People, Places & Events

    Robertson Jury to be Selected
Largest Jury Pool Ever Summoned in VZ County
By Dan Eakin
Staff Writer

CANTON-An attempt will be made to seat a jury for the trial of Jeff Robertson early next week even though testimony in the Robertson trial is not set to begin until Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Robertson is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant in connection with the shooting of Gary Joe Kinne Jr., Canton ISD athletic director, last April 7.
Leslie Dixon, district attorney, said it is unusual to pick a jury two weeks before testimony begins, but both sides agreed to it because "there may be some issues that will need to be resolved in the seating of a jury."
Dixon has been unsuccessful so far in an attempt to get the trial moved to Greenville.
District Judge Teresa Drum denied her motion for a change of venue at a hearing for Robertson in December, but indicated there was a possibility the trial could be moved if there is difficulty in seating an acceptable jury in Van Zandt County.
Dixon said both she and Robert Perkins, attorney for Robertson, will begin questioning potential jurors Monday. 
Robertson will be present for the jury selection process, she said.
A total of 1,500 Van Zandt County residents, possibly the largest number ever summoned at one time, have received cards in the mail notifying them to appear for jury duty next week.
Karen Wilson, district clerk, said 500 were summoned to appear on Monday, 500 on Tuesday and 500 on Wednesday.
She said no more than 400 are usually summoned to appear as possible jurors for a trial.
However, jurors for more than one trial may be picked next week.
Pam Kelly, court administrator, said juries may also be picked to hear a Child Protective Services case, a civil case involving an injury lawsuit against the Elkhart ISD, and possibly other criminal or civil cases.
The charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant, as presented by Dixon and upheld by Drum after a public hearing last month, could result in Robertson getting a life sentence. A lesser charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon would render a maximum of 20 years.
Perkins has said that if his client is found guilty, that the jury, and not a judge, would determine his sentence.
To qualify to sit on a jury, the potential juror must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Van Zandt County, a registered voter, able to read and write and never convicted of a felony or be under a felony indictment.


Mabank High School Breaks Ground Feb. 9
Special to The Monitor
MABANK-The Cedar Creek Lake communities are invited to take part in the official ground breaking for the new Mabank High School.
Ceremonies will commence at 4 p.m. Feb. 9, 2006, at the new school site on U.S. Highway 175 just east of the high school stadium. A temporary parking lot will be available near the ceremony site.
"We are delighted to invite the entire community to celebrate this ground breaking with us," Mabank ISD board president Gary Sapp said.
Students representing all walks of high school life will turn the first dirt, followed by the board of trustees and other officials.
The public will be invited to participate in the ceremonial ground breaking.
Voters approved the bond for the new school in February, 2005.
Claycomb Associates Architects worked with the high school staff and others to perfect the plan for the school that will be a landmark for the school district.
Charter Builders, LTD. are constructing the Claycomb-designed facility.
"Teachers played an important part in the design of this building, because they will be the long-term users of the facility, teacher input is vital," ISD Superintendent Marshall said.
Marshall recognized the important part the Citizens Facilities Committee played in passing the bond election and incorporated recognition of them in the ceremony.
The total bond package approved by voters by a four to one margin amounts to $38 million.
The $38 million high school facility will be ready for the 2007-08 school year.
Additional money will be allocated for improvements to other facilities.


Kemp Girl Takes Reserve Champion at Stock Show
Special to the Monitor
FORT WORTH-A youngster from Kemp took top honors with her heifer in this year's Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.
Brooklyn Brown, a 4-H member from Kemp, exhibited the Reserve Champion Calf in the Simmental Junior Heifer Show as part of the Fort Worth Stock Show Jan. 23.
The Stock Show's Junior Division hosted more than 10,000 entries by Texas 4-H and FFA youth as the culmination of yearlong agricultural educational projects in various areas of livestock production.
Junior premiums will exceed $81,836. The junior entry list is part of the overall record count this year of nearly 25,000 head of cattle, cheep, swine, horses, mules, donkeys, llamas, goats, poultry, pigeons and rabbits.
The Stock Show provides educational opportunities for young people and showcases the livestock industry in the growing Metroplex. Last year the show hosted 941,000 visitors from 94 countries.
This marks the 110th year for the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, the nation's oldest livestock show, underway now through Sunday, Feb. 5.
The show offers many interactive educational exhibits, great shopping and a carnival midway with 30 performances of the World's Original Indoor Rodeo.