News

Fri
16
Aug

Drug policy on MISD board agenda

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia ISD’s board of trustees will once again revisit the district’s drug testing policy when they meet Monday night.

Trustees will take care of a number of items usually handled in late summr, as the district prepares for a new school year. Items up for approval include the student dress code, teacher appraisal calendar, student code of conduct, employee handbook and insurance bids.

As well, the board will look into changing board meeting dates and items trustees would like to see on the agenda at future meetings, and determine the district’s mission and vision.

For the third month in a row, trustees will discuss changing the district’s drug testing policy for junior high and high school students. Currently, only those participating in extracurricular activities or who drive on campus are eligible for random testing. Trustees have considered expanding that pool to include all students.

Fri
16
Aug

Council to get look at proposed budget

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia City Council will discuss next year’s proposed budget and tax rate and an increase in employee health insurance costs when they meet Tuesday night.

The city’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, and the process of setting the budget includes agreeing to a proposed tax rate, which Council is expected to adopt Tuesday. As well, they will formally present the proposed budget to the city secretary, also a required part of the process.

In its renewal proposal, the city’s health insurer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas, has raised the cost of employee coverage by $203 per employee for the coming year, and upped the deductible amount from $1,000 to $1,500. Life insurance and dental rates are unchanged. The health insurance increase comes to 13.9 percent over the current rate.

Fri
16
Aug

Too funny

Children watching a puppet show scream in laughter at the antics of clown marionettes made life-like by Puppet Wise Productions, of Nacogdoches, at Gibbs Memorial Library’s summer reading program award ceremony Aug. 7. See more photos from the event on Page 10.
Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

Fri
16
Aug

Court’s priority fund debate low key, high tech

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Though Limestone County Road 439 is on the priority roads list, county commissioners debated at Monday’s meeting whether to use priority road material funds to repair it. The interchange was cordial, however, and one commissioner attempted to strengthen his case by showing two others a video of the road he had recorded on his iPad.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Bobby Forrest had requested the money: $60,000 for one mile of oil-and-sand finish on the road.

County Judge Daniel Burkeen described LCR 439 as running from Prairie Grove to Shiloh. He said the road was well-traveled and that it had received extra traffic from people going around recent construction work on SH 39.

Forrest said he was requesting redoing the first half mile of LCR 439 next to FM 1953 then a tenth or two-tenths in various bad places.

Wed
14
Aug

Mexia driver falls asleep, drives car off road


A Mexia Police officer at left, directs traffic around the Mexia Fire Department vehicles and Mexia Police cars responding to a car that drove off the road when the driver fell asleep Tuesday night in the 1300 block of East Milam Street. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

A woman driving on U.S. 84 in Mexia late Tuesday night fell asleep and drove her Toyota Camry car off the road, damaging her car. Fortunately, neither she nor her passenger – her 2-year-old child – were injured.

First responders were called to the scene about 11:20 p.m. and found Jewel Charlene Turnham, 27, of Mexia, and the child in the wrecked car in the parking lot of a resale shop in the 1300 block of East Milam Street. Turnham had been driving eastbound on U.S. 84, which is called Milam Street as it passes through Mexia, and told police she fell asleep.

According to the police report, after Turnham’s car left the roadway, it hit a culvert with its front left wheel, seding the vehicle airborne. When it hit the ground again, the car’s undercarriage was damaged. Turnham was cited for failure to control speed.

To read more, pick up a copy of Thursday's Mexia News, or subscribe to our e-edition.

Wed
14
Aug

MSSLC gala an evening filled with fun


Ann Harder, KXXV-TV Waco news anchor, was the keynote entertainer at Saturday’s gala fundraiser of the Mexia State Supported Living Center Volunteer Council, held at the Christian Life Center of First Baptist Church, Mexia. Harder sang standards from movies including “Almost Like Being in Love” and ‘What a Wonderful World.” Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Hundreds of friends and supporters of the Mexia State Supported Living Center Volunteer Council filled the Christian Life Center of First Baptist Church, Mexia Saturday evening for the Council’s annual gala fundraiser.

