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Polk County News - Breakout

Two named Paul Harris Fellows

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071722 Paul Harris Fellows named(Left) Rotarian Judy Cochran presents a pin and certificate to Dr. Raymond Luna following his being named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Livingston Thursday. (Right) Rotarian Ron Boyce presents a pin and certificate to his son, Andrew Boyce, following his being named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of Livingston Thursday. Photos by Emily Banks Wooten

By Rotary Club of Livingston

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Dr. Ray Luna and Andrew Boyce were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows by the Rotary Club of Livingston Thursday.

The Paul Harris Fellow is a prestigious distinction given by Rotary and is named for one of the founders of Rotary who was very involved in the development of the organization, which grew from a single club in Chicago in 1903 into today’s global organization. The award was established in his memory to recognize outstanding contributions to the ideals of Rotary, specifically, ‘Service Above Self,’ the motto of Rotary.

Rotarian Judy Cochran presented the award to Luna after a brief speech about him which follows:

“Dr. Raymond Luna was born in Albuquerque, N.M. on July 16, 1954. His mom dedicated her life to raising him and his four sisters, and his dad was a navigator in the air force during World War II and worked as an engineer at the Sandia National Laboratories. His parents emphasized the importance of having a good work ethic.

“Dr. Luna attended college and medical school at the University of New Mexico. During his last year of medical school, he participated in a rural rotation at an Indian reservation. There he met his wife, Grace, who was also on an externship for pharmacy school from the University of Nebraska. They married on July 2, 1983.

“Dr. Luna moved to San Antonio for his family medicine residency where he met Livingston native Dr. Jerry Wood. In 1985, Dr. Wood convinced Ray and Grace to move to Livingston where they established their careers and raised their family. Since then, Dr. Luna has been providing excellent medical care for countless patients in Livingston.

“In addition to the medical care Dr. Luna has provided to the Livingston community, he is actively involved in various organizations throughout Polk County. Within the medical community he serves as the health authority for Polk County, and he is also a member of the green team at St. Luke’s Health Memorial Hospital Livingston. Dr. Luna is an active member of the Livingston City Council and has been for 17 years. He has spent many hours organizing, supporting and volunteering at the Polk County Recycling Center with Polk County Recycling & Beautification. He is an avid bike rider and member of the Polk County Cyclists Club.

“During the pandemic, Dr. Luna worked tirelessly to provide safe and effective health care to the community. During the tornado that ravaged Onalaska he helped to organize and aid the disaster relief shelter including providing health care to anyone in need. These are just a few examples of the dedication and services Dr. Luna has offered to the community. There are too many to list out fully and many more that he provided anonymously.

“He has participated in the MS 150 bike ride for several years. He worked with the health district in giving COVID shots at the commerce center for several days. ‘Service Above Self’ is the Rotary motto and this is the highest award that Rotary gives to non-Rotarians. Dr. Luna has lived a life of service above self.

“Some people call him Dr. Luna, some just call him Doc, others call him Councilman, some call him Dad. I call him my friend, but those special to him call him Poppi. I am pleased to present the newest Paul Harris Fellow award to Dr. Raymond Luna.”

Accepting the award, Luna said, “Grace and I came here in 1985. Jeffrey was one and Ann wasn’t even born. We were best friends with Jerry and Patsy (Wood). I knew how Jerry felt about Livingston. This was more than a job. It was like joining a family. This is a generous and compassionate community and I thank you very much.”

Rotarian Ron Boyce presented the award to his son, Andrew, after a brief speech about him which follows:

“In the summer of the year 2000, we moved back to Livingston. Andrew was between the fourth and fifth grade. We had been in Port Neches for the past 10 years. Andrew did not want to move. He loved his friends, his teachers and his school. You could say that he came kicking and screaming to Livingston. When we got here, we started looking for activities to get Andrew involved in his new surroundings. Someone referred us to Frank Henderson who was coaching the Livingston Leopards youth football team. When Andrew joined the team and got to know the other players, his whole attitude toward Livingston changed. He loved playing football and he loved his teammates. In high school he was an all-district offensive tackle and set a state record in powerlifting. He went on to play college ball.He keeps in touch with all of his old teammates, both high school and college.

