Market Days off for summer

   Bay City’s Market Days will no longer be a monthly event from March through November.
   Citing the summer heat – and a lack of volunteer help – Bay City Chamber of Commerce President Mitch Thames confirmed this week the third-Saturday crafts and food gathering will take a break from June to August this year.
   “It’s become a health hazard opening up during the summer months,” Thames told the Bay City Sentinel on Tuesday. 
   “I’ve been fearful that we are going to have some medical problems out there. So we’re making some changes this year.”
   The first Market Days for 2016 is set for this Saturday, March 19, at the courthouse square in downtown. 
   The event also will be April 16, May 21, Sept. 17, Oct. 15, and Nov. 19. 

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Seafood Fest draws 3k

Bay City Sentinel/Mike Reddell
The Texas Gypsies perform before a large crowd during the Seafood Festival Saturday, March 12, in Matagorda.

   Nearly 3,000 people attended the 6th Annual Seafood Festival in Matagorda Saturday, March 12 to help raise almost $92,000 for local charities.
   “We sold out of shrimp at 3 p.m. but cooked oysters until 4,” said committee chairperson, Gina Treybig.
   “Raffles items alone brought in about $22,000.”
   A total of 1,000 pounds of shrimp and 75 gallons of oysters were fried for the event among an untold number of French fries and hushpuppies.
   Attendees participated in the annual fundraising event by purchasing T-shirts, dinner plates or one of the many tournaments available for a small fee.
   Taking first place in the men’s raw oyster eating contest was David Garcia with a total of 216 oysters and Shelly Anderson Ledwig took first place for the lady’s with a total of 82.
   Both winners got to take home a trophy as well as $200 in prize money though Ledwig donated hers back to the even.


Synthetic marijuana: Brain damage, death

Bay City Sentinel/Jessica Shepard
Matagorda Regional Medical Center nurses provided a realistic touch to Bay City High School’s Drama Department’s production about synthetic marijuana Friday, March 11. From left: Velma Cruz, director of the ER; Chris Riddle, ER personnel; and Jessica Tucker, director of ICU. The trio worked several times to revive their patient who died due to synthetic marijuana use.

  Bay City High School students were given a dramatized performance about the dangers of synthetic marijuana, Friday March 11.
   “What’s so unique about it is the effect it has on so many of the people that take it; whether it is the first time or second time,” said Principal Chris Townsend.
   “Everything from coma to permanent brain damage to seizures to loss of life.”
   Mike Lee, Matagorda Regional Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer was on hand to prepare the students on what they were about to witness.
   “Unfortunately, too often, we see young people such as yourselves in the Emergency Room for using this drug, ‘synthetic marijuana,’ which is not like marijuana in any way, shape or form or fashion,” he said.
   “The problem is that it is not made the same way every time, so you never know what you’re getting when you pick that drug.”


Cookoff teams compete to win crowd, best steak

BCISD/Allison Sliva
Bay City High School Construction Management students in Bill Bullard's classes designed and built this custom picnic table to be raffled at The Boys & Girls Club of Bay City & Matagorda County's annual Great Steak Cookoff Saturday, March 19. Thanks to BCISD's Director of Business and Boys & Girls Club board member Rick Johnson for donating the materials. From left: Jonavon Lowe, Cesar Guerrero, Bill Bullard, Nicholas Gutierrez, Rick Johnson and Ubaldo Cisneros.

   Great steaks to eat, entertaining showmanship plus a live auction to participate in and all of it will benefit hundreds of school-age youngsters at the 6th Annual Great Steak Cook-off Saturday.
   There are tickets available for the event that’s the main fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Bay City and Matagorda County, with the gates open at 4:30 p.m. at the Bay City Civic Center.
   And there are a few raffle tickets left for the chance to win a 2016 RAM 1500 4WD, plus 10 other prizes with a value of at least $100.
   “We have 17 teams of cooks who will be out there,” said Janet Peden, the event chairman.
   The teams have a dual purpose at the cookoff.
   Not only are they vying to cook the best steak – to meet the judges’ discerning demands – but the teams also will try to prove they’re the crowd’s favorite.


