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Court tables action on CAD board members

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Although the Polk County Commissioners Court was slated to consider nominations, by resolution, for the Polk Central Appraisal District board members for the 2024-2025 term during its regular meeting Tuesday, the item was tabled. Current board members are Pam Pierce, Mike Nettles, Tom Curran, Paul David Evans and Leslie Jones Burk, the former county tax assessor-collector. Action was tabled so that a resolution may be updated to reflect Interim County Tax Assessor-Collector Steven Hullihen in place of Burk.

The county investment policy as presented by the county treasurer was approved with only one change – the addition of an investment account for the restoration projects so that the interest earned will be separate.

The Court approved the sheriff’s and constables’ fees effective Jan. 1, 2024, and direct notification to the state comptroller, pursuant to Texas Local Government Code 118.131.

Action regarding the replacement of the driveway and the creation of a new handicap parking spot and ramp at the Polk County Memorial Museum was approved with one change – going from 16-inch rebar to 12-inch rebar.

The Court approved Bid No. 2023-15 for the extension of Glover Road in Precinct 3, to be paid from the general fund balance and then reimbursed by Union Pacific Railroad.

A memorandum of understanding with Democracy Live Inc. for access to the Federal Voting Assistance Program Grant through the Travis County Texas Consortium was approved.

A request from the county clerk, district clerk, district attorney and district judges for a contract amendment between Polk County and Tyler Technologies for the Client Solutions Consultant Program was discussed and approved and will be paid for with COVID funds.

The Court discussed a request from G-Energy regarding the Polk County Landfill gas and approved moving forward with a new contract.

With the Corrigan Community Center located at 103 Hospital St. in Corrigan continuing to decline, the Court determined that it is not in the best interest of the county to continue to put money into it, so the Court approved putting it up for public online auction and terminating the agreement with Mitchell Funeral Home.

The Court reviewed the annual bids for the purchase of road materials for Precincts 1-4, with the Precinct 1, 3 and 4 commissioners accepting all bids and the Precinct 2 commissioner rejecting all bids. Commissioners approved accepted all bids for the bulk purchase of limestone road base, tires, motor grader blades and material hauling. The bid from Hughes Oil was accepted for oil, grease, gasoline and diesel and the bid from Broken Arrow was accepted for pest control services.

In personnel matters, the Court approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting and also approved an update to the personnel management system.

Additionally, the Court approved fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office.

During informational reports, the Court recognized the Polk County Historical Commission for being a recipient of the Texas Historical Commission’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award. Distinguished Service Awards are administered annually to county historical commissions that document well-rounded programs of work that preserve and promote Texas history. Patricia Snook, president of the Polk County Historical Commission, expressed her appreciation to the Court for its support and partnership.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the Aug. 22 regular meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Receipt and recording of personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since the last meeting;

Receipt of grant award and authorizing the county judge to execute Contract No. C-00928 with the Office of the Attorney General for the district attorney victim coordinator and liaison grant program for 2023-2024;

Ratifying and accepting General Land Office Contract No. 22-130-033-E029 Community Development Block Grant Local Hazard Mitigation Planning Program (GLO LHMPP) non-research and development mitigation funding of $100,000;

Ratifying the county clerk’s acceptance of Contract No. HHSREV 100003156 between Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Section and Polk County for remote birth records access;

Approval of an agreement with the City of Livingston for (LVFD) firefighting services;

Approval of an order setting juror reimbursement for fiscal year 2024;

Approval of renewal of agreements with Aramark Uniform Services;

Accepting the 2024 retiree plan rates (TLIC medical and retiree RxCare prescription coverages) from Texas Association of Counties, Silver Choice; and

Approval of Amendment No. 2 to the grant administrator agreement with Grantworks for the General Land Office Hurricane Harvey Buyout/Acquisition Program.

Pastor Alex Garber of the Trinity Lutheran Church opened the meeting with prayer.

