NEW EXPERIENCES

Note: I wrote this story thinking it was humorous article. My wife who proofed the article did not find it humorous. At her suggestion I am adding this line. THIS IS A VERY HUMOROUS ARTICLE

By Ron Munden – ron@easttexasexposed.com – December 17, 2018

I have shot the Uncertain Texas Christmas Parade for over ten years. While the event continues to be enjoyable the shoot has become routine. This year was a little different.

One thing that make this year’s event different was that the water level at Johnson Ranch was higher than in past years. The deck where boats tied up was only about 6 inches above the lake level. There was enough splash to keep the wood deck wet.

Because of the high-water level, the locations for shooting were limited but I found a position at the end of the deck next to the gassing dock. I carefully walked to this space and set up my camera and waited for the parade.

By the time the parade was about ¾ over I was congratulating myself on selecting this excellent location. I had chosen the perfect stop.

Things changed quickly.

I hardly noticed when a boat pulled into a gassing dock because I was looking the opposite direction and shoot pictures.

I did notice when my right shoulder started a torsional movement –it accelerated backward and in a clockwise direction. Then I felt my feet loose traction and fly into the air.

My old college days came rushing back. As a running back, I was so accustomed to being thrown to the deck by a linebacker 20 to 30 times each Saturday during football season. But that was when I was in my 20s. Now that I am 75, I have given up that sport – or at least I thought I had.

I found myself flat on my back on a wet deck with a large guy that looked a lot like Willie Nelson laying next to me. Actually, I was all on the deck. His head and shoulder were in the water.

A review of the game video showed that he had jumped off his boat not recognizing that the deck was slippery. His feet went out from under him and he started to the ground. His natural reactions kicked in and he grabbed for the nearest thing to stop his fall. My shoulder was the object of choice. The rest is history.

Laying on the deck the first thing I noticed, after Wille Nelson, was that I was still holding my camera in my right hand at least 18 inches above the water. I got a nice feeling – it was like receiving a pass, being hit hard, and holding on to the football as you hit the ground.

Five second after the event started it was over. The other man was pulled out of the water and to his feet. I got up and begin shooting the last quarter of the parade.

I am happy to announce that my hip and ribs are a little sore, but my camera was not injured and is operating at full speed.

However, during the event I lost my stocking cap. When I recognized this, I looked for it but could not find it. I assumed it had gone in the water and sank.

At the end of the parade a nice lady came up to me and asked if I was OK. I said I was fine, and the only mishap was that I had lost my stocking hat.

She asked me what color it was. I told her, and she said she had pulled it out of the water. It was on their boat because she assumed it belonged to the gentleman that went in the water. Five minutes later my wet hat was back in my hand and all was good.

As I said I have shot the Uncertain Christmas Parade for over 10 years. They have all blended together and I can’t decipher one year from the other. 2018 will be a different story. It will always have a special place in my memory – next to my college football days.

Cost of Construction Management Services for the Memorial City Hall Renovation

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By Ron Munden

In October 2018 at meeting of the Marshall City Commission acting City Manager Jack Redmon told the Commissioners that the construction management fees were not included the cost numbers that he had presented to the Commission.

Based on data obtained by an open records request, at the end of October 2018 the city has spent $268,669.74 on construction management for Memorial City Hall (MCH).  The number includes the salary of Construction Supervisor Vance Walker — $197,689.38 and the salary of Support Services Coordinator Jeffrey Whiting — $37,749.48.

The number also includes the supplemental pay for to Jack Redmon.  During 2016, 2017 and 2018 Mr. Redmon salary was increased by $1000/month because of his construction manager responsibilities.  The total through the end of October 2018 is $33,230.88.

The cost of construction management is continuing.  Based on the latest reports one must assume these charges will continue through April 2019.  The predicted addition cost is $57,840.51.  This will bring the total construction management cost to $326,510.25.

Based on the numbers Mr. Redmon provided to the City Commissioners the cost overrun for the MCH renovation will be $453,874.  But Mr. Redmon said this did not include the construction management costs.  So, this takes the MCH cost overrun to $780,384.25 plus additional architectural fees that are not known at this time.

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