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Current Issue
July 31
, 2011






Lake Info

Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet
above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is: 317.24
Water Temperature:
90 degrees - top
86 degrees - bottom

Sports in Brief

Tri-County Soccer sign-ups
The Tri-County Soccer Association will be holding sign-ups for the Fall 2011 soccer season. Signups will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Gun Barrel City McDonald’s. Children must be at least 4 years of age prior to Monday, Aug. 1, in order to play. Entry fee is $60. Games will begin Sept. 10.

Canoe/Kayak Skills
Purtis Creek State Park will hold basic canoe and kayak skills lessons from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. Learn basic paddling skills, including safe entry and exit of the boat. Reservations are required. The deadline is the day before the lessons. For information, or to make reservations, call Purtis Creek State Park at (903) 425-2332.

Key UIL High School Football Dates
4A and 5A Schools Without Spring Training, 3A, 2A, 1A-11-man, 1A-Six-man
• Aug. 1 – First day of conditioning (No contact activities permitted. No contact equipment except helmets may be worn.)
• Aug. 5 – First day of contact
• Aug. 12 – First scrimmage
• Aug. 17 – Second scrimmage
• Aug. 22 – Third scrimmage (Schools opting for a third scrimmage shall not play on zero date)

Upcoming Events






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Sports Highlights

Local lineman takes third in rodeo
By Sam Epps
Monitor Sports

KAUFMAN COUNTY–It wasn’t a typical rodeo, but local Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative (TVEC) foreman Josh Lathem, 29, of Scurry helped his team finish third overall in the Texas Lineman’s Rodeo Association’s (TLRA) 15th annual Texas Lineman’s Rodeo in Seguin July 14-16.
The Association is a non-profit organization “created to offer lineworkers a way to showcase their pride in the profession of high-voltage linework,” according to a TLRA press release. Teams from around the state compete.
Lathem, who is a foreman on a construction crew, has been employed by TVEC for 9 ½ years and has done a little of everything.
He began his career as a meter-reader, and has advanced through the ranks.
Lathem has participated in the rodeo for seven years.
Each rodeo team consists of three members. Lathem’s other teammates are Eric Barker and Lance Robison, both of Kaufman. Barker has competed in the rodeo for two years, and Robison for five years.
Each year, there are two set competitions; “hurt man rescue” and “speed climb.”
Teams also compete in three other events, and they change from year to year.
This year, teams also competed in an overhead to underground termination, a transformer changeout and a “knot-tying/rope splicing” event.
Teams are judge based on accuracy, speed and safety. Teams win the event by notching the fastest time with the fewest mistakes. Mistakes result in a point deduction, so “the fastest team can still lose if they make mistakes,” Lathem explained.
And in the real world of high-voltage electrical work, it’s the mistakes that can hurt or kill.
“The whole emphasis of the rodeo is to be safe and win by being the safest team,” Lathem said.
To get ready for the rodeo, teams practice months in advance, honing their skills and working together.
Lathem and his team began practicing about three months before the rodeo, and with just a month before the rodeo, every Friday was dedicated to practice.
“The rodeo is very tiresome,” Lathem said, noting that all events are done “old-school,” meaning no bucket trucks, no mechanical equipment and no battery or gas-powered anything.
“The events are done not just to test skill, they also serve as great practice for everyday work,” TVEC Marketing and Communications Coordinator Jeff Jordan explained.
“We are very proud of Josh, Lance and Eric and all they accomplished at the Lineman’s Rodeo,” TVEC Chief Executive Officer Jerry Boze said.
“They represented TVEC well, and this event allowed them to display their talents and skills as a lineman against others across the state. The end results demonstrated how well-trained and qualified they are at their jobs,” Boze added.
Lathem is a 2000 graduate of Scurry-Rosser High School. He attended Trinity Valley Community College in Athens and left with a Business certificate.
He also attended South Plains Community College, taking on-line courses, and received power technology certification.
Before working for TVEC, Lathem was a welder, and still does welding in some spare time.
He has been married to Brittney for seven years, and they have one child, 14-month-old Mia. They live in Scurry.
Their family is also from the area, with her family in and around Kemp, and his in Scurry.
Brittney (Mahan) graduated from Kemp High School in 2002, and is an operating room nurse at the Texas Health Women’s Specialty Surgery Center in Dallas.
Together, they attend Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Scurry, and Lathem does a lot of work with the church.
Lathem’s goals are to continue in his career and move up the ranks within the TVEC system.
And of course, we can likely expect to see him compete in next year’s rodeo.

Most boat ramps are open, but caution is urged
Drought taking toll on lakes across Texas
Monitor Staff Reports

HENDERSON COUNTY–Cedar Creek Lake is seeing its level continue to drop. Currently, the lake is approximately 4 ¾ feet below normal, and continues to drop approximately three inches per week.
At that rate, sand bars, tree stumps, weeds and other hazards are quickly finding their was to surface levels – making boating a little more hazardous.
However, with safety and awareness to your surroundings, boating is still a very real option for being outdoors.

