Former restaurant owner sentenced to federal prison PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 12:35

Fernando Sosa-Pintor, 54, was formally sentenced Tuesday in United States District Court to 240 months in federal prison on three child pornography-related offenses for a total of 60 years in prison. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, meaning Sosa-Pintor will have to serve 20 years in prison before he could be released.

Gee Library at TAMUC selected to host ‘Native Voices’ exhibit PDF Print E-mail
Written by TAMUC Communications   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 12:17

COMMERCE, Texas —Texas A&M University-Commerce Libraries’ Gee Library has been selected to host “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness,” a panel and iPad-based traveling exhibit that focuses on themes of Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian wellness, illness and cultural life, and how they are all interconnected.

SSISD applies for $1.61M Head Start refunding grant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff Reports   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 12:00

Sulphur Springs Independent School District will again apply for Head Start refunding, trustees determined at their monthly board meeting.

Trustees gave approval for Head Start Director Hillary Young to apply for continuation and refunding of the non-competitive Head Start grant. The district is in the fourth year of a five-year funding cycle. To receive the funds annually, the district must submit a refunding application annually.

The 40-page document submitted to trustees at their March 6 meeting included the district’s plan and goals for the Head Start program, as well as annual results, and annual budgets.

The 2016-17 budget was $1,585,553; the refunding application breaks that down into about a dozen different pieces. Of that amount, $986,464 is designated for personnel. That includes funding for base salaries for 21 full-time Head Start personnel and 17 staff partially funded with Head Start dollars. The staff also includes seven full- and part-time bus monitors and five full and part-time drivers’ fully funded with Head Start dollars. That’s 50-65 percent of all classroom teachers’ salaries and 100 percent of teachers assistants, instructional aides, bus drivers and bus monitors salaries.

The Head Start budget for 2016-17 included $166,391 for fringe benefits for Head Start employees who work a minimum of 20 hour per week. These benefits include Medicare contributions, a month health insurance option, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and Teacher Retirement System contributions.

Budgeted for out-of-town travel reimbursements for $2016-17 was $5,000. 

An additional $22,000 was budgeted in 2016-17 for office and classroom supplies. That’s $2,800 for office supplies, $7,700 for classroom and education supplies, materials and activities; $2,200 for medical and dental supplies for the education and proper care, safety and hygiene of children; $2,250 for family services, parent involvement and other supplies; $1,000 for classroom cooking and food experiences; $500 for disabilities supplies; $2,250 for miscellaneous operating costs; and $2,800 for playground maintenance.

That budget also showed $50,700 allotted for contractual services from on-site consultants in each content area to ensure compliance with federal regulations and continued quality of services, including $3,500 for health, dental and disabilities services; $5,000 for mental health assessments; $4,500 for children’s food; $9,500 for adult food; $2,500 for Galileo assessment technology, $2,000 parent as teachers curriculum; $1,000 child care education institute; $2,000 for miscellaneous duties and subscriptions; $2,500 for catering and meetings; and $16,000 to The Faulk Company for a full-time custodian.

An additional $17,749 was budgeted for other funds, including $1,000 for child liability insurance; $200 for local travel; $500 for nutrition services; $9,000 for substitutes; $1,500 for subscriptions; $3,000 for equipment, repair and maintenance; $1,749 for extra duty pay; and $800 for non-employee travel and parent volunteer travel expenses.

The $317,111 non-federal share match includes in-kind salaries for 17 staff who are partially funded with Head Start dollars and fringe totals for employees that are not paid with Head Start funds. That includes $197,283 for 10 teachers, one health specialist and one campus principal; $48,067 for fringe benefits packages funded through SSISD for employees not paid with Head Start dollars; and $72,828 additional in-kind contributions such as fuel and diesel costs, utilities, volunteer hours, community donations and routine maintenance costs.

Trustees gave approval for the Head Start director to apply for $1,613,649 in continuing and refunding for the program. That includes $1,270,773 for total continuation/refunding, $20,138 in training and technical assistance, and a $322,728 in-kind match.

Additional routine Head Start items approved by the school board as part of the consent agenda at their March 6 meeting were a standard of conduct for Head Start staff, volunteers and consultants and Head Start rational for program option.

The standard of conduct outlines basic activities staff, volunteers and consultants must refrain from when disciplining, punishing, talking to and otherwise educating students.

The rationale for program option outlines the SSISD Head Start program as a center-based option with no more than 20 children enrolled in a predominantly 4- and 5-year-old classroom and no more than 17 enrolled in a 3-year-old classroom. The program operates 180 days per calendar year, with six class hours per day. The district serves 550-plus students who would not otherwise have access to affordable, reliable and consistent childcare services if they were not involved in SSISD’s  early childhood programs which include Head Start, pre-kindergarten, preschool program for children with disabilities and kindergarten. Many of the students in the preschool programs benefit from school transportation services and also a limited number of children enrolled in Head Start. Pre-k and bilingual pre-k services are provided for children meeting Texas Education Agency and SSISD enrollment criteria.

Additional items approved March 6 as part of the the consent agenda included tax credits and supplements, delinquent tax collections, and financial statements and bills payable for February 2017. 

Trustees also approved Ordinance 1-17 declaring the May 6 trustees election unopposed and canceling the election. Incumbents Robert Cody and Robbin Vaughn will be reelected to the board for another 3-year term to begin May 1.

Evans withdraws request to draw up resolution for TxDOT PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 14:29

At the end of a brief Hopkins County Commissioners Court meeting Monday morning, Precinct 4 Commissioner Danny Evans withdrew a request he made at an earlier meeting seeking a resolution alerting state officials of safety concerns on State Highway 19 north.

Three shot, one stabbed at Commerce party PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 14:27

A large party at the 428 Club on Martin Luther King Drive in Commerce ended with gunfire about 4 a.m. Sunday. Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews said officers were already in the area waiting for the party to break up when there were a number of shots fired.

“When officers arrived, they found numerous rounds had been fired striking at least three people,” Crews said. “An additional injured person arrived at Hunt Community Hospital-Commerce emergency room with a stab wound to his arm.” One of the gunshot victims was transported to the Commerce emergency room by private vehicle, another was taken to Greenville by ambulance and a third was airlifted to a Dallas hospital in critical condition.

“At this time, we have not been able to identify who the suspect or suspects are,” Crews said. “Commerce police detectives and Texas Rangers are investigaing the incident.”

The Commerce Police Department is asking anyone with information to contact the police department at 903-886-1139 or call Crime Stoppers at 903-457-2929.

PJC has cheerleading clinic, tryouts Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Written by PJC public information   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 12:07

A morning cheer clinic and afternoon tryouts will be held this Saturday, April 1, at the Hunt Center by Paris Junior College.

Hopkins County Walk of Hope set for April 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff Reports   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 14:18

Vigil set for victims and survivors of crime

Sulphur Bluff grad among Texas A&M-Commerce University-Commerce Quiz Bowl competitors PDF Print E-mail
Written by From Staff and TAMUC reports   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 14:20

COMMERCE — Six Texas A&M-Commerce students, including a Sulphur Bluff High School graduate, participated last month in the Southern Agricultural Economics Association 2017 Quiz Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Solar panel problem causes barn fire, haz-mat issue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kerry Craig   
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 14:25

A private solar power system that provided electricity for three houses on FM 3389 experienced problems over the weekend that resulted in a fire and a hazardous materials situation, according to Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley.

The three homes were completely off the commercial power grid, operating on power generated by the solar cells. The private system became overloaded at the main switch where the batteries are located inside a small barn.

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