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  • Leggett Water Supply rescinds one notice, places another

                                   The area of the map highlighted in blue is where the boil water notice is for residents along Old Highway 35 in between Leggett and Seven Oaks.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POLK COUNTY - The Leggett Water Supply Company rescinded a nearly-week long boil water notice for residents in the Pratt subdivision and some along Marston Road in Livingston. However, some residences along Old Highway 35 in between Leggett and Seven Oaks had a boil water notice put in place for several residences in the area. The boil notice forresidences on Old Highway 35 was put into place Wednesday — the same day that the Pratt subdivision and Marston Road notice was rescinded. Both boil notices were put into place because of breaks in the respective service lines. Just like last week’s line break, the Wednesday line break was repaired quickly and a sample of the water was sent to Eastex Environmental Laboratory Inc. to get tested for bacteria.

     

  • Local attorney enjoying time back in school

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Joe Roth presents a Zoom discussion from his online WWII Studies class during a recent Rotary Club meeting. Roth is in graduate school at Arizona State, and takes his courses online.

    By Jason Chlapek

    College has changed quite a bit since Joe Roth graduated from Baylor in 1973.

    The Livingston attorney returned to school last fall as a graduate student at Arizona State, albeit to a different setup — a virtual one. Roth filled his fellow Rotarians in on one of his fall semester courses by showing them 20 minutes of a Zoom discussion during a recent Rotary Club of Livingston meeting.

    “So far so good,” Roth said. “Arizona State is very well known for its technology and innovation. They have some really good professors and the lectures are good. We write papers that are discussion boards and the professor will prose a prompt. We are required to not only respond to his prompt, but at least two other students’ prompts. It’s been a great experience.”

    Roth is working on his master’s degree in World War II studies. He’s currently on his third course — Decision Points II.

    “I call this class, ‘D-Day and A-Bomb,’” Roth quipped. “One decision we will study will be the Allied decision to invade the continent of Europe in 1944 and all of the factors that went into that decision. We’re just getting started on that. The other decision will be the decision to drop nuclear weapons on Japan.”

    Roth said he received a solid “B” in his first course, which was a survey course of WWII. In his second course — Decision Points I — he received an A.

    “It was difficult after all these years getting back in a classroom setting again and taking tests with a timer over your head,” Roth said of his first course. “In Decision Points I, the decision that we studied were the decision of the Germans to invade the Soviet Union and what was Hitler thinking. The goal was to try and get into Hitler’s mind instead of writing a paper saying, ‘He’s a mad man. He’s crazy.’ We had to get in his mind and figure out what he was thinking in terms of logic and necessity. The second part of of Decision Point I was the Japanese decision to bomb Pearl Harbor. Once again, it was what were they (the Japanese) thinking. We could not write a paper saying, ‘They’re crazy.’ We had to get inside their minds and see what elements of logic and necessity existed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.”

  • Playoff contenders (VIDEO)

    IMG 3597BRIAN BESCH | PCE Chris Washington leans in for the dunk attempt.

    By Brian Besch

    The Lions established an early lead with its defense versus Liberty Tuesday, winning a 61-35 contest over the Panthers.

    A 20-2 lead early in the second quarter was enough to allow Livingston to coast for a while. They did coast, and Liberty closed the advantage to 10 points at 25-15 early on in the third quarter. 

    "The first half, we played OK, but we still didn't play with a lot of energy," Livingston coach Calvin Phillips said. "Then, we came back in the second half and I thought we were going too slow. We talked about putting more man-to-man full court pressure on in the second half so we could get ourselves going. That kind of helped us out."

    The man-to-man defense indeed helped, as Livingston scored 23 points in the period to quell any chance of a Panther comeback. 

    Chris Washington led the way with a dozen points, while Izzy Enard had 11 and Julian Gardner added nine.

    "I will take a win any way that it goes," Phillips said. "We are back tied for fourth now and we've got Hamshire-Fannett. If we can get them, that would be a big win for us right there."

    Livingston fell to Hamshire-Fannett in the first round by seven points. The hope is they can take a week to prepare with an open date Friday and get a win that would propel the team into playoff contention. The Longhorns are currently tied for fourth place with the Lions. 

    Phillips said his first year as head coach at Livingston is not going how he planned.

    "I don't like where I am at, I will be upfront with you on that. When I stepped in the gym at the beginning of the year, I saw the size and athleticism of those guys. I thought we would probably be in the running. We started off 5-0 and dropped off and started playing very erratic. It's kind of been disappointing, but I will still take what we have. I am hoping that we will finish up strong and peak out in the second half and get some more wins."

    The coach said that he wonders if all of his athletes are committed to him or if they are still trying to figure him out the same way he is trying to figure them out.

    "They don't know how to take me. I get on them hard sometimes and in this time and age, some kids don't take that kind of coaching anymore. You have to be more positive and not run them so much in a negative mode. I'm learning them and they are learning me, and if we can get in that fourth spot (playoff seed), that would be a blessing."

