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Current Issue
December 1
, 2011






News in Brief

GBC holiday contest
The Gun Barrel City Beautification Committee Holiday Merchant Decorating Contest is set 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.

Westside Seniors
The Westside Senior Center opens from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at Cedar Creek Bible church activities building, 700 N. Seven Points Boulevard. Seniors 55 and older enjoy refreshments, games, fellowship and many other activities.
A light lunch is served. Membership is free.
For information call (903) 340-9672.

Tolosa Baptist Church
Tolosa Baptist church is hosting, the Blackwood Legacy, at 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, featuring Rick Price, Luke Yates and Daniel Childs. The church is located at 19101 SH 274. Admission is free but a love offering will be received.
For information call (903) 386-5730.

Free nights of skating
Cedar Creek Bible Church is hosting free nights of skating, skits and snacks from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 2, 9 and 16. Parents may drop off their children ages 4 through sixth grade to get a little Christmas shopping done. Skates, popcorn and hot chocolate provided free. The church is located on SH 274, one mile north of the Seven Points traffic light. For information call (903) 432-2175.

49er’s Senior’s club
The Cedar Creek Lake 49er’s Senior Citizens Club meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday (tonight and every Thursday), for dancing with Chuck & the 49er’s. No smoking or alcohol. Located two blocks south on Arnold Hills Road, off SH 334, Seven Points. For information call or fax to (903) 432-3552.

K-6 grades basketball
Kemp Area Sports Association (KASA) basketball sign ups for kindergarten through sixth grade, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, (tonight), at Kemp Dairy Queen or on-line at until Sunday, Dec. 4. For information, call (903) 275-7466 or e-mail to

CCL Garden Club
The Cedar Creek Lake Garden Club meets at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. The covered dish luncheon is followed by a gift exchange. Food items are being collected for the food bank and unwrapped toys are being collected for Toys for Tots.

Mabank Parade of Homes
The Mabank Christmas Parade of Homes begins with a lunch at Tri-County Library at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Tickets are available at Tri-County Library, Shorty’s Soda Shop, First State Bank of Mabank and Bluebonnet Emporium. For information call Tanya Roberts at (903) 880-2992.

Tool VFD Santa pictures
The Tool Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a “Pictures with Santa” fundraiser from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the new fire station at 525 S. Tool Dr., on SH 274 in Tool. All proceeds go toward new gear. Bring your kids, family or pets. Hot chocolate and cookies served. For information call (903) 477-0164.

Square dance
Round and square dancing is set for 8 to 10 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17, the first and third Saturdays of each month. The location is the Log Cabin Swingers Square Dance Club located at 1210 N. Tool Drive (SH 274). All dancers are invited to the New Dancer dance on Friday, Dec. 9.

Becker fall festival
The Becker Community Association annual fall festival is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Becker Community Center, at the intersection of FM 1895 and FM 2860. Vendors, prizes, silent auction and chili supper.

GBC Christmas parade
The Gun Barrel City Christmas Parade, “A Country Christmas,” begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the GBC Fire Department. For information, call (903) 887-1087 or visit online

Toys for Tots drive
A Toys for Tots drive is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. Look for a white Limousine in the parking lot. For information, call the library at (903) 432-4185.

CCL Literary Club
The Literary Club of Cedar Creek Lake meets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Actor Ken Freehill will present “Scratch It, Cratch It,” a modern version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
For information on membership call Ruth Pimm at (903) 778-4752.

CCL Women’s Club
The Cedar Creek Lake Women’s Club executive board meets at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, for a business meeting and luncheon at the Sweet Pea in Athens.

Grief support group
Fragile Hearts Grief Support Group meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday (hereafter the first Tuesday of the month), Dec. 6, at the home of Sonya and Eric Ward, 215 N. Coleman St., Mabank. This group formerly met at Moorhead-Epps Funeral Home. Dinner is provided. For directions or information, call (903) 386-0443.

PSUMC fellowship
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 carols. The church is located at 9667 SH 198, south of Mabank. For information, call (903) 451-2978.

VZ seniors dance
The Van Zandt Senior Citizens Club Christmas Dance is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at the Henderson County Senior Center in Athens. Admission is free to seniors. Joe Walenka will provide country music. Everyone is welcome.

