Local News

Miss Pioneer Day Pageant 2017 winners crowned

Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce held the seventh annual Miss, Jr. Miss and Lil Miss Pioneer Day Pageant at Whitney Independent School District’s auditorium Saturday, July 15.

Outgoing queens—2016 Miss Pioneer Day Trista Charo, 2016 Jr. Miss Pioneer Day Regan Pavelka and 2016 Lil Miss Pioneer Day Claire Schneider—were on hand to help crown and welcome new 2017 queens and their courts.

A large crowd was on hand to see Mackenzie Riney, daughter of Bobby and Celeste Riney, crowned the new 2017 Miss Pioneer Day. She is 15 years old and will be a sophomore at Whitney High School this year.

She participates in cheerleading, plays volleyball, runs track and is a member of the student council.

Riney is also involved in the Recycling Club, the German Club and the Drama Club. Her future ambition is to be a pediatrician.

The 2017 Jr. Miss Pioneer Day is Hayleigh Swinford, 13-year-old daughter of Chris and Bobbie Swinford.

Swinford attends Aquilla Middle School and enjoys running barrels with her horse and photography.

She is active in volleyball, cross country, basketball and art.

Swinford is also a member of 4H and FFA. Her future ambition is to be a large animal veterinarian or a Texas Game Warden.

Crowned 2017 Lil Miss Pioneer Day was Addysen Girsh, six-year-old daughter of Justin and Shanna Girsh.

Girsh just completed kindergarten at Whitney Elementary School, earning the Citizenship Award.

She enjoys softball, cheer and showing animals. For fun, she likes to play with her dolls, go to the zoo and go camping with family.

Girsh wants to be a rock star when she grows up.

Runner-up for Miss Pioneer Day was 17-year-old Britany Ward, daughter of Emily and Larry Ward. She will be a senior this fall at Whitney High School.

Ward enjoys shopping, swimming, reading, dancing and drawing. She is active in drill team, dance and is a junior firefighter. Her future ambition is to be a pediatric surgeon.

First runner-up for the title of Jr. Miss Pioneer Day was 11-year-old Julianna Lattin, daughter of Scott and Cindy Lattin.

Lattin loves to sing, swim and do gymnastics. Julianna wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

Second runner-up for the Jr. Miss Pioneer Day was Addison Crowell, daughter of Ted and Mystee Crowell. The 12-year-old will be a seventh grader at Aquilla Junior High School this fall.

In the Lil Miss competition, nine-year-old Kambrie Vanlandingham, daughter of Jeremy and Katie Vanlandingham, was first runner up.

Vanlandingham is going into the fourth grade at Whitney Elementary. She enjoys tae kwon do, cheer and cooking. Her future ambition is to be a culinary chef.

Seven-year-old Kaylee Dillar, daughter of Abel and Nancy Dillar, was second runner-up in the Lil Miss Pioneer Day division. She will be entering second grade at Whitney Elementary this fall.

Rising Star Awards were giving in the Lil Miss division as follows: Most Graceful on Stage was Kaylee Liberto, 7, of Whitney; Best Personality was Cheyenne Wright, 8, of Whitney; Most Inspiration was Alysa Ward, 8, of Whitney; Most Confident was Donna Guthrie, 8, of Whitney; Best Patience was Bristol McIver, 6, of Aquilla; Best Poise was Taryn Ross, 7, of Whitney; Most Photogenic was Ashlynn Northcutt, 7, of Blum; Best Fashion was Olivia Crowell, 7, of Whitney; Best Hair was Taylin Williams, 7, of Whitney.


Sauer & Associates Real Estate makes clients top priority

Sauer & Associates Real Estate, owned by Paul Sauer and managed by Gretchen Sauer, was established in 2012 and provides exceptional client service to buyers and sellers of real estate in the Hill and Bosque county areas.

Helping buyers and sellers of lake homes, ranches, commercial and, of course, residential real estate is their business.

