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Colton Sanders has 64 articles published.

Two area troopers honored by Star of Texas awards

in Latest News by

Texas Governor Greg Abbott presented the Star of Texas award to two of Paris’ own — Trooper Timothy Keele, 40, and the late Trooper Jeffrey Nichols, 27 — along with 55 other first responders on Sept. 11.

“Today, Texas honors the extraordinary few – those who have demonstrated the character and the courage to repeatedly put their lives on the line to serve and protect their communities,” Abbott said in a release.

The Texas Legislature created the Star of Texas Award in 2003 to honor those men and women who were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, and designated Sept. 11 as Texas First Responders Day.

“We recognize acts of uncommon valor – by first responders, firefighters and law enforcement officers – willing to put everything on the line to keep us safe. All of the men and women who protect and serve, and the families who stand by their sides, deserve our deepest respect. They represent the very best of Texas,” he said.

On Sept. 21, 2015, Keele suffered a dislocated shoulder during an altercation with 21-year-old Garrett McKinney, who was experiencing a mental health crisis outside Paris Regional Medical Center.

Keele, who received the Texas Purple Heart in May for the incident, fatally shot McKinney after the two scuffled on the ground. He joined the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2007.

Nichols died in a single-car crash while patrolling FM 38 near Tigertown on March 26 earlier this year. Nichols was driving in the westbound lane when he lost control of his patrol car and struck a tree. He joined the DPS in 2011.

“He was such a smart kid,” said his father, Donnie Nichols, recalling the many awards his son received while in school.

Jeffrey Nichols loved hunting and fishing, his father said, and graduated from Detroit ISD in 2006 as class valedictorian. (Courtesy photo/Facebook)

“This is one he’ll never get to receive, but the whole family will appreciate this one for the rest of our lives,” he said.

Nichols’ family formed the Jeffrey Don Nichols Scholarship Foundation in his name, and will likely be offered to students of Red River County who choose a career in public service, according to his father.

“We wanted to help out the community and let Jeff’s legacy live on forever,” Donnie Nichols said.

In total, twenty awards were presented to the families of peace officers killed in the line of duty. Thirty-one peace officers, five firefighters, and one emergency medical first responder, who were all seriously injured, were also honored.


Donations to the scholarship can be made online or sent to:
State Bank of DeKalb
C/O Trooper Jeffrey Nichols Scholarship Fund
PO Box 1019
Clarksville, TX 75426

Council shoots down adoption of International Property Maintenance Code

in City of Paris by

The Paris City Council struck down an attempt Monday to adopt an amended version of the International Property Management Code that would regulate the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings within city limits.

The proposed codes would have established a minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety.

Those in attendance spoke both for and against the adoption during the citizen’s forum. Sybil Colson complained to the council about the short notice of proposed changes. One resident wondered why the city should introduce new codes while the current ones are not being enforced, while another hoped to see the codes strengthened.

During the meeting, the council unanimously approved ordinances for solid waste permits to Trashy Business and Sanitation Solutions. Council members also unanimously approved a final payment of $60,337.75 to B. Bray Construction  to close out Contract B1 of the 2013 bond fund projects that allowed water line and sewer replacements at four different locations in West Paris. 

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Paris City Council meets today

in City of Paris by

City Council will meet today, September 12, 2016 at 5:30pm in the city council chambers located at 107 East Kaufman Street.

On the agenda:

  • Approve minutes from August 22 meeting
  • Receive reports/minutes from PEDC, Library Advisory Board, and the Traffic Commission
  • Issuance of solid waste permits for Trash Business and Sanitation Solutions
  • Final payment of $60,337.75 and project close out for contract B1 with B. Bray Construction
  • Discuss City Manager’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016/17
  • Second public hearing to increase tax revenues from preceding tax year and to set tax rate for 2016
  • Public hearing on an ordinance regarding the petition of Timothy Waugaman and Vera Wright for a zoning change at 1450 West Walker Street
  • Authorize City Manager to execute a contract with Cobb Fendley & Associates for hydraulic analysis of Big Sandy Creek tributaries 4 and 6 for an amount not to exceed $85,000
  • Amend Chapter 7 of Paris Code of Ordinances by amending Section 7-16; providing for adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code and certain local amendments
  • EXECUTIVE Session to deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease, or or value of real property, PEDC property discussion with reference to Powder Innovations
  • Future events for City Council/Staff pursuant to Resolution No. 2004-081

