Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 150, No. 47, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 13, 2000 Page: 1 of 14
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00/04/01 i97 COMPMW
2627 E YANDELL DR
EL FA30 TX 79903-3743
Texas' Oldest, Continuously Published Weekly Newspaper - Established Feb. 27, 1850 as the Cherokee Sentinel [
The opening of Hwy. 69
south of Alto awaits
warm weather, new seal
coat. see page 6
Vol. 150, No. 47-14 Pages
Thursday, January 13, 2000
Rusk, Texas 75785
Larry Clark, outgoing chamber president, sells the first ticket
to the 2000 chamber, banquet to Jennifer Wilcox. The banquet
will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, at the Rusk Junior High
School cafeteria. Cost is $12. Guest speaker will be Walt
Dabney, state park director, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.
RISD discusses new campus
Rusk ISD Superintendent Tony
Murray asked board members to
look at the differences between
construction of new classrooms at
the elementary school and the con-
struction of a new campus. "1 am
not making any suggestions or rec-
ommendations," he said. ,
"If we make the renovations at
the elementary school, we will
eliminate the three existing por-
table buildings and add special
education facilities, which will be
a short cure. We talked about it
being an expensive project," he
said. "I want the board to be aware
of one of the things that the legis-
lature did during the last session.
That was the instructional facili-
Deadline for applying for the
funds is June 18, so the board
should make plans by March as to
what is planned, he said. 1 lowever
the district must borrow the money
for the project and then the state
will pay $35 per ADA student to
pay on that debt. "The only re-
quirement for the project is that
the district must create a debt," he
said. The state has set aside money
to make payment on either bond
issue or lease purchase.
"If we decide to establish an-
other campus we would take the
top grade from the primary school
and the lower grade from the el-
ementary school for that campus.
With a new campus, the district
will have to provide a cafeteria,
utilities, parking area and sup-
port personnel, as well as 20 new
With a $5 million bond issue, the
interest rate should run around
4.65 percent and the payments
would be approximately $389,000
per year. That would be 6 cents on
the comptroller value and 5.5 cents
on the local roll. Il'the district took
its existing funds that would lower
the bond indebtedness to $4 mil-
lion and would lower the proposed
tax roll rate to 5 cents.
The state will have $51 million
to be distributed statewide.
In another matter, Bob Levine of
WRL Construction Co. in Flint
explained what a construction
manager at risk does for a school
district. Mike Leinback, school
architect, introduced Mr. Levine
to the school board. Mr. Leinback
had told the board at the last meet-
ing that he would bring someone
with him to explain the construc-
tion manager at risk format with
them. A construction manager at
risk works under the school board
to supervise a building project. He/
she takes sub-contractor bids and
is responsible for seeing that the
job is done.
Joy Jones presented the district's
Academic Excellence Report to the
board. This includes all ofthe cam-
puses plans, information from the
1998 school year and reports for
the school year 1999-2000. The
plan is on file at all campus offices,
the Singletary Memorial Library
and on the web. Attending the meet-
ing were Cathy Newman, David
Fulton, Frances Long, President
Dan Lade, Mike Ross, Steve Guy
and Stephanie Caveness, Superin-
tendent Murray and Assistant Su-
perintendent Boh Wallace.
2 tax abatements granted
by county commissioners
By Gloria Jennings
CHrnOKt EAN/HF.nAI D ftRIVER
Cherokee County Commission-
ers approved tax abatements Mon-
day morning for the new Holiday
Inn Express in Jacksonville and
Allegiance Corporation. Also, com-
missioners passed a resolution al-
lowing them to create the tax abate-
ments. Tax abatements for Holi-
day Inn Express will be for three
years, with 100 percent the first
year, 75 percent the second year
and 50 percent the third year.
There nre 16 employees there.
At Allegiance Corporation, ap-
proximately $2 million will be added
to the county's payroll with
$450,000 in the vear 2001; $500,000
in 2002; $550,000 in 2003; and
$500,000 in 2004. Employment will
increase from 75 to 150. The total
project is $13.5 million.
Commissioners gave County
Treasurer Diann Norton the au-
thorization to enter all accounts
payable into the computer. The
auditor's office will code the bills
and she will enter them into the
computer. In the past that has
been done by the auditor's office
and she has kept a separate set of
books on another computer. This
procedure will be followed for the
next nine months.
