Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 15, 2015

By David Webb
Monitor Correspondent

KEMP–Mayor Laura Hanna Peace introduced resident Alvin Miller to the Kemp City Council Tuesday as the newest volunteer to step forward to help govern the city.

Miller, who is a native of Kemp, will be sworn into office by Peace at the April meeting to fill the unexpired seat of former Councilman Jerry Hazelip who died of a heart attack last year. Peace said Miller could not be sworn in at the March meeting as planned because of the lack of a super majority of council members.

Council member Jackie Self missed the meeting because of a relative’s illness, Peace said. The attendance of Peace, Mayor Pro Tem Barry Lummus and Council members Christie Neal and Leona Bounds established a quorum for only routine business.

Peace said the addition of another council member to fill the council desk will prevent important business being delayed if a council member must miss a meeting in the future.

“Thank you for agreeing to join us,” Peace said to Miller. “Alvin is well known and respected by everyone in the community. We really appreciate your willingness to help.”

Miller, who is a self-employed carpenter, said he appreciated the mayor asking him to volunteer. “It’s going to be a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Attendance by the public at the previously contentious council meetings has fallen off to almost nothing in recent months. On the mayor’s Facebook page, Peace recently wrote, “I want to thank everyone for the kind words of support and gratitude for my part in moving our town forward, but I must give credit where it’s due: without a great council I could do nothing.” She praised council members “can do” attitudes.

Peace said the city is planning to conduct a summer concert series in the park with a band being booked every weekend in June to perform at the City Park stage, which is known as “The Bridge.” The stage was constructed using a century-old iron bridge that used to span King’s Creek near the city.

The mayor said the Wildflower Festival April 11 will go on as scheduled, and that city officials expect all of the vendor booths to be filled. The festival will include entertainment.

Hillcrest Baptist Church will conduct Sunrise Easter services at The Bridge, Peace added.
Peace said the opening of the new Walmart neighborhood grocery store on Highway 274 was a success and a huge benefit to the city.

The council meeting lasted only 15 minutes with the proclamation of “Poison Prevention Week” in Kemp the second week in March being the only business conducted.

There would be no need for an executive session, Peace said.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : February 26, 2015

Monitor Staff Report
KAUFMAN–DATELINE, NBC Television has announced it will run a two-hour feature on the murders of Kaufman County’s top prosecutors at 8 p.m. Friday (tomorrow).
National television broadcasting crews have been in Kaufman County the last several weeks gathering information and interviewing people for its national broadcast covering the murder conviction and death sentence of former county justice of the peace Eric Williams.
Williams was convicted of the murder of Kaufman County District Attorney Michael McLelland’s wife, Cynthia, over the Easter weekend 2013 in the couple’s Forney home. Williams, along with his estranged wife, Kim, was also charged with the shooting deaths of D.A. Michael McLelland (also Easter weekend 2013) and Assistant D.A. Mark Hasse, Jan. 31, 2013, as he walked from the employee parking lot to his office.
The brazen deed rocked the nation, capturing headlines across the country.
“While these murders were going on, it was an awful time in the county of Kaufman,” special prosecutor and former Dallas D.A. Bill Wirskye said following Williams’ death sentence verdict, Dec. 17, 2014.
“But the members of that office came to work every day, they went to court every day, and they stood up for justice every day—even in light of this assault on their office. Eric Williams crossed a line that hardly anyone crosses,” Wirskye said. “Fortunately, we were able to stop it. It sends the message that you will not be able to stop the criminal justice system and get away with it. You will not be able to assault the criminal justice system and somehow shut it down.”
A Rockwall County jury handed down the death sentence.
A production crew from CBS 48 Hours has also been visiting Kaufman.
Williams’ public defender is currently seeking a retrial on the basis of new evidence that points to a deformity in Williams’ brain. Williams’ attorney John Wright wrote in a January court filing that a post-conviction scan of his client’s brain reveals the part that controls emotion has atrophied or shrunk from “prior head trauma.” Had the information been known prior to trial, defense attorneys say they would have “presented a robust case grounded on brain damage likely flowing from chronic and uncontrolled diabetes.”
The prosecution presented as motive in the slayings that McLelland and Hasse had previously prosecuted Williams for burglary and theft of public property by a public servant. Williams was later removed from his job as a justice of the peace because of the convictions and was ultimately disbarred by the State Bar of Texas.
During his trial, William’s wife, Kim Williams, who also has been charged with capital murder, testified that she accompanied him in a car during the murders. Kim Williams also testified that her husband had plans to kill Erleigh Norville Wiley, who replaced McLelland as district attorney after his death, and former state District Judge Glen Ashworth.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : February 23, 2015

Lake Area Alcoholics Anonymous will meet at its new location beginning March 1. The new location is at 105 W Mt. Vernon St. in Mabank. Meeting times are noon and 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m. Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Thursday (11th step) and 6:30p.m. Friday (women’s) Alanon meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. For more information, email