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Chamber hosts ‘Meet the Candidates’ event

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Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce President Liza Clark introduces the candidates at Thursday’s event. JAN WHITE | HCC Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce President Liza Clark introduces the candidates at Thursday’s event. JAN WHITE | HCC

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – On Thursday, April 2, the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored a “Meet the Candidates” event, where community members heard from contenders for the upcoming election of Trustees for the Crockett ISD school board and City Council. 

Candidates for CISD Board District 1 are incumbent Ansel Bradshaw, Jessica James and Gary Fitch. CISD Board District 6 candidates are Zenita Hamilton and TieAsia Tucker. District 6 incumbent Josh Crabtree is not seeking reelection. 

City Council Precinct 5 candidates are incumbent Mike Marsh and Lynda Warfield.

Each candidate was allowed a five-minute platform where they could speak on whatever topic they considered essential to their election. After the candidates spoke in the open session, they were available at separate tables and allowed additional time to provide attendees the opportunity to answer questions. 

Liza Clark, Executive Director for the Chamber, also read Proposition 1 and 2 to the constitutional amendment. The ballots will be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.” 

Proposition 2 would amend section 1-b(C) of Article 8 of the state constitution to increase the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.

Clark stated that the Chamber will hold another Meet the Candidates event closer to the election date for those unable to attend the April meeting.

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Unofficial results are in for the May 7 elections

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Election Equipment 500In the race for Crockett City Council Precinct 5, incumbent Mike Marsh marginally retained his seat on the council with 91 votes. His opponent, Lynda Warfield, received 86 votes.  

The Houston County joint election resulted in a win for both State Proposition 1 and 2. In the Kennard ISD Board of Trustees election, incumbent Terry Pilkington was elected with 125 votes, and newcomer Angela Higbee by 113 votes, ousting incumbent Keith Cole who received 108 votes.

In the Crockett ISD race, District One incumbent, Ansel Bradshaw retained his seat with 100 votes over Gary Fitch at 52, and Jessica James at 51. Vying for the District Six position were newcomers TieAsia Tucker and Zenita Hamilton. Tucker won the race with 232 votes over Hamilton’s 198.

 

General Election

Unofficial Results – May 7, 2022

City of Crockett

City Council - Precinct 5

Mike Marsh 91

Lynda Warfield 86

Houston County Joint Election

State Proposition 1 

For 850, Against 130

State Proposition 2

For 790, Against 201

Board of Trustees – Kennard ISD

Terry Pilkington – 125

Angela Higbee – 113

Keith Cole – 108

Board of Trustees- Crockett ISD

District One

Ansel Bradshaw- 100

Gary Fitch-52

Jessica James- 51

District Six 

TieAsia Tucker- 232

Zenita Hamilton- 198

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Broadband office seeking public input

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Broadband Grapic

By Chris Edwards
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AUSTIN – State Comptroller Glenn Hegar put out word recently that the public’s help is paramount in helping to bridge the digital divide in Texas.

“Too many Texans still don’t have a reliable internet connection – or any connection at all,” Hegar said in a public noticed issued by his office last week. 

The Texas Broadband Development Office, which was established as a result of the last legislative session, is hosting a survey for Texans to complete, as a step in the statewide plan to expand access to high-speed broadband internet.

During the 87th legislative session last year, Governor Greg Abbott made broadband access and emergency item, and signed several broadband-related bills into law, including House Bill 5, which will work to expand access by requiring the established broadband office to develop a plan.

Abbott held a press conference last week in McAllen at the College of Healthcare Professions (CHP), where he was presented with the Broadband Champion Award by Connect the Future Texas for his commitment to promoting connectivity.

“Expanding broadband is essential in our modern world, which is why Texas prioritized legislation to dramatically expand broadband access throughout the Lone Star State,” Abbott said.

Abbott, in the press conference, went on to note how high-speed internet allows for programs such as CHP’s to flourish. 

Hegar stressed the importance of high-speed internet, as “a necessity, improving education, healthcare, job creation, public safety and more. It’s too important to ignore,” he said.

Residents can complete the survey by accessing the website BroadbandForTexas.com or calling 833-383-9236.

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City seeks financing for street improvements

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Street Improvements

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – During the Monday, May 2 meeting of the Crockett City Council, the board approved a resolution authorizing the filing of an application for financial assistance from the State Infrastructure Bank.

