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Polk County News - Breakout

Onalaska council sets tax rate

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check markFrom Enterprise Staff

The Onalaska City Council approved an ordinance setting a tax rate of 0.2426 during its Sept. 13 regular meeting.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing and allowing – under the act governing the Texas Municipal Retirement System – “updated service credits” on an annual basis for service performed by qualifying members of the system who at the effective date of the allowance are members of the City of Onalaska; providing for a change in the municipal contributions to the current service annuity reserve at retirement; and increasing the rate of deposits to the Texas municipal retirement system by the employees of the City of Onalaska; and establishing an effective date.

Ordinances regarding manufactured homes and recreational vehicles were also approved.

A resolution authorizing an additional penalty to enforce the collection of delinquent ad valorem taxes as per Section 6.30 of the Texas Property Tax Code was approved.

Numerous other resolutions were also approved by Council. These related to: school resource officer memorandum of understanding; public funds investment policy; citizen participation plan; federal procurement policy; city financial goals and procurement policy; agreement for services from Langford Community Management Services; fair housing policy; proclaiming April fair housing month; authorizing application for Community Development Block Grant-mitigation allocation; and authorization for the mayor to sign the First National Bank night depository agreement.

Council reviewed and approved a request/petition for annexation by Wagner Farms LLC.

In personnel matters, Council accepted the resignation of Officer Heather Thomas in good standing and approved for her to continue service as a reserve police officer.

Reports were presented on behalf of the police department, fire department, fire marshal/building inspector, library representative and city administrator.

Other business included approval of the minutes, vouchers and financial reports.

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AAUW views student’s winning documentary

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Livingston High School Senior Maci Hill won first place among 600,000 entries in the National History Day Competition with her documentary “Communist in the Cornfield: Roswell Garst’s Citizen Diplomacy.” Hill recently presented her documentary to the Polk County Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). (l-r) AAUW Member Jane Holcomb, Hill and AAUW Co-President Virginia Key. Photo by Emily Banks WootenLivingston High School Senior Maci Hill won first place among 600,000 entries in the National History Day Competition with her documentary “Communist in the Cornfield: Roswell Garst’s Citizen Diplomacy.” Hill recently presented her documentary to the Polk County Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). (l-r) AAUW Member Jane Holcomb, Hill and AAUW Co-President Virginia Key. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Maci Hill, a Livingston High School senior and first place winner among 600,000 entries in the National History Day (NHD) Competition, presented her winning documentary, “Communist in the Cornfield: Roswell Garst’s Citizen Diplomacy,” to the Polk County Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Monday. Hill’s program kicked off the first meeting of the 2022-2023 year for Polk County AAUW which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

“Debate and Diplomacy” was the theme of last year’s National History Day Competition and Hill’s winning documentary explores the historic 1959 trip that Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev made to the Iowa farm of Roswell Garst. The purpose of the trip was for Khrushchev to learn how the Soviet Union could produce food to feed its citizens. Garst thought hungry people were dangerous people so the U.S. granted an export license to Garst. The historic trip in September of 1959 was considered to be the first major hole punched in the Iron Curtain.

Hill’s work resulted in her receiving a Next Generation Angels Award which is an annual prize sponsored by The Better Angels Society in coordination with NHD. The award is presented to six middle and high school documentary filmmakers to recognize excellence in well-researched history filmmaking in the model of Ken Burns. Each year, The Better Angels Society celebrates the six student winners with a series of events that will enhance their knowledge and skills, including a mentorship session with Ken Burns and the Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film Finalists. Additionally, all Next Generation Angels Award films receive a copyright and will exist in perpetuity in the Library of Congress.

This was Hill’s sixth entry into the NHD competition. She reached the national competition in five of those. Hill is the daughter of Chad and Mary Hill of Livingston.

Following Hill’s program, Co-President Virginia Key presided over the business meeting which centered on plans for the chapter’s ninth annual scholarship bridge luncheon and silent auction which is slated for Nov. 10.

AAUW is an international organization founded to improve the lives of millions of women and their families. The mission of the Polk County Chapter is to advance equality of women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.

Anyone interested in joining the chapter, learning more about the organization or becoming part of the organization’s projects and programs is encouraged to attend. For additional information, call 713-376-2743.

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LISD board candidate forum set

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From Enterprise Staff

The Livingston ISD School Board Candidate Forum hosted by Pine Ridge Primary P.T.O. is slated for 6-8 p.m. Monday in the Florence Crosby Auditorium on the campus of Creekside Elementary School at #1 Lions Drive in Livingston.

Candidates will be given an opportunity for a brief introduction, followed by a question-and-answer session. The forum will be moderated by Brad Butler, First Baptist Church pastor of students and families.

The forum is open to the public and all within the Livingston ISD boundaries are encouraged to provide questions for the candidates that may be asked at the event. Questions may be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Center of Hope offering new service

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09 20 cohBy Brian Besch
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The Center of Hope has announced a change in a few procedures that will add to the list of services they provide for the citizens of Polk County.

