Mar

01

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 1, 2015

New business inquiries directed to EDC, which will work closely with city staff

By David Webb
Monitor Correspondent

GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Council gave the Economic Development Corp. the responsibility of negotiating with new businesses following a lengthy debate Tuesday.
The council approved a motion by Councilwoman Carol Calkins that City Manager Gerry Boren direct all future inquires and negotiations with restaurants to the EDC. The motion also stated that Boren and his staff would work closely on the development of 380 agreements for restaurants and other commercial interests.
Calkin said she had worked closely with Boren and EDC President David Skains on the plan, and that they both agreed the approach would be beneficial by limiting negotiations to “one voice.” The councilwoman said Boren should be more focused on “the major areas of managing the city services, including police, fire, parks, and infrastructure including roads.”
Before the council approved Calkins’ motion, Councilman Marty Goss, a longtime critic of the EDC, objected to the plan and amended the motion to remove any mention of 380 agreements, which are allowed under the Texas Local Government Code to provide money, loans, city personnel and city services to promote economic development.
In a 3-2 vote, the council rejected Goss’ amendment and approved Calkins’ motion. Mayor Jim Braswell and Councilman Ronald Wryick voted with Calkins. Councilman Rodney Bevill voted with Goss.
After the meeting, Goss said the council’s approval of the motion “muddied the waters.” He complained that the EDC directors do not understand their roles, and that they believe they possess more authority than they really do.
About 18 months ago, the council gave the city manager sole authority to negotiate 380 agreements with restaurants only during a period of conflict between the EDC and the council. “This does not need to be rehashed,” Goss said during the debate.
Goss said the council, city staff and EDC had not been following the city’s charter. That failure led to all of the conflict between the council and EDC, he said. “If we follow the charter, a lot of the problems we have been having will go away,” he said.
Goss said the city’s 380 agreements are standard instruments that do not need to be negotiated. The city’s policy on the agreements is, “If they don’t ask, we don’t offer them,” according to city officials.
In response to Goss, Calkins argued that the 380 agreements developed by the city in the past proved to be flawed. “It is not tried and true,” Calkins said. “In effect, it is incorrect at the present time.”
Calkins said her motion did not move responsibility for preparation of the actual 380 agreement away from city staff. It only gave responsibility for the discussion and negotiation of incentives to the EDC.
After the meeting Goss said that he believes Gun Barrel City has outgrown the use of a volunteer board of directors to direct EDC business, and that a professional director should be hired to coordinate economic development in the city.
Calkins said in an e-mail she disagrees with Goss’ assessment of the EDC. “I really do not understand where he is coming from,” she said. “I have been quite impressed with the credentials and professional resumes of the EDC board. From attending their meetings and watching the video meetings, it is apparent to me that they take their fiduciary responsibilities seriously.”
In other action, the council:
• tabled all discussion about plans to develop a farmers market in Gun Barrel City on Main Street at the site of the old city hall building until a special meeting called for 4 p.m. Monday, March 2.
• authorized Boren to apply for a Local Government Management Assessment Program that will measure efficiency. The program is a free service managed by the Texas Comptroller.
• learned city staff estimated the economic impact of July Fest to be about $191,000.
• ordered city staff to ensure that the allocation of hotel/motel occupancy tax revenue complies with legal requirements.
• heard reports about city staff plans to update building and fire codes.
• discussed plans for city officials to attend National Incident Management System training for disaster preparation.

Mar

01

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 1, 2015

Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh Mabank sophomore Jordan Thomas (23) cuts to the basket. Thomas scored 19 second-half points and  lead the Panthers to victory.

Monitor Photo/Erik Walsh
Mabank sophomore Jordan Thomas (23) cuts to the basket. Thomas scored 19 second-half points and lead the Panthers to victory.


