Sunday, April 26, 2009




  Council names new police chief
Monitor Staff Reports
PAYNE SPRINGS–The Payne Springs City Council named Christopher Meyers as its new police chief Tuesday.
Meyers most recently was employed by the Kaufman City Police Department.
Council members agreed to pay Meyers a salary of $30,000 a year.
Three other candidates had applied for the position, including interim police chief James East, part-time patrol officer Michael L. Roach and Leslie B. Miers of Malakoff.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Christopher Meyers

The position of police chief has been filled with two interim officers over the past year and a half.
Tim Meadows, seeing the political turmoil and lack of council support for a police department, left for the chief’s post in Seven Points in July, 2007.
First, longtime patrol officer Shane Renberg, filled the spot in default of a candidate the council could agree upon, until his resignation to become a county deputy fire marshal Jan. 15.
On that occasion former mayor Michael McDonald said, “He put up with a lot of undeserved animosity from the city council. He deserves our gratitude,”
During his tenure, council action on police matters from vehicles purchases, hiring part-time and full-time officers, to raises, showed little support for the department. When Renberg departed, reserve officer James East was tapped to fill the void, when efforts to find a candidate for police chief became more earnest.
A called meeting March 28, was set to interview candidates and make a decision. However, action was delayed, when employment reports from the state had not yet been received.
In a related matter, the council agreed to allow police officers to take the patrol cars home over the next 30 days, as a probationary period “to see how it goes.”
This issue has been a matter of dissention among council members, and raised discussion among the city’s residents with public comments siding with taking the vehicles home.
Rather than choosing an automotive body shop to repair city vehicles, the council decided to get three estimates on needed repairs as they occur.


Pacific Prowler to fly local skies
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–A piece of aviation history is going on public display the first weekend in May – and you won’t want to miss it!

Courtesy Photo/
Hugh Montgomery

The Pacific Prowler is one of 10 B-25 Mitchell bombers still flying today.

Two aircraft that played pivotal roles in World War II – the historic B-25 Mitchell Bomber, used in the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan, our first military response following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the C-47 Skytrain, used to transport troops and supplies into every WWII theater – are coming to the Athens Municipal Airport, Athens Jet Center, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3.
The Cedar Creek Veteran’s Foundation (CCVF) has commissioned the Pacific Prowler and its crew to bring a part of the World War II aviation history to life in a salute to the veterans of Henderson, Kaufman and Van Zandt counties. Entrance fee is $20 per car and makes for a nice family outing.
“It’s an inexpensive couple of hours for the family to see planes that helped win the war,” CCVF president Bob O’Neil said.
The Pacific Prowler is one of only 10 of the B-25 Mitchell bombers left flying in the world. And what’s more, besides getting to view this magnificent plane and hear some of its history, many will get the chance to actually go up in it.
Check the News In Brief  for reservation information.


Area couple give timely aid, perhaps saving a driver’s life
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Everyday heroes respond to a need when they see it, regardless of their own plans or level of health.
Payne Springs residents Fran and Gerald Nicholson, in their mid-60s, are just such heroes.
April 16, they were returning home from Dallas Presbyterian Hospital after Fran had some tests done.
They usually would have returned the same way they came on Interstate 635, but when they found themselves heading back on U.S. Highway 175, Gerald decided to continue on, instead of turning around.
And it’s a good thing he did.
Shortly before the S-curve near Hatcher Road, Fran noticed the car in the middle lane was losing speed and veering over to the side. Then, she saw the driver’s head flop over to the side.
“Something is wrong with that driver,” she told her husband.
Just then, Gerald noticed an 18-wheeler coming up fast from behind.
“Thank the Lord for his straw cowboy hat,” Fran said.
Gerald stopped his car and waved the driver of the semi-truck over into another lane. He also put on his flashers and followed the distressed driver’s car until it was going slow enough to catch it on foot.
“He just kept saying, ‘Jesus, you can do this. I can’t,’” Fran said.
Just as he was catching up with the driver, her hand moved the wheel, guiding it to the side of the road, and he rapped on the window. The woman became alert and stopped her car. “If the car hadn’t been going up a small hill, it might not have slowed down,” Fran said.
Gerald told her she had passed out and asked her if she felt bad.
She was very sick. In fact, she was on her way to a walk-in clinic in Crandall when she passed out.
Her name is Marcie Mills. A Kaufman resident, both she and her husband work for an elevator company in Frisco. The couple have three school-aged children.
The Nicholsons called 9-1-1, and also called Mills’ husband and mother.
Later, Mills was able to call the Nicholsons to thank them, because their number was recorded on Mills’ mother’s phone.
“We were so glad to hear she wasn’t seriously hurt,” Fran said.
Mills had left for work around 6:30 that morning feeling nauseated, but hoping it would pass. By 10 a.m., she realized it wasn’t going to pass and made a doctor’s appointment for 3:45 p.m.
Then she remembered a clinic in Crandall that took walk-ins and decided to go there, Mills told The Monitor.
Because of the nausea, Mills hadn’t eaten or taken in fluids, and had become dehydrated, which led to her passing out.
She was diagnosed with a stomach flu – a combination of symptoms that could easily have resulted in a fatal tragedy if not for Fran and Gerald’s timely response.
Gerald was a paramedic in the 80s and early 90s, Fran said. Both of them are disabled now. Gerald had triple bypass surgery in 2002 and received four stints.
“The Lord has blessed us, and we just try to pass those blessings on,” Fran said. “We need to look out for one another.”
They have certainly set an inspiring example for the rest of us.

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