Jul

10

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : July 10, 2008

By Michael V. Hannigan

A State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) judge last month denied a request for interim rates by customers of Monarch Utilities, Inc., according to a state official.
But protesters still have options.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) last week verified Judge William Newchurch denied the request for interim rates. That request came during an April preliminary hearing on the Monarch water rate case in Austin. {{more}}

But Andrea Morrow of the TCEQ said that former agency director Glenn Shankle sent a separate request for interim rates to the SOAH.

“That request is based on different numbers and different criteria (from the customers

Jul

10

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : July 10, 2008

By Michael V. Hannigan

Residents of the Cedar Creek Lake area are organizing to protest a proposed sour gas well near Payne Springs that would tap into the Smackover zone far under the lake and transport the gas to a processing plant in Eustace.

A San Antonio oil company, BlackBrush Oil & Gas, has announced plans to file a permit with the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) to drill both horizontally and vertically under Cedar Creek Lake to a depth between 10,800 and 11,000 feet. A company spokesperson said they expect to find between 7 and 10 million barrels of oil with the well.

The Smackover zone is also known to contain large amounts of hydrogen sulfide. Natural gas or oil mixed with 4 parts-per-million (ppm) or more of hydrogen sulfide is called “sour gas.” The area BlackBrush is aiming for could contain as much hydrogen sulfide as 200,000 ppm. {{more}}

Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic gas. Inhaling amounts as small as 500 to 800 parts-per-million (ppm) can cause death.

The planned BlackBrush well – and the approximately two-mile pipeline to the processing plant – is adjacent to densely populated areas such as Payne Springs, Enchanted Oaks and several subdivisions.

According to critics of the plan, a catastrophic accident at the well site could include cities from Seven Points and Gun Barrel City to Malakoff and Trinidad in the radius of hydrogen sulfide exposure.

And that is why protesters are up in arms.

“I’m not against exploration and exploitation of gas,” said DeWayne Varnadore, an oil and gas attorney. “I am against the close proximity of so many residents to a facility like this.”
Varnadore was speaking at an informational meeting for the newly formed Friends of Cedar Creek Lake at Star Harbor City Hall last Saturday.

Protesters have organized quickly. A website dedicated to the issue – www.cclfriends.com – went live Monday and features the latest news, who to contact, and a sample letter to send to state officials.

Varnadore and Galen Hartman, laboratory director for Chemical Analysis, Inc. in Irving and a key player the 1997 fight against a sour gas well in Tool, listed three main areas for action at the current time:

1. Show up at the Payne Springs City Council meeting that was scheduled for Monday night (June 30) to support that city extending its oil and gas drilling ordinance to include its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

2. Write letters to state officials and the RRC asking for a public hearing on the drilling permit. Varnadore said to “deluge” officials with letters and turn the permit into a political issue.

3. Convince landowners with mineral rights between the BlackBrush well site and the lake to not sell their rights.
Mark No. 1 off the list. According Sheila Bacon of the Friends of Cedar Creek Lake, Payne Springs approved extending its oil and gas drilling ordinance. The city also plans to hold a public meeting on the well issue at a later date.

As for letters, last Thursday the Enchanted Oaks City Council met – with several area mayors and property owners’ association presidents in attendance – to approve a letter addressed to John Tintera in Austin, assistant director of technical permitting for the RRC.

The letter requests a public hearing on the issue to be held in the area before a drilling permit is issued. The letter also points out the area’s limited escape routes, should a catastrophic event occur.

“My concern is there is only one road of escape, and that’s State Highway 198,” Enchanted Oaks Mayor Don Warner said.
“If it is exposed to lethal levels of poisonous gas, the residents of Enchanted Oaks would be trapped,” he pointed out. “Our only escape route is over the water.”

“The health and safety of Enchanted Oaks residents is my number one concern,” Warner added.

Varnadore said unless residents can force a hearing, BlackBrush will not have to file its emergency plans in the case of an accident until after the well is drilled.

“In this circumstance they have the cart before the horse,” he said.

The last step is a little more difficult. Varnadore said a company known only as BBII has been buying subsurface locations between the well site and the lake. If the people owning those mineral rights can be convinced to not sell, BlackBrush’s drilling path can be cut off.

Judge David Holstein is expected to speak on the BlackBrush issue at the next meeting of the Henderson County Property Owners Association 7 p.m. Thursday, July 10. Meetings are held at the Lakeview Lodge in Athens, located on FM 2485 just 7/10ths of a mile from Wal-Mart on Highway 31.



Pearl Cantrell contributed to this article.



www.blackbrushenergy.com
www.cclfriends.com

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008

From Staff Reports

A Kemp man accepted a life sentence without the possibility of parole last week rather than face the chance of the death penalty in connection with last year’s death of a Tool 2-year-old.

Michael Lyndon Whitman accepted the plea agreement in 3rd District Judge Mark Calhoon’s court last Friday. Whitman had been charged with capital murder for the death of Malaki Overturf.

