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Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke Clayton
April 16, 2024

OLDER SPORTSMEN HAVE MORE FUN

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
Luke (rt) and his good friend Larry Weishuhn are both in their mid seventies and still enjoying the great outdoors, maybe more now than ever! Photo by Luke ClaytonThere was a time back when I was in my twenties and thirties that I thought I would be hanging…
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April 13, 2024

Close-to-home fun

Category: Outdoor Life Author: Super User
As an outdoors writer for the past 39 years, I’ve become accustomed to “gallavanting” around the country fishing, hunting and collecting material for my articles. Lately though, I’ve been sticking pretty close to home. Kenneth Shephard with a good “eater…

Polk County News - Breakout

Rotarians learn about emergency health board

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081422 rotarians learnA program on the Polk County Emergency Health Board regarding its history and purpose was recently presented to the Rotary Club of Livingston by President John Muzny and Volunteer Peggy Wooten. (l-r) Rotarian Ray Gearing, Wooten, Muzny and Rotary President Andrew Boyce. Courtesy photo

From Enterprise Staff

John Muzny, president of the Polk County Emergency Health Board, recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Livingston.

Muzny spoke briefly about the work of the emergency health board. He then shared the news that the Polk County Emergency Health Board is in negotiation with the Center of Hope to become a part of the Center of Hope. The emergency health board has been housed at the Texas Health Department office in Livingston which has sporadic hours and is often not available to emergency health board volunteers to work or to meet with people in need of its services. Being housed at the Center of Hope will make the facilities available on a regular basis for volunteer workers and answering the phone.

Muzny introduced Peggy Wooten, who is a retired social worker for the Texas Department of Health. Wooten told off the original history of the emergency health board. Concerned citizens in 1987 were aware of the plight of people in Polk County who were in dire need to get prescriptions filled and didn’t have enough money. Many times they would end up in the emergency room. She stressed that the board was organized to meet those emergency needs and very seldom is able to meet ongoing needs. The emergency health board has helped people with transportation to doctors’ offices out of town. This has been especially true for cancer patients who have frequent needs.

During the question answer session following the program, Wooten told of the Keep Kids in School Program supported by First Presbyterian Church. While there are many different needs of children that have to be met before they can return to school, one quite expensive need is treatment for lice. The treatment shampoo regimen is extensive and involves the entire family.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Rotary presented a check to Muzny for the emergency health board which was much appreciated.

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Onalaska extends burn ban

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081422 onalaska burn ban

From Enterprise Staff

The Onalaska City Council approved extending the burn ban during its Aug. 9 regular meeting.

Council approved the employment of Macy George as a full-time office assistant and Joshua Watson as a full-time school resource officer, both with the standard 90-day probationary period.

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, payment of vouchers and financial reports.

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CONSTRUCTION CONTINUING

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081422 LHSConstructionConstruction continues on the concession stand, restrooms and storage area at the Corky Cochran Complex on the Livingston High School campus. The projected date of completion for the project is November 2022. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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Property tax rate to drop in Goodrich

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081422 goodrich tax rate

By Brian Besch
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The regular city council meeting for August included setting a tax rate, new method for online bill payment, and discussion of a leak detector Thursday in the Goodrich Community Center.

The property tax rate was set at 0.3806, which is a drop from last year’s rate of 0.4182. The rate set in 2020 was 0.4281 and 0.4329 in 2019. The area has seen steady growth and rising property values over the past few years and taxes in both the school and city have declined.

To open the meeting, Debra Rademacher was sworn in as an alderman. She was accepted in June’s meeting, following an executive session. Rademacher has lived in Goodrich for three years.

The council approved using Doxo for online payment processing. The way the system is currently configured, many payments for utility bills are not getting processed on time. When payments are made, the current processor takes the funds and sends a check to the city, causing a delay. Doxo has offered a system at no charge to the city.

Council agreed that the system would benefit those who are not able to get to city hall or travel when bills are due. Goodrich officials believe the system should be in place in the coming weeks.

