Gooden, Pitts partner to support Cedar Creek Lake bridge project

Pictured (from left) are  Jo Ann Hanstrom/President CCLACC, Marty Mullins/TexasAbility, LLC and Board Chair CCLACC, State Representative Jim Pitts (Dist. 10), State Representative Lance Gooden (Dist. 4), Pamela Burke, Scott Six/Star Lite Custom Homes and It’s Your Home, Scott Confer/Ex. Director Mabank Economic Development Corp. and Board of Directors CCLACC; back row (from left) Kevin Pollock/Mayor City of Seven Points, Paul Eaton/Mayor City of Gun Barrel City, Dennis Baade/City Council Gun Barrel City. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Pictured (from left) are Jo Ann Hanstrom/President CCLACC, Marty Mullins/TexasAbility, LLC and Board Chair CCLACC, State Representative Jim Pitts (Dist. 10), State Representative Lance Gooden (Dist. 4), Pamela Burke, Scott Six/Star Lite Custom Homes and It’s Your Home, Scott Confer/Ex. Director Mabank Economic Development Corp. and Board of Directors CCLACC; back row (from left) Kevin Pollock/Mayor City of Seven Points, Paul Eaton/Mayor City of Gun Barrel City, Dennis Baade/City Council Gun Barrel City. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CCL Area Chamber of Commerce press release

As a result of months of talks with both of the Cedar Creek Lake State Representatives, the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in setting up a meeting on Feb. 27 with TxDOT representatives, State Reps Jim Pitts (Dist. 10) and Lance Gooden (Dist, 4) and a delegation of local leaders. The subject of the ongoing talks and the meeting in Pitts’ Capitol office was the expansion/improvement of Texas State Highway 334 between Gun Barrel City and Seven Points. The end result of the meeting was promising and positive, with TxDOT making a commitment to spend approximately $2 million to conduct the Environmental Impact Statement in 2014.

The delegation of local leaders that traveled to Austin for Wednesday’s meeting included Jo Ann Hanstrom, President Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce; Scott Confer, Executive Director Mabank EDC and board member CCLACC; Marty Mullins, board chair CCLACC; Scott Six, Star Lite Custom Homes and member of the Gun Barrel City CCLACC Chapter Committee. Also in the delegation were Kevin Pollock, Mayor Seven Points; Paul Eaton, Mayor Gun Barrel City; and Dennis Baade, City Council Gun Barrel City member. Six is a long-time, active member and former board vice-chair of the Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Letters of support and reports from various entities in the cities and Henderson County were secured by Hanstrom and presented to TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson and Deputy Executive Director John Barton, along with an oral presentation by the delegation’s spokesperson, Six. Six pointed out the growth that the Cedar Creek Lake community has enjoyed since the existing bridges were constructed in the early 60s and noted the mutual impact of travel between the two communities. He emphasized the known danger, loss of business and other problems when the two-lane bridges are closed for accidents or repair.

It was made clear by the TxDOT representatives that the rebuild would be a $40 to $50 million project, there’s much work to be done between all of the entities involved and that a new bridge is years in the future, but the mood of the delegation was extremely positive and Six said, “We’re very encouraged by the news that the EIS funds have been committed and we believe we’re in a position now to look forward to being put on the TxDOT schedule for our requested bridge expansion project. This is good news and what we were hoping for.”

Hanstrom said, “I want to thank the members of our local delegation for devoting the time to travel to Austin for the meeting and I’m especially appreciative of Representatives Pitts and Gooden and the TxDOT representatives for recognizing our need and responding in such a swift and positive way.”

She went on to say that everyone who was asked for support, including the Chiefs of Police of Gun Barrel City and Seven Points, played a role in the positive outcome of the meeting.

DAILY BRIEF: Legislation brings attention to county lawmakers

Tuesday, Feb. 12, was Athens Day at the Capitol. Above, State Rep. Lance Gooden poses with members from the Athens community. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Tuesday, Feb. 12, was Athens Day at the Capitol. Above, State Rep. Lance Gooden poses with members from the Athens community. (COURTESY PHOTO)

HOT TOPIC: Henderson County’s two representatives in the State House have both drawn attention for legislation they have filed.

State Rep. Lance Gooden (District 4) has gotten considerable coverage this week for the fight against what he calls “indiscriminate surveillance.” Gooden has filed legislation to outlaw the use of unmanned vehicle and aircraft — drones — to take photos on private property.

“Why should the government or anyone else be able to watch my every move?” Gooden asked the Texas Tribune. 

Gooden is also carrying a bill, prompted by Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee, to close a loophole in the penal code with regard to intoxicated assault and “bodily harm.”

