Monthly Archives: July 2008

Rockwall County’s tax rate likely to increase slightly

Rockwall County’s tax rate is likely to increase very slightly this year to begin making debt payments for the new $11.5 million library, which voters approved in 2004.

Last year county commissioners cut the tax rate from 35.07 to 35 cents per $100 valuation, but this year the County must also begin paying off debt on the planned $30 million justice center, though that will have less impact for now on the tax rate.

Although the county expects to receive $1.6 to $1.9 million in new tax revenue in 2009, commissioners must still pay for rising costs and salaries – especially for library operations. The bonds don’t pay for library salaries and other expenses, and those could add $1 million to the $21 million general budget.

County Judge Chris Florance is scheduled to propose the first budget draft July 31. Then commissioners will make revisions, hold two public hearings and vote for the final budget on Sept. 9.

McDonalds to change “Happy Meals” to “Gay Meals?”

In little ol’ family-oriented, conservative Rockwall you may not have heard that McDonalds is now a major supporter of the homosexual agenda, after donating $20,000 to become an official “organizational ally and corporate partner” of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and secure a seat on the group’s board of directors.

NGLCC describes itself as promoting the LGBT community first and always, including same sex marriage, and lobbies against laws protecting marriage as between a man and a woman.

In return, the NGLCC placed Richard Ellis, vice president of communications of McDonald’s USA, on the NGLCC Board of Directors.

In a telephone call from McDonald’s Vice-President Jack Daly, on May 2, he confirmed to the American Family Association that it gave $20,000 to the NGLCC.

In addition, Daly told AFA that Richard Ellis, vice president of communications for McDonald’s, is a “gay man” and personally approved the donation to the NGLCC.

“McDonald’s is indeed a Corporate Partner and Organizational Ally of NGLCC. Our vice president of U.S. communications, Richard Ellis, was recently elected to its board of directors,” said Heidi M. Barker, senior director of media relations for McDonald’s.

NGLCC gives credit to sponsors such as McDonald’s for its financial and other support that helps in its work.

“Through the commitment of our corporate partners, the NGLCC has been able to advance the ideas and causes of the LGBT business community,” the Chamber said.

In addition, McDonalds signed on as a major sponsor of the 2007 San Francisco Gay Pride parade with a TV commercial in which McDonalds states that it is “a company that actively demonstrates its commitment to the gay and lesbian community.”

Want to see what McDonald’s considers worthy of support? Click here. Scroll down the page to see the photos. (Warning: These photos are extremely graphic, contain frontal nudity and may be considered offensive. They are part of a campaign by the American Family Association’s campaign to boycott McDonalds.)

Helping Hands planning Fall Market to help non-profits raise funds

The Rockwall Helping Hands relief agency is planning a Fall flea market Oct. 25 as a fund raising opportunity for other non-profits, churches and civic organizations.

The only cost for a booth is $50, which will be used solely to advertise the event. Groups will then be able to keep any profits they earn.

To register or for more details, call 972-771-4357, ext. 7 or e-mail

American Legion Post offering free dinners, VIP seating to returning veterans

The American Legion Post 117 in Rockwall is offering complimentary dinners and VIP seating at various venues for veterans returning to the Rockwall area.

If interested, contact Craig Zurek at 972-771-5352 or zurek@, or Chuck Bealmear at 469-698-0114 or

Apply by Aug. 15 to serve on Rockwall boards or commissions

Residents interested in serving on Rockwall boards and commissions must apply by 5 p.m. Aug. 15.

Applications are available at City Hall or at CitySecretary.

Dallas Summer Musicals school expanding to Rockwall

Dallas Summer Musicals musical dance school has announced that it is expanding it’s program to bring musical theatre to children and adults in Rockall, as well as seven other DFW communities.

According to Kevin Cook, Director of Education for the DSM School of Musical Theatre, the school is partnering with dance schools in the eight communities to provide children and adults musical theatre classes with professional instructors teaching classes just as if they were in a play or a musical.

These classes are in addition to the regularly scheduled DSM summer classes which take place at The Majestic Theatre in downtown Dallas each summer, he said.

Darrell Cleveland from Dallas Black Dance Theatre is the primary choreographer/instructor and Denis Kashoid from Moscow Conservatory of Music is the primary musical director/instructor for this first-ever satellite program.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer these classes in collaboration with other professionals in these cities to bring the best of what DSM School of Musical Theatre has to offer,” Cook said.

In Rockwall, DSM is partnering with Studio M, located at 316 S. Goliad, Suite 107 in Rockwall.

Three evening classes begin September 16, each for 14 weeks, for various age groups. For information, contact Studio M at 214-771-3161or visit

You can also call Dallas Summer Musicals at 214-969-7469 or visit

New County library to open in Rockwall Sept. 7

In case you haven’t heard, the old County library on Highway 66 closed July 19, but the brand new one will open soon.

The new facility at 1215 East Yellowjacket will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, September 7th at 2:00 PM. The public is invited to attend. The building is right across the street from the Wilkerson-Sanders RISD football stadium. The first official day of business will be Sept. 8.

The Friends of the Library Capital Campaign continues to solicit and accept donations needed to fund the programs for children such as story time, computers, books and magazines and entertainment.

To contribute, Call Nancy Rothacker 972-771-3389 or visit

State claims Royse City Sunmart cheating gas customers

Numerous Sunmart gas stations across the state – including in Royse City – have cheated Texas consumers by systematically overcharging gas customers and giving them less fuel than purchased, the Texas Department of Agriculture announced July 22.

The department’s investigation, dubbed “Operation Spotlight,” found that 47 of the 86 Sunmart stations in Texas cheated customers during a three-day operation that ended last Sunday.

According to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, whose office is charged with checking fuel pumps, the weekend investigation found 990 pumps were rigged to favor Petroleum Wholesale, which operates gas stations under the name Sunmart, by as much as one-tenth of a gallon for every five gallons sold. Pumps found to be in violation were immediately shut down by state inspectors.

“I strongly suspect this was an intentional act,” said Staples.

“At a time when families are struggling to purchase fuel, I am sure all Texans would agree with me that despicable violations such as these are repulsive and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office is investigating, Staples added, noting that his office could fine the company as much as $100,000.

Sunmart, the operating name for Petroleum Wholesale, also operates gas stations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. Staples said he has alerted officials in those states to his findings.

Local bank introduces 401(k) plan for small business customers

A local community bank has just announced the introduction of what they claim is an innovative retirement plan which will provide small business customers with a more affordable option for establishing 401(k) retirement plans.
“This product is truly a first in the marketplace,” said Kathy Howe, executive vice president of American National Bank (ANB) of Texas, one of the state’s oldest and largest community banks.
“The expense related to establishing and maintaining a traditional 401(k) can be cost prohibitive for small businesses. ANB’s “YOUR kPlan” leverages the advantages of a multiple employer plan (MEP) without the requirements of being affiliated with an association.”
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Farmers Market begins Saturdays on Old Town Rockwall Square

A Farmers Market began last Saturday morning in Old Town Rockwall on the Downtown Square at the corner of Rusk and Goliad streets in the parking lot of the County Courthouse.

Sponsored by The Friends of Downtown Rockwall and the City of Rockwall, the market will operate on Saturdays from July 19 through August 23, from 8 a.m. until noon.

Market sponsors say they hope the market will attract home-grown items along with organic products, just as other cities in surrounding areas have done.

The cost is $10 to rent a 10’ x 10’ space for each market day.

For more information, please contact the Friends of Downtown Rockwall at (972) 772-6789 or e-mail