Thursday, June 29, 2006

 
 

Wreck hurts 2
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

SEVEN POINTS–A two-car collision about 2:30 p.m. Friday resulted in one person being airlifted to East Texas Medical Tyler and one taken by ambulance to the ETMC emergency room in Gun Barrel City.
A police report filed by Seven Points Police Officer Dusty Bryant noted Courtney Nicole Roark, 18, of Kemp, was traveling south on County Road 2404, approaching Farm-to-Market 85.
Witnesses to the crash said Roark, driving a brown 2001 Ford F-150 pickup, failed to stop at a stop sign and entered FM 85.
Milburn Wade Rawlinson, 45, of Kemp was traveling west on FM 85, driving a 1985 Mercury station wagon, and struck Roark’s pickup as it entered the highway.
Rawlinson suffered incapacitating injuries and was airlifted to ETMC Tyler.
Roark was carrying a passenger, Carl Douglas Roark, 45, of Kemp, who was not injured.
Both airbags deployed in Roark’s pickup, and Rawlinson’s station wagon tore through a short stretch of fence belonging to John Timothy Greenhaw.
Rawlinson was cited for having an expired driver’s license and failure to maintain financial responsibility.
Bryant listed several factors he felt contributed to the accident – Courtney Roark’s driver inattention, failure to control speed and disregarding the stop sign.

 

GBC hires water/sewer attorney
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–After a lengthy discussion, the Gun Barrel City Council agreed to contract with Georgetown attorneys Russell & Rodriguez on legal matters related to the city’s water and sewer utilities, as directed by the city attorney.
Tuesday’s action was described by Mayor Paul Eaton as “giving the city manager the tools, he needs to get the information we need to make an informed decision.”
Councilwoman Kathy Cochran cast the only dissenting vote, arguing the move sends the wrong message to the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District (ECCFWSD).
“Hiring someone (an attorney) ramps you up to a court case,” Cochran said. “When attorneys get involved, talking stops.”
“We’re not ‘ramping up’,” city manager Corrin McGrath answered. “I’ve been here for four years and this subject has come up before. We have the right to provide services that our citizens expect to be provided with.”
“I thought we were collecting information to decide whether this (replacing ECCFWSD) was going to be a good move or not. I’m still waiting for detailed information,” Cochran countered.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re getting an attorney, to help get the information we need,” McGrath responded.
“The objective for getting a water department is to provide water to the islands. An attorney will advise us on how to structure what has to be done to do that,” councilman Marty Goss interjected.
“No one has mentioned the islands in any of our meetings,” councilman James Jacobs said.
“I have,” Goss said. “I mentioned it at the water board meeting (Wednesday).”
“We’ve been talking about East Cedar Creek because the prior president said ‘We do not have water for you,’ leaving Gun Barrel City out to dry. And other members of that board aren’t even from this city,” McGrath said.
“We need to solidify our own position, before we negotiate with anyone,” he added.
“Then why are we meeting with the others?” Jacobs asked.
Goss explained that open dialogue gives the city a forum to explain its concerns.
ECCFWSD General Manager Bill Goheen was in attendance, and was asked to report progress in setting up the open forum discussed at the last water board meeting.
He assured the council plans were being developed which included forming some ground rules for discussions, excluding the past and concentrating on the issues at hand.
Later, under citizens comments, Goheen congratulated the council on providing experts to deal with their area of expertise, so the city manager can get on with the day-to-day business of the city, and added he hoped his board would change its mind about providing the same kind of expertise to aid him in his job.
When employed, Russell & Rodriguez will be billing the city at a rate of $210 per hour. When clerks and paralegals and other support staff perform tasks not requiring the time of an attorney, the billing rate drops to $90 per hour.
The city will also be charged with all expenses related to its legal representation, such as 20 cents per photocopy and $1 per color page, $2 for faxes and all filing fees.
Consultant charges are to be paid directly by the city to avoid overhead charges. All charges will be billed monthly and are due upon receipt.
In a related item, Goheen asked the council to grant his request of June 12 to put a request on the agenda – to apply for a $250,000 grant (which ECCFWSD would match with $50,000) to help replace the deteriorating sewer system in Tamarack.
The city would be the applicant and the vehicle through whom the funds would be administered.
The grant deadline is Aug. 21, Goheen explained, so time is short.
Once the city agrees to be party in the grant process, the water district’s engineer can go to work mapping out likely scenarios of work, and the Tamarack property owners association can conduct the income survey needed for the application, Goheen explained.
“There’s a million dollars worth of work needing to be done in Tamarack. I’m sure the city and the water board can find an area we can both agree on for doing the work,” Goheen said, after McGrath objected to the proposal.
“I cannot recommend this action to the board without a specific plan,” McGrath said.
“The city can always pull out, but the grant cannot even get started without its approval,” Goheen said.
 

No burn ban for HC
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Another Monday went by without the Henderson County Commissioners calling for a county-wide burn ban.
A discussion of a burn ban was tabled, though the issue is something commissioners say they will continue to monitor as the summer progresses.
The county’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) rating average is 466, County Judge David Holstein reported.
Though 30 percent of the county registers over 500 on the Index, no part of the county has surpassed 600 yet, Holstein said, and 15 percent registers between 300-400.
The Index rates individual counties in Texas between zero and 800 to describe ground moisture deficiency.
At zero, no deficiency of moisture exists; at 600 fire intensity will significantly increase. Fires will readily burn in all directions, exposing mineral soils in some locations.
Larger fuels may burn or smoulder for several days, creating possible smoke and control problems, the KBDI describes.
It was noted Monday that Smith, Cherokee and Anderson counties did not have burn bans in place.
Should the commissioners feel the need to implement a burn ban, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry West voiced a desire to add construction companies to the list of regular ban-exempted entities, such as burns for agricultural purposes, those begun by the Texas Department of Transportation, and those being monitored by a burn manager.
“If they can’t burn, some of these people would be out of a job for who knows how long,” West said.
Perhaps construction firms could be required to have a volunteer fire department supervise burning at construction sites during a burn ban, West suggested.