Sunday, May 17, 2009




  Fruit stand to reopen
Council grants last variance to town landmark
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points City Council agreed to give the owner of the vegetable and fruit stand on W. Cedar Creek Parkway a second chance.
The 16-year-old fresh produce stand will be able to reopen.
Its many loyal customers have had to get their fresh East Texas produce from a temporary stand owner Kenneth Bowling opened across from Cedar Isle, while he sought a variance from the city.
Because the wooden stand is located in a section of town zoned for professional business buildings, it is regarded as a nonconforming business. As such, it falls under the 60-day rule, requiring a variance if it is to be reopened, city secretary Debbie Mosley explained.

Monitor Photo/PearlCantrell
A 16-year-old produce stand in downtown Seven Points gets a second chance to reopen. Council warns the non-conforming business owner to clean it up and remain open year-round or close up for good.

“We’ve always tried to run a clean place and it’s seasonal,” Bowling said. “On icy cold rainy days, I can’t sell tomatoes or peaches,” he told the council members Tuesday.
Two weeks before Easter, Bowling had paid for ads to run in the newspaper announcing its reopening, later learning he wouldn’t be allowed to reopen without a variance.
Bowling also reminded the council that in the past he has donated produce to the needy, including the police department’s blue santa program.
Bowling’s son, Kenneth Bowling Jr., assured the council that if they were allowed to sell firewood, Christmas trees, yard art and nuts in the off-season, he would keep the stand open year-round and make sure it was kept tidy and attractive.
Bowling Jr. also testified that he had extensive experience in produce sales and would be assisting his father in the business.
“I’ll make it a beautiful place,” he said.
The stand’s cluttered signs have generated a number of complaints to city officials over the years.
To avoid having to come before the council every year to be reinstated, mayor Gerald Taylor suggested Bowling sign a year lease with property owner Beverly Sipes, who was also present.
Sipes has worked for Bowling over the last 10 years in the stand.
“I don’t have a problem with that,” Bowling Jr. repeatedly said.
“A lease for a year with the landowner would bind you to stay open,” Taylor said.
“The last time you got a variance and promised to stay open year round, you didn’t,” Taylor reminded Bowling.
“The variance stipulates year-round operation. If closes for 60 days, it’s gone,” councilman Hank Laywell clarified.


Council seats new members, renews trash pickup contract
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–With three new members sworn in, the Gun Barrel City Council took little time moving through a routine agenda Tuesday.
The major action of the 20-minute meeting was to seat the new council members – Marvin Pace, former Economic Development Corporation board member Curtis Webster and former councilman Marty Goss.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Municipal Judge Jack Holland (right) issues the oath of office to new Gun Barrel City Councilmen Marvin Pace (left), Marty Goss and Curtis Webster during the council's regular session Tuesday.

Incumbent council members Todd Hogan, Cathy Cochran and Charles Townsend did not seek re-election, and were presented plaques by mayor Paul Eaton, who thanked them for their service on the panel.
“I’m going to Disneyworld!” Townsend crowed as he held up his plaque.
Once seated, the new council quickly selected Kevin Banghart as the mayor pro-tem and moved on to the two items of real business on the agenda.
The first was to either renew the city’s trash pickup contract with Allied Waste, or give formal notice the city would be seeking bids on the service.
City manager Gerry Boren said there had been only eight complaints so far this year.
“In the first couple of years, we had numbers in the 20s and 30s,” Boren said.
“Certainly, eight complaints are not very many,” Eaton noted.
“A couple of years ago, we had several complaints in Tamarack,” councilman Melvin Hayes said, “but we’ve had no complaints this year.”
“We’re looking at a record of improvement every year,” Goss said. “I say don’t fix something that isn’t broke.”
Council members voted unanimously to renew the five-year contract, which allows cost-of-business rate increases.
Council members then turned to a housekeeping measure, formally approving the 12th supplement to the city’s code of ordinances.
Attorneys annually review the city’s ordinances, which are kept on hard copy (notebooks) and on-line, city secretary Christy Eckerman explained.


MHS principal accepted to Harvard leadership program
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–The 2009 Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT) Leadership Program is sending Mabank High School principal Brad Koskelin to The Principals’ Center, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“We’re very proud of Brad’s acceptance,” Mabank superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said. “His initiative and striving for excellence reflects well on the high school and Mabank ISD, and what he gains from the training will benefit our students.”
Approximately 100 top public and charter school leaders will participate in one of five Summer Institutes.
Koskelin was selected from 350 applicants in Texas to attend the “Redesigning High School.”
The Institutes expose the principals to leading national and international experts in the fields of education and leadership, and in addition they will work with renowned educators from across the country.
Koskelin will be at Harvard in Boston from Sunday, June 28, to Friday, July 3.


Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.