Sunday, September 19, 2010


State closes SH 334 bridges
Park, Cedar Isle accessable
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Motorists returning home Wednesday from work and school activities found that two of the much-used bridges over Cedar Creek Lake connecting Gun Barrel City with Seven Points had been closed.
Texas Department of Transportation divers found a weakened column on Thursday on the Gun Barrel City bridge nearest Chief Landing. Henderson County spokesman for TxDOT Lance Krantz said the bridge will remain closed in the short-term until repairs can be made.
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Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Seven Points police officers turn back motorists heading into Gun Barrel City on State Highway 334 causeway Wednesday. The Texas Department of Transportation closed the bridge for safety reasons, while they inspected the bridge. Motorists were instructed to use an alternate route, taking SH 274 toward Kemp and taking U.S. Highway 175 to State Highway 198 through Mabank and to the other end of SH 334.

“It won’t fall down as long as people stay off of it,” he said when asked if the bridge was in danger of collapsing.
“I bet this time next week, we’ll have the bridge reopened,” Krantz said.
Repairs will most likely start Monday, he said.
In the mean time, an informational hotline has been set up to answer motorists questions at 1(866) 633-8106.
An alert boater brought the condition of the bridge to TxDOT’s attention Wednesday.
“We’re not going to take any chances where safety issues are a concern,” Krantz said.
After divers inspected the bridge more closely, Krantz had this to add. “It looks like the column was recently hit and hit hard.”
The Monitor received a call at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday from TxDOT, reporting the bridge closing, so it could be inspected.
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Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Gun Barrel City fire chief Joey Lindaman and street department head Mike Horton (center right) wait with TxDOT area engineer Cheryl Tiner Thursday on a report from divers on whether the bridge will be reopened.

Thursday morning, the bridge connecting Gun Barrel City with Tom Finley Park remained closed, while the bridge connecting Seven Points with Tom Finley Park had been reopened, allowing those with homes in Peninsula Crossing access to their residences.
Subsequently, a simultaneous phone call went out from Gun Barrel City, alerting citizens to the closures and latest developments.
All destinations within the causeway remained accessible from Gun Barrel City, if you were willing to go the long way around.

Tool mayor arraigned
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Tool mayor John Michael Black pled not guilty during his arraignment Wednesday before 173rd District Judge Dan Moore.
The Henderson County Grand Jury indicted Black Aug. 9 for Driving While Intoxicated, third or subsequent offense.
Moore asked Black what assurance he could give that he would not repeat the offense between now and the resolution of his charge.
Black said the offense was due to a medical condition.
“Well, avoid doing whatever got you here,” Moore responded.
Black is being represented by legal counsel Brian M. Schmidt of Wickle & Schmidt of Athens.
A pretrial meeting was set for Oct. 12 and a status conference for Nov. 18.


Alcohol sales allowed at city concert
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City rescheduled July 4 concert will include the sale of alcoholic beverages when it takes place Nov. 6.
The city council reversed its decision Tuesday to allow the sale of beer.
Mayor Dennis Wood allowed the item to be reexamined when councilman Marty Goss pointed out that the full council wasn’t present at the August meeting, when he made his request.
After a lengthy discussion and hearing comments and questions from those present, the council voted 3-2 in favor of having alcohol sales, with councilmen Curtis Webster and Marvin Pace opposed.
Councilman Melvyn Hayes, who was absent when the vote came up in August, said he favored alcohol sales for the July 4 concert.
“This is nothing but an extension of the same concert we all voted for the first time,” he said.
Pace corrected him, saying he did not vote for it.
Webster reversed his stance on the issue at the August and September meetings.
“I’ve come to think differently on this matter,” he said.
Goss offered a compromise in view of the opposition to alcohol at a taxpayer-sponsored event.
Alcohol sales will be conducted at two stands, instead of four, and customers will be restricted to a roped-off area while imbibing alcoholic beverages, he said.
“If you don’t want to come into contact with alcohol, you don’t have to,” Goss said.
Rob Rea, owner of Rita’s Club in Gun Barrel City, will remain the city’s vendor for the Nov. 6 concert.
The city’s agreement with him calls for a 50-50 split of the profits, up to the vendor accumulating $5,000. Any profits above this amount goes to the city. Profits to the city are earmarked to develop a Miracle League, including the building of a ball field for those with disabilities, according to a June city press release.
The city’s investment for the reset Nov. 6 concert amounts to $15,000 from the Hotel-Motel tax, and $15,000 from the Economic Development Corporation, city treasurer Mickie Raney told The Monitor. “There won’t be any fireworks at this concert. The city budgeted $7,000 for fireworks for July 4,” she said.
Gun Barrel City sets its ad valorem property tax rate at zero, so doesn’t collect property taxes.
Rea said his portion of the profits will fund scholarships to local high school students.
The Rev. Dennis Woods of Liberty Baptist Church, where the mayor attends as a church member, was among the many speakers opposing the sale of alcohol.
An unidentified citizen was offended that Wood had his minister to testify against the sale of alcohol, saying the action did not conform to a separation of church and state.
Wood responded by pointing out that God can’t be removed from the state, as the state derives its powers from God. He later told The Monitor that his minister has as much right to comment on city business as any other city resident.
In other business, council members:
• received a report on the audit of its 2008-09 finances from Yeldell & Wilson. The audit reports a fund balance of $340,708.
• authorized spending fund balance up to $67,500 for a patch truck for the street department; $26,000 for a power rescue tool for the fire department; $11,000 to repair water damage at the Justice Center; $100,000 to refurbish police cars and the remaining $36,208 being moved into the Reserve Fund.
• adopted the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget.
City manager Gerry Boren said the city is basing its budget on an average of the last four years sales tax collections of $2,307,000.
“The budget doesn’t include any raises – however, we did cover a 16 percent hike in insurance rates,” Boren said.
“I’m very proud of staff. We went very, very conservative this year,” he added.
• adopted the FY 2011 budget for the Economic Development Corporation. It includes $555,000 to fund new projects, such as parks, retail, manufacturing, etc.; $55,212 for marketing and promotion; and $91,775 for its team of consultants. The EDC expects to collect $384,624 in sales tax revenue and another $35,609 in loan paybacks.
Currently, the EDC reports $866,483 in various accounts and certificates of deposit.
• appointed Patricia Cassady and Rick Smith to the EDC to replace Courtney Hill and Richard Wendel. Councilman Dennis Baade was also reappointed to another two-year term on the EDC. Baade abstained from voting on this item.
• set a special meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, to take action on authorizing an agreement with GSBS for architectural design services related to the new city hall.
Council members had a lengthy discussion on the definition of design-build, with no clear understanding resulting.
So, Webster moved the item be tabled until the special meeting.
• agreed to submit an application for a Texas Community Development Block Grant for $275,00 with a matching funds of $58,000 on behalf of the Texas Department of Rural Affairs for engineering fees and project administration.
• recognized the importance of a Mayors Planning Consortium to address community concerns, open lines of communication between the Cedar Creek Lake communities, mutual aid, plan for the area’s benefit as a whole and to establish common relationships.

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