Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006



  Mabank’s new Postmaster looks to the future
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Mabank Postmaster John Lindsey has been here since June 30, but he is still getting settled at his new job, and the area.
Lindsey is already listing some future goals.
“We’re not as automated as a lot of offices,” Lindsey said.
For example, he said the Bonham Post Office is more automated but has only 11 delivery routes.
Mabank Post Office has 19 routes, and yet is not as automated as Bonham.
“We work the mail by hand a lot more than some of the other offices,” he said, adding plans are in the works for the technology upgrades.
He also noted the Mabank office has a few unique problems, because it serves portions of three counties.
“Once the automation systems are in, it will speed up the whole process,” Lindsey explained.
And there are other goals Lindsey said he would like to see happen.
“We want to make customers aware of what is available through the post office,” he said.
“Part of my job is to make people aware of the latest technology used by the postal service,” Lindsey said.
“The post office can handle all your shipping needs, our prices beat any of our competitors and our service is superior,” Lindsey declared.
To make sure those statements are true, Lindsey said a lot of outside companies are hired to test and grade the proficiency and customer service of the various post offices, he said.
“I was just reading in Forbes Magazine the post office is in the top 30 of respected companies,” he explained.
Lindsey has had a lot of managerial experience, beginning with a 20-year career in the military.
He started out as a Marine, but most of his time was spent in the Army.
When he retired, he was at Fort Sill, Okla.
“I took the postal test at Wichita Falls,” he said, and waited a short time before receiving an appointment to the Vernon Post Office in West Texas..
“I worked there for two years, and then went to Gainesville for three years before moving to McKinney,” Lindsey said.
He was a supervisor and in customer service at both places.
“I was acting postmaster in Lake Dallas and in Pottsboro,” he said.
In addition to his military experience, Lindsey has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cameron University, Lawton, Okla.
Traveling around to the different job sites, Lindsey said he has spent a lot of time commuting.
Currently, he is living in an apartment in the Mabank area.
His wife of 33 years, Marsha, is in charge of quality assurance in the Sherman office of Work Force Texoma. The couple have a home in Bonham.
“My main goal is to get everyone living in the same home again,” he said.
They have two grown children, Toni and Michael. Both are teachers with the Plano Independent School District.
“We are trying to sell our home in Bonham. It has 20 acres, plenty of water and a lot of trees. It’s a beautiful place,” he said.
His wife is staying at their Bonham home to help sell it, and to feed the livestock, consisting of four horses. He has sold off his cattle.
“I like to ride and work out with them, and we are hoping to find a place where we can bring the horses with us,” he said. “We like the lake area real well, and are hoping to buy somewhere close to the lake.”
In addition to horseback riding, Lindsey said he spent a lot of time at home mending fences, but added he’d rather be camping out, fishing or bowling.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Mabank Postmaster John Lindsey looks over the newspapers ready to be put in the mail boxes.

Drought could last 15 years
By U.S. Sen. John Cornyn
Special to The Monitor

WASHINGTON, D.C.–We have just endured the most damaging and prolific wildfire season in Texas history, and more fire-related deaths have been reported this year than any other on record.
Between January, 2005, and September, 19 Texans died in a record 31,000 wildfires that burned upwards of 700 homes and 2.2 million acres.
The Texas Forest Service (TFS) at Texas A&M University has identified more than 14,500 communities, in every area of the state, that are at risk for wildfire damage.
In fact, 85 percent of wildfires occur less than two miles from a community.
But the primary reason for the increased incidence of wildfires is likely due to changing weather patterns, and Texas A&M researchers say we’re well into a drought that could potentially last two to three decades.
Analyzing weather data from the last 100 years, the Forest Service has identified a distinctive cycle of wet and dry periods, each lasting some 25 to 30 years.
Three separate drought periods of this duration occurred, with the last ending in the late 1970s.
A relatively wet period followed.
The current drought period began in 1996, and it could last at least 15 more years, the A&M research indicates.
Even with rain, we can expect sustained increases in the number and severity of wildfires over that period.
Public resources devoted to firefighting have not kept up with the increasing threat. State and local authorities need more manpower and more equipment.
Forestry authorities will be seeking additional funding in the next state legislative session.
“By making a moderate investment up front – instead of after Texas starts burning – to reduce the factors which cause wildfires, the lives and properties of Texans can be protected and saved from catastrophic loss,” State Forester and director of the TFS James B. Hull said..
Individuals play a major role. Remember “Only you can prevent forest fires”?
The Forest Service recommends:
• Watch for burn bans in your county. Updated lists may be found at the Texas Wildfire Information page found at the website
• Don’t throw cigarettes out vehicle windows.
• Avoid parking or driving where dry grass and weeds can come into contact with the hot pollution control equipment under your vehicle.
• Before burning household trash, brush piles or other debris, establish firebreaks down to bare soil around the intended fire site, including burn barrels.
• Keep fires small and extinguish them cold to the touch before leaving them unattended.
Experts say that with care, and proper planning, some 90 percent of wildfires can be prevented. We should all do our part to protect the beauty, the property and – most importantly – the lives of those in our great state.
Fires in the last 18 months have cost property owners some $628 million in damage.
The burden of containment usually falls on local firefighters, backed by state crews, but recently we’ve needed outside help.
Last year, nearly 4,000 firefighting personnel and 500 pieces of equipment from all 50 states were called on for assistance.
Our situation is so dramatic that the Weather Channel sent a TV crew to Texas last April to document the wildfire epidemic for its program, “Storm Stories: The Worst of Nature – The Best of Man.”
The TV crew arrived a month after a wildfire packing 50-foot flames claimed 11 lives and burned an estimated 850,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.The blaze ignited when electrical lines snapped in wind gusts of 50-60 mph.
Our increasing state population is a central focus as the incidence of wildfires increases.
New housing subdivisions are being developed right next to rural grasslands, and we’re using larger areas of fire-prone vegetation, which further contributes to the problem.
For example, residents of Cross Plains last year found themselves in the path of a massive wildfire. The source of the blaze is undetermined, but investigators did establish that it began on the “roadside.”

Man runs over woman, damages Tool police car
Monitor Staff Reports
TOOL–A Tool man remains jailed after reportedly assaulting and running over his live-in girlfriend, and then damaging a Tool patrol car during his arrest.
Joseph Keith Davis, 43, of Tool, remained behind bars in the Henderson County Jail Thursday under bonds totaling $32,500, charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault on a public servant, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.
According to Tool Police Sgt. Kenneth Wellman, Davis was arrested after police responded to a 911 call Dec. 2 from a 51-year-old woman who reported she had been shoved out of a pickup, and then run over when the pickup backed up over her legs.
The woman told police she passed out, and woke up back at her residence. She crawled across the road to a neighbor’s house, where she contacted police, Wellman reported.
Tool Police Officer Jason McCurdy responded to the call and placed Davis under arrest.
Davis strongly resisted when McCurdy placed him under arrest, but McCurdy was able to subdue him and place him in the patrol car.
Davis “spit all over” McCurdy during the arrest, Wellman reported. Once in the car, Davis lashed out with his feet, damaging the interior and knocking the radar antenna off the back dash.
The criminal mischief charge against Davis is based on actions causing damage between $500 and $1,500, Wellman said.
“We’re basically looking at replacement costs and setup (costs) for the rear antenna,” Wellman said.
The woman, who was not identified, was treated for numerous cuts, abrasions, bruises and bumps at the East Texas Medical Center emergency room in Gun Barrel City.
She did not suffer any broken bones, but still faces further treatment for her injuries, Wellman said.
“She’s still pretty shook up over the altercation,” he added. The incident remains under investigation.