“While in college he called his mother and said, ‘Mom, I met a girl.’ Not long after that, Dakota became part of our family. They have two sons, ages 6 and 2. They are the joy of their grandparents.

“After college he came back to Livingston to coach football for three years. While on the golf course, some friends of mine suggested to Andrew that he should go to work for his dad at the title company. Kathy and I thought that was a good idea and we hired him. It turned out to be a great decision for all of us. He is now our CEO and in charge of running the company. His wife Dakota also works for the title company and is one of our lead closers. These two make a great team and they are certain to have a bright future.

“One day he asked me if he could go to Rotary Club with me and I said absolutely. He joined Rotary and got involved. He served as our president the last half of the year and will serve as our president for the coming year.

Andrew was no stranger to Rotary. He sang with the Honors Choir at Christmas and received a Rotary scholarship. He also serves on the board for Boys and Girls Club and the Chamber of Commerce. He will be the President of the Chamber next year. He also won 2nd place in chicken in the recent barbecue cook-off and 14th in brisket out of 40 teams.
“It’s my proud honor to present this Paul Harris Fellowship to my son and our president, Andrew Boyce.”
“This is an honor, especially coming after Dr. Luna,” Boyce said upon receiving the award. “When presented with opportunities, I say yes and figure it out later. That’s always been my way – in business and in life. It’s been a pleasure.”

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Goodrich trash service raises rates

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071722 goodrich trash service

By Brian Besch
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The Goodrich City Council heard a rate increase, purchased a laptop computer and discussed use of a heavy dumpster Thursday at the Goodrich Community Center.

Pro Star Waste raised its rates from $20.21 to $22.08 beginning next month. The rate increase is part a yearly evaluation. The 9.66% hike is the first increase in five years.

A laptop was purchased for Goodrich City Hall. Goodrich employees and council members will utilize the new device for Zoom meetings with Polk County Emergency Management and a few other organizations. Current equipment at city hall does not have the capacity to hold those meetings. Council members will also be able to complete training sessions via Zoom meetings on the laptop.

There remains an issue with the heavy dumpster in the parking lot at city hall. In June’s meeting, the council agreed that City Secretary Felicia Garrett would remain at city hall until 5 p.m., the time that the dumpster was to be removed. Pro Star Waste representatives have let city employees know that it will not always be possible to take the dumpster at 5:00 p.m.

Issues with an excess amount of items or items that are illegal to dump are all occurring overnight. Cameras will now be installed at the dumpster to deter those dumping illegally. Council expressed that they do not want citizens to lose the opportunity to dump items once a month, but will be forced to end the service if problems continue.

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071722 city thanks council Several representatives of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce attended the last Livingston City Council meeting to express their appreciation to the city for the use of Pedigo Park for the chamber’s recent Smoke in the Pines Barbecue Cookoff. Seated (l-r) Alderman Alan Cook, Alderman Marion A. “Bid” Smith, City Secretary Ellie Monteaux, City Manager Bill S. Wiggins, Mayor Judy B. Cochran, Alderman Clarke Evans, Alderman Elgin Davis and Alderman Dr. Ray Luna. Standing (l-r) Chamber Director Joyce Knierim, Chamber Board Chairman Craig Jones, Chamber Director Kim Brown Jernigan, Chamber Administrative Assistant Brenda Clifton and Chamber President/CEO Yvonne King. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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Council declares building dangerous

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071722 dangerous buildingPictured from Left to Right: Zachary Davies, Angela Stutts, James Arnett, Shirley Gilmore, Kevin Arnett, JR Chance, and T.D. Jennings.

From Enterprise Staff

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Onalaska City Council took action declaring a building located at 180 Live Oak in Canyon Park Subdivision to be dangerous or unsafe and to order that the building be vacated, removed or demolished. Although Jerry and Janet Morris, owners of the property, were slated to make a presentation to Council to show cause why the building should not be declared unsafe or dangerous, they did not show up for the meeting.

