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City seeks sewer plant grant

By LEW VAIL

CORRIGAN – Plans to seek $275,000 in grant funds to help pay for updates to the sewer plant were approved by the Corrigan City Council.

Mike Walker of the Lufkin-based engineering firm of Goodwin-Lasiter, discussed grant options available to council and City Manager Darrian Hudman explained that the sewer plant needs more work to bring it up to date than the water system at this time. Walker said they do not have to accept the funds until after a final amount is offered and any matching amount is known.

Council adjourned to executive session, then voted to approve the 2015 holiday schedule, allowing for 14 paid holidays, including Jan. 1 and 2, 2015 approved in the 2014 schedule and Jan. 1, 2016.

Council also approved a revised employee handbook and approved the new city ordinance book with the addition of a new noise distance of 100 feet rather than the current 50 feet, This is effective 10 p.m. - 7 a.m. and not affecting the band at football games. Variances can be obtained from Hudman as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Hudman's city manager report indicated the sign for Corrigan Central Park is in and should be installed by the end of the week. The sign for Corrigan West Park is on order. He also has ordered the limestone for the expanded parking area by the community center. Christmas tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 and Winterfest will be Saturday, Dec. 6, including Breakfast with Santa, radio communications with Santa, the parade, and other activities. The employee Christmas party will be Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.

Police Chief Darrell Gibson reported the department made a total of 11 arrests, issued 905 citations, answered 137 calls for service and made 763 building checks. They worked 19 cases and referred six to the district attorney's office. Gibson said that copper thieves have been busy in several counties and they found one business in Lufkin that still accepts copper for recycling, air conditioners for churches and large buildings are targets for such thefts.

Mayor Jonathan Clark read the fire department report, stating they worked one structure fire, four grass fires, two automobile accidents, one a pedestrian fatality, one call each for police and medical needs, a gas spill, two mutual aid calls and one vehicle fire.

There was no information during council forum and the meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

CCISD Board recognizes cross-country team

Members of the girls’ cross-country team were recognized by the CCISD Board. (Photo by Lew Vail)Members of the girls’ cross-country team were recognized by the CCISD Board. (Photo by Lew Vail)

By Lew Vail

CORRIGAN -- While the Bulldog football team goes to the playoffs, the Corrigan-Camden Independent School District's board was told last week the girls cross-country (XC) team went to the regional meet and placed 15th.

Members of the XC team were recognized during the school board meeting, including Christian Pinon, who placed 59 out of 165 runners.

It was noted that Georgia Pacific donated $500 to the XC program for uniforms. The team is working on putting together a 5K run for Dec. 27.

In the report, officials also told the board the high school girls' volleyball team qualified for the playoffs.

The primary school reported the campus is now aligned with the other campuses using hall pass and visitor security measures. Everyone enters through one entrance.

Nov. 17 will be staff development day with the PreK through fifth grade teachers in math and reading training conducted by the Region 6 Education Service Center. This is part of the structure to align primary and elementary campuses.

PEIMS (Public Education Information Management System) Snapshot demographics on submission day showed 278 students at the primary school including 35 percent Hispanic, 24 percent African American, six percent Multi-Racial, 38 percent White, 73 percent Economically Disadvantaged, 34 percent At-Risk, 15 percent LEP (Limited English language Proficiency) and 10 percent Special Ed.

On Thursday, Nov. 20 primary school will have Thanksgiving Lunch and is asking parents to RSVP if they plan to attend.

Also at the elementary, Tangela Hunter was chosen by the staff to receive the Horace Mann Educator Apple Award. She works with fourth grade special needs students as a paraprofessional.

The campus raised about $1,000 during its Red Ribbon Rally, which will be used for field trips.

After-school homework help started and elementary students can stay on Tuesdays through Thursdays until 5 p.m. About 20 students are currently receiving help.

Thanksgiving lunch at the elementary also will be on Nov. 20 and parents may RSVP if they plan to attend. In addition, report cards can be picked up that day from 4-6 p.m. The junior high reported 219 students with 97.86 percent attendance. Volleyball and football for the junior varsity have ended and basketball is beginning. The UIL competition will be Dec. 9-11, hosted on the primary and elementary campuses with every professional on campus working on an event, coaching either a sport or academic event.

The high school reported 287 students with 96.77 percent attendance, they continue to make absentee calls and have filed on truants, as is required by state law.

The board was told students are doing great getting to class without tardies on Nov. 3.
Corrigan-Camden University has begun on the high school campus with a certified teacher present to help students from 3:45-5:30 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday. Two weeks remain for remediation for students who have not been successful on STARR EOC's (End of Course test).

The Department of Agriculture Equipment grant will allow for new cafeteria serving lines at the junior high and primary school. The primary school line will be lower in height, so students can easily reach food and handle trays.

The board voted to have a non-student insurance plan with Lone Star II insurance company.
After reviewing the current lunch costs and charges, the board voted to continue with no change for the remainder of the 2014-15 school year.

They also reviewed the instrument for evaluating the superintendent, which will be conducted before January.

Thompson honored, recognized at DETCOG Board meeting

By Greg Peak

LIVINGSTON – The November Board Meeting of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments quickly became a day for recognition and remembrances. It was Polk County Judge John Thompson's final opportunity to host the event in his county.

