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Polk County News - Breakout

Court to discuss precinct boundary lines

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Polk County LogoPrecinct boundary lines will be discussed by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

A request from Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent to utilize disaster recovery/mitigation funds in the amount of $194,000 for the partial rebuild and repair of county roads and culverts impacted by the April 2020 tornado will be considered.

The Court will consider a request for a capital purchase to be paid from the general fund balance and included on the FY2022 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt (tax notes), specifically, the repair of floors at the sheriff’s office, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 252.022, less the amount to be paid by insurance, not to exceed $53,200.

A budget workshop is on the agenda at which time the Court will receive an informational report from U.S. Capital Advisors and discuss options for the issuance of debt to fund all or a portion of the courthouse restoration project. During the workshop, the Court will also discuss and consider changes to the distribution of the road and bridge portion of the tax rate in conformance with the revised precinct boundaries.

Changes to the personnel management system regarding retiree health benefits, the merit pool and longevity will be discussed and considered.

Offers to purchase the following tax foreclosure properties will be considered for approval: Lot 20 of Block 6 of Kickapoo Forest (Cause #T14-075) in Precinct 2; Lots 85 and 86 of Snow Hill (Cause #T15-170) in Precinct 3; and 9.35 acres of the AJ Wilcox Survey, Abstract 623 (Cause #T11-135).

The Court will review and consider personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting, review any authorized emergency hirings and consider approval of FY2022 budget revisions and amendments as presented by the county auditor’s office.

In old business, the Court is expected to consider action on the Falcone Forest Section IV Subdivision application, located in Precinct 4, specifically approval, approval upon conditions met or rejection.

Items on the consent agenda include:

Approval of the minutes of the May 10 and May 17 meetings;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Receipt of the county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;

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

Approval of amendment and renewal of facility operation and management services agreement with Management & Training Corporation relating to the IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility;

Approval of change orders to update price sheets for road base materials from CCC Blacktopping and East Texas Asphalt;

Approval of order accepting Bridgewood, located in Bridgeview Subdivision in Precinct 2, as a county road and add to the master street address guide;

Approval of request from the district attorney for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property not to exceed $1,462.64 for the purchase of office furnishings;

Approval of the removal of Billy Duke as a reserve deputy constable and the appointment of Toni B. Currie to reserve deputy constable in Precinct 3;

Approval of sponsorship from long term recovery for the Office of Emergency Management 2022 hurricane party, not to exceed $1,500; and

Approval of purchase of a battery backup for the judicial center, not to exceed $2,490, to be paid from the information technology department’s capital outlay repair/replace equipment (budgeted funds).

Several announcements are expected to be made during informational reports. These include: recognizing the winner of the Pine Ridge Healthcare and Rehabilitation art contest for his depiction of the Polk County Courthouse square; presentation of the Government Finance Officers Association distinguished budget award for FY2022; spotlight on Polk County/informational technology department; and an update on the coronavirus aid, relief and economic security act.

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City amends sign code

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City of Livingston logoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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The Livingston City Council approved an amendment to the city’s code of ordinances during a special called meeting Tuesday, providing for the granting of variances to provisions of the sign code.

Following that action, Council approved a request from Coast 2 Coast Signs for a variance from the sign code for a sign permit for an off-premise sign for Panda Express and Starbucks at 1620 W. Church St. 

The request for the sign permit had been made previously but was denied by Council as the city’s ordinance only allowed for on-premise signage, prohibiting putting signage elsewhere. Coast 2 Coast Signs was wanting to erect a large sign on the Hwy. 59 feeder road near the side entrance to the Walmart parking lot. Although the company had received permission from Walmart, such sign would have been in violation of the city’s ordinance.

“With the growth we’re experiencing, we’re going to have to revisit our ordinance. It just doesn’t apply as it did when initially adopted,” City Manager Bill S. Wiggins previously said. Tuesday’s action by Council will now allow companies to seek a variance from the sign code.

In other activity, Council administered the oath of office to Mayor Judy B. Cochran and Aldermen Alan Cook and Marion A. “Bid” Smith. All three were up for reelection but having drawn no challengers, the city was able to cancel the election and declare the incumbents reelected. Following the administering of the oath of office, certificates of election were presented to the city officials and Cook was reelected mayor pro-tem for the 2022-2023 term.

