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DPS increases enforcement to keep roads safe on July 4th

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063022 dps fourth of july

From Enterprise Staff

 The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Texas Highway Patrol (THP) will be initiating two traffic safety campaigns during the holiday weekend looking for people violating traffic laws from Friday through Monday.

“Our nation’s freedom is something worth celebrating, and I encourage everyone to do it in a responsible way,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “This includes being mindful of our state’s traffic laws and being courteous of other drivers on the roads, so everyone can have a good holiday.”

Operation Holiday will run July 2 through July 4 and will target drivers who violate traffic laws, including those speeding, not wearing their seat belts or driving while intoxicated. During the 2021 campaign, there were 55,776 citations and warnings issued. This includes 17,376 citations and warnings for speeding; 2,006 for people driving without seat belts or child safety seats; and 1,632 for people driving without insurance. In addition, there were 298 people arrested for driving while intoxicated, 280 felony arrests and 145 fugitive arrests.

Operation CARE (Crash Awareness Reduction Effort) will run from July 1 through July 4, and focus on reducing crashes and violations of the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law. From Jan. 1 through June 7 of this year, there were 4,135 Move Over, Slow Down violations. The law requires all drivers to slow down when police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated.

DPS offers the following safety tips for people driving during the Fourth of July holiday:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
  • Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep your eyes on the road.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.
  • On multi-lane roads, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).
  • Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
  • If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.
  • Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver License.
  • Check your vehicle to make sure it is properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.
  • Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit drivetexas.org.
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Game wardens advise “stay dry” while boating July 4

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070322 boating on fourthTPWD Boating Education Manager Kimberly Sorenson says wear a life jacket, know how to swim and closely supervise children while boating. Alcohol, drug abuse contributes o fatal boating accidents

From Enterprise Staff

The slips and boat ramps of Texas will soon buzz with activity as Fourth of July weekend approaches. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) reminds boaters to follow basic safety precautions while on the water. Game wardens will join the United States Coast Guard and thousands of law enforcement officers on heightened alert for violations as part of Operation Dry Water, a nationally coordinated enforcement campaign focused on deterring boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“If you’re operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you’re putting people at risk,” TPWD Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement Cody Jones said. “Sadly, we see it time and time again – holiday celebrations that end in accidents or fatalities caused by unsafe boating practices.”

Last year, wardens arrested 42 for boating while intoxicated over the Fourth of July weekend and filed eight other charges for driving while intoxicated. They issued 1,474 citations and 1,797 warnings for various boating safety law violations.

“Texas Game Wardens will be out in force to help boaters return to land safely,” Jones said. “But help us do our job by being prepared and making wise choices.”

Statewide, injuries and fatalities peak between the months of May and August, especially on weekends. Among the top contributors are operator inattention, careless/reckless operation, inexperience and alcohol use.

Texas state law requires each occupant of a boat or paddle craft have access to a life jacket. Children under 13 must wear one while the boat or paddle craft is underway or drifting.

“Wear a life jacket, know how to swim and closely supervise children,” TPWD Boating Education Manager Kimberly Sorenson said. “Know the rules of the waterway. These are some simple but extremely effective ways to increase water safety.”

Visit TPWD’s boating laws website for more information about boating safety, laws and requirements.

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Two suspects wanted by PCSO

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063022 two suspects wantedThe Polk County Sheriff’s Office has requested assistance from the public in obtaining the whereabouts of Donny Ray Fulsom and Sherry Lavon Collier. The suspects currently have warrants for felony theft in Polk County. Those with information that may help are asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810. An anonymous tip may be submitted at p3tips.com, (the P3 App) or call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP, where tipsters could collect a cash reward for information leading to an arrest.


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The nation’s best

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062622 the nations bestMaci Hill’s National History Day documentary was chosen as the best amongst 600,000 high school student entries.

Livingston student takes first place at national competition

By Brian Besch
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Winning awards is nothing new to Maci Hill. The Livingston ISD student entering her senior year has excelled in many areas, from student council president to golf and tennis. She is an All-American cheerleader, will start college as a sophomore, and has yet to have a report card with anything but an A.

Still, her latest achievement is a big deal. Last week, Maci’s documentary for National History Day was chosen amongst 600,000 entries as first place in the senior division (high school) for individual documentary.

