Jun

16

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 16, 2017

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Kemp city council members held two public hearings in one night to speed up annexing a commercial property into Kemp city limits June 13.
The property, located across the street from the high school on Highway 274, belongs to Elfega Picena Sanchez, who plans to open the third location of a chain of Mexican drive-through restaurants called Little Mexico. The other locations are in Gun Barrel City and Kaufman.
Even though the property is across the street from the high school, awkward zoning still puts the lot outside of the city limits. To be a part of the city’s water and sewer system the property needs to be annexed into the fold.
Kemp Mayor Laura Peace said there wasn’t a squeak of opposition to the annexation after posting a notice at least five days prior to the council meeting.
“If anyone had something to say against the annexation we wouldn’t have moved on this so quickly,” Peace said.
Council members were also introduced to new Kemp Police Chief Bradley DeLaughter. DeLaughter is a familiar face around the Kemp police force, as he has been with KPD since August of 2015. He became Chief last Friday after candidates were interviewed Thursday. Former Interim Chief James Cook is back on regular patrol duty.
The council also continued taking steps to be eligible to apply for grants from the Texas Water Development Board. The final obstacle for application was adopting a water conservation plan, which the council unanimously approved Tuesday. Mayor Peace said the plan can be amended later after the city’s needs are made clearer, but stressed the need to implement it quickly to become eligible for grant application. Peace and councilwoman Christi Neal stressed the importance of conservation.
“We want to promote community conservation,” Peace said. “It’s possible that we will introduce some watering restrictions in the future.”
“We need to be pro-active,” Neal said. “We don’t need to be in the middle of a drought to conserve water.”
In other news, council members:
• approved a resolution authorizing a continued partnership with the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and authorized the payment of two cents per capita to ACSC. An Atmos rep at the meeting said, “This is an attorney fee to keep Kemp represented in the committee.”
• approved City Administrator Regina Kiser to sign the grant application documents to the Texas Water Development Board.
• heard during staff reports of a six-inch main water line that needed repair on Pearl Street the past month.

Jun

14

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 14, 2017

Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports five men arrested for meth possession last week. Although unrelated, Hillhouse says the ambitious attack on the illegal drug trade is producing results.
“We are breaking the links of the drug chain here,” he said. “Often, we get the drug users, which leads us to the dealers and to the suppliers.”
Clifford Keith Miller, 55, was arrested at a residence outside Athens on U.S. 175 West with a substantial amount of meth, along with drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
His case began with the execution of a search warrant early June 7 that turned up the contraband at the scene during an unrelated investigation. Narcotics investigators were called in to assist. Miller faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
During that Wednesday, two men were taken in from a traffic stop at the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1615 and County Road 4511. A search of the vehicle found that both men were in possession of suspected methamphetamines. The driver, Russell Allen Stogner, 27, was also without a valid driver’s license, and received an additional charge. His passenger was Lonnie Lee Fender, 32. The drug possession charge for both men carries a penalty of up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
A fugitive was located at a storage complex in Malakoff that same day. Phillip Maddox was wanted on an outstanding felony theft warrant and felony firearm possession charge. Deric Young was with Maddox at the time and he was found to have a small amount of a controlled substance and marijuana, along with outstanding arrest warrants out of Seven Points.
Early Thursday, June 8, a traffic stop on CR 4528 found Jeffrey Ryan Anding, 29, with suspected meth. He could be convicted of a state jail felony as well.
“A year ago when I took office, I made it clear we would not tolerate drugs in any amount by anyone in this county,” Hillhouse said. ‘From the commanders to the investigators to the deputies on patrol day and night, we are cracking down on both dealers and users of this poison,” he said. “Henderson County is becoming known as the place where drugs are very unwelcome.”

Jun

14

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 14, 2017

Monitor Staff Reports
TEXAS–Motorists in the Lone Star State that text or look at texts while driving will soon face misdemeanor charges after Gov. Greg Abbot signed a bill banning the activity statewide. The texting ban is effective Sept. 1.
Violators could face fines between $25 to $99 with escalating fines for repeat offenders.
Under the soon-to-be law, Texas motorists could still talk on the phone while driving, if motorists have a hands-free device that only requires them to briefly touch the phone or use the car to begin or end a call. The new law doesn’t impact GPS systems or even music apps on cell phones.
It also would not be a violation for a Texas motorist to summon emergency help, report illegal activity, read a text a driver “reasonably believed concerned an emergency” or communicate with a dispatcher while behind the wheel.
Critics of the bill say such a proposal would be hard to enforce — and would encroach on individual liberties, while supporters say it will save lives.
Texas is among four states, including Arizona, Missouri and Montana, that don’t have statewide bans on texting while driving. .A bill similar to this one passed the Legislature in 2011, but then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the proposal, saying it was a way to “micromanage the behavior of adults.”
Abbot told state lawmakers, as he called them back into a special session starting July 18, that he wants an amendment to make sure that no local law can override the statewide ban.
“I signed it into law today to ensure Texas is doing all it can to prevent accidents caused by texting while driving,” Abbott said Tuesday during a news conference. “But I was not satisfied with the law as it was written. Now that Texas does have a ban on texting while driving, I am calling for legislation that fully preempts cities and counties from any regulation of mobile devices in vehicles,” he added. “We don’t need a patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”
The soon-to-be-ban is geared to crack down on distracted driving and save Texans from accidents and deaths on roads across the state.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 455 people were killed and more than 3,000 were seriously injured in crashes due to driver distractions last year. These crashes were
Dozens of Texas cities, including Arlington to San Antonio have outlawed texting while driving, and state laws already prevent texting in school zones and keeping both bus drivers with minor passengers and drivers’ younger than 18 from texting while driving.