Thursday, April 29, 2010





  Late-night storms smash area
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Thunderstorms rolling through the area early Saturday spawned high winds and a category one tornado in Mabank, causing widespread damage and power outages. StormTerrys.jpg (171113 bytes)
Happily, there were no injuries in the Cedar Creek Lake area, though one death was reported due to a lightning strike-caused house fire in Phalba (see related story.)
The circular winds formed so quickly over Mabank that there wasn’t any time to sound the siren, city administrator Louann Confer said.
According to the National Weather Service, a front from Corsicana to Wills Point produced sustained straight-line winds of 88 mph for eight minutes, Henderson County Emergency Management director Joy Kimbrough, reported.
There was no tornado warning issued, she said.
Trees and power lines toppled, causing widespread power outages throughout the area, as well as ripping away roofs, awnings, signs and at least one building.
Police officers were stationed at the busiest intersections directing traffic Saturday morning. By Tuesday morning, at least one intersection in Gun Barrel City was operating with a blinking red light. StormWalmart.jpg (183739 bytes)
Trinity Valley reported the storms left 9,000 members without power over the weekend. As of Tuesday, power was fully restored.
In and around Mabank, power was restored by Tuesday morning, according to utility supervisor Ronnie Tuttle.
In the aftermath, the damage attracted at least one television news crew.
CBS Channel 11 sent reporter Sana Ayed to check out the damage.
The Monitor’s sales representative Janice Grubbs acted as tour guide, showing the news crew the most visual damage in the area.
Besides the old Terry’s Furniture Store in Mabank, extensive damage was to be seen at Mid-Cities Storage on SH 198, The Natural Health Market on SH 334 in Gun Barrel City and lake shore houses in Loon Bay.
One of the most visible and beloved spots changed by the storm is the great tree in front of the landscaping department at Walmart. The giant, which provided cool shade during the hot summers will be sorely missed.
It was remarkable that no one was hurt, considering the kind of damage found in Loon Bay.
One man was sound asleep in a room facing the lake, when winds lifted the neighboring boat dock and put it on his back porch, none too softly. The wall of the room he was in tore away from an adjoining wall. He ran to a nearby bathroom to escape the storm.
Loon Bay Drive resident and Korean War veteran George Fraser said the storm and its accompanying hail “sounded like a howitzer,” and blew in between 1 and 2 a.m.
Fraser called his neighbor, a Dallas family, who hadn’t come down to Cedar Creek Lake that Friday, and told them they’d better come because half of their second story had been blown away.
Kacy Whitehead and Tom Tiereny and their two daughters spend most weekends at their Loon Bay lake house.
“We usually come down on Fridays, but were running behind and so weren’t there when the storm came in,” Whitehead told The Monitor. When they arrived, they found their barbecue grill upside down in a pile of tree branches across the street, while their heavy glass patio table was unbroken.
A big wooden house beam had been turned perpendicular to the house.
“We’re so glad we weren’t here last night,” Tiereny said.
Weekenders in Oak Harbor were barred from reentering their property, due to downed electrical wires and a dislodged transformer situated in their backyard.
The storm broke in on every house and tree in the lakeside Meeks Addition, located off the end of Key Ranch Road.
By 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the weather was mild, sunny and calm – a perfect spring day, in which area residents could survey the storm’s effects and be thankful none of their loved ones were hurt.

SPCA gets ‘cruelly confined’ animals
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Kaufman County Precinct 4 Judge Johnny Adams ordered a forfeiture of animals seized at a residence between Prairieville and Mabank on CR 4013 during a court hearing Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the county, along with the SPCA of Texas, took custody of six horses, three dogs, two squirrels and 39 cats, following an investigation started Dec. 9, 2009.
An anonymous caller reported horses being kept in poor condition in the barn. The discovery of some 25 cats kept in a 10x10-foot room in the barn and another 10 cats in cages in a closed room in the residence didn’t come to light until much later.
Under these confined conditions, the ammonia build up was hazardous to a human, much less a cat.
The SPCA recorded levels of 27 parts per million in the barn room and 42 parts per million in the room in the residence.
The short-term exposure to ammonia of 25 parts per million will cause health issues in humans.
The cats were suffering from eye and ear discharge, some had various types of moderate to severe injuries and most were thin. It was apparent that they were kept fed, watered and sheltered.
Adams was shown photos of the horse stalls piled up with muck two and three feet deep.
“Those stalls have all been sanitized now,” owner Melanie Stroud said. She pleaded with the court to give two of the horses back to her, one of which is the product of 25 years of select breeding.
Her request was denied, and she was told to make restitution for the money spent on veterinarian care, food and housing of her animals, totaling $8,697, to the SPCA of Texas.
She may appeal the decision if she puts up a $42,197 bond, Adams said.
“We’re not saying she deliberately hurt these animals,” SPCA investigator Colby Grady said. “From our experience, this is the onset of a hoarding disorder. A lot of people have this problem. We’re here to help you with it.”
“When we first came out, she was very upset and didn’t want to talk to us or do anything to correct the problem,” deputy constable Wesley Boyd testified. “She just wanted to know who complained.”
SPCA investigator A. Munoz testified that he couldn’t evaluate the horses on that visit, because they had blankets on, and she wouldn’t take them off, so a second visit was scheduled.
When they returned, she wouldn’t let them on the property but said she had scheduled a farrier to trim the horses’ hooves.
When they returned again, the farrier was there, but the barns were still in the same sorry condition, Munoz said.
Then several months later, a second complaint came about the cats.
“We didn’t know about any cats until this complaint,” Munoz said. On the next visit, the investigators knew the whole story.
“Even then, we were willing to work with her, but she just wanted to find out who complained,” Munoz added.
Stroud testified that the cats were all strays, and she got them spayed and neutered. Confining them was the only way she could deal with them.
In happier days, Stroud, now 66, showed her horses and conducted a breeding program. In those days, she was known for her attentive care of her animals. In fact, several of her neighbors came to the courthouse to testify of her love for her animals.
But she became overwhelmed in recent years, following her husband’s death and becoming the sole caretaker of her mother, who suffered from Alzhiemer’s Disease.
This week, her mother was put into the Kemp Care Home under a hospice program, she testified.
The SPCA reported the residence was filled with furniture and garbage, and strewn with feces throughout. There were also two wild squirrels that had apparently been kept as pets, several cats kept in cages and cats roaming free.
“It is apparent that the horses were always kept in their filthy, feces-filled stalls and never let out. Their hooves were long and cracked,” according to the SPCA report.
The investigator attempted to outline a compliance agreement with the owner to bring the animals’ conditions into accordance with state statute, but the owner refused.
At that point, the SPCA contacted the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department.
After reviewing the case, the Sheriff’s Department concurred with the SPCA that it was in the animals’ best interest to remove them from the property.
The animals were transported to the Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney, for further evaluation and treatment.

Western Week seeks rodeo queen nominees
Special to The Monitor
MABANK–The Mabank Fire Department is once again looking for a young lady with horsemanship to become its 2010 Mabank Rodeo Queen.
You have until Friday, June 11, to submit the names of your nominees for rodeo queen to the Mabank Fire Station.
She should be in grades eight through 12, have access to a horse and western attire for Western Week June 21-26, with a parade on Saturday, June 26.
Entry forms may be picked up at the fire station also. There are nine clubs sponsoring this event, so get your entries in as soon as possible.
For more information, call Johnny Adams at (903) 880-3858.

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