News

Wed
21
Jul

"Van Vleck bond projects complete weeks ahead of schedule" by: Jessica Shepard

   Van Vleck ISD trustees heard a brief update on the 2017 bond construction projects at their regular meeting Monday, July 19.
   “We’re done with the middle school right now,” said Sofia Dusek, PBK architect project executive.
   “They’re finishing the punch list items right now and we’re looking forward to finishing that out. The elementary still has a few outstanding punch list items and a few warranty items, too.
   “We’re super excited to have reached completion on these projects and are thankful for working with you all for the past four years,” she added.
   “Even with those few items, we’re still at functional completion from a staffing standpoint,” explained VVISD Superintendent John O’Brien.
   “Hydromulch went down about two weeks ago and with recent rain, we’re hoping to see some sprouts popup. 

Wed
21
Jul

"County to repair leaky Pct. 2 barn" by: Mike Reddell

   A $25,000 contract to fix the leaks at the Precinct 2 barn and office in Matagorda was approved by commissioners court at its meeting July 19.
   Precinct 2 Commissioner Kent Pollard said his administrative assistant was met with a half-inch of water when she entered the precinct barn shortly after a heavy rain.
   The contract with BNA Construction Company, for $25,101, will include repairing the roof, soffit, wall, gutters and windows, plus interior sheetrock repairs due to water leaks.

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Wed
21
Jul

"Sargent bridge ribbon cutting marks new era" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
A ribbon cutting for Sargent’s ‘Corkscrew’ Bridge involved local and state officials, contractors, residents and TxDOT employees. Shown, from left: Robert Vallejo, Project Superintendent; Paul Reitz (previous district engineer); Martin C. Horst (current Yoakum District Engineer); Ryan Simper, TxDOT Area Engineer; County Judge Nate McDonald; Paula Gibson with State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst; Nancy Wollam, District Director
Office of State Rep. Cody Vasut; and Jonathan Knoll, Project Manager.

  Ribbon cutting ceremonies for TxDOT’s $43 million FM 457 Sargent “Corkscrew” Bridge were held before about 50 people in the shadow of the extraordinary span Friday morning, July 16.
   “Thank you for delivering an engineering marvel,” County Judge Nate McDonald told the sizable contingent of TxDOT officials and employees.
   “You’ve built one hell of span,” the judge added.
   McDonald briefly reflected on Texas’ last swing bridge that was replaced by the new bridge that opened to traffic April 8.
   “We loved our swing bridge,” the judge continued, “but it became a choke point for commerce (in the Intracoastal Waterway) and that’s been relieved.
   “A lot of business floats on the canal.
   “Sargent deserves a bridge like this and as safe passage over the waterway,” McDonald said.
   He gave a shout out to sub-contractors Matagorda Materials and Matagorda Concrete and praised TxDOT for using local companies in the project.

Wed
21
Jul

"COVID-19 cases here copy higher state trend" by: Mike Reddell

    Following statewide trends, Matagorda County averages of new confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
   The county reported 38 new cases over the past 14 days for an average of one per 1,000, Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported Monday, July 19.
   By comparison, the county had 11 new cases over the 14-day period on July 8 and seven on July 1.
   DSHS reported Monday that the positivity rate, which measures how prevalent the virus is in Texas, has crossed a 10% “red zone” threshold. 
   This indicates that the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rampantly among the unvaccinated, the Texas Tribune reported Monday.
   Vaccinations in the county appear at a standstill, with 33% of county residents fully vaccinated.
   Calhoun County reports 37% fully vaccinated, Brazoria County at 44% and Ft. Bend, 56%.
   Texas has 42.6% of its residents fully vaccinated.

Wed
21
Jul

"Tough times don’t deter Oilman’s commitment to its charities" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
An encased U.S. flag that flew over the Nation’s Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001 was an auction item at the Texas Oilman’s Charity Invitational Fishing Tournament last weekend. Holding the flag are three directors of TOICFT: from left, Ron Hartman, Tournament Chairman Chris Johnston, and Curtis Denison.

   There were about 500 people attending the Texas Oilman’s Charity Invitational Fishing Tournament (TOICFT) last weekend at Matagorda Harbor.
   That many people is a major boost to the Matagorda economy – some local folks call it the fifth holiday.
   While that number is down from previous years, it sure beats no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic.
   “We’re suffering the same fate as the oil and gas industry has over a six-year decline,” Tournament Chairman Chris Johnston said in an interview, with directors Curtis Denison and Ron Hartman.