    The coach said in order to reach the postseason, his team's shooting would need to improve so the half-court offense can be more productive. The team now relies heavily on its defense to create offense.

    After the road trip to Hamshire-Fannett Tuesday, the Lions will host district leaders Huffman Hargrave next Friday.

  • Shepherd continues flood grant application

    Early voting 1Photo by Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula Shepherd City Hall is one of the early voting venues in San Jacinto County.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula

    POLK COUNTY - The City of Shepherd will send two revised Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (TxCDBG-MIT) applications to the Texas General Land Office before the Oct. 28 deadline. If approved, both will be used to improve drainage and sewer functions within the city. One will be for $14 million and the other for $4.2 million, with the city being responsible for paying one percent of each.

    More information on how the grants will be used if approved can be found at www.shepherdtx.org/public-notices. The city will host Trick or Treat in the Park on Friday, Oct. 30, with a time to be announced at a later date.The event will take place at the pavilion by city hall. For questions on the event or to set up a table, please contact Lauren Migil at 832-401-4058.The City of Shepherd meets every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.shepherdtx.org and click on the “Agendas & Minutes” tab

  • (UPDATE) 3 suspects in custody

    shooting suspectsCOURTESY PHOTO shooting suspects Cole Tucker, Dontrevion Glenn, and Jared Hope.

    4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting 

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects were identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, Jared William Hope, 22, and Dontrevion Donnell Glenn, 18, all from Livingston. All three suspects were arrested Thursday in three separate locations.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds, and was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger. Hope was taken into custody by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday just outside of Splendora.

    Glenn was arrested in Diboll by Texas Rangers Thursday evening. Glenn, Hope and Tucker are all in custody at the Polk County Jail.

    All three have been charged with murder, and Hope also received a probation violation charge. Hope was on probation for three years for his involvement in a drug bust that took place in August 2017.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • (UPDATE) 4 shot, 1 dead in residence shooting

    Jared HopeCOURTESY PHOTO Jared William Hope

     2 suspects on the run, 1 in custody

    From Staff Reports

    LIVINGSTON — One man is dead after a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane in Livingston Wednesday evening.

    Ashton Allen Smith, 22, was found deceased after he received multiple gunshot wounds. Three other people were shot at the residence as well.

    At approximately 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Livingston Police Department responded to the residence, located at 201 Maple Lane, after receiving two 911 calls in regard to gunshots fired inside the residence and several occupants of the residence had been struck. The officers arrived on scene and found multiple gunshot victims and one white male laying on the floor of the residence.

    Shooting 2JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Livingston Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Rangers investigate a shooting that took place at a residence on the 200 block of Maple Lane Wednesday night in Livingston. Four people were shot and one died from gunshot wounds.

    After securing the scene, EMS was summoned to the scene to treat the wounded, which included a 3-year-old female. During the investigation, witnesses were able to positively identify two of the alleged three suspects who all fled the scene after making forcible entry into the residence.

    The suspects have been identified as Cole Byron Tucker, 20, and Jared William Hope, 22, both from Livingston. The third suspect has not yet been identified.

    According to witnesses, Tucker began firing his weapon upon making forcible entry into the residence and a male inside returned fire with his weapon. The investigation continued and the male inside the residence was later identified as Smith, who was deceased at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

    The other occupants inside the residence were identified as Jimmy Douglas, Vickie Douglas and Erin Pasket. All the victims except for Jimmy Douglas sustained gunshot wounds and are being treated for their injuries, including the child.

    The LPD is continuing with the investigation and arrest warrants have been issued for Tucker and Hope for the felony offense of Murder. The LPD has received several tips in regard to the locations of the alleged suspects and Tucker was arrested in Houston.

    Tucker went to Memorial Hermann in downtown Houston to be treated for gunshot wounds. He was arrested at 12:20 a.m. Thursday by an LPD detective and a Texas Ranger.

    Hope was taken into custody by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The investigation is continuing by the LPD and are being assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

    Anyone with information on this crime and the whereabouts of Jared William Hope, you are asked to contact Detective Leon Middleton at the Livingston Police Department 936-327-3117 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867). Callers will remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender.

  • Alleged shooting in Livingston

    4987COURTESY PHOTO Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responding to a residence in Livingston on Wednesday January 6, 2021.

    PCE Staff

    The Polk County Enterprise has received reports of multiple shooting victims in Livingston Wednesday night.

    Sources have told the Enterprise that four people have been shot and one is dead after an alleged incident some time after 6 p.m.

    Livingston Police and the Polk County Sheriff's Department responded to a residence off Liberty Avenue near Maple Lane Wednesday.

    The condition of the other three victims, as well as the suspect, are unknown at this time. Stay connected to www.easttexasnews.com for breaking information.

