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City, school, KC college races set

 
By Jim Bardwell
Filing for the May 9 election closed Friday at 5 p.m. , leaving two unchallenged seats and two contested races on the Gladewater City Council.
Place 4 incumbent Chris Bland and Place 7 incumbent  John “J.D.” Shipp will retain their seats after drawing no challengers.
However, incumbent Elijah “Sonny” Anderson will be facing Winn King for the Place 5 seat.
Place 6 will be a three-man race, as incumbent Scott Owens faces Dennis Robertson and Mark Carpenter.
The first day of early voting will be Monday, April 27, 2015, and will run until Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
The last day to register to vote is Thursday, April 9, 2015.
Over in the Gladewater ISD school board races, there were no challengers to newcomer Jeff Cook, who is seeking the seat currently held by Matt Byrd, and incumbent George Glenn. So by law, GISD taxpayers will not have to incur the cost of an election.
In the Kilgore College May 9 election, incumbent James Walker is being challenged by Jim Dunaway for Kilgore College’s North Zone Place 2 seat, which represents Gladewater, Sabine and the White Oak area.
Joe White is challenging  incumbent Karol Pruett for the Central Zone, Unit 3, Place 3 on the KC board, while Lon Ford has filed to run for Unit 3, Place 6, Central Zone. Cecelia Sanders is running for the South Zone, Unit 1, Place 1 seat, which represents the Leverett’s Chapel, West Rusk and Overton areas.

 

SWEPCO OFFERS ALERTS FOR CUSTOMERS

Sign up for SWEPCO Alerts and you will be notified by text message or email when there is an outage in your area. You'll also receive updates showing when electric service is expected to be restored.

Enroll at www.swepco.com/alerts. The service is free. However, phone usage or text charges may apply.

Once you have enrolled, you will receive an email, a text message or both when an outage has been reported in your area. Please confirm your outage by reporting it at SWEPCO.com or by calling 1-888-218-3919. Customers in the Texas Panhandle can report outages at 1-866-223-8508.

"We know being without power is an inconvenience," SWEPCO President and Chief Operating Officer Venita McCellon-Allen said. "These email and text alerts allow SWEPCO to share information with you as soon as it is available."

If you have multiple people in a home or business who would like to enroll in SWEPCO alerts, each person should register with a separate user identification and password on SWEPCO.com. Instructions are available atSWEPCO.com/alerts or by calling 1-888-216-3523. Customers in the Texas Panhandle may call 1-800-723-7430.

KILGORE NAMES LONE FINALIST FOR CITY MANAGER

Joshua Selleck, 37, assistant city manager at Cedar Park has been named the lone finalist for the Kilgore City Manager's position.

He accepted that designation Friday night, according to the Kilgore News Herald.

“They do not vote in executive session. There is no deal on the table yet... That’s what will be happening next week.”Headhunter Ron Holifield of Strategic Government Resources said the five finalists have been notified of the decision.

 

The council and Holifield have spent about two months on the search since the December departure of city manager Scott Sellers.

Selleck has served as assistant manager at Cedar Park, population 62,000, since January, 2012 and previously worked as director of finance there from November, 2009 to 2012. He earlier served in a similar capacity for the city of Kerrville, working as budget manager from January, 2007 to July, 2007 and director of finance until November, 2009.

From an initial pool of 52 candidates from across the country, the council's short-list included, in alphabetical order: Sean Pate of Gladewater, Philip Rodriguez of Prosper, Joshua Selleck of Cedar Park, Jeffrey Trinker of Richmondand William Whitson of Lynn Haven, Florida.

East Texas Dealer FOR The People named DealerRater.com Texas Buick Dealer of the Year

East Texas Dealer FOR The People, McKaig Chevrolet Buick, has just been notified it has been named the www.DealerRater.com TEXAS BUICK Dealer of the Year, according to Mark Abernathy, President and Kent Abernathy, Dealer Operator. The Abernathys' also said McKaig Chevrolet Buick was top five finalist for the TEXAS CHEVROLET Dealer of the Year award as well. 

