An open letter to Advocate readers
Feb. 26, 2009
This is not the letter I hoped to be posting four months after starting the Advocate, but if an online news service is going to yell 'transparency' at every turn, it had better be willing to play by it's own rules.
Put plainly, as a business venture, the Advocate is failing.
Our business model has four indexes to track growth and predict success of the venture: Readership, community involvement, classified use and, of course, paid advertising. I am sad to report that we are faltering badly on three of those.
While readership numbers have climbed steadily since it's inception, now topping 3000 total page hits, and over 300 readers a week, the sparse use of the 'Classifieds' section, and almost no interest in paid advertising has failed to instill lender confidence, thus denying us access to funding needed to expand the staff, or to go to print with a weekly paper.
These are failures that I blame on my own lack of salesmanship and failure to factor in funding for advertising, believing that word-of-mouth and easy internet linking would be sufficient to get the word out.
Community involvement has to be graded as mediocre. Institutions such as the local colleges, government offices and law enforcement, realizing that every information outlet has value, have been willing contributors.
But surprisingly, organizations like ISD boards, economic development agencies and even chambers of commerce have been less than cooperative, many failing even to return messages or respond to letters of introduction.
In short, the shoe-string budget we were operating on is gone, and the need to pay personal bills now has to override both desire to publish and belief in the need for a service like this for Upshur County.
The site will stay open, but article postings won't be daily events.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone who is providing information and news releases, and the readers who return daily looking for timely and topical news of interest to Upshur County and the surrounding area.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
An open letter to Advocate readers
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Sheriff's Office handled 129 calls this week, resulting in 43 arrests.
GILMER, TX, Feb. 23, 2009 -- Sheriff Anthony Betterton reported today that 129 calls for service were reported to the Upshur County Sheriff's Office between the dates of 2-16-09 and 2-22-09.
Sheriff Betterton also reported that 43 people were booked into the Upshur County Jail on a variety of charges which include Driving while license invalid, Theft, Resisting Arrest, Federal Detainer, Burglary of a Habitation, Assault, Possession of Marijuana, Manufacturing and Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Revocation of Probation, DWI, Criminal Mischief, Sexual Assault to a Child, Stolen Vehicle, Fail to Identify as a Fugitive, Burglary of a Building, Harassment, Criminal Trespass, Issuance of a bad check, Disorderly Conduct and traffic.
There were also 46 people released from the Upshur county jail.
Sheriff's Service Calls by the Numbers:
Criminal Mischief 8
Suspicious Vehicle/Person 10
Civil Matters 7
Assist other agency 2
Drug cases 2
Unwanted Guest 2
Shots Fired 2
Monday, February 23, 2009
Rep. Creighton files appraisal reform bills
AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 23, 2009 -- Confused at how the county arrived at your property's appraised value? Several bills filed recently by Representative Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), aim to end that, as well as give voters more control on who sits on property appraisal boards.
Creighton filed HB 1547, which would require appraisal districts to post on their website an explanation, in plain language, of the methods they use to appraise residential property. They must also indicate which method is used most frequently in the district.
"The goal of this legislation is to give taxpayers a better understanding of how their home's value was reached," said Creighton. "Homeowners deserve to have an explanation of the process, and it will better prepare them if they choose to go through the appeals process."
Another Creighton bill, HB 1548, allows counties to set requirements for the board of directors of appraisal districts. If a county chooses, they can require that the board be elected officials of taxing entities within the appraisal district, such as city councilmen or school board members.
"This measure will allow the public more oversight of the board by making directors responsible to voters," said Creighton. "Montgomery County already voluntarily uses this practice, but this legislation will allow counties around the state to ensure that future boards have improved public oversight."
Creighton says meaningful appraisal reform is a priority of his so that taxpayers see relief from constantly rising property tax bills.
"True tax relief will not be seen until we have more transparency and public oversight in the appraisal process as well," said Creighton.
COPS grant would fund two Gilmer Police Department positions
GILMER, TX, Feb. 23, 2009 -- The Gilmer City Council will hold a regular meeting Tuesday, Feb. 24th, at 5:15 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The council will consider applying for a grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) for funds to hire more police officers.