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Wed
21
Jul

Ribbon cutting marks GLO completion of affordable rental housing in Bay City

The Texas General Land Office disaster recovery team celebrated the completion of a multifamily housing complex in Bay City, to replace affordable rental housing damaged or destroyed in Hurricane Harvey, with a ribbon cutting Friday, July 16.
At left, Bay City Mayor Robert Nelson (left) and County Judge Nate McDonald cut the ribbon at the ceremony at Bay Breeze Apartments.
The GLO awarded $8,500,000 to rebuild the Bay Breeze Apartments, a 100-unit multifamily community in Bay City.
All 100 of the Bay Breeze Apartments units are set aside specifically for low-to-moderate income (LMI) families.
Contributed photo

Wed
21
Jul

CAST invites audience to help solve murder mystery

Contributed photo
CAST wants the audience to help solve the murder mystery in “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.” The production starts at 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 26-27, and Thursday-Saturday, July 29-31, with a special lunch presentation at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25.

  “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”   Broadway-bred bombast and beauty! Revolving doors… Secret passageways... A mysterious figure… All add to the comic mayhem that takes place inside the new CAST Theatre as we present “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”
   This production starts at 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 26-27, and Thursday-Saturday, July 29-31, with a special lunch presentation at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, July 25.
   All tickets are $45 per person and feature a catered meal by Venezia’s Garden at CAST’s
   new home, 920 Nichols, in Bay City.
   Actors portray actors, directors, singers, and writers – all of whom may be in danger from the “Stage Door Slasher.”
   A New York police detective tries to sort out the mystery-in-a-mansion.
   Only the audience is aware of some of the secrets – but you can’t tell!

Wed
21
Jul

"City honors contractor on bid specification differences" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
The City of Bay City honored four public works employees who worked all day during an electrical outage at the city’s wastewater treatment plant without any major problems. City Manager Shawna Burkhart said the four kept the plant running. The four, shown from left, are Randy Frontz, Johnny Cervantes, Marlon Swist and Jose DeLeon.

   City Council agreed to make good for the Nile Valley Road reconstruction contractor for bid specification discrepancies, at council’s meeting Tuesday, July 13.
   The discrepancy differences occurred in bid specifications for concrete wall paving on the bridge slope. 
   In one section the specifications call for paying the Nile Valley Road contractor, Port Lavaca-based Lester Contracting, per square yard, while the requirement in another place stipulates per cubic yard reimbursement.
   Lester Contracting said the reimbursement should be based on cubic yardage.
   Council decided to make good – after an executive session – on the contractor’s per cubic yard payment that totals $116,063.
   City Manager Shawna Burkhart said that payment wasn’t expected, but she said the city still expects to come under costs on the $6 million project.

Wed
21
Jul

Crisis Center gets $25K grant to provide legal help

   Matagorda County Women Crisis Center received a $25,000 grant from the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) to better meet the essential legal needs of domestic violence survivor
   The Crisis Center will use its Swalm Grant to maintain a full-time family law attorney and paralegal.
   The attorney and paralegal will provide lifesaving services to survivors looking to gain independence and freedom from their abusers including divorce proceedings, custody and child support issues, immigration issues and protective orders.
   TCFV) awarded more than $300,000 to 12 domestic violence agencies across Texas via its 2021 Swalm Grants, with 91% of the grants matching 100% of the recipients’ requested amounts. 
   Individual grants range from $6,000 to $30,000 for a variety of fundamental needs and come from TCFV’s Swalm Endowment Fund.

Thu
15
Jul

"Trustees call special election after DeWitt resignation" by: Jessica Shepard

   Bay City ISD trustees unanimously approved calling for a special election in November to find a replacement after accepting board member John Dewitt’s resignation Monday, July 12.
   Board members present included James Scardami, Trent Tinnin, Jill Westmoreland, Matt Murray, and Priscilla Robinson,
   Trustees Mark West and John DeWitt were absent.
   The decision came after a 56-minute long closed session discussion with district legal counsel on how to proceed with the rest of DeWitt’s unexpired term.
   Dewitt was elected in 2019 and his three-year term ends in May 2022.
   “If there had been more than one year left, we would have been required to either nominate or hold a special election,” said BCISD board President James Scardami.

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