McKaig is the first and only East Texas Car Dealer to receive a DealerRater Texas Dealer of the Year award for any Franchise. DealerRater's Dealer of the Year Award Program recognizes a select number of car dealerships throughout the United States and Canada for outstanding customer satisfaction as expressed through customers' online reviews posted on DealerRater.
DealerRater is the Nation's Leading Auto Dealer Review site and started these awards in 2009. Through this award program, a select number of car dealerships throughout the United States and Canada are awarded for “outstanding customer satisfaction” as expressed through customer online reviews posted on DealerRater's website. 
DealerRater's Dealer of the Year awards are given to car dealerships that have the highest PowerScore in their brand category at both the national level as well as the state level within the represented brand categories. PowerScore is determined by customer service, quality of work, friendliness, pricing, and overall guest experience.
McKaig Chevrolet Buick, A Dealer FOR The People, has also recently been recognized as the “only” car dealer in the state of Texas to receive the Edmunds.com 5 Star Premier Dealer Award two (2) years in a row. ALL Edmunds Premier Car Dealers in TEXAS representing All brands are eligible for the award. 
Edmunds also featured McKaig last year in a national article for their innovation & mission to change the car buying experience one guest a time. Among other benefits, McKaig provides their guests with a “Buyer's Bill of Rights”, FREE Oil Changes For Life, Guest Concierge Services, Non-Commissioned Sales Solution Specialists in the showroom in lieu of commissioned salesmen and is Ranked #1 in East Texas by online reviewers on independent 3rd party sites. The Abernathys' say they are proud to be different than most other car dealerships. “We have an outstanding & caring staff that truly want to treat folks with dignity and respect while helping them with their transportation needs & challenges. Our team provides a great experience and we are fortunate that our guests take the time to write reviews. For that we are truly grateful!”

CITY OFFICIALS SAY SOUTHERN COVENANT PULLS APPLICATION, NOT COMING TO GLADEWATER

It appears a recent public hearing held by Southern Covenant Treatment Center (SCTC ), which became heated and adversarial in its four hour meeting has paid off for local residents and school and city officials with SCTC pulling its application for a state license to operate a treatment center.
Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate told the Gladewater Mirror Wednesday afternoon that he has been told SCTC will not be moving into the old Texan Nursing Center building, since they have apparently pulled its application with the state.
Treatment center board members were bombarded with questions during the four-hour public hearing, with GISD officials, Gladewater city council members, local business owners and nearby residents questioning SCTC's ability to run a facility for teens with severe emotional problems. Questions about security plans went unanswered and even state licensing officials were not not able to calm local concerns.
Dr. J.P. Richardson pointed out at the meeting that 8.5 percent was the state average of special education students per district. At present Gladewater Middle School and High School are at 15 percent. He said that if SCTC came in with full residency 22 percent of students would fall into special education needs status. Two and half times the state average. He also said that it would cost the district $500,000 that was not in this school year's 

Bill to End Marijuana Prohibition in Texas Filed on Texas Independence Day by Rep. Simpson

AUSTIN - Today Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) filed House Bill 2165 to strike all references to marijuana offenses from the Texas statutes. This represents a comprehensive repeal of marijuana prohibition in Texas.

“We can’t fix all of the past wrongs caused by prohibition, but at least we can stop perpetuating them,” said Representative Simpson.

This is perhaps the first bill of its kind in the nation that proposes to simply undo prohibition and avoid the big government approach taken in other states that basically re-regulate the plant.

“I am proposing that this plant be regulated like tomatoes, jalapeños or coffee.” Rep. Simpson continued, “Current marijuana policies are not based on science or sound evidence, but rather misinformation and fear. All that God created is good, including marijuana. God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix. Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good—helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products—or simply for beauty and enjoyment. Government prohibition should be for violent actions that harm your neighbor—not of the possession, cultivation, and responsible use of plants.”

In 1914 during the height of Pancho Villa’s revolution in Mexico, many refugees and young Mexican men seeking work began moving across the Texas border. In response, the City of El Paso passed the first ordinance in the nation outlawing use of the marijuana plant as a means to address what were perceived as foreign and rowdy young men disturbing the peace.

A few years later the Texas Legislature passed its first marijuana prohibition law with little fanfare besides an alleged racist statement on the senate floor about Mexicans. The American national story of prohibition is not much different. Many scholars believe that these laws were originally motivated by racism and perhaps some industries seeking to control competition from hemp in commodities markets.

The Simpson bill is poised to reframe the current marijuana discussion by bringing it back to the basics: limited civil government, individual liberty, and personal responsibility.

GLADEWATER CITY MANAGER AMONG FINALISTS FOR KILGORE JOB

(Special to the Mirror from the Kilgore News Herald)

 

The Kilgore City Council trimmed their pool of city manager candidates this week, and they're set to interview the finalists next Saturday. And among those finalists is Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate.

After one closed-door vetting session Feb. 6 failed to produce a final roster, a majority of the council members gathered for a follow-up meeting at City Hall Thursday afternoon. Following a two-and-a-half hour debate – abandoning a prior consensus to limit focus to in-state candidates – the group tasked executive headhunter Ron Holifield with lining up interviews with four Texas men and another from Florida.

Set for Saturday, Feb. 14, the interviews fall a little less than two months into the hunt for a new chief at Kilgore City Hall.