Gilmer City Manager Jeff Ellington says the grant would provide funds to hire two officers for three years, and the city would be responsible to fund at least one more year after that.
Members will also consider instituting an Identity Theft Program, aimed at training city workers on how to handle sensitive personal information, and how to spot and prevent identity theft.
The complete City Council Agenda follows:
REGULAR STATED MEETINGThe agenda can be found online at http://www.gilmer-tx.com/?page_id=6.
GILMER CITY COUNCIL
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 2009 5:15 P.M.
COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CITY HALL
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT THE CITY COUNCIL OF GILMER WILL IN REGULAR
STATED SESSION ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 2009, 5:15 P.M. IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS
OF CITY HALL TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
1. CALL TO ORDER
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2. CONSIDER AND ACT ON APPROVING MINUTES FROM THE FOLLOWING MEETING:
A. Regular Stated Session — February 10, 2009
3. CONSIDER AND ACT ON ORDINANCE NO. 09-002 ESTABLISHING AN IDENTITY THEFT
PREVENTION PROGRAM, TO SET OUT DEFINITIONS, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTITY THEFT PREVENTION PROGRAM; TO
PROVIDE A REPEALING CLAUSE, TO PROVIDE A SAVINGS AND SEVERABILITY
CLAUSE AND PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE (ENCLOSURE)
4. CONSIDER ACCEPTANCE OF PARK FUNDS FROM THE GILMER AREA CHAMBER OF
5. CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE COUNTY
OF UPSHUR AND THE CITY OF GILMER FOR MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS TO
6. CONSIDER EXECUTION OF COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS AGREEMENT FOR
INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT, TEXAS CAPITAL FUND #728342 (THE DUOLINE
PROJECT ON HIGHWAY 271 SOUTH) (ENCLOSURE)
7. CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION TO APPLY FOR A GRANT FROM THE COMMUNITY
ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES (COPS) PROGRAM FOR THE GILMER POLICE
8. CONSIDER AND ACT UPON APPROVING THE BILL LIST (ENCLOSURE)
Labels: Gilmer City Council
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Consumer Alert: Beware Of Unsolicited Calls, E-Mails Claiming To Be From American National Bank In Mount Pleasant
AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 20, 2009 -- Texans should be aware that telephone calls purporting to originate from the American National Bank of Mount Pleasant may actually be from identity thieves attempting to steal from bank customers.
Bank customers have reported receiving text messages, spam e-mails and phone calls. The messages request bank customers’ account information and debit card information. The Mount Pleasant-based bank’s customers are asked to provide their account information. American National Bank customers should not call the number or communicate with any third party about their account information. The individuals responsible for the calls and e-mails are attempting to obtain customers’ personal identifying information.
To be clear, Texans must not respond to an unsolicited e-mail or telephone calls seeking sensitive personal or financial information. Legitimate banks do not call or e-mail customers seeking this information. Texans should delete the e-mail or hang up the phone.
American National Bank customers who receive these unsolicited calls should report them to Phonebusters at (888) 495-8501, or the U.S. Secret Service Houston Field Office at (713) 868-2299.
Source: AG Release
Friday, February 20, 2009
Ending speculations of a Texas refusal, Gov. Perry notified President Obama in writing that Texas wants it's fair share
AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 18, 2009 -- In a letter to President Barack Obama Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry sharply disagreed with the President's approach to stimulus, but laid claim to what he called Texas' "fair share".
In the letter, Perry said the state would use the funding "...to promote economic growth and create jobs in a fiscally responsible manner that is in the best interest of Texas taxpayers."
Text of the letter follows:
February 18, 2009Source: Gov. Perry Release
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
I'm writing you today in response to stipulations set forth in H.R. 1, the $787 billion stimulus package you signed into law yesterday. As you know, I have been vocal in my opposition to this legislation because I believe there are better ways to reinvigorate our economy and believe H.R. 1 will burden future generations with unprecedented levels of debt.
Throughout the years, Texas taxpayers have sent substantially more dollars to Washington than we receive on issues ranging from transportation to border security and hurricane relief. As I have said during the debate on H.R. 1, should Congress pass stimulus legislation using Texas tax dollars, I would work to ensure that our citizens receive their fair share.
On behalf of the people of Texas, please allow this letter to certify that we will accept the funds in H.R. 1 and use them to promote economic growth and create jobs in a fiscally responsible manner that is in the best interest of Texas taxpayers. I remain opposed to using these funds to expand existing government programs, burdening the state with ongoing expenditures long after the funding has dried up.
I continue to believe that the best way to stimulate the economy is the approach we are taking here in Texas. As a result of low taxes, controlled government spending and a predictable regulatory climate, nearly 80 percent of all jobs created last year in the United States were created in Texas; the vast majority of these were private sector jobs. Just last week, Texas was ranked the top exporting state in the nation for the seventh year in a row.
It was a pleasure meeting you in Philadelphia, and I appreciate your concern for the Texans displaced by Hurricane Ike. While we differ on solutions to the ongoing economic crisis facing our country, I believe we both share a desire to see our great nation endure as a beacon of freedom and economic vitality to the world.
TDA and AgriLife roll-out a new program to improve on-farm sanitation practices
Feb. 19, 2009 -- Two state agencies are joining forces to combat the devastating disruptions that occur when the food safety of farm products is called into question, according to a vegetable specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
The Texas Department of Agriculture and AgriLife Extension are creating a program to help fruit and vegetable growers develop safety procedures that could help prevent food scares, said Dr. Juan Anciso.
“When edible farm products are linked to possible outbreaks of E. coli or Salmonella, the economic ripple is huge and many people suffer – consumers, farmers, packers, shippers, grocers, advertisers, lots of people,” Anciso said.
There are currently few sanitation laws and regulations at the farm level, but that could change amid rising concerns about food safety, he said.
“Based on studies I’ve taken part in, rarely are pathogens found on fruits and vegetables at the farm level,” said Anciso. “It’s after they leave the farm when more and more people handle and process these products that the likelihood of negligible contamination can be greatly increased and lead to the large outbreaks. And that’s where the laws and regulations kick in, in the processing facilities that change a fresh, edible product into a processed product.”
But as more sophisticated techniques, including DNA testing, are developed to track down sources of contamination, the trail can lead all the way down to the farm, Anciso said.
"This newly funded program by TDA and AgriLife Extension to improve on-farm sanitation practices is a proactive measure to help growers voluntarily document their standard operating procedures and good agricultural practices,” he said.
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced recently that the Texas Department of Agriculture had allocated $92,000 to create the Food Safety Good Agricultural Practices Program, to be implemented under the guidance of AgriLife Extension.
“Texas farmers are leaders in growing the safest and most abundant food supply in the world here in the U.S.,” Staples said. “By standardizing best practices, our farmers continue their commitment to making Texas produce the safest and best.”
The voluntary program is available on a first-come, first-served basis to producers in the Panhandle, Central Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. For more information, contact one of the following AgriLife Extension program specialists: Alisa Petty in Lubbock at 806-746-6101; Rodrigo Avila in Crystal City at 830-374-2883; or Ashley Gregory in Weslaco at 956-968-5581.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Clock on Ike assistance runs out Friday at midnight
AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 19, 2009 -- Texans affected by Hurricane Ike have until midnight Friday, February 20, to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance under the FEMA Individual and Households Program. A pre-screening questionnaire and registration may be completed online at http://www.disasterassistance.gov or at 1-800- 621- FEMA.
The registration deadline for Hurricane Ike has been extended five times at the state's request to allow affected Texans the opportunity to receive assistance under the Individual and Households Program. This is the final deadline.
Since Hurricane Ike made landfall on September 13, 2008, more than 733,000 families have registered for assistance with FEMA.
Source: Gov. Perry Release
NET RMA Board of Directors continues to seek funding
LINDEN, TX, Feb. 18, 2009 -- The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) continued to focus on funding at its Board Meeting on Wednesday, voting on an Interlocal Agreement with a member county, supporting a resolution to seek stimulus funding, and asking that Toll 49 toll revenue be redirected toward the NET RMA.
During the meeting, the Board of Directors voted to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with Rusk County to further develop Loop 571 around Henderson. The Board also considered a resolution to seek Federal stimulus funding for transportation projects in northeast Texas.
The $787 billion stimulus bill, which was signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday, is expected to provide the state of Texas with up to $2.2 billion in funding for highway projects and $2.5 billion in overall transportation funding.
The NET RMA affirmed the resolution, and said it would support the projects that have been submitted for consideration by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Tyler and Atlanta districts.
“We look forward to learning more about what will be in the stimulus package,” said NET RMA Chairman Jeff Austin, III. “We have projects that are essential to the economic growth and quality of life of our region’s citizens, so we would like to be considered.”
In other action, the NET RMA Board moved to request that toll revenue generated by open segments of Toll 49 be redirected from TxDOT to the NET RMA. The NET RMA asked TxDOT to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that, in addition to transferring funds, would also lead to the eventual transfer of project ownership to the NET RMA, and repayment of maintenance and operation costs.
“The NET RMA will use the money generated from Toll 49 to help fund other segments of the road,” Austin said. “That’s the beauty of this structure. Unlike gas tax, which is collected and then disbursed throughout the country and state, the toll revenue that East Texans have invested will be used to build projects locally that East Texans will benefit from.”
In October 2008 the NET RMA considered action to become the lead agency for the East Texas Regional Transportation Coordination Planning Steering Committee, a state-mandated organization that coordinates and plans regional transportation. Wednesday, the Board decided to continue discussions with the Steering Committee to develop an implementation plan for the future.
Other action items and presentations during the meeting included:
* Legal Counsel Brian Cassidy updated the Board on the 81st Texas Legislative session.
* The Board of Directors discussed the I-20 managed lane study.
A discussion about future NET RMA projects included:
* An update on the status of design for Toll 49 Segments 3A and 5.
* East Texas Hourglass: A summary of the NET RMA East Texas Hourglass Committee was given, and a discussion was held regarding the next steps for the project.
* Angelina Neches River Authority, Lake Columbia Projects: A summary of the January 20, 2009 meeting was presented.
Source: NET RMA Release
Labels: NET RMA
Court finds convicted felon waited too long to file, cites 'lack of jurisdiction' in dismissal
TEXARKANA, TX, Feb. 19, 2009 -- Finding that he had waited three days too long to file for an appeal or new trial, a three judge panel of the Sixth Court of Appeals today dismissed the appeal of former Aryan Brotherhood general John Wesley Walsh for want of jurisdiction.
Walsh, 43, was convicted by jury trial in the 115th District Court in September, 2008 for Burglary of a Habitation, and sentenced to Life in prison by Judge Lauren Parish on October 15, 2008.
Deemed an 'habitual offender', the Life penalty took into account a 1982 conviction of Walsh in Bexar County of Murder.
According to the opinion released today by the court, the period to file for an appeal or a new trial expired 30 days later, on Nov. 14th. Walsh filed a motion for a new trial on Nov. 17th, three days after the opportunity had lapsed, and a notice of appeal on Dec. 30, 2008.
Without timely notice, the opinion says the court has no jurisdiction over an appeal.
Attorney General Abbott, Senator Cornyn, Congressman Smith join forces to protect Texas children from predators
AUSTIN, TX, Feb. 19, 2009 -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith today joined forces to advance state and federal legislative efforts that will help protect young Texans from child predators.
“With sexual predators increasingly using new technology to prey upon children, it is critical that law enforcement stay ahead of the criminals,” said Attorney General Abbott. “Innovative legislative responses to high tech crimes are vital to the ongoing success of our crackdown on cyber predators and online child pornographers. Thanks to creative legislative initiatives at both the state and federal levels, law enforcement will have the legal tools we need to help protect Texas children.”
Citing recent developments in the Texas Legislature, Attorney General Abbott expressed his support for legislation by state Sen. Florence Shapiro and Rep. Aaron Peña that would update state sex offender registration laws. If enacted, Senate Bill 689 and House Bill 1239, would upgrade state sex offender registration laws to reflect modern technological innovations and communications platforms.
