Landers resigns post
ECC water district down to four
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Ken Landers, who was elected in May,
2006, tendered his resignation as a director of East Cedar Creek Fresh
Water Supply District Wednesday.
Landers said it was brought to his attention that since he moved from
the district and rented his local residence, he was possibly in
violation of the district’s bylaws if he continued to serve.
“After reviewing the bylaws, I have determined it might be an issue,” he
Landers’ resignation went into effect immediately following the meeting.
Before holding the meeting, directors observed a moment of silence in
memory of director Jack Stegal, who died Aug. 13.
Directors discussed the fact they are now down to four board members.
The board must fill two seats.
The board is requesting that anyone interested in filling either
position to pick up a form at the office before Friday, Sept. 14.
Stegall’s term would have been up in May, 2008, while Landers’ term
expires in May, 2010.
In other business, directors:
• agreed to provide in writing the requirements for wiring options and
grinder pump repairs for a customer on Forest Lane Dr.
• agreed to split the cost of relocating a grinder pump for 121 Lee Way
at a cost of $250 each for the district and the owner.
• agreed to insure restoration of sewer service to 136 Marina Dr.
following the severance of the line by the developer, who will be billed
• heard the engineer’s report as presented by Chris Weeks of Velvin &
The report is forthcoming from East Texas Testing Lab on the South
Wastewater Treatment Plant, he said.
Applications and reports have been submitted and approval is pending on
Inspection is complete on the Brookshires Water Treatment Plant and
everything is working fine, Weeks said.
New sewer connections for Cedar Branch Park and Southwood Shores
• heard reports from general manager Bill Goheen.
He reported Lift Station 12 had very bad soil conditions and needed
heavy shoring for safety’s sake.
The line-moving project at U.S. Highway 175 and State Highway 334 is
going to exceed the $15,000 estimated.
He said the Texas Department of Transportation changed its plans and
wants the lines moved to a new distance from the highway “yesterday.”
TxDOT plans on awarding the bid for the highway widening project in
• approved the ongoing expenditure of $89,328.85 for the Brookshires
• named Goheen to serve on the committee for the North Central Texas
Water Quality Project.
• tabled action to approve the easement agreement between the district
and Ron Bozeman for an easement trade.
• tabled action on a public relations handbook written by Goheen.
Escaped prisoner caught
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Authorities recovered an escaped prisoner Tuesday morning.
Joseph Shane Hughes, 18, a jail trustee held pending trial for theft,
gave authorities the slip while part of a work detail at the Criminal
Justice Center around 11:30 a.m. Monday.
A search for Hughes in the north Athens area was called to a halt at
3:30 p.m. without success. An area a mile wide in some very rough
territory was covered by tracking dogs and even from horseback,
Henderson County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Pat McWilliams said.
From the jail, the search covered up to Faulk Street, North Palestine,
east to Cream Level Road and north to Edmondson Avenue.
Hughes was later seen walking along U.S. 175 west of Eustace early
Tuesday, and he was taken into custody at 4:15 a.m.
“We’re relieved that he’s back in custody,” McWilliams said.
No other trustee escaped.
Hughes’ bond was reset at $25,000, though he is charged with theft of
property valued between $1,000 and $20,000, a state jail felony,
punishable by 180 days to two years in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Now a third degree felony escape charge has been added.
Walls inspires student athletes
to be the gift
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Any loving act should be unconditional.
you do something for somebody, don’t expect anything in return, because
you’ll be disappointed,” former Dallas Cowboys All-Pro cornerback
Everson Walls told Mabank High School athletes Tuesday night.
In December, 2006, Walls donated a kidney to his long-time friend and
former teammate, Ron Springs, who was suffering from Type II diabetes.
“I didn’t do what I did for Ron – I did it for his wife, I did it for
his daughter, who is friends with my daughter,” Walls said.
Walls started out by applauding the MHS students “for what you have done
for this community” through Spirit Week fund-raising efforts each of the
past four years.
A Dallas native, Walls (nicknamed “Cubby” by his mother) grew up
watching the Dallas Cowboys, but didn’t play football until his senior
year in high school.
