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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Burn ban extended
Houston County Courier -  March 2009

Houston County commissioners voted Monday, March 9 to extend the ban on outdoor burning for unincorporated areas of the county. 
While the commissioners extended the burn ban until its next meeting on Monday, March 23, it also authorizes Houston County Fire Marshal David Lamb to lift the ban earlier if conditions improve.
It was noted that the current burn ban does not apply to controlled burns related to the planting or harvesting of crops.  Also exempted are controlled burns conducted by federal agencies such as the U. S. Forest Service.
After hearing from architect Wayne Gondeck of DRG Architects, commissioners approved final construction documents for the new Houston County Justice Center. 
The HCJC construction manager-at-risk, Kingham Construction Company, is in the process of soliciting bids from various sub-contractors.
Gondeck predicted that Kingham would be ready to present the guaranteed maximum price for the project at its first meeting in April.  Construction should begin shortly thereafter.
Commissioners authorized the Houston County Sheriff’s Office to accept a Homeland Security Grant through the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) which will provide two new all-terrain vehicles for the sheriff’s office. 
The grant will fund the entire cost, which is estimated to be approximately $24,000. 
Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt reported that the all-terrain vehicles would be purchased from a local equipment dealer.
Commissioners also authorized the sheriff’s office to begin soliciting grants and donations to fund participation in the Project Lifesaver program. 
Project Lifesaver is designed to help people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.  Under the program, patients are provided with a wristband that includes a wireless transmitter so the patient can be located quickly in the event he or she becomes lost or disoriented.
The start-up cost to launch Project Lifesaver in Houston County is estimated at $3,000 - $4,000. 
Sheriff Bobbitt said he hopes to raise enough through grants or other donations to cover the program plus help offset the cost for individual monitors for the patients.
Tom Peters, representing the governing board of the Tejas Shores, a private subdivision at Houston County Lake requested that commissioners set a speed limit of 20 mph on roads within the subdivision, and extend enforcement of traffic signs such as stop signs.
On the recommendation of Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen, commissioners tabled action on the request to allow more time to research legal questions. 
Specifically, there was a concern that an order approved several years ago sets the speed limit on most county roads at 35 mph. 
Commissioners want to consult with the Texas Department of Transportation, and have the county attorney review the proposal, before taking any action. 
Commissioners heard a presentation from Maxine Moore, chair of the Houston County Historical Commission.  Mrs. Moore reported that the Texas Historical Commission had recently recognized the Allbright/Chandler Cemetery, also known as the Old Alabama Cemetery, as a historic cemetery.
In other business commissioner voted to advertise for bids for purchase of limestone rock and road base, grader blades, gasoline and diesel fuel for the coming year and approved the transfer of a hangar lease at Houston County Airport from Chuck Cunningham to Karla Evans;  
Commissioners also approved the expenditure of $6,300 from the County Clerk’s Records Management Fund for new file cabinets to be purchased through Boot Heel Office Supply in Crockett.




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