By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–About 100 community members joined students and staff at Tool Elementary School Wednesday to celebrate its selection as a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. As such it is one of 279 public schools nationwide selected for the recognition.
“We’ve proven all schools can achieve high performance,” Principal Christal Calhoun said. That was said with confidence, since last year, the Malakoff school district, of which the Tool school is a part, produced its first Blue Ribbon award winner in Malakoff Elementary School, under the direction of Principal Ronny Snow.
The U.S. Department of Education program began in 1982, targeting best practices in high-achieving schools with 40 percent or more students identified as economically disadvantaged. Calhoun said 80 percent of the student body at Tool falls into that category.
Calhoun and three of her teaching staff recently returned from Washington D.C., where they were recognized and received a beautiful plaque, depicting the department’s official seal, a Texas live oak. The official tree and seal symbolize the Department of Education’s mission to promote student achievement and foster educational excellence.
“Getting recognition on a national level is very awesome,” Calhoun said. “I have the most amazing staff in the world.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content. The National Blue Ribbon Schools flag gracing a school’s building is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning. National Blue Ribbon Schools are an inspiration and a model for schools still striving for excellence. Now in its 34th year, the U. S. Department of Education has bestowed this coveted award on fewer than 8,500 schools.
About 221 students entered the cafeteria in an orderly manner, climbing the risers, wearing very striking blue T-shirts with the Department of Education Seal and the slogan “We Dream Big” on the front. After leading the room in the pledges to the flags, students performed songs to celebrate their big win, including “Happy” and “Celebrate.”
In a phone call the next day, Calhoun attributed the school’s success to inventorying each student’s weaknesses and strengths, designing an individual plan for each one and then following through on that plan. “We just build on to that all through the year,” she concluded.
During the celebration, the school received many words of congratulations from U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling, State Representatives John Wray and Lance Gooden and from State Sen. Robert Nichols.
“I don’t have to look too far to see that Texas has a bright future,” Nichols said. Tool Elementary School serves as a model of Best Practices for schools across the state.”
Calhoun recognized all the support her students receive from mentors, volunteers, coaches and local businesses, identifying members of the school board, which “play a large role in our success;” Shirley Leone of Dairy Queen, VFW Post 4376, Dave Bullard, president of the Malakoff Education Foundation; daily morning greeter Fran Sonka, Stanley Brown and Jennifer Rudolf and First State Bank, which provided refreshments for students and visitors.
Posted by : November 18, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Posted by : November 16, 2016| On :
By Denise York
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–A large crowd of Mabank area citizens gathered Saturday Nov. 12 to honor local Veterans and dedicate additions to the Veterans Memorial, observing the 10th anniversary of the Mabank Memorial Gardens, located beside the park pavilion.
The Sarah Maples Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Susan Cothran recounted the beginnings of the memorial, honoring those whose hard work and dedication made it possible.
The memorial gardens, was established in 2006 with a year-round flowering garden maintained by members of the Sarah Maples Chapter. Some of its newest improvements furnished by the city include trees, planted by local Girl Scouts, plants, memorial benches, two plaques, explaining the purpose of the memorial and a handicap accessible parking area.
Mabank Police Officer Eddie Doss told about the recently installed sprinkler system and parking. He also shared some stories about veterans close to him. He said his wife’s grandfather, Navy Veteran Herbert Sims, served on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. “His job was to account for the dead.” On that same day, Doss’ grandfather, William Doss, was one of those who stormed the beach on D-Day. “These two men, one from Chicago and one from Canton, Texas were within miles of each other on D-Day, not knowing each other and certainly not aware that their two grandchildren would one day meet and marry.
“As veterans, we are connected in some way to each other and will be for the rest of our lives,” Doss told the gathering. He thanked his brothers and sisters-in-arms for their service.
A new American citizen and husband of Geniece Morris, a former Sarah Maples Chapter DAR Regent, George Godson, entertained the crowd with performed “God Bless the U.S.A.” otherwise known as “I’m Proud to be an American” made famous by Lee Greenwood.
Godson served in Vietnam as a citizen of Canada.
Mabank High School Speech and Debate class members Clara Teague and Emily Richardson shared moving and inspiring essays they wrote for a Veterans of Foreign Wars contest entitled, “What it Means to be an American.” Teague’s speech took a quote from U.S. Army Private Martin A. Treptow. After being killed in action during World War I, his pledge was discovered in his pocket. It read, “I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost as if the whole issue of the struggle depended on me alone.” Teague took that pledge as her own. Richardson compared America to a house being built, beautiful and majestic and still in progress. She talked about the Founding Fathers laying the foundation and the Veterans providing the walls. She said everyone has a part, even if it is only a nail.