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.

Library benefit
The Tri-County Library Christmas benefit features an H-O scale train layout, 8’ X 3’ with everything included, to be given away Friday, Dec. 9. You do not need to be present.
Stop by the library on Market street to find out how this train can be yours.

Mabank ISD craft fair
The fourth annual “Get Your Jingle on,” holiday craft Fair is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Mabank Intermediate School gym. to set a booth at the craft fair download and review documents at For information call Tonya Chapman or Christina Strong at (903) 880-1640.

S–R Wild Winter Bash
The Scurry Rosser Wild Winter Bash, featuring a jackpot show for swine, goats and lambs is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Kaufman County Showgrounds. Weight cards due at 9 a.m. and showmanship is at 9 a.m. Craft vendors and concession stands present. For information call Joey Isbell at (972) 754-3428 or e-mail  or visit website

Breakfast with Santa
Best Friends of the Library at Cedar Creek Lake is hosting Breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the library, 410 E. Cedar Creek Parkway, Seven Points. For a small charge, kids and adults can enjoy pancakes, sausage, fruit, juice and coffee, plus a visit with Santa who will present each child a new, wrapped book. Bring your camera for photos. An activity center will provide take home crafts for the children.

Christmas on the Square
The 15th annual Keep Eustace Beautiful sponsored, “Christmas on the Square” is set for 5:30 (parade starts) to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Free activities include community and school choirs, Christmas tree lighting by oldest citizen, carriage rides, Christmas dramas. Also there will be booths with crafts for sale. For information, call city hall at (903) 425-4702.

Living Christmas Tree
The First Baptist Church of Gun Barrel City is hosting its annual “Living Christmas Tree, presenting, “A Song in the Air” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 and at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. For information call (903) 887-6887, ext. 3.

‘Searching for the King’
The First Baptist Church of Eustace Celebration Choir and Drama Team invites everyone to experience a Christmas celebration at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. For information, call the church at (903) 425-2261.

Kemp community prayer
A community prayer with the mayor of Kemp is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, (every third Monday), at Kemp City hall. All citizens are invited.

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.
CC Homeschoolers 4-H
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 coat drive.

Food pantry drop box
This time of year the food pantry gets low. Groom and Sons’ would like to make it easy to make donations. A drop box is located in the lobby of the store where anyone can put their donation of canned or nonperishable foods. Cash donations are also accepted. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

Teen account set
An account has been opened at First National Bank in Kemp for Alyssa Olivarez, 14. She was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma.

Narcotics Anonymous
The NA is teaching coping skills to families of addicts at 8 p.m. seven days a week. For information call (903) 432-2405. Mail address is Cedar Creek NA, 715 South 7-Points Drive, Suite D, Seven Points, TX, 75143.

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) 432-2138.

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Top News

Gun Barrel City makes national news
City council canvasses votes in new digs
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Gun Barrel City voters saw their majority vote to allow late-night alcoholic beverage service on weekends verified and formally accepted by the city council Nov. 22.

Monitor Photos/Barbara Gartman
Gun Barrel City manager Gerry Boren starts a tour of the new city hall Tuesday, starting with showing Monitor editor Pearl Cantrell the visitor center, where the history of the city and surrounding area will be featured. In the background is the original city flag in a frame behind glass. Boren said he is planning an open house once the building is fully furnished, some Saturday in January. See the Sunday issue of The Monitor for more highlights of the redesigned and expanded building, by SLI Corp.