Council approved a resolution with the Onalaska Independent School District for the creation of an additional police officer position to be assigned to the school district through the school resource officer program. In related activity, Council approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the school district providing guidelines for school resource officers.

Police Department Policy No. 4.5 regarding uniforms, appearance and equipment was approved.

An interlocal agreement with the Polk County tax assessor-collector for services provided was approved.
In personnel matters, Council accepted the resignations of Court Clerk Mandi Hodge and full-time telecommunications operator Stephen Cook and approved the appointment of Tammy Seader as full-time court clerk and Cook as part-time telecommunications operator, both with the standard 90-day probationary period.

The Onalaska Police Department conducted 332 subdivision checks and 101 business checks during the month of June, making 502 calls, 11 arrests, issuing 84 warnings and 44 citations. The department drove 3,898.9 miles, worked 39 cases and served 16 warrants.

The Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department responded to 33 calls in the county and 32 calls in the city during the month of June. They responded to 2 mutual aid calls, 36 medical calls, six structure fires, 15 grass fires, two motor vehicle accidents, one lake rescue, two assist calls and three landing zones.

The city issued 15 permits or licenses during the month of June and performed eight inspections. There were six properties in Impala Woods and one in Twin Harbors where abatements of dilapidated structures were demolished and removed. The total number of structures demolished and removed on the seven properties was 12. There were six warnings issued and two charges filed for ordinance violations. There was one fire investigation.

The city library was open 17 days during the month of June and served 415 patrons. Thirty-seven holdings were added to the records and one deleted. There are currently 1,797 total patrons. Forty-eight volunteer hours were worked and there was income in the amount of $363.80.

City Administrator Angela Stutts reported that Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent advised that they are ready to start the rock work on Pine Grove and Sycamore in the Oakridge Subdivision. Stutts reported that she was advised of some cracks in the newly constructed road in Oakridge Subdivision and that it is most likely due to the extreme heat. She reported that she has started the process to have them repaired by contacting the engineering firm that did the work with the city’s contractor. She reported that upcoming projects include the widening and addition of rock to Hodge Bottom and the repair of Joy Street. She said the city is still seeking volunteer assistance to clean up around the city sidewalks.

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

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County is still under burn ban

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071722 county burn ban

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Polk County has been under a burn ban since June 28. The Polk County Commissioners Court enacted the burn ban due to the ongoing drought that the county and majority of the state have been experiencing.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons is issuing a warning to the public about regarding burning.

“I am asking everyone to help keep Polk County and its residents safe. The lack of rain has greatly increased our chances of forest fires, which in these conditions have the ability to get out of hand quickly, threatening lives and property,” Lyons said.

The sheriff said his office received a call Thursday of two forest fires in the northeast area of the county. Both fires were started by landowners burning household and residential trash. Both fires were quickly contained and extinguished with no structures or lives being lost.

Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran agreed. “Both of those fires were from illegal burn piles. It seems that people have no respect for burn ban regulations or burning in general. They weren’t that big but they could have potentially been,” Cochran said.

The Texas Forest Service, Livingston, Corrigan, Scenic Loop, Indian Reservation and Indian Springs volunteer fire departments (VFDs) responded, along with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and DPS Highway Patrol.

Lyons said during that same time, a fire was reported on Big Foot Wallace Trail in the Big Thicket Lake Estates Subdivision. A fallen tree knocked power lines down, sparking a grass fire which was quickly extinguished by the South Polk County Volunteer Fire Department.

Livingston and Scenic Loop VFDs, along with the Texas Forest Service and Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a woods/grass fire behind Grays Landing RV Park on Hwy. 59 north of Livingston Wednesday which also started from illegal burning.

Livingston, Segno and South Polk County VFDs also responded to a 50-acre forest fire in Schwab City on Tuesday.
All of the local fire departments are volunteer departments that survive on contributions and each time the firefighters go out on a call, they’re risking their own health and lives.

“I’d just tell the people that whatever department serves them, they need to support that department,” Cochran said.
In accordance with Section 352.081 of the Local Government Code, a person who knowingly or intentionally violates the burn ban commits a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.

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