By Susan Harrison
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Every year, the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates the spirit of community by recognizing key volunteers who contribute their time, talents and creativity to increase the quality of life enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
It takes many hands and hearts working in many different areas to bring the colorful festivals, man the emergency rescue and fire departments, raise funds for educating the youth and creating opportunities, and bringing comfort, nurture and nutrition to our most vulnerable citizens. Those who have contributed most in 2016 along these lines were nominated by the community at-large, vetted and selected as finalists.
The local chamber-hosted 17th annual awards banquet Monday, March 20 held these up for public applause, gratitude and honor to receive the title of Citizen of the Year, Lifetime Service Award and Ambassador of the Year, among other awards.
The evening’s theme was “Volunteers – Holding the Winning Hand,” and the room at the Cedar Creek Country Club was festively decorated with playing cards, dice and poker chips.
Robin Neighbors, a Mabank High School graduate, was named the “2017 Citizen of the Year.” Her long-time involvement with Mabank Athletic Booster Club raising more than $100,000 to fund nutrition, scholarships, equipment, trips and other necessities for the school’s athletic department put her ahead of the rest. Chamber board member Jim Thompson presented the award. Neighbors also serves on the Mabank ISD Education Foundation, as board president. She is a long-time Mabank Chamber of Commerce board member, chairing and co-chairing many festivals and fundraising events such as The Ladies Poker Night, Mabank’s Festival of the Arts, Ole Fashion Christmas – all the while fulfilling her responsibilities as a wife and mother of two children.
Kathy and John Kendrick were honored with the “Jean Nichols Lifetime Service Award” for their unselfish giving of time and energy for the betterment of the Cedar Creek Lake Area community. The couple have been area residents for over 10 years.
They quickly established themselves as not only tireless workers for their own brand new business (Lone Star Maps), but as community-minded people who were dedicated to making their new home a great place to live and work,” said presenter Chamber Chair Tony Kalawe.
Their many volunteer activities include sponsoring chamber events, serving on chamber committees and as ambassador members, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, shopping for schoolchildren clothes as Kiwanis Club members, as well as delivering pancakes, reading to children and working alongside the Parrot Head Club raising funds to support Special Olympics, scholarships and other worthy projects.
Mabank Fire Department Chief Ricky Myrick was named the recipient of the “Mary Helen Myrick Award” by last year’s winner, Fred Carter.
“He is quick to encourage safety among the firefighters he is responsible for and consistently reminds us to be careful, watchful and that everyone of us to come home,” Carter said.
Myrick has been a top-rated firefighter for more than 40 years and the Fire Chief for the past 18 years. He is also a Master Electrician.
“My chief is always willing to provide assistance, above and beyond his responsibilities, and accept special assignments that serve and benefit his community,” Carter explained.
Mabank Education Foundation President Robin Neighbors named the 2017 Mabank ISD School Campus Teachers of the Year and presented each of them with a $100 gift to spend at any chamber member business.
The teachers are:
• Central Elementary School teacher Nancy Schiff,
• Southside Elementary School teacher Carole Jordan,
• Lakeview Elementary School teacher Jeryn Toops,
•Intermediate School teacher Peyton Adams,
• Junior High School teacher Tammy Zylman, and
• High School teacher and Scholar Institute Program Director Aaron Williams.
Chamber Ambassador President Ally Greenville received the “Kathy Kendrick Award” for her enthusiastic and selfless volunteerism, benefiting the Cedar Creek Lake area,
“She welcomes new businesses into the community and hosts ceremonial ribbon cuttings for new Chamber members,” said presenter Gun Barrel City Chamber Chair Scott Six.
Greenville is an active Kiwanis member, serving both as a board and committee member. She is seen regularly at chamber fundraisers such as the car show, luau and business expo.
Joy Long was named Ambassador of the Year by Greenville for faithful service as a member of the Ambassadors program for many years. “She has been an outstanding advocate for our growing chamber and has been involved by stepping up and volunteering at chamber-sponsored events including the awards banquet, community clean-up day, new teacher luncheon, ribbon cuttings and business after hours,” Greenville explained.
Marty Mullins named Tate Cramm as the “Volunteer of the Year for the Ambassador” program for attending ribbon cuttings, serving on fundraising committees, and being a good representation as the “face of the chamber.”
“He rarely misses a ribbon cutting or event and steps up when called upon for committee work, fundraising opportunities and goes above and beyond to make sure he represents the chamber in a positive and productive way,” said Mullins.
Chamber President Jo Ann Hanstrom named B. G. Pierce for the “President’s Hall of Fame Award.”
“This award is for a company or individual that may be ‘under the radar’ so to speak, in their support for the chamber,” Hanstrom explained.
Pierce was honored for his steadfast support for the chamber over the years, doing tasks behind the scenes, moving the chamber office three times and participating in events for more than 10 years with time and fundraising.
Posted by : March 22, 2017| On :
By Susan Harrison
Posted by : March 22, 2017| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Commissioners are meeting at 9 a.m. Friday, March 24 (tomorrow) at the courthouse annex, instead of the usual March 27 due to it being Kaufman County Day in Austin and many county officials and leaders will be participating. Judge Bruce Wood made the announcement at the top of the March 13 meeting of the Commissioners’ Court.