  • Arrests made in possible homicide

    Homicide LivingstonCOURTESY PHOTO Jameous O’Neal Smith and Mark Anthony Jacobs

    Two Livingston men charged with murder

    The Polk County Sheriff's Department and Texas Rangers have made two arrests in theTuesdaydeath of a Livingston man.

    On the morning of Dec. 8, the Polk County Sherriff’s Office received an emergency call in reference to a deceased male found on Lone Wolf Road, just off of FM 1988 East in Polk County.

    The victim was identified as 19-year-old Brodrick Anthony Cooper of Livingston.

    Sheriff’s office investigators, along with Texas Ranger Ryan Clendennen, responded to the scene. The scene was processed and evidence was collected. Justice of the Peace Darrell Longino conducted the inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed by the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office.

    Once investigators made a positive identification of the deceased, they were able to start tracking his whereabouts and with whom he had associated within the last 24 hours.

    Investigators developed two suspects during the investigation. They were identified as 35-year-old Jameous O’Neal Smith and 18-year-old Mark Anthony Jacobs, both from Livingston.

    Both Smith and Jacobs were arrested on their charges. During their arrest and search of their residences, authorities say evidence was found linking both suspects to the crime.

    They were interviewed by investigators and confessed to the murder of Cooper, as well as robbing him afterward. The victim’s property was recovered during the investigation, along with the murder weapon.

    Smith and Jacobs are currently in the Polk County Jail charged with capital murder.

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers would like to send their appreciation to the large amount of information received from numerous individuals regarding the investigation.

  • Big Sandy bids farewell to board members

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Trustees Glen Goodwin (second from left) and Lee Ann Cain (second from right) receive a round of applause for their service with the Big Sandy ISD school board.Both Cain and Goodwin served their final meetings as trustees for the district. Neither one sought reelection for their terms, which expire Nov. 3.

    By Jason Chlapek

    POLK COUNTY — Monday night’s Big Sandy ISD school board meeting was the finalone as trustees for Lee Ann Cain and Glen Goodwin.

    Both trustees’ terms expire on Nov. 3, and neither one sought reelection. Goodwin was with the school board for 15 years, while Cain served four.

    “They really helped the district grow,” Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter said. “They had good insight, good knowledge and worked well together. It’s a good board.”

    Four trustee positions are up for elections with newcomer Darrell Murphy and current trustees Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews running unopposed for Positions 2, 5 and 6, respectively. William Handy Jr. and Kabe Murphy are running for Position 4. Carpenter announced to the board that the Texas Education Agency approved the district’s Asynchronous Learning Plan. The TEA approved it on the first try.

    “It’s a compliment to our principals,” Carpenter said. “The Asynchronous Plan is how you’re going to utilize a learning management system, which for us is Google Classroom and how you’re going to instruct students virtually. The TEA had a template to work from and we received some good guidance from Region VI in Huntsville, who helped the administration develop it and even proofed it and gave it back to us and we made some adjustments before we submitted it.”

    The school board also approved Native American Policies and Procedures for the 2020-21 school year. The Big Sandy ISD student body is approximately 25% Native American.

    “We receive federal funds and have policies in place,” he said. “After meeting with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, particularly their Education Department, we developed those policies and procedures. We usually do this in October.”

    The board also approved retrofit lighting to be installed in the gymnasium and a study on property values from 2012. Carpenter likes to perform retroactive property value studies.“You can do property value studies from past years to try to recoup money,” he said. “We use our tax attorneys to go and look at the data from our property values to try and garner additional funding.”

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

  • Big Sandy ISD swears in trustees and reorganizes board

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Standing from left, Big Sandy ISD trustees Quentin Matthews, Mark Duff and Kabe Murphy take their oaths into four-year terms from Kelly Hardy during last Monday’s meeting.

    By Jason Chlapek

    DALLARDSVILLE – Four trustees took oaths for four-year terms during Big Sandy ISD’s monthly meeting last Monday.

    Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews were re-elected, while Darrell Murphy and Kabe Murphy were elected to new four-year terms. Duff, Matthews and Darrell Murphy all ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election, while Kabe Murphy defeated William Handy for his seat.

    The officers on the school board were chosen as well. Darrell Murphy will serve as board president, while Sheila Neal will be the board vice-president, and Matthews is the secretary.

    During the meeting, Big Sandy ISD Superintendent Eric Carpenter gave a financial report during his report. He also talked about Title I funds that the district receives.

    “Covid has been our biggest expense to the tune of $200-250,000,” Carpenter said. “Getting ready for class, cleaning buses, cleaning supplies, etc. It’s just part of it. The amount of Title I funds a school receives is based on the number of kids you have on free or reduced lunch. That’s about 50% of our students.”

