By Britne Hammons
Monitor Staff Writer
CANTON–Van Zandt County Commissioners officially declared October Domestic Violence Abuse Awareness Month and also Nov. 12 as First Responders Day. East Texas Crisis Center representative Crystal Mayer asked that Canton Fire Captain Brian Horton be recognized as the recipient of the Center’s HOPE award. The award highlights law enforcement’s efforts to combat domestic violence. Mayer presented the award during Commissioners Court Oct. 11.
Judge Don Kirkpatrick read the proclamation designating October as a time to increase awareness about this oft-time hidden crime. Related to this, a candlelight vigil was set for the VZC courthouse Tuesday for those most affected by domestic violence. The event was sponsored by the ETCC and the VZC Criminal District Attorney’s office. Mayer said 158 candles were to be lit, each representing a victim in Texas who died in 2015 from domestic violence.
First Responders Day
Attorney Joshua Wintters informed the court a five-star dinner with entertainment was planned to honor First Responders in the county to be held at the Canton Civic Center on Nov. 12.
Cloy Richards of GrantWork updated the commissioners on procedures of obtaining Community Development Block Grants. Richards said state law “requires counties procure engineering and administrative services before block grants are announced.”
Richards explained the new process stating that “commissioners must submit a request for proposals. If the county does not receive a block grant, the county is not billed for service. It is a different process, but it is the same type of CDBG grant.” The commissioners approved the procurement of engineering and administrative services for VZC 2017-’18 TxCDBG fund and implementation.
Richards also advised the commissioners to have a separate checking account for grants because a state audit would be required.
VZC Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Bates asked the commissioners to approve a partnership to benefit deputies. “We are asking to get into an agreement with Frisco so we get a big discount on our uniforms. The agreement may extend into other areas as well. We will still continue with our basic uniform design,” Bates said. Commissioners approved Bates’ request.
County Auditor Freddy Thomas also said that he and Chief Bates had prepared a salary structure for the sheriff’s office.
“We are trying to get on the same page in FY 2017. We have structured the employees by name and titles. We are going to lower or increase salaries accordingly. The net affect that this will have on the budget is a decrease of $2,600 for the year. We are trying to match up titles and salaries.”
“What we have is people with the same title but different salaries. They make anywhere from a penny to $800 more or less than the other person. Of course, that causes conflict,” Bates said.
The commissioners approved the sheriff’s office employee salary changes.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved the 2016 tax roll for VZC for the total tax amount of $13,851,434;
• adopted an order for use of the general fund instead of the salary fund per local government code;
• approved the sheriff’s office to have regular plates on a Chevy Tahoe and Chevy 1500 pickup. “These vehicles will be used in undercover operations,” Bates said.
• approved budget amendments for FY 2016 and FY 2017.
• approved the monthly reports of county government. Commissioner Tim West said that only four of the reports had been submitted. “We only have four in, and we have 13 more to get in before the end of October.”
The next commissioners meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 25.
Posted by : October 19, 2016| On :
By Britne Hammons
Posted by : October 14, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Community members are looking forward to the weeklong revival now in its fourth year. The Movement planners Larry Reneau and Hugh Roberts tell how everywhere they go, people come up to them and either request a banner be put up in their yard or press a check or cash into their hands to help fund the life-changing presentations. “The favor in this community toward The Movement has been more than outstanding,” Roberts said.
This year, The Movement will host the nationally acclaimed Outcast BMX, featuring some of the top pro and amateur BMX riders in the country. Their back flips, superman seat grabs, and other jaw dropping stunts demand focused attention – and their testimonies about Christ keep it.
Outcast BMX shows are mind blowing events. “We had a great show at Brentwood Academy in Nashville. Rian Berger, the Director of Spiritual Life, exclaimed “On a scale from 1-10 they were a 17!! Their show was FANTASTIC and their presentation of the Gospel was even better! I couldn’t have been more pleased!”
In addition, pro skateboarder and pastor, Tim Byrne, will perform his amazing skills while proclaiming the good news youth will find meets their needs for a savior, Reneau said. “His message is so timely and he has the skills to gain him a hearing.”
These will fit the bill for youth night on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Starting at 5:30 p.m. pizza and beverages will be served to all youth attending (and their family members). “You won’t want to miss this, believe me,” Reneau said. “We’ve had some amazing performers in the past, but this will beat all. And with Gun Barrel City recently opening their skate park, we expect a lot of turnout for this very powerful night.”
