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Polk County News - Breakout

Council to address election items

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Onalaska logoA number of items pertaining to the upcoming elections are on the agenda for a special called meeting of the Onalaska City Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Ordinance No. 417 Ordering the General Election on May 7 and Ordinance No. 418 Ordering the Special Called Election on May 7 will be reviewed and considered for approval. Following the Oct. 26 death of Mayor Chip Choate, Council Member and Mayor Pro-Tem Shirley Gilmore was appointed to serve the remainder of Choate’s term. However, the position will be on the ballot to be filled during the May 7 special called election.

Council will review and consider approval of an interlocal agreement between the City of Onalaska and Polk County to acquire the use of certain items of equipment and services of the county in compliance with the requirements of the Texas Election Code.

Interlocal agreements between the city and Onalaska ISD, as well as the city and the Polk County Fresh Water Supply District, for the purpose of conducting a joint election, will also be reviewed and considered for approval.

Council is expected to review and consider approval of updated policy department policies by replacing sections specified as follows: 1.1 Mission Value and Written Directive System; 1.2 Jurisdiction, Organization and Authority; 1.4 Inspections and Audits; 1.5 Mutual Aid; 1.6 Departmental Reports; 2.2 Bias Based Policing; 2.9 Mental Health Leave; 4.8 Reserve Officer Program; 6.1 Use of Force; 7.1 Prisoner Restraints; 7.11 Prisoner Transport; 7.13 Domestic Violence and Protective Orders; 7.3 Arrests with/without a Warrant; 7.3 Traffic Enforcement; 7.4 Search Incident to Arrest; 7.42 Eyewitness Identifications; 7.5 Vehicle Pursuits; 7.5 Search Warrant; and 12.1 Property and Evidence.

Council will review and consider approval of Resolution 2022-01 which is the City of Onalaska Personnel Policy and will also review and consider approval of Resolution 2022-02 authorizing Mayor Pro-Tem Shirley Gilmore to sign a non-exclusive license and service agreement with Local Government Solutions for municipal court software.

Council is expected to review and consider approval of Ordinance No. 416 Animal Control, amending Ordinance No. 394.

The 2022 holiday schedule will be reviewed and considered for approval and the 2021 Racial Profile Report will be accepted as presented.

Departmental reports will be presented on behalf of the police department, the fire department, the fire marshal/building inspector, the library and the city administrator.

Other items on the agenda include approval of the minutes, payment of vouchers and financial reports.

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Precinct boundaries on agenda

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Polk County LogoThe Polk County Commissioners Court will discuss and consider orders to adopt effective dates for precinct boundaries for the purpose of providing services—for justice precincts, as well as road and bridge maintenance precincts—during its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Updates to the Master Street Address Guide in regard to recent redistricting will be discussed and considered.

Any necessary action regarding a sheriff’s request to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, for an evidence/procurement manager position will be discussed and considered.

Commissioners are slated to review and consider personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and review any authorized emergency hirings.

Fiscal Year 2022 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, will also be reviewed.

Items on the consent agenda include:

• Approval of minutes of the Jan. 11 regular meeting;

• Approval of schedule of bills;

• Receive county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;

• Approve sheriff’s request to submit application for participation in the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office “1033 Program;”

• Approve sheriff’s request to submit an application to the Office of the Governor Fiscal Year 2022 Criminal Justice Grant Program for Special Victims Officer;

• Transfer 2015 Ford Explorer from the district attorney’s office to permits;

• Approve Lake Livingston Water Supply Corporation’s request for sanitary control easement on Rodgers Street located in Wiggins Village I Subdivision (William Beasley Survey, Abstract 4) in Precinct 2;

• Ratify approval of agreement with Deep East Texas Council of Governments for Solid Waste Program Grant;

• Approve extension to Bancorp South Equipment Finance Lease #26 (for eight 2021 Mack GR64F dump trucks) from Jan. 10 to April 10, with additional interest payment to be paid from the road and bridge capital leases fund;

• Approval interlocal agreements between Polk County and the Democratic and Republican parties for the county’s provision of election equipment and services for the March 1 primary election and (possible) run-off election as recommended by the county clerk;

• Approval of the early voting schedule for the 2022 Democratic and Republican primary election to be held on March 1; and

• Approval to file claim with the state comptroller, pursuant to Government Code, Sec. 61.0015(B), for reimbursement of a portion of the juror fees paid by Polk County during the period of Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2021.

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Test scores, projects reported

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TestScores GraphicBy Brian Besch
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Goodrich ISD revealed test scores from a state exam, revised its innovation plan and received a detailed report on campus maintenance Thursday evening in the administration building.

A public hearing was held after obtaining results from the Texas Academic Performance Reports (TAPR). Principal Aubrey Vaughn reported that fourth-, fifth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math scores beat the state average. The fifth- and eighth-grade reading scores beat the previous year, however, science scores were low for that same group. U.S. history scores were also low.

The district “meets and masters scores” (levels that are at or exceed state expectations) were low for all subjects except for math. A total of 52 of the 254 Goodrich students are identified as “emergent bilingual.” Reading scores amongst this group was low. A total of 61% of the 2019-20 class was considered college or career ready by graduation. 

The District of Innovation plan was revised during the meeting. The plan began about a decade ago and it helped school districts to find Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers. Under the plan, districts could hire people that were experts in their field, but not certified to teach. As of the last few years and especially now that Covid-19 has become a factor, that has expanded to core non-certified teachers as well. 

