Thursday, December 6, 2007






  Authorities search for missing woman
By Donna Limberger
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Van Zandt County authorities, along with Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Steve Stapleton, searched the southern part of the county Tuesday for the body of Diane Hopson.
“We are still in the process of attempting to find Mrs. Hopson. It is very important to us that we find her body,” Sheriff R.P. “Pat” Burnett said.
A rural Mabank resident, Hopson, 62, has been missing from her residence on VZCR 2815 since Nov. 18.
Officers arrested Mabank resident Johnson Walter Burris, 43, Nov. 29, and charged him with murder in connection with Hopson’s disappearance.

Monitor Photo/Donna Limberger
Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Steve Stapleton and Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office Investigators Randy Vasquez and James Whitt search the southern part of Van Zandt County Tuesday for the body of Diane Hopson. Hopson has been missing from her Mabank home since Nov. 18. Johnson Walter Burris of Mabank has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with her disappearance.

“I contacted the Department of Texas Parks and Wildlife on Sunday and asked for their assistance in the search,” Burnett said.
Burnett said Stapleton and Game Warden Adam Clark will continue to look in the rural areas of southern Van Zandt County for Hopson’s body.
“These game wardens know our county land better than anyone, and they have some ideas regarding possible locations where Mrs. Hopson’s body may be found,” Burnett said.
Burnett added Henderson County Game Wardens would aid in the search, as well, since Hopson’s house is located close to the Henderson County line.
“This is still an open, active investigation, and we will continue to follow leads and evidence pertaining to the case,” Burnett said.
Anyone with additional information regarding this crime is asked to call the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 567-4133, Van Zandt County CrimeStoppers at (903) 567-STOP (7867) or the Texas Rangers.

Teen gets gunshot wound in neck
16-year-old detained
Monitor Staff Reports
CHEROKEE SHORES–One 16-year-old is recovering from a gunshot wound to the neck, while another is anticipating a court date, following a weekend shooting in the Cherokee Shores subdivision.
Henderson County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Pat McWilliams reported an emergency call was made shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday about the incident.
Authorities responded to a residence on Coahoma Street in the Cherokee Shores subdivision, where they found the victim in the front yard.
The injured teen was taken to East Texas Medical Center-Athens, and was reported to be not seriously injured.
Investigator Kevin Haynes said the shooting apparently grew out of an argument. The suspect remained at the residence following the shooting and cooperated with authorities, McWilliams reported.
A .38-caliber revolver believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered at the scene.
A 16-year-old Eustace High School student was taken into custody in connection with the incident, McWilliams said.
Later that night, the youth was formally arrested and transported to the Juvenile Detention Center in Anderson County.

CG Auxiliary installs new officers, honors service
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 5-14 held its Change of Watch Banquet at the Cedar Creek Country Club Saturday.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
2008 Flotilla 5-14 Staff Officers are (from left, front row) Rosemary Farmer, Sandy Janow, Betty Abbott, Michelle Zeig and Jon Raden; (back row) John Steele, James Salzmann, Joe Erwin, Darell Murphy, Chuck Abbott, Dave Rist, Howard "Nick" Nicholas, John Griffin and Bill Fackler. Missing from photo are Carol Meyer, Bruce Ruska and Royce Brimage.

America’s volunteer lifesaving organization reviewed a year that began with lake levels too low to put a boat into the water and ended with a much-needed rainy season.
Flotilla Cmdr. Bill Fackler re-upped for a second year steering the 40-member flotilla promoting boating safety on the 800,000 water-surface acres of Cedar Creek Lake.
“Do you know what its like to start as a flotilla commander when the lake is too low to operate in?” Fackler posed during his closing remarks.
He also thanked those members who pitched in this year. “You’re doing a great job,” he said.
The flotilla was proud to have achieved the Silver Oar award this year for its performance throughout 2007.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Former Flotilla 5-14 commander Neil Pugsley (left) recognized Charles Abbott (center) and Cmdr. Bill Fackler (at podium) for their 30 years of Coast Guard Auxiliary service. Incoming vice cmdr. John Griffin looks on during an awards banquet at the Cedar Creek Country Club Saturday.

Some of those recognized during the evening for service performance awards were Betty and Charles Abbott, John Steele, Jan and Allen Harding and John Griffin for sustained service recognition.
The Hardings are transferring to Joe Pool Lake to form up Flotilla 5-1 as commanders.
“We’ll keep you as honorary members of 5-14,” Fackler said.
Al Harding was one of five members to receive the Auxiliarist of the Year award in March.
He was honored for his work in Operations and Public Education, racking up 167 service hours. Jan Harding was recognized for 147 hours.
Other honorees were John Griffin – incoming vice commander, Fackler – as the Most Distinctive Auxiliarist, Taylor Golden and Royce Brimage.
Though Fackler has been active in the flotilla for a number of years, it wasn’t until his 29th year that he accepted the post of commander.
“Of course, he’s been training for the job for like 100 years,” former commander David Laing remarked.
“I’m glad he decided to accept the second year – surprised, but pleased,” he said.
The challenge is going to be making the Coast Guard more visible on the lake, Laing said.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Flotilla 5-14 Coast Guard auxiliary member Giles Farmer (left) congratulates John Steele for earning the Auxiliary's Operations AUXOP designation. “Only about 10 percent of Coast Guard members achieve it," Farmer said. The award is given to those completing seven courses successfully.

With greater visibility on Ramp Days and boating safety clinics, more interest will be generated and new members attracted, he said.
Two new enthusiastic members recruited by Steele were recognized and will take staff positions this year.
They are Jon Raden, who will cover member training, and Michelle Zeig, who will serve as secretary and record-keeper. Both wore brand new uniforms for the banquet.
Other staff officers taking the oath of service were Darell Murphy, Steele, Howard “Nick” Nicholas, Rosemary Farmer, Jim Salzmann, Sandy Janow, Chuck Abbott, Joe Erwin, Dave Rist and Betty Abbott. Not attending were Carol Meyer, Bruce Ruska and Royce Brimage.