By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PAYNE SPRINGS–The Payne Springs Fire Rescue organization recognized its volunteers during an awards banquet Saturday, March 18 at its newest station on State Highway 198.
Fire Chief Randy Harley addressed his fellow firefighters congratulating them on answering 1100 calls for service in 2016 and for the professionalism with which each carried out their assignments and ongoing training. The organization is immediately responsible to answer calls within its 36-square mile area with its all-volunteer membership.
“I am so proud to be called your fire chief,” he said. He also spoke of the importance of the families of the 25 volunteers, who also roll up their sleeves and help out with jobs, small and great, from organizing fundraisers to keeping the bays swept to making runs to the store to restock bottled water and Gatorade.
Harley recognized longtime fire department water tanker driver Dick Stein, who died in January at the age of 78. With tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat, Harley noted Stein’s dedication and commitment to the Payne Springs Fire Rescue family and presented his wife and daughter with a shadowbox of memorabilia, including Dick’s badge and a photo of the last truck he drove.
Stein’s family in turn presented a memorial donation from monies raised on social media to the department in the form of a $4,000 check. “We asked everyone that in lieu of flowers they make a donation,” his widow, Linda, explained.
“Working with the firefighters gave my husband a meaningful way to serve his community,” Linda told The Monitor. “He just loved the guys up here. There’s a real camaraderie among firefighters,” she said, recounting the beautiful funeral service the Payne Springs Fire Rescue members prepared for her husband, which included a last fire truck ride to the cemetery, with a long line of fire trucks as escort.
“He said, ‘I can’t fight a fire but I can drive a truck. I’ll get the water to you,’” Linda repeated in tears. She recounted there were more than 300 people in attendance at the traditional fireman’s funeral set at the First Presbyterian Church in Mabank. Stein served as a volunteer for eight years, having retired to the lake from the dry-cleaning industry. “He really loved being a part of the PSFR. He just loved all the guys and the fellowship they share,” Linda said.
Harley pointed out that the department has mutual aid agreements with Gun Barrel City and Eustace and praised all involved for making the relationship strong and reliable. Harley recognized Gun Barrel City Fire Chief Joey Lindaman with a certificate of appreciation.
Most residents in the Cedar Creek Lake area depend on volunteers when it comes to fighting fires. Recruiting, training and retaining able-bodied fire fighters is an ongoing challenge for every fire department here and across the country. So, the importance of volunteer firefighters hits close to home. That’s why every firefighter was presented with a certificate of appreciation for their service. Harley also ceremonially promoted Hilton Brown to lieutenant during the evening.
Chosen by his fellow firefighters, Dustin Bird was named Firefighter of the Year. “He exemplifies the mission of Payne Springs Fire Rescue,” Harley said in presenting the honorary axe because of his unselfish acts in the field, compassion and dedication. Officer of the Year Captain Bradon Cotton and 2016 Top Responder Assistant Chief Adam Robinson were also hailed for the excellence of their service.
Harley also presented certificates to local businesses in recognition of their faithful support of the fire department.
The fire department is actively taking applications for new volunteer members. The firefighters meet weekly for training on Monday nights at the main station located at 12650 State Highway 198 in Payne Springs. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sons of the American Legion Post 310 is hosting the Bi-annual Benny P. Thomas Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit local fire departments. Register at the post by 5 p.m. April 10 for the April 13 tourney to be held at The Pinnacle Country Club Golf Course with tee time at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $50, includes golf cart and lunch at post afterwards. For more information call (903) 887-3532. There will be no registrations accepted after April 10.
Posted by : March 24, 2017| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Posted by : March 22, 2017| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–The Kaufman County Commissioners are meeting at 9 a.m. Friday, March 24 (tomorrow) at the courthouse annex, instead of the usual March 27 due to it being Kaufman County Day in Austin and many county officials and leaders will be participating. Judge Bruce Wood made the announcement at the top of the March 13 meeting of the Commissioners’ Court.
He also warned of impending renovation and remodeling work soon to take over the annex starting with asbestos removal. An update on county operations removal to other locations will be covered in the Friday meeting, according to the agenda.
County Clerk Laura Hughes and her staff were recognized for the recent award of the State’s prestigious 2016 Five Star Award! This marks the 13th year that the office has received this award for outstanding service in Vital Registration.
The State of Texas awarded 55 Local Registrars, out of 529 Local Registrars evaluated, for the Five Star Award. The award recognizes timely registration of birth and death events, accountability and use of the Electronic Registration Systems, attendance at state sponsored conferences, and a lengthy self-assessment.
“I am very proud of my staff,” Laura said, “the amount of work that is necessary to meet the award requirements are substantial and we are very pleased to bring this award back to Kaufman County and the residents.”
Hughes states that over the last 16 years, her office has continually embraced the newest technologies to create an office that is efficient, one that protects and safeguards the records, and one that is focused on providing the best service possible and this award helps highlight that we are on the right track and moving forward!
“We’re very proud of your achievement,” Wood said.
The court also proclaimed two designations in the county – the first is Poison Prevention Week from March 19 to March 25 and the second National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 2-8.
Wood announced that a call received last week from the state assured the county of reimbursement for the Charles Brownlow murder case. “They will be reimbursing the county $111,000 (to offset the costs of the capital murder trial),” Wood said.
In other business, the commissioners:
• approved purchases of equipment for Precinct 3 Road and Bridge.
• approved a business contract with Gabriel Roeder Smith Co. for actuarial services in the amount of $4,765 to evaluate the county’s retirement system, an audit done every two years, commissioners heard and governed by the Governments Actuary Standards Board.
• paid bills totaling $1,462,334.74. It was noted that 43 percent were in payments for health, life and workman’s compensation insurance coverage.
Posted by : March 17, 2017| On :
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.