Two cars seized
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City police reported the
confiscation of two cars this week – one as a result of drug possession,
and the other after it was identified as a stolen car.
Officer Charlie Hughes ran the license plate number of a red 1997 Ford
truck Nov. 1, and was told the vehicle had been reported stolen by the
Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department.
Hughes and officer Tiffany Carrizales conducted a felony traffic stop
and identified the driver as Billy Wayne Goolsby, 41, of Crandall.
Goolsby was arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
A few days later, officer Nick Stewart observed a vehicle playing loud
music, loud enough to be in violation of the city’s noise ordinance.
The driver, Jose Villanueva, 19, of Zephyr was stopped.
During the investigation and subsequent search of the vehicle, Stewart
found Villanueva in possession of cocaine.
He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, less than one
gram. Villanueva’s 2001 Lincoln Town Car was seized.
Police activity reported for October included 13 accidents, five with
injuries, 102 arrests, 1,337 calls for service, 472 citations written
and 322 warnings issued.
Gun Barrel City police responded to 386 emergency calls.
Vera Martinez’ quiet ambition sets
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–You wouldn’t recognize her name or face, and yet she influenced
the success of more than 300 restaurants, many in the Dallas area.
Her unassuming nature, disciplined intelligence, tenacity and
entrepreneurial know-how helped Mexican restaurants – El Chico,
Mariano’s, La Hacienda Ranch, El Charo and On the Border – start on the
right footing and remain there by instituting sound business practices.
And though she had a hand in the success of all these restaurants, she
took none of the credit.
In fact, she was proud of just one thing – that she was the first
Mexican-American to graduate from Kaufman High School.
June 9, 1915, in a small wooden frame house, Vera Gamez was the daughter
of poor farm workers in Kaufman. She recently died at the age of 92 as
Vera G. Martinez of Dallas.
Her grandmother – “Mama Cuellar” of the El Chico restaurants – got her
start by selling tamales at the Kaufman County Fair. So, Vera was around
food and restaurants most her life.
By the time she graduated from the eighth grade, she knew a higher
education is what she needed to escape the grinding poverty she
witnessed all around her.
However, she was barred from continuing. In the 1930s, it just wasn’t
done. Children of migrant workers usually joined their parents in the
field and didn’t need further education.
Vera wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, but also didn’t want to appear
disagreeable, so she wrote letters.
She petitioned the Kaufman ISD superintendent O.P. Norman and the State
Board of Education for admission to the high school, and was granted her
Her son, Mariano – the inventor of the frozen margarita machine –
retells the story she often repeated of her first day of high school:
“The school principal met her at the front steps on her first day and
tried to scare her off by telling her he wasn’t going tobe responsible
for how the other students treated her,” he said.
So, Vera made it a point to make friends right away. She achieved high
marks all through high school and during the closing junior-senior
banquet, the high school principal insisted that she sit with him at the
head table in the seat of honor to recognize what she had achieved for
herself and all other Mexican-American students after her.
“She was really proud of that,” Mariano said.
Following graduation in 1936, she attended a business school in Tyler
and got her first job working for her uncles at the original El Chico
restaurant in Dallas.
Soon afterwards, her uncle Mack Cuella, who managed the restaurant, was
drafted into the Army for World War II. Her other uncle, Gilbert Cuella,
was the cook and had little education.
It fell to Vera to keep the restaurant operating during those years of
When Mack returned, she continued there as office manager and when she
left, wrote a thank you letter, expressing her hope that she contributed
something of value to the enterprise.
“Uncle Mack often said, if it hadn’t been for her thee would have been
no El Chico,” Mariano said.
While there, she met and married Mariano’s father. Eleven years later,
they opened El Charo restaurants in Dallas, Richardson and at the State
Fair of Texas.
“My dad never went to school, he was good with the customers and had a
great margarita recipe,” Mariano said. “All the customers though he ran
When Mariano decided to follow in the family tradition with a string of
his own restaurants, his mother was there to assist him.
With a $500 Small Business Administration loan, Mariano opened Mariano’s
in Dallas, where he transformed a soft-serve ice cream dispenser into
the first-ever frozen margarita machine.
His invention was inducted into the Smithsonian National Museum of
American History in 2005.
Later, Mariano launched Mariano’s Cabrito Cafe on Knox and Travis
streets, which he later sold to his friend David Franklin, who changed
the name to On the Border.
