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Polk County News - Breakout

Goodrich ISD enrollment numbers corrected

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Correction Graphic

From Enterprise Staff

An error was inadvertently made regarding the enrollment numbers at Goodrich ISD in an article that appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of the Polk County Enterprise.

Goodrich ISD Superintendent Daniel Barton and Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent E. Hawkins were the guest speakers at the Sept. 27 quarterly membership luncheon of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

We incorrectly reported that Goodrich ISD ended the last school year with 119 students and started the current school year with 223 students. In actuality, GISD ended the 2021-2022 school year with approximately 222 students and started the 2022-2023 school year with approximately 270 students. We apologize for the error.

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County burn ban still in effect

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BurnBan Graphic

By Emily Banks Wooten
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“The burn ban is still in effect. Please, please stress to everyone to be very, very careful with fires,” Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins pleaded during the Oct. 11 meeting of the Livingston City Council. He remarked that the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, along with all the fire departments in the county, are being run ragged with fires.

Wiggins updated Council regarding current development projects. These include: Alma’s Donuts at 1026 W. Church; CP Homes Memory Care/CP Homes at 1864 N. Washington; Highway 190 Apartments at 909 E. Church; King Ranch John Deere Dealership & Turf Business at 510 U.S. Hwy. 59 Loop South; Livingston ISD concession stand at 400 FM 350 South; Livingston Pioneer Crossing Apartments at 1101 Dogwood; On The Run Truckstop at 911 E. Church; Serenity Spa at 1207 W. Church; The Vault Venue at 415 N. Washington; and four residences located in The Retreat Living LLC – 106 Sunset, 120 Sunshine, 107 Sunrise and 105 Getaway.

Completed projects include: Crave Nutrition at 1211 W. Church; Habitat for Humanity Restore at 321 N. Beatty; Pizza Hut at 1205 W. Church; Victory Lending at 1213 W. Church and the demolition of the Girl Scout Daisy house in Matthews Street Park.

Council was slated to discuss and consider possible action on the city’s personnel policy update but opted to table it until next month to have more time to review it. Wiggins informed Council that the personnel policy that city employees currently work under was adopted in April 2008 and has undergone many updates and amendments since then. Beginning in March, Wiggins, along with City Secretary/Assistant City Manager/Interim Finance Director Ellie Monteaux and Human Resources Coordinator Stacy Edwards undertook the task of updating the personnel policy.

The reappointment of Mayor Judy Cochran as a director for the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency (SRMPA) Board of Directors for the 2022-2024 term was approved. SRMPA provides electricity to its three member cities – Livingston, Liberty and Jasper. The board comprises two representatives from each of the member cities who serve staggered two-year terms.

Council approved the city’s pro-rata share of the 2022 dues for Brazos Transit which are $4,200.

City officials are continuing efforts to eradicate unsafe and dilapidated buildings from the city. Public hearings were held on the determination of two unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings, specifically, a residential structure owned by Texas Specialty Homes, L.P. located at 302 Leopard St. and a residential structure owned by Gregory John located at 204 Younger Street. Fire Marshal/Code Enforcement Officer Josh Mohler provided testimony during both hearings. At the conclusion of the public hearings, Council approved the demolition of both properties.

In similar activity, Council set public hearings on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings for two additional properties as well. These include:

A residential structure located at 1008 Dunbar Ave. owned by Dunbar Livingston 1008, LLC, the property being described as: Lot 6 of Block 1 of the Viola Jones Addition, a subdivision in the City of Livingston, in Polk County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 98 of the Plat Records of Polk County, Texas, also known as 1008 Dunbar Ave., Livingston, Texas, set for public hearing at 5 p.m. Nov. 8; and

A residential structure and outbuildings owned by Joseph McCandless and Manda Kay McCandless, located at 106 N. East Ave., the property being described as: 1.262 acre of land in the M.L. Choate Survey, A-15, Polk County, Texas, called to be Lot 2 of Block 3 of the Meece Addition to the City of Livingston, and described in deed dated Nov. 14, 2019 from Annis Lee Crowley to Joseph McCandless and wife, Manda Kay McCandless, recorded in Volume 2234, Page 193 of the Official Public Records of Polk County, Texas, set for public hearing at 5 p.m. Jan. 10.

Although Council entered into an executive session to consult with the city attorney, no action was taken upon return to open session.

Other business included approval of accounts over $500 and minutes of the August 9 meeting.

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Festivities planned in Goodrich

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Trunk or treatA “Trunk-a-Treat” Halloween is planned at Goodrich City Hall Oct. 29 at 5-7 p.m.

By Brian Besch
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The Goodrich City Council approved dates for upcoming holiday festivities, and heard issues on utility lines and the wastewater pond in Thursday’s regular meeting for October.

