Posted by : August 5, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–More than 100 souls came out for a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Jeb Hensarling Wednesday at the Senior Center in Athens. Each audience member who wanted to comment or ask a question was given two minutes to present, after which the 5th District Congressman from Texas responded.
The meeting was prefaced with a prayer by local minister Mark Hall, who asked God’s forgiveness for America’s departure from its founding principles of truth, morality and justice and asked courage on behalf of local citizens to stand united against tyranny and injustice.
The first question taken asked why so many Republicans in national office talk down about Donald Trump. “Why is he regarded so poorly?”
“I have publicly endorsed him as the Republican nominee for president, even though he wasn’t my first choice,” Hensarling responded. “I don’t know how he would govern, but I do know how Hillary Clinton will, and I vehemently oppose all her major policies. We can’t allow another liberal to be named to the Supreme Court for a generation. Further, I know Mike Pence, well. He’s a true conservative leader of high moral character and integrity. It speaks volumes that Trump named him as his running mate. I have no problem endorsing Trump, but reserve the right to disagree with him from time to time.”
Most of the other questions and comments had similar responses, pointing out that a change in the White House will be able to solve a lot of the issues under discussion. Those included dissolving the Sanctuary City program, birth-right citizenship to children of illegals, entitlement programs that attract illegal immigrants, accepting immigration from enemy countries such as Syria and Iraq and requiring work from welfare recipients.
Commenting on the latest news, Hensarling said Congress would launch a full investigation into the $400 million payment from the administration to Iran and the subsequent return of three Americans being held in Iran. “The paying of ransom for hostages is against U.S. policy and hadn’t been approved by the House,” he said.
Someone asked why Congress and the president were not enforcing the McCarran–Walter Act of 1952, which was enacted over President Truman’s veto. Sponsor Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), in a speech on the Senate floor March 2,1953 defended the legislation with these words:
“I believe that this nation is the last hope of Western civilization and if this oasis of the world shall be overrun, perverted, contaminated or destroyed, then the last flickering light of humanity will be extinguished. I take no issue with those who would praise the contributions which have been made to our society by people of many races, of varied creeds and colors. … However, we have in the United States today hard-core, indigestible blocs which have not become integrated into the American way of life, but which, on the contrary are its deadly enemies. Today, as never before, untold millions are storming our gates for admission and those gates are cracking under the strain. The solution of the problems of Europe and Asia will not come through a transplanting of those problems en masse to the United States. … I do not intend to become prophetic, but if the enemies of this legislation succeed in riddling it to pieces, or in amending it beyond recognition, they will have contributed more to promote this nation’s downfall than any other group since we achieved our independence as a nation.”
Hensarling voiced his agreement, adding that bills passed in Congress recently would stop immigration from Syria and Iraq. “There’s no reason to bring them to our shores,” he said and that they should be helped through refugee programs in place.
He noted that locally, Texas should benefit from the 11 percent increase in border patrols voted in by Congress.
The problems of illegal immigration must be addressed by shutting down the magnets that keep them coming, namely employment, entitlements and sanctuary cities. “Illegal immigration is a threat to national security. It’s a matter of political will to stop it,” he said.
Posted by : May 11, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Sheriff Ray Nutt Tuesday. His last day will by May 31. In his resignation letter, Nutt states that the goals he came into office with Jan. 1, 2009 have been met.
“I would like to thank the Court for their support during my time as Sheriff. I also appreciate the support of the citizens from all across the County. Although my term runs through Dec. 31, 1 feel it is in the best interest of the Sheriffs Office and the County, for me to step aside,” he wrote.
Commissioners agreed to name Sheriff-elect Botie Hillhouse to begin serving in Nutt’s place beginning on June 1, as Nutt recommended. “The new sheriff-elect is ready to continue our goals and to implement his own,” Nutt stated.
“After more than 47 years in law enforcement, I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with my wife. Lee and my children and grandchildren.”
Posted by : April 10, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Kaufman County Commissioners resolved to start the process to implement a Veterans Court in Kaufman County. There are currently about a dozen such courts in Texas. Collin County 292nd District Court Judge John Roach implemented the first such court in North Texas, which now is organized in a region to include Rockwall County and now Kaufman.
The purpose of the diversionary program is to insure that veterans who have been injured in combat and have been charged with a criminal offense due to such injury can receive treatment and or rehabilitation and be successfully reintegrated into society.
At any given time about 50 to 75 inmates in Kaufman County are veterans, commissioners learned.
To qualify for the program, it must be determined that the individual’s crimes are materially connected to combat injuries suffered as a result of honorable service in the United States Armed Forces.
The projected costs of the program is estimated at between $400 and $750 per individual, with Veterans Affairs and other agencies involved in the program’s ongoing support.
The program lasts from six months to two years, depending on treatment needs and rate of progress.
Commissioners also heard a lengthy report on the progress of some 20 road projects, seeking grant funding, and in various phases of development. This video-taped report, presented by John Polster of Innovative Transportation Solutions, may be viewed in full on line from the Kaufman County Clerk’s website, under Commissioners Court, March 28 meeting.
He said the State Highway 34 bypass is scheduled for completion in May. The $14 million project creates a four-lane road to divert throughway vehicles, such as semi-tractor trailers, away from downtown Kaufman. The construction is around 86 percent complete, Polster said.
The intersection improvement plan for U.S. 80 is expected to cost $6.6 million. The project will upgrade and expand existing two-lane, undivided road to a four-lane, divided intersection at FM 148 in Terrell.
Polster also discussed plans for other intersection improvements and advanced planning for FM 548, phase one of FM548 North, the FM 148 bypass and the county thoroughfare plan.
County Auditor Karen Cooper passed out a written report to Commissioners and gave a terse two-minute statement, which included telling commissioners that they are “out of compliance” by asking her to certify reports from the treasurer and tax assessor/collector after they have already accepted or approved the reports.
“Sometimes the laws have not been followed,” she said.
“The auditor has authority and responsibility to make sure things are coded correctly and that this county is safe-boarded their assets,” Cooper, whose been with the county for two years, said.
“The county auditor audits all financial statements, including the county treasurer’s report before you accept it, so you’re out of compliance by having me certify that it’s correct (after the fact). Your county tax assessor, her report, is not in agreement with my general ledger. I’m financially transparent, she wanted to be compliant, so she put those adjustments in there. That’s all I’m going to say. You need to read this,” she said and then sat down.
The paperwork she distributed quoted the statute regarding the auditor’s office.
“I’m not sure what we’re suppose to do,” Wood said, noting that the discussion is not an action item.
Treasurer Ronnie Oldfield said he’d like some kind of approval so every time he submits with his report can be signed off on. “It’s up to you’ll to oversee the process. I just sign the checks,” he said.
A short discussion on approvals which best achieve the Court’s documentation goals was held.
In other business, the directors:
• heard the Sheriff’s Office report on the Harris Radio System installation. Microwave and fiber optic systems are installed and operational. Interlocal operability testing is set over the next two weeks with an implementation date of April 18 the goal.
• after re-entering open session, granted three of four requests for tax abatements for the City of Terrell, one involving the construction of a Walmart refrigeration warehouse.
• issued an order prohibiting the possession of firearms in the Kaufman County Courthouse and Office Buildings.