News

Fri
30
Aug

Split votes continue to mark county’s priority road fund decisions

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Limestone County commissioners discussed several items relating to county roads at Monday’s meeting, two regarding repairs, and one on a temporary closure.

One issue was the question of whether to use $60,000 of priority road material funds to repair 1 mile of LCR 439, which is in Precinct 4. The proposal by Commissioner Pct. 4 Bobby Forrest was put forth at the commissioners court meeting two weeks ago but tabled until this meeting.

At the previous meeting, Forrest had said Road Supervisor Jerry Herrin had recommended the work and was needed because off extra traffic due to a detour away from construction work on FM 1953.

Fri
30
Aug

Mexia school district gets passing grades

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia ISD officials are pleased with the first performance marks they’ve received from the state since 2011, with the district overall returning to passing status after last being deemed unacceptable.

“When you have good news, why keep it all bottled up?” MISD curriculum director Donna Savage said as she shared the district’s ratings with MISD trustees at the board’s Aug. 19 regular monthly meeting.

In early August, Texas’ new rating system – based largely on the two-year-old STAAR testing program – was unveiled for the first time. The new system is more comprehensive than its predecessor, in place since the 1990s, which had four ratings: exemplary, recognized, acceptable and unacceptable.

Districts and campuses now receive one of two ratings: “met standard” or “improvement required.” Almost 93 percent of Texas school districts and charter schools met standard, as did about 91 percent of campuses.

Wed
28
Aug

Chambers gives Mexia sports overview


Mexia Independent School District Athletic Director Lamonte Chambers addresses the Rotary Club of Mexia recently giving a preview of the sports program this school year. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Mexia Blackcat Football Coach Lamonte Chambers has looked into the face of defeat – last year’s 0-10 record – and laughed, because he knows another day is coming, one he plans will have a different outcome.

As the district’s athletic director, Chambers is beginning his second school year in Mexia.

Chambers recently addressed the Rotary Club of Mexia to give a preview of this year’s sports teams. Before he spoke on his plans for the football program, however, he noted the high points of the sports program overall last school year.

“Football last year didn’t come out exactly like we wanted it to, but overall as an athletic program, it was awesome,” Chambers said. “Our soccer team made it to the playoffs, won their first playoff game in history. Our girls track team did the same: They went again to state in track. The boys track team took a relay (team) down there for the first time since 1947.

Wed
28
Aug

Property value drop means tax bump

County employees would get 3 percent raise, first in 3 years

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

County commissioners will consider an increase of 6.85 cents in the property tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year and are scheduling public hearings in September to give residents the opportunity to voice their opinions on the subject.
Limestone County Tax Assessor-Collector Stacy Hall told the court the tax rate to fund the proposed budget would have to be $0.6220 per $100 property valuation. That rate exceeds last year’s tax rate of $0.5535, an increase of $0.0685 per $100 valuation.

It also is higher than the effective tax rate of $0.5786 per $100 valuation, which is the amount the new rate would have to be to match last year’s revenues generated. The effective tax rate is higher than last year’s actual rate primarily because of a drop in value of the NRG Energy power plant and a decrease in mineral and other industrial and utility property values.

Wed
28
Aug

Wildfire risk extremely high Labor Day weekend


Buffalo cool their hooves in a pasture on West U.S. 84 in a stock tank that’s slowly drying up due to the ongoing drought. The Texas Forest Service warns the danger of wildfire is extremely high during the Labor Day weekend, and urges Limestone County residents to exercise caution. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

Mexia News Staff Report

With the Labor Day ahead, many in Limestone County are planning to spend some time outside, soaking up the last of the summer sun.

But Texas A&M Forest Service is urging residents to celebrate carefully as the summer wildfire activity is typically at its highest over the holiday weekend.

The forecast for Mexia for the next few days shows 100 degree temperatures today and Friday, dipping to the high 90s through Labor Day weekend, with no chance of rain predicted.

In addition, Limestone County has been under a burn ban since June 10 due to drought conditions, meaning all outdoor burning is prohibited in the unincorporated areas of the county until the ban is lifted.

Mon
26
Aug

No mystery behind teen’s desire to get laptop


Mexia High School senior Brady Walker checks out the new notebook computer he won Aug. 7 in a writing contest sponsored by Gibbs Memorial Library, of Mexia. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

When 17-year-old Mexia High School senior Brady Walker realized he was going to have to come up with his own financing for a new computer he wanted, he reached inside himself and found a talent he didn’t even realize he had to get the electronic device.

Brady had asked his mom, Genny Lawson, for a new laptop in April, but the family finances just weren’t available.

“We discussed the cost of things, and I told him the best thing for him to do was to figure out how to get one himself,” Lawson said. “Whether he worked to save the money or something else, he needed to purchase his own computer.”

Shortly after that, Lawson was at Mexia’s Gibbs Memorial Library and saw a notice posted about a writing contest. Entrants would have to write a mystery story of 500 to 1,000 words, and the top three would win a notebook computer with antivirus software, a laptop computer and a Kindle electronic reader, respectively.

Mon
26
Aug

Day one

Mexia mom Sandra Taylor brings her sons, Aaron, 6, left, and Ashton, nearly 5, to the first day of school at A.B. McBay Elementary School Monday. The nervous expectancy on the boys’ faces seems to convey the feeling of many students as Mexia schools gear up for the new school year. See more back-to-school photos on Page 12.
Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

Mon
26
Aug

MISD board passes new budget, lower tax rate

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia ISD trustees on Friday set a $16.262 million General Fund budget and lower tax rate for 2013-14.

The budget and tax rate were adopted by the MISD board in a special meeting Aug. 23, after a public hearing held just before the meeting in which no one showed up to speak.

The budget is an increase from last year’s $15.5 million. The difference comes from an increase in state funding and about $150,000 more in local tax revenues due to increased property values.

It includes a step pay raise for all district employees who were with MISD last year. Step raises are given each year based on longevity, and vary so that there is no consistent overall percentage increase.

Fri
23
Aug

Waco scrimmage a scoring fest for Blackcats


Mexia quarterback Jaylon Gipson launches a pass downfield as Coach Lamonte Chambers, left, and assistant coach Kent Richey, right, look on. Mexia News photo/Stephen R. Farris

By Stephen R. Farris
Mexia News Sports

Fri
23
Aug

Annual prayer walk draws more than 200


A little more than 200 people of all ages turned out for the sixth annual prayer walk for Mexia schools Wednesday evening. The people circled the schools, located between Ross Avenue and Bailey Street, stopping at each campus to pray for blessings and protection for the students, teachers and administrators.

By Roxanne McKnight, Staff Writer

A crowd of a little over 200 made the sixth annual prayer walk around Mexia schools Wednesday evening, asking for divine blessings and protection on the schools.
The unstructured event saw a predominance of students, but also many adults – parents, teachers and administrators, even one board member and the superintendent – turn out for the prayer walk.
Students who were willing volunteered to pray aloud at the school they would attend when school starts Monday.
The crowd gathered at 6 p.m. at Mexia First Assembly of God, which is across the street from R.Q. Sims Intermediate School. After an opening prayer by Pastor Brian Hallmark, the people streamed down the street to the high school, stopping at the brick sign with the Blackcat image in front of the school.
After the prayers were said there, the group moved to Mexia Junior High, where dozens of students lifted up their school in prayer.

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