Members of the Mabank High School Panther Choir entertained with patriotic songs including “The Star Spangled Banner.” Mabank High School donated money from their “Spirit Week” to support the Veteran’s Memorial.
Texas State Representative District 4 Stuart Spitzer spoke proudly about being an American and a Texan. He told about his father, who was a Veteran. After 9-11, Spitzer went to Bangladesh as a medical missionary. Bangladesh was 85% Muslim, so during that period of time there was fear about how they may be received. Spitzer asked those he met how they felt about Americans and without exception, he said, they loved Americans. “In 1991, during Desert Storm after a monsoon hit Bangladesh, President George Bush sent 4,000 troops and several tons in supplies to feed the people, fix their roads and bury their dead. The water supply, when the troops left, was better than it was before the monsoon. The people remember, not the politicians, but the American soldiers, and they loved us.”
Mabank Area Good Samaritans President and retired Air Force Veteran Bill Burnett told everyone about, “The Changing Face of Veterans.” He honored the men and women who fought and died and those who supported the efforts at home. He charged the crowd to tell the stories, the history and what it meant for Veterans to go to war and sacrifice all for their country and to fill the gaps in what is being taught in our schools. “In some schools, they don’t even say the Pledge of Allegiance,” he said. “It’s up to us as Veterans and private citizens to educate the children. We cannot fail to carry that history forward.”
The ceremony concluded with all attending Veterans coming up on stage to be greeted and given mementoes of the day, including a flag pin and a printout of a newspaper from Dec. 7, 1941 prepared especially for them by Iraqi War Veteran Jeremy Brillhart.
Posted by : November 4, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The Mabank City Council members issued a statement at their Nov. 1 meeting leaving no doubt as to the fate of Whisper the Library Cat.
The only animals that will be admitted to the Tri-County Library, now under the city’s management, are those trained as service animals and restrained by their owners, or those brought in for a Summer Reading Program.
The council prepared the statement in response to the media attention and petition efforts of those protesting Whisper’s eviction.
Once again, Ed Busch, Friends of the Animals and serving as spokesperson for the group presented an informal petition of about 200 names favoring the return of Whisper to the only home she has known, The Tri-County Library.
Busch presented clippings from local newspapers and attention from Dallas media, including two radio stations and the Dallas Morning News, all seeming to favor the return of Whisper to her home. He also presented an informal petition from local residents.
“Only one person refused to sign the petition and that was because the person was a household member of one of the council members,” he said. As to the issue concerning possible liability and harm the cat might cause to a visitor to the library, Busch pointed to the eight years without a single incident occurring. He reminded the council that all costs related to Whisper were being provided by Friends of the Animals and that would continue.
“As difficult as this is,” stated a prepared response from the City of Mabank, “we must regard the safety and the needs of all of our constituents and the potential danger and risk associated with animals and the resulting liability of the library if anyone is injured because of disease, fleas and ticks, allergens, or biting and scratching, whether intended or unintended.”
The statement refers the reader to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for potential harm, the city seeks to avoid.
The council left no doubt that it would not supercede the advice of attorney and insurer in the matter.
While the library was under the management of a nonprofit, there was little motivation for an injured party to sue. However, cities and other public entities perceived to have deep pockets would likely not be overlooked if someone felt their health was put in jeopardy, if they were to contract a disease or were severely affected due to an allergy to cats are some of the objections from the city’s advisors.
Mayor Jeff Norman pointed out that if the city had not taken over the library, it would most likely be facing closure and Whisper would still be evicted.
During last month’s council meeting, the council members recognized that only one of the Whisper supporters was a city resident. On closer examination of the petition, perhaps only 80 names were actual Mabank residents. The rest were from addresses with a Mabank zip code but not someone eligible to vote in a city election.
In other business, council members:
• approved final audits for the city, Economic Development Corporation and the Hotel-Motel Fund. The firm of Yeldell, Wilson, Wood & Reeve, P.C. returned a clean audit, with the city’s assets exceeding its liabilities at the end of fiscal year 2015 with a net position of $7,864,041. Of that amount $2,603,323 is unrestricted (includes utility fund) and may be used to meet the city’s obligations to citizens and creditors. It’s net position represents a decrease by $79,949 from last year’s closing audit.
The fund balance on the city’s governmental fund is $1,272,645 of which 93 percent is unassigned, totaling $1,182,366.
The 2015-16 budget reflects an 8.91 percent increase in expenditures with property taxes accounting for 36 percent of the revenue.
Bonded debt totals $6,865,000 for the city and capital assets total $10,881,199.
• authorized the EDC to negotiate with Fiber-Con to build a new manufacturing facility on two acres owned by the EDC not to exceed $10,000.