 

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9/11 REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY

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The City of Livingston and the Robert Rankin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will honor all first responders during a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at 9 a.m. Monday at the Livingston City Hall. Everyone is invited to attend. Holding the commemorative 9/11 flag are Bill Wiggins, Phyllis Harrell, Corky Cochran and Josh Mohler. Courtesy photo

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Lady Lions, Best Buddies overcoming odds

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Livingston volleyball stands with their Best Buddies for the national anthem. COURTESY PHOTOLivingston volleyball stands with their Best Buddies for the national anthem. COURTESY PHOTO

Livingston volleyball began district play on Tuesday, hosting and sweeping district foe Hardin-Jefferson at home. The match was won over the perennial powerhouse 25-20, 26-24, and 25-21.

The Lady Lions utilized a theme of “We GLOW better together,” wearing neon shirts as the Best Buddies joined the varsity team for the evening. The Buddies lined up for the National Anthem, and each performed the first serve.

“Every Friday during athletics, the athletes participate in their B.E.S.T (Better Every Step Together) Day, where they partner with students with disabilities on the high school campus and train together in various workouts,” Livingston volleyball coach Heather Mosser said. “Spotlighting their buddies at the game brought great joy to all involved.”

The volleyball and softball teams under the direction of Mosser have enjoyed the Best Buddies program, a partnership with students who have disabilities, in an effort for all to grow and learn together. 

Along with achievements in the classroom and building relationships, the team has also improved their performance on the court in 2023.

“This is my third year at Livingston, and we have never beat Hardin-Jefferson until now,” the coach said of her team. “My athletes have been putting in the work in the weight room, on the court, and their efforts, their intensity, their focus is paying off.”

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Local church celebrating 175 years in Livingston

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(Editor’s note: First Methodist Church of Livingston is celebrating its 175th anniversary and this milestone will culminate with a celebration on Oct. 22 that will include a combined worship service at 10:30 a.m., a luncheon at noon and a concert that evening. Local Historian Gary Davis has compiled the history of the church and this is the second of a multi-part series that will run on these pages leading up to the celebration.)

 

By Gary Davis

Methodism was alive and well in Texas and as reported in the 1850 United States census there were 328 churches in Texas. Of this number, 173 were Methodist and were valued at $58,195. Second were the Baptists who owned 70 churches, valued at $23,190. The Presbyterians had 47 that were valued at $20,070. The Roman Catholics only had 13 churches whose valuation was placed at a whopping $79,700.

Polk County was formed on March 30, 1846, as one of the first 23 counties after Texas was annexed into the United States. The original 45 blocks of the City of Livingston were situated on 100 acres of land that was originally donated by Moses L. and Ursula Choate to Polk County on August 8, 1946, recorded in volume A, page 14, for the purpose of becoming the county seat for the site of justice. It is widely accepted that Choate’s offer came with the condition that the town be changed from Springfield to Livingston. The first Polk County Commissioners were James W. Abbey, Arthur P. Garner, B.P. Hardin, A.S. Ainsworth, Frederick H. Rankin and John J. Stubblefield.

It is unclear as to why Choate wanted to change the name from Springfield to Livingston. Some say that his middle name was Livingston. Some say that it was to honor his hometown of Livingston, Tennessee. The 1850 and 1860 census records reflect that he was indeed from Tennessee. Judge J.C. Feagin, when interviewed by the Houston Post on September 22, 1922, advised that Livingston was named for Chancellor Robert Livingston, who administered the Oath of Office to George Washington. And the esteemed Polk County historian, Emma Haynes, stated in her very comprehensive History of Polk County that Choate was from Livingston, Alabama.

The first interment in the cemetery was the Choate’s four-year-old son Josephus, who died on August 11, 1840. Choate later buried a thirteen-year-old son, Rodolphus, in 1846. Choate lived on land just to the east of the cemetery and lore has it that he could see his children’s graves from his cabin.

Regardless of how it got its name, by February 25, 1847, Springfield was known as Livingston. In a deed of this date, recorded in volume A, page 57, the County appointed John English, M.L. Choate, W.L. Dillon, J.R. Jones and M.T. Nettles as trustees to erect buildings for public schools and divine services. The property that was set aside was block 40 plus ¾ of an acre that sat just to the east of the block.

