Sunday, July 16, 2006

Two drown in Palestine
Monitor Staff Reports
PALESTINE–Two men drowned in separate incidents on Lake Palestine in Henderson County Tuesday.
The first incident occurred around 9 a.m. near the Blue Water subdivision on County Road 3124, according to police reports.
Eugene Steger, 71, marvin Cranfield, 75, and David Barney McCauley, 76, were fishing in a 16-foot aluminum boat when their anchor became entangled.
When they attempted to free the anchor, the boat swamped and sank leaving only the bow above the water, it was reported.
All three men were wearing life jackets.
Steger set out to swim to shore. It took him approximately one hour to swim one mile to shore.
As he neared the shore, Kawi Kambhu, 69, of 21-698 Blue Water Dr. heard his calls for help and called 911 before taking Steger in his boat to rescue the other fishermen.
When they arrived at the sunken boat, McCauley was deceased.
Cranfield was rescued.
The lake was choppy with white caps forming on the waves, it was reported.
Apparently McCauley was too weakened to survive the conditions. Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Sue Starnes pronounced him dead, on the shore.
The second drowning incident was called in just as first responders were clearing from the first drowning at 1:19 p.m.
Four youths had been swimming at the Sun Rise Shores park when one of them got into trouble with water over his head.
State Game Wardens recovered the body of Jamey Couey, 17, of 9075 County Road 3418, Brownsboro at 4 p.m.
Judge Sue Tarrant, JP Precinct 4, pronounced him dead on the shore.
The body was sent to the Southwest Forensic Labs for autopsy.
Among those responding to the incident were Westside Fire Department, Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, state game wardens from Henderson, Smith and Cherokee counties and Precinct 4 deputy constable.

City says, ‘No’ to Oak Landing
By Becki Brantley
Monitor Correspondent

SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points City Council voted 3-2 against annexing the Oak Landing subdivision Tuesday.
Weeks of arguments, letters and protests culminated in one final effort to convince the council to annex the subdivision, but to no avail.
During the third and final annexation hearing Oak Landing resident Garland Mosier, an ardent voice at previous hearings opposing the move, quoted from the Texas local government code, over definitions of a resident and what constitutes a legal vote in this situation.
“If we went by state law, the numbers would be enough to annex you. But let me remind you, if the city surrounds your subdivision on three sides, we could take you (in) without a (residential) vote, if we wanted to,” Mayor Gerald Taylor responded.
“We want to hear from all residents, not just those who are registered voters. Every property owner deserves the right to be heard,” Taylor continued.
At the end of Mosier’s argument, several residents noted he is not a permanent resident of the community. His primary residence and business are in Irving, where he is also registered to vote, council members heard.
Applause erupted when Taylor hammered his gavel and put an end to Mosier’s arguments.
Other residents plead their case in favor of annexation, noting the city could help improve their subdivision, as well as assist the POA with code enforcement.
However, none of these arguments persuaded the council to annex Oak Landing.
Councilman Dean Moore said the city needed to consolidate its boundaries, and this would help do that, Councilman Bubba Powell agreed, but their votes were put down by councilmen Michael Lowe, Hank Laywell and Tommy Taylor, who opposed the action.
This agenda item concluded with Oak Landing property owners association secretary Richard Smith stating, “You can go ahead and add us back into next month’s agenda. We’re going to keep going with this until we are a part of the city.”
In other business, the council:
• appointed Tommy Taylor, Mayor Pro-Tem, and Bubba Powell, Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem.
• decided to take no action on requests for roadside vending permits.
• approved a variance request by Tony Lazaro to establish a landscaping company on the back portion of his property, exiting on John Thomas. The old G & G Septic building was recently purchased to be used as an insurance investigation office.
• allowed Bill Trenary, owner of Cedar Creek Carpets, to place a storage facility behind his business.


Former Eustace police chief dies at 64
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–The well-loved former police chief of Eustace died Wednesday.
Jerry Mills, 64, died following a pro-longed illness.
He was the city police chief from 1996 to 2002.
“He was very well-liked in the community,” longtime Eustace city secretary Dru Haynes said. “He was held in high esteem. Everyone liked him.”
Mills started his 10-year career in law enforcement as a reserve deputy in August,1992.
The following year, he was hired as a Eustace police officer in December. He was promoted to chief of police in March 1996 and served in that capacity until September 2002.
Before that he owned and operated the Shady Oaks Grocery Store and was a former deputy constable of Henderson County Precinct 2 and volunteer fire fighter for the Shady Oaks Fire Department.
Funeral services for Mills were conducted Saturday, under the direction of Cooper Funeral Home in Athens.

Code violators warned: Comply
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–In less than a half hour Kemp City Council members took care of the regular business Tuesday, leaving plenty of time to discuss persistant concerns.
Code enforcement is one issue the city faces each month.
Since beginning a program to clean up the city under former mayor, the late Tommy Springer, issues have continued to crop up.
Some citizens cited for violations argue and point a finger to “a worse case than theirs,” refusing to comply while others seem to go uncited.
Mayor Billy Teel instructed code enforcement officer, Capt. Steve Lambert to send warning letters to residents who have reported code violations.
“We have all pretty well expressed our feelings on the subject, and what we expect,” Teel said, as he brought the discussion to an end.
Examination of subdivision ordinance revisions followed.
City administrator James Stroman highlighted a change in minimum square footage is proposed for new single-family residences is set at 1,400 square feet.
A vote on the revisions is set for a future meeting.
The annual budget workshop was tentatively set for 7 p.m. Friday, July 28.
When department heads were asked for input on large ticket items they would like to propose for consideration, maintenance director Tony Jenkins spoke up.
“Each year we have a man that comes by and cleans the floors of the water storage tanks,” he said.
“He has been trying to get us to re-do the old storage tank floor.”
Preliminary cost estimates to refinish the tank floors have come in at around $18,000, including a 10-year warranty, Jenkins said.
There could be grant funds to cover the costs, Kemp EDC member Jody Deller suggested.


The Monitor takes top honors
Texas Press Association announces 2005 awards
 Monitor Staff Reports
AUSTIN–The Texas Press Association’s 2005 Texas Better Newspaper Contest awarded top honors to The Monitor in four categories for small run, bi-weekly papers in Texas.
It was awarded first place for feature photos and column writing, and took third place for general excellence over all, which also earned it a sweepstake award.
“(The Monitor) has the feel of a newspaper that aggressively covers its community. It’s well designed and organized,” one judge commented.