Thursday, May 4, 2006


Man stabbed
Mabank man, girlfriend both jailed after stabbing
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–A man was stabbed in the arm with a knife during a domestic dispute, Mabank police chief Alex Smith reported.
Police responded to a call at about 4:45 p.m. Monday from a third party at 612 East Mason St.
John Lamont Miller, 33, had been stabbed in the arm, allegedly by his girlfriend, Jamie Shaid, 20, who had fled the scene before officers arrived.
She was later picked up at a Gun Barrel City home and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Smith said.
Four officers responded to the call phoned in by Shaid’s sister, Smith added.
Miller was taken to the ER at East Texas Medical Center in Gun Barrel City, where he was treated and released into police custody.
Shaid was treated by paramedics at the Mabank police station, where she told police she had been a victim of long-time abuse.
Both were transported to Kaufman County Jail, where they are both being held on $3,500 bonds.
Miller has an outstanding speeding violation and was charged with assault family violence.
Shaid had been previously charged for driving without a driver’s license, and was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.


Small tornado slams Canton
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Correspondent

CANTON–Officials confirmed storms that rocked Canton and portions of Van Zandt County early Saturday morning included an F0 tornado with gusts of straight-line winds.
As many as 40 homes and 15 businesses suffered damage due to the early morning storms, but no injuries were reported as a result, according to Canton Emergency Management Coordinator and Fire Chief Tim Gothard.
The hardest hit areas were southeast of Canton, the southeastern part of the Canton city limits, as well as the eastern and southeastern end of the county.
The tornado is believed to have come across the intersection of State Highways 19 and 243, hitting portions of Van Zandt County Road 4210 near Martins Mill, and Farm-to-Markets 314 and 858 near the Van and Ben Wheeler areas.
The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 3:45 a.m., when the storm was about six miles southwest of town.
The warning mentioned the possibility of destructive winds in excess of 70 mph, moving northeast at about 40 mph.
“If we do the math, there was about nine minutes lead time between when we issued the warning and when the storm moved through,” National Weather Service spokesman Gary said.
“This isn’t a huge amount of time, and illustrates why we all need to instinctively remember our severe weather plans … for those cases when storms develop or move rapidly into the area, and we don’t have a lot of time to prepare,” he cautioned.
“We surveyed the Canton damage Saturday and it appears the bulk of the damage was downburst-related,” Woodall added.
“There may have been a little circulation, perhaps a ‘gustnado’ (circulation along the gust front) or a weak tornado, but the bulk of the damage was down-burst related. There was evidence of an F0 tornado damage mainly in an area along and just north of State Highway 243, and along and just east of State Highway 19,” Greg Patrick with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth said.
“But much of the rest of the damage was likely caused by down-burst (straight-line) winds, where all of the trees and debris were blown from west to east or northwest to southeast,” Patrick added. “Luckily, nearly all of the damage, in and around Canton, occurred south of the main area where vendors were set up for First Monday with tents and in RVs.”
Gothard said there were five people inside the Canton EMS Station, located behind the fire department, when the storm hit at around 4 a.m.
Winds had taken out the civil defense siren system, so no warning siren went out when the storms came through the area.
The EMS Station and Ace Hardware were the hardest hit by the storm, as well as State Rep. Dan Flynn’s office, located on the top floor of the American National Bank building in Canton.
“It was moderate damage when it did hit,” Gothard said.
The EMS station lost major portions of its roof and suffered interior damage. The fire station antenna and communications tower were also damaged, but Gothard said officials were still able to receive calls.
Although the fire department and EMS station are awaiting damage assessment, Gothard said he believes the EMS Station will be deemed a total loss. However the fire department, located in front of the EMS Station, did not receive any major structural damage, Gothard noted.
Once the storm hit, the city activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located at the fire department.
“There are a lot of homes with trees through the roof,” Gothard explained; adding that no cost estimates have been figured at this time.
There were no reports of major damage at First Monday, the monthly outdoor flea market. And no injuries were reported, but the rebuilding process could take a little while for some residents.
One of the hardest hit houses was located on VZCR 4210, when the unoccupied house was moved 12 feet from its foundation.
“This house has done a lot of good in this community,” Martins Mill resident Sandra Niles said.
The white wood house had just been remodeled, and sat on a 57-acre plot of land surrounded by towering trees, grazing cattle and a pond.
Owned by Andrew Pruitt of Dallas, the house was described as a “cornerstone of the area” and “one of the oldest homes left in Martins Mill.”
“This is part of my family’s history,” Niles said.
Pruitt said he will have to tear down the house he was born and raised in, along with the well house, and the trees which were uprooted by forces of nature.
Flynn said it was “a real shocker” to learn his office had been damaged.
In a telephone interview from Austin Monday, Flynn described the damage.
“In our office one window came out ... and when it blew out, it sent glass everywhere and popped open two glass doors,” he said. Flynn’s desk was pushed out onto the balcony, and his computer and telephone were nowhere to be found.
Nothing was harmed in his conference room; only his office area received the largest portion of damage.
He further noted his office is up and running as normal, despite the damage.
Fire departments in the south end of the county were out looking for downed power lines and trees blocking roadways for most of the day Saturday.
“Looking at the damage and destruction of the path of the storm – we’ve got stuff twisted and laying everywhere,” Van Zandt County Emergency Management Coordinator Charles Allen said.
“We are going to be looking at a high-dollar amount from both homes and businesses damaged,” he said.
The American Red Cross was assisting people Saturday, and TXU crews were out helping restore power to the area.
The Texas Department of Transportation responded immediately when lights and signals were knocked out by the storm’s fury, Gothard said.
One Canton nursing home lost power and was unable to get its emergency generator running, but was quickly assisted by the fire department and TXU, he added.
“It was a partnership between everybody,” Gothard said.
Canton fire fighters responded to as many as 40 calls from power lines reported down to gas leaks and propane leaks.
“We were really blessed,” not to have suffered more than this, Gothard added.

