News

Thu
30
Jul

Pollard: Unpaid retiree premiums were ‘inescusable’

It’s inexcusable for Matagorda County retired employees’ health insurance premiums to go unpaid, Precinct 2 Commissioner Kent Pollard told the commissioners court Monday.
   The premiums were paid after County Auditor Cathy Ezell informed County Treasurer Tammy McDonald that the March, May and June premiums went unpaid, the court learned at its regular meeting Monday, July 27.
   Ezell said in an interview later Monday that the missed payments were discovered in an internal financial review for the second quarter of 2015. 
   A random audit of every county department was part of that internal review Ezell explained to commissioners at their meeting.
   The retiree health insurance premiums were not included in the county payroll for those three months, commissioners were told.
    “I mean it’s just inexcusable,” Pollard said at the meeting. 
Thu
30
Jul

3 WCA gripe sessions since Fall

   Ferlin Justice got an earful about WCA Waste’s brush pickup deficiencies in Bay City from city staff, city council and from citizens last week.
   Made worse by Tropical Storm Bill in June, neglected brush piles on Bay City streets before the storm grew larger and there were more of them after the storm, several people noted at council’s regular meeting Thursday, July 23.
   “The reason for this on the agenda,” Public Information Officer Dustin Hodges told council, “Is that anyone driving around the streets are overwhelmed with brush piles.”
   Problems with WCA - the city’s solid-waste collection contractor since August 2013 – have landed on council’s agenda at least three times in less than a year. That includes meetings in November, February and last week. Some problems with the contractor emerged in Fall 2013.
   “We even met earlier,” Hodges said of a previous meeting with Justice about pickup complaints.
Thu
30
Jul

LCRA preproposal calls for reservoir in Colorado County

  LCRA recently submitted a pre-proposal for a $10 million federal grant to build a new downstream reservoir.  
   The proposed roughly 2,000-acre-foot Prairie Conservation Reservoir project would include an off-channel reservoir and new pump station on land LCRA purchased in Colorado County. 
   Water from the potential reservoir could provide some of the initial water to fill the canals in the Lakeside Irrigation Division at the start of each irrigation season, and would reduce the division’s dependence on the Highland Lakes.  
   Simulations indicate the reservoir could reduce water orders on the Highland Lakes by up to 20,000 acre-feet in a typical year.
   The project is only a pre-proposal at this point. 
Thu
30
Jul

Nighttime paddling excursion set July 31

   The Matagorda County Birding Nature Center, near Bay City, will host for this month’s second nighttime paddling excursion in the full moon on Friday, July 31. 
   All area kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddle boarders are invited to participate.  
   The launch will take place at the Center’s pier beginning at 8:04 p.m., with moonrise at 8:28 p.m.   
   It should be in full view on the Colorado River about 20-30 minutes later.   
   It is strongly suggested that each individual bring two glow sticks, a headlamp and bottled water; plus wear a life jacket during the evening outing.   
   MCBNC members may use a loaner kayak (single or tandem), at no charge, on a first-come basis.   
   Non-members are asked to bring their own boat or board, paddle and PFD and pay the $3/person or $5/carload entry fee at the Nature Center.    
Thu
30
Jul

Services recognized Ciro’s contribution

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Taking part in the farewell services for K-9 Deputy Ciro were, from left: Reverend L.V. Harvey, who served as paster for the ceremony; Sheriff Skipper Osborne; Bay City Police Department K-9 officer Keith Hatton and his partner, Kim; Lt. Frank Craft; the sheriff’s department K-9 officer, Sgt. Philip Hester, and his wife, Shannon Hester, and their children Ayva, Trinity and Gavin.

   The funeral procession included sheriff’s department vehicles and Bay City police cruisers escorted by the Matagorda County Cavalry down Texas 60 for a solemn service on the sheriff’s department grounds Friday afternoon.
   Around 50 people gathered to pay their respects to the fallen sheriff’s K-9, Deputy Ciro. The dog had been certified in December 2013 and died July 14, from a spine-related illness. 
   Ciro’s partner, Sgt. Philip Hester, took the dog to the Texas A&M Small Animal Hospital to try and save him. 
   The dog was later cremated. The Cavalry awaited the return of Ciro’s remains at Bay City’s VFW Post 1428, and when they arrived the procession began.
   Mourners included Hester and his wife, Shannon, and their children, Ayva, Trinity, and Gavin.
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Thu
30
Jul

Hotel Blessing fundraiser tops goal

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
One of the more unique hot rods at the hotel’s fundraiser.

