The Monitor will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holidays,
Thursday, Nov. 24. Ad deadlines will change for the following
• Leader – Wednesday, Nov. 23 issue, ad deadlines have passed.
• The Monitor – Thursday, Nov. 24 issue display ad deadline is 4
p.m. Thursday, (today). Classified ad deadline is noon, Monday,
• The Monitor – Sunday, Nov. 27 issue display ad deadline is 4
p.m. Monday, Nov. 21. Classified ad deadline is noon, Nov. 22.
• Leader – Wednesday, Nov. 30 issue display ad deadline is 4
p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22. Classified ad deadline is noon,
Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Teen account set
An account has been opened at First National bank in Kemp for
Alyssa Olivarez, 14. She was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma.
The Cedar Creek Homeschoolers 4-H Club leads Henderson County in
a “Save Your Change” event to fund Project Linus, an
organization that gives blankets to traumatized children. Change
can be dropped off at the Ag-Extension office in Athens. The
club is also collecting coats for the Family Resource Center.
When dropping off coats, please indicate they are for the 4-H
Mabank Senior Center
The Senior Center at the Ballpark in Mabank (the old YMCA
building) is open 8 a.m. to noon, Monday-Friday. Lunch is served
daily at 11:30 a.m. Events include bridge classes by Charles
Ford beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday (today). Also a Pickin’ &
Grimm Jam session at 7 p.m. For information, call (903)
VFW chili food drive
VFW Post 4376 Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a Chili Night Food
Drive, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the Post, located in Seven
Points. Bring six cans of a meat item, such as tuna, Spam, ham,
Vienna sausages, etc. for the Christmas Food Drive, in exchange
for a bowl of chili and fixings.
Soup’s on St. Jude
“Soup’s on Us,” at St. Jude Catholic Church from 11:30 a.m. to 1
p.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18. Volunteers for
the St. Vincent de Paul Society will serve a free bowl of hot
chicken soup in the parish hall to those in need of a hot meal,
in the parish hall, along with coffee, tea and desserts. All are
welcome. For help or information, call (903) 887-0727. If you
leave a message, someone will return your call.
The Providence Baptist Church is hosting a fish fry, including
french fries, hush puppies, cole slaw, dessert and drink. at 6
p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Donation requested for the meal will be
used to restock the shelves of the Food Bank which helps many
needy families in the community. Donations of canned goods and
other nonperishable staples are also welcome.
The Confederate Rose chapter of the United Daughters of the
Confederacy meets at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, in the home of
Johna Lamb. Those interested in family history in relation to
UDC are welcome. For information, see chapter website at
Rainbow pancake benefit
The Gun Barrel City Masonic Lodge No. 369 Rainbow Girls are
hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser from 7:30 to 10 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Lodge, 402 Legendary Lane.
A Thanksgiving Community dinner is planned by Cedar Creek Church
from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the church, located at
142 Rodney Dr., Gun Barrel City. For information, call (214)
Living History Day fair
The annual Kaufman County Children’s Living History Day fair is
set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the county “Poor
Farm,” 3600 S. Houston St. (behind the Wall), SH 34 and FM 1388,
entrance across from the high school.
Round and square dancing is from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
(first and third Saturday of each month), at the Log Cabin
Swingers Square Dance Club, 1210 North Tool Drive (SH 274)
Everyone is welcome, no charge for observers. For information,
call (903) 340-9672.
Colfax women bazaar
The Colfax Community Women annual bazaar is set for 8 a.m. to 2
p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Colfax United Methodist Church, at
the corner of FM 16 and Van Zandt CR 4418. A large variety of
homemade crafts and baked goods are available for sale. A
handcrafted homemade quilt and a set of Christmas yard angels
are offered. For information, call Martha King at (903)
Kemp community prayer
A community prayer with the mayor of Kemp is set for 7 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 21, (every third Monday), at Kemp city hall. All
citizens are invited.
The Rootseekers Genealogy Society meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov.
21, at the Tri-County Library. Charles Finsey will speak on
“Hannah’s Letters.” Meetings are open to the public. Anyone
wishing to learn more about researching their ancestors is
VFW holiday dinner
The VFW Post 4376 and its Ladies Auxiliary are hosting a
Thanksgiving dinner at 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 24, in the hall,
for members, volunteers, guests and families. For those who
can’t cook, are alone or with funds unavailable.
Legion ‘hot dog bar’
The American Legion Post 310 Auxiliary is hosting a hot dog bar
from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 at the post on Gun Barrel Lane.
