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Polk County News - Breakout


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Local American Legion Post No. 312 conducted a flag disposal ceremony for unserviceable flags on Wednesday which was also Flag Day. According to Post Commander Jeanette Jackson, the Flag Code suggests that when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be retired and destroyed, preferably by burning. American Legion members disassembled a ceremonial flag starting with the blue field and then stripe by stripe and following a brief ceremony burned it, along with other unserviceable flags that had been dropped off at the post for proper disposal.Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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Winds of change blowing through Trinity

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Julias TidbitsSaturday Night’s storm was scary. Limbs and branches were down everywhere I drove past on Sunday afternoon, and I hope this is not indicative to what is to follow with hurricane season upon us.

New businesses are popping up in Trinity and I saw where the Trinity County News-Standard is having a voting contest for the best business in Trinity County.

I hope you all appreciate that I am nosy, because there is painting and movement taking place up and down

Highway 19 (south and north), and on east and west Main streets. Next door to Joseph’s Place is a newly painted Black and Green building (which I don’t Know what that is), and the old Alco place has the new Circuit Physical Therapy office, and the Pretty Daiqui Store (whatever that is).

The McCrory Fish Market is now serving prepared fish to go, or you can eat there in a new outside venue. The Simple Simon Pizza Shop is now open for take-out orders, and Agavales party rentals and meeting facility are available for your next organizational event or party.

•On Saturday, the River of Life Church Youth Group is having a fish fry and car wash to help raise money to go to summer church camp. The menu is fried fish, French fries, and hush puppies. The church is located at 2390 S. State Highway 19, and they will be serving from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

•On June 27, the First Methodist Church of Trinity is hosting Dinner with

Friends from 4 to 7 p.m., serving barbecue and pulled pork Sandwiches with sides. Games and music will be there as usual. The church is located at 131 N. Elm St. For more information, please call Leslie McFarland at (936) 594-3826.

•June 21 is the annual banquet for the Trinity Lions Club which is being held at Agavales Mexican Restaurant on Brantley Street. This is a special occasion as the District Governor for our District 2-S1 will be inducting new officers and presenting service awards for membership to the Trinity Lions Club members.

District Gov. Gerald “Pete” Peterson resides in Onalaska, and we are elated to have him preside over this meeting. Trinity Lions Club is 95 years old this year and we are one of the oldest clubs in Texas. We have some outstanding community leaders who have served in this group for more than 50 Years, and we will celebrate them at this time.

Receiving the Chevron Award for Membership are: John Chamberlain, 50 years; Bubba Hirsch, 50 years; Lawrence Quan, 40 years; David Price, 25 years; L.C. Courtney, 25 years; Hershel Brennen, 20 years; Richard Scott, 20 years; Julia McMichael, 15 years; Jessica Parish, 15 years; Patrick Ross, 15 years; David Lavassaur, 10 years; and Stephen Richardson, 10 years.

Since I have been a member, we have lost members due to job relocations, age, illnesses and death. However, in the past 10 years we have mourned the loss of Allen Anderson, Butch Gibson, Travis Hines, Tom Ramey, Irene Sanders, Jullian Weslow and Phyllis Weslow.

Other important members of the community who started this club in July of 1928 will be named in my next column, along with some of their projects and accomplishments. Watch this space.

•The Trinity Historical Society’s next meeting is Monday, July 18, at 2 p.m. in the Chamber Building on Stadium Street next to McDonalds’ drive-through. For more information, please call Jessica Parish at (936) 581-0855.

•Last week I listed the Vacation Bible Schools being held this month and next, so I will just give the name, time, and place this week.

—June 12-16, Calvary Baptist Church, 6-8:30 p.m.

—June 26-30, Burning Hope Baptist Church, 6-8:30 p.m.

—June 26-30, Trinity Pines Baptist Church, 5:30-8 p.m.

—July 10-14, Dorcas Wills Memorial Baptist, 8 a.m.-noon

—July 17-21, Liberty Christian Center, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

—July 17-21, First Methodist Church, 9 a.m.-noon

—July 24-28, River of Life Church, 6-8 p.m.

•As the past president of the Trinity Peninsula Chamber of Commerce I always want to promote new and old businesses in our community, so please be appreciate of the information I want relate to you now.

Goodwill Industries is a welcome new business to Trinity. They employ handicapped people as well as others. In addition, they pay sales taxes which are equally beneficial to our city. People can donate items they no longer use and should donate to Goodwill so that other people can buy usable items at minimal costs.

