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Polk County News - Breakout

Recycling center celebrates successful first year

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By Kari Miller
County liaison to Polk County Recycling & Beautification

As you know, PCRB is the nonprofit organization that you have partnered with to run the recycling center built and equipped last year; and now also the new satellite collection station recently opened in Onalaska. In just over a year, we have collected almost 100,000 pounds of recyclables, sold about 62,000 pounds, and received almost $4,000 in sales revenue (just over 6 cents per pound), which has covered almost 14% of operational costs. We are about halfway to our next load of cardboard and our first load of plastic. May the market for these materials be booming when we’re ready to sell.

The recycling center on Hwy. 146, at the Citizen Collection Station, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This facility takes corrugated cardboard, aluminum cans, steel cans, all single-use plastic household containers, and plastic grocery bags and other film, like shrink wrap. The Citizen Collection Station on Onalaska Loop has a recycling drop-off that is open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and takes everything the 146 site takes except for steel cans.

It is free to drop off these recyclable materials at both sites, but they will only be accepted if they are clean, since drink and food residue get moldy, stinky, and attract pests; and the materials really should come presorted since most of the sorting now is done by hand by volunteers.

We estimate that up to 4% of Polk County households have utilized our recycling program in the last year. As the population that takes advantage of this service grows, more materials will be coming in. However, the number of regular volunteers at the recycling center hasn’t changed in the last 9-10 months, and without more volunteers, people sorting their own materials may eventually become necessary.

PCRB has one paid employee. He is the operations manager, coordinating all activities at the recycling center and recycling drop-off site, from managing the volunteers to baling and storing to handling the transport of materials and more. A portion of his salary was paid this year by a TCEQ grant that Polk County received via DETCOG, and hopefully TCEQ will approve for that grant to be continued for next year. We, in fact, had an inspection Monday. DETCOG and TCEQ representatives visited with the operations manager and myself at the recycling center, and were very impressed with the facility that the county has provided - in part with grant funds TCEQ has provided - the variety of materials collected, the order and cleanliness within the building, and the reach of our recycling program within its first year.

I have to give the biggest thanks to all of the volunteers that are making this program a success. Without them, PCRB could not provide this service. The operations manager has 14 volunteers that work regularly at the 146 site, either every week or every other week, and six volunteers that help him keep the Onalaska site running. There are several others that volunteer when they can. He can always use more volunteers, and I can personally attest that it can be fun, and very rewarding. PCRB has many other opportunities to volunteer outside of the center, so anyone that has an interest in the organization should visit the website at PCRBTexas.org and sign up.

I also want to thank the PCRB board members and the members of this commissioners court who have been committed to seeing a successful recycling program in Polk County. I believe this first year was very successful and look forward to seeing the organization and the recycling program grow in the years to come. And I invite those that want to participate to reach out.

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holiday Exhibit

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Go to Polk County Memorial Museum for a relaxing break from holiday festivities. Learn about new traditions such as Elf on the Shelf, the origin of the pickle ornament, matching PJs for the family, the history of The Nutcracker and the rising popularity of decorative nutcrackers. The museum has many Christmas movies available for viewing, and a 1,000-piece Santa jigsaw puzzle if that’s your way to relax. Also there is a visual scavenger hunt for the adventurous.  The museum is open Tuesday-Friday and the 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will be closed from Friday, Dec. 23 through Tuesday, Jan. 3, including Saturday, Dec. 24. The museum is located at 514 W. Mill Street in Livingston. There is no charge to visit the museum. Courtesy photo

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Mental health awareness fair set

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From Enterprise Staff

A Livingston Boy Scout is partnering with the Lake Area Mental Health Initiative to host a Mental Health Awareness Fair for his Eagle Scout project.

Raven Franklin, a 17-year-old Troop 97 Boy Scout, has been in scouting since elementary school. A Livingston High School senior, he is active in the Livingston Royal Brigade band and other school activities.

Raven’s troop, family and friends, along with several local organizations, will be at the fair with various information about mental health to spread awareness. Speakers will present short talks during the event regarding aspects, needs, coping skills and personal testimonials.

In a state with 254 counties, mental health resources are spread especially thin in rural areas.

The Mental Health Awareness Fair will take place from 2-5 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Post 312 on the Hwy. 59 Loop in Livingston. The event is free to the community and all are welcome to attend and support this young man’s journey to Eagle Scout.

Individuals or organizations that would like to have a table, make a donation or volunteer any services to make the event more successful are encouraged to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Christmas activities abound

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From Enterprise Staff

The Livingston Municipal Library will host a family movie night from 6-8 p.m. today (Thursday) in the meeting room of the library at 707 N. Tyler Ave. in Livingston. Two Christmas movies will be shown – “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” and “The Happy Elf.” There will be hotdogs, popcorn, candy and drinks. If the weather permits, the movies will be viewed outside, so be sure to bring a chair and a blanket. For additional information, call 936-327-4252.

