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Polk County News - Breakout

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS PARTNER

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4 16 scouts

American Legion Post 312 of Livingston has partnered with the local Polk County Scouts BSA Troops 97 and 197 as their new charter organization.  Some of the scouts and leaders were able to be at the presentation of the charter certificate made by Trinity District Scout Executive Kevin Ready. Both the troops and the legion are equally proud and excited to begin this new chapter together. The American Legion has strong, longstanding ties to the BSA. The two troops serve Polk County and surrounding areas, with open membership to those from Polk, Tyler and San Jacinto counties. Both the boys troop and the separate girls troop offer monthly activities, perform community service, learn leadership skills and meet weekly year-round. Troop 97 was chartered locally almost 70 years ago and has been a well-established fixture in Livingston. Girls Troop 197 was formed in 2020 and has continued to thrive since they began, despite the pandemic year. The troops continue to meet at First Methodist Church of Livingston, have Scout Sunday there every February and support each other. The Legion has shown much support of the troop, including most recently offering to help with a portion of the first-year membership fees for those from Legion families interested in scouting. Those interested in joining may find online applications and contact info at beascout.org and search for 77351. Those interested in helping teach merit badges, have presentations they could offer, first aid and CPR, nature learning or other educational and fun activities or tours, please contact the troop leaders listed online. Courtesy photo

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Onalaska City Council approves resolutions

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Onalaska logoFrom Enterprise Staff

Action related to resolutions authorizing submission of an application for the 2023-2024 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program’s community development fund competition was taken by the Onalaska City Council during its April 11 regular meeting. Resolutions authorizing signatories for the 2023-2024 application and future grants administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s TDA Go grants online were approved.

Council approved authorizing the mayor to sign the city’s consent to assignment contract between Piney Woods Sanitation and Live Oak Environmental LLC as required by contract.

In personnel matters, Council accepted the resignation of Stephen Cook, a part-time telecommunications operator, in good standing.

In police department activity for the month of March, Chief Jessica Stanton reported that the department conducted 304 subdivision checks, 115 business checks and responded to 364 calls, making 11 arrests and issuing 137 warnings and 74 citations. The department assisted other law enforcement agencies 13 times and the fire department and EMS seven times. Officers drove 2,733 miles, worked 23 cases, served 17 city warrants and conducted 21 follow-ups.

Reporting on the volunteer fire department’s activity for the month of March, Chief Jay Stutts said firefighters responded to 27 calls in the city and 23 calls in the county, expending 58 man-hours in the city and 89 man-hours in the county. Firefighters responded to two mutual aid calls, 29 medical calls, two structure fires, one vehicle fire, nine grass fires, one motor vehicle accident, four lake rescues, five assistance calls and two landing zone calls.

Fire Marshal/Building Inspector Lee Parrish reported that during the month of March there were three fire investigations for illegal burning. A citation was issued on one of them, one was unfounded with no prohibited materials observed being burned and the other has charges pending. He reported that his office assisted the police department four times and the fire department four times. Regarding code enforcement, he reported that he worked 25 cases. He also issued 25 permits/licenses during the month of March.

Reporting on behalf of the library, Sherry Brecheen said there are 1,763 patrons currently and a total of 15,505 holdings. The library was open 20 days in March and served 941 patrons, had a circulation of 761, a circulation per day of 38 and 89 instances of computer usage. Income during the month of March was $477.35 and 91.3 volunteer hours were worked.

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

 

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Tons of Cardboard

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TonsOfCardboard

Forty-four bales of corrugated cardboard, weighing 45,200 pounds, from the Polk County Recycle Center was loaded onto a truck Thursday, headed to a mill in Louisiana. A spokesperson for Polk County Recycling & Beautification (PCRB), the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that runs the local recycling center, said that unfortunately, the price of cardboard has dropped significantly since the last time a load was sold, so this load is only worth about $1,000. However, that is still 45,200 pounds of material that has been diverted from the Polk County Landfill. For more information on PCRB and the recycling center, go to pcrbtexas.org. Photo by Brian Besch

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Rotary anti-drug program still going strong

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Representatives of the local anti-drug program “Don’t Meth With Me” presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently. Following the program Rotary President Andrew Boyce presented a check to the organization on behalf of the club. (l-r) Jeff, Brenda Battaglia, Boyce, Blair McDonald, Ann McDonald and Simon Geller.  Photo by Emily Banks WootenRepresentatives of the local anti-drug program “Don’t Meth With Me” presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently. Following the program Rotary President Andrew Boyce presented a check to the organization on behalf of the club. (l-r) Jeff, Brenda Battaglia, Boyce, Blair McDonald, Ann McDonald and Simon Geller. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Several representatives of the local anti-drug program “Don’t Meth With Me” presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently.