Those with a bachelor’s degree can be placed as not under teacher contract, but as an at-will employee. They would receive teacher pay, but not a teacher contract. It acts as a security blanket in case the positions cannot be filled.

“To be honest, I don’t think that we are going to need it next year,” Goodrich Superintendent Daniel Barton said. “But, I am not a good gambler. I want to stack the deck. But, that is what6that would allow us to do. We could hire somebody who is qualified, but not certified.”

Workers pulled windows off the back of the school building and have replaced them with plywood to see what will be needed to install the glass. Work on the windows was approved last month for $230,000 with Williams Glass. 

The previous bid was $350,000, prompting district leaders to find additional quotes. 

The windows are a vinyl frame and will look just as the ones the school currently has. The 71 windows are on the middle school and part of the elementary, with a completion date at the end of July. 

Bids to remodel six bathrooms was approved. The update will make the restrooms touchless and ADA compliant. All new partitions, sinks, commodes, flooring and mirrors will be installed, and the walls are to be painted. Two bids came in around $250,000, but a bid for $215,000 was excepted from 1st Choice out of Livingston.

A bid from McWilliams and Son was accepted for the HVAC project on campus. The project will replace six units with five that are more energy efficient. The hope is that after the HVAC system and windows are installed, money will be saved on energy costs. 

The HVAC, window, bathroom and technology projects will be paid for by ESSER funds. The technology project will upgrade would allow for a new Surface Pro in each teacher’s classroom and a 75-inch interactive display on every classroom’s wall, except a few that will be 65-inch screens. The Surface Pros would hook wirelessly into the displays. 

The new digital display sign has been shipped to Houston and will soon arrive on campus to be installed.

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Military care package recipients send thanks

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Boots graphicFrom Enterprise Staff

The Families and Individuals Thanking Heroes (F.A.I.T.H.) Military Support Group of Livingston recently received some thank you letters from members of the military who received care packages from the group.

Formed in June 2006 to provide encouragement and support to military personnel while they are away from home, the group gathers to pack boxes on the second Thursday of each month.

Following are two of the letters recently received:

“On behalf of the Contracting Office here in Djibouti, we wish to say thank you for the thoughtful care-package sent to us recently. Any taste or touch of home is always welcomed here as our deployments are long and the distance from family and friends great. It is humbling to know of such caring and patriotic citizens who keep us in their thoughts and prayers daily. Toilet paper and wet-wipes are my favorites. Now who would think toilet paper would be a premium? Well, you get toilet paper here, but it is … less than quality if you know what I mean. Never thought I would be thankful to see simple things like that. Wet-wipes are used in many ways as well. The pecan pies … normally I would not buy Walmart pecan pies, being spoiled on the older vendors where

you saw them all the time. But when you never see a pecan pie here, it’s like a filet mignon when you do lol. Again, thank you so very much for the care package and we just want you to know your efforts and generosity are greatly valued and appreciated from afar. Very Respectfully, The Navy Contracting Office Personnel, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti”

“Hello and Happy Holidays FAITH Military Support Group. We have received so many care packages here in Kosovo, Europe and would like to say a warm thank you. The smallest donations such as pens and paper go a long way for soldiers here to be able to communicate with friends and family. We cannot thank you enough. There are a lot of things soldiers find in these packages that they miss from home. The cards and childrens’ drawings bring smiles to all of our faces. Support like this never fails to remind us why what we do is worth it. Everything in these packages is put to great use. Soldiers share and nothing is taken for granted. Thank you again for all that you do for us. With love, U.S. Army Soldiers”

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Large Business of Year named

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large business namedFrom Enterprise Staff

McWilliams and Son Heating and Air Conditioning has been named Large Business of the Year by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce and will be recognized at the chamber’s 86th Annual Awards Banquet slated for Jan. 27 at the Polk County Commerce Center.

Kentucky Derby Gala is the theme of this year’s banquet which will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner, remarks, awards and live entertainment. The culmination of the annual banquet is the presentation of the Small Business of the Year, the Large Business of the Year and the Polk Countian of the Year.

After 45 years in business, McWilliams and Son opened its Livingston location in 2018. Based on Christian principles and using the basic guidelines of good customer service, hard work and innovation, McWilliams and Son continues to thrive with over 74 employees currently.

With economic growth in mind, McWilliams and Son has emerged as a substantial contributor to the Polk County community. Through financial contributions and encouraging team members to serve on various boards for charitable organizations such as Polk County Area Go Texan, Childrenz Haven, Boys and Girls Club of East Texas, Ambassadors of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Main Street and Walk to End Alzheimers, the company continues to make an impact.

The company donates auction items for many fundraising events and encourages team members to participate in community events. McWilliams and Son also gives unselfishly to serve those in need. After the devastating tornado in Onalaska, the company mobilized a team to serve over 1,600 meals to the community.

This outstanding company not only gives back to the local community, but constantly invests in every employee. This year, McWilliams and Son hosted private events for employees and their families at water parks and theaters, as well as a spouse appreciation event to express appreciation for their support during the busy work season. The company provides and serves meals to team members who have lost loved ones. They celebrate team members’ accomplishments and milestones with gifts for house warmings, new babies and graduations.

The company mission statement is to Inspire the team members, Create a great customer service and Engage in the community (ICE). This mission reminds team members to keep cool and focus on those simple, yet important things. After all, “We’re not comfortable until you are” extends not only to the customers, but to the team members and the communities that McWilliams and Son serves.

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