Contested races in GOP primary

As the final week of candidate filing approaches, Milam County Sheriff David Greene has drawn a primary opponent.
Former Constable Herbie Vaughan, who challenged Greene in 2012, filed as a candidate again in the March 1 Republican Primrary, according to county party chairman Bill Whitmire.
In 2012, Greene was also opposed in the primary by former Greg Kouba, a former chief deputy. With Greene garnering just under 50 percent of the vote in the three-way 2012 primary, the race went into a runoff between Greene and Kouba with Greene ultimately winning with 57 percent.
Candidate filing for the March 1 party primaries ends Monday, Dec. 14.
Another potentially contested race was the race for tax assessor-collector. Incumbent Kolette Morgan had announced she would seek reelection and drew a primary opponent the first weekend of filing. However she resigned from office effective Friday following a district court hearing. (See related story.)


City plans $21 million water system overhaul

The City of Cameron is applying for $21 million to fund a major capital improvement over haul of the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure facilities.
Low interest loans are being sought through TWDB, Texas Water Development Board Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs.
In the past two years engineers have worked with the city council and staff to develop five-year plans for infrastructure improvements. “Everything dealing with water and wastewater infrastructure was put on the table for evaluation,” said City Manager Rhett Parker. “The projects were then prioritized according to demand and need, then packaged into a large capital improvement plan that the city can afford.”
The City Council approved the application plans at Monday’s council meeting.


County official resigns following court plea

Milam County Tax Assessor-Collector, Kolette Morgan pleaded “no contest” to a state jail felony attempted theft $1,500 to $20,000 by a public servant in the 20th Judicial District Court of Milam County Wednesday morning, according to a statement released by District Attorney Bill Torrey.
Judge John W. Youngblood placed Ms. Morgan on three years deferred adjudication probation with standard conditions of probation, and she was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, court costs and restitution in an amount yet to be determined. 
According to Torrey’s statement, Morgan will be required to cooperate with law enforcement and agree to consent to a polygraph, if requested. As part of the plea bargain agreement, Morgan has tendered her resignation to Milam County Judge David Barkemeyer, effective Friday, Dec. 11, at 5 p.m. 
Torrey said the The Texas Attorney General’s law enforcement division headed the investigation.


Parades, events celebrate Christmas

Santa Claus will return to downtown Cameron this evening with the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade.

Get into the Christmas Spirit! The Milam County cities of Milano, Thorndale, Cameron and Rockdale are hosting downtown Christmas parades and events today.
Milano’s event starts with line-up at 9:15 a.m. at the Milano football field with the first vehicle rolling out at 10:30 a.m. Parade categories include: best overall, small animals, floats, bicycle/walking/marching, vehicles/tractors, small motorized/battery operated (go-carts, four-wheelers, lawnmowers, etc.) and horses/wagons.
Theme for the Milano parade is “Jingle All the Way” and winners will be announced following the parade during the annual free Christmas meal held at the Milano Civic Center - where Santa will be on hand. All the events are sponsored by the City of Milano.


Coffee, conversations with the Mayor

Utility Director Jerald Brunson, City Manager Rhett Parker (standing at left) and Mayor Connie Anderle, (seated) visited with residents at the first ‘coffee and conversation with the mayor’ session Monday evening at Bea’s Kitchen.

Mayor Connie Anderle held the first of three ‘coffee and conversation sessions’ Monday evening at Bea’s Kitchen, welcoming a group of residents who wanted to hear about plans for improving the city’s water system.
Anderle, City Manager Rhett Parker and Utility Director Jerald Brunson answered questions about the system’s needs and some of the avenues the council and city staff are considering.
A second session is planned today at 9 a.m. in the Cameron Housing Authority Community Room located at 704 W. 6th Street and on Dec. 15, 9 a.m., in the Chamber of Commerce Community Room located downtown at 102 E. 1st Street.
In addition to water and waste water system capital improvement projects, residents may visit with the mayor about other concerns as well.


Historical Commission accepting preservation grant applications

The Milam County Historical Commission is accepting applications for 2016 preservation grants, Geri Burnett, chair of the Milam County Historical Commission Preservation Grant Committee, announced.
Applications for funding are available in Cameron at the office of County Judge David Barkemeyer, in Rockdale at Rainbow Courts, and on the website of the Milam County Historical Commission. Completed applications must be turned in by Jan. 3, 2016, according to Burnett.
This is the eighth year of funding for the Preservation Trust fund. Total preservation work accomplished with these funds is $199,000.
“We believe that this is a real preservation accomplishment for Milam County,” Burnett said.


City plans informational meetings about water system plan

Connie Anderle will host “Coffee and Conversation with the Mayor” sessions at three locations where citizens may casually address concerns and ask questions pertaining to the City of Cameron water and waste water capital improvement projects and other citywide topics.
The Mayor will meet citizens at the following locations and dates.
Nov. 30, 6 p.m., Bea’s Kitchen located downtown at 101 E Main Street.
Dec. 3, 9 a.m., Cameron Housing Authority Community Room located at 704 W. 6th Street
Dec. 9, 9 a.m., The Chamber of Commerce Community Room located downtown at 102 E. 1st Street.
The city is planning to finance needed improvements to both the water and wastewater systems.


In honor and tribute

Audience members at the Veterans Day program at Winnie L. Nursing home hold flags.

Some wearing uniforms from their service, veterans participated in the annual Veterans Day program at Winnie L. Nursing home.

American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars members participate in the program each year. For more highlights of local Veterans Day activities, see this week's print or digital edition.


Candidate filing opens Saturday for March primaries

The 2016 election cycle is gearing up as Texas prepares for the March 1 party primary elections.
The 30-day candidate filing period opens this Saturday and runs through Dec. 14. In the March 1 primaries, Texas voters will select their party’s nominees for the Nov. 8, 2016 general elections.
Milam County Republican and Democratic Party chairmen say they are ready.
Democratic Party Chairman Tommy Grimes said his office at 1707 W. Cameron Ave, Suite A, in Rockdale will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on opening day. The rest of the filing period, including the deadline day, Monday, Dec. 14, candidates may file between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, candidates may contact Grimes at 512-446-4131.


Police investigate armed robbery

Cameron Police are investigating an armed robbery at Sunny’s Food Mart Monday night.
The incident occurred at about 11:21 p.m. Monday when a masked man armed with a small revolver forced an employee to open the cash register at the store, located in the 900 block of North Travis, according to a statement released by Police Chief Randy Dixon.
The employee was outside on the store property cleaning the parking lot when the armed robber grabbed him and forced him into the store.
“The suspect and the male store employee struggled for a time inside the store, with the employee using good judgment and refrained further fighting with the suspect,” Dixon said, adding that “the suspect took a quantity of cash and fled behind the store towards the Little River-Cameron Hospital.”
The employee told officers the robber wore a Halloween mask “resembling a dead person/zombie,” a black hoodie, black sweat pants and red underwear, similar to a Batman costume.


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