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Current Issue
March 13, 2011






News in Brief

VFW style show
The VFW Post 4376 and its Ladies Auxiliary are hosting a “woman-less style show” at 3 p.m. Sunday (today). A donation will help support our veterans. There will be snacks, and plenty of laughs as patrons see what “real” modeling is about. For information call the VFW at (903) 432-2138.

Methodist OWLS study
Mabank First United Methodist Church OWLS (Older, Wiser, Loving Seniors) are sponsoring “From Age-ing to Sage-ing,” a study by Zalman Schichter-Shalome and Ronald S. Miller, taught by the Rev. Eston Williams, pastor of Aley UMC. One session remains at 7 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Mabank FUMC. Free except for study book.

EISD Spring Break
Eustace Independent School District Tax Office will be closed March 14-18 for Spring Break.

Basic Internet class
Navigating the Internet class, taught by A.J. Amyx, marketing director of A New Way to Market, is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at Tri-County Library. Learn about Twitter. Class fee charged. To register or for information, call the library at (903) 887-9622.

Senior Game Day
Senior Game Day at Brawner Hall is set for 12:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 15. Sara Smith from Trinity Valley Home Health and Therapy Services is the speaker. All March birthdays will be celebrated with a cake. For information call city hall at (903) 887-1087.

Mabank Garden Club
The Mabank Garden Club meets at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, at the Tri-County Library, Mabank. Ron Loper of the Texas Native Plant society will present a program titled “Going Native in Your Garden.” Guests are welcome. For information call Donna at (903) 887-7792.

Sarah Maples DAR
The Sarah Maples Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will meet at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. Charlotte Gish will present “Women’s Issues.”

WCR meeting
The Henderson County Women’s Board of Realtors meets at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, March 16, at the Cedar Creek County Club. Speaker is Hoss Pratt.

Kemp band fundraiser
A multi-family barn/garage sale (hosted by Kemp band parents) will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Friday, March 17-18, at 5801 Cedar Creek Drive, located 3.3 miles south of Kemp on SH 274 – follow the signs. For information call (903) 498-6800

Grief counseling meeting
Restoration House Ministry is hosting grief counseling meetings at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17 and 24 (first, third and fourth Thursdays of each month). All in need of healing are welcome, as grief comes in many forms – death, divorce, separation or a major change. For information call Pastor Barker at (903) 887-4881, or the Rev. Kathey Floyd at (903) 880-9692.

Canton country dance
A country dance, featuring the music of Al Barlow and the Lakesiders Band, is set for 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the Canton Senior Center, 200 Grove Street, Canton. For information call (903) 489-3396.

ET Riders playday
The East Texas Riders Playday is set for 3 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at CR 4029, Kemp. For directions or information, contact Diana Clemmo at (214) 534-4067 or Facebook, East Texas Riders Newsletter.

Rootseekers Society
The Rootseekers Genealogical Society meets at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, at Tri-County Library, downtown Mabank. Meetings open to the public. Attendant is available from 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesdays in the genealogy room for those researching their ancestry.

HC livestock show
The annual Henderson County Livestock Show is set for Monday through Saturday, March 21-26, at the Henderson County Fair Park Complex in Athens.

CCL Literary Club
The Literary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is hosting its bridge and luncheon benefit at 9 a.m. (doors open) Thursday, March 24, at Cedar Creek Lake United Methodist Church, Will White Road and Old Indian Trail, Tool. All proceeds benefit The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points. For information call Jeanie Hulsey at (903) 432-3341 or Ruth Pimm at (903) 778-4752.

Kiwanis Pancake Day
The Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis club will hold its annual Pancake Day fundraiser from 6 to 11 a.m. Thursday, March 24. Breakfast includes pancakes, bacon, sausage, syrup and butter for a small donation. Delivery to businesses available (minimum three orders) after 7 a.m. Fax orders to (903) 432-2415 no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 23. Dine-in at St. Peter Lutheran (next to Pizza Hut) in GBC.

Masonic breakfast
The Cedar Creek Lake Masonic Lodge No. 1431 is hosting a pancake breakfast with pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee and orange juice from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26, at the lodge at 402 Legendary Lane, GBC, next to the water tower. Donation for all you can eat. For information call (903) 887-2333 or (903) 340-5958.

Kemp Spring Festival
The Kemp Business & Civic Association is sponsoring a Spring Festival at Kemp City Park. The park opens at 1 p.m. with a parade at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 26. Booths available. For information contact Diana Clemmo at (214) 534-4067 and Facebook East Texas Riders Newsletter..

