News

Thu
10
Dec

Abbott taps El Campo man for LCRA board

   Governor Greg Abbott appointed Steve Cooper of El Campo to the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Board of Directors for a term to expire on Feb. 1, 2017. 
   Cooper will succeed Scott Arbuckle as Wharton County’s representative on the LCRA board.
   Cooper is owner and principal of Emerald Ag Investments and is the former 28-year president and owner of La Tierra de Esmeralda/Emerald Sod Farms. 
   He serves as vice chairman of the El Campo Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and as an advisor to the El Campo Youth Memorial Park for Little League. 
   He formerly was chairman of the Leadership Advisory Board of Wharton County AgriLife for 10 years. 
   He is a recipient of the Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumnus award and is a member of the Department of Agriculture Economics’ Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry and the Association of Former Students Leadership Council. 

Thu
10
Dec

Thames tells about shift in hotel tax revenue use

   Revenue from Bay City hotel occupancy taxes will be concentrated on events here that entertain local hotel guests, Mitch Thames told city council at its regular meeting last week.
   “With hotels really full, we’re looking at what we can do to entertain them - enhance events in the city,” said the Bay City Chamber of Commerce president, who also oversees Matagorda County CVB operations.
   Both the chamber and CVB are based in the Bay City Civic Center.
   Typically, hotel tax revenues are spent on attracting out-of-town visitors to local events or attractions, otherwise known as putting “heads on beds.”
   Thames suggested the new strategy of spending hotel tax revenues on local events.

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Thu
10
Dec

LCRA refuses to release data on Lane City Reservoir

   The Lower Colorado River Authority says a $255 million reservoir it is building in southeast Texas won’t reduce freshwater flows into Matagorda Bay enough to hurt aquatic life, but the organization is refusing to release the hydrological modeling that led to it that conclusion, the Texas Tribune recently reported.
   The authority — the largest water and power supplier in Central Texas — has told the Matagorda Bay Foundation it can’t have the information and asked state Attorney General Ken Paxton for an opinion shielding the data from the state’s open records laws. 

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Thu
10
Dec

Annual food drive short on donations

Contributed photo
Students at Van Vleck E. Rudd Intermediate School have been collecting donations of canned goods for the Matagorda County Food Drive. Their goal was to collect enough items to block the door to Principal Shannon Jedlicka's office and "CAN" her in. .

   The Annual Matagorda County Food Drive is short of donations to meet the needs of local families.
   “A total of 469 families registered this year,” said food drive volunteer Jo Halbert.
   That’s down from last year’s 560 families.
   Deadlines are not being extended this year due to keeping the box distribution on track.
   “We are still in need of much more and still need about $5,000,” said Captain Christella Rodriguez.
   “Not sure on how many pounds of food at current but we are probably at only half of what we need.”

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Thu
03
Dec

Trustees review district needs

   Facility improvements and a possible new high school stadium that together could lead to a nearly $100 million bond election was discussed by Bay City school board members at a special meeting Monday night. 
   Trustees’ discussion was focused on “Bay City ISD Future Bond Planning,” and they will soon hear community input from trustee-selected committee members. 
   “At this time we are discussing the facility needs of Bay City ISD and we have not called an election,” said Superintendent Keith Brown. 
   “We have identified facility needs at all five of our campuses that are in use and we are making plans to possibly improve those facilities to meet the needs of current and future students.” 
   While still in the planning phase, trustees are making changes to make a proposed bond issue more appealing to citizens. 

Thu
03
Dec

Birders look to keep county top bird site

   Matagorda County birders will try to remain on top in North American bird counts at the Aud116th Matagorda County Mad Island Marsh Christmas Bird Count from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. 
   A total of 234 different bird species were seen Matagorda County took first place in the count last year with making this the 8th year in a row. 
   Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Brown Booby and two Black Terns in Matagorda County were among others as the headliners for the state. 
   This year an amazing six new species were reported and five of those were only found in Texas. 

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Thu
03
Dec

Sargent residents await Dollar General

   A Dollar General store is under construction in Sargent. 
   Crews began work on the 9,100-square-foot variety retail store about two weeks ago, and its Tennessee-based owners plan an early-summer grand opening. 
   The store will be at 5610 CR 286, just east of FM 457, the area’s main thoroughfare. 
   “When choosing store locations, meeting customers’ needs is Dollar General’s top priority,” company spokesperson Crystal Ghassemi said in an email to the Sentinel.  
   “The company looks for places where we can offer customers an easy and convenient shopping choice. We know convenience is a major factor in our customers’ shopping decisions as we generally serve customers within a three to five mile radius, or 10 minute drive.  
   “We also take demographic trends, competitive factors, traffic patterns and community concerns into consideration. This is a great new location for Dollar General.” 

Thu
03
Dec

Black Friday Pandemonium

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
While Black Friday may not have had the pandemonium that the day in Houston has, this scene in Bay City’s Wal-Mart shows local crowds are no strangers to shopping crushes - the non-romantic kind - the day after Thanksgiving.

Thu
03
Dec

Burn ban orders will have new procedures

   New procedures for ordering an outdoor burning ban were approved by Matagorda County Commissioners Court Monday.
The new order enables the court to ban burning in unincorporated county areas when the Keetch-Byram Drought Index “reaches a value of 500.” 
   At that level, conditions exist where a public safety hazard could be worsened by outdoor burning in unincorporated areas, according to County Attorney Denise Fortenberry. 
   “We’ve put procedures in place…and included ways to contact emergency management,” Fortenberry explained to the court at its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 30. 
   “That way everybody is in on what is happening,” she pointed out.  
   The new policy also provides steps for enforcing the order and enables the county to issue a new burn ban - once the first 90-day period expires, if the drought index level remains at an average of 500. 

Thu
03
Dec

Checking on 9ers progress

Sentinel photos/Don Cudd
Construction is in its final stages for the new 9er’s Grill in Bay City on Texas 60, one block North of downtown. At press time Tuesday, owners of the Houston-based restaurant chain were meeting with construction contractors and planned to decide on an opening date.

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