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Polk County News - Breakout

Polk County Leo Club holds charter night

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The Polk County Leo Club, a service club that is a Junior Lions Club, recently held its charter night and festivities. Many students were unable to attend due to school activities. Some of the charter members are: (l-r) Brady Smith, Peyton Smith, Lili Nelaj, Jaden Pike, Brooklyn Goins, Vanessa Hernandez, Ryan Worthington, Aileen Nguyen, Mark Shank and Addison Shank. Courtesy photoThe Polk County Leo Club, a service club that is a Junior Lions Club, recently held its charter night and festivities. Many students were unable to attend due to school activities. Some of the charter members are: (l-r) Brady Smith, Peyton Smith, Lili Nelaj, Jaden Pike, Brooklyn Goins, Vanessa Hernandez, Ryan Worthington, Aileen Nguyen, Mark Shank and Addison Shank. Courtesy photo

From Enterprise Staff

The Polk County Leo Club recently held its charter night at First Baptist Church. The club is a service club that is a Junior Lions Club. It is sponsored by the Livingston Lions Club and is joining the club in service to the Polk County communities.

The charter night was filled with festivities in honor of the original members of the club. The Jr. ROTC opened the meeting by presenting the flags and singing the National Anthem. The Leo Sponsor and Lion Amy Shank opened the meeting, welcoming all Lions and family and friends of the Leos who were present.

Past District Governor Lion Daniel Shank installed the officers and inducted the members of the club. Past District Governor Lion Ken Jobe of the Woodville Lions Club gave a speech filled with information about the Leo Clubs and the Texas Lions Camp for children with special needs. Each original member in attendance got to sign the charter for the club.

Past District Governor and Sponsor Bobbie Fagan recognized those that have already given 20-plus and 30-plus hours of community service before the charter, gave closing remarks and thanked all those who attended.

The club is made up of youth from Polk County that are 12-18 years old. It is open to home schoolers, Christian schoolers and students from any school in Polk County.

The students have already begun serving the community by holding canned good drives, blanket drives, decorating doors and singing Christmas carols to Timberwood Nursing Home patients, working Trunks for Treats for the Greater Onalaska Lions Club, working the Polk County Youth Rodeo, working the District 2-S1 Convention for the Livingston Lions Club and working Polk County Clean Up Day.

They are looking for opportunities to serve the community. For information on becoming a member or receiving help from the club, contact Fagan at 936-967-0740 for additional information.

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SKYWARN storm spotter training available

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Storm STOCK

From Enterprise Staff

Mark your calendars. SKYWARN is a free storm spotter training opportunity that will be available from 6-8 p.m. March 22 at the Dunbar Gym located at 1103 Dunbar Ave. in Livingston.

SKYWARN is a volunteer program with nearly 400,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Attendees should expect to learn:

•Basics of thunderstorm development

•Fundamentals of storm structure

•Identifying potential severe weather features

What information to report

•How to report information

•Basic severe weather safety

The training opportunity is free and will be hosted by the Polk County Office of Emergency Management. To register for the training, visit the Polk County Emergency Management website at www.polkcountyoem.com.

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Recycling center hours change

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Recycle graphic

From Enterprise Staff

Beginning March 28, the Polk County Recycling Center will have new hours. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays and until 4:30 p.m. by appointment.

Polk County Recycling & Beautification (PCRB) is a nonprofit organization that has partnered with Polk County to provide a reliable recycling service for the residents of East Texas, sustained by grants, donations, and the sale of recyclable materials. The center can accept #1-#7 plastics, flattened cardboard and aluminum and steel “tin” cans.

Materials should be relatively clean which will make them more valuable to buyers, helping PCRB to support the program for years to come. Materials should also be presorted as much as possible.

The center is located at 10311 N. Hwy 146 in Livingston at the intersection of Hwy. 146 and FM 2665. A second location is available at 416 Onalaska Loop in Onalaska. It is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about PCRB and the recycling center, or to become a volunteer or make a donation, visit the website at pcrbtexas.org.

