BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–Upshur County Commissioners Court last week approved a resolution supporting Habitat for Humanity’s application for a $300,000 grant, $100,000 of which would be used in Upshur County.
Lajuan Hollis Gordon, executive director of Habitat for Humanity’s Longview office, said Monday the organization is seeking the three-year grant from the Federal Home Land Bank’s regional office in Dallas. She said she anticipated the proposed grant would entail spending $100,000 in each of three counties–Upshur, Gregg and Harrison–over three years.
Funding is targeted for low and moderate-income individuals’ housing needs, Gordon explained. Pct. 4 County Commissoner Paula Gentry, who proposed at the court’s May 15 meeting that it support the grant request, said $100,000 of it would be earmarked for building homes and making repairs in Upshur County.
Gordon said Monday her organization would probably know in July whether the grant was approved. The land bank is not a governmental agency, but instead a Congressionally-chartered, cooperative-owned wholesale bank supporting housing and economic development through hundreds of member banks, she explained.
In other action May 15, the court approved seeking a $90,000 supplemental grant of federal funds from the Texas attorney general’s office to continue funding the Upshur County Family Violence Intervention Program.
The funds are for Assistant District Attorney Rebecca J. Ojeman, who handles family violence cases for District Attorney Billy Byrd’s office and whose work is currrently supplemented by a grant.
Byrd said Monday the funds are authorized by the Violence Against Women Act.
In other business May 15, the court:
–Approved purchasing three $75 “security buttons” for use at the county Rock Building in Gilmer, which houses some county offices.
–Witnessed Sheriff Larry Webb present an award to one of his deputies, Clay Robertson, who is a school resource officer at New Diana ISD and saved the life of a small schoolgirl who was choking.
–Approved allowing veterans’ organizations to conduct the county’s annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday (May 28) on the county courthouse’s lawn in Gilmer.
–Granted Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Wyone Manes’ request to plant flowers at the Rock Building, where her office is housed. She told the court she would use her money, not county funds, to “beautify the place a little bit.”
–As detailed elsewhere in this issue, heard officials from TxDOT, a consulting firm, and the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority discuss a forthcoming study for easing traffic congestion on U.S. 271 in Gilmer. The study might result in recommending constructing a loop around the city.