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Local News

We update our local news twice a day every weekday (about 6am and 2pm) and occasionally at other times too.

We primarily focus on our three “home” counties – Matagorda, Jackson and Wharton counties, and also include items from slightly further afield if we feel them to be impactful on us all.

 

FEMA field teams have been inspecting damaged properties in Matagorda County since Friday. This includes all communities in the County. They began in the hardest hit area around Sargent, Texas – and then moved into the other areas. The FEMA personnel have badges that will clearly identify them as FEMA employees. Make sure and ask ... Read more

Riverside Park in Bay City is hosting “Get Outside & Go Wild!” events. On July 20, learn about planting and transplant shock. On July 27th, discover tree and plant identification. August 3rd features the world of worms. August 10th covers marine life and environmental stewardship. August 17th offers Fishing 101. Events start at 10 a.m., ... Read more

St. Paul Lutheran Church in Wharton is celebrating their 100th Ice Cream Social, coinciding with National Ice Cream Month. This tradition began in 1924 when the Ladies Aid group held the first social. Despite disasters and moves, the event has continued every year. This year’s social will be held on July 26th from 5-7 p.m., ... Read more

The Wharton Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture announced Karen Smith as the new Executive Director, replacing Ron Sanders who retired after 17 years. Smith, the Wharton Lions Club President, was introduced at a city budget meeting. The chamber also welcomed Kathy Alexander as the new office administrator.

On Wednesday Boy Scouts Troop 364 of Victoria, along with local veterans and the American Legion, held a flag retirement ceremony at the Bloomington VFW. They retired over 1,000 worn American flags. The event, attended by Victoria County Commissioner Danny Garcia, highlighted the unity between scouts and veterans, honoring the symbol of the country.

Authorities in Victoria arrested Tyreik Gonzales, 24, after his pregnant girlfriend reported he pushed her stomach with a closed fist. The incident occurred on July 4 during a verbal argument. The woman, 37 weeks pregnant, said Gonzales caused her pain by pushing her stomach with both hands and then with a closed fist. Gonzales faces ... Read more

Jackson County Commissioners approved installing new security cameras at the Service Building for the Justice of the Peace #1 court. They contracted YK Communication to install Cloudcam cameras for $2,295, with a monthly fee of $310 for 24 months. They also bought five new voting machines for $14,300, bringing the total to 33.

Helen Feldhousen, manager of Blessing Hotel Restaurant and Coffee Shop, was recently honored by the Matagorda County Commissioners’ Court. July 15th was declared Helen Feldhousen Day in Blessing for her decades of service. Feldhousen gained national fame in 2010 when CNN named her café the “Best Dang Food Joint in Texas.” Other media outlets have ... Read more

Debris cleanup in El Campo is underway and will take 60 days after Hurricane Beryl’s damage. Ceres Environmental will make three passes through each city quadrant, starting with the northeast. Only natural vegetation will be collected. State roads will be cleared last due to regulations. Volunteers are needed to help trim trees. The city expects ... Read more

Seadrift City Council fired suspended Police Chief Marie Carisalez on Monday. Carisalez was placed on paid leave on June 25th. She became interim chief on June of ’23, after former Chief Leonard Bermea was fired. Mayor Jesse Hubbell said the action followed city policies. The council did not disclose why she was terminated.

A 22-year-old mother in Bay City faces charges after her toddler was found wandering alone in an apartment complex parking lot Friday morning. Fire Marshal Dan Shook found the unclothed child with sore feet. The child was identified and returned to his mother, Pleasant Byrd. Child Protective Services was notified, and Byrd was arrested for ... Read more

FEMA is arriving in Wharton County to assist with disaster unemployment insurance after Hurricane Beryl. They will set up at El Campo’s Northside Center and another site in Wharton. FEMA will help with claims and offer low-interest loans for property damage. Residents should document all damages. The Texas Workforce Commission is accepting Disaster Unemployment Assistance ... Read more

After Hurricane Beryl caused power outages in Ganado, Jackson County’s Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator used AT&T FirstNet to maintain communication. FirstNet, a priority service for first responders, was deployed quickly. After a request at 11 p.m., a mobile tower was set up by 9:30 a.m. the next morning. This ensured continuous communication for local emergency ... Read more

The Bay City Fire Marshal’s Office warns that keeping hurricane shutters up can be a fire hazard. Residents should remove shutters to ensure two exits from each room, which is crucial in a fire. Shuttered windows can block firefighters, worsening fires. Though it may be tiring, removing shutters is vital for safety.

