Mar

15

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 15, 2017


By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Texas Game Wardens worked a gruesome site recently in Log Cabin. About two dozen carcasses of white-tailed deer and remains of alligators have been cleared from property in the vicinity of a tannery and taxidermist in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
On March 10, The Texas Wardens Facebook Page posted several photos and a brief report of the spoilage of white-tailed deer lying on the ground, rotting, some covered in flies, others dried up as if been there for a long period of time; horns, capes and alligator skulls.
Game Wardens filed 24 cases of Waste of Game, a Class C misdemeanor, with Justice of the Peace Tommy Barnett. Due to the case being under active investigation, the JP5 Office declined to release the name of the taxidermist.
The post reports game wardens had received several calls. One of those calls came from recently installed Log Cabin Police Chief Todd Tucker.
“We discovered it while conducting an unrelated investigation of our own,” he said. Tucker said he made the call a couple of weeks ago.
The post states that game wardens arriving on the scene initially found 19 deer lying in the violator’s yard. It adds that the walk-in cooler had been removed from the property and sold.
The taxidermist told The Monitor that only two deer were actually on his property and that there is much more to the story than the post on the Game Warden’s Facebook page. He plans to press charges for defamation, he said, adding he had filed a report of vandalism of his property.
Though there are more than 300 comments to the Facebook post, none of them named the taxidermist involved.
Game wardens report a total of 24 deer in a condition no longer safe for human consumption.
It reports numerous record book violations and states DNA analysis will be a part of their findings.
Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said he had been asked to investigate a possible burglary at the property, however the few leads he had didn’t pan out.
Waste of Game is an offense (Class C misdemeanor) if a person while hunting kills or wounds a game bird or game animal and intentionally or knowingly fails to make a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal or bird and include it in the person’s daily or seasonal bag limit. It is an offense if a person intentionally takes or possesses a game bird, game animal, or fish and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, or with criminal negligence, fails to keep the edible portions of the bird, animal, or fish in an edible condition.

Mar

10

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 10, 2017

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The directors of the East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District will discuss the issuance of $3.25M in bonds to fund the next phase of a Master Plan to accommodate growth and upgrade key facilities at its March 15 meeting. Representatives from Hilltop Securities are expected to be on hand to answer questions and outline several scenarios for the board’s consideration.
The board meeting will follow a budget workshop slated for 11 a.m. at the utility office on Hammer Road. Both are open to the public to attend. Directors will consider a dollar increase to the base rate of $18.26 to $19.26. Currently, the district has the lowest base rate of all water utility providers in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
Last year (2015-16), the board issued $3.1M in bonds to pay for upgrades to 10 miles of water mains from six inches to 10-inch lines with bid letting set for April and construction to begin in June. The entire project is expected to take 365 days, weather permitting. This phase of the Master Plan will enlist Gun Barrel City to include the installation of about 26 fire hydrants.
The addition of another round of bonds will only slightly increase the district’s annual debt service, General Manager Bill Goheen explained to The Monitor. “East Cedar Creek has the flexibility to restructure debt service for 20 years with an initial upfront payment of $200,000. All new customers contribute to this Capital Improvement Projects fund for future growth, so it’s there,” he said.
The district has been paying off debt at about $1.6M a year. “By 2020, our debts start trickling off. In 2022, older debt rolls off; and by 2023 the debt service will decline; that’s just five years from now,” he pointed out.
This should be the last round of bonds (accruing debt) till at least 2023. Goheen pointed out that the upgrades and expansion in the south side of the district, covering the McKay Water Plant are complete with lots of room for the addition of new customers. These last two bonds, focusing on the north side of the district will accommodate 8,000 water meters in Gun Barrel City. Currently, there are 4,365 active meters in the north with another 746 vacant meters for a total of 5,111. An increase in capacity to service 8,000 meters represents a 56 percent increase.
The projects to be funded under the next round of bonds include a 300,000-gallon elevated water tower, purchase and installation of a third raw water pump with capacities of 1,400 gallons per minute; upgrade of the electrical controls on the water pumps to include variable frequency drive units for greater efficiency; and a bulk chemical storage tank for the wastewater treatment plant. The final upgrade involves the construction of a second wastewater treatment plant in the south side McKay System for redundancy and future capacity. Estimated construction costs of the above is $3.25M.
Goheen has two more items on his wish list, which if adopted by the board will drive the costs to $3.5M-$3.6M. These are an upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) computer program. Such a system is essential for managing such a complicated operation with confidence for Federal and State compliance. The current system needs some upgrades Goheen contends, estimated at $50,000. “It would increase reliability and be more technically focused,” he said.
The second item on his wish list is to begin phasing in the conversion of customer water meters to automatic meter reading (AMR) units for accuracy and efficiency. He proposes converting 1,200 meters initially at a cost of $350,000. The cloud-based technology would allow customers to track usage via a password controlled account portal at the district’s website. It would also shorten what now takes two weeks of data collection to two days, with the use of a laptop computer in a vehicle driving up and down streets where customers live.
When the board of directors met in February, it OKd moving forward with the bond issuance. It also approved the purchase of two high-service pumps and valves for the McKay Water Treatment Plant for a total of $6,802 coming from Operating Reserves as an unbudgeted capital expense.
The board approved three board members to attend the Texas Rural Water Association conference in Austin the end of March with Harry McCune, Larry Bratton and Joe Lomonaco to attend. Goheen is attending as voting member and Operations Manager James Blodgett as an alternate.

Mar

08

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 8, 2017

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–Two were taken for emergency care following a crash March 3, on the Kemp side of the bridge near King’s Creek Golf Course on State Highway 274. A motorist passing the scene said it looked like one of the vehicles took the curve too wide and struck another vehicle head on.
The highway was closed between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. while first responders worked the scene, including Kemp Volunteer Fire Department.
One school-aged child was pried loose from the wreckage and airlifted from the scene. At least one other and perhaps two were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
According to social media chatter, one vehicle contained a family on its way home from a soccer game and three members of that family are said to be OK. Two vehicles were involved in the wreck.
DPS and KCSO assisted Kemp Police at the scene. A police report was not available by press time Tuesday.