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Giving Back

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From Enterprise Staff

F.A.I.T.H. Military Support Group (Families and Individuals Thanking Heroes) will pack 350 Christmas boxes and care packages at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Livingston Physical Therapy located at 305 W. Mill St. in Livingston for those who are interested in coming out and pitching in.

Need the perfect gift for a family member or friend? Then sponsor a Christmas box for the troops for $40 per box. Christmas is right around the corner and F.A.I.T.H. is asking for the community’s help in sending 350 care packages for miliary heroes who are away from their family during the holidays. The list of heroes includes all branches of the military and all have a personal tie to the community – either by being from here or having a loved one who lives here.

The care packages are filled with toiletries, Hormel Compleats® meals, canned fruit, Skippy peanut butter, Hormel chili, soup, granola bars, snack cakes, homemade fudge made by First Methodist Church of Livingston, mini pecan pies, stockings stuffed with various items, drink mixes, hot chocolate, candy canes, candy, gum, cookies, peanuts and trail mix. All of these items are packed with love and support and then are prayed over before sending them to the heroes.

Below is a thank you letter recently received from a previous recipient of one of the boxes:

“To Whom It May Concern: My name is Diana and I am currently deployed with the U.S. military. I am assigned to the En-Route Patient Staging Facility (ERPSF) and our mission is to care for wounded American warriors who are in the process of being evacuated out of the area towards a higher level of medical care. On behalf of the entire ERPSF, I want to extend my sincere gratitude for your donations to our facility and patients. With your donations, we are able to fulfill our mission and provide quality patient care. On average, we house over 100 members a month; most of which arrive to us on short notice and without sufficient items and hygiene products to last them for the duration of their stay. Additionally, our location is often the first place where they have access to their favorite snacks and candy. Everything that we provide to our patients, we have received via donations from wonderful organizations like yours. With our ever changing world, we have to stay prepared to aide many more then our average. Your donations play a very important role in our preparedness! Thank you for everything you do for our military!”

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Area Christmas Events Aplenty

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20221204 185059

By Brian Besch
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Polk County will once again have a loaded schedule of Christmas events and celebrations that open this week, as the calendar turns to December.

Christmas in the Park, featuring the lighted decorations built by the City of Livingston crews, is available for viewing now in Pedigo Park through Dec. 31. Experience the wonder of Christmas by taking a drive through Pedigo Park to enjoy the lighted holiday figures and thousands of Christmas lights on display.

If you are there this weekend, be sure to see one of the area’s more popular events. Construction is nearly complete on another Walk Through Bethlehem that will begin Friday, Dec. 1, and continue through Sunday. The production from Livingston First Baptist Church is 6-8 p.m. each of the three nights. 

Walk the journey to Bethlehem, a realistic depiction of what the small Judean town may have looked like 2,000 years ago.

Onalaska’s Christmas in our town is kicked off with the annual parade Friday, Dec. 1. Lineup for the parade is at 5:30 p.m. from the Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department and the march through town is takes its first steps at 6 p.m.

Runners will need to wake up early to participate in the Reindeer Dash. Saturday morning’s 7 a.m. registration at Onalaska City Park’s Garland Pavillion for the 3K and 5K Fun Run and walk will sign in all for the 8 a.m. race time. There is a $20 entry fee, and those who pre-register at city hall will receive a free t-shirt. 

Onalaska Trade Days vendor setup will also take place at 8 a.m., with Trade Days held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Christmas in our town will be 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. All are invited to Onalaska to Candy Cane Lane, hop along Hot Chocolate Way, and ramble down through Santa’s Village, where you can cruise down Rudolph Road. Along the path, you can enjoy all the activities, gather up some goodies, and do your Christmas shopping at Trade Days. Activities include pictures with Santa, cookie decorating, cupcake walk, craft and coloring stations, photo booths, paintball, bounce houses, readings of the Christmas story and the Great Bicycle Giveaway.

The City of Goodrich Christmas Market Day and Lighted Christmas parade will be Saturday Dec. 2, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Arts, crafts and food vendors are all part of the celebration. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., pictures with Santa and the Grinch will be available. Children aged 10 years and younger can register until 3 p.m. to win a bike or toy. That bike and toy giveaway will occur at 4 p.m. and children must be present to win.