    Last month, Big Sandy ISD decided to go back to onsite learning for all students with the exception of those students who have preexisting medical conditions or have immediate family members with preexisting medical conditions. Carpenter believes onsite learning is more beneficial.

    “One of the biggest reasons why we went back to onsite learning was we had a high percentage of distance learners who were failing,” he said. “It’s easier for students to get the one-to-one help they need when they’re in school. If they’re not checking in, you can’t help them at all.”

    Carpenter also commended Senator Robert Nichols for everything he’s done for his district and other rural districts in East Texas. He’s not only a fan of Nichols, but also House Bill 3.

    “With House Bill 3, Sen. Nichols helped rural schools get the funding they needed,” Carpenter said.

    Big Sandy ISD meets again at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

  • Big Sandy receives ‘good, clean’ audit

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE From left, Big Sandy ISD board members Maynard Williams and Lyndon Alec review an agenda item during last Monday’s monthly school board meeting.

    By Jason Chlapek

    DALLARDSVILLE – Big Sandy ISD went over its audit during last Monday’s monthly school board meeting.

    According to Superintendent Eric Carpenter, the district received a “good, clean audit.” He gave credit where he believed credit was due.

    “The board has been good stewards of their money,” Carpenter said. “Our staff as a whole also has been good stewards of their money.”

    Axley & Rode of Livingston performed Big Sandy’s audit. Carpenter said his district has worked with the firm for four years now.

    Big Sandy ISD nurse Amanda Foster also gave an update on Covid-19. Carpenter is pleased with the way his district has combated the virus.

    “Our saving grace is wearing masks,” he said. “Our staff and students have done a great job of wearing masks.”

    During the first semester, Big Sandy ISD did not have to shut down because of Covid. Carpenter credits that to staff and students “doing what they have to do to stay safe.”

    The board also approved for Carpenter to submit a waiver to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to waive the student growth requirement in the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) and the student growth requirement in Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS). On Dec. 10, the Commissioner of Education announced that TEA would waive the A-F Accountability system for this year.

    Big Sandy ISD meets again on 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25.

  • Big Sandy stings Hornets

    IMG 2267PHOTO BY BRIAN BESCH I PCE Weston Mayer puts up two of his game-leading 17 points for the Big Sandy Wildcats.

    By Brian Besch

    The Big Sandy Wildcats had no trouble disposing of Goodrich Tuesday with a 79-4 win.

    The ‘Cats were dominant from the beginning, establishing a 40-0 advantage before Goodrich could get on the board late in the second quarter. It was the Hornets’ first game of the year and a tough draw against a team that has a running start and has played a few large schools.

    “I told our kids it was going to be like this,” Goodrich coach Lester King said. “You have to play hard and I just wanted to see some hustle. They are young and they are freshmen.”

    King's lone senior went down in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, leaving five inexperienced Hornets on the floor to fend for themselves. With Garzon down, Goodrich had four freshmen and a sophomore that did not play last year on the floor without a bench.

    “Garzon is the only senior and we have to get ready for January,” King said. “Some kids have to learn the hard way and they think they are ready to play and really good, but it is all about defense and hustle. We didn't have any defense out there tonight and we didn't have any hustle. We are going to get better at that. This is just embarrassing, but we are going to get better at defense and hustle. You got to work at this game. This is good for them. Now they see.”

    For Big Sandy, they have played up in classification versus southeast Texas schools in Orangefield and, most recently, Bridge City.

    “It was our first game back since a loss on Tuesday and coming off of Thanksgiving, so it was good to knock off the rust a little bit,” Big Sandy coach Kevin Foster said. “With Covid, I've kind of broken everything into small seasons. We had five games before Thanksgiving, this is our first of seven before christmas, so we are trying to break everything down into small seasons.”

    All nine Wildcats put up points Tuesday, led by Weston Mayer with 17, Dante Williams with 14 and Kaden Foster with 10. For Goodrich, Exavier Henderson had both buckets.

    Big Sandy as a group looked polished after a more uneven performance in Onalaska a few weeks before. Jumpers were falling, passes were crisp and the defense fought hard to keep the Hornets off the scoreboard.

    “In the second half, we really try to focus on the execution side of things. I thought we did some of that,” Foster said. “We will keep practicing and getting better and we’ve got a lot of improvement to make.”

  • Boyce completes goal of winning state

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE Onalaska senior William Boyce was the first runner to cross the finish line in the Class 3A boys state cross country Meet on Monday, Nov. 23, in Round Rock. The new state champion finished the race with a season-best time of 15 minutes, 38 seconds.

    By Jason Chlapek

    ROUND ROCK – William Boyce had a trio of goals in mind going into the 2020 cross country season.

    The first goal was to win a district championship – check. The second goal was to win a region championship – check.

    The third goal was to win a state championship. Check.