While he turned out to be a natural at defensive back, he wasn’t
recruited by any college.
“I had no clue where I was going to college,” Walls told a
standing-room-only crowd jammed into the new MHS auditorium.
“The big reason I went to Grambling was to follow my girlfriend,” he
At Grambling State University, Walls met legendary coach Eddie Robinson,
and admitted he was afraid he wouldn’t live up to Robinson’s
“I was so fortunate to met somebody like that,” he said. “Eddie Robinson
was a man who challenged you every day.
“(Robinson) wanted to make us better. Not just better football players –
better students and better people,” Walls said.
Walls recalled the old saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” and
said that is literally true, because it’s the support outside the family
that helps train a child to become a responsible adult.
“We (as young people) always want to push the envelope, and see what we
can get away with,” Walls said. “That’s where the village comes in.”
Walls cautioned students not to underestimate their parents.
“Anything you want to try to do, they’ve already done it,” he warned.
“Don’t let them down.”
While at Grambling, Walls led the nation in interceptions, but was not
drafted by any NFL team.
He tried out with the Cowboys as a walk-on, and wound up leading the NFL
with 13 interceptions his rookie year.
Walls had nine interceptions his second year, becoming the first
defensive player to lead the league in interceptions twice (later he
became the only player to lead the league in interceptions three times).
“My signing bonus was a big, whopping $1,500,” he said. “My salary (as a
rookie) was $32,000, and I was the best defensive back in college.
“I used that anger (at not having respect), and I used that
determination to make myself better,” he added.
“I give credit to the people who raised me,” Walls said. “When you have
that support around you, unless you’re a damn fool, to let those people
who support you down would be a big mistake.”
Walls played under Robinson, legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry, and New
York Giants coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.
“If I didn’t learn from them, I’d be the biggest fool in the country,”
“Life is tough,” he added, “You’ve got people in this room and outside
this room who will make an impact on you – but you’ve got to listen.”
When Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys and brought in new coach
Jimmy Johnson, “I didn’t fit into their plans,” Walls said.
He called Parcells on a pay telephone at the Dallas YMCA, and Parcells
agreed to give him a shot at making the New York Giants team.
“And all of the sudden, I’m in the Super Bowl,” he said.
The Giants won the Super Bowl in dramatic fashion, and Walls recalled a
reporter asking him how he felt.
“I just busted out crying, I was so overwhelmed,” he said. “I realized I
had done something with the help of all the people I’ve met.”
Walls said he met Springs while they were teammates on the Cowboys.
“He was always the clown – funny, funny, funny,” Walls said. “We became
close friends, and our wives became close friends.”
Years later, Springs developed Type II diabetes.
“All of the sudden, Ron’s going to lose his toe,” Walls said. “Diabetes
doesn’t quit. Now, he’s going to lose his foot, and have to wear a
Walls said diabetes did not run in his family, but he became familiar
with the disease ravaging Springs’ once-powerful body.
Kidney failure from diabetes forced Springs to undergo dialysis,
spending three days a week, four hours at a time, having his blood
pumped from his body through a machine to clean it, Walls said.
Most kidney transplants involve members of a single family – a brother
and sister, father and daughter, mother and son.
“Ron is really part of my family,” Walls said. “I’ve known him for more
than 20 years; he’s godfather to my children, and I’m godfather to his
After two failed transplant opportunities, Wells saw what diabetes was
doing to Springs and his wife, and stepped forward to offer himself as a
What followed were lengthy questionnaires, tests, tests and more tests,
“They shoot you up with stuff so you light up inside,” Walls said.
As he continued through the process, Walls said he realized transplants
are literally the gift of life, and formed a foundation to help put
transplant donors and recipients together.
“When I decided to do this, it was going to be a secret. Nobody was
going to know,” Walls said. “His son opened his big mouth, and now it’s
all over the country. Now everybody knows.”
Walls said he wanted people to know that donating a kidney is something
that anyone can do.
“Being a living organ donor is the best thing you can do,” Walls told
the students. “I didn’t want praise. It was great – but we’re all
Springs doesn’t owe him, Walls added.