“Our Realtors® never stop working for clients,” said Paul.

“With our local knowledge of the people, neighborhoods, schools and Lake Whitney, we are able to provide unsurpassed information to assist clients in making the right decision for their needs.  When you work with Sauer & Associates, it is like doing business with family.”

Some agencies have real estate agents, but each agent at Sauer & Associates is a Realtor® and a member of the National Association of Realtors.

“Our Realtors® have an extensive understanding of the process of buying and selling real estate–from showing to closing–and we can walk you through each step,” he said.

Paul and Gretchen Sauer, formerly with Lake Whitney Real Estate, have been Realtors® in the area for over 15 years and have extensive knowledge of Lake Whitney and much of its history.

Sauer & Associate Realtors®  include Cole and Sonja Word, Kelli Lawson Jones and Robert Hook.

Cole and Sonja Word owned Meridian Abstract & Title Company for over 20 years. Cole Word served as Bosque County Judge for 12 years, while Sonja managed Meridian Abstract & Title Company.

Along with being a Realtor®, Kelli Lawson Jones is a teacher and helps operate her family restaurant, the West Shore Grill, at the dam.

Robert Hook came from a long career in the corporate environment and has 42 years of sales and management experience with a major corporation in the home building industry.  His skills include sales, marketing, negotiation and process management.

The business is located at 600 South Bosque Street in Whitney and can be reached at 254-694-0123 or by email at info@SauerRealEstate.com.


Bosque Co. indictments handed down

A Bosque County Grand Jury met Friday, June 30, and returned the following indictments:

Wayne Allan Bryan, 49, of Waco, online solicitation of a minor

Ernest Javier James Garcia, 21, of Copperas Cove, online solicitation of a minor sexual conduct

Juan Augustin Garcia, 40, of Valley Mills, online solicitation of a minor sexual conduct

Claudia Karely Kopacka, 19, of Oklahoma, online solicitation of a minor sexual conduct

Gary Carl Pedriana, 58, of Waco, online solicitation of a minor

Jarmon Burkhalter, 20, of Stephenville, possession of marijuana between four ounces and five pounds

Naomi Carillo Chavez, 29, of Morgan, possession of a controlled substance under one gram, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance between one and four grams in a drug-free zone, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance under one gram

James Earl Weir, 70, of Clifton, manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance under 28 grams

Nelson Lee Bibles, 71, of Clifton, aggravated sexual assault of elderly/disabled person (four counts), sexual assault (four counts).


Texas economy continued to expand in June

Hill County unemployment rate 4.5%

The Texas economy expanded in June for the 12th consecutive month with the addition of 40,200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent in May.

Locally, Hill County’s unemployment rate stood at 4.5 percent in June, up from four percent in May but down from the same time last year, when the county’s rate was 4.9 percent.

This month’s figure is based on 711 unemployed individuals out of a total county workforce of 15,865.

The Bosque County June unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent in May and down from the 4.6 percent rate of June 2016.

This month’s rate is based on 361 job seekers out of a total workforce of 8,242.

Texas’ annual employment growth outperformed the previous two years with 319,300 jobs added over the year, bringing the state’s annual growth rate up by 0.4 percentage points to 2.7 percent.

“Texas employers added 319,300 jobs over the past year, with ten out of eleven industries adding jobs in the dynamic Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar.

“TWC will continue to support strategies that boost the job creation efforts of Texas employers and equip Texas students and workers with in-demand skills.”

Education and health services recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 13,100 jobs added.

Manufacturing experienced its largest over-the-year employment gain since July 2012 with 4,600 jobs added in June and Mining and Logging employment expanded by 4,400 jobs.

“Private-sector employment remained strong with Texas employers adding 283,800 jobs over the year and 34,100 jobs added in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth Hughs.

“TWC is committed to developing innovative workforce programs that keep our businesses competitive and our growing talent pipeline a priority.”

The Amarillo and Austin Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.4 percent, followed by the Midland MSAs with a rate of 3.5 percent.

