"Camofest: A great time, place to be in downtown Bay City" by: Shelly Story

   This past year has been a great one for Bay City Main Street Program and downtown Bay City. I came in to the position of Main Street manager at the beginning of July with some big shoes to fill left by past Main Street leaders.
   One of the first events after I took over was the Heritage Festival of the Americas. 
   There was a fantastic team of board members and volunteers already hard at work on planning this inaugural event. 
   In the end, more than 400 people attended the downtown festival and plans are in place to hold it again in 2019.
   We jumped from that festival into Trick or Treat Around the Square and a host of fun Christmas events. 
   Throughout all of this, a committee of volunteers have been meeting to make Main Street’s largest fundraiser, Camofest, happen. 
   For those who don’t know what Camofest is, it is a celebration of Bay City native and designer of camouflage Forrest Clemenger Bess.


Kolkhorst files legislation to fully fund state parks, historic sites

   AUSTIN – Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) has filed Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 24 to secure funding for the 95 state parks and historic sites operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and 22 historic sites operated by the Texas Historical Commission. The legislation would constitutionally dedicate funds already collected under the sporting goods sales tax.
   “As our state population grows, we must promote and protect our public parks and state historic sites. We can all agree that these special places are vital to our economy and to our Texas heritage, culture, and way of life,” said Senator Kolkhorst. 
   “A reliable source of funding for state parks and historic sites is an investment in our future and a gateway to the outdoors for every Texan. 


Cherry Elementary nominated for CKH Showcase honors

   John H. Cherry Elementary School has been nominated for a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase Schools award for the 2018-2019 school year by the Flippen Group. 
   This is the second consecutive year that Cherry has been nominated, with the campus winning the designation last school year.
   Two-and-a-half years ago, Cherry began an initiative to transform its campus into an emotionally safe and relationally connected place for students, staff, and parents to come together with a love for learning.
   After researching programs used by many of the nation’s most successful schools, Bay City ISD chose to join hands with the Flippen Group to bring Capturing Kids’ Hearts to all its campuses. 


"Mad Island CBC aims for 1st again" by: Jessica Shepard

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
A team of birders collects and tallies their species count before the official compiler tally Monday night. With an unofficial total of 237 birds in the Matagorda County-Mad Island Marsh Christmas Bird Count, the event is poised to be No. 1 in the 119th National Audubon North American Christmas Bird Count again.

   An unofficial preliminary total of 237 bird species were accounted for Monday night at the Mad Island Christmas Bird Count (CBC).
   The Mad Island CBC is part of the 119th Annual Audubon North American CBC.
   That total can change depending on a handful of rare birds that require documentation.
   “We’re certainly aiming to be number one in North America again and most likely will be, but it’s hard to say right now,” said CBC Compiler Brent Ortego.
   “The only other count with almost as many bird species as us is San Diego with an unofficial total of 216. 
   “We won’t know for sure until January when all the bird counts have been reported and verified.”
   Over 100 birders pitched in to help out with this year’s count in 13 separate sections of the 15-mile-diameter count circle - centered at the Nature Conservancy’s Clive Runnells Mad Island Preserve - to help make Matagorda County No. 1 this year.


"Bricker sends letters to Manning, Reeves for board removals " by: Jessica Shepard

   Mayor Mark Bricker decided to remove Bay City Housing Authority (BCHA) Commissioner Danyal Manning following her 10-day hearing Dec. 10.
   The mayor also sent a letter to Commissioner Ronnie Reeves, which said the mayor intends to remove Reeves after a Dec. 28 meeting.
   Bricker released a statement citing Manning’s cause for removal due to “inefficiency, and behaviors that inhibited the interest and effectiveness of long-term and daily operations of the BCHA,” Dec. 14.
   Under Texas Local Government Code Title 12 Section 392.04, “the mayor may remove a commissioner of a municipal housing authority for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office.”