Monitor Photo/Sam Epps
Although it looks bad, the boat ramps at Big Chief Landing are open and in good, working order. The ramp, just to the left, was recently lengthened and a “trench” was dug out beyond the ramp to keep boats safe.

Most ramps around Cedar Creek Lake are still open and in pretty good order.
Don’s Port Marina reported the ramps are still very functional, as are boat slips and the gas pump area. They do urge caution, such as going a little slower in the water and paying more attention.
Big Chief Landing in Gun Barrel City is in fine order as well.
“The ramps should be good through September, even if we don’t get much rain,” owner Dan Leonard explained.
Leonard point out the fact that the ramps had recently been extended 10 feet farther out, and five feet deeper. He also noted he had the area just beyond the ramp, as well as around the gas pump, dug out deeper to accommodate boats.
In the City of Log Cabin, Richard Harrah reported the ramps are still good, and boats are still launching.
However the public ramp in Caney City isn’t faring as well. Large boats are having serious problems getting into the water, and smaller boats are starting to see minor problems as well.
The ramp is maintained by Henderson County, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Joe Hall will likely be closing the ramp soon if the lake doesn’t see significant rainfall.
Causeway Marina in Seven Points is still open, but extra caution is strongly urged to boaters using the ramps there. The water is nearly to the bottom of the paved boat ramp, and one vehicle was reported to have been towed out of the ramp when it got stuck last week.
The boat ramp next to Tom Finley Park in Gun Barrel City is also open, but caution is urged as water levels are rapidly reaching the bottom of the ramp.
Cedar Creek Lake isn’t the only lake with severe water issues.
Lakes around the state of Texas are seeing varying degrees of problems with lake levels.
Following the drought of record of the 1950s, Texas built dozens of reservoirs designed to maintain an adequate water supply should another drought of equal severity occur.
That time has come, and the coming months will reveal if those reservoirs are equal to the task.
The outcome is anything but certain. As shown by the thunderstorms that swept across extreme North Texas in early summer and boosted water levels in lakes around Dallas-Fort Worth, one exceptional rain event can go far toward relieving an exceptional drought, at least in the short term.
But we can’t control the weather, and only one other part of the state has been blessed with reservoir-filling rains since the drought began in earnest in 2010. “Heavy rainfall in the Rio Grande watershed in 2010 filled both Amistad and Falcon International Reservoirs,” Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologists Randy Myers said. “Amistad is currently two to three feet below conservation pool, and Falcon is about 15 feet low. Angler access remains excellent at both. With the current drought, water levels in both reservoirs should decrease but not reach problematic levels this year.”
Everywhere else across the state, TPWD fisheries managers are dealing with what appears to have the potential to become the new drought of record.
“Some Hill Country lakes have been severely affected by the drought,” TPWD biologist Marcos De Jesus said.
“Lakes Travis, Buchanan and Canyon are nearing record lows. The biggest problem in this area is access as lake levels fall below the point where boat ramps are usable,” he added.
Conditions are similar at Choke Canyon, Coleto Creek, Texana and Lake Corpus Christi, according to TPWD biologist John Findeisen.
West Texas and Panhandle lakes have been hit particularly hard by the drought. Lakes Baylor (near Childress) and O.C. Fisher (San Angelo) have dried up.
“Lake Meredith is listed at zero percent capacity, though it still covers about 2,000 acres,” TPWD biologist Charlie Munger said. “Low water levels have concentrated the fish, so walleye fishing was very good this year. Unfortunately, golden alga has impacted the catfish fishery,” he explained.
“Lake Alan Henry is the one bright spot in the High Plains, as it is about 86 percent full,” Munger continued.
O. H. Ivie Reservoir, the leader in entries into the Toyota ShareLunker program the last two seasons, is at 24 percent capacity, but anglers are still doing well, according to Jerry Hunter, manager of Elm Creek Village Marina.
Other Panhandle and West Texas reservoirs range from less than one percent capacity (E.V. Spence, near San Angelo) to 46 percent full (Oak Creek Reservoir, near Sweetwater).
Low water levels can actually be beneficial to reservoir fisheries in the long run, as pointed out by several TPWD fisheries biologists.
“Long-term benefits come from the establishment of terrestrial vegetation along shorelines that will provide a nutrient boost when lakes fill again,” De Jesus said.
In the short term, lower lake levels do impact fish reproduction, TPWD fisheries biologist Craig Bonds explained. “Degraded habitat will likely result in poor reproductive success for many sport and prey fishes,” he said. “However, one poor year class does not pose long-term problems.”
TPWD’s five freshwater fish hatcheries are making plans to be ready to restock reservoirs when levels rise, but they are facing their own set of challenges due to the drought.
If hatcheries are unable to maintain their water supplies, emphasis will switch from producing fish for stocking to protecting the valuable broodfish that are held on the hatcheries year-around to produce the next generation of fish for stocking.
Contingency plans are also being made to transfer broodfish from hatcheries without adequate water to those with better supplies should that become necessary.
A complicating factor is that reduced streamflows can result in increased salinity, making it more likely reservoirs or streams supplying water to some hatcheries will suffer from outbreaks of golden alga, which can kill fish.

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