    Boyce ran a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 38.72 seconds to win the Class 3A boys state championship Monday afternoon at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock. The Onalaska senior completed his cross country career with four trips to the region meet, four trips to the state meet, three district championships, a district runner-up, two region championships, a third-place finish in state and a state championship.

    “During the whole race, everyone was staying in a pack and I was a little scared to be honest because I know the guys here are just as fast as I am,” Boyce said. “But on that last corner, I was digging deep and I had all of these people here supporting me so I wanted to bring home a gold medal for them. I thought about my family during that last portion of the race and I didn’t want to disappoint them so I gave it my all. My legs were burning at the end, but it was worth it.”

    Boyce defeated race runner-up Marco Rey of Presidio by 13 seconds (15:51.78). Despite missing gold by 13 seconds, Rey and his Presidio teammates claimed the team state championship.

    Now that Boyce completed the triple crown of cross country – district, regional and state championships – he'll be gunning for a quadruple crown in track and field. He competes in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in track.

    “I have to go do the same thing in track – win district, area, regionals and state in the mile and two-mile,” Boyce said. “I think it’s an amazing goal that I set this year and the fact that I accomplished it means a lot to me. I’ve been here four years and decided this was the year I could do something and win the gold.”

    Boyce was not the only Onalaska runner who participated in Monday’s state meet. Fellow senior Brady Neuman completed the race with a personal-best time of 17:15.78.

    “I was hoping to run a sub-17, but it didn’t quite happen,” Neuman said. “I’ll take what I can get. I felt good and this is a beautiful course. This was a lot of fun. This gives me good motivation going into track and field season.”

    Like Boyce, Neuman also competes in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in track and field. He broke down how his times would be beneficial in track.

    “My first mile was 5:10, which is close to my PR in the mile,” Neuman said. “I was about an 11-flat in the two-mile mark, which would be a PR. If I PR on a cross country course, I should do well on a flat track surface. My goal for every meet is to PR, but this was my last cross country meet so I was definitely swinging for the fences. I’m satisfied with what I did.”

    In addition to qualifying for state, Boyce and Neuman led the Onalaska boys cross country team to its seventh consecutive district championship on Oct. 29 in Anderson. Neuman also participated in his second straight state meet on Monday.

    Goodrich senior Joacxi Garzon competed in the Class A boys meet Monday morning and finished 23rd with a personal-best time of 17:23.32. He competed in his third consecutive state meet.

    “I felt like I ran my best,” Garzon said. “I had a pretty good race and left it all out there.”

    Garzon also had some motivation Monday morning. His older brother, Isaiah Garzon, was there to cheer him on.

    “Isaiah told me that it wasn’t my first time running out here and I know what to expect, so focus and give it all I have,” Garzon said. “My main focus was to stay up with the pack when I ran and keep a good pace.”

  • Breaking down barriers

    Livingston Football 19OCT2020Photo by Linda Jacobs and Jo’Hannah Proctor Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz (3) dives into the end zone during the Lions’ 35-14 win at Splendora Friday night. Ruiz ran for two touchdowns and threw three more touchdown passes.

    By Brian Besch

    MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Livingston football keeps rolling, defeating the rival Wildcats 35-14 in Splendora Friday night. The team utilized the efforts of its defense and a balanced attack on offense to win in impressive fashion.

    The Livingston Lions have become one of the better stories of Class 4A football in 2020. A team for which many predicted a basement finish has won five straight games, has a 2-0 record in district play, and is trending toward a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

    “That was a long time coming,” Livingston head coach Finis Vanover said. “Three years of grueling misery, shame, embarrassment and whippings. These seniors stuck it out and went through three years of that misery and they have made a commitment and a promise, and they are fulfilling every bit of it right now. All it took was to trust us to show you how to get there and you have to trust the Lord’s gift that you have and not waste it.”

    It was just two years ago that Splendora defeated the Lions 87-21, with not-so-subtle celebrations after each score. Last year, the Wildcats enjoyed a 48-15 win on the same field. Proud of the team’s performance, the coach said accomplishments like the win Friday were something that would not have happened in the past.

    “Not the last two years, but this fall when they showed up, the way they scrimmaged and the way they played Needville, I knew there was something really special going on. We are not as good as we can even be yet. That is the beauty. They (Splendora) are tapped out,” Vanover said pointing to the opposing sideline. “They can't play any better than they have the last two or three weeks. They got matched physically tonight, speed beat them, scheme beat them, and a kneel down on the 1-yard line.”

    Splendora (3-4, 1-1) began with the lead at 7-0.

    Livingston quarterback Damian Ruiz then led two touchdown drives, ending the first with a 26-yard touchdown strike to Julian Gardner and another on a six-yard run.

    The Wildcats’ Zane Obregon, who had both Splendora touchdowns and 106 yards rushing, scored once more. But the home team’s success ended there.

    The Lion defense that has been the squad’s reliable unit made a few adjustments and did not allow further damage.

