Sunday, March 22, 2009




  Wind project wins jobs for Kaufman
By Michael Grisham
The Kaufman Herald

KAUFMAN–A $100 million deal reached between Oncor, Falcon Steel and Mucor for construction of steel towers for a new transmission line bringing West Texas wind power to North Texas will produce a potential economic windfall for the Kaufman plant.
“We’re pleased with the deal that had been reached. It’s going to be good for the Kaufman plant, because this is really what they thrive on,” executive vice president for Falcon Steel Jack Wilcox said. Falcon Steel is based in Haltom City.
“It’s a big deal. We’re tickled to death to be able to ensure those people they will have a job during the next four or five years,” he added.
Wilcox believes the project will mean more work for current employees of the Kaufman plant, but also new jobs for other area residents.
“Before the project is finished, we will probably hire another 40 people at the Kaufman plant,” Wilcox said.
“The plant currently has about 145 people. We expect to be up to 180 or 190 people,” he added. “This project is just now beginning. Next year is when we really start getting busy. We’ll be putting out a lot of steel at the Kaufman location next year.”
The three companies reached the five-year agreement this week to build 3,800 transmission line towers out of recycled steel.
The Oncor-Falcon Steel contract will result in one of the largest transmission lines construction projects built from recycled materials in the United States.
The 120-foot to 130-foot lattice towers will serve as the backbone for an 800-mile transmission line project, dubbed the “Renewable Energy Super Highway,” which will move wind power from West Texas to the state’s electric grid.
“This week, Oncor achieved a milestone in building the Renewable Energy Super Highway with the announcement of Oncor’s contract with a Texas firm to build 3,800 transmission towers,” Oncor area manager Terri Shatter said.
“Falcon Steel, with a plant right here in Kaufman, will supply every one of the 120-130 foot lattice towers needed to bring clean, renewable energy to Texans,” he added.
During a press conference held in Fort Worth to announce the deal, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger lauded the new partnership.
“Oncor, Falcon Steel and Nucor have shown that companies willing to innovate can succeed in this challenging economy,” Granger said.
“This is a homegrown project that will provide good jobs here in Texas,” Granger added. “Best of all, everything about the project is designed with environmental concerns in mind. Every transmission tower on this project will represent another step on the way to energy independence.”
Falcon Steel will fabricate massive transmission towers at its Kaufman plant for Oncor from steel milled from automotive and industrial scrap metal.
Nucor’s Jewett plant will provide 54,000 tons of steel for Falcon Steel to use in the project. Falcon Steel and Nucor competed against much larger, international firms to win the Oncor contract.
“Oncor’s success in winning this contract is just further proof that Texas companies can compete with anyone in this global economy. This project will benefit Texans from start to finish, from the jobs it will create to the energy it will carry,” Granger said.
In January, the Public Utility Commission of Texas assigned Oncor approximately $1.3 billion of an estimated $5 billion in high-voltage lines planned to deliver clean, renewable wind power to Texans.
Dr. William Fortner, mayor of Kaufman, praised the deal both for its “creative and innovative thinking,” as well as its impact on the local community.
“More than half of all Falcon Steel employees will be dedicated to building Oncor’s transmission towers for the next three years,” Fortner said. “The entire project will help the environment by recycling auto and industrial parts into transmission towers.
“Thanks to a creative and innovative vision, it truly is a great day for Texas and Kaufman,” Fortner added.

Attempted vehicle theft and bank robbery foiled
Monitor Staff Reports

ATHENS–The Henderson Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of four men between the ages of 18 and 22 for theft of a Volkswagon Beetle Wednesday and an arrest of a man suspected of attempting to rob the First State Bank in Murchison on Thursday.
In both incidents, authorities were alerted by citizen call-ins.
“Because of citizens taking a more active role, the sheriff’s department is able to quickly apprehend criminals,” Sheriff Ray Nutt stated in a press release.
The caller of the attempted bank robbery gave a vehicle description, and Sheriff’s deputies along with state troopers and Athens Police Department (APD) responded to the area in a search for the vehicle.
APD officer Chad Walker spotted the car on CR 3715 and successfully pulled the driver over.
Suspect Leocadio Melendez, 27, was detained at the scene and arrested.
State Troopers searched the area and located evidence that led to Melendez being charged with attempted robbery. He also had two outstanding arrest warrants out of Athens Municipal Court for speeding and driving with an invalid license. At presstime, Melendez was awaiting arraignment.
At 8:38 a.m. Wednesday, Deputy Tony Duncan responded to a call on U.S. Highway 175 east of Athens of a possible theft in progress.
Converging on the scene were also officers from the Athens Police Department.
Upon arriving, officers saw a Volkswagon being towed by a gray Chevy Tahoe that was in the crossover median.
They stopped the Tahoe at the House of Mercy Church parking lot, about 1,000 yards from the scene of the alleged offense.
In the Tahoe were four young men, who said the Volkswagon’s owner had let them take it from the property.
When the owner was contacted, he denied giving anyone authority to remove the car.
All four men were booked into the Henderson County Jail for theft more than $1,500 and less than $20,000.

Utility GM earns dual certification
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District general manager Bill Goheen was congratulated at the board meeting Wednesday, for recently receiving a dual Class A certification level.
Currently, in the state, there are 25,150 licensed water and/or wastewater operators in Texas.
However, Goheen is in a limited number of individuals who are licensed in both.
An e-mail from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) put his honor in perspective.
“Congratulations for becoming one of 290 elite operators in the state of Texas that have (both) a Class A water and a Class A wastewater license,” Susan Heir, certification department of TCEQ wrote.
Board president David Burch commended Goheen for his accomplishment and other directors joined in.
Goheen also has a similar dual classification in the state of Kansas, which is the same level as in Texas, except they go from I through IV.
He has the IV classification in both water and wastewater in Kansas.
The board approved paid leave for Goheen to attend a wastewater conference in Wichita, Kansas from Tuesday, March 24, to Thursday, March 26. He will pay his own expenses.
“Kansas was the forerunner of the Rural Water Association,” Goheen said, emphasizing there will be many seminars being presented to glean information applicable in Texas.
In other business, directors:
• authorized the purchase of a dump trailer, not to exceed $15,500. The trailer will be used to haul bio-solids to TCEQ approved dump sites.
The district already has the truck capable of pulling the trailer, Goheen explained.
“And we have bio-solids we have to get rid of,” he added.
The district has been paying Terrell Renewal Service to accept both the bio-solids and liquid waste.
“We will still have to have the liquids hauled,” he said.
But the bio-solids will be taken to a compost operation in Palestine, he added.
“I think composting is the (better) way to go. I hope to get going by April 1,” he said.
Carol Meyer, director and finance committee member, was the lone dissenter.
• accepted the reconciliation of final quantities of construction on Tamarack sewer project.
• closed out the North Wastewater Treatment Plant tertiary clarifier project and approved final payment of $52,623.95.
• approved a tower lease agreement with Cellular One.
The agreement doubles the length of the lease to 10 years and increases the lease fee by $100 per month, totaling $600 per month.
• directed the finance committee and general manager to study the feasibility of purchasing raw water from the city of Trinidad.
• approved the purchase of two hand-held meter readers.
• approved 10 days of holiday time for the 2009-10 fiscal year which includes Thursday and Friday, December 24-25, for Christmas, making that a four-day holiday.
• approved the district identity theft prevention program to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s required Red Flag Rule.
• discussed the financial reports as presented. “Our revenue is up a little,” Meyer concluded.

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