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Current Issue
February 23, 2012






News in Brief

AARP free tax service
AARP tax-aide volunteers continue to offer free income tax help from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points on Wednesdays at the Senior Center in Malakoff and the Senior Center in Athens through April 15. For information call Gil Betts at (903) 778-2423.

Neil Sperry program
Keep Athens Beautiful presents an evening with horticulturist Neil Sperry from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, (tonight), at the Cain Center in Athens. The event is sponsored by Super 8 Athens and Merry Gardens by House Nursery. Tickets available at Keep Athens Beautiful, 201 W. Corsicana, Suite 4, Athens, TX 75751.

Styx gospel singing
The Styx Baptist Church is hosting its fourth Friday gospel singing, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. For information call (214) 616-4659.

St. Jude fish fry
The Knights of Columbus No. 8806 is hosting its Lenten fish fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 (and each Friday), at St. Jude Catholic Church, 172 Luther Lane, Gun Barrel City. All- you-can-eat farm raised catfish, french fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw. Beans and homemade desserts while they last furnished by the wives of the Knights. Funds earned benefit community, state and national projects including the local scholarship program.

K of C fish fry
The Knights of Columbus, Mary Queen of Heaven Council, Malakoff, is hosting an all-you-can-eat fish fry from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. Meal includes catfish, French fries, hushpuppies, coleslaw, drinks and home-baked goodies. Take SH 198 to Star Harbor Road (CR 3062) in Malakoff. Follow Catholic Church sign to CR 1703 (across from Malakoff High School).

Eustace VFD breakfast
The Eustace Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at the fire station.

VZ Democrats meet
The Van Zandt County Democrats meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at Van Zandt Democratic Headquarters located at 510 S. Trades Day Blvd, Canton. For information, call (903) 567-8484.

New Grace Trio
The New Grace Trio will perform at Central Baptist Church, 116 W. Mt. Vernon St., Mabank, during the 11 a.m. service, Sunday, Feb. 26. Come enjoy Southern gospel singing. No admission.

Humane Society change
The Humane Society board meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at the Dairy Queen, 110 West Cedar Creek Parkway, Seven Points. The community is welcome to attend board meetings held every fourth Monday.

CCL Civic League
The Cedar Creek Civic League meets at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at Tri-County Library, Mabank. A Trinity Valley Home Health Care representative is the featured speaker. Guests are welcome. For information call Joyce at (903) 451-3229.

CCL Women’s Club
The Cedar Creek Lake Women’s Club meets at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, and doors open at 10:30 a.m., at the Cedar Creek Country Club in Kemp Dr. Rose-Mary Rumbley will present the program, “My Thoughts Be Bloody.”

Kiwanis night at Chili’s
Bring your flyer to Chili’s from 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, for a 10 percent of sales donated to the Kiwanis Club of Cedar Creek Lake. Chili’s does the cooking while you support your club. Chili’s is located at 1261 W. Main St. Gun Barrel City. For information, call (903) 887-0572.

Annual PS water supply
The Payne Springs Water Supply Corporation annual membership meeting is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, at the PS Water Supply office, 9116 Frazier Lane, located off SH 198 South. Members are urged to attend. For information, call (903) 451-5300.

CC Model A Club
The Cedar Creek Model A Club meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 (first Tuesday of the month), at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Visitors are always welcome and you do not have to own a Model A to Join.

Eustace hosts MADD
The Eustace VFD will present a victims impact presentation by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, at the fire station. The department invites members of the community to help them fill the station to standing room only.