The theme of the event was “Hollywood Nights,” with some dressed as if they had just stepped off the red carpet at the Oscar ceremony. Others were dressed a little more Texas-style, in their boots, starched shirt and best jeans or more casual wear.

Attendees actually did walk a red carpet as they entered the building, and young “fans” asked for their autographs or “clicked” an imaginary photograph as they passed by.

To read more, pick up a copy of Thursday's Mexia News, or subscribe to our e-edition.

Wed
14
Aug

Tax assessor-collector presents tax info to county

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Limestone County commissioners have learned the county’s total property values have fallen since last year. The court will use these figures as guidelines to create the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and to set next year’s tax rate.

At Monday’s commissioners court meeting, Limestone County Tax Assessor-Collector Stacy Hall gave appraisal values, which were certified accurate by Limestone County Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Karen Wietzikoski last Friday.

They showed property value totals dropped from $3.63 billion in 2012 to $3.53 billion in 2013 – a drop of $101 million.

A significant portion of the loss was attributed to depreciation of the NRG-Limestone power plant, whose value dropped from $765.76 million in 2012 to $724.62 million in 2013, a decrease of $41.14 million or 5.37 percent.

To read more, pick up a copy of Thursday's Mexia News, or subscribe to our e-edition.

Mon
12
Aug

New superintendent out meeting parents


Sharon Ross, Ph.D., right, new superintendent at Mexia ISD, meets Julia Riojas, who has children in Mexia schools, at the foyer of Mexia’s H-E-B Saturday as part of an event for Ross to meet with district parents. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Mexia Independent School District’s new superintendent Sharon Ross, Ph.D. was at H-E-B Saturday morning to introduce herself to district parents and encourage them to become familiar with the district’s vision for its students.

She has scheduled two additional similar events for the next two Saturdays, and is encouraging parents to attend.

This is the first school year at Mexia for Ross, who started working with the district in June, replacing retiring superintendent John Turpin.

At H-E-B Saturday, she had a table in the foyer and stacks of flyers listing the district’s core vision, mission and beliefs, which were distilled by a committee about a year ago.

Mon
12
Aug

Seven fire departments respond to Mexia grassfire


Mexia Fire Department Training Officer Mike Clements, right, and other firefighters confer with Teague Fire Department personnel on a grassfire 2 miles west of Mexia Friday afternoon. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

A grassfire 2 miles west of Mexia Friday afternoon burned about 20 acres and saw seven area fire departments respond.
The initial call to the Mexia Fire Department came in about 12:10 p.m. according to MFD’s Officer Trainer Mike Clements.

The fire was on a triangular piece of land bounded by U.S. 84 on the north, County Road 481 on the west and County Road 474, which angles southwest from U.S. 84 to CR 481.

“The Mexia Fire Department was first on the scene,” said Matt Groveton, director of emergency management for the county. “When they arrived, they realized the fire had spread into a thick, wooded area … firemen couldn’t really penetrate that to get in and fight the fire.”

MFD called for other fire departments to assist them, and the fire departments of Lake Mexia, Mexia State Supported Living Center, Tehuacana, Wortham, Shiloh and Teague soon joined the effort. About 15 personnel were involved.

Mon
12
Aug

Sales tax rebates dip this month, ahead for year

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Sales tax distributions to Mexia were down a bit last month, but remain slightly ahead of rebate totals at this time last year.
According to figures released by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in early August, July state sales tax revenue was $2.2 billion, up 7.3 percent compared to July 2012. Combs will send June local sales tax allocations totaling $671 million to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, up 6.2 percent compared to August 2012.

The city of Mexia received $224,467 this period, down 3.6 percent from the $232,854 reported sent in this month in 2012. Year-to-date, Mexia has received $1,725,149, up 1.38 percent from the $1,701,605 year-to-date total 12 months ago.

Revenues this month were down 6.72 percent in Groesbeck, with that town set to receive $71,345 this period compared to $76,491 a year ago.

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