Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 15, 2016

By Emmalee Doss
Monitor Correspondent
MABANK–The Mabank City Council agreed to raise the speed limit on State Highway 198, north of U.S. 175 from 65 mph to speed limits being set by the state up to 75 mph for law enforcement purposes. Watch for change of speed limit signs.
“The city really didn’t have a choice in the matter,” city secretary Laurie Neustupa told The Monitor. “We received a notice from TxDOT informing of the change in speed limits that it was setting and if we were to enforce the new limit, an ordinance would need to be passed.”
After a lengthy discussion about the lack of a shoulder and the road work accomplished on the stretch of highway within the city limits, contributed to the agreement to adopt an ordinance raising the speed limit. Once the signs are put up by TxDOT, the new speed limit will take effect.
The Daughters of the American Revolution local chapter president, Susan Cothran, met with the council April 5 to discuss improvements for the Mabank Gardens Memorial, west of the park pavilion. Cothran pointed out the need for handicapped parking placed closer to the memorial as well as providing benches and permanent plaques to honor those who helped establish and who help maintain the memorial. Potentially, area businesses could sponsor the placement of a concrete benches, Cothran suggested. Some council members expressed concern about commercializing the memorial, but they agreed the memorial needed benches. The costs are yet to be estimated.
Council members ultimately took action to have a small parking area for the disabled put in, along with a walkway up to the memorial for ease of access to the memorial.
In other business, the council:
• agreed to condemn the structure at 115 Mt Vernon St., due to safety issues. The process was started in February and the demolition date has not been set.
• heard the new Animal Control truck was being fitted with a six-dog cage
• took, photos with a Girl Scout troop excited to earn their local government and citizenship badges.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 10, 2016

April proclaimed Sexual Assault-Domestic Violence Awareness
and Child Abuse Protection Month

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHEN–Henderson County Comissioners agreed on the importance of proclaiming April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month and took that opportunity to thank the volunteers and paid staff at the HELP Center, East Texas Crisis Center, Child Advocacy Center, Family Peace Project, Child Protective Services and first responders for the role they play on the frontlines of these devastating offenses.
HELP Center Director Leslie Saunders reported that 430 children were served for abuse and neglect last year. She added that Henderson County, though no longer among the Top 10 of Texas counties per capita with the most victims, is now in the Top 20, she said.
“It is one of the sad realities we have to deal with, and we can’t thank you enough,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney said.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved a resolution to move the Game Warden Memorial from the Texas Fresh Water Fisheries Center in Athens to the State Capital in Austin. The request came from the Game Wardens Association representative Kenneth Head. A replacement is planned for the center, Head said.
• authorized a private auction of resale properties located in Mabank and Kemp ISDs acquired by the County due to delinquent tax. The school districts have had success at selling off these properties in their local area, McKinney said.
• accepted payments from Holloman Corp for road damage to country roads in Precinct 1 in the amount of $54,000 and in Precinct 2 in the amount of $60,000. The firm was laying gas pipe for Atmos Energy during very wet conditions which contributed to the damage, commissioners noted.
• approved a contract with the Malakoff Volunteer Fire Department to be a secondary resource for emergency services within the county without monetary numeration. The contract allows the department to rebuild its membership and prove its reliability going future, as it gains more members.
• noted the hanging and framing of the current map of Emergency Service Districts in the County, furnished by the Tax Appraisal District.
• set April 26 at 9:15 a.m. for a public hearing to extend a 35 mph speed zone for a total of three miles affecting county roads 4613 and 4614 to the intersection with State Highway 19, in Precinct 4.
• approved two right-of-way permits to East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District to tap pressure sewer mains on Signet Drive and in Three Harbors Subdivision to serve new homes.
• approved 16 contracts with volunteer fire departments to provide firefighting in the unincorporated areas of the county, totaling $166,691.20.
• paid bills totaling $156 for FY 2015, the last amount in a capital murder case, $91,269.84 in FY 2016 and $166,691.20 for the volunteer fire department contracts.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 6, 2016


Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Members of Victims Relief receive the East Texas Crisis Center’s Volunteer of the Year Award during the proclamation of Sexual Assault Awareness month on the courthouse steps in Athens Tuesday.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Annually for nine years, clotheslines bearing colorful T-shirts have hung on the courthouse lawn documenting the survivors of domestic violence and child abuse like so much dirty laundry in plain view.
April is the month set aside to shine light on this dark area of the county that affected 430 children in Henderson County last year.
“It’s one of the most important things the Commissioners’ Court does,” Judge Richard Sanders said in a ragged voice.
Those on the frontlines of this battle, include the HELP Center, Child Advocacy Center, Family Peace Project, East Texas Crisis Center along with healthcare providers, teachers, pastors, churches and first responders.
Guest speaker Christian Life Center Pastor Barry Boatright, a foster parent of three youngsters, challenged everyone to be the solution and to increase their influence to defeat its horrible affects on the lives of children, women and families.
“Be role models and mentors. Consider helping parents raise their children in a safe and nurturing environment,” he said. “The solution to child abuse is standing here today, it’s all of us in this community. It will take every last one of us.”
The noon time observance and reading of the proclamation ended with a moment of silence to remember the victims, survivors and the dead, and in rededication to the mission of stopping Child Abuse and Domestic Violence.