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Runoff elections happen Tuesday

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Election Equipment 500By Emily Banks Wooten
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Early voting for the May 24 runoff elections ended at 5 p.m. Friday. As of 4:20 p.m. Friday, a total of 1,088 ballots had been cast – 767 at the Polk County Judicial Center, 243 at the Onalaska Sub-Courthouse and 78 at the Sechrest Webster Community Center in Corrigan.

Voting Tuesday will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 12 different locations. Through an agreement with the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, the Polk County Clerk’s Office has been approved to conduct elections at countywide polling places. What this means, basically, is that Polk County voters may cast their ballot at any of the 12 polling places available Tuesday, regardless of whether or not they reside in the precinct in which the polling place is located.

Polling places open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday include:

Escapees Clubhouse at 100 Rainbow Dr. in Livingston;

Trinity Lutheran Church at 221 Pan American Dr. in Livingston;

Scenic Loop Fire Department at 1406 FM 3277 in Livingston;

Onalaska Sub-Courthouse at 14111 U.S. Hwy. 190 West in Onalaska;

Blanchard Baptist Church at 2450 FM 2457 in Livingston;

St. Joseph Catholic Church Family Center at 2590 Hwy. 190 West in Livingston;

Dunbar Community Center at 1102 Martin Luther King Dr. in Livingston;

Sechrest Webster Community Center at 100 W. Front St. in Corrigan;

Alabama-Coushatta Administration Building at 571 State Park Rd. #56 in Livingston;

Schwab City Baptist Church at 10998 State Hwy. 146 South in Livingston;

Soda Baptist Church at 8135 U.S. Hwy. 190 East in Livingston; and

First United Pentecostal Church at 404 E. Church St. in Livingston.

Local races that will be on the Republican ballot include the race for Precinct 4 Commissioner between Jason Richardson and Jerry Cassity and the race for precinct chair, Precinct 1, between Traci Barham and Monica Richardson. There are no local races on the Democratic ballot.

Statewide races on the Republican ballot include the races for attorney general, commissioner of the General Land Office and railroad commissioner. Ken Paxton and George P. Bush are vying for attorney general; Tim Westley and Dawn Buckingham are vying for commissioner of the General Land Office; and Wayne Christian and Sarah Stogner are vying for railroad commissioner.

Statewide races on the Democratic ballot include the races for lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller of public accounts and commissioner of the General Land Office. Michelle Beckley and Mike Collier are vying for lieutenant governor; Joe Jaworski and Rochelle Mercedes Garza are vying for attorney general; Janet T. Dudding and Angel Luis Vega are vying for comptroller of public accounts; and Sandragrace Martinez and Jay Kleberg are vying for commissioner of the General Land Office.

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Park dedicated with new name

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Cutline: Mayor Judy B. Cochran and City Manager Bill S. Wiggins stand with members of the Pritchard family – descendants of the Cannon family – at the dedication of Cannon Pond & Park Friday. (l-r) Cochran, Clint Miller, Col. Cannon H. Pritchard, Judson Pritchard, Ross Miller, Jason Pritchard, Vicki Miller, Jimmy Miller, Allison Settlemeyer, Pat Pritchard, Wiggins and Connor Settlemeyer. Courtesy photoCutline: Mayor Judy B. Cochran and City Manager Bill S. Wiggins stand with members of the Pritchard family – descendants of the Cannon family – at the dedication of Cannon Pond & Park Friday. (l-r) Cochran, Clint Miller, Col. Cannon H. Pritchard, Judson Pritchard, Ross Miller, Jason Pritchard, Vicki Miller, Jimmy Miller, Allison Settlemeyer, Pat Pritchard, Wiggins and Connor Settlemeyer. Courtesy photo

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Three generations of the Pritchard family were present for the dedication ceremony of Cannon Pond & Park Friday. The 5.9-acre tract located beside and behind Whataburger in the 1500 block of West Church Street was given to the city by Col. Cannon H. Pritchard and the Pritchard family in memory of his grandparents, Stephen Jason “S.J.” Cannon and Pattie Willis Cannon. The Livingston City Council approved “Cannon Pond & Park” as the name during its May 10 regular meeting.

