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Current Issue
July 14
, 2011






News in Brief

Volunteers sought
The Family Resource Center is seeking volunteers for its “Back to School Clothing Program.” A meeting is set for 1 p.m. Thursday (today), at the building located next to the Resource Center in the Tamarack Subdivision.
For information call Winnie at (903) 519-2934.

Westside seniors
The Westside Senior Center is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday (today and every Thursday) at the Cedar Creek Bible Church Activities Building, 700 North Seven Points Blvd.
Seniors 55 and older in the Cedar Creek area are invited to join in games, fun, food and fellowship.
For information, call (903) 340-9672.

Master Gardeners
The Henderson County Master Gardeners Summer Workshop Series presents East Texas naturalist Liz Soutendijk at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (today) at the East Texas Arboretum, 1601 Patterson Road, Athens.
The free program features ways to incorporate native plants into the home landscape. The program is free and light refreshments will be served along with door prizes.
For more information, call the extention agent at (903) 675-6130.

Free kids movies
The Tri-County Library offers free children’s movies at 1 p.m. every Thursday in the community room of the library at 132 E. Market Street, Mabank. July 14, “Horton Hears a Who;” and July 21, “Garfield: The Movie.” For more information, call (903) 887-9622.

Parrot Head Run
Registration for the annual Parrot Head Poker Run starts at Don’s Port Marina between 10 a.m. and noon. Saturday, July 16, and finishes at Cedar Isle Restaurant with live music from 4 to 9 p.m. by the “Bad Monkeys in the Jimmy Buffet style. For information, call (903) 432-2220.

Free rap concert
The Lighthouse of Praise welcomes popular Christian rap artist Stephen (Burnin”) Bush in a free concert at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16. The church is located at 18280 SH 274 on the west side of the highway just past The HamLins. For more information, call (903) 802-0178.

Indian history
The American Indian Cultural Society, Inc. is hosting the annual “Battle of the Neches” memorial ceremony. Events begin at 1 p.m. and ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16, about 85 miles from Dallas, off SH 64 to Redland (look for sign), turn north (left) onto Van Zandt CR 4923. For information, directions or to RSVP, call (903) 425-8581 or (903) 914-1516.

Rootseekers Society
The Rootseekers Genealogy Society meets at 7 p.m. Monday, July 18, at the Tri-County Library, Mabank. Margaret Ann Trail and Faith Gilbreath will discuss displaying your genealogy work. Meetings are open to the public. The genealogy room at the library is open from 9:30 to noon Tuesdays. Volunteers are on hand to help anyway they can.

VBS FBC Eustace
Vacation Bible School, “The Big Apple Adventure” is set for 6:30 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, July 18-22, for ages 4 through entering sixth grade.The week of fun, food and learning opportunities, is free of charge.
For more information, call (903) 425-2261 or visit the web site at

MHS Varsity Choir
The Mabank Varsity Choir is holding a garage sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 22-23 at 104 South Rye, Gun Barrel City. Proceeds fund the choir’s trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Items include clothing, Christmas decorations, massage chairs, and much more. For information, call Marsha Sanchez at the Fine Arts Department at
(903) 880-1820.

Children’s book drive
Christian Cheer Company and The Library at Cedar Creek Lake are pairing up from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 23, by holding a children’s book drive. Books will be donated to local children in order to promote reading.

Red Hot ‘18’ tourney
The annual Red Hot “18” Golf Tournament is set for a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. Monday, July 25, at Kings Creek Country Club. Check-in is at 7:45 a.m.. Featured is a hole-in-one contest sponsored by Tri-County Ford. Cost includes light breakfast, golf, cart & lunch. For information call Tiffany Lilly at (903) 887-6001, Robbye Grissom at (214) 926-1395 or Debra Davis at (903) 887-2870.

News & Brief Policy
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Top News

Grassfire destroys 25 acres
Sleepers saved from 2 a.m. house fire; no batteries in smoke detector
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–Local firefighters stopped a grassfire dead in its tracks July 7, scorching about 25 acres of the property belonging to Nelda and Glen Reynolds of County Road 2831.
The call came in shortly before 1 p.m. In addition to Payne Springs Fire Rescue, units from Eustace, Enchanted Oaks and Gun Barrel City were dispatched to the area.
When it looked like the grassfire was going to ignite a close-by wooded area, the Texas Forestry Service was alerted but later disregarded.
Chuck Harley, one of the volunteers who saw it extinguished after five hours, said the fire was started while Richard Craft was baling hay there.

Courtesy Photo
A brush truck drowns any sparks along a tree line to prevent a grass fire on a property along CR 2831 from becoming a wildfire July 7.

“Sometimes some of the grass gets lodged in between the gears (of a hay baler) and the heat and friction of the moving parts probably caused it to catch fire,” he explained.
Happily, no one was hurt.
Eustace contributed men and two brush trucks. Enchanted Oaks sent a brush truck. Gun Barrel City sent a small engine and a tanker truck, and Payne Springs responded with three brush trucks, two tankers one engine and one rescue vehicle.
Firefighters were kept hydrated by auxiliary workers providing water and Gatorade, Harley said.
“I went to Possum Kingdom with the Payne Springs Fire Rescue and there is no difference in their situation at that time then our own position now,” Harley noted.
“It (wildfires) could easily happen here, once it got started,” he added. “So far, we’ve been lucky.”

Courtesy Photo
All that’s left of a hay baler that caught fire, resulting in the scorching of 25 acres near Payne Springs.