James Andress surveyed the townsite of Livingston and named the streets on a plat that was filed on May 21, 1849, in volume B, page 215. Church Street was likely selected because the county had set aside Block 40 for a church.

When a pastor was assigned a full-time position in a church, often called a station, he was referred to as the Preacher in Charge, or PC. It is widely held that the first PC of the Livingston Methodist church was Samuel Blackwell Bell (S.B.B.) Dunnam. Dunnam, who was born in South Carolina in 1803, later moved to Rapides Parish, Louisiana and came to Polk County in the 1840’s as part of the Louisiana Settlement (Bold Springs/Colita area). During the Civil War, Dunnam, who was in his 60s, answered the call of duty and served as a chaplain and medic. His daughter, Frances Eugenia, married prominent citizen and Livingston Methodist, Judge J.E. Hill, Sr. Reverend Dunnam was 100 years old when he died on December 10, 1903, and is buried in the Old City Cemetery.

In a deed dated October 27, 1859, recorded in volume H, page 562, the County Commissioners, Moses L. Choate, Demetrius Willis and D.D. Moore donated a lot to The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Trustees were E.D. Martin, J.A. Bright, J.F. Eckford, Blackwell Dunnam, W.B. Hardin, Alexander Johnson and J.M. Larkin. The lot of ground was in the southeast portion of Block 40 and was 107 feet by 65 feet in size. Within the deed was a promise to erect an edifice for the purpose of religious worship.

From the District Clerk records of September 21, 1859, a contract for the first church building is found. The agreement between church Trustees W.H. Shotwell, J.M. Larkin and J.A. Bright and the contractors Samuel Schooler and Aaron Meekins states that the building will be used as a place of worship for the MEC, S. To be built at a cost of $1,964, the simple frame building was to be 32 feet by 48 feet with a 15-foot ceiling. There were to be eight windows, two doors and three rows of pews which corresponded with the doors, a nice pulpit and a suitable belfry.

This first chapel, which was incredibly captured in several photographs by Ben M. Lewis around 1900, was shared with the Presbyterians and the Baptists for 30 years. Referred to as “everybody’s church,” the building doubled as a schoolhouse and the wife of PC J.A. Smith was one of the teachers.

In the year 1885, the Presbyterians built their own church on block 27 and the Baptists built their first building on block 41, adjacent to the cemetery, in the year 1887.

The Church directory that was published in the January 26, 1888, issue of the East Texas Pinery allowed that the Methodist Church held services on the first and fourth Sabbaths of each month, mornings and evenings by the Reverend W.L. Pate and that Sunday School was held each Sabbath morning.

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Nominations continue For Best of Polk County Readers’ Choice Awards

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BoPClogo2023nomFrom Enterprise Staff

The nomination period for the Polk County Enterprise’s 2023 Best of Polk County Reader’s Choice Awards is underway and will conclude on Sept. 30. The annual awards process provides an opportunity to recognize local businesses, professionals and non-profits. Over 10,000 nominations have been received thusfar.

All nominations and voting will be conducted online and no paper ballots will be accepted during this fourth year of the annual contest. Voters will participate by going to the website easttexasnews.com and clicking on the Contests tab. To register only involves using an email address. If you do not see a specific category listed, please email the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If a person or business does not belong, they will be weeded out before going into the voting phase.

The 2023 Best of Polk County Readers’ Choice Awards will occur in three distinct phases this year. The first phase is the nomination process. Individuals may nominate their favorite local businesses up to once a day per email address. The month-long nomination process will determine the finalists who will be eligible for best of Polk County.

The top eight selections in each category will enter the second phase which will run from Oct. 1-31. During this time voters will have the opportunity to select their favorite among the top eight in each category and will be allowed to vote up to once a day per email address.

The third phase is the culmination of the annual readers’ choice awards when the winners of each category are recognized in a special section that will be included in the Dec. 3 issue of the Polk County Enterprise.

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