"Van Vleck community unites after coach’s death" by: Mike Reddell

   The Van Vleck school community is pulling together in their grief over the death of well-liked Coach Paul Benien.
   The coach collapsed in the Van Vleck High School’s weight room during a routine he and another coach do every game day.
   Van Vleck was to play Boling Friday night, a contest that was cancelled.
   When the coach collapsed, Van Vleck’s crisis team of teachers, principals and other professionals joined in performing CPR until the ambulance arrived, said Superintendent John O’Brien.
   Students were coming from the pep rally to the field house, but were diverted by staff.
   No students were present in the weight room when the coach collapsed or when the crisis team went into action, he said.
   The death of Benien, who was 55, affected everyone, O’Brien said. An autopsy will determine the cause of death, the superintendent added.
    “I couldn’t be prouder of the crisis team who pulled together,” O’Brien said.


"New laws enforced immediately" Compiled by Jessica Shepard

   With over 800 new laws in effect since Sept. 1, there’s a lot for local residents to wade through.
   Many of the laws will only impact a few while others affect a greater range of the population.
   Here’s a list of a few that are quickly being enforced:

  •     As of Sept.1 you must be 21 or older to purchase cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or tobacco products. 

   Local stores like Walgreens have already posted signs requiring a valid form of ID for checking a customer’s age prior to purchase.

  •     House Bill 1518 requires an age-18 requirement for the purchase of over-the-counter medicines containing the cough suppressant dextromethorphan, also known as DXM. 

   Studies show that DXM is used by some teens to get high. 
   More than a dozen other states, including New York and Florida, have banned the sale of the cough medicines to minors.


Wind farm on schedule

Turbine parts are continually arriving at the Peyton Creek Wind Farm near Shepard Motte Road.
Above, two drivers await word on the line of specially rigged trailers carrying the turbine blades that are 202 feet long, eight feet wide and weigh an estimated 38,000 pounds.
There are still projected to be 48 turbine locations, like the one at right, with hub heights of approximately 287 feet, according to Nathan Yates, Wind Development Manager with Peyton Creek Wind Farm owner E.ON.
The project is on schedule to be fully operational by end of December, Yates said.
Sentinel photos/Mike Reddell


"New tax, budget adopted by Tidehaven school board" by: Jessica Shepard

Tidehaven ISD trustees approved a $17,460,924 budget for the 2019-2020 school year, Aug. 26.
   “We also adopted our tax rate for this year,” said TISD Superintendent Dr. Andrew Seigrist.  
   “Our maintenance and operations tax rate is 97 cents and the debt tax rate is $0.20 for a combined tax rate of $1.17. We’re also expecting 100% collection this year as well.”
   That means the proposed total tax rate is $1.17 per $100 valuation.
   That rate would generate $13,435 in local revenue per student.
   Last year’s total tax rate was $1.22 per $100 valuation.
   Also, Tidehaven is participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture food program and providing a free breakfast and lunch to every single student in the district.  

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"Rice queen pageant entries due Sept.18" by: Jessica Shepard

   The deadline for the Rice Festival Queen’s Pageant entries will be Wednesday, Sept. 18. 
   Application packets can be hand-delivered to Shelly Grimes at Bay City High School, Tamara Davant at Tidehaven High School, Mayra Garcia at Palacios High School, Kari Bottke at Van Vleck High School or Ryan Ricks at Lynn C. Grebe & Associates, 2139 Avenue G, Suite 8, in Bay City. 
   All pictures must be taken by Memories by Michelle before Sept. 18.
   “We expect the Pageant will surpass the previous year once again,” said Ricks, event chairman.
   “Scholarships totaling over $5,750 will be awarded.”
   Scholarships will be awarded as follows: 


"City Council approves pay scale, salary survey" by: Mike Reddell

 City Council members approved a salary survey and pay scale, but not before there were questions about how a pay raise was to be distributed, at a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 29.
   The session included public hearings on the fiscal 2019-20 tax rate, budget and capital improvements program.  
   City employees are to receive a 3.5% pay raise for fiscal 2019-20.
   Human Resources Director Rhonda Clegg explained the salary survey’s final version was the result of 18 months of work gathering information from other cities for pay comparisons.
   Only council was given copies of the survey that was not made public.
   Mayor Pro Tem Jason Childers questioned Clegg about the survey’s parameters on public sectors, asking about the 3.5% salary payments “dispersed to each department.”
   Clegg replied that “every employee, every budgeted position” will get the raise and the salary raise package was given to each department director for allotment.


"Matthews looks for more Blackcat discipline against Bellville this Friday" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Blackcat quarterback Carlos Lara (1) eyes an opening en route to a 50-yard touchdown run against the Cuero Gobblers here last Friday. Lara was the Blackcats’ leading rushing with 99 yards. The former wide receiver made his debut as quarterback Friday.

   Blackcat Head Coach Patrick Matthews plans to clean up some things that went wrong against Cuero – a 28-15 loss last Friday - before his squad takes on the Bellville Brahmas there this coming Friday. 
   “It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge,” Matthews said about Bellville’s Wing T offensive formation. 
   “Anytime you play the Wing T, you have to be very disciplined,” he added and that’s what the Blackcats are working on this week – better discipline in perfecting techniques. 
   “We’re always trying to get better. There’s a lot of things that have to be cleaned up to be the team we want to be by the time we get to district,” Matthews noted. 
   “Beeville is another opportunity to do that and come out with a victory for the Blackcats.” 
   Bay City had exciting offensive flashes against Cuero last Friday, but they were inconsistent against the Gobblers in the Blackcats’ home opener. 


WCJC’s Anderson offers ‘real world application’ of geology

WCJC photo
WCJC Geology Instructor Peter Anderson believes his students learn better by getting their hands dirty.

   WHARTON – When it comes to learning, Wharton County Junior College Geology Instructor Peter Anderson believes there’s no better way than to get your hands dirty.
   “What students are learning comes to life when they go outside,” Anderson explains.
   Since arriving at WCJC in the spring of 2018, Anderson has organized eight extracurricular excursions through his geology class and the WCJC Adventure Sports and Outdoors Club. 
   Students opting to participate have studied science through kayaking, rock climbing, camping and hiking – activities that Anderson considers the “real world application of geology.”
   Along the way, Anderson stresses the importance of maintaining a positive, respectful relationship with the environment. 
   “We teach them personal responsibility and that’s an added benefit,” he said. 


Talking with your college-bound young adult about alcohol

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration


"Van Vleck ISD budget, levy falls in line with projections" by: Jessica Shepard

    Van Vleck ISD trustees unanimously approved the fiscal 2019-2020 budget of $16,892,324 and tax rates during a special meeting, Aug. 26.  
   That budget includes over $11.7 million in general operating costs for instruction, extracurricular activities, and employee salaries.  
   Van Vleck has a minimal food service budget on tap this year as part of the Food and Nutrition Services Department Community Eligibility Program.  
   “All of our students are eligible for free breakfasts and lunches this year,” said VVISD Assistant Superintendent for Finance Gayle Blackmon.  
   “With this grant, as long as the students are eating lunch on campus we’ll be reimbursed.”  
   The adopted total tax rate is $1.19 per $100 housing valuation with 99% expected collection.  
   Blackmon reminded the board about how the tax rate was calculated.  
   “Our appraised value is at $2,216,497,825,” she said.  


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