People, Places & Events

     

 

Lake Area
Billboard

East Cedar Creek Freshwater Supply District meets at 12:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the ECCFSD office on Hammer Road just off Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City.
Eustace City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the Eustace City Hall the first Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 425-4702. The public is invited to attend.
Eustace Independent School District meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Eustace High School Library. For more information, please call 425-7131. The public is invited to attend.
Gun Barrel City Council meets in Brawner hall at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1087. The public is invited to attend.
Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation meets at 1831 W. Main, GBC, at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-1899.
Henderson County Commissioner’s Court meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens. The public is invited to attend.
Henderson County Emergency Management District #4 meets at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Oran White Civic Center in Tool.
Henderson County Historical Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. in the HC Historical Museum.
Kaufman County Commissioner’s Court meets the first, second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9:45 a.m. in the Kaufman County Courthouse in Kaufman. The public is invited to attend.
Kemp City Council meets at Kemp City Hall at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 498-3191. The public is invited to attend.
Kemp Independent School District meets the third Tuesday of each month in the Board Room in the Administration Building. For more information, please call 498-1314. The public is invited to attend.
Log Cabin City Council meets the third Thursday of the month in city hall. For more information, please call 489-2195. The public is invited to attend.
Mabank City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Mabank City Hall the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 887-3241. The public is invited to attend.
Mabank Independent School District meets at 7:30 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 887-9310. The public is invited to attend.
Payne Springs City Council meets at city hall at 7:30 p.m. every third Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 451-9229. The public is invited to attend.
Payne Springs Water Supply Corp. meets the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Payne Springs Community Center, located at 9690 Hwy. 198.
Seven Points City Council meets at 7 p.m. in Seven Points city hall the second Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3176. The public is invited to attend.
Tool City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the OranWhite Civic Center the third Thursday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3522. The public is invited to attend.
West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District is held at 5 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month. For more information, please call 432-3704. The public is invited.
 

New Dallas Audubon Center
is a natural choice for a stay-cation

By Linda K. Holt
Monitor Staff Writer

DALLAS–July 25, I braved 90-plus degree temperatures, and a car without a/c, to venture to a new nature haven in north Texas.
Approximately 45 minutes west from Kemp up U.S. Highway 175, and three minutes south on Loop 12 (aka Buckner Blvd.), just past Jim Miller Road, is a wonderful hidden treasure.
Less than a year old, the impressive Trinity River Audubon Center has begun to blossom into the place to go to get some green back into your life.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, adult admission is $6, with lesser pricing for kids and seniors, and parking is free with handicap accessibility.
The sustainably built and LEED-certified Center has a grand sweeping nature to it and houses a creatively designed hands-on nature exhibit with some live local fauna that the kids will definitely enjoy.
A large diorama of the Trinity River flood plane should impress most adults.
There’s a kiosk connected to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that allows birders not only to identify the species they’ve seen that day, but also to participate in Cornell’s studies of native and migratory birds by listing what they saw on-line.
Cornell Lab has a very nice on-line guide as well: www.allaboutbirds.org.
There are conference rooms and classrooms available for lectures and field-based education programs for students and adults. They even host yoga classes and evening concerts.
I was impressed with the staff, who are friendly, informative and knowledgeable about the area flora and fauna.
The Nature Store contains moderately priced books, field guides, unique green gifts and educational items for the kids.
A three-D puzzle model of the internal workings of a frog or a snail had me wishing I was a kid again. (I almost bought the frog one, seriously. It was so cool.)
Although there are four miles of trails, they are sectioned out to where you can explore different areas without taxing yourself too much. There are benches strategically placed under the impressive birches and pecan trees to rest and enjoy the views.
The paths are primarily paved with compressed gravel, although some of the trails in the wetlands area are boardwalks.
The ones I walked are fairly level, so that handicapped visitors with a motorized scooter should be able to travel the trails with relative ease. (I would not advise a push-style wheelchair, though.)
I traversed trails that were wooded and offered some shelter from the sun. With the Center in the center, you can always stop back indoors to cool down again before hitting the rest of the trails.
Picnic areas are available, both indoors and out, so even in the heat of summer, you can enjoy your lunch with a green view.
There is a bird blind on one trail overlooking a pond for visitors, birders and nature photographers to use.
On the trail around the “Tadpole Pond” is a small group of benches placed around a magnificent huge pecan tree, ideal for a rest – and the perfect place to hold outdoor educational seminars with small groups.
Though the ponds have been given names of various critters, they aren’t necessarily overrun with their namesakes.
Since it is the height of summer, the Tadpole and Bullfrog ponds were practically dried out. But that didn’t keep the majestic white egrets, mourning doves, redtail hawks or scissortail flycatchers away.
Indian blankets, sunflowers and trumpet vines gave the trails some summer color while I was there. The heat didn’t stop Gulf Fritillary, Yellow Sulfurs and Tiger Swallowtail butterflies from flitting by.
There is a nice overlook of the Trinity River that was so calm and composed that the past history of the massive pollution problems the river has suffered from was put out of mind.
I wasn’t able to wander through all the trails. I hate to admit it, but it has been a while since I was out in the heat, and it was just a bit too hot for me.
The two trails I did meander along I found to be easy walks. I intend to check it out again during the various seasons. (And post my lucky shots on-line at www.webshots.com.  If you would like to see them, do a photographer search for lkholt.)
If you do head to the Center, be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen. Carrying a liter of water is also advisable during our hot Texas summer, as well as your binoculars and/or camera, natch.
Restrooms and water fountains are available in the Center, as well as snacks and a variety of chilled bottled drinks for purchase in the Nature store.
On the third Thursday of every month, the Audubon Center hosts a free admission day. The hours are extended to 9 p.m., and special events and evening tours are sometimes available.
Private tours and school programs are available, as well.
They are planning a anniversary celebration Oct. 10-11 with their inaugural Nature Fest.
To find out more about our new natural jewel visit their website at www.trinityriveraudubon.org.

