2017 in review

For Lindale, successful year begins with business

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In 2017, business growth in Lindale continued on its usual and familiar path, helping boost other areas of the city and the area.

The announcement this past year that Sanderson Farms – the third largest chicken producer in the United States – selected Lindale’s Industrial Park for one of its hatcheries and office complex (along with associated sites in Mineola and Winona) confirmed major corporations are convinced this area is a great place to do business.

The Lindale Relief Route was a top selling point for Sanderson as was the spirit of cooperation from all avenues of county government.

Lindale’s Cannery District has come to life in the past year as an entertainment venue as well as a shiny example of the vision of city officials when they bought the property several years ago.

In last week’s edition, the first six months of 2017 were spotlighted. Today, the final six months of 2017 are recounted.

JULY

Garner named “Chief Emeritus’’ of LVFD

For the first time in the history of the Lindale Volunteer Fire Department, longtime Chief Jerry Garner was named “Chief Emeritus’’ following a vote of the department’s members.

Garner, retired a few weeks earlier as active chief of the department, and continued to assist the department whenever needed.

This honorary title is for retired chief who have distinguished careers and made significant contributions and performed meritorious services to their departments and communities and the fire service which sets them apart from their peers.

County road meeting held in Lindale

Smith County officials met with about 60 people from the northern portions of Smith County July 20 at Lindale High School to listen to their road concerns at the second Road and Bridge Strategic Planning Citizen Input Meeting held by the county.

County Judge Nathaniel Moran and Commissioners Terry Phillips and JoAnn Hampton, as well as County Engineer Frank Davis, hosted the second of several citizen input meetings planned throughout the county to gather residents’ opinions to develop a long-term road plan.

Residents gathered in the LHS Cafetorium to express their road concerns. The meeting was also attended by Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce and Lindale Economic Development Corporation members.

“I think we had a great turnout,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips said. “I had a lot of one-on-one time with my constituents to talk about their concerns about the most important roads around – their roads.”

AUGUST

County keeps tax rate, but taxes increased

Despite Smith County Commissioners voting to keep the current tax rate, because property values increased across the county taxpayers will see higher rates this year.

Across the county, values increased 4.5 percent.

The county’s debt will use 3.1641 cents of that rate to complete the new county jail.

According to the Smith County Appraisal District, the average Smith County home has a value of $165,841 or a 4.7 percent increase from the $158,188 figure in 2016.

Also according to SCAD figures, the average tax bill for county homeowners would be $547 in 2018 compared to $522 in 2017.

Of that amount, taxpayers will be spending $52.47 on the new jail.

Commissioners held public hearings on the tax rate on Aug. 15.

LHS standout Thompson signs with TAMU-Commerce

Allie Thompson, standout softball player at Lindale High School, signed a letter of intent to play for the Texas A&M University-Commerce Lady Lions.

Thompson was a four-year letter winner as a catcher and a two-year letter winner in cross country for the Lady Eagles. She was named first team All-District as a junior and a sophomore.

She was named team MVP as both a junior and a senior and was named Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.

She was also a four-time Academic All-District selection. Her team won a Bi-District Championship during her senior season.

Bond election for county roads called

Smith County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Aug. 21 to call a bond election for Nov. 7, 2017, to give the citizens of Smith County the opportunity to approve or disapprove the issuance of bonds for road and bridge construction and major improvements.

Voters approved the issuance of bonds in November.

The bond will be issued over a three-year period, in an amount not to exceed $39.5 million. The money received from the bonds will be used to pay for major county road and bridge projects over three years, which, according to commissioners, is Phase I of a six-year Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Project.

SEPTEMBER

LHS loses opener to Kaufman

In their first game under new Head Coach Chris Cochran, Lindale’s Eagles fell to the Kaufman Lions, 19-14, in Kaufman.

The Eagles’ defense played well, despite allowing 19 points and the offense managed to move the ball to a certain degree against one of the better Class 4A teams in the region.

“There were some positive things we took out of that game, but we want our kids to understand that they should never get comfortable with losing,’’ Cochran said. “We as coaches are fighting to help them understand that losing is never OK.’’

LHS Speech begins new season in winning fashion

A new season got under way for the Lindale High School speech and debate teams the first week of September and much like prior years, coach Rory McKenzie’s group got off to a positive start at swing tournaments held in Plano.

Swing tournaments are events held in the same city at two different high schools. LHS competed at Plano Clark High School and Plano Senior High School.

