Thursday, October 9, 2008

     

 

 

 

Domestic Violence Awareness
month observed

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–The Henderson County Commissioners proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness month to help educate residents to the prevalence of this often unreported crime.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that in Texas one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The same is true for one in 33 men.
Nationally, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
The cost of such violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, with $4.1 billion going for direct medical and mental health services.
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
“Too many victims of domestic violence suffer silently each day,” an advocate from the Texas Attorney General’s Office said.
“This office is working tirelessly alongside advocates to educate Texans about breaking cycles of abuse and to ensure that victims get the help they need through support resources in our communities. Together, we are building a Texas where domestic violence is not tolerated,” from a statement from the Texas AG’s Office.
In 2006, there were 12,356 adults living in domestic violence shelters in Texas. The number of reported rapes mounted to 8,511 in 2005, and there were 120 homicides as a result of domestic violence in 2006 in Texas.
Six children were reported killed in Texas as a result of domestic violence in 2006.
According to the Break The Chain of Violence Against Domestic Violence website (breakthechain.net), more than 80 percent of all abuse goes unreported.
These victims do not seek help or report the assault because of shame, guilt, fear, negative family impact, emotional trauma or lack of information about this crime and are often unaware of existing services.
Asking them to enter a shelter in a rural area – where people know them and their family is just as hard.
Then they are saying or implying something about their own decision-making, their own lives, that they do not want the whole world to know.
In the not too distant past, if a woman considered leaving her husband, she was defying God, society, family, everything she knew and held dear for her own “selfish” needs.
There are approximately 3.3 to 10 million children who witness the abuse of a parent or adult caregiver each year.
Research also indicates children exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk of being abused or neglected and at risk of losing one or both of their parents.
All of these may lead to negative outcomes for children and may affect their well-being, safety, stability and future personal relationships, Break the Chain reports.
Teens also face domestic violence in their homes and in their personal relationships.
In 2006, AG Greg Abbott released results that cited 75 percent of 16-24-year-olds have either experienced domestic violence or know someone who has.
That’s why the “Know the red flags” program (knowtheredflags.com) was developed to help educate teens about the warning signs of unhealthy relationships.
The website has an online quiz to help young adults learn the difference between behavior indicative of violence and whether their own behavior needs to be modified.
The website is sponsored by the Texas Council on Family Violence.
Everyone who has been affected by domestic violence may want to make a donation to help stop it from continuing.
Wal-Mart in Gun Barrel City collects used cell phones for donation to Break The Chain. Access to a phone can sometimes save a life.
See sidebar above for organizations and resources that could use your donations so they can help others escape domestic violence and develop healthy relationships.


Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
A clothesline on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn brings the issues of
family violence out in the open with T-shirt messages to remind Texans to the
lives impacted by this very private crime. October is Domestic Violence Awareness
month in the county.