    “We made some personnel movements and coach went to a different front,” Vanover said of the defense. “There was just a change in alignment with them and we moved them around to try to get them in some spaces. We couldn't match up with them and it took us that first series to realize that. We had to bring some blitzes and bring some heat from different directions and the coaches did a great job adjusting during the first half, but especially at halftime. (Defensive coordinator Dalton Murray), the secondary coaches and the outside linebacker guys did a great job getting the kids clued in on what we needed to do the second half to get some stops.”

    Ruiz (9-for-15, 219 yards, INT, 3 TDs) would later hit Izzy Enard on a 25-yard touchdown pass, sneak in his second rushing six-pointer, and find Gardner again for a 52-yard pass to score.

    Gardner had five catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, the junior standout added an interception while playing defense.

  • Bulldogs chomp Warriors, 28-14

    PSX 20201030 233925PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO A Corrigan-Camden wide receiver hauls in a pass as a Warren defender hangs on for dear life to try and bring him down Friday night.

    By Albert Trevino

    The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs defeated the Warren Warriors 28-14 on Friday.

    It was the first district win for new head coach Brett Ratliff, who finally witnessed real-game progress under his offensive system.

    "We have gotten better every week. I think we are finding weaknesses in different defenses. Sometimes, we have to run a little more or throw. Since we can play multiple, we are able to exploit those things." said Ratliff after the game.

    The Bulldog defense had another strong performance, making crucial third- and fourth-down stops throughout the game.

    "We definitely played a full team game tonight. When our offense stumbled, getting inside the red zone and not putting one in, our defense picked us up." Ratliff said.

    It was also a breakout game for Bulldog sophomore quarterback Christian Hood, who ran for three of Corrigan's four touchdowns.

    "[Hood] is a great athlete and has a heart on him." said Ratliff. "He never gets rattled and plays even keeled like a quarterback should. But he also plays physical like a running back."

    The Warriors scored first with an early touchdown by senior running back Kevin Kirk.

    Corrigan responded with Hood scoring his first rushing touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

    A turnover on downs by Warren in the second quarter gave the Bulldog offense a short field and a chance to take the lead. Hood finished that drive with 11-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 at halftime.

    The Bulldogs stretched their lead in the third quarter, as sophomore running back Anthony Harrell broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run. That score gave Corrigan a 21-7 lead going into the fourth.

    Warren's offense would keep fighting, with help from a personal foul call that kept a late possession alive. The penalty was immediately followed by a 43-yard touchdown run by Warrior sophomore back Jeremy Smith to make it a one-score game.

    Corrigan answered on its next possession, with Hood scoring his third rushing touchdown to help seal the win.

    Corrigan's final game of the season will be this Friday at home against the Newton Eagles.

  • Center of Hope helping tornado victims cope, rebuild (VIDEO)

    5247COURTESY PHOTO Home after tornado in April, 2020.

    Putting plans into action

    BY BRIAN BESCH

    An organization that has done so much for so many after tragedy struck in Onalaska and Seven Oaks wishes to give thanks for all who contributed to helping those when it was most needed.

    Center of Hope in Livingston has helped over 50 homes with damage from the tornado in April with the funds brought in from the community. Center of Hope disaster response coordinator Mike Fortney said the funds provided allowed some homes to receive extensive repair, while others required only a moderate amount.

    The task of helping in repairs is one leadership at Center of Hope expects to be complete by the end of winter. There are still five or six residences, but Fortney said some repairs to those are complete. After those have been tackled, the total will be just shy of 60 homes.

    Anything from wheelchair ramps, to roofs, decks, windows, doors, fences and walls — the many agencies partnering with the center were able to repair for those in need after the deadly storm. An emphasis was placed on homes that were either uninsured or underinsured.

    20210118 124715COURTESY PHOTO Home under reconstruction.

    Over 30 families received assistance with non-construction aid as part of Unmet Needs. This ministry helps families with needs stemming from the tornado to replace items such as appliances, furniture, vehicles or household goods. They were even able to replace a set of dentures that blew away during the tornado.

    This week, the Enterprise had the opportunity to visit two families who have received such help. Each had a tree that fell into the home, both of which were within arm’s length of where they were bracing for the storm.

    At the O’Donnell home, a roof and ramp were built, while the family worked on flooring for the house. The Flanigans, a family of seven, lost nearly everything and began building themselves. Volunteer groups traveled to help them complete a home, and installed windows and electrical. They are currently adding on another room for additional space.

    It takes a village, and Center of Hope has certainly built that. Among those helping were Economy Maintenance and Repair, Dowden Leveling and Texas Choice Home Construction. They all worked to fix dozens of homes, giving reduced prices in most cases to spread Center of Hope funds or even absorbing the costs themselves. As Covid-19 hampered the volunteer team roster and Hurricane Laura drew other teams away, the contractor partners were a large part of the process and continue to do so. 