The College Station-Bryan MSA registered a rate of 3.8 percent for June.

“All Goods Producing industries showed positive employment growth in Texas, including Manufacturing, which expanded by 4,600 jobs in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez.

“The Texas labor force has continued to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing.”

Texas’ annual employment growth outperformed the previous two years with 319,300 jobs added over the year, bringing the state’s annual growth rate up by 0.4 percentage points to 2.7 percent.

“Texas employers added 319,300 jobs over the past year, with ten out of eleven industries adding jobs in the dynamic Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC will continue to support strategies that boost the job creation efforts of Texas employers and equip Texas students and workers with in-demand skills.”

Education and Health Services recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 13,100 jobs added. Manufacturing experienced its largest over-the-year employment gain since July 2012 with 4,600 jobs added in June and Mining and Logging employment expanded by 4,400 jobs.

“Private-sector employment remained strong with Texas employers adding 283,800 jobs over the year and 34,100 jobs added in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth Hughs. “TWC is committed to developing innovative workforce programs that keep our businesses competitive and our growing talent pipeline a priority.”

The Amarillo and Austin Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) recorded the month’s lowest unemployment rate among Texas MSAs with a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.4 percent, followed by the Midland MSAs with a rate of 3.5 percent. The College Station-Bryan MSA registered a rate of 3.8 percent for June.

“All Goods Producing industries showed positive employment growth in Texas, including Manufacturing, which expanded by 4,600 jobs in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “The Texas labor force has continued to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing.”


HCSO arrests woman on felony warrant

The Hill County Sheriff’s Office conducted a felony warrant arrest at 7:50 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

According to reports, a 30-year-old Hillsboro woman was contacted by deputies at a residence on HCR 1313 in Peoria.

The woman was wanted out of Guadalupe County for a motion to adjudicate guilt on a felony possession of marijuana charge.

She was also wanted out of Hidalgo County for a felony possession of marijuana charge.

Justice of the Peace Shane Brassell set bond at $100,000 on Jessica Morin.

Corporal Keith Russ made the arrest and transported the suspect to the Hill County jail.


DPS responds to rollover near Peoria

The Department of Public Safety investigated a single-vehicle rollover at 7:43 a.m. Sunday, July 16.

According to reports, a pickup driven by a 16-year-old Aquilla boy was traveling westbound on Farm Road 1534 south of Peoria when the vehicle left the roadway, struck a culvert and went airborne.

The pickup then rolled several times before coming to a rest.

No injuries were reported. The driver was charged with minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage, driving while intoxicated by a minor and failure to drive in a single lane.

Taking the report was Trooper David Stevens.


Hill College Texas Heritage Museum dean takes AAMC president post

John Versluis, dean of the Hill College Texas Heritage Museum, was elected to serve as the national president of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG) at the annual conference held in June at the University of Oregon.

Versluis was the sole nominee by the AAMG nominating committee.

Versluis is the first history museum director (non-art museum director) to become president of AAMG, which is a voluntary position with a three-year term that can be renewed once for a total of six years.

“I look forward to promoting the Hill College Texas Heritage Museum as the president of AAMG,” Versluis said.

“I am excited to lead the AAMG leadership to embark on an exciting new chapter to help guide many college and university museums and galleries showcasing all types of art works and artifacts from all different cultures, while embracing the best museum practices and standards,” said Versluis.

He was previously the AAMG mountain plains regional representative on the AAMG board, which oversaw this regional territory spanning over 10 states–from Texas to North Dakota–which has approximately 200 academically-based museums.

Each state in the country has an AAMG state representative that reports to one of six region representatives.

AAMG has over 3,500 total members, including 450 institutional members, throughout U.S. The association was founded in 1980 to promote and support academic museums and to help its constituent members achieve their educational missions.

Today, AAMG serves as an advocate for all types of academic museums.

Versluis has served as the dean and has spearheaded the Texas Heritage Museum in Hillsboro since 2005.

