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. 


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.


Toys for Tots Motorcyle Run set Sunday at Eagles Hall

   The Road Riders, Inc. “Toys for Kids” 17th Annual Motorcycle Toy Run starts at 9 a.m.Sunday Dec. 6 at the Eagles Hall, 2100 Eagles Rd. Bay City. 
   Registration is $20 per person. 
   A new toy of greater or equal value can be donated in lieu of the fee. 
   Kick stands up at 11:15 a.m. for the police-escorted ride. 
   A hot meal, T-shirt and ride pins will be given to the first 150 bikers. 
   There will also be vendors, door prizes, a silent auction and the County Judge’s Trophy among other surprises. 
   Over the past 16 years, cumulative total of $178,000 in clothes and toys have been donated to needy children of Matagorda County. 
   On average, that means providing Christmas for 600 children each year. 
   Road Riders, Inc. is a verified 501©3 non-profit organization based out of Markham and serves the needs of low to moderate income homes in Matagorda County. 



Camofest honors Forrest Bess

   The Wild Game and Wine Camofest, in honor of renowned artist and fisherman Forrest Bess, is set for downtown Bay City, Jan. 23. 
   The festival will be hosted by The Bay City Main Street as tribute to Bess who grew up in – and then returned later in life to – a fishing camp accessible only by boat in Chinquapin near Bay City. 
   Bess’s nature paintings have won international acclaim and have been featured in world-famous museums such as Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.  
   During World War II he also received a commendation from the U.S. Army for developing military uses for camoflage.  
   He died of cancer in Bay City in 1977 at the age of 66. 
   “A man of many interests, Forrest was an art teacher, a student of architecture and avid fisherman,” Alicia Waters, co-director of Main Street and its promotion committee chairman, said in an email about the event. 


Waters keeps focus on downtown

   Alicia Waters is off and running to make downtown Bay City even more inviting than it is today. 
   Actually, Waters has been pursuing that goal for some time. 
   She and Karen Hitzfield are the new co-directors of Bay City Main Street – they’re the only Main Street program co-directors in Texas. 
   The driving force for their work on Bay City historic downtown, said Waters, is the city’s Vision Bay City 2040 plan that calls for, among many other facets of the city, making downtown a destination for residents and tourists alike and for improving its appearance. 

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County approves Tenaris grant report

   EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report is from the Matagorda County Commissioners’ Court’s Nov. 23 meeting. 
   Matagorda County Commissioners’ Court congratulated Phillip H. Parker VFW Post No. 2438 and auxiliary for their 75th Diamond Anniversary during the meeting Monday, Nov. 23. 
   They presented Post Commander Donald Wells with a signed copy of the document, which was later framed and unveiled at the Post’s celebration the following day. 
   Michelle Goerke with GrantWorks answered questions regarding the Quarterly Employee Certification Report from Tenaris. 
   “There have been some questions asked as to if they’re creating jobs why aren’t we able to count them yet,” said Goerke, who administers the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Texas Capital Fund grant that pays for the public works improvements and extensions in connection with the Tenaris plant that’s under construction. 


Discovered remains believed to be girl missing for 25 years

   The remains of a 15-year-old El Campo girl missing since 1990 were found in northwest Matagorda County near the Wharton County line last week. 
   The remains are believed to be that of Rosemary Diaz, who was abducted from the Dane Country Store in Danavang, Nov. 24, 1990, said Matagorda County Sheriff Skipper Osborne . 
   Sheriff’s deputies from Wharton and Matagorda counties, Texas Rangers and members of Texas Equusearch searched for the body in an area north of Clemville Tuesday, Nov. 24. 
   The girl had gone missing 25 years to the day. 
   “We believe it to be her,” Osborne said, but quickly added that DNA and other tests of the remains would be necessary before a positive identification was made. 
   Sgt. Randy Worthey, Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office criminal investigator, was contacted by Captain Raymond Jansky of the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office finding human remains near the county line .   


Christmas in the Park features lots of attractions Sunday

   This year’s “Christmas in the   Park” will be from 5 – 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at Riverside Park. 
   Entry to the event is $10 per car and include a chance to walk through the “Wilderness Trail of Lights.” 
   Inflatables, music and a snowball fight are on the agenda. 
   The snowballs are actually marshmallows. 
   “They don’t hurt when you get hit with them and you can eat them!” said Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Penewitt. 
   There is a special bounce house for children aged 1 – 3 years. 
   Plus, Santa is making an appearance and staying for pictures. 
   “The first 300 cars get a ticket for one free photo with Santa Claus,” she said. 
   Additional photos are $2 each. 
   “Forecast shows it to be a beautiful clear night for the event,” she added. 
   “Unless it is pouring down rain we will be a go.” 


Approximately 350,000 lights will brighten Wilderness Trail

   Nearly 350,000 lights are brightening up Riverside Park this year. 
   The “Wilderness Trail of Lights” opens from 5 – 9 p.m. starting Friday, Dec. 4 and continues Dec. 6 – 9. 
   It costs $5 per vehicle to see the walk-through lighted trail. 
   There will be hay rides to and from the trail. 
   This year, there are no displays from local companies, groups or organizations. 
   However, some new features have been added. 
   “New scenes have been added and a new light tunnel – from the parking area to the trail,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Penewitt. 
   Christmas music will play throughout the trail as well.


Registration will end Friday for Dec. 19 dodgeball tourney

   Registration for the Parks and Recreation’s Co-ed Dodgeball Tournament ends Friday, Dec. 4. 
   “But, we will accept paperwork until Dec. 16,” said Aquatics and Recreation Specialist Ronda Espinosa. 
   The fee for registering a team is $100. 
   Teams are made up of a minimum of six members to a max of 20. 
   Currently there are three teams, plus the mayor’s team. 
   “The winning team’s prize is to face off against the mayor’s team and winner of that game will receive a trophy,” she added. 
   The tournament will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at Bay City Intermediate School. 
   Volunteer referees are needed. 
   Money raised goes toward the purchase of new playground equipment at Le Tulle Park. 
   “We are working to get food vendors and concessions going,” said Espinosa. 
   “We need vendors!” 
   For more information contact Ronda Espinosa at 979-323-1660.


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