Whitney City Council holds monthly meeting
The Whitney City Council met in a regular session Monday, May 18, to consider several agenda items.
In open forum, a resident of the 500 block of Llano Street presented a petition from neighbors in the area requesting speed bumps be placed in the street near their homes.
The petitioners cited concerns with children and elderly residents of the area crossing the street and the speed at which vehicles travel in the area.
Mayor Trey Jetton asked Public Works Director Billy Pribble to look into the cost of speed bumps, noting that speed bumps left over from the FM 933 project have already been placed in other residential areas.
The council voted to re-award the construction bid for work at the city’s sewer plant being undertaken with grant funds to Eagle Eye Construction, which was determined to be the lowest responsible bidder.
Several ordinances were revised and updated with the assistance of the city attorney and approved by the council.
An ordinance outlining restrictions on events including alcoholic beverages in the city was amended to allow an exception for certain events approved by the council, such as festivals, wine tastings and similar events.
The city’s attorney said that the change allows the city to grant variances for Chamber of Commerce events and other activities with the council’s approval.
An ordinance amending the procedure that the city uses to grant special event permits was also approved by the council.
With the change, the police chief/city administrator will review the application to determine whether it is feasible with the city’s resources, and then it will be brought to the council for consideration.
The previous language involved a process of review involving a police chief, city administrator and the council, but the language was clarified since one individual, Chris Bentley, holds both positions in Whitney.
One proposed update was tabled by the council. The purpose of the change was to streamline the process in which mobile food vendors register with the city and certify that they are complying with state law. Action was tabled until the city’s attorney can ensure that the ordinance will not interfere with the operation of the Lake Whitney Farmers Market.
Complaint forms used by the police department and the city were approved by the council. Bentley told the council that the police department is updating its policy manual, and the new forms were approved by the council.
The sale of surplus city property was approved by the council, including an ambulance box, police car, public works truck and police radio.
Annual contracts with Whitney Independent School District were approved by the council for the school resource officer and the use of the department’s K-9 unit to perform random narcotics inspections and to respond to the school when there is an issue with a student.
A special event permit was also approved for the school, which will allow the district to include fireworks in its graduation ceremony Friday, June 5. Bentley said that the fire and police departments will be involved to ensure safety.
In departmental reports, Library Director Denise Carter said that the library is preparing to reopen while complying with the many guidelines issued by the governor and multiple state agencies.
Carter said that the library has stayed busy with its curbside offerings and has received many letters and messages of thanks for offering the service.
She said that as the library reopens, obtaining the necessary supplies, such as hand sanitizer and cleaning products, is a challenge with supply running short.
The staff is working to gather the items necessary for reopening, and Carter said that the library is currently cleaning extensively and has implemented a “quarantine” process for books that have been returned to ensure they are safe to check out to the next patron.
In the public works report, Pribble said that four water leaks had been repaired and road patching is underway. He reported getting 22 tons of grade A cold mix, which he said would allow the department to repair holes correctly.
He said that the project will involve dividing the city into quadrants and identifying the worst areas. “It’s a long process, but we’re going to do it the right way,” he said.
He also said that the city has been struggling with getting citizens to comply with the brush pickup requirements and alternatives are being discussed, such as opening a brush drop-off area once a month for residents.
Fire Chief Wayland Price said that the department responded to 10 calls for the month, noting that calls are down significantly due to local fire departments being prohibited from responding to medical calls due to COVID-19. Ambulance crews with personal protective equipment are still responding.
In the police report, Bentley said that calls for service have gone up, but there have not been many other calls with school closed and residents staying home.
The department is revising its policy manual, and officers are being trained to ensure paperwork is completed correctly.
Bentley said that the city will be eligible for $2,947 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist with expenses related to COVID-19.
The chief said that the city will apply for the funds to go toward the recent purchase of a stretcher, which was necessary to have two ambulances up and running.
The council convened in executive session to discuss personnel matters, but no action was taken.
Local teens help authorities locate missing elderly man
Two local teenagers located a missing elderly man Wednesday evening, May 20.
According to reports, the Hill County Sheriff’s Office was notified at 3:45 p.m. that an elderly male with dementia left his residence on Reagan Road in Tall Timbers near Whitney around noon and never returned.
The sheriff’s office requested additional support at 5:09 p.m. after a ground search, and the Criminal Investigations Unit, Environmental Deputy Jeff Ward and drone pilot Deputy Chris Jackson responded to assist with the search.
The sheriff’s office reported that the man was located at 5:38 p.m. under an unfinished framed structure drenched in sweat and barely responsive.
According to the sheriff’s office, the man was located by two 15-year-old siblings, Melissa Lackey and Daniel Vowell, who joined with others from the community in searching for the man.
“In this day and age, it’s refreshing to know that there are young adults who are caring enough to help out their fellow man,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Whitney Fire Rescue and EMS treated the man, and he was subsequently airlifted to an area medical facility by CareFlite for additional treatment.
Town Hall to hold family parade Friday
Town Hall Estates in Whitney is inviting the community to participate in a family parade for residents of the facility Friday, May 29, at 10 a.m.
With social distancing still necessary for residents, Town Hall staff will bring residents outside so their loved ones can drive by and greet them.
Town Hall asks anyone participating to decorate their vehicles and make the family parade a fun experience.
“These are trying times, and we want to do everything possible to enhance the quality of life for your loved ones,” Town Hall representatives announced in a press release.
The line up will begin on Washington Avenue around 8:30 a.m. The procession will turn left into the Town Hall parking lot, go through the breezeway and exit to the right on San Marcos Street.
For more information, call Donna Turner or Marva Wiley at 254-694-2233.
Covington’s 2020 senior class to graduate Friday
Covington Independent School District will hold a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 Friday, May 29, at 7 p.m.
Students will be limited to five guests, and there will be temperature checks upon arrival. Each student will have a guest box separated from other boxes.
Megan Hertneck is the Covington High School valedictorian. She is the daughter of Eric and Valerie Hertneck.
During her high school years, she has been a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, cheer squad and track and academic teams.
Hertneck will attend Texas A&M University at College Station in the fall majoring in Biomedical Sciences.
Salutatorian of the 2020 class is Baylee Casillas, the daughter of Gregg and Kim Campbell.
Throughout high school, she has been a member of the National Honor Society, cheer squad and the basketball, softball, volleyball, track and academic teams.
Casillas will attend Hill College in the fall to pursue a career in cosmetology with the goal of opening her own salon.
In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held Saturday.
LWMA to offer meals for kids this summer
Lake Whitney Ministerial Alliance (LWMA) has announced a “snack bag” program for area children this summer.
Each bag will contain breakfast items, lunch and snacks for one child for 10 days. They will also receive a variety of drinks.
Bags can be picked up at Our Daily Bread Food Bank from noon until 2 p.m. on the following Wednesdays: May 27, June 10, June 24, July 8, July 22 and August 5.
Snack bags are available to food bank clients and children who qualify for the school’s free breakfast and lunch program.
LWMA would like to remind those in need that their stimulus check will not disqualify them from receiving food from the food bank. Stimulus checks are not counted as income.