However, please do not forget to donate to the Good Samaritan House on Wednesday and Thursday each week from 9:30 a.m. to noon. They were lacking in donations this week, and I would like to remind you that they also pay sales taxes, donate free items to the needy through sale items donated by the public and this helps our needy community with their bills, medicine, and utilities through the sale of your donations.

Again, the Good Samaritan House provides clothes, appliances, dishes, and other items to people in need who cannot afford to pay for these items through your donations. So please support the Good Samaritan House as well as Goodwill.

Save the Date. Prayer in the Park, July 29.

Fireworks will be on Stadium Street at dusk on July 1.

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Approximately 125 people attended the Casino Night benefiting SAAFE House that was held Saturday. This was the first fundraiser SAAFE House has held in six years and approximately $23,000 was raised. Event planners said they plan to make it an annual event. All funds raised will stay in Polk County for the clients and the shelter. SAAFE (Sexual Assault and Abuse-Free Environment) House offers services to shelter and support victims of family violence. For additional information, visit the website at www.saafehouse.org. Courtesy photo

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LHS student honored as outstanding performer

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LHSStudentChrislyn Whiteside of Livingston High School has again received awards for her singing talent. She also received a top grade from a professional judge at a competition just a few weeks ago.   

Of approximately 100,000 students participating in the regional UIL music contests and the thousands of musicians who performed at TSSEC, only 2-3% of the solo performances earn the honor of Outstanding Performer. Whiteside was awarded the gold draped medallion that is identical to state champions in all UIL events.

“As a senior, Chrislyn Whiteside had a lot of responsibilities in her final classes this year,” Livingston High School Choir Director Renee Vore said. “I am so proud of Chrislyn for prioritizing her time, communicating with the other teachers and I, and really pulling it all together this year. She had a lot on her shoulders, and she never buckled under pressure. Chrislyn worked a job, on top of being a senior, being in the band program, and taking multiple college classes. To say that I am proud of her for being recognized as best in the state for her performance is an understatement. It has been a joy to work with her and celebrate this great success. She’s going to have many more successes in her college career, and I look forward to celebrating with her in the future.” 

Singing the Italian Art Song, “O Del Mio Dolce Ardor” by Christoph Willibald Gluck won Whiteside the prestigious award. Approximately 100,000 students participate in regional UIL music contests, and roughly 25,000 musicians are then selected to perform at Texas State Solo-Ensemble contest. Students earn selection to the state contest by receiving a first division-superior rating on a class one solo performed from memory or an ensemble.

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July 4th fireworks approved for now

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Polk County Fire Marshal John Fugate addressed the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday regarding the drought index in relation to the upcoming July 4th fireworks season.

“Right now, I think we’re okay. Of course, in the future, in a couple of weeks, is another thing,” Fugate said. The Court approved the use of fireworks with the understanding that Fugate may come back as the holiday gets closer with a differing opinion.

Following an executive session to discuss the purchase of real property, the Court reconvened and approved the purchase of two tracts. The first tract is approximately 325 acres adjacent to the landfill on the north side. The Court approved purchasing the property for $5,500 per acre for a purchase price totaling $1,787,500 granting the adjacent landowner a 150-foot buffer. The second tract is the 300 block of North Beaty where the Habitat for Humanity ReSale Store and Anco Insurance are located. The Court approved purchasing the building and parking lot for $1,269,028.20. The county has been leasing a portion of the parking lot for some time. Both purchases will be made from the county’s general fund.

The Court reappointed County Judge Sydney Murphy and Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson to serve on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments Board of Directors for the 2023-2024 term.

Action regarding the re-bid of #2023-11, for the removal and replacement of windows at the Dunbar Complex located at 1114 N. Dogwood Ave. in Livingston and the disposal of all debris, was approved. The Court approved moving forward with the project even though it will cost approximately $30,000 more than budgeted.

The Court approved an agreement with BDO USA, LLP for forensic auditing and forensic technology services for the Polk County Jail commissary account. County Auditor Louis Ploth emphasized that this service is being paid for by insurance money and not by the county.

A request from the Precinct 1 commissioner for an exemption from the Polk County RV Park regulations to permit two RVs on personal property for private use, per an affidavit from the landowner, was approved.