Mrs. Norton explained to the
court that she has no authority to
audit the county auditor. "He can
audit me, but I can't audit him,"
she said. She noted that 59 per-
cent of the county treasurers are
in charge ofthe accounts payable.
"I can see Diann's point," Com-
missioner Mary Gregg, Precinct 1,
said. "She needs a set of books if
she is responsible for the accounts."
Mrs. Norton said she had no way
to check what Mr. Crockett was
putting into the computer.
Mr. Crockett had promised that
he would not ask for additional
help in his office if he was able to
keep the accounts payable. Since
the accounts were moved to the
treasurer's office, in the evejnt the
auditor takes the accounts again,
expenses for any additional em-
ployee in his office will come out of
Commissioner F.E. Hassell, Pre-
cinct 1, did not vote for the motion.
He said he wanted to delay action.
Holidays approved for county
employees include Martin Luther
King birthday, Monday, Jan. 17;
President's Day, Monday, Feb. 21:
Texas Independence Day, Thurs-
day, March 2; Good Friday, April
21; Memorial Day, Monday, May
29; Independence Day, Tuesday,
July 4; Labor Day, Monday, Sept.
4; Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 9;
Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 10;
Thanksgiving, Thursday and Fri-
day, Nov. 23 and 24; Christmas,
Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 25 and
26; and New Years Day, Monday,
Jan. 1, 2001.
Commissioners took no action
on adding the county surveyor to
the county health insurance plan.
The matter will be discussed at
Nominated to the county griev-
ance committee were Charles
Skillern of Troup, Delma Thomas
McElroy of Rusk, Sam L. Chapman
of Alto, Frank Diamont of Jack-
sonville, Reba Wick of Reklaw,
Curtis Oliver of Wells, Alfred
Danheim of Alto and Elaine Byers
Commissioner Kevin Pierce, Pre-
cinct 2, was named judge pro tem.
Forest Phifer and Tommy Dement
were reappointed to the East Texas
Industrial Development Board.
Speed limit was set at 45 miles per
hour on CR 3432. A road at Lake
Jacksonville was nccepted for
The county auditor was autho-
rized to attend a seminar in Aus-
tin concerning distribution of to-
bacco settlement proceeds to coun-
ties. Justice of the Peace Precinct
3, was authorized to attend a semi-
nar in Austin Jan. 11-14. Clerks in
J.P. 1, J.P. 2and J.P. 3wereautho-
rized to attend a seminar in Tyler,
Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Health Department
nurses were authorized to attend
a seminar in Austin Jan.26-28.
The DA investigator will attend a
seminar in San Antonio Feb. 6-11.
In another matter, the court ap-
proved payment of $13,600 for a
new roof nir conditioning unit at
the county jail. Also, commission-
ers authorized the county auditor
to advertise for a truck or trucks.
of the year
Fire Chief David
presents the Rusk
Fireman of the
Year Award to
Mr. Patterson was
Monday night at
the annual Rusk
Banquet at the
First Church on
TDCJ employees ask
Bush for special session
H Guards cite low pay,
increased assaults by inmates
Inmate attacks on state prison guards have
more than doubled statewide in the last five
years, the Abilene Reporter-News reported in its
Saturday edition. Last year, inmates assaulted
prison employees 1,649 times, compared to 720
attacks in 1995. The dramatic increase in inmate
attacks on prison employees and the death of one
prison guard who was stabbed to death in Beeville
recently have caused employees to petition Gov.
Bush to call a special session of the Legislature to
grant pay raises and increase staffing ratios.
Approximately 151,000 inmates are incarcer-
ated in Texas. This figure compares to 92,000 in
1994. Larry Todd, prison spokesman, stated that
28.000 correction officers guard these 151,000
inmates. He said that statewide prisons are short
approximately 1,700 officers.
Pam Williams, Warden of both the Hodge and
Skyview Units in Rusk, stated that staffing is
Please see TDCJ, page 6
Motel site dedicated in Rusk
Groundbreaking with a service of dedi-
cation for the Weston Inn and Suites Tues-
day, Jan. 4 on U.S. Highway 69 in Rusk
was a significant step in progress for the
area and its owners, Brent and Brenda
The couple chose Jan. 4 for the official
beginning to honor the birthday of Mr.
