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Military care package recipients send thanks

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Boots graphicFrom Enterprise Staff

The Families and Individuals Thanking Heroes (F.A.I.T.H.) Military Support Group of Livingston recently received some thank you letters from members of the military who received care packages from the group.

Formed in June 2006 to provide encouragement and support to military personnel while they are away from home, the group gathers to pack boxes on the second Thursday of each month.

Following are two of the letters recently received:

“On behalf of the Contracting Office here in Djibouti, we wish to say thank you for the thoughtful care-package sent to us recently. Any taste or touch of home is always welcomed here as our deployments are long and the distance from family and friends great. It is humbling to know of such caring and patriotic citizens who keep us in their thoughts and prayers daily. Toilet paper and wet-wipes are my favorites. Now who would think toilet paper would be a premium? Well, you get toilet paper here, but it is … less than quality if you know what I mean. Never thought I would be thankful to see simple things like that. Wet-wipes are used in many ways as well. The pecan pies … normally I would not buy Walmart pecan pies, being spoiled on the older vendors where

you saw them all the time. But when you never see a pecan pie here, it’s like a filet mignon when you do lol. Again, thank you so very much for the care package and we just want you to know your efforts and generosity are greatly valued and appreciated from afar. Very Respectfully, The Navy Contracting Office Personnel, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti”

“Hello and Happy Holidays FAITH Military Support Group. We have received so many care packages here in Kosovo, Europe and would like to say a warm thank you. The smallest donations such as pens and paper go a long way for soldiers here to be able to communicate with friends and family. We cannot thank you enough. There are a lot of things soldiers find in these packages that they miss from home. The cards and childrens’ drawings bring smiles to all of our faces. Support like this never fails to remind us why what we do is worth it. Everything in these packages is put to great use. Soldiers share and nothing is taken for granted. Thank you again for all that you do for us. With love, U.S. Army Soldiers”

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Large Business of Year named

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large business namedFrom Enterprise Staff

McWilliams and Son Heating and Air Conditioning has been named Large Business of the Year by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce and will be recognized at the chamber’s 86th Annual Awards Banquet slated for Jan. 27 at the Polk County Commerce Center.

Kentucky Derby Gala is the theme of this year’s banquet which will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner, remarks, awards and live entertainment. The culmination of the annual banquet is the presentation of the Small Business of the Year, the Large Business of the Year and the Polk Countian of the Year.

After 45 years in business, McWilliams and Son opened its Livingston location in 2018. Based on Christian principles and using the basic guidelines of good customer service, hard work and innovation, McWilliams and Son continues to thrive with over 74 employees currently.

With economic growth in mind, McWilliams and Son has emerged as a substantial contributor to the Polk County community. Through financial contributions and encouraging team members to serve on various boards for charitable organizations such as Polk County Area Go Texan, Childrenz Haven, Boys and Girls Club of East Texas, Ambassadors of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Main Street and Walk to End Alzheimers, the company continues to make an impact.

The company donates auction items for many fundraising events and encourages team members to participate in community events. McWilliams and Son also gives unselfishly to serve those in need. After the devastating tornado in Onalaska, the company mobilized a team to serve over 1,600 meals to the community.

This outstanding company not only gives back to the local community, but constantly invests in every employee. This year, McWilliams and Son hosted private events for employees and their families at water parks and theaters, as well as a spouse appreciation event to express appreciation for their support during the busy work season. The company provides and serves meals to team members who have lost loved ones. They celebrate team members’ accomplishments and milestones with gifts for house warmings, new babies and graduations.

The company mission statement is to Inspire the team members, Create a great customer service and Engage in the community (ICE). This mission reminds team members to keep cool and focus on those simple, yet important things. After all, “We’re not comfortable until you are” extends not only to the customers, but to the team members and the communities that McWilliams and Son serves.

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Rotary given COVID update

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Covid graphicBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Dr. Nagakrishnal Nachimuthu, an internal medicine and infectious disease specialist with Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group, addressed the Livingston Rotary Club recently, presenting updates regarding COVID-19, treatments and vaccines.