Blair McDonald explained that the program is geared toward fifth-graders regarding the choices they make. He said the numbers to remember are 42, 84 and three because 42% of the people who try methamphetamine, or meth, once, will try it again; 84% never quit; and there is only a 3% recovery rate.

He explained that through the program they talk to the students about short-term goals and long-term goals and the choices they make, as well as who the people are that help them, be it parents, teachers, pastors or school counselors. They also teach the students what it is and what it does to people.

McDonald said the program is presented in every school district in the county and that he plans to continue it forever.

Simon Geller, a pastor and former police officer, told about the effects of meth and how they try to educate the students of the dangers of meth and provide them with an understanding of why not to do it. He spoke of the meth teeth, meth brain which is holes in the brain, meth sores and infections. “They’ve been high for 6 days and think bugs are crawling on them and they’re literally clawing their skin off.”

Another concern he addressed is how children are now being targeted with it by suppliers making it colorful and appealing and calling it candy.

Jeff, a former addict who is 10 years clean, also spoke of his experiences with meth use. He said it took over his whole life, that he would do anything to feed his addiction and that he spent 25 years in prison. He said that by doing meth he lost a lot of years of freedom, contracted hepatitis C and doesn’t have any teeth because they all rotted out. “Only bad things come from doing it. I couldn’t even be with my mom when she was dying of cancer because I was in prison.”

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Council holds show cause hearing

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City of Livingston logoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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A show cause hearing regarding property at 106 N. East Ave. owned by Joseph McCandless and Manda Kay McCandless was held by the Livingston City Council during its April 11 regular meeting.

A public hearing on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated building and cleanup of the property was held at the Jan. 10 meeting. However, following testimony by City Attorney James W. Wright, Fire Marshal/Code Inspector Josh Mohler and the McCandlesses, Council approved giving the homeowners 90 days to implement a rehabilitation plan, stressing that first and foremost, the property needed to be secured.

The property is a residential structure and outbuildings 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.

McCandless informed Council of progress made, including cleaning the inside out, removing the debris, mowing the yard and most importantly, securing it. He reviewed his plans for rehabilitation of the house. Following much discussion, Council approved giving him six additional months, with another show cause hearing slated for the October meeting to see what the status is.

The appointment of Rebecca Marie McAllister as an alternate judge for the May 6 general election was approved. During its March meeting, Council appointed Heather Weber as election judge but the Texas Election Code requires an alternate election judge be appointed as well. Three council members are up for reelection – Clarke Evans, Elgin Davis and Dr. Ray Luna. All three incumbents filed and a fourth person, Bobby Jackson Sr., also filed.

Although an unexpected expense that was not budgeted, Council approved an expenditure for the replacement of a fuel tank at the Livingston Municipal Airport with the amount not to exceed $250,000. City Manager Bill S. Wiggins apprised Council that a recent inspection revealed that the liner in the existing tank is damaged.

“The airport is very important to us and this is not something we budgeted but it’s needed. It’s been down since January. I don’t want to delay this,” Wiggins said, adding that the cost is expected to be approximately $187,000 but they wanted to earmark a bit more for unexpected contingencies. This cost improves the removal and destruction of the old fuel tank and installation of the new tank.

Council Member Dr. Ray Luna inquired what the city charges for fuel and expressed interest in looking at attempting to adjust that price in an attempt to recoup the funds spent on the new tank. Wiggins said that could be looked into and a budget adjustment done at the end of the year if needed.

Allen Borchers, a local resident who is a retired traffic manager at Houston Intercontinental Airport and a flight instructor, addressed Council, remarking that he would encourage them to approve a no-lead tank instead of a low-lead tank, as that is what is coming in approximately two years. Council thanked him for his input.

Council approved payment application number one in the amount of $508,742 to Ameresco Inc. This is the company that is handling the city’s citywide conversion to new self-reading water and electric meters which will be starting soon.

In activity related to the 2023-2024 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program, Council approved two proposed resolutions – one authorizing the submission of an application, to include civil rights policies, for the community development fund competition and other authorizing signatories for the 2023-2024 application and future grants administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s TDA Go Grants Online. The city is applying for a $500,000 grant for the repair of city streets, including concrete, curbs and gutters. If the grant application is successful, the city’s part will be $50,000.

During his monthly city manager’s report, Wiggins updated Council on various upcoming events and ongoing development projects.

            Other business included approval of the accounts over $500 and minutes of the March 14 meeting.

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