If convicted at trial, Whitman could have been sentenced to death. {{more}}

According to the charge read by Calhoon, Whitman killed the child by smothering, strangling or striking his body against an object on Oct. 25, 2007.

Tool police responded to a 911 call that day around 9:30 p.m., according to police reports.

When officers arrived, Tina Smith, the boy’s grandmother met authorities and indicated her grandson was dead and in the house.

Police entered the house and found the child in the living room being held by Whitman. Reports said the child appeared to have bruises, contusions and ligature marks on his body.
At the time, police called Whitman the child’s caretaker.

During last week’s court proceeding, Whitman’s mother, Lynn Whitman, was arrested for disorderly conduct after listening to statements read by the victim’s parents, Michael Dick and Mrs. Overturf. Mrs. Whitman had requested to speak after the statements were made, but the judge denied her request, and she continued to raise her voice in the courtroom.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008

From Staff Reports

ATHENS – About 200 people attended the Henderson County Peace Officers annual Memorial Tuesday at the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square.

The event, usually held mid-May, was postponed a month due to the trial of Randall Wayne Mays, who was found guilty of capitol murder of two sheriff’s deputies last year.
Their names – Paul S. Habelt and Tony P. Ogburn – were added to the list of those killed in the line of duty on the wall of honor, joining the names of Charlie Fields Sr., K.C. Winn, Larry Hopson and Bernie Everett. {{more}}

Their widows, Pat Ogburn and Nita Habelt, placed the memorial wreath in their honor.

Peace Officers Association president Deputy Sheriff Billy Jack Valentine said as a youth he looked up to many of the men whose names are now on the wall of honor.

Third District Court Judge Mark Calhoun gave the keynote address.

He spoke of the video tape played during the Mays trial of the conversation between officers and Mays in trying to persuade him to come quietly.

“I was absolutely blown away by the level of competence and professionalism shown on that day,” he said.

“I was especially struck by the comment made by Deputy Tony Ogburn to Randall Mays. He said, ‘Isn’t this a beautiful day?’” Calhoun said.

Ogburn, Habelt and Valentine were among the officers responding to a domestic disturbance call near Payne Springs, just hours after last year’s peace officer memorial service.

“Today, we honor their service and take pride in all of their stories,” Calhoun said.

Also honored with their names added to the wall as law enforcement members who have died were past Malakoff Police Chief George M. Corn, who succumbed to cancer in 2004 and Dr. Nolen D. Geddie, a one time Henderson County Constable and staunch supporter of law enforcement, who died this year of cancer.

The list of the fallen include W.C. Perryman, Leon Cain, Dale Bryce, W.C. Fladd, Don Bettencourt, Jack Terrell, Bill Bearden, Ralph M. Reaves, Bennie C. Krueger, Tommy Smith, Herman Kite, Jr., Kipper Hartline, Don W McCord, J.W. Brownlow, Jack Sims, Frank E. LaRue Jr., Stephen L. Combs, Mack Wallace, Thomas C. Underhill, Janey M. Reed, T.E. Williams, Jim Billings, Don Johnson, L.D. Brookshire, David Harris and Daner Stanberry.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008


American Legion Plans Big Day for Athens on July 4th

By Britt Thompson and Amanda Miles Thompson

From The Malakoff News
Thursday, June 29, 1922

The American Legion Post of Athens is planning a big celebration for July 4th, and a cordial invitation is extended to each and every one to come and enjoy the day.

Governor Pat M. Neff is to arrive in Athens on July 3rd and will be met at the station by Captain Pickens and an escort of the Howitzer Company, National Guard. He will then go to the home of Judge Watkins, where he will spend the night.

Governor Neff will speak at the court house at 11 o

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008

I used to believe that prostitutes in the old west were not poorly treated. Then I visited the graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona where a lot of the women are listed on their tombstones as suicides.
It caught my eye because I had never seen suicide on a tombstone before … of a man or woman.
I can think of a couple of reasons why a woman’s death might be called suicide, neither of which is pleasant. The lives of women in general in the old west may not have been all that great.
It came to me that my opinion had been formed by watching movies about the old west. Marlene Dietrich was my archetype of an old west prostitute.
I wonder what other things I think I “know” are really Hollywood inventions.
Speaking of movies I saw a movie about three teams who were trying to climb Mt. Everest. There were men and women involved. The climbers were from all over the world.
I won’t go into the grim details but many died and many of those that survived lost hands and feet. It was a truly an experience of extreme hardship. But there were a few that made it to the top and came back alive.
It occurred to me that no other animals do things like climb Mt. Everest. Nor do they do aerobics, or pump iron, or drive racecars, or ride roller coasters or put their lives in danger just for the thrill of it. People go to great expense to put there lives in danger. Climbing Mt. Everest is not cheap.
I suppose that one could say that other animals make music. For example crickets, frogs, loons, dolphins, whales

