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PCSO arrests man in shooting death

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Dallas SimonDallas Simon

From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

ONALASKA – A man is behind bars after shooting his brother to death Sunday afternoon in Onalaska.

Dallas Joseph Simon, 55, was arrested for murder after he shot his brother, 57-year-old Kevin Simon, to death after a brief altercation. Dallas Simon was booked into the Polk County Jail with a murder charge and a bond set at $100,000.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from Dallas Simon who stated he and his brother, Kevin Simon, got into an altercation and he shot him. Deputies responded to the residence, off of May Drive in Polk County, and found Kevin Simon deceased at the property.

Investigators arrived on scene and began to process the crime scene and interview witnesses. Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Robert Johnson conducted the inquest and ordered an autopsy to be performed by Jefferson County.

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Schools close Monday due to winter weather

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20210110 163421STEPHANIE PETERS Jadyn Phillips enjoys a snow day Sunday at the Onalaska Park. Snow accumulation in Polk County prompted school district superintendents in the county to cancel classes on Monday. The six districts – Big Sandy, Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich, Leggett, Livingston and Onalaska – returned to class on Tuesday.

By Jason Chlapek

All six Polk County school districts – Big Sandy, Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich, Leggett, Livingston and Onalaska – were closed Monday because of winter weather.

Much of the county received snow or sleet Sunday afternoon and evening, which prompted school district superintendents to make decisions to close on Monday. According to C-CISD superintendent Richard Cooper, it was better to be safe than sorry.

“In situations like this, I like to err on the side of caution,” Cooper said. “It only takes one bridge with ice on it to cause problems for a bus. It’s not US 59, it’s our county roads and farm-to-market roads.”

Each school district decided by Sunday evening to cancel school on Monday. One district, Leggett, was anticipating a late start, but decided against it once it was determined that road conditions were unsafe.

“We decided at 6 p.m. Sunday to not have school,” Cooper said. “I reside on the south end of our district in Moscow and we were getting sleet and snow at that point. My transportation director drove the roads in our district and noted more snow and sleet on the north and west sides of our district.”

Cooper, who is in his second year as superintendent of C-CISD, said this was the first time his district had to cancel school because of winter weather. In his previous stop at Garrison, he had to cancel for winter weather once.

“I’ve been (at C-CISD) for two years, but the last time we had to cancel was before I got here,” Cooper said. “We had some sleet and ice when I first got to Garrison in January 2016.”

All six districts returned to school on Tuesday. Cooper said his district started two hours late.

“We started two hours later because roads were still wet,” he said. “It was 26 degrees Monday night so we wanted to see a little more traffic on the roads before we put buses on them. We had no incidents so it worked.”

Cooper also said that although much of the snow was melted Sunday night, the roads were wet and perfect for ice formation with a freeze. He ultimately decided to play it safe.

“It warmed up enough on Monday that melted it, but all bridges were wet by Sunday night and they were frozen by Monday morning,” Cooper said. “You have to put the safety of students, parents and staff first when making those decisions.”

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New businesses breaking ground in Livingston

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                               JASON CHLAPEK | PCE From left, Livingston city aldermen Clarke Evans, Elgin Davis and Raymond Luna listen to city manager Bill Wiggins’ report Tuesday evening.

By Jason Chlapek

The future is bright for the city of Livingston.

City manager Bill Wiggins announced at Tuesday’s monthly city council meeting during his report that several new businesses, including some popular chain restaurants, are breaking ground in Livingston. Among these are Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and Starbucks.

“The new year is very exciting as far as new projects getting started,” Wiggins said. “Chick-fil-A broke ground just west of town last week, an 80-unit apartment complex broke ground, and Starbucks started Monday. We’re very excited with some of the new projects that have been going on.”

Regas Contractors is building Chick-fil-A, which city officials hope will be open by May. A permit has been given and dirt work has begun on the restaurant, which will have an address of 1821 US Highway 190 West.

Panda Express and Starbucks will both be located in the Walmart parking lot. The building permit for Starbucks was given on Friday and ground broke on the project Monday.

Panda Express has not set a construction date yet. Other projects in Livingston include Blue Wave Car Wash, Country Place Senior Living, Health Center of East Texas, House of Mary, Livingston Memorial United Methodist Church, Livingston Pioneer Crossing Apartments and T-Mobile.

“We’re very optimistic that we can somehow get a hold on Covid,” Wiggins said. “We need to.”

Council aldermen also approved a pair of public hearings that will take place at next month’s meeting on Feb. 9. One is for the demolition process of a former hotel located on 1200 N. Washington and the other for a dilapidated residence located on 1958 S. Washington.

“They’ve (the former hotel owners) got the asbestos work done and the next step will be getting a contractor to do the demolition,” Wiggins said. “They should be starting on the demolition by Feb. 9. If not, they have to come to the hearing and let us know what the hold-up is. The demolition process needs to be started by Feb. 9.”

Next month’s city council meeting starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9.

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County to receive $3 million restoration grant

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                               JASON CHLAPEK I PCE From left, Polk County Commissioners Guylene Robertson and Tommy Overstreet listen to Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy during the first commissioners court of the 2021 calendar year Tuesday morning at the Polk County Courthouse.

By Jason Chlapek

Polk County will receive a $3 million restoration grant from the Texas Historical Commission soon.

The grant was approved at the first commissioners court of the new year Tuesday morning at the Polk County Courthouse. The approval was music to Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy’s ears.

“Thank goodness it was approved,” Murphy said. “It was a long time coming. It’s nice to receive $3 million.”

The grant will be used to restore the court room located on the second floor of the courthouse. Murphy said county grants and contracts administrator Jessica Hutchins was instrumental in achieving this grant.

“Jessica took the bull by the horns and submitted a beautiful grant request,” Murphy said. “She’s been in contact with the Texas Historical Commission throughout and it’s pretty exciting to be able to get the courthouse up to par.”

Murphy does not have a timetable on when the project will begin. However, she said the news about receiving the grant was “pretty exciting.”

“You have to go through planning and the THC has to approve everything before receiving the grant,” Murphy said. “One of the requirements is that the district courtroom has to be restored. We will have to remove some modifications that were made by the previous administration. It has to go back to its original look.”

Commissioners also approved the purchase of nine foreclosed properties. Eight of the nine properties are located in Lake Livingston Village and the other is in Indian Springs Lake Estates.

Tuesday’s commissioners court was the first for newly-elected Precinct 1 commissioner Guylene Robertson. More on her can be seen in Sunday’s Enterprise.

The next commissioners court will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26.

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Jailer behind bars for inmate relationship

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David MillerFILE PHOTO David Miller

From the PCSO

A Polk County Jailer is behind bars after it was discovered that he had a relationship with an inmate.

David Ray Miller, 45, was arrested for a charge of official oppression Thursday night. He has since been terminated from his employment and is in the Polk County Jail.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from several female Inmates in reference to a Jailer and a female Inmate having an inappropriate relationship. An investigation was conducted and found that Miller was engaging in inappropriate conduct with a female inmate.

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