Local News

Authorities search lake after possible drowning
Hill and Bosque county authorities launched a search effort on Lake Whitney Sunday evening, August 11, after a report of a possible drowning just after 5 p.m.
Preliminary reports from officials on the scene indicated that a man and woman launched a boat from McCown Valley Park. While they were out on the lake, the man, believed to be 64 years old, entered the water and failed to resurface.
The woman notified authorities when the man did not reappear, and multiple Hill and Bosque county agencies responded to the scene.
As of press time Sunday night, the search had been suspended for the night and was scheduled to resume Monday morning.


Comptroller releases August Hill, Bosque sales tax figures
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar has announced that he will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $876.8 million in sales tax allocations for August, four percent more than August 2018.
The City of Whitney’s August payment came to $57,216.78, up one percent from last August. Year-to-date figures show the city receiving $420,383.01 so far this year, down one percent from the same period in 2018.
Rebates and changes from last August for all Hill County taxing entities were as follows in August: Abbott – $12,415.80, up 19 percent; Aquilla – $715.89, up six percent; Blum – $2,075.24, down 11 percent; Bynum – $569.07, up 15 percent; Carl’s Corner – $4,775.93, down four percent; Covington – $4,965.77, up 37 percent; Hillsboro – $343,231.67, up eight percent; Hubbard – $18,191.73, down four percent; Itasca – $11,833.51, down nine percent; Malone – $2,250.63, up 16 percent; Mertens – $304.26, up 71 percent; Mount Calm – $696.82, down 17 percent; Penelope – $603.85, up 37 percent; Whitney – $57,216.78, up one percent.
Allocations for Bosque County cities in August were: Clifton – $67,994.70, down six percent; Cranfills Gap – $3,024.81, down seven percent; Iredell – $2,192.52, down four percent; Meridian – $20,402.54, up 13 percent; Morgan – $2,965.92, up 48 percent; Valley Mills – $11,068.41, up four percent;  Walnut Springs – $4,334.40, down less than one percent.
These allocations are based on sales made in June by businesses that report tax monthly and on sales made in April, May and June by quarterly filers.


Aquilla mascot earns top UCA honor
Mikey McKibben, the Aquilla Cougar school mascot, was recently named the Mascot Camp Champ trophy winner of the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) 2019-2020 All-American Mascot Team at the University of North Texas in Denton. This award is presented to the mascot selected by the UCA staff as the top mascot.
He was also among the elite mascots earning a position on the UCA 2019-2020 All-American Mascot team.
The UCA All-American Mascot Team consists of mascots who are nominated by the UCA staff based on their individual talents as a mascot.
Recognized for his exceptional skills in character definition, strong skits and routines and in team spirit abilities, Mikey was honored as an All-American nominee.
Once nominated for this achievement, he completed a detailed try-out to be considered for All-American status.
These nominees are judged in numerous categories. Each of the candidates is expected to receive well above average or exceptional scores prior to consideration of selection.
Mikey said, “I felt very blessed to be named to the All-American Team because there were a lot of talented people at the camp. But I was especially honored and humbled to be named Camp Champ.”
As a member of the All-American Mascot Team, Mikey is invited to participate in various special events throughout the year. Among these special events, is the opportunity to perform in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Houston and at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando Florida.


Proposed 2020 HCAD budget delivered
A proposed 2020 operating budget for the Hill County Appraisal District (HCAD) was distributed to its taxing entities in June and was set to be considered for adoption this week.
The total of $1,755,770 reflects a 3.39-percent or $57,585 increase over the current budget of $1,698,185.
The largest increase in the proposed budget comes in employee insurance at $21,110.
The budget packet included proposed allocations of the budget based on estimated tax levies, but those calculations cannot be finalized until all tax rates are set for 2019.
Under the estimates, Hill County would pay the largest share at just under 21 percent, followed by Whitney Independent School District (ISD) and Hillsboro ISD at just under 18 percent.
None of the other taxing entities are projected to pay a double-digit share of the budget.
The HCAD Board of Directors was scheduled to consider adoption of the budget at its Tuesday, August 13, meeting.
Once adopted, a majority of the taxing units would need to adopt a resolution disapproving of the budget and file them with the board secretary within 30 days to prevent the budget from taking effect January 1.


Whitney PD arrests man for tampering
A 23-year-old Gladewater man was detained at 11:44 a.m. Monday, August 5.
Authorities contacted the subject in the 200 block of North Bosque Street in Whitney.
He was charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and tampering with identification numbers on personal property.
Officer Brian Martin booked the man into the Hill County Law Enforcement Center.


