Category: Community

Smokey Bear Visits Freestone County

SMOKEY BEAR WAS IN FREESTONE COUNTY, Texas on Friday, February 16, 2018 along with his colleague, Kristen Newman, with the Texas A&M Forest Service. This national icon is celebrating his 75th birthday by visiting all 256 counties in the State of Texas.  Getting a #SmokeyBearHug, while posing for celebrity pictures, are (left-right):  County Commissioner Clyde Ridge (Pct. 4), County Judge Linda Grant, and County Commissioners Mike Daniels (Pct. 3) and Andy Bonner (Pct. 1). Learn what you can do to prevent fires by visiting online at (Photo by Karen...

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Perdue Unveils Interactive Website for Agricultural Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled, the new interactive one-stop website for producers maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). is now live but will have multiple features added over the coming months to allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website, launched at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau, gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency. “Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to satellite and GPS technology, yet when they need to interact with USDA, they have to stop, fill out a paper form, and fax or carry it to their local office. That is a real digital divide,” Perdue said. “Our staff is friendly, and they love to see farmers in person, but they know that time is valuable. Producers are working hard to make their farms profitable, so these tools will help get the paperwork done without taking a big chunk out of the day to fill out forms.” is mobile device-friendly and can identify for farmers the most convenient USDA office locations. New functions will be added shortly, including an interactive calendar, farming success stories, an online appointment feature, digital...

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Political Signs, Know Where To Put Them

During campaign season, the landscape blooms with a special kind of flower-the political sign. Unlike wildflowers that are welcome anywhere, putting campaign signs on public land is illegal. So before you plant that sign, learn the law and keep Texas beautiful. YOU NEED TO KNOW –It is illegal to place any signs on or within the right of way. This includes posting signs on trees, telephone poles, traffic signs and other objects on the right of way. –Campaign signs along Texas roads can be placed on private property with the owner’s permission. Signs must be made of lightweight material and be no larger than 50 square feet. –Campaign signs may be posted as early as 90 days before an election (no earlier) and must be removed within 10 days after the election. –Before placing a sign inside of incorporated city limits, check with the city for applicable ordinances. SIGN REMOVAL If you’ve place your sign in the right of way or it’s posing a traffic hazard, TxDOT will remove it without prior notice. All costs associated with sign removal will be paid by the sign owner. If you have any questions, please contact your local TxDOT office. For more information, contact or (979)...

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Staying Healthy Amid the Flu Outbreak

We all know that we need to wash our hands to avoid getting the flu, but there are other, lesser-known things we also can do to stay healthy, said Dr. Azadeh Stark, an epidemiologist who teaches public health at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Stark advises: –Wear a surgical mask – This common practice in Asian countries creates a barrier that can decrease susceptibility to flu virus and other airborne pathogens. –Expand your personal zone – Keep your distance at about two feet while interacting with others. Shorter distances can increase the likelihood of infection because of a higher likelihood of breathing and ingesting the other person’s expelled microscopic bodily fluid. –Avoid caffeinated beverages – Caffeine and alcohol reduce the volume of water expelled from the body and can cause dehydration. The mucous membranes in our mouths, nasal passages and skin are the first line of defense and need to be hydrated to be healthy. “Our susceptibility to flu virus and other pathogens increases with dehydration, physical fatigue and poor dietary habits. Protection starts with careful attention to the quality and quantity of our food and beverage and prevention of physical exhaustion,” Stark said. How is flu spread? Along with this year’s flu outbreak are misconceptions about how the virus is transmitted. Dr. Azadeh Stark, an epidemiologist who teaches public health at The University of Texas at...

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