Sunday, February 7, 2010





  Two dead after driver blows by stop sign
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Two women are dead in the aftermath of a car accident shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the junction of State Highway 334 and U.S. Highway 175 at the east end of Gun Barrel City.
Henderson County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock pronounced Edgewood resident Karen Irene Hall, 51, dead at the scene.
GBCwreck.jpg (210015 bytes)Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey Gun Barrel City firefighters stand guard over a smashed Mitsubishi Galant, where two women died in a collision in rainy weather around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Highway 175 and State Highway 334 intersection east of Gun Barrel City. The red Titan Nissan pickup was facing west, waiting to make the turn onto SH 334 when the Mitsubishi was struck by an eastbound pickup on U.S. 175, halting traffic in all directions for more than two hours.

Her passenger, Toni Lynn Drinning, 29, of Dallas, was also pronounced dead after being transported to East Texas Medical Center-Athens. Henderson County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Johnny Adams was on hand at the hospital.
Gun Barrel City Police Sgt. Dennis Wehland reported Hall was driving a 2002 white Mitsubishi Galant eastbound on SH 334, and passed another eastbound vehicle stopped at the stop sign by CJ’s gas station and convenience store. The stopped vehicle was a Pontiac Grand AM, he said.
When the Mitsubishi entered U.S. 175 it was immediately struck by an eastbound 95 Toyota pickup, driven by Gun Barrel City resident David Taylor, 24. Taylor’s Toyota T-boned the Mitsubishi and careened off the eastbound roadway into a ditch.
The impact sent the Mitsubishi spinning into the front of a westbound 2006 red Nissan pickup, which was waiting to turn left onto SH 334.
No other injuries were reported, and no one else was transported to area hospitals, Wehland said. “Everyone was very shook up, though,” he said.
Police received an emergency call on the incident at 5:49 p.m., he added.
Traffic on U.S. 175 and SH 334 was blocked off for more than two hours as a result of the accident.


Church sanctuary destroyed
Another church succumbs to flames
By Randal Brewer
Monitor Staff Writer

WILLS POINT—Another church building went up in flames, this time in Wills Point.
The early Thursday morning fire destroyed the sanctuary of the Russell Memorial United Methodist Church.
The Mabank and Rains firefighting units were called in to assist Wills Point and Edgewood.
A 9-1-1 call came through Van Zandt County dispatch at 5:30 a.m., and firefighting crews found heavy smoke coming from the building upon arrival.
“We had a three-man crew make forcible entry through the west door at the foyer and enter the sanctuary,” said Wills Point Fire Marshal Larry Byford.
“There was heavy fire located around the pulpit on the platform. The crew reported that the platform was sagging to the point of collapse.”
WPchurchFire.jpg (523963 bytes)Monitor Photo/Randal Brewer
Numerous fire departments were called in to help fight a church fire in Wills Point Thursday morning. By the time firefighters could get the blaze under control, the sanctuary at Russell Memorial United Methodist Church was a total loss.

After the interior sanctuary fire was knocked down, heavy smoke continued pouring out of the attic from the eaves and the gables.
Crews from Wills Point and Edgewood attempted to cut holes in the gables and apply water, but the roof began to collapse.
“At first we could hear a partial collapse, and we pulled everybody back and it became a defensive fire at that point,” Byford said.
In addition to Edgewood and Wills Point, crews from Mabank and Rains responded to the call.
With a recent series of church fires in the East Texas area, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Texas Rangers were called in to assist in the investigation. No other information was available at press time.
Church members said Sunday services will be held in the Deen Building.


‘Clean up or pay the piper,’ says Mabank councilman
Abandoned vehicle ordinance to include boats
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–Mabank councilman Midge Odom is tired of the mess some Mabank residents and businesses seem allowed to keep, and he told the code enforcement officer so Tuesday.
“There must be at least 15 boats in the yard at 220 Coleman,” he complained.
Code Enforcement officer Mat Ewaskiw answered that the city’s ordinance does not include boats, and so he has been unable to touch them.
“We’ve been trying to work with this individual for a while now,” Ewaskiw said. “When we cited him for not having an address number, he took a can of spray paint and painted numbers across his house.”
He also only lives here part-time, city administrator Louann Confer said.
“We can amend the ordinance to include unregistered boats without insurance,” she offered.
Currently, the ordinance requires all vehicles on private property within the city limits to show current registration, or they can be towed off as junk.
“We’ve removed a lot of those kinds of vehicles over the last two years,” Ewaskiw said.
Odom also cited other unsightly addresses, and Ewaskiw told him he is working with those folks as well, and as long as they are making some progress every 10 days, he doesn’t write them another citation.
The council directed Ewaskiw to prepare a prioritized list of properties either needing to be cleaned up, or demolished and a status note on each one.
The council also suggested giving others on the list a deadline to complete the task assigned by the code enforcement officer. After that date, a $500 citation will be written each day it continues to be out of compliance.
Confer also agreed to write a letter to the commercial lot owner on Business 175, who is using his lot for storage, pointing out no outdoor storage is allowed in the city.
In other business, council members:
• reviewed a Racial Profiling report for 2009, submitted by police chief Kyle McAfee.
• adopted a floodplain ordinance.
• adopted an ordinance prohibiting drilling of water wells within the city.
• heard a commendation of the Mabank Police Department from the general contractor for the recently opened Comfort Suites.
He reported this is the first project he’s worked on where no equipment or material were stolen from the job site, McAfee said, adding his department stepped up patrols during construction.

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