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Polk County News - Breakout

Cornhole tournament added

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061922 cornhole tournament

To Smoke in the Pines barbecue cookoff event

From Enterprise Staff

A cornhole tournament is the newest addition to the 3rd annual Smoke in the Pines Barbecue Cookoff slated for Friday and Saturday at Pedigo Park and hosted by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce. The tournament will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The winner will receive a custom-made set of cornhole boards.

A purse of $5,500 is guaranteed for the barbecue cookoff, regardless of team count. However, the purse will increase to $7,500 if the team count reaches 75 teams. Registration is available on the chamber’s website at www.polkchamber.com and will continue to be available up until the day of the event.

“We’ll continue to register people up until the day of, but those 50-amp breakers go fast, and we only have a limited amount,” Chairman John Clifton said, adding that team spots are first come, first serve. “We’ll try to get teams in their same spot as last year, but the sooner you register the better.”

The barbecue cookoff is held in accordance with the International Barbecue Cookers Association (IBCA) judging rules and guidelines. The entry fee is $200 and includes the IBCA events, which are overall, brisket, pork spareribs and chicken. Ancillaries (cook’s choice and beans) are $20 for each event. Cook spaces are 30-feet by 35-feet and include water and 30-amp power. A limited number of 50-amp breakers are available so get them while they last. If extra room is required, an additional 30-feet by 35-feet space may be purchased for $75. Fifty-amp breakers cost on additional $35.

“We are anticipating a large turnout and can accommodate at least 100 teams with water, power and additional overflow space is needed,” Clifton said.

In addition to the barbecue cookoff are the companion events, the Smokin’ Hot Auto & Bike Show which features an array of classic cars and motorcycles, and the Kids ‘Cue event which is open to children between the ages of 5 and 17. The entry fee is $25 for each participant and will include a barbecue grill, an apron, charcoal and pork chops.

We are expecting a great turnout of some of East Texas’ finest classics, street rods and custom bikes,” Clifton said, adding that a variety of food and merchandise vendors will also be present.

For additional information, contact the chamber staff at 936-327-4929 or Clifton at 936-328-9864.

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SAAFE House looking for volunteers

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061622 saafe house

From Enterprise Staff

In order to better serve its mission which is the clients, the board and staff of SAAFE (Sexual Assault & Abuse-Free Environment) House have several upcoming projects and fundraisers in the works.

According to Kimberly Dyan Moore, president of the Board of Directors of SAAFE House, the organization is strategically planning for the future, which includes improved client services, trauma-informed care, and putting clients first while working to educate the community.

“Our priorities are our clients – victims of sexual assault and domestic violence — in our four-county coverage area, which includes Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker counties,” Moore said.

Toward that end, the organization, through the help of its donors, will complete the renovation of the Huntsville client residence very soon. Upon completion, the new shelter will provide an improved atmosphere for the clients to begin the healing process, Moore said.

She also said that to better serve the clients, and with a new fiscal year approaching, the board is restructuring the management team to improve the quality of service and to strengthen the SAAFE House mission and the advocacy provided to the communities it serves.

There are several fundraising events planned for the future in all counties in the SAAFE House area.

With positions on the board coming open for the new fiscal year, SAAFE House is looking for area residents who are passionate about its mission to help the organization continue to grow and would particularly like to see people from Polk, Trinity and San Jacinto counties come forward.

“We are also looking for volunteers from the communities we serve, as we’re always in need of them. We are committed to raising ours and our clients’ voices,” Moore said.

For additional information contact SAAFE House Community Relations Director Tammy Farkas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to the website at www.saafehouse.org.

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MannaFest continues to serve

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061622 mannfest summer program

Providing summer food boxes to families with school-age children

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Four hundred eleven families, or 1,164 individuals, were served during the month of May by volunteers at the MannaFest Food Pantry located at 803 W. Feagin in Livingston. The average number of families served per day was 46.

Families with school-age children are eligible to receive summer food boxes, a program that will continue throughout the summer.

Executive Director Marilyn Wise and Volunteer Beth Roberts attended the Southeast Texas Annual Agency Conference on May 6 in Beaumont.
“The bulk of our morning was taken up with a poverty simulation. Beth was a seven-year-old autistic child in a poverty-stricken family, and I was an 11-year-old boy living with his dad and his sister and her baby. We had to live through four weeks of navigating the ins and outs of jobs, food stamps, social service agencies, childcare and emergencies. Even though our weeks were less than 20 minutes each, we got the idea,” Wise said.

“As a member of Southeast Texas Food Bank, we are required to have a monitor visit once a year. This visit is to check to make sure we are following food safety measures and training requirements and that we are doing paperwork correctly, among other things. Most of my notes from our visit on May 25 involved application procedures, which we have corrected,” Wise said.

“Southeast Texas Food Bank is amazing, as they do not visit us to point out our faults, but to work with us to make sure we are doing the best we can for our customers. Also, this month they gave us a $1,000 grant to help with the purchase of five new stainless-steel tables, two of which have taken the place of tables that had surfaces not easily sanitized. The other three tables are rolling tables to help us with moving food around the pantry,” Wise said.