Appraisal Fair
The Cedar Creek Civic League’s seventh annual Appraisal Fair is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 26, in the Family Life Center, First United Methodist Church, Mabank. The Antique Road Show-type event features two popular appraisers from the Dallas area. Tickets are available from Civic League members, and at Bluebonnet Emporium and Old Friends Antiques. For tickets and information on costs, contact Susan Thomas at (903) 887-0818 or Noma Parkhouse at (903) 778-4177.

PS Fire Rescue benefit
The annual all-you-can-eat fish fry benefitting the Payne Springs Fire Rescue is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9. A 2007 Harley Davidson FX/ST is a part of the fundraiser. View pictures at For information, call the fire station at (903) 451-4511 and leave a message.

Free skating
Cedar Creek Bible Church is hosting free skating from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays in March and the first two weeks of April for children ages 4 to sixth grade. Parents may drop off their children. Skates are free, along with sodas, popcorn, hot chocolate and snow cones. The church is located one mile north of the Seven Points traffic light on SH 274. For information call the church at (903) 432-2175.

Free tax help
Free tax help is available at Tri-County Library, Mabank, with Peggy Rogers, VITA. Rogers worked for the IRS for many years and keeps up with current changes. Call the library at (903) 887-9622, leaving name, local phone number (calls from cells with long distance numbers will not be returned), and the best time for her to return your call to set up an appointment.

AARP free tax help
AARP free tax services will be available from 8 a.m. to noon through Wednesday, April 13, at the following locations – Fridays at the Henderson County Senior Center, Athens, Mondays at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake, Seven Points, and Wednesdays at the Senior Citizens Center, Malakoff. For information call (903) 778-2423.

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Top News

Council bows to meter sale ruling
Groundbreaking on new Gun Barrel City hall set for April 18
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY-Besides getting an eyeful of the new city hall planned for construction across the street at the former Prosperity Bank Building Tuesday, the Gun Barrel City Council conceded defeat in its efforts to “control its own destiny” by becoming a water utility.
City efforts, led by city manager Gerry Boren and councilman Marty Goss, tried to block the sale of 800 Mabank water meters to the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District, seeing the sale as an opportunity for the city to become its own water supplier.
Council members agreed to discontinue their efforts.
“It is unlikely the commissioners would reverse their decision,” Goss said. “It’s over. It’s time to move on.”

