Burglars vandalize ECCFWSD Welch Lane office
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITYWater customers were turned away from East Cedar Creek Fresh Water
Supply District Thursday morning.
Police block off the drive-thru and parking lot at the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply
District office Thursday morning, while they collect evidence that might lead them to the
ones who broke into the office overnight. At presstime, a list of what was taken was not
yet available. However, the office contained one days worth of payments from
The office was broken into overnight, and a unspecified
amount of cash was taken.
General manager Bill Goheen was reported none of the districts computer systems were
compromised, and no customers are at risk of identity theft as a result of the incident.
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Investigators believe burglars cut this hole to enter the ECCFWSD metal
building from the back.
However, the largest expense was the extensive damage done to the building itself.
Police blocked off the drive-thru and parking lot while they conducted an investigation.
The alarm didnt signal, because power and phone lines were cut.
Broken glass from the lights above the drive-thru also littered the ground.
Goheen had arrived at the Welch Lane office to catch up on work he missed while in Corpus
Christi attending a conference.
It was my first day back. But, I doubt Ill get much work done today, he
told The Monitor. He and other office staff arriving for work were left waiting outside in
the cold, while police did their work inside.
However, by 1 p.m., the office opened for business.
I want to thank the Gun Barrel City police and fire departments for conducting a
thorough investigation of this incident, Goheen said.
The burglars got in through a hole they cut in the corrugated metal wall at the rear of
the building. It looked like they squeezed in between a water heater and a built-in table.
However, they took a different exit, shattering a window in the conference room on the
No computers seemed to have been taken, Goheen reported.
Stored overnight were the monies collected from the day before, office manager Angie
Crowsley said. The amount was unknown.
Crowsley was the first one to unlock the door Thursday morning and saw that the office had
She called 9-1-1, and several officers from the Gun Barrel Police Department were
dispatched to the scene.
The office doesnt have security cameras installed, but cameras are in the FY 2010
budget, Goheen said.
Board president David Burch was also notified and surveyed the damage to the outside of
the building Thursday morning.
If anyone has information related to the break-in at the ECCFWSD office Wednesday night or
early Thursday morning, please call the Gun Barrel City Police Department at (903)
887-7151. When the recording starts, select option 1.
Cross country wagon trip passes through
Couple enjoy open road with none of the hassles
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer
MALAKOFFThe American Spirit came riding through Malakoff earlier this month, pulled
by a pair of draft horses named Doc and Bob.
A couple from Mays, Ind., are making their third trip across the country.
Bob Skelding, 50, along with his girlfriend Denise Jacobs, 45, were passing through
Henderson County in their horse-drawn wagon. Theyve been traveling since November,
Monitor Photo/Michael Hannigan
Wagon teamster Bob Skelding and his two draft horses, Doc and Bob, are seen traveling
State Highway 31 through Malakoff Feb. 12. Now on his third cross-country trip, Skelding
is making his way north from Austin up the west side of the Continental Divide to South
Pass, where he will turn east and make his way back to Mays, Ind.
Skelding met Jacobs in Michigan during his second cross-country trip last August.
The current trip is broken into four general legs:
1. Indiana south to Austin,
2. from Austin north to the west side of the Continental Divide,
3. North up the west side of the Rockies and
4. East from South Pass back to Indiana.
His first run went from Deerfield, N.H., to Meridian, Miss., a trip that took him from
August, 2008, to February, 2009.
The second trip was from Mays, Ind., to Michigan and back, and took from August to
Skelding isnt trying to prove anything with his traveling. The sole purpose of
this trip is to travel by horse and wagon and meet people, he explained.
I want them to share their experiences with me, and Ill share mine with
them, he wrote on his website, www.wagonteamster.com.
Im not supporting any cause, trying to achieve a goal, nor am I sponsored by
anyone, he wrote. The reason Im traveling in this fashion is because it
combines all the things I like best, and eliminates those I like least. Also, I
cant think of a cooler thing to do.
But in true American Spirit fashion, Skelding has become a reminder of what has
historically made this country strong.
Ive met a lot of people up close on this trip, and the ones who are normally
the happiest, and have the most fulfilled lives are those who place their family and
friends above comfort and material things, he wrote.
