People, Places & Events



Sen. Nichols tells history of mass transit
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY-The Rotarians of Cedar Creek Lake heard why, unlike Europe, mass transit in this country is nearly nonexistent.
“In light of rising gas prices and near gridlock traffic patterns, I thought it might be interesting to share with you what I’ve researched on this subject,” State Sen. Robert Nichols, former state transportation commissioner said.
After the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution moved people into cities, he said.
Entrepreneurs put benches in wagons to form a horse-drawn trolley to get people to work. Tracks and metal wheels were added to combat poor roads and muddy conditions, he said.
However, soon after the invention of the light bulb, electric generation plants followed and Thomas Edison developed the first electric motor in 1887.
The electric motor quickly replaced the horse and mule and omnibuses started running on electric motors 10 years later.
It was a natural fit for electric generation companies to develop an electric mass transit system.
“It was the most efficient mode of transportation. It was more efficient than steam locomotives, and interurban lines were laid like the one between Dallas and Fort Worth and from Tyler to Houston,” he said.
In 2001, the Trinity Express opened an electric rail line from Fort Worth to Dallas, the first time in 70 years, he said.
Indianapolis had the largest interurban system, with 500 trains making daily runs, moving seven million passengers a year.
From 1904 to 1934, private industry developed and laid 47,000 miles of trolly track.
“To put things in perspective, the U.S. Interstate system has 46,000 miles of highway and all of it built with public funds,” he said.
Cities started requiring franchises due to limited space on roadways. Then there was the stock market crash of 1929.
In 1935, U.S. Senator from Texas Sam Rayburn wrote a federal law calling for the regulation of all electricity companies. The law required them to divest all other holdings, including their transportation systems. These were sold off.
A co-op was formed by members of a new industry made up of Firestone, Standard Oil, General Motors, Mack Truck, Rockefeller and others bought up the lines and trolly cars and resold some to small fragile companies. They also systematically tore up the rails and replaced them with buses.
A huge antitrust suit was filed in the late ’30s, charging these companies with tearing up necessary infrastructure.
When Pearl Harbor was hit by the Japanese in 1941, the trial was put on hold and wasn’t resumed again until 1947. In the meantime, the oil, auto, and rubber tire manufacturers were making a pile of money building tanks, trucks, jeeps and aircraft for the war effort.
When the trial resumed, the companies indicted were found guilty. Each company was fined $5,000 and each executive had to pay $1, Nichols said.
The interstate highway system was built in the 1950s.
In 1988, a movie combining animation and live action called, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” played out its story around a secret plot to dismantle the Red Car trolly system to make room for a glimmering freeway, where cars travel all day long, getting on and off the highway to buy fuel and rapidly prepared food.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Former Transportation Commissioner and State
Sen. Robert Nichols tells how at one time the United
States had 47,000 miles of trolley tracks for electric
mass transit, all built by private industry. The country
currently has 46,000 miles of interstate highways.
Was it a result of governmental policy, a conspiracy,
or a little of both?

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Visiting Rotarian Dale Coventry, a Chicago attorney
recently featured on “60 Minutes,” told how the ethics
of keeping a secret under client-attorney privilege
held an innocent man, Alton Logan, in prison for 26
years. Logan was also Coventry’s clien,t and his case
 brought to light the torture tactics being employed by
Chicago police in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Coventry said.

Kaufman Ag office holds open house
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–After 14 years with its office in Terrell, the County Extension office has moved back to Kaufman.
An open house Friday showed off the spacious building to approximately 100 guests who toured, observed and enjoyed the newest facility.
Not only does it have new quarters, it also has a new name. The Texas AgriLife Extension is on the sign on the door, its cards and stationary.
The name was changed from Texas Cooperative Extension Service, formerly the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Whatever it is called, the agency is an outreach arm of Texas A&M University and provides continuing education for all ages.
Ralph Davis, Kaufman County Extension Agent for Ag and Natural Resources, gave a short talk in which he thanked County Judge Wayne Gent (who attended the open house) and the county commissioners for allowing the move.
He also thanked the Farm Bureau for providing the location.
The Extension Service shares the building with the County Farm Bureau and is located at 2471 N. State Highway 34, north of Kaufman.
Davis then he introduced and thanked his AgriLife staff and co-workers, Family and Consumer Sciences agent Katie Phillips, 4-H and Youth Development agent Carrie Sharp, office manager Jackie Robertson, assistant for 4-H and Youth Development Pam Corder 4-H paraprofessional and Leona Sterling.
Davis thanked the many volunteers who helped calling them the lifeblood of the organization.
Statistics for 2007 listed more than 98,000 volunteers across the state working an average of 56 hours totaling more than 5.5 million volunteer hours.
Several exhibits kept the guests interested. Kim Burroughs of Scurry demonstrated spinning wool and talked about the types and varieties available.
She belongs to the North Texas Fiber Arts Group and invites others to join.
It is a community group founded to preserve all forms of the art of fiber.
The group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays at the Kaufman County Library.
For information visit
Another exhibit was by the KC Master Gardeners Association.
Included in their showing were various kinds of plants.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
A ribbon cutting for the new Texas AgriLife Extension building was performed
by the Kaufman Chamber of Commerce. Agent Ralph Davis is pictured in the center.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Kim Burroughs of Scurry shows her skills on the
spinning wheel at the open house Friday for the return
of the Extension office to Kaufman.

Inspection firm sought for Kemp High School
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Work is almost ready to begin on the new Kemp High School, and the board of trustees is looking for the necessary building inspectors for the job.
The school district is considering its options, including going with a professional inspection firm.
May 20, trustees approved a motion to allow Kemp Independent School District superintendent Dr. Peter Running to begin negotiations directly with independent inspection firms.
Kemp city manager James Stroman attended the meeting. He said the city often does business with Dallas-based Bureau Veritas.
In other business, trustees:
• accepted from Johnson Controls, an energy management company for the district, a check for $80,000.
• heard parents request to consider a Bible-based curriculum for the coming school year.
The course could be an elective or enrichment type class.
In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court gave its okay for the classes across the nation.
In 1990, the Texas Supreme Court followed suit.
In 2007, more laws were passed to allow Bible-based courses.
“The classes are being looked into,” Running said.
• heard a request from high school senior Jamie Randall to allow all students who have enough credits who did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test to walk across the stage at graduation.
Randall pointed out although the students were allowed another chance at their TAKS test and would receive their diploma once they passed the test, the student could never go back and walk the stage with their classmates.
• heard the financial and tax collection reports as presented by business manager Kim Johnson.
Trustees were not happy to hear the tax collections for the district are hovering around 82 percent.
Kaufman county tax assessor/collector Dick Murphy has been asked to attend the June board meeting, Johnson said.

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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