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Polk County News - Breakout

SPCA offering Sunday specials on selected animals

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Kitten Abandoned Graphic

From Enterprise Staff

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Polk County is continuing its successful “Sunday Specials.” For the next few Sundays, the shelter will highlight selected dogs and cats that may be adopted for half off the usual adoption fee. The next “Sunday Special” will be for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens that have been at the shelter for 60 days or more.

 Adoptions include all shots, spay/neuter and microchip. The SPCA shelter is located at 802 S. Houston (Hwy. 146) and is open for adoptions from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays. For additional details follow www.facebook.com/SPCAPolk. 

The SPCA of Polk County is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that operates a no-kill animal shelter run mostly by volunteers and it relies heavily on private donations and gifts to do its work in East Texas. It receives no federal, state or local financial support, nor any support from ASPCA, HSUS or United Way.

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Vinyl Radio to kick off concert series

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Vinyl Radio performs music from the Eagles, America, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Doobie Brothers and more, delivering the harmonies and melodies of classic 70s radio. They will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Polk County Commerce Center, kicking off the 2022-2023 concert series of the Livingston Community Concert Association. Courtesy photoVinyl Radio performs music from the Eagles, America, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Doobie Brothers and more, delivering the harmonies and melodies of classic 70s radio. They will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Polk County Commerce Center, kicking off the 2022-2023 concert series of the Livingston Community Concert Association. Courtesy photo

From Enterprise Staff

The Livingston Community Concert Association will kick off its 2022-2023 concert series, marking the organization’s 37th anniversary, with the first performance of the season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 featuring Vinyl Radio. All concerts are held at the Polk County Commerce Center located at 1017 Hwy. 59 Loop North in Livingston.

While tickets are not available at the concert, memberships in the Livingston Community Concert Association may be purchased for as little as $50 per person and family rates are also available. Membership will allow one to attend all concerts per season. The varying levels of membership include: Adult $50, Family $110 (two adults and children), Patron $150, Sponsor $300, Benefactor $500 and Endowment $1,000-plus.

Checks may be mailed to Livingston Community Concert Association at P.O. Box 960, Livingston, Texas 77351. For additional information, contact Sally Frasier at 936-967-0219 or visit www.livingstoncommunityconcert.org.

Vinyl Radio – made up of Ronnie Kimball, Chip Martin, Ron Wallace and Tim Buppert – has been referred to as “a vocal power with a righteous regard for the great rock-n-roll music classics. These music city pros combine their considerable talents into an experience that captures the essence of an era when guitars and grooves, mellow mayhem and melodies ruled the airwaves. Vinyl Radio, put simply, is the music you love brought to life.” They perform music from the Eagles, America, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, the Doobie Brothers and more, delivering the harmonies and melodies of classic 70s radio.

Ronnie Kimball has shared the stage with many superstars like Huey Lewis, Greg Khin, The Knack, Elvin Bishop and Tommy Tutone, to name a few.  He was lead vocalist/front man with his AOR recording act, WORKFORCE on Scotti Bro./CBS Records.  During his stint with WORKFORCE, Ronnie had a song he cowrote and sang with the band featured in an episode of the popular TV series, “Baywatch.”  He also had a music video on MTV with the California band, LASER BOY.  Since moving to Nashville in the mid 90’s Ronnie has become an in-demand session vocalist for some of Nashville’s best songwriters, sang numerous jingles and movie placements. As a writer he’s had songs recorded by country music giant, Lee Greenwood and new artist Sherry Lynn.   Ronnie has also been featured as vocalist and cowriter on the inspirational CD, REACH HIGHER, on Berardi Records, as well as, singing the patriotic anthem “LIBERTY”, which has over 1 million views on YouTube.

Chip Martin cut his teeth on the classic pop sounds of the 60’s - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other British invasion bands as well as American performers like the great Motown acts. Later it was the sounds of bands like the Eagles, Crosby Stills and Nash, and America that caught the attention of the already traveling singer-songwriter. Chip formed his first band at the age of 12 and has been on stage ever since playing in rock and country-rock groups from Maine to Miami. In the late 70’s, Chip turned his talents toward songwriting and to date has over 200 songs in his catalog. He has an RIAA certified gold record for his song “Forget About Love” recorded by country star Mark Wills, has a song that is the title track (“Love Me or Leave Me Alone”) on Randy Meisner’s (formerly of The Eagles) latest CD, a tune placed on Billy Paul’s record “Wide Open” (of “Me and Mrs. Jones” fame), and a cut by Grand Ole Opry star Billy Dean. The song that Billy Dean recorded was used on the popular Turner Broadcasting TV Show “Live at the Bluebird Cafe” shot in Nashville at the famous songwriter venue.

