Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - December 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Scouts Observe Citizenship Day in Commissioners Court
Houston County Courier - December 2008
By Sharron Randall
Boy Scout Troop 419 attended the final 2008 meeting of Houston County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Dec. 23 in commemoration of Citizenship Day. After the meeting was adjourned, Tyler Reed of Latexo and Devon Taylor and Matthew Clark of Crockett were formally introduced to outgoing Precinct 1 Commissioner Jerry McLeod, Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen, Precinct 3 Commissioner Pat Perry, Precinct 4 Commissioner Kennon Kellum and Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt.
After approving the minutes of the Dec. 9 meeting, budget amendments and related budget transfers and payment of bills and expenses, the court recognized Glenna Enos, director of Senior Citizens of America at the podium.
Ms. Enos became emotional as she conveyed the news that the SCOA had received an "anonymous forever" donation of $10,000 and notification that a grant from the Department of Agriculture guaranteed at least $20,000 to fund Meals on Wheels for seniors, which "might possibly become $100,000," she said.
Judge Hunt explained that a prerequisite of the grant was that the county provides a certain amount of matching funds, which he said, it does.
"The most humbling experience of my life," Ms. Enos said of her role as director of the senior center. She reported that some new programs for the elders of Houston County, such as a defensive driving course and CPR classes, are in the works.
Also recognized were Jeana Brooks, president of Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce and Tim Culp, executive director of Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corp., who presented reasons for Texas Forest Country Marketing Program.
In his presentation, Culp said that the focus of the 13 east Texas counties participating will create a statewide marketing campaign to lure retirees and tourist to the region, facilitate meetings and dialogue among economic development leaders and target employment prospects to bring jobs to the Texas Forest Country Region, the brand which was unveiled in October 2006.
He said that marketing to retirees have a positive economic and social impact, that retirees control 77 percent of the nation's assets, they own 68 percent of all money market accounts and they generally bring in twice as much revenue as the cost of providing them services.
Houston County's position is about midway between all 13 counties and Houston County funds would amount to about $6,500 of the $100,000 sought, to be used for media and other marketing programs designed to increase awareness of Texas Forest County.
The commissioners agreed 5-0 to approve the amount of $1,500 taken from the Houston County Community Development Fund; $3,500 comes from ETMC, $750 from the chamber of commerce and another $750 comes from Grapeland's emergency services district.
An interlocal agreement to provide funding for Houston and Trinity Counties Children's Advocacy Center, Kalin's Center, from the Family Protection Fund was unanimously approved by commissioners in the sum of $1,200 after President of the Board Donna Kaspar made her appeal.
Director Debbie McCall said, "Thank you all. We are going to stop child abuse…one child at a time."
Six years of accumulated comp time in the sheriff's office for outgoing employee, Morris Luker was approved by the court, as was approval for pay rates for Michele Overstreet, dispatcher, Jerry Durrett, civil process deputy, Lynn Gentry, bailiff, and Ben Gardner, investigator.
Monday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. was the date and time approved for the next commissioners court meeting because of an annual event in Austin on Tuesday, Jan. 13,
Appointments were filled for expiring positions on boards of directors for Houston County Emergency Services District No. 1 and No. 2. In District No. 1, Dan Huff, Billy Horne and Susan Rowden were reappointed for two years and in District No. 2 George Crowson Jr. was reappointed and Bobby Hutcherson was appointed for a two-year term.
Judge Hunt presented a plaque to Commissioner McLeod who received a standing ovation for his service to the court for the last eight years and complimentary words from his peers.
According to McLeod, his grandson Colby McLeod. critically injured last month in a "freak accident" is slowly improving. An emotional McLeod said "He's lucky to be alive," and that doctors in Tyler called Colby a "miracle child." He thanked everyone for their prayers, especially a nurse in Tyler who sent emails around the world so people offering up prayers could mention his grandson by name.
Commissioner McLeod moved to adjourn the meeting for coffee and beverages. Outgoing Constable Roy Smith and District Attorney David Cervantes were not present to receive their plaques.