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Current Issue
December 15
, 2011






News in Brief

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) 246-0493.

Heaters needed
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 greatly appreciated.

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) 498-4875.

Westside seniors
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.

Free concert
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) 432-2175.

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.

Square dance
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).

Whitton fundraiser
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 repair fund.

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.

Square dancing
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.

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 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) 432-2138.

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

Immunization clinic
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 months only.
No clinic on holidays. For information call (972) 932-2038.


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Top News

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 Farm-to-Market 2339.
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 father.”
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 press conference.
Investigators were uncertain about the circumstances leading up to the shooting and that there was “speculation of a ricochet,” he added.
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 added.
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 shootings.
“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,” Burnett said.
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 Legislature.
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 hearings.
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 10 Democrats.
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
Contributing Writer

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 faster.”
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 bookkeeping.
• agreed to lease election equipment and retain the May local election date for city elections.
• confirmed Jerry Wellman to the Planning and Zoning Commission.








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