Jul

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 17, 2014

Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Less than two weeks after convicted killer Randall Wayne Mays was denied his latest challenge to his conviction by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Carter Tarrance of the 392nd District Court set his execution date for March 18, 2015. Tarrance, who presided over the trial, signed the execution order and death warrant on July 10.
Mays was not brought in from death row, nor was there a court hearing. “The law does not require the judge to hold a hearing in order to set an execution date,” District Attorney Scott McKee said. “As soon as notice that the Fifth Circuit refused to grant Mays a Certificate of Appealability (COA), we filed a motion to set an execution date,” he explained. McKee indicated that this was the first available date provided to him from TDCJ through the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
The United States Supreme Court refused to grant a review of Mays’ appeal in October of 2011 and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied his Federal writ of habeas corpus in December of 2013.
Mays’ latest legal challenge involved a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Federal court last December in an attempt to gain what’s known as a Certificate of Appealability (COA) for his case. The suit was partly based on assertions that Mays is mentally handicapped, therefore, the State of Texas should not be allowed to execute him.
The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prior cases establish a precedent that the mentally handicapped do not receive an absolute constitutional protection from death penalty laws. As a result, the judges denied his request for a COA.
This is the second execution date set for Mays. Texas law mandates that a court cannot set an execution date until the convict has exhausted his State Appeals and State writ of habeas corpus. In May 2011, the District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to set the execution date before Mays filed his Federal writ of habeas corpus. Although his defense team fought the motion, the Court set the date for Aug. 23, 2011.
Mays is convicted of killing Henderson County deputies Paul Habelt and Tony Ogburn, when they responded to Mays’ Payne Springs ranch on a domestic call May 17, 2007.

Jul

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 17, 2014

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell Purtis Creek Park host Ron Antonisse counts off the 4Ws to pay attention to while kayaking. They are water, weather, waves and wind. In the background a man fishes along the shoreline from a kayak.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Purtis Creek Park host Ron Antonisse counts off the 4Ws to pay attention to while kayaking. They are water, weather, waves and wind. In the background a man fishes along the shoreline from a kayak.


By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–A handful of people gathered at Purtis Creek State Park July 12 for an introduction to safe kayaking. The class is free to those paying an entrance fee, as are guided tour events held at the park such as the moonlight kayaking tour when the moon is fullest.
The first 30 minutes taught the most important things to know before practicing with the boats.
Park host Ron Antonisse taught the course, which included listing the important factors to be aware of while on the water in a kayak.
Water may hold some unseen hazards such as stumps just below the surface.
If a kayak should get hung up on one of these stumps it’s important not to rock the boat side to side, but to slide the kayak back and forth to get free of the obstruction, Antonisse explained. “This is not a motorcycle, don’t lean,” he said.
Keeping an eye on weather conditions is also an important factor. You don’t want to be out of the water when heavy winds, waves or chance of lightning is possible.
Waves are another factor. Since it is very easy to tip over in a kayak, it is always preferred to move through waves head on rather than moving parallel to them.
The final factor is the wind. Paddling against the wind can quickly tire out a paddler should that occur, moving along the shoreline will be the best approach to returning to the launch point, he said.
On July 12, all four factors couldn’t have been better. The lake was calm, the weather, fair and the water level high enough to negate underwater stumps playing a major role.
After the class members practiced getting in and out of a kayak, holding the paddles with hands wide to keep the elbows at 90-degrees to the paddles and made final adjustments to proper fitting of life jackets, they launched themselves out onto the water.
After a little practice, all were able to move easily through the water. Next came a lesson in self-rescue. Two class members volunteered to tip their kayak over sending them into the lake and received instruction on how to turn the kayak over and get safely back into the shallow boat. It was noted that hoisting one’s body over the boat, followed by the legs to take up most the length of the kayak was the best way to stabilize the craft to get back inside it.
Then paddling out over the lake toward the water hazards was next, enjoying the views, sounds and even smells out on the water was so relaxing and enjoyable.
The class is suitable for individuals as well as families with small children. Life jackets were furnished, as were cold bottles of water afterward.
The next class starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 19 and a kayaking tour at 6:30 p.m.. The class is free with paid entrance to the park. For more information, call (903) 425-2332.

Jul

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : July 17, 2014

Courtesy Photo Gun Barrel City Masonic Youth Rainbow Girls recognized at the state conference in Waco June 26-29 are (from left) Michelle Sanderford, Shelby McGallian, Carrie Currey, Mother Advisor Tonya Currey, Emily Currey, Samantha Ramos and Tara Trimmins.

Courtesy Photo
Gun Barrel City Masonic Youth Rainbow Girls recognized at the state conference in Waco June 26-29 are (from left) Michelle Sanderford, Shelby McGallian, Carrie Currey, Mother Advisor Tonya Currey, Emily Currey, Samantha Ramos and Tara Trimmins.


Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Masonic Youth Rainbow Girls attended the state conference in Waco, June 26-29.
The Gun Barrel City Assembly was recognized for being an Exemplary Vanguard Assembly for having no loss in membership, participating in Box Tops and Labels for Education, supporting the Scottish Rite Hospital as the State Charity Project and contributing many hours of service.
Several members were regognized for years of service including:
• Carrie Currey, six years
• Tara Trimmins, four years, and
• Michelle Sanderford, three years.
Currey and Shelby McGallian earned proficiency certificates and Samantha Ramos competed in the Ritualistic Competition.
Currey was appointed as Grand Representative to Montana/Nebraska.
The girls participated at sessions as pages and guards, and sang in the choir. They were treated to an evening at the Hawaiian Falls Water Park in Waco.
The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is a service-oriented, leadership organization for girls between the ages of 11 and 20.
Rainbow Girls participate in a wide array of activities, including leadership training, service projects, competitions and annual retreats.
Their younger group, the Pledges, have activities for girls ages seven to 10.
For more information, call Donna Dean at (903) 345-2001 or Tonya Currey (903) 275-3524.
The Gun Barrel City Rainbow Girls and Pledges are sponsored by the Cedar Creek Lake Masonic Lodge and the Gun Barrel City Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star on Legendary Lane in Gun Barrel City.