Pine Ridge Healthcare will host a family movie night with the showing of “Arthur Christmas” at 5:30 p.m. today (Thursday) at its location at 1620 U.S. Hwy. 59 North in Livingston. The free event will include popcorn, cookies, snacks, hot chocolate and drinks. Bring a blanket or lawn chair on which to sit.

“A Texas Christmas Carol” will be presnted Dec. Friday through Sunday at First Methodist Church of Livingston and everyone is invited to comer see Scrooge, Tiny Tim and all the beloved characters from Charles Dickens’ perennial Christmas classic live on stage in a brand-new theatrical adaptation set in late 19th century Houston.

The production is being put on by The Performing Arts Society of East Texas which is an extension of the music and performinh arts ministry of First Methodist Church of Livingston under the direction of Jonathan Kupper, the church’s director of music and performing arts ministrties. Community-wide auditions were held in the fall.

The performances on Friday and Saturday will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the performance on Sunday will begin at 3 p.m. The performances will be at First Methodist Church of Livingston located at 2801 U.S. Hwy. 190 West in Livingston.

The Livingston Community Band will host a winter concert Dec. 20 at First Baptist Church located at 106 Colt Rd. in Livingston. The hall will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m. The Livingston Community Band is under the direction of Johnnie Hower and Emily Albert.

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Presbyterian Church celebrates 140 years

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20221213 151516By Brian Besch
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The First Presbyterian Church of Livingston is celebrating 140 years of existence, dating back to its start in 1882. Its location has not changed on North Washington, now in its third sanctuary to serve God in Polk County.

In November of 1882, Mr. & Mrs. D. H Fleming, Mr. & Mrs. J. M. Crosson, and Mr. & Mrs. C. M. Fisher became the first members of the Presbyterian Church in Livingston, most likely due to the work of Rev. T. Dewitt Burkhead, Evangelist for the Eastern Texas Presbytery. The three men became the Elders of the church and Rev. R. L. Currie, a missionary to the Alabama-Coushatta Indians served as supply preacher. Records found by David C. Duncan, in his 1992 report on the church, indicated that by the end of 1883, 13 members existed and construction of the first church began.

Judge J. M. Crosson of Livingston donated the block of land on which the current building stands in 1884, with the cost to him for the lot being $10. The contract for the church building was let to member C. M. Fisher who completed the building that year. The church bell, which is still in use, was donated by Mr. C. R. Miller, a local merchant and Episcopalian. The church building was also used by his church members for a period of time, along with occasional use by some Baptists.

Stated supply pastors served the Presbyterian Church from 1885 to 1911, starting with Rev. J. G. Henderson (1885-1887), Rev. James G. Tanner (1887), Rev. W. M. McCarty (1889-1894), Will Tenny (1894-1896), and Rev. Kilpatrick 1896-1897). Finishing out the century was Rev. John All Kee (1897-1899) and Rev. Gallaher (1899-1901).

In 1890, a manse (home for the pastor) was erected next to the church building and first occupied first by Rev. McCarty. It was remodeled in 1907 and the church was remodeled five years before.

In 1903, the “Ladies Aid Society” was formed and it became part of the Presbyterian denomination in 1911. Mrs. Verna Chapman served as first president.

The congregation voted unanimously in 1923 to build a new church building at a cost not to exceed $15,000. This is what is now called the Activity building. The new church was completed in April of 1927 and the first formal service was held May 8. The manse, which had been built in 1890, had to be demolished to make room for the new church.

A report written in 1924 by J.L. Davis, moderator of the Session, stated that membership that year was 137 and that eight persons by profession and 10 by certificate had joined the church through the year. Only four Communions were served that year, unlike the current first Sunday of each month.

Rev. P.P. Dawson began his service as Pastor in 1928 and, per church records, served until 1942. In 1929, the congregation voted to build a new manse on the southeast corner of the church property, “on account of getting a better fire rate.” This was completed in 1930 and Pastor Dawson occupied it with his family. In 1938, Session authorized the Deacons to have toilets installed in the church building and in 1939, finished the basement to fill the need for the Sunday School department to have additional classrooms.

In 1939, a cornerstone was added to the church building of 1927 which stated “1883—1927 First Presbyterian Church “Christ, the One Foundation” with the names of Rev. Geo. C. Moore, SS (Stated Supply) and six Session and three Diaconate names.