He oversees three separate divisions of the museum: Galleries and Collections, the Historical Research Center and the Hill College Press.

The Texas Heritage Museum is the official Texas State Medal of Honor Memorial to Native-born Texans.

Additionally, he serves as an American Alliance of Museums MAP peer reviewer, and is a consultant for the Bridge Street History Center in Granbury.

Versluis served as the director of the Greater Southwest Historical Museum, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, from 2003-2005, and the director of the North Platte Valley Museum (currently known as Legacy of the Plains Museum) in Gering, Nebraska, from 2000-2003.

He received his museum training at New Mexico State University (NMSU) where he earned a Master of Arts degree in American history/public history graduate program in 2000.

While there, he was the recipient of the Doña Ana Historical Society Pasajero Del Camino Real award for co-authoring “Historic Architectural Styles Las Cruces, N.M.: Celebrating 150 Years.”

Also while at NMSU, Versluis served as a co-principal investigator for the Lunar Legacy Project, which is one of the earliest federally grant-funded space archaeological research projects, through the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium in 1999.

NASA funded the Lunar Legacy Project to document the artifacts on the lunar surface at Tranquility Base by the Apollo 11 crew, and to investigate the relevant U.S. federal preservation laws and regulations.

Versluis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with honors at Western State College of Colorado (currently known as Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, Colorado, in December 1997.

During his undergraduate studies, he made new scholarly discoveries providing further insights into the U.S. intervention into Russia 1918-1920, and continues his research through exhibits and presentations.

For more information about the Texas Heritage Museum, visit http://www.hillcollege.edu/museum/join-and-give.html or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/texasheritagemuseum/.

For more information about the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), visit the site http://www.aamg-us.org/wp/.


Better Business Bureau warns of free Wi-Fi scams this summer

Better Business Bureau (BBB) is encouraging those who are traveling and taking advantage of free Wi-Fi hotspots this summer to double check before connecting laptops, tablets or smartphones.

Scammers sometimes use fake Wi-Fi hotspots to steal personal information and/or gain access to devices, according to BBB.

How the scam works:

You are at a coffee shop, airport, hotel lobby or other public place, and you want to connect to the Wi-Fi. You search for connections and find one nearby.

It may be labeled something generic like “Free Public Wi-Fi.” This may look harmless, but don’t connect. It is really a scam!

Some fake Wi-Fi hotspots claim to be charging a small fee to use the connection. After a user connects, they are prompted to enter credit card information. Of course, this information is shared with the scammer.

In another version, a hacker inserts him or herself between your computer and the Wi-Fi connection.

Everything you do online–such as make a purchase or log into an account–is now transmitted through the scammer’s computer.

This means they can now access any passwords, credit card information and other data you’ve entered online.

The following are some suggestions to safely use public Wi-Fi connections:

  • Be sure you are using the correct Wi-Fi connection: If you are in a place that offers free Wi-Fi, verify the name of the connection before joining. Scammers often set up fake hotspots next to real ones.
  • Be careful how you use public Wi-Fi: When using a hotspot to log into an account or make a purchase, be sure the site is fully encrypted (Use “https”).
  • Consider using a VPN: If you regularly access public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the Internet, even on unsecured networks.
  • Always use antivirus software and a firewall. Protect your computer (and some cell phones) by using anti-virus software and a firewall from a reputable company.
  • Use good password sense: Protect yourself from hacking by using strong passwords and creating a different password for each account.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips (bbb.org/scamtips).

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).


Hill College hosts Career College Summer Camp

Hill College hosted the first-ever Career College summer camp at the Hill County campus June 26-29.

The four-day camp was sponsored by Hill College Community and Workforce Education and provided students entering seventh through ninth grades the opportunity to explore career options such as cosmetology, criminal justice, fine arts and more.

Twenty-seven students attended the camp and were able to choose one morning class and one afternoon class for the week.

Morning class offerings were Ginormous Science, Cosmetology in Action and Artistic Achievement.