Mayor Judy B. Cochran read the following history of the Cannon Family:

“S.J. Cannon was one of Polk County’s most prominent citizens. He came to Livingston on the train the day after the town burned down in August 1902. He had met Pattie Willis on her visit to his hometown of Thornton, Texas. He dated her for three weeks and then came to Livingston to ask her parents if he could marry her. They were married by the Livingston Methodist minister in December 1902. The Cannons returned to Thornton to live until November 1917 when they moved to Livingston.

“S.J. Cannon was a graduate of Hill Business College and worked in the grocery business and the wagon and saddle business with his father. He was also a licensed funeral director and embalmer. Upon arrival in Livingston, he worked for the J.W. Cochran Funeral Home for 10 years, as well as establishing the Cannon grocery store called ‘Cannon Cash Store’ on the west side of the courthouse at 313 Jackson Ave. which he operated from 1917-1945. He kept two wagons and four horses at the rear of his store and delivered groceries to homes all over Livingston. His home was behind the store at 212 W. Church St., across from the city hall and post office. The store telephone number was ‘92’ and the Cannon home was ‘9.’ During World War II he bought lots in town and built 25 rent houses. He was a member of the Christian Church.

“By 1930 he had acquired 375 acres of mostly wooded areas from Drew Avenue to Long King Creek. He owned land on both sides of Hwy. 190/Church Street that extended north to Martin Luther King Street and south to Choates Creek. This area was known as ‘West Livingston.’ Both sides of Hwy. 190 were fenced in for his 50 head of cattle and horses. He created the pond area for water for his cattle. He gave the school district the land on Hwy. 190 for their high school, junior high, auditorium and football field in the mid-1930s. For 20 years, he sold off pieces of his property for development and improvements in Livingston for homes and new businesses.

“S.J. Cannon was active in various civic organizations of Livingston and Polk County through the years. He served 12 years as a city alderman when Ollege Morrison was the mayor. He also served two terms as president of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce, the only person to do so in the history of the chamber.

“His advice was sought by younger men in the county on business matters, as well as being recognized as a man of unique ability and unquestionable integrity. He served the public without a mark against him which was a record worthy of any man’s ambition. At his death, his funeral was conducted by the ministers of the Central Baptist Church, Livingston Church of Christ and the First Methodist Church. He truly loved Livingston.

“Pattie Willis Cannon was born in Livingston in 1883. Her home was on the corner of Church Street and Drew Avenue. She attended the Livingston Public School and graduated from Kidd-Key College in 1899. She grew up in a home that was dedicated to public service. Her father was an early city alderman that had the city council meetings in the dining room of his home.

“Her father was the first elected district clerk of Polk County who served for 25 years. He was also the U.S. Postmaster for 25 years. Her grandfather was a merchant in downtown Livingston and was the first state representative from Livingston to the 9th Texas Legislature. Both father and grandfather were Masons.

“Pattie Cannon served many years as the tax assessor and collector for the City of Livingston. She was a charter member of the Eastern Star and a member of the Christian Church. She worked beside her husband in the grocery business in making it an outstanding success for 28 years. In 1920, she and her mother were the first women in Livingston to register to vote, much to the chagrin of ‘ole boys in the courthouse. She was one of the first women to get a driver’s license and own an automobile. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1952 with their two daughters, Lois Cannon Norwood and Ruth Cannon Pritchard.

“She was a real Southern lady and always showing graciousness, hospitality, compassion, concern and genuine interest and love for the citizens of Livingston. She had a strong heart for helping others and wanted nothing more than to make everyone’s life better.”

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Results canvassed - Turnout Poor

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Vote Another GraphicFrom Enterprise Staff

The May 7 election results were canvassed by the Polk County Commissioners Court during a special called meeting Tuesday in which the Court approved accepting the results. The Court was only canvassing the two proposed constitutional amendments as the individual cities and school districts canvassed their own elections, Polk County Clerk Schelana Hock said.

According to Hock, 2,214 people – or 5.42% of the county’s registered voters – turned out to vote in the election.

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