Thursday, July 29, 2010

     
 

 

 

  Council votes to continue meter sale protest
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–After a 45-minute closed-door discussion, the Gun Barrel City Council agreed to continue its protest of Mabank’s long-approved sale of 800 water meters to the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District.
The question of continuing or abandoning the protest came up after the first in a series of hearings before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in Austin July 14-15.
“It’s been an interesting week,” city manager Gerry Boren told the city council during a special called meeting July 22.
Boren said each of the four sides – the city (represented by Boren), the city of Mabank, the ECCFWSD and TCEQ – provided State Office of Administrative Hearing judge with a detailed overview of the proposed sale and its ramifications during the two-day hearing.
“The hardest part is to stand on that (witness) stand and answer questions that you think you know,” Boren said.
Mabank wants to sell the 800 meters located in Gun Barrel City to the ECCFWSD because Mabank’s water treatment plant is already at 85 percent capacity, and TCEQ rules require a major upgrade at that point, Boren explained.
“East Cedar Creek has a 3 million gallon per day (mgpd) plant, and they will also be at 85 percent (with the purchase), so somebody will have to do something,” Boren said.
The ECCFWSD has been operating its Brookshire plant at 2 mgpd for two years, and will be upgrading in 2012, Boren said.
“TCEQ recognizes them as a 3 mgpd plant, so that (purchase) will leave them with just 119 connections, and they will be at capacity,” Boren said.
(Editor’s note: The Brookshire plant’s last major upgrade, a new clarifier, gave the plant a 4 mgpd capacity, and larger pumps are all that is needed to tap into that extra capacity.)
Boren said the city’s name has been put on the list for potential future water/sewer grant funding.
The timeline for scheduled hearings, attorneys’ briefs and public comment will stretch into the new year, Boren told the council.
In a related action, Boren submitted a proposed Master Water Plan for the council’s review, and said the 1-inch-thick report provides several possible scenarios for water service.
“I still think whatever we do should be cost-effective,” mayor Dennis Wood told Boren.
Engineer Gary Burton III told Wood and the council that it was likely any city-owned water system would operate at a loss for the first few years.
“This (report) tells us that having wells here would not be sufficient,” councilman Melvin Hayes said to Burton.
Burton said he had to rely on published data for the best water well placement, although he added he knew people who drilled a well in what was thought to be an unproductive area and struck water.
“If those wells are at Eustace, they would need to be on the east side, and we’d need to have six wells,” Hays noted.
“That’s what the published data indicates would be best,” Burton replied.

Area families get food boxes
North Texas Food Bank and Mabank United Methodist Church identify and fill needs through summer with first of three distributions
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–More than five tons of food was distributed to some 200 Cedar Creek Lake area families Tuesday morning, the first of three special distributions. FUMCfoodDistribution.jpg (183720 bytes)

Monitor Photo/
Kerry Yancey
AT RIGHT: Pete (left) and Teresa Martinez pick up cases of non-perishable food items for area residents lined up in the Mabank First United Methodist Church parking lot during the first of three special food distributions Tuesday.


Those distributions – scheduled on the last Tuesday of July, August and September – are officially known as the Summer Family Nutrition Feeding Program, and are held in addition to the usual monthly food distribution hosted by the First United Methodist Church of Mabank.
The church’s parking lot was full, as three different lines of vehicles filtered down to one line being loaded with prepared boxes filled with non-perishable food items.
Prepared boxes marked one major difference for this food distribution.
In the past (particularly last December’s pre-Christmas distribution), dozens of volunteers were needed to break down piles of different foods (such as a pallet of canned corn and a pallet of beans) and collecting those items into a single box ready to be handed to a family.
The 350 boxes handed out Tuesday were already prepared by the North Texas Food Bank. FUMCfoodLadies.jpg (124869 bytes)
“We’re partnering with the church here. We provide the food, and they provide the parking lot and the volunteers,” North Texas Food Bank senior manager of program services Brad Wendling said.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
AT RIGHT: Sharon Underriner (left) and Cindy Crawley review paperwork for families who signed up for Tuesday's food distribution at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank.

Wendling was fretting over the lengthy processing time that led to dozens of cars waiting to join the distribution line.
He asked about a larger parking lot, but there aren’t very many larger parking lots available, aside from the Mabank High School lot, which would be in use during the Aug. 31 distribution.
“We might want to set time periods next time, where the first 75 (families) show up at 9 a.m. and the next 75 show up at 10,” he said.
During Tuesday’s distribution, volunteers also handed out box fans for families without air-conditioning.
The FUMC will open sign-ups for school supplies Wednesday, Aug. 4.

Woman uses hammer on husband
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of a county woman for deadly weapon family violence charge, stemming from a July 24 altercation in Kemp.
Wanda Scales, 40, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and unlicensed possession of a firearm by a felon.
Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence in the 17,000 block of Daisy Lane in Kemp for a family violence situation.
The conflict is reported to have begun about 9 p.m. July 24 and continued until 2 a.m. July 25.
Scales was reported to have hit her husband William Scales, 61, in the head with a hammer and pointed a gun at him, but changed her mind about pulling the trigger.
She then allegedly took more guns from the residence, along with the keys to the house and two vehicles, and left.
William Scales refused medical treatment.
Deputies located Wanda Scales at the Lively Store, where she was arrested without incident.
She is being held at the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center on a $30,0000 bond.


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