News

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.

Thu
15
Jul

"Pollard not planning re-election" by: Mike Reddell

   Precinct 2 Commissioner Kent Pollard’s announced he won’t seek re-election after 10 years on commissioners court.
   At the court’s regular meeting Monday, July 12, Pollard said he wouldn’t seek re-election in the March 1, 2022 primary and will serve out his remaining term through 2022.
   “I have enjoyed my time in office serving the great people of Matagorda County since being sworn into office Jan.1, 2011,” Pollard said.
   “I have made many new friends over the last 10 years and a few enemies, hopefully more friends than enemies.
   “I have discussed my decision with my wife, Mary Claire, and we feel the timing is right. The old saying is ‘happy wife makes for a happy life.’ This job requires being on duty 24 hours a day seven days a week. 

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Thu
15
Jul

"Surfer pulls child from rip current" by: Mike Reddell

   Matagorda VFD first responders answered two calls for near-drownings on Matagorda Beach Saturday, July 10.
   A child swept out in a rip current was the first call for the responders Saturday afternoon, said Matagorda Fire Chief Clay Bishop.
   A surfer on the beach stopped and went out with a life jacket to rescue the child with his surfboard and brought him back to shore, Bishop said. 
   The 10-year-old child was then taken to MRMC by EMS. 
   “Without a doubt, that surfer saved his life,” the chief said. 
   The second near drowning later Saturday afternoon was a man, 36, who swam out to help a child swept out in a RIP current. 

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Thu
15
Jul

"Bold Fox makes a pitch for development here " by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Alex Kamkar, left, with Bold Fox Development discusses a possible 52-acre housing development at a TIRZ 2 workshop last week that will be followed by another look at another workshop this week.

   A proposed 52-acre housing development near Schulman Entertainment Center got lots of interest from city and county leaders in a workshop last week that is followed by another discussion Thursday, July 15.
   Woodlands-based Bold Fox Development – with several major projects in the Houston area – projected a housing project here as part of the TIRZ 2 workshop, July 8.
   The discussion centered on about 500 acres within TIRZ (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone) 2 boundaries between Bay City and Van Vleck off Texas 35.
   A key figure in TIRZ 2 development, Arthur Milberger helped develop the SBG entertainment center project and owns several acres around it.

He focused on the main factor in local housing development – it’s needed.

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Thu
15
Jul

"COVID-19 cases showing rise over weeks" by: Mike Reddell

   Matagorda County COVID-19 cases continue to trend higher, following a higher statewide average of increasing new cases and hospitalizations.
   Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reports the county had 34 new cases in the past 14 days.
   While that represents 0.9% per 1,000 residents, it’s still a jump from the July 8 report with 11 new cases and July 1 with seven new cases.
   Overall, the county has 3,571 confirmed cases, 737 probable cases, 115 deaths, nine active cases and 4,184 recovered.
   With 42% of Texans fully vaccinated, Matagorda County’s numbers show 32% are fully vaccinated, less than surrounding counties, except Jackson County.
   Some 47.3% of the county received at least one dose - 71% of those 65 and older received at least one dose and 62% are fully vaccinated.

Thu
15
Jul

"Carnival dates push Lions Rice Festival into 1st week of September" by: Jessica Shepard

   The Lions Club Annual Rice Festival will be the first week of September this year.
   Events start as early as Aug. 28 for the Rice Festival Queen contest, but the festival dates are Sept. 2-5 at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds.
   Usually in October, the festival was moved up due to the carnival company’s timeline.
   “This year was a scramble for carnivals,” said Lions Club member Doc Campbell.
   “When we found a carnival, their only open date was this date which means they kind of dictate to us when we can have our festival.
   “If you don’t have a carnival, there’s no sense in having the festival,” he added.

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Thu
15
Jul

"Hawthorne gets a handle on nearly 2 centuries of district clerk records" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell

   Scores of documents from the early days of the Texas Republic and from throughout the 19th Century were part of the ten-month reorganization of the district clerk’s records.
   District Clerk Janice Hawthorne recently completed reordering her department’s immense storage of civil and criminal records.
   “There was not much rhyme or reason on what was going on,” Hawthorne remarks over the district clerk office’s civil and criminal records.
   “You didn’t know where to go with boxes marked 2003, 1994, 1995 and 2004 in the same area,” she added.
   There was no sense of purpose in the filing that Hawthorne encountered.
   “You could guess where something was.”
   In addition, criminal and civil files were all mixed and “boxes were scattered everywhere,” Hawthorne said.

Thu
15
Jul

"Blessing Hotel Car Show Saturday" by: Jessica Shepard

   The Blessing Hotel car show kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 17, at the hotel.
   Car owners can register for 12 different classes and five special awards.
   Car classes include: antique, classic, low rider, muscle par pre-1980, muscle car 1981-new, open, original pre-1980, original 1981-new, Rat Rod, T-Bucket, truck pre-1980, truck 1981-new.
   There will be three motorcycle classes with custom, foreign, domestic, and two bonus classes for bicycles and kids’ battery-powered cars.
   Awards will be given for cars in first-third place in a given class and People’s Choice, most unique, best of show, most patriotic, kid’s choice, and the hotel & coffee shop award.
   Tickets to vote for the People’s Choice car can be purchased at the registration table for $1 each.
   Car show awards will be presented at 3 p.m.
   The event is free and open to the public.

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