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Corvette owner shows collection to Livingston Lions Club (VIDEO)

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                               PHOTO BY KELLI BARNES | PCE Pat McCulley’s collection of corvettes was on display Wednesday afternoon at the weekly Livingston Lions Club meeting at Camp Cho Yeh. McCulley’s collection includes one corvette from each of the brand’s eight classes.

By Jason Chlapek

LIVINGSTON — Sometimes one thing leads to another.

That’s the case with Pat and Jerry McCulley. Somehow one corvette turned into eight.

Pat displayed her corvette collection Wednesday afternoon at the Livingston Lions Club’s weekly meeting at Camp Cho Yeh. She was able to show her entire collection, including her eighth corvette which arrived in September — the 2020 C8 mid-engine.

“We have a corvette from every generation,” McCulley said. “The oldest corvette is a 1960 C1.”

McCulley said each corvette generation averages about 10 years. She also said that there was never an intention of having a full-blown corvette collection.

“It just sort of happened,” McCulley said. “The first one I bought was a 1975 C3. It was a popular car when I was a teenager. After I bought that one, I thought it would be neat to buy a 2005 C6. I didn’t intend one to get one of every generation, but it just happened that way.”

In all, the McCulleys have a C1 from 1960, a C2 from 1965, a C3 from 1975, a C4 from 1990, a C5 from 2000, a C6 from 2005, a C7 Grandsport from 2017 and a C8 from 2020. Pat has an interesting story about the purchase of the C4.

“(Jerry) found the C4 online in California,” Pat said. “We have friends in LA who we sent money for the purchase of the car and we had it shipped to Texas.”

The McCulleys ordered their latest corvette in July 2019, and were scheduled to receive it in March. But, a few things happened that delayed the arrival date until September.

“GM went on strike back in March then Covid-19 hit,” Pat said. “This is the first year of the C8 generation.”

The McCulleys are lifetime members of the National Corvette Museum, which is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They have lived in Livingston since 1979.

“I try to show them every opportunity I get,” Pat said. “We always try to participate in anything FAITH does, Hometown Christmas and anything else we can do to help the community. We take children for rides in the corvettes and also do fundraisers and food drives.”

While the C8 was just released this year, the C9 has likely crossed Pat’s mind. Whether or not she and Jerry purchase one a decade from now will be the question.

“We’ll have to see how young and spry I am when the C9 comes out,” Pat quipped.

It might just lead to another corvette in the family.

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Nearly 12,000 letters urge Senate to save East Texas jobs

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LIVINGSTON — Texas’ U.S. senators have been sent nearly 12,000 letters over the past six weeks asking them to save the 700 jobs connected to the Naskila Gaming electronic bingo facility. The letters provide a grassroots complement to more than 70 civic and business groups who have also urged the Senate to ask and keep this major East Texas employer open.

The 11,700 letters urge Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to help pass H.R. 759, a bill that would effectively stop the state of Texas’ efforts to close Naskila down. The U.S. House unanimously passed H.R. 759, authored by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, more than a year ago. The Senate has not moved forward with the bill — putting Polk County’s second-largest employer at risk.

Naskila, which is operated by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, continues to have overwhelming support in East Texas. More than 70 groups — including county commissioner courts, local Republican parties and chambers of commerce — have approved resolutions or other statements of support for keeping Naskila open.

Included on the list of groups supporting Naskila are the Polk County Commissioners Court, Polk County Chamber of Commerce, Polk County Republican Party and Polk County Higher Education and Technology Foundation.

“Texans are speaking with a loud, clear voice in support of Naskila Gaming,” said Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairwoman Cecilia Flores. “We are grateful for the support we’ve received from our visitors and from respected civic and business leaders throughout this region. We hope the Senate will listen to Texans who want to protect these jobs.”

Naskila is responsible for 700 direct and indirect jobs in East Texas and a recent study estimated that Naskila generates $170 million in annual economic activity for the region. More than 1 million people visit the facility per year. Even when closed for several months during the pandemic, Naskila continued to provide pay and benefits for its employees. Naskila reopened Sept. 10 with new safety precautions in place.

