People, Places & Events


Center raises $2,141 toward air conditioner
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–A side of beef and a dish of ice cream may sound like an odd combination, but it worked.
The Southeast Kaufman County Senior Center in Kemp, raised approximately $2,141 selling tickets for an ice cream social and raffling off a side of beef.
The beef was donated by Kaufman County Judge Wayne Gent, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Deller and Sheriff David Byrnes.
Deller rolled the drum the tickets were in, and Byrnes drew out the winning number.
The winner was Willis Ellis
Nearly 100 residents showed up at the Center for home made ice cream and desserts.
However, the home made ice cream soon ran out, and until a new batch could be made, Southern Brunch, in downtown Kemp, furnished plenty of ice cream for the event.
The funds earned at the event will benefit the Center and the purchase of a new air conditioner.

NRA chapter to hold barbecue dinner and auction
Special to The Monitor
CANTON–The 11th annual Friends of National Rifle Association (NRA) barbecue dinner and auction coming up in Canton will feature lots of top-quality outdoor merchandise to raise funds for a host of local youth programs.
The Free State of Van Zandt County Chapter of Friends of NRA will host the dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, July 28, at the Canton Civic Center.
“The annual event normally draws around 400 people, but organizers are anticipating a larger crowd this year,” committe co-chairman Todd Fowler said.
Tickets for the event, are $20 in advance (RSVP for advance tickets by Tuesday, July 25) and $25 at the door.
“Planned is a silent and live auction, and plenty of door prizes,” Fowler said.
A Weatherby Vanguard SS .270 WSM Rifle – “2006 NRA Gun of the Year” – and PSE and Mathews Outback compound bows are among items to be auctioned off.
In addition, two dozen or so other firearms, along with knives, a crossbow, gun safe, NRA exclusive wildlife prints, hunting and fishing gear, guided fishing trip, archery, scopes, binoculars, range finder, jewelry and other equipment will be auctioned.
“There will be something there for everyone,” Fowler said.
“Since its inception, The NRA Foundation, Inc. ‘Friends of NRA’ has funded more than 11,000 grants totaling over $28 million dollars, becoming America’s leading 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization in support of the programs that carry on the rich tradition and legacy of the shooting sports,” Fowler said.
“Established in 1992, Friends of NRA has raised more than $80 million to support such programs as firearms and hunter education, wildlife conservation, shooting range development and improvement, youth safety and education and law enforcement training,” Fowler added.
“The Free State of VZC Chapter is one of more than 21 NRA Chapters for the North Texas district that collected more than $246,000 dollars through fund-raising dinners in 2005,” Fowler said.
Half of the money raised stays in the North Texas district, benefiting Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs, Eddie Eagle Gun Safety programs in local school districts, hunter safety programs, college scholarships and other youth projects.
Recently, the Free State Friends of NRA presented to the Van Zandt County 4-H Shooting Team a check for $5,816 and Henderson County 4-H Rifle Team a check for $1,195.69.
For advance ticket information, call Mary Wiley of Wiley’s Gun Shop at (903) 848-7912, or Jerry Barker at (903) 873-6632 or
Tickets will be available at the door.

