Category: Top Headlines

County Commissioners Prespare for Upcoming Budget Talks

  Voting to contribute $735.00 per month, per employee, toward the new private exchange healthcare, Freestone County Commissioners approved the measure following much discussion. The private exchange, through Texas Association of Counties (TAC) and Blue Cross Blue Shield, offers 10 individual plans for employees to choose from to match their specific needs. Should an employee choose a plan that costs more than the $735.00 provided by the County, said employee will be responsible for covering the difference. This change will take effect on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the next fiscal year. Commissioner Pct #1, Luke Ward, Sr. resigned his position as Floodplain Administrator after many years serving in that capacity. Craig Oakes, Commissioner Pct #2, was voted in to take Ward’s place. The duty of the Floodplain Administrator is to maintain maps and records, to determine if a location is safe from flooding, and to review & approve applications. Monies from the annual Capital Credit Funds have been received in the amount of $9,424. Commissioners voted to use the money to help with air conditioning and other updates for the Child Advocacy Center’s building. In regard to the new Cintas contract, the company still has not supplied Form 1295. Per a new law, businesses must provide this form at the same time they submit a contract to any governmental entity. As this has yet to be done,...

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TPWD Graduates 46 Texas Game Wardens and State Park Police Officers

AUSTIN — After seven months of rigorous training, the 60th Texas game warden cadet class graduated today at the Texas State Capitol. The cadet class includes 41 game warden cadets and five state park police officers. This is the second cadet class with state park police officers training and graduating alongside state game wardens after the two academies were combined last year. Following their preparation at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton County, the newly-commissioned peace officers were recognized during a special ceremony this morning at the Texas State Capitol. “Today, you are joining a select group of men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day to protect our state’s lands, waters, borders, fish, game, environment, property and our lives,” said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “The people of Texas will expect you to be pillars of strength and leadership, resolute in character and virtue, fair beyond reproach and unfailing in response in times of disaster and duress. And, when you are called for help, day or night, weekday or weekend, irrespective of the need or the cause or the caller for help, you will go and you will go dutifully.” The graduates will begin their new careers stationed in counties and state parks throughout the state. The duties of a Texas game warden include the enforcement...

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Community Invited to Discuss a Spray Park for Fairfield this Thursday

 Do you want a Spray Park in Fairfield? Make plans to attend the meeting this Thursday, August 11, 2016…                  Do you want a Spray Park in Fairfield? Please come to a Public Meeting with the City of Fairfield on Thursday, August 11th beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Moody Park Community Center to discuss the possibilities of getting a spray park in Fairfield, Texas. Attendance and participation is...

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Capital Murder: Continuance Denied — for now — on Murder Trial

“I can’t let this case be drug out any further, we need to get this done,” explained Judge Patrick Simmons in response to a motion for continuance in the case of The State of Texas vs. Lawson Lee Abram. Abram, along with co-defendants Amber Hope Halford and O’Jarion McClenon, is charged with Capital Murder for his alleged involvement in an incident occurring in March of 2015 that resulted in the death of Teague resident, Douglas Carr Hurst. Defense Attorney, Steve Keathley, previously filed several motions and addressed each one during the special hearing held on Friday, July 29, 2016.–1: Ballistic testing results have yet to be returned. Guns confiscated from the crime scene have been sent to the DPS Crime Lab in Austen to determine which gun was used as the murder weapon. According to District Attorney Chris Martin, he was told that reports should be available by August 19th.–2: Keathley requested the Court to appoint a co-counselor for the trial. He has requested Bob Gage or Val Fulcher. Judge Simmons explained that he would allow co-counsel only for the purpose jury selection; not for the trial itself. He told Keathley to discuss with Gage and Fulcher to find out if either would be interested / willing to assist and they would further discuss the issue at the next status hearing.–3: Keathley wanted to have a Physical Evidence Review...

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Headway on Dilapidated Properties in Fairfield

“I feel like it is our responsibility to make sure we are in compliance with health and safety codes,” began Opal Oliver Code Enforcement Officer, explaining that City Councilmen and citizens have a vested interest in maintaining the well being of their City. “We are willing to work with residents to get them in compliance.” With that said, Mrs. Oliver presented a list of five dilapidated properties currently in violation of Fairfield’s health and safety ordinances to be reviewed by the Council during the public hearing Tuesday, July 26, 2016. She reported that several certified letters have gone out to all known property owners. Following proper procedure, the public hearing was scheduled to allow property owners to address the Council before a second hearing is set. Of the two property owners present, Vernon Smith was the first to address the Council. Mr. Smith shared that he inherited the property from his father, and currently lives out of town. He requested additional time to bring his property up to code. Councilmen granted him thirty days to submit a plan of action, pending further discussion during the next hearing. Next, Michael Daniels presented a slideshow of completed renovations to his rental properties, and detailed his plan for moving forward. Mr. Daniels was informed that, as a multi-family dwelling, the property must comply with the International Building Code, using only certified contractors...

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