Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : December 23, 2016

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–After a lengthy executive session Monday, Dec. 19, West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District board members directed their attorney to reopen negotiations with the City of Kemp regarding the transfer of water and wastewater services to the MUD.
The movement forward after months of seeming little progress was the result of the Public Utility Commission finally accepting the district’s administrative application for transfer of the city’s Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to the district. The PUC informed the utility district on Dec. 16 that its application was complete. The board directed attorney Chad Rook of Flowers and Davis Law Firm of Tyler to proceed to schedule a meeting with the City of Kemp to continue negotiations.
During an earlier meeting in October, the district manager had expressed his frustration to the board with the long drawn out process and repeated failure of the district to pass muster with the PUC, even after numerous attempts, phone calls and meetings to clarify what was required.
The PUC had denied the application in May because of a conflict with CCN designations between Kemp and Becker-Jiba Water Board; and again in August with the PUC requesting more information. In October, it related that the utility’s application was incomplete and was denied, yet again.
The transfer of utility services from the city to the district has been ongoing officially since the voters of Kemp approved of the water rights transfer in November of 2013. An emergency pipeline construction project was begun in June of 2012 to bring a safe supply of water to the city from the district’s Tolosa Water Plant, due to aging water infrastructure in the city. It was originally hoped the transfer with state approvals would be in place by the end of 2014, according to news reports.
In other business, board members:
• approved the purchase of three ¾-ton Ford trucks with extended cabs and long bed for $25,000 each through the state’s Buy Board Co-op. A brief discussion of difficult road conditions throughout Kaufman County where these vehicles have to travel to conduct repairs and read meters was noted.
• heard delivery of a replacement water tank for the 148 booster station has been made and construction is due to get underway after the first of the year.
• received a rebate check from Trinity Valley Electric Co-op in the amount of $8,775, which was hand delivered.
• noted the utility offices will be closed the day after both Christmas and New Year’s Day.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : December 21, 2016


By Rollin Hadsell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Cedar Creek Lake resident Henry Halfmann and his wife, Dereatha, have a special way of spreading Christmas cheer. The Christmas spirit is felt inside the Halfmann home, as well as in the Esquire Estates neighborhood in Mabank where they live.
Every year around the Christmas holidays, Halfmann will spend hours hanging red ribbons on the fence that surrounds his property, but he doesn’t stop there. Halfmann will also decorate his neighbors’ fences, light poles, gates, or whatever else he can hang a ribbon on. He and a neighbor hung almost 250 ribbons this Christmas season. Halfmann said that he doesn’t remember how the ribbon hanging got started, but he has enjoyed doing it. “I don’t really remember how it got started. I just know that the neighbors enjoy it. I even had help this year putting up the ribbons.” said Halfmann. By the way, he also hangs pumpkins during Halloween.
While the ribbons are a great way to spread the Christmas cheer, the real spirit of Christmas is inside the home of Mr. and Mrs. Halfmann. Every year, he converts a large part of his living room into a Christmas villagecomplete with businesses, homes, churches, a fire station and even a ski lodge with a ski slope. Each and every building is lit up and has people inside each building that are working. Halfmann finds the people to put in the buildings in various places. He found the animals for the farm at Lowe’s. “I’ll just see something that I think would be good for the village and I’ll get it.” Halfmann said.
This year, Halfmann says that he has 42 buildings in the village. “I have been doing this about 16 years, and it grew from three original buildings I had,” Halfmann said. “I find things to add to it every year at Kohl’s, and people will bring me things to add to it. It’s something to do during retirement, and people will come by and look at it. I really enjoy doing it.” Halfmann said it took him about two weeks to get it done this year. “I have to build the table for it to sit on, then I have to get the buildings set up, plug everything in, add the snow. It is a big project.” Halfmann said.
Halfmann’s wife, Dereatha. spreads the Christmas cheer herself by decorating her living room (the part that’s not taken up by the Christmas village). A myriad of Santas from her Santa Claus collection is displayed throughout the home. Some of them talk; some move; others sing and play instruments. “She has been collecting these for a long time,” Halfmann said. “She has more that are in storage, this is not all of them. She enjoys putting these out for everyone to see.” Mrs. Halfmann buys most of the Santas at J.C. Penney. “She and our daughter brought one home just a couple days ago, they will go out and come home with a Santa.
The cheerful Spirit of Christmas can be seen throughout the neighborhood in the lights on the houses and the red ribbons tied to fences; and the village and santas inside the Halfmann home takes the wonder of the season to a whole new level.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : December 16, 2016

Special to The Monitor
KAUFMAN– Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood announced Wednesday he is appointing Michael David Hunt to serve as Kaufman County Precinct 1 Commissioner.
The office winner, Greg Starek has declined to accept the office.
The swearing-in ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017 at the Kaufman County Courthouse.
Wood accepted Starek’s declination of office, and notified the public that pursuant to Texas Law, Wood will appoint an individual to serve as Kaufman County Commissioner in Starek’s place, come Jan. 1, 2017.
Several applications and inquiries about serving have been received, Wood said.
He expressed his thanks to the residents of Precinct 1 who recommended various ones. Wood further stated his decision was a difficult task because he has known many of the applicants personally and professionaly, and considers many of them his personal friends.
After much careful consideration, Wood selected Hunt. “Mr. Hunt has an excellent background that qualifies him for the position,” Wood said. He believes Hunt will serve the residents of Precinct 1 in a professional and responsive manner. Hunt said he was excited about this challenge and has much to do between now and Jan. 1, 2017 when he will be sworn into office.