Natural gas in Athens over odorized


This morning, I learned the answer behind the smell of gas that has been hanging over Athens the last 24 hours.

Heavy gas odor prompted the Athens Post Office to close for about an hour Monday morning and there have been reports of gas flooding into City Hall and the police department since then, city officials said.

Apparently the gas has been over odorized, sort of like a middle school boy who gets into his dad’s Old Spice before his first school dance. This is causing normal operations, such as lighting pilot lights, to have a much heavier smell than normal.

The extra odor should start to dissipate in about two days, I am told.

Adding an odor to gas is a safety procedure to allow humans to recognize leaks and goes back to the late 1800s.

— Michael V. Hannigan

TxDOT continues work on FM 1616

txdotSeveral readers asked when repairs would be complete to FM 1616, so we asked TxDOT. This is the reply from TxDOT spokesperson Kathi White:

“A washout occurred on FM 1616 a couple of weeks ago during the heavy rains. The road was damaged 1.5 miles northeast of Loop 7 at Athens. The repairs are being made as part of a 3.5-mile project to widen FM 1616 from US 175/Loop 7 to FM 2752. The fix for the washout includes installing new pipe under the roadway. That work is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks, weather permitting. Meanwhile, the $2.1 million widening project got under way on October 19 and has an anticipated completion date of summer 2016. The contractor is Big Creek Construction.”

Two Malakoff softball players sign letters of intent

A pair of Malakoff Lady Tiger softball players signed scholarship letters in a ceremony in the Malakoff High School gym Wednesday afternoon. Candace Denis signed with the University of Massachusetts and Hazel Puempel signed with Texas Women’s University.

Malakoff softball coach Matt Wittram said, “These young ladies have led Malakoff softball to one of our best seasons in the school’s history. They are also student-athletes in multiple sports, and have helped the girl’s athletic program in many areas.”

“We are extremely proud of both of these young ladies and their accomplishments. We want to wish both of you the best in your future endeavors,” he said.


Pictured above is Candace Denis, her family and coaches. She signed with the University of Massachusetts. Wittram said she “is one of the most dedicated athletes that I’ve ever been around. She works extremely hard on her skills.”


Pictured above is Hazel Puempel, her family and coaches. She signed with Texas Women’s University. Wittram said she “is one of the most humble players that I’ve ever been around. She is truly committed to her craft and it sets her apart from other athletes.”

County Investigates Possible Levee Break Near Trinidad

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.

Pct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney has confirmed that there is NO levee break near Trinidad.

McKinney said the Fire Marshal’s Office has walked the portion of the levee in question to ensure there is no break.

McKinney said what happened is the Trinity River backed up into the old Cedar Creek, which he said is not unusual after large rain events like what we have experienced the last 10 days.

The commissioner reiterated that water on the road is no joke and warns residents to use caution.




Pct. 2 County Commissioner Wade McKinney confirmed this afternoon there is high water across FM 1667 south of Trinidad. He said that this has led to speculation that a Trinity River levee has broken, but officials are not sure if that is true.

McKinney said there are several state and local agencies in Trinidad investigating at this time, and that the county has requested air assets from the state to investigate a possible breach.

“At this time we are asking everyone to exercise common sense and good judgement regarding this situation,” McKinney said.

He said the county would release updates on the situation as more information becomes available.