“On Saturday, May 28, 12 of our volunteers worked at EagleFest, an outdoor concert in Onalaska sponsored by the Eagle radio station. We collected almost 700 pounds of nonperishable food, plus $120 in cash. The radio station provides raffle tickets for those donating to us, and several lucky donors won prizes throughout the day,” Wise said. “This is the first time since 2019 that this event has been held and we were very glad to have it back.

“On June 6, 18 of us went to Margot Dorwin’s memorial service. We all wore our orange MannaFest shirts. Margot loved MannaFest, whether bagging beans or handling security for Tour of Homes. I think we showed not only how loved Margot was, but what a family we are,” Wise said.
“We received weekly donations from both Walmart and Dollar General, as well as 1,136 pounds from individuals. This month, we spent $1,388.53on hygiene items, as well as $3,249.09 on food, about half of which was for summer food boxes,” Wise said.

“We also had an extra expense this month. One of our trees needed to come down, and we had numerous tree branches on our roof which needed to be cut back. Elite Tree Services did all the work, including cleaning up and hauling away, for half of their bid price, for which we are very thankful,” Wise said.

The office will be closed Monday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday but will be open Saturday, July 2. The quarterly board meeting is slated for 1 p.m. July 11 at the First United Methodist Church.

“Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. And, as always, thank you for your support,” Wise said.

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New assisted living facility should have residents by the end of the month

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061622 new assisted living facilityThe new 24-bed facility should receive its license by the end of the month.

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Heidi Barnes, residence manager of Country Place Senior Living of Livingston located at 1860 N. Washington Ave., presented a program on the new assisted living facility to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently.

Barnes informed the Rotarians that the state was there June 6-8 and that the new 24-bed facility should receive its license by the end of the month.

“I’m way, way ready to have my residents come in,” she said, adding that 17 are already signed up.

Explaining the difference between assisted living and skilled facility, Barnes said skilled facility residents have 24-hour care, IVs, feeding tubes and would care, whereas assisted living provides 24-hour care and meds for residents, but that every person has their own apartment, or suite, with bath, and a kitchenette with microwave and fridge.

“When our residents move in, this is their home. They can come and go as they please. Some still drive. The benefit to assisted living is that we give our residents all the independence that they want and need. This is a new experience for some,” Barnes said.

“Country Place is very homey, it’s inviting. One of the most important things is socialization. Our facility offers five or six activities per day.Country Place has a full-time activity director. We can take them to Walmart shopping and to doctor’s appointments locally. We have a lot of fun. We’re always looking for volunteers. We have a grand piano. We play bingo. It’s all about finding ways to connect with them,” she said.

“All of our Country Places are identical. We only go to rural communities,” Barnes said, adding that there are eight in Alabama and that Livingston is the fifth in Texas.

“There are government benefits for veterans. If you were active in World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Persian Gulf you get benefits or if your spouse was in any of those, you get benefits. Married veterans get money too,” Barnes said. “This will probably be their last home. We are allowed to have them age in place. It gives a lot of comfort to the adult children in the family.

“Typically, our rooms range from $3,155 to $4,195. It costs about half the price of a skilled facility. We’re private-paid. We do take long-termhealth care insurance. I can’t push the VA benefits enough,” Barnes said, adding that as of now, they don’t take Medicaid.

“Residents may bring their own furniture and hang things on the walls, wall treatments, window treatments. And we are pet-friendly,” she said.
Barnes said the company owns additional land adjacent to the facility and that moving forward, they’re going to open a memory care facility. “They think of everything. If their dementia gets too bad, they can just move next door,” she said.

Barnes said Country Place also offers respite care for a week at a time in the event a caregiver is going on vacation or is burned out and just needs a break.

“I have a very supportive team,” she said.

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Local students receive degrees

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061622 locals recieve diploma

From Enterprise Staff

The following area students received degrees during the 2022 Spring semester at Sam Houston State University.

From Corrigan: Audrianna Cuevas, bachelor of science in criminal justice; Jessica Hampton, bachelor of science in education; Makenna Hughes, bachelor of science in nursing, cum laude; and Colton Lovell, bachelor of science in criminal justice.

From Livingston: Javier Casas, bachelor of science in health care administration; Teressa Estes, bachelor of business administration in accounting, magna cum laude; Jada Henderson, bachelor of science in sociology, cum laude; Lauren Lewis, bachelor of science in psychology; Rachael Presley, bachelor of business administration in accounting, summa cum laude; Ryan Rice, bachelor of science in psychology; Ethan Smith, bachelor of business administration in general business; and Jammie Trujillo-Cotton, bachelor of science in nursing, cum laude.

From Onalaska: Samuel Fuqua, bachelor of business administration in marketing; Patrick Hyland, bachelor of science in computing science, summa cum laude; and Jordan Jessup, bachelor of science in criminal justice, summa cum laude.

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