People, Places & Events




Lake-area Post Office preparing for the future
By John S. Lindsey
Special to The Monitor

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Because of the current economic downturn, the United States Postal Service is taking certain tough but necessary steps here in The Cedar Creek Lake Area and around the country.
In order to maintain affordable service and remain viable, we’re making changes to operations, staffing and facilities similar to what other businesses are doing in these tough economic times.
That perspective is important to keep in mind. The Postal Service is a self-supporting agency, funded entirely from the sale of postal products and services, not from tax dollars.
Like any commercial business, the Postal Service is subject to increased costs and reduced revenue. We’re facing competition from e-mail and on-line bill paying.
And this past year, we’ve seen some of our biggest mailing customers, in fields like financial services, insurance and housing, struggle at an unprecedented level.
This general economic decline has had an historic impact on the volume of mail, which fell nationally by an unprecedented 9.5 billion pieces, or 4.5 percent in the last fiscal year, resulting in a net operating loss of $2.8 billion after the Postal Service paid a law-mandated $5.6 billion to pre-fund retiree health benefit liabilities.
We did not escape this trend here in the Cedar Creek Lake area, where mail volume was down 33 percent from this time last year.
This stark reality requires action. We are taking steps to manage costs, increase efficiency and optimize our workforce.
Eligible workers were offered early retirement, redundant mail processing operations are being consolidated, routes are being reorganized, overtime is being reduced, and operating hours at processing facilities and Post Offices are being adjusted to match mail flow and customer use.
We’re even relocating some blue mailboxes from low-volume to growth areas.
We’re going to see route adjustments and repositioning of employees.
We’re adapting products and services to contemporary life-styles and working to improve customers’ experiences in Post Offices, on and by phone.
We’re launching competitive shipping prices, driving technology and using our service to every home and business in new ways to create value for customers.
We recognize these steps will have an impact on employees and some will require a difficult adjustment. People may end up doing a different job, working different hours or in a different facility.
These changes help to secure employees’ jobs, allow us to weather this economic storm, and be positioned to best serve customers when the economy rebounds.
The Postal Service has been a vibrant part of the highs and lows of every economic cycle for more than two centuries. We will keep it that way by pursuing innovative approaches that support our mission of delivering trusted, affordable, universal service to America.
(Editor’s note: John S. Lindsey is the Postmaster at the Mabank Post Office.)

Malakoff HS cited for college readiness programs
Monitor Staff Reports
MALAKOFF–Malakoff High School was recognized by the state recently for “exceptional high school completion and college readiness programs implemented with High School Allotment funds.”
The $320 million annual fund was created by the Texas Legislature in 2006, and provides each school district with $275 per student in grades 9-12 to improve high school graduation and college readiness rates.
“We are pleased with the state recognizing Malakoff’s efforts in gettting our students ready for college, as well as our efforts to maximize the funding we get from the state and our local taxpayers,” MISD Superintendent Dr. John Spies said.
Last week, the Texas Commissioner of Education announced six school districts and seven high schools statewide, including MISD, were recognized for using the allotment funds “to implement exceptional programs.”
The areas considered include:
• preparing students for college,
• increasing graduation rates,
• improving curriculum alignment and
• implementing innovative high school completion and success programs.
Malakoff High School used the allotment funds to install a distance learning lab to increase the number of students enrolling in college.
The district entered into a partnership with Trinity Valley Community College to provide on-campus dual credit courses without requiring the students to travel to Athens.
Funds were also used to provide PSAT testing to all juniors and any interested sophomores.
Funds also were used to pay for the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) testing and transportation to the testing site for all seniors who had not completed the required college entrance tests
Additionally, funds were used to provide transportation for seniors to visit the community college admissions, financial aid and counseling offices for a day.
According to the State Commissioner of Education, these efforts have resulted in 82 percent of MHS seniors receiving a certificate of admission to TVCC along with their diplomas.

Green – a growing interest
Dale Groom speaks to Chamber about our common interest in the ‘world of green’
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Some things are universal, crossing cultures, socioeconomic status and national-political boundaries.
Perhaps the language of love, mathematics and music spring to mind. However, media personality and gardening expert Dale Groom says “the world of green” is also a common denominator.
“There’s a diverse group of people who are interested in the world of green, from rose enthusiasts to those pursuing lush lawns,” Groom told local Chamber of Commerce members during the chamber’s monthly luncheon at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant in Gun Barrel City April 9.
Groom proceeded to regale the gathering with stories about the people he’s met who have a love for some aspect of the green world.
These included roses in Scotland to famous names in the radio and television industry, such as McKenzie Phillips, Kenny Rogers, a member of the defensive coaching staff of the Dallas Cowboys and America’s Top 40 radio host Casey Kasem, a second-generation Lebanese.
Groom said that while appearing as a guest on a television program, he shared a limousine with Kasem and learned of his wife’s passion for landscape gardening. Groom asked if he could shoot a TV segment at Kasem’s L.A. home.
“After a very long day of shooting, the Kasems invited me and the entire crew back for a Lebanese dinner,” he said.
Gardening also appeals to all ages. As a grandfather, Groom told Chamber members he enjoys introducing his grandchildren to gardening and developing their love for growing things.
Groom grew up in Brownwood and, along with his wife, owns a small ranch outside Eustace.
He is a longtime associate of Gun Barrel City Chamber chapter president Ed Busch/Friends Low-cost Spay & Neuter Clinic. Groom is also a retired NCO from the U.S. Navy, and has raised three children, with the youngest now in college in West Texas.
With a child in college, Groom encouraged everyone to buy one, or all four, of his books about gardening in Texas, which he had on hand at the meeting.
Besides a love of gardening, working with volunteers is also something Groom said he had in common with many in the room.
His involvement with the Extension Service of Texas A&M includes overseeing the Master Gardener program out of Dallas, alongside colleagues in Henderson and Kaufman counties.
“I attempt to manage 318 volunteers,” he said. Most are retired. Among them are former military colonels, attorneys, teachers, RNs and professors – all with the same passion.
These Master Gardeners are part of an international program, he said.
“The best Master Gardener program is in Dallas, therefore the best in the world,” Groom said, “though some would regard that statement as a Texas Tale.”
Plants with the label “Earthkind” are so designated by the Extension Service because they have been thoroughly tested under real-world conditions as being hearty.
For example, the designated Earth-Kind rose “Metabulous” Groom found growing quite well in Scotland. “It also grows well here,” he said.
The “Knock Out” is another rose Groom named as needing little care, and helps make up a sustainable landscape.
More such varieties can be found at
“Many things granny knew about are making a comeback,” he said, such as rainwater harvesting, which reduces the use of potable water and the accompanying bill up to 75 percent.
Also, mulching, composting and drought-resistant varieties of plants are all making a resurgence.
Composting saves space in landfills, which saves everybody money and also helps protect groundwater supplies, he said.
Following his conversation about gardening, Groom stopped for a question-and-answer period. At the end, he invited those with other questions to contact him at  His books can be found in hardware and gardening centers and bookstores for about $25.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Chamber ambassador president Sharon Strickland
recognizes Bruce Easley of Capt’n "B" Florist for
his centerpieces used at the March annual Chamber
awards banquet with the Business of the Month designation.


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


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