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Polk County News - Breakout

County enacts burn ban

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Polk County LogoFrom Enterprise Staff

Based on a review of the drought index, coupled with concerns from area fire departments, the Polk County Commissioners Court enacted a burn ban for the unincorporated areas of the county during an emergency called meeting Friday.

The order prohibiting outdoor burning will remain in effect for a period of 30 days and will expire at the end of said period or upon the date the Court determines, by order, that the circumstances no longer create a public safety hazard.

Under notification of suspected outdoor burning, the fire department assigned to the location of the fire shall respond to the scene and take immediate measures to contain and extinguish the fire.

A person who knowingly or intentionally violates the order commits a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500, in accordance with Section 352.081 of the Local Government Code. Onalaska City Council to meet

In related activity, the Onalaska City Council has called a special meeting for noon Monday to review and consider action on an ordinance prohibiting outdoor burning.

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FORTY BALES DIVERTED FROM LANDFILL

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RecyclingLoad

The Polk County Recycling Center sent its first truckload of flattened corrugated cardboard off Thursday, headed to a mill in Louisiana. The 40 bales totaled 42,060 pounds which will bring in about $2,250 which will be utilized to sustain operations. The center is operated by Polk County Recycling & Beautification, a nonprofit organization that has partnered with Polk County to provide a reliable recycling service for the residents of East Texas, sustained by grants, donations and the sale of recyclable materials. The center is located at 10311 Hwy. 146 in Livingston at the intersection of Hwy. 146 and FM 2665 and accepts #1-#7 plastics, flattened corrugated cardboard and aluminum and steel “tin” cans. It is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In its first 10 months of operation, the center diverted over 69,000 pounds of materials from the Polk County Landfill. Courtesy photo

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Animal rescue non-profit focuses on responsibility

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 Tammy Lawson is shown with Chance, one of the rescue dogs she and her huband Greg are tending to on behalf of Animals Lives Matter of East Texas, a non-profit they started at the beginning of the year. Courtesy photoTammy Lawson is shown with Chance, one of the rescue dogs she and her huband Greg are tending to on behalf of Animals Lives Matter of East Texas, a non-profit they started at the beginning of the year. Courtesy photo

From Enterprise Staff

Have you heard about the new rescue in town? Greg and Tammy Lawson have supported animal rescues together since they were married back in 1991. After many years of supporting other animal rescues, something they still do, they decided to at the beginning of 2022 to open their own animal rescue network and work with various county entities in East Texas. Their main focus is Polk County and they are proud to announce their rescue is an official 501(c)3 non-profit with the name “Animals Lives Matter of East Texas.”

The non-profit is all volunteers with no one on the payroll and all donations go to the welfare of homeless and abused animals. One of their focuses is teaching proper animal ownership and the responsibility that comes with bringing an animal into your family, from food and water to vaccines and spaying and neutering to proper housing from the weather and giving the animal the attention it deserves.

The Lawsons are quick to respond that their biggest issue is animal neglect. Not only do they deal with animals that have been dumped in the streets, they also have seen many cases of abuse in which neighbors turn their backs.

“We have two dogs with fosters right now that were chained to a tree with no food or water. One came in at 35 pounds, literally skin hanging on bones. His ideal weight should be around 73 pounds. He’s doing well now and has gained over 20 pounds since being taken under our care,” Tammy said.

When asked what to do about animal abuse, Tammy said to show that you care by reporting it to Animal Control. “For God’s sake, do something. Don’t ignore it.

 “It’s a never-ending battle and Animals Lives Matter will not give up. Animals Lives Matter of East Texas is very active on Facebook and invites everyone to follow us,” Tammy said, adding, “We’re also working on a website and YouTube page so we can get the message out even further.”

For those interested in becoming a foster, reach out to them at 281-871-0110. Donations may be sent via PayPal to https://paypal.me/almofeasttexas?country.x=US&locale.x=en_US or checks may be mailed to Animals Lives Matter of East Texas at 437 S. Circle Dr., Livingston, Texas 77351.

“Saving lives one day at a time, Animals Lives Matter,” Tammy said.

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Auditions going on now for FUMC "A Texas Chritmas Carol"

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100222 auditions christmas carol

Audition for A “TEXAS Take” on a Christmas Classic! -ALL AGES!

P.A.S.E.T. (The Performing Arts Society of East Texas) is an extension of the music and performing arts ministry of
Livingston First United Methodist Church. You may remember “A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage” from last year! We are pleased to announce COMMUNITY-WIDE auditions for our December production of A TEXAS CHRISTMAS CAROL to be performed on Thursday 12/8, Friday 12/9, and Saturday 12/10, 2022.

This is a community theatre production with roles for all ages:  older adults, younger adults, youth, children:  Scrooge, Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Marley, the Christmas Ghosts, Carolers/Ensemble, and all the rest… We need them all!

Audition Dates/Times:  Friday 9/30 at 6:00 PM, Monday 10/3 at 6:00 PM, and Tuesday, 10/4. Main Sanctuary of Livingston FUMC: 2801 US Hwy 190 W, Livingston, TX 77351.

Come on down to the auditions on one of the days/times listed above to find out how YOU can get involved with this exciting new play with music!! Don’t Miss Out! — To audition please RSVP your audition date/time by contacting FUMC Director of Music & Performing Arts Ministries, Jonathan Kupper.  (936) 327-7100, ext. 118. Or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. … “And God bless us, everyone!”

