Sunday, January 7, 2007

     

 

  Rains raise lake by 15.6 inches
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Citizens driving the local roads are treated to a sight that hasn’t been common for a long time – standing water on fields, in ditches and brimming stock ponds.
Cedar Creek Lake is up by 15.6 inches, reservoir manager Bucky Butler said.
“We need several more rains like the last one we received to bring the lake up to the full (322 feet) mark,” Butler said.
The Dec. 29 rain event dumped 2.91 inches of rain at the spillway office, he said.
“Other areas reported higher levels, from Trinidad to north of Mabank, some up to four inches,” he said.
Before the storm, the lake level was 314.67 feet. Following the rain, the lake was up to 315.98 feet, Butler explained.
“We are still receiving some runoff from Kings Creek, Cedar Creek and other watershed areas,” Butler pointed out.
Although the lake is still six feet low, Butler said it is possible to fill it full by spring.
“We need several rain events, back to back, like we received,” he said.
“We got enough to saturate the ground and to fill stock tanks. This will mean good runoff from the next rain event,” he explained.
The widespread rains in North and Central Texas all had an affect on the lake. For instance, in the Fort Worth area, enough rain fell to help their lakes, such as Lake Arlington.
“We stopped pumping. We are no longer pumping out of Cedar Creek to the Fort Worth area,” Butler said.
Before the rain, Cedar Creek was supplying 100 million gallons a day to the Fort Worth area, he said.
Local water supply companies also are looking for future rainfall.
“We can tell the difference (in the lake level). Every little bit helps. But we still need the lake to come up by several feet,” Tony Jenkins, maintenance director for the city of Kemp said.
“We were glad to get what we did, but we need a lot more,” James Stroman, Kemp city administrator said.
“The rains have made it wet, but not enough,” Bill Goheen, general manager of East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District agreed.
“But, it has put a little comfort zone into our planning going into emergency pumping strategies for spring,” Goheen added
Although the previous forecast for a warm, wet winter seems to be slipping away, the weather statisticians are predicting El Niño (the warm water currents) can bring more rainfall in the spring, Goheen explained.
“We need more rain, but we are still waiting on a dry weather window to finish up the 300 feet of eight-inch (sewer) line between Bonita Point and Tamarack before the lake comes back up,” he said.
While everyone is celebrating the exceptional rainfall, Kaufman County Extension Agent Ralph Davis says not to celebrate too soon.
“It’s still expected to be a drought year,” Davis reminded everyone.
He said Eric Taylor, with the Texas Forestry Service, say statistics show the area is in the 11th year of a 25 year drought cycle.
“And, if it quits raining in May, it’s going to get a lot drier,” Davis warned.
But there is some hope. It’s just too early to know the effects on the spring grass growing season.
Last year, hay prices shot up as production fell sharply. Some farmers and ranchers were forced to search far and wide for hay.
“We really don’t know yet (how much help the weather will be). We’re still six to seven inches behind in rainfall. I do think it will help our winter pastures, especially with some warm weather (70 degree days),” Davis explained.
“We did fill our tanks. It should help, but we need a lot more rain,” he said.


Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Standing water in ditches, stockponds and pastures is a common sight following recent rains. Pictured is a ditch on Farm-to-Market 2613 through the Styx area.


Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Recent rains have filled area stockponds, a welcome sight for those who have animals to care for. This pond is located on Farm-to-Market 2613.

Furniture store prepares for move
By Mary Landrie Monitor Correspondant
GUN BARREL CITY–Cedar Creek Lake area residents will soon have 22,000 more square feet of showroom space to shop for new furniture.
Terry’s Furniture is preparing to open its new building in Gun Barrel City, which will replace the existing store located in downtown Mabank.
Terry’s began its inventory reduction sale this weekend, which will continue through January, to prepare for the move and make way for new merchandise.
“We’re going to probably have the widest variety here on the lake, as far as different styles, including contemporary, western and formal,” manager Darrell McSwain said.
With the expansion comes an open floor plan design, furniture styles featured in the Tyler and Longview locations, as well as a variety that consumers would usually find in the Dallas area, but with lower prices, according to McSwain.
Along with the new location, 408 West Main St. in Gun Barrel City, comes new hours.
The new store will be open seven days a week, with Monday through Saturday hours being 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
The re-opening of Terry’s Furniture in its brand-new location is expected the last week of January or the first part of February.
“I think every one will be surprised how much difference there will be,” McSwain said. “It’s going to be a really nice store.”

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Store Manager Darrell McSwain is eager to open Terry’s new 22,000-square-foot store in Gun Barrel City.

Lakeshore Utility to raise water and sewer rates Feb. 1
By Mary Landrie
Monitor Correspondent

ATHENS–Rates are rising, effective Thursday, Feb. 1, for residents of the Cedar Creek Lake area that use Lakeshore Utility Company for water and sewer services.
This is only the second rate increase since 1987, the most recent being in May, 2000, Lakeshore Utility Company (LUC) pointed out in a Dec. 1 notice.
LUC is attributing the rate change to increases in operating costs and required additional investment of LUC systems.
The company claims overhead costs, such as electricity and phone service, and the cost of base materials, such as steel, copper and fuel, have more than doubled since the last rate increase.
The price of water is expected to increase more than $19 for every 10,000 gallons of water used, and about $30 for every 30,000 gallons used. Sewer prices also will increase almost $19 on a 10,000-gallon flat rate.
A billing comparison offered in the LUC notice showed an existing $52.33 bill for 10,000 gallons of water would increase to $71.65, while an existing $132.33 charge for 30,000 gallons of water would increase to $160.65.
Sewer fees would increase from a flat rate of $26.33 per month to a proposed rate of $45.40.
Miscellaneous fees such as reconnects, transfers, late charges, returned checks and master test fees will remain the same for water service, but sewer clients can expect to see a transfer fee of $45 and a returned check fee of $25, while all other fees remain the same.
Communities that can expect to see an increase for water include:
• In Point La Vista: Point La Vista Court, Clearwater Bay, Pearl Harbor Estates and Dorchester
• Cedarview Estates Subdivision
• In Esquire Estates II: Esquire Estates II and Rock-N-Roll subdivisions
• In Clear Creek Resort: Clear Creek Resort, Park Harbor, Lake Oaks and Shadow Ridge
• Lake Vista Village Subdivision
• In Dixie Isle/Oak Hill Park: Dixie Isle, Oak Hill Park, Magnolia Estates, Christopher’s Ridge, The Fourth Estates, Kings Point, Pete’s Paradise, Adrian Acres, Moonlight Bay, Idlewood Bay and Windy Acres
• In East Lake Woods: East Lake Woods I, II, III and IV
• The Reserve Subdivision.
Communities that will see an increase for sewer include:
• In Point La Vista: Clearwater Bay, Pearl Harbor Estates, Dorchester, Point La Vista Court and Clear Point Estates
• In Esquire Estates II: Rock-N-Roll subdivision
Clients are given 91 days after the proposed effective date of Feb. 1, or Wednesday, May 2, to protest the rate hike to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
If the commission receives protests to the proposed increases from 10 percent of the ratepayers, or from any affected municipality, before May 2, a public hearing will be scheduled to determine if the proposed rates are reasonable. Otherwise, the increase will remain effective.
Protests can be mailed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Water Supply Division, Utilities and Districts Section MC 153, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711.
Copies of the rate change application can be inspected at customers’ local utility office.