Witness sought in fatal hit
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–In the early hours Friday morning, the Kaufman County Sheriff’s
Department received a call concerning a body in the emergency lane of
East bound U.S. Highway 175, near Kemp.
Emergency personnel arrived on the scene approximately one mile west of
The Store and found the body of a deceased woman lying on the left
shoulder of the road.
She was later identified as 57-year-old Connie Shaw of Kemp.
Shaw was employed as a clerk at Harvey’s Exxon, located at U.S. 175 and
State Highway 274 in Kemp, and is well-known in the community.
She was transported to the Dallas Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Texas Highway Patrol was contacted to help investigate the case,
Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo said.
The case is being treated as a fatal hit and run.
Kemp Police are seeking help in locating a possible suspect or suspects.
Shaw’s car, a small white four-door compact, was found on the westbound
side of U.S. 175, in the area of The Store, Clemmo said.
“She had been having car trouble for a couple of weeks,” he said.
Shaw may have tried to walk home, if that was the case, he added.
“The suspect vehicle possibly has damage on the driver’s side,
consistent with striking a person at a high rate of speed,” Clemmo
Information should be forwarded to the Kemp Police Department at (903)
Food pantries plead for more
HC United Way sets goal of $167,000
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Five different food banks told Henderson County United Way board
members their numbers are up sharply over last year and more help is
The Mabank Area Good Samaritans reported servicing 759 families this
year, spending $16,000 on food.
The organization considers itself an emergency food pantry, distributing
three days worth of food once a month to those on file, J. Ethridge
An October food drive usually provides for the pantry through the end of
the year, he added.
Difficult choices have had to be made by the Samaritans, a nine-church
organization, such as eggs or peanut butter?
The Samaritans chose eggs. “If we had more funding, we’d get both,” he
However, food pantry clients are asking tougher questions, such as:
“medicine or food?”
Presiding United Way board officer Kim Hodges/First State Bank said the
rise in gas prices and electricity has also affected food prices.
“We are finding people in need all across the board, it’s not just the
elderly,” she said.
Hodges said the board was planning on presenting checks to several food
pantries within a few days to help them meet the increased demand for
The annual United Way fund drive is about to begin with a goal of
raising $167,000 set to fund many worthwhile agencies in the county.
Gene McIntyre, a retired hospital administrator, has been overseeing a
food pantry at the Eastern Hills Church of Christ in Athens for nearly
He said the pantry uses a donated semi-truck to pick up 8,000 to 10,000
pounds of food a week.
“Last year, we averaged serving 127 families a week. This year, the
average is up to 150,” he said.
“That equals 521 people. Yesterday, we served those people all in three
hours,” he said. “That’s busy.”
The church pantry is funded by its members and several generous
Sue Ann Kosydar of the Pantry of Cedar Creek Lake, housed at the Cedar
Creek Lake United Methodist Church in Tool and operated by five
churches, is 20 years old and this is the first time it has seen such a
large increase in the numbers of people coming, she said.
Last year, the pantry served 1,697 people. This year, the pantry
surpassed that number by the end of July, she said.
The Care and Share Pantry, housed in the First Baptist Church of Gun
Barrel City and operated by five churches, serves its client families
once a month with 75 to 100 pounds of food, including frozen meats and
meals, condiments and nonfood items such as toilet paper (when
available) and cleaning products, Kenneth Cole said.
Like the Eastern Hills Church, it typically buys its food from the East
Texas Food Bank in Tyler. Unfortunately, it is spending more than it is
taking in donations, that average nearly $300 monthly. It also accepts
an annual check from the Henderson County Triad and conducts year-round
food drives through its member churches.
Ethridge of the Samaritans ended his presentation on a jovial note,
telling how every morning a certain elderly woman would go out on her
back porch and praise the Lord to the great annoyance of her unbelieving
As time went by, the neighbor noticed that the old lady was having a
hard time, so he bought her some groceries and placed them on her back
The next morning when she came out to praise the Lord, she saw the
groceries and praised him all the louder for his provision. At that, her
neighbor answered that the Lord had nothing to do with it that he had
provided the groceries.
The woman responded by praising the Lord more enthusiastically for
providing the food and making the devil pay for it.
“Paying for the basic needs of our neighbors is going to take everyone’s
help,” board member Ralph Monroe/Johnson Monroe said.
“If everyone pitches in a little, it will add up to a lot of needs being
met,” he said.
He encouraged his fellow United Way pace setters to stir up the
employees of their companies to give their “fair share,” defined as a
donation of one hour’s wages a month, throughout the year through the
annual United Way fund drive.
County readied for Gustav
No storm evacuees in Henderson, Kaufman
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Though no evacuees were sent to Henderson or Kaufman counties, a
plan was in place to provide for their needs.
“This time around was much different than when Hurricane Katrina hit. It
was as different as night and day,” Henderson County Judge David
Holstein told The Monitor Tuesday.
Twice daily conference calls with state emergency management officials
and weather experts over the Labor Day holiday kept everyone advised and
ready to move.
Advanced planning on two possible scenarios were in place and ready to
activate, should the storm have made landfall in Texas, Holstein said.
“There were plans for moving fuel trucks into the I-45 corridor for
those evacuating from the coast, also food and water providers were set
to move in,” he said.
Flooding scenarios were also discussed and planned out, he added.
As it turned out, Hurricane Gustav did not land in Texas nor at a large
population center. Neither did it hit with the ferocity of a Category 4
storm, as feared.
National Weather Service storm expert Will Shaffer said the storm
“skirted” Louisiana at “a gentler angle” than Katrina. It also came
ashore as a Category 2 storm, weakening to a Category 1 a few hours
It landed 72 miles southwest of New Orleans near the fishing village
Officials fear that nearby Port Fourchon, a crucial pipeline hub for a
large portion of the nation’s oil and gas industries, has been severely
damaged. Early Tuesday, no word from the port was received.
The eye of the storm reportedly passed just 20 miles from the port.
In the state’s plan for housing evacuees from Louisiana, Henderson
County shelters were designated for overflow traffic from shelters in
Dallas and Tyler.
They would have gone to either the Lakeview Assembly of God Church in
Seven Points or to the Lone Star Camp just outside of Athens with the
American Red Cross springing into action, Holstein said.
“We are so far ahead of where we were during Katrina. The lessons
learned from Katrina have been applied,” he said.
The requirements of the National Incident Management System have been
adopted and training for volunteer firefighters and First Responders is
Tuesday morning, Holstein met with Emergency Management Coordinator Joy
Kimbrough to flesh out details on a county organizational chart,
outlining who in the county is responsible for what in the event of an
The five-area chart breaks down chief responsibilities and responses
further into levels, each reaching five departments or people each.
“You can never be too prepared,” Kimbrough said. “If you’re not
constantly refining and making adjustments, you won’t be ready.”
September is national “Emergency Preparedness” month – a month marked
with historical emergencies such as 9-11 in New York, 2001, and Katrina
nearly three years ago to the day Gustav made landfall in the U.S.
In the Caribbean, 94 storm-related deaths were reported – here only
seven were reported.