Auditor’s pay increases $25,000 over five years

A Victoria County official will receive a 10 percent raise this year, the largest of any public employee.

Judy McAdams, who holds an appointed position as county auditor, will be paid $96,540.

Over the past five years, her salary has increased more than $25,000.

Elected officials responsible for setting the county budget have spoken against McAdam’s most recent raise, which is almost $10,000. Continue reading Auditor’s pay increases $25,000 over five years

Interstate frontage road divides businesses, officials

From the front door at Hlavinka Equipment Co., where a small, plastic “open” sign swung for the first time Thursday, employees watched as massive earth movers growled along U.S. Highway 59.

The company’s employees began building and stocking shelves as construction workers outside smoothed concrete and leveled the base layer of what will soon be access to Victoria’s first interstate highway.

The company’s vice president, Terry Hlavinka, is excited to be opening a new location in Victoria, but he worries its grand opening, which is set for June, will be less than grand as the state proceeds on a frontage road construction project on the Interstate-69 Corridor which he says cuts the store’s access in half.

Continue reading Interstate frontage road divides businesses, officials

Library patrons booked into jail for late fees, overdue books

Handcuffed and ankle-shackled, Jacob deLaGarza marched in a single-file line to see the judge.

His crime: two research books and a Bruce Springsteen CD all long overdue at the Victoria Public Library.

Lost or late materials can result in more than just a 10-cent-a-day fine – readers can find themselves behind bars.

“I’ve never been so humiliated in my life,” said deLaGarza, a medic, now 32 and living in Sugar Land. “We went down to the county jail, and I was charged with failure to return property and failure to pay a fine, class C misdemeanors.” Continue reading Library patrons booked into jail for late fees, overdue books

Game room growth in Victoria brings concern about illegal activity

Through the iron bars guarding the front door, a handwritten note, black marker on copy paper, was taped to the glass: “Closed until further notice.”

Twenty-four hours after a pair of armed robbers fired shots at an employee and made off with $300 cash, Royal 7’s game room was lifeless.

The broken windowpane just to the right of the door shielded an unlit open sign, and blue painter’s tape patched the cracked windows facing East Red River Street along the front of the red brick building.

Save for a half-dozen lipstick-stained cigarette butts discarded in a faded red Marlboro ashtray, the building was nondescript, but the 79 eight-liners arranged inside were known for tantalizing players with blaring bells, bright lights and winning dreams. Continue reading Game room growth in Victoria brings concern about illegal activity

Fishing community worries about oil spill

PORT O’CONNOR – It was late in the day, and nearly everyone had left Clark’s Shrimp House except Craig Lambright and the rest of the three-man shrimper crew.

Across town, talk of the Galveston oil spill dominated conversations from Josie’s Mexican Food and Cantina to the Speedy Stop up Adams Street near the city limits.

The sleepy fishing town, home to about 1,200 mostly retirement-age residents, anxiously watched as crews poured in from Corpus Christi and Lake Charles, La., setting the stage to clean up as much as 170,000 gallons of oil spilled after a ship collision in the Houston Ship Channel on Saturday.

“If it comes in the bay, we’ve had it,” said Lambright, 50, of Seadrift.

Continue reading Fishing community worries about oil spill

Residents fear well will hurt water supply

BLOOMINGTON – Massive, rusted tanks block the front view from Lucy Morales’ Bloomington home.

The tanks and oil wells that were commonplace during the Amerada-Hess drilling heyday of the late 1940s are moving back into the community. With that, disposal wells are spreading, and companies are pulling permits for sites inside city limits.

“I think we need to do something about it,” Morales said. “I think we need to try to stop it.”

Continue reading Residents fear well will hurt water supply

Goliad leaders look for way out of economic mess

GOLIAD – This small town is struggling with a bookkeeping nightmare, a legal battle and little chance of a return on its investment of a million in tax dollars funneled through an unchecked economic development program.

In reaction to a Victoria Advocate investigation, the city has ceased lending and hired an outside attorney and a financial consultant to clean up the economic development program, called the Municipal Development District.

Continue reading Goliad leaders look for way out of economic mess