People, Places & Events


The price of driving drunk
By J.W. Kemp
Special to The Monitor

Editor’s note: The writer has personal experience in these matters and hopes to warn others from the consequences of driving drunk.
GUN BARREL CITY–If it could be brought home how driving drunk, affected the drunk driver, there would not be so many offenders.
The offender needs to know how it will affect him and his family.
First, lets start with the job, you know the thing that pays your bills, puts food on the table and allows you to buy the beer that got you into this fix.
How does your boss react when you do not show up for work because you are in jail waiting for a bail bondsman?
Then how do you get to work? Your drivers license is gone for six months minimum, the minute the officer writes DUI on the ticket.
There is the matter of getting a driving permit for work, that is, if you have not wrecked your car, hurt yourself in an accident or hopefully not killed someone in the process.
If that is the case he or she does not need to worry about the rest of this story. He/she will have plenty of time and help learning the cost as they await trial.
Driving permits cost $500 or more, depending on your lawyer, court cost, and the insurance company you find that will meet the court’s requirements for insurance coverage.
Let’s not mention the days you missed at work until you got a temporary driving permit. The permit is limited to total number of hours per day for driving to and from work, only.
Then there are the days, and I do mean days, you will be in court.
You may be scheduled for court and take the day off, only to find out once you get there that you sit around for several hours with your lawyer only to find that your court date has been rescheduled, due to a major case taking precedence over yours.
This can happen more than once, in fact, any number of times. Oh, and by the way, you are paying your lawyers, they did show up you know.
How about court costs. Yes, everytime you go to court there is a cost.
First offense DUI with no other charges, minimum of $1,000, depending on the court of course. Big cities cost more.
Then there’s your lawyers fee, simple case $1,250 to start.
Loss of work, depending on what your job is and what you make, say about $200 a week.
Cases of this type take several months to come to trial.
In most cases, you will have finished your driver license suspension way before you get your trial date.
So now you can get your driver license back – $125 to reinstate, plus $10 for a new license.
They always lose your old one or someone forgot to return it to the state, and you also have to take more time off from the job.
The Department of Public Safety does not do reinstatements at all locations, so you will have too search where it can be done and drive to that location.
Now your final court date arrives, 6-8 months after you have been charged, or longer.
If you are found not guilty, you are only out the $3,000 or so listed above.
If found guilty, you face fines of $2,000 or more, and loss of your drivers license for a year or more.
If that happens, the money you spent to reinstate was a lost cause. You will pay that again when the suspension is up.
Then there is community service.
Judges like to hand this out because it gets free work for their counties.
Minimum of 100 hours, but in most cases it is 200 or more.
Since you now have community service to perform, you are assigned a probation officer to insure that you do your time.
This costs $40 per visit, which is once a month or $480 per year.
Then there are the mandatory classes that will have to be taken, $75 and up. Some are run over a three day period, which means more time off from work.
Then there are fees for other classes and training at $10 or more a pop and then you also get to do your community service.
Minimum of 20 hours per month. So it is either use your weekends for community service or take more time off from work.
I hope you like manual labor, because in most areas that is all they have to offer.
Now, if this has not gotten your attention, a first offense DUI with no previous criminal record, you are looking at well more than $6,000 in expenses, plus time away from your job and family.
Added to this, manual labor out in the weather.
This can happen only if you let it. Weigh the cost and make your decision.
Money and time hit home, especially when you have to explain it to your spouse and children.

EHS top students honor teachers
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–The top 10 Eustace High School seniors honored teachers who were special to them during the second annual Top 10 Dinner Tuesday.
Each senior read a letter they had written to their particular teacher. Some letters were humorous, while most were straightforward in their praise for the individual instructor, who then came forward to received the framed letter from the student.
Valedictorian Justin Smith honored math teacher Eddie Schieffer, telling the gathering Schieffer had not been just a positive influence on him as a student, “but me as a person.”
Smith added Schieffer is the only teacher he had met “who teaches every single day ... he always makes sure every single person gets the lesson before moving on.”
Salutatorian Heather Watkins honored English teacher Kristi Caldwell, who (she said) had influenced her life in many different ways.
“She’s seen me change from a shy, quiet person to the person I am now,” Watkins said.
Third-ranked Daniel Frazier offered one of the more humorous letters in his praise of Spanish teacher Lisa Bynum.
“Playing bingo in Spanish class helped me learn words faster than just studying,” Frazier said. “Because of your (Bynum’s) dedication, I was able to learn more.”
Fourth-ranked Cortney Thomsen honored biology teacher and veteran coach Chuck Powers with another very humorous letter.
“You (Powers) truly care for your students,” Thomsen told Powers. “Your gift to me – one I can never truly repay – was your listening ear and kind words.”
Fifth-ranked Bethany Wood honored English teacher and cheerleader coach Mandy Rolison.
“You always had faith in me, and believe it or not, that did make a difference,” Wood said.
Sixth-ranked Kyle Andrews honored band director Todd Felty, noting he had not expected Felty to remain at the school after meeting him as a seventh-grader.
“You’re always there to find some way to pull us back together,” Andrews said, adding Felty’s Christian influence made a difference to him.
Seventh-ranked Troy Jones honored cross country coach Denver Stone, pointing out before Stone arrived, Eustace High School had no running program. Last fall, both boys and girls teams advanced to state for the second straight year.
“We owe it all to you,” Jones told Stone. “You always had motivation in every race and every practice.”
Eighth-ranked Sarah Glisson, an early EHS graduate, was the only student whose teacher, fifth-grade teacher Sandi Thompson, could not attend, due to injuries received in an automobile wreck.
Glisson said in her letter to Thompson that life lessons “wouldn’t mean so much to me without someone like you.”
Ninth-ranked Donnie Weaver honored drama teacher Jessica Pearson, who said she had been a huge influence on him in just a short time.
“Before I met you, I didn’t have much direction in my life,” Weaver said.
Tenth-ranked Laci Goodrich listed a number of thank-yous to English teacher/coach Jack Vining in her letter.
“Thanks for making me smile day after day,” she said. “Thanks for putting up with me even when I got frustrated.”