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Replacement historical marker dedicated at site of county’s first hotel

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Howard Davis unveils the new replacement Texas Historical Marker at the site of the old Andress Inn, Polk County’s first hotel, while Gary Davis and Joyce Johnston watch and applaud. Howard is a descendant of James Andress, owner of the hotel. Gary is a cousin of Howrd’s and a member of the Polk County Historical Commission. Also a member of the Polk County Historical Commission, Joyce serves as the marker chairperson. Photo by Emily Banks WootenHoward Davis unveils the new replacement Texas Historical Marker at the site of the old Andress Inn, Polk County’s first hotel, while Gary Davis and Joyce Johnston watch and applaud. Howard is a descendant of James Andress, owner of the hotel. Gary is a cousin of Howrd’s and a member of the Polk County Historical Commission. Also a member of the Polk County Historical Commission, Joyce serves as the marker chairperson. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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Saturday was a special day in the history of Polk County. A replacement Texas Historical Marker was unveiled and dedicated at the site of the old Andress Inn, the county’s first hotel. Located at what is now 101 W. Mill St. and the site of the Polk County Judicial Center, a marker was erected in 1967 and dedicated in 1968. However, when the demolition occurred prior to the construction of the judicial center, the marker was lost. Howard Davis, a descendant of James Andress, took it upon himself, with the assistance of the Polk County Historical Commission, to see that a replacement marker was erected at the site. A large group of people witnessed the dedication of the new marker during a ceremony Saturday.

Gary Davis, a member of the Polk County Historical Commission and a cousin of Howard Davis, spoke on behalf of Howard, who was unable to due to a bout with laryngitis.

“Thank you for attending the Andress Inn historical marker rededication ceremony. I would like to thank the county officials for consenting to the placement of this marker in their flower bed. And a big thanks to Sherry Baker for keeping these beds looking so nice. Also, I’d like to thank my fellow members of the Polk County Historical Commission and our museum curator, Betsy Deiterman. Particularly, I want to thank Mr. J.D. Coogler who provided much of the information about the Andress family. Mr. Coogler was raised only a few blocks from here and as a child, knew every bend in Choates Creek. He has written an account of these and many other places and all of his most interesting days, including his time in World War II flying 35 missions in a bomber over Europe. He is quite a man, a hero and soon to be 100 years old this summer. He is an inspiration to all of us and we really appreciate him on this day.

“I would also like to thank our recently retired marker chairperson, Joanne Westmoreland, who for over 20 years handled this most tedious of tasks, particularly in the midst of a pandemic. After three years of waiting, we finally have the marker. Thank you Joanne. And of course, thanks to our fearless leader, Patricia Snook.

“But most of all, we owe Howard Davis an enormous thanks for his desire to have this marker replaced, after the original, dedicated in 1968, was lost during the demolition and construction of the beautiful new Polk County Judicial Center in 2011. Contrary to popular belief, the historical commission does not purchase these markers. They must be sponsored by an individual or a group. Howard footed the bill for this marker. We would like to encourage folks with historic properties, cemeteries included, to apply for these markers which will provide education for many generations to come. Our current chair, Joyce Johnston, will be more than happy to assist you with this process. Howard, on behalf of our community, we would like to say a huge thank you.

“Howard is an Andress through his paternal grandmother Carrie Andress Davis. He has roots in Polk County from both sides of his family. His grandmother was married to Thomas B. Davis, who was a co-owner of the Davis Brothers store on Washington Avenue with his brother, my great grandfather H.B. Davis, in the early 1900s.”

Gary recognized the Andress and Davis family members in attendance – Carolyn Davis, Beverley Hill Smith, Patsy Davis Freeman and her son, Brian Freeman, and Gary’s mother, Sara Davis Poston.

“So, now about the famous East Texas hostelry, the old Andress Inn. The inn, built by James Andress around 1847, was many things – a community center, a hotel, a tavern, a restaurant, a bank, a post office, a stagecoach station, a judge’s office, a general store and a recreation hall. It even had a 10-pin bowling alley. General Sam Houston visited the Andress Inn and folklore has it that Ol’ Sam once led a cotillion here.

“James Andress was born in South Carolina in 1805 and moved as a child to Monroe County Alabama in 1818. He married Jerusha Haynes in 1829 and in 1840 they migrated to Livingston. There were many families from the south central part of Alabama who migrated to Livingston in the mid-1800s, some of which were the Nettles and the Peebles, as well as the Andress families. The Davis side of the family also moved from Alabama to Texas in 1877, but they moved to Walker County. H.B. and Tom Davis then moved here in 1903.