The Edna City Council approved a $275,000 bid from BLS Construction to rebuild the Shelby Park concession stand and restrooms, destroyed by a tornado last September. The project, funded by donations, grants, and $50,000 from the city, aims for completion by January 1st. Additionally, the city approved a 15% increase in employee health insurance for ... Read more

The Ganado Townhall Players are ready to present “Persephone Rules” after eight weeks of preparation. Directed by Robin Donalson and Shelby Graves, the play features talented kids aged 11 to 17. This 90-minute comedy explores Greek mythology. Performances are happenoing Friday thru Sunday, with tickets priced at $30, including a meal. Tickets can be purchased ... Read more

Jackson County Hospital District hosted a free Child Passenger Safety Seat Check Event last Saturday at their main entrance. The event aimed to enhance child safety in vehicles, with trained officers inspecting seats for defects, expiration dates, recalls, and proper installation. Parents were encouraged to bring their children for a custom fit. Inspections took about ... Read more

Wharton and El Campo avoided major damage from Hurricane Beryl’s landfall. El Campo faced minor issues at a water treatment plant and lift stations, including a generator failure and a burned-out blower. Despite these, operations continued smoothly. The city’s service center had some windows knocked out and an air-conditioning fuse burned out. Wharton reported no ... Read more

Victoria is working to raise wages for all city departments, including police and fire, through a new pay program. Due to retention issues and rising living costs, the city has invested $5 million in wages and benefits over four years. The proposed plan aims to increase wages by $3.2 million over two years, with a ... Read more

Today at 1 PM, El Campo Civic Center parking lot will distribute water and nonperishable items donated by Goodfellow Air Force Base due to Hurricane Beryl. Supplies are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. The city expresses gratitude to the Air Force Base for their support.

H-E-B announced it is deploying a mobile kitchen to support communities affected by Hurricane Beryl. The kitchen, first sent to Sargent, served hot meals in Matagorda County until Monday evening at the First Baptist Church of Sargent. H-E-B plans to serve 21,500 meals and has also supported other storm-impacted areas with cooling centers, water, ice, ... Read more

Alexis Grace Gibbens, a recent Van Vleck graduate, was named a student hero by the State of Education Board for her community service. She founded SR’s to Seniors, aiding local senior citizens, and coached the Aquacats Swim Team. Gibbens, also the Class of ’24 Salutatorian, credits her community for her service mindset. The Van Vleck ... Read more

The Victoria City Council is set to nominate a new member for the Central Appraisal District board after Jodie Sandoval’s resignation. Each taxing entity can nominate a candidate, and the board will choose one. The council will also award a $7.3 million contract to Clark Construction for the Tanglewood Phase 1 Street Reconstruction Project, which ... Read more

Wharton County commissioners hired Andy Kirkland as a part-time deputy emergency management coordinator on Friday. Kirkland, with 25 years of experience, will assist Russell McDougall. The county praised its disaster response and extended the disaster declaration. Debris cleanup will occur in three phases, with burning prohibited in city limits. The county reported $191,200 in damages.

The Blessing Hotel Cafe, known for only closing on Christmas, is now shut indefinitely due to Hurricane Beryl. The 117-year-old hotel sustained severe damage. Jedie Pierce, a descendant of the founder, expressed the emotional toll and the need for community support to repair the café. The hotel remains partially open, and an annual fundraiser is ... Read more

Just hours after Hurricane Beryl hit Wharton County, the City Council met and approved new body cameras for the police department. The 20 HALO cameras, costing $25,200, are funded through forfeiture funds, not taxes. They also approved an air-conditioning unit for the fire department. Plus, two new EMS vehicles were approved, and a committee was ... Read more

In Sargent, a house caught fire after power was restored post-Hurricane Beryl. Officials believe the electricity caused the rental home on Canal Drive to ignite. The fire was extinguished, but the house is a total loss. One firefighter was injured. The home was unoccupied at the time. Power restoration and storm damage are suspected causes

An alligator was found in Legacy Park’s pond on Thursday, just before the Texas East Softball Tournament. No one was harmed as alligator hunter Larry Janik safely removed it. The sighting quickly spread on social media. The pond overflowed due to storm waters, attracting the alligator. The city will monitor the park to ensure safety. ... Read more

The El Campo Rotary Club served a BBQ lunch to 300 lineworkers at the Civic Center on Thursday. The lunch thanked American Electric Power workers and first responders for restoring power post-Hurricane Beryl. Local businesses donated food. By Friday, 97% of power was restored. The Rotary Club also provided pizzas to Wharton County Electric Cooperative ... Read more

Officials reported the first local death related to Hurricane Beryl. A 66-year-old man in Bay City died from heat stroke without air conditioning. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick assured residents that state officials are providing aid, including meals, water, and cooling stations. Power restoration is ongoing, but some areas, like Sargent, may be without power for ... Read more

Wharton County residents, already hit by Hurricane Beryl and July heat, now face a mosquito invasion. Local governments, including El Campo’s “Mosquito Assassins,” are combating the pests with nightly city-wide spraying. Public Works Director Kevin Thompson aims to curb the mosquito population before it spikes. Residents are urged to eliminate standing water to prevent breeding.

Late Tuesday, Lavaca County EMS was called by the state’s emergency medical task force. Due to an overload of 911 calls in Houston, four paramedics and two ambulances were sent from Lavaca County. They joined EMS teams from across Texas at NRG Stadium and were assigned to the Manvel area to assist.

