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Polk County News - Breakout

Miss Polk County Pageant scholarships growing

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Miss Polk County Logo

From Enterprise Staff

Livingston High School Senior Ashley Moore was crowned 2022 Miss Polk County in the 45th annual pageant held Feb. 26, resumed after a hiatus due to the pandemic. In the history of the pageant there have been three years that the pageant was not held – 2021 due to the pandemic and 2012 and 2013 due to LISD’s remodeling of the Florence Crosby Auditorium.

Twelve juniors and seniors from schools throughout the county vied for the title. The scholarships and awards that may be won through the pageant have increased dramatically since the first pageant in 1975 when the winner received a $250 scholarship.

As 2022 Miss Polk County, Moore will will receive a $2,000 scholarship, along with the satin monogrammed sash, trophy, crown and bouquet of roses. Moore also won the interview portion of the pageant. For that, she will receive a $500 scholarship and a trophy.

Ja’Nayah Pickens, a senior at Livingston High School, was named first runner-up, in addition to winning the talent competition and being named people’s choice. As first runner-up, she will receive a $1,500 scholarship and trophy. As winner of the talent competition, she will receive a $500 scholarship and a trophy. She will also receive a $100 scholarship and a trophy for being named people’s choice.

Addison Hinson, a senior at Leggett High School, was named second runner-up and will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a trophy.

Chloe Cox, a senior at Big Sandy High School, won the evening gown competition and was also named Miss Photogenic. As evening gown winner, she will receive a $500 scholarship and a trophy. For being named Miss Photogenic, she will receive a $400 scholarship and a trophy.

Kaitlyn Livingston, a senior at Livingston High School, was named Miss Congeniality and also the Kenny Holsberry Spirit of Polk County Award. For being named Miss Congeniality she will receive a $500 scholarship and a trophy. For winning the Kenny Holsberry Spirit of Polk County Award she will receive a $250 scholarship and a trophy.

Arabella Letien, a junior at Livingston High School, was the ad sales winner and will receive a scholarship based on a percentage of all ad sales not to exceed $500 and a trophy.

Seven freshmen and sophomores from high schools throughout the county were vying for Junior Miss Polk County which is in its sixth year of existence.

Madalyn Green, a sophomore at Onalaska Junior/Senior High School, was crowned 2022 Junior Miss Polk County. She received a $250 cash award, along with a crown, satin monogrammed sash, trophy and bouquet of roses.

Rylee Taylor, a freshman at Onalaska Junior/Senior High School, was named first runner-up and received a $150 cash award and a trophy.

Kayleigh Wilson, a sophomore at Onalaska Junior/Senior High School, was named second runner-up and received a $100 cash award and a trophy.

Faith Geller, a sophomore at Big Sandy High School, was named Miss Photogenic and Miss Congeniality. She received a trophy and a gift card for each.

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City to receive financial report

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City of Livingston logoThe annual comprehensive financial report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021 will be presented to the Livingston City Council during its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The report will be presented by Steve Palmerton and Kevin Bienvenu of Harper and Pearson Company.

City Secretary Ellie Monteaux is expected to certify the unopposed candidates for the May 7 general election. Mayor Judy B. Cochran and Aldermen Alan Cook and Marion A. “Bid” Smith are up for reelection. Council is expected to consider action on a proposed ordinance declaring the May 7 City of Livingston General Election cancelled and the unopposed candidates elected.

Council will discuss and consider possible action on a proposed ordinance amending Chapter 40 – Utilities, Article II – Electric Service of the Coder of Ordinances of the City of Livingston by repealing Ordinances A-813 and A-832 and Sec. 40-23 Distributed Renewable Electric Generation for Residential Properties – 15 kW or Less; and amending Chapter 40 – Utilities, Article II – Electric Service, by adding Section 40-23 – Distributed Renewable Electric Generation for Residential and Small Commercial Customers, Providing for the Allowance and Regulation of Distributed Electric Generation Facilities for Residential and Small Commercial Customers.

Also to be discussed and considered for possible action is Centerpoint Energy – Acknowledgment of Filing and Review of 2022 Annual Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP) Interim Rate Adjustment to be effective May 2, 2022.

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

City Manager Bill S. Wiggins will provide an update on projects and events.

Other items on the agenda include approval of the minutes of the Feb. 8 meeting and the accounts over $500.

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Goodrich sets 2022-23 calendar

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Goodrich ISD Hornet Facing Left

By Brian Besch
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The Goodrich school board used February’s regular meeting Thursday to approve the upcoming academic calendar, a student trip, and hear updates on academic and construction progress.

The 2022-23 academic calendar was approved. The original calendar from the current year was overlaid for the 22-23 calendar, with one change. An off day was included and will occur Oct. 17. To get the date, two early dismissals were changed. Spring break will fall on the same week as Livingston and Shepherd ISD. 

There will be nine instructional days beyond what is required. Goodrich Superintendent Daniel Barton explained that if the school needed to be closed for Covid-19 a natural disaster, there is enough time built into the calendar that it will not need to be made up.

There will be a week off for Thanksgiving and two weeks in December. Memorial Day will also be a holiday.

Also approved by the board was a student trip to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2023. The trip will occur in June next year and is consistent with trips that have been taken for many years at Goodrich ISD. Similar educational tours have been taken to New York City.