Robinson, Landry, Parcells – “Ron owes them, because they are the ones
who made me,” he said.
‘Old Rock’ building gets 30-day
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer
MALAKOFFThe Old Rock Building keeps hanging on.
Monday night, the Malakoff ISD School Board met with activists bent on
saving the old elementary school – commonly known as the Old Rock
Building – once again. This time the topic was time.
“We aren’t asking this school district to go into debt,” Malakoff ISD
alum and supporter Ken Andrews said. “I am asking this school board for
Andrews, who was one of three building supporters to speak to the board,
asked trustees to give the Malakoff Historical Commission six months to
find the money needed to turn the building into a museum and a new home
for the Malakoff Red Waller Community Library.
Because of the way the item was listed on the agenda, the board could
not take action during its meeting Monday. However, trustees directed
Superintendent Dr. John Spies to place the item on the agenda for
September’s meeting – effectively giving the Malakoff Historical
Commission another 30 days at the very least.
The Old Rock Building has been at the center of controversy since the
school board voted to demolish it in February because of the estimated
cost of renovation.
The building was scheduled for demolition at the end of the last school
year, but a state law commonly known as the Texas Antiquities Code
caused those plans to be put on hold.
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) became involved, and a THC project
reviewer wrote that the building is “eligible for listing on the
National Register of Historic Places” and “strongly encourage(d) the
preservation of this important building.”
The Malakoff Historical Society also became involved and asked school
board members to consider turning the building into a museum, with space
to house the Malakoff Red Waller Community Library.
Last month, trustees in near unison said even if the district turned the
building over to the Malakoff Historical Commission, it couldn’t stay on
school property. At that time, trustees gave the commission 30 days to
come up with the money to move the building.
Monday night, Pat Isaacson, representing the Malakoff Historical
Society, told trustees moving the building wasn’t really an option.
While moving the building would add cost to the project, it would also
eliminate sources of funds for restoration, she said.
“We can’t get grants if it is moved,” she said. “It loses its historic
Isaacson did have something new to add to the discussion, however: a
competing architect’s report saying the building is in “very good
Ever since school board members began deliberating about the Old Rock
Building, the cost for renovating it for students has been pegged at
about $2.5 million.
That figure was presented to the board by former Superintendent Larry
Hulsey, who told trustees that turning the building into an
administration building – an idea favored by some board members – would
not be as expensive, but would still be cost-prohibitive.
Documents obtained by The Monitor showed an evaluation of the Old Rock
Building was part of a wide-reaching facility study conducted for the
district in 2003. The evaluation, completed by the architectural firm
Rabe and Partners, estimated it would cost about $2.05 million to put
the building in shape to provide the district with 12 classrooms.
Monday night, Isaacson presented the board with a report by architect
Marcel Quimby of Marcel Quimby Architecture And Preservation of Dallas.
Quimby personally examined the Old Rock Building Aug. 11 for the
National Trust of Historic Preservation at the request of the Malakoff
She found the building to be in very good condition, noting it “retains
almost all of its historic integrity – a real ‘treasure’ for the
“The crawl space was dry and no evidence of mold was observed or
detected by smell; no termites, habitation by any other animals or
insects were observed,” Quimby wrote.
“I have reviewed numerous other historic schools and commercial
buildings of this era, and this is one of the most substantial
foundations I have encountered,” she added.
“The loss of this building would be a huge loss to Malakoff’s history as
well as the loss of a substantial, intact building that has many more
decades of useful life that could be utilized by the school district or
the community,” she wrote.
The new architect’s report had an impact on at least some of the board
members, with trustees Homer Ray Trimble and Rick Vieregge again raising
the idea of putting the district’s administration offices in the
building – if the building is in as good a shape as Quimby believes.
Supporters who want to save the building said they would be happy to see
it turned into administrative offices for the district.
One immediate problem both sides agreed on, however, is addressing the
fire hazard currently posed by the building. It has been emptied and had
the power disconnected in preparation for demolition.
Spies asked for and received permission from the school board to erect a
cinder block wall in the hallway between the Old Rock Building and the
new elementary school cafeteria to act as a firewall for now.