The five-member pool of finalists includes, in alphabetical order: Sean C. Pate of Gladewater, Philip A. Rodriguez of Prosper, Joshua C. Selleck of Cedar Park, Jeffrey D. Trinker of Richmond and William R. Whitson of Lynn Haven, Florida.

As of Thursday's meeting, the top-tier candidates have a mixture of experience:

Pate was hired in 2010 as Gladewater City Manager and since 2002 he has worked as a city administrator in four other Texas communities including Balcones Heights, Poteet, Clarendon and Dalworthington Gardens. He currently serves as regional president of the Texas City Management Association.  

Rodriguez has worked as project and management consultant to the city manager of Southlake since July 2014 and previously worked as the city manager and executive director of economic development for the City of Fate as well as city manager experience in Van Alstyne.

Selleck has been serving as assistant city manager for Cedar Park since January 2012. He previously worked as director of finance there from November 2009 to 2012 and in a similar capacity for Kerrville from January 2007 to July 2007.

Trinker has most recently worked as executive director of support service in Rosenberg (since June 2013) after working as assistant economic development director there from 2010 to 2013 and as a management assistant for Sugar Land from 2008 to 2010.

Whitson's most recent work experience was as executive director of the Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency in Florida from 2011-2014 with prior experience in other communities including city manager posts in East Ridge, Tennessee and Cairo, Georgia.

Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said “We kind of argued over one candidate, whether to extend an invitation to him,” he explained. “Then you've got to see if you extend an offer to them and see if they want to be a finalist. Last time when we hired Scott (Sellers) we had someone that pulled out at the last minute and didn't want to be interviewed.”

After three years in the post, Sellers resigned as Kilgore City Manager in late-November to take a similar job in Kyle. Once again hiring Holifield's Strategic Government Resources firm to spearhead the search, council members appointed Plano Assistant City Manager Mark Israelson's to lead city hall on an interim basis during the short-term headhunting.

Working from the council's preferences for the search, Holifield's nationwide postings for applications drew 52 candidates from 17 states.

Heading into Thursday's meeting, the council members in attendance generally agreed they would be considering applicants from anywhere but with a preference for those with relevant experience in Texas.

“We want somebody that can blend into East Texas,” council member Neil Barr said. “They didn't want somebody from New York or California. It'd be good if we got somebody from an oilfield town or a town similar to Kilgore.

“We're going to look at some more resumes … (but) resumes don't tell you a whole lot.”

Spradlin said he was against automatically putting out-of-state candidates to the side.

“It doesn't hurt to look,” he said. Otherwise, “There might be some shining star that we shouldn't pass up.”

The conclusion from the Feb. 6 session was to focus on Texans, Mayor Pro Tem Harvey McClendon confirmed, and he entered Thursday's meeting in favor of in-state candidates.

However, “I'm not necessarily set in stone precluding (out-of-state),” he explained. At the least, Sellers' prior post to Kilgore was in Colorado: “Obviously we got Scott, and he did a good job.”

But in-state experience is high on the list of criteria, McClendon allowed.

“Not mandatory, but high on the list,” he said. “There's candidates from other states, but they're going to have to be top of the line to break into the top group. There's a learning curve – Texas is different. Somebody that's been here in Texas is going to fit in better.

Still, “the last time we preferred to hire someone from in-state but Scott proved to be our guy.”

Council member Lori Weatherford agreed out-of-state candidates weren't precluded from consideration Thursday, but experience in Texas is a significant boon.

“When you work in 50 different states you realize how different the law is from state-to-state,” she explained. “The point of that discussion was we know it puts somebody behind the 8-ball to come in and not know Texas law.

“What really is amazing is how much everyone cares to get the absolute best. It's all about moving forward.”

Kilgore's next city manager, Spradlin said, is within that group and a couple of candidates stand out in his mind.

However, “It's all kind of up in the air until the personal interviews,” he said. “Going into the search for Scott, before the interview he was number four or five and in the interview he came out number one by an easy margin.

“Who you're looking at on paper is not always the same person you find when you do the interviewing. Then you have to find someone that suits the personality of the council and the community and someone whose talent and experience fits the needs of this community at this time.”

McClendon said he and his colleagues on the council dais are looking forward to next weekend.

“It's always real beneficial to meet the candidates in person. You get a much better perspective in person,” he said. “Even though we have some videos and resumes and all, getting to interact with them gives you a lot better feel for the person themselves and the fit. We're anxious.

That said, he's pleased with the job Israelson is performing for the city on a temporary basis.

“We really like Mark. He's done a great job for us, and he's well-like and respected around here already.

 

He's already been a good interim for us.”