2007 - Year in Review
Polk County Enterprise - January 2008
Catfish King restaurant destroyed by fire
Firefighters from the surrounding areas worked feverishly to put out a fire that consumed the Catfish King restaurant, with more than 69 men on the scene.
Lance Corporal Justin Murdock, a 2006 graduate of Livingston High School shipped out for Iraq on July 18, joining dozens more from the Polk County area.
The county’s sales tax revenues were up 67% over the previous year, partly due to the legalization of alcohol sales the previous May.
Barbara White began semi-retirement after nearly 30 years as the editor of the Polk County Enterprise. Valerie Reddell, former Special Sections Editor, took the helm in July.
Rain, rain and more rain had the area waterlogged as three Texas state parks actually closed for Independence Day because some lakes were too full.
Onalaska City Council pondered involvement in National Night Out, a crime, drug and violence prevention program scheduled nationwide for Aug. 7.
Fourth of July celebrations around the county brought out the patriotic spirit as everything from fund-raising concerts to parades were held.
Once again Livingston school officials were considering options to relieve the crowding on Livingston’s campuses. Trustees toured facilities with an eye toward swapping the junior high and high school buildings although additional construction would be required.
As lake levels rose, Trinity River Authority officials continued to increase the dam’s flow, threatening some in low lying areas with the possibility of flooding as storm water runoff moved down the Trinity River from rain-soaked parts to our north.
A Polk County jury found two men guilty of the murder of Clayton Junior Jones on May 14, 2006. Jackie Deshawn Welch received a sentence of 40 years for his involvement in the murder and coverup and Kevin Rashawn Wright was sentenced to 50 years for firing the fatal shot.
The City of Livingston launched a new emergency notification service known as CodeRED. The system allows city officials to deliver up to 30,000 calls an hour to notify residents of any crisis situation.
Copper theft continued to plague the county with the theft of 140 pounds of copper from Alverson’s Recycling in the 1800 block of N. Washington Ave.
Former Palestine principal Richard Scoggin was chosen to head the Livingston High School campus.
With major media outlets reporting a flood of Biblical proportions heading for Polk County, Spencer Karr of TRA reassured residents that the claims were considerably exaggerated.
Harry Potter mania swept through Livingston at midnight on July 21 with hundreds of area residents lining up to buy a copy of the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book broke sales records worldwide, at one point selling at a rate of 250,000 copies an hour.
Alabama-Coushatta tribe member Sgt. Ryan Jason Thompson returned home to a huge celebration after a one-year stint in Iraq.
Prison officials announced they would began preparations in the fall for a parole hearing for Chester William (Bill) Ingram, formerly of Livingston, who is serving a 40-year sentence for aggravated kidnapping of a pharmaceutical rep. on Nov. 7-8, 1989.
Building fever stuck local churches hard in 2007 with three of the larger churches undertaking major construction projects. First Presbyterian Church was nearing completion of its recreation building at the end of July, just in time for the church’s 125th anniversary.
Central Baptist Church’s new sanctuary construction wasn’t moving as quickly as expected because of drainage issues and rain delays, while First Baptist was nearly ready to break ground on an entirely new facility at the north end of Houston Street.
Local Sea Lion youth swimmer Logan Ohm advanced to the state level during the regional meet in Rosenberg, placing first in several competitions.
Also on the water in 2007, Robin Babb was preparing for the final stop in the 2007 Women’s Bassmaster Tournament at Red river in Shreveport, La.
Babb started the year off ranked 10th in the world but found herself in a sophomore slump after ranking 69th in Del Rio. By July she was ranked 23rd overall and gearing up for a big win.