The canvassing of the votes occured in the first city council meeting in the city’s new city hall.
The official outcome to the referendum to repeal the ordinance allowing late-night alcohol sales is 262 votes for the repeal (against late-night service) and 481 votes against, for a record 743 votes cast in a Gun Barrel City election. The official tally was four votes different from the first report due to a number of provisional votes, not counted until verified.
“The majority has made its choice known,” councilman Ronnie Johnson said.
The day before the Thanksgiving holiday, the New York Times published its story about the Gun Barrel City election, which was subsequently picked up by the Dallas Morning News and several other papers around the nation.
Sunday morning found at least one Bible class in Gun Barrel City noting the article and the issues it raised.
Most people The Monitor spoke with felt the article was fairly accurate and spoke evenly to both sides of the argument, though some questioned the newsworthiness of a wet/dry vote in a small town in Texas.
“It was an unusual story,” councilman Curtis Webster said. “It was probably picked up because of our unique name,” he guessed.
Economic Development Corporation board president Steve Webster said he met with the writer and agreed, “The whole reason for the story is because it’s ‘Gun Barrel City’ – a small town with a wonderful name for drawing attention.
“I don’t have any idea why they did the story,” mayor Dennis Wood said. “Their interest didn’t seem to be warranted.”
“I thought it was great,” Economic Development Corporation board member Linda Rankin said, adding she read the article several times.
NYT writer Manny Fernandez out of the Houston Bureau and Dallas photographer Rex C. Cox spent the greater part of Nov. 14 in Gun Barrel City conducting interviews and taking pictures.
“I tried to find out what the angle was going to be on the article,” Wood said, as he was one of those quoted in the article. Wood said the writer explained its newsworthiness consisted in the extent the debate had taken, culminating in a referendum vote, which drew out a record number of voters.
Besides that, the issue fleshed out where people stand with their affiliations and on the issue.
Wood confirmed that two council members, formerly members of a Southern Baptist Convention congregation where Wood attends, have since found somewhere else to worship. The church’s covenant with its members reflects the stand of the SBC in regard to the promotion of alcohol drinking. Wood showed Fernandez an SBC resolution from 2006, urging Southern Baptists to support legislation curbing alcohol use, and encouraging its members to campaign against its practice.
Wood added he felt that the majority of those voting against the repeal were voting for an Applebee’s coming into the city and if it took 2 a.m. liquor serving extension to do it, so be it.
“I was clear, that I support the majority vote,” Wood said, although he is still looking for proof that an Applebee’s is actually coming to the city, “otherwise, why did we go through all of that,” he asked.
So, far all he has is a letter from Applebee’s chief financial officer, stating, “We’re waiting for the election and then we’re coming,” Wood said.
“I’m tired of our city acting on rumors of commitments,” Wood said.
Rankin is sure the restaurant is planning to open in Gun Barrel City.
“Their plate is full right now, as they are opening a restaurant in Corsicana. But once that’s done, I feel certain that we’ll be their next big step,” she said.
Also noteworthy in the article was something Rita’s Club owner Rob Rhea said regarding elected officials feeling they can dictate what people are free and not free to do. “People are against government, especially at the national level,” Wood said. “They know they can make a bigger impact at a local level. They feel more empowered to make changes,” he said.


Malakoff ISD joins school funding lawsuit
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Reports

TOOL–Malakoff ISD will be joining a lawsuit against the State of Texas aimed at problems with school funding.
Monday night, school board members unanimously accepted Superintendent Randy Perry’s recommendation to join the suit led by the law firm Haynes and Boone. Perry said the suit has been recommended by the Texas School Coalition, which is a group of Chapter 41 schools.
Under the state’s finance plan, money from property rich districts, called Chapter 41 schools, is given to poorer school districts. Malakoff has been categorized as a Chapter 41 district for several years and annually sends revenue back to the state. MISD is a member of the Texas School Coalition.
“It seems that the only way the State Legislature will do the right thing for our students is to have it mandated to them by the courts,” said Perry. “The State Legislature did not meet their Constitutional requirement of adequately funding the education of our students. Future opportunities for our Malakoff ISD students is at risk. We must look at all options to protect our students.”
Joining the case will cost the district $1,600 a year for up to three years, but board members hope the lawsuit is complete in two years.
“We can’t afford to stand on the sidelines,” said Perry.
MISD Trustee Dr. Pat Smith, a former superintendent, agreed. “We need to have some impact,” he said.
The legal case against the State will be based on two principles, said Haynes and Boone attorney John Turner in a press release provided by the Texas School Coalition.
Adequacy: The state has raised expectations and requirements for school districts, which adds costs, while significantly decreasing its funding to those same districts. Even though the state is increasingly using local school district tax dollars, the total level of funding is inadequate to pay for the kind of quality educational program required by the state.
Local discretion: Local school districts no longer have meaningful discretion to raise taxes for local enrichment programs. Those dollars that are not recaptured must effectively be used to simply meet the state’s standards. The school finance system imposes a de facto statewide property tax, which is unconstitutional.
“These are both essential claims that, if successful, will help to preserve the future of education for our children,” Turner said. “If we succeed in our claims regarding adequacy, it will benefit all districts by requiring the Legislature to provide new funds and new capacity in the system. In the past, we have seen one group of districts pitted against another to fight over existing dollars - many of them recapture dollars. The point is that the system as a whole is underfunded, and the school financing structure must be fixed to provide for the educational program that the state requires.”
The Haynes and Boone lawsuit is not the only one being planned. In his blog, Eustace ISD superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe last week listed four main groups challenging the way the state funds education:
• The Texas School Coalition, the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition (which EISD is a member )
• a group of schools organized by attorney David Thompson ,
• a group organized by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF),
“(T)he Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition is challenging the current funding system on both equity and adequacy,” wrote Holcombe. “There are currently 321 school districts in this coalition.”
It is expected that various legal teams will work together.

