Thursday, September 27, 2007






  Thieves caught
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points Police Department reported apprehending two individuals in connection with thefts at the Dollar General stores in Kemp and Seven Points.
Mabank residents Samuel Charles Franklin, 52, and Marla Louise Dagnall, 38, were arrested Sept. 18 and charged with theft greater than $50 and less than $500.
Items stolen included movies and video games.
At noon Sept. 18, the Seven Points Police were called to investigate a theft that had just occurred at the Dollar General Store.
The suspects were reported leaving the scene in a red car, heading towards Gun Barrel City on State Highway 334, according to a press release.
Officers advised the Gun Barrel City Police, who coincidentally had just made a traffic stop of the same vehicle.
Seven Points officers Sylvia Garcia and Tim Meadows joined the Gun Barrel City officers, while Chief Wayne Nutt and assistant chief Dusty Bryant were dispatched to the Dollar General.
A search of the vehicle did not turn up any of the stolen merchandise, except for some empty movie containers.
A visit to Pawn Express revealed that Franklin had sold the movies just prior to being stopped by police.
Further investigation revealed Dagnall and Franklin were also responsible for a previous theft of video games from the Dollar General in Kemp.

Eustace mayor arrested for assault
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Eustace Mayor Laura Ward was arrested shortly after midnight Sunday, after an argument between Ward and a 20-year-old woman broke out in the parking lot of Gater’s nightclub.
Later that day, Ward was released from Henderson County jail after posting a $20,000 bond on an aggravated assault charge.
The young woman involved was still hospitalized Tuesday, though now in stable condition at the Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman.
That night, she was airlifted by helicopter to East Texas Medical Center-Tyler in critical condition.
Gun Barrel City police investigator Sgt. Patrick Johnson couldn’t say what the disagreement was about.
This is the second time Ward has been charged with aggravated assault resulting in serious injury.
The first time was in April, 2005. She was charged with striking her friend Twanna Brewer, who sustained a fractured pelvis from the confrontation.
Both instances involved the consumption of alcohol.
The Monitor has received at least two anonymous reports on the current incident, one from someone who was at Gater’s just before the incident occurred.
That witness described the Wards (Jack and Laura) as having drunk too much.
The incident is under investigation, Johnson said.

ECC fills vacancies
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–Following a nearly three-hour closed-door interviewing session, the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District board appointed W. Richard “Dick” Watkins and Harry McCune to fill two empty seats Wednesday.
Watkins, 67, a retired petroleum engineer, lives in the Three Harbors subdivision in the Payne Springs area.
A former vice president of DeGolyer & McNaughton, Watkins was appointed to fill the seat vacated last month by Ken Landers, with a term extending to May, 2010.
McCune, 68, an electronic/mechanical engineer who has worked for a number of companies, including Texas Instruments and RCA, lives in the Loon Bay subdivision of Gun Barrel City.
McCune was appointed to fill the seat of former director Jack Stegall, who died Aug. 13, and will serve through May, 2008.
Prior to the appointments, the directors interviewed more than half a dozen potential candidates during the extended executive session, and noted their decision was exceedingly difficult, due to the quality of the individuals who applied.
“The turnout was wonderful, and more than expected,” board vice president Karen Jentzen said.
“This (group) is just outstanding,” board secretary Jim Boyles added.
In other business, the board:
• accepted the audit report for fiscal year (FY) 2007 as presented by Greenville auditor Neil Conway.
Conway said the audit revealed no major problems, adding “I believe y’all have a good system in place.”
The district improved its fund balance from $8.4 million to $8.5 million between FY 2006 and FY 2007, which is a “healthy” indication, Conway said.
“We show your net income as $123,354, and that’s right in line with what we would expect from a $4.5 million utility district,” he told the directors.
Accounts payable were down significantly, which means the district “paid your bills down,” he said. “That’s a positive trend.”
That said, the district has a significant amount of debt, and Conway recommended against taking on any more debt without a rate increase.
“You’re probably at a higher debt than other utilities,” he said. “If you have a down year (such as this year, thanks to record rainfall), you might have a little trouble meeting your payments.”
• agreed to release the final $12,080 payment on the new raw water intake pump.
The pump is already exceeding capacity expectations, general manager Bill Goheen reported.
• approved a contract with Athens engineers Velvin & Weeks for design services on proposed grant-funded sewer renovations for the Tamarack subdivision of Gun Barrel City, but balked at approving a related memorandum of understanding with the city.
“I would like for this to be clearer,” treasurer Carol Meyers said, and Jentzen agreed.
“I know it’s not complete until the engineer signs off on it, but it (the memorandum) doesn’t say that,” Jentzen said.
The proposed $360,000-plus project includes $250,000 in grant funding and about $118,000 in matching funds from the district.
Engineer Chris Weeks told the board approving the contract enabled the funding.
Weeks said grant writer Gary Traylor wrote the memorandum, and agreed to meet with Meyers and Jentzen to review wording.
• heard Weeks report on a number of ongoing projects.
Weeks said required soil tests showed the district could use treated effluent to irrigate a hay meadow near the south wastewater treatment plant for at least 20 years without concern that the effluent might make the soil too salty.
The long-planned project to clean sewer sludge out of the Prairie Creek Cove had a notice-to-proceed date of Oct. 1, Weeks said.
• heard work was continuing on grant-funded self-installed sewer work in Cedar Branch Park and Southwood Shores.
Weeks said bids would be opened Friday on similar projects in Thunderbird Shores and Indian Harbor.
• heard Goheen report work to replace Lift Station 12 was continuing,
The project has turned out to be a much more complicated project than anticipated, due to poor soil conditions, Goheen added.

Community dedicates ‘House of the Future’
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

TOOL–“Welcome to the House of the Future,” Tool Mayor Scott Confer told a crowded school cafeteria Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been eight years in the making. Out of fire, out of tragedy and turmoil came opportunity,” he said.
The trustees of the Malakoff School District held joint dedication ceremonies Sunday for its two new facilities – Malakoff Elementary and Tool Elementary schools.
“As a tax-paying resident, I am proud to be a part of the Malakoff ISD,” Confer concluded.
The ceremonies included flag presentations to school principal Bill Morgan by State Rep. Betty Brown and U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling, via his representative.
Also, the fourth and fifth grade choir gave a rousing rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner”, “I’m Not Perfect” and “Ready to Go”.
TEA commissioner Adrian Johnson, schooled in rural Texas, was glad to be part of the happy occasion
“You never know how far your investment in this school will take you,” Johnson said.
Brown reminded those gathered of “the wonderful things that transpire in this building regarding pride, responsibility, excellence and dreams.”
Longtime school trustee Homer Ray Trimble outlined some of the history, “trials and tribulations” that went into getting to “this day.”
He thanked every school board member for their contributions.
“God is always on time. It just might not always be on our time,” he said.
Confer introduced Morgan by saying: “It takes power – electricity – to operate this school. Here is the electricity powering this school – Bill Morgan.”
Screams, clapping and shouts erupted from the audience as Morgan took his place beside the podium.
“This community has the benefit of teachers who are the cream of the crop,” Morgan said.
Morgan upholds the precepts of sterling teacher Ron Clark, who proved that kids the system has written off can be motivated to perform to their potential (“The Ron Clark Story,” available on video).
Superintendent John Spies closed the dedication by asking the Wood family to stand and be recognized for their generosity in offering the purchase of their ancestral land to serve as the Tool Elementary site.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Tool mayor Scott Confer (left), Malakoff ISD trustees, superintendent Dr. John Spies (right), public officials, school builder, Texas Education Agency representatives and students celebrated the dedication of Tool Elementary School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday.