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Chamber accepting nominations for annual awards gala

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LivingstonChamberofCommerceFrom Enterprise Staff

Nominations are being accepted for the 87th annual Awards Gala of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce slated for Jan. 26 at the Polk County Commerce Center.

The chamber will recognize and honor a large business, a small business, a non-profit organization, community service awards such as teachers, first responders or community volunteers and an outstanding Polk County citizen. Nomination forms may be printed from the chamber’s website at polkchamber.com or picked up at the chamber office at 1001 Hwy. 59 Loop North in Livingston. Once completed, the nomination form may be submitted online, emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., faxed to 936-327-2660 or dropped off at the office.

The large and small businesses of the year awards will recognize two businesses (one with 21 or more employees and one with 20 or less employees) that have been operational for at least three years in Polk County and have demonstrated professional integrity, financial stability, excellence in customer service, success through innovation and a commitment to the community. The businesses must be current members of the chamber.

The non-profit organization of the year, which also must be a current member of the chamber, will honor a non-profit organization or church that invests time and resources in the community. The recipient should demonstrate the action required to create awareness around the needs of others and take steps to meet those needs through education, connection and service.

Up to five community service awards will be presented, including, but not limited to, the following descriptions – teachers, first responders, community volunteers, etc. These should be people who have made a positive life-altering investment in the children of Polk County, people who are familiar faces and names for their generous time and service to the community and those who serve above and beyond the call of duty either in an outstanding circumstance or someone who has a history of being the one everyone can count on. These award recipients do not have to be members of the chamber.

The outstanding Polk County citizen should be someone who has made a significant contribution to Polk County through time, actions, talents, dedication, leadership and striving to make Polk County a better place. It should also be someone who has a passion for helping others in the community.

The deadline to submit nominations is end of day Dec. 16. For additional information, contact the chamber office at 936-327-4929.

 

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County seeking legislative amendment

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The Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing National Adoption Month to officials from the Department of Family and Protective Services during its regular meeting Tuesday. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet, Ashley Goodwin, Marlee Duong, Angel Gillispie, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Precinct 2 Ronnie Vincent and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis. Photo by Emily Banks WootenThe Polk County Commissioners Court presented a proclamation recognizing National Adoption Month to officials from the Department of Family and Protective Services during its regular meeting Tuesday. (l-r) Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson, Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet, Ashley Goodwin, Marlee Duong, Angel Gillispie, County Judge Sydney Murphy, Precinct 2 Ronnie Vincent and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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

A resolution in support of an amendment of criminal courts’ jurisdiction was approved by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday.

“Judge Brown, Judge Kitchens and Judge Wells have come together and expressed their desires to streamline the number of court cases by appealing to our legislators to amend legislation so that their statutory job responsibilities match and to allow Judge Brown to handle non-trial criminal cases,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “This would allow the consolidation of some cases under one judge. It would resolve some of the backlog and it would simplify the process. We’ve spoken with our legislators and they are more than happy to sponsor it but they need a resolution from the Court.

In other activity affecting the local courts, Commissioners approved the purchase and installation of audio/video recording systems in the Polk County Judicial Center courtrooms and the commissioners courtroom. The recording systems will cost $155,377 and will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Court canvassed the results of the Nov. 8 general election. According to County Clerk Schelana Hock, 16,854 people voted, which was a better turnout than the last governor election in 2018.

Action to transition credit card processing in the county clerk’s office from EZ-Net to Certified Payments by Deluxe was approved. This change will allow people to make payments online.

Based on the recommendation of Emergency Management Coordinator Courtney Comstock, the Court approved an agreement with True North for disaster debris monitoring and consulting.

A request for a capital purchase to be paid from the fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2022 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt was approved, specifically, a request from the Precinct 4 justice of the peace office to purchase an auto date and time stamper, not to exceed $1,025. The purchase was approved although it did come in at $65 more than the original amount.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed an authorized emergency hiring at the jail. Fiscal year 2023 budget revisions, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were also approved.

The Court signed a proclamation recognizing National Adoption Month and presented it to Ashley Goodwin, Marlee Duong and Angel Gillispie, who are with the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Grants and Contracts Coordinator Jessica Hutchins presented her annual report to the Court. There are presently 21 active grants that are funding seven personnel positions and 32 projects within the county, as well as other departmental services and equipment. Additionally, the county currently has 288 active contracts.