City Manager John Angerstein explained that it was the intent of the City of Crockett to rehabilitate several heavily trafficked streets and major arterial streets within the city limits that are currently in substandard condition. The streets identified for repair are MLK from W. Bell Avenue to State Loop 304, W. Houston from the railroad tracks to S. Durrett Drive,  E. Bell Avenue from South Fourth Street to Brazos Street, Cedar Street from W. Goliad Avenue to W. Bell Avenue, North Grace Street from E. Houston Avenue to 970 LF North of E. San Jacinto Avenue, South Grace Street from E. Houston Avenue to E. Goliad Avenue, South 10th Street from E. Goliad Avenue to E. Bowie Avenue, and South Seventh Street from E. Goliad Avenue to E. Bowie Avenue. There were three other qualifying streets on the list, but repairs on those would depend on the budget. Angerstein noted that although there are other streets in need of repair as much as those listed above, they don’t qualify for this particular funding. 

The city will seek financing from the Texas State Infrastructure Bank (SIB), which offers eligible borrowers the opportunity for financial assistance at or below market rate loans. Ben Rosenberg with U.S. Capital Advisors gave additional information on SIB loans and the advantages of such loans.

The board also discussed and approved the fiscal year 2023 Budget Planning Calendar. Over the next few months, members will prepare and present their budget estimates. On August 1, a draft of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget will be placed in the City Hall foyer and on the website www.crockettexas.org for public viewing and public notice 15 days before the Ad Valorem Tax Rate Public Hearing. The Public Hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and the 2022 Ad Valorem Tax Rate will occur at the City Council meeting on August 15, after which the council will vote on whether or not to approve those items.

The council briefly adjourned to an executive session. After reconvening, members approved Ernest Standley as Crockett Fire Marshal.

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Bear Hall emerges from hibernation

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The bar at historic Bear Hall  -Jan White|HCC

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – It all started with a road trip. 

Marco Hayes, the new owner of historic Bear Hall, said that he was on a trip up from Houston looking for a retreat to escape the big city when he stopped to visit Crockett. 

After spending the night, Hayes was cruising around town to get a feel for the place when he saw a house for sale that he thought would suit his needs, so he put a contract on it. Hayes says he purchased the home right before Covid hit, and since businesses were shutting down and he wasn’t working, he decided, as he put it, “…to hang out in Crockett for a few months.” 

He recalls driving past Bear Hall on a regular basis, the “For Sale” sign in the window catching his eye. The building intrigued him, but at the time, he didn’t make a move toward a purchase. Then one day, the For Sale sign was replaced with “Contact Pending.” Although disappointed, Hayes listened to his instincts and called the realtor, asking her to let him know if the contract fell through. Five days later, he got a phone call. “And here we are,” Hayes said.

Hayes took possession of the property in November of 2021. Initially, the work involved a good cleaning because it had been empty for close to five years. Because it began as the home of an automotive repair shop, the building has some very unique features that history and antique buffs will appreciate. 

As you walk up the slanted concrete drive that cars once used to enter the repair shop bay, you’ll notice that the Hayes rescued a set of doors from the old Crockett High School and repurposed them for his entryway. A sizeable, sunfilled room houses the antique billiard table and comfortable chairs that invite guests to lounge in comfort, and there’s a smaller room that Hayes hopes to renovate and use as a bride’s changing room or a small meeting room for more intimate gatherings. 

The spacious hallway opens into a large area that can be rented as a venue for parties, celebrations, weddings, quinceaneras, or any other event you can imagine. Antique windows with squares of stained glass allow natural light to brighten the south side of the building. The stage, located in the left corner of the room, has hosted a couple of popular local bands and is sure to become a popular concert arena for future music events. But the biggest attraction in the room is definitely the massive saloon-style bar.      

Bringing Bear Hall to life is a family project. Hayes convinced his brother and sister and their families to relocate to Crockett. “My sister bought the house next door to me. We all live close together.” Bear Hall’s companion, the Bear Hall Patio Diner, located on Camp Street, has become one of downtown Crockett’s hottest new food venues. The food truck, located off the patio, keeps the whole family busy. Hayes, who is no stranger to the food industry, offers a fun menu with a variety of food choices, from burgers and specialty sandwiches to salads to pita bread pizzas. 

The patio also has a smaller stage, which Hayes hopes to utilize with acoustic performances for a more intimate experience. 

Bear Hall held its grand opening on April 9 and has since enjoyed a steady influx of customers. This past weekend, the Hall hosted an evening of entertainment by singer/songwriter David Mills on Friday night, and local band, Rooftop Travelers on Saturday. For more information on upcoming events at Bear Hall, check out their Facebook page.

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