Grades 6-12 are eligible for the trip. There is a minimum of 20 participants for the five-day tour. The cost is $125 per month for 18 months. Parents can opt into monthly payments or provide a lump sum. 

Work on the school’s windows was approved last month for $230,000 with Williams Glass. Construction on the bathrooms for new partitions, sinks, commodes, flooring, mirrors and painted walls to make them touchless and ADA compliant was also approved in January for $215,000. Bathroom equipment has been ordered, as have the windows to complete that project on the school building. A marquee sign that will sit in front of the campus has been delayed, with a pole the wrong size that will need to be retrofitted by the company. 

Tutorials have been ongoing for a couple of weeks and attendance is good, according to Goodrich ISD principals. The elementary averaging 15-20 students and secondary with 30-35 students. The tutorials are Tuesdays and Thursdays and students are said to be very involved.

Next month’s school board meeting will be changed from March 17 to March 24 so that it does not coincide with spring break.

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Facilities examined, employees receive pay increase at LISD

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Livingston ISD LogoBy Brian Besch
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The Livingston Board of Trustees heard a facility presentation and approved a new salary instrument during Monday’s regular meeting for February. 

Claycomb Architects Will Clayton and Richard Crump performed a district facility study, sharing findings with the board during a presentation. Clayton illustrated the historical and projected future enrollment of the district. After visiting all campuses, the calculation of the maximum capacity in the district is 5,780. 

Pine Ridge Primary has a current enrollment of 485 students, with a capacity of 860 students. At Cedar Grove Elementary, the current enrollment is 485, while it has a maximum capacity of 800. There are 489 students attending Timber Creek Elementary, which has a maximum capacity of 800. Creekside Elementary has 484 students with room for 900. The junior high is currently over capacity, with an enrollment of 910 and capacity figured to be 820. Livingston High School has a capacity of 1,600, with 1,153 attending now. 

“The value of facility study shows a district what they currently have, allows the district to determine their standards and needs, and determine the most efficient solutions and when to begin a project,” Claycomb’s Richard Crump said. 

Clayton said that the useful lifespan of a building is an average of 60 years, while the lifetime of a roof is around 20 years. 

 “In 2014, when I joined LISD, our Annual Performance Report reflected that our fund balance had been invested on facility renovations,” LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins said. “Our bond construction was coming to an end, and the board had a list of capital improvements that needed to be completed. We added tennis courts at Livingston High School, purchased the Baseball-Softball Complex, added lights at the junior high football field, built a track, and addressed the Bermuda grass practice areas, all without a bond. The solution to the dilemma that we faced of ‘making bricks without straw’ required creative knowledge of the Texas School Finance System. We were able to hold a tax ratification election, refinance bonds, and were able to fund these improvements without raising the tax rate. In fact, over the last seven years, we actually lowered the tax rate. 

“In the last eight years, this district has worked hard to maximize the school finance system to do the most with the money available. This is a phenomenal success story that I would challenge anyone to show me a district that has made more strides to meet the facility needs of all our kids, while at the same time not raising the tax rate. Most districts would have had to pass a bond, but we have been able to squeeze the most out of every dollar to address our needs, and tonight includes considering making Livingston the most competitive pay scale in Deep East Texas. 

“When you build a school facility, you want it to have a lifespan of 60 years, so we are working with the Claycomb representatives who created a long-range facility plan. Building school facilities is not the same as building residential facilities. Think about over the course of 60 years, the facility’s wear and tear far exceeds that of our homes. Thus, the construction of school facilities is different. We want to make sure that our district has a functional plan to address the growth and enhancements of our students to ensure they continue to be educated in facilities that the community can have great pride in.”

The finance committee recommended the approval of the 2022-2023 LISD Salary Instrument Hawkins mentioned, which was approved by the board. The 2022-2023 pay scale has a starting teacher salary of $55,000, a midpoint of $63,266, and maximum salary of $71,532. The salary instrument allows a 3% increase of the midpoint for other areas, which is in addition to the 4% retention bonus. Hawkins said the new pay scale makes Livingston ISD one of the top-paying districts in East Texas.

The second action item approved by the board was the approval of the emergency closure resolution, which keeps employees of the district from needing to make up the school closure from Feb. 8.

The board meeting opened with a public hearing on the LISD Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). Chief Curriculum Officer Janan Moore reviewed the scores reflected from the 2019-2020 school year, which included the COVID closure from mid-March to the end of the school year.

The consent agenda was approved, including the district staffing plan, a purchasing agreement, and the school calendar. The staffing plan allows the district to begin hiring a staff pool. Also included under the consent agenda was the Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing Agreement with Omnia Partners and the 2022-2023 LISD School Calendar.

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 CORRECTION - Sitton wins DA race

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N1206P36001CBy Emily Banks Wooten
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In our election night coverage, the Polk County Enterprise incorrectly reported that Shelly Bush Sitton and Tommy Coleman will face off in the May 24 runoff election in the race for criminal district attorney. This is incorrect.

To win outright, a candidate must have 50% plus one vote, not 51% as reported. Sitton received 3,305 votes which was 50.86% of the votes cast in this race.

Coleman received 2,099 votes, or 32.30%, and a third candidate, Julie Mayes Hamrick, received 1,094 votes, or 16.84%.

The Enterprise regrets the error and apologizes for any confusion this may have caused.

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