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Houston County News - Breakout

Commissioners Court lifts burn ban

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082522 county lifts ban

By Jan White
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CROCKETT – Upon the recommendation of Houston County Fire Marshal Heath Murff, the Houston County Commissioners Court lifted the current Houston County burn ban.

Murff indicated that he felt the county’s residents needed a break and be allowed to burn, although he suggested they might revisit the topic in a few weeks if necessary. The board also accepted a donation from Morris Timber Holdings of $10,207 for road improvements.

Agenda items approved were the hotel occupancy request by PWFFA and The Loft for upcoming concerts, the Retiree Medical Insurance Policy, the contract with Election Systems & Software for the Express Vote machines, purchase of equipment, lease for copiers used by the county, and the current employer matching contribution rate of 140% for the Texas County and District Retirement System was approved.

After a brief discussion, the court approved the 2022-23 budget.

The court then moved on to discuss the proposed tax rate. Based on the adjusted tax valuation for 2022, it was recommended that the court set a rate of $0.47470, which is a decrease of six cents according to Houston County Judge Jim Lovell. A date of Sept. 13 was selected for the public hearing over the tax rate.

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CRCIL offers disability services

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081822 CRCIL disability services

Crockett Resource Center for Independent Living’s (CRCIL) Independent Living (IL) Services Program helps people with disabilities achieve greater independence in the home and community.

Eligibility criteria for this program requires that the applicant has a significant disability who has been diagnosed by a licensed practitioner and resides in Texas.

If you are a person with a disability and need services, assistive technology, or equipment to maintain your independent living, you could be eligible for the following:

• Hearing aids

• Residential modifications (temporary)

• Orientation and mobility training

• Durable medical equipment

• Visual aids

• Power wheelchairs

• Prosthetics

• Scooters

• Vehicle modifications

• Other adaptive equipment and assistive technology

If you are a person with a disability who is interested in the IL Services Program, contact CRCIL at 936-544-0522 for more information.

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Broussard graduates SFASU

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081822 broussard graduates SFA

NACOGDOCHES – Madison Broussard of Grapeland recently participated in Stephen F. Austin State University’s August 2022 graduation ceremonies, held in the Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches.

Broussard was among 353 students who received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Enrolling approximately 12,000 students, Stephen F. Austin State University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 120 areas of study within six colleges - business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics.

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Houston County schools earn passing grades from TEA

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081822 tea county ratings

By Chris Edwards
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AUSTIN – For the first time in three years, the Texas Education Agency has released, on Monday, its accountability ratings for the state’s school districts as well as individual campuses.

The A-F letter grade rating system, which was adopted in 2018, after a bill passed during the 85th Texas Legislature to establish the system as a simplified means of evaluating the academic performances of Texas schools.

The system uses a series of letter grades, A through F, as one would receive on a school report card. It is based primarily on standardized testing results from students in grades three through 12 throughout the academic year.

“The ratings examine student achievement, student progress, efforts to close the achievement gap and postsecondary readiness,” according to the TEA accountability website.

This year’s slate of ratings is the first since 2019 due to two years of COVID-related pauses, according to a news release issued Monday by TEA to announce the ratings’ release. “These results show our state’s significant investment in the post-pandemic recovery of Texas public school students is bearing fruit,” said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath.

Across the state, 1,195 districts and 8,451 campuses were rated this year, with noted significant gains in students’ academic growth. This year saw 25% of districts and 33% of campuses improve their letter grade from 2019’s reports.

All of Houston County’s five school districts made the passing mark, with Latexo and Kennard both earning “A”s; Grapeland and Lovelady receiving “B”s and Crockett ISD receiving a C.

Morath said the driving force behind the rise in the numbers is upon the shoulders of teachers and local school leaders. “Statewide policy in Texas continues to remain focused on meeting the needs of students, with an accountability system that supports high expectations…and an investment in evidence-based training for our teachers,” Morath said.

At the statewide level, 33.1%, or 396 districts, received an “A” rating, compared to 25.3% or 301 districts in 2019. Fifty-four percent of the state’s school districts, or 645, received a “B” grade with the 2022 results.

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Lovelady shares its past

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William Shoemaker, the Mayor of Lovelady, converses with guests at the City Hall as the town celebrated its 150th anniversary last Friday. JAN WHITE | HCCWilliam Shoemaker, the Mayor of Lovelady, converses with guests at the City Hall as the town celebrated its 150th anniversary last Friday. JAN WHITE | HCC

By Jan White
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LOVELADY – On Friday, August 12, the Lovelady City Hall opened its doors to welcome residents and guests to the ceremony celebrating the town’s 150th anniversary.

The building was decorated from floor to ceiling with pictures and displays depicting Lovelady’s rich history. Guest speakers at the event included Jim Refro, a Houston County Historical Commission representative, the Mayor of Lovelady Byron Shoemaker, and Houston County Judge Jim Lovell, who read a proclamation commemorating the city’s sesquicentennial birthday. Also attending was author Ralph Stenzel from Galveston County Historical Commission, who is creating a pictorial book about Lovelady’s history. Darrell Johnston, the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Lovelady, led the group in prayer.

A special guest at the event was Burtis Wooten, the younger brother of Tuskegee Airman Howard Wooten, whose pilot’s photograph was used by the U.S. Airforce to represent the famed Tuskegee Airman and adopted as the official image of the Tuskegee Airmen Foundation. 

Following the brief ceremony, attendees were invited to help themselves to cake and punch and explore the historical pictures and memorabilia scattered throughout the city hall.

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