TxDOT to conduct public hearing on FM 457 bridge

TxDOT image
An artist’s rendering of the proposed FM 457 “corkscrew” bridge in Sargent.

   SARGENT – A public hearing to present the planned replacement of the FM 457 Swing Bridge at the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and to receive public comments will be Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation announced Monday.
    The hearing will be at the V.F.W. Post 2412 Hall, 20305 FM 457 in Sargent. Displays will be available for viewing at 5:30 p.m. with the formal hearing to begin at 6:30 p.m. 
   The existing swing bridge is a divided roadway with one 12-foot lane in each direction with no shoulders. 
    The existing roadway crosses a 120-foot metal pontoon bridge at grade. 
    The pontoon bridge is operated by a control tower regulating both vehicular and water traffic. The existing span’s width ranges from about 24 to 30 feet. 

Nature center features regular paddling activities

   The Matagorda County Birding Nature Center’s pier is the host site for the following ‘free’ paddling activities which are scheduled to routinely take place from now through early November; weather permitting.  
     The non-profit Nature Center does not rent kayaks, nor does it assume responsibility for the safety and well-being of those participating in these no-sponsor, no-fee, meet-ups of paddlers.  
     MCBNC members are eligible to check out a single or tandem kayak from the MCBNC’s fleet on a no-cost, first-come basis (annual dues are only $20/person or $30/family) for these events.   
     Non-members must bring their own kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard, and are asked pay the $3/person or $5/carload entry fee. 
   Call 979-240-4872 to verify the plans and details for these come-when-you-can waterborne events. 

Sales tax holiday could save on school supplies

   Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar reminds shoppers the annual sales tax holiday is scheduled for this Friday,Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 - 9.
   The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales tax, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.
   Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the Comptroller’s website at
    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.
   For an item to be tax exempt it must cost less than $100 before tax is added.

Crouch leans on love of cooking, culture for his Cafe Roux menus

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
Café Roux chef and owner Jade Crouch, packages a generous helping of gumbo and rice to go. Café Roux is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner-To-Go meals are available from 2 to 6 p.m.

   Jade Crouch, owner and chef of Café Roux (pronounced ‘ROO’) is creating quite a stir downtown in Bay City.
   Crouch is cooking up Cajun favorites like gumbo and read beans and rice as well as a few family recipes.
   The gumbo itself features chicken and sausage and pairs well with white rice.
   Café Roux is tucked into the back of the Health Food Cottage and operates from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
   “I’ve always cooked and enjoyed cooking,” said Crouch.
   “I wanted something different here in Bay City, so, I decided to do it myself.”
   These are family recipes from my mother and grandmother, he added.
   “My maw-maw had a restaurant in Cut Off Louisiana in the 50s,” said Crouch.
   “So, she knew how to cook.”

Tenaris ups tax rolls by $100m

 The 2015 certified tax rolls for Matagorda County’s 24 taxing entities totaling $6.026 billion were recently released by the Matagorda County Appraisal District.
   That total is 2.92 percent higher than the 2014 certified roll total of $5.855 billion, a difference of about $170 million.
   “The county as a whole remained about neutral,” said Vince Maloney, MCAD chief appraiser.
   Overall, Maloney said oil and gas prices fell, and production continued to decline. “Residential was up a bit, probably due to an increase in demand and little new inventory,” he pointed out.
   “Commercial values were steady, being helped out by the increased demand for rental properties.”
   Industry values are on the rise, Maloney noted, with several expansions underway.

Farewell for Ciro

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Matagorda County Sheriff Skipper Osborne, left, hands an urn containing the cremated remains of K-9 Deputy Ciro to the dog’s partner Sgt. Philip Hester during a farewell service at the sheriff’s department compound Friday afternoon.


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. 

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.

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. 

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.    


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