Thursday, August 27, 2009








Couple charged in infant’s
starving death

Autopsy says 4-month old’s death a homicide by starvation
Monitor Staff Reports

CHEROKEE SHORES–A couple, living in Cherokee Shores, has been charged with manslaughter in the death of their 4-month-old infant.
Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reports the Aug. 20 arrest of Shawn Davis Wagner, 22, and Kristina Fay Tello, 21, after a lengthy investigation into the death of their infant son, Hayden J. Wagner.
An autopsy report listed the cause of death as starvation and the manner of death as a homicide.
On May 5, investigators Ceresa Ballard and David Faught responded to an emergency call on Quanah Street in Cherokee Shores in reference to an unresponsive 4-month-old boy.
The infant was taken to the emergency center in Gun Barrel City where medical staff pronounced his death.
“The infant was grossly underweight and his bones were visible through his skin, and his eyes were sunken in his head,” a press release issued Friday stated.
Wagner and Tello were found to be the primary caregivers, the release added.
The couple are being held at the Henderson County Jail on $1 million bond each.

Storm winds uproot ‘Enchanted Oaks’
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

ENCHANTED OAKS–A large number of the ancient and stately trees that inspired the name for Enchanted Oaks were blown over during a severe thunderstorm that moved across the Cedar Creek Lake area shortly after 5 a.m. Friday.
Enchanted Oaks resident Dave Symoniak had one tree fall on his house at 148 Enchanted Drive, while a second tree split and crushed his carport.
“The dog woke me up about 4 o’clock,” Symoniak said. “I saw it coming in, but it didn’t look that bad (on TV radar).”
When the wind started blowing, it was coming out of the west, he recalled.
“I couldn’t even see our boat dock,” Symoniak said. “Then the wind started coming out of the east. I don’t know if this (damage) was from straight-line winds or a microburst.”
Symoniak said he was outside watching the storm when things started happening fast.
“I saw the first branch fall, and I told my wife (Vicki) ‘that big branch fell,’ and about 10 seconds later the tree fell on the house,” he said.
“The tree fell on the carport while I was still outside,” Symoniak added. “Now, I’m just cleaning up and waiting on the insurance guy.”
Nearby neighbor Ken Shaver was a little luckier. He wasn’t at home when a huge tree in his front yard broke in half and fell on the side of his house.
“My neighbor called me this morning and told me a tree had fallen on my house,” Shaver said. “My beautiful tree ... it was at least 100 years old.”
Shaver said the falling tree just grazed his home, slightly damaging a sunroom on that side.
“Now I’ve got light on that side of the yard, where nothing would grow, but I sure liked that tree,” he added.
Friend Lee Durso, who stopped by to check on Shaver, said she lived at the Pinnacle Club, “but I didn’t see anything like this.”
Enchanted Oaks mayor Don Warner said the city police chief woke him up about 5:30 a.m.
Three trees were down across city streets, but everybody could still get out, he said.
City police officers and Enchanted Oaks volunteer firefighters helped reopen the streets, and Raymond Ramsey and his tree crew came out to help clear the roads, Warner said.
“We were able to clear the roads by about 8 a.m.,” he added.
“We had about 10 houses with trees on them,” Warner said. Seven trees were hung on power lines (including one at his house), and two power poles were knocked down.
“About 80 percent of the city lost power,” he added. “I want to make sure Oncor gets credit for responding and doing a great job.”
Oncor crews were on the scene by 9 a.m., under the direction of David Washington, and had restored power to virtually every home by 9 p.m., Warner said.
“They ought to get an ‘attaboy’,” he added.
Volunteers from Harbor Baptist Church came out to help some elderly residents clear damaged trees, Warner said Monday afternoon. Cleanup was still going on, he said, and probably would continue for some time.
“We’re very fortunate that nobody got hurt,” Warner added.

KISD lines up for stimulus funds
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Finishing the building of a new high school and facing decisions about the former high school, Kemp school trustees were told the district qualifies for $5 million in federal economic stimulus funds and may apply for up to $7 million.
The interest-free money is expected to be paid back over 15 years.
Approximately $300 million in stimulus funds are available to Texas school districts for projects that would otherwise be put on hold for lack of money.
Funds cannot be used on existing debt or stand alone items, such as computers or other similar needs.
Aug. 20, Kemp school trustees gave Superintendent Dr. Peter Running the green light to apply for the funding. However, no specific amount or project was named.
The motion carried 4-1, with Trustee Curtis Donovan opposed. Trustee Harvey McFaul was not present.
Ed King with Government Capital Corporation in Southlake presented the process to the trustees.
The application does not bind the school district to the money. If approved, and if the district chooses not to accept, the funds revert to the Texas Education Agency, which oversees the program, he said.
“TEA understands that you may not have a shovel-ready project,” King said.
Districts will simply divide the principal by the 15 years needed to repay, he said.
It must be used for a project that requires building or refurbishing, and would require the hiring of contractors, and such, he said.
The funds are meant to stimulate the economy by providing jobs.
“The district will have six months from the time the loan is approved (not from the time of application) to spend at least 10 percent of the amount borrowed.
“Kemp ISD is qualified for at least $5 million but can apply for up to $7 million,” he explained.
Running said he could think of several upcoming projects that fit the requirements.
In other business, trustees:
• heard from two strategic planning firms.
David Koempel, senior consultant with Texas Association of School Boards, stressed community involvement, the number of meetings needed, and commitment.
Sheri Sides and Jennifer Preston, stressed community involvement and setting a two-day retreat.
Sides, formerly interim superintendent at Forney ISD, recently started her new service.
“We’re hot off the griddle,” Sides said referring to recent involvement with school districts and their needs.
• heard a construction update from architect Randy Fromberg and construction manager Blair Williams.
Fromberg said everything was ready for the first day of school.
A second work shift, starting at 4 p.m. on school days for a number of weeks, will complete construction projects, Williams said.
• approved a payment to date of $1,576,464.17 for the high school.
• heard the report on the fingerprinting project for teachers and employees from assistant superintendent Sam Swierc.
Since the passage of Senate Bill 9, all employees must be fingerprinted. The project is being overseen by the Department of Public Safety and the FBI.
“The proceedings are extremely confidential,” Swierc said.
• reviewed the student handbook.
• approved the Code of Conduct.
• reviewed the employee handbook.
• approved trustee Steve Greenhaw as delegate and Scott Clearman as alternate to the TASB convention in October in Houston.
• heard Donovan has been accepted to the TASB Leadership Training. He was one of 30 applicants accepted out of more that 90 that applied.
“It’s a fairly strict review process (to be chosen). We’re extremely proud of him,” board president Keith Foisey said.


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