Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 24, 2015

Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners agreed to reinstitute a ban on all open outdoor burning Tuesday at the request of Fire Marshal Shane Renberg. The ban expires in 14 days on Oct. 6.
Commissioners had lifted the ban over the prior two weeks, however the two-week forecast put out by the Texas Forestry Service predicts another bout of hot dry weather.
The Keetch-Bynum Drought Index puts the counties of Henderson, Kaufman and Van Zandt in the red zone, or the top of the chart (700-800) that measures the driest conditions.
“If things improve, we will recommend lifting it again,” Renberg said.
Kaufman County Fire Marshal Randy Richards agreed. “Things are looking better, but until the numbers improve, I can’t recommend lifting the ban,” Richards said.
County Commissioners in Van Zandt County lifted its burn ban Sept. 14, which remained lifted on Tuesday.
The tiniest spark on a windy day can destroy hundreds of acres of grasslands and anything on them, Renberg pointed out.
These types of wildfires typically start on the side of a road from a carelessly tossed cigarette to a piece of metal from a vehicle dragging the roadway causing a spark.
Extra precautions are being taken during the Uncle Fletch Hamburger Cookoff in Athens and the 4th annual Mabank Jubilee barbecue cookoff in Mabank.
The Mabank event planners are requiring all contestants to carry a fire extinguisher at their cooking site. In addition, the Mabank Fire Department will post firefighting equipment at the park pavilion, near the event.
Richards, who is entered into the contest as are several firefighters for bragging rights and a traveling trophy, said the burn ban really only applies to the unincorporated areas of the county, but even then does not apply to outdoor grilling as long as the cooking is being done in a cooking/grilling vessel with a lid.
Tarrant County, which is also under a 90-day burn ban give the following guidelines to those planning outdoor grilling events:
• if possible use a gas grill and keep flames covered during operation.
• if using charcoal or wood-burning grills or smokers, place the grill or smoker on a concrete, gravel or dirt surface at least 10 feet from any combustible materials and keep grill covered during use.
• be sure to have a water source or fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies.
Residents in rural areas are also urged to keep an area of at least 10 feet around their homes mowed short to prevent fire from reaching structures.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 13, 2015

chiesl, John Scott-mug

Monitor Staff Reports
TRINIDAD–Henderson County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of two individuals who attempted to flee a marijuana grow house after deputies arrived at the scene Wednesday.
According to a press release narcotic investigators Kendell Wellman and Kay Langford received a tip from the Henderson County Crime Stoppers that marijuana was being grown at 409 Door Key Ranch Road in the Key Ranch Estates subdivision in Trinidad.
Upon arrival, Wellman and Langford met with resident Teressa Long, 56. Long told investigators that her boyfriend, John Scott Chiesl, 65, was in the guest residence and she would go inside and get him.
While at the front door, investigators detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the residence.
Wellman then walked to the back of the structure and saw Long slipping out the back door with her arms full of packaged marijuana. Chiesl followed her out and the pair was attempting to conceal the marijuana when Wellman interrupted and made the arrests.
A search of the residence located more than 30 marijuana plants and an elaborate indoor plant growing set up.
In addition, investigators found several more packages of marijuana, packaging material, scales, drug paraphernalia and approximately $27,000 in cash.
Chiesl was also observed attempting to hide a quantity of methamphetamines.
Inside the main house, investigators located more drug paraphernalia, marijuana and suspected methamphetamines.
Chiesl was charged with possession of marijuana more than 4 ounces, less than 5 pounds, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1 more than 1 gram, less than 4 grams and tampering with physical evidence.
He posted $48,500 to cover his bonds and was released on Thursday, according to jail records.
Long was charged with possession of marijuana over 4 ounces, less than 5 pounds and tampering with physical evidence. However, no jail records exit for her at the Henderson County Jail.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 3, 2015

GBC fire smoke-water hose

GBC fire-backho best

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–No one was hurt during a house fire in the Sandy Shores Subdivision in Gun Barrel City Tuesday morning.
The couple who owns the single-story, three-bedroom home was not on site at the time, Gun Barrel City Fire Captain Colby McBride told The Monitor.
“There was heavy smoke and flames visible out the back of the structure when we arrived,” he said.
Gun Barrel City arrived shortly after 8:30 a.m. with an engine and a tanker and called for assistance to Payne Springs, Mabank, Seven Points and Eustace. The Gun Barrel City Street Department also lent assistance with the arrival of a Case backhoe.
McBride said the metal room and intense heat created a very unsafe condition for sending men into the building to fight the fire.
“It was decided using a backhoe to expose the flames was the best way,” McBride said. “That part of the house was already destroyed. There was no reason to risk a life.”
Since there are no fire hydrants in that neighborhood, a portable holding tank was set up and tankers dropped their loads into it. “It’s standard operating procedure,” McBride said.
Firefighters cleared the scene at 1:30 p.m. and the house was declared a total loss, McBride added. The owners were located and informed of the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, McBride said.
The American Red Cross stepped in to provide temporary shelter to the couple, along with other necessities while they begin to rebuild their lives around this destructive event.