Ron Wallace has one of Music Row’s most recognizable and sought-after voices, earning him a spot on the A-List of Nashville session singers. Touring with the newcomer Tim McGraw found Ron a spot in McGraw’s first video. Ron recorded for Sony/Columbia and can be heard on recordings by industry heavyweights like Don Williams, Ty Herndon and Faith Hill, including her #1 single, “Take Me As I Am.”

Tim Buppert made his living as a singing drummer from the age of 18 until moving to Nashville in 1991, where he put aside the drums to focus on a songwriting career. While performing his songs at the Bluebird Cafe, Tim was asked to sing some demos for hit songwriter Don Schlitz. Fast forward 25 years and Tim has sung on over 8,000 recordings including albums by Trisha Yearwood, Michael Peterson, Kevin Sharp, Billy Ray Cyrus and Rodney Atkins to name a few and on jingles for Pepsi, Luvs diapers, TNN and many more. In 1997 Tim had his first success as a writer with the #1 hit by Kevin Sharp, “She’s Sure Taking It Well.” Tim scored again in 2000 with Yankee Grey and the song “Another 9 minutes” which reached #11 on the Country charts. After 10 years Tim went back to the drums and once again is the “Singing Drummer” for some of Nashville’s most popular bands - Vinyl Radio, FAB, The Consoulers, Live From Ventura Blvd, Twelve Against Nature and Make Me Smile. Tim does well over 100 shows a year and plans to retire in the year 2040.

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Recycled art contest will celebrate anniversary of recycling center

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

To celebrate its upcoming one-year anniversary in November, as well as America Recycles Day which is Nov. 15, Polk County Recycling & Beautification (PCRB) is hosting a “Recycled Art Contest” that is open to everyone.

PCRB operates the Polk County Recycling Center located at 10311 Hwy. 146 in Livingston at the intersection of Hwy. 146 and FM 2665. The recycling center accepts #1-#7 plastics, flattened corrugated cardboard and aluminum and steel “tin” cans. The recycling center is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In its first 10 months of operation, the center has diverted over 69,000 pounds of materials from the Polk County Landfill. 

PCRB is a nonprofit organization that has partnered with Polk County to provide a reliable recycling service for the residents of East Texas, sustained by grants, donations and the sale of recyclable materials.

Entries in the recycled art contest should be works of art created using only materials that the local recycling center accepts. To enter, visit the recycling center or the website (pcrbtexas.org) for an entry form. Submit the artwork and the entry form by Nov. 1. Visit pcrbtexas.org for a complete list of rules.

The first-place winner will receive $100, the second-place winner will receive $50 and the third-place winner will receive $25. The people’s choice winner will receive $75. To cast a vote for people’s choice, take recyclables to the center Nov. 4-15.

Contestants may be individuals or groups of any age. Although entries must be made from materials the recycling center accepts, plastic bottle caps and paper tubes will be allowed. Glue, tape, wire, screws and other fastening materials are allowed. Paint, markers and other coloring mediums are allowed. Glitter is not allowed. The maximum size of the entry is two feet long by two feet wide by three feet high.

The artwork must be submitted to the recycling center with a completed entry form no later than 3 p.m. on Nov. 1. Artwork will be displayed at the recycling center Nov. 4-15. No names may be visible on the artwork while displayed.

Recyclers visiting the recycling center Nov. 4-15 will vote for people’s choice. A panel of judges will decide first, second and third place winners. Judges will score artwork based on the following criteria: 50% creative use of recyclable materials, 30% overall presentation and aesthetics and 20% craftsmanship. Bonus points will be awarded if materials are still recyclable.

To learn more about the recycled art contest, volunteering at the recycling center or donating to the recycling center, visit PCRBTexas.org or Facebook.com/PCRBTexas. Checks may be mailed to 10311 TX-146, Livingston, TX 77351. Call 936-337-3315 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional information.

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A 9-11 Prayer and Remembrance Ceremony honoring all Polk County first responders will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Livingston City Hall. The new Livingston Police Honor Guard, along with the VFW Honor Guard, will post and raise the colors along with the 9-11 commemorative flag. The Livingston High School Choir will sing and bells will be rung by representatives of the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, the Livingston Police Department and local emergency medical service providers. Everyone is invited to come out and show their support. (l-r) Livingston Police Chief Matt Parrish, Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran and Livingston Police Officer Ronnie Bogany. Courtesy photo

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LISD to decrease tax rate

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Livingston ISD LogoThe Livingston ISD school board approved a lower tax rate for the 2022-23 academic year Tuesday during the monthly meeting for August.

LISD Chief Financial Officer Ben Davidson reviewed the Livingston ISD 2022-2023 proposed budget during the public hearing. The general fund revenues are projected at $42,500,734, and expenses are projected at $40,687.424. 

