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Polk County News - Breakout

Polk County Commissioners present proclamations

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ChildAbusePreventionMonth

The Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Dubose, Childrenz Haven Program Director Jamie Haynes, Childrenz Haven Executive Director Crystal Finegan, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Victim Assistance Coordinator Megan Knighton, Childrenz Haven Forensic Interviewer Kaycee Hendrix, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Cassity, Childrenz Haven Family Service Coordinator Maddi Kellum, Special Victim Liaison Christi Allen and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth

The Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Dubose, Childrenz Haven Program Director Jamie Haynes, Stormie Washington, Tracy Stoudt, Childrenz Haven Executive Director Crystal Finegan, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Childrenz Haven Forensic Interviewer Kaycee Hendrix, Victim Assistance Coordinator Megan Knighton, Haylee Burk, Precinct 4 Jerry Cassity, Childrenz Haven Family Service Coordinator Maddi Kellum, Special Victim Liaison Christi Allen and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

CrimeVictimsRightsWeek

The Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing April 21-27 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Polk County. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Dubose, Special Victim Liaison Christi Allen, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Victim Assistance Coordinator Megan Knighton, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Cassity and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis.Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

TelecommunicationsWeek

The Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing April 14-20 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Polk County. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Dubose, Chief Deputy Andy Lowrie, Sheriff Byron Lyons, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Telecommunications Operator Seslee Moseley, Telecommunications Operator Jennifer Norris, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Cassity and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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Newly elected tax assessor-collector takes office May 1

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County Judge Sydney Murphy administered the oath of office to Tatum White, the newly elected county tax assessor-collector, following the Polk County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday. White will take office effective May 1. Photo by Emily Banks WootenCounty Judge Sydney Murphy administered the oath of office to Tatum White, the newly elected county tax assessor-collector, following the Polk County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday. White will take office effective May 1. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Results of the March 5, 2024 Democratic and Republican Parties’ Primary Elections were received by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday, allowing the Court to approve the appointment of Tatum White to fill the unexpired term for Polk County tax assessor-collector, effective May 1.

The Court received and took no action on the fiscal year 2025 budget adopted by the Polk Central Appraisal District on March 28. The budget reflects a 12.56% increase over the previous year.

An updated agreement with Michael D. Matthews II, attorney at law, for legal advice and representation was approved.

The Court took action on the emergency management request for proposals (RFP 2024.16) to procure a contractor to update the Polk County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, approving Langford Community Management Services.

An agreement with Goodwin Lasiter & Strong to provide professional engineering services for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation DR-4485 Grant Program administered by Texas Department of Emergency Management was approved.

The Precinct 2 Road and Bridge purchase of a 2023 Freightliner with oil distributor from Houston Freightliner with a five-year term and net capitalized cost of $268,916 was approved.

The Court approved amending the agreement with Komatsu for courthouse architecture services to include site utility relocation and building interior electrical/fire protection/plumbing network.

Termination of the agreement between Arro and Emergency Management was approved. Multiple delays and other issues led to termination of the program that was supposed to track expenses and time during disaster response.

The Court approved, upon conditions met, the Green Pines Subdivision application, located in Precinct 4.

Offers to purchase the following tax foreclosure properties were approved – Cause No. T12-004, Lot 25 of Allen Woods in Precinct 2 and Cause No. T22-0080, Abst 1097 of Tract 2 of E. Clements Survey in Precinct 3.

In personnel matters, the Court approved a personnel management system update to add deputy investigator and intern positions for the district attorney’s office, reviewed personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and seven authorized emergency hires – three at the jail, three at the sheriff’s office and one at the district attorney’s office.

The Court also approved a request to pay out equivalent comp and FLSA comp hours earned by jail and telecommunications staff as of March 24, 2024, as requested by Sheriff Byron Lyons, utilizing available funds from the sheriff and jail salary line items.

Fiscal year 2024 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

The Court approved payment to Sam Houston Electric Cooperative (SHECO) in the amount of $35,566.80 for power to the interoperable communications tower in Precinct 3, to be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis abstained from the vote as he sits on the Board of Directors of SHECO.

During informational reports, the 2023 annual report from the Piney Woods Lakes Texas Chapter Master Naturalists for the Gazebo Nature Preserve at the Lake Livingston Dam was presented.

