Thursday, August 7, 2008




  Wife shoots husband four times
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–A domestic disturbance over the weekend has left one man in the hospital after his wife shot him four times.
Linda Dixson, 60, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and transported to the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center.
Kenneth Dixson, 60, was reported in stable condition Monday at the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, with surgeries scheduled for later in the week, Mabank Police Chief Kyle McAfee said.
He was hit with four bullets from a small-caliber handgun in his side and back, McAfee added.
A family dispute call came in around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, he said.
Police responded to 636 E. Eubank St.
“We have never had a call there before,” McAfee said.
Police don’t know what touched off the incident, as the suspect wouldn’t say anything and the victim couldn’t say anything, McAfee said.
The couple lived alone at the Mabank address, he added.
Kenneth Dixson worked for about four months as Payne Springs’ first police chief before being let go, current police chief Shane Renberg confirmed.

Gun Barrel City judge dies at 53
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–As Gun Barrel City municipal judge, Penny Hatchel met hundreds of people on their bad days, yet she always tried to lift their spirits and help them through their difficulties when city ordinances had been broken and traffic rules exceeded.
Just about a month ago, she learned she had stage 4 cancer, and late Thursday, July 31, at the age of 53, Judge Hatchel died.
She had served the city for 11 years as judge. Prior to that she worked in the Crandall city courts.
“She has done a great job as judge,” city manager Gerry Boren told The Monitor.
“She was very conscientious in her job for the city,” city secretary Christy Eckerman said.
Hatchel had been a widow for several years. She has one daughter, who lives in Kaufman, and three grandchildren.
“Her grandchildren, a boy and two girls, were the joy of her life,” court clerk Joyce McManus said.
“We love her and we’re all going to miss her very much,” court clerk Grace Rivera said. “She was real family oriented. When people came in, she’d try to help them as much as she could, especially those with children.”
Tamarack resident Tina Hamilton got to know her well through her dog rescue work.
“She was kind of a rock and gave sound advice that really helped. And she was a great encourager,” Hamilton said.
In her spare time, Hatchel also enjoyed gardening and was an avid reader.
News of Hatchel’s illness and prognosis was sudden and came as a shock both to her and those who worked with her.
She served the city from February, 1997, until July, 2008. (See page 11A for her obituary.)
At the end of June, the city council appointed Rhonda Peterson, who also serves as a municipal judge in Tool, as an interim alternate associate judge for Gun Barrel City.

Penny Hatchel
Gun Barrel City municipal judge

County sets 60-day burn ban
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Triple digit heat, little rain and low humidity set the stage for Kaufman County Commissioners to approve a county-wide burn ban.
Monday Fire Marshal Larry Ewing requested the action and asked the ban be instituted for 60 days.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry Rowden brought up the possibility of using burn barrels for trash.
“Many of the grass fires are started by citizens using burn barrels – with covers,” Ewing said.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Schoen said he had a construction company in his precinct that needed to continue to burn. The company is using deep trenches to burn in and has water trucks around the trench, he explained.
Exceptions can be made based on TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) regulations, Ewing said.
The ban requires the request for exceptions be submitted to the fire marshal’s office, Ewing explained. Then he would present it to commissioners with his recommendation for approval.
In other business, commissioners:
• delayed a decision to Monday, Aug. 11, to appoint Jody Deller as the tabulation supervisor of the central counting station for all elections through June, 2009.
Several citizens protested the appointment.
Former county Democratic chairman George Lawshe protested the appointment because Jody is the wife of Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller.
Sarah Whitaker, Democratic Chair and former commissioner Ken Leonard, a delegate to the Republican Convention joined in Lawshe’s protest.
“By appointing the commissioner’s spouse, you can’t certify (votes) with impartiality,” Leonard said.
• agreed to enter into a contract with Mobile USA to provide mobile X-rays and EKG’s at the jail.
Vicki Gerner explained that each time an inmate TB test came back positive, the inmate was taken to the hospital at a cost of $150 to $200, plus the cost of transportation and a deputy.
The total cost of the mobile unit is $40 per use, she said.
• set the requirements for all elections through June, 2009.
• approved changing voting box 34 location back to J.F. Kennedy School, as requested by the Democratic chair.
• set the commissioners courtroom in the Courthouse Annex as the central counting station.
• named Teressa Floyd as presiding judge of the central counting station.
• named P.J. Gibson as the central counting station manager.
• named Barbara Doughty as assistant tabulation supervisor for the central county station.
• agreed to sign an interlocal agreement with Hunt County.
• approved the purchase of a chip spreader through the BuyBoard Cooperative Program for Precinct 2.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Ray Clark said the BuyBoard will sell it at a reduced cost and the machine can be shared with the other three precincts.
• accepted the treasurer’s report for June as presented by Johnny Countryman.
• accepted several bids with the awards to be made later for a reclaimer/pulverizer for Precinct 4 and a communication satellite for the Sheriff’s department.
• accepted several roads into the county maintenance system, including Terri Lea Lane, Griffith Avenue, Masters, Colonial, and Clearview drives, Skyview Court, Grandview Drive, Skyview Lane and Clearview.
• appointed Mark Sacharko and John Dabbs to the Emergence Service District No. 7.
• approved the deputation of Robert D. McGee for the Sheriff’s Department.
• approved budget transfers as presented by auditor Hal D. Jones.
• paid bills totaling $751,908.38.