LISD anticipates a budget surplus at year-end. These funds will be rolled into the fund balance and earmarked for use to extend the initiatives funded by the ESSER program. The ESSER program is an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant program that was created for Coronavirus aid beginning in March 2022. 

The instruction function is budgeted at $23,095,000 for the 2022-23 school year and is the largest under the maintenance and operations budget. The board approved the budget as presented.  

Davidson also presented the proposed tax rate for the 2022-2023 year during a public hearing.  The proposed rate of 0.942 for maintenance and operations and 0.19 for debt service, with a total of $1.132 per $100 valuation was approved.  This represents a decrease of 8% from the 2021-2022 tax rate, at 1.2369 per $100 valuation.

LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins presented an administrative report on school start accountability.

“First and foremost, thank you to the board for the things you did to make sure our school was fully staffed. The projections for hiring for the school allowed us to hire pools of staff in the spring. Designating my hiring authority allowed us to hire staff quickly instead of waiting until a board meeting to approve the hiring.  Recruitment and retention of staff doesn’t happen without the best salary package for our staff. We have the best salary package anywhere in rural East Texas. It requires a lot of tough decisions that had to be made along the way. Because of our designation as a District of Innovation, we are able to start school earlier. In starting school earlier, contracts are locked in earlier and allow us to lock in before other schools, which is very important. Having the ability to add breaks for our staff in the school calendar helped us attract staff. Being able to offer something other than compensation, the breaks offer something more to our staff.

“I applaud (accounting specialist) Mrs. (Kathy) Perry and her department for working through the summer to ensure 4,015 kids were registered by the first day of school. It was smoother this year, and we will continue to work to make that process better for our students, staff, and parents. The changes we made to the school calendar only allowed us five days to have everything ready, including getting our staff back to start school. It takes about three days to work out bus issues after the start of school. We continue to work together to improve and make things better. According to the Texas Academic Performance Report on the Texas Education Agency website, our LISD teachers are paid more than the state average.  Our administrators, central office, and principals are paid under the state average. We look to Splendora ISD in our market. Their administrative cost ratio is at .106 while Livingston is at .063. This means our administrative staff covers so much work for much less expense.”
Hawkins pointed out a return to normalcy with the high school campus holding a pep rally. It is the first pep rally in 3 years due to covid restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic began. The senior class is the only on campus that has attended a pep rally, and the event was a first for the freshman, sophomore and junior classes.

“Some colleagues are celebrating their state accountability rating right now, and it’s their end all, be all,” Hawkins said. “Our students are more than a test, and they deserve more. We start off the year and don’t know what their score is. We want our staff to know what their score is. There are flaws in the system. K-8 basically revolves around the STAAR test. One test on one day determines the students’ success or failure. There are three areas of accountability, student achievement, student progress, and closing the gaps. There are flaws in the system, and I expect it to be discussed in the next legislative session.

“Our local accountability, our vision, is making our students future-ready. We want our students to graduate with industrial certifications, career and technical certifications, or college credits to ensure their success after graduation. On the TEA website, you can go all the way back to 1995, and our rating has been a C or academically acceptable. Today, the district is rated with a B, and it is the highest rating LISD has ever received. Three elementary campuses received an A rating, and the fourth is only three points from receiving an A.

“The campus we are standing on today (Creekside) was in the bottom 10% in the state of Texas and today received an A rating with four designations. There has to be a level of optimism about what we are doing in the district. We continue to focus on building relationships and making sure our students are learning deep levels of the curriculum. We have a lot of progress we can make. For the first time, we have five students who graduated in May with 58-77 college hours, there were over 1,000 hours earned in college dual credit, 40 students in the Dual Credit CTE program, and 350 certifications given to the Class of 2022. We still have work to do to continue to improve, but I want to celebrate what our staff has done because it is a breakthrough, but we are just getting started.”

Under the consent agenda, the board approved an overnight spring trip for the band. LHS band members have plans to make a student-funded trip to Orlando, Florida, during spring break to participate in Disney’s Imagination Campus Soundtrack Sessions, a Performing Arts workshop in a Walt Disney World location. The board also approved the purchase of two 2023 Ford F-150 trucks from Tipton Ford in Nacogdoches for $60,320 and I-station Reading and Math curriculum materials in the amount of $57,859.94.

The meeting opened with student recognition.  The Livingston Lions Tennis team presented members of the school board with a sign in appreciation for the updates made to the tennis complex over the summer. In the spring, LHS varsity girls tennis were the 21-4A district team champions for and also the girls singles district champion for 2022.

Also recognized by the school board were Lu Allen and Destiny Gist for winning third place in public policy advocacy at the National Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America held in San Diego, California, in July. They, along with their advisor, Laura Gokey, represented both the LHS and the state FCCLA chapter at the national competition.  

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