Holiday events cheer season
Eustace parade,Christmas on the Square and Gun Barrel City parade
set for Saturday, Dec. 9
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–This Saturday is a windfall for children
anticipating the joys of Christmas.
Besides visits with Santa at various locations, families have a tough choice
between two holiday parades this year, each with their unique attributes.
This year’s area Chamber of Commerce and Gun Barrel City Christmas parades
are combined into one, which starts after dusk down West Main Street (State
Participants range from high school marching bands, the YMCA, local
businesses, churches and organizations. About 60 entries are expected.
Parade participants may gather behind the police station at about 1:30 p.m.
and must arrive no later than 5:15 p.m. The parade will start right at dusk,
or between 5:45 and 6 p.m.
Trophies are being awarded for first, second and third place in six
Throwing candy along the parade route is strictly forbidden.
“We don’t want little children dashing out into the street to retrieve
candy,” parade organizer Merrett Harpole told The Monitor.
Late entries may arrive for the lineup and receive a number and get on the
list, Harpole added.
Police will close the roadway from the corner of State Highways 198 and 334
and down SH 334 to the Gun Barrel Village Shopping Center, starting at 5:15
p.m., and will reopen the street following the parade.
An after-party is planned at the fire station, with free refreshments being
provided by the Civic Club, along with entertainment in the firehouse
Santa will be on hand, and the Mabank Honor Choir will perform a list of
Christmas on the Square
Eustace will once again host its traditional Christmas on the Square,
following a parade, set to begin from the High School at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Parade participants will begin lining up at 4:30 p.m. to compete for first,
second and third place.
The Town Square will be a festival of lights and booths from local
merchants, and organizations will offer hot chocolate, peppermint lemons,
hot chestnuts and popcorn. Games are planned.
A “one-hoss shay” or one-horse sleigh, minus the runners, will offer rides
in a coach lit with Christmas lights around the Square.
Musical performances by Eustace school children and church groups are always
a big hit, as everyone anticipates the lighting of the community Christmas
tree by the oldest resident present.
The whole town comes out for this traditional gathering with their pets in
sweaters, and children in mittens.
Santa never fails to visit with the children and hear their holiday secrets.
Santa will be visiting with children from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at the Tool
Volunteer Fire Department.
For $5, a picture with Santa can be obtained, with proceeds going to help
provide Christmas to those families needing assistance.
Each child attending will receive a gift bag.
Seven Points Visit
A photo session with Santa will also be hosted in Seven Points at the Dollar
General store starting at 9 a.m., in conjunction with the city’s police
department’s “Blue Santa” program.
Breakfast with Santa
The Best Friends of the Library are once again hosting “Breakfast with
Santa” at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points.
A pancake breakfast with orange juice, sausage and hot maple syrup is being
served, starting at 8 a.m. Prices are $2 for children and $3 for adults.
Following breakfast, children may visit with Santa and receive a gift book.
Crafts are also planned in the children’s reading room, but all the fun
stops at 10:30 a.m.
The YMCA was one of the winning floats from last year’s parade in Gun Barrel
Game rooms shut down
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department is again clamping
down on game rooms all over the county, according to reports to The Monitor.
Five game rooms on State Highway 274 and two in Payne Springs were reported
Henderson County investigator Jody Miller has been visiting game rooms since
Dec. 1 with a friendly warning to close down or face seizure of machines,
and charges connected to organized crime, one SH 274 game room worker
“I don’t know what to tell our customers when they ask why we’re closed,”
she told The Monitor.
No court order directing the closures was produced, she added.
“He just said ‘We don’t want them in Henderson County anymore,’” she said.
Attempts to reach Miller or Sheriff J.R. (Ronnie) Brownlow by telephone
failed, and phone messages were not returned by presstime Tuesday.
Payne Springs Mayor Michael McDonald confirmed that two remaining game rooms
in his city had been closed.
Though revenues the city collected from franchise fees on game rooms has
fallen off of late (it used to collect $18,000 annually), McDonald said the
city will lose about $10,000 in revenue should the game rooms remain closed.
While some applaude the move, others do not.
It is speculated the closures were prompted by the Nov. 17 armed robbery of
a game room near Tool by two men and a woman wearing ski masks.
Two pistols were shown during that event. Patrons were ushered into the
bathrooms, while employees were directed to hand over the cash, estimated at
$4,000. No one was hurt.
Gaming machines themselves are not illegal, nor is it illegal to play them.
In fact, the state comptroller’s office issues annual permits for them.
What’s illegal is exchanging winning tickets for cash.
Exchanging them for gift cards or phone cards could be argued either way.
The law allows the awarding of prizes, but not cash.
This issue was discussed by legislators in the last regular session and is
expected to be discussed again in the upcoming January session.
Yes, you still have to pay your taxes
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–A confusing dilemma over the wording of the adoption of the 2007
fiscal year tax rate has Kaufman County facing legal questions.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Ken Leonard requested an opinion from District
Attorney Ed Walton, who, in turn, requested a ruling from the Attorney
County commissioners, the tax office, and taxpayers are now waiting for an
answer from the Attorney General on whether the county violated procedures
in adopting the tax rate.
It could be as late as May before the AG gives its opinion.
“The AG has sent a copy of the request for opinions to certain (civic)
groups,” County Judge Wayne Gent said.
He said the groups are asked to respond to the matter by a certain date.
At a controversial meeting Sept. 25, Leonard challenged several items on
that day’s agenda, including the adoption of the tax rate.
He said there was special wording that had to be used in the motion to
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller was also concerned that the motion might
need to be worded in a specified manner.
However, Gent was not so sure. He believed the wording was only for the
But, to make certain, he sent his administrative assistant to look for last
year’s wording, and the county clerk also researched her files.
After a delay of approximately 20 minutes, it was decided the specified
wording was not necessary.
The vote was taken to adopt a tax rate of 46 cents for the general fund, 6.8
cents for road and bridge and 3.42 cents for debt service, a total of 56.22
cents per $100 valuation.
Leonard and Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Schoen voted against the motion.
Deller, Gent and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry Rowden voted in favor.
“The law states we do not have to use the wording if there is no tax
increase,” Gent said, explaining they (the commissioners) knew the tax for
the general fund was a little less than last year’s.
Later that day, it was pointed out there was an increase in the Road &
Bridge levy amounting to a 4.55 percent tax increase. An emergency meeting
was called for the next day (Sept. 26), to repeat the special wording.
“I still say all this is much ado about nothing,” Gent said.
The Texas State Legislature directs the procedure, the number of public
hearings, the wording and how many notices must be published before the tax
rate can be adopted.
Even though the legal wording was not used, the tax rate remained the same
as had been discussed during previous budget workshops, as was published in
the paper and was announced at the two public hearings (Sept. 11 and 14).
The latest turn of events includes a notice from the office of tax
assessor/collector Dick Murphy, addressing stories published in several
“Last week, several area newspapers ran stories, some of which were highly
misleading to many Kaufman County taxpayers,” Murphy’s notice stated. “The
articles mistakenly implied that property taxes might not have to be paid.
“We collect taxes for the county, as well as schools, cities, fire districts
and other local taxing authorities by way of consolidated statements,” the
“Most taxpayers pay taxes soon after the receipt of their statements, and
certainly prior to the delinquency date to avoid substantial penalties,” the
notice said. “It is extremely important to these entities and to all county
residents that taxes are timely paid.”