Sep

23

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 23, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–This week a Kemp teacher was charged with engaging in sexual communication with a minor by use of technology, the result of an investigation taken up by authorities in Oklahoma where he was previously employed. Joseph Kolt Palmer was booked into the Kaufman County jail Sept. 20 on the out-of-state charge. Palmer, 27, was hired this year by Kemp ISD to serve as a P.E. teacher at the junior high school.
Kemp ISD Superintendent Phil Edwards said he had no knowledge of the investigation or that he was criminally charged until a television news reporter informed him the day before the arrest. He further said that a background check returned a clean record. Palmer claimed that Kemp ISD would be his first teaching job.
However, that wasn’t true, he had taught at Yale High School in Oklahoma. He was terminated in May 2015, for inappropriate relationship with a student. After law enforcement began investigations into allegations of his cell phone behavior with some of the female students, he moved away.
About a month ago, he moved to Texas and sought employment as a teacher. His resume and application left off his teaching in Oklahoma, and he had not been charged at that time.

Sep

23

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 23, 2016

Monitor Staff Reports
NEW SUMMERFIELD–The Eustace cross country team completed a clean sweep of first place finishes at the New Summerfield Invitational Sept. 17.
Both girls and boys’ varsity and junior varsity teams won their collective contests, showing just how dominant and deep the cross country program is in Eustace.
The varsity girls claimed seven of the top 10 spots in the race, led by Chanda Westbrook (11:52.80) in first place and Sabrina Davis (12:22.30) in second. Westbrook is distancing herself among the elite of all cross country runners in Texas, finishing 20 seconds ahead of the next fastest runner.
Team captain and newly crowned Homecoming and Rodeo Queen Shelby White came in fourth with a time of 12:43.90, and Cara Henson ended the race in fifth place with a time of 12:50. Skye Burns was seventh (13:10.70).
Rounding out the team were Reece Thorne in eighth (13:13), Molly McAtee in 10th (13:19.10).
Also winning their respective race, varsity boys had six runners in the top 10. The boys team was led by frontrunner Ericsen Gudjohnsen, who finished in first place with a time of (14:54.40).
Zane Arambula was third (15:15), Michael Wong fifth (15:37.20), Micah Zimmerer seventh (15:45.60), Andrew Page ninth (15:51) and Nicolas Westbrook 10th (15:51.40).
Both junior varsity teams took first place with perfect scores of 15 points. To get the low score of 15 points, which like golf, gains you a victory, the team must finish with the top five runners in the race. The junior varsity boys were led by Ayden Reed and Ben Warren. The girls got the first eight finishing spots, led Macy Penix and Brooke McAtee.

Sep

21

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 21, 2016

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Commissioners adopted the 2017 fiscal year county budget, 3-2, Monday with commissioners Jimmy Vrzalik and Ken Schoen opposed. Precinct 1 Commissioner Vrzalik described the reset salaries, expenses and other allowances of all elected county and precinct offices as “vastly unfair. No way the citizens of Kaufman County should support this,” he said.
The general fund totals $39,317,896, that’s a little more than $2,000,000 more than last year, reflective of $600 pay raises to all elected officials, along with allowances for cell phone expenses, use of personal car for justices of the peace; and longevity pay, most less than $100. Three noted exceptions are County Judge of $2,457.12, and $1,736 for Precincts 3 and 4 Justices of the Peace.
With a 97 percent tax collection rate, the county estimates collecting $31,245,704. Additional revenues from fees, sales tax on mixed drinks sales, interest, and other revenues, such as a federal contract to house prisoners adds another $8.8M.
The commissioners adopted a tax rate of 58.87 cents per $100 of taxable property value, which is estimated to raise $4,530,386.44, an increase of 10.81 percent of which $1,136,938.41 comes from new property added to the tax roll this year. The tax rate reflects a 2.18 percent increase over last year’s rate. Within that rate structure the portion set aside for road and bridge funding increased from 8.67 cents per $100 to 9.20 cents.
The sole person addressing the commissioners during the last public hearing on the budget came from Precinct 3 Constable Keith Stephens, who opposed losing funding for a part-time position that would impact the office’s work load of serving 538 papers so far this year. Earlier, Stephens had resisted aiding the tax office in Terrell in making daily bank deposit runs on its behalf. Precincts 1 and 2 constables said they would do it, so commissioners split a $20,000 funding for the part-time position between the two willing constable offices to make the deposits in Precinct 3, Judge Wood explained to The Monitor.
In other business, commissioners:
• changed the personnel handbook regarding the rehire of former retired employees to stipulate a minimum of three calendar months since retiring before rehiring.
• reappointed Randy Richards as Kaufman County Fire Marshal
• approved the purchase of issued handguns at 50 percent fair market value to retiring officers Keith Ramsey and Tim Spillman for $218.33.
• adopted the County Clerk’s Records Archive Plan of charging a $10 fee until 2019 for the recording of documents.
• approved a memorandum of understanding with North Central Texas Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging, where the county contributes $13,000 and gets back $300,000 worth of services. “Seems a pretty good deal for the citizens of Kaufman County,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Ken Schoen said.