Proceeds from the roasted “dawgs” with all the fixin’s will help
send a local girl to Girls’ State in the summer of 2012. For
information, call (903) 887-3532.
GBC holiday contest
The Gun Barrel City Beautification Committee Holiday Merchant
Decorating Contest is set for Monday, Nov. 28, through Friday,
Dec. 2 (outside decor only will be judged). A $250 prize will be
awarded Friday, Dec. 9, along with a newspaper photo and winner
sign. Register at Gun Barrel City hall.
K-6 grades basketball
Kemp Area Sports Association (KASA) basketball sign ups for
kindergarten through sixth grade, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday,
Nov. 29 to Thursday, Dec. 1, at Kemp Dairy Queen or online at
www.leaguelineup.com/kasabasketball until Sunday, Dec.
4. For information, call (903) 275-7466 or e-mail to
The Payne Springs United Methodist Church monthly fellowship
night begins with a covered dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday,
Dec. 7. The program will include the “Singing Fireman”
presenting favorite Christmas songs. The church is located at
9667 SH 198, south of Mabank. For information, call (903)
CCL Methodist dinner
The Cedar Creek Lake United Methodist Church is hosting its 28th
annual Community Christmas Dinner, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 9, at 100 South Old Indian Trail.
MHS Christmas concert
The Mabank High School Choir presents its Christmas “America”
concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the MHS auditorium. The
concert is free and open to the public. Also the Panther Edition
is singing at community events, including Eubank’s Grief
Recovery, Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Mabank Senior Center, and The
Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points, Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Free clothing, shoes
Crescent Heights Baptist Church, SH 31, will distribute free
clothing and shoes, from 9 to 11 a.m., the first Saturday of
each month. For information, call (903) 675-3904.
VFW food drive
The VFW Post 4376 and its Ladies Auxiliary in Seven Points are
collecting nonperishable food items for families in need of
assistance at Christmas time. To make a donation, call (903)
News & Brief Policy
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promote their services and/or fundraising events at no cost.
These articles should include only basic information – who,
what, when and where. Articles must include publishable contact
information and a phone number.
The deadline for submission is 4 p.m. Monday for each Thursday’s
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Announcements will run for four issues (two weeks).
Organizations needing to relay more information on services or
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Passerby rescues boy from
A hero’s tale
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–A house fire at 728 Ridgewood in Cedar Crest Shores in Tool
Friday morning had neighbors and those passing by pitching in
with garden hoses and calls to First Responders. Saved by their
actions was a little boy, around 4 years of age, who lived at
the frame house with his parents.
Gun Barrel City resident Chuck Ross, 56, was one street away
when he noted all the commotion and turned his truck to see what
it was all about.
Ross had been looking for an address he was to visit that
morning to make an estimate for a job for King Roofing, when he
stopped his truck around 9:15 a.m.
The way Ross tells it, he was just the person closest to the
boy’s bedroom window, when a woman screamed her son was still
inside. Neighbor James Syfrett, 50, and disabled for the past 10
years said, “We didn’t have time to think. He and I tore out the
window,” and had jumped two fences to get to the house. Syfrett
had arrived to the scene before Ross and had already tried to
get to the boy from the house entrance, but was quickly
overwhelmed by the smoke and heat. “Smoke and heat poured
through the window,” Syfrett said “And he just dove right in.”
“I didn’t do anything, anyone else wouldn’t have done,” Ross
insisted. Thick smoke made it impossible to see as Ross groped
in the darkness. He said he could hear the woman shouting to him
and pointing him toward the closet, when he came upon the boy
crouched by the bedroom door. “When I touched the door knob, it
was cold, so I opened it,” Ross said. “As soon as he saw the
light coming through the back door (of the residence), he took
off through it. They’ve got a future track runner there,” Ross
said. Ross returned through the window the way he went in just
as First Responders arrived on the scene.
The neighbors had been able to extinguish some of the fire from
the back of the house using garden hoses, leaving a clear path
for the boy to run out of the house, once he could see the
light, Ross explained. The boy’s bedroom was at the front of the
house, Ross said. “The neighbors really did a good job,” he
Tool Fire Department fire chief Mike Grant said he was the first
one on the scene and had pulled the boy’s father out of the
house, who had also gone back in to search for the boy. He
suffered some minor burns and was taken to the hospital for
treatment, Grant said.
“By the time I was free, the other man had already left the
scene,” Grant told The Monitor. He agreed, the neighbors had
done a good job.
The house included vinyl siding, which puts out a lot of smoke
when it burns, Ross and Grant said the smoke was filling the
Friday, Grant said his preliminary investigation pointed to the
fire having started on the back porch, but he could not say what
had started the fire in the first place. His fire department got
the call at 9:19 a.m. Grant said.
