HCAD mails appraisal notices to Hill Co. property owners
Notices of Appraised Value from the Hill County Appraisal District (HCAD) were mailed last week, and each property owner within Hill County should receive a notice on any property they own.
Recent sales indicate values are gradually climbing upward in Hill County. In an effort to keep up with the rising construction cost and the inflation of building material and labor, the appraisal district updated its cost schedules, according to Chief Appraiser Mike McKibben.
The cost schedules are used to determine a replacement cost of buildings, which is similar to information used by insurance companies. The values are then compared to actual sales in the market area to determine the level of market.
State law requires that appraisal districts appraise all properties at 100-percent market value, McKibben said.
He added that the state comptroller’s office is statutorily mandated to perform a study of the values of each school district within the state.
This study is called the Property Value Study and is used to ensure equitable state funding for all Texas school districts. If the values within a school district are determined to be low by the comptroller, the school is in jeopardy of losing some of their state funds.
“Most disagreements regarding a property owner’s value can be resolved informally by visiting with an appraisal district staff appraiser,” McKibben said.
The appraisal district encourages property owners to bring pictures, repair or estimates and/or cost receipts, sales contracts or any other information they have to help the appraiser determine the condition or value of the property.
If a property owner’s questions or concerns are not resolved informally with district staff, they may have their case heard by the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) by filing a written protest (Notice of Protest) before the protest deadline.
New legislation changed the normal protest deadline from May 31 to May 15 beginning this year.
Property owners who have any questions about their notices or valuation may contact the HCAD office at 1407 Abbott Avenue in Hillsboro or call 254-582-2508.
The contact numbers are also listed at the top of the notice mailed to property owners.
More information for property owners is available on the HCAD website at www.hillcad.org.
WISD expands policy to arm employees on campuses
Whitney Independent School District’s Board of Trustees recently took action to expand the district’s policies on The Guardian Plan, which will allow approved staff members on all campuses to possess firearms at school and at school-sponsored events.
“We are in the process of looking for staff members who are willing and able to take on this duty,” Solis said.
“The process includes psychological testing, licensed-to-carry training and a specialized active-shooter training,” he added.
Under state law, Texas schools can select one of two options to arm staff members: The Guardian Plan or the The School Marshal Program.
The School Marshal Program allows boards to authorize employees to carry, but they must be trained and licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The marshal program essentially gives educators armed law enforcement capabilities and responsibilities.
By contrast, The Guardian Plan provides hand-picked armed educators and employees the ability to defend themselves and students in the event of an active shooter situation.
The Guardian Plan allows local school boards to determine training standards and authorize specific employees to carry on campus at all times. Over 170 Texas school districts have adopted a version of the plan.
Whitney adopted policies regarding The Guardian Plan last year and took action at the March board meeting to seek staff members at all campuses willing to take on the responsibility.
The standards adopted by Whitney’s board require each employee authorized to carry to be approved by a separate action of the board, and they must also receive written authorization from the superintendent.
The authorization is automatically revoked if the employee is placed on administrative leave or is no longer employed by the district. The superintendent also has the right to revoke the authorization for an individual for any reason.
In addition to holding a current license to carry a handgun, each authorized employee is provided specialized training in crisis intervention, management of hostage situations and other topics as deemed necessary by the board.
The superintendent said that the policy is another step in the process of trying to make schools safer for students. He also pointed to other efforts by the district, such as updating all campuses with controlled access and adding more cameras.
Solis said that the district is currently training all staff members in a new active-shooter protocol called “ALICE” or “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.”
Training events have been held at the high school, middle school and intermediate campuses recently, and the elementary training is scheduled in August.
“We are taking a comprehensive look at the big picture and these are things that we believe will help make our campuses safer,” the superintendent said.
The firearm program is voluntary and is not a requirement for employment in the district, according to the district’s adopted safety plan.
Registration open for Hill College
Registration is currently open for Hill College May mini-mester, a three-week session and summer session classes that are offered in three different timeframe options: five-week, nine-week and 11-week sessions.
Hill College offers a full three-hour credit course, typically taught in a 16-week semester, or a condensed eight-week session, in less than three weeks through mini-mester courses.
The May mini-mester is a three-week long accelerated course period that is equivalent to a traditional 16-week course in credit hours.
Hill College offers 51 course sections during the May mini-mester, which runs May 14-June 1.
All courses are taught online, with the exception of Anatomy & Physiology I and II, which are taught at the Burleson Center, and Chemistry courses, which are held at the Johnson County campus in Cleburne.
May mini-mester classes are available in: accounting, art, business computer applications, biology, business, chemistry, economics, English, government, history, humanities, integrated reading and writing, math, music, physical education, psychology, sociology and speech.
A variety of course options are available for students this summer, including: an 11-week session which runs May 17-August 2; Summer I runs June 4-July 5; Summer II runs July 9-August 9; and a nine-week session runs June 4-August 2.
Purrfect Corp. plans meeting in Whitney
Purrfect Corporation Animal Sanctuary will hold a meeting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 14, at Lake Whitney Public Library.
Volunteers are needed as fund raisers, grant writers, foster care providers and for making repairs.
The non-profit organization asks anyone who may be interested in volunteering who cannot attend the meeting to call 254-694-7055.
Those interested may also visit the animal sanctuary at 133 Waterview Drive off of Farm Road 1713 near Whitney.
Lakeside VFD to hold inside sale April 13-14
The Lakeside Village Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary will have an inside garage sale in conjunction with the county-wide garage sale Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14.
In addition to the garage sale held in the community center, the ladies will hold a bake sale and will be selling chili dogs, Frito pies and drinks.
