"Judge: Cottonwood ‘dream for downtown’" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
A groundbreaking for Cottonwood Estates last week is viewed as a start for the city’s North Downtown Plan.

   Groundbreaking for the new Cottonwood Estates – a major first step toward the city’s North Downtown Plan – was held on the back porch of the first residence to be built Thursday, Feb. 23.
   “This is a great porch to speak from,” said County Judge Nate McDonald.
   “This is a longtime dream for downtown,” he added.
   The porch and residence belongs to Ann Ryan who was the first to buy from developer and builder Stuart Lynn.
   The idea for the multi-stage north downtown development was the “the brainchild of D.C Dunham (Bay City Community Development Corporation Executive Director),” the judge said.
   Cottonwood Estates is located on Eighth Street, across from the Wells-Fargo parking lot.
   He credited Dunham’s hard work in obtaining grants for the early planning stages.
   McDonald noted that Ryan, “was the first and foremost to step up and invest.


"Interim school chief explains search for new superintendent" by: Jessica Shepard

Mark Pool

   The deadline to apply for Superintendent of Bay City Independent School District closes March 22.
   “Last week, I think they had 14 applicant requests and only one submitted,” said Mark Pool interim superintendent.
   The superintendent search is handled by Walsh Gallegos, a law firm based in Austin.
   “I actually got the call to work here from an attorney at Walsh that I knew while working in El Campo,” said Pool, who retired as ECISD superintendent.
   “I had retired in 2015 and was enjoying my free time and retirement. But, working here is enjoyable, too. It isn’t much of a drive, the staff is great and very helpful.”
   Once the application deadline closes, it takes another few weeks for trustees to narrow down their choices of potential replacements.
   “From their list of candidates they have about six to eight chosen, from there the board holds face-to-face interviews and narrows it to typically the top three,” he added.


"MRMC Outpatient Rehabilitation has new home" by: MRMC Staff

MRMC Photo

   Some call it “the bubble,” some call it “the dome,” and some call it “the BRT” which stands for “the big round thing.” 
   Regardless of what you call it, if you’ve driven Highway 35 east of downtown Bay City lately, you’ve probably noticed a new building shaped like a sphere rising from the ground on the campus of the Matagorda Regional Medical Center (MRMC).
   The “big round thing” is actually the Texas Safe Shelter Initiative (TSSI) Dome, which is a superstructure designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 200 mph. 
   The structure, intended to house first responders in the event of a declared emergency, was made possible through generous donations and a tremendous amount of community support. 
   But that’s a story we’ll save for future articles leading up to the official grand opening celebration for the structure in March of this year.


"'District, county clerks alarmed by state agency putting records online" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
The local chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas were at commissioners court for a proclamation recognizing Thursday, March 2, as Texas Independence Day. Both Sam Houston and Davy Crockett made the annual appearance as part of the celebration of Texas Independence.

   Commissioners court approved a resolution that opposes a web portal that wants to keep Matagorda County records online on a state website and make money from it – without the county’s approval.
   District Clerk Jamie Grantz and County Clerk Janet Hickl told commissioners at their regular meeting Monday that a statewide database called re:SearchTX could allow public access to Matagorda County court records without county approval.
   Some 150 counties already are opposing the state database that was initially set up to allow attorneys to file documents electronically to the courts.
   That information, Hickl pointed out, was supposed on the statewide server just for 30 days.
   But the Texas Office of Court Administration (OCA), which created re:SearchTX, has retained those files with plans to make that information to attorneys and the public for free or through a fee.


"Allen: Trees need protection" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Judith Allen looks out on the oaks at the city’s LeTulle Park recently. Allen asked city council last week for tree protection to be added to the city historic ordinance.

 Longtime Bay City Historic Commission chairman Judith Allen took issue with Mayor Mark Bricker on how the city handled a house moving in the South Side Historic District that’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
   Allen appeared before city council at its regular meeting last Thursday, Feb. 23, with two goals.
   One was to protest how the house moving was done without following the city’s historic district ordinance and second to get council to amend that ordinance to protect trees in the district. 
   Before Allen spoke, Alicia Waters also urged the city to protect trees in the district, where she owns a house with a state historical marker.
   The 14-block South Side Residential Historic District was Matagorda County’s fifth listing on the National Register of Historic Places about 10 years ago. 


