Eustace tax office hours
The Eustace ISD tax office will be closed beginning Monday, Dec.
19 through Tuesday, Dec. 27 and reopens from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 28 through Friday, Dec. 30 to accept payments.
For information, call (903) 425-5232.
Donate before tax time
There’s still a few weeks left to donate a car to the Boys and
Girls Clubs before tax season. Will accept any car with a title
in any condition. The cars are sold at auction and funds benefit
your local club. To donate or for information, call (800)
The Family Resource Center located at 107 Spring Valley, Gun
Barrel City, is looking for your help. The Center needs heaters
for babies, the elderly and people without heat. For
information, call Debbie at (903) 887-4711. Donations are
Kemp seniors party
The Kemp Senior Citizens and Kemp Card Ministry will host a
Christmas Party at the Kemp Senior Center from 5 to 7 p.m.
Thursday (tonight). Come and enjoy the food and community
fellowship. To make a donation toward the event, call (903)
The Westside Senior Center is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thursday, (today and every Thursday) at Cedar Creek Bible
Church, 700 North Seven Points Boulevard (SH 274). Seniors 55
and older in the CCL area are invited for refreshments, cards,
domino games and a light lunch. Membership is free. For
information, call (903) 340-9672.
Payne Springs United Methodist Church is hosting Brent Vernon,
singer/songwriter from Florida, in concert at 7 p.m. Friday,
Dec. 16. PSUMC is located at 9667 SH 198, across from PS fire
department. For information (903) 451-3131 or (903) 451-2978.
Free nights of skating
Cedar Creek Bible Church is hosting free skating, skits and
snacks from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 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)
MAGS bake sale
The Mabank Area Good Samaritans bake sale begins at 9 a.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17, at First Baptist Church, Mabank. Featured are
homemade cakes, pies, cookies, candies and anything appropriate
for the season, made by volunteers of MAGS churches. Samaritan
funds benefit the food pantries. For information, call MAGS
president Bill Burnett at (903) 498-4324.
Santa at Resource center
Santa is coming to the Family Resource Center in Gun Barrel City
from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, joined by Mrs. Claus and
elves. Tell Santa your special Christmas wishes and if you would
like him to visit your event, call Jason at (903) 887-4711.
S-R pancake breakfast
Scurry-Rosser Parents and Friends annual pancake breakfast is
set for 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Scurry North 40 (across
from the S-R High School. Donations appreciated.
Round and square dancing is set for 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 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).
The Whitton Community Center is hosting a holiday celebration
and fundraiser beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Activities
include holiday crafts and gift store for children, a holiday
bake sale, door prizes and a smothered steak dinner, baked
potatoes, salad and dessert. The event benefits the building
Harbor Baptist benefit
Harbor Baptist Church in Payne Springs is hosting a basket and
dessert auction beginning with registration at 4 p.m. Sunday,
Dec. 18, a youth group fundraiser. The church is located at
12059 SH 198. For information, call (903) 451-4171.
Log Cabin Swingers Square Dance Club, 1210 N. Tool Drive (SH
274), holds graduation for current beginners at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 19.
For information, call (903) 340-9672.
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.
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.
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 Seven Points Dr. 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)
Recycle Christmas lights
Kaufman County residents and surrounding areas can recycle
broken or unwanted Christmas lights for free at the
Environmental Co-op Recycling Plant, 1100 Airport Rd., or The
Environmental Co-op office, 401 N. Adelaide, both in Terrell.
All types of string lights are accepted, including icicles and
LEDs, with plans to expand locations to Kaufman and Kemp. For
information, call (972) 524-0007 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Texas Department of Health Services monthly immunization
clinic at the Mabank Fire Department, 111 E. Mason, Mabank is
from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. The fourth Tuesday, odd
No clinic on holidays. For information call (972) 932-2038.
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Shooting incidents leave
one child dead, another wounded
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer
CANTON–Two separate incidents in Van Zandt County have
investigators working overtime as they attempt to piece together
evidence from two shootings over the weekend involving children.
