News

Fri
13
May

County Auditor Watson describes her work

Limestone County Debbie Watson tells the Rotary Club of Mexia at a recent meeting about her duties.

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
When large amounts of cash are involved, an important step to ensure the money is used correctly is having checks and balances, and an auditor who has the staff and skills to review, analyze and reconcile expenditures.
For Limestone County, that auditor is Debbie Watson, who has been in her current position for 12 years. She recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Mexia about her job, and especially some of the things the county does to ensure its money is accounted for properly.
She was introduced by District 77 Judge Patrick Simmons, who is responsible for hiring the county auditor.

Fri
13
May

Limestone County rebates fairly stable in April

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor
The city of Mexia's sales tax rebates for April are up by a bit, by .74 of a percent compared to this month last year, in spite of the state’s economic slowdown due to a decline in the oil and gas business.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $591.4 million in local sales tax allocations for April, 2.6 percent more than in April 2015. These allocations are based on sales made in February by businesses that report tax monthly.
“The cities of Dallas, Austin, Sugar Land and Fort Worth saw substantial increases in sales tax allocations that helped stop a four-month streak of declining sales tax allocations for the state overall,” Hegar said. “Energy-centric cities such as Houston and Midland continue to see decreases in sales tax allocations.”

Wed
11
May

Mesquite Tree fun

Coolidge’s Gay Pranger, left, and Kristina Allcorn, serve plates of freshly fried catfish, french fries, cole slaw and hushpuppies at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival.
Raychel Rutherford, 10, of Haslet, basks in the warmth of the company of her grandmother Tommye Rutherford, of Coolidge, at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival.
Bingo checker Gay Pranger verifies the winning bingo card of Maria Garcia, of Coolidge, while Evangelina Rivera looks on.
Members of the Coolidge High School band, along with band director Rhonda Ivy, at right, wait in the green area next to the food and game booths.
James and Robyn Allen, of Frisco, stop to check on their pet dogs, Benji, a Wauzer, at left, and Charlie, a black Labrador, at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival.
Sherri Lewis, center, and Christine Daniels, with the Greater Mount Hope Baptist Church food booth, tell Wesley Owenswhere to place his order.
Adult volunteers monitor the water slide, a popular place for youth, at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival on Saturday, May 7.
Entrants in the Little Mr. and Miss Mesquite Festival Pageant share a moment together at the end of the event.

In spite of some glitches, the city of Coolidge held its annual Mesquite Tree Festival this past weekend. The event featured bingo, a fish fry, pageant, street dance and more. Here's some photos from the goings-on, taken by Roxanne McKnight of The Mexia News.

Wed
11
May

Court won’t pay invoice without investigation

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Limestone County commissioners at their April 26 meeting refused to pay an invoice from a Mexia welding company for missing items until an investigation is made.
The issue was addressed with a similar outcome at the court’s April 11 meeting, but more details emerged about why the commissioners refuse to pay the invoice. The problem has been ongoing for several years and concerns the county-owned private prison, the Limestone County Detention Center. The LCDC lost its last contract to house inmates in June 2013. County officials added bunk beds at the prison later that year to increase the number of inmates it could potentially hold.

Wed
11
May

Wortham All-Honors choirs to hold outdoor concert fundraiser

An evening of hot dogs, Dr Pepper floats and wonderful singing is planned for Saturday, when the Wortham All-Honors Choirs hold a fundraiser at Cup o’ Joe in Tehuacana.
The choirs are a group of curricular and extra-curricular vocalists who meet before and after school for ensemble and individual choral development. The WAHC groups include: the Elementary Show Choir, the North Texas Children’s Choir Satellite Choir, the Junior High and High School choirs, and the Rockin’ Recorders Orff Ensemble for third through sixth graders. Involvement includes individual and ensemble competition in UIL, TMEA choirs, Texas Federation of Music Clubs, two or more Community Concerts.

Mon
09
May

Change is theme in Saturday’s city, ISD votes

By Brenda Sommer
Managing Editor
Mexia voters apparently were ready for change in city and school leadership, voting against all incumbents who had opponents in Saturday’s general election.
Longtime Mexia City Council members Bobby Jack Liles, from District 6, and District 2 member Laura Rothrock both lost their bids for re-election. Rothrock, a retired school teacher, drew 34 votes while her opponent, homemaker Blanca Rivera, garnered 56 votes. Liles, who had two opponents, drew only 18 votes. Challenger Colby Archibald drew 81 votes, while challenger Stephen Friday, owner/chef at Joe Friday’s Diner in Mexia, won with a clear majority of 118 votes.
District 5 incumbent Arthur Busby, who works at XTO Energy and first took office in 2002, had no opponent, so returns to office.
Busby, Friday and Rivera will take their oaths of office after the election results are accepted at the council’s next regular meeting, set for May 17.
Mexia ISD

Mon
09
May

Turmoil for vendors at Coolidge festival

State Health Inspector Doug Hartfield, center, and Carlos Mendoza, of the St. Mary Catholic Church food booth at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival discuss health requirements.
A food booth run by Greater Mount Hope Baptist Church selling barbecue plates at Coolidge’s Mesquite Tree Festival is shut down by State Health Inspector Doug Hartfield.
Abraham Garcia, of Wortham, tries out the new wash station at St. Mary Catholic Church’s food booth at the Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival Saturday, May 7.

By Roxanne McKnight
Staff Writer
Most of the food booths at the annual Coolidge Mesquite Tree Festival Saturday were shut down for nearly an hour by a state health inspector, citing violation of health laws.
Health Inspector Doug Hartfield made his way to each booth, checking for running water and three-basin wash stations as well as the temperature of foods offered for sale. Most booths were able to re-open later, though not all could sell food that had been prepared at home.
Hartfield, with the Texas Department of State Health Services, began with the first booth on the corner of Bell and 4th streets, where the festival booths were congregated. The festival fell quiet as sales stopped and organizers left for the nearest large grocery store – which was in Mexia – to buy the required basins, bottles of water and a container with a spigot.

Mon
09
May

Perfect day for it

Mexia News photo/Roxanne McKnight

A family relaxes, fishing for catfish at Lake Mexia, near Comanche Crossing Saturday, April 30.

Mon
09
May

Freestone County grand jury issues indictments

Mexia News Staff Report

Mon
09
May

Federal Disaster Assistance includes right of appeal

Not every Texas resident who registered for federal disaster assistance following the March tornadoes and flooding will qualify for aid. However, an appeal process can ensure those affected by the storms will receive all aid for which they are legally eligible.
Thirteen counties are designated for assistance for the March 7-29 storms: Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Hood, Jasper, Limestone, Marion, Newton, Orange, Parker, Shelby and Tyler.
Applicants from those counties have 60 days from the date on FEMA’s decision letter to file their appeal. The FEMA letter describes the amount and type of assistance being offered.
To appeal FEMA’s decision, write a letter explaining why the amount or type of assistance authorized is not correct. The appeal should include any documentation that supports the claim.

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