Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006




Police foil burglary at new school site
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–An attempt to steel tools from the construction site of the new Mabank High School was foiled, recently, though the burglars got away.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving a Mabank police officer patrolling the area was alert to some suspicious activity.
“They (the would-be burglars) had some boxes filled with tools and were getting ready to load them into their vehicle,” Charter Builders project superintendent Tom Hinton told The Monitor.
However, Cpl. John Holcomb spotted the activity on the otherwise quiet job site around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
About eight law enforcement officers answered Holcomb’s call for back up, two from Kemp, two county deputy sheriffs and two constables, however the perpetrators got away.
“We’ll get ‘em next time,” Holcomb said of the nighttime raid.
At least, they were stopped from getting the tools.
A utility cart, used for touring the site, turned up missing later.
“They probably returned later and took it,” Hinton said.
The tools and equipment were under lock and key.
The intruders had to break down a door to get to them.
“They took one of our scissor lifts and jammed a piece of steel into it and used it to batter down the door,” Hinton explained.
“This is the first time we have had any trouble. We’ve really had no problems at all,” he said.
He added that 80 percent of the new buildings are now secure.
“And the Mabank Police have stepped up patrols of the site,” he said.

Standing water being addressed
Monitor Photos/Pearl Cantrell

A backhoe operator dared the freezing temperatures to dig a ditch to allow standing water to drain away on the backside of the Heritage Cove project early Thursday morning. As much as an acre of land adjacent to the project has been flooded up to six feet with water, since work on the development blocked off culverts that would have allowed the water coming off Harbor Point Road to drain into the lake. A formal complaint was filed with the city Nov. 15, and Gun Barrel City street superintendent Mike Horton had visited with developer Ken Landers about the problem about a month ago.

 Water is also piling up on property owned by a nearby church, where another culvert has been blocked by piled-up dirt.

City reviews SH 334 widening project
By Teresa Cundiff
Monitor Correspondent

SEVEN POINTS–The Seven Points Economic Development Corporation expects a March, 2007, start date to widen State Highway 334 through the city.
The long-anticipated Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) project would expand the roadway from two lanes to five lanes, from the bridge through the intersection with SH 274.
The EDC board hopes the expansion will open more business opportunities for the city.
In mid-November, representatives of the city attended a TxDoT pre-construction meeting in Athens.
At that time, the only prep work left to accomplish was moving Trinity Valley Electric Co-op power poles and lines. Following that work, telephone and cable lines can be moved.
Wednesday, TVEC vice president of corporate and public relations Jerry Boze told The Monitor its engineers had recently completed paperwork and submitted its relocation plans to TxDoT.
The co-op also just finished procuring all the necessary easements and was awaiting final approval from TxDoT to begin work, Boze said.
“Once work begins, it won’t take very long,” Boze added, noting the line relocations shouldn’t take longer than three months and probably less time than that.
The last easement to fall into place allows TVEC to place power lines well away from the busy intersection, which will provide a cleaner look, Boze said.
Final documents on the easement were signed Wednesday at city hall, city secretary Debbie Mosley reported.
Putting all the power lines underground was deemed cost-prohibitive for the power co-op, Boze added.
EDC president Danny Hampel told the board Tuesday of his meeting with TxDoT representative Dan Wilkerson.
Though the contractor has been given 30 months to complete the project, once it begins in February or March, Wilkerson said TxDoT is encouraging the contractor to complete work within a 24-month time frame.
“If the lake fills, there will be so much traffic, it is going to be a big mess,” Hampel said.
EDC secretary/treasurer Hank Laywell said the EDC has planned ahead for this by helping to upgrade Kelly Lane and Wood Street to handle detoured traffic.
In other business, the board:
• appointed Gary McClaskey to replace board member Dean Moore, who was recently elected to the city council. McClaskey will serve until October, 2007.
• requested board member Mark Hughes to remain on the board (his term is up). Hughes graciously agreed to a second appointment. They also re-appointed Derek Pocock to a two-year term, through October, 2008.
The appointments will come before the city council for final approval Tuesday, Dec. 12.
• appointed Blake Armstrong, of Birdsong and Armstrong out of Tyler, as the EDC’s attorney.
“He seems capable,” Hampel stated. Armstrong charges $175 per hour and doesn’t accept criminal cases. Armstrong is energetic with a reputation for honesty, Hampel said.
• amended the First National Bank signature card for the EDC’s general funds account, naming Laywell, Pocock, Cheryl Jones and Hughes. They are also the approved signers for the new Citizen State Bank account.