Cotton Pickin’ Fair vendor apps available
Hillsboro’s 28th annual Cotton Pickin’ Fair will be held Friday, September 27, and Saturday, September 28,  on the historic courthouse square, and vendor applications are now available.
Select food vendors will open at 8 p.m. Friday just prior to the concert and street dance scheduled for 9 p.m. at the corner of Franklin and Covington streets.
Over 100 food and arts/crafts vendor spaces will be available Saturday, and vendors may begin setting up at 6:30 a.m. and open to the public at 10 a.m. that morning.
Booths (10’x10’) with electricity are available for $55 (one outlet), $60 (two outlets) and $65 (three outlets). A booth without electricity will be $50.
It will be an additional $50 to rent a second or third 10’x10’ booth space.
Vendor applications are available online at http://www.hillsboro mainstreet.org on the Cotton Pickin’ Fair page, or call Hillsboro Main Street Manager Chris Moore at 254-582-5499.


Smith Foundation accepting grant applications for 2019
The Board of Directors of the George G. and Alva Hudson Smith Foundation has announced the opening of the 2019 grant application process. Applications for grants to be awarded this year must be received on or before September 1. Grant awards will be announced in October 2019.
Applicants can access grant information and required supporting documents at the Smith Foundation website (www.smithfoundationhillcounty.org) under the “Application Documents” tab on the website’s homepage. These include the Application Guidelines, Cover Sheet, Publicity Plan and the Publicity Permission Form.
Applicants will need to provide five copies of their application materials to the address shown in the Application Guidelines and at the bottom of this news article.
The foundation will consider requests for operating budgets, special projects, building and capital campaigns, research and academic scholarships of organizations that are classified as 501(c)(3) non-profit entities in Texas, a political subdivision or governmental entity; or a corporation organized under the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act.
The foundation does not award grants to individuals or to organizations outside the State of Texas. The foundation is also prohibited from funding religious organizations or participation in fund-raising events or activities. In considering requests for funding, the board places priority on organizations and programs serving Hill County.
In 2018, the Smith Foundation awarded more than $107,000 in grants to 13 organizations across Hill County. Grantees included Friends of the Hillsboro City Library (genealogy and local history library), Hillsboro ISD (gym renovation and repairs), Malone Volunteer Fire Department (new brush fire truck), Whitney Elementary School PTO (playground structures) and Hill County Paw Pals (air conditioner for animal shelter).
Other grant recipients in 2018 were Ruth Field Civic Club (community center renovation), Central Texas Senior Ministry (Meals on Wheels kitchen equipment), Leadership Greater Hillsboro (new pocket park) and Hillsboro Heritage League (marketing funds for Tour of Homes).
Grants were also provided to Providence Hospice (care for Hill County hospice patients), CASA of Hill County (technology for employees and volunteers), Itasca Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary (trailer for firefighter needs) and Isaiah’s Place, Inc. (playground equipment).
Over the past 26 years of its funding history, the foundation has committed substantial support to a variety of Hill County area organizations amounting to over $2.2 million dollars. Grants have assisted qualified entities in improving the quality of medical, educational, cultural, economic, social and recreational services to the citizens of Hill County.
The George G. and Alva Hudson Smith Foundation was established in 1992 by the late Ruth Smith Moorman in memory of her parents for the purpose of enriching the lives of citizens in Hill County.
Information about the foundation is available on its website or from: The George G. and Alva Hudson Smith Foundation, P.O. Box 1245, Hillsboro, TX  76645.


Local members attend DAR conference
Fort Graham Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution members attended their District II Summer Workshop held on August 3 at the Trinity River Valley Campus of Tarrant County College in Fort Worth.
The event was hosted by District II Director Kathy L. Hanlon and members of the Benjamin Lyon Chapter of Denton.
Historic re-enactments were the highlights of the plenary sessions.
Fort Graham’s Honorary Past Regent and current Texas State Registrar, Susan Johnston, presented a monologue in the character of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton.
She recounted the actual real-life events of her and Alexander’s life along with Alexander’s many accomplishments and contributions to the future of America.
Ms. Hamilton’s gown was authentic for the period and fashioned by Johnston herself.
Other historic characters which appeared before the group included a Buffalo Calf Woman; Deborah Read Franklin, wife of Benjamin Franklin; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker; Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee; and a Suffragette of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, appearing this year on the 100th Anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
Break-out sessions following the morning and afternoon plenary sessions featured School Donations projects; DAR Awards in the Community; DAR Service for Veterans & VAVS; the DAR Magazine; the New Horizons course for DAR members; American Heritage Contests available to members; E-Membership 101; Promoting and Preparing Your Chapter for New Members; and a session on DAR Genealogy presented by Fort Graham Chapter’s member and State Registrar, Susan Johnston.
Eight Fort Graham Chapter members were in attendance for the event.
They included Regent Gerry Milnor; 1st Vice Regent and Honorary Past Regent Madeleine Lively; Registrar Margaret Mitchell; Chaplain Linda Turner; Organizing Regent and Honorary Past Regent Gail King; State Registrar and Fort Graham Honorary Past Regent Susan Johnston, and members Penny Collins and Norma Collier, all of whom joined approximately 200 other DAR Sisters from the Northwest Central area of Texas.