    Church repair teams include First United Methodist Church of Onalaska, United Methodist Army of Kingwood, Lone Star Cowboy Church from Montgomery County, First Baptist Church of Livingston, Cypress UMC, and Atlanta UMC. Many homes were repaired by these teams, who volunteered time and resources to the incredible project.

    There were churches that also helped in other ways, like food and donations. Those include First United Methodist Church of Onalaska, Revival Center Church of Onalaska, and First Baptist Church of Onalaska. These groups adopted individual families, helped fix homes, ran a furniture warehouse for survivors, fed survivors and provided spiritual care for families. All ministered to families and continue to do so.

    The Orphan Grain Train out of Nebraska sent a large donation of materials totaling $35,000 that filled a warehouse. That warehouse, was arranged by Calvary Medical of Livingston, which allowed donated building materials to be stored free of charge and is still used today.

    The chambers of commerce, along with leadership from Polk County and the City of Onalaska helped tackle several challenges in response and recovery.

    All of this help was in addition to the immediate response from Center of Hope following the storm, where they set up a donation center, coordinated hot meals and volunteers, and supplied bulk food, water and materials to the impacted area.

    Fortney said, most of all, God gave his team solutions before new problems existed. Prayers were answered providing work teams, materials and funds. Teams were kept safe and what he calls "mini miracles" made the difference in getting the jobs completed.

    Trailers and vehicles were available at the right time to meet a specific need. Material donors covered the bulk of what was necessary for most projects. Teams arrived from outside of Polk County with the skills to complete jobs. A warehouse space was supplied at the right moment as donating materials were on their way, and several times donors showed up with the exact things needed at that moment.

    With the work in Onalaska nearly complete, there are limited resources still available to help survivor families. If a family has a lingering need stemming from the tornado, they may contact the Center of Hope at 935-327-7634 or visit 600 South Washington in Livingston to work with the group there.

    For those looking to help the Center of Hope, donations are always put to good use. There will also be a barbecue fundraiser at the Center of Hope Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Plates are $10, with proceeds going toward the vehicle used in disaster response.

  • Chamber hosts Christmas party for final 2020 function

                                   JASON CHLAPEK I PCE The Polk County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Christmas party last Friday for its final quarterly meeting of 2020.

    By Jason Chlapek

    The Polk County Chamber of Commerce conducted one more quarterly get together last week.

    The Chamber hosted a Christmas party complete with hot cocoa, cookies and coffee. It was the final quarterly meeting of 2020.

    “We normally have quarterly membership luncheons and (Friday) was the Christmas party,” Chamber director Janet Wiggins said. “We had cookies, hot chocolate and coffee. This was a time to relax and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. This is the second year that I’ve put this on.”

    Wiggins has been the Chamber director since September 2018. She enjoys hosting quarterly meetings for her members.

    “It’s great to see your members and share with them what’s going to happen for the upcoming year,” Wiggins said. “It’s fun to visit and your members are important.”

    Wiggins said the quarterly meetings in 2021 will take place in March, June, September and December. She’ll release the dates in the near future.

  • Corrigan approves $375,000 grant

                                   CASEY SIZEMORE Corrigan City Council Member Irene Thomson (right) presents City Secretary Paloma Carbajal (center) and Mayor Johnna Lowe Gibson with a donation check from Alvin Freeman to be applied toward the Corrigan Volunteer Fire Department.

    By Casey Sizemore

    CORRIGAN – During its regular scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Corrigan City Council approved beginning the procurement procedures to accept the Texas Department of Agriculture Community Development block grant for 2021-22.

    City Manager Darrian Hudman said the $375,000 grant, which is more than previous years, could be applied toward water and sewer projects. The council did not discuss what projects the grant would be applied to.

    Mayor Johnna Lowe Gibson said the city is in talks with Corrigan OSB “to see if they can help” with some of the water or sewer projects.

    The council also approved three appointments to a committee to seek who is most qualified to complete some of the jobs. Mayor Gibson described the committee as a “formality.”

    The council also approved a declination toward “Entergy’s backup generation product.” Hudman said Entergy intends to install a generator for the city to use during power outages. He said Energy requested the council decline the initial submission so they could resubmit under a multi-city or municipality project.

    The board also approved the general city election for May 1, 2021.

    After a lengthy discussion, the council tabled a motion to reduce the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph on Martin Luther King, Jr. Street until the council members have an opportunity to hear pros and cons from the citizens.

    Chief Gerald Gibson requested the council take up the matter out of concern for children playing in the area.

    “My only concern is the children, that’s all I care about,” he said.

    Chief Gibson said children walk along the street, play basketball in and near the street and play in the park, so he is concerned an accident is going to occur.

    Hudman recommended the council consider an ordinance stating all residential streets in the city limits be reduced to 20 mph. He also recommended the city mail out information to citizens and make callouts.