Several Lindale competitors recorded first place finishes in both meets.

Hicks crowned Homecoming Queen

As the crowd was settling in to enjoy the Eagles’ second win of the season, it was treated to Homecoming festivities prior to the contest on Sept. 22.

Lindale High School senior Klaire Hicks was named Homecoming Queen and received her crown midfield at Eagle Stadium.

The Eagles took care of business during the game, defeating Terrell 35-17.

Caldwell honored by LISD alumni

Longtime educator Janice Caldwell was honored prior to the LHS football game on Sept. 22 by the Lindale ISD Alumni Association with its Distinguished Service Award, which is given to a former faculty member or other individual whose outstanding service greatly contributed to the success of the LISD.

She molded and mentored students for more than 30 years – 24 of those in the LISD. All of her students, trophy winners or not, benefited from her dedication to bringing out the best in each of them.

“Just watching them learn how to critically examine issues and look at both sides of issues is what I enjoyed the most,’’ she said. “These kids, whether they continue speech and debate later are developing speaking skills, are learning to think for themselves and analyze different points of view. These are skills they will use as adults regardless of what path they choose.’’

OCTOBER

New dog park arrives at The Cannery

A new dog park and dog adoption center is now northeast section of The Cannery, thanks to the efforts of Chad Franke, owner of The Cannery District, Greater Good.org’s Rescue Rebuild and Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation.

On Oct. 5, a century-old house, which eventually became the dog adoption center, was moved to its permanent location in the middle of the dog park.

The house was purchased by The Cannery and donated to the cause.

Eagles begin District 17-5A play with win

Lindale’s Eagles began league play with a 35-31 win over Nacogdoches in Nacogdoches.

LHS built a 22-14 lead at the half before allowing the Dragons back in the game in the third period.

“We went out and laid an egg in the third period,’’ said Head Coach Chris Cochran. “We were emotionally flat and put ourselves in a real predicament.’’

Countryfest bigger, better than ever

Thousands and thousands of East Texans gathered in downtown Lindale on a glorious, but warm, Saturday (Oct. 19) and enjoyed the 33rd annual Countryfest, sponsored by the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce.

LACC President and CEO Shelbie Glover figures this year’s event drew more than the previous record of last year’s estimated crowd of 7,500.

And even though it was warm, no one seemed to be dissuaded to stroll the grounds and enjoy the vendors, the Crossroads Classic Car Show, the Harvest Hustle 5K benefit run and the Hideaway Kiwanis Club Auction as well as several other activities for young and old alike.

“I like to say that whether you are 8 or 80, there’s always something to enjoy about Countryfest,’’ Glover said.

NOVEMBER

County road bond passes

The $39.5 million Smith County Road Bond passed with 73 percent of the vote Tuesday, Nov. 7, according to complete but unofficial voting totals.

Smith County ballots showed 4,411 people, or 73 percent voted for the bond, while 1,629, or 27 percent voted against the issuance of bonds for road and bridge construction and major improvements.

Lambert wins CMA award

Country music superstar and Lindale native Miranda Lambert added to her growing list of awards by winning the Female Vocalist of the Year award at the 2017 CMA Awards on Nov. 8 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

In addition to the vocalist of the year category, she was nominated for Album of the Year (“The Weight of These Wings”), Single of the Year (“Tin Man”), Song of the Year (“Tin Man”) and Music Video of the Year (“Vice”).

Local man accused in DPS shooting

On Thanksgiving Day, Department of Public Safety trooper Damon Allen was gunned down after making a routine traffic stop of Dabrett Black, 32, of Lindale.

DPS officials said Allen initiated the traffic stop and was shot by Black with a rifle when the trooper walked back to his vehicle.

Authorities said Black fled the scene and was apprehended three hours later in Waller County after a police dog located the suspect in a hay field.

Black attended Lindale schools and is a 2003 graduate of Lindale High School.

DECEMBER

Lindale Christmas Celebration a hit

On Dec. 2, thousands of Lindale residents and East Texans lined Highway 69 to enjoy the annual Lindale Christmas Parade followed by the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at Picker’s Pavilion.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived on horseback to greet everyone in the parade.

Sales tax revenue continues upward

Lindale’s sales tax figures were in the plus category at 4.66 percent, according to numbers released by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office during the second week of December.

These figures were based on sales during November 2017, compared to November 2016. Last month’s percentage for local merchants was 5.22 percent.

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