By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Kaufman Commissioners initiated a 90-day burn ban at the recommendation of Fire Marshal Randy Richards. The ban began Monday, Aug. 8 and ends Sept. 6, unless rescinded sooner due to the substantial return of moisture in local conditions.
“It’s hot and dry and getting drier,” Richards said. The U.S. Forest Service sets a Keetch-Bynum Drought Index score of 575 for consideration of a burn ban, he explained. The current average countywide is 608 he said. “According to the forecast, in two weeks we’ll be approaching the 700 range, which is the top of the 800-point chart,” he said. “It’s getting pretty crispy,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Jimmy Vrzalik said.
Firefighters have been “hopping” and assisting neighboring counties east and south of Kaufman. “The fires are not enormously large but the heat wave is coming from the east and moving our way,” Richards said.
Commissioners also agreed to enter into a contract with Star Transit, a public bus system serving the county to provide $6,037.40 monthly to support the service. Star Transit Executive Director Omega Ann Hawkins explained that due to a number of changes in state and federal funding over the past two years, the transit board adjusted its accounting to separate all the major entities and the number of hours served to determine how much each needed, including the county at-large. Previously, the board was able to furnish the service from ridership payments, grants, public funds and donations. The contract goes into effect Oct. 1.
According to the initial contract, the county’s portion is figured on $50.76 per hour in costs for 128 hours monthly. This total is mitigated somewhat by ridership and grant funding reducing the monthly cost by a little more than $450.
After the second year, the county would be approached to assist with any needed capital improvements, including purchasing new vehicles. The contract allows for termination by either party and is subject to a renewal vote on an annual basis.
Star Transit serves Mesquite, Balch Springs, Seagoville and Rockwall and Kaufman Counties. In addition to two fixed routes, any person can call and schedule a pickup and delivery within its service area by calling (877) 631-5278 a day ahead. The Kaufman Trolley operates 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. More information is available on line.
Commissioners learned of a reimbursement payment to the City of Kaufman in association with the State Highway 34 bypass project in the amount of $388,412.67 comes over the $6,000,000 budget the county contributed toward the project. Auditor Karen McLoyd told commissioners there is $210,568 left in that line item. The agenda item was tabled. A ribbon cutting for the project that began about 22 months ago in 2014 is set for 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12 on Farm-to-Market 1388 (S. Houston St) from the old SH 34 toward Oak Grove just past the Kaufman High School to the new SH 34 intersection.
In other business, commissioners:
• noted the termination of current contract with the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is coming up Oct. 31, under that contract, the city is paying $65 per animal. The new contract starting Nov. 1 calls for a flat monthly fee of $11,500, which seemed steep to commissioners who discussed alternatives at length with Pam Corder running point. Judge Bruce Wood noted that the Humane Society board was also having its challenges to remain viable and that it has served the county well over the years.
The county has earmarked $150,000 to seed the construction of a shelter within the county on public land connected to the Law Enforcement Center, which would need a lot of dirt fill to build up the site. Corder reported that Forney had recently built a modest shelter with 12 kennels to h ouse 24 dogs and a cat room for $2,000,000.
• approved the purchase of a 3500 Chevrolet pick-up with dump bed for Precinct 2 Road and Bridge in the amount of $46,654 from Musser Motors, a price which beat the Buy Board offer.
• set a few dates in association with the adoption of a budget and tax rate for Fishcal Year 2016-17. The property appraisal district will have a tax roll to present to commissioners by Aug. 15, they heard.
• accepted the resignation of Lorie Floyd as Human Resource Director and appointed staff Tiffany Badon to serve in the interim effective Aug. 29. Floyd is going to work for the Texas Association of Counties.
Posted by : August 10, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Posted by : August 3, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The helmets and pads are came out again as Texas high school football teams began two-a-days on August 1. Several local teams around the lake are gearing up for the first game of the season August 26.
The Kemp Yellowjackets will compete in district 6-3A and are picked to finish fourth in the district, grabbing the last playoff spot. The eight-team district is picked to finish with Sunnyvale in first place, followed by Grandview, Dallas Madison, Kemp, Scurry-Rosser, Maypearl, Life Oak Cliff and Palmer.
Third-year coach Brandon Hankins has turned the football program around for Kemp. The winless 2014 season is a distant memory as the Yellowjackets attempt to prove they belong back in the playoffs.
Kemp returns 17 starters including sophomore quarterback Dreyson Watters. Watters was the District Newcomer of the Year last season when he ran for 2,500 yards and threw for 1,950 more as a freshman. He had 28 total touchdowns.