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008

I can’t seem to find any jokes that are funny – so let’s have some inspiration from the Bible. The next time you feel that God can’t use you, just remember:
- Noah was a drunk
- Abraham was too old
- Isaac was a daydreamer
- Jacob was a liar
- Leah was ugly
- Joseph was abused
- Moses had a stuttering problem
- Gideon was afraid
- Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
- Rahab was a prostitute
- Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
- David had an affair and was a murderer
- Elijah was suicidal
- Isaiah preached naked
- Jonah ran from God
- Naomi was a widow
- Job went bankrupt
- John the Baptist ate bugs
- Peter denied Christ
- The disciples fell asleep while praying
- Martha worried about everything
- The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
- Zaccheus was too small
- Paul was too religious
- Timothy had an ulcer
- AND, Lazarus was dead!
No more excuses now! God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren’t the message, you are just the messenger.

OK, back to funny!
Father, to young lawyer daughter: “Why do you think your job is shaky? I thought you said they just put your name on the door.” – “They did,” she said, “but they wrote in in pencil.”

The young woman offered to care for the 8-year-old daughter of her next door neighbor. She arrived in time to prepare breakfast, laying a generous helping of bacon and eggs in front of the child.
“Mother always has hot biscuits for breakfast,” said the child. So the woman, anxious to oblige, hurried into the kitchen and quickly prepared a plate of hot biscuits, which she laid in front of the girl. “No thank you,” she said.
“But I thought you said your mother always has hot biscuits for breakfast?” asked the woman.
“She does,” said the child, “but I don’t eat ‘em.”

Thomas Anderson’s 5-year-old son came running into the house yelling, “There’s a lion in the basement! There’s a lion in the basement!” – His father said, “Son, you know there isn’t a lion in the basement. And I know there isn’t a lion in the basement, and what’s more, just to prove it to you, I’m going down into the basement empty handed.”
Thomas Anderson would have been 38 next Tuesday.

A church member and a new visitor were discussing the new pastor just after his first sermon. “Why did you ask the other preacher to resign?” the visitor asked.
“Oh,” said the member, “he always preached that if we didn’t mend our ways, we would all go to hell.”
“But,” said the visitor, “that is just what this preacher said today.”
“I know,” was the reply. “But the other preacher acted as if he was glad of it.”

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008


A memorial service for Greg Wagner, 20, Seven Points, was held June 20, at Christian Life Center Church with the Rev. Barry Boatright officiating.
Mr. Wagner was born March 31, 1988, in Dallas and died June 16, 2008, in Gun Barrel City.
Previously of Balch Springs, he had resided in Seven Points for the past six years. He was a carpenter and had attended Mesquite and Mabank schools.
Survivors include his parents Susan and Frank Wagner, Seven Points; sisters Angela Peeler and husband Doug, Austin; Jessica Sutton, Balch Springs; brother Thomas Cline, Seven Points; grandmother Linda Jordan, Balch Springs; cousin Lori Sutton, Seven Points; other family members and many friends.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008


Carol W. Richardson, 76, formerly of Malakoff, passed away on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at her home in Grants Pass, Ore.
She was born on April 14, 1932, in Mountville, Pa., to Logan and Emma Woodworth. Mrs. Richardson worked for the Armstrong Cork Company for many years in Lancaster, Pa. She and her husband, Dale, who survives, were long-time residents of Cedar Creek Lake. Mrs. Richardson was instrumental in the founding of the Henderson County Republican Women’s Club. She, with others, set up all the Republican polling places in Henderson County. Mrs. Richardson was extremely active in the Athens Little Theatre, both performing and directing many performances. She loved the theatre, music, animals and boating.
Survivors include her husband, Dale Richardson, of Grants Pass; three daughters, Katie Lind, of Twain Harte, Calif.; Heidi Darling, of Grants Pass; and Robin Richardson, of Blythe, Calif.; son Guy Richardson, of Valley Glenn, Calif.; five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Mrs. Richardson is preceded in death by her son, Kris Weber.
A memorial service will be held in July 2008.

Jun

26

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : June 26, 2008


Gertie Marie Amrein, 87, of Seven Points, died Wednesday, June 18, 2008, in Athens.
She was born March 26, 1921, in Duncan, Okla., daughter of the late James Monroe and Helen E. Jones.
She was a homemaker and member of Seven Points Church of Christ.
Surviving are her husband, Charles Troy Amrein of Tool; daughter, Patricia Gayle Amrein of Tool; grandson, Michael Lynn Amrein; five great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by parents, James and Helen Jones; brothers, Donald E., J.M. Jr. and Billie Dale Jones, all of Norman, Okla.; son, Harold Lynn Amrein and daughter, Carolyn Sue Amrein of Arlington.
Services were held at Seven Points Church of Christ 2 p.m. Sunday, June 22, 2008, with Buck Griffith and Leon McManus officiating, under the direction of Tomlinson Funeral Home Seven Points.
Interment followed in the Moore Memorial Gardens, Arlington, Texas, Monday, June 23.