TVEC fights power outages
with county-wide improvements

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative is in the process of installing heavier lines and more substantial transformers in the hopes of reducing power outages, especially in the event of thunderstorms.
“There are several areas where we are upgrading our lines and transformers to carry 14,400 volts of electricity,” TVEC marketing and communications coordinator Jeff Jordan said.
Lines in various rural areas of Kaufman County currently carry only 7,200 volts.
“The places where the lines go from 14,400 to 7,200 volts are referred to as step-downs,” he explained, “and they act like a magnet to lightning strikes.”
One upgrade was recently completed on State Highway 243 near Ola.
An upgrade is currently underway in Beautiful Acres, off Farm-to-Market 148, west of Kemp.
“We are replacing about 3½ miles of line, 40 poles and about 70 transformers,” Jordan said.
“This project will affect about 134 members. Overall, this will help keep down the power outages in that area,” he said.
“Weather permitting, we should be out of there in about two weeks,” Jordan said.
“These are typical improvements that will greatly upgrade the reliability of our service,” he added.
“We’re always pleased at the directors’ level when we can see projects undertaken that will enhance our ability to provide safe and reliable electric service to our members,” District 4 TVEC Director Jo Ann Hanstrom said.

Marriott pleads guilty in Kaufman, Navarro counties
Special to The Monitor
KAUFMAN–A Henderson County woman who was sentenced in Navarro County last March to 99 years in prison for real estate fraud entered a guilty plea July 30 on separate mortgage fraud charges in Kaufman County District Court.
The defendant, Kandace Y. Marriott, also appeared in Navarro County District Court last week to enter guilty pleas on separate mortgage fraud charges in that county.
In Kaufman County, Marriott, 53, of Gun Barrel City, pled guilty to two first-degree felonies of engaging in organized criminal activity by filing false statement to obtain property or credit, and securing the execution of a document by deception.
The defendant received two 20-year sentences on the charges, which will be served concurrently.
The charges stem from her systematic efforts to defraud the federal government through a complex mortgage fraud scheme that spanned four counties.
In February, 2008, the defendant, her husband, Darrell, and her sister, Karen Hayes of Mabank (who is currently serving an 18-year sentence after pleading guilty in May) were indicted in Navarro County. Darrell Marriott and daughter, Kally Marriott, are still awaiting trial.
In Navarro County July 29, Kandace Marriott pled guilty to securing the execution of a document by deception and was sentenced to an additional 20-year prison sentence.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s White Collar Crime and Public Integrity Section prosecuted the cases.
In one indictment, the defendant admitted she provided 88 separate false statements to potential mortgage lenders in Kaufman County – each statement itself a separate felony offense.
In the second indictment, she admitted that seven mortgage notes secured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were executed based on the deception created with these statements.
This resulted in the transfer and eventual loss of taxpayer-backed monies.
Because of Marriott’s false statements and the execution of these notes, lenders were defrauded and made risky loans, which were guaranteed by the federal government.
According to investigators, Marriott and her co-defendants conspired to forge signatures and falsify home loan applications.
The defendants prepared fraudulent documents for prospective homeowners who were not qualified for loans backed by HUD.
As a result, multiple borrowers defaulted upon their HUD-backed mortgages.
Marriott and her co-defendants operated a Kaufman County real estate enterprise known as Torenia Inc., which did business as Energy Homes.
They continued to operate Torenia even after the Navarro County indictments were announced in February, 2008.
The defendants closed their Navarro County business, One Way Home and Land, in late 2005, after litigation and investigations ensued. They then moved their operations to Kaufman County.
Acting on search warrants issued in August, 2008, HUD and FBI investigators seized numerous records and assets, including 88 plots of land being offered to prospective buyers, and shut down the defendants’ Kaufman County business.
According to state investigators, the defendants’ scheme cost the federal government and taxpayers millions of dollars.
Evidence uncovered by the state indicates that the defendants supervised the falsification of residential loan applications to ensure that the buyers’ loans would be approved by mortgage lenders.
Investigators found that the defendants repeatedly falsified supporting documents and information, including the buyers’ rent payment verification statements, proof of employment and information about Social Security Administration benefits, among other documents.
Investigators found that the defendants targeted lower-income purchasers whose residential loans would be guaranteed by HUD.
As a result, when unqualified buyers defaulted on their home loans, mortgage lenders did not suffer the loss.
Rather, HUD, as guarantor of the loans, had to cover these costs.
In the Navarro County scheme, investigators believe the defendants cost taxpayers more than $4 million to date.
The Office of the Attorney General received assistance from HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Navarro and Kaufman County District Attorneys’ offices, and the Corsicana Police Department.
Attorney General Abbott’s Criminal Prosecutions Division is leading the prosecution of the four defendants, with the cooperation of district attorneys’ offices in Navarro, Henderson and Ellis counties.
 

 

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

We have many 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 petfinder.com


 


Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.