Five proclamations were presented by the Court – one recognizing the 101st birthday of Ellis James “Willie” Williamson, one declaring April 14-20 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Polk County, one declaring April 21-27 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Polk County, one declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and one declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the March 26 regular meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Approval of a county constitutional court confidentiality policy and agreement;

Approval of a sheriff’s office request to purchase physical fitness equipment;

Approval of lease agreements with Texas Document Solutions for addition and replacement of printer/copier machines;

Approval of an amendment to Lexis Nexis agreement for the district attorney’s office, extending the agreement to April 30, 2025; and

Approval of the use of $3,639 from information technology capital outlay repair/replace IT equipment (budgeted funds) for the replacement of wireless access points throughout county buildings.

Dennis Hodge with Wildwood Gospel Church opened the meeting with prayer.

 

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SOLAR ECLIPSE 2024

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eclipse party

Students from Livingston Montessori School look to the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of the solar eclipse Monday as Polk County Memorial Museum Curator Betsy Deiterman tells a little about it. Approximately 121 people attended the eclipse party Deiterman hosted on the museum grounds. These included the local Montessori students, some Escapees, some local home school students and an adult day care group. The Polk County Historical Commission provided a variety of celestial snacks and treats for everyone, including Sun Chips, Moon Pies, Starburst fruit chews, Milky Way candy bars, Orbit chewing gum and Sunny D orange drinks. Cloud coverage and unexpected rain showers precluded the partygoers from actually seeing the eclipse, but everyone seemed to have a good time anyway. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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ROTARY CLUB PANCAKE SUPPER

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Another Rotary Club Pancake Supper is in the books. Funds raised during the annual event hosted by the Rotary Club of Livingston go toward the many local and global service organizations and projects that the club supports. Approximately 550 people were served during this year’s event, held Thursday at First Baptist Church. The evening included a live auction, a silent auction and a power point presentation of the club’s many community outreach projects throughout the year, in addition to the hot delicious supper. Auctioneer Clarke Evans and Rotary President Brandon Wigent prepare to start the live auction. Rotarians Debbie Jenke and Judy Cochran distribute to-go orders to those picking them up. Rotarians Judson Pritchard, Kayee Jones, Corky Evans, Bev Reed and Ron Boyce prepare pancake and sausage to-go plates for pickup. Rotarians Sydney Murphy and Mark Waters man the drink station serving water and tea. Photos by Emily Banks Wooten

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Junior high hosts UIL district meet

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Miller and NettlesKristina Miller, UIL Coordinator, shows the latest hardware with Livingston Junior High Principal Jared Nettles.

In March, Livingston Junior High hosted the District UIL Academic meet for seven schools.

Livingston earned first place, obtaining a total of 74 individual medals. A banquet held last week honored these students, as well as one-act play participants, and students with outstanding achievements in choir.

One-act play was directed by Mike McHaney. Some students previously received medals at the competition, however all participants were recognized at the banquet. Cast and crew members were: Kamryn Blanchard, Aiden Hopson, Sabrina Larsen, Hudson Lester, Graesyn Reily, Angelica Fuller, Jessica Swindle, Adalyn Davis, Kinzley Newman, David Hughes, Charles Knox, Dacyn Strasheim, Kiley Hughes, Peiton Andrews, Millicent Davis, Kaylee Brown, Leah Stuebe, Juana Valtierra, Isabella Brown and Cloee Nelson.

Choir Director Renee Vore recognized the outstanding success of some of the junior high varsity and non-varsity choir members. These students were: Cameron Ivory, Heavin McCullar, Maddison Harrison, Olivia Dodge, Angela Calderon, Athan Filtz, Alexis Keever, Leilani Puga-Hernandez, Kylie Boddie and Mia McGregor. Each student received a certificate at the banquet and has previously earned medals at their contests.

UIL Academic Coordinator, Kristina Miller encouraged sixth and seventh graders to continue participating during the 24-25 school year and to invite friends to join. She also spoke to eighth-grade students and parents about the many opportunities available in high school and encouraged all to participate.

“There’s literally something for everyone, Miller said. "They travel to several practice meets and participate in different levels all the way up to state.”

Miller also spoke about scholarship opportunities for those who participate and are successful in UIL.

Principal Jared Nettles thanked parents for their support, congratulated students for their success, and spoke about how setting goals, working hard, and meeting those goals results in making champions. In addition, he thanked teachers for their dedication to the program.

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