Specifically, the bills would require that convicted sex offenders provide their e-mail addresses, mobile telephone numbers, social networking aliases and other electronic identification information to the Department of Public Safety’s sex offender registry. In October 2008, Attorney General Abbott recommended that the Legislature act to increase law enforcement’s access to sex offender’s electronic identities. The Shapiro-Peña legislation reflects both legislators’ efforts to protect children by enacting the Attorney General’s recommendations.
At the federal level, Sen. Cornyn, a former Texas Attorney General, sponsored the Internet Stopping Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Today’s Youth (SAFETY) Act of 2009 in the U.S. Senate. Congressman Smith, a former Texas legislator, sponsored companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I’m proud to join my colleague Lamar Smith from the House of Representatives in announcing our legislation, the Internet Safety Act, to combat Internet predators and create a safer environment for Texas children. It is our hope that we can garner the support of all our colleagues and pass this bill to strengthen penalties for child sex offenders and Internet predators,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Our legislation complements the hard work of Attorney General Abbott, who has been relentless in his efforts to crack down on violence against children. He is realistic about the dangers that exist on the Internet and makes every attempt to keep Texas families informed and equipped with the resources to protect their children.”
Rep. Smith added: “Of the nearly 600,000 images of graphic child pornography found online and reported to law enforcement officials, only 2,100 of these children have been identified and rescued. Federal, state and local law enforcement officials have reached a digital dead end in their battle against the online sexual exploitation of children. Investigators need the assistance of Internet Service Providers to identify users and distributors of online child pornography. The Internet Safety Act requires ISPs to retain subscriber records, similar to records retained by telephone companies, to aid law enforcement officials in their fight against child pornography.”
If enacted, the Internet SAFETY Act would:
• Create a new federal offense for the financial facilitation of child pornography;
• Create a new federal offense for facilitation of child pornography or child exploitation by an Internet content hosting provider or e-mail service provider;
• Require the U.S. Attorney General to promulgate regulations regarding the record retention of subscribers’ Internet Protocol addresses or user information by Internet Service Providers;
• Increase penalties for sexual exploitation of children;
• Increase penalties for activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of children, and those constituting child pornography; and,
• Provide $30 million a year over five years for the Innocent Images National Initiative.
Since its establishment in 2003, the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Cyber Crimes Unit has arrested more than 100 sexual predators for using the Internet to prey upon children. Together, the Cyber Crimes and Fugitive Units have arrested 28 convicted sex offenders who accessed MySpace in violation of their parole conditions.
Four additional subjects were arrested for using MySpace to meet and sexually proposition users whose online profiles indicated they were between the ages of 12 to 14 years old. In all four of those cases, the profile actually belonged to an undercover Cyber Crimes Unit investigator.
Since taking office, Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting online child predators. The Fugitive Unit and the Cyber Crimes Unit, which protects children from online sexual exploitation, have combined to arrest more than 900 sex offenders since 2003. Cyber Crimes Unit investigators also have traveled to schools and communities statewide to offer educational cyber safety programs
Source: OAG Press Release
Jury finds evidence in car theft case compelling
GILMER, TX, Feb. 19, 2009 -- A jury Tuesday found evidence and testimony presented in the felony Theft trial of Jimmy Michael 'Big Country' Devance convincing enough to return a verdict of guilty.
Today, Devance, 34, of Gladewater, was sentenced by Judge Lauren Parish in the 115th District Court to 15 years in the Texas Department of Corrections for the enhanced offense of felony Theft following that trial.
Assistant District Attorney, Edward Choy, prosecuted Devance, who stole an automobile from Mike Craig Ford in Gilmer on March 21, 2008. Devance took a 2O07 Chrysler 300 without paying under the ruse of wishing to purchase it and failed to return it. The car was eventually recovered in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Choy was pleased with the verdict. " The Jury paid close attention to all the evidence and sent a message that those who prey upon our citizens and businesses in Upshur County will be dealt with severely," he said.
Devance had a lengthy criminal history which included a prior felony conviction in Gregg County in 1995. Choy found other victims, including a 85 year old war veteran, Gerald French of Lufkin, who Devance defrauded in a roofing fraud scheme. French testified that Devance posed as a legitimate contractor who preyed upon victims whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Ike in Angelina County.
