Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–Having completed construction nearly two years to the day, the State Highway 31 Bypass road was opened Wednesday, diverting about 7,800 tractor-trailer trucks away from Kaufman’s downtown square as they travel from points south to north of the city.
Though in the planning for about 50 years, the groundbreaking on the jointly funded bypass took place Oct. 17, 2014.Two months ago the project’s southern portion was opened on Aug. 18.
City officials say the bypass will not only aid in the county’s thoroughfare plan but also relieve congestion in downtown Kaufman and allow for its revitalization.
The financing of the $14 million bypass included funding from the City of Kaufman, who had direct oversight on the project, its Economic Development Corporation and Kaufman County. The state plays a role in providing engineering services and will be making reimbursement payments over time as spot traffic census numbers increase.
The financing for the extensive project that has been imagined for more than 50 years called for creativity and collaboration from many segments. The Dallas District TxDOT engineered the project to save the city $13.8 million.
“Without partnerships like this, we wouldn’t be able to get projects like this built,” Selman said.
North Central Texas Council of Governments Director of Transportation Michael Morris said, “This project is a symbol of greater things to come and is part of a Phase II partnership.” He spoke of a sister road project to the north and the need for leaders to continue to develop institutional partnerships based on trust to pull together a system of transportation improvements throughout the region.
“The Highway 34 extension will give us access to 800 to 1,000 acres of land for new development including much-needed housing, restaurants, retail, medical facilities, and much more,” Kaufman Economic Development Corporation President Roy Ferrell said at the 2014 groundbreaking.
In December 2015, the City of Kaufman adopted its first tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) which borders the new SH 34 bypass in and around the area of Walmart, according to City Manager Mike Slye, who said additional public improvements and streets will be constructed in the area.Kings Fort Parkway, which currently extends from Washington Street to the end of the Walmart parking lot, is also expected to be constructed to the SH 34 bypass in the near future as development continues in the area.
Although specific plans have not officially been announced for new development in the area, Slye says there is already a lot of commercial activity and interest in the area of the bypass.
Posted by : October 21, 2016| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
Posted by : October 19, 2016| On :
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS – With more than 700 arrests made in his first four months in office, Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse continues his campaign against illegal drugs with the arrest of two men Monday, one a felon with methamphetamines and a firearm.
“Lead Narcotics Investigator Kay Langford, and investigators Brad Beddingfield and Josh Rickman are leading the charge in this war on illegal drugs,” Hillhouse said. “With the rest of my fine team, hundreds of drug dealers and users have been pulled off the street, put in jail and are facing serious time for their crimes.”
James Bedard, 42, has been charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance believed to be methamphetamines between 4 and 200 grams, a first degree felony.
He was also charged for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third degree felony.
Bedard faces up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the first degree felony charge if convicted. He is being held on bonds totaling $14,000
Jerry Thomas Jr., 52, was arrested at an address on FM 2494 in Athens for possession of marijuana.
“It was during that initial arrest of Jerry Thomas for an outstanding warrant that the investigators saw the suspected methamphetamines,” Hillhouse said. “We obtained a search warrant from Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Milton Adams, and arrested Bedard.”
Thomas was released the following day with a $1,500 bond.
Hillhouse took office June 1, promising to lead a campaign against illegal drugs in Henderson County. His efforts have won the praise of civic and community groups.
“The people told me their biggest concern was illegal drugs – especially the devastating impact of methamphetamines on the community,” Hillhouse said. “So, I made it this Office’s mission to spend every hour fighting drugs on the streets, and in homes, hotels, motels and trailer parks.
“To the dealers and users who don’t believe me, rest assured I have plenty of beds in the jail and if you bring your poison to my county, I’ll find you,” Hillhouse said.
Posted by : October 19, 2016| On :
By Erik Walsh
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The Kemp Yellowjackets lost another close district game, this time by just three points and at home, 31-28.
Kemp drops to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in district play, while the Madison Trojans improve to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in district.
The Yellowjackets were once again without starting quarterback Dreyson Watters, who played just the first three plays of the game before leaving the game due to an injury suffered earlier this season.
Cameron Clamon came in as a replacement, and was very serviceable in Watters’ absence. In the opening drive Clamon went 3-3 passing before Caleb Bolin got the ’Jackets on the scoreboard with an 11-yard touchdown run at the 7:40 mark. Kemp failed the conversion attempt and led 6-0.
Madison took the lead with just 1:52 remaining in the first quarter on a three-yard touchdown run. They led 7-6 after the successful extra point.
Kemp got back on top in the second quarter when Clamon ran the football in the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown at the 7:39 mark. Kemp led 13-7 after the successful PAT.
Unfortunately for the Yellowjackets, Madison struck back lighting fast with a 90-yard touchdown pass to re-take the lead,14-13.
Kemp led at halftime when Josiah Brewington ran in a three-yard touchdown to make the score 20-14 after the PAT.
Scoring was scarce in the third quarter. Madison scored the only points of the period when they nailed a field goal to trim the lead to 20-17 at the 2:25 mark.
Kemp threatened to put the game away in the fourth quarter, driving the ball all the way down to the Madison 13-yard line, but instead a Madison defender picked up a Kemp fumble and ran the ball 85-yards for a touchdown, reversing the lead and putting Madison up 24-20 with just 10:38 remaining in the game.
The Trojans extended that lead at the 7:44 mark when they scored on a 67-yard run. The extra point was good, 31-20.
Kemp scored again quickly to give themselves a fighting chance when Clamon found Elijah Gardiner on an 80-pass to cut the Trojans lead to 31-28.
Kemp got the ball back for one last chance to tie the game or take the lead, but ran out of time. Gardiner threw an interception in the final moments and Kemp lost 31-28.
Clamon was 6-16 passing for 159 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for 55 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.
Bolin had a game-high 152 yards rushing and one touchdown for the Yellowjackets.
Gardiner led the team with one reception for 80-yards and a touchdown. Kane Johnson had four catches for 48 yards.
The Yellowjackets return to action Oct. 21 at Dallas Life Oak Cliff. Kickoff for the district contest is set for 7:30 p.m.