Log in

Top Stories        News         Sports

Polk County News - Breakout

Nichols meets with superintendents

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Polk County superintendents met with Senator Robert Nichols at Livingston High School’s James Dewalt Field House Tuesday. Included at the meeting were (L-R) Eric Carpenter of Big Sandy ISD, Daniel Barton of Goodrich ISD, Nichols, Anthony Roberts of Onalaska ISD, Richard Cooper of Corrigan ISD and Dr. Brent Hawkins of Livingston ISD. courtesy photoPolk County superintendents met with Senator Robert Nichols at Livingston High School’s James Dewalt Field House Tuesday. Included at the meeting were (L-R) Eric Carpenter of Big Sandy ISD, Daniel Barton of Goodrich ISD, Nichols, Anthony Roberts of Onalaska ISD, Richard Cooper of Corrigan ISD and Dr. Brent Hawkins of Livingston ISD. courtesy photo

From Staff Reports

Tuesday, Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) met with local superintendents from Polk County to discuss education issues in preparation for the 88th Legislature, which convenes in January.

“The Legislature faces many challenges this session, and we cannot make good decisions unless we are listening closely to those we represent,” Nichols said. “Education is and always will be one of the most important issues we face as a state.”

Before each legislative session, Nichols meets with each of the school district superintendents in Senate District 3 to hear their priorities and discuss issues facing local education.

“It was an honor to host Senator Nichols on his visit to Polk County,” said Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins. “Over the past 15 years that I have been superintendent, the thing that stands out the most to me is that not only does he have a passion for education, but he understands our needs and works hard to listen to us in rural East Texas. I appreciate his openness and passion for the job that he does.”

Senate District 3, which includes almost 100 school districts throughout 18 counties, encompasses the greater part of East Texas and Jefferson County.

“These meetings help me to understand how decisions in Austin impact local schools,” Nichols said. “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with superintendents and discuss how we can continue improving our education system. Our combined goal is to ensure children have the educational tools they need to be successful.”

Nichols is a member of the safety committee that has prepared recommendations from the Senate. The discussion Tuesday included how
funds should be focused on basic needs, such as locks on classrooms and campus doors. Education Service Centers are assisting the Texas Education Agency with campus inspections and resource help. All school districts made improvements over the summer months, but each campus has unique safety issues, creating unique funding issues. Supply chain shortages have challenged districts attempting to improve safety, due to the availability of safety purchases.

Senator Nichols’ Communication Director Shelby Conine shared information about a mental health tool rolling out for districts that offer telehealth assessments. Plans are to offer the program to every district, which helps identify student anxiety and depression.

The discussion also covered teacher retainment and the retirement penalty that districts are required to pay the state when rehiring a retired employee. Some master teachers have expressed an interest in returning to work because of inflation. Current Teacher Retirement System regulations require them to wait a year before returning to work. This requirement and TEA surcharges can be a burden to districts faced with teacher shortages.

Other topics included in the conversations were House Bill 4545, ESSER funding, and school vouchers.

  • Hits: 202

LISD board president ends term

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Livingston ISD LogoBy Brian Besch
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Brent Hawkins, LISD Superintendent, opened the October board meeting with praise for School Board President Ben Ogletree at the last meeting of his term.

“It takes a whole lot of dedication and commitment to serve this length of time and leaves a substantial hole that the community needs to fill. Ogletree’s service predates the iPhone. When he took office, George W. Bush was our nation’s president and our Livingston High School junior class (Class of 2024) was born when he joined the board.

There have been very profound accomplishments during his term and the most demanding was during the school shutdown, due to the COVID pandemic.”

Hawkins also presented the administration report on Future Ready School Vision. “The attendance numbers are up by 2.5%, which helps to create memorable teaching. The college and career readiness scores for 2021 are at 50%. These scores are based on dual-credit classes, industrial-based certifications, earned associates degrees, college preparation classes or are workforce ready in completing a sequence of courses in career technology. School districts across the state have begun to phase out elective tracks that do not result in certifications. Livingston High School is doing the same by incorporating programs like cosmetology, LVN and HVAC.

“Our vision is to be sure our students are future-ready by having a commitment to the military, a college or trade school or holding a CTE (Career & Technical Education) certification upon graduation.”

The superintendent then presented the Emergency Operations plan and school safety update.

“After Uvalde, Gov.  (Greg) Abbott issued an order that put intruder requirements in place for all school districts. In a superintendent meeting with Sen. Nichols held earlier today, the legislators are preparing to put more funds in place to pay for school safety. Texas School Safety Center is requiring the revamping of district emergency operation plans. 

They are trying to make things better for all districts, so they continue tweaking the requirements. Intruder drills are being conducted by Texas Education Agency this month. A representative from the regional service center will be in our district to attempt to breach each campus. The voice from our parents is to not make the district like a prison while deciding what will best protect our kids. No school shooter has ever been successful with every exterior and interior door locked.”

Under the consent agenda, the board approved the minutes from previous board meetings, financial statement, and payment of bills. Also approved was the 2022-2023 Campus and District Improvement plans, adoption of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the purchase of a 2021 Toyota Tacoma for the Livingston Independent School District Maintenance Department from Moore Auto Sales in the amount of $30,191.

