Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Polk County News - Breakout

County lifts burn ban

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

082522 county lifts burn ban

Approves satellite recycling  site for Onalaska

By Emily Banks Wooten
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Having received a favorable drought status update from the Texas Forest Service in light of the recent rainfall, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved lifting the burn ban in the unincorporated areas of the county during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The establishment of a satellite recycling collection site at the Onalaska Loop Citizens Collection Station, utilizing surplus revenues in the waste management fund, was approved by the Court.

“Our collection station and landfill have resulted in a surplus of revenues in the form of landfill host fees. There’s already over 1,000 volunteer hours clocked so there’s a lot of public interest in having a recycling center in the Onalaska area.,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.

“It’s been estimated we’d probably need two containers, a covered drive-thru, restrooms and signage. Revenues collected during 2022 were $47,480.57 and the expected cost does not exceed $20,000 at this time,” Murphy said.
The Court approved proceeding with the purchase of materials and authorization of the sewer line construction.

The Court approved a request for a certificate of exemption to exempt from the county subdivision regulations the development of Abstract 593 of the William White Survey (117.01 acres) located in Precinct 2 and consisting of 16 tracts, all over 10 acres, with individual access to existing public roads with no other common areas and/or streets. In related activity, the Court approved a plat for Rolling Pines Section 3 Subdivision located in Precinct 2.

The Court approved sheriff’s and constables’ fees effective Jan. 1, 2023 and direct notification to the state comptroller, pursuant to Texas Local Government Code 118.131.

Other action included approval of the transfer of the lease of school land from Cooper Ranches LLC to Harley Portwood Ranch.

“The Brazos River runs through the Polk County school lands and because the path of the river has changed over the years, it’s created a situation where a section that is being leased by Cooper Ranches is on both sides of the river, making a significant portion of it, 356 acres virtually, in accessible,” Murphy said.

Other items approved by the Court included an agreement with Thompson Consulting Services LLC for disaster debris monitoring; the county investment policy as presented by the county treasurer; and updates to the master street address guide.

In personnel matters, the Court approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting, approved the appointment of John Fugate as fire marshal and the appointment of Nathan Sexton as environmental enforcement officer.

FY2022 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

In old business, the Court approved the minutes of the July 26 meeting and will also awarded the 2017 GLO DR 4332 (Harvey) Program, GLO Contract No. 20-065-018-C064 to CC Blacktop of Onalaska for a total award of $399,056.54 which exceeds the grant by $87,716.47 but the difference will be covered by Precinct 1.

Murphy apprised the Court of Governor Greg Abbott’s designation of Polk County as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought. She also apprised the Court that this month’s Spotlight on Polk County is on the Polk County Memorial Museum.

Items on the consent agenda include:

  • Approval of the minutes of the Aug. 9 and Aug. 15 meetings;
  • Approval of schedules of bills;
  • Approval of order designating surplus property;
  • Receipt of county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;
  • Approval of adoption of the Texas Health and Human Service Commission indigent healthcare eligibility standards, documentation and verification procedures according to the act with the addition of the following provision of optional services as allowed under V.T.C.A. Health & Safety Code, Section 61.0285;
  • Approval of adoption of healthcare eligibility standards, documentation and verification procedures for the state fiscal year that runs Sept. 1, 2022 through Aug. 31, 2023;
  • Ratification of agreement between Debtbook and the auditor’s office;
  • Approval of applications submitted by charitable entities for the FY2023 Juror Donation Program as presented by the district clerk; and
  • Receipt of county treasurer’s July 2022 report.

Five citizens addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comment. Carolyn

Bischoff, Jeanette Blesener and Shawn Loring expressed support for the recycling center and their desire that the Court approve the satellite center in Onalaska. James Buck, a resident of the Yaupon Cove subdivision in Onalaska, expressed concern about the rats, feral cats and snakes that are coming to his house from the condemned house next door. Nina McAfee, another resident of Yaupon Cove, expressed concern about nine condemned houses in the subdivision and 96 acres that is being clear-cut without proper permits.
Rev. David Darden of New Beulah Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.

  • Hits: 167

GISD approves lower proposed tax rate

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

082122 goodirch isdSchool taxes have fallen for the fifth consecutive year.

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

The Goodrich ISD School Board approved a proposed tax rate and operating budget in their regular gathering for the month of August Thursday in the administration building.

There is good news for those looking to pay a little less in taxes, as a proposed rate of 1.0315 was accepted. That would be down a bit from the 2021-22 number of 1.0656. 

This would mark the fifth consecutive year school taxes have decreased. A combination of higher appraisals and an increase in population have contributed to the tumbling numbers.

Goodrich ISD will work with a budget of just under $3.5 million this academic year. A little over two-thirds of that will go toward payroll, and 17% to contracted services. Another 8% will go to miscellaneous operating fees, 5% to supplies and the final 3% to capital outlay.

In the recent Texas Education Agency report card, each of the schools were scored on three different criteria. 
Student achievement measures whether the students met expectations on the STAAR test. It also measures graduation rates and how prepared students are for success after high school. School progress shows how students perform over time and how the districts performance compares to other districts with similar economically disadvantaged student populations. Closing the gaps tells how well a district is ensuring that all student groups are successful.

Goodrich ISD graded a 74 overall out of 100. They were not rated (campuses were not given a failing mark for the first graded year from Covid) for student achievement, given a 69 in that area, while school progress scored a 79 and closing the gaps was not rated, but graded a 61. Goodrich High School has a score of 77, the middle school a 78, and the elementary a 54. 

“Something that is very exciting about the high school, we did get distinctions in math and social studies,” high school principal Aubrey Vaughan said. “That is very good. I am happy to see that math distinction because that is a tough one to get.”