The county’s other representative, State Rep. Jim Pitts (District 10), has filed two bills important to Henderson County residents:

Pitts has also filed legislation to expand the no-texting-and-driving zone around schools, something we support.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Athens Hornets will be headed to the playoffs after a big win last night.

Results from the TVCC rodeo last weekend.

Macie Marshall is the Athens High School Student of the Month.

We added Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter to our Facebook page. Check out the tabs at the top.

WHAT OTHERS ARE TALKING ABOUT

There are some Palestine, Texas residents on that crippled Carnival cruise ship. 

The Tyler Paper caught up with Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders and asked him how things were going in the new Annex building. 

State Rep. Lance Gooden had an interview with The Texas Politics Project (video).

If you need something added to the Daily Brief, just click “Contact” in the menu bar and let us know.

You can get the Daily Brief in your inbox, Monday through Friday. Just add your email in the form below and let Henderson County Now come to you.

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

Pitts authors Second Amendment Preservation Act

Jim Pitts
Jim Pitts

Press release from Office of Rep. Jim Pitts

AUSTIN – In response to potential federal actions that could unconstitutionally restrict the right to bear arms, State Rep. Jim Pitts joint authored House Bill 553 to reaffirm and protect Texans’ second amendment rights.

“The Second Amendment was written with the tremendous foresight of our founding fathers and has endured for over two centuries as a necessary protectorate of a citizen’s right to bear arms. I intend to stand up for that right and am proud to join Representative John Otto in authoring HB 553, the Second Amendment Preservation Act,” Pitts said.

The proposed legislation applies to all federal acts, laws, executive orders, agency orders, and rules or regulations of all kinds and nullifies federal acts with the purpose, intent, or effect of:

  • confiscating a firearm,
  • banning a firearm,
  • limiting the size of a magazine for a firearm,
  • imposing a limit on the ammunition that may be purchased for a firearm,
  • taxing a firearm or ammunition, or
  • requiring the registration of a firearm or ammunition.

“My goal is to best represent my constituents, and after hearing significant concerns about possible Executive Orders and other federal actions, I felt that this legislation was necessary,” Pitts said.

Pitts has served House District 10, which now includes parts of Cedar Creek Lake, for the past 20 years.

Morning Brief: Wednesday, Jan. 16

State Rep. Jim Pitts
State Rep. Jim Pitts

In the photo above, State Rep. Jim Pitts, who now represents parts of Cedar Creek Lake, files House Bill 1, the base budget bill, Tuesday in Austin. (COURTESY PHOTO)

While we are talking about the Legislature, Rep. Lance Gooden has filed several resolutions, including a couple about Henderson County folks. 

What are you going to do for the National Day of Service this Saturday? We asked our Facebook community, and looks like the Family Peace Project could use some help. 

Thank you to Kevin and Jeaneane Lilly for their $10,000 donation to the Athens Splash Pad project. The Athens Review has a photo. 

Don’t forget, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Banquet is this Friday night. There’s still time to get tickets. 

From the TVCC Facebook page: 

The Cardinal Sports Network will webcast tonight’s Region XIV Conference Doubleheader at Cardinal Gym between the Lady Cardinals, Cardinals and Kilgore College. Sports Information Officer Benny Rogers and President Dr. Glendon Forgey will handle the play by play and commentary. Watch all the action starting at 5:20 p.m.

TWITTER USERS: If you see something newsworthy (or interesting or fun) in the county, tag it #hctnow.

FOR NON TWITTER USERS: What the above means is that any tweet with the tag #hctnow can be gathered into one list … so you could conceivably track that one tag and get information from Seven Points to Chandler.

Pitts looking to end 15-percent Rule

Jim Pitts
Jim Pitts

State Rep. Jim Pitts has filed legislation that would end the so-called 15-percent Rule, which would require that 15 percent of a student’s final grade come from their State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams.

The STAAR replaced the TAKS two years ago. According to the Texas Education Agency: “The STAAR program at grades 3–8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on TAKS. At high school, however, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course assessments: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.”

Continuing uncertainty about the STAAR test, however, has caused the 15-percent rule to be deferred the past two years.

Now Pitts would like to just end the rule permanently. In December, State Rep. Lance Gooden announced that he was going to file legislation that would do the same thing.

Area superintendents have reservations about the STAAR.

In December, Athens ISD Superintendent Blake Stiles said, “The plan for implementation of the end-of-course tests has been very disorganized. Schools did not know what the passing standards would be and there was very little directions from the state as to how we should apply the 15 percent rule to the courses (by semester, by year, retakes, GPA, etc.). The rules and procedures for the end-of-course tests and the 15 percent rule should be crystal clear before we hold our students accountable for their performance on the exams.”