By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
TOOL–Having recently come off of a successful “Clear the Shelter”event, the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is preparing for its second Open House. “We want people to come out and look at what we’re doing,” animal shelter board president Donny Shubert told The Monitor. “We’re on our way to becoming one of the beSt shelters in the East Texas Region.”
Last month, the shelter joined other shelters nationwide to clean out its adoption building of animals and was able to place 40 dogs and eight cats. “That’s a lot of animal lives saved,” Shubert said. Nationwide, the event cleared out shelters totaling 29,000 animals – 2,600 of which came from shelters in the north Texas area, he said.
“It was an amazing day,” Shubert said. “When I arrived at 8 a.m. (Aug. 15), there was a line of cars waiting for us to open.” By 3 p.m. the building was empty of animals. “The quiet was deafening,” he said. “At 3 p.m., we only had one dog left. That was a magical day. I don’t know what happened, but that shows positive progress.”
However, it didn’t take long to fill back up. In just three days enough animals had been taken in to refill the shelter. “We usually stay at capacity of about 65 dogs and 32 cats,” he said. “That just shows the issues we’re facing here.”
When animals are turned over to the shelter, they go through a three-day quarantine process in which staff is trying to locate their owners, they are evaluated, given their shots and dewormed. Puppies stay for five days longer because they can still get sick and we don’t want to expose the adoptable animals to any illnesses.
The shelter also works with several local groomers who donate their time and skills to help make the animals more presentable for adoption.
On Saturday, there were a pair of Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, a Welsh corgi, collie and a 6-year-old shepherd mix named Junior, who has obviously been socialized to live with people, housebroken and trained to the leash, well-mannered and a handsome animal. There were also some mastiff- mixed dogs with likeable personalities, not to mention the assortment of cats and kittens in the cat room.
On Sunday, Shubert and board member Linn Aimsworth were to pick out five dogs to enter the Love on Wheels program, which fosters dogs out to learn the most they can about them before recommending them to forever homes looking for pets in upstate New York. The program is new to the shelter, which works with a shelter in Flower Mound.
Shubert said the shelter Has a lower rate of euthanasia than the national average. “We work very hard to place animals,” he said. Since the last Open House the adoption rate has increased dramatically. “We went from mayBe five a year to almost that many a week,” he said.
The adoption rate is indicative of a change in public perception of the shelter, which in turn has changed in a positive direction under Shubert’s presidency.
So what does Shubert do for a living? Oh, he’s just the environmental manager at the Dallas Zoo! He knows how to keep animals healthy, so they can make a great impression. “I resisted getting involved here for many years,” he said. “But his wife, Debbie, finally wore him down.”
He knew if he got involved there would have to be a lot of changes, changes that many on the board wouldn’t like or understand. He was right. His first meeting in June of 2012 with the board caused four members to resign on the spot. Later, the shelter’s longtime manager also resigned.
But anyone familiar with the shelter five years ago and the shelter today, will agree that many positive changes have transpired. And because of that, the shelter has been garnering more community support.
And it’s needed too. The Parrot Heads is one club that is on board with its support of the shelter.
It takes $300,000 a year, just to keep the lights on and the dogs fed, Shubert said.” And if it weren’t for the army of volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to run this place.”
The intake building has been cleaned up and new doors placed. Fences have gone up to provide three spacious dog runs. The entire grounds have been cleaned up and fenced. A pile up of stuff has been removed.
Now when animal control comes in to deliver animals, they drive through a gate that is secured before the animals disembark. No more runaways, upon delivery, he said. The intake building has a new roof and one of the old wooden buildings that could not possibly be disinfected has been converted to storage. The whole property is absent that pent up smell of feces and disinfectant as healthier practices were adopted and implemented. It’s a different shelter.
“During our last inspection, the state veterinarian said this shelter was one of the best in Region 5, covering Henderson County to Tyler and also southern counties.
And what would Shubert like to see become a reality over the next five years? His wish list is short, and he hope to have it filled before five years. Since the death of Dairy Queen co-owner Danny Hampel, $4,000 has been raised for a “Danny Van” – the last one gave up the ghost. Tri-County Ford has an air-conditioned 2014 van in great shape for a steal at $14,000. The van would help transport animals to surgeries, groomers, vets, adoption events, etc.
In addition, Shubert needs an electrician to evaluate the intake building and give a solid estimate on work needed, and then of course the work needs to be done at that price or lower, if he can locate a reputable contractor who would like to donate part or all of his services.
Also, the shelter could really use a large walk-in freezer, he said.
And last, but not least, he’d like to rebuild the board to greater numbers with members who are willing to become more active in overseeing the shelter’s fundraising efforts, planning and maintenance.
“We’re hoping getting the word out, the community will come to the open house and see the progress we’ve made here and want to support us,” Shubert said. “There are many ways to support the work here.”
The Open House is set for Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter is located in Tool at 10200 CR 2403.
“Come on out and meet our new manager, who’s been with the shelter in a working capacitiy for the past nine months, Kortni Lucas. There will be activities for the kids, visits with the animals, and a mobile vaccination clinic with a veterinarian from Mesquite. Kaufman County Animal Control is expected to have a booth, along with several vendors, adoptions, door prizes, and perhaps a giveaway for donations, Shubert said.
