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Polk County News - Breakout

Museum hosting eclipse party

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Eclipse Party Converted

From Enterprise Staff

If you are interested in joining others to view the solar eclipse on Monday, you may want to head to the Polk County Memorial Museum.

Museum Curator Betsy Deiterman is hosting an Eclipse Party on the museum lawn from noon to 3 p.m. Monday. The free, come and go event is open to the public and is an opportunity to learn about the upcoming eclipse, the path of totality, legends and myths about eclipses and the differences between solar and lunar eclipses. Instructions and supplies will be provided to make your own DIY pinhole viewer to take home.

“We are not in the path of totality, but it will still be a pretty fun day,” Deiterman said.

In conjunction with the eclipse, Deiterman has erected a new temporary exhibit at the museum called The Great North American Eclipse. The temporary exhibit will be open through April 12. The museum is located at 514 W. Mill St. in Livingston. There is no admission fee.

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City, school elections coming up

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ElectionsApproaching STOCK

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Today (Thursday) is the deadline to register to vote in the May 4 elections. May 4 is the uniform election date for 2024, the day in which many local political subdivisions, such as cities, school districts and water districts have their regular general elections for members of their governing bodies or special elections to fill vacancies. Early voting will run from April 22 through May 3.

Corrigan-Camden, Goodrich and Onalaska Independent School Districts (ISDs) would have held trustee elections on May 4. However, as no one other than the incumbents filed, the three districts were able to cancel their elections and deem the incumbents reelected.

In the Corrigan-Camden ISD, Incumbents Leslie Kilgore and Paul David Evans will remain in Positions 4 and 5, respectively. In the Goodrich ISD, Incumbents Timothy Harrell and Rosalie Blackstock will remain in Positions 3 and 4, respectively. In the Onalaska ISD, Incumbents Karina Roberts and Kimber Stolley will remain in Positions 3 and 6, respectively.

The City of Onalaska will elect a mayor and two “at large” council members on May 4. Incumbent Mayor James Arnett is seeking reelection. Other individuals running for mayor are Robert F. Simard and Paul Laverty. Three people are seeking election to two “at large” seats that are presently held by Kevin Arnett and T.D. Jennings. The three people running are Kevin Arnett, J.R. Chance and Kathy Black Lott. As these are “at large” positions, the two people with the highest number of votes will be elected to the positions.

Two positions on the Board of Directors of the Memorial Point Utility District will be on the ballot – those presently held by Nathan Hale and Charles Reyna.

The Polk County Enterprise has a policy to run a free announcement with photo in the newspaper for every candidate running for office, allowing the candidates to have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their vision to readers. The photo should be a large .jpg and the announcement should be typed in a Word document not to exceed 400 words. Both should be emailed to the editor (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or may be brought into the office on a flash drive. The deadline to submit an announcement and photo is 5 p.m. April 12.

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County should be seen as place to live, work, play

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By Emily Banks Wooten
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JohnTarverJohn Tarver, president and executive director of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation, recently presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston regarding results of three countywide surveys conducted last fall – one for residents, one for business owners and one for elected officials and government staff members.

“We received 414 resident surveys, 78 local business surveys and 43 government official/staff surveys, for a total of 535 surveys. Approximately 71.65% of respondents identified natural resources, including forests and waterways, as a significant strength. Eco-tourism is quite big now,” Tarver said. “Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, Naskila Casino and Lake Livingston provide an economic benefit to the county. Transportation and proximity to Houston were also mentioned.

“Small-town charm and character were listed as a noteworthy strength. A number of respondents recognized community involvement and volunteerism as a strength, emphasizing the importance of an engaged and supportive community. The quality of schools and education was a strength in the county, as was access to healthcare,” Tarver said.

“We don’t have weaknesses, but we have challenges. Some of the challenges listed were traffic, homelessness, infrastructure for industrial development, hotels, public transportation, affordability and availability of housing,” Tarver said.

“Approximately 40% of the business respondents said they plan to expand potentially. That’s very healthy. Approximately 70% believe local growth is critical. They are in favor of shopping locally and supporting small businesses. Challenges they mentioned were infrastructure improvements needed, lack of affordable housing, a skilled workforce, utilities,” Tarver said.

“The elected officials/government staffs see a strength in the strong sense of community, geographical location, quality of life and cultural and historical assets, recent infrastructure improvements and lower taxes,” Tarver said.

My priorities are to continue to work to create new jobs, expand local businesses and bring new businesses to the area. A healthy business community is important. A growth-friendly political climate is important … quality of life enhancements. I’m extremely excited about Lamar College coming in and what they plan to do here. That’s just going to be a tremendous benefit to the county and to the region and to our employers. Hopefully, that will be up and running in the very near future,” Tarver said.

“Community preparedness is important. The county has seen about a 16% growth over the past decade, and I think that will continue. There are approximately 1,500 businesses in the area. For so long, this county has been seen as a place to retire and then more and more, being recreational. For the future, I think we want it to be seen as a place to live, work and play,” Tarver said.

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