The sanctuary was on the second level with most folks entering off North Washington Street, climbing the stairs of this 1927 edifice. A manse was on the southeast corner of the property, now our parking lot.

The building was dedicated by Dr. J.L. Davis on Feb. 4, 1940, due to the final note being paid in full in the fall of 1939, with funds left to the church in the will of Mrs. Helen Sawyer. In 1941, new pews and an organ were installed, along with a new pulpit, chairs, and communion table.

Serving as pastor after Rev. Dawson was H.B. Streeter (1942-1944) and H. Addison Woestemeyer (1944-1947). In 1945, after some diligent work, the title of the church property was examined and changed from the “Northern Presbyterian Church” to First Presbyterian, Livingston, Texas. Clerk of Session at that time was Mr. P.J. Manning.

In 1947, the Session rejected a motion to sell the church properties and relocate and in 1950 opposed having “Negro Camps at Cho-Yeh,” which was supported by the Presbytery. Rev. E.O. Harrell was pastor from 1948 to Nov. 1950, followed by Rev. F.H. Stebbing in 1951, who served through August of 1957. Discussion, due to age and condition of the church, arose again in 1952, with a committee appointed to study possible sale. By 1954, a building committee was elected. A decision was made to not relocate. The church was air conditioned in 1963 and in 1964, the first woman, Edna Jones, was elected to serve as an Elder.

In 1967, a new committee to for the church property was appointed, and the group of 10 members on Dec. 13 recommended that the congregation sell its property on North Washington and move to a new location, build a new sanctuary, educational building and a manse. A sale price of $100,000 was to be set with a six-month time limit. No buyer was found, and in August of 1968, the congregation considered four options from the committee. Those options included remodeling the current sanctuary at cost of $10,000 (voted 11 for, 22 against); erect a new metal building at cost of $60,000 next to the sanctuary (6 for, 24 against); removingthe current sanctuary and erecting a new building and manse at a cost of $82,000 (6 for, 24 against); or keeping the present building and lot open for sale (9 for, 20 against).

The committee of 10 was dismissed and thanked, and in September of 1968, a new committee of three was elected to work up a master plan for the current property.

On Jan. 31, 1971, the congregation voted to build a new sanctuary, and in June, voted to remodel the manse. By summer of 1973, the new sanctuary (the one currently used) and the remodeled manse were complete, and the sanctuary was dedicated on Sept. 2, 1973.

The stained-glass windows found in the parlor came from the old building, designed by Mrs. Franklin Stebbing, wife of a former pastor. She also painted the mural in the parlor showing the journeys of Paul. The stained-glass window over the balcony was designed by Roger Durden, a stained-glass artist from Livingston. Durden later was commissioned to design the six stained-glass windows in the current sanctuary.

The Tracker Organ was built and installed with its dedicatory recital on Jan. 8, 1978. Plans were made to renovate the old sanctuary then approved in mid-1983. In Feb. of 1984, a sound system was approved, as was the cross in the new sanctuary, with installation in March 1984. An activities building was planned and completed in late 1989. By this time, the manse had been removed and the old sanctuary remodeled.

In late 1995, the current bell tower was dedicated and is still rung prior to each service.

Membership totaled 144 in 2004, down from a high of 160 in 1986.

The church received a major financial gift in 2000 from the estate of Mr. Whisenhunt and used part of it to purchase 13.727 acres of land on U.S. 190, just west of Livingston from David Hancock and Roger Graves in December of 2006. Another part was used in 2008 for the construction of the fellowship hall and the rest remained in an account that today continues to provide funds monthly for expenses.

The fellowship hall was finished prior to Sept. 12 of 2008, when Hurricane Ike hit Livingston (and east Texas) destroying much in its path. The church’s roof suffered major damage, resulting in water damage in the balcony and sanctuary, shifting use of the fellowship hall for worship. Renovation of the sanctuary and continued work of the church was taken over by the Session.


The Rev. Galen “Joe” MacDonald became the next pastor in September 2010, with Sandy Davis, clerk, and Mark Nye, treasurer, and 12 deacons and 12 elders. Since then, the deacons have been disbanded, and there are now seven elders serving as the Session.


In 2013, church records show membership at 109, and it is now below 80 in 2022. Rev. MacDonald left in the fall of 2020, and under the leadership of Worship’s Paul Laverty, guest pastors filled in till the Rev. John Hirling became interim in January of 2021. The 1927 activity building continues to hold the pastor’s study, the church office is run by Robin Sessums, the choir area, as well as the second floor with classrooms, ready for use. Fellowship hall continues to be used for adult Bible study classes, luncheons once a month, and special groups approved by Property team. The 1973 sanctuary has an updated video and sound system and holds 10 a.m. services every Sunday.

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