PALESTINE, Texas (March 30, 2017) – Kelly Hughes was recently named as Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief of the Palestine Fire Department.
Hughes, a 22-year veteran of the department, started his duties Monday. He replaces Kyle Betterton, who was granted a request to step down and become a Captain and interim Battalion Chief. The city of Palestine thanks Betterton for his service as Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal is responsible for fire suppressions, inspections and investigations and will also serve in administrative functions in place of Chief Shannon Davis.
Davis said he has “come to know Chief Hughes as an excellent leader and a man of strong integrity.”
“What he brings to the Palestine Fire Department is immeasurable,” Davis said. “He is a great decision maker and a man of action. You will always get honesty and truth from Chief Hughes. He is a huge asset to the City and the fire department and it is an honor to serve with him.”
Hughes has served his entire career with the Palestine Fire Department. He is a certified Master Firefighter, along with earning certifications as an arson investigator, fire inspector and plans examiner. He is also a certified scuba diver and an MSA air pack technician.
“The whole job is a calling,” Hughes said. “I’ve always strived to better myself and the department and I think doing this job, I can facilitate doing that. This city and department has entrusted me with a lot of responsibility in this position and I hope I can continue to meet those expectations.”
Hughes was the Battalion Chief of the department’s A Crew. In the interim, Betterton will serve as Battalion Chief. A permanent battalion chief will be named in the near future after civil service testing.
A native of Freeport Texas, Hughes lives in Palestine with his wife. They have two grown children. Hughes can be reached at 903-731-8464, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 31, 2017) – The Palestine Police Department and the Community Services Department of the City of Palestine are looking to curb illegal dumping in the city.
Palestine is a beautiful town, known for its impressive spring foliage, historic homes and quaint downtown area. Unfortunately, at times the illegal dumping of trash or other refuse on public property can blight this beauty.
“We would just like to make the community aware that this type of dumping is illegal and there can be substantial penalties for violating this law,” said Interim Police Chief John Herod.
The Texas Health and Safety Code provides an offense for Illegal Dumping. According to the statute, a person commits an offense if the person disposes or allows or permits the disposal of litter or other solid waste at a place that is not an approved solid waste site, including a place on or within 300 feet of a public highway, on a right-of-way, on other public or private property, or into inland or coastal water of the state. The statute provides penalties up to a State Jail Felony for violations of this provision, and a subsequent offense after having being previously convicted could lead to the forfeiture of a person’s vehicle used in the commission of the crime.
“Often times illegal dumping is seen as a crime with no real punishment. But the statutes have been framed in a way that do allow for some steep repercussions,” Herod said.
Illegal dumping can also cause a decrease in the environment of the city, as well as a decrease in the quality of life of the community. “Part of our concern as a Police Department is the quality of life of our citizens,” Herod said, “We as an agency need to be able to work together with the community to keep the quality of life of our city as high as possible. If that entails working toward prosecution of major crimes, enforcing traffic laws, or working with the community to help solve systemic issues in their neighborhoods, such as illegal dumping.”
Community Services Director Patsy Smith says that illegal dumping is on the rise. “Illegal Dumping has become a big issue in our community,” Smith said. “Dump sites invite rats, snakes, mosquitos and other disease carrying pests to our neighborhoods. This also brings down our property values, but worst of all, it poses a threat to our health.”
The Police Department and Community Services Department urge the community to be involved in their neighborhoods and report any illegal dumping that is actively happening. If safely possible, an observer is urged to record a license plate number and a description of the offending vehicle.
“Help clean our city up by being an extra set of eyes for our Police Department and Code Enforcement Division. Call if you see someone illegally dumping,” Smith said.
To report illegal dumping citizens may call 903-731-8435 to reach the Community Services Department, or 903-729-2254 to report to the Police Department.
Residents can also report illegal dumping online by using the Police Department’s Online Reporting System
PALESTINE, Texas (April 1, 2017) – The Boil Water Notice for Ridgecrest Drive has been rescinded.
Here is the legal notice language:
Boil Rescind Notice
Boil Water Rescind Notice
On March 30, 2017, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) required our public water system ,City of Palestine Utilities Department, PWS ID 0010001 to issue a Boil Water Notice (BWN) to inform our customers that due to the presence of contaminants or an interruption in service, water from our system must be boiled prior to consumption.
Our system has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore adequate pressure, disinfectant levels, and/or bacteriological quality and has provided TCEQ with testing results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling as of November 1, 2016.
If you have questions, contact Felipe Garcia at 903-731-8423.