No one else was hurt and the boy is fine, Grant added.
Monarch Utilities ordered to roll back
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–Monarch Utilities customers will be seeing their water
and sewer rates go down, at least for now.
Starting with the first meter reading after Nov. 15 – which will
probably be the December bill – rates will revert back to what
they were before an increase went into effect on Aug. 1 of this
year. At that time Monarch customers started paying an average
55-percent more for water and sewer service.
The increase came at the same time as Monarch’s application to
merge its eight Certificates of Convenience and Necessity, or
CCNs, in Texas into one. A CCN is issued to a utility in order
to sell water and sewer service in an area. Monarch has filed
for a “sale, transfer or merger” (STM) of its CCNs. According to
state law, while the STM case is under review, Monarch is
allowed to act like the merger is complete.
The rate case and the STM case are two separate issues being
presented before State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH)
judges. After a hearing in Austin last week in the STM case,
SOAH judges ruled:
• The rate case was suspended while the STM case continues. That
means the next steps in determining if the rate increase was
correct like discovery, trial or mediation are now on hold.
• Interim rates were implemented, which are the original rates.
SOAH judges do have the authority to set interim rates in these
cases, but it has only been done once before. That was last
year, also in Henderson County, when a SOAH judge sided with
customers in the Lakeshore Utility Company rate case.
“I am pleased with the ruling handed down concerning Monarch’s
excessive rate hike,” State Rep. Lance Gooden said in a press
release. “During these difficult economic times, this ruling
will bring much needed financial relief to the citizens of
SouthWest Water communications manager Janice Hayes released the
following statement about the rates: “In the past five years,
Monarch has invested nearly $70 million to tap new water
sources, replace meters and replace aging water and wastewater
treatment plants…. Our sizeable investment across the state
means our costs are significantly higher and can no longer be
sustained by the current rates.”
Moving forward, the STM case will have a large impact on where
the rates are eventually set.
“If this (STM) application is approved, the consolidation would
mean that Monarch could pass the costs of unprofitable systems
along to the customers of systems running in the black. The idea
that a customer on Cedar Creek Lake would have to pay a higher
rate for the maintenance of a water system in another part of
the state is not a fair practice,” Gooden said.
Hayes said that of the money for improvements, nearly $62
million or two-thirds was invested to address existing
regulatory compliance deficiencies.
She described the STM this way, “To better brand, enhance and
simplify our customer service experience; we are merging eight
of ourTexas regulated water and sewer utilities owned by
SouthWest Water Company into one company – Monarch Utilities.”
The other side of the coin is if the STM case is thrown out, the
rate case will also die because the higher rates were based on
the merger being complete.
Monarch is a division of the Southwest Water Company and serves
43,000 customers in about 96 water systems and 15 sewer systems
across 32 Texas counties.
Monarch has more than 4,500 connections in Henderson County,
including around the Cedar Creek Lake Area in Beachwood Estates,
Carolynn Estates, Cherokee Shores, Michael’s Cove, and the
Man receives eight years for fifth DWI
Monitor Staff Reports
BROWNSBORO–Justin Wade Gunnels, 51, received an eight-year
prison term for his fifth DWI conviction.
He faced up to 10 years in prison for his charge. Following a
punishment hearing in the court of Judge Dan Moore, 173rd
Judicial district Court, ordered the confinement.
Gunnels had been arrested after hitting a mailbox, wrecking his
vehicle and fleeing the scene of the crash all while intoxicated
on Oct. 16, 2010.
He admitted to drinking whiskey throughout the entire day and
was intoxicated he defecated on himself while being transported
in Texas State Trooper Monica Carranza’s vehicle.
He was unable to complete the standard field sobriety test.
Blood tests later revealed a blood-alcohol content of .20, twice
the legal limit.
During the punishment hearing, a witness testified that only
moments before hitting the mailbox, two girls, ages 12 each, had
gone to the mailbox to check the mail.
Henderson County Assistant District Attorneys Justin Weiner and
Nancy Rumar prosecuted the case.
Weiner focused on disparaging remarks made by Gunnels as he was
Gunnels made statements about law enforcement in general and
Henderson County in particular.
“This guy is off the streets and behind bars, which is where he
belongs,” District Attorney Scott McKee said.
Other counties had allowed Gunnels to plead guilty to a
misdemeanor for DWI charges, but when he decided to get behind
the wheel drunk in Henderson County, he sealed his own fate,