Jun

20

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 20, 2017

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Recently the 8-year-old grandson of Gun Barrel City Councilman Ron Wyrick was honored with a Texas House Resolution and flag flown over the capitol in Austin for his heroism in the aftermath of the April 29 tornado north of Mabank. The honors were presented during a June 10 fundraiser, and was a complete surprise to the young hero.
Zachery had been traveling with his parents and two siblings from Winnsboro to Gun Barrel City to spend the weekend with grandpa when their GMC Sububan was tossed by an EF-4 tornado as they traveled along State Highway 198 between Canton and Mabank. Wyrick’s daughter, Holly Cousin, suffered a broken neck and her husband, Seth, ruptured six spinal discs in his back, broke several ribs and was severely injured. First responders had to pry him out of the vehicle which landed upside-down.
Winnsboro resident Marian Ritchie rallied the community to assist this family by organizing a number of fundraisers and setting up a help account at the First National Bank of Winnsboro for the Cousin family. On June 10, a benefit miniature golfing tournament at Creekside Golf attracted more than 100 participants and included a wide assortment of carnival games all aimed at raising funds and fun on their behalf. During that event, Fifth District Texas House Representative Cole Hefner read the Resolution passed on the House Floor and presented a flag flown over the capitol May 29, one month after the tornado collided with his family’s SUV.
“I thought it was cool,” Zachery told The Monitor. Also on hand was the Mayor of Winnsboro, police chief and other dignitaries offering speeches and praise for the young man. Hefner expressed his hope that Zachery would consider becoming a Texas representative someday, a totally new thought for Zachery. “I want to become a fireman, like my grandpa,” he told The Monitor.
Zachery said, he heard his dad say, ‘Hang on it’s a tornado!” He also said, he saw a powerline coming down and a tree being uprooted. The next thing he knew he was crawling out of the vehicle which had tumbled end-over end several times before coming to rest.
He said he saw his mom walking up to the road to flag down some help. “I saw my brother (Carter, 10) hanging out of the window.” Zachery helped his brother get out of the car and led him to their mother, because Carter couldn’t see. After several tries, Zachery released his little sister, Birdy, from her car seat and carried her to safety.
He tried to help his father, who was smashed into the floorboards of the front seat, but had to wait for more help to come.
Zachery’s mom had suffered a broken neck, but wasn’t aware of it until later as she was desperate to get help for her family. A passing car stopped and helped her and her children get immediate help at Gun Barrel City-ETMC Emergency Room. After much effort, rescuers freed Zachery’s father using a power extractor.
The Resolution read and passed on the Texas House floor concludes with these words: “In a dire situation, Zachery Cousin distinguished himself exceptionally brave and capable young Texan, and his remarkable heroism is an inspiration to all who know him; now therefore be it resolved, that the House of Representatives of the 85th Texas House hereby honor Zachery Cousin for his efforts to rescue his family after a serious vehicle accident and extend to him and his loved ones our sincere best wishes for the future.”

Jun

16

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

By Denise York
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Adult Probation Officer David Daniel and 422nd District Court Judge B. Michael Chitty came before the Kaufman County Commissioners Court at the regular meeting June 12 to express the need for more office space and personnel. Judge Chitty explained the use of community supervision for low-level offenders has increased exponentially.
Probation Officer David Daniel told the court, “We are maxed out. I will be adding personnel and right now we have no offices to put them in.” There are currently 13 offices filled. Adult Probation is responsible for supervision of 2,312 persons currently with approximately 1,200 of them under direct supervision. “We have approximately 2 percent of the population under probation. Population is expected to increase to as much as 149,000 by 2020, adding as many as 700 more.” Some are seen weekly, some monthly with probations lasting from five to ten years.
Daniel explained that currently they are paying outside sources for mandatory drug counseling. “With the amount we have, it makes economic sense for us to have our own counselors. I am looking to hire two.”
Daniel and Judge Chitty stressed the need for more localized services, saving the county money for transportation of indigent offenders and making the follow-up easier. “We would need at least four more offices in Kaufman and three to four in Forney,”
Plans may include using the old library building in Kaufman which would need renovation. Forney, the court was told, may have offices available. No action was taken.
Kaufman County Pct. 1 Commissioner Mike Hunt accepted a $77,817 award from the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority for improvements to the State Highway 243 and FM 2727 intersection. NET RMA is an independent government agency created to accelerate the development of transportation projects in North East Texas and this was part of nearly $500,000 in awards given for 2017.
In other business, the commissioners:
• discussed the status of implementing a new jury pay system, paying jurors in cash unless they elect to donate their pay to charity. This will cut down on fraud with checks;
• extended County Road 142 by 1,684 feet and added Lewis Circle to the Pct. 1 road report;
• heard and accepted reports from Fire Marshall Randy Richards, Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, and outside audit report form John Manning, CPS, Patillo, Brown & Hill, L.L.P.;
• heard that the location for the proposed Kaufman County Animal Shelter has not been finalized but plans are to add sewer services at the Kaufman County Poor Farm and Fairgrounds at the same time;
• heard the Authentic Western Day will take place at the KC Poor Farm Saturday, August 19 with performances all day long;
• paid bills totaling $2,063,267.03, $600,000 of which was in yearly insurance payment.

Jun

16

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

By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Kemp city council members held two public hearings in one night to speed up annexing a commercial property into Kemp city limits June 13.
The property, located across the street from the high school on Highway 274, belongs to Elfega Picena Sanchez, who plans to open the third location of a chain of Mexican drive-through restaurants called Little Mexico. The other locations are in Gun Barrel City and Kaufman.
Even though the property is across the street from the high school, awkward zoning still puts the lot outside of the city limits. To be a part of the city’s water and sewer system the property needs to be annexed into the fold.
Kemp Mayor Laura Peace said there wasn’t a squeak of opposition to the annexation after posting a notice at least five days prior to the council meeting.
“If anyone had something to say against the annexation we wouldn’t have moved on this so quickly,” Peace said.
Council members were also introduced to new Kemp Police Chief Bradley DeLaughter. DeLaughter is a familiar face around the Kemp police force, as he has been with KPD since August of 2015. He became Chief last Friday after candidates were interviewed Thursday. Former Interim Chief James Cook is back on regular patrol duty.
The council also continued taking steps to be eligible to apply for grants from the Texas Water Development Board. The final obstacle for application was adopting a water conservation plan, which the council unanimously approved Tuesday. Mayor Peace said the plan can be amended later after the city’s needs are made clearer, but stressed the need to implement it quickly to become eligible for grant application. Peace and councilwoman Christi Neal stressed the importance of conservation.
“We want to promote community conservation,” Peace said. “It’s possible that we will introduce some watering restrictions in the future.”
“We need to be pro-active,” Neal said. “We don’t need to be in the middle of a drought to conserve water.”
In other news, council members:
• approved a resolution authorizing a continued partnership with the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and authorized the payment of two cents per capita to ACSC. An Atmos rep at the meeting said, “This is an attorney fee to keep Kemp represented in the committee.”
• approved City Administrator Regina Kiser to sign the grant application documents to the Texas Water Development Board.
• heard during staff reports of a six-inch main water line that needed repair on Pearl Street the past month.