Youth dies in electric mishap
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–Funeral services were held Monday for Mabank High School student
Matthew Bonsal, who was killed in a tragic accident at home June 7.
MHS Principal Dr. Tommy Wallis spoke during Bonsal’s funeral service at
the Christian Life Center in Gun Barrel City. (See obituary on page 9A.)
The youth’s unexpected death left friends, family and classmates
confused and bereft.
Bonsal, 16, expected to graduate from high school in 2010.
He was outside near a hot tub, holding an extension cord, when emergency
personnel from Mabank police and fire department responded to the Van
Zandt County Road 2813 address.
“He was lying in some mud,” firefighter Mat Ewaskiw said.
Water and electricity don’t mix, not even when that water is mixed with
dirt, Ewaskiw said.
Bonsal reportedly was attempting to use the extension cord to plug in a
portable air pump.
Van Zandt County dispatch initially received the 911 call saying Bonsal
had been injured at 3:30 p.m.
Mabank First Responders answered the call. Emergency technicians
performed CPR on Bonsal in the ambulance as it traveled to the East
Texas Medical Center in Gun Barrel City, but efforts to revive Bonsal
Bonsal was remembered during the funeral services as an active student
who took part in the UIL Superconference in Austin in 2006.
He was also remembered for his church participation, good listening
skills toward his sister and friends, and gentle demeanor.
Slaton new Kemp assistant
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–A Kemp High School graduate has accepted a contract to be the next
assistant principal at the Kemp Intermediate School.
Joanna Duke Slaton, a 1983 KHS grad, is pleased to be returning to her
“I’m just thrilled,” she told The Monitor Tuesday, just minutes after
inking the contract.
Slaton has taught high school English for Mabank the last 10 years, and
recently has been interning as an administrator under the direction of
Lakeview Elementary Principal Gary Jacobs.
Previously, she taught English for Eustace High School.
She has been very active with Beta Clubs, serving this past year as Beta
sponsor to the state of Texas.
During Slaton’s years at KHS, she was a Stingerette, in the band, a
cheerleader and a member of both FFA and Beta Club.
She is currently in her second year of the doctoral program in
educational administration at Stephen F. Austin State University, where
she is also working on her superintendent’s certification.
“The opportunity to come back to my home and teach children – that with
hard work and heart your dreams can come true – and have the opportunity
to give back to my community is probably one of the greatest honors I
will ever have,” she said.
Sewage spill spoils weekend
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The East Cedar Creek Freshwater Supply District
estimates about 250 gallons of raw sewage seeped into a channel and then
into Cedar Creek Lake over the weekend from a lift station in the
Lakeview Acres subdivision.
The district plans to install an automated radio telemetry alarm within
the week, which would send a signal to on-call employee radios to alert
them of any problems the lift stations might incur, ECCFWSD general
manager Bill Goheen told The Monitor.
Donald Kline, a 10-year Lakeview resident, told The Monitor he has seen
the lift station overflow repeatedly over the last 10 years.
“I first smelled the stuff late Saturday,” Kline said.
He called the district around 6 the next morning and left a message.
“At 10 a.m. it was still flowing,” he said. “That’s when I called the
Tarrant water board.” (The Tarrant Regional Water District owns the
A conversation with a live person assured him someone from ECCFWSD would
be notified, but nothing changed.
Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, Kline called members of the Lakeview Acres
property owners association to come down and look at it.
“It wasn’t until 10 a.m. the first truck showed up and got the second
pump going,” Kline said. “They spread a little lime, and they think it’s
all fine and dandy.”
Goheen told The Monitor a crew vacuumed up the spill, spread lime and
came back Tuesday morning to test the water at the spill site for
A sewage spill tends to reduce oxygen levels effecting aquatic life.
Tuesday, those levels were in the acceptable range for aquatic life,
The district’s after-hours cellular phone service was disrupted over the
weekend, possibly due to the severe thunderstorm that hit the area
Friday night, Goheen said.
A staff meeting was held Tuesday to instruct staff how to clear and
reset cellular phones that seem to be having a problem.
Calls were going straight to voice mail without posting an alert to the
on-call person, Goheen explained.
“I personally want to forward our regret of this occurrence. We make our
best attempt to respond to all concerns in a timely manner, but at
times, the best plan is flawed, due to unexpected circumstances,” he
In accordance with regulations, the district has filed reports of the
spill with both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the
Tarrant County Water District, Goheen said.
This latest spill and a conversation with Kline has convinced Goheen to
move up Lift Station 37 on the list of lift stations to be upgraded.
“If it is feasible at all to put in a larger lift station there, we
will,” he said.
A float on the second pump on the lift station got stuck, and that’s why
the second pump wasn’t triggered to come on, Goheen explained.
“All I can say is, we’ll wait and see what happens,” Kline responded.