If a customer wishes to reach TCEQ, they may call 512-239-4691.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 30, 2017) – The City of Palestine is issuing a boil water notice for residents on Ridgecrest Drive. The following is the legal notice.
Public Notice to Boil Water
Due to a line repair for residents in the area of Ridgecrest Drive, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required our water system City of Palestine, PWS 0010001 to notify customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption.
To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to use. The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source.
When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify you that the water is safe for consumption. Instructions to discontinue boiling will be issued in the same manner as this notice.
If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Felipe Garcia at (903) 731-8483.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 30, 2017) – The Palestine Farmers Market is under new management and will fully reopen on April 3 in downtown Palestine.
The city, now managed by the Community Services Department, has expanded the market so more local vendors can have the opportunity to sell homemade and handmade items. The market will host vendors that offer fresh, local produce and handmade goods.
“What makes our Farmers Market such a special place is that you’re actually creating community around food and crafts,” Community Services Director Patsy Smith said. “Our Farmers Market will have local farmers and vendors who are growing produce locally and making handmade items to sell to our community. Come out and show your support and get to know your community. We look forward to being a more diverse Farmers Market.”
Anything that is grown, or is 75 percent homemade, now has a home at the Palestine Farmers Market. Items that can be found at the market include:
• Baked goods
• Nuts and nut butters
• Homegrown plants
• Jams and jellies
• Dry goods
The city will regulate items at the market to ensure the items meet the requirements of the market and vendors follow health regulations. The city will serve as the final arbiter of any disputes in the market to ensure fairness. An advisory committee will be formed to guide city staff on policy at the market.
Vendors can learn information on becoming a vendor and receive an application by calling Danielle Shultz at the Community Services department at 903-731-8437, or email@example.com, or stop by the Community Services office inside the Palestine Mall or the Palestine Visitors Center, 825 W. Spring St.
Information can also be found online at cityofpalestinetx.com, or on Facebook.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 27, 2017) – Main Street Palestine, in conjunction with the City’s Community Services department, takes the spotlight during the second weekend of Dogwood Trails festival during the annual Farm and Flower Market in downtown Palestine on Saturday, April 1.
The market, an annual fixture of the Dogwood Trails weekends, promises to be one of the largest ever as 20 vendors are scheduled to appear.
"The Palestine Farmers' Market is a great asset to our community,” Main Street Manager Greg Laudadio said.”This annual event is an important opportunity to showcase this special space as well as the local produce and wares that are available here."
Shoppers at the market will find items such as fresh, local fruits and vegetables, local honey, homemade salsas, native plants and trees, fresh cut flowers, rustic furniture, crafts and much more. In addition to the items for sale, food trucks will take part during the market. Food trucks scheduled to appear include: Shep’s BBQ, Eat a Bite, and Mr. Freeze Ice Cream.
The Farm and Flower Market starts at 8 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. On April 3, the city starts its administration of the Farmer’s Market.
Scheduled at Saturday’s Farm and Flower Market
• Eat A Bite
• Shep’s BBQ
• Mr. Freeze Ice Cream
• John Reeves’ Produce
• Larry Walker’s Produce
• Don’s Produce
• Alvarado Farms
• Anderson County Master Gardeners
• Lone Spring Bee Farm
• Foundry Branch Nursery
• Jim’s Plants
• Flowers by Pat
• Indian Trading Post
• Katy’s Gourd Wagon
• Paper Street Candle Company
• Forgiven Gifts
• Jean’s Family Designs
• Natalie’s Whitewolf Productions
• Safire’s Rose Cottage Bakery
• Blackmon Crafts
• Carl’s Unique Creations
• Hobson Farms
Items for sale will include
• Fresh fruits and vegetables
• Fresh farm eggs
• Local honey and apiary supplies
• Homemade salsas
• Ornamental seedlings trees
• Plants, shrubs, bushes
• Native plants and trees
• Tomato plants
• Succulents, pots and planters
• Fresh cut flowers, plants and arrangements
• Rustic furniture and garden décor
• Outdoor living products and accessories
• Soy candles and gifts
• Crosses, metal artwork, glass artwork and handmade jewelry
• Wreaths, baskets, bird houses and bird feeders
• Baked products and sweetbreads
• Hand-crafted gourd martin houses
• And much more…
PALESTINE, Texas (March 22, 2017) – The Government Treasurers' Organization of Texas has awarded a Certificate of Distinction to the City of Palestine for its Investment Policy.
