News

Fri
14
Nov

Sims students the focus of drop-out prevention program


Lydia Lockhart, of Communities in Schools, shows one of the jackets in the clothes closet she maintains at R.Q. Sims Intermediate School with gently worn clothing for students who need help in that area. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
For the second consecutive year, Mexia’s R.Q. Sims Intermediate School has a drop-out prevention program in place to try to alleviate the problems that cause students to drop out of school in the first place.
The program is called Communities in Schools, a nationwide program active in 26 states, the largest of its kind. Social service professional Lydia Lockhart is the Communities in School representative that works with Sims students, who are fourth- and fifth-graders. She has her own classroom, not to teach, but as a safe place for students to visit outside of their regular classes.
“If there’s something going on in their lives, if they need to share or maybe they’re having a fight with a friend or are being bullied, they can come to me and feel safe, and feel like it’s a place where they can share what’s going on,” she said recently.

Fri
14
Nov

Limits on lame duck commissioner set

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Limestone County commissioners court at its Nov. 10 meeting set a limit on spending by Commissioner William “Pete” Kirven, who was unsuccessful in his re-election bid in the Nov. 4 General Election. The court also learned that Groesbeck had sold a lot that the county owned, but the sale simply means money for the county it was not expecting and another property back on the tax roll.
County Judge Daniel Burkeen reminded the court that the move to limit what Kirven could spend was required by law.
“It’s called the Lame Duck Law,” Burkeen said. “I thought this was an optional thing, but (Waco attorney) Mike Dixon tells me it is actually mandatory that we set limits when a commissioner is not re-elected, on how much they can spend. The law is automatic that they can’t spend (beyond) what we set, so according to Mike Dixon we’re just supposed to set an amount.”
“That’s what I was concerned about,” Kirven said.

Fri
14
Nov

City to discuss change to juvenile curfew

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor
Mexia City Council will hold the first of two required public hearings needed to renew the city's youth curfew ordinance when they meets Tuesday.
Two public hearings are required before the emergency ordinance affecting those age 17 or younger and their parents, first passed in 1990, can be renewed. The city attorney is suggesting only one change of the ordinance, which currently makes an exception to the curfew for children "carrying out an errand directed by his or her parent, guardian or conservator."
Another ordinance before Council is one proposed to ban people from raising domestic fowl or poultry for commercial purposes in the city or within 5,000 feet of the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. The ordinance is proposed "in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of real property, occupied or unoccupied," citing sanitation and odors as undesirable.

Wed
12
Nov

Electrical fire scorches home


Mexia firefighters examine the wall of a home that caught fire, apparently from an electrical outlet where an air compressor was connected. The fire happened Monday, Nov. 10, about 4 p.m. off Hinchliffe Road, about 3 miles south of Mexia. Homeowner Monte Fleming can be seen at far right. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Flames flared and smoke billowed in the carport of a Limestone County home south of Mexia Monday chasing the occupants outside to safety in the cold windy afternoon.
Amy Fleming was helping her neighbor’s three children with their homework around 4 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the home she shares with her husband, Monte, when they suddenly realized there was a fire.
“We were inside and saw the smoke,” she said.
They all hurried outside and Amy Fleming called 911.
Firefighters from Mexia, State School and Shiloh fire departments responded, bringing with them at least seven vehicles including an EMS unit, two large fire trucks, a medium fire truck, two grass trucks and a car.
Other first responders arrived in pickup trucks to the home, which is in the 100 block of Private Road 5488, about 3 miles south of the city off Hinchliffe Road.

Wed
12
Nov

County nearing end of state road fund grant

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Limestone County commissioners are approaching the end of the county’s initial $503,797 County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone Grant monies, the state funds that reimburse counties for damage to roads from oil-and-gas trucks and machinery. Consequently, there will not be enough money to repair some of the roads on the original list, meaning repairs will have to be paid by county funds again.
One such road is LCR 474, which Commissioner William “Pete” Kirven had the County Road and Bridge Department repair about two weeks ago at a cost of about $35,000, then requested reimbursement from the CETRZ funds at the commissioners’ Nov. 10 meeting.