Area sees little impact from immigrant work walkout
Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Though only an hour outside the Dallas Metroplex, Cedar Creek Lake felt only minor effects from a migrant worker walkout Monday.
In Mexico and other Latin American countries, May 1 is celebrated as Labor Day.
“None of our members have called to complain or even mentioned it, except for one,” Jo Ann Hanstrom, executive director of the Greater Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, told The Monitor.
The exception called to complain that a favorite restaurant was closed on Monday, attributing it to the work stoppage.
In fact, several area restaurants were closed Monday.
A few were closed from a choice to support the work stoppage, others because they are always closed on Mondays, and some were forced to close because no one showed up for work that day.
The Yellow Rose in Seven Points was forced to close when no workers reported to work.
“They were just having a lazy day,” manager Homero Ornelis told The Monitor. “I don’t know why nobody came into work,” he added.
The owners of El Jacalito’s and Lakeside Cafe both chose to close.
Roberto’s in Gun Barrel City was closed as was the Ranch House, but they are always closed on Mondays.
“If we were normally open on Mondays, we would have been open,” the owner of Roberto’s said.
Other Mexican restaurants were open and enjoying a brisk business. These included Chapparitos, Alamo, El Rosa and Papacita’s.
Construction on the new high school in Mabank was only slightly affected by Monday’s work stoppage.
“We were down maybe 10 percent,” job superintendent Tom Hinton with Charter Builders said.
“We were affected more by the rally a month ago. We had a 60 percent decrease in work attendance then,” he said.
The progress of the construction project wasn’t impeded.
Workers have a choice of working on either four days a week for 10 hours or picking up either Friday or Saturday to fill up their 40 hours, he explained.
“No one is being penalized because of their convictions,” he said.
In Dallas, speakers at a immigrant workers’ rally urged legislators to respect the economic contributions the illegal immigrant population makes, as they consider and debate new immigration, guest worker and border security laws.

Trustees hire new MHS principal
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–Malakoff Independent School District trustees hired a new high school principal last week.
Trustees selected Randy Perry, currently assistant principal at Terrell High School, to replace former principal Russell Grant, whose contract was not renewed.
Grant came to Malakoff in 2003 from Kemp High School.
The hiring came during a special regular session of the Malakoff School Board held at the Oran White Civic Center in Tool April 27.
Construction on the new Malakoff Elementary campus is underway, and MISD Superintendent Larry Hulsey estimated 40 percent of the site excavation has been done.
“I’ve had a lot of people make comments about how happy they are that we’re moving things around,” Hulsey said. “I can tell you there’s nobody happier about that than I am.
“It seems that it’s been a lot longer than a year and a month since the fire (that destroyed Malakoff Elementary),” he added.
Along with the excavation, approximately 15 percent of the new fill dirt to provide a building pad has been brought in so far, with dozens of truckloads expected to follow over the next couple of weeks, Hulsey said.
An old sewer line to the cafeteria area will be replaced, since the line has been stopping up for some time now, Hulsey said.
In other business, the trustees:
• hired Mike Palmer, currently coaching at the Azle ISD, as a varsity assistant football coach (offensive coordinator) and teacher, subject to assignment.
• heard a proposal to pay cheerleader sponsors the same $5,000 stipend as coaches.
Varsity cheerleader sponsors have been paid $3,000 for many years, and junior varsity sponsors less, incoming JV cheer sponsor Jay Jay Lee told the trustees.
Lee provided the trustees with a proposed calendar, outlining all of the duties of cheer sponsors, and pointed out things had changed greatly since she was a high school cheerleader.
Incoming varsity cheer sponsor Cindy Turnage said cheerleading is a sport that covers all 12 months of the year.
While she enjoys being a cheer sponsor, “I do want to be compensated for it, just like a male coach,” Turnage said.
Hulsey said in upcoming budget discussions, he would be proposing to pay cheer sponsors the same as coaches.
• heard Hulsey report the district likely will need to establish three new teaching positions – kindergarten, third grade and fifth grade – to cover enrollment increases in those classes.
“We’ll probably want to make it clear when hiring that they will be hired as Tool (Elementary campus) teachers,” he told the trustees.
Those extra teachers will need rooms, and that means the district probably will need to obtain at least one, maybe two, more portable buildings, Hulsey said.
The district has gained approximately 25 students so far during the school year, equal to more than one classroom full.
• accepted a $500 grant from Exxon Mobil recognizing Exxon retiree and veteran school trustee Homer Ray Trimble for his volunteer work during the past year.