The first incident occurred Friday evening, when a 5-year-old
was killed by a gunshot wound in the Callender Lake area.
Sheriff R.P. “Pat” Burnett said a 9-1-1 call came in to dispatch
at 5 p.m. about the shooting directing emergency personnel to
Investigator Sam Mayer explained that one portion of FM 2339 is
in Van Zandt County and the other in Henderson County.
“This incident occurred in the gated community of Callendar
Lake,” Mayer said, which is in Van Zandt County. “Due to the
lack of cell phone service, the child was taken to the store (Callendar
Lake Store), where the 9-1-1 call was made by the victim’s
During a press conference Monday, Mayer explained the incident
occurred at the residence of the boy’s grandfather.
There were two other children at the residence, along with the
father and grandfather of the 5-year-old at the time of the
incident, he said.
The boy was found by his father, with a gunshot wound to the
chest area, and transported to the store, where he later died.
“We believe that the gun was owned by the father or the
grandfather,” Mayer said of the 38-caliber weapon.
No charges have been filed at this time, as the incident is
still under investigation.
The child was pronounced dead at the scene by Henderson County
Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Sue Starnes.
Then on Sunday morning at around 11:45, a call was received to
9-1-1 about a 10-year-old Van ISD student being shot.
“Three youths were out with their pellet rifles shooting,”
Burnett said. “During the course of shooting, the 10-year-old
was struck in the forehead. He was airlifted to Children’s
Medical Center in Dallas.”
He was later identified as Austin Taylor.
“Our understanding is that the young men had been target
practicing and shooting at birds,” Mayer said during Monday’s
Investigators were uncertain about the circumstances leading up
to the shooting and that there was “speculation of a ricochet,”
Three guns were taken from the scene, including two Crossman
pellet guns and a Ruger pellet gun.
The incident occurred in the Colfax Community near the
intersection of Van Zandt County Road 4418 and 4416.
Mayer said the 10-year-old’s grandmother placed the call to
9-1-1 after she was notified by the other two children that the
boy had been shot.
Monday, the boy was still in intensive care at Children’s
Medical Center in Dallas.
Burnett said, “These guns are not toys. They actually state on
them, ‘These are not toys.’”
He explained that the impact of the pellet gun used in this
incident has the force of a 22-caliber rifle.
“This is a very tragic event this time of year,” Burnett said.
“In both cases, our hearts go out to the families involved.
“We ask everyone to keep these parents and children in their
prayers,” Burnett said.
“Education is the best thing, and parental supervision,” he
Burnett said the county has a 4-H program that offers education
to kids about guns.
Thursday (today) afternoon officers involved in both incidents
are to be debriefed in order to help them cope with the weekend
“Not only is this a heartache for the families involved, but
this is hard on the officers, too,” Burnett said. “I want them
to be in the best shape as possible.”
Burnett said when considering a gun as a Christmas or birthday
gift for a child to make sure they are trained in gun safety and
know the risks involved.
“These are not the Red Rider BB guns we had as kids growing up,”
Gun safety locks are being made available at the Van Zandt
County Sheriff’s Office for adults to safeguard their weapons.
Texas primary may be delayed
By Pearl Cantrell – Monitor Staff Writer
AUSTIN–Tuesday, a federal court in San Antonio decided to extend
the filing date to run for public office from Dec. 15 to Dec. 19
and will meet again Jan. 12, 2012, to decide whether Texas will
hold one or two elections in the spring.
This follows Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court order to block the use
of new redistricting maps offered by three federal judges in San
Antonio to boost minorities’ voting rights in Texas. The state
contends the judges overstepped their authority in drawing its
own maps without consideration of maps approved by the people’s
representatives, the Republican-dominated 83rd Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott submitted these maps for federal
clearance to a federal court in Washington D.C., which turned
them down. Texas is one of a handful of states required by
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to gain a federal
clearance to all changes in the electoral process.