Items on the consent agenda included:

•Approval of the minutes of the Nov. 1 emergency session and the Nov. 8 regular meeting;

•Approval of the schedules of bills;

•Approval of an order designating surplus property;

•Receipt of the county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;

•Approval of an update to the master street address guide;

•Ratification of the renewal of an agreement dated July 1, 2022 between Polk County and Motivation Education & Training Inc.;

•Ratification of the General Land Office Amendment No. 3 Contract 20-065-018-C064 to extend the contract;

•Approval of an interlocal agreement renewing services with Harris County for postmortem examinations;

•Approval of a sheriff’s request to opt out of the Texas 1033 Program effective Dec. 31, 2022; and

•Approval of the use of $7,724 from maintenance capital outlay buildings (budgeted funds) for the air conditioning/heater replacement at the Polk County Gun Range.

•Lindell Mitchell, minister of the Livingston Church of Christ, opened the meeting with

prayer.

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Local vet explains food inflation

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112822 MiltonThielDr. Milton Thiel, a local veterinarian and Rotarian, was the Rotary Club of Livingston recently. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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“Agriculture has always been near and dear to me,” Dr. Milton Thiel, a local veterinarian and Rotarian, said when he presented a program to the Rotary Club of Livingston recently regarding food inflation and why it is not coming down any time soon.

“Now that I’m retired, I have more time to read and watch my phone. Maybe a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” Thiel said. Calling his program “A View From Here,” he said he derived the information from Livestock Weekly, which is published in San Angelo, and the National Beef Wire.

“There are about 600 million acres of available land and about a 1/3 of land mass of the U.S. is suffering drought. As of Nov. 1, nearly everything west of the Mississippi River is in some stage of drought. The Mississippi River is lower than it’s ever been. Lake Meade is at about 30% capacity. The reason for concern is that seven states depend on the water from the Colorado River,” Thiel said.

“California and Arizona supply nearly 50% of the vegetables grown in the U.S. With the drought, a lot of this land is not being planted. Farmers are having to cut back the acreage they plant so that they have enough water for what they do plant,” Thiel said, throwing in the interesting fact that it takes over 28 gallons of water to grow one ounce of almonds. He also said that the tomato harvest out west was 50% of what it’s been in the past.

“Moving on to Florida, they’re having the opposite problem. Hurricane Ian caused $1.8 billion worth of damage to the state’s crops and agriculture infrastructure. The biggest loss was in citrus with $416-$675 million in losses. Florida produces 60% of the citrus consumed in the U.S. And the storm damage got 11% of the trees so the next few years there will be reduced supplies. Ten to 15% of non-citrus fruits and vegetables were lost in the storm,” he said.

Regarding beef prices, Thiel said the COVID pandemic and the production lines at packing plants are what has caused the increase. “Up until now, prices have been due to the bottleneck in the packing plants and the packers made a lot of money. It was said that they were making up to $900 a carcass.

“With the drought, there’s been a tremendous liquidation and culling of cattle. Today there is a record amount of beef in cold storage but by next year, this surplus will be used up and there will be fewer calves coming to market due to fewer cows. In July the total number of cattle was 98.8 million, which is down 2% from 101 million. In Texas that number’s probably down 10 or 15%.

“Feed for livestock is more expensive. The drought has decreased the amount of forage as well as corn needed to fatten them,” he said.

Thiel told about the Asian long-haired tick, a recently identified tick in the U.S. that is spreading westward from the East Coast. “It carries a protozoan that causes anemia in animals. This tick is self-cloning, meaning it doesn’t have to have a mate to reproduce. So just one tick can start a huge infestation.