The City Council approved the current investment policy after it was updated to reflect best practices, meet Texas' Public Funds Investment Act requirements and address the current needs of the city.
The City was one of 16 2017 award recipients, joining 30 other Texas cities who earned the biannual award in 2016 or 2017.
Finance Director Steve Groom brought state- and nationally-recognized municipal treasurer experience to Palestine and has used that experience to improve the city's investment policy and to implement a systematic investment strategy for the city's reserve cash.
"Investing reserve cash is just good stewardship, but knowing how to invest public funds with the safety our citizens require is a specialty," Groom said. "Investing for 'Main Street' is done differently than investing for 'Wall Street,' which is why we don't ever purchase stocks, for example."
The Investment Strategy followed by the city now involves investing funds that would otherwise earn very little interest on deposit at a bank or invested in a short-term government pool.
By exercising a buy-and-hold strategy, limited city staff has purchased a portfolio of CDs and AAA-rated Federal Agency notes in a disciplined fashion, diversifying by issuer to mitigate credit risk and by maturity dates to reduce interest rate risk.
The result will be an improvement of budgeted interest earnings while maintaining safety and liquidity.
The Finance Department issues quarterly treasury reports to City Council; they are posted on the Finance Department's page of the City's website.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 21, 2017) – Don't miss the 4th Annual Egg-Normous Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palestine Athletic Complex! Admission and all entertainment are free.
More than 20,000 eggs will be “hidden” for local children at 11 a.m. Residents are asked to arrive early to ensure a spot in the hunt and to BYOB, or “bring your own basket.”
The Egg Hunt will be divided into (3) age groups:
Ages 1-3 @ Field 7
Ages 4-7 @ Field 6
Ages 8-10 @ Field 8
Each age group will hunt on their own personal field, and each field will contain 10 "Golden Eggs" that can be redeemed for prizes at the Main Stage on Field 1.
The hunts will be staggered, beginning with ages 1-3 on Field 7 at 11a.m. sharp. Minutes later, the hunt will begin for ages 4-7 on Field 6, followed by ages 8-10 on Field 8 soon after. The Community Services Department wants to ensure that families are able to be with all of their children during their hunts even if they are hunting in different fields.
When the hunt is over, Field 1 will be open with Laser Tag, Human Foosball, Kiddie Train, Cupcake Walk, bounce houses, face painting, Kornpop Magic Show, balloon art, a dunking booth, temporary hair painting by SportClips Professionals, KYYK radio, prizes and much more!
The Easter Bunny will be there, so be sure to bring your camera!
For more information, contact the City of Palestine Community Services at 903-731-8437, on the web at cityofpalestinetx.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/palestinecommservices/.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – To better inform residents of the sales tax special election, the City of Palestine will host three Town Hall meetings for Proposition 1.
The Proposition 1 Listening Series will give residents information on the sales tax election. On May 6, voters will decide to dedicate a portion of sales tax to repair and maintain city streets. Residents will learn information on sales tax and how it is used in Palestine.
Residents will also have the opportunity to ask questions to city staff and city council members about Proposition 1. The first listening session in the series will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 at Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St.
The second and third sessions will be on April 13 at Palestine ISD Central Office, 1007 E. Park Ave., and on April 20 at the Westwood ISD Fine Arts Building at Westwood High School, 1820 Panther Boulevard. Both sessions will be at 6 p.m.
For the March 30 session, the City will also host a virtual town hall meeting. Residents will be able to submit questions via Facebook and receive answers in real time via streaming video. All three listening sessions will be live streamed for residents.
For more information on the May 6 special election, visit the City of Palestine’s website at cityofpalestinetx.com. The city also has information on the general election for mayor and council members on the website.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – The City of Palestine has posted an online survey asking citizens what they would like to see in Palestine’s future development.
The city’s Zoning Steering Committee, in conjunction with the city’s Development Services Department and consultants, is in the process of updating the city’s zoning code. The zoning code was implemented in 1968, and last updated 25 years ago.
The survey, found online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HNF8KYC
, gives residents choices on their preferences on development, like shopping centers, downtown developments, apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods. The surveys also give residents the option on how these developments might look.
Zoning consultants Stantec will collect and analyze the online and paper surveys for the Zoning Steering Committee. The committee will then advise the consultants and Development Services on the future zoning code update.
The survey will remain open until April 6. For more information on the city’s Zoning Code Update, visit the city’s website at cityofpalestinetx.com.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 20, 2017) – The City of Palestine, in conjunction with the Northeast Texas Public Health District, will host class for basic food workers.