Sales tax holiday set for August 4-6
Special to The Monitor

AUSTIN–Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes Friday, Saturday and Sunday Aug. 4-6, the state’s annual tax holiday. Lay-away plans can be used again this year to take advantage of the sales tax holiday.
The law exempts most clothing and footwear priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.
This year’s sales tax holiday for clothing and footwear begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, and ends at midnight Sunday, Aug. 6.
The tax break is expected to save Texas consumers millions in state and local sales taxes.
This is one time hard-working Texans can keep their money in their pockets for their families’ priorities.
Here are some highlights about the sales tax holiday:
The tax holiday occurs every year on the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of August.
Qualifying items are exempt from state and local sales taxes.
Most clothing and footwear priced at less than $100 will be exempt from sales tax.
Customers will receive the break on individual items, regardless of the total amount they buy. For example, sales tax is not due if a customer buys six shirts each priced at $99.99.
But full tax is due on a shirt sold for $100; the first $99.99 cannot be exempted.
Clothing and footwear used primarily for athletic activities or for protective wear are not eligible for the exemption.
Customers buying golf cleats or football pads, for instance, must pay sales tax. Athletic wear that is also used for participation in other non-athletic activities can qualify for tax exemption.
For example, tennis shoes, baseball caps, and jogging suits are worn during everyday activities and thus may be purchased tax free during the holiday.
Also excluded from the sales tax holiday are accessories such as jewelry and watches; items that are carried rather than worn, including handbags, briefcases and wallets; clothing rentals, such as formal wear and costumes; and repairs and alterations.
If you have questions about the sales tax holiday, please visit online at or call toll free at 1-800-252-5555.
baby clothes, belts with attached buckles, boots - cowboy, hiking, caps/hats - baseball, fishing, golf, knitted, coats and wraps, diapers – adult and baby, dresses, gloves (generally), gym suits and uniforms, hooded shirts and hooded sweatshirts, hosiery, jackets, jeans, jerseys – baseball and football, jogging apparel, neckwear and ties, pajamas, pants and trousers, raincoats and ponchos, robes, shirts, shoes – sandals, slippers, sneakers, tennis, walking, socks (including athletic), shorts, suits, slacks, and jackets, sweatshirts, sweat suits, sweaters, swimsuits, underclothes, work clothes and uniforms.
accessories (generally) - barrettes, elastic ponytail holders, wallets, watches, backpacks, baseball cleats and pants, belt buckles (without belt), boots –climbing, fishing, rubber work boots, ski, waders, buttons and zippers, cloth and lace, knitting yarns, and other fabrics, dry cleaning services, football pants, golf gloves, handbags and purses, handkerchiefs, hard hats, helmets - bike, baseball, football, hockey, motorcycle, sports, ice skates, jewelry, laundering services, leather goods - except belts with buckles and wearing apparel, pads - football, hockey, soccer, elbow, knee, shoulder, personal flotation devices, rented clothing (including uniforms, formal wear, and costumes), roller blades and skates, safety clothing, glasses, shoes - bicycle (cleated), bowling, golf.
A word of caution
If you sell items that do not qualify for the exemption, you may not advertise or promise that you will pay your customers’ sales tax.
Additionally, you are prohibited from advertising that you will not collect sales tax on items that do not qualify. You may advertise that tax is included in the sales price of the taxable items that you sell, however.

Mistrial declared in former band director’s sex trial
Burns convicted of tampering with a witness
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Jurors convicted a former Brownsboro High School band teacher on two counts of tampering with a witness, but could not decide on the more serious charges of having an improper relationship with a student.
Following more than five hours of deliberation Friday, the jury announced it was deadlocked on the relationship charge, and 392nd District Judge Carter Tarrance announced a mistrial on that charge.
Jurors did return a guilty verdict against Daniel Evan Burns, 40, on two charges of tampering with a witness – a state jail felony – based on his efforts to persuade two former female students to recant their stories.
Tarrance set Burns’ sentencing on the tampering charges for Monday, July 24.
The eight-man, four-woman jury heard a former student testify Burns had touched her inappropriately at the band hall, and that she had consensual sex with him during a band camp trip to Stephen F. Austin State University.
Burns resigned in September, 2005, after the allegations against him surfaced. He denied having sex with the student, but admitted he did send her explicit text messages.
Burns’ attorney, John Eastland, argued his client had been set up by a vindictive teenager, who was threatened by authorities when she attempted to change her story.
Eastland also argued the victim and her friend, who were sexually active, enticed the married Burns by sending him explicit messages and showing up scantily clad at his home after midnight.
The tampering charges arose from Burns’ efforts to persuade the victim and her friend to change the stories they had recounted to authorities.
Burns was one of three former Brownsboro teachers targeted for sexual misconduct last summer.
In June, a former BHS biology teacher, Donald Dudley, 44, was convicted of having an improper sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student, and was sentenced to five years probation.
A former BHS health teacher, Andrew Stephen Malone, 38, was indicted on a charge of misdemeanor assault.