Jun

24

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 24, 2016

FD Resources2016

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–Firefighters in Henderson County provide a valuable service to their communities as medical and fire first responders. While the large majority of fire fighters work on a volunteer basis, the money for the equipment and buildings has to come from somewhere. That’s where the tax dollars of Henderson County residents come in.
Enchanted Oaks Mayor and Fire Lieutenant Donald Warner was concerned about these tax dollars and researched how much tax money the emergency service districts and city fire departments gather from the public and compared that data to their total resources on hand (fire engines, other emergency service vehicles and buildings) and reported service calls.
Warner documented his results and presented a packet to The Monitor in hopes of informing the general population on how their tax dollars were spent. Using public information databases and a few phone calls to the department chiefs, he acquired tax dollars gained from all seven emergency service districts (#1 Trinidad, #2 Payne Springs and Enchanted Oaks, #3 LaRue/New York and Poyner, #4 Tool, #5 Brownsboro, #6 West Side, #7 North 19) and the three city fire departments (Athens, Gun Barrel City and Mabank). Things got insightful when those numbers were compared to the amount of resources each department has at their disposal in labor, apparatus and how many reported responses each department made.
Much of the findings are communicated more clearly in the graph (see page 2A ) than in a written summary. However, Warner did point out a few noteworthy numbers.
He said that it appears the Gun Barrel City Fire Department is doing a lot good work with less resources than the other city departments. The most recent tax dollar information he obtained was from 2016, and in that year GBC collected $76, 005 in tax revenue. Athens and Mabank collected over $200,000 in revenue, but Gun Barrel responded to more calls (977) than any other reporting district or fire department in the entire county.
There was one instance of misfiling and another reported number the Payne Springs Fire Department says isn’t accurate. The Tool Volunteer Fire Department didn’t report their 2015 calls to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), so the department had no public information on its emergency responses for the year. According to the NFIRS, the Payne Springs Fire Department in Emergency Service District #2 responded to 666 calls, but their chief claims the number is actually about twice that high. The Payne Springs Fire Department collected $217,885, the most tax revenue of all seven emergency service districts and second most of all departments. Athens had the most with $242,614.
Warner stressed that reporting these findings wasn’t for pointing fingers or raising hostility toward any fire department, but only to make public information on tax dollars more easily available to residents.
“I’m not throwing anyone under the bus here,” Warner said. “I think it’s important to know where our tax dollars are being spent.”
Warner said that 80 percent of all fire departments work on a volunteer basis, receiving only pride in serving their community as compensation for the labor. He is proud of all fire fighters and the departments for putting in blood, sweat and tears into a second job with no pay.

Jun

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 17, 2016

Kadie Lynn hug
Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh
Kadie Lynn hugs family members and friends after a packed house at Chaps diner in Seven Points erupts in applause following Kadie’s performance on “America’s Got Talent.” She got a “yes” from all four judges.

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–It was all hugs and cheers for local performing artist Kadie Lynn Roberson when a packed house at Chaps diner in Seven Points watched her triumphant performance on “America’s Got Talent” June 14.
Roberson, a twelve-year-old Kemp girl, has been singing at local events like Gun Barrel City’s July Fest and Kemp’s Wildflower Festival for a few years. The Roberson’s had to be tight-lipped about the AGT results until it aired Tuesday night. Boy, was it worth it.
Kadie smashed it, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” to the delight of the live audience and, more importantly, all four “Talent” judges.
Out of all the judges, typically the hardest to please–and the one whose praise means the most–is Simon Cowell. Lynn was pleased to hear fantastic feedback from him.
“When we make these shows it’s a bit like we are mining for talent,” stated Cowell. “You dig and you dig and you dig and then every so often you find a little diamond and that’s who we found today with you.”
“I am so impressed, actually from the moment you started talking to me, I had this feeling about you, Kadie,” stated Cowell. “You’ve got this really cool almost confidence about you.”
“Your voice, however, is so mature, so real, and I have a feeling, and I’m rarely wrong, that in a few years’ time we are going to look back to this moment and say this is the day we discovered Kadie Lynn,” said Cowell.
After Cowell finished speaking, the crowd in the Seven Points diner erupted, proud to share in the happiness and success of their own. Kadie fought back tears in her eyes as she hugged her mother and other supporters.
“Knowing how many people I have rooting for me means the world to me,” Roberson said after the show aired.
Other feedback from the judges included Heidi Klum praising Kadie for having so much confidence so young.
“I have a daughter your age, and I cannot imagine her doing what you are doing right now,” Klum said.
After singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star,” Judge Howie Mandel jokingly asked Kadie if she had ever been in love. Kadie just smiled and said “with my mom!”
The City of Gun Barrel City is hosting a Kadie Lynn parade and concert June 30. The parade is scheduled for 5 p.m., and a performance by Kadie Lynn is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the city park amphitheater. Other performances include Trinity Wennerstrom and The Lost Boys at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.

Jun

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 17, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
TYLER–Brookshire’s is coming to Kemp.
Brookshire Grocery Co. announced today the pending acquisition of 25 former Walmart Express stores, including the one built across from Kemp High School. The stores will open this summer as the company’s new Spring Market brand. The acquisition is scheduled to close in July.
The name “Spring Market” represents and honors the company’s great history which began in 1928 with the opening of its first store on Spring Avenue in Tyler.
The stores will offer hometown convenience in an easy-to-shop format with a surprising assortment of products at highly competitive prices.
“Brookshire Grocery Company is already known throughout our market areas for having great stores and we are confident that our customers in these new markets will feel the exact same way. Our Spring Market stores will stand for friendly service, quality products, affordable convenience and a pleasant shopping environment. We are also really excited to hire hundreds of employees from these communities to help us take care of our new customers,” said Chairman and CEO Brad Brookshire. “We look forward to making a positive difference in each of these communities through our people, products, stores and service.”
The store locations range from southern Louisiana to west Texas and include Anson, Diana, DeKalb, Edgewood, Frankston, Godley, Grandview, Hughes Springs, Haskell, Italy, Kemp, Leonard, Lone Star, Maud, Merkel, Naples, Palmer, Waskom, Whitewright and Winters (all in Texas). Louisiana locations are in Colfax, Iowa, Lake Arthur, Mamou and Zwolle.