THE SALVATION ARMY PROVIDES THANKSGIVING MEALS IN THE COMMUNITY

Waco, TX  (Nov. 23, 23)—In light of the challenges presented by increasing food costs, The Salvation Army of McLennan County is helping by offering Thanksgiving meals to anyone in need. “Rising food costs have created challenges for many people in our community,” said Major James Taylor, leader of The Salvation Army of McLennan County.  “Anyone needing food this Thanksgiving is invited to get a hot Thanksgiving meal.” 

Community Meal:  The Salvation Army hosts a Thanksgiving meal at the Community Kitchen to share the season’s spirit.  This will be the 132nd year to serve a Thanksgiving meal in  Waco Texas. 
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2023
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: 300 Webster Avenue, Waco TX, 76706

How to Get Help:
If you need a Thanksgiving meal, please join us at 300 Webster Avenue on Thursday, November 23, 2023 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 

Volunteer Opportunities:
We are looking for volunteers to support this event. To volunteer, please sign up online at The Salvation Army Waco/McLennan County – Volunteer Console (cervistech.com)  or contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 254.756.7271.  We are also asking for pies and cookies and cakes from the community for the event.

Donations:
Your support and generosity will help ensure that everyone in our community can enjoy a warm Thanksgiving meal during this season of gratitude. Donate by visiting our offices at 4721 W. Waco Drive or by mailing a check to 4721 W. Waco Drive, Waco, TX 76710.  Please note “Thanksgiving Meals” on the check memo line. Thank you for your kindness and community spirit.  Pies, cookies and cakes are need too!

For additional information, please contact 254.756.7271 M-F 8-5 or visit Facebook to see the event.

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About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org

July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. 

To help protect your vehicle, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is teaming up with the National Insurance Crime Bureau to provide information about vehicle security. Review these statistics on vehicle theft in the United States and NHTSA’s tips on keeping your vehicle safe.

Vehicle Theft Facts and Figures

· More than 1,000,000 motor vehicles were stolen in 2022, with more than 250,000 reported to law enforcement during the fourth quarter alone. This is a 25% increase in vehicle theft totals over the past few years.

· Historically, passenger cars made up approximately 74% of all stolen motor vehicles.

· A motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds in the United States.

· In 2022, thieves stole more than $8 billion in motor vehicle value.

How to Prevent Motor Vehicle Theft

· Park in well-lit areas.

· Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.

· Hide valuables out of sight, such as in the glove box or trunk.

· Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.

· Do not leave the area while your vehicle is running.

· Some vehicles come equipped with an alarm and anti-theft system, but what if yours does not? Consider purchasing extra layers of protection for your vehicle if your manufacturer does not provide it. This could be something like an anti-theft system, which can be easily purchased online or in a store.

HB 2827

This proposed bill will drastically weaken regulations that have protected the North Bosque Watershed, Lake Waco and, in effect, the Waco Water Supply from pollution caused by dairy farms.


Background:

Prior to 2001, the Waco Water Supply was polluted as a result of dairy farmers spreading cow manure that would run off into the North Bosque River, and then into Lake Waco.  This caused the growth of algae that can kill fish and made our water smell and taste bad. In 2001, the City of Waco successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation that would mandate stricter permits for dairies on the North Bosque watershed, along with waste management regulations.  If you’ve been in Waco since that time, you will likely recall how poorly Waco water smelled and tasted during that time.

To date, while there has been significant improvement in the taste and smell of Waco water, the North Bosque River is still polluted and classified as impaired by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and as recently as 2022, TCEQ said more work needs to be done on this watershed. 

Proposed Legislation

HB 2827 would revert back to a permitting system that was allowed when the pollution into the watershed was at its peak. Further, it would reduce pollution prevention, testing and reporting, thus likely increasing pollution in the North Bosque River (and thus the Waco Water Supply). 

Of note, the bill’s author argues that the current law is an over-regulation. Also of note, there are nearly the same number of milk cows in the counties that touch the North Bosque watershed now as there were when the 2001 legislation was passed, and the trend indicates the number of milk cows are likely to increase.  However, with of the regulations in place, Waco’s water quality has improved.

Actions the City of Waco has taken to advocate for Waco’s Water Supply:

  • Communicated directly with the bill’s author, Waco’s elected State representatives, as well as the House Environmental Regulations Committee, in opposition to the bill.
  • Collaborated with local stakeholders like the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and Baylor University.
  • Engaged and informed families who own property along the North Bosque River to ensure they able to advocate appropriately.
  • Sent information the Bosque River Coalition membership.
  • Sent information to the Brazos River Authority. 
  • Engaged the EPA and TCEQ.
  • Engaged with other current and former local leaders and requesting advocacy for the Texas Legislature to oppose the passage of HB2827, or ensure there are drastic amendments made that protect the Waco Water Supply from harmful dairy farm pollution.  

