changes attorneys, names Dallas law firm
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City council reconvened after a closed
session Tuesday to name a new city attorney.
William W. Krueger III and Kevin M. Curley of Fletcher & Springer out of
Dallas will guide the city through any future legal questions.
Krueger III is the same lawyer who successfully represented the city in
its suit against Seven Points in a dispute over extraterritorial
jurisdiction boundaries two years ago.
Earlier, the council gratefully accepted a donation of a 2000 Playcraft
25-foot pontoon boat.
Fire Marshal Joey Lindaman had put the word out to Lynn’s Marine if it
came across a used pontoon boat cheap, or in need of a home, to give him
Lindaman described himself as “crafty when it comes to boats,” and was
confident he could bring a less than perfect boat up to standards.
A few days later, Lynn’s gave him a call.
Tim Cornwell of Streetman was relocating his family to Omaha, Neb., and
needed to get rid of a pontoon boat.
The Cornwells agreed to donate it to the fire department as a rescue and
recovery vessel, Lindaman said.
The only thing the fire department needs to purchase is a trailer.
Texas Hydro Sports has agreed to a sell a trailer at cost to the fire
department, Lindaman said.
The funds for special purchases such as this are available in the
department’s special fund, city secretary Christy Eckerman said.
Lindaman plans to conduct training on the boat once a week.
Where to house the boat is still under consideration.
At one time, the fire department kept a boat at Big Chief Landing on a
boat dock the department raised funds for and built, but that was
discontinued and the dock reverted to Big Chief, Lindaman said.
“I haven’t gotten to talk to the present owner about this, yet,”
“I’d like to see it kept in the water,” Councilwoman Patsy Black said.
“That would save a lot of time when it comes to responding to water
rescues,” Lindaman agreed.
The motion to accept the donation, made by Todd Hogan, included
recognizing the donor with a note of appreciation.
The council also revised two agreements with resolutions.
One was with the S.O. Sportsplex and the other with newly dubbed city
manager Gerry Boren.
Boren’s official beginning date has been pushed up four days to Monday,
Until then, he will be on-call, should the city need his expertise,
while he attends a week-long seminar.
Boren and his family spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday house-hunting
in the area.
A reception is planned for the new city manager from 5-6:30 p.m. Aug. 6
in Brawner Hall. Citizens and friends of Gun Barrel City are welcome to
The second resolution was sought by Stephen Orsak for S.O. Sportsplex’s
performance agreement with the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
He requested it reflect an updated appraisal on the city’s park property
value from $200,000 to $300,000.
The council unanimously approved the changes after a brief question and
Completion of his Small Business Association loan cannot be closed
without it, Orsak said.
Other changes include:
• a pay back of $15,000 a year from 2 percent of sales taxes collected
at the facility for 20 years.
• a construction start date of Jan 15, 2008.
• an opening date of October, 2008, and
• the hiring of five fulltime and two part-time employees by January,
Orsak is getting financing through a bank and the SBA of $1.6 million,
with the backing of the EDC property as collateral. The city holds the
second lien position on the loan.
Owner stands up to robber
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–The owner of the One Point Beverage store on State Highway
274 in Seven Points did her best to fend off a robber more than twice
her weight Tuesday.
According to the police report, a white male, between 35 and 45 years of
age about 5-10 inches tall, of slender build and collar-length graying
hair with mustache robbed the store at gun point at around 4 p.m.
After a lengthy encounter with the owner Phan Sim he left the scene
traveling south in a dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe model year 2000 to 2005.
No shots were fired and no one was injured during the robbery.
An undisclosed amount of money was taken and the suspect was still at
large at presstime.
The suspect was under surveillance by the store’s security camera during
most of the robbery, though a still photo was not available by presstime.
“We’re still trying to get the image cleaned up, so the public can help
us identify the individual,” Seven Points Police Chief Wayne Nutt told
Sim, 50, 4-11 inches tall and weighing 90 pounds said she wasn’t a bit
afraid and grabbed a nearby metal rod to protect herself.
“He said to me, ‘lay down on the floor.’ I told him, you lay down on the
floor. He tells me, ‘I’m going to hurt you.’ I tell him, you hurt me and
I’m going to hurt you. I’m not afraid of you,” Sim recounts.
“I stand up very straight and tall, his gun pointed at me the whole
time, but I see his hand shaking,” she said.
The standoff continued for sometime she said and then she started
handing him the money – one dollar at a time.
“I knew the camera was getting his picture. I see his car, what kind it
is,” she said.
“My father taught me to not be afraid of man or woman.
Answering the call to build
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE– At one time or another, a person is convicted to take
action in response to a message.
A preacher, teacher, parent or friend may deliver that message. It’s
probably not the first time it’s been said or heard, but this time,
something has to be done about it.
Such a conviction led Eustace resident Ron Close to use his 40 years of
building experience in the service of God and man.
“Had I known at the beginning how much work it was, I might have petered
out,” he told The Monitor.
In 2004, 18 months to the day, Close successfully launched the Cedar
Creek Habitat for Humanity.
Less than three years later, the group handed over home ownership to a
second family needing a hand-up, and is ready to break ground on a third
Back in 2002, Close’s church minister asked a simple question: what
talents are you using for the Lord?
A retired Close asked himself: “Well, what’s my talent? I can’t sing.