2 a.m. house fire
Harley also reported a house fire occurring around 2 a.m. Thursday in Cherokee Shores.
In that case, a passerby, saw smoke coming from the front of the structure and alerted the residents, while a neighbor called 9-1-1.
His quick action may have saved the life of a woman, her daughter and 2-year-old granddaughter, who were asleep in the back of the single-wide mobile home.
The call came in at 2:13 a.m. and fire rescue arrived seven minutes later with three engines, two tankers and rescue.
When they arrived, the front room was fully involved in fire, heavy smoke was present and fire moving down the hallway.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. However, firefighters found the home’s smoke alarm to be missing its batteries.
“Check those smoke alarms. Any fire could make Cedar Creek Lake end up like Possum Kingdom,” Harley warned.

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4006 road repair disputed
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–At a loss as to what’s to be done about the repair of a much traveled road between Mabank and Gun Barrel City, the Mabank City Council agreed Thursday to see about closing off access.
The road’s failing condition and political stalemate over its repair has caused area residents to become more and more abusive toward city and county workers in their understandable frustration over the situation.
“What’s going to happen when it goes beyond verbal abuse and someone gets hurt,” utility supervisor Ronnie Tuttle asked council members July 7.
Kaufman County Precinct 4 commissioner Tom Manning said he receives 20 or more calls a week – all from very angry Gun Barrel City residents – about the road’s condition.
Tuttle said his work crews are on the receiving end of verbal assaults from motorists.
“They shouldn’t have to put up with that,” he said.
City secretary Fairy Gonzales said she gets her share of irate phone calls.
So what’s stopping Mabank from repairing the roadway used by Harbor Point residents to cut through to U.S. Highway 175 and saves gas to the Mabank ISD serving Lakeview Elementary on Harbor Point Road?
Legalities over borders.
“If we had control of the road, we could fix it and enforce rules about truck traffic,” Mayor Larry Teague said.
Since state law stipulates that a city cannot claim just part of a road, Gun Barrel officials argue that since Mabank annexed the 505 Ranch, repair of the road falls to Mabank.
However Mabank points out that there are no taxpayers along that road, and according to an agreement worked out between the two cities the center of the road is the boundary between the two cities’ jurisdiction.
The outcome of a boundary dispute between the two cities worked out in 2002 set the boundary. Therefore, Mabank says that without Gun Barrel releasing a corresponding 300-foot set back from the road, it cannot legally repair it.
The 300-foot rule came down from the legislature to prevent cities from annexing just those few feet fronting major roadways in order to collect property or sales tax from businesses along the strip.
So without an interlocal agreement, Mabank cannot legally repair the road, unless Gun Barrel is willing to give up part of its extra-territorial jurisdiction.
However, Gun Barrel City council members – first in January with a $90,000 road repair price tag and then again in June with a greatly reduced price of about $22,000 – turned down proposed interlocal agreements to share in the repair of the roadway.
At the June meeting, the council was well aware that Mabank couldn’t fix the road without an interlocal agreement, Mayor Dennis Wood said. “They can’t take over the entire road in this case, unless Gun Barrel City is willing to reduce its ETJ by 300 feet,” Wood said.
“We spent about $40,000 for a July Fest to entertain a few people and that was the amount to repair the entire road. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have taken care of this for a mere $22,000, period. The end,” Wood told The Monitor in a phone interview Monday.
Wood agreed with Mabank’s move to seek the road’s closure. “I agree. I would probably have done the same thing,” he said.
The 25-page document agreed to in 2002 was authorized by 173rd District Court Judge Jack Holland, now Gun Barrel City municipal judge.
The 2002 agreement was the result of a lawsuit brought by Mabank against Gun Barrel City when Gun Barrel wanted to annex across the boundaries which extends through property past the roadway, changing a previous agreement worked out in 1989.
“We are bound by that agreement along our entire border, including the roadway,” councilwoman Shannon Steakley said.
“They’re doing more damage (by not approving an interlocal agreement) to the people who live in Gun Barrel City than anyone else,” she added.
In 2007, at the insistence of Mabank schools superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall, city mayors Paul Eaton and Larry Teague agreed to share maintenance of the road dividing it evenly from both ends of the roadway, with Gun Barrel maintaining the West Side and Mabank the East Side.
Teague said both sides honored that agreement until “we (Mabank) refused to sell the water meters we had under contract to East Cedar Creek.”
“That’s the truth,” Teague continued. “And I said that very thing with them sitting right here (in Mabank’s council chambers June 13), and they were as quiet as church mice with their heads hung low. And you can quote me,” he added.
“I feel like we’ve done what we agreed to do whether it was on a handshake or by an interlocal agreement.”
“They could have spent the money they spent on trying to get water out of a turnip to agree to fix that road,” councilman Mitch Odom added.
“Now they (local residents) curse at us, but before you know it they’ll be shooting at us,” Tuttle said. “Me and Fairy probably get more cursing than anyone else in the world.”
Tuttle said even now, he’s willing to continue maintaining the handshake agreement and keep the Mabank half of the road repaired. “Mabank wants to do what’s right,” he said.
With Mabank Police Chief Kyle McAfee deeming the road unsafe, the motion passed unanimously to pursue closure of the road until the problem is resolved or road repaired.
In other business, council members:
• authorized a five-year property tax abatement agreement for JIT Manufacturing, Inc. In consideration of the action, JIT is building a $2.021 million development, equipping a 28,500-square-foot light manufacturing facility on a 12-acre site on the northern edge of the city limits.
The area has been zoned as a Reinvestment Zone. The firm will also receive a one-year construction period free of property taxes.
According to the contract the increment of tax abatement will decrease 20 percent from its second year in business through its fifth year.
• entered into an interlocal agreement with Mabank ISD for the purpose of adding 45 parking spaces at Southside Elementary School campus. The city will provide the expertise, labor and equipment, while Mabank ISD will supply the material.
• agreed to a change in escrow agencies for the purchase of water meters from the city by East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District. The former agent is closing its doors.






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