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Beginning Sunday, August 27, 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) contractor will begin paving the entrance and exit ramps between FM 27 and US 84.  This work will be constructed in phases and be at night time (6pm until 5am).  Traffic will detour to the next available ramp to enter or exit I-45.  The work will begin at the southbound entrance ramp from FM 27 and then move to the southbound exit ramp to US 84.  The northbound entrance from US 84 will follow and the contractor will finish at the northbound exit to FM 27.  The ramp paving will take approximately two to three nights to complete. The next phase of work will be repaving the frontage road intersections of US 84 and FM 27.  This work will include the paving of all sides of the I-45 overpasses.  The last phase of work will place a final driving surface over all reconstructed pavement work performed on the project.   The contractor will need to close a lane to perform this work.  Pilot cars and flaggers will be used to control traffic and guide motorists through the work area.  Overall, it is expected that the night time paving operations will take approximately two weeks to complete. This work is part of a $2.4-million project contracted to Big Creek Construction to improve the ramps and intersections on I-45 in Fairfield. ...

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“Not Guilty” Plea Shot Down by Freestone County Jury

Last week, a Freestone County Jury sent the message that area residents will not tolerate the use of methamphetamines in the community, during the trial of The State of Texas vs. Joe Alfred Ortiz. Ortiz, who was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Penalty Group 1, Less Than 1 Gram, plead ‘not guilty’ and opted to have a jury trial. The defense rested on the fact that due to lack of substantial evidence, Ortiz should be found innocent of the charge. The outcome was not in his favor, as jurors unanimously found him guilty of said charge, following...

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County Struggles to Make Ends Meet as Budget Exceeds Revenue

“We’ve made major cuts everywhere we can, but we still have to be able to provide services,” says Freestone County Judge, Linda Grant. “I don’t know where else to get the money from.” This comment was made at the August 8, 2017 special called Commissioners Court Meeting during budget talks. At that point in the budget making process, the County was shown at $200K in the negative in the General Fund if they were to move forward with the proposed budget as it currently sits. In addition to this sobering news, the cost for the recent requests by Sheriff Jeremy Shipley for two new employees and four law enforcement vehicles has yet to be added to the budget, which would put the General Fund further into the negative. As if that is not enough, two more FCSO units are out of commission, making the need for a total of six vehicles. Commissioners will hold one more special meeting to work on the budget before voting to finalize it on Wednesday, August 16th. During the regular agenda discussions, County Attorney Brian Evans spoke to Commissioners about receiving grant money from the Attorney General to employ a Victim Coordinator and Liaison for a one year term. The State requires the services be provided by law and Evans applied for the grant in attempt to save the County some money. Details of...

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Sanderson Farms Named One of Healthiest Workplaces for 2017

Sanderson Farms, Inc. was recently named one of Mississippi’s Healthiest Workplaces for 2017. The company was acknowledged at a luncheon for award recipients held today at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, Miss. “At Sanderson Farms, we are committed to supporting our employees and the communities in which they live,” said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO and chairman of the board for Sanderson Farms. “We are proud that our strong workplace wellness program truly makes a difference in the health and well-being of our employees.” “Sanderson Farms believes a healthy workplace is essential for a business to be successful,” said Brian Romano, Director of Administration and Human Resources for Sanderson Farms. “We have worked hard to establish a company culture of wellness that benefits employees, their families, and the community as a whole.” Sanderson Farms offers various free programs and classes to help increase the health and well-being of its staff, including: –Yearly wellness screenings at all Sanderson Farms locations, in which employees can receive BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol testing –Health fairs, where employees can receive valuable information about local services –Wellness classes for anyone who desires to learn more about their health –A “Tobacco Cessation Program,” in which employees can enroll at any time and be eligible for an insurance discount upon successful completion –A “Weight Loss Management Program,” which includes surgical and supervised weight...

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Texas vineyards poised for banner year

by Adam Russell   Texas vineyards could experience a banner year as wine grape quantity and quality are expected to reach new heights, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Jim Kamas, AgriLife Extension fruit specialist, Fredericksburg, said producers faced some concerns and minor struggles early this season, but overall Texas wine grape growers are on track to produce a surplus of quality fruit. Earlier this year, there was concern about frost among producers around the state when vines broke dormancy early due to mild winter conditions, Kamas said. But temperatures remained mild. Spring rains created conditions...

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