News

Thu
17
Dec

Vote on local contested races will wait until general election

 Four Matagorda County races apparently will be contested in next November’s general election, but not in the May 1 party primaries - Monday was the 2016 election filing deadline – according to the Secretary of State’s candidate filing list.
    In the contested local races, the challengers are all Republicans seeking to unseat incumbent Democrats - the primaries will carry all of the candidates, but no office will be decided until November. 
    The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. 

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Thu
17
Dec

Peterson optimistic about local economic prospects in 2016

Sentinel Photo/Mike Reddell
Two MCEDC’s retiring board directors received plaques of appreciation for their many years of service and dedication. The recipients were Susan Mitchell, right, an MCEDC board member since 2002, as a representative of the Matagorda Area Chamber of Commerce, and Claude “Tiger” Lane, on the MCEDC board since 2008, as a Sargent Area Chamber of Commerce representative.

   MATAGORDA - Eva Peterson gave an upbeat assessment of local economic development for 2016 in her year in review for Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation at its annual meeting Thursday night, Dec. 10.
      “We’re on the cusp of an upswing. We’re going to see a lot happening next year,” said Peterson, MCEDC executive director.
   “Thank you for coming tonight. I want to thank all of those who have been supportive over the past six months,” she declared, referring to her tenure with MCEDC.
   “I learned a lot working with the governor’s office.”
   Peterson told the estimated 50 people attending the event at Poco Playa, there were 38 economic development prospects this year, 19 leads from the Governor’s office and 19 direct leads. 

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Thu
17
Dec

Bay City sales tax rebates up

   Bucking a statewide trend of lower December sales tax rebates from the same month in 2014, Bay City and Palacios showed gains.
   Bay City’s December sales tax rebates were up 5 percent over the previous December totals - $420,460 over $399,366.
   State Comptroller Glenn Hegar said December rebates statewide averaged 3 percent less than the same month a year ago.
   For the year, Bay City has collected $5.488 million in payments to date – 13 percent higher than the comparable 2014 year-to-date total of $4.8 million.
   In Palacios, its December sales tax rebates were $68,421, which was 16 percent higher than December 2014 payments of $58,918.
    Year-to-date rebate totals for Palacios were $633,354 - 5 percent less than the 2014 collection of $672,044.
    These allocations are based on sales made in October by businesses that report tax monthly.    

Thu
10
Dec

Reviewing form-based codes

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
City council looks over diagrams of the downtown district during Monday night’s special meeting on form-based codes. Actually, the confusing sounding name belies a purpose of preserving downtown’s historic character and ensuring compatible future development, particularly as the city progresses on its north downtown plan. Tera Salmien, far right, with PlanActive Studio, reviews the maps with, from left, Mayor Mark Bricker and council members Steven Johnson, Bill Cornman and Chrystal Folse.

Thu
10
Dec

Chamber begins work on fixing dry precinct

   A large slice of Bay City is still “dry.” 
   And the Bay City Chamber of Commerce – working on behalf of two local restaurants singled out in the city by a state law — is starting a campaign to change that.
   In the coming days, the chamber will be circulating a petition that will give city council the legal authority to let voters remove some decades-old restrictions on alcohol sales in parts of Bay City.
   “It’s one of those facts of life that I think has been handed down from county clerk to county clerk, and everyone has been doing their dead level best at enforcing the law, but there’s no records and no clean lines of what is represented when it comes to mixed beverages and beer and wine and those kinds of questions,” Thames said late last month. 
   “So, (the chamber) is creating a petition to present to city council, so we can put this to bed.”
   The only two establishments currently affected are Applebees and Chili’s, Thames said. 

Thu
10
Dec

School, industry officials discuss common goals

  Issues tied to Matagorda County schools and local industries received a solid sounding at the Mid Coast Education Industry Alliance Wednesday, Dec. 4.
   “This is our introduction meeting,” Mitch Thames, president of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, told those attending from local industries, businesses and county schools.
   Thames proposed follow-up meetings Feb. 3 and April 6.
   “Right now we need information that you as an industry, business and education want to share.
   “We have to have the best rural workforce – we can, we will be and we must do this,” declared County Judge Nate McDonald.
   “An educated workforce and populace will grow the community,” he said.
   Clarence Fenner, with STP and a former city councilman, used STP’s workforce training experience as a background for the importance of bringing industry, business and school leaders together to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Thu
10
Dec

New city law to steer heavy trucks to designated routes

  An ordinance regulating designated routes for truck traffic got unanimous approval from city council at its regular meeting last week.
   Mayor Mark Bricker’s salary and Ignite church’s offer to give its Avenue F theater building to the city were discussed in closed session at the regular council session, Thursday, Dec. 3.
   When council emerged from the executive session, the members voted to give the mayor a 2 percent raise.
   Regarding the theater, no action was taken on the donation and Bricker said the city needs an action plan for funding and operations and the issue will be on council’s agenda the second week of January. 
   The new designated truck route ordinance creates certain thoroughfares in Bay City for all trucks, semitrailers, road tractors and truck tractors entering or exiting the city, to follow.

Thu
10
Dec

Mad Island Christmas Bird Count goes for 9 Monday

   The 116th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count kicks off in North America from Canada to Mexico Dec. 14 from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. and lasts until Jan. 5 2016.
   That makes it Matagorda County’s 22nd Annual Mad Island Marsh Bird Count since its inception in 1993.
   Matagorda County took first place in the count last year with 234 different bird species making this the eighth year in a row.
   The most ever recorded in the county were 250 different species in 2005.
   A Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Brown Booby and two Black Terns in Matagorda County were among others as the headliners for the state last year.
   That included six new species were reported and five of those were only found in Texas.

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Thu
10
Dec

Task force nabs 2 on drug counts

   Two people were arrested on several illicit drug-related charges following an investigation by the Matagorda County Narcotic Task Force Thursday, Dec. 3, Bay City Police Department reported.
   During the arrest, police reports show, methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription drugs were found.
   Lisa Lynn Snyder, 47, was charged with: possession of controlled substance, a second-degree felony; tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony: and delivery of miscellaneous substance, a Class A misdemeanor, police reports show.
   Andy J. Martinez, 40, was charged with: possession of controlled substance, a second-degree felony; possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor; and possession of miscellaneous substance, a Class A misdemeanor, police said.  
   The two were taken to the Matagorda County Jail, where they were booked.

Thu
10
Dec

Motorcyle club make plans for bringing smiles to local children

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Road Riders Inc. had a Toys for Kids Rally – including a 30-minute ride through Bay City - Sunday at the Eagles Hall, the official start of the Toys for Kids this Christmas season.

   Between 600 and 800 Matagorda County children will get Christmas presents this year thanks to the 17th Toys for Kids campaign.
   Road Riders Inc. hopes to raise $13,000 for this year’s Toys for Kids, said Jeanette Lockhart, the motorcycle group’s president.
   Lockhart said the names for the Toys for Kids gift list come from Matagorda County United Way, which acquires the names from the Salvation Army.
   “We even have a Santa Claus sled,” she said.
   “We go to all of the apartment complexes in Bay City,” Lockhart pointed out.
   Road Riders Inc. members deliver the toys – on motorcycles of course - in one pile at apartments, then allow the children to choose their own, said the group’s vice president, Dick Carter.
   “When we take the gifts to the apartments, we honk the horn and everyone comes out,” Lockhart said.

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