   Hotel Blessing exceeded their goal amount after their fundraiser Saturday. July 18. with an estimated 500 to 600 attending the five-hour event. 
   “A huge contributor to increase attendance is the word of mouth from past attendees about how great a time they had listening to the polka band, eating, buying auction items, sitting under the trees visiting with old friends,” said Connie Cobb. 
   Just over $15,000 was raised to help renovate the dining room floor of the hotel. 
   “We had hoped to match or exceed last year’s total, in which we successfully exceeded by $1, 000,” said Cobb. 
    “Auction was down this year but was made up by increase in raffle and food sales due to increased attendance.” 

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Thu
30
Jul

Tax-free weekend starts Aug. 7

   It’s that time of year again; summer is coming to a close and school starts just around the corner. 
   For most parents, guardians and students that includes purchasing clothes and school supplies for the new school year. 
   Texas Tax Free weekend starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7 and ends atmidnight on Sunday, Aug. 9. 
   According to the Texas Comptroller’s Office the Texas state sales and use tax rate is 6.25 percent, but local taxing jurisdictions like cities and counties can also impose sales and use tax up to 2 percent for a total maximum combined rate of 8.25 percent. 
   That means consumers can expect to save about $8 for every $100 they spend on applicable school supplies or clothes. 
   For an item to be tax exempt it must cost less than $100 before tax is added. 
Thu
30
Jul

CAST Oklahoma!: Good chemistry, audiences

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
Leaving after their wedding ceremony and Curly’s “trial” for Jud Fry’s death, scene above, the happy couple waves goodbye as they head away on their honeymoon. Curly and Laurey, played by Paul Rodgers and Elizabeth Schneider, are pulled off stage by their “team” of friends..

   The Community Actors of South Texas (CAST) played their last curtain call for the musical “Oklahoma!” as a matinee showing Sunday, July 26. 
   Still, they performed for over 100 audience members and earned a lot of applause for their skills. 
   ‘Oklahoma!’ is the largest production that CAST has undertaken. 
   “We’ve had great turnouts every night,” said director Timothy Rhoades. 
   The musical was performed on stage at the Van Vleck Auditorium and featured light refreshments and drinks being sold. 
   Barring a barely noticeable nervousness from Curly, played by Paul Rodgers, the opening sequence went off without a hitch. 
   Stephen Logan, playing Will Parker, seemed right at home on stage as he danced through one of the musical’s largest numbers, “Kansas City.” 
   Miguel Mirelez brought the villain, Jud Fry, to life during his conversation with Curly in the smokehouse. 
Thu
30
Jul

Emergency waterway dredging under way

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, recently started emergency maintenance dredging of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) at Caney Creek and the Brazos River Floodgates in Brazoria and Matagorda counties, 
   The work began July 21.
   A contract was awarded to Orion Marine Construction in the amount of $1,612,000 to remove a combined total of approximately 103,000 cubic yards of dredged material at the busy waterway.
Thu
23
Jul

School lunches to go up a quarter

Bay City school trustees approved a 25-cent increase in cafeteria prices for the 2015-2016 school year Monday night.
   All students in the district will retain free breakfasts and elementary students will continue to have free lunches.
   However, junior high and high school students will see their meals cost $2 and $2.50 this upcoming school year.
   Faculty can expect their prices to go up to $3.50 across the district.
   Any and all visitors also will pay $3.50.
   Trustee Bobby Kimball expressed his concern about the reason why cafeteria meal prices were being raised.
   “We’re raising our prices to kind of get in sync with USDA reimbursement prices,” said food service director Mildred Hawkins.
   “We don’t have to be at their level, we just have to show that we are moving.”

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