KISD reviews protocol for head injuries
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–It is not unusual to see an item on the evening news about a high school football player suffering from a concussion gotten while playing for his team. Consequently, head injuries have been the focus of discussion in many school board meetings.
Monday, Kemp Independent School District trustees approved the UIL-mandated Concussion Protocol procedure.
The new mandate establishes a policy for educating parents and school personnel on how to evaluate or watch for symptoms of concussion.
For instance, what used to be referred to as a “bell ringer” when a player had hit his head, could very well be a concussion, board president Keith Foisey said..
The problem of concussions has become more prevalent and has presented health officials as well as school personnel with new decisions to be considered.
One such decision is, “when should an injured student be held out or sent back into the game?”
Another centers around what medical personnel needed to be at a game and who will make the decisive call to send or not send a student back into a possibly hazardous situation.
Foisey expressed interest in the safety helmets players wore and if needed, what it would cost to replace the helmets.
Kemp football helmets pass the state certification inspection, he was told.
A state law says the helmets cannot be more than 10 years old.
In other business, trustees:
• heard a report on the Region 10 Pilot Program called “The Future is Now,” presented by Junior High School principalPhil Edwards.
The project goal is to get teachers to thinking about how to get technology in the schools.
Kemp ISD has identified12 students to show teachers how to use website design tools.
The second project goal will be to promote Kemp Junior High on a website.
• heard the technology report as presented by Tony Miller.
• heard the curriculum report as present by Dr. Debra Airheart.
She informed the trustees the department is developing a possible grant application to fund the development of a reading program.
• heard an update by Melinda Polk on an Education Foundation to support and solicit funds to be used to promote student development and to purchase non-budgeted items requested by teachers.
• heard a complaint from parent Bobby Hundstettler on dress code policies, stating his son was constantly being told to go shave and that his hair was too long.
“The way they (students) look doesn’t have anything to do with education,” he said.
• discussed the campus improvement plans.
“Plans are constantly being looked at and updated with changes occurring as often as monthly,” superintendent Dr. Peter Running said.
• approved compensation for extra OCR responsibilities.
• nominated Doug Gibbs to serve on the Kaufman County Appraisal District board of directors.
• tabled making any decision on the possible May 1012 election date change.
“They (the county election office) has assured us they will continue to work with us and we can wait until Dec. 31, for a decision,” Running said.
Many school, water districts, cities that normally hold elections in May, are facing a possible shortage of required electronic voting equipment in the upcoming March Primary and future even-numbered year May elections.
Some entities have changed to a November election date, extending current office holders terms.
• discussed the Board Buzz.
Trustees heard there was a nice presentation by fifth graders for the event.
• were reminded the Region 10 Board Training event is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 in Dallas.
• recognized the campus Students of the Month for November
The students are Primary student Robert Aguilar; Intermediate student Tyler Aldridge, Junior High student Jaylin Contreras and High School student Katherine Thomas.
• recognized Student Superintendent Advisory Council (SSAC) members Lacey Weisinger, Jacque Barry and Jordan Litts.





























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