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Jan. 30 deadline looms for USDA disaster program assistance

Hopkins County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) said Thursday ranchers and livestock producers who had livestock losses or grazing losses during the 2011 crop year only have a few weeks to apply for federal assistance.
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Hopkins County included in federal disaster declaration

Hopkins County has been included in a list of natural disaster areas in Texas due to agricultural losses incurred during the devastating drought of 2011.
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Billodeau stepping down as C-P superintendent

Como-Pickton trustees tonight begin the process of a replacement for Superintendent Sandra Billodeau, who has tendered her resignation effective at the end of the school year.

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City gets ‘thumbs up’ on audit; news comes at a good time with water, sewer repairs looming in future

Sulphur Springs City Council members heard a favorable financial audit Tuesday night, an indicator that the city could see lower interest rates on borrowed money and additional resources to address future water and sewer issues.

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Trustees to meet with potential consultants for superintendent search

Trustees for Sulphur Springs Independent School District Thursday will hold interviews with three consulting groups, firms the board has called to discuss services they’d offer toward helping the district select a new superintendent.

The school board, following Superintendent Patsy Bolton’s notice of retirement at the end of the school year, last month met to discuss how they want to handle the process of hiring a new top officer for the district.

Following the session, the trustees agreed to research potential consulting companies to help in the hiring process. The company would vet the applications received, filtering out those who do not meet parameters set by the board, then forward a narrowed list to trustees for consideration.

Following the December meeting, trustees called on educational contacts who had experience with such companies to get recommendations.

“We began by contacting people we all trust in the business,” SSISD Board of Education President Jason Dietze explained Tuesday. “We got multiple suggestions. We compared the ones that were recommended.”

He said that the top three consulting firms suggested were contacted and invited to interview with the board as possible consultants in the superintendent search.

The three slated to interview with the board during the noon meeting Thursday include representatives of the following: Texas Association of School Boards; Bob Griggs and Hoyt Watson of Bob E. Griggs & Associates, Fort Worth; and Horn, Smith, Wood & Preston LLC of Terrell.

“This will be a fairly informal work session,” Dietze said. “We’ll have them come in and pitch what they can do for us, talk about the way they do things and operate.”

The board will then have the option at the regular monthly trustees meeting Jan. 9 to select one of the companies to offer a contract to, or table the item and decide how to proceed further.

“It’ll be on Monday’s agenda for a decision if we are ready to pull the trigger so to speak, or table it if we don’t feel good about it, and go from there,” Dietze said.

The board president also noted that their priority is to get the superintendent search under way as soon as satisfactory to allow time for all steps in the process. Thus, the board, in addition to regular monthly matters will focus on that, then decide how to best address the vacancy left by eight-year board member Foy Williams’ resignation from the school board which became effective Jan. 1

“We’ll table that until we can get the superintendent process rolling. If I understand our bylaws correctly, we don’t have to replace him on the board as there’s still a quorum,” Dietze said. “Our plate is full at the moment. We’ll get this superintendent search process settled down and under way, then address the empty spot on the board.”

The SSISD board work session is scheduled to get under way at noon Thursday, Jan. 5, while the regular January board meeting begins at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, both in the board room of the SSISD Administration Building, located at 631 Connally St.

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