Currently, the Polk County Emergency Health Board (PCEHB) provides funds for medical needs when other resources are unavailable. With many of the same customers also using services at the Center of Hope, they will now be under one roof. Taking over the ministry, a few volunteers from PCEHB will make the move with the service to the center. Some of the cancer support staff at Center of Hope will also cross train to help.

“The Polk County Emergency Health Board, led by Ms. Peggy Wooten, has done a wonderful job for years serving low-income families in Polk County with assistance on prescriptions and low-cost medical supplies,” said Mike Fortney, Ministry Coordinator at Center of Hope. 

PCEHB leadership approached the center about taking over the service. Center of Hope’s board agreed to do so, and has set the change over to the new Center of Hope Emergency Health Ministry on the first day of October.

The program provides low-income Polk County citizens needing crisis help with prescriptions or small medical supplies. They may call to arrange an interview with a trained caseworker. Center of Hope caseworkers will coordinate with clients and several participating local pharmacies to assist with payments. Polk County residents needing this crisis help can dial the Center of Hope at 936-327-7634. 

The center offers several other ministries to the public. The food pantry is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. and the third Saturday morning of each month. Center of Hope offers a food selection-style pantry where families shop for foods. Food selection is large and healthy food options are most often available.

The cancer support ministry has appointments available every Tuesday and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. The ministry helps Polk County cancer patients with travel-related costs associated with treatment.

Campaign 300 is a financial assistance ministry that helps low-income Polk County families financially when a crisis strikes and there is an inability to cover bills.

The bus ministry provides transportation to the center at 600 South Washington in Livingston during operating hours, so clients can receive food and other services.

Disaster response and recovery was highlighted during the disasters of the tornado in Onalaska and Seven Oaks, as well as recent floods in the area. Center of Hope serves as the county’s private donation hub with water, food, supplies and cash donations following a disaster. In the past, the center has helped many families repair homes after a disaster.

“It will all be in one building,” Center of Hope Director of Operations Gloria Barber said. “From the beginning, the plan for Center of Hope was to bring a lot of ministries into one building, so people could do one-stop shopping.”

There are several ways to contribute for those who wish to support Center of Hope in their mission. Representatives said the current post-Covid financial crisis has hit Polk County families hard, and the numbers of those in need have skyrocketed. At the same time, the center, just as everyone else, is now paying more for food. 

Food drives at schools and businesses are welcomed, as well as individual food donations. They especially need canned goods, non-perishables and breakfast items. As their buying power has decreased in recent months, financial donations are welcomed. Monetary donations will allow funds for increasingly needed foods. 

The center is an all-volunteer mission with no paid employees. Those wanting to plug into a place where God is working are asked to call, and there will be a place for you.

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Goodrich First Baptist celebrates 119 years

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 A group of churchgoers in front of what was the original First Baptist Church Building which was located on FM 1988 West across the railroad tracks. Courtesy photo

The 119th anniversary of Goodrich First Baptist Church is today. This year’s homecoming services will begin at 11 a.m. with guest speaker Paul Cherry and his wife Vanessa Cherry. As has been the same tradition for well over a hundred years ... “Dinner On The Grounds” will follow the morning service. Everyone is welcome to join with Goodrich First Baptist for this very special service. Today also marks the beginning of revival at Goodrich First Baptist. The Cherrys will lead the revival services every night through Wednesday with the nightly services beginning at 6 p.m.

With times as they are, it is very difficult for smaller churches to be able to literally “keep their doors open.” Sadly, there is a serious falling away from churches and Covid has certainly taken its toll on church attendance. Smaller churches don’t have a lot of things many of the larger churches have. They don’t have huge membership which in turn brings in enough people and money to afford extras for their members to enjoy. Many times in smaller churches a few individuals have to take on the role of many different needed church positions. But I would like to believe that larger churches also can remember back to when their church was just a small church and I am sure their members also appreciate all the work and effort it took to get their church to the point it is today.

I love driving through a small town and seeing the churches there because I know those churches were the building blocks of those little communities and they still stand. Those churches have stood the test of time as Goodrich First Baptist has. Has it been easy? No. Honestly, at times it has been so very difficult. People come and then some leave. Sadly, many pass on from this earth, leaving empty spots that are impossible to fill. The economy plays a huge part on any church but it seems to really hit the small ones the hardest. But on the flip side of that is all the amazing love that is shown and the wonderful feelings of walking into that church and being met with hugs and smiles.

Thankfully God has enabled Goodrich First Baptist to not only keep its doors open, but to also be able to offer help to the surrounding communities. Goodrich First Baptist has been a “port in the storm” to many that have been seeking shelter from raging storms and rising waters. While this small church has never called itself a shelter nor ever received any funds for being a shelter, the doors were opened when it was needed and with God’s continuing grace, these doors will be open when needed again. Goodrich First Baptist also offers free programs such as their free clothing closet and their free lunch for seniors each Tuesday. All of this is possible only through the grace and will of God.

