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Polk County News - Breakout


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The Livingston Lions Club is offering Christmas trees for sale, an annual tradition that is now in its 40th year. The highly successful project began when Lion Kent Colburn planted the trees on property in the Trinity River bottom at Romayor. After four years of growth to reach maturity, Colburn was not certain how to market them until he had a chance meeting with Lion Pete Mence. Mence suggested that the Livingston Lions Club set up a stand and sell them on a 50/50 basis. Colburn agreed and soon a team of Lion members went out to harvest and set them up for sale. The first location was a vacant lot west of Jackson’s Hardware on Church Street, and later moved to a spot next to Burger King. For the past 13 years, the club has, thanks to the generosity of The First National Bank, set up their Christmas tree corral in front of the bank on West Church Street. The club has trees available to the public. There are Scotch Pines for $40 each and a limited number of Blue Spruce trees for $60. Should you be interested in purchasing a tree or supporting the Livingston Lions Club, please contact the Club President, Lion Jared Jernigan, at (936) 433-0315. The operating hours for the Christmas tree lot are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday.  Shown here are Lions Ann Zeigler and Dr. Mike Shukan.Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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County ratifies commerce center lease with Lamar

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Polk County Commissioners Court ratified approval of the sublease of the county building housing Lamar College at the Polk County Commerce Center.

“The Polk County Commerce Center Shelter is a county-owned building that was funded through EDA grants and private donations raised by the Polk County Higher Education & Technology Foundation. The Court previously designated the foundation to manage the facility and the sublease agreement was originally with Angelina College. Angelina College wanted to do something different so we set out terms for Lamar College operations through the foundation and so now we’re ratifying that agreement since the property actually belongs to the county,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.

The Court took necessary action for the Polk County CDBG-DR Voluntary Buyout Program GLO Contract No. 20-066-018-C125. Specifically, they accepted the qualifications from R&L, JWTC, Sitek Omni, Albo and DSW and requested bids for the provision of professional home demolition services. Additionally, they approved the advance payment, pursuant to Uniform Relocation Assistance Regulation 49 CFR Sec. 24.404 (C), in the amount of $58,205.28 for eligible relocation entitlement, to be reimbursed by the General Land Office.

An offer to purchase tax foreclosure property, 1.44 acres in the Henry Hare Survey Abstract 325 Tract 8 Cause No. T15-035 located in Precinct 4, was approved.

Although the Court was slated to receive a report from the Sexual Assault Response Team as required by Local Government Code Chapter 351, the item was tabled until the next meeting.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and considered personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting and approved paying out equivalent comp and FLSA comp hours earned by jail staff as of Nov. 19, 2023, as requested by Sheriff Byron Lyons, utilizing available funds from the jail salaries line item.

The Court also approved fiscal year 2024 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office.

In old business, the Court approved a request from Republic Services for changes modifying the hours of operation at the citizen collection stations.

During informational reports, Murphy reported on the General Land Office monies the county will receive as announced at the Deep East Texas Council of Governments Annual Luncheon on Nov. 21. “Jessica Hutchins and all of our grant coordinators did an excellent job. It’s pretty exciting times for Polk County that we are moving forward with this $17 million,” Murphy said.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the Nov. 14 regular meeting and the Nov. 17 special called meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

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

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

Approval of an interlocal agreement renewing services with Harris County for postmortem examinations;

Ratification of an agreement between Polk County and Indian Springs, Livingston and Segno Volunteer Fire Departments for the donation of AED G3 trainers; and

Approval of an order renewing Polk County tax abatement criteria and guidelines for the two-year period beginning Dec. 11, 2023 and ending Dec. 10, 2025.

Lindell Mitchell with the Livingston Church of Christ opened the meeting with prayer.


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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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