AEP Texas is restoring power to the last customers affected by Hurricane Beryl. They ask those still without power to call the Customer Solutions Center. 94% of the 35,500 affected customers have power back. Customers are reminded to stay away from crews and downed power lines, and to follow safety instructions for portable generators. Sign ... Read more

Bay City police announced help for Hurricane Beryl damage — free cleanup services. Volunteers can cut fallen trees, remove drywall, flooring, and appliances, tarp roofs, and mitigate mold. The hotline is open until July 19th. Services aren’t guaranteed due to high demand and don’t cover social services like food, clothing, shelter, or insurance. For more ... Read more

Despite most of El Campo being without power after Hurricane Beryl, the Little League Texas East State Softball Tournament proceeded at Zlotnik Park, which had power. District 18 administrator Paul Sanders confirmed the games are on, though he is concerned about hotel availability for visitors. The tournament started Thursday with opening ceremonies.

Carlos Morales, 44, from Humble, was arrested on June 28th for smuggling people after a traffic stop on Hwy 59. When pulled over, several individuals fled into the brush. Morales was detained, and a search of his vehicle revealed a Ruger 380 pistol and items linked to human smuggling. He faces additional charges for unlawful ... Read more

Four former Industrial High School baseball players pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily injury. They received 12 months deferred adjudication, 50 hours of community service, and a $1,000 fine. The charges stemmed from an organized assault on a younger teammate last year. Their attorney stated that the plea deal was the best option to avoid ... Read more

Wharton successfully avoided a worst-case scenario with Hurricane Beryl. The Assistant City Manager reported minimal structural damage, mainly from fallen tree limbs, and the city’s infrastructure remained intact. The Wharton Volunteer Fire Department, on standby during the storm, mainly dealt with downed power lines and gas leaks. The main job now will be restoring power ... Read more

After a two-day hiatus due to Hurricane Beryl, El Campo and other schools in the area have resumed their summer workouts. Wharton, however, remains closed and is expected to reopen today, according to athletic director Alvin Dotson. These workouts will continue for the remainder of the month.

On Monday morning in Victoria, police found a woman with life-threatening injuries caused by Trevon Anthony Martinez, now charged with murder. Police responded to a crash at East Water Street and found a white Ford Expedition had lost control and hit a fence. The woman driver, Virginia Ann Martinez, 45, was in the vehicle with ... Read more

As Hurricane Beryl hit, Wharton County saw both criminals and law-abiding citizens take shelter. Sheriff Shannon Srubar noted it was unusually quiet, with deputies focused on reporting downed power lines instead of disturbances. Two active lines were down on FM 1300 and CR 251. Despite home and crop damage, things went as well as possible.

Matagorda Regional Medical Center reported minimal issues during Hurricane Beryl, with no known deaths, according to a spokesperson. The hospital maintained power throughout, thanks to generators. Staff and patients stayed safe inside. However, other Southeast Texas areas, including Harris, Montgomery, and Galveston counties, experienced fatalities, with nine reported. In Harris County, falling trees killed two ... Read more

Several organizations, including the American Red Cross and H-E-B Grocery, helped set up a temporary shelter at the Bay City Civic Center, Bay City officials reported. The shelter opened Wednesday afternoon, offering food, water, cots, sleeping bags, and air conditioning to those affected by Hurricane Beryl.Some residents were moved from the Bay City Service Center ... Read more

Bay City officials reported fewer calls for service over Fourth of July compared to previous years. However, Sargent Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Napoleon noted several small grass fires caused by fireworks, which were quickly extinguished without damage. Bay City Police and Fire Marshal’s Office responded to 32 fireworks-related calls, significantly down from previous years.

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church is refurbishing its historic organ, which dates back to 1920. The organ is currently being restored in Atascocita. Church Organist Jakeb Silva and member David Shield highlight the importance of this project for enhancing worship. The organ shares its history with a similar one in an Episcopal church in Atascocita. The ... Read more

Bay City Police Chief Christella Rodriguez urges the community to unite against rising gun violence. The Bay City Police Department is committed to tackling this issue and ensuring safety. Followingthe U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory on gun violence as a public health crisis, local officers are seizing illegal firearms and arresting suspects. Residents are encouraged to ... Read more

The City of El Campo is dedicated to resident safety and well-being. Following recent events, the Inspections Department will visit homes and businesses to provide crucial disaster recovery information. Inspectors, identifiable by City of El Campo vehicles, will offer resources, safety guidance, and answer recovery questions. The city asks for cooperation to ensure everyone’s safety ... Read more

Bay City Parks & Recreation wants to thank the Parks Crew, Streets and Bridge, Utilities, and Edna Public Works for clearing trees and limbs at Le Tulle Park after Hurricane Beryl. Le Tulle Park and Amistad Splash Pad will reopen today. Enjoy the outdoors in Bay City,

Matagorda County, Bay City, and Palacios are working on restoring power after recent outages. Residents are advised to drive carefully due to intersections without power. Power restoration is expected by 5 p.m. on Thursday for Bay City and Palacios/Blessing areas. Crews are assessing the damage and working continuously to restore electricity.

The Museum of the Coastal Bend at Victoria College will open a new exhibit in October on the early days of Texas ranching. Titled “Where Texas Ranching Began,” it will be unveiled in four parts over the next year and a half. The exhibit will feature artifacts from the 1720s to the early 1900s, including ... Read more

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