Another 1,000 jobs are tied to the electronic bingo facility operated by Ysleta del Sur Pueblo in El Paso. The state is also trying to shut that facility down. However, it is not trying to shut down electronic bingo on the Kickapoo tribal land in Eagle Pass, near the Texas-Mexico border.

H.R. 759 would ensure that the facilities in Livingston and El Paso are governed by the same federal law as the Kickapoo facility.

“We want to offer electronic bingo without state interference, just like the Kickapoo Tribe,” Flores said. “It’s very concerning to Naskila employees and their families that the Senate has not acted. We have broad, diverse support in East Texas. The Senate needs to approve this bill and save these jobs by the end of the year.”

In August, 19 members of the U.S. House who represent Texas — ten Republicans and nine Democrats — sent Cornyn a letter urging him to support H.R. 759.

“Rather than spend untold sums on legal fees and litigation, costing the State of Texas millions of dollars, we believe we could better enact our time and resources by enacting H.R. 759, which would create an economic boost to two hard hit areas of the state with no cost to the taxpayer,” the congressional letter said.

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Historical Commission hosts tree dedication for fallen member

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IMG 0132COURTESY PHOTO Patricia Snook speaks to attendees at a tree dedication Oct. 24 to honor Dicki Lou Alston. Representative Polk County Historical Commission would like to thank family members, First United Methodist Church, Daughters of the American Revolution members, Polk County Historical members and Alston’s 1965 Livingston High School classmates.

By Jason Chlapek

The Polk County Historical Commission conducted a tree dedication ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Polk County Memorial Museum.

The ceremony was conducted in memory of former Historical Commission member Dicki Lou Alston, who passed away in December 2018.

“(Dicki Lou) was a member of our commission, she was in the Livingston Class of 1965 and she passed away suddenly (two years ago),” Historical Commission co-chair Patricia Snook said. “We have this tree that we planted at the museum and we gave her family a plaque.”

In addition to her tenure with the Historical Commission, Alston also was a volunteer at the Polk County Memorial Museum and the Moscow Cemetery. She earned her bachelors degree from Texas Tech, masters from Sam Houston, and spent 35-plus years in education, more notably as the curriculum director for Beaumont and Lufkin ISDs.

Snook said the Historical Commission lost two trees, but have already replanted one and are replanting another one. She also gave a little insight into what the Historical Commission does.

“We do historical markers and we have a marker chairman,” Snook said. “They have to be approved. We were lucky enough to have a family leave their home to us for the museum. The museum has been several places, but the county maintains the grounds of the museum. We’re more of the project people. We preserve history. We also help out with the old city cemetery. We put up Texas flags. May is preservation month and we put up signs on homes that need to be restored.”

Joyce Johnson, also a Historical Commission co-chair, talked about other projects her group does.

“The historical markers are from the state and we have to submit an application to the state to get markers,” Johnson said. “Last year we started an oral history gathering. We have about eight WWII Veterans still with us. During February, we focus on Black History. We worked on this for a long time.”

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Woodville native finds ‘home’ in Polk County

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                               JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Polk County game warden David Johnson speaks at Livingston Lions Club Oct. 14.

By Jason Chlapek

Twelve years ago today, David Johnson began his career as a game warden in Polk County.

And he doesn’t plan on leaving either. Johnson believes he has found his stomping grounds, which he talked about when he was a guest speaker at the Livingston Lions Club on Oct. 14.

“I started (as a game warden on) Nov. 1, 2008,” Johnson said. “I worked as a laborer in Pollok prior to becoming a game warden. Polk County was my first duty station and will probably be my last. Polk County feels like home. It feels a lot where I come from. There’s a lot of good people here. Livingston is just big enough where it’s not too big.”

Johnson grew up in Woodville. He also described why he enjoys living in Polk County.

“I live just north of Corrigan and I came from a small town like Corrigan (Woodville) where you know everybody and everybody knows you,” Johnson said. “There’s a small town persona where folks can lean on one another and go to one another when they need help. I like the closeness of it.”