“Come on down and check us out.”
Posted by : September 10, 2015| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Posted by : September 6, 2015| On :
Monitor Staff Reports
KEMP–Representatives of the Kemp Education Foundation board celebrated with students during a check presentation funding educational grants Aug. 28.
More than 60 percent of grant applications were either fully or partially funded. The total amount of funding provided by the community totaled $12,083.
That’s nearly double what was awarded last year. To date, the Foundation has now awarded almost $20,000 in grants since its inception two years ago.
Here’s a list of the winning grant projects as submitted:
• The “True Texas President” Field Trip ~ Rhonda Jones and the High School history department,
• The “Mobile Laptop & Book” Project ~ Jim Starr, partially funded, benefitting the High School Campus,
• The “Hallway of the Stars” ~ Marc Christy, Maggie Mizell & Marsha Pool, fully funded, benefitting the Junior High and High School campuses,
• The “Innovative Summer Library Program” ~ Debra Bruno & Kim McDowell, fully funded, benefitting the Intermediate Campus,
• The “Response to Intervention” Math Program ~ Susan Dillon & Kristin Laub, fully funded, benefitting the Primary Campus,
• The “HIVE Highly Innovative Vibrant Environment” ~ Christi Elliott & Mary Ann Gregg, partially funded, benefitting the Primary Campus,
• “Number Talks: Helping Students make Sense of Numbers” ~ Kim Tucker, fully funded benefitting the Primary & Intermediate campuses.
Posted by : August 30, 2015| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Gun Barrel City has a new mayor. Council members unanimously chose longtime Councilman and city volunteer Dennis Baade to fill the center chair, Tuesday.
Councilman Rob Rea as selected to be Mayor Pro Tem. Former mayor Jim Braswell announced his resignation last week due to family health issues.
“Me and Jim started here (on the council) at the same time,” Councilman Ron Wyrick noted. “He has been a great asset to the city. We’ve been moving in a positive direction. We’re sure going to miss him.”
Rea reiterated the strength of Braswell’s leadership. “This was a great loss to the city, one I hope we are all keenly aware of,” he said. “I wish him all the luck in the world with everything he needs.”
Councilwoman Linda Rankin made the motion to elect Baade as mayor saying, “He’s an honest man with great integrity.”
The council will be appointing someone to fill the vacant position from the city’s west side, which Baade represented. That person will hold the office until the regular city election in May, when the seat will come open for election. Those wanting to be considered for Place 4 should see the city secretary to pick up an application and to verify residency.
Another highlight at the specially called meeting was a discussion on the current financial balances and report on the economic outcomes of July Fest.
City treasurer Mickie Raney reported that though concert ticket sales were down 40 percent from last year, bringing in $11,215, the overall festival increased venues by 16 percent over last year, bringing in $53,621 compared with last year’s revenues of $45,145. Beverage sales were also down, she said.
The lowered ticket sales were partly attributed to the July 4th observance falling on a Saturday, competing with so many other observances in the area. However the addition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles more than made up the difference, selling out far in advance of the event and attracting visitors from far and wide.
Raney said $80,000 was budgeted for the festival; however, the city was able to keep spending down to $77, 520. When total revenue is factored in, the net cost to the city was only $23,899.
We have always strived to make this an event that families could afford with the goal to bring back in half of the money we spend,” she said. “We recaptured 70 percent of the amount budgeted for the event.”
Estimates of attendance for the entire event came in at between 5,000 and 5,500. Councilwoman Carol Calkins pointed out that the local economic impact of the festival totaled $231,000 spent in the city that weekend, as a multiplier of effect of the festival.
City Manager Gerry Boren took a few moments to explain some of the seemingly negative numbers in the financial report, which he said was an actual snapshot in time, which happened to show the city in an $80,000 deficit fund balance.
He explained that tonight he was waiting for authorization to move funding from various sources to reimburse the fund balance and detailed specific numbers and departments, which once adjusted for would bring the city’s books back into the black by $83,942. “We’re watching the budget very closely,” he said, noting that with the sales tax figures, reflective of June spending up 9.16 percent and a report from Walmart reporting sales increases by 10 percent, he expects the next several sales tax distribution to also be on the rise over last year.
In other business, the council:
• conducted a second reading for the Domino’s Pizza EDC Project for a matching grant from the Boots To Business program not to exceed $150,000; and right away adopted the resolution to move forward contingent on the project becoming ADA compliant as it builds out its space.
• adopted a resolution to loan First Call Restoration $55,000 as an EDC project.
• postponed approval of the SPA Skateparks project due to improper wording in the contract, calling for the EDC to be responsible for certain aspects it has no power to perform. EDC Executive Director Sean Overeynder agreed with the recommendation.
• conducted a first reading for a loan to GBC Medical Associates for $82,400.
• tabled discussion and approval of the EDC budget, which needs adjusting in light of recent glitches with its computers.
• adopted revisions to the EDC bylaws
• named Henry Peters PC of Tyler as the city’s auditors on a 3-year service contract to be negotiated.
• heard plans for the Fall Festival to feature the Lone Star Lawnmower Racing Association and fund the festival with $6,000 for the second Saturday in October.