“He asked Mom to help him set up his purchasing and operating systems,
and of course she did,” he said.
Today, On the Border is a chain of restaurants with about 200 locations
across the southwest.
You’d think with a mother like Vera, Mariano would be a crack student.
However, he got involved in a successful rock band during his high
school years and skipped a great many classes.
“I remember waking up too late for school. Mom would always leave two
notes on my dresser, one excusing me from school due to illness and a
second one excusing me for being late. She also always left a
five-dollar bill for me. In those days that would buy gas and lunch, so
a lot of times I didn’t go to school,” he told The Monitor.
“After she died, I was going through her purse and there was just one
five dollar bill in her wallet. ‘Look, she left me $5, just like
always,’” he said.
“She was never pushy. Always gentle. But she seemed to get all the
things she ever wanted,” he said.
She wanted to go to high school. She wanted a brand-new stone house in
Dallas. She wanted to have a son and a daughter. She got all that, he
Her daughter, Rose Marie Pearce, died of breast cancer just four weeks
before she did
Vera suffered a massive stroke two weeks later. She had been married for
nearly 50 years, and a widow for 16.
She is survived by her son Mariano Martinez Jr. and wife Wanda; a
brother, Edward Gamez and his wife Suzi of Fort Worth; a sister, Ophelia
Cavazos of Dallas; son-in-law Kenneth Pearce, grandson Kenneth Wayne
Pearce Jr. and his wife Lisa; and great-grandchildren Nathan and Ashley
Pearce, along with granddaughter Angela Marie Waters and her husband
David, and great-granddaughter Caitlyn Elizabeth Waters.
Allison runs for Henderson
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A.W. “Tony” Allison announced his candidacy for Henderson County
Sheriff, where he has served since 1990.
He joined as a jailer, then was promoted to sergeant in 1991.
He became assistant chief deputy in 2001, with the primary
responsibility of jail service.
Shortly afterward, he became the budget officer and liaison to the
Henderson County Commissioners Court. “For the past 15 years, I’ve been
involved in every major decision concerning the Sheriff’s Department,”
During that time, Allison has seen the department grow from a 95-bed
jail, a staff of 56 and a $1.8 million budget to the current 140
employees, $7.8 million dollar budget and a jail that will soon have a
capacity of 508 inmates.
“I am humbled, honored and proud to have the endorsement and support of
Sheriff Ronny Brownlow and former Sheriff H.B. “Slick” Alfred as I seek
the office of Sheriff. These men represent the last 19 years of history
of the department,” Allison said.
Allison is proud of the department’s reputation, and has gained a deep
respect for his fellow workers.
“I know I am working with the finest people to wear the badge. I would
put our department against any in this state. It would be an honor to
lead this department as it grows and improves,” he said.
“The primary purpose of the department is protecting and serving the
people. The partnership between the people and law enforcement is the
cornerstone of effective law enforcement,” he said.
“A strength of the department is its continuity,” he added. “The
infrastructure has remained in place during the past 15 years,
maintaining criminal enforcement communications, civil process and
warrants, jail services and support staff.
“We have in place a drug task force, composed of members of the county’s
municipal police departments and the sheriff’s office,” he said.
“The task force has done an outstanding job and has gained statewide
recognition from the governor’s office, the Department of Public Safety,
Texas Monthly and The Dallas Morning News. We must continue to
aggressively enforce narcotics laws, using the latest technology,”
By building partnerships with school districts, Child Protective
Services and other crisis assistance agencies, as well as the community
he hopes to address crimes against children.
“We also need to address the growing number of crimes against senior
citizens. Many are falling victim to scam artists stealing their
identities, properties, savings and pride,” Allison said.
Money management, direction and supervision of employees and inmates
must be the next sheriff’s focus, since it takes up the largest portion
of the county budget. “The people of Henderson County deserve nothing
less,” Allison said.
Allison and his wife moved to the county in 1989.
“We soon knew and grew to love this area and its people,” he said. They
have two daughters, both being educated in Athens.
Allison holds a master peace officer’s license, master jailer’s license
and advanced telecommunications license from the Texas Commission on Law
Enforcement Standards and Education.
He also has an associate’s degree in criminal justice, and more than
2,800 hours of specialized law enforcement training and is a veteran of
the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
“If elected, I promise to use my education, experience and ability to
cooperate with others, to solve our ever changing problems – and in the
process, use the county’s resources wisely,” he said.