Clerk Books was discussed and tabled, as the city has been unable to hire an accountant with municipality experience. City Secretary Felicia Garrett would take over in that area to satisfy the city’s accounting needs. Shepherd, Onalaska and Corrigan run the same or a similar system as Clerk Books. Council wanted a price on the system before approval.

Council also discussed and tabled the purchase of a chlorine and leak detector. The item has been on the agenda for a few months. Mayor Pro-Tem Bobby Wright feels as though the lines in Goodrich are not deep enough to require the purchase, which would come at a cost of $3,100. His stance was that once a leak occurs, there would usually be visual proof. Alderman Richard Booth argued that the city often spends that amount in a week on water loss. Booth wanted a study performed on how much time is spent looking for leaks.

“The figures I have seen are far in excess of $20,000 in the last few years,” Booth said.

City contractors stated that lines in the city typically run two to four feet deep. They said most leaks would be seen “pretty quick.” There hadn’t been many leaks over the past six months, according to contractors, and they didn’t know whether a tool would help save the city’s water loss. They did not have an opinion on the leak detectors, but stated that they have not seen other cities utilize the tool.

“Everybody can make their own decision on how they want to vote on this,” Wright said. “But as for me, I honestly feel like that will be a waste of money for this city at this time. Our lines are not that deep. If they were 20 or 30 feet in the ground, I might say, ‘OK, let’s try this.’ But if our water lines break, you are going to have water in your yard. That tells me I’ve got a leak. So, why do we need a leak detector?”

Booth again called for more research to find the tool’s capabilities and what the cost has been to find leaks.

Plans have begun for the Halloween celebration, and council has tentatively set the date of Saturday, Oct. 29. The council and fire department has set up just outside of city hall in recent years, and the plan is the same this time. Vehicles will be able to drive through the parking lot, receiving candy and treats.

A new laptop has arrived at city hall and council members will be able to obtain certifications and training on the new equipment.

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City utility customers to see increases in next bill

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081122 main streetLIVINGSTON MAIN STREET RECOGNIZED — Livingston Mayor Judy B. Cochran congratulates members of the Livingston Main Street Committee who were recently recognized at a meeting of the Livingston City Council for Livingston Main Street’s designation as a 2022 Accredited Program by Main Street America and Texas Main Street. (l-r) Joyce Knierim, Molly Anderson, Tammi Ogletree, Jessica Corwin, Julie Mayes Hamrick, Main Street Manager Lynn Riley, Kim Brown Jernigan and Cochran. (behind) Aldermen Alan Cook and Marion A. “Bid” Smith, City Secretary Ellie Monteaux, City Manager Bill S. Wiggins, Aldermen Clarke Evans, Elgin Davis and Dr. Ray Luna. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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City of Livingston utility customers will see increases in both electric and garbage on next month’s billing following action taken by the Livingston City Council during its Aug. 9 meeting.

The City of Livingston’s electrical provider is Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency (SRMPA), who also provides electricity for the cities of Liberty and Jasper. Each of the three cities has two representatives that sit on the Board of Directors of SRMPA. Livingston’s SRMPA board members are Mayor Judy B. Cochran and Alderman Clarke Evans.

SRMPA Executive Director Bruce Mintz recently traveled to each of the three member cities to meet with the respective cities’ two representatives and city managers. The purpose of these meetings was for Mintz to inform the cities of an upcoming rate increase.

“I think what constituted this is rising fuel costs. It’s everywhere. It’s not just us. But we can’t absorb that. I know that this is a retirement community and it pains me to go up, but we don’t have a choice,” Livingston City Manager Bill S. Wiggins said.

The next billing cycle will reflect a 3-cent increase in electrical, from $11.75 per kilowatt to $14.75 per kilowatt.
“This will enable us to absorb the rising cost from Sam Rayburn,” Wiggins said.

Having recently received notification from Republic, the company the city contracts with for garbage collection, of a fuel surcharge increase of 4.13%, as well as an increase in the cost of garbage bags, Council approved a residential increase from $22 to $23.50 and a commercial increase from $23 to $24.50.