Duncan's late father, Mr. Weston Duncan,
whose memory will live on in the name
given the facility.
The 45-room, five suite structure will
include the family's living quarters on the
The Duncans say this is a dream ful-
filled for them. "My dad was in the motel
business and it's something we have long
wanted to do," said Mr. Duncan. He was a
coach and teacher at Belton ISI>and Mrs.
Duncan also taught there before moving
to Rusk. They have three sons, Brett,
Brock and Bryce.
The construction is expected to be com-
pleted this summer.
The securement of the site began with
special negotiations through the Texas
fDepartmentnf'Mental Health/Mental Re-
tardation nnd the City of Rusk, aided by
State R«p, Todd Staples.
The Duncans purchase of the land from
the city was finalized last month
Representatives of state, city, county,
chamber and business entities were
present for the special coremony Jan. 4
The Rev. Noy Praitt, pasUir of First United
Methodist Church, led the dedication,
0VESTON IÑN & SUITES
OPENING SUMMER 2000
> -i i
BERRY & CLAY Inc
Brent and Brenda Duncan are shown with their three sons. The sign in front
waa unveiled at the dedication and groundbreaking ceremonies Jan. 4 for
the 4S*room, five suite motel on U. S. Highway 69 in Rusk.
Related photo on page 6
asking (tod's blessing for its operation.
Mr. and Mrs. Duncan spoke, stating
gratitude for their reception here. "You
have opened your hearts and homes to
They i n t rod i iced t he pa re n t s of M rs
Duncan. Mr and Mrs. Eugene Vansa
of Cameron; also an aunt. Mrs
JonAnn Simon of Marshall. osterof
the late Mr Duncan
RIF gets optimistic
I Officials predict
TSR ridership will
increase 10% in 2000
The first meeting ofthe new year for t hi'
Rusk Industrial Foundation was held Jan
7 with good attendance and optimistic
Curtis Pruett. superintendent of the
Texas State Railroad, said lie expects to
see the t rain's ridership increase by five to
10 percent in 2000. "With the extra boost
given by last year's presentation of Box
Cars. BBQ and The Bridge, we believe
that its support again will boost our atten-
dance." he stated.
Pruett announced plans for a special
film event Jan. 23. "Hobby Knievel will be
filmed jumping < riding his special motor-
bike ) over the lengt h oft he t rain," he said.
He also announced March 11 as the ofTi
cial opening ofthe train season.
Rusk Mayor Kmmett Whitehead re
ported a quiet front at city hall "We are
negotiating for the construction of du-
plexes and we are beginning plans tor a
new Pocket Park," he said
Assistant Warden Jesse Wicks sairl
TDCJ facilities are "full to the rafters " I !>•
noted 50 positions are vacant and tin
ability to secure personnel is becoming
more acute each day lie discussed the
importance of increased wages for em
ployees, saying that voter registration is
high priority now. Recently a large group
of TDCJ staff members rallied in Austin
to present their need for a pay increase.
He said that Texas is $10,000 below the
national average in pay to guards at pris-
ons. Board chairman Allen I'olunsky re-
signed last week, he said
In other reports, Husk State Hospital
Superintendent Buz I'arrish echoed com-
ments by Warden Wicks, adding, "But
let's not forget the Mental Health work
ers Our people make on average $10,000
per year less than guards."
"And, they do not have a fence, guns or
guard protection," he said. "We are em
phasizing voter registration, too, even with
our patients who can vote here or at their
place of residence." Prison inmates do not
have voting rights.
Superintendent I'arrish and Assistant
Superintendent Ike Frazer recently re
signed their positions "The
superintendent's position is now posted
and the assistant's position will lie posted
soon." he stated Hesaidthnt MikeCrvsup
has agreed to sene as interim, assistant
Mr I'arrish spent several minutes in
convey ing his grat it ode for theox|ierirncc
ofcalling Rusk home the past six and one
half years He credited Jim Perkins ith
persuasive support in niakine the deci
Please see RIF paije
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Whitehead, Marie. Cherokeean/Herald (Rusk, Tex.), Vol. 150, No. 47, Ed. 1 Thursday, January 13, 2000, newspaper, January 13, 2000; Rusk, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth168626/m1/1/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Singletary Memorial Library.