  • Hits: 321

ANNUAL KIDS FISHING FRENZIE

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

kidfishcorrected

Sixty-eight children recently participated in the City of Livingston Special Events Department’s annual kids fishing frenzie. This year’s winners included: Casey Long, Grayson Valderez, Serenity Karge, Kara Lee Wilkerson, Terrance Flascamp, Wyatt Allen, Austin Hibbard, Hunter Grisham and Uria Livingston. Courtesy photo

  • Hits: 148

New business orientation offered

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Dianne Amerine, a business advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Angelina College, explained how the SBDC provides assistance to entrepreneurs wanting to grow or start their business during a recent learning lunch provided by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Emily Banks Woote7Dianne Amerine, a business advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Angelina College, explained how the SBDC provides assistance to entrepreneurs wanting to grow or start their business during a recent learning lunch provided by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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

Dianne Amerine, a business advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Angelina College, was the guest speaker during a recent learning lunch provided by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

Amerine explained that the SBDC receives federal funding support through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and is a resource partner with the SBA. Under the umbrella of the Texas Gulf Coast Network, it is one of four regional SBDC networks in Texas.

Explaining what they do and why, Amerine said the SBDC provides assistance to entrepreneurs wanting to start or grow their business. “Our goal is to help you have a positive impact on the economy with business starts, business growth, jobs and financing. Our success is measured and demonstrated through surveys. Your response is always crucial.”

Amerine said the SBDC provides free, one-on-one, confidential business advice; a wide variety of practical, affordable training; access to industry reports; and expertise in wretail, web design, international trade, technology commercialization and QuickBooks.

“We help with all the phases. We can meet you where you are. We have a program director and two parttime business advisors. We have an online registration process. Our plans are customized to our individual clients,” she said.

“We’re here for the life of your business, from start-up to beyond. We can’t provide legal or tax advice, but we can refer you to a professional network directory. We advise and teach, but we do not to the work for you. We help you apply for a loan, but we do not make the loan decision.”

Amerine emphasized the importance of having a business plan. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What sets you apart? If everything’s equal, why choose you? You also have to have a vigorous marketing plan.

“The number one reason for failure in business is undercapitalization,” she said, in addition to failure to differentiate, failure to communicate, failure to plan, lack of discipline and broken-down leadership, among other things. “You plan on expenses being a maximum and revenues being a minimum.

“Turning small business into smart business is what we’re all about. We want to help drive people to your website. We will work with you,” she said. 

Amerine also emphasized knowing who the competition is. “What business are you in? What does your business do for your customer? What is your why? Who is your customer?

“We do not make loans and we do not give grants,” she said, adding that they can help determine if you can qualify for a loan.

In closing, Amerine shared five sites that are helpful for writing a business plan: sba.gov template which is free; liveplan.com which is a monthly subscription for $15-$30; Grow Think which is $98; lawdepot.com which is free; and dreambuilder.org which is free.

She also shared several resourceful websites, including: entrepreneur.com, cnnmoney.com, fortunesmallbusiness.com, smallbiz.com, liveplan.com, sba.gov and irs.gov.

  • Hits: 158

Proposed gas rate increase denied by Onalaska City Council

Write a comment
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

DeniedFrom Enterprise Staff

A resolution denying the proposed rate increase by Onalaska Water & Gas Supply for natural gas was approved by the Onalaska City Council during its Oct. 11 meeting.

Council also approved a resolution establishing the Polk County Enterprise, which has a general circulation in the Onalaska area, as the city’s official newspaper.

In a personnel action request, Council approved Debbie Oxford as a telecommunication operator in the part time labor pool.

Council took action declaring the following buildings dangerous or unsafe:

•Jimmy Don Stallings, regarding Section 1, Lots 394 and 395 in Canyon Park;

•Patty Scarbrough, regarding Section 1, Lot 157 in Canyon Park;

•Monty Montague, regarding Section 1, Lot 128 in Canyon Park;

•Lowell Phillips, regarding Section 4, Lot 146 in Canyon Park;

•Hildegard Polvado, regarding Section 4, Lot 291 in Canyon Park;

•Joe Pharris, regarding Section 1, Lots 49 and 50 in Canyon Park;

•Jonathan L. McKinney, regarding Section 1, Block 1, Lots 80-82 in Ponderosa Ridge;

James Whitman, regarding Section 4, Lots 16 and 17 in Ponderosa Ridge;

Julian and Sally Wright, regarding Section 4, Lots 8 and 10 in Ponderosa Ridge; and

Robert and Pamela Rusnick, regarding Section 4, Lot 2 in Ponderosa Ridge.

Although there were two other properties on the list, Michael Boone, owner of Section 1, Lot 43 in Canyon Park, attended the meeting and informed city officials that he will take care of it. Additionally, the entry regarding Timothy Frank Dassow, owner of Section 1, Lots 206 and 207 in Canyon Park, was incorrect on the agenda so no action was taken.

Reports were presented on behalf of the police department, fire department, fire marshal/building inspector, library representative and city administrator.

Other business included approval of the minutes, vouchers and financial reports.

  • Hits: 125