KHS grad and Rich O’Toole Band open for Bad Company
By Katherine Veno
Monitor Correspondent

KEMP-Lead guitarist for the popular Rich O’Toole Band is 2001 Kemp High School graduate Paul Eldridge.
The Rich O’Toole Band opened for Bad Company Aug. 2 at Gaters in Gun Barrel City. The Friday before, the band played at Gilley’s in Dallas.
O’Toole’s debut album, called “Seventeen,” was recorded in 2006, and three singles from that album made it to the Top 10 Texas Music Chart. “Queen of the Misfits,” “When Kelly comes to Town” and “Alone” have all had heavy airplay on 106.9 The Ranch radio station.
Also, “Summertime” from that album is currently rated number 4 among singles.
“To have three singles from one debut album hit the top 10 is quite an accomplishment,” Eldridge said.
Eldridge has been with the music writer and performer for about a year. Another 2003 Kemp graduate, Chris Keathley, was the bass player for the debut album, but has since left the band.
A second album is due out in September, with the release of the first single from the album, called “In a Minute Or 2,”due in August. A music video has been made and may be viewed at
Eldridge is the 25-year-old son of Celia and Pete Eldridge of Kemp. His siblings, sister Emily, 17, and brothers Joseph, 20, and Adam, 27, strongly support his music ambitions.
“Paul was in the eighth grade when we got him a secondhand guitar that was almost brand new. My brother Robert had bought the electric guitar for his son Ryan, but he did not show much interest in it, so he told me he would sell it cheap. I think I got it for about $100, and he took to it immediately,” mother Celia recalled.
“He is a self-taught guitar player who had a good musical ear, and could read musical notes and guitar books,” his mother also added. “All of my kids are musically inclined, but Paul is the only one who pursued it.”
Celia’s father, Cecil Reeves, was a tuba player at Texas Tech, and he could play piano and sing. Paul was a tuba player in the Kemp Jr. High School band in the seventh and eighth grade, and also participated in the jazz ensemble and went to regional competition, his mother added.
On his father’s side of the family, Pete’s grandfather was a semi-professional singer, so it definitely runs in the blood.
“I am just waiting on my house from my rock star son,” Pete Eldridge said.
The Rich O’Toole Band is number nine on the Texas Music Chart as of July 31 with their debut CD “Seventeen.”
Other band members are Brady Miller, a drummer from Brownsboro, and Chris Haggerty from Houston on bass guitar.
Playing the organ, piano and guitar is Ross Smith from Chandler, and O’Toole is from Houston.
O’Toole didn’t begin to pursue a musical career until he was injured while playing baseball.
Music from the Rich O’Toole Band can be heard from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the “Morning Fiasco” with Nash and Carey Dean on 106.9 The Ranch radio station.
The radio celebrities also played master of ceremonies for the recent Gaters concert in Gun Barrel City.

Monitor Photo/Katherine Veno
Rich O’Toole band members (left to right) Brady Miller/drummer, Chris
Hagerty/bass guitar, Rich O'Toole/vocals and guitar, Ross Smith/keyboards
and Paul Eldridge/lead guitar get ready to open for Bad Company at Gaters in
Gun Barrel City Saturday. The band was rated No. 9 on the Texas Music Chart
as of July 31.

Monitor Photo/Katherine Veno
Paul Eldridge, Kemp resident and lead guitarist,
mixes it up with members of the Rich O'Toole band
with their hit single "Queen of the Misfits" and
“Summertime” at Gaters Saturday.




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