By Erik Walsh
Monitor Sports Editor

FORNEY–Mabank fans turned out in droves at the Forney High School gym Feb. 24, helping the first-seed Panthers basketball team defeat the fourth-seed Rains Wildcats 62-56 in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
The Panthers had to deal with the difficult challenge of playing the majority of the game without senior big man Dalton Burleson. Burleson picked up two quick fouls within the first three minutes of the first quarter prompting Head Coach Tracey Carter to sit the 6-foot-7 senior and save him for the latter portions of the game.
At the time of Burleson’s removal he had scored Mabank’s lone basket. His exit ignited a fire in Rains, as they went on a 6-0 run and took a 6-2 lead. Mabank quenched it with a three-pointer by Cole Smith and pair of free throws by Mark Driskell. Rains led 11-7 after the first quarter.
The second quarter initially looked very bad for Mabank. The Wildcats nailed a pair of three-pointers to help themselves to a 10-point, 21-11 lead before Carter checked Burleson back into the game. Foul trouble continued to haunt Burleson as he picked up his third foul and exited the game again. Despite his departure, Mabank was able to build momentum.
The three-point shot put Mabank behind early in the quarter and even sharper three-point shooting by the Panthers brought them back in. Mabank went on a 13-4 run in the final three and a half minutes of the quarter, highlighted with a three-pointer by Smith and two by senior Elliot Jackson, including one at the buzzer to give Mabank its first lead, 26-25, since Burleson’s bucket to begin the game.
The Panthers third quarter was defined by the continued foul trouble of Burleson and sparkplug dominating play by sophomore Jordan Thomas. Burleson took his fourth foul just minutes into the quarter and was put back on the bench by Carter, waiting until the fourth quarter to play. Despite the setback, the Panthers found a way to build a 9-point lead in his absence. The way was quite simple: put the ball in Thomas’ hands.
After Rains took the lead, 30-26, Thomas caught on fire. Payton Lee netted two free throws to bring Mabank within two, then Thomas went on to score 14 of Mabank’s next 19 points. It began when he made a three-pointer to give Mabank the lead back, 31-30. Through the excellent third quarter, he scored six field goals and three free-throws to vault Mabank ahead 47-38.
Ever relenting, Rains closed in on the Panthers in the fourth quarter. Within three minutes the Wilcats had taken back the momentum and come within two points of the Panthers, 48-46. Burleson came back onto the floor only to see Rains tie the game up, 48-48. Not to be outdone, Burleson gave the Panthers the lead back by nailing two free throws. Two more perfect free throws by Lee extended Mabank’s lead, 52-48.
Burleson finally fouled out with just 2:18 to play after trying to block a Wildcat shot Shaquille O’Neal style. The big man’s massive arm sweep would have sent the ball flying clear out of play, but instead he made contact with the hand of the Wildcat shooter for a foul. Rains capitalized by hitting both free throws, then hitting a two-pointer to tie the game at 52 with under two minutes to play.
Ever the sparkplug, Burleson’s exit was Thomas’ cue ignite Mabank. On the Panthers next possession, Thomas nailed a three-pointer to give Mabank the lead again, 55-52. From this point on, the Panthers lead would not be relinquished, thanks mostly to their excellent foul shooting.
A three-point bucket prompted Rains to begin intentionally fouling Mabank to stop the clock. The fouls quickly piled up and put Mabnak on the free-throw line, where they succeeded on seven of ten shots to ice the game, 62-56.
The Panthers leaped from the bench onto the court at the final horn in celebration. The loss was an emotional one for Rains, with several seniors crying after losing such a hard-fought game against a high-seeded opponent.
Thomas led the way with 21 points, including two three-pointers and shot 3-3 from the free throw line. Smith scored 13 points, with three thee-pointers and 4-6 foul shooting. Lee was a rock from the foul line all night, making all eight of his shoots to finish the game with 12 points. Elliot Jackson added seven points, including two thee-pointers and Burleson added six points in his limited play time. Carter said the Mabank offense struggled to get going without Burleson.
“He is the focal point of our offense,” Carter said. “We are designed to give him touches in the lane and it was a struggle without him there. Our guys, Jordan Thomas particularly, stepped up. He got a hot hand for us and we needed it.”
Carter had high praise for the Rains Wildcats.
“They don’t play like a fourth place team. They won big games in the second half of district play and won a play-in game to get here. They are warriors and will continue to get better and better. They were a tough squad that played hard.”
Carter said that Mabank’s crucial free throw shooting all game and down the stretch is nothing new to the team.
“We’ve shot well on the line all year, so I wasn’t surprised. It was crucial tonight here in the playoffs as the points get tighter and tighter. I’m proud of our kids because we had a lot of adversity to overcome,” Carter concluded.

Mar

01

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 1, 2015

Courtesy Photo Pinnacle Women’s Club member Sandy Molander (from left) presents donations to Family Peach Project representative Kathey Floyd, Faith in Action Outreach Teri Caswell and Disciples Clinic of Athens Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Williamson at the PWC January meeting. Also pictured (right) is PWC member Marlene Ungarean.

Courtesy Photo
Pinnacle Women’s Club member Sandy Molander (from left) presents donations to Family Peach Project representative Kathey Floyd, Faith in Action Outreach Teri Caswell and Disciples Clinic of Athens Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Williamson at the PWC January meeting. Also pictured (right) is PWC member Marlene Ungarean.


Special to The Monitor
PINNACLE CLUB–The Cedar Creek Lake community supported this year’s Pinnacle Women’s Club Garage Sale which enabled them to give donations to many organizations with their philanthropic endeavors.
Organizations receiving donations at the January meeting included the Family Peace Project, Disciples Clinic of Athens and Faith In Action Outreach.
The Family Peace Project works with victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Henderson County.
The Disciples Clinic of Athens provides medical and dental care for uninsured low-income working residents of Henderson County.
Faith in Action Outreach provides food, clothing, medical prescriptions and counseling. They also provide food to more than 100 children through a weekend food program.
Faith in Action is located in Malakoff but also serves Eustace, Cross Roads and Trinidad areas.
Pinnacle Women’s Club member Marlene Ungarean expressed appreciation for their services.