Mar

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 17, 2017

By Becca Morin
Monitor Correspondent
ATHENS–The Henderson County Commissioners appointed Fire Marshal Shane Renberg as the second representative for their involvement within the Sabine-Neches Resource Conservation District. As fire marshal, Renberg deals with reports of illegal dumping in the county that need addressing. He was appointed recently as one of two county representatives on the district. “We get a lot for our membership with this organization and I recommend that we renew,” County Judge Richard Sanders said at a February commissioners’ court meeting.
The Sabine-Neches RC&D is an environmental group; a nonprofit statewide organization that is strictly volunteer based. As far as the volunteers go, they must have a love for conservation and for cleaning up the environment.
They were founded to help and promote conservation, identify and correct environmental problems and assist with rural development.
The organization’s mission is to collaborate with the representatives of eight individual counties including Henderson County to allocate the funds from individuals or companies fined by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality for improper disposal of trash, sewage, tires, pesticides, etc. Once fines have been collected, half of the fines can be distributed and used by the county and/or responsible organization to help clean whichever environmental hazard has occurred.
All eight of the counties; Van Zandt, Wood, Upshur, Henderson, Smith, Gregg, Panola and Harrison contribute dues to the organization. Previously the organization had dues which were $300 each, but with the growing cost of administration and operation, the dues were increased this year to $500.
The Sabine-Neches RC&D has contributed in many different cleanups. It used air pollution fines to help two schools in Harrison County buy new and clean diesel school buses and dispose of the broken down, polluting buses. In the last 15 years, Sabine-Neches RCD has spent about $1.8 million in TCEQ fine funds cleaning up environmental conditions in the eight counties.
In Henderson County, the current issue is the discovery of tires dumped on an elderly woman’s property. Authorities estimated around 10,000 tires were illegally dropped off. The organization is working hand-in-hand to help the county clean up the environmental hazard, because the man that purchased the property couldn’t afford to pay for the cleanup which is where the organization steps in. Once Sabine Neches RCD obtains funds, the cleanup will begin. The organization is currently removing around 30,000 tires from Harrison County as well.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring dollars into Henderson County to help cleanup properties that otherwise may not get cleaned up,” Renberg said. “A pile of tires, roofing shingles or what have you causes problems with water collection, mosquitos and everything else. I’ve felt we’ve been missing out, but now with my office involved, we’ll make sure that the county benefits from this volunteer organization and the funding available to it through the TCEQ. “It could also potentially help us out with tires that we pick up from the road side county wide and collect up, to have these removed by a contractor through the competitive bidding process conducted by the organization. It’s very exciting.”
District Board Director Cary Hilliard from Canton, stated, “that the commissioners of Henderson County are very nice people and [that] he appreciates their continued support for the organization,” without the support of the local counties, grants, and the fines, nonprofit organizations such as the Sabine-Neches RCD wouldn’t be able to keep their doors open.
Hilliard’s most memorable cleanup is the Household, Hazardous Waste projects which allow people to bring waste products that a certified contractor can collect and properly dispose. The district has conducted three such projects, so far. Two collection and disposal projects were conducted in Tyler, the third, in Carthage. The disposal projects cost more than $200,000, which helped prevent improper disposal of toxic materials.

Mar

17

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 17, 2017

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The Gun Barrel City Fire Chief Joey Lindaman just received word that beginning in July, most of the city’s 5,000 residents and businesses will fall under a higher Public Protection Classification, which means possibly lower property insurance rates. But you’ll have to check it out with your insurer.
The Texas Department of Insurance State Fire Marshal’s Office informed Lindaman of the favorable recommendation submitted by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to change the city’s PPC classification. The upgrade is recommended due to the way the city performed a ratings test on Oct. 27, 2016.
The biggest change is unless your property is less than five miles away by ground travel from a fire station, the distance to the nearest water hydrant does not apply. Why, you ask? Because the city purchased a tanker truck that holds 3,000 gallons and can maintain a flow of 250 gallons of water per minute for two hours or more. “It is capable of being refilled as it dispenses water,” Lindaman said. “It’s practically a mobile water hydrant.”
According to a letter dated in February, the ISO is recommending the classification be changed for Gun Barrel City to a split class of 02/10. It is currently rated Class 03/3Y.
Class 01 represents exemplary public protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria. Those living outside the five-mile radius and not within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant will fall in the Class 10 and their property insurance rate will reflect the lower classification.
Besides being assured of superior firefighting capability available in the event it is needed, the new rating could save 30 percent or more on your property owner’s insurance. Ashley Dustin Holiday of Texas Farm Bureau Insurance in Athens said: “Homeowners should ask their insurance provider to rerate their homeowner’s policy with the new PPC classification. Our customers are saving money in Gun Barrel City due to this change.”
By classifying communities’ ability to suppress fires, ISO helps communities evaluate their fire-protection services. The program provides an objective, countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. And by securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the PPC program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.
ISO has extensive information on more than 44,000 fire-response jurisdictions. In Texas, there are currently only 91 other communities with a PPC 02 and 178 in Class 10. There are just 12 communities in Texas with a Class 01 rating, including Mesquite, Plano, Frisco, Wylie and Houston.

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.