News

Wed
19
Apr

Updated equipment helps dispatchers communicate

By Jessica Coleman
Staff Writer
After three years of working with the Commissioners Court of Jackson County, Motorola, and grant resources, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is purchasing new dispatch consoles which will enable them to more easily communicate with other counties.
Jackson County only has one Public Safety answering point for the entire county. Police, EMS, all county fire departments, and all law enforcement in Jackson County use Sheriff’s Office dispatchers to easily communicate with emergency services inside Jackson County and enable seamless communications with surrounding counties.
Jackson County Sheriff Andy Louderback said this type of equipment has a life of about 10 years, and the current consoles are 11 years old.
“We handle thousands of calls each year,” said Louderback, “All of our dispatch services go through our consoles, and all of our radio communications are tied to our tower.”

Wed
12
Apr

Texas Senate News for April 12

COUNTY CLERK MARRIAGE LICENSE BILL CLEARS SENATE

Wed
12
Apr

Simons won’t seek third term

Jackson County Judge Dennis Simons has announced that he is not going to seek re-election for a third term in 2018. His term expires at the end of 2018, but he said he wanted to let the community know so interested candidates can consider filing for the position this December.
“I have reached the time in my life when I want to be able to enjoy my children and grandchildren and spend more time traveling with my wife, Kay,” he said.
“My time in office has been enjoyable and I have been fortunate to have been involved in economic growth in our county. We have seen the addition of three gas processing plants and the expansion of Formosa Plastics into Jackson County. These projects will ultimately add almost $1.5 billion to our tax rolls and help relieve the tax burden for the home owner and small business owner.

Thu
06
Apr

Texas Senate New for April 6

BILL WOULD TARGET CYBERBULLYING
Those who harass children on-line and through social media could face penalties under a bill considered by the State Affairs Committee on Thursday. San Antonio Senator José Menéndez told committee members that such harassment is rampant and is a major contributor to the rise in teen suicide. "This has become an epidemic with a staggering amount of children committing suicide," he said. "As a matter of fact, teen suicide is the number one reason that teens are dying. It's surpassing automobile accidents." His bill, SB 179, would give parents, schools and courts tools to go after people who try to incite young Texans to hurt themselves via the Internet.

Wed
05
Apr

Texas Senate News for April 5

BILLS TAKE AIM AT LICENSE POINTS PROGRAM

Tue
04
Apr

Ganado's One Act Play advances, plans public performance

By Jessica Coleman
Staff Writer
Ganado High School’s theater program has found roaring success, earning a spot in regional competition, as well as more than a handful of awards.
Their play, a drama called Dark Road by Laura Lundgren Smith, follows the true story of Greta, a young german girl who took a job at a Nazi concentration camp to make ends meet and provide for her sister, eventually assisting in the now-infamous experiments done in the name of “science” within the walls. Greta becamse the youngest female Nazi guard to be executed for war crimes.

Mon
03
Apr

Texas Senate News for April 5

PANEL CONSIDERS RETIRED TEACHER HEALTHCARE REFORM
A bill to make sweeping changes to TRS-Care, the healthcare provider for most retired teachers, was considered in the Senate State Affairs Committee Monday. Rising healthcare costs have made current funding streams for the program unsustainable and the state is faced with a difficult choice, said bill author and committee Chair Joan Huffman of Houston. TRS-Care shortfalls have become an annual expenditure to the state. This year, the Senate budget includes $760 million to cover the fund's insolvency for the upcoming biennium, and that number is projected to rise to $2.2 billion by 2021. "As there appears, at this point, to be no end to the rising cost and financial woes of TRS-Care, long-term solutions must be pursued immediately," she said. "Providing supplemental funding each biennium to keep TRS-Care solvent is no longer feasible or fiscally responsible."

Wed
29
Mar

District Innovation plans give schools more local control

By Jessica Coleman
Staff Writer

Two Jackson County schools, Edna ISD and Ganado ISD, have approved District of Innovation plans, and Industrial is expected to follow.

District of Innovation plans are plans that allow school districts to “waive” regulations that are counterproductive for the district. The plans are designed to give more control to local administrators and school boards, with the idea in mind that not all regulations work for all schools, and implementing District of Innovation plans allow them a certain amount of autonomy.

Things like school start dates and teacher certification requirements can be left up to districts instead of one-size-fits-all regulations.

Edna ISD Superintendent Robert O’Connor said it’s all about local control. The philosophy is that a school is best governed by those who know the school’s individual situation.

Wed
29
Mar

Former Herald-Tribune writer now a published author and teacher

Johnnie Bernhard, author, A Good Girl

By Jessica Coleman
Staff Writer

Former Jackson County resident Johnnie Bernhard, who graduated Ganado High School in 1980 as Johnnie Fritz, has been an English teacher and a journalist whose talents graced the pages of both the Edna Herald and Ganado Tribune. Now, she is a historical fiction author, something she wasn’t always sure she could accomplish.

“I’ve always loved literature and writing, and always dreamed of writing a book,” she said, adding that her responsibilities as a wife and mother, as well as a full time job as an English teacher, made her believe she wouldn’t have the time.

“I could do little sketches, short stories, some really bad poetry,” she laughed, “but I never could immerse myself in writing.”
As her children grew, Bernhard found more time, and a gig writing a column got her in the groove of writing every day.

Tue
28
Mar

Texas Senate News for March 28

SENATE APPROVES BUDGET BILL
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed its version of the state budget in the form of SB 1, a bill that would spend $106.4 billion in state revenue over the next two years. Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson of Flower Mound led the budget writing efforts, and told members that in spite of a reduction in available funds this session, the Senate's budget still meets the state's critical priorities "This is a lean budget, but it's also a smart budget," she said. "It responsibly meets the needs of our state and it preserves our principles of fiscal responsibility that have guided us through tough budgets in the past, and I believe it helps us come out stronger on the other side."

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