Posted by : September 11, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–On Sept. 5, Gun Barrel City resident Grace Hardy Thomas turned 105. She celebrated with family members on Saturday, Aug. 28. Her son, Brad Thomas, guesses that her low-stress lifestyle had much to do with her longevity.
She has lived with her son, Brad, for the past seven years on Ocean Drive in Gun Barrel City. She is the mother of two sons, the other living in Kansas City, Kan., four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Grace was born in Bonham the youngest of nine children in 1908 and still enjoys the beans and cornbread she thrived on as a child.
Right after finishing her public education, she enrolled in Texas A&M at Lubbock to earn a two-year teaching certificate. In 1928, she was one of the first women to enroll in Texas’ oldest public universities, and her family told The Monitor that she rode in a horse and buggy from Lubbock to the college campus.
Upon graduation she taught English for two years before marrying Charles Edward Thomas. In those days, a married woman was fully employed managing the homestead and rearing children. The couple settled in Oak Cliff, and she became a faithful member at the Cliffwood Church of Christ.
She was married for 46 years, before her husband died in 1978, and she never remarried. She took up dollmaking, specializing in beautiful porcelain dolls and also enjoyed playing bridge three times a week, becoming a master at the game.
Today, her hearing isn’t too good, but those who know her best can usually communicate with her very well. She kept driving until the age of 98.
Her family came to America in 1788 from Scotland. Her husband Charles enlisted with Military Inteligence in 1940 during World War II.
Her bother decommissioned horses for Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, and his Rough Riders after the Spanish-American War.
Her father Will Hardy was born in Illinois around 1867 and became the Bonham Sheriff. He was paid mainly in farm products. She said her family did not suffer in the Great Depression because of the abundance of food he received. She recalls that bread cost a nickle a loaf, and milk cost 32 cents a gallon.
When she first moved to Gun Barrel City, another centenarian, Gladys Forrester, fitted her for a bathing suit so she could float at the ETMC pool. She also wore it on a cruise in 1999.
Saul Garza of Fox News and Cong. Jeb Hensarling helped her get a passport, as she did not have a birth certificate.
She can still bend at the waist to tie her shoes, makes her bed everyday and drinks lots of coffee.
Posted by : September 7, 2013| On :
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Rachel Beets, 7, of Eustace, hopes to celebrate her eighth birthday Jan. 31, 2014, by receiving 900 pairs of new shoes.
She doesn’t plan on wearing them. This special youngster wants to donate the new shoes to the Rainbow Room with Child Protective Services.
“I don’t think she realizes how many shoes she is asking for or the impact she will have on others by doing this,” her mother, Amanda Beets said.
After Amanda made a few phone calls to local organizations and created a Facebook page, “Rachel’s Happy Feet” was begun.
So far, the 7-year-old has already collected more than 125 pairs of shoes and $345 in donations.
“Rachel is a one-of-kind,” her proud mother said. “Rachel wants all children to have a pair of ‘fast-runners’ so they can play outside like she does.”
Rachel’s Happy Feet is collecting new kids tennis shoes in all sizes from infant to adult sizes.
The shoes may be dropped off at:
Gun Barrel City
• Top Shelf Vaping, Nana’s Natural Health Market, and city hall, all on Main Street, and the fire department on Municipal Drive in Gun Barrel City.
• Batteries and More, the post office and fire department in Eustace.
• Payne Springs Assembly of God at 5503 FM 316.
• Cedar Creek Carpets at 126 E Cedar Creek Parkway.
• the Rainbow Room at 420 Athens Brick Rd., Athens, TX 75751, (903) 675-5631.
Rachel will meet with the Rainbow Room president at the upcoming Duck Run Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
She will also be hosting a Motorcycle Run Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Grace Fellowship Outreach in Eustace. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and bikes take off at 10 a.m. Bounce Houses for the kids will be donated by Paradise Party Rentals.
She reminds everyone that she’ll also collect shoes at all these events.
Posted by : September 5, 2013| On :
HUD acts on new policy banning discrimination against LGBT people
By David Webb
The Monitor Correspondent
SEVEN POINTS–The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a charge of discrimination in August against an Athens RV park owner after investigating a complaint by a transgender woman and her female partner, who now live in Seven Points.
The action is believed to be one of the first few investigations by HUD to proceed to the trial stage since the federal agency adopted a new policy in March 2012, banning discrimination against LGBT people.
If the charge of discrimination is upheld in a federal administrative hearing or a U.S. federal district court the park owner could be fined $16,000 and be required to reimburse the complainants for damages. The damages could include moving expenses and compensation for emotional distress.
Roxanne Joganik and Darlina Anthony filed the complaint in the summer of 2012 against George and Amy Toone and In Toone Services, LLC, owners of Texan RV Park on Highway 175 West in Athens. The complainants alleged that the Toones discriminated against them on the basis of sex on May 15, 2012, and again on Aug. 18, 2012.
“They said they weren’t going to have my kind living in the park,” Joganik said during an interview at her Seven Points residence.
After the park owner refused to accept a rent payment from them and successfully pursued an eviction in now-deceased Justice of the Peace Henry S. Ashford’s court in Henderson County, Joganik offered to move to her son’s residence so Anthony could remain, according to the couple. The park owner again refused to accept the rent payment, they said.
“He told me that he didn’t like my kind either,” Anthony said. “At that point it became a dual case,” Joganik added.
The pair amended the complaints in February 2013 to add charges of harassment and intimidation after the Toones, who are represented by Dallas lawyer Casey Erick, allegedly “sought and assisted in the publication of articles on a campground management website,” according to the complaint outlined in HUD documents. The articles allegedly contained “inaccurate and negative information about complainant Joganik for the purpose of harassing and intimidating her” in violation of federal law, according to the allegations in the documents.
The Toones denied the allegations of discrimination, claiming that the complainants’ recreational vehicle did not “constitute a dwelling” and should be exempt from the federal housing law. They claimed the owners of the recreational vehicles in the park were not tenants, but instead guests.
The respondents also maintained that Joganik and Anthony were asked to leave the park because Joganik would not sign the park rules presented to him, the pair disrupted other guests’ use of the park and that Joganik had killed park wildlife.
Federal officials found “reasonable cause” of “discriminatory housing practices” by the park owner in the case, according to HUD documents in the possession of the complainants. But the officials rejected the complaint against the owner’s wife and the allegations of intimidation and harassment.
Joganik and Anthony said they lived in the park and paid $375 monthly rent from April 2011 to May 2012 without incident. Another person owned the park during that time, but Joganik never dressed as a woman in the common areas, they said. Joganik asked to be allowed to dress as a woman in the park, but permission was denied, according to the documents.
When Toone bought the park in May, Joganik asked him for permission to dress as a woman, and he also denied the request, Joganik said.
“I told him because I wanted to come out,” Joganik said. “It was my right to live as a transgender person.”
Subsequently, the owner circulated a list of new park rules for residents to sign. The rules included a provision