He also warned of impending renovation and remodeling work soon to take over the annex starting with asbestos removal. An update on county operations removal to other locations will be covered in the Friday meeting, according to the agenda.
County Clerk Laura Hughes and her staff were recognized for the recent award of the State’s prestigious 2016 Five Star Award! This marks the 13th year that the office has received this award for outstanding service in Vital Registration.
The State of Texas awarded 55 Local Registrars, out of 529 Local Registrars evaluated, for the Five Star Award. The award recognizes timely registration of birth and death events, accountability and use of the Electronic Registration Systems, attendance at state sponsored conferences, and a lengthy self-assessment.
“I am very proud of my staff,” Laura said, “the amount of work that is necessary to meet the award requirements are substantial and we are very pleased to bring this award back to Kaufman County and the residents.”
Hughes states that over the last 16 years, her office has continually embraced the newest technologies to create an office that is efficient, one that protects and safeguards the records, and one that is focused on providing the best service possible and this award helps highlight that we are on the right track and moving forward!
“We’re very proud of your achievement,” Wood said.
The court also proclaimed two designations in the county – the first is Poison Prevention Week from March 19 to March 25 and the second National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 2-8.
Wood announced that a call received last week from the state assured the county of reimbursement for the Charles Brownlow murder case. “They will be reimbursing the county $111,000 (to offset the costs of the capital murder trial),” Wood said.
In other business, the commissioners:
• approved purchases of equipment for Precinct 3 Road and Bridge.
• approved a business contract with Gabriel Roeder Smith Co. for actuarial services in the amount of $4,765 to evaluate the county’s retirement system, an audit done every two years, commissioners heard and governed by the Governments Actuary Standards Board.
• paid bills totaling $1,462,334.74. It was noted that 43 percent were in payments for health, life and workman’s compensation insurance coverage.
Posted by : March 17, 2017| On :
By Becca Morin
ATHENS–The Henderson County Commissioners appointed Fire Marshal Shane Renberg as the second representative for their involvement within the Sabine-Neches Resource Conservation District. As fire marshal, Renberg deals with reports of illegal dumping in the county that need addressing. He was appointed recently as one of two county representatives on the district. “We get a lot for our membership with this organization and I recommend that we renew,” County Judge Richard Sanders said at a February commissioners’ court meeting.
The Sabine-Neches RC&D is an environmental group; a nonprofit statewide organization that is strictly volunteer based. As far as the volunteers go, they must have a love for conservation and for cleaning up the environment.
They were founded to help and promote conservation, identify and correct environmental problems and assist with rural development.
The organization’s mission is to collaborate with the representatives of eight individual counties including Henderson County to allocate the funds from individuals or companies fined by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for improper disposal of trash, sewage, tires, pesticides, etc. Once fines have been collected, half of the fines can be distributed and used by the county and/or responsible organization to help clean whichever environmental hazard has occurred.
All eight of the counties; Van Zandt, Wood, Upshur, Henderson, Smith, Gregg, Panola and Harrison contribute dues to the organization. Previously the organization had dues which were $300 each, but with the growing cost of administration and operation, the dues were increased this year to $500.
The Sabine-Neches RC&D has contributed in many different cleanups. It used air pollution fines to help two schools in Harrison County buy new and clean diesel school buses and dispose of the broken down, polluting buses. In the last 15 years, Sabine-Neches RCD has spent about $1.8 million in TCEQ fine funds cleaning up environmental conditions in the eight counties.
In Henderson County, the current issue is the discovery of tires dumped on an elderly woman’s property. Authorities estimated around 10,000 tires were illegally dropped off. The organization is working hand-in-hand to help the county clean up the environmental hazard, because the man that purchased the property couldn’t afford to pay for the cleanup which is where the organization steps in. Once Sabine Neches RCD obtains funds, the cleanup will begin. The organization is currently removing around 30,000 tires from Harrison County as well.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring dollars into Henderson County to help cleanup properties that otherwise may not get cleaned up,” Renberg said. “A pile of tires, roofing shingles or what have you causes problems with water collection, mosquitos and everything else. I’ve felt we’ve been missing out, but now with my office involved, we’ll make sure that the county benefits from this volunteer organization and the funding available to it through the TCEQ. “It could also potentially help us out with tires that we pick up from the road side county wide and collect up, to have these removed by a contractor through the competitive bidding process conducted by the organization. It’s very exciting.”
District Board Director Cary Hilliard from Canton, stated, “that the commissioners of Henderson County are very nice people and [that] he appreciates their continued support for the organization,” without the support of the local counties, grants, and the fines, nonprofit organizations such as the Sabine-Neches RCD wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open.
Hilliard’s most memorable cleanup is the Household, Hazardous Waste projects which allow people to bring waste products that a certified contractor can collect and properly dispose. The district has conducted three such projects, so far. Two collection and disposal projects were conducted in Tyler, the third, in Carthage. The disposal projects cost more than $200,000, which helped prevent improper disposal of toxic materials.