The Court approved a road and bridge equipment lease/purchase through Interlocal Purchasing Systems, thereby satisfying the competitive bidding requirements, pursuant to East Texas Mack Sales L.L.C. quotations for: the purchase of eight new 2024 Mack GR64F cab and chassis units (with M-drive, ox dumpbodies and pintle hitches) at $166,040 each with a 12-month trade allowance of $151,040 each unit, assuming each trade-in unit meets all trade terms, to be paid from the road and bridge capital leases fund; the trade/buyback of six 2023 and two 2022 Mack GR64F trucks at $126,000 each for the units currently leased by each road & bridge precinct, assuming each trade-in unit meets all trade terms; and a resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with Cadence Equipment Finance, a division of Cadence Bank, relating to the estimated June purchase of road and bridge equipment, eight new 2024 Mack GR64FR cab and chassis units equipped with dump bed (to include the trade-in of six 2023 units and two 2022 units and authorizing the county judge to execute said agreement/s on behalf of the county.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting and reviewed an authorized emergency hiring in the aging department. The Court also approved the governor’s bond and oath of office for Steven Hullihen, the appointed tax assessor-collector, for the term beginning June 1, 2023.

In related activity, the Court accepted a letter from Hullihen. “The Tax Assessor-Collectors of Texas Association’s Code of Ethics provides in part that the assessor-collector shall disclose any real or potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, I have prepared a statement that I would like entered into the minutes. First of all, as the interim tax assessor-collector, I will not run for office after the term for which I was appointed to office expires. All candidates who choose to run for office will have a fair opportunity to run in next year’s election. Also, my spouse is the office manager for the county tax collection law firm. Therefore, I will not participate in any discussion regarding the Linebarger Law Firm’s contract with the county, nor will I take part in any decision that is related to their office or firm. I would be happy to address any concerns of the Court.”

Fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s

office, were approved.

In old business, the Court discussed and approved an amendment to the agreement with Integrated Prescription Management for indigent healthcare programs and tabled action on the fiscal year 2024 employee benefits, specifically, employee health coverage - major medical.

During information reports, the Court recognized the recipients of the Polk County Commissioners Court Bobby Smith Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson. They are Neviah Hickox of Big Sandy ISD, Olivia Medina of Corrigan-Camden ISD, Alejandra Perez of Goodrich ISD, Kylie Valderez of Leggett ISD, Sierra Rains of Livingston ISD and Brady Smith of Onalaska ISD. They also recognized the recipients of the law enforcement scholarship, sponsored by Management & Training Corporation, operators of the lAH Secure Adult Detention Facility. They are Cooper Smith of Big Sandy ISD, Olivia Medina of Corrigan-Camden ISD, Pascual Flores of Goodrich ISD and Taylor Tolar of Livingston ISD.

The Court also receive notice of a public hearing from the City of Livingston scheduled for June 13 regarding the annexation of 34.04 acres of the M.L. Choate A-15 and

Bridger Hobbs A-327 surveys at 617 FM 350 South.

Tyler Epstein and Billy Lambeth addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comment.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the May 30 regular meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Receive and record personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since the last meeting;

Approval of the renewal of an interlocal agreement with Texas Association of Counties risk management pool and application for provision of insurance coverages to include workers compensation, auto (physical damage and liability) and general public officials, law enforcement liabilities;

Approval of the renewal of the host agency agreement with Motivation Education & Training NSRC (Met) for the senior community service employment program for July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2024;

Approval of the lease agreement renewing supplemental county parking at 321 N. Beatty Ave.;

Approval of an amended and restated memorandum of understanding with the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists, the East Texas Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Polk County for the beneficial management of natural resources at the East Texas Electric Cooperative Hydroelectric Plant Gazebo;

Approval of an amendment to the funding agreement with the Texas Historical Commission for the Polk County Courthouse restoration grant;

Receive donation from the Polk County Higher Education & Technology Foundation equivalent to the Polk County Commerce Center property insurance renewal;

Approval of the submittal of a request to the state comptroller for unclaimed rural electric cooperative capital credits;

Acceptance of the fiscal year 2023 indigent defense formula grant No. 212-23-187;

Approval of a road use agreement between Polk County Precinct 4 and Umbriel (H. Brown Inc.); and

Rescinding the order abandoning San Francisco in Precinct 1 and adding it to the master street address guide.

Sheriff Byron Lyons opened the meeting with prayer.

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