The new RV park that will be behind the church at the end of Katie Simpson Road has an issue with the existing city sewer lines. The line is not deep enough and goes uphill quite a bit, according to city contractors.

Two options were given for a potential fix. The first — relaying the entire line — was more expensive. The materials for 300 feet of line could run up to $12,000. The other option was the city installing in a lift station that already needed to go in, as well as a pump tank. That was said to be a $3,000-$4,000 option.

The city chose to go with the cheaper option, understanding that there was already a lift station needed. Another $3,000 will be needed to connect water to the area, branching off a pipe that runs down FM 1988.

Last week, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality examined the wastewater pond and city contractors feel as though they graded well. However, a wood baffle has broken on one of the concrete chambers, and once set up again, there was no flow. An engineer that will arrive in the coming week will give the city recommendations for repairs. A valve will also likely be needed outside of one of the wells. 

Ryan Green has asked the council to consider hourly rentals for the Goodrich Community Center. The rental fee is currently $200 for the day. He is hoping to teach martial arts and wants to keep costs for his students down. Goodrich Mayor Kelly Nelson said she hoped to have all council members present for discussion before deciding on any changes.

The council approved a partnership with the Greater East Texas Community Action Program. City Secretary Felicia Garrett said the program is a non-profit organization helping those who are unable to cover the cost of their utility bills. When citizens call for help, they are asked a series of questions and then approved or denied. Upon approval, a check is sent to the city. Though wanting to learn a little more about the program, a few council members agreed that the program seemed to be a good idea.

The “Trunk-a-Treat” Halloween is planned for Goodrich City Hall Oct. 29 at 5-7 p.m. A costume contest has been added this year, where children 13 and under will step from their vehicle and have a picture taken. Costumes will be judged and prizes will be given to those who win. Face painting had been mentioned, but the council decided against it this year for safety concerns. There was a discussion that a partnership with the school district next year could present opportunities for more activities.

Council also decided on a few other events for the holidays. They will hold the council’s yearly Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. The annual lighting of the Christmas tree will occur Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.

The Goodrich Christmas Market Day and Lighted Parade will be the first Saturday of December, as always. This year, that date is Dec. 3. To enter a float in the parade, a form must be filled out and handed in to City Hall. The city council plans to enter a float in this year’s parade and may be the team to beat. Vendors have already begun calling and the plan is currently to have spaces with electricity for $35. Vendors are very encouraged to bring long extension cords.

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Early voting starts Oct. 24

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From Enterprise Staff

Early voting for the Nov. 8 General Election is Oct. 24 through Nov. 4 and will be available at three locations – the Polk County Judicial Center located at 101 W. Mill St. in Livingston, the Onalaska Sub-Courthouse located at 14111 U.S. Hwy. 190 West in Onalaska and the Sechrest Webster Community Center located at 100 W. Front St. in Corrigan.

Listed below are the races that will be on the ballot and the respective candidates running in each race. Candidates’ political parties will be denoted with an R for Republican, a D for Democrat, an L for Libertarian and a G for Green. To view the ballot, go to page 6A.