According to state law, food employees are required to have a certificate of completion of this course. Food establishments are required to maintain those certificates.
“This is a great opportunity for local food workers,” Rickey Dorsey, Assistant Director of Community Services, said. “The class will help all our local food workers meet the state requirements.”
The classes will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palestine Civic Center, 1819 W. Spring St. Instructors with the Northeast Texas Public Health District, Net Health, will be leading the class.
Preregistration for the class can be made in person at City Hall, 504 N. Queen St., between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is encouraged. Registration will be available at the door, but students must arrive 30 minutes early.
The cost is $20 per person and only cash, check or money orders will be accepted. No credit cards. Checks and money orders should be made payable to Net Health.
Classes begin promptly, and late arrivals will not be admitted into the class. If a student is unable to attend the class, an alternate student may be substituted. If a student is absent from the class and fails to send an alternate, the student will be required to re-register and pay for a later class.
For more information on the class and food establishments in Palestine, call Dorsey at 903-731-8492 or Net Health at 903-535-0030.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 7, 2017) – The 2017 City of Palestine Spring Cleanup Day will be Saturday, March 18 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cleanup items will be accepted at the City of Palestine Transfer Station, 30440 Hwy 79 E, located 1 mile outside of the city limits. The City of Palestine, in conjunction with Keep Palestine Beautiful, conducts a citywide Cleanup Day twice a year.
The cleanup day allows residents living within the Palestine city limits an opportunity to clear their property of unwanted items at no cost to the resident. This can make a big difference in the overall appearance of a home or lot.
“The bi-annual cleanup is a great opportunity for our residents to dispose of unwanted waste free of charge,” said City of Palestine Public Works Director Tim Perry, “This service is scheduled prior to the two major festivals each year to help provide our residents an additional way to be able to make the best impression to these visitors each year.”
Items accepted at the transfer station include:
• Yard waste including limbs, brush and leaves.
• Solid waste including household garbage, furniture, lumber, shingles and dried paint.
• Metal items including sheet metal, pipe, scrap iron and cast iron.
• Large appliances including refrigerators, washers, dryers, A/C units, televisions.
• Tires including car tires and light truck tires only. No tractor or large truck tires will be allowed.
• All tires must be separated from the rims. A limit of 10 tires per resident.
Items not accepted at the transfer station:
• Electronics - computers, laptops, mainframes, peripherals, telephones including cell phones, fax machines, printers copiers.
• No household chemicals, such as drain cleaners, liquid paint, cleaning supplies,
• Herbicides, pesticides, automotive fluids or acids
To be allowed to dump items free of charge during the clean-up day, proof of address must be shown. This could be a driver’s license or water bill. If these items cannot be produced, the person will not be allowed to drop off items. This event is not intended for commercial haulers or contractors.
Elderly and disabled residents may call the City of Palestine Public Works Department at 903- 731-8423 to apply for curbside pickup by Keep Palestine Beautiful and the Anderson County Adult Probation Services on Cleanup Day. The two organizations partner each year to offer curbside service for those residents who are unable to transport items. The city curates the list for the two organizations on cleanup day.
The deadline to get on the list for elderly and disabled pickup is 4 p.m. Thursday, March 16. All items must be at the curb by no later than 7 a.m. on the day of the cleanup.
The brush management/compost site will not be open during the cleanup; however, brush may be taken to the transfer station as part of the cleanup program. The same requirements for proof of address will be required to leave items.
For additional information please call the Public Works Department at 903-731-8423.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 3, 2017) - The Palestine City Council, based on the recommendation of City Manager Mike Alexander, named Shannon Davis the Chief of the Palestine Fire Department.
Davis, an 16-year veteran of the department, has served as the Interim Chief of the department since December. Previously, he was a Captain. Davis joined the Palestine Fire Department in 2001 where he served as a firefighter in the “C” Crew. In 2011, Davis was promoted to Engineer/Driver. A year later, Davis became a Lieutenant for the “B” Crew and became a Captain in 2014.
Davis is a certified Master Firefighter and holds EMT and Instructor certifications. He is also certified with the Public Safety Diver Association as a rescue diver, and earned an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Trinity Valley Community College. Davis was also the department’s administrator with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Education. In 2016, his peers named him the Firefighter of the Year.
“It’s an overwhelming experience and quite an honor and privilege to even be considered,” Davis said. “I am looking forward to working with everyone in the fire department and in city government.
“I would also like to express the importance of our mission to protect the citizens and city of Palestine.”