“But the Andress Inn is a special place for our family as it was documented by H.B. that when he arrived here by train on Feb. 4, 1903, the town, due to the huge downtown fire in 1902, was desolate. There was nothing in the way of transportation so he walked from the depot, at the head of Jackson Avenue, down the railroad tracks with his small family to this place and arranged to have his meals taken here at the Andress Inn. He then arranged for their full time lodging at Mrs. Mattie Scarborough’s home which was where the fire station is now located.

“Howard’s second great grandfather,Evant Francis Andress, was James Andress’ brother and he came to Polk County in the 1860s. Evant’s son, Stephen James Andress, was Howard’s great grandfather. Some of you may remember his great aunts, Fannie and May Andress, who were school teachers in Livingston for many years and lived in the neighborhood over by the old school. May was the longest serving board member of the First State Bank of Livingston until her death in 1966. Another of his aunts, Lydia, was married to Jerome Muller, who was president of the First State Bank of Livingston for many years. Howard’s grandmother, Carrie, returned to Livingston from Huntsville to visit her sisters often enough that both his father and uncle were both born in the Jerome L. Muller home which still stands up on North Street.

“James Andress was extremely instrumental in developing Polk County and Livingston. The first Texas Legislature in 1845 authorized the creation of Polk County and created a Board of Commissioners responsible for choosing the county seat. Livingston was chosen over Swartout and the Board of Commissioners appointed a  ‘jury of view’ to manage the sales of city lots. James was chosen for this responsibility and for surveying the town and naming the streets.

“The City of Livingston was laid out in May 1849, with 45 blocks of one acre each. Andress had the foresight to create 80-foot-wide streets. In 1846 he was commissioned to build the second Polk County Courthouse. When the third courthouse was built in 1854, the old building was moved next to the Andress Inn to serve as a dining hall. In 1856, Andress was appointed postmaster of Livingston and was a state senator in 1863 during the ninth Texas Legislature. He was a justice of the peace in Polk County until his death in 1872 and he held court in this inn.

“He owned many lots in town, as well as hundreds of acres on the Trinity River, in the Jack Camp and Tigerville communities, both now under the lake, where he and his family were farmers. He died in 1872 and is buried in the Old City Cemetery. The Andress Inn continued to be operated by his daughter, Harriet Carolyn Keys, and was renamed the Keys Hotel in later years. She died in 1907 and the hotel was torn down in July 1911 to make way for The Greer Mercantile Company building behind us, which was built in 1912. We are thankful that the county had the foresight to spare this old building and incorporate it into the judicial center. Preserving history is very important. Thanks for your attendance and thanks again Howard for making this day possible.”

Patricia Snook, chairman of the Polk County Historical Commission, welcomed everyone and introduced guests. County Judge Sydney Murphy led the pledge to the American flag and the pledge to the Texas flag. Londa Haynes sang America the Beautiful and Rev. Lynn Sasser gave the invocation. A reception followed at Miss Effie’s Cottage.

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City to hear annual financial report

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The annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2022 will be presented by Steve Palmerton and Kevin Bienvenu of Harper and Pearson Company P.C. during the regular meeting of the Livingston City Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Council is slated to discuss and consider possible action on a notice of termination of contract from Republic Services for the collection and disposal of solid waste and authorization to advertise for proposals for the collection and disposal of solid waste.

Council is expected to consider action on the appointment of an election judge for the May 6 general election.

The CenterPoint Energy acknowledgment of filing and review of 2023 Annual Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program interim rate adjustment to be effective May 1, 2023 will be reviewed and discussed.

Council will discuss and consider possible action on awarding both an administrative services contract and an engineering services contract for the preparation of the city’s  2023-2024 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program application and subsequent contracts if funded.

Council will call a show cause hearing regarding property located at 106 N. East Ave. owned by Joseph McCandless and Manda Kay McCandless. Additionally, Council will call a public hearing on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings at the same address and set it for April 11.

An executive session is on the agenda at which time Council will consult with the city attorney. Any action, however, will be taken upon return to open session.

City Manager Bill S. Wiggins will present his monthly update on projects and events.

Other items on the agenda include approval of the minutes of the Feb. 14 regular meeting and payment of accounts over $500.

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