Afternoon class offerings included Let’s Put on a Show and The Scene of the Crime.

In Ginormous Science, students explored the realms of both the physical and biological sciences and launched model rockets to learn about physics of propulsion.

Cosmetology in Action showcased the latest creative design techniques in hairstyling and manicures.

In Artistic Achievement, students constructed projects in various medias, including 3-D printing and sculpture.

Let’s Put on a Show taught students how to create a theatre production from the ground up, from play creation, acting and improvisation, and prop management.

In The Scene of the Crime students learned the ins-and-outs of crime scene searches, photography, finger printing and eye-witness identification.

Of the 27 students, two were from Rio Vista, 11 from Hillsboro, two from Morgan, two from Whitney, seven from Abbott, one from Bynum and two from Covington.


Hill County Democrats to host Ag Commissioner candidate

Hill County Democrats have invited Texas Commissioner of Agriculture candidate Tom Caudle to speak at their monthly meeting.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, August 14, in the meeting room of the El Conquistador Restaurant, located at 1516 Old Brandon Road in Hillsboro.

“The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome—even dyed-in-the-wool Republicans,” said County Chair Thom Hanson.

Caudle, making his first run for office, is a lawyer and cow-calf producer, and formerly was a CPA, accounting supervisor, carpenter and oil field laborer.

Caudle, described as a pro-life, politically-moderate candidate, will give a short speech recounting some of the joys and satisfactions he has experienced in meeting the challenges of raising cattle, and sharing some of his ideas for a more prosperous rural Texas.

He will then host a question and answer session. Attendees are encouraged to check out his campaign website, http://www.TomCaudle.org, which includes considerable detail about his positions on several issues.

“Attendees might also like to review his opponent’s website, http://www.kimolson4txag.com, and then come prepared to pepper Mr. Caudle with tough questions,” Hanson said.


Texas authorities bust major odometer fraud operation

A man suspected of rolling back the odometers on hundreds of vehicles to defraud innocent Texas consumers was arrested following a three-year investigation by authorities.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) took the suspect into custody in Grand Prairie Thursday, July 6, on a charge of tampering with an odometer; additional charges are pending.

Odometer fraud is the disconnection, re-setting or “rolling back” of a vehicle’s odometer with the intent to defraud.

“The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles does not tolerate anyone ripping off Texas auto buyers,” said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster.

“Mileage is a key factor that consumers use when deciding whether to buy a used vehicle. Tampering with an odometer to deceive a buyer is a serious crime that puts innocent Texans’ safety and finances at risk.”

If the odometer has been rolled back, you may end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more for the vehicle than what it is worth. And what you presume is a low-mileage and reasonably safe vehicle may have serious safety issues because of the hidden extra mileage.

TxDMV will contact victims whose vehicles may have had their odometers rolled back as part of this alleged crime ring so their title records can be updated.

“Don’t let this happen to you,” said Brewster. “The best way to protect yourself from being a victim of odometer fraud is to do a little extra research before you buy.”

Investigating the case was the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), DPS, the Fort Worth Police Department, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Tarrant County Regional Auto Crimes Task Force and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.

TxDMV offers the following “Smart Buyer” tips:

  • Examine the interior and exterior of the vehicle carefully: Look for clues that might indicate the vehicle has higher mileage such as wear on the tires, seats, seat belts, carpeting and other interior items.
  • Write down the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Each vehicle has a unique VIN which serves as the car’s fingerprint. You can find the VIN by looking from outside at the lower portion of the window on the driver’s side.
  • Obtain a vehicle inspection report: Use the VIN to obtain a free vehicle inspection report from http://www.mytxcar.org.

The report shows vehicle’s safety and emissions testing history from DPS and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. If the report shows a decrease in mileage, the odometer may have been rolled back.