No word was released by Byrd on charges awaiting Devance in Lufkin relating to the alleged roofing fraud.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Appeals court upholds Oklahoma law similar to proposed Texas legislation
Feb. 18, 2009 -- A unanimous ruling today by the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fairfax, VA. supports the intent of a bill introduced recently in the Texas Senate, aimed at allowing employees to store legally owned firearms in locked, private motor vehicles while parked in employer parking lots.
The bill, SB 730, was filed by Senator Glenn Heger (R-Katy) last week. A companion bill, HB 1301, filed in the Texas House by Stephen Frost (D-Atlanta) on Monday, is identical.
Yesterday, Heger was joined by Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler), who signed on as a co-author.
"I support SB 730 by Sen. Hegar, and in fact, have signed on to the legislation as a co-author." Eltife said. "Many of my constituents travel long distances to work and I believe they should not be prohibited from keeping a firearm in their vehicle while at their place of employment."
He said the same legislation was introduced in 2007, but did not gain passage.
The ruling handed down today in Virginia upheld a similar amendment passed in 2004 by the Oklahoma legislature. That law holds employers criminally liable for prohibiting employees from storing firearms in locked vehicles on company property.
A number of Oklahoma corporations filed suit opposing the law, calling it an unconstitutional taking of private property. They also claimed the law was preempted by federal statutes.
The lower court in Oklahoma sided with the corporations, granting a permanent injunction against the law in it's ruling.
That ruling was in turn challenged by Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who in October 2008 appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Today's ruling reversed the lower court’s decision, and immediately drew praise from gun rights advocates across the country, including the National Rifle Association.
“This is a victory for the millions of American workers who have been denied the right to protect themselves while commuting between their homes and their workplace,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “This effort was aimed at skirting the will of the American people, and the intent of legislatures across this country while eviscerating Right-to-Carry laws. This ruling is a slap at the corporate elitists who have no regard for the constitutional rights of law abiding American workers.”
Reward offered for information on Gilmer tire theft
GILMER, TX, Feb. 18, 2009 -- The Upshur Crime Stoppers are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft of tires and wheels from the Yazell Chevrolet lot on Tuesday, Feb. 10th.
During the early morning hours of February 10, 2009 unknown actor(s) entered the Yazell Chevrolet Dealership lot and removed four wheels and tires from two new pickups. If anyone has information about this crime please contact the Gilmer Police Department at (903) 843-5545.
Upshur County Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this crime. If you have any information please contact us at 903-843-3131 or toll-free 1-800-396-3351.
Remember all calls or contacts are completely anonymous. We want your information, not your name. Thank you.
Readers with information on this crime can offer tips online at
http://upshurcounty.crimestoppersweb.com/crimeoftheweek.aspx. by clicking on the 'Give Tip' button.
Board to discuss today what projects could qualify as 'shovel ready', thereby making federal funding possible
Feb. 18, 2009 -- In their last meeting on Jan. 15th, The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) heard Titus County Judge Sam Russell say that Texas is facing a challenge when it comes to transportation funding.
“It will be slim pickings not only in Texas, but across the United States,” Russell said during the meeting. “But maybe by working together we can get these projects accomplished.”
With that said, board members did see a glimmer of funding hope in the huge financial stimulus package that was being talked about at the time on Capitol Hill, and has since been passed.
The Board discussed the possibility of accelerating work on Toll 49 Segment 3A so that the project might be included in the economic stimulus package being prepared by the Federal government. In order to be considered, the government has stipulated that projects must be “Shovel Ready,” which means they have completed environmental clearance, engineering, the land acquisition process, and utility adjustments.
“We are keeping a close eye on the possibility of obtaining federal funding,” said NET RMA Chairman Jeff Austin, III. “The NET RMA wants to be in a position to act if the opportunity presents itself.”
In today's meeting, board members hope to further that goal. One of the meeting's agenda items is a report on possible actions the Authority could take to secure available federal funding.
Board members will also consider participation in the East Texas Steering Committee for Regional Transit Coordination Planning, as well as hear numerous reports on the status of transportation projects across the region.
Labels: NET RMA