Citizens with opposition to or concerns about HB 2827 can contact Rep. Anderson and Sen. Birdwell:  

About the City of Waco and Lake Waco

Lake Waco is a man-made reservoir located on the west side of Waco, in McLennan County, Texas. The City of Waco maintains the water rights to Lake Waco, which serves as the primary water source Waco as well as other cities including Bellmead,Hewitt, Robinson, Woodway and others. The City of Waco owns and operates water treatment facilities and is responsible for treating the water from the lake to make it safe for drinking and other uses.

Call for proposals issued regarding carbon reduction

The Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization’s 2023 Carbon Reduction Program call for proposals is now open via MPO’s online application system. Proposals will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, May 1.   

CRP was established by the federal government’s 2021 bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The goal is to reduce transportation emissions nationwide, according to a MPO release. At least $550,000 is expected to be allocated within the Waco MPO planning area annually over the next five years. 

“CRP funds present an opportunity for the implementation of low-cost, high-impact projects which reduce transportation emissions while benefiting communities,” MPO Director Makesh Kumar said in the release. “Applicants are encouraged to think both strategically and holistically while considering those projects which reduce transportation emissions while also increasing quality of life. “

Submitted proposal overviews will be presented by applicants at the MPO Technical Advisory Committee meeting 2 p.m. Thursday, May 4.  Selected project proposals will be announced 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, during the MPO TAC meeting. Both TAC meetings will be held at the Waco Transit Administration Building, 301 S. 8th St., in Waco.  These meetings will be open to the public and the meeting room will be arranged for physical distancing.   

Information regarding CRP and the application form may be found on the MPO website at https://www.waco-texas.com/Departments/Metropolitan-Planning-Organization/Forms#section-4

Waco MPO accepting comments on roadway, public transportation safety

The Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization is accepting comments on annual performance targets proposed for the Waco Metropolitan Area regarding:

1) roadway safety,

2) public transportation safety, and

3) public transportation asset condition.  

Transportation Performance Management is federally required by Congress through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, according to a release from Mukesh Kumarm WMPO director. “It is a strategic approach that uses goals, measures, and data to make better informed decisions about how to invest transportation funding and improve the performance of the national transportation system.”   

The Waco MPO is proposing to support 2023 roadway safety targets established by the Texas Department of Transportation and to support 2023 public transportation safety and asset condition targets established by Waco Transit System, the release said. 

MPO is requesting public review and comment on the proposed targets. Information regarding these proposals is available on the Get Involved section of the MPO website: https://www.waco-texas.com/Departments/Metropolitan-Planning-Organization. Comments will be accepted for performance targets through 5 p.m. Feb. 8.  Comments should be submitted through the website or directed to the Waco MPO at [email protected] or (254) 750-5650. 

The MPO hosted a public informational meeting Tuesday, Jan. 31.  

If you were unable to attend the live meeting, a video recording and PDF of the staff presentation are available on the website listed above until the comment periods close.

Now’s a good time to get involved

By Ferrell Foster

Act Locally Waco, from its start, has sought to promote involvement in our community. The below screenshot is of the City of Waco’s public meetings page. If you would like to get more involved in or knowledgeable about our city, this is a great place to start.

Many people do not attend a public meeting until they have a complaint or a personal financial reason. Good government requires much broader involvement. 

If you go to the City page you will notice there are a lot of meetings. No one can attend them all, but you can pick out one or two of special interest. It could be parks and recreation, building standards, zoning, libraries, civil service (police and fire), the city council, or something else. 

When you go to your first meeting you might be a little lost, but if you go a few times you will be surprised at how quickly you become something of an expert on the subject. And if you show genuine interest in the common good of our community, you may even be asked to become more involved officially.

Also, if you or someone you know is thinking about running for a city council spot, be more than a candidate — be a knowledgeable candidate. And the only way is to look under the covers of city government and find out what is really going on.

Anyone who looks closely at how are city operates is liable to be impressed by the dedication and hard work that so many people are bringing to the task of city government. That doesn’t mean you will agree with every decision, but you will learn even more by listening to those you disagree with.

Please don’t go to these meetings with an attitude of “I know more than these people” or “I could fix this if they would let me” or some other negative approach. Go with a desire to listen and learn so you can be highly informed when the time comes for input.

Also, you don’t have to be a professional journalist to “cover” a public meeting. Anyone can attend and write about what they hear and observe at meetings. Do that “reporting” through your own social media or you can even share it with Act Locally Waco and we will consider publication. If you write for ALW, just be careful to get the facts right and keep your opinions out of it. Just share the facts.

Texas law protects the openness of public meetings to keep decisions from being made in the proverbial “smoke-filled rooms” of the past. If the public doesn’t attend, our officials might just as well be behind closed doors.

Another note, the law allows some items to be discussed in closed or executive sessions. They usually consist of legal, personnel, property, financial contracts, and security matters. That may seem like a lot, but usually our public officials do not want to be seen as trying to act secretly. They know their integrity is at stake.

And, by the way, if you live in one of our neighboring cities, please get involved in their meetings. Or in county government. Our governmental bodies have to operate separately, but our region will become an even better place to live in all of our officials are operating in the public interest for the common good.