Courtesy Illustration
An architectural rendering of the inside of the proposed new Gun Barrel City Hall council chambers shows natural rock and wood facing, part of a proposed $1.2 million in renovations to an existing bank building located at the intersection of Main Street and Harbor Point Road.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality unanimously ruled in favor of the sale Feb. 23, ending a nearly two-year city protest.
Goss said the city learned a lot about the utility’s systems after reading a statement from the city’s attorney on the case, which Goss said was backed up by findings in the case.
“Basically, the board ignored our objections,” Goss said. “And now it’s time to move on.”
“The only thing we accomplished is make the utility angry with us, so they won’t want to work with us,” councilman Melvyn Hayes said. “You can’t throw mud and not get it back in your eye.”
“No you haven’t,” ECCFWSD board president Harry McCune shouted out. “We’ll still work with you.”
Earlier under public comment, McCune read a statement to help correct erroneous ideas about the effect of adding the new meters will have on the system and on existing customers.
McCune said that during the month of September, 2010, the water plant dispensed about 29.3 million gallons of water to 3,500 customers, averaging 7,500 gallons for each meter. September was the month with the highest demand for water all year.
The plant is capable of pumping two million gallons a day, or 62 million gallons per month, more than twice the amount needed during September. On the peak day of the year, the plant dispensed 1.2 million gallons, well below the maximum capacity (2 mg/d).
Adding 800 meters with an average of 7,500 gallons monthly usage adds six million gallons a month. When added to the nearly 30 million gallons called for during September, this totals nearly 40 million gallons, or 58 percent of the plant’s capacity.
He also said refurbishment of the plant will double capacity to 4 mg/d when completed by the end of this year.
“The district’s general manager and engineering firm have the plans in place to make a smooth transition from Mabank to ECCFWSD water for the new customers,” McCune said. “When the changeover is complete, the new customers will be billed at the same rate as all other district customers.”
City hall plans
General contractor Sarah Lucksinger presented a completed design for the renovation and expansion of the new city hall to council members, which includes the latest technology.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, she showed floor plans, artist renderings and a timetable, which included an April 18 groundbreaking, with the first bids due March 30.
“Right now, we’re coordinating the architectural plans with the engineers,” she explained. The plans call for a move-in date of Sept. 22, she added.
Design goals for the $1.5 million project aimed for functional efficiency and cost-effectiveness, while also making it maintenance-friendly and energy-efficient, she said.
Phase One provides for 59 parking spaces with room for an additional 27 spaces. Sidewalks lead up to all entry points.
To the building’s existing 3,200 square feet, plans call for a west-end addition of another 1,000 square feet and a “wrap” adding another 4,700 square feet, for a total of 8,900 square feet.
A new roof is essential, with existing solar panels reinstalled. The facade includes masonry accents with new self-illuminating signage on the building, she said. The lettering appears bronze by day and white by night.
Plans also call for reworking the freestanding pole sign to include a double-sided digital display board.
Inside, attention was given to provide audio/video technology, acoustics and controlled lighting in the new council chambers, so everyone can see and hear what is going on, she said.
In addition, furnishings include comfortable portable seating for flexibility, so the great hall can be put to many different uses as a gathering place.
The council adopted an ordinance establishing a Sinking Fund to receive and pay out monies in connection with the construction and repayment of a construction loan to First State Bank, as required by the Texas State Constitution for a governmental body to incur debt, councilman Curtis Webster explained.
The fund will be established with at least 2 percent of the principal – or $30,000 if the loan amount is $1.5 million. The closing date for the loan comes about the same time as the groundbreaking in early April.
The council agreed to the bank’s terms of a fixed rate of 3.55 percent for 10 years, or $82,000 a year on $1.5 million. After that, it will be amortized, based on a 29-year mortgage with an adjustable rate between 2.99 percent and 8 percent.
Boren said monies to repay the loan will be swept into the sinking fund from year-end balances. Money to fuel the construction will come from the bank on an as-needed basis. Collateral for the loan comes from the city’s regular sales tax collection figures and good financial standing.
Boren added rents collected from city hall tenants – the Economic Development Corporation, convenience post office and visitors center, all paid from the Hotel and Motel Fund – will be added to the Sinking Fund.
He also expects the cost savings gained from efficient operations in the new building’s design, phone and energy use will help offset a portion of the annual payment.
The construction is not being supported by the issuance of bonds, nor by the promise of an ad valorem tax, which would have had to go before the voters.
“We’re going to start making use of the fund balances the city has accumulated over the years,” Boren said. The latest city bank balance report lists Certificates of Deposit totaling $377,740, put back as part of a 90-day operating fund, along with a reserve fund totaling another $189,788, as of the last quarter of 2010.
In other business, council members:
• heard the pavilion (see below) is 70 percent completed and that a bluegrass music concert is set for 6 p.m. Friday, April 1, to celebrate its opening. Goss reported a Farmers Market would be held there on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
• received a racial profiling report from the police department.
• ratified the police chief’s decision to allow police officers in good standing for three years with the city to drive a patrol car to their Gun Barrel City homes as a deterrent to crime in the neighborhoods and for quicker action if he/she is called into duty.
• approved the addition of a Social Media and a Controlled Substance & Alcohol Abuse policy in the city’s personnel policy manual, developed by a human resources attorney and now used in other cities.
• tabled action to commit $216,748 of in-kind contributions to a SilverLeaf Development, until a full presentation can be made to the council.


2 die in house fire
Monitor Staff Reports
BROWNSBORO–Two people died in a mid-morning fire Wednesday at a rural residence south of Brownsboro.
Around 10:40 a.m., the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 call reporting a fire at a home located on Farm-to-Market 317, just east of the Leagueville community.
Chandler and Brownsboro firefighters responding to the alarm arrived 16 minutes later to find the residence fully involved in flames.
Once the fire had been controlled, the county fire marshal and volunteer firefighters discovered two bodies inside the destroyed building.
“The Henderson County Fire Marshal is conducting the investigation to determine the origin of the fire,” county sheriff Ray Nutt reported in a prepared news release issued Thursday.
“The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Texas Rangers and the District Attorney’s Office, is investigating the cause of death of the two individuals,” Nutt added.
Justice of the Peace Sue Starnes held a brief inquest and ordered the bodies taken to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science in Dallas for autopsy, which will determine the cause of death and officially identify the victims, Nutt reported.