One only has to walk into the beautiful sanctuary to instantly realize how historic this little church is. So with that being said, I thought I would once again share some of the history of Goodrich First Baptist Church.

On Sept. 21, 1903 a group of members of the regular Baptist churches holding letters of dismissal and living in Goodrich met in the schoolhouse to organize a church. The charter members registered were J.H. King, R.A. Coward, S.H. Edmonds, T.C. Walters, S.C. Walters, Mrs. E.P. Coward and Mrs. S. C. Coward. After reading the convent, Mrs. S.C. Walters was elected church clerk. Bro. P.H.  Bilbro was elected pastor for one year. The church was named First Baptist Church of Goodrich, Texas. Brother S.C. Walters and Bro. A.B. Coward were ordained as the first deacons in the presence of Brother P.H. Bilbro and J.S. Louis.

The one-room schoolhouse where the meeting took place is where the home of Lera Craig was later built. The first Sunday School Superintendent was elected and the first Wednesday night prayer meeting was organized on January 24, 1905. On Nov. 16, 1907 the church raised the pastor’s salary to $55 a year. In April of 1908 the total membership for the First Baptist Church of Goodrich was 29 – 12 men and 17 women. They were able to raise the pastor’s salary to $56 a year.

While this small church was struggling to get its own church building built the world around them was rapidly changing. Many members of this church willingly stepped up to join up and serve their country and sadly many did not return home. In Sept. 16, 1921 the First Baptist Church of Goodrich held a revival with visiting pastor L.S. Cole. This revival was held under an arbor under the two big trees west of what was the J.R. Edmonds home. During this revival 62 members were added to the church membership. Due to the rapid growth of the church membership they were able to raise the needed money to build their own church. In 1921 the church was able to finish building its first church home. On Sept. 22, 1922 the church had a membership roll of 106 members.

Then in 1929 Wall Street crashed and the Great Depression hit and it hit the little communities hard. But still this community pulled together. They helped their neighbors in need, they cared for each other and they continued on God’s plan for this church. Despite the crash of Wall Street and the Great Depression looming over them, this group of Christians continued on their faith in the belief that God would provide. In 1929 the church had to find a building to use through the cold winter since there was no heat in their church building, so they returned to using the one-room school building until March of 1930 when the weather would be warmer.

Fast forward to 1941 and remember that Pearl Harbor was attacked but still this church moved forward with members buying war bonds in 1942 to start a church building fund. On April 29, 1945 after it had failed at an earlier church meeting, the church membership voted to move the church from its location across the railroad tracks to its new location on 1988 East (Bond Street) where it remains today. After only two years in August of 1947 the church entered its new home at the same current location where the church stands today.

In 1971 the present parsonage was built and is still in use today. In 1978 the present-day classrooms and fellowship hall were built, doing away with the old two-story classrooms. In May of 1982 the church spent approximately $40,000 to remodel the auditorium. In July of 1985 the church designated the third Sunday of every September as its Homecoming Celebration date. In September of 1986 with the grace of God, Goodrich First Baptist was able to “burn” its financial note.

Now to present day … through so many up and downs (and a few different buildings and locations) this little church in Goodrich, Texas has stood now for 119 years. I could go on and on about how many wonderful Godly people have worked through these many years to not only sustain but to work for the future generations to come, so that this little church could stand in the middle of a tiny country town and proclaim that by the Grace of God and the hard work of so many, this church still stands as a Christian Church based on the principles of God’s Own Word ... the Holy Bible. This church welcomes all. There are no exceptions. Everyone is welcome to come worship God at this church.

So with all this being said, please feel very welcome to attend the 119th Homecoming Celebration at 11 a.m. Sunday. No dress code required ... from suits to jeans ... from heels to flip flops ... everyone is welcome.

Now for other news:

Goodrich School Events:

Sept. 20 – Volleyball - Goodrich at Diboll at 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 – Volleyball - Goodrich at Leggett at 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 - Volleyball - Burkeville at Goodrich 4:30 p.m. 

Sept. 27 - Junior High Volleyball - Latexo at Goodrich 5 p.m.

Sept. 30 – Volleyball - District Game - Goodrich at High Island 4:30 p.m.

News Around Town:

Some of my older readers may remember the Hayman family. Mr. Wesley Hayman was the superintendent of Goodrich ISD during the 1950’s. His son John Hayman attended school here and graduated from Goodrich in 1961. John Hayman surprised me a couple of years ago and stopped by my office to give me his Goodrich letterman jacket so it could be framed and hung in The Old Hardware Building as part of our collection of items for preserving our community’s history. He promised to come back soon with more keepsakes and some photos but that is about the time Covid hit so that was the last time that we got to visit about “the old days,” but his jacket now hangs in The Old Hardware Building in the forever memory of him. Sadly, John Hayman passed from this earth this past week and his funeral was held Sept. 16 in Edna, Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his family and friends.

I will leave you on that note with a reminder to find time to make those memories because at some point that is all that will be left.


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