During his 12-year tenure, Johnson spoke about the quantity and quality of hunting resources in Polk County. Deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 7.

“In the last 12 years, the resources have gotten better,” Johnson said. “We’ve seen a great increase in our deer population as well as the maturity and health of our animals. I think it’s a contribution to the people of our county respecting the law, doing what is asked of them and practicing good stewardship of the resources.”

Johnson also talked about his duties as a warden. He said that although most citizens obey the laws of hunting, fishing and boating, there are a few who need a reminder or two.

“We’ve got a broad range of activity that goes on over here,” Johnson said. “You’ll have anything from criminal trespass or possession of narcotics to boating while intoxicated. Starting around March until September, we put in quite a few hours on the water. We have an extremely large lake one here and several rivers. On average, we spend 200-300 hours a year on the water. We have a little bit of everything around here. Some of the people I’ve encountered have found interesting ways to try and hide or dispose of what they did. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to stumble across those things, and sometimes we have a little help and it’s just blind luck. Sometimes the grown adult almost acts like the elementary school kid who gets caught playing in the bathroom. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. The biggest majority of the people we deal with are good people who are out recreating and having a good time. They’re involved in sports that we regulate and they’re very respectful people. All of the bad things you hear about consist of 1 percent of the people. We have a lot of good people here and that’s why I want to be here.”

When it comes to hunting or water activities such as boating or fishing, Johnson said there’s balanced participation and interest among them. He also thinks this season will have a little more participation with hunting because of Covid-19.

“We have a good mixture of popularity among hunting and water seasons,” Johnson said. “Any given year, it can teeter one way or the other. On the years that they have droughts, we may get more water contacts, but that’s because of something going on. This was a benign water season. We had a few accidents, tragedies and BWIs, but we had a healthy amount of boat traffic. I expect to see more hunters because it’s an isolation sport. Boating and being around the lake is people being more in crowds.”

And he hopes to patrol the land and waters of Polk County for another 12 years — or more.

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Voters decide city, school board races

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PolkCountyElectionElection Day at the Polk County Judicial Center. (Brian Besch Photo)

 

From Staff Reports

Big Sandy, Corrigan-Camden and Onalaska Independent School Districts and the city of Onalaska all had contested races that were decided Tuesday night.

There were two contested races in the city of Onalaska, one contested in Big Sandy and Onalaska ISDs each, and a trio of contested races for C-CISD. All eight Polk County positions that were on the ballot featured uncontested Republican candidates.

Onalaska Mayor Chip Choate remains in his seat as he won a challenge from Tommy Haddon. James W. Arnett defeated Paul Laverty for a position on the Onalaska City Council as well.

C-CISD had three positions on its school board up for grabs. Peter D. Burks defeated Lync Cavanaugh and Angela Rice for the Position 1 spot; Thomas Roberts defeated Carmen Vera for Position 2; and Lawrence Lee Jolly, Jr. defeated Matthew Cole, and Robert Poage for Position 3.

Big Sandy ISD had four positions on its school board up for election, but only one was contested. Position 4 featured a race between William Handy, Jr. and Kabe Murphy, which went to Murphy, while Darrell Murphy, Mark Duff and Quentin Matthews ran uncontested for Positions 2, 5 and 6, respectively.

OISD had two school board positions due for election with one being contested. Position 4 was contested between Johnny Byrd and Pobla Gallier with Byrd winning, while Candice Davies ran uncontested for Position 7.

The eight positions on the ballot for county offices were Sheriff (Byron Lyons), Tax Assessor-Collector (Leslie Jones Burks), Precinct 1 Commissioner (Guylene Rogers Robertson), Precinct 3 Commissioner (Milton Purvis), Precinct 1 Constable (Scott Hughes), Precinct 2 Constable (William R. “Bill” Cunningham), Precinct 3 Constable (Ray Myers) and Precinct 4 Constable (Darwon Evans). All eight candidates won their respective Republican primaries and did not face opposition from another political party.

A follow-up on these races as well as state and national races can be seen in the Nov. 8 edition of the Enterprise.

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