Mabank sophomore survives severe head injury/surgery
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Sometimes its the little things that can get you. Richard Lusk Jr. found that out the hard way on a Saturday afternoon while helping a friend clean out the bed of a truck.
On Feb. 12, Rick – as he likes to be called – slipped and banged his forehead against the rounded wheel-well in the bed of the truck.
There was no cut, not even the usual knot on his head, so he didn’t look like he needed medical attention.
Outside of a headache, for which he took the usual over-the-counter pain remedy, he seemed all right.
Rick lives with his grandmother, Diane Rorie, in the Harbor Point Subdivision in Gun Barrel City. She was concerned about him.
“I just kept on doing ‘stuff,” he said. “She thought I wasn’t getting enough rest (as the reason for the continued headache).”
For a little more than a week, he kept telling her he was okay.
“I went to school, and afterwards went out and drove go-karts at Whatz-up Family Fun Park,” Rick said.
“I drove bumper cars, went bowling twice and did work, like cleaning out a barn,” he added.
Finally though, his headache became worse and on Sunday (Feb. 20), he told his grandmother he thought he ought to go to the hospital.
“We were on our way to the Church of the Nazarene. He loves his youth group, and when he still complained that he didn’t feel like going, I called his father, who came right over and took him to the emergency room in Kaufman,” she said.
“We walked in and sat down in the waiting room. It was full. Because he didn’t look serious, he had to wait his turn,” father Richard Lusk Sr. recalled.
Both Rick’s father and grandmother work for the Mabank Independent School District’s transportation department.
She is the secretary, and he is a bus mechanic.
“They did a CT (computer tomography) scan, and we thought that was just part of the routine care,” his dad said.
“But suddenly, they came out and began putting in an IV and told me he was going to take a helicopter ride,” he added. “He was immediately airlifted to Baylor in Dallas, and in a matter of three to four hours, he was in surgery.”
“It was very frightening,” Rorie said.
The surgeon told them that Rick’s brain was pushed so far to the side of his skull, the doctor was surprised he was still conscious, much less walking, she added.
When Lusk called her and told her Rick was being airlifted to Baylor, Rorie said at first, she couldn’t understand what was happening.
“The Lord’s hand has been on that boy. Even the surgeon called him a ‘miracle boy,’ and told him things could have gone a lot worse,” she said.
His dad described the procedure, starting with the peeling back of a large flap of his scalp in order to access his skull.
It took an incision approximately 17 inches in length around his head to peel back the flap of skin.
“Then they removed a chunk of his skull the size of a softball in diameter, and put it in the freezer until after the surgery,” Lusk described.
“They removed blood and spinal fluid, but did not have damage to the brain,” he said.
Rick was then taken to ICU, where he remained for three days before being put in a room.
Things were still pretty scary for the family, because now Rick showed the results of the surgery.
“After the surgery, his left eye and face were severely swollen, and his left arm and side was immobile,” his dad reported.
But the miracle boy was now on the road to recovery.
“By Thursday (Feb. 24), the feeling started returning, and by Saturday, he was gradually able to walk the halls and get around on his own,” Lusk continued.
“The surgeon said that was the biggest skull operation he has done this whole year,” he added.
Rick is back home and on antibiotics, pain medication and salt tablets, his father said – although the salt can go as soon as he builds the proper amount back in his blood.
Some of his friends visited him in the hospital, and many more have called or sent flowers, but Rick will not finish out this school year with them.
“He will be out of school the rest of this year. He will be enrolled in a homeschool program,” his dad said. “He also will not take part in any physical activity – no sports, no labor.
“He will be taking it slow for at least two to three weeks, and then there will still be a period of being very careful,” Lusk said.
Rick will be allowed to use the Wii games to increase his hand-eye coordination.
Though things could have worked out much worse, Rick is very disappointed that he won’t be getting his driver’s license, even though he will be 16 Sunday (today). Like most teenagers, he has been looking forward to it.
He and his dad have been restoring a 1989 Chevrolet short-side pickup for about a year, which has already been put in his name.
However, he won’t be able to drive it now, or even apply for his license until state requirements concerning drivers with recent brain injuries are met.
Rick has also been an avid fisherman and has his own jonboat.
“I’ve always liked fishing,” he said with a sigh, because now he can’t go fishing alone.
“But, as soon as the doctor says we can, I’m going to take him fishing,” his dad said, who’s just thankful to have his son back on the mend.











































































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