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Commissioners approve construction manager

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Selective demolition, the first phase of the historic restoration of the Polk County Courthouse, is expected to start around the beginning of the year following approval of an agreement with JC Stoddard as construction manager during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Polk County Commissioners Court. JC Stoddard will also serve as construction manager for the second phase which is restoration and rehabilitation.

County Judge Sydney Murphy presented an update regarding the water infrastructure projects to be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Hurricane Harvey regional mitigation grant.

“On Nov. 9, 2021, the Court agreed that the primary projects for ARPA funds would include interconnectivity and water infrastructure in the unincorporated areas of the county. On May 10, 2022, an MOU template for agreements between the county and the eligible water supply corporations was approved, including a 25% match requirement from the water companies. All but one of the water companies with approved eligible projects have agreed to the 25% match commitment.

“In July, DETCOG approved the method of distribution for the Hurricane Harvey mitigation grant funds, allocating $17,098,000 to Polk County for eligible mitigation projects. We expect that all but three of the water infrastructure projects that were included in the ARPA-funded project list will meet the LMI requirements, allowing us to transition those projects from ARPA to Harvey mitigation. The ARPA funds are more flexible and shifting these eligible projects from ARPA to Harvey mitigation will leave about $800,000 in ARPA for project contingencies. 

“With the Court’s approval we will shift the water infrastructure projects for Soda, Dallardsville, Shiloh Ridge, Leggett, and Damascus-Stryker from ARPA to Harvey mitigation grant. The three water projects that will remain under ARPA are Providence, Tempe and Onalaska. Pat Oates with Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong is working on project plans and, once complete, will submit them for TCEQ approval. Once approved, GLS will move forward with requests for qualifications.”

Following Murphy’s update of the timeline, the Court approved advertising for requests for qualifications for the water infrastructure projects under both ARPA and Harvey mitigation.

“I’d like to say that with this whole ARPA/Harvey mitigation, we were one step ahead with our infrastructure and I want to point out that it was truly a partnership,” Murphy said. “We had a water committee that looked at all of it and evaluated. We had continuous support from our grant administrators and especially from Pat Oates. He has met with every water district and they have discussed every water project, so I do want to thank everybody that was involved all the way from the bottom up. I also want to say that Jessica Hutchins (the county’s grants and contracts administrator) has done a fabulous job of keeping all the rest of us straight. I want to thank her as well.”

“This is our federal dollars coming back to the county,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet said.

“Back to the ARPA funds, on Aug. 9 the Court selected LivCom with a 50/50 match with the total county portion being $326,574.50 and Eastex Telephone Cooperative with a 40/60 match with the county portion being the 40, being $4,268,000.25. So we’re getting a $10 million project to provide rural interconnectivity and these projects are expected to be completed in 2024,” Murphy said.

The Court approved the agreements with Eastex Telephone Cooperative and LivCom for the construction of a fiber internet network, with the county’s portion to be paid with ARPA funds.

The Court approved offers to purchase the following tax foreclosed properties, both in Precinct 3: the R.W. Russell Survey, Abstract 68, T12-137, 1.50 acres and the A.J. Bradley Survey, Abstract 936, T13-185, .625 acres.

Conditional approval, pending receipt of a bond, was granted for Stonebrook Estates subdivision in Precinct 2.

The Court approved a resolution in support of Operation Green Light for Veterans. Murphy said she would like to encourage other agencies to participate in the program in which shining a green light from Nov. 7-13 shows support for veterans by letting them know that they are seen, appreciated and supported.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed one authorized emergency hiring at the sheriff’s office.

Fiscal year 2022 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

During informational reports, Murphy informed the Court and audience that a mailer has gone out to citizens in the county regarding the environmental enforcement department and the emergency management department but that it was not sent out by the county.

The Court also recognized the Polk County Historical Commission which recently received the Texas Historical Commission Distinguished Service Award for 2021, an award given each year to historical commissions across the state that demonstrate outstanding projects and programs encouraging preservation and community partnerships. Members of the Polk County Historical Commission are appointed for two-year terms by the Polk County Commissioners Court and represent all areas of the county. In related activity, the Court presented a distinguished service award to J.D. Coogler, 99, for his contributions to the commission, the state and the nation. Although Coogler was unable to be present to accept the award, other members of the commission accepted it on his behalf.

Pastor Sonny Hathaway of Central Baptist Church of Livingston opened the meeting with prayer.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the Sept. 13 meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

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

Approval of order setting juror reimbursement for fiscal year 2023;

Approval of order designating regular terms of commissioners;

Approval of order setting terms of the constitutional county court;

Adoption of a resolution expressing intent to reimburse certain fiscal year 2023 expenditures (capital purchases) to be incurred by Polk County, Texas (reimbursement resolution);

Approval of an amendment to agreement with City Of Livingston for (LVFD) firefighting services;

Approval of the submission of grant budget adjustment requests to the office of the attorney general for sheriff and district attorney offices’ victim coordinator and liaison grants;

Approval of a resolution in support of fiscal year 2023 indigent defense formula grant application;

Acceptance of grant funds awarded to the sheriff’s office from the Texas School Safety Center For Tobacco Enforcement Program;

Receipt and recording of fiscal year 2021 Polk County Jail commissary and inmate trust fund financial review; and

Receipt of treasurer’s monthly report for August 2022.

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