Eustace hikes rates
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–Amidst warnings the city faces defaulting on its obligations to the federal government, the Eustace City Council boosted water and sewer rates Oct. 2.
Seven Points CPA Don Kinney told the council the city’s current rate structure, unchanged since 2006, was not providing enough revenue to meet debt obligations.
Even with the proposed increases, which he termed “the bare minimum for this year,” Kinney said the city still faces some severe difficulties.
“I think you guys are the cheapest water department on the lake,” Kinney said.
At his home, served by Monarch Water Supply, Kinney said his average monthly bill was at least $120, and his Seven Points office bill (on West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District) was at least $40 per month.
Kinney said his proposed minimum rates will raise between $40,000 and $55,000 more in revenue.
“I don’t know if that will be adequate, but I do know that what you’re charging right now is not adequate,” Kinney said.
If the city doesn’t meet its contractual obligations to pay back its USDA loan, “the federal government will step in, and take over your water system,” he said. “They’ll set your rates, and you won’t like that.”
Councilman Mark Sanders said he wanted to have more public input on the water rates, and made a motion to table the item pending two public hearings.
Councilman Chuck Powers said holding two hearings would delay implementation of new rates by at least two months.
“We’re $20,000 in the red,” Powers said. “I’m not good in math, but you’re going to get further in the hole if you don’t do something.
“I don’t want to raise rates, but you’re shooting at the bottom of the barrel right here,” Powers added. “If I’m going to offend myself and all my neighbors, I don’t want to turn around and have to offend them again in a couple of months.”
Mayor Laura Ward said the city was not required to hold public hearings over water and sewer rates, and pointed out the rate question had been on previous agendas for two years.
“You’re not going to have a group of people come in here and say ‘go ahead and raise my bill’,” she said.
“You’re not talking to them, mayor,” Sanders countered.
Saying he was stepping outside his CPA shoes, Kinney said he agreed that holding public hearings would not be productive.
“You should have been holding these hearings six months ago,” Kinney said. “I told you last year your new system was going to cost more to operate. It’s going to take six to 12 months to build your reserves up (and) I’m not sure this (rate structure) will do it.”
During the discussion, councilwoman Lisa Roberts objected to a proposed $70 fee when customers call out water employees after hours for a non-emergency situation.
“I don’t have a problem with the other (proposed) fees, but I won’t go for that,” she said.
Noting the proposed rates offered by water superintendent Tom Acker and Kinney were a minimum, Powers suggested slightly larger increases to make it more certain the new rates would be adequate.
“I can read red numbers,” he said. “I think we need to do something.”
Powers offered different figures (crossing out the after-hours fee) and the other council members didn’t disagree – except Sanders, who asked Ward to declare his motion to delay for hearings dead for lack of a second.
She did so, and Powers offered a motion with his new rates, which passed 3-1, with Sanders opposing.
“It’s not what I want, but I think it’s what we have to do,” Powers said. The rates will go into effect with the October meter readings.
As approved, the new base rate includes the first 1,000 gallons (previously 2,000 gallons). Residential water base rate is $22.40 (previously $20) and base residential sewer is $18 (previously $15).
Over-base rates increased to $3.05 per 1,000 gallons for water and $2.09 for sewer, with no maximum cap.
Base commercial water increased from $26 (for the first 2,000) to $40 for the first 1,000, and commercial sewer increased from $25 to $30.

Weekend events galore
Monitor Staff Reports
HENDERSON COUNTY–This Saturday a host of fun events are taking place. Make sure you don’t miss out.
The First United Methodist Church of Mabank is hosting its 13th annual Lord’s Acre Harvest Festival starting with the Country Store opening at 9 a.m. featuring baked goods, plants and crafts.
A live auction gets underway at 1 p.m. with games and activities for children starting at 10 a.m. including a visit from Santa.
A barbecue lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For to-go orders, call (903) 887-3691 between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
In Kemp, the annual one-mile “Walk of Faith” benefitting Kemp Intermediate student Desiree Wrenn kicks off at 8 a.m. at Kemp City Park.
A donation of $10 for adults and $5 for students will be appreciated.
Desiree was badly injured in a car accident on her way to school several years ago. Her family makes the most of it as they meet their daughter’s needs as a paraplegic.
For information, call Gwenn Allen at (903) 498-8801 or Shannon Garmon at (214) 735-3794.
The 17th annual Cedar Creek Marching Festival gets started around 9 a.m. at Mabank High School’s Panther Stadium.
The free all-day event features the thrills of performing bands from all over Northeast Texas.
The East Texas Arboretum has an all-day slate of activities and demonstrations for its annual Octoberfest.
Food booths, children’s activities, antique and classic car exhibit, arts and crafts, scarecrow trail and Wofford House Living Museum, buggy rides and much, much more are on tap beginning at 9:30 a.m. and continuing through 3:30 p.m.
This year, several cook-offs are also being held, including the Fletch Hamburger Cook-off, a children’s cook-off and a black-eyed pea cook-off.
For more information, call (903) 675-5630.
In the evening, the 11th annual Henderson County Cattle Baron’s Ball will be attracting Stetson and boot-clad guests to a soiree benefitting the American Cancer Society.
The event kicks off at 7 p.m at the Henderson County Fairpark Complex.
Tickets are $75.
Some featured events include the riderless horse ceremony provided by Keith Mitchell, live music, food, a caricature artist renderings and silent and live auctions to include cattle to Dallas Cowboy tickets.
For more information, call Janice Ellis at (214) 533-7150.
In Malakoff, the inaugural October Festival, sponsored by Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, is set for 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Malakoff Senior Citizens Community Center, 503 North Terry, Malakoff. Food includes hot dogs, brats and Tex-Mex.
A live band, The Sidekicks, will provide entertainment, while kids and adults enjoy a bounce house, hole-in-one, face painting, cake walk and a white elephant silent auction.


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