Outgoing Polk County Judge John Thompson (right) receives a resolution from Rep. James White (Photo by Greg Peak)Outgoing Polk County Judge John Thompson (right) receives a resolution from Rep. James White (Photo by Greg Peak)After serving 26 years as Polk County Judge, Thompson chose to not run for re-election. Acting in the DETCOG tradition, he was given the opportunity to greet the DETCOG Board Members and welcome them to Polk County.

State Rep. James White, who represents Polk County, took the opportunity to present the judge with a resolution from the Texas House of Representatives. The framed document recognized Thompson for his many years of service and outlined his numerous achievements.
During his tenure as judge, Thompson has served as president of not only DETCOG, but also the Texas Association of Regional Councils and the National Association of Regional Councils. He has also served as the president of the Interstate 69 coalition and immediately after Hurricane Ike sliced a path through the DETCOG Region, Thompson headed up DETCOG's response as the head of the Multi-Agency Coordination Center located in Livingston.

He is also a recipient of the Ralph W. Steen East Texan of the Year Award for his years of leadership and outstanding contribution to the region, state and nation. Standing in the Polk County Commerce Center he helped build, Judge Thompson expressed his appreciation for the experiences and opportunities he's had because of DETCOG.

Getting down to business, DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles announced that an additional $600,000 in Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery funds will be available for infrastructure and housing projects in the 12 county region. He reported that DETCOG's second round Disaster Recovery Housing program has built, or is starting the construction of, 40 homes scattered throughout the region.

Diggles also reported that another of the job creating Disaster Recovery Forgivable Loans had been funded and another would be closed the following Thursday. He also reported on the recent HUD Section 8 Rental Voucher Tenant Workshop/Empowerment for Change which was held in Lufkin.

The annual board of directors Christmas luncheon will be held on Thursday, December 18th. Although the location is yet to be determined, it will be held in Jasper County.

City council approves contracts

CORRIGAN – The Corrigan City Council approved four-year contracts for City Manager Darrian Hudman and Police Chief Darrell Gibson Tuesday night.

During the regular meeting, the city council skipped over three action items before going into a one-hour closed session. When they reconvened, Mayor Jonathan Parks asked council to approve the four-year contract for Hudman. Council approved the measure unanimously, without comment.

Parks then asked them to approve the contract for Gibson, and again without comment, council members voted "aye" with Council Member Johnna Loew-Gibson, who is married to Gibson, abstaining from the vote.

The final action coming out of the executive session was appointment of members to the park committee. Named to serve were Earlie C Baldwin, Joe Walker, Tamitra Hall, Dana Vanya and Gerardo Vera with Loew-Gibson chosen as the alternate council member.

During the regular meeting, Hudman discussed the need for a new brush truck for the Corrigan Volunteer Fire Department. The estimated cost is $225,000, but Hudman noted there is a grant allowing the city to pay about 10 percent. Since the CVFD has $15,000 set aside for the vehicle, council told Hudman to pursue the grant and return for approval to purchase.
Hudman also discussed the parking issues at city hall. The options are to use the lot they own next to the recently remodeled Heritage Building or on the north side, where the recycling trailer is stationed. He said he would bring back costs for a hard-packed gravel area and cost for a more stable surface.

After discussion regarding the city requiring all houses to have visible 911 addresses, it was determined that an ordinance would be required. It was noted that 911 addresses facilitate emergency responders, ambulance and law enforcement when responding to an incident. Five minutes searching for a location could be the difference in the patient surviving.

Council reviewed and approved the financial statement for September. Revenues collected for the first 20 days of October, which is the start of the current fiscal year, included taxes of $688 (I&S fund $593), police fines totaling $96,188, franchise fees of $225, water sewer and garbage fees totaling $64,280, sales tax income of $28,119, library fees and fines totaling $334 and miscellaneous income of $496. They also approved the minutes from the September meeting.

Gibson reported the police department made nine arrests, issued 1,207 citations, responded to 162 calls for service, performed 477 building checks, worked 25 cases and forwarded six to the district attorney for prosecution.

Parks read the fire department report and indicated they responded to two grass fires; two vehicle wrecks, including one involving the use of the Jaws of Life and the other involving both jaws and life flight; one call for medical assistance; four vehicle fires; one controlled burn; and one alarm call. Two calls were cancelled as not needed.

Hudman reported that the park committee has designated the new park as Corrigan Central Park and they will have a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Saturday with hot dogs. He added the Spooktacular would be that night at city hall starting at 6 p.m.

Parks and Hudman drove the entire city and found 18 streetlights out. Entergy was notified.
All speed bumps have been installed on Eden Street and a resident reported during the council meeting that some of the bolts holding them down are working loose. Hudman said they would check into the matter.

Hudman reported there are several streets needing various amounts of repair, including Hyde Street by the housing authority; South Pine between Third and Fourth; an East Ben Franklin culvert just past the funeral home; West Third at the end; Cobb Street at the cul-de-sac; South Market at Fourth; and West Fourth at Froggy Bottom. All need base work and asphalt. He added Oak Circle needs a lot of repair, which will have to be done a little at a time.
He has prepared a spreadsheet of income for 2014, showing how much is needed monthly to sustain city services and how much comes in each month.

Council discussed and approved an ordinance allowing employees to claim credit for prior civil, military or any other years serving on a governmental body. This will not cost the city any funds, but will help employees gain time for retirement, which they contribute to monthly.