News

Mon
29
Jul

New FUMC pastor wants Methodists to reconnect


Mexia FUMC’s new pastor Danny Niedecken is already hard at work in his new post. He and his wife bought land near Mexia eight years ago, so his assignment here is a fortunate circumstance. Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Mexia’s new First United Meth­odist pastor, Danny Niedecken, has a simple message for Mexia’s Meth­odists: Come back and get reconnected.

Niedecken and his wife, Gretchen, moved here in June, but they’ve had a connection to Mexia for nearly a decade. Eight years ago, they bought land near Lake Mexia with an eye to retiring there someday, and two years ago they built a home on their property. When authorities in the Methodist conference asked Niedecken to come pastor in Mexia, it seemed like the right next step.

“Lo and behold, this year we get moved here and we get to live in our own house,” he said recently. “A lot of things in (the move) are providential that we didn’t plan on and have worked out very well.”

They have another tie to this area in that one of their four grown children is a physician in Groesbeck.

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

Mon
29
Jul

County tweaks LCDC bed price to save jobs

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer

Though the Limestone County Detention Center is virtually closed since it has no inmates, county officials say they are looking for a new source of inmates. At last Monday’s meeting, commissioners took care of various LCDC business, heard about a power outage at the Fairgrounds and considered switching to off-road diesel to save money.

County Judge Daniel Burkeen expressed confidence in finding a new source of inmates, saying they are working on problem.
“People need to understand it’s an up-and-down business all the time,” he said. “This has happened before; it’s the end of the budget year. We will (get inmates); it’s just a matter of finding them sooner rather than later. The new federal budget kicks in, in October. Immigration legislation is pending; that’ll call for more beds. So, there’s a lot of good possibilities. It’s just a matter of trying to minimize the down time.”

Fri
26
Jul

County picks winners of annual bids

Limestone County commissioners determined the winners of the annual bids at Monday’s meeting.
Annual bids are requested by the county on items used in large quantities so a cost savings may be realized by ordering in bulk. The following items and bids were voted on:
Oil and sand mixing – one bid was received, from Material Resources, which is the company currently providing that material.
“They actually dropped their price by 70 cents (per ton),” said County Engineer Ted Kantor, who also directs the county’s Road and Bridge Department.
The bid was approved.
Bridge lumber – bids were received from Conroe Wood Products and Lufkin Creosoting. Conroe was cheaper, and the court approved its bid.

Fri
26
Jul

Mexia Fire Department, EMS a versatile crew


Mike Clements, Mexia FIre Department’s officer trainer, checks a port­able EKG unit that is part of the EMS unit the crew uses when responding to emergencies.

When a fire or emergency occurs in Mexia, the residents are in a better position than many other small towns because it maintains a paid Fire Department staff rather than relying on a volunteer force.
Mike Clements, the Mexia Fire Department’s training officer, noted that when he spoke to the Mexia Lions Club recently.
“We’re unique because very few cities with a population of 10,000 or less have a full-time paid fire department – almost none,” he said. “There are a lot of cities twice the size of ours that our still doing all-volunteer fire departments.”
Across the United States, there are about five volunteers for every paid firefighter, he said. The paid firefighters have a lot of respect for the volunteers, because the volunteers work for no pay, often for years.
“They do it to protect because they care, and they do it for nothing,” Clements said. Like many firefighters, he began as a volunteer.

Fri
26
Jul

Event Friday honors officer slain 20 years ago


Patrolman Ricky Lee Ward

Bistone residents are invited to attend a memorial service honoring and remembering a Mexia Police officer shot and killed in the line of duty.
At 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, a service will be held in front of the police department at 211 N. Sherman to honor the sacrifice of Ricky Lee Ward, who died Aug. 2, 1993, at the age of 33.
Music, talks and other tributes are planned for the event honoring a man de­scribed as a great friend and partner, and a “gentle giant.”
Ward, who had been on the force only two years, was shot and killed while chasing a man believed to have been scratching a patrol car with a tire iron. That chase began after Ward arrived to assist another officer who was pursuing a shoplifting suspect.
As Ward gave chase near the end of the fence which is between a convenience store and motel at U.S. 84 and Hwy. 14, a shot rang out.

Mon
22
Jul

Pet Project

The new office building for the LARAS House pet rescue center makes its way through the facility’s gates on Hwy. 171 Monday morning. The Mexia City Council last month unanimously approved a $25,000, five-year loan to LARAS House shelter from the Mexia Economic Development Corp. to purchase the multi-use building.
Mexia News photo/Brenda Sommer

Mon
22
Jul

Back-to-school sales tax holiday moved up a week

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Plan to save money for back-to-school and related shopping a week earlier than usual this year.

Shoppers they can save up to $8 on every $100 they spend on everything from pens, jeans and shoes to backpacks and other items priced under $100 during the state’s annual event, scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 -11.

In the past, the tax holiday weekend was the second weekend of August, but the state bumped up the date this year.

“Texas families can take advantage of the sales tax holiday when doing their back-to-school shopping,” Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said. “The tax holiday applies to a variety of items ranging from pens to jeans to help shoppers around Texas save some of their hard earned money.”

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

Mon
22
Jul

City OK’s double-wide-friendly zoning map

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor

Mexia’s City Council approved a new zoning map for city properties that will give landowners in some residential areas more housing options.

Several months ago, Council asked the Planning and Zoning board to update the city’s zoning map, specifically to identify residential areas that would benefit from adding double-wide mobile homes as a housing option. After a number of meetings, the map was redrawn “to be more property owner friendly,” said Billy Archibald, the city’s building official.

A public hearing during Council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday elicited comments from some from about a dozen citizens attending. Some expressed concern that those who live in areas zoned commercial have limited abilities to remodel or rebuild, since once their homes are no longer residences, they must become commercial properties.

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

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.”

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