At 6 p.m., the lighted Christmas parade down Loop 393 will begin. Vender spaces and parade entries are available. For more information, contact City of Goodrich by phone at 936-365-228 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The Polk County Heritage Society’s Christmas Train Village is on display at Good Golly Miss Molly’s, located at 406 North Washington through Dec. 31. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The hours available for viewing are: 3-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; 5-7 p.m. Nov. 30 through Dec. 2; noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 3; 5-7 p.m. Dec. 7-8; noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 9; noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 10; 5-7 p.m. Dec. 14-16; noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 17; 5-7 p.m. Dec. 21-23; and 5-7 p.m. Dec. 28-30. The Train Village is an electric train that travels through mointains and an elaborate snowy town, sure to delight both young and old. 

Finally, on Saturday, Dec. 9, the Livingston Hometown Christmas will take place noon until 8 p.m. The Jingle Bell Fun Run and walk will have a one-mile race at 11:15 a.m. and a two-mile and 5K race beginning at noon from Livingston City Hall. Registration for the races are until Dec. 8 at the Trade Days office in Pedigo Park. The first 200 registered will receive a T-shirt and bells.

The kids area will consist of a candy land course, trackless train and zorb balls. The Hometown Christmas will have a food court, kids area, quilt show, and vendors as far as the eye can see. The day before on Dec. 8, Miss Effie’s Cottage will host Santa for all to bring their letters and take pictures.

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Local entities receive millions in mitigation funding

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112323 GrandEntryMembers of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas performed several cultural dances as part of a tribal historical presentation, including the grand entry, the round dance which is also known as the friendship dance and the hoop dance which represents the circle of life, during the November meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments held Tuesday at the Alabama-Coushatta Multi-Purpose Center. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

By Emily Banks Wooten
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The commissioner of the Texas General Land Office (GLO), Dawn Buckingham, M.D., was the featured speaker for the November meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) and the highlight was Buckingham’s presentation of over $100 million dollars of funds to various cities and counties within the 11-county DETCOG region.

Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funding is administered by the GLO and will be used for a variety of projects to mitigate the impact of future disasters including hurricanes and floods. More than $161 million in mitigation funds were allocated to Deep East Texas following Hurricane Harvey.

Through a method of distribution developed by DETCOG and approved by the GLO, two-thirds of the mitigation funding is going to local jurisdictions, including seven counties, 14 citie4s and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, giving each community the ability to implement mitigation projects that meet its own unique needs. One-third is going toward regional projects to improve broadband and interoperable public safety communications.

The City of Onalaska was awarded $679,000 for street improvements. The City of Livingston was awarded $2,541,000 for street improvements. The City of Corrigan was awarded $561,000 for water storage rehabilitation. Polk County was awarded $15,510,000 for water facilities, street and drainage systems improvements. Polk County was also awarded $1,588,000 for road and water control systems improvements at three plants.

“The Texas General Land Office is proud to help communities grow knowing that the projects we fund will help protect local infrastructure, businesses and the homes of those who live here,” Buckingham said.

“Federal funds can be complicated to administer, but the GLO is helping communities across Texas cut red tape and turn funds promised into projects delivered. These projects were prioritized at the local level by those who live in the communities that will ultimately benefit from the improvements. We are in Deep East Texas because we care about this region and want to help move these projects forward for the benefit of these communities,” Buckingham said.

With November being Native American Heritage Month, it was only appropriate that DETCOG’s monthly meeting be held at the multi-purpose center of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.

Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas performed several cultural dances for the crowd as part of a tribal historical presentation, including the grand entry, the round dance which is also known as the friendship dance and the hoop dance which represents the circle of life.

Welcoming the DETCOG members and representatives to Polk County were Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy; County Commissioners Guylene Robertson, Mark Dubose, Milt Purvis and Jerry Cassity; Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran; Alabama-Coushatta Chief Kanicu Mikko Choba Donnis B. Battise; and Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairman Ricky Sylestine.

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11 9 koc

St. Joe’s Council 9564 and Bishop Bernard J. Ganfer Assembly 2816 of Livingston recently contributed $1,000 to G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach Center in Livingston. The center has extensive repairs required after heavy storms damaged half of the center totaling $60,000 in damages. G.R.A.C.E. Pregnancy Outreach Center covers the following 12 counties: Angelina, Brazoria, Hardin, Harris, Liberty, Lubbock, Montgomery, Polk, Rusk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Tyler counties. To offer assistance, contact the center at 936-327-8440 or go online to https://gracepo.com/donate/. Back row (l-r) Michelle Rose, Dewayne Coburn, Tonya Carter, Mike Wolinski and Dave Lambrix. Front row (l-r) Larry Johnson, Jared Jernigan, Katelyn Napier, Karen Coburn and Edward Arrich. Courtesy photo

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Royal Brigade awarded

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The Royal Brigade band received an award for their recent appearance on a news station. COURTESY PHOTOThe Royal Brigade band received an award for their recent appearance on a news station. COURTESY PHOTO

From Enterprise Staff

The Livingston band was awarded and updates on emergency management and construction were given at November’s Livingston ISD Board of Trustees meeting Monday.