Second public hearing for proposed county tax increase on Monday

in Lamar County by

Lamar County Commissioners are scheduled to hold the second public hearing on a proposed tax increase Monday, September 12.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Rodney Pollard is set to turn in his resignation, and will step down at the end of September three months before his term expires. No announcement has been made to fill his seat, however the likely candidate is Ronnie Bass who won the Republican primary in March with 62% of the vote.

Commissioners plan to make updates in three places of the county personnel handbook:

First, the county will pay 50% for the cost of health insurance for the spouse of eligible county employees who retire before October 1, 2016 until the spouse reaches Medicare eligibility. The county will also pay 50% of the cost for the children of the retiree until they reach the age of 26 or become eligible for Medicare. The county will no longer pay the health insurance for the spouses and children of those who retire after September 30th, 2016.

Second, they will discuss amending the handbook so that a day of holiday pay would mean 12 hours for law enforcement personnel, 10 hours for road hands, and 8 hours for other county employees; and they will discuss setting a yearly limit of 60 hours of holiday time, to be consistent with the county’s vacation policy.

Lastly, in place of the current ‘benefit time,’ commissioners will discuss amending the overtime pay rate for law enforcement personnel covered by the 207(k) exemption of the FLSA. The new overtime rate for law enforcement personnel will be calculated based on a ‘salary basis’ using 171 hours during a 28-day pay interval.

Charles Edwards of Resource Management & Consulting Company will speak before the court regarding the 2017/18  Texas Community Development Block Grant (TCDBG) program for infrastructure improvements. This year’s application guide states the program’s objectives are to create jobs, and to improve housing conditions and public facilities, primarily for persons of low-to-moderate income.

The court will also consider approving a contract with Resource Management & Consulting Co. for the administration of the county’s 2016 TCDBG for disaster relief.

Also on the agenda is:

  • Moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
  • A presentation from AFLAC about online enrollment for insurance services to elected county officials and employees
  • The sale of Precinct 1 equipment via Auctioneer Express
  • An update on repairs to the courthouse and other county property with possible action
  • PUBLIC HEARING concerning a continuation of a $10 filing fee for district court records
  • Approving and receiving the 2016/17 annual written plan for district court records archive.1
  • Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court entering an “Order of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court of Lamar County – In Re: Tax Levy, Lamar County Levee Improvement District No. 1.”2
  • A proclamation from the court to honor Commissioner Pollard for his service to the county
  • Memorandum of Understanding Agreement between Lamar County and Texas A&M AgriLife extension service pertaining to IT services for the next two years.
  • Line item transfers for various offices

1. Section 51.305 of the Texas Government Code states “The commissioners court of a county may adopt a district court records archive fee of not more than $10 for the filing of a suit, including an appeal from an inferior court, or a cross-action, counterclaim, intervention, contempt action, motion for new trial, or third-party petition, in any court in the county for which the district clerk accepts filings as part of the county’s annual budget. The fee must be set and itemized in the county’s budget as part of the budget preparation process and must be approved in a public meeting. The fee is for preservation and restoration services performed in connection with maintaining a district court records archive.”

2. The Commissioner’s Court agenda goes on to read: “This Lamar County Commissioners’ Court Order is made pursuant to a “Certificate of Resolution” made by the Board of Supervisors of the Lamar County Levee Improvement District. The Board of Supervisors are resolved to assess a tax of $3.00 on each acre of land located in the levee improvement district for the maintenance and improvement of the levy. The levy is designed to protect and benefit these lands and the total cost of maintenance and improvement of the levy is estimated to be $13,800.00”

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