U.S. Representative, District 8

Morgan Luttrell, R

Laura Jones, D

Roy Eriksen, L


Greg Abbott, R

Beto O’Rourke, D

Mark Tippetts, L

Lieutenant Governor

Dan Patrick, R

Mike Collier, D

Shanna Steele, L

Attorney General

Ken Paxton, R

Rochelle Mercedes Garza, D

Mark Ash, L

Comptroller of Public Accounts

Glenn Hegar, R

Janet T. Dudding, D

V. Alonzo Echevarria-Garza, L

Commissioner of General Land Office

Dawn Buckingham, R

Jay Kleberg, D

Alfred Molison Jr., G

Commissioner of Agriculture

Sid Miller, R

Susan Hays, D

Railroad Commissioner

Wayne Christian, R

Luke Warford, D

Jaime Andres Diez, L

Hunter Wayne Crow, G

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3

Debra Lehrmann, R

Erin A. Nowell, D

Thomas Edward Oxford, L

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 5

Rebeca Huddle, R

Amanda Reichek, D

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 9

Evan Young, R

Julia Maldonado, D

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5

Scott Walker, R

Dana Huffman, D

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 6

Jesse F. McClure III, R

Robert Jonson, D

Member, State Board of Education, District 8

Audrey Young, R

Rhett Rosenquest Smith, L

State Senator, District 3

Robert Nichols, R

Steve Russell, D

Desarae Lindsey, L

State Representative, District 9

Trent Ashby, R

Jason Rogers, D

Justice, 9th Court of Appeals, Place 2

Jay Wright, R

Bob Mabry, D

Trustees, Livingston ISD School Board

Andrew Boyce

Kevin Grimm

Kevin Wooten

Chris Moehlmann

John Whiteside

Marty Drake

Cynthia Rios Thomas

Mandi Murphy Pipes



Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals,

Place 2

Mary Lou Keel, R

District Judge, 258th Judicial


Travis Kitchens, R

Criminal District Attorney Polk


Shelly Bush Sitton, R



County Judge

Sydney Brown Murphy, R

Judge, County Court-at-law

Tom Brown, R

District Clerk

Bobbye Christopher, R

County Clerk

Schelana Myers Hock, R

County Treasurer

Terri L. Williams, R

County Commissioner,

Precinct No. 2

Mark Dubose, R

County Commissioner,

Precinct No. 4

Jerry Cassity, R

Justice of the Peace,

Precinct No. 1

Terri Lynne Mayer, R

Justice of the Peace,

Precinct No. 2

Sarah Rasberry, R

Justice of the Peace,

Precinct No. 3

Robert “Dooley” Johnson, R

Justice of the Peace,

Precinct No. 4

Jamie Richardson, R

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Court approves new roof for courthouse

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

The Polk County Commissioners Court approved amending the agreement with Komatsu for courthouse architecture services to include design plans for a new roof during its regular meeting Tuesday.

According to County Judge Sydney Murphy, the existing courthouse roof was replaced in 2016 with a five-year warranty that is expired. The options included patching the roof at a cost of approximately $39,000 or replacing it with a new one at a cost of $270,000 with a 20-year warranty. The Court opted to get a new roof.

The courthouse is presently vacant and about to undergo an extensive historic restoration through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program, a grant program administered through the Texas Historical Commission. All offices in the courthouse have been temporarily relocated to the former regional health center located at 410 E. Church Street.

A public hearing to receive comment on the county clerk’s preservation and records restoration plan for fiscal year 2023 was held, with no one providing comment. The plan was approved as part of the consent agenda. Notice of the hearing was published in the Sept. 25 issue of the Polk County Enterprise and a copy of the county clerk’s proposed plan may be viewed in the county clerk’s office located in the Polk County Judicial Center at 101 W. Mill St., Suite 265 in Livingston or on the county clerk’s page of the county website at www.co.polk.tx.us.

The Court took action relating to expenditures from the maintenance capital outlay buildings (budgeted funds), approving the purchase of a heat exchanger for the Polk County Jail. Murphy said the state inspector found one of the boilers completely down. The new heat exchanger will cost $14,734.

The county sick leave pool committee was selected by random drawing, with the following county employees being the names drawn: Thomas Foster, Danilo Baletka, Brandon White, Victoria Durr, and Rachel Hill.

The 2023 Polk County holiday schedule was approved. The following holidays will be observed: Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16; President’s Day on Monday, Feb. 20; Good Friday on Friday, April 7; Memorial Day on Monday, May 29; Juneteenth on Monday, June 19; Independence Day on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4; Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 4; Columbus/Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 9; Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 10; Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 23 and Friday, Nov. 24; Christmas on Monday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Dec. 26 and New Year’s Day on Monday, Jan. 1.

An agreement with Harley Portwood Ranch for the lease of Polk County school land in Throckmorton County was ratified by the Court.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and four authorized emergency hirings, including two in the district clerk’s office, one in the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace office and one in human resources. An update to the personnel management system was also approved.

Fiscal year 2022 and fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

The Court presented a proclamation recognizing domestic violence awareness month.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of Sept 27 and Sept. 30 meetings;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of orders designating the regular terms for the county court at law and justice courts for fiscal year 2023;

Approval of the county clerk preservation and records restoration plan for fiscal year 2023 and set a county court records archive fee in the amount of $10, as reflected in the fiscal year 2023 adopted budget;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

Approval of the donation of surplus property from emergency management to local independent school districts;

Receipt and recording of the listing of current members of the Polk County Safety Committee;

Approval of a resolution supporting the grant application to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments for the fiscal year 2023 regional solid waste program;

Approval of a leaseholder request to add Lela and Greg London as additional surface lease holders of Polk County school land currently in surface lease to Doris London and children;

Approval of an amendment to the lease agreement with Cooper Ranches LLC for Polk County school land in Throckmorton County, releasing a portion of the original lease agreement;

Approval and recording of governor’s bond and oath of office for tax assessor/collector for the term beginning Jan. 1, 2021;

Approval of a request from the treasurer to open a new bank account for local assistance and tribal consistency funds authorized in the American Rescue Plan Act; and

Approval of a renewal agreement with Gregory-Edwards for program maintenance of certain heating and HVAC equipment located at the county jail.

Pastor Wayne Bickley of Soda Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.


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