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Losing piece of history

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By Brian Besch
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A Lake Livingston neighborhood will say goodbye to the oldest member of the community Friday, a life spanning centuries.

Coldspring resident Sid Smith said he has done everything he could to save a tree resting on his property between Lakeway and Hillcrest Drive. It is dated back about 250 years, tracing its roots back to around a period of time when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Smith said that he has had eight to 10 dead branches removed after storms. For those who believe lightning never strikes twice in the same place, the tree has been hit on three separate occasions.

The final time was around one year ago and caused a large limb to fall, blocking a road in Coldspring Terrace. A cutting service will be out Friday to remove the tree.

“I’ll probably have about 15 or 20 of the neighbors around,” Smith said. “Some of them want wood and some just hate to see it go.”

Eagles have been known to perch in the top of the tree, surveying the area around them in the fall.

Smith said he knew the tree was old whenever he purchased the property, but was surprised to learn of the estimate. Graduate students from Texas A&M University traveled to Coldspring to observe the tree and figure its age. 

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Solid waste changes coming for Livingston residents

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City of Livingston logoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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The City of Livingston is changing its solid waste provider effective Aug. 1 – from Republic Services to Piney Woods Sanitation – so city residents will soon experience changes regarding their garbage pickup, most notably moving to a once-a-week pickup schedule as opposed to the previous twice-weekly schedule.

In response to a request for proposals for waste collection and disposal, Council heard from representatives of Piney Woods Sanitation, Pro Star Waste/Waste Connections and Republic Services during its May 9 regular meeting.

During a subsequent special called meeting on May 16, Council reviewed the score sheets completed independently by Utility Billing Supervisor Julie Miller, City Secretary/Assistant City Manager Ellie Monteaux and City Manager Bill S. Wiggins. Council also reviewed a pricing comparison spreadsheet as well as the city’s current rates and the number in each classification. Following some discussion, Council approved awarding a contract for waste collection and disposal services – of both commercial and residential garbage – to Piney Woods Sanitation with contract negotiations to be completed by May 31 and the effective date of the contract beginning Aug. 1.

Piney Woods Sanitation will begin delivering 90-gallon residential carts on Monday but asks that the carts not be placed out for collection until Aug. 1. They will collect up to two items beside the cart every week. Bulk or extra items need to be bundled and weigh less than 50 pounds. Residents may get a second cart for $10 a month by calling the city. Route maps will be put on the city’s website at www.cityoflivingston-tx.com on Monday.

The Livingston City Council met July 11 for its regular monthly meeting. During his monthly city manager’s update on projects and events, Wiggins apprised Council of the status of various development projects currently underway. City staff is currently reviewing plans for a remodel of CVS at 1500 W. Church St.; construction of a Denny’s at 103 U.S. Hwy. 59 Loop South; a Livingston Urgent Care at 1501 W. Church St. Suite 800; and a proposed four-plex housing unit at 115 Pan American. Work is ongoing at CP Homes Memory Care at 1864 N. Washington; Bryan Garzon office lease spaces at 109 W. Abbey; Highway 190 Apartments at 909 E. Church; Danny Moseley townhomes at 209, 211, 213 and 215 Jack Moseley Blvd.; the courthouse restoration project at 101 W. Church; Stella’s Bakery on U.S. Hwy. 190 West; an Edward Jones Investment Agency at 500 W. Polk; a remodel of Walmart at 1620 W. Church; duplex homes at 1300 and 1302 S. Houston; and six new residences at The Retreat Living LLC.

Completed projects include the new LFC Fieldhouse at 601 W. Church; The Vault Venue at 415 N. Washington; and a residence in The Retreat Living LLC.

Although Council was slated to consider action on a proposed ordinance conditionally vacating, abandoning and closing a portion of North East Avenue adjacent to Blocks 41 and 42 of the original city townsite from East Polk Street northward to East Milam Street, the matter soon became a moot point.

On behalf of Central Baptist Church, Christopher Scott addressed Council, stating that he wanted to withdraw the church’s petition for the closure of a portion of North East Street and that he wants to work with the city on traffic control in that area.

