Sunday, February 11, 2007




Original dealership building comes down, following storm
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–A piece of history came down Wednesday afternoon, as a tracked backhoe began knocking down a portion of Tri-County Ford’s original building.
The roof of the building – which dated back to the mid-1920s – collapsed during a severe thunderstorm Dec. 30.
The storm dumped nearly five inches of rain on the Cedar Creek Lake area, and was part of a series of storms that spawned several tornadoes, including one that tore through the town of Poynor on the Henderson-Anderson county line.
For Tri-County Ford owner Andrea Pickens, Wednesday’s demolition was literally like watching a part of her family die. After all, it had been owned by her family since the 1930s.
Her father, Andrew Gibbs, operated the Ford dealership for many years, and she literally grew up in the service department.
As the Cap City Dirtwork backhoe pushed down the brick wall and ripped up the roof fabric, Pickens showed bystanders a Ford Service manual published in 1926.
The hardback book (with a price of $2.50 printed on the cover) lists step-by-step processes to make repairs to a Ford automobile, including how to disassemble and assemble one. It doesn’t specifically say which model, but Ford sold 15 million Model Ts from 1908 through 1926.
(By the way, assembling the car begins with the leaf springs, which are attached to the frame. The running boards and fenders are attached midway through, followed by the dashboard.)
Profusely illustrated, the manual shows how an ideal Ford service area should be set up, and how to make repairs on all major sub-assemblies, such as the transmission.
Pickens said a customer gave her the book last year. The customer’s husband worked at the old Ford assembly plant on East Grand Street in downtown Dallas.
Pickens related she also had obtained a wooden fuel gauge given to Tri-County Ford customers during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Because they were made of wood, few of the gauges have survived, she said.
“It has our telephone number (1) on the back,” she added.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Tri-County Ford owner Andrea Pickens holds a 1926-vintage Ford Motor Co. service manual, open to a diagram showing the ideal set-up for a Ford dealership service facility. In the background, a tracked backhoe demolishes a portion of the dealership’s original shop area, which was heavily damaged during a severe thunderstorm Dec. 30.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
A tracked backhoe operated by Seven Points-based Cap City Dirtwork knocks down the rear wall of the original service shop at Tri-County Ford in downtown Mabank Wednesday.

Illness closes more schools
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Malakoff and Trinidad schools joined Eustace in closing because of illness among students and teachers.
Eustace schools reopened Thursday, after being closed Tuesday and Wednesday. However, Thursday’s attendance numbers were no better.
Nearly 80 more absences were reported Thursday, making a total of 305 students out of 1,575 enrolled.
So, superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe sent letters home advising parents Eustace schools would be closed again on Friday.
Holcombe consulted with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, who confirmed the presence of a flu strain hitting the Cedar Creek Lake area.
This strain is passed by direct contact, and through the respiratory system, Holcombe reported.
“We’ll put our kids’ safety first, and work out making up the time the best we can,” he said.
School administrators hope the sick days, plus the weekend, will give students and staff ample time to recuperate from illness marked by spiking fevers and nausea.
Malakoff superintendent Larry Hulsey predicted Tuesday if more than 20 percent of students were absent on Wednesday, he would close the schools. At that time, attendance was around 83 percent, Hulsey reported.
In addition to about 240 student absences Wednesday, 11 teachers reported in sick and five more were forced to miss school to care for their own sick children.
Malakoff has 1,150 students enrolled.
Trinidad had reported Tuesday having slightly less than 10 percent out of school due to illness.
Trinidad administrative assistant Betty Sanders reported a large number of students visiting the nurse’s office earlier in the week.
No one was available for comment on Thursday.
Mabank ISD is doing somewhat better, as far as attendance goes, and Kemp ISD reported a decrease in absences Thursday.
“We have 50 more students in class today than we had yesterday,” Kemp administrative assistant Kim Johnson said. “Perhaps we’ve turned a corner.”
Kemp Primary school nurse Beth Ishmael identified one case of chicken pox this week, and sent notices home to parents.
“I’ve seen a definite rise in the number of kids coming to see me, but nothing epidemic,” Ishmael added, saying most complaints are gastro-intestinal.
At Mabank, about 89 percent of the students were in classes Thursday, which isn’t bad for this time of year, superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall told The Monitor.
“We are concerned, but not alarmed,” he said.
School staff are encouraging frequent hand-washing by teachers and students. In addition, more attention is being given to disinfecting, he added.
“We’ve got a lot of sick people,” Russell said. “This has not totally missed us.”

Council supports two affordable housing projects
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The Mabank City Council gave its blessing to two affordable housing projects set for the city.
One is a rehabilitation of Meadow Lake Village’s 40 apartments on 209 Grand St. And the second is a 76- unit housing project on eight acres on State Highway 198.
The council passed two resolutions welcoming the development and rehab as part of the developer’s application for housing tax credits under the Texas Housing Department and Community Affairs Home Program.
Mabank Residential Apartments LTD has proposed to purchase and rehabilitate Meadow Lake Village Apartments by assuming the present owner’s $1.68 million loan.
Speaking on behalf of Mabank Residential, Marcy Graves says the company plans on spending an additional $1,567 million on a complete overhaul of the complex.
“We plan to completely gut them and refurnish with new flooring, cabinets, appliances and fixtures,” Graves explained.
The work is planned in three-unit phases so as to limit dislodging the current occupants, she said.
Betco-Cedar Creek Housing, LP proposes the development of affordable rental housing at SH 198 and Manning Street by the name of The Bluestone in Mabank.
The mixed-use project is to include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and single-family homes, rising no more than two stories in height, spokesman Bruce Spitzengel said.
The project will also include amenities such as parks, and a clubhouse, following federal guidelines.
Work is projected to begin in the spring of 2008.
In other business, the council:
• denied an extension to demolish a structure at 418 W. Market St. deemed unsafe.
• ordered an election on May 12 to elect a mayor and two city council members.
• contracted for election services with Kaufman County at a cost of $1,600.