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Awards banquet views 90 years of history
Mabank VFD names Firefighter of Year
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Highlighting this year’s awards banquet for the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department Saturday night at Comfort Suites was historian and past fire chief Dick Bramblitt.
A series of downtown fires motivated the organizing of the Mabank Fire Department in September of 1920, Bramblitt said. It had 36 members and W. M. Covey as its first fire chief.
He listed fires in 1909, 1914 which burned wooden structures on Market Street and a really big fire in 1920, also on Market Street, burning buildings where the Victorian Lady Tea Room stands today.
Before the water system was built in Mabank, fires were fought with bucket brigades and hand-drawn carts holding two tanks of 30 gallons each of chemicals and water, he added. Soda, water and sulfuric acid would combine to discharge a pressurized mixture through a one-inch hose. Today one fire truck holds up to 1,000 gallons, he noted. It took 18 men to pull the cart by two long ropes, with a second team standing by to relieve them. The following year, the department purchased a Ford model T and mounted the drums on it.
The voters approved a bond in 1924 to build a city lake (1926), water system and tower with 172 votes in favor and 107 opposed, he said.
In 1927, the first fire station was built next to city hall for $1,000 and the first pumper model A truck was bought in 1929. The pump could shoot 150 gallons of water per minute. Bramblitt also said that before sirens, department members were called to fires by shotgun reports. Later, a fire bell was installed on a wooden tower behind Eubank Hardware Store.
Names of early fire chiefs included, L.H. Treadwell, T.L. Jennings, C.P. Churchwell, J.T. Selman, Hulette Jones, Howard Jones, Donald Gibbs, Durwood Jordan and Clarence Mixon.
Durwood Jordan retells of a most difficult fire at the J.C. Gibbs barn, Bramblitt relayed.
“The weather was freezing and Dub was driving the model A, which had no windshield. He was able to drive to Roddy when his hands got so cold he could no longer grip the steering wheel. Labon Smith, who had Ben crouched down in the seat, drove the rest of the way. Ice had to be broken on a nearby tank to obtain water. Jordan said he remembered how grateful all the firemen were to Mrs. Ella Gibbs for bringing them hot coffee to help keep them warm.”
Several former fire department members attended the banquet to hear about the old days, including brothers Bert and Jim Clark.
A second speaker, Jason Harris, picked up the history recalling the April, 1992 bank building fire, where several were injured and the city suffered the loss of a historic building. Harris was a junior in high school at the time. And during the Aug. 4, 2006 fire, which again burned historic buildings on Market Street, Grey was leading a group of men on the back side of the fire.
“This fire department has grown along with the city, and now has three fire stations. I want you to know you’re looking at some of the best firefighters in the state of Texas,” Harris said to thunderous applause.
He pointed out fire chief Ricky Myrick, who has led the department since 1989 and who joined the department in 1976.
With a family history of participation with the fire department, Myrick’s grandfather, Temple Dorough also served as fire chief and is the first man listed on the department’s Firefighter Hall of Fame, along with Robert Hamilton, Dick Bramblitt, Cozell McAfee, W. A. Algood and R. W. Wier, among others.
Master of Ceremonies Robert Munden introduced a new feature of the annual awards banquet with the introduction of the Fraternity of 1,000.
Since 1993, the Mabank Fire Department has answered 10,128 calls he said, averaging 533 per year.
Those with career totals of more than 1,000 calls answered included Mike Rowan, 1,947; Daryl West, at age 71, answered 1,725 calls; Jim McKee, 1,539; Dameon Milton, 1,458; Wayne McKenzie II, 1,368; David Owens, 1,243; Paul Hightower., 1,202; Andy Jeffers, 1,200 and Mike Bass 1,010.
Those answering more than 2,000 calls over their career were Kyle McAfee, 2,788 and Mat Ewaskiw with 2,962 calls.
Those with 4,000 calls include John Holcomb, who was the first to ever do it in 2006 and today has 4,981 to his credit. He is followed by fire chief Ricky Myrick with 4,906.


Kemp plunges ahead on water issue
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Kemp mayor Donald Kile reported Feb. 14 that a number of public hearings for the water development grant process are underway.
Kemp is seeking half a million dollars to connect with water provider West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District, so it can shut down its own water system for much-needed repairs and upgrades to both plant and water lines.
The first one was held Feb. 7. The grant process is hoped to result in financing for the $500,000 cost of extending a six-inch water line from West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District to serve the city, so work can be done to upgrade and renovate the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure.
Kile also said, anyone interested may be added to the call-out system to receive timely messages of upcoming meetings and alerts via e-mail or cell phone. Forms are available at city hall.
He also said storm warning sirens should be functional the end of March.
County Road 4023 still needs some additional rehabilitation, but should be ready for chip sealing by the end of March, he added.
Following police Chief Richard Clemmo’s report about focusing on “holding the (patrol) cars together,” council man Jessie Morton agreed that a fix for the aging vehicles was needed.
“Something’s really got to be done for the patrol vehicles. This is no joke,” Morton said.
Kile also informed the public that the council has held a number of interviews with applicants for the city administrator post and has narrowed their choices down and have been in negotiations with one of them.
However, following a closed session on personnel matters Tuesday, the council took no action.
In other business, council members:
• tabled consideration of a new flag for the city park, with mayor Donald Kile casting the deciding tie-breaker.
• approved 3-1 to retain $100 per 1,000 gallons over 10,000 gallon monthly water usage deterrents during water rationing. Councilman Tommy McSpedden opposed the penalty, since the law already provides a fine deterrent to going over the limit during water rationing.
• resolved to give litigants and Atmos Energy an additional 90 days before adopting new gas rates at the request of the gas provider.
• amended an ordinance to include the city’s public works director or a designee to comprise part of the capital improvements oversight committee for utility projects.
• heard from Saragene Cool about better compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
• named councilman Leodis Buckley to the Economic Development Board to replace Alan Palmer, whose term expires in October.
• heard on the success of the lasagna fundraiser for the senior center and plans for the Spring Festival to be held March 31.







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