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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
“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
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,”
“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
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
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
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
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
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.
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
We have many animals at the
Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven
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
County Road 2403 in
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