Thursday, November 12, 2009








Kaufman dedicates Vietnam Memorial Wall
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–The weather was beautiful, the crowd plentiful and colorful flags fluttered in the breeze as citizens from all over gathered to pay respects to those who lost their lives for their country.
The only thing that could spoil Saturday’s event did, as Death raised its ugly head at Fort Hood Nov. 5.
In Death’s wake, America’s flags flew at half staff, and remained so until Veterans Day.
But there was hope too, in the patriotism of the citizens and those veterans who survived the horrors of war who turned out for the formal dedication of the new Vietnam Memorial Wall at the Kaufman County Veterans Memorial Park.
Devyn Renee Ibarra sang the National Anthem and Marilyn Rowden sang “America the Beautiful.”
The Kaufman County Homeschool Choir performed a beautiful medley of patriotic songs.
County Judge Wayne Gent told the audience about how proud he was to have served in the Marines in Vietnam.
United States Air Force veteran Jim Thompson introduced the keynote speaker, USAF retired Vietnam veteran Col. Shady Groves, but not before commenting on the perfect timing of the USAF missing man formation that flew over just at the right moment.
Groves flew fighter jets in Vietnam and in Desert Storm. He was stationed in South Vietnam with the 421st Flight Squadron.
“No war is just one war, it is a whole series of wars – air, ground, rivers – all the experiences are different,” he said.
“We stayed on base and focused on the mission, confident we were secure in our compound,” he said.
“Our area was called ‘Rocket City’ because of the rocket attacks that occurred, seldom hitting anything,” Groves recalled in an emotional voice.
“But one night, a rocket hit a barracks where men were waiting to return home,” he said. “They were all killed.”
The Wall dedication program continued with the laying of wreaths and a ribbon cutting, and the 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines delivered a 21-gun salute with cannon.
“Taps,” played by former Kemp High School band director Don Harrell, now at Kaufman’s Norman Junior High School, concluded the ceremony.
The Vietnam Memorial Wall of Texas is located at the Kaufman Veterans Park, 3970 S. Houston Street in Kaufman.
For information, call (972) 932-3118 or visit


Wrong-way driver caught near Kemp
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–One of the deadliest outcomes of driving under the influence is the wrong-way driver.
Law enforcement officers had their hands full Nov. 4 when they got a call from a very concerned citizen concerning a car traveling at a high rate of speed westbound in the eastbound lanes of U.S. Highway 175.
The wrong-way driver was identified as Stephen Barnes, white male, of Kaufman. He was driving a blue 1991 Toyota Tercel.
The citizen reported the driver was going to kill somebody unless stopped.
Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo contacted the on-duty patrol officer, Jimmy Council, by radio, warning him the car was traveling near the Kemp water plant and the Beacon Hill area.
Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers also notified other area patrols of the problem.
“I entered U.S. 175 at Farm-to-Market 1895, hoping to locate the driver. I met him at State Highway 274, still traveling west in the eastbound fast lane,” Clemmo said.
“I had my lights and sirens on, but that never fazed the driver. He never slowed down, just continued on,” Clemmo added.
The chief requested help from Kaufman County to shut down U.S. 175 at FM 2860.
“With assistance from unmarked Kaufman County units, Officer Council was able to get the driver to stop, just west of Kemp at the city limits,” Clemmo explained.
“There was a brief scuffle before Barnes was taken into custody for driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and resisting arrest, search and transport,” Clemmo said.
Barnes was checked out by paramedics from East Texas Medical Center before being transported to the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center.
Several witnesses said they barely avoided being struck by the wrong-way driver.
“It was fortunate that no one was struck or injured,” Clemmo noted. “The most recent event before this one resulted in a double-fatality under the same scenario.
“Had it not been for the assistance and quick response of the county officers, it could have been catastrophic,” he added.


Women held on drug charges
Monitor Staff Reports
MURCHISON–Henderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two women in Murchison Sunday morning after a free air sniff by a drug dog alerted them to the presence of a controlled substance and marijuana.
The two women were identified as Misty Stokes, 26, and Lehua Mau‘ala, 23. Deputy Richard Miller observed the two women parked in vehicle in front of a closed business at 8:50 a.m. Sunday.
When Miller made contact with them, they appeared highly nervous, a press release issued Monday stated.
Miller called in backup, and a drug detection dog, Benny, gave a positive alert after being walked around the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle, which belonged to Mau‘ala, turned up a quantity of methamphetamine, marijuana and a pistol.
Mau‘ala was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, more than four grams and less than 200 grams, possession of marijuana less than two ounces and possession of a firearm by a felon. Stokes also was arrested on the same drug charges.
Mau‘ala and Stokes were transported to Henderson County Jail.
Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Sue Tarrant set bonds totaling $60,000 for Mau’ala, while Stokes’ bonds totaled $52,500.

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