Her awards include the Nation National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Scholar, Next Generation Angel’s Award, Anne Harrington Award and Scholarship for the National History Academy.

The last of those has Maci excited for next summer, when she will go to the National History Academy in Washington, D.C. to study history for a week. In October, she will visit the Library of Congress, where filmmaker Ken Burns holds his prize for film award ceremony. The students receive an official copyright for their films at the event.

It is her sixth entry into the contest. She has made the national competition in five of those. Maci was part of the gifted and talented program in junior high and participation in the competition began as an extra project in her history class.

“We were required to do it in sixth through eighth grade,” she said. “I really fell in love with it after I made it to nationals the first time in the seventh grade. Whenever I came into high school in my freshman year, I didn’t plan on doing it again, but I kind of felt like it was something missing and I was so used to doing it.”

Her brother was also into the projects, finishing third place in his time at Livingston ISD. Maci called him to rub it in a little the first time she finished higher in seventh grade.

“He did it all through junior high, but didn’t continue in high school. I’m pretty sure, before I came, he had gone the furthest as far as getting third place at state. I got second place at state and in the same year, some (Livingston) boys got first place at state. We were just ecstatic that we beat our siblings, because a lot of us had siblings that had gone before us.”

The process of creating the documentary is time-consuming, with plenty of research and effort. Along the way, she has received valuable counsel from advisors Suzonna McFarlain and Kristina Miller. Often, Maci gives up what little free time she has.

“I’ve spent my Christmas break and my Thanksgiving breaks really pouring myself into that project every year. To take a break, I normally say that after Christmas is what I’m going to hit it hard for that week. I go upstairs to our loft area and I don’t start until about 8 p.m. on it every night. I work until about 4 a.m. and go to sleep for a while, and then do it again the next day for like a week straight. That is how I finish it every year.”

The top two projects in each category advance in regionals and then state to get to nationals. Just winning at the state level in Austin is an accomplishment, with similar difficulty as the national contest.

This year, Maci placed first at regionals, which was held at Lonestar College - Montgomery, state was held in Austin, where she again took top honors. The national event was held virtually in Maryland.

“They give you a theme each year, and they release it in the summer as the year is wrapping up so you can kind of get started for the next year. (This year,) It was debate and diplomacy in history. I just spent free time looking into history and I really wanted to do something on the Cold War, because I had never done something on that before. I had always kind of done everything but that. When I came across the topic of Nikita Khrushchev visiting Roswell Garst’s farm, it really fit the theme perfectly and it fit every checkbox that I wanted for a documentary.

The event being captured in history whenever it took place is very important for the documentary. This event was very televised, and it was everywhere in the United States and there were so many reporters, so it was perfect.”

In 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited Coon Rapids in Western Iowa to the farm of Roswell Garst, an innovative seed corn salesman. Garst had been to the Soviet Union several years before and met Khrushchev, inviting him to visit. Khrushchev traveled to the United States in search of agricultural innovations and ideas he could take back to better feed the Soviet people. It was the height of the Cold War, a time when the people of both countries were fearful of one another. However, the meeting in September of 1959 aided those relations.

“I think that I had just never found a topic that fit so perfectly,” Maci said of her reason for choosing the topic. “I just love the title that I came up with. “Communist in the Cornfields” is kind of funny and a catch your attention type of thing. As I dug into it, I realized that there were some folks still alive from when it happened. That is when I first met Ms. Liz Garst. She is Roswell Garst’s granddaughter. We have kind of kept in touch since. She was great with encouraging me to pursue this. They are actually considering putting my documentary in the museum in Iowa at the farm.”

Film may not be in her future, but the standout student feels it could remain a hobby. For now, plans are to major in government and minor in history. Maci envisions herself attending law school one day. She begins touring college campuses next week.

Maci is already preparing for next year’s project, which has a theme of “Frontiers in History.” She has not quite settled on a subject, but says that more research may be involved this summer in an attempt to top the award winner. 

“I have, through National History Day, found my love for history. I know for sure that history and my love for it will be in my future. I don’t really know where we are going to go from there, but that is kind of what my thought is right now. I am pretty excited for the future.”

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