“It’s so evolving. By the time I finish, there may be four more updates. In March of 2020 we didn’t expect it to get this bad, but here we are–into the second year of it,” Nachimuthu said.

Regarding some of the outpatient treatment options for COVID-19, she said the FDA has issued emergency use authorization for 2 new oral antiviral agents–Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.

“These oral medications are in limited supply and are recommended for mild to moderate COVID-19 patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe disease,” Nachimuthu said.

“Previously available was the monoclonal antibody infusion which has reduced activity against the omicron variant of COVID-19 so another monoclonal antibody Sotrovimab is recommended and this has emergency use authorization from the FDA for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients at risk of progression to severe disease,” she said, adding, “Remdesivir IV for three days as an outpatient is another treatment which has shown reduction in the risk of hospitalization.

“Evusheld can be used as a pre-exposure prophylaxis in adults and adolescents who do not have the COVID-19 infection but have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 infection and who are immune-compromised or not fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine due to severe adverse reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine,” Nachimuthu said.

She addressed the available vaccines and their respective booster schedules.

“The vaccines available in the U.S. are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. With Pfizer, it’s two shots, 21 days apart and a booster five months after completing the primary series. The primary series is available for children five years and older. Immuno-compromised individuals five years and older should get an additional primary shot 28 days after the second shot. A booster is available for those 12 years and older and the booster can be either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine,” Nachimuthu said.

“The Moderna vaccine is two shots 28 days apart with a booster five months after completing the primary series. Immuno-compromised individuals 18 years and older should get an additional shot 28 days after the second shot. The booster is available for those 18 years and older and the booster can be either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine,” Nachimuthu said.

“The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is one shot and a booster with either Pfizer or Moderna two months later,” she said.

“There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there but there are no metals, no chips, no latex and no magnets in the vaccines,” she said, adding that the vaccine is safe for pregnant people and does not lead to infertility.

Asked if one should get a COVID vaccine if they’ve already had COVID, she said, “Yes, because we do not know how long and how well the natural immunity protects us. However, we do know that COVID-19 vaccines provide a high level of protection. A study done in Kentucky suggests that people who have recovered from natural immunity are two times more likely to be re-infected if they are not vaccinated compared to being vaccinated after recovery from natural immunity.

“Side effects of the vaccine are most commonly redness, swelling and pain at the site of the injection, but one may also have fatigue, fever, chills and nausea. Rarely myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, has been reported with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. With the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome has been reported where there are blood clots in large blood vessels and low platelets,” Nachimuthu said.

“The other thing is a lot of people keep saying the omicron is mild. Yes, for the vaccinated but the unvaccinated can still end up in the hospital or on a ventilator,” she said.

“New variants are constantly being deployed. Variants will continue to happen. The bottom line is if the community does not have the immunity of the vaccine, this will be ongoing. If the majority of people are vaccinated then the infection can’t progress,” Nachimuthu said.

Asked when COVID will be treated like the flu, Nachimuthu said, “When we have a level of immunity in most of our population. The unvaccinated are two times more likely to get COVID a second time than those who are vaccinated.

“We’re in a better place than we were a year ago. The solution is the majority of our population getting vaccinated,” she said.

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Three city employees retiring

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City of Livingston LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Two long-time City of Livingston employees will be honored with retirement receptions later this month, Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins informed the Livingston City Council during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Utility Billing Clerk Carla Dunning’s retirement reception is slated for 2-3:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at the city’s public works building located at 222 Pan American Dr. Dunning’s been with the city for 25 years. A retirement reception honoring Electric Superintendent Dewayne Oates is slated for 2-3:30 p.m. Jan. 31, also at the public works building. Oates has been with the city for 42 years. Also retiring after 15 years with the city is Linda Hammond who opted out of a reception.

Noting that the city’s general election is slated for May 7, Wiggins said candidate 

packets have been prepared and are ready for pickup. Those who are up for reelection include Mayor Judy B. Cochran and Aldermen Marion A. “Bid” Smith and Alan Cook. The first day to file an application for a place on the ballot is Jan. 19 and the deadline is 5 p.m. Feb. 18.