A distinction is a comparison of 20 schools similar to Goodrich in size. Those schools that are top performing receive a distinction.

“We’ve got some areas to work on,” Vaughan said of the elementary school. “We are fully staffed this year and the increase in students this year at the elementary has hit a little bit harder than the high school and middle school. We are full down there, but the teachers are super excited. I talked to them today and I am excited about this year. I think we have a lot of good things coming.”

With school beginning on Thursday, maintenance has been working diligently to finish projects. The air conditioning on buses have been reserviced. The restrooms are finished and functional and just awaiting a punch list to be opened. Final walk-throughs are getting scheduled.

Around 13 windows are left to be installed as of Thursday morning. The windows will still need to be trimmed with some painting on the inside. Work on the weekends will help in finishing that goal. The district has had five air conditioning units repaired over the past week and two more will soon undergo repairs. There are around 35 units in the district, with six that have been replaced.

The facilities have been toured with Constable Scott Hughes’ deputies for tactical planning. Gas line tests have been performed and are in working condition.

Recently, school lunches were increased for staff to $3.50 per lunch and $1.50 per entree. On Thursday, school lunches were raised from $3.50 to $4.00 per lunch and $1.50 to $2.00 per entree for visitors. 

  • Hits: 257

Council to review, consider budget

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

082122 council reviews budget

The proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 will be reviewed and considered for approval by the Onalaska City Council during a special called meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

Council will review and consider approval to authorize a service provider, to be named, to provide administrative services for the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funding from the Texas General Land Office.

Also on the agenda is review and approval to fill a full-time police officer position with the standard six-month probationary period.

  • Hits: 156

LISD hoops coach dies

1 Comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

082122 lion hoops coach dies

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

Livingston basketball coach Calvin Phillips died Tuesday night following medical complications.
Phillips resigned for the 2022-23 school year in order to have hip areplacement surgery on both legs. The process was supposed to take around nine months before he could return on light duty.

Just before the surgery, blood work was performed and the surgery was canceled after it was found there were issues. A few weeks later Phillips was diagnosed with bone cancer. He took injections for treatment in his hips.
He died Tuesday night in his sleep at his home.

Livingston athletic director Finis Vanover hired Phillips in 2006 at Angleton to become his head basketball coach. The two met when he was head coach and athletic director at West Columbia. Phillips there was the athletic director, head football coach and head basketball at different points in time. He took over Lion hoops in July of 2020.

The coach had stops at Cleveland, Wharton, Columbia, Stafford, Brazoswood, Angleton, Dickinson, Brazosport and Livingston since 1978.

“He was a great, great family guy,” Vanover said of his friend. “He loved his kids. He and Rodney were close. He raised his grandson, who just graduated from Manvel year before last and he plays basketball at Sam Houston.

“He was very family-oriented and a deeply religious guy. He was a tremendous mentor for his family and the kids around him. He went around and did tons of stuff quietly in the background for kids in the community and families everywhere he had ever been. He was a down-to-earth and caring type of guy. He was passionate about his profession and coaching. He was hard-nosed when he had to be and just as fun loving and genuinely kind all at the same time — whatever mask he had to wear to get to each individual kid.”

Funeral arrangements are set for E. Viola & Sons Funeral Home in West Columbia, Texas. The funeral will be Saturday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. A viewing and memorial service will be 5-7 p.m. the day before at Life Foursquare Church in Angleton, Texas.

  • Hits: 5170

Texas ISDs rated by TEA

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

report card epsThe Texas Education Agency’s report cards for public schools in the state of Texas were revealed this week, and Polk County school districts brought home an A and four B’s. Some of the individual campuses earned high marks, but a few schools will need improvement to bring up a low score, according to the TEA.

Each of the schools were scored on three different criteria. Student achievement measures whether the students met expectations on the STAAR test. It also measures graduation rates and how prepared students are for success after high school. School progress shows how students perform over time and how the districts performance compares to other districts with similar economically disadvantaged student populations. Closing the gaps tells how well a district is ensuring that all student groups are successful.

Grades are similar to report cards issued by some schools, with an A ranging 90-100, B 80-89, C 70-79, and a “not rated” score is anything below 70.

Corrigan Camden ISD performed the best of Polk County schools with a score of 90 to receive an A. The district received 89 out of 100 for student achievement, 91 out of 100 for school progress and 88 out of 100 for closing the gaps. Corrigan-Camden High School was given an 88, while the junior high scored 83 and the elementary received a 90. 

Onalaska ISD was a point away from the coveted A, scoring 89 for the district. Student achievement received an 86, school progress was 90, and closing the gaps was given a mark of 85. Onalaska Junior/Senior High School scored a B with an 85, and the elementary notched an 89.

Big Sandy ISD missed an A by two points with an 88. They received a 90 for student achievement, 92 in school progress, and a 79 for closing the gaps. They were scored for grades K-12.

Leggett ISD received a B with 82 out of 100. Student achievement was a 71, school progress scored 89, and closing the gaps was not rated with a score of 64. The high school just missed a B with a 79, while the elementary was also not rated, scoring 59.

Livingston ISD received a B grade, scoring 81 out of 100. In student achievement, Livingston scored a 78. An 81 was given for school progress and an 80 was scored for closing the gaps. Livingston High took a C score of 78. The Livingston Academy received a “not rated” scored a 69. Livingston Junior High produced a 72, Creekside Elementary a 91, Cedar Grove Elementary 87, Timber Creek Elementary 91, and Pine Ridge Primary a 91.

Goodrich ISD graded a 74 overall. They were not rated for student achievement, given a 69 in that area, while school progress scored a 79 and closing the gaps graded a 61. Goodrich High School has a score of 77, the middle school a 78, and the elementary a 54. 

  • Hits: 1938