Sunday, April 30, 2006


Cops seize speed, cash
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Police officers seized more than 100 grams of methamphetamine, during a routine traffic stop in Timber Trails subdivision.
Officers Billy Kilgore and Jason Napps observed a red Chevrolet pickup exiting Harbor Point Road onto Forest Lane at a high rate of speed Monday.
Officers flagged the driver, John Desanto 45, of Gun Barrel City to stop. In the course of the investigations, the officers found knives on Desanto, which led to a probable cause search of the vehicle for additional weapons, according to a police report.
During the vehicle search officers found a large bag of a white crystal substance that later tested out to be positive as methamphetamines.
The gross weight was 110.7 grams.
A large sum of U.S. currency was also seized at about $2,400, Police Chief Mabel Lane told the GBC city council during its meeting Tuesday night.
Drug Enforcement Unit investigator Damon Boswell also assisted in the seizure.
Desanto was charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, as a first degree felony. He was booked into the Gun Barrel City jail.
Investigator Judie Burley said Desanto “has a history.”
The vehicle, drugs, cash and weapons were impounded, pending seizure procedures.


HC auditor resigns
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Auditor Wesley Johnston abruptly tendered his resignation Tuesday.
Johnston’s resignation is effective within the next 60 days, personnel in his office confirmed Thursday.
Johnston was out of the office and not available for comment Thursday.
A Chandler resident and volunteer firefighter, Johnston was appointed by the three district judges in June, 2004. He succeeded former auditor Winston Duke, who left after 16 years of service to take a position with the city of Huntsville.
The auditor’s job vacancy has been posted, according to 392nd District Judge Carter Tarrance.

EDC calls for moratorium on business funding calls
By Becki Brantley
Monitor Correspondent

SEVEN POINTS–The members of the Economic Development Corporation have placed themselves in a savings mode – which is to say there will be no funds dispersed until its coffers have put aside $150,000, or two-years worth of budgetary expenses.
Board member Hank Laywell made the recommendation after much discussion during its Tuesday workshop prior to its regular meeting.
The reasoning behind the hunkering-down move is to hedge against what could be hard times for businesses up and down State Highway 334 during its widening, The Monitor learned.
The Library building is one of the budgetary expenses the EDC Board is responsible for maintaining.
Board president Danny Hampel said currently the EDC has about $30,000 in funds.
Three businesses came to the regular meeting to request funding for their projects. Two of the three requests met with no action from the board in light of the moratorium on funding requests, and because the requests do not fall within state guidelines for EDC expenditures.
The third, Waitgo, for Whatz-up Entertainment, withdrew its request until the EDC meets its savings goal.
The other two businesses were: Main Place Cinema and Jeff and Kim Country Music Hall.
Prior to the board meeting, it met in a workshop to discuss the setting of standard requirements for the awarding of grants and loans.
According to EDC guidelines set by the state, the corporation is in place to assist existing businesses with expansion efforts, namely to create more jobs for local citizens – and not to keep failing businesses afloat.
Referencing an e-mail from EDC attorney Ron Stutes, Hampel related certain guidelines which a 4B city (population of less than 20,000) must use when considering assistance to local businesses.
Some of the guidelines tentatively established will require a loan or grant applicant to:
• provide a business plan, including a three-year cash flow, projected budget, and estimated number of employees.
• sign a performance agreement with retribution clauses in the event the business does not perform as expected.
• provide collateral, if applicable.
The EDC also determined funds should be provided on an as-needed basis to track success, rather than in one-lump sums.
Laywell recommended maintaining funds to provide for two years of projected budgeted expenses.
A figure of $150,000 was agreed on.
Board members understood this could take some time to reach, if construction should start on State Highway 334 in the near future, as this could potentially slow business.
The board placed a moratorium on outgoing funds until this amount is reached.
The corporation will hold a second workshop to clarify guidelines. This meeting will be announced at a later date.

Blaze destroys trailer in Mabank
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–An older single wide mobile home was destroyed by fire early Thursday.
The trailer belonged to Willie Brown, and was located along the Old City Lake Road, just southeast of downtown, Mabank Fire Chief Ricky Myrick reported.
Approximately 20 firefighters and eight pieces of equipment from the Mabank, Kemp and Gun Barrel City fire departments responded to the 8:30 a.m. alarm.
No one was home at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported, Myrick said.
The fire was not considered suspicious, but the cause is still under investigation, he added.

Dueling letters sent as election nears
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Voters in Seven Points have received letters in the mail from several candidates seeking the office of mayor recently. And each successive letter answers the one before it with energetic response.
It began with a letter from Mayor Gerald Taylor seeking support and listing number of accomplishments under his tenure as mayor.
A second letter from C.D. Smith, a close relative to Joni Espinoza, a write-in candidate for mayor, responds in an angry tone toward Taylor for taking any credit for the success of Main Place Cinema, a business operated by his wife Lucy Smith.
In fact, Smith alleges that the city tried to discourage its construction and threatened to shut it down. Also in the letter, Smith makes some serious accusations against city secretary Debbie Mosley.
A second letter from Taylor was sent out to all 636 registered voters. It lists six incidents in which the city of Seven Points through the city council and its Economic Development Corporation gave financial assistance or granted a request made by him, on behalf of the theater.
Smith was an EDC board member in 2002 and voted in favor of several measures that helped provide signage to the theater and a pizza oven, Taylor’s letter documents.
The two letters also trade barbs over the closure of Parkside Road, a dirt road that Smith gave to the city in February 2002 and which Henderson County has black topped and maintained.
A candidate’s forum was announced for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29 at the city park. Voters will get to meet and talk to the candidates in person.
The city records on official city business is available for inspection during office hours from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.