While traveling, all the material things for the couple are in a wagon 7.5 feet wide and
16 feet long that Skelding built from scratch on a six-ton running gear.
Since its my home, I designed it as one, wrote Skelding.
It contains most of the modern conveniences we take for granted in our homes;
including a full-size bed, a bathroom with shower and commode, a kitchen area with stove,
refrigerator and sink, and a small kitchen table.
It has 12-volt and 120-volt power, hot and cold water and propane for cooking and
heating, he added. It also is made to support and care for the three
This wagon is his second. The first was destroyed in an accident in February, 2009, when
he was rear-ended by a fully loaded tanker truck.
He lost two horses in that accident and was badly injured himself.
Skelding put his down time after the accident to good use, writing his experiences in
Wagonteamster: Horse and Wagon Journey Through Americas Heartland.
The book can be purchased by sending $17.95 (which includes postage) to: Lisa Skelding
(his daughter), 4555 Vandever Ave., Apt. 16B, San Diego, Calif. 92120. Skelding is also a
prolific blogger, and you can follow his progress on his website, www.wagonteamster.com.
WCCMUD OKs $1.2M plant upgrade
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOLAfter receiving an unqualified opinion on its fiscal year (FY) 2009 audit, West
Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District directors gave the green light to a $1.2 million
upgrade at the Tolosa Water Treatment Plant.
The prep work will take about six months before the projects ready to turn
dirt, district manager Tony Ciardo said.
The district managed to come out slightly better than last year, despite the
countrys economic downturn and rising prices, auditor J.W. Lambright said.
In FY 2009, the district paid off its last bond payment, saw an increase in revenues of
$55,000, acquired acreage and did a super job at inventory control, Lambright
I want to congratulate Kenneth Wright on the great inventory control, Ciardo
The bulk of the districts FY 09 expenses were for upgrades, bulk water
purchases and maintenance, Lambright added.
The district is in a very strong financial position, Lambright told board
members at Mondays regular board meeting.
Thats good, Ciardo said, because the time has come to build out the plans on the
Ciardo outlined the history of the plant, and its current pressing need for a major
Its imperative that we install another clarifier, he said.
Its gone. The original one doesnt have enough metal left to
Ciardo proposed replacing the 1.5 million gallon/day (mg/d) unit with a 4.0 mg/d Trident
combined clarifier and filter unit.
The plant was designed to add a second unit, Ciardo pointed out.
Once it is installed, the old one can be taken down and removed, leaving room for another
clarifier sometime in the future, he said.
Directors also heard the status of the Tool treatment plant.
The Tool plant is limited in serving the north area due to geographic
location, Ciardo explained. Weve experienced growth in the north,
specifically the Lively area.
He told directors that currently the Tolosa water plant is able to supply the entire
In addition, the intake valve at Tolosa is able to operate even when the lake is 10 feet
low, where as the intake at Tool has problems when the lake is only a little low, he said.
Id like to see us replace that valve, too, in the near future, Ciardo
At the top of his priority list is to install a pre-sedimentary tank, estimated on the
high side at $293,000. This addition would greatly assist the district in affecting the
color of the water with the addition of alum, he said.
Weve had lots of complaints about the color (of the water), though
theres nothing wrong with it, Ciardo said.
His shopping list for the Tolosa plant also includes:
a new raw water pump ($7,000),
a Trident clarifier ($450,000),
a transfer pump ($3,000),
a spare pump ($14,000),
booster pumping ($18,000),
ground storage tank, holding 500,000 gallons,
a chemical feed pump ($6,000) and
electrical connections to tie it all together ($45,000).
The estimated total cost is $1.2 million, Ciardo said.
Considering we build the entire Tolosa water plant in 1999 for $1.2 million, it
gives you something to think about, he told the directors.
Engineer Kenneth Tillman, of Espey Consultants, Inc in Dallas, will handle the
engineering, with the district acting as its own general contractor, Ciardo said.
The project is pretty much predesigned, so getting the plans to the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality for approval shouldnt take too long. That and the bid process
should take about six months, Ciardo estimated.
It is much needed, board president Clifton Smith said.