"County rejects motion for wind farm abatement" by: Mike Reddell

   Matagorda County Commissioners Court failed to second Precinct 2 Commissioner Kent Pollard’s motion last week to offer the Peyton Creek Wind Farm an amended tax abatement following a closed-door meeting last week.
   It’s unclear what happens now Pollard’s motion failed in open session - after the three closed meetings, including the one on Peyton Creek Monday, Dec. 10.
   “I made a motion to approve that did not receive a second,” Pollard said last Friday, adding he had no further comment.
   He referred the Sentinel to commissioners court minutes.
   Minutes for the open session following the Dec. 10 closed door meeting will not be available until the court approves them at its Dec. 31 meeting, according to the County Judge’s office.
   Under state law, executive session discussions are not made public.


Always-active Sneary chosen for 2018 George Holst

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
The 2017 George Holst Award recipient Arthur Milberger (left) presents this year’s George Holst Award to Loy Sneary.

   Former Matagorda County Judge, rancher and community leader Loy Sneary is the 2018 George Holst Award recipient for excellence in community vision and economic leadership in Matagorda County.
   Sneary was presented the award by last year’s George Holst winner Arthur Milberg at the Matagorda County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) annual meeting Thursday night, Dec. 13.
   MCEDC Board President Mitch Thames also honored two Bay City Community Development Corporation representatives – DC Dunham and Bobby Wilkinson – who recently finished their terms serving on the MCEDC board.
   Dunham, former BCCDC Executive Director, served on the MCEDC board 2013 to 2018 and was elected board president and board secretary. 
   Wilkinson was on the MCEDC board from 2015-2018 and during his term chaired the George Holst Award selection committee and several other key guidance committees. 


"Christmas closings announced" by: Jessica Shepard

   Christmas Eve falls on Monday, Dec. 24, this year with many businesses and institutions closing early or not opening at all that day.
   Those closings includes city, county, state and federal offices.
   All banks will close on Christmas Day, with some closing as early as Saturday, Dec. 22.
   H-E-B and Wal-Mart are closed Christmas Day with regular store hours resuming Dec. 26.
   Tidehaven and Van Vleck ISD students will return from Christmas break to classes Monday, Jan. 7, while Bay City ISD students will return Tuesday, Jan. 8.
   There will be no WCA trash pickups Christmas Tuesday.
   Tuesday’s regular pickups will be collected on Friday.
   Monday residential trash collection customers will not be affected.
   The Bay City Sentinel will be closed Monday-Tuesday and return to regular business hours Wednesday, Dec. 26. 


Police investigating hit, run that seriously hurt Bay City man

   A 44-year-old Bay City man was seriously hurt when he was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Thompson and Avenue F Sunday night, Bay City police said.
   Responding officers found the man conscious but having trouble staying awake, reports show.  
   While waiting for EMS to arrive, the man’s pulse stopped, and officers began CPR.  
   The officers revived him and he was taken by EMS to Matagorda Regional Medical Center, police reported. 
   Bay City Police Department was later notified the man was taken by Life Flight helicopter to a Houston hospital.
   There was no word Tuesday on his condition.
   When Officer Reyna Perez was en route to the accident scene at 4021 Avenue F, at about 6:40 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, dispatch told her that the man was hit by a vehicle that fled the location.  
   When Perez and other officers arrived, the man was found lying in the roadway at the intersection of Thompson and Avenue F.


"County names Campos to emergency, 911 post" by: Mike Reddell

Amanda Campos

   Longtime EMS Manager Amanda Campos was appointed Emergency Management and 911 Coordinator, effective Dec. 10, by commissioners court at its regular meeting Dec. 17.
   Campos and two other candidates were interviewed by the court in executive session Dec. 10.
   Campos replaces Doug Matthes, who retired in November after serving several years in the post.
   The court also named Audrey Guardiola to manage the Blessing Community Center for the year 2018-2019.

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