But I’ve been a builder most my life. That’s when I thought about
Habitat for Humanity.”
He had worked with a Habitat group in the mid-’90s, teaching building
trades to state prisoners.
This led to having them practice their knowledge on Habitat houses. The
prisoner group eventually became a subchapter of an affiliate, and Close
worked with them for about five years.
“I decided to work with Habitat, but found out the closest one was in
“I’ll just start one out here,” Close thought.
He called regional Habitat director Phillip Bridgewater and was warned
completing the paperwork, needs assessment, forming a steering
committee, holding a number of public meetings and providing the $1,000
seed money would take 18 months.
“And he was right,” Close said.
He admits without the help of his friend, Curtis Collins of Advantage
Store and Lock in Payne Springs, it probably would have failed.
“He’s real good at paperwork and getting things done,” Close said.
“Between the two of us and with the help of the steering committee, we
worked real hard and got it done,” he said.
Then the publicity in The Monitor attracted two more valuable members to
“Eston (Williams) read about it in the paper, and told me how he and his
father-in-law Ralph Monroe tried to get one started, but got snowed
under in the paperwork,” Close said.
The two of them came on board about six months prior to the affiliate
“Ralph has a lot of contacts in the community for fund-raising, and
Eston is a great motivator and promoter,” Close said.
Naysayers warned Close adding a new charity to the area was unwise.
There’s only so much money in the community, he was told.
But that hasn’t been the case.
“The community has been very generous,” he said.
WR Starkey Mortgage sets aside $250 of every local mortgage transaction
placed with them by local real estate agents.
Other local businesses such as Groom & Sons, Apple Electric, THI
Roofing, Doug Ragsdale, Hassell Free Plumbing, Sterman Construction,
Hobbs Pest Control, Bob Irwin Air Conditioning, Tidy Toilets and EZ
Signs have generously contributed discounts, time, skills and material.
National corporations such as Whirlpool, Hunter Fans & Blinds and
Sherwin Williams Paint also make contributions.
The chief challenges have been finding qualifying families and having
the volunteer labor continue through the entire project, Close said..
“Everyone wants to drive nails, so they’re enthusiastic at the beginning
of a build,” Close explained.
Later, when it comes to doing the finish work on the interior and the
project grows stale, volunteers forget they’re still needed.
Indeed, Close probably has worked the most hours of anyone on the latest
house in Harbor Point, dedicated to Leonard Whitely and his four
“I was there working several Saturdays by myself. There’s just so much I
can do in the time allotted,” he said.
The board has decided to build two houses this year and step out on
faith, new board president Williams said during the dedication ceremony
for the second Habitat House last Saturday.
“The good news is, we already have the money. It’s just in your
pockets,” he said.
“Actually, I coined that phrase,” Close revealed. “But I let him use
But there’s more to the story.
Back in 1976, when Habitat for Humanity was being founded in Americus,
Ga., founders Milliard and Linda Fuller said all you need to start
building is money for the slab – all the rest will come.
The local board of directors took those words to heart in January with a
decision to complete two houses this year, having faith that the funds
would present themselves for the two structures.
Then just last month, June 25, Habitat board member Sue Cardin of First
State Bank in Gun Barrel City received a call from a lawyer in
“Could you use $30,000?” he asked.
“I just couldn’t hardly believe it,” Cardin said. She thought it might
be a bank examiner or someone trying to launder some money. “This seemed
just too good to be true,” Cardin explained.
The lawyer said her name was referred to him, but wouldn’t say from
The lawyer explained his client, who wished to remain anonymous, needed
to make a charitable donation for tax purposes before the close of his
fiscal year June 30.
They just needed a letter from the Habitat affiliate requesting the
“We e-mailed the request letter and they mailed a check,” Cardin said. A
CD was opened with the deposit on July 2, she added.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways, this was one of them. He met our
needs,” Close said.
He expects monetary gifts now through Christmas to fulfill the rest of
the amount needed to complete another house by the end of the year.
It takes between five and six months to build a 1,000-square-foot house
with three bedrooms, one bath and single carport.
They’re not all the same size. The size of the house is determined by
the size of the family.
The time period gives the recipient, who is employed during the week,
enough weekends to fulfill his “sweat equity” portion of the project,
Each family is required to contribute 300 hours of work. They also pay
on a no-interest mortgage into the affiliate’s revolving fund, which in
turn is used to build more houses. Ranging between $75,000 and $100,000,
depending on size.
Habitat for Humanity International requires affiliates to tithe monetary
contributions, which in turn builds houses worldwide.
Counting those homes, Cedar Creek has probably helped to build seven
houses, Close estimated.
This second house is the last house to be built in Harbor Point.
New building restrictions, requested by the property owners association
and approved by the city council, bars square footages below 1,200 and
require double enclosed garages.
“We won’t be building any more homes in Harbor Point, but there are
other neighborhoods we will build in,” Close said.
Jody Van Worth will get the next house. She works in Corsicana, so the
board is trying to finalize plans on a location on the west side of the
She’s already started toward her 300 hours, having helped on the last
First house recipients Tammie and Carlton Beasley are expected to lend a
hand on her house, as they did on the Whiteley’s house.
“It was real heartwarming to see all three families out there working on
the house,” Close said.
Cedar Creek Habitat for Humanity is now seeking 12 churches tohelp with
the third house raising.