A public hearing was held during the June 13 council meeting to receive comments regarding the petition. Numerous church members spoke in favor of the petition, citing concerns regarding the protection and safety of the church’s children, youth and staff, as there is a lot of pedestrian traffic on Wednesdays and Sundays crossing the street from the main campus to the Family Life Center which is now used predominantly for children and youth. An additional reason they cited is the need to reconfigure their parking lot to better accommodate their handicapped and senior citizen members. During that same hearing, two people spoke against the petition, commenting that the street is a frequently used thoroughfare. At that time, Council tabled the matter for further review. Following the church’s decision to withdraw the petition, no action by Council was necessary.

Council approved authorization to execute an engagement letter for the employment of Steve Palmerton and Kevin Bienvenu with the firm Harper & Pearson, PC as the auditors for the fiscal year that runs from Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023.

The reappointment of Dr. Elias Kanaan as the city’s health authority for the 2023-2025 term was approved.

Council approved two proposed resolutions setting public hearings. One will be to consider the determination of an unsafe and/or dilapidated building, specifically, 1008 Dunbar Ave., owned by Dunbar Livingston 1008 LLC. The other will be to consider the determination of an unsafe and/or dilapidated manufactured home located at 1931 S. Washington Ave. No. 51, owned by Jeff McCullar, Amy McCullar and Carlos Barron. Both public hearings were set for 5 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Other business included approval of the minutes of the June 13 regular meeting and accounts over $500.

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Council discusses possible replacement

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City of GoodrichBy Brian Besch
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The Goodrich City Council met Thursday to discuss an alderman seat, private railroad crossing and a culvert during July’s regular meeting in the community center.

Council discussed the possibility of replacing Alderman Richard Booth, who suffered a stroke recently and is now resting under hospice care near family in Arkansas.

“I am asking you all to keep their family in prayer,” Mayor Pro-tem Bobby Wright said. “This position, we just have to play it by ear, and maybe we can talk to some people and let them know that this is what we are going to do in the future.”

Without suggestions, council tabled the item until the August regular meeting.

The application to Union Pacific Railroad for a private railroad crossing at Garner Road has been submitted by Goodrich City Secretary Felicia Garrett. The road gives access to the city’s sewer plant. No one has returned information to the City of Goodrich since the application’s submittal.

The city approved building permits for ProStar Waste. With increased construction in Goodrich, the company has a contract to provide waste receptacles.

“We know that we are having houses come in and people are building,” Wright said. “Sometimes they get their own big trash dumpster. We have a contract with ProStar Waste, that if they have any renovations or tearing down structures, they would use ProStar Waste for the big dumpsters. The owner would have to come into city hall for a permit, letting us know that they are getting ready to build or what kind of construction they are getting ready to do. She (Garrett) would inform them that they would have to use ProStar Waste (for dumpsters).”

Finally, council discussed the continuing problem at Sam Loggins Road, where flooding is an issue after heavy rains. A few years ago, the city put in a large culvert to help the flow of water, yet flooding persists.

A six foot culvert has been discussed to be placed near the one already installed. With large amounts of rain, city contractors say water will reach around waist-high levels, dangerously close to an electrical box that sits nearby. The price for the culvert is expected to be around $5,000. 

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Members of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce, along with volunteers, stuffed 200 bags that will be distributed to new schoolteachers throughout Polk County in the coming weeks. Each year the chamber accepts promotional products and materials from members for the goodie bags. The annual project is an opportunity for local businesses and service providers who are members of the chamber to promote themselves. A variety of promotional products are placed in the bags, including welcome guides, pens, pencils, rulers, nail files, notepads, coupons, flyers and other items and information. (l-r) Brenda Clifton, Philip Allison, Shirley Johnson and Sandra Villarreal. Courtesy photo

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St. Joseph’s to host VBS July 17-21

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From Enterprise Staff

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will host “Tracking Mary: Mysteries and Messages,” its Vacation Bible School that promises fun-filled days of Catholic kids camp July 17-21 at the St. Joseph Family Center.

This year’s program features the Queen of Heaven Express, a special holy train traveling to the faraway places around the globe visited by the Blessed Mother: Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, England and Ireland. Children will discover how Mary brings people closer to Jesus through the power of the Rosary. Mysteries and messages are revealed at each stop. The program focuses on Catholic identity and teaches the Bible from the Catholic perspective.

For additional information call 936-577-5235.

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