Aug

18

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 18, 2017

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–City Council members heard proposals to open a splash pad at the park, approved a senior and disabled discount on sewer rates, and held a public hearing regarding improvements to the water system.
Former Kemp Mayor Donald Kile pitched the idea to the council, who were very receptive to the idea. The major point of concern for council members and Mayor Laura Peace was water usage. Kile assured the council that water loss would be minimal because the splash pad would recycle the same water repeatedly through a filtration system that would add chlorine.
“My biggest concern is that we aren’t wasting water,” Peace said. “We have enough water trouble as it is and we must be wise.”
The council and Mayor Peace were also pleased to learn the project would cost the city nothing to build, and would only be responsible for upkeep down the road. Kile, an elder at River of Life Church in Kemp, said his religious organization would fund the project with an estimated cost at about $5,000 – $7,000.
Kile said initial planning is to install the pad near the pavilion at the park so guardians can stay cool in the shade while watching after playing children. He says they want to build the pad so it can be easily expandable in the future. Kile will return to the city council next month with further developed plans when the council may take action to approve.
In the biggest feel-good agenda item of the night, the council unanimously accepted a proposal to cut sewer rates for seniors 65 and over and disabled residents by 50 percent. There wasn’t much discussion on the matter, as the mayor and council were of one accord. The water portion of resident’s bills will remain untouched. The mayor and city council were glad to be of assistance to Kemp’s residents that need the most financial help.
“It may not seem like much, but $10 – $15 can make a huge difference each month,” Peace said.
The city held a public hearing regarding improvements to the water system. Concerned citizens asked questions regarding the loan and grant applications.
City Administrator Regina Kaiser said the city has not yet heard approval or any final decisions from the governing bodies where the applications were sent, but said they are at the tailend of the 90-day process and expects to hear from them and start getting answers soon.
Tensions ran high between council members and the concerned residents, among them former City Administrator James Whitehead. Whitehead has been outspokenly critical of the council since the breakdown of the city’s water agreement with West Cedar Creek MUD last December and council members have reacted with visible and verbal agitation toward Whitehead’s unrelenting criticism.
In the hearing, Whitehead and his supporters claim the city withheld information from the public regarding the loan application and they had to look specifics up themselves online.
“If we didn’t take the time to research our questions, how would anyone even know what to ask,” they said.
Council member Christi Neal said that purpose of the hearing is for the council to answer questions to the public.
“If nobody cares enough to do research and ask informed questions during the hearing, then we move on and close the hearing,” Neal said.
In other action, council members:
• approved a traffic ordinance penalty and severability clause under the section engine breaking.
• approved a building regulation ordinance penalty and severability clause under the section alarms.
• announced the Wesley Pruitt Band performs blues music Aug. 19.

Aug

18

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 18, 2017

Monitor Staff Reports
TEXAS–State officials and members of Congress from Texas praised Texas A&M University’s decision to cancel a White Lives Matter rally scheduled September 11.
The cancelation came after a similar protest in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend turned deadly. Texas lawmakers and officials urged the university to cancel the event and university officials followed in suit, stating the protest next month would be a concern for “the safety of its students, faculty, staff, and the public.”
The White Lives Matter organizer Preston Wiginton is a former A&M student and said he was inspired by the weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
But, after Wiginton linked the scheduled A&M protest to the violence in Charlottesville, the university cancelled it, stating, “Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville with the Texas A&M event creates a major security risk on our campus.”
Despite the protest cancelation the university maintains that it supports the First Amendment and that “freedom of speech cannot be questioned.”
Wiginton has organized previous talks at A&M with white nationalist speakers and said that the cancellation is “an embarrassment to free speech in America,” and, “it states that white lives don’t matter.”
However, Texas officials saw it differently.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s spokesman John Wittman said that “The governor’s office has been working with Texas A&M University to prevent the type of hate-filled event that we saw in Charlottesville. Gov. Abbott’s top goal is to ensure the safety and security of Texans and Texas A&M students.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick chimed in, stating “We never lose sight of our right to freedom of speech but in Texas we also want to send a clear message that there is no place for the hate, bigotry and racism espoused by these white supremacist groups —not here, not now, not ever.”
House Speaker Joe Straus said “White nationalists and their views are reprehensible, and I applaud Texas A&M leaders for trying to prevent the type of tragedy we saw in Charlottesville.”
U.S. Sen Ted Cruz condemned white nationalist’s ideas as well on a recent talk show. He said “When people do choose to use their free speech rights to advocate hatred and evil, the rest of us are obliged to counter it. Now I don’t think you counter it with censorship. I agree with John Stuart Mill, who talked about the marketplace of ideas, and the best cure for bad speech, for bad ideas, is more speech and better ideas. And so I think that’s the approach we want to have. I will say I’m glad that Spencer and the White Supremacists are not coming to A&M. … I think Texas doesn’t need to listen to their garbage.”
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said “Brave Texas Aggies have been fighting evil and oppression since the university’s founding in 1876. And Aggies have a proud tradition of fighting and defeating Nazis since 1941. One of Texas A&M University’s most revered figures is Earl Rudder, who commanded a battalion of U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy on D-Day to free the world from Nazi oppression. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have no place on the Texas A&M University campus, nor do they have any place anywhere else in the great state of Texas.

Aug

16

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : August 16, 2017

Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse reports that within a 24-hour period, deputies arrested a man who stole a backhoe and a dozer, a man with an illegal gun, drugs and a glass pipe, and a couple with methamphetamine.
The busy period began Monday morning with an arrest in the Poyner area while assisting the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office in tracking down the backhoe, reported taken from a construction site.
A black pickup truck was found stuck in the mud near the piece of heavy equipment. Witnesses reported a suspect fleeing the scene into the nearby woods.
The two county deputies began a search for the suspect with assistance from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Later the suspect, identified as Ethan Christian was located near his stuck truck and stolen equipment.
He was arrested for theft of property worth more than $30,000, a third-degree felony and for three outstanding warrants from neighboring Smith County.
That same day near the City of Seven Points, Deputy David Robertson stopped a speeding car on State Highway 274.
The driver, Harley Box, 32, had no valid license, and was arrested for possessing a prohibited weapon, suspected methamphetamine in a glass pipe, and more of the drug in a small, clear, plastic bag.
He was also charged with driving while license invalid, possession of drug paraphernalia, and two outstanding warrants.
That evening – a little after 1 a.m. Tuesday – Sgt. Matthew Jistel noticed a vehicle committing a traffic violation on Welch Lane in Gun Barrel City and performed a traffic stop.
A search of the vehicle was conducted and suspected methamphetamine was located.
Dawneva White, 26, and Scott Yager, 29, were both taken to the Henderson County Jail and booked for possession of a controlled substance.
Yager was also booked on charges for four outstanding traffic warrants out of the Gun Barrel City Police Department.
“Our team has the County covered,” Hillhouse said. “There are laws here: don’t steal other people’s property, and don’t use drugs. Break the laws, and you go to jail.”