Lamar County – Lamar County commissioners are facing a $1 million shortfall in this year's budget. About $400,000 of that is due to rising health insurance costs. Although revenues for Lamar County are expected to be up, departmental requests for employee pay raises, furniture for the newly remodeled courthouse, and rising fuel costs bring general fund expenditures $1.16 million higher than last year's budget.
Hunt County – A burn ban remains in effect across Hunt County. Dry conditions have led the Hunt County Commissioners Court to once again extend a burn ban for all of Hunt County. Temperatures officially topped 100 degrees yesterday and Hunt County Fire Marshall Dorsey Driggers recommended the ban extension for at least two more weeks before the commissioner's court yesterday.
Hunt County – Bids to turn the running of Hunt County Jail over to a private company will be in next week. The commissioner's court will review the bids and examine the financial feasibility of turning the jail over to a third party to manage. Pressure has been on the facility since they failed an inspection last July by the Texas Commission of Jail Standards. The commission said the Hunt County jail had too few corrections officers to supervise all of the inmates.
Commerce – Commerce ISD received mixed results in this year's Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, report as part of the No Child Left Behind act. As a whole, the school district did meet AYP, but three of the four campuses individually did not. Only Commerce Elementary met the standard.
Celeste – Celeste Schools were evacuated yesterday after a city worker ruptured a nearby natural gas pipeline. 510 students from three campuses were moved to the First Baptist Church of Celeste after city workers hit an approximately two inch diameter natural gas line around 10:30 yesterday morning. The city crew had followed procedure to locate any such lines in the area as they worked to fix a water, but the gas line was unmarked. This resulted in what was called a major rupture .
Commerce – The A&M-Commerce Lion's football team has a pre-season All-American on the field. Ha'a Bento has been named a NCAA Division II Pre-season All-American by Don Hansen's Football Gazette along with 113 other collegiate players.
Bento's reliable leg led the Lone Star Conference in field goals last season with 18. The Hawaiian native also hit four field goals in one game on two separate occasions last season.
Commerce – The City of Commerce awarded a contract earlier this week to replace five dilapidated homes with brand new ones using state grant money. The Owner Occupied Housing grant for $250,000 is aimed at providing funds for cities to demolish dilapidated houses and provide a brand new home for the owners. Commerce used a similar grant for $500,000 in 2003 to build ten new homes throughout the city.
Commerce – A major project along Highway 276 between Quinlan and Rockwall is scheduled to officially begin today. More than 10 years of planning have gone into the widening of the roadway and is projected to cost over $10 million. The first stage of the two stage project will focus on the stretch of Highway 276 between FM Road 35 and FM 36. The two lane road will be widened to five lanes which will include two lanes on each side and a continuous turn lane.