“The highly pathogenic avian flu has caused millions of chickens to be destroyed, resulting in an increase in the price of chicken and turkeys. In Iowa, 13.4 million birds have been put to sleep since the spring.
“Internationally, we have the war in Ukraine which has impacted food production – specifically, 29% of global wheat exports, 32% of barley exports, 17% of corn exports. The war has impacted export, especially to the world’s poorest countries. Three hundred million people depend on this food source. People in the U.S. spend 6.7% of their annual disposable income on food. Poor countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, India, Turkey, Russia and even Brazil spend 20-70% of their income on food.
“China imports 89% of its energy and 72% of its food. China is the United States’ largest agricultural trading partner. However, if China can source soybeans or beef from Brazil, they will,” he said.
“Other factors internationally, Europe has had its driest year in 500 years. China and India were also in drought. Pakistan was flooded.
“The world is on the brink of a global food crisis. There needs to be more acres of food planted. To balance the supply and demand, the world needs 25 million more acres of arable land. The United States doesn’t have it. Europe doesn’t have it. Ukraine doesn’t have it. Who has it? Russia and South America. So, expect more of the Amazon to be closed. Russia, with its large land mass and cold climate, will benefit from global warming due to more acres becoming arable. In conclusion, food inflation is here to stay for a while in my opinion,” Thiel said.

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Volunteers sought to help pack care packages

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CarePackage Stock

From Enterprise Staff

Three hundred to three hundred fifty Christmas care packages for the troops will be packed beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 at Livingston Physical Therapy located at 305 W. Mill St. in Livingston and additional volunteers are being sought.

Anyone needing a gift for a family member or friend is encouraged by F.A.I.T.H. Military Support Group to sponsor a Christmas box for the troops for $40. Christmas is right around the corner and F.A.I.T.H. (Families And Individuals Thanking Heroes) is asking for the community’s help in sending 300-350 care packages for local heroes protecting the country. It is a way to honor the service men and women who are away from their families during the holidays.

Those wishing to sponsor a box can include a signed note to the service member or honor a friend or family member as a gift. A letter will be sent to the recipient to inform them of the contribution as well as a note to the service member information them of the person honored.

F.A.I.T.H. has been sending care packages every month since 2006. The organization was formed to provide encouragement and support to military personnel while they are away from home. They meet at 5:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month (except December) at Livingston Physical Therapy at 305 W. Mill St. in Livingston. In December, they meet at 8:30 a.m. on the first Saturday.

Each hero will receive three to four boxes during the holiday season, including a food box and Christmas boxes to share with their buddies.

More than 23,000 care packages have been shipped to the troops since 2006. F.A.I.T.H. is a charitable non-profit 501(c)3. Volunteers are comprised of committed and proud individuals in the community, service organizations, local church groups, local businesses, youth groups from various schools, the garden club and the LHS NNDCC.

Only twice since 2006 has the organization missed sending packages – once due to Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the other time during the 2020 COVID pandemic when they had to regroup to find supplies and determine how to pack the boxes.

Postage for the care packages continues to increase and the current cost is $18.45 for large overseas boxes and $15 for medium domestic boxes. The group is presently sending an average of 125-plus boxes per month with an average monthly postage cost of approximately $3,000.

The community contributes items for the packages but the organization still supplements the donations with additional items. Inflation is hitting them hard and the cost to fill the box is increasing. One hundred percent of all cash donations goes for supplies for the care packages, postage and labels. All administrative tasks are donated.

The care packages are filled with toiletries, Hormel meals, canned fruit, peanut butter, chili, soup, granola bars, snack cakes, homemade fudge made by the First United Methodist Church kitchen crew, mini pecan pies, stockings stuffed with various items, drink mixes, hot chocolate, candy canes, candy, gum, cookies, peanuts and sunflower seeds.

For additional information call 936-327-4084.

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UP UNTIL NOW

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EllenMoseleyMayLauraWalker

Authors Ellen Moseley-May and Laura K. Walker were in Livingston recently on the second leg of the book tour for their new Amazon bestselling book – “Up Until Now: Inspired Stories from Real People on How to Embrace Your Fear, Move Forward and Transform Your Life.” Both originally from Livingston, Moseley-May continues to reside locally and Walker resides in Keller. In addition to being guests on the Drummer Don radio show on 102.3 The Eagle, the ladies also hosted book signings at Petalz, Alma’s Whistlestop Cafe and The Wet Deck Bar and Grill on Lake Livingston. The book launched Nov. 5 in South Lake with a weekend celebration prior to coming to Livingston. The next leg of the book tour includes Alabama and Florida.Courtesy photo

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