Sunday, March 15, 2009




  Traffic stops yield drugs, arrests, shotgun
Monitor Staff Reports

SEVEN POINTS–During traffic stops in Seven Points Tuesday, authorities located a large quantity of methamphetamine and a pistol grip shotgun.
The Henderson County Drug Enforcement Unit removed two people from the streets on drug charges and one with outstanding warrants for burglary and theft during two separate traffic stops.
Jerry Culver, 27, was arrested and transported to the county jail on charges of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, 4 grams up to 200 grams. He was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
Culver was arraigned Wednesday by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Henry Ashford with bonds set at $100,000 for the drug charge and $7,500 for the possession of firearm charge.
That same day investigators Ronny Halbert and David Faught conducted a traffic stop on Farm-to-Market 85 and gained consent to search the vehicle.
Drug paraphernalia and a quantity of methamphetamine were found. The driver, Allen Reed, was charged with possession of a controlled substance less than 4 grams. Bail was set at $25,000.
His passenger, Erica Jones, had two outstanding warrants, one for burglary of a habitation and a second for theft of a vehicle. She is being held on $35,000 in total bonds.


City sets moratorium on wind energy installations
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Council granted the city manager’s request to put a six-month moratorium on wind energy installations in the city.
City manager Gerry Boren needs the time to research the growing energy technology and craft an ordinance to insure safe installations within the city.
Councilman Charles Townsend argued vigorously against the request, citing a 30 percent government refund on the cost of installation from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus bill).
“With this in place, why would we put in a moratorium?” he asked.
He described an installation in Loon Bay that he’d be “comfortable being strapped to in a tornado,” it’s so well bolted down, he said.
Boren responded that six months is the standard time for a moratorium, and it would give adequate time for incoming council members to become familiar with the issue.
Some of those issues include possibly obstructing lake views, possible disturbing humming that could produce headaches, enough land mass on the property should the tower blow over and the possibility of killing birds by its turning blades.
“We’d like to make sure everyone is doing it correctly,” Boren said.
Much haggling followed to lessen the length of time on the moratorium. But in the end, the six-month moratorium won the day 2-1.
“Let’s try to beat the six-month period with an ordinance,” Kevin Banghart said.
“I will,” Boren replied.
In other business, council members:
• heard Gun Barrel City was named Best Lakeside Town by County Line magazine. Twice the city has won second place in the Governor’s Community Achievement Awards, the publication cited. “One of the most popular areas in Northeast Texas for those seeking lake activities, lake living and leisure.” Runners-up were Cypress Springs and Malakoff.
• reviewed the racial profiling report from the police department. Acting chief Damon Boswell informed the council that since all patrol cars are equipped with video/audio recording of every traffic stop, the department is exempt from filing a report with the state.
• authorized spending up to $15,000 from the Hotel-Motel Fund for a fireworks display as part of the Homecoming Festival set for Saturday, May 30. Boren reported the cost of the “aerial art” is $9,300, and said the spending of the remainder would be within the parameters of the law. Some of the activities being planned for the festival include band performances, a motorcycle rally, flea market and possibly a city queen, whose minimum age is 40, as well as a talent showcase.
• observed patrolman Jason Ramsey being presented with a commendation from his supervisor, Sgt. Dennis Wehland, for exemplary service during an agency assist call Feb. 22 in the Oak Harbor subdivision.
A mother of a 17-month-old child called, reporting the child was unconscious and unresponsive. Ramsey was the first on the scene and observed the child having no vital signs, breath or pulse. He administered CPR, which he kept going while en route to the hospital. Ramsey stayed with the child throughout the emergency.
“Throughout, the extremely stressful situation, he exemplified the highest degree of professionalism and is a tribute to the city,” Whalen read.
Sadly, the child could not be revived.
• adopted an ordinance, setting fees for the rental of baseball fields and equipment. After a cost analysis, Boren said the parks board helped fees that cover the city’s costs.
Each tournament will pay $50 as a fieled fee and a $50 custodial fee.
Field lights may be used at $10 an hour, formerly $5. For a season of play, a $200 fee per team will cover the cost of maintaining the field’s mowing and watering costs, he added.
If a league wants the city to operate their league season, the cost is $350 per team, which includes the costs for trophies and umpires. Strictly no admission charges are allowed.
• approved three contractual agreements for use of the concession stand, league use of baseball fields and an agreement for weekend tournament use of fields.
“This thing is phenomenal,” Melvyn Hayes said. “It looks like your group did a lot of work.” Boren replied, “They did.”

Fed grant to help emergency communications in south VZ
By Terry Britt
Monitor Staff Writer

CANTON–Fire department and sheriff’s communications in the south end of Van Zandt County may get a whole lot more reliable by the end of the year.
Tuesday, county commissioners gave their blessing to South Van Zandt Volunteer Fire Department to accept about $113,000 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant.
The grant will pay for two new radio system repeaters and two new desktop communications consoles, SVZVFD president Tim Meredith said in the meeting.
The county’s matching portion for the grant will be $3,253.50, plus a $600 per month lease for space on a communications tower for the two repeaters, Meredith explained.
The benefit, he said, will be in eliminating communication outage areas, often referred to as “dead spots.”
“This will help take care of a problem we’ve had not only with fire dispatch, but sheriff’s department dispatch as well, for a long time,” Meredith said.
Meredith outlined the department’s several prior attempts for grants, which failed until the most recent round of awards.
“We are excited and overly ecstatic about this grant,” he said.
Acquiring frequencies for the new repeaters will cause about a nine-month delay in getting them operable, Meredith said.
Chief deputy John Turner said the consoles provided for in the grant will “free us up to get some mobiles and handhelds we need, instead of buying the consoles.”
Also in Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners took no action on the outdoor burn ban issue. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ron Carroll noted the county was expected to receive up to four inches of rain Wednesday and Thursday.
In other business, commissioners:
• proclaimed March 15-21 as Poison Prevention Week.
• agreed to hire a temporary part-time dispatcher for the sheriff’s department from current year budget funds until the position is filled.
• authorized five additional reserve deputy constable slots for Precinct 4 Constable Pat Jordan.
Jordan presented the request in person and said it would help with law enforcement coverage during weekends in the Edom, Ben Wheeler and Martins Mill areas.

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