Not only are these turn of events wrecking havoc with Texas’
March 6 primary, which is subject to be delayed, it gives rise
to a lot of speculation and works to decrease voter confidence
in the electoral process.
In an order issued Friday, office filings for state senators,
representatives and Congressmen were halted. Without federally
acceptable maps, there are no state electoral districts. Filing
began Nov. 28 and was set to end Dec. 15. Texas Attorney General
Greg Abbott has asked the court to stay all filing and
administrative deadlines relating to the primary election for
Texas’ congressional delegation and state legislature until
after the Supreme Court has made a ruling on the electoral maps.
That deadline was extended four days and a refiling period may
be reopened after the Supreme Court and lower federal court
The Supreme Court hearing is set for Jan. 9.
“It is highly unlikely that Texas will be able to hold primaries
on March 6 to select nominees for its 36 congressional seats or
150 state house and 31 state senate seats,” government relations
law expert Robert D. Miller, law firm partner Locke Lord LLP of
Houston blogged recently.
The San Antonio federal court has set Jan. 12, 2012 to rule on
when and how many primaries Texas will run this year, based on
what the U.S. Supreme Court decides. Republican candidates for
president most effected by a possible delay in the March primary
is Gov. Rick Perry. Without a win in his home state of Texas in
March, he could lose any momentum he achieves in the upcoming
Jan. 10, 2012 New Hampshire Primary and February Iowa Caucus.
Tuesday, the federal court in San Antonio was to decide whether
Texas will have one or two elections – one March 6 for statewide
seats, county races and U.S. Senate, all of which are not
effected by the mapping issue –; another primary, perhaps May
22, for congressional seats and the state legislature, or delay
all voting to a single date.
When asked what he prefers, candidate for re-election to
District 4 state house seat Lance Gooden said, “I prefer
whatever option is less costly to the taxpayer and less
confusing to the voter.”
Nationally, this issue is expected to draw considerable
attention, with some saying the control of the U.S. House of
Representatives could hinge on the outcome.
The Democrats need to pick up 25 additional congressional seats
in the 2012 election to have a majority in the U.S. House. The
Texas congressional delegation is currently 23 Republicans and
nine Democrats. Texas gained four additional seats under
reapportionment, based on the 2010 census.
The Legislature’s map preserved the 23 Republican seats and
split the new seats, three Republicans and one Democrat,
resulting in a projected 2013 delegation of 26 Republicans and
The San Antonio court’s map imperiled the seat of Republican
Cong. Francisco Canesco, and split the new seats three Democrats
and one Republican, resulting in a potential delegation of 23
Republicans and 13 Democrats. It is conceivable that the maps
drawn by federal judges could swing the majority in the U.S.
House to the Democrats.
Late night service permits in effect
By Erik Walsh
SEVEN POINTS– The Seven Points city council members kept their
eyes on the bottom line during the Dec. 9 meeting at city hall.
Even the most controversial topic of the night – extending
drinking hours until 2 a.m. – held predominantly financial
considerations. Council members voted to repeal a city ordinance
that prohibits the issuing of late hour alcohol service permits.
Councilman Kenny Boyle made the motion, citing a potential loss
of business to Gun Barrel City and potential for increased city
revenue. The motion passed, 3-1, and one abstention.
Councilwomen Cheryl Jones opposed the move, stating new problems
will be created with drunk drivers at night. Boyle dismissed her
argument, stating that if heavy drinkers stop drinking at
midnight, as opposed to 2 a.m., they are just “getting drunk
The question was raised if the extended hours would cause
problems for patrolling Seven Points police officers. Police Lt
Stewart Newby assured council members that no extra officers
would be needed to patrol during the two hours, unless Seven
Points had “a significant increase in late-night drivers.”
An impromptu public forum on the topic opened and the general
censuses agreed with Boyle that remaining competitive with Gun
Barrel City was important to the City’s present and future.
In other business, council members:
• approved the hiring of an accountant to do the city’s
• agreed to lease election equipment and retain the May local
election date for city elections.
• confirmed Jerry Wellman to the Planning and Zoning Commission.