Thursday, April 23, 2009







Tool establishes city fire department
 • Tool now has two fire departments •
One funded by Emergency Service District No. 4 –– One operated by the city

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–It was a unanimous vote and no surprise to Tool citizens, as council members established the City of Tool Volunteer Fire Department at the council’s April 16 meeting.
The Tool Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., is a separate entity under contract to the Emergency Services District No. 4.
For a long time, at least several years, there has been a difference of opinion as to who the local fire department answered to and other problems.
That long-standing dispute prompted the city to pull out of the ESD and form its own fire department.
“We have done a lot of research, and with the help of donations and equipment and mutual aid agreements with both Seven Points and the city of Gun Barrel, we have established a city fire department,” Mayor Michael Black explained.
“We have a lot of new volunteers and it will take a little time for their training,” he added.
Black had the volunteers for the city department to stand, and those with experience in other departments and with First Responder training to raise their hands. It was an impressive number.
Councilman Leland Pitts made the motion to establish the city volunteer fire department, and nominated former fire chief Bruce “Doc” Thurston as the department’s interim chief.
“Thurston will be fire chief during the interim to help us get the department up and running,” Black said.
Following the meeting, everyone was invited to go outside and see three of the four pieces of fire equipment the city now owns – a tanker, a grass truck and a pumper truck.
A First Responder unit is being outfitted and is on its way, Black told the crowd.
“I want to thank all the members of the former VFD, and members of the Seven Points and Gun Barrel City VFDs for their past service,” Black said.
In other business, council members:
• heard the trash collection contract with Allied Waste Services will expire in April, 2010.
Customers will see an increase of 24 cents per month in their statements.
Allied Waste will send out a flyer explaining all services and requirements needed to get large items and brush removed, Black said.
• heard a fund-raiser gospel concert had been set for 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at the First Baptist Church in Tool, benefitting the Tool Volunteer Fire Department, Inc, announced by Tamra Brickey.
• saw new City of Tool VFD T-shirts presented to Thurston by Black.

Deputies close two drug deals
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The Henderson County Drug Enforcement Unit halted two drug operations last week, according to press releases from Sheriff Ray Nutt.
One was a suspected drug lab setup on a Trinidad-area ranch, and the other was an apparent drug deal underway in a motel room in Gun Barrel City.
Acting on acquired information, investigators staked out the motel room for several hours April 9.
Their patience paid off with enough evidence to obtain a search warrant of the location. When officers arrived with the search warrant, the suspected drug dealer had left.
A short time later, however, investigator Kenny Collard picked up the trail again, stopping a suspect vehicle on a traffic violation in the Willowwood subdivision.
A search of the vehicle turned up a large amount of methamphetamine and paraphernalia used to measure and package the drug for sale.
Britt Howard Hambrick, 43, was taken into custody and charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams and less than 200 grams, a first degree felony.
Hambrick’s bond was set at $25,000.
A week later, on April 16, an observant rancher detained two men he suspected of making drugs on his ranch property, just south of Trinidad.
The owner called police soon after entering his ranch and seeing two men on his property. As the owner approached them, they appeared to start fishing, according to Nutt’s press release.
The owner was telling the men they were on private property when he saw a pump sprayer, filters, buckets and other items common to a methamphetamine lab, along with a set of car keys on the ground – which he picked up and kept.
The owner then walked the men off his property and contacted the sheriff’s department.
The men were identified as Shun Cameron, 41, and Cha Tidwell, 29. Both were subsequently charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams and less than 200 grams.
Trinidad Police Chief. D. Causey was the first officer to arrive. The two men were at their car, but couldn’t drive away because they couldn’t find the keys (being held by the property owner).
Investigators found a large quantity of methamphetamine, as well as items that tested positive for the presence of ammonia and hydrochloric gas, both common to methamphetamine labs.
“This is a perfect example of citizens being aware and working with local law enforcement to combat a growing drug problem,” Nutt stated. “The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department is thankful for the ranch owner’s assistance.”

Kid brings pistol on school bus
Monitor Staff Reports
CHANDLER–No one was hurt when a Chandler Elementary kindergarten student was discovered with a firearm on a school bus April 16.
The youngster probably thought he was bringing something really cool to school when he snuck his grandfather’s pistol out of the house.
His grandfather, Kenneth Lee, was charged with making a loaded gun accessible to a child (he kept it under his pillow).
The charge is a Class C misdemeanor. Had the weapon been discharged, it would have been a Class A misdemeanor.
Not willing to wait all the way until he got to school, the 6-year-old unzipped the front of his backpack, so the student sitting next to him could get a peek at his prize.
“You brought a real one,” a school bus monitor heard the student say, and then also saw into the backpack.
The kindergartner had brought a loaded .38-caliber revolver. The monitor moved swiftly to take the backpack away from the student.
At no time was the firearm removed from the backpack by the student, nor did any of the other children on the bus see it, the bus monitor reported.
The bus had traveled about four miles from the student’s home, and was about six miles away from the school. About 30 children were on the bus when the monitor found the weapon.


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