Thursday, July 27, 2006

Islands to get water
By Becki Brantley
Monitor Correspondent

TOOL–The West Cedar Creek Municipal Utility District board has given the green light to general manager Tony Ciardo to negotiate with East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District in the sale of bulk water for the Gun Barrel City islands.
The purchase of the islands began a local dispute two years ago when island owner/developer Ted Pittman requested his property be annexed into the city of Seven Points. This would put the islands within WCCMUD’s service area, as it has agreed to supply the city of Seven Points with water and sewer service.
The islands were quickly annexed by Gun Barrel City, which is not within WCCMUD’s Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN), Ciardo said.
A court battle between the two cities over jurisdiction followed.
When Gun Barrel City submitted a letter to WCCMUD requesting supply of water and sewer service to the islands, parts of the annexed area was found to be in ECCFWSD’s territory, the board heard.
“We’re not going to step in and serve an area belonging to another district,” Ciardo stated.
“It’s not a matter of us not being willing to cooperate, as previously reported in the newspapers. We’ve never before been approached by the appropriate people,” he added.
“The new ECCFWSD board members are very anxious to work something out. A new group of people coming together to work with this issue is absolutely perfect timing,” noted board president Clifton Smith Jr.
“It’s too bad this hasn’t been brought up before now. It would have saved a lot of trouble and a lot of manpower,” Smith said.
In other business, the board:
• approved the purchase of a Case 6030 boring machine from Vermeer, based in Big Sandy. The used equipment, normally costing $250,000-$350,000, will cost the district approximately $24,500.
The board also approved the purchase of an additional stem for the machine.

GBC backs away from utility service
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Council may be losing its resolve on forming its own water utility department, judged by its inaction at Tuesday’s meeting.
Three of the seven agenda items related to hiring experts to determine what it would take to set up a city water and wastewater department.
A fourth item called for sending East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District a written notice of its intent to provide utility services within the city limits, and to apply for decertification of portions of the district’s CCN, as well as begin negotiations for a takeover.
The first two items called for hiring bond counsel and a financial advisor specializing in small cities forming their own utility service. Each died for lack of a second to a motion from Councilman Marty Goss.
“I work with small cities who want to form their own water utilities to control their growth,” financial advisor Chris Lane said.
“We won’t make the decision for you,” bond counselor Tom Pollen. “We are available to advise you on the legal issues.”
“What is it going to cost to find out whether what we want to do is feasible?” Councilman James Jacob asked.
All the upfront costs can be taken out of any bond issue approved by the city, councilmembers heard.
“This council needs to have a workshop to determine what your desires are,” city manager Corrin McGrath said.

One hurt in SH 274 wreck
Monitor Staff Reports
TOOL–First Responders used power rescue tools to free a 37-year-old Kemp man from his shattered vehicle early Tuesday afternoon.
Once freed, William Vincente Reschke, 37, of Kemp was transported to the East Texas Medical Center Trauma Center in Tyler by the ETMC AirOne helicopter.
Reschke was trapped in the wreckage of his 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier LS for more than 30 minutes as Tool Volunteer Fire Department First Responders worked to cut him free.
According to police reports, Reschke was stopped on State Highway 274, attempting to make a left turn onto Arnold Hills Road, when his Cavalier was struck from behind by a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup driven by Chester Grammer, 70, of Tool.
Grammer’s truck sustained moderate front-end damage, and Grammer was not injured, Tool Assistant Police Chief Martha Decker reported.
Using power tools, rescue workers had to cut the roof from the Cavalier to reach Reschke, who was trapped between the seats of his small sedan.
Once the roof was removed, workers were able to hoist Reschke onto a backboard, where he received treatment from emergency medical technicians for his injuries before being moved off the top of the car to a waiting gurney.
Reschke was conscious, and responded to questions from the EMTs prior to being placed in the helicopter.
Decker said investigation into the collision was continuing, and it’s “possible” citations might be issued.
Sgt. Kendell Wellman is the investigating officer.

Pigeon drops strike again
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–A 90-year-old man fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book.
It’s called the pigeon drop, and it’s a scam aimed at parting you from your hard-earned cash.
It involves two to three individuals (thieves, really) who get you involved in a story involving a fake roll of cash, say $1,500 or $2,500.
For this man, it began Monday morning at the Brookshire’s gas pumps in Mabank, led him to his bank, where he agreed to withdraw $2,500, and ended at the McDonald’s in Gun Barrel City, where he handed the cash over for inspection to his new-found “partners” in a story promising easy cash.
The thieves immediately fled the scene, leaving the man feeling foolish, defrauded and short $2,500.
Police were working Tuesday to identify what they believe to be three suspects caught on videotape at the bank.
“We know a white male and a black male were involved, and possibly a third person, we believe, was the driver,” GBC police investigator Judie Burley told The Monitor.
“The elderly are being targeted,” Burley said.
They approach the mark, somewhat breathlessly, appealing for help, or asking if they saw it too, in order to knock the intended victim off guard and involve them in the story they are weaving, Burley explained.
To add credibility to their story, a second individual comes over to lend some assistance, indicating he just saw that truck or thing nearly hit the first individual and drop something in the process.
In this case, they promised the man they’d split the contents of the money roll that was dropped by a passing vehicle with him, if he would match it with his own funds.
“If it sounds too good to be true, don’t believe it,” Burley warns.
This case is one of two recent episodes the GBC police are currently investigating, she said.
These scenarios usually unfold in the back of large parking lots to avoid cameras – at Brookshire’s or Wal-Mart – and those approaching you may welcome themselves to the interior of your car to get away from prying eyes.
Should something like this try to involve you, police advise not getting sucked up into the drama and calling the police immediately.
It is unknown at this time if those running the scams are from the lake area or from somewhere else.