Watters won’t be short on targets to throw to either. Receivers Elijah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington and Alec Cooper all return for their senior seasons. Running back Alan Quezada ran for 750 yards and six touchdowns in a back-up role last year. Kemp will lean on him as the starter this year. Tyler Garrett, Kasey Cockrell and Joseph Lopez all return on the offensive line.
The biggest question mark on defense is linebacker. All three of Kemp’s linebackers graduated leaving a huge void. Sophomore Boomer Irvin will step in from a JV team that went 8-2 last year to help make up for the loss.
Passing against the Yellowjackets will be a risk with a secondary led by safety Kane Johnson. Corner back Jaise Bowie started as a freshman and will look to improve in his second season.
Kemp finished with a 4-7 record last season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and lost to Kirbyville in the first round of the playoffs.
“We have had a great couple days of practice, Hankins said. “The kids are hungry and looking forward to getting better every day. People are aware of the fact that we have talent. We have the potential to be a really good football team and we would love to bring a district championship to Kemp.”
The Mabank Panthers are competing in district 8-4A this season. The Panthers still have improvements to make before they can ascend into the playoffs but a 7-2 JV team could mean that things are about to turn around.
Second-year coach Mikey Thompson will have strong lines on both sides of the ball. Noel Rojo and Brandon Pierce headline a big offensive line that will protect whoever plays quarterback.
Running the ball against Mabank will be a tough task with defensive lineman Jacob Felts and Kevin Turner returning from last season.
Mabank has a solid foundation to build from but the skill players are young and inexperienced. If Mabank wants to have success and take steps toward becoming a playoff team, those young players must grow up quickly.
Mabank went 2-7 last season with wins over two playoff teams in Kemp and Canton. The Panthers went winless in district and missed the playoffs.
“I feel like we are working hard and getting better every day,” Thompson said. “Every day is a chance for improvement and improvment is a process. I’m excited to see our hard work start to pay off when we hit the field in week one.”
The Eustace Bulldogs and coach Heath Ragle find themselves in a tough spot. They are picked to finish last in district 9-3A and have a lot of people to prove wrong. The Bulldogs only return nine starters and have a JV team that went 2-7 last year.
On offense the Bulldogs will have to replace running back Keenan Hargest who did almost everything for the team last year, including playing quarterback.
James East and Cam Rodgers will split carries and take the load off new quarterback Alejandro Sanchez. Under Ragle, the Bulldogs have never been known as a passing team but they are hoping Sanchez’s speed gives them an edge.
Offensive lineman Mikey Marshall missed 2015 with an injury but returns for his senior season to anchor the line.
Defensively, the biggest player for Eustace will be linebacker JJ Hughes, who had 87 tackles last year. The defensive line will be stacked with Michael Schultz and Dylan Hunacker both returning. Stone Wadsworth will roam the secondary and is the most experienced defensive back on the team.
Eustace went 3-7 and 0-5 in district last season and missed out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs only have one district win in the past two seasons.
“The guys are really improving and learning the pace of practice.” Ragle said. “We feel good about what we got and what we are building. We are in the toughest district in the state and we love being the underdog.”
Ragle said that the offense won’t change very much with Sanchez under center. He said they will be “pretty multiple” on offense and will work to highlight their skill players.
The high school football season starts on August 26. Mabank starts the season at home against Palestine. Kemp takes on Rio Vista at home and Eustace goes on the road to Scurry-Rosser.
The Monitor will release it’s fall sports preview August 25. It will have information on all the local football, volleyball and cross country teams.
Posted by : July 29, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County’s own Chris Abadie looks to defend his X Games gold medal this weekend during the second annual Real Wake competition.
Abadie won the first Real Wake Driven by Mastercraft gold last season due to the support of the fans. He is once again asking for locals to stand behind him via their vote.
Real Wake is an all-wakeboarding video contest brought to you by the World of X Games and Mastercraft. The Fan Favorite portion of the contest is a one-round, winner-take-all cage match.
Watch the videos online, and vote for your pick to win. Voting ends at 9:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31.
The behind-the-scenes stories on the making of this contest will broadcast in an hour-long World of X Games show on ABC, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30.
Winners of the judge-awarded X Games gold, silver and bronze medals will be announced on the ABC broadcast. The Fan Favorite will be announced on XGames.com on Monday, Aug. 1.
Abadie, 28, is a member of Shredtown and his video for the X Games was filmed by Andrew Adams.
To watch the video and vote, go online to xgames.espn.go.com/xgames/real/16259637/abadie-16285918.