Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Polk County News - Breakout

Large Business of Year named

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.

  • Hits: 175

Rotary given COVID update

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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

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.

  • Hits: 332

Three city employees retiring

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

City of Livingston LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

  • Hits: 140

TRA celebrates longtime employee

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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

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.”

  • Hits: 369

Commissioners approve facility use policy

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

PCE CommissionersApproveWendy Timm, an employee of the Polk County Clerk’s Office, was recognized Tuesday during the Polk County Commissioners Court meeting. Timm was recently recognized as exemplary in 2021 by the Vital Statistics Registration Process for the State of Texas. Courtesy photo

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

In old business, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a policy regarding the use of county buildings, grounds and facilities during its regular meeting Tuesday.

“Under Chapter  291 of the Local Government Code, per TAC (Texas Association of Counties) guidelines, the policy should recover the cost of any non-public use and should prohibit the use of any political purposes. Otherwise, the county would be required to provide the same access and use to any organization that requests it,” Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy said.

“We’ve prepared a proposed policy for the use of buildings, grounds and facilities. As it’s written, it does not stop or preclude the public from using the county-owned facilities. It just outlines the process for requesting the use of county-owned properties. This one excludes the Polk County Commerce Center and Dunbar–the commerce center because we have a long-term contract for that and Dunbar because it’s a designated emergency management area for sheltering. And Dunbar basically has its own agreement that’s already been set up that includes maintenance, utilities, setting up, everything,” Murphy said.

Following a public hearing in which no one spoke, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a request from Ken Shipman to cancel a portion of Four Corners Subdivision Phase 4, Block 1, Lots 15-30 and Lots 65-73, Block 3 (removing lots) and re-plat the same as for Four Corners Phase 4 (The Park), also known as Lot 29A.

“Basically, this is a section that was not developed  by the original Four Corners Subdivision,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent said. “I think Mr. Shipman has taken ownership now. He’s just readjusting some of this, combining some lots to have for his personal use and I think he’s going to build  homes on the other lots.”

Commissioners approved rescheduling the regular commissioners court session set for Feb. 22 to Feb. 18. The  change was necessitated due to the Court’s attendance at the V.G. Young Institute of County Government School for Commissioners Courts in Bryan.

A memorandum of understanding between Polk County and the Polk County Precinct 1 constable to provide constable reserve deputy patrol in Precinct 1 was approved.

“Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes has requested approval of another MOU to allow Keagan Newman to be compensated $20 an hour for up to 30 hours per week to provide patrol services in Precinct 1,” Murphy said.

Commissioners approved a request from Sheriff Byron Lyons to purchase a 30-foot by 40-foot storage building for the sheriff’s office to store supplies and personal protective equipment to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the sheriff’s office and jail. Rocking P Construction submitted the successful bid of $33,930  with an additional $4,798 expense for shelves. The project will be paid for with money available in the capital outlay buildings fund.

A proposal from AT&T Services for enhanced cybersecurity measures for elections, to be funded by the Help America Vote Act grant, was approved for the Polk County Clerk’s Office. The proposed total is $40,044.54 and will be funded by grant funds received last year that have been extended from 2021 to 2022.

Commissioners also approved a proposal from Kofile for archival digitization of historical records for the Polk County Clerk’s Office, to be paid from the county clerk records management fund.

Nuisance abatement hearing determinations–and orders to abate the nuisances–on Cause Nos. ET0010-ET0019, all in Precinct 1, were approved.

Following a recommendation from Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis, Commissioners approved a proposal from Shepherd Surveying Company of Abilene to determine the appropriate boundary lines between school lands owned by Polk County and land owned by the Sunday McAdams family with the responsibility for the cost to be shared by both parties.

In old business, Commissioners approved minutes of the Dec. 14 regular meeting.

During informational reports, Murphy recognized Wendy Timm of the Polk County Clerk’s Office who was recently recognized as exemplary in 2021 by the Vital Statistics Registration Process for the State of Texas.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet apprised the court that he and Purvis recently attended a Texas Department of Transportation Meeting in Lufkin. He reported on upcoming changes regarding the off-system bridge replacement system regarding signs and different things.

“As of right now, there’s not any plans for relief on the traffic in Livingston regarding a loop or anything like that. It’s pretty much status quo,” Overstreet added.

In personnel matters, Commissioners reviewed personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and also reviewed an authorized emergency hire at the sheriff’s office.

Commissioners approved the consent agenda which included:

The schedules of bills;

An order designating surplus property;

Renewal of the Americare contract for primary EMS/ambulance service for Polk County;

Enrollment in the Texas Association of Counties annual cybersecurity training;

Receipt of the constable warrant service program quarterly report for the period ending Dec. 31, 2021;

The appointment of Keagen Newman to reserve deputy constable for Precinct 1;

The appointment of Anthony Brugnone to reserve deputy fire marshal;

Ratifying approval of the request from Republic Services for Sam Houston Electric Cooperative overhead easement at the Polk County Landfill;

Use of $5,400 from the justice court building security fund balance for security improvements for the Precinct 4 justice of the peace courtroom;

Updating signature cards for the county treasurer on all bank accounts; and

The sheriff’s request to purchase two 2022 Ford Explorers for jail transport in the amount of $62,222.50, to be funded from insurance payment on damaged vehicles.

Kevan Wood of First Baptist Church of Livingston opened the meeting with prayer.

  • Hits: 393