Alexander said Davis “recognizes that being a leader does not come with position, title, or rank.”
“He recognizes that leadership is not absolute; situations dictate response, and leaders react, make decisions, continually reevaluate performance, and alter objectives and tactics as required and I’ve seen him respond accordingly,” Alexander said. “My final decision to make Chief Davis our permanent chief came when he said ‘Since the fire service is a dynamic profession, leadership is required, expected, and, when absent, extremely noticeable. We prepare for the "what if" call, situation, or incident. We spend many hours training, discussing, and executing for the moment that we can make a difference. It is unrealistic to expect people to lead who have not prepared. It is improbable that the result of a dynamically changing event will be positive if preparation was not a focus, and previous performance was not evaluated.’
“Chief Davis asked that I and his Battalion Chiefs constantly evaluate his performance and challenge him to be the fire chief they desire,” Alexander said.
A veteran and Texas native, Davis lives in Frankston with his wife and children.
PALESTINE, Texas (March 2, 2017) – The Palestine Police Department is announcing an upcoming initiative to facilitate Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the city.
The Neighborhood Watch program has been in existence as a mainstream community involvement initiative since 1972. The main purpose of these programs is to create a partnership between the citizens in a local neighborhood and law enforcement, and empower the citizens with the ability to effectively improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which they live. The members of a Neighborhood Watch program participate in methods of crime prevention, as well as proactive problem solving in their own neighborhoods.
The Palestine Police Department wants to cultivate these partnerships and work with the community to foster crime prevention and help improve the quality of life for the citizens of our city. By utilizing Neighborhood Watch programs, the citizens are enabled to make effective contributions to the safety and serenity of their own communities, and assist Law Enforcement simultaneously.
The first Neighborhood Watch meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on March 15 at the City of Palestine Council Chambers, 504 N. Queen St.
“The Neighborhood Watch initiative is an excellent program that allows the citizens to be directly involved in the security of their own community,” said Interim Chief of Police John Herod. “Research has shown that communities that participate in Neighborhood Watch programs and observe and report suspicious activity have experienced a reduced crime rate.”
The intent of the first meeting is to provide information to any citizen, or group of citizens from a neighborhood, on the Neighborhood Watch program and to begin to provide start-up assistance for these initiatives. There will be additional meetings to continue facilitating the watch groups and to further the partnership with the community. Once Neighborhood Watch groups have been established, small group specific meetings can be held, with involvement from the citizens and the Palestine Police Department.
“This program fits seamlessly with the Community Policing model, as does some of our current programs, such as Citizens on Patrol and Coffee with a Cop,” Herod said. “We as an agency want to work fluidly with the community to solve problems in their neighborhoods and we realize the importance of the citizen’s involvement in the quality of life in our city. We hope that this initiative and other programs to come will prove to be successful and promote a continuous improvement in our relationship with the public.”
For further information on this program, or any other community policing event, please contact Community Services Liaison Bernadette Knowles-Capron at 903-731-8614.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, utility crews will close the southbound lanes of Crockett Road (Texas Hwy. 19) near Rambling Road for water main repair. A detour will be available in the turn lane on the road and at East Vaughn Street. The road should be closed through Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
PALESTINE, Texas (Feb. 28, 2017) – Voters in the City of Palestine will have the opportunity to decide if a portion of the city’s sales tax will move towards infrastructure.
The Palestine City Council voted Monday to call for a special election on the May 6 ballot to dedicate .125 percent (1/8th percent) of sales tax in the city of Palestine to repair and maintain existing city streets.
There will be one proposition on the May 6 ballot. Proposition 1 asks if voters want to move .125 (1/8) percent of sales taxes set for property tax relief to repair and maintain existing city streets for four years.
According to the state comptrollers office, sales tax in the City of Palestine is 8.25 percent, allocated into three areas. The state receives 6.25 percent, while Anderson County receives .5 percent. The City of Palestine receives the final 1.5 percent of the sales tax.
In 1988, voters decided to enact the 1.5 percent tax into two areas, funding city government and property tax relief. In 1998, that 1.5 percent was split into three ways. Currently, 1 percent of the tax funds city government, while .25 percent funds economic development and .25 is set aside for property tax relief.
If voters approve Proposition 1, the money designated would go into a dedicated fund that can only be used for maintenance and repair of municipal streets. Property taxes could rise as a result of Proposition 1.
Through direction of the council, the city will hold Town Hall meetings to discuss the proposed ballot measures. Those Town Halls will be announced at a later date.