BCHS Choir advances six to state

BCISD photo/Allison Sliva
Bay City High School Choirs program has six students advancing to UIL State Solo and Ensemble contest in May. These students made “Superior” ratings at Solo and Ensemble contest hosted at BCHS Feb. 4. Advancing to State are Gladyss Morales for her solo, and the Ensemble of Taylor Roberson, Brittany Jenkins, Brenna Hodges, Mysti Cranz and Hannah Johnson has also advanced. BCHS Choirs are under the direction of Dr. Kara Cowart.



Holubec seeks seat on Bay City school board

David Holubec

   I am David Holubec and I’m a candidate for position 4 on the Bay City ISD school board. 
   As an educator, it has been a long time goal of mine to serve our community inthis capacity. Good citizenship is important to me. I have had the privilege of serving in various roles in the following organizations in Matagorda County:
   Bay City Chamber of Commerce – Education Committee Member
   Bay City Main Street Program – Vice Chairman
   Bay City Public Library – Past Board Member
   Bay City TIRZ Board #1 – Board Member, Secretary
   Certified Local Government – Matagorda County Preservation Officer
   Community Actors of South Texas (C.A.S.T.) Board Member
   Holy Cross Catholic School – Past Board Member
   Matagorda County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) Past Board Member
   Matagorda County Museum – Board Member, Secretary


LyondellBasell United Way donation totals nearly $100k

   LyondellBasell Matagorda Plant recently announced a donation of $99,455 to the Matagorda County United Way (MCUW). 
   The funds will support Matagorda County United Way partner agencies that assist people in need in this area. 
    “United Way improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities to advance the common good and LyondellBasell is proud to be a part of their vital work,” said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO and chairman of the management board. 
   LyondellBasell’s contribution from 2016 to MCUW was its largest ever to date. 
   Jo Hoinkis, site manager for LyondellBasell’s Matagorda Plant, said giving to United Way is more than just a corporate initiative to his employees.
   “It’s personal for many of our employees because they see firsthand the difference their contributions make to the young children, adults and seniors living in this area who desperately rely on this assistance,” said Hoinkis.  


"Home Economics auction raises $11,450" by: Jessica Shepard

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
The following children received Grand Champion ribbons for their home economics food projects at the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo Feb. 25. In no particular order and some not present for the photo: Aydan Flores,Wade Hutson, Kaylee Spencer, Alina Rasmussen, Haylee Creager, Alex Lawhon, Shawn Sneath, Macy Wilson, Lacy Smith, Eli Reynolds, Samantha Otto, Grant Huddleston, Tylar Lacy, Isabella Rasmussen, and Paola Garcia.

   The Matagorda County Fair and Livestock Association’s Home Economics auction raised $11,450 Saturday afternoon, Feb. 25.
   “We had a total of 448 items pre-entered in the Foods Contest, however, some of them did not show up,” said Velma Mangum, Matagorda County Extension Office’s office manager.
   “There are 18 items for sale in the home economics auction. The grand champion food item in the junior, intermediate and senior division in each of either the breads, cakes, cookies, candies, pies, or decorated desserts sections will qualify for the Home Economics Foods Auction.  Each exhibitor can sell only one food item in the Home Economics Foods Auction.”
   This year, the cookies section had the most entries with 111.
   Senior division students participated the most this year as well.


"Entertainment center pylon attracts BCCDC discussion" by: Mike Reddell

   A 45-foot-high pylon sign for the Schulman MBG entertainment center drew lots of comments at the Bay City Community Development Corporation board meeting Monday evening, Feb. 27.
   BCCDC Executive Director D.C. Dunham said the $87,537 cost of the sign for Texas 35 traffic will come from the contingency fund that’s part of the entertainment center’s construction costs.
   “What made this part of the contingency?” Board Member Loy Sneary asked Dunham.
   She said the sign should have been in the architect’s package, but it is part of the project.
   Board Member Floyce Brown also asked whether the architects didn’t make the pylon part of their plans.
   The sign’s 45-foot height was questioned by Board Member Maria Aguilar.
   She pointed out the lower profile signs she has seen around Sugar Land.
   Brown asked if the sign is required and Dunham said, “I feel it’s necessary.”


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