Thursday, July 24, 2008

     

 

 

 

Three die in plane crash
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Three members of the Newman family of Fort Worth died Saturday afternoon when their single-engine Piper PA 22 nosed-dived into the ground and exploded near Peeltown.
The family had just finished lunch and a visit with Connie Akridge and taken off from the nearby pasture.
“The plane barely got off the ground before it hit the ground and burst into flames,” Akridge said.
John Newman, 50, an engineer at Lockheed Aeronautics in Fort Worth, a licensed pilot and plane mechanic, was flying the plane.
Passengers included his wife Cindy, 48, a kindergarten teacher at St. Andrews Catholic School, and their son J.W. Newman III, 19, a sophomore engineering student at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Their daughter, Katie, 17, would have been with them, but she was visiting a friend in St. Louis.
The plane crashed on the property of Ray and Susan Harbers, just off Kaufman County Road 4072, approximately two miles south of Peeltown.
“I was in the washroom changing a light bulb when I heard what I thought was a popping sound. I looked out and saw a white plane, nose down sticking straight up. I ran over but before I got to it, there was a muffled explosion and fire spread everywhere,” a still-shaken Harbers recalled.
He said the heat was “tremendous,” making the plane unapproachable.
“My neighbors and I grabbed our water hoses and fought the fire to keep it away from our homes and buildings,” he said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Lt. Tim Caradine said at least five acres burned.
“Fire departments from Kaufman, Scurry, Kemp and Mabank fought the blaze,” Caradine said. “The call came in at 3:40 p.m. that a single-engine plane had crashed.”
“When the Kemp Fire Department arrived, the aircraft was already consumed, but we kept the fire from burning any structures,” Kemp Assistant Fire Chief Miles Hicks said.
“I don’t know how I will make it without my daughter,” Jeannene Brown, Cindy’s 70-year-old mother said.
But, she added she had Katie to take care of, and Katie told her grandmother, “they would make it.”
A witness, Shelley Bradley, told The Dallas Morning News she was standing near the grass airstrip when the plane dipped its wings and lost airspeed.
“He took off and the wind changed. He should have banked right, but he banked to the left,” Bradley said. “He was flapping (dipping) his wings as if he was saying good-bye, but then we realized he was in trouble.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).


Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
A Piper PA 22 single-engine aircraft carrying three members of the Newman
family crashed south of Peeltown and burned Saturday, killing all three on board.
The mangled skeleton was all that was left of the airplane.

Council okays extended hours
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–A bare quorum of the Gun Barrel City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages until 2 a.m., if certain conditions are met.
The subject has been a major topic of business on the city council’s agenda for most the summer, and had been voted down at least once, at the June 24 meeting.
Councilwoman Kathy Cochran called it a topic which had “polarized the community,” and suggested a referendum to decide the issue.
However, this threshold-breaking decision was made during a special meeting held July 14, just six days after the council voted 4-1 to consider another extended hours alcohol sales ordinance.
The Monitor learned the meeting was called on Friday for the following Monday, and an agenda was posted at city hall.
However, no agenda was forwarded to either newspaper, as is customary. Both local papers routinely attend and report on the city’s twice-monthly council meetings.
City secretary Christy Eckerman, who normally provides meeting agendas to the newspapers, was out of town July 11, and did not prepare the agenda.
The unannounced meeting began at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 7:09, with consideration of the ordinance as the sole item of business.
Councilman Charles Townsend presided, as Mayor Paul Eaton was away on business and Cochran (the mayor pro-tem) was vacationing with her family.
Councilmen Kevin Banghart and Melvyn Hayes, along with Townsend, unanimously accepted the ordinance as presented.
“No one called me to complain about it,” Townsend told The Monitor after being asked about the unannounced meeting. “I feel it’s the only way to address the noise complaints.”
Gaters proprietor Billy Odom told the council July 15 the after-hours ordinance was the only way he could afford to make the improvements for sound and traffic containment.
“If it remains as it is, the city will continue to have the same noise and parking problems,” Odom said.
Eaton had called the meeting, but was unable to attend, considering the cost of gas and the single-item agenda. Eaton is finishing up a project in Baytown.
The special meeting was needed to meet certain time constraints, Eaton told The Monitor.
Odom had informed Eaton that his two most important financial partners would be either attending the Olympics or undergoing hip surgery, and would be unavailable for some time.
Odom hoped to make the needed improvements to Gaters’ by Aug. 2, when a concert featuring classic rockers Bad Company was scheduled, Eaton explained.
“The meeting was called in plenty of time (advanced notice),” Eaton defended. “But Mr. (Todd) Hogan couldn’t make it because of work and Mrs. (Kathy) Cochran was out of town,” he said.
The ordinance allows the conditional sale of alcoholic beverages until 2 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays.
It requires the vendor to:
• have his premises inspected and certified by a licensed audio engineer, who is also a member of an audio engineering society, to insure the structure will meet or exceed noise and vibration ordinance limits under all conditions defined as “live entertainment.” Live entertainment is defined as live bands, professional vocalists and comedians.
• provide all ingress and egress to the property to be contained within the property lines, with an adequate number of curb cuts as necessary.
• provide live entertainment throughout the hours of extended liquor sales.
• provide security and parking attendants sufficient to control attendance at the event in an orderly fashion.
• provide sufficient parking to comply with all city ordinances.
• pay an annual permit fee of $500.

BlackBrush seeks Tool city
permit to drill for oil

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–Oran White Civic Center was half-filled with citizens who came to the July 17 city council meeting to hear representatives from BlackBrush Oil & Gas, LP. explain a request to drill for oil in the city.
BlackBrush engineering manager Chis Cantrell assured the audience the proposed well was an oil well, not a sour gas well.
“We propose to drill a straight shoot, down 7,200 feet. It is not a slant well,” Cantrell said.
Smackover wells are drilled down to 11,500 feet, much deeper than the company intends to go in Tool, he explained
Another BlackBrush representative said while the wells in the Eustace area are deeper, the Tool well is different.
“It is not a chow or a Doberman pinscher, it is a poodle,” he said.
Tool Elementary School Principal Bill Morgan was said he was concerned about several different aspects.
Number one, the property is located across from the school, and the traffic and flow pattern of teachers and parents might intersect with construction crews, Morgan said.
“We can talk about traffic patterns, but we intend to build our own road off State Highway 274,” Cantrell said.
The new road is to be located north of the Lakeway addition, he explained.
“I need a new site plan to see a better defined road and I would like for you (BlackBrush representatives) to meet with the superintendent of schools to discuss the other issues,” councilman Leland Pitts said.
A member of the audience asked how much oil the well was expected to produce.
“From 130 to 180 barrels a day,” Cantrell said.
Another audience member asked how long it would take to put the well in place and to drill.
“About two days to set the equipment, and drilling will be completed in about one month,” Cantrell explained.
Council members decided to delay an answer on the request to get school issues resolved and the road site settled.
Friday, The Monitor was notified of a special meeting to consider and/or take action on the drilling permit, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday (tonight) at the Oran White Civic Center.
In other business, council members:
• heard a report from Jack Busby on civic pride.
A group of Tool residents has been established and named the Citizens Beautification Committee.
Some suggestions from the committee include establishing a home “Yard of the Month” and a business landscaping award. At the end of the year an award called the Gladys Phillips Award would be presented to the best, Busby said.
Another suggestion would center on educating citizens on the history of Tool.
“We’re not Hog Fork anymore, but Tool,” he said.
• heard a grant writing proposition from Grantworks, Inc.
• heard a report on the Code Enforcement Advisory Committee presented by Monty Pennell.


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