“Every night will be powerful,” Roberts interjects. Local people will have moving testimonies of deliverance from human trafficking, addictions, pornography, offenses of child abuse and loss of loved ones to cancer. “We have a great God and we need to hear these stories of his deliverance from sin, sickness, bitterness and addiction,” Roberts said. “It’s what The Movement is all about.”
On Tuesday night Reneau will bring his message of breaking the chains through accepting and offering forgiveness.
Mabank’s First Baptist Church Pastor Larry Strandberg will kick off the event Sunday night with a message of hope, defining and practicing a saving faith and sharing that faith with others.
Those able to support the upcoming revival in prayer are invited to meet with the prayer team every Wednesday at noon at the new Mabank Pavilion Stage, Reneau invited.
All the messages will reflect on some aspect of the theme verse — John 10:10: “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Last year, the event counted 8,000 attending over the week. This year, the planners are expecting up to 2,400 each night. The Movement runs from Oct. 23-27. Starting at 5:30 p.m. a free meal will be available, as well as bounce houses for the youngest ones. The formal program begins at 6 p.m. with special musical performers, testimonies, skits and the message, ending at 8 p.m.
“The Movement reveals the very real damage done by sin which God warns against and the deliverance He offers in His Son, the man-God Jesus Christ,” Roberts said.
Tim Byrne, pro skateboarder and pastor, will present on Wednesday along with nationally-acclaimed Outcast BMX stunt riders.
Posted by : October 14, 2016| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–The Henderson County District Attorney’s Office hosted another Crime Victim Conference with about 125 professionals in law enforcement, community advocacy programs and attorneys attending. Trinity Valley Community College partnered in the effort providing the venue and continuing education credits for those in attendance.
Former newscaster Gloria Campos set the tone for the two-day educational series Oct. 10-11 with heartbreaking stories from her Wednesday’s Child programs, featuring children in foster care.
Presenters included attorneys from Tarrant County going over a death case at a daycare facility, psychologists Dr. Vincent Ramos and licensed psychologist Sarah Quinn speaking on forensic mental health services, medical examiners, and a pediatrician on child abuse.
Subject areas also covered advanced safety planning, personal defense for non-law enforcement and behind closed doors at the medical examiner’s lab.
The conference ended with a retelling of the origins of Kari’s law, a national communication rule yet to be enacted to ensure that 9-1-1 calls, especially from hotel rooms, are routed and dispatched, without the need to dial a prefix first to get an outside line.
Hank Hunt, the initiator behind this move spreading from state to state, wound up the conference with his story.
On Dec. 1, 2013, he received a call that no father ever wants to get. Kari, one of his beloved children had succumbed that afternoon to the senseless actions of her estranged husband. In a fit of rage, this malefactor stole from Hunt, his daughter and his pride and joy.
His granddaughter, 9 at the time, called 9-1-1. But it didn’t work. Not the first or the fourth attempt did the number go through. When Hunt learned of this, it was difficult to understand. But as he quickly came to find out, not only was it true, it was in fact the case more often than not at hotels across the country.
With the help of new found friends in public safety, and the telecommunications industry, he brought his story to an FCC commissioner and to a legislator in Suffolk County, Long Island, where he captured the hearts and minds of this summer community filled with hotels. Just a few short months later, Kari’s Law became a reality.
He was also presented with NG911 Institute’s Heart of 911 Advocacy Award for 2015. It was quickly followed by updated legislation in Illinois, his home state of Texas began a yearlong series of meetings to deal with the issue with Gov. Greg Abbott signing into law HB911 as his first legislative act. Other states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania followed suit.
By the time Tennessee brought the issue to a vote, the Change.Org petition he started some 30 months earlier had well over 550,000 signatures, all pledging their support for this simple legislative action.
Hunt has testified in front of Congressional subcommittees, spoken to groups of hundreds at public safety and telecommunications conferences.
On May 23, 2016 the U.S. House passed Kari’s Law. It’s sponsor was Texas First Congressional Dist. (R) Rep. Louis Gohmert Jr. However, PredictGov.org gives the legislation a 4 percent chance of being enacted into law.
Organizers of the two-day Crime Victims Conference of East Texas are Henderson County employees with the County Attorney’s Office Diane Russ and Angie Ewaskiw, District Clerk Betty Herriage, DA’s assistant Deanna Browning, Brittany Creech, Lauren Smith, Paula Ludtke and Tiffany McDonald.