  • Check vehicle history reports: Use the VIN to purchase a vehicle history report from a third-party provider such as CARFAX or AutoCheck. Make sure the report shows a steady increase in mileage, and look for any “flags” which may indicate problems.
  • Do a Title Check: Use the VIN to do a Title Check on the vehicle which shows the vehicle’s title history, including odometer information.

If you believe you may be the victim of odometer fraud, you may take one or more of the following actions:

  • If you purchased your vehicle from a dealer, file a dealer complaint with TxDMV.
  • File a complaint with local law enforcement.
  • You may have a civil action and should consult an attorney.

For additional information on odometer fraud prevention, visit TxDMV.gov/odometer-fraud.


Texas producers have until August 1 to enroll in ARC/PLC

Texas farmers and ranchers are reminded that they have until Tuesday, August 1, to enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and/or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2017 crop year.

These programs trigger financial protections for participating agricultural producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues.

“Producers have already elected ARC or PLC, but to receive program benefits, they must enroll for the 2017 crop year by signing a contract before the August 1 deadline,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Texas Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting State Executive Director (SED) Erasmo (Eddie) Trevino.

“Please contact your local FSA office to schedule an appointment if you have not yet enrolled.”

Covered commodities under the programs include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

For more program information, contact your local FSA office or visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.


State Board of Education now accepting nominations

The State Board of Education is now accepting nominations from those who would like to serve on a Long-Range Plan Steering Committee.

The 18-member committee will be composed of five State Board of Education members, including the board chair and the chair of the Committee on School Initiatives; one representative each from the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission; and 10 stakeholders to be nominated by the remaining board members.

The 10 public stakeholders may be educators, parents, business and industry representatives or students. They will represent public schools of various sizes and regions. Board members are looking for nominees with broad backgrounds and experiences.

To nominate yourself or others, complete this form: https://form.jotform.com/71943948557170. The nomination deadline is Friday, August 4.

The 10 board members who are not themselves serving on the steering committee will review the nominations and recommend three stakeholders each.

The five SBOE members serving on the steering committee will select the 10 stakeholder representatives from the recommended nominees.

The steering committee will meet approximately five times in Austin throughout the 2017-2018 school year to draft recommended long-range priorities for public education. The first meeting will occur in mid-September.

Also informing this work will be results from a survey and comments obtained during 10 SBOE-hosted public meetings held around the state.

The guiding principles to be followed in developing the long-range plan are:

  • Addressing the most pressing issues facing public education in Texas;
  • Conveying one consistent vision on statewide priorities;
  • Outlining clearly the board’s role in supporting the priorities;
  • Considering stakeholder input;
  • Containing specific targets and processes to assess progress; and
  • Appropriately balancing depth and coverage with fiscal responsibility.

Assisting the board during this second phase of the Long-Range Plan development are the Texas Education Agency staff and the Texas Comprehensive Center at the American Institutes for Research.

The tentative schedule calls for the board to adopt a new Long-Range Plan for Public Education at its September 2018 meeting.


Hill County FSA Committee nominations being accepted

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Arianna Cavitt in Hill County has announced that the nomination period for local FSA county committees is underway.

Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the Hill County FSA office by close of business on August 1.

“County committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal farm program implementation at the local level,” said Cavitt.

To be eligible to serve on the FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency-administered program, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area where they are nominated.

This year, nominations and elections will be held in local administrative area 2, which includes Woodbury, Blanton, Blum, Ross, Covington, Osceola, Mayfield, Prairiedale, Eureka, Itasca, Lovelace, Files, Tuner, Iverson, Midway, Carl’s Corner, Mountain Springs, Mertens and Hillsboro (North of Highway 22).

Producers may nominate themselves or others as candidates. Organizations representing minority and women farmers and ranchers may also nominate candidates.

To become a nominee, eligible individuals must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and more information about FSA county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.

Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues. County committees consist of three to 11 members.

FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning November 6. Ballots are due back in the Hill County FSA office by mail or in person no later than December 4.

All newly-elected county committee members and alternates will take office January 1, 2018.