Wiggins reported that the Livingston Municipal Library has been closed for inventory but will reopen to the public on Jan. 18. Visit www.livingstonlibrary.net for upcoming programs and events.

Council called a public hearing for Feb. 8 on the determination of an unsafe and/or dilapidated building. It is the abandoned building located at  522 W. Church St. in Livingston, situated on a called 100 x 75 foot tract of land situated in the M.L. Choate Survey, A-15, Polk County, Texas, as described in a deed dated May 20, 1996 from Kathleen Squyres Garner and Townie M. Squyres to Fred Jarrell, recorded in Volume 1017, Pages 055 et seq. of the Official Public Records of Polk County, Texas.

Membership in the Alliance for Interstate 69 Texas was approved by Council, as was payment of the membership fee in the amount of $1,150.

Council also approved a plat for Wells Development located just north of the Livingston Independent School District Administration Building on Hwy. 146. The development will begin with one duplex with plans to expand to a total of eight.

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

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TRA celebrates longtime employee

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The Trinity River Authority (TRA) held a celebration Friday in honor of project manager Mark Waters who is retiring after 32 years.  PHOTOS BY BRIAN BESCH | PCEThe Trinity River Authority (TRA) held a celebration Friday in honor of project manager Mark Waters who is retiring after 32 years. PHOTOS BY BRIAN BESCH | PCE

By Brian Besch
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The Trinity River Authority (TRA) held a celebration Friday in honor of project manager Mark Waters, who is retiring after 32 years. Waters oversees the entire operation of five departments at the Lake Livingston Project.

His time at TRA began in November of 1989, with a degree in wildlife and biology management, and minor in parks administration from Texas Tech University. He got involved with the youth camp Lake Tomahawk during the summers of 1981-89, which is licensed through the State of Texas. He performed water sampling and testing for the lake, using the lab at TRA and making acquaintances.

“I don’t know if we will do that or not, but I am looking forward to a change. We have a three-day weekend coming up and everybody is happy and feeling good. My friends that have already retired tell me that every night is like Friday night and every day is like a Saturday when you are retired. I’m ready for that.” Mark Waters TRA Project Manager Retires“I don’t know if we will do that or not, but I am looking forward to a change. We have a three-day weekend coming up and everybody is happy and feeling good. My friends that have already retired tell me that every night is like Friday night and every day is like a Saturday when you are retired. I’m ready for that.” Mark Waters TRA Project Manager RetiresWaters also served as an eighth-grade earth science teacher at Livingston ISD. His wife taught physical education at Timber Creek Elementary for 35 years.

The hydroelectric project has been one of the largest during Waters’ time at TRA. The five-year stretch over 2015-20 was the wettest in Polk County since the dam was constructed, causing delays in the project.

“Finally, everything is in now and it is operational and producing electricity,” Waters said. “Now, as it has worked out, we are in a dryer cycle and we have one gate operational because there is not enough flow. It is at a third of its capacity right now, because we don’t have the flow that normally this time of year we do.”

He was also involved in the rehab project around 2000, where gates to the dam were reconditioned with new sealers, painting and steel. The electrical components of the spillway were updated with a control room, where the gates could be raised and lowered from indoors. In 2005, Hurricane Rita hit, taking half of the rock from the face of the dam – an $8 million project funded by FEMA.

There is currently another rehab underway, where the gates will be reconditioned and recoated after 22 years. The old paint contained lead, needing removal and containment.

There are plans to travel in retirement. Waters said his son is a pilot with Southwest Airlines, making travel easier. Friends are trying to pressure him into purchasing a recreational vehicle to travel along in a group.

“I don’t know if we will do that or not, but I am looking forward to a change,” Waters said. “We have a three-day weekend coming up and everybody is happy and feeling good. My friends that have already retired tell me that every night is like Friday night and every day is like a Saturday when you are retired. I’m ready for that.”

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