Cub pack earns $7,840 in annual cake auction

Bay City Sentinel/Jessica Shepard
Trophy winners form the annual Cub Scout Pack 4545 Cake Auction were joined by this year’s judges. The winners are, from left and front: Jack Bonnot, Jackson Thorn, Isaac Moya, Wade Frasier, and Colton Guzman. Middle: Cubmaster Jeff Hestand, Riley Howington, Andrew Hinson, and Daniel Hartline. Back: Daniel Bryant, Ryan Hestand, Ken Leatherman, Jamie Bludau and Angela Crawford.

   Bay City Cub Scout Pack 4545 made $7,840 with their annual cake auction Thursday, March 10.
   The auction is the Pack’s largest fundraiser and draws quite a crowd.
   A total of 49 cakes were auctioned off by auctioneer Mitch Thames who encouraged parents and local personalities to bid for a good cause.
   Ken Leatherman bought a total of four cakes by himself.

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OSHA recognizes LyondellBasell

   The LyondellBasell facility in Matagorda recently marked 20 years of achievement at the highest level of the Voluntary Protection Programs. 
   This distinction is awarded by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety performance excellence in the private sector. 
   The Matagorda site recently completed the Star re-certification process which recognizes companies that meet and exceed OSHA requirements and standards.
   “We constantly strive to be the best operated, most valued company in our industry and safety is an integral part of our success,” said LyondellBasell Matagorda Site Manager Joe Hoinkis. “
   “We employ a detailed strategy to reach exemplary results in occupational safety. I’m incredibly proud of each and every member of the staff here.” 
   With a comprehensive approach by the plant leadership team and staff, the Matagorda site underwent a strenuous re-certification review. 


Cornman: Downtown plan needs ‘driver’

   A report on the North Downtown Project and who is driving its progress led to an exchange between Mayor Mark Bricker and Councilman Bill Cornman at city council’s regular meeting March 10.
   Council also authorized city staff to apply for a Texas Capital Fund grant for the proposed entertainment center, approved a budget amendment for equipment at the city’s 16th Street and Hilliard pools and awarded a contract for street pavers along Sixth Street at the BayTex.
   And, Cornman complimented Interim Finance Director Beverly Griffith for a financial report that “for the first time in years, it was presented in a professional way.”
   Cornman was critical, however, about the mayor’s status report on the North Downtown Project (NDP).
   Noting the multiple issues involved in the project, Cornman questioned the mayor on “Who’s driving this and who are the players?”


BC sales tax rebates keep steady increase

   Bay City and Palacios March sales tax rebates were up from the same month last year - counter to statewide trends – and for the year-to-date totals for both cities.
   Bay City’s March rebate from the Texas Comptroller’s office was $405,804, up 7.54 percent from the $377,342 received in March 2015. The 2 percent sales tax allocation is based on sales made in January by businesses that report tax monthly, the comptroller reported.
   So far in 2016, Bay City’s rebates total $1,372,228, a 3.05 percent rise from the $1,331,604 tally from the same period last year.

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"Cultural Arts Center passes unanimously" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel File Photo

City Council made it possible to start transforming the 1927 Texas Theater into a new cultural arts center with a unanimous vote at its regular meeting Thursday night.

Yells and spirited applause greeted the council’s decision to accept the theater building from Ignite Church and to begin the expected five years of work toward a cultural arts center.

Members of Community Actors of South Texas (CAST) and the Art League long have sought a cultural arts center for its potential for theater productions and art exhibits – among other promising uses of the building.

“I think this is an opportunity,” said CAST president and former mayor Richard Knapik.

“What better thing is there than the restoration of a theater built in 1927?” Knapik asked council.

He noted how a cultural arts center is an important step to take in a city that is “growing through leaps and bounds. 


9er’s opens 3-15

Bay City's new Niner's Grill will open at 9 a.m. March 15, owner Ali Qatton said Tuesday. The sixth restaurant in the Houston-based chain has been eagerly anticipated since at least November. The grill will feature "country style" dishes ranging from hamburgers to steaks to seafood, and Qatton has said the 9er’s here will become the model for the company as it grows.


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