Council conducted its annual review of the city’s investment policy, approving a change in the wording. Previously, the policy stated that the finance director will prepare the report and submit it to the city manager. Finance Director Patricia Crawford has announced her retirement effective Aug. 31 and the city has not hired a replacement yet. Therefore, Wiggins suggested changing the policy to read that the report will be prepared by the finance director or city manager.

“With the rise in interest rates, there is some good news when you’re investing. The last few months the interest income has started to pick up,” Wiggins said, commenting on the city’s investment reports.

Regarding additional SRMPA business, Council approved a proposed resolution accepting a deed from the agency conveying two electrical substations.

“Back in 1989 the City of Livingston transferred ownership of the substation on Old Woodville Road to SRMPA. Then, in 1994 we had the newly-constructed Ogletree substation that was also transferred. SRMPA used these two assets to borrow funds for bonds and the bonds were paid off last year and they no longer need these assets so they want to deed them back to us,” Wiggins explained, adding that no monies were involved.

The preliminary budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2022 and ending Sept. 30, 2023 was presented to Council for review, with Wiggins stating, “This was a very hard, hard budget to put together.”

Citing uncertainty in both state and national governments, increased costs in the oil and gas industry, supply chain issues and a 9% inflation rate, Wiggins said that it would seem like the time to tighten the belt and wait for the storm to pass, but that the city is unable to do that for a variety of reasons.

“With the growth we’ve experienced the past few years and the Supreme Court ruling that the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe may continue the operation of its gaming facility, we’re expecting it to start booming. Our little town is about to explode,” Wiggins said. He added that the city already has aging infrastructure – water, sewer, electrical, streets – that it’s been trying to improve in recent years.

He encouraged Council to review the proposed budget, write down comments or questions and get with him individually to visit about it. Council approved calling a public hearing on the budget for 5 p.m. Sept. 13.

During his monthly report on events and current development projects, Wiggins commented that Livingston Youth Baseball has had a lot of success this year, with three teams going to the playoffs.

He apprised Council that the radio tower behind the police department was recently taken down, after having been compromised during a vehicular collision. He said it was a liability and could not be fixed but that all of the police, fire and public works radios had been transferred to the city’s West Street tower.

Wiggins informed everyone that the city’s annual 9/11 Prayer and Remembrance Ceremony is slated for 9 a.m. on Sept. 9 at the city hall.

He added that the yellow office building that formerly housed parks and recreation and Trade Days is currently listed on an online auction with AuctioneerExpress.com and the auction is set to close at 11 a.m. on Aug. 18. He said the building has been out of use for a number of years and its removal will allow the black pipe fencing in the area to be completed.

Wiggins also informed everyone that the city was awarded the Community Safety Grant from CenterPoint Energy in the amount of $2,500. The grant will partially fund the purchase and installation of 10 automated external defibrillators to be installed at municipal facilities, including city hall, the police department, public works, the electric department, the sewer treatment plant, the parks shop, the Trade Days office, the library, fire station #1 and the fire training facility.

Although Council entered into an executive session to deliberate the employment or appointment of an employee, no action was taken upon return to open session.

The city recognized Livingston Main Street for its designation as a 2022 Accredited Program by Main Street America and Texas Main Street.

“This is quite a great accomplishment for these folks. Being accredited means a lot,” Wiggins said.

“I’d like to thank y’all for recognizing us. Without y’all, we wouldn’t have a Main Street,” Special Events/Main Street Manager Lynn Riley said.

This program started in 2005 and the Main Street District consists of 10 blocks in the downtown area, bounded by Beatty Avenue, East Abbey Street, East Calhoun Street, North Jackson Avenue, North Tyler Avenue and West Church Street. They help businesses with different types of grants for roofs, facades, paint, signs and infrastructure,” Wiggins said.

Other business included approval of accounts over $500 and minutes of the July 12 meeting.

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