Chuck Kramer and Jason Haden with Kramer Autoplex opened the meeting by presenting the Livingston Royal Brigade with the Chevy Spotlight Award. The band was recently spotlighted during a news segment on KHOU Channel 11, Inside High School Sports. Band director Emily Albert and assistant directors Jesse Albert, Daniel Munson, and Candice Cozart, along with members of band leadership accepted the award.

Dr. Brent Hawkins reported on the district logistics of the emergency management plan. The superintendent said he was proud of how district employees reacted to the recent shelter in place due to a chemical fire in Shepherd.

“When districts go into a lockdown, hold, or shelter in place, it inherently makes the job of the staff in that building exponentially more difficult. There are things that have to continue and go on, but there are also additional duties and responsibilities that go above and beyond the regular school day. I appreciate the outcome that we had in the chemical fire, and that outcome is because a team pulled together and executed the emergency management plan. Lana Smith is our director who is responsible for ensuring the plan is of quality by meeting state compliance, that our stakeholders are communicated the plan via training, and that it is practiced.

“The plan includes best practices put out by the Texas School Safety Center, but Lana Smith ensures that the plan works for us here in Livingston. Mrs. (Jennifer) Birdwell and the communications department disperse information on the website and communicate it to our stakeholders. I sent an email to the district and gave appreciation to the Polk County Emergency Management staff. If there wasn’t clear communication between the county emergency staff and the LISD staff, we simply would not be successful.  Our staff act as loco parentis, which means “in place of parents,” and they do not take that responsibility lightly in these situations. They treat the students as their own children. That’s what public servants do, as evidenced by such emergencies as Sandy Hook.”

Hawkins said there are contingency plans for everything imaginable, including evacuation of the facilities. If the chemical fire had dictated different circumstances, the district would have had to evacuate 4,060 students and 600 employees.

“This would, in essence, be an evacuation of the entire city the size of Livingston, which doesn’t happen without proper planning, training and practice. We continue to train with the hopes that it never happens, but we are ready. Our families have been through several emergency scenarios, and they are to be applauded as the vast majority understand the language and terminology involved in these situations. We execute the plan based on each unique situation and the facts that we have. We have an inordinate number of parents who are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. I want to assure the community that the staff is protecting their children. During these situations, it is crucial that we continue the successful implementation of our plans or chaos develops. For example, if 4,000 people call into our phone lines, we do not have 4,000 phone lines to receive that many calls. Another example would be when we go into a “hold” or a “shelter in place,” no one can come into or exit the building, as this could put someone in danger and, at minimum, distract staff from focusing on their job at hand. Our staff continues to show leadership at every level of our organization during these times, and I’m thankful we have good people in our district who can be depended on.”

Board member Mandi Pipes said, “I wanted to reiterate how well all of our staff did, that our leadership was excellent, and everyone did a fantastic job. I know the teachers are in the classrooms with students a lot longer than normal.”

Hawkins later gave the board a construction update on the new football stadium.

“Our facility committee met, and Mrs. (Lisa) Pearson has enacted the survey. The geostudy signed off on Wednesday. The board facility committee discussed the pre-schematic design with the architect. We anticipate the schematic design will be at the January meeting. We will need to approve a timeline and a timeline with the construction manager at risk and will go out for bids and bring back a guaranteed price in late spring. This facility will be something the students and our whole community will be proud of. It has been a long time since the district has had this opportunity. We have seen districts even close to us have bonds that fail or districts that have bonds that pass for athletic purposes, and we haven’t had to go down either of those roads. The 2015 tax ratification election set the district up for a sound financial future, and since that time, the school boards have all operated fiscally conservatively to make this happen. My best description is that this is a miracle of school finance in the pines, as you just do not see districts fortunate enough to operate and make these moves without raising taxes.”

Included in approved items under the consent agenda were the purchase of transfinder bus software for $91,822, campus and district plans, and a budget amendment.

The board approved casting 834 votes each for Mike Nettles and Dan Ellis for the Polk County Appraisal District Board of Directors. The remaining 96 votes were split, distributing 32 votes each to Pam Pierce, James Arnett, and Tom Curran. 

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