    During the council forum portion of the meeting, the council members discussed a recent article in the Enterprise concerning Georgia Pacific donating funds toward constructing a new fire department building for the Corrigan Volunteer Fire Department.

    “The Corrigan Volunteer Fire Department could use donations for that building,” Mayor Gibson said.

    Chief Gibson said CFVD is also in need of volunteer firefighters.

    Council member Irene Thomson presented the city with a donation check toward the fire department on behalf of Alvin Freeman.

  • Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs lose defensive struggle, 6-0

    Corrigan football 19Oct2020PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO The Corrigan-Camden defense takes down an Anderson-Shiro running back during Friday’s 6-0 loss in Anderson.

    By Albert Trevino

    POLK COUNTY– The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs fell to the Anderson-Shiro Fighting Owls in a 6-0 shutout from Grimes County.

    In a low-scoring showcase for both defenses, the Owls needed just one scoring possession to make the difference in Friday’s district matchup.

    Anderson-Shiro’s defense locked down on the Bulldog rush attack and put consistent pressure on sophomore quarterback Christian Hood throughout the night.

    On the opening drive, Corrigan’s offense put together a couple of runs to get past midfield before stalling out and having to punt. The Bulldogs continued to struggle in the first quarter with three-consecutive three-and-outs inside their own territory.

    The Owls also had trouble moving the ball early, although they averaged stronger field position.

    The Bulldog defense made key stops in the first half to help prevent Anderson-Shiro from reaching the red zone. This included a turnover on downs and two straight three-and-outs.

    Late in the second quarter, Corrigan started to find some rhythm, marching down the field from their own 8-yard line. Hood threw a first-down pass to sophomore running back JaVarion Williams, then ran the ball to help reach Owl territory.

    However, time ran out for Corrigan and the offense suffered two straight sacks looking for the deep pass play. This left it scoreless at halftime.

    Anderson-Shiro came out swinging in the third quarter and shocked the Bulldog defense with a quick scoring drive that would ultimately decide the match.

    Owl senior quarterback Cole Werner and senior tight end Kelvin Adair both ran for large chucks to reach a first and goal. This set up Adair for a one-yard touchdown run up the middle with the missed extra point for a six-point game.

    Corrigan’s offense continued to show decline in the second half, while the defense bounced back to prevent any further big-play opportunities for the Owls. Williams made the defensive play of the game late in the fourth quarter with an interception in the end zone.

    Despite having two more chances to respond in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs could not establish field position beyond a couple of first-down conversions.

    In the final minutes during Corrigan’s last possession, Hood converted on a fourth down with a pass to Williams to reach near midfield. The Owls responded with more pressure on Hood and forced a quick turnover on downs to seal the game.

    Corrigan is set to host the New Waverly Bulldogs for the next district game this Friday.

  • CORRIGAN-CAMDEN FALLS TO ELKHART (VIDEO)

    IMG 2722BRIAN BESCH | PCE The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs playing Elkhart on Friday December 11, 2020 on the north end of Polk County.

    COSTLY MISTAKES

    BY BRIAN BESCH

    CORRIGAN — The Corrigan-Camden Bulldogs lost a fourth-quarter lead to Elkhart and eventually the game 46-41 Friday on the north end of Polk County.

    Trailing for much of the contest, the ‘Dogs slowly narrowed the gap in each quarter after the first.

    “I thought we played well enough to win. We just didn't execute late in the game, which caused us to lose,” Corrigan-Camden coach Andrew Kirkindoff said. “I think it is kind of the same story. We play well enough, but in crunch time, we end up turning the ball over, making mistakes that cost us. I tell them all the time that it is our mistakes that is causing us to lose games. We are playing well enough, we just have to fix us.”

    Corrigan-Camden versus Elkhart video

    The Bulldogs looked a bit hurried on possessions early on, falling behind on the scoreboard.

    Corrigan-Camden then seemed to run its offense well in the fourth quarter, patiently passing the ball and looking for open attempts. They took the lead and held it for nearly half the period. A quick run by Elkhart frustrated the Bulldogs, causing them to again settle for outside shots.

    “I think that is just that we are young and starting a freshman. Most of the other ones are sophomores and a junior. Most of them are young and played JV last year, so it is just experience. I knew that there were going to be some Growing Pains early, but hopefully we can get this out of the way now and when we get to District we will be able to overcome them.

    Tony Cooper led the Bulldogs with 15 points, Braylan Harrell had nine and Tra Thomas had eight. For Elkhart, R.J. Moore was tops on the night with 21 points, Cale Starr had nine and Josh Davis added eight.

    The Bulldogs now sit at 2-4, with both wins coming in the last week. They defeated the Oilers of West Hardin (57-47) and Chireno (53-51).

    The next game for Corrigan-Camden will come on the road Tuesday, as they face Alpha Omega Academy in Huntsville.