News

Wed
17
Jul

Sudden ICE blast empties LCDC


The Limestone County Detention Center stands empty and all its employees have been laid off by Man­age­ment & Training Corporation, the company that runs the county-owned prison, after Immigration and Cus­tom Enforcement pulled out the last of its inmates Friday. An MTC representative said ICE has changed the way it handles illegal immigrants, holding them near the southern border and returning them to their respective home countries rather than detaining them in places farther away, like the LCDC. Mexis News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
A change in the way Immigration and Customs Enforcement handles illegal immigrants has left the Limestone County Detention Center with no detainees and employees at the county’s private prison with no job.
Nina Pruneda DHS ICE spokeswoman, said space had opened up closer to ICE’s San Antonio office.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) housed detainees at the Limestone County Detention Facility for about six weeks, ending on Friday, July 12. ICE determined that other facilities, closer to our local resources, are able to accommodate our detention needs at this time.”
According to Management & Training Corp., which took over as manager of the facility on June 28, ICE has decided to send its detainees to prison facilities near the border and return them to their respective home countries rather than hold them in facilities as far from the border as Limestone County.

Wed
17
Jul

Mexia ISD board tables drug testing discussion

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor
Mexia ISD trustees are considering a drug policy that may be unique in the state of Texas: testing all junior high and high school students.
At Monday’s regular monthly meeting, the MISD board discussed expanding the scope of its current policy, which randomly tests 40 students each month from a pool of all students participating in extra-curricular activities or who drive on campus.
Testing students in those activities is common among school districts. Testing all students, however, is not.
“I’m told by folks in legal that we are not aware of any district that tests all (students),” said Barbara Williams, public information officer for the Texas Association of School Boards. “Many districts test all extracurricular participants, which can be a majority of students in some schools.”

Mon
15
Jul

Slip sliding away

Kids had big fun at the water slide that was part of the annual Wortham 4th on Main celebration held on Independence Day. For more photos and information on 4th on Main, turn to Page 10.
Mexia News photo/Lori Jones

Mon
15
Jul

Insects have gardeners hopping mad

If you’ve walked outside, I’m sure you’ve noticed the amount of grasshoppers in your yard, garden or pasture and the damage they are doing. I have taken some information from our Extension specialists and incorporated them here for you to use.

Why are grasshoppers so bad this year, again?

Consecutive years of hot, dry summers and warm, dry autumns favor grasshopper survival and reproduction. Warm, dry fall weather allows grasshoppers more time to feed and lay eggs. Also, rains in the spring when eggs are hatching drown young hoppers and encourage fungal diseases which kill hoppers. Thus, dry weather in the spring favors their survival. During hot, dry summers, weedy hosts dry up and grasshoppers fly in search of green plants. The search for food can result in large numbers of grasshoppers concentrating in or­chards, crops and irrigated landscapes.

Mon
15
Jul

Year-to-date sales tax rebates up

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Sales tax distributions to Mexia were down a bit last month, but remain ahead of rebate totals at this time last year.
According to figures released by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in early July, June state sales tax revenue was $2.17 billion, up 9.1 percent compared to June 2012. Combs will send June local sales tax allocations totaling $556.8 million to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, up 8.3 percent compared to June 2012.

The city of Mexia received $198,458 this period, down .66 of a percent from the $199,885 reported sent in this month in 2012.

Year-to-date, Mexia has received $1,500,682, up 2.17 percent from the $1,468,751 year-to-date total 12 months ago.

Mon
15
Jul

County pay for fed inmates up significantly

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Limestone County made a considerable amount of money by leasing its private prison to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Commissioners dealt with that and other issues concerning law enforcement at last Monday’s commissioners court meeting.

The May bill to ICE was $435,379.81, County Judge Daniel Burkeen told the court, a significant increase from the $125,000 the county netted each month under the previous, long-term contract it had with Community Education Centers, the company that was running the prison until June 28. The total income will be rounded down since the county must pay CEC for its expenses for holding ICE inmates in May; those were the new inmates the county was taking in as CEC’s contract wound down.

“It does not reflect what our share of that will be; we don’t have all the expenses calculated up yet,” Burkeen said.

Fri
12
Jul

Teaming up

Mexia News publisher Mike Eddleman, right, and Advertising Manager Jennifer Bynum present a donation of $1,000 to Mexia ISD Athletic Director Lamonte Chambers.
Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

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

Fri
12
Jul

Boat-dacious

Joe and Peggy Hartwell encounter smooth sailing as the winners of the Ninth Annual Lake Mexia Boat Parade held last Saturday.
Contributed photo

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

Fri
12
Jul

Meeting to hear public’s view of city zone changes

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia’s City Council will hold a public hearing on possible changes to the planning and zoning map before their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

Several months ago, Council asked the Planning and Zoning board to update the city’s zoning map. After a number of meetings, the map was redrawn “to be more property owner friendly,” said Billy Archibald, the city’s building official.

All property owners and those within 200 feet of planned zoning changes were notified of the possible changes, and of a June 11 P&Z board public hearing on the possible changes.

The final recommended map was drawn up after that hearing. Council must ap­prove the changes for them to become official, and will consider doing so after Tuesday’s hearing.

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

Fri
12
Jul

Prison renovations may entice fed contract

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

MTC, the company that is now running Limestone County’s private prison, is working with the county to prepare the facility to compete for a lucrative, long-term contract the federal government is offering. Preliminary details of the plan, called CAR-XV, were discussed at Monday’s commissioners court meeting.

“CAR XV comes about just because other contracts are ending,” County Judge Daniel Burkeen explained later. “There are two parts, A and B. The A part calls for a prison in the Northeast. The B part calls for a prison in the south. We will be competing for the B contract. We are cheaper than a lot of areas because federal wage rates are lower here, which makes us very competitive.”

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