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HUNTSVILLE ISD BOARD MEETS FOR BOARD WORKSHOP TONIGHT

The Huntsville ISD Board of Trustees will have a Regular Board Workshop, which includes a Budget Review, this evening at six at the Hawkins Administration Building. The meeting will be open to the public to attend physically at up to 25 percent occupancy. In the event the 25 percent is exceeded, HISD will “Live Stream’ the event on the Huntsville ISD webpage.

COUNCILMEMBERS CONSIDER GRANT USE FOR A FREE COVID-19 TESTING PROGRAM

At this week’s regular session of the Huntsville City Council, councilmembers considered an interlocal agreement for professional services with the Walker County Hospital District to administer a free COVID-19 Community Testing Program for residents of the City of Huntsville. The funds will be from the Texas Department of Emergency Management Coronavirus Relief Funds.

The City’s Director of Economic Development Tammy Gann explained to councilmembers . . . .

Ms. Gann says, “The swab test will be available seven days a week. They will offer private testing and include an option for a remote test site at locations to be determined. The test site will be located at Huntsville Memorial Hospital clinic and operate Monday through Friday from 4 PM to 8 PM and open on Saturday and Sunday eight hours daily.”

SUMMER READING PROGRAM GOES DIGITAL

“Imagine Your Story” with the Huntsville Public Library! The 2020 Texas Summer Reading Program will be virtual to promote social distancing while still encouraging literacy during this time.

The Huntsville Public Library has purchased READsquared, a virtual reading program tracker that allows patrons to record their reading on the READsquared app and website. Patrons who are not able to access the website or app may call the library to log their reading. Through the READsquared software, the library is automatically notified of when a participant has completed the program and can schedule a time for the participant to come to the library to pick up their completion prizes. Participants who complete the program will also be eligible to enter a raffle for more exclusive prizes.

This year’s four-week program consists of four different age groups reading a specific number of books to earn points towards a raffle ticket to win a prize. The program begins on August 6, 2020, and ends on September 6, 2020. The age groups are encouraged to read the following:

The Pre-K 2020 Age Group (0-4) is encouraged to read 29 books over the course of four weeks. Each book is worth 35 points.

The Children’s 2020 Age Group (5-12) is encouraged to read 14 books over the course of four weeks. Each book is worth 72 points.

Teens (13-17) and Adults (18+) are encouraged to read seven books over the course of four weeks. Each book is worth 143 points.

Summer Reading Program registration opens August 6, 2020. For more information about the program, please visit www.MyHuntsvilleLibrary.com or call 936-291-5472.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The Walker County Office of Emergency Management reports that as of Tuesday, August 4, at 4 PM, there were 681 active cases of coronavirus in the county, with 464 recovered and 4 deceased. There were nine community cases reported on August 3.

Among TDCJ offenders in the county, there were 63 active cases reported with 1,896 recovered.

Among TDCJ employees in the county, there were114 active cases with 260 recovered.

The next community testing dates are August 11, 15, 18 and 25, 8 AM to 4 PM, at the Walker County Fairgrounds. Symptoms do not have to be present to test. Registration will be performed on-site. A valid I-D is required at the test site.

CITY COUNCIL LOOKS AT AT&T CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT APPLICATION

At Tuesday night’s Huntsville City Council session one of the several agenda items discussed at length regarded approving the Conditional Use Permit Application for a “Public Utility” service center to be placed on property located at 1014 13th Street.

City Planner Leigha Larkins addressed the council on the matter . . . .

AT&T Representative John McClelland addressed councilmembers on how the company would comply to instituting improvements to the facility to make it more compatible with local regulations . . . .

The minister of the First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Jason Bays, raised objections to the new configuration of the site as disruptive to the church.

Local Attorney Thomas Leeper raised objections . . . .

Councilmembers approved the Conditional Use Permit Application.

DANGERS IN THE CAR: TxDOT’s NEW AUGMENTED REALITY GAME URGES DRIVERS TO NEVER DRIVE DISTRACTED

Despite stay at home orders and less traffic the past few months, Texas has continued to see about the same amount of fatalities on our state’s roadways. In an effort to reach drivers more creatively about the dangers of distracted driving, TxDOT has launched a new web-based augmented reality (AR) game that reinforces the importance of paying attention behind the wheel and reminds drivers to keep their heads up. Around 1 in 5 crashes on Texas roads are caused by distracted driving and all of them are preventable.

This new AR game Dart Those Distractionsis designed to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an interactive, engaging way that resonates with all ages. Inspired by a classic carnival game, players will throw darts over a car windshield to hit balloons symbolizing driving distractions like eating, programming music or navigation and self-grooming. This is an important reminder that distracted driving isn’t just about texting or talking from the driver’s seat.

TxDOT will promote the “Heads up, Texas” campaign and new AR game through social media, social influencers and digital advertising. These efforts are to raise awareness of the game and encourage people to share their results and recruit other players to dart those distractions. The AR game can be played on any smartphone or tablet by visiting www.dartthosedistractions.com or players can visit the website on a desktop computer to access the game through a QR code. Players should never play while behind the wheel, don’t add another distraction!

CITY COUNCIL SESSION TONIGHT

The Huntsville City Council will meet for a regular session at City Hall at six this evening.

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The City will implement six-foot social distancing for those in attendance. The meeting will be broadcast live on HuntsvilleTX.gov/Meetings.

There will be a Public Hearing on an application to the U-S Department of Justice for a Justice Assistance Grant and a Public Hearing to hear comments on a Conditional Use Permit Application for a “Public Utility” service center to be located on property at 1014 13th Street.

During tonight’s “Consent Agenda,” the council will consider authorizing applying for a Justice Assistance Grant and adopting a resolution.

On tonight’s “Statutory Agenda,” will be Second Readings on amending the Huntsville Code of Ordinances regarding controlling surface water run-off and changing the name of Gospel Hill Road to William H. Jones, Sr. Road. There will be First Readings on a dis-annexation issue and authorizing the City Manager to enter into an interlocal agreement for professional services with the Walker County Hospital District to administer a COVID-19 Community testing program. There will be a resolution on a dis-annexation issue. On the same agenda will be consideration of approval of announcing the City’s intention to adopt a maximum property tax rate of $.3441 per $100 valuation for 2020-2021.

Councilmembers will hear comments during a Citizen Participation segment. Allan Rushing will speak about his experience with corrupt HPD officers. The Armatus Reintegration Program will introduce themselves and their organization.

JUDGE PIERCE SAYS CONFEDERATE MONUMENT REMOVAL ISSUE WILL EVENTUALLY BE PUT ON AGENDA

In Walker County Commissioners Court Special Session Monday during Citizen Input, the court heard from six citizens who wished to have the Confederate Monument removed from the lawn around the courthouse.

Judge Danny Pierce let the court know that they have been focusing most on the budget, but will eventually put the Confederate Monument removal issue on the agenda for a vote. He could not as yet confirm an exact date . . . .

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