Sunday, June 18, 2006

  Wallis ‘Principal of the Year’
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Students and staff at Mabank High School were well aware their principal was “the best.”
Now, all the school districts in Region 10 know, too.
MHS Principal Tommy Wallis has received the outstanding honor of being named Region 10 High School Principal of the Year at the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) conference recently in Austin.
A reception in his honor is set for 3-4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, in the MHS cafeteria.
Region 10 consists of more than 80 districts in nine counties, and is the second largest educational district in Texas.
“I think it speaks very well of our school district,” Mabank Independent School District trustee vice president Kenneth Odom said.
“Three years ago, we hired Dr. Russell Marshall as superintendent. He put together a very successful team,” Odom explained.
“It is a great honor. It says a whole lot about our district. This award has never been given to a Mabank ISD principal before,” he said.
There were more than 450 high school principals eligible for the award, from districts including Dallas, Highland Park, McKinney, Plano, Richardson and Rockwall.
“I am extremely proud this prestigious award has been bestowed on Mr. Wallis,” Marshall said.
“It is great to know that people all over the Metroplex are recognizing the great things going on at Mabank High School,” Marshall added.
Wallis was named Region 10 Assistant Principal of the Year in 2001.
Wallis became MHS principal in the fall of 2003.
He is currently working toward his doctorate in educational administration, and will graduate from Stephen F. Austin University in May, 2008.
Under his direction, Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) scores are up in all content areas.
MHS is a “High Schools that Work (HSTW)” campus, a national recognition under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Wallis serves as the TASSP Region 10 assistant coordinator in charge of memberships.
In July, Wallis will do a presentation on MHS’ advisory program for the HSTW conference in Orlando, Fla.
The advisory program demonstrates the passion Wallis has for student and parent involvement.
Wallis is one of 20 high school principals in contention for the State of Texas High School Principal of the Year.
MISD trustee Scott Tuley also expressed pride in Wallis and the stardom he has brought to the district.
“I believe the prestigious award that Mr. Wallis received speaks highly of his success over the past three years at MISD,” Tuley said.
“It shows that he is committed to each individual student and teacher,” he explained.
“He has brought honor and respect back to the high school for both faculty and students, giving our community something of which to be proud.”
Summing up the pride expressed by the school board and staff, board president Gary Sapp said.
“Mabank High School is fortunate to have someone of his caliber working with our students.”
“This is a great honor for our district and on behalf of the board of trustees, we commend Mr. Wallis on this prestigious award,” Sapp added.

City accepts $200K EDC bid
GBC Council approves indoor soccer arena project
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Council accepted a $200,000 bid on a five-acre tract of land eyed as the spot for a proposed indoor soccer arena and sports complex.
Council members heard the city’s Economic Development Corporation submitted the only bid for the tract, located on the city’s Municipal Services Complex (the “40 acres”), next to the existing small pond and across the street from the East Texas Medical Center-Cedar Creek Lake facility.
S.O. Sportsplex has pledged to spend more than $820,000 to build the complex, which would include a 7,000-square-foot fitness gym, a party/convention rental room, a 150x50-foot indoor soccer field (with an upstairs viewing area) inside a metal building covering at least 20,000 square feet.
The $200,000 bid matches the appraised value of the property, as established by state-certified appraiser Arthur D. Dobbs and reported in a letter to the city dated May 24.
In addition to formally accepting the bid on the property, the council held two readings – item 2 and item 7 of Tuesday evening’s regular session agenda – and unanimously approved a resolution supporting the EDC and S.O. Sportsplex agreement.
“I want to commend the EDC for another excellent project,” councilman Marty Goss said. “This was brought to the table and they got it done.”
Councilwoman Kathy Cochran also personally thanked the S.O. Sportsplex developers, Mark Spahlinger and Stephen Orsakon (who were present) “for coming to Gun Barrel City.”
In other business, the council:
• approved version two of an ordinance amendment prohibiting look-alike exteriors on residential homes built in a particular subdivision.
Under terms of the ordinance amendment, single-family dwellings in all residential districts “shall be ordered so as to avoid duplicate exterior design and appearance on adjoining lots.”
Council members sought such an amendment following the construction of a group of look-alike homes in the Harbor Point subdivision, saying they wanted to avoid any “tract housing” look in the city.
Version two of the amendment bars identical looks for any two homes “on the same side of the street and within three lots,” which would be easier to enforce than the 500-foot limit called for in version one, council members heard.
• approved a re-plat of two lots in the Mantle Manors subdivision, which was supported by the Planning & Zoning Commission, following a brief public hearing.

Earth turned on KC Kemp Citizens Convenience Station
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–It has taken almost two years, but Thursday, the Kaufman County Citizens Convenience Station in Kemp is officially under construction.
A groundbreaking ceremony, attended by approximately 30 citizens and local dignitaries, marked the official start.
But, large bulldozers, already turned dirt, and county employees in the background attested to the fact the heavy work was already underway.
“Before we could get our grant, we had to have a piece of property,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller said.
After six months’ effort, he found the perfect site, located off Plainview Road and U.S. Highway 175, Deller added.
“It has been a long, long journey and my work is just beginning,” he said.
County Judge Wayne Gent thanked Deller for his diligence in securing the property, as did Environmental Co-op director Marilyn May, who pursued the North Central Texas Council of Governments (COG) grant that will pay for the project.
“This is a great step toward the future,” May said.
Gent introduced other speakers and guests including president of the Environmental Co-op Dr. John Regerreis, COG members Cathleen Graham and Sam Brush, president of Mabank Branch Chamber of Commerce Don Richardson, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace-elect Johnny Adams, County Auditor Hal D. Jones, County Treasurer Johnny Countryman, Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry Rowden, Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Schoen, Kemp City Administrator James Stroman, President of Kaufman County Master Gardeners Ann Trail and many others.
The convenience station will allow residents of the eastern end of Kaufman County a closer place to bring their household trash at a minimal cost.
The station will also accept tires, batteries, furniture and appliances that do not contain Freon.
Recyclables such as plastic, glass, newspapers and office papers will be accepted at no charge to the resident.
Deller said the station should be complete in approximately 90 days, making way for an opening date sometime in late September.