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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Foley Received Helmet

Matt Gilliam, Justin Foley, Shelley Pate

TOUCHDOWN HELMET -- BHS Seniors Matt Gilliam and Shelley Pate presents classmate Justin Foley with an autographed helmet at Meet the Bison for all of his hardwork and time that he helps out the team as their manager. Justin scored a touchdown with the helmet last year.

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Commissioners Respond To Texas Central: “Come See Us”

COME SEE US! -- Leon County Commissioners Court invite Texas Central to attend court. Pictured are Joey Sullivan, David Ferguson, Judge Byron Ryder, Dean Stanford, and David Grimes.

Last week, Leon County Commissioners met for a special called meeting and took steps to slow down progress on Texas Central’s High Speed Rail (HSR) Project. This week at their regular court meeting, the judge and commissioners took time to respond to a letter Texas Central submitted to local county papers concerning their action. (There was an identical letter sent to the papers in Grimes County with only changing the name of the county.) The letter criticized commissioners for showing that the commissioners “consider innovation and private investment an unwelcome addition to the county” and “they (commissioners) want to inflate county government … and undercut their residents interests”.

Like other rural counties in the path of the proposed HSR, Leon County signed a motion that will lead to a provision to restrict the HSR from crossing any roadway or pipe line without showing proof that they have eminent domain.

With the new motion, Texas Central must show proof of eminent domain either federal or state. “And they do not have federal eminent domain,” said Ryder. “The federal court’s position is that HSR is not a railroad but a monorail. It is now up to the state to allow them eminent domain or not.”

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Westmoreland Announces Shift To Reclamation at Jewett Mine

Westmoreland Coal Company announced on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 that NRG Texas Power (NRG) has provided notice that it will terminate the lignite supply agreement at the Jewett mine two years early on December 31, 2016. Westmoreland will conduct the multi-year reclamation work for NRG following the conclusion of the supply contract.

“As NRG has decided to fuel its plant differently in response to current energy market conditions, we are shifting our focus to providing multi-year reclamation services. We have an outstanding track record of operating the Jewett mine safely and cost efficiently and plan to build on this performance during the reclamation phase,” said Kevin Paprzycki, Chief Executive Officer of Westmoreland Coal Company.

The lignite supply contract with NRG is a cost plus contract which accounts for approximately 2% of Westmoreland’s 2016 adjusted EBITDA guidance. Westmoreland expects to maintain positive cash flow generation at Jewett during the next several years with the cost plus arrangement continuing through reclamation. NRG is responsible for the reclamation liability so Westmoreland does not foresee using cash net of reimbursements for reclamation.

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County Residents Appeal to Court for Road Improvement

Several residents of, or near, County Road 314 attended the Leon County Commissioners Court, Monday, August 22nd, with a request for assistance and a petition with over 100 names of those who live on, or have to use, CR 314.

Ike Towers, who lives on CR 314, was the first to speak. “We are petitioning the court because we need help against the unsafe driving conditions on CR 314. The traffic pattern far exceeds what this road was designed to handle. Large commercial trucks and 18 wheelers barrel through this one lane road. There are near accidents regularly and many actual accidents, the last one being two trucks that hit head on.”

“Another concern,” continued Towers, “is the amount of dust. Residents are breathing a heavy, heavy amount of dust that causes respiratory problems. Not to mention that the heavy dust blocks drivers vision and can cause a wreck.”

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Leon County Commissioners Meet

Leon County Commissioners met Monday, August 22nd for their last regular meeting of the month. All were present. Leon County Judge Byron Ryder presided.

Judge Ryder announced that Sun Coast Oil in Buffalo (formerly Ryder Oil) is taking up items to send to the flood victims in Louisiana. “They will collect items on Monday and Tuesday (August 29th and 30th), and a truck will pick them up on Wednesday, August 31st, to deliver them to Louisiana.”

Ryder also announced that Leon County is one of the very few first counties in the nation to have a 911 text service. “We are the first to try this new program,” said Ryder. If a person is in an emergency where he can not speak, he can text 911 by putting 911 in the recipient field and then text your message as normal. This is only for an emergency. If it is possible to call 911, one should call. Text only when calling is not possible or is dangerous.

USDA Area Director Sandra Micklitz spoke to the court about the financial assistance that is available for rural areas. “We can help city operations, road repairs, start new facilities, or help expand existing ones. We have helped chicken producers and volunteer fire departments.” The funds are a combination of low interest loans and / or grants. To find out more about this rural USDA funding go to www.rd.usda.gov. To contact Micklitz, email at sandra.micklitz@tx.usda.gov.

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Buffalo City Council Meets

Members of the Buffalo City Council met Monday, August 22nd, for their regular monthly meeting. All members were present. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

Members voted to set the proposed property tax at 0.510626. This is the same rate as it was last year. Two dates for public hearings concerning the proposed rate were set for September 7th at 5pm and September 12th at 6pm.

The council voted to rescind the Alcohol Beverage Permit Ordinance. This ordinance, that is now rescinded, allowed the city to collect a tax every two years from establishments that have a Alcohol Beverage Permit. These establishments still have to pay a tax to the state to renew their permit, but they will not be required to pay the city.

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Happy 80th Birthday!

Eric, Dugan, Yvonne, Jenna, and Beckey Woodard

HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY!!! - Yvonne Woodard celebrates her 80th birthday with family and friends on Saturday, August 27th at SMUMC. Pictured are Eric, Dugan, Yvonne, Jenna, and Beckey Woodard.

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