By Britne Hammons
Monitor Staff Writer
CANTON–It was tears and cheers during a remembrance event Tuesday for the late Precinct 2 Constable C. B. Wiley. Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Ronnie Daniell addressed a packed room at the Van Zandt County Courthouse Annex to commemorate Wiley’s service. The commemoration was combined with an open house after extensive restoration work was completed at the Annex.
Wiley was an officer of the law for more than 50 years – first in Dallas and then in Van Zandt County. He and his wife, Mary, moved to Canton in 1972.
A tribute wall has been created in the JP office to honor Wiley and his law enforcement legacy. The date for the open house also honors him, JP Pct. 2 Clerk Sandra Plaster said. Aug. 16 would have been Wiley’s 80th birthday.
About 150 people attended the event with several notable figures having a few words to say to the family about Constable Wiley.
Wiley’s wife, Mary, daughter Pam Hinton and son David Wiley accepted plaques and certificates on behalf of deceased family member.
JP Daniell said that Wiley “fulfilled his call in law enforcement and gave so much to the county. He and his family gave so much of themselves when he was called to service.”
The Rev. Mike Burns of Word of Victory Church in Canton led the invocation, asking for healing and strength for the Wiley family.
Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett read a proclamation highlighting Wiley’s long service.
“The City of Canton deeply mourns the loss of Constable Wiley. It is with genuine sadness that we join together and commemorate his passing,” Everett said.
County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said that Wiley had been a cornerstone in his own career.
“When I first was elected into office as JP Pct. 1, Constable Wiley helped train me. I knew that at any time, I could call on him and he would offer help. I know in a lot of elected positions; the family also has to sacrifice time with their loved one who is serving the county. I just want to say thank you, to Constable Wiley’s family for sharing him with the county.”
State Constable Association Representative Wayne Pierce, State Rep. Dan Flynn and State Sen. Bob Hall also presented plaques to the Wiley family.
State Sen. Bob Ball read a proclamation designating Aug. 16 as “C. B. Wiley Day.”
Daniell also recognized Judge Don Kirkpatrick, Commissioner Pct. 4 Tim West and Carl Waddell for their help in the restoration efforts of the County Courthouse Annex building.
In closing, Daniell said that Constable Wiley was an original.
“He was just one of a kind,” Daniell said. “We certainly lost a storehouse of information when we lost C.B.”
Pct. 2 Court Clerk Sandra Plaster said Wiley’s concern for his community and the people he served will make him hard to replace. “He truly cared about the people in this precinct and this county,” she said. “You could give him just about any address in the precinct and he would know who lived there. He made it his business to know.”
At the end of the ceremony, a portrait was unveiled of Constable Wiley (at left) that now hangs in the Precinct 2 JP Office, occupied by Justice of the Peace Daniell.
“This was our way of saying thanks to the Wiley family for sharing such an awesome man, husband and father. The court and county is going to miss this man so much. He was a hero to the many people that he helped,” Plaster said.
That kind of service does not go unnoticed. Sen. Hall suggested that “something be done to honor such a devoted man.”
“It was Memorial Day and Senator Hall and I talked about doing something to honor Constable Wiley. At that time, we both decided to put the wheels in motion. So, we planned an honorary event,” Plaster said.
Plaster was not alone in recognizing Wiley, sparking the formation of a committee to honor the lawman.
“Without the committee, we could not have honored him in such a great way. The committee went above and beyond to help put this together for Constable Wiley’s family.”
Plaster said the committee was comprised of Gina Cantrell, Jan Donaldson, Patty Hunter, Sandra Jones and herself.
Posted by : August 19, 2016| On :
By Britne Hammons
Posted by : August 12, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ENCHANTED OAKS—It’s been a long fruitful run for the mayor of Enchanted Oaks. After having served 13 years in the small community’s top office, Don Warner is moving to Arlington to be near family. The community and city council held a farewell reception for him and his wife, Darlene, Tuesday, Aug. 9 following the city council meeting.
Around 70 people crowded into the community center to express their gratitude and well wishes to the energetic leader who consistently guarded the community’s safety over the years. Even those he had strong disagreements with came to wish him well, former council member Alan Bell observed. “That speaks clearly of Don’s character and reputation,” he said.
The couple have lived in the Cedar Creek Lake area for more than 20 years, having relocated here in 1992. Don followed his 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force, where he attained the rank of Senior Master Sergeant, with work on the super collider and then as a general engineer for DART.
Bell served with Warner on the council for 17 years. “He poured all his energy into being mayor,” Bell said. “He worked it eight hours a day, six days a week for no pay. Come to think of it he recruited me to run for the council.”
Bell attributes Warner with the reason the small community has its own fire department with two grant-funded vehicles and currently is developing a large park project to include a wilderness walking trail through 13 acres, through grant funding from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. The $147,000 project includes a city match of $73,500.
“He led the acquisition of the park property by proposing a trade with East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District,” Bell noted.
“He’s been excellent to work with; a very strong manager and communicator. I don’t think we’ll find another [mayor] with the energy and willingness to work as hard as he has for the city.”
City Secretary Pamela Foster recalls his community service mindedness didn’t just respond on the large issues but took on the daily tasks that vexed his neighbors. “He responded to all kinds of calls made to the city, including responding to skunks, wild hogs and snakes on boat docks,” Foster said. “He never hesitated to serve his neighbors in any capacity.”
About half dozen years ago, Warner led the fight to prevent the operation of a sour gas well in nearby Payne Springs. His main concern was there was no exit strategy for the area should something go terribly wrong at the wellhead. Most recently, he opposed another effort at a sour gas well going in under Cedar Creek Reservoir. “Through his efforts, we have beat that back two times now,” Bell said.
“He’s definitely leaving large shoes to fill.”
Posted by : August 10, 2016| On :
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.