Ferrell Foster is director of communications for Act Locally Waco and president of Kortabocker LLC: Communications Built on Caring.

District IV Waco City Council vacancy filing process announced

The application filing period has begun for the District IV Waco City Council vacancy. It will end at 5 pm Tuesday, Jan. 3. 

Eligible applicants must have resided in the City of Waco for 12 months and in District IV for at least six months. The City Council will interview applicants Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Vacant seats on City Council are filled by a majority vote of the remaining members for the unexpired term or until the next City general election. The oath of office for the appointee is planned for Jan. 17 during the City Council’s regular meeting.

Applications should be filed with the city secretary at 300 Austin Ave., first floor of City Hall. Contact the City Secretary’s Office 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday at 254-750-5750 to schedule an appointment, or the applications can be scanned and emailed to [email protected].

Waco Wonderland Parade sign-up open until Nov. 28

Join the 2022 Waco Wonderland Parade and help spread some holiday cheer!

The City of Waco announced that entries are now being accepted for the annual holiday parade, which returns to downtown Waco Saturday, Dec. 3. If you know a group or organization that would be interested in this opportunity, please let them know. There is no cost to participate.

Presented by the Family of Faith WC Waco, the parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels down Austin Avenue, from 11th Street to 3rd Street.

Registration forms are due by Monday, Nov. 28, and can be downloaded at wacowonderland.com/parade.

It’s not sexy, but there are some basics to city life

By Ferrell Foster

The people are beautiful and colorfully dressed. The landscape is a luscious green of vegetation. But as I rode recently along the highways and roads of rural northern Ghana in West Africa, I asked myself, What makes this place different from home? 

The answer that came to my mind surprised me. I do not normally concentrate on the subject, but suddenly out of some deep place in my mind it occurred to me that the difference is infrastructure.

This thoroughly unsexy subject is not something we often think of, but it has come to dominate my thoughts upon returning to Waco.

Jackson, Miss., is providing us the essential lesson in the importance of a city’s infrastructure. Jackson’s water system has failed, and it is extremely difficult for that city and state to navigate the situation.

We all know that every human needs plenty of clean water to drink, and a turn of the faucet delivers it readily to each of our homes. Until it doesn’t.

Water is only one part of a city’s infrastructure. There are roads and bridges, sewers and drainage, electricity and cable, safety and security, zoning and rules. Life in cities is simply unmanageable without great attention to these important matters, and yet most of us think so little about them.

We may think The Silos and Baylor and Amazon and the Brazos are what make Waco special, but none of those things suffice to make group living possible and good. Cities need solid infrastructure.

It’s easy to complain about the poor quality of streets, but we are not so keen to pay the taxes needed to pave and maintain them. It makes me think about the city budget, which, unfortunately, I haven’t even looked at. Shame on me. Shame on all of us who want to make Waco great.

The City has adopted a $694.58 million budget for 2022-23. That’s a whole lot of money, and yet I suspect most of us didn’t study it during the month between its proposal and its adoption. 

There’s a nice graphic on the City’s budget web page that shows the major categories of the budget. We can all see that we are expecting the City to do a lot on our behalf:

Infrastructure is there in the midst of lots of things the City will do. I guess all of them are important, and I suspect all of us have our views on levels of importance..

I come home from Ghana thanking my City government for the things we call infrastructure. We have great leadership here in Waco, and they are trying to do what the people of Waco think is important. Maybe all of us should get more into the details — $694.58 million can go a long way.

Ferrell Foster is directing communications for Act Locally Waco. He is president of Kortabocker LLC: Communications Built on Caring. Ferrell also does communications work with Prosper Waco and TBM: Texans on Mission.

City of Waco Hires New City Secretary


WACO, TEXAS (February 11, 2021) – The City of Waco is pleased to announce the selection of Michelle Hicks as the City Secretary, joining the City on May 2, 2022.  Michelle began her career in municipal government with the City of Lacy Lakeview in 2003 and brings experience in a variety of government departments, including her most recent role as the Assistant City Manager/City Secretary. 

Michelle is a member of the Central Texas Municipal Clerks Association, Texas Municipal Clerks Association, and International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Additionally, she is a Trustee for the TMCA Executive Board and served as the President of the Central Texas Municipal Clerks Association for two years. Michelle obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration through Tarleton State University.  

Michelle received her certification from the University of North Texas through the Texas Municipal Clerks Association in January 2015 and completed the CPM (Certified Public Manager) program through Texas State University’s William P. Hobby Center for Public service in 2017.

The City Secretary is responsible for the maintenance of all official City records, manages the community’s annual municipal elections and is a critical member of the City leadership team; providing guidance to the Mayor, City Council, and staff throughout the organization.

City Mayor Dillion Meek said, “I am excited to announce the hiring of Michelle for this key leadership role with the City of Waco.  Michelle brings expertise in ensuring open and transparent municipal government, and we look forward to having her work collaboratively with elected and appointed city leaders in serving the community.”