Everyone is invited to come in and shop the garage sale and bake sale or just to grab a meal and drink before continuing to shop at the garage sales in the area.
The auxiliary’s sale will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. both days of the sale.
Residents in the Lakeside Village VFD coverage area who would like to donate desserts to the bake sale may call Jackie at 254-775-4425.
The fire hall is located at 136 CR 1275, just east of the intersection of FM 927 and Highway 56 next to the water tower.
Auction to benefit area veterans
Veterans Pardners and Whitney VFW post will hold a charity auction Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at 105 North Colorado in Whitney.
There will be box lots, furniture, household items, collectibles and much more.
Food, drinks and desserts will also be available.
All proceeds will be used to help veterans locally and renovate the Veterans Pardners building and pay utilities.
For more information, call 254-221-0542.
Water well training meeting set
A Texas Well Owner Network training has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, in Stephenville.
The training, which is free and open to the public, will be from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, located at 1229 North US Highway 281.
It is being offered to area private water well owners through collaboration with the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.
Participants may bring well-water samples to the training for screening. The cost is $10 per sample, due when samples are turned in. Water samples will be screened for nitrates, total dissolved solids and bacteria.
Well owners who would like to have their well water sampled can pick up two sample containers from the AgriLife Extension offices in Erath, Comanche, Bosque or Coryell counties.
Bringing water samples to the training is not required, but those wanting to have water samples analyzed must attend.
Space is limited, so attendees are requested to register at http://twon.tamu.edu/training or by calling 979-845-1461 as soon as possible.
Workshop to cover pecan grafting
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host a Pecan Grafting Workshop Wednesday, April 25, at Russell’s Pecan Orchard, 12633 Gholson Road near Waco.
The program will offer two Integrated Pest Management CEU’s that can be put toward recertification of a pesticide applicator’s license.
Monte Nesbitt, Texas AgriLife Extension Pecan/Fruit/Citrus Specialist, will discuss tools and methods for grafting, as well as a demonstration on popular grafting techniques.
Dan Russell, the owner/operator of Russell Pecans, will talk about his pecan watering program, tree maintenance and pecan spray program for pests.
A special guest presentation is planned from Bob Irving of Texas Crow Patrol on how to effectively control crow populations in the orchard.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m., and the program will start at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m. There will be a $10 registration fee. No lunch will be provided.
Participants are asked to bring their own lawn chairs, as the program will be in the orchard and then in the processing room at Russell’s Pecans for the program.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Horticulture Committees in Bell, Coryell, Falls, Hill, Limestone and McLennan Counties, and the McLennan County Master Gardeners are partnering to offer this program to the public.
Participants must pre-register before Friday, April 20, by calling the McLennan County Extension Office at 254-757-5180.
Gardening program, plant sale planned in Hillsboro
The Hill County Master Gardeners will continue their series of community programs Wednesday, April 11, with a program on Texas Super Stars by Jerri Mullins.
The program will be held at the Hill County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, located at 126 South Covington Street in Hillsboro, at 11 a.m.
A different program will be presented on the second Wednesday of the following months during 2018.
Other topics to be covered during the year will be Native Shrubs and Forbs, Plant Propagation, Succulents, Backyard Birds, Bulbs and Blooms and Holiday Decorations.
In awareness of Earth Day, the Master Gardeners will also be presenting their annual Spring Plant Sale Saturday, April 21, in the parking lot of the Extension Office, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Master Gardeners are representatives of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas A&M System. They follow the research-based recommendations of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
They are members of the local community who take an active interest in their lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and gardens.
What really sets Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners is their special training in horticulture.
Everyone is invited to participate in any of the program dates.
For more information, call the Extension Office at 254-582-4022.
Extension offices plan Central Texas Beef Cattle Meeting
Somervell, Bosque, Hood and Johnson County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offices are partnering to hold the 19th annual Central Texas Beef Cattle meeting Tuesday, April 24.
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Johnson County Livestock Exchange, located at 3119 North Main Street in Cleburne.
The event is open to anybody who would like to attend. It will provide a basic education in agriculture, specifically cow-calf operations. Attendees with a pesticide applicator license can receive one continuing education hour for attending the event.
Topics at this event will include a live cattle demonstration conducted by George Davis, owner/operator of the Johnson County Livestock Exchange; Cattle Production Management Practices by Dr. Jason Cleere, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist; and Wildlife & Cattle Management Working Together by Kevin Derzapf, Rangeland Management Specialist for NRCS.
A steak dinner will be provided onsite starting at 6 p.m. with the program to follow at 6:30 p.m. Registration cost for the program is $10 payable at the door.
Attendees are asked to RSVP by April 17. To register for the program or ask questions, contact Chelsea Dorward at the Bosque County Extension Office at 254-435-2331 or visit https://bosque.agrilife.org.
Caregivers Conference scheduled
A Caregivers Conference sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be held Friday, April 27, at the Meadowbrook Baptist Church, located at 1207 Old Robinson Road in Robinson.
It will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Registration fee is $5 and can be paid at the door.
Topics that will be discussed at this year’s conference will be Medicare/Medicaid along with “Care for the Caregiver.” Professional legal staff will speak about wills and trusts along with medical planning. Other topics will include private caregiver services and homecare.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service continues to sponsor and actively participate in eldercare conferences throughout the state.
Conferences exist on a county or multi-county basis, often offering education units to attendees. Participants in these conferences report learning new information and skills relating to eldercare as a result of attending.
Space is limited, so pre-register by contacting the McLennan County Extension Office at 254-757-5180 or email Dana Gerick, secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.