People, Places & Events



GBC woman to walk five miles for MADD
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Gathering a team of 45 walkers and almost $900 in donations, Gun Barrel City resident Tammi Branch plans to participate in MADDs sixth annual 5K walk in uptown Dallas.
Branch has established a team and is walking in memory of her son, Eric, who was killed in an alcohol-related accident on Legendary Lane Jan. 15.
That was when she first got acquainted with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
MADD has one major goal, to prevent drunk driving.

Courtesy Photo
Eric Branch, killed in an alcohol related accident on Legendary Lane, Gun Barrel City, Jan. 15.

“They have supported my family with phone calls, books and literature. I can’t think of anything better to do than to give them back a little of what they gave to me,” Branch said.
Although she hasn’t trained, outside of walking maybe a mile a day in the past, she intends to complete the five-mile walk.
She said she found the information on the Internet a while back but didn’t make up her mind to take part in the walk until about 10 days ago.
“So I signed up,” she said.
Branch said her team name is “Family & Friends of Eric Branch.”
For donations by credit card or debit card, she has a webpage at id=2400&px=2523303.
Cash and donations by check should be given to the person or team. Make checks payable to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.


Water heater maintenance can add years to life of homes
Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY–Just about everyone can relate to this scenario.
It’s only a few minutes into the morning shower and suddenly the water turns from refreshingly hot to teeth-chattering cold.
Chances are the problem involves an appliance many people take for granted – the water heater.
Most people don’t realize how important the water heater is to everyday life until something goes wrong.
And while the next step is to contact their local plumber to come out to inspect and/or replace the water heater, most people don’t realize a little preventive maintenance could have avoided this annoying – and costly – scenario.
Homeowners should conduct regular maintenance tasks, such as draining and cleaning the tank, changing the anode rod, replacing the heating element, testing the pressure relief valve, and understanding the dip tube and how it works.
In addition, keeping the tank at reasonable water temperatures, between 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F, can save energy and prevent overheating.
Water heater tanks should be drained at least once a year to remove sediment collecting at the bottom of the tank.
This would be an appropriate time to replace the anode rod.
This step is often overlooked, but nonetheless important in terms of water heater maintenance.
The anode rod is made of magnesium or aluminum and is suspended in the tank.
It acts as a magnet to attract charged water molecules that might otherwise attack the steel tank.
The anode rod should be checked and replaced each year when draining the tank.
Rods typically last five to 10 years if they are unchecked, and can be purchased at any plumbing shop.
Checking the heating element is also an integral part of maintenance, especially if the water heater has not been cleaned for years and seems to be inefficient.
The heating element is a rod that screws into the side, and most water heaters have two – one high and one low.
The low element is the one that usually is corroded with calcium carbonate. The rod is connected to electrical wires, but is easy to change.
The pressure relief valve is located on the side of the tank near the top.
It should be opened at least once a year to make sure it is in good working condition and does not become clogged with calcium carbonate.
The dip tube is not often mentioned, but it is an important part of the water heater.
It is the plastic tube on the cold-water inlet that carries the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tube, where the heating process goes on.
It’s important to note that six of the major water heater manufacturers used the same faulty dip tube in building their water heaters between 1993-97, so problems could occur if you own one of these.
It’s estimated that more than 16 million consumers nationwide will have a problem with this dip tube.
A few minutes of hot water before it turns cold is a sign that the dip tube may be faulty.
Persons wanting more detailed information on how to perform regular water heater maintenance, or those who would rather have a professional plumbing technician handle it, can contact Brent McDonald at A+ Professor of Plumbing at (903) 887-9900.


Social Security, SSI beneficiaries get $250
Special to The Monitor
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Vice President Joe Biden and Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue announced that the federal government will send out $250 economic recovery payments to people who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, beginning in early May and continuing throughout the month.
No action is required to get the payment, which will be sent separately from the person’s regular monthly payment.
“The Social Security Administration and Commissioner Astrue have been working closely with other federal agencies to get these payments out the door in record time and into the hands of folks who need it most,” Biden said.
“These are checks that will make a big difference in the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities – many of whom have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis that has swept across the country,” he added.
“We have been working diligently to issue the $250 one-time recovery payments as soon as possible,” Commissioner Astrue said.
“The legislation requires extensive coordination with other federal agencies and I’m pleased we are on track to issue these recovery payments earlier than the statute requires.
“Soon, more than $13 billion will be in the hands of more than 50 million American,” he said.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides for a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security beneficiaries, and to SSI recipients, except those receiving Medicaid in care facilities.
To receive the payment, the individual must be eligible for Social Security or SSI during the months of November and December, 2008, or January.
The legislation also provides for a one-time payment to Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.
The VA and RRB will be responsible for paying individuals under their respective programs.
However, if someone receives Social Security and SSI, VA or RRB benefits, he or she will receive only one $250 payment.
People getting Social Security or SSI should not contact the agency unless a payment is not received by June 4.
For more detailed information about the $250 one-time economic recovery payments, go to
To learn more, go to

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Nelson. I am a beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever home.

My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new home.

We are a whole litter of Shepherd mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so we have no history. We have been started on our first set of shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.

I am a beautiful Border Collie, who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful kid looking for a new home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at


Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.