Lockhart Post Register in Lockhart, Texas
13 Dec 2012

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Lockhart Post Register in Lockhart, Texas
13 Dec 2012

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Lockhart Post Register (Newspaper) - December 13, 2012, Lockhart, Texas By Kathi Bliss Editor/ POST- REGISTER It was business as usual during a marathon meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court on Monday, as the Commissioners caught up on routine business, held a questionable executive session, and reversed a decision they made not more than a month ago. The heavily padded agenda may have been required because the Court opted not to hold their last regular meeting in November because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and because they will have only one more regular meeting this year. Whatever the reason, the 25- item agenda ran well into the afternoon, despite a prompt 9 a. m. start to the meeting. The gallery was asked to wait for more than an hour while the Commissioners discussed behind closed doors the notion of installing GPS equipment in certain non- law- enforcement vehicles belonging to the County. During public comments, the Commissioners were accused of wanting to install the equipment in an effort to “ spy” on some County employees. The Court did not answer those allegations, but offered no real explanation as to the need for secrecy after the executive session was complete. After the agenda was published last week, this newspaper filed a formal complaint with Caldwell County District Attorney Trey Hicks, attempting to block the executive session, which was slated referencing Section 551.076 of the Texas Government Code, which allows an elected body to meet behind closed doors to discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices. By press time, Hicks had not offered an official response to that complaint, but was not present at the meeting and apparently took no steps to keep the executive session from happening. When the Court reconvened, the Commissioners voted to deploy GPS equipment, on a trial basis, in County vehicles. They did not specify which vehicles would receive the equipment, but suggested the GPS equipment would be installed for two- week trial periods in some vehicles, before being moved to other vehicles. The action, Commissioners said, was to determine whether the use of the GPS equipment would be effective and useful for county employees. The equipment, they said, would protect the County from liability in the use of the vehicles, and could safeguard employees as they travel in rural parts of Caldwell County. There was also extensive discussion to reverse a decision made by the Court last month in regards to the employees’ retirement fund. Retirement funds, which are currently invested with the Texas County and District Retirement System ( TCDRS) took a hit in 2008 when stock market activities created a significant loss, leaving the County’s fund $ 740,000 short of being completely vested. Though TCDRS has taken steps to adjust those funds, including changing the rate at which investments are calculated, the Court voted last month to set $ 740,000 aside in a Certificate of Deposit to cancel the “ liability” on the books. In what appears to be coming a habit for the Commissioners Court, one of the Commissioners did additional research after a vote was taken, and asked the Court to reconsider the decision made last month. Over the objections of Judge Tom Bonn and against the recommendations of the Caldwell County Auditor and the county’s investment committee, the Court voted 4- 1 to cancel the purchase of the certificates of deposit, and invest the funds with TCDRS. In other business, the Court heard an update on the county’s Feral Hog Bounty Program, which has been more successful and gleaned more attention than Texas Watershed Protection Program representative Nick Dornak expected when he introduced the notion this autumn. Dornak said the program, which offers a $ 2 per tail C OMMISSIONER B IDS F AREWELL T O C OMMUNITY S EE L ETTERS , P AGE 4A Volume 140, Number 50 ( USPS 317- 200) www. post- register. com Thursday, Dec. 12, 2012 22 pages, 2 sections O N E E D O L L L LAR $ 1 The Post- Register can be recycled at locations across Caldwell County, including collection points at most LISD schools. G O G REEN ! W EEKEND W EATHER ... F RIDAY : S HOWERS 71/ 60 S ATURDAY : C LOUDY 75/ 50 S UNDAY : P T . C LOUDY 72/ 47 A ROUND T OWN - The Lockhart Post- Register will be publishing a special “ Christmas Greetings” issue , and sending Letters to Santa on behalf of the children of the community. If your child would like to have his or her letter or drawing delivered to Santa Claus with his copy of the Post- Register on Dec. 20, 2012, please drop the letter in Santa’s Mailbox outside the office at 111 S. Church St., in Lockhart, before 5 p. m. on Friday, Dec. 14. - The Caldwell County Transportation Plan Advisory Committee will hold a meeting at the First Lockhart Baptist Church on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 6 - 7: 30 p. m. The committee will be discussing evaluation criteria and ranking for potential projects. - Please join us at VFW Post 8927, 7007 S Hwy 183, Lockhart, as Boy Scout Troop 115 conducts a Flag Retirement Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15, beginning at 4 p. m. The community is invited to bring any US flags that are frayed, worn and faded for proper retirement and observe the ceremony. This ceremony provides an explanation of, the etiquette related to destroying a worn US flag as the flags are retired. - At 6: 20 p. m. on Saturday, Dec. 22, Santa Claus will make one last stop to the Lytton Springs Store via fire truck to hear all the children's lastminute Christmas wishes. There will be music and treats for the kids. Photos with Santa will be provided for a small fee. This is our third year of the Lytton Springs Christmas Celebration. - The Texas Extension Education Clubs in Caldwell County will hold their bi- monthly food distribution on Wednesday, Dec. 19. New clients must bring proper I. D. and a document with a physical address proving they are residents of Caldwell County. The food will be distributed in the following locations: Lockhart: W. B. Clark Community Center, 809 Redwood Circle, 10 a. m.- noon. Luling: Central Baptist Church Recreation Center, 10 a. m. - noon. Martindale: Martindale City Hall, Main Street, 1 p. m. Prairie Lea: Tri- Community Civic Center, 11: 30 a. m. - 1: 30 p. m. Distribution is held six times a year, always on the third Wednesday of February, April, June, August, October and December. The Texas Extension Education Association- Caldwell County does not discriminate in regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age or national origin. Call Clara Smith at ( 830) 875- 9429 with questions. L IONS S TRUGGLE AS D ISTRICT P LAY N EARS S EE S PORTS , P AGE 1B By Kathi Bliss Editor/ POST- REGISTER Bella Mercado is just like any other third grader. Fidgety and full of life, she is more interested in talking her parents into another visit to Austin’s Park and Pizza and talking about the toys she won there then she is in explaining the award she received during her last visit. Bella would rather give her counselor a hug and show off her blue “ HUGS” bracelet than explain how a 9- year- old from Lockhart became Texas’ top individual fundraiser for the St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk held on Nov. 17. Because Bella has no idea she’s done anything special. The only thing she knows for sure is that she saw a way to help other kids, and she thought she should do something. Last year, the toddler son of one of Sarah Mercado’s college friends was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor nestled deep inside his brain. Little Carter’s parents, insistent upon using every option available to them to wage the war on their son’s disease, sought treatment for the toddler at St. Jude’s. When she heard about little Carter, though she’d never met him and likely never would, Bella knew she had to do something to help. “[ St. Jude’s needs] to make money to help other kids,” she said during a brief interview last week. “ So, that’s what I did.” With her parents’ help, Bella learned about the St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk, and decided to put together Why give so much? Why not? Lockhart youth tops state fundraising for St. Jude’s Photo courtesy of Sarah Mercado Bella Mercado, 9, ( center, holding sign) united her friends, her family and her community for a common purpose this year, and was named the state’s top individual fundraiser for the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk on Nov. 17. Asked why she decided to give up her birthday presents and raise money for the research hospital, the Clear Fork Elementary third grader asked, “ Why wouldn’t I?” S EE B ELLA 7A S EE C OMMISSIONERS 6A Marathon meeting ‘ business as usual’ for Commissioners

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