To read more on this story, pick up a copy of Thursday's edition of The Mexia News, or subscribe to our online edition.

Mon
10
Nov

Honoring service


Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

Parishioners place one hand over their heart to show reverence for the flags representing the United States as well as the different branches of the armed forces. Services to honor veterans, like this one at Mexia First Assembly of God, were held in churches across the city Sunday. Other ceremonies were to be held Monday and Tuesday for Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Mon
10
Nov

Tax roll total approved, revenue projected

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Limestone County commissioners court members finally got to see the amount of revenue the new tax rolls are estimated to bring in. The court saw the final version of the 2014 Tax Roll at its Oct. 27 meeting and also let the burn ban remain off for now, learned of a new landmark that will soon be seen on Hwy. 14 at the entrance to Old Fort Parker, approved contracts with county entities and approved several budget transfers to close out the old fiscal year.
County Tax Assessor-Collector Stacy Hall presented the tax roll, telling the court the county's property tax revenue is projected to be $15,285,119; the budget was based on a $15,171,000 estimate. The total budget this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, was $24,110,112.
Hall reports that Limestone County collected 98.4 percent of its taxes in 2013, which is approximately the same as the past few years.

Mon
10
Nov

Work on LCR 463 to be fast-tracked

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Because winter is fast approaching, Limestone County commissioners court is trying to expedite the work that is to be done on LCR 463 before bad weather sets in. So, the court agreed at its Oct. 27 meeting to hold a special meeting Nov. 3 with only one item on the agenda: voting on a bid on the road work on LCR 463. The commissioners also took care of other matters concerning county roads and bridges, including getting an update on fixing the pug mill, requesting signs to slow down traffic, finding out why the speed limit on FM 39 is still 60 in one section and checking on the status of two old bridges.
As for the special meeting, County Judge Daniel Burkeen explained why the court needs to move quickly.
“The way the timing worked out, if we waited, we were going to lose a couple of weeks in getting that work done,” he said, “and as we’re going into a bad-weather season, we decided to have a special meeting.”

Wed
05
Nov

Commissioner Pct. 2 race goes to Baker by two votes


Pct. 304 Presiding Election Judge Rosie Fisher, of Mexia, turns in her precinct’s ballots and other election material to election workers in the basement of the Limestone County Courthouse Tuesday evening for the General Election. Mexia News photos/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Limestone County’s only contested race in Tuesday’s General Election was for the Pct. 2 Commissioner position and was won by two votes by Republican challenger W.A. "Sonny" Baker over incumbent Democrat William “Pete” Kirven, 478-476.
Kirven led Baker in two of six precincts: Pcts. 202 and 203; Baker led in Pcts 201, 204, 205 and 206. Kirven's loss means that all county positions are now held by Republicans.
Kirven, his family and supporters, and other residents gathered Tuesday evening at the Courthouse to wait for the ballots to be delivered and the final tally computed.
Kirven’s supporters urged him to seek a recount in light of the tiny difference in votes between him and Baker. Kirven said he would consider the option but would not decide that evening. According to Deputy County Clerk Jennifer Johnson, Kirven has several days to challenge the election results.

Wed
05
Nov

Mexia residents discuss community needs


Cheryl Hudec, associate director of Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies, tells how to use the hand-held vote transmitters she has distributed to those attending Mexia’s community feedback meeting for the Heart of Texas Efficient Towns and Counties project. Hudec assisted Megan Henderson, shown at rear, in facilitating the meeting, held Thursday, Oct. 30 at the Mexia Civic Center. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Mexia leaders and other residents had a chance to give their opinion and have it count last week at a community feedback meeting, part of a project put together by the Heart of Texas Council of Governments.
The meeting was one of several final actions of a grant HOTCOG received in 2011 that it used to help area cities and town work together to make plans for their own future. The project is called Heart of Texas Efficient Towns and Counties, or HOTETC.
Megan Henderson, a representative of HOTETC, facilitated the community feedback meeting at Mexia Civic Center on Thursday, Oct. 30, assisted by Cheryl Hudec, associate director of Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies.
About 87 people attended, though a smaller amount actually voted.
At the time just before the grant, federal money has become quite scarce, Henderson said, and the grant announcement was unexpected.

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