone discovered the guard had a clear view into the inmate’s shower room, Watkins explained.
It’s likely Templeton’s contingency fund will be depleted by the time the project is finished, Watkins said, but noted there are some items remaining that won’t cost as much as allowed.
“We have a $20,000 allowance for roofing,” he said.
All that’s needed is just some flashing around air-conditioning units, and that shouldn’t cost more than $4,000 or $5,000, Watkins said.
“The difficulty has been in getting a roofer to come out and do that small a job,” he added.
Other added ductwork, a $20,000 item, was left off the original plans, and Burns said his hired engineers clearly were responsible for that.
“You can try to recover that money, but I’m not sure how that works,” Burns said. “You’ll probably have to file a claim against their insurance.”
The discussion then turned to time issues. The project originally figured 20 months for construction, but there wasn’t any penalty clause included.
“This (current) schedule ends 10 November, and I feel we’ll probably be able to improve on this schedule,” Watkins said.
Some masonry work still remains, and Watkins reminded the commissioners of the “terrible” time Templeton has had with masonry subcontractors.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry West asked about inmate labor.
“We can’t insure them, and we can’t employ them,” Watkins said. “They are helping us out, but they can’t be considered employees of Templeton.”
As part of that schedule, the commissioners need to be available if something comes up that requires an official action, McClure said.
“We’re spending about $20,000 a month just to be on-site, so a delay on decisions will cost us money,” he said.
Watkins said there was a standing meeting at the jail construction site at 1:30 p.m. each second Thursday, and West suggested making those posted official meetings, so the full court could be involved.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Project manager Fred Watkins (center) points out a specific item on plans for
the recently completed expansion of the Henderson County Jail as Precinct 1
Commissioner Joe Hall (left) and County Judge David Holstein look on during
a lengthy discussion of the project’s costs Tuesday.

Alert action limits fire damage
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–While going about their work last Sunday, two water utility employees spotted flames coming from a garage in the Arbolado subdivision in Gun Barrel City.
East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District employees Donnie Jaskolowski and Jesse Perez called 911 and knocked on the door to see if anyone was home.
An elderly couple were ensconced beneath the air conditioner, unaware that a fire had started in their detached garage, Gun Barrel City assistant fire chief Jason Raney said.
“It was fully involved by the time we arrived, but could have been a lot worse if it had spread to the house, or any neighboring property,” Raney added.
The couple’s car was in the garage at the time and was also destroyed by the flames.
Though the cause of the afternoon blaze is still under investigation, the homeowner admitted to sweeping up ashes from a fire, which he thought were cold, into a plastic trash bin in the garage the night before. It probably smoldered all night and the next day until it reignited, Raney speculated.
Of the alert utility workers, Raney said, “They did a good job at alerting the residents and calling it in.”
“I personally feel gratified knowing that our district has employees looking over our customers’ interest, not only through providing superb service but as stewards able to prevent loss of life and property,” ECCFWSD general manager Bill Goheen said.
He added that a year ago, the district reworked is work schedule to staff the weekends. “Not only has this been successful in reducing overtime, but it appears it may have even saved some lives,” he added.

Courtesy Photo/Jason Raney
Firefighters from Gun Barrel City and Mabank quell a fire last Sunday that
started in the detached garage at 139 Camino Robles in Arbolado Subdivision.
Alert utility workers called it in to 911 and then assisted the couple living there
out of the house to safety.


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


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