Thursday, August 24, 2006

Kemp mourns high school senior
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–In the wee hours of the morning Saturday, Kemp High School and all those that knew her, lost one of their own.
Brandi Ross, 17, was driving a 1997 Ford pickup on Henderson County Road 2100, 2.9 miles north of Seven Points when she lost control and overturned near 3:20 a.m.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock pronounced her dead at the scene.
Ross was a senior at Kemp High School, and would have graduated next May.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Mitzi Storey investigated the accident.
Ross was the daughter of Julie Hyde and husband Bo of Eustace and Chris Ross and wife Stacey of Mabank.
Holding a candlelight vigil in Brandi’s honor was the idea of 2004 KHS graduate Rocky Granger.
Granger called Barbara McFaul, senior class sponsor, and suggested the vigil.
Granger severed his spine in a traffic accident in Seagoville about three years ago, McFaul said.
“We got on the phone and called kids and told them to call everyone they knew,” she said, adding she went into Dallas and got candles while Granger acquired 400 paper cups and cut the bottoms out.
“It was a huge turnout. It lasted more than an hour,” McFaul said. “It really helped for today (Monday). It was very effective, allowing the students to express their feelings.”
Kemp Independent School District board president Keith Foisey said Ross’ death was a “terrible tragedy.”
“You could tell how many lives were touched by that young lady by the number of people packed into the home side of the football stadium attending the candlelight vigil Saturday. It looked like a homecoming crowd,” he said.
As a member of First Baptist Church of Kemp, Foisey teaches teenagers in Sunday School.
“It was a comfort to the students in my class, knowing that she had a relationship with God,” Foisey said.
Dr. Peter Running, who was hired just this past summer as KISD superintendent, spoke of the loss of the senior.
“Unfortunately, districts around the state often go through these circumstances. It is just tragic, the loss of a young person’s life. It doesn’t get any easier. The decisions young people make often have a lasting affect on everyone’s life,” he said.
“We are all very, very saddened. We want the parents to know they are in our prayers,” Running said.
The school had counselors on hand to greet the students Monday morning.
“The kids were handling themselves very well today,” Running said. “We met with the senior class and discussed the different services available to them (counselors, churches, pastors, etc.).”
Even though the students will miss their friend, and attending the funeral will bring on more grief, they are holding up, Running added.
“The kids are being very supportive of one another and the family – that’s what they do,” KHS Principal Mary Lyons said.
Teachers also remembered the teen.
“I have known Brandi for the past six years of her life. I had the privilege of teaching her in the seventh, eighth, 10th and 11th grades, and she enrolled in two of my classes for her senior year,” Daniel Sue said.
“Brandi always had a smile on her face. Many times, she would come to me to talk about some personal issues in her teen life, and I would listen to her,” Sue said.
“Although she did not always take my advice, she would listen and we would talk. She will be missed because we all loved her,” he said.
“Brandi Ross was a beautiful person that no one could overlook. Her glowing and exuberant smile seemed to pass on to everyone in her presence. Even though the tears may fall now, we will soon smile and laugh at all the great times we shared together,” classmate Brandi Long said.
“In May, I would have had the honor of walking across the stage with Brandi at graduation,” Kemp senior Laura Fogleman said. “Her smile radiated to everyone she came across. Brandi attended Kemp schools for as long as I can remember. She was a great person, and that is the way she will always be remembered,” Fogleman said.
“Although I wasn’t close to Brandi, I could tell she was just as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside,” fellow student Erin Cox said. “She could light up the world with her smile. She will truly be missed, and not a day will go by that I won’t think about her,” she said.

Eustace water woes laid to rest, for now
Monitor Staff Reports
EUSTACE–Eustace’s new elevated water tower is in full service, just in time to supply water for the concrete pours going on for the widening of U.S. Highway 175.
“The traffic delays can be frustrating, but we’re asking everyone driving through the city to plan for extra time needed and to be patient,” Mayor Robert Pickle told The Monitor.
The city’s new well is also operating, and the earlier reported electrical problems have been resolved.
“All three wells are on a new (electrical) panel, and everything is working,” Pickle said.
However, he cautioned residents to continue to observe the State 2 Water Conservation Plan until further notice.
“We’ll remain at Stage 2 until it rains, or the concrete pour is finished on the road,” Pickle said. “Things are going fine now, and we don’t want to fix something if it isn’t broken.”
Pickle updated the city council on other water and sewer projects during the council’s Aug. 16 meeting.
Construction in two subdivisions – Cedar Ridge and Bent Tree – is nearing completion, bringing sewer service to those areas for the first time.
Sewer plant upgrades have insured capacity for many more additions and future growth, he said.

Slow down or move over – it’s the law
Special to the Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Way back in September, 2003, Senate Bill 193, known as the “Move Over Act,” became a law.
And drivers still claim they didn’t know that it is the law.
Kaufman County Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth Garvin said he never fails to ticket drivers who violate the law, and that ticket is expensive.
The minimum fine is $200, up to $500.
It is not only the law, it is also the best way to keep everyone safe, he said.
The law is simple – drivers approaching stopped law enforcement and public safety vehicles that have their emergency lights activated (flashing) must either:
• slow down 20 mph below the posted speed limit, or
• to 5 mph, if in a less than 25 mph speed zone, or
• vacate the lane closest to the stopped emergency vehicle, if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction.
You should only move over if you can safely do so; otherwise, slow down 20 mph below the speed limit.