Italy city council approves application for $350,000 Block Grant

Image: Grant application budget — Breakdown of total project costs for water improvement project. If CDBG grant is approved, City of Italy must match 10 percent of the $350,000 grant.

In a called meeting Monday night, the Italy City Council held a public hearing to discuss a Community Development Fund Grant for water system improvements. No citizens were present at the meeting. The council unanimously approved a resolution for the submission of an application for a Texas Community Development Block Grant to the Office of Rural Community Affairs.

Agenda: City council calls for meeting tonight

Image: City council agenda 09/22/2008 — The council for the City of Italy has called a meeting to hold a public hearing concerning a Community Development Fund Grant for water system improvements.

The EDC regularly scheduled meeting has been cancelled, but Italy’s city council has scheduled a called meeting for tonight. A public hearing will be held to discuss a Community Development Fund Grant for water system improvements. The council will then decide whether or not to submit a CDFG application for the improvements introduced in the hearing. The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Italy Municipal Building, located at 101 Main Street. All are welcome to attend.

The Lion’s Club – worldwide local service

I have had the privilege to serve in the Italy Lions Club for the past three years. My first year I served as the Tail twister then, as the Vice President and, currently I serve as President. It has been one of my best experiences serving under Mark Souder during this time. Our guiding Lions Club of Waxahachie has been most helpful in getting this club reestablished.

Only the kitchen was burned by fire

Image: Fire damaged the kitchen — The kitchen fire did not damage the building, on Morgan Road. Construction materials used in the dome home make it fire resistant.

Thursday evening was quiet until the fire department and sheriff’s department was called to the domes on Morgan Road. Dome renter, Jimmy Watt, was coming home from work when he heard an alarm from inside his home. He opened the door to see things in the kitchen melted, cabinets burned and soot on everything from a fire that had extinguished itself. “I thought my radio alarm was beeping when I walked up to my door,” Watt said, “but it was the smoke alarm.”

Sunday night Praise

Central Baptist Church is hosting a Praise and Worship service every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Cornerstone on Main Street in Italy. Young and young at heart are encouraged to attend and worship with the praise band. Anyone in the community is invited and encouraged to attend.

Italy wins over Malakoff

Image: Gladiators #1 — Diamond Rodgers thinks the Gladiators are #1.

The Italy Gladiators gave their hometown fans their money’s worth and more on Friday night when they beat the Malakoff Tigers 33-8. Italy played as a team and dominated their opponent on both sides of the ball which made the game of football look easy.

Italy ISD has a new website and a new Technology Director

Image: Kevin Witte — Kevin Witte, the new Italy ISD Technology Director.

With the hiring of the new technology director, Kevin Witte, Italy ISD boasts a new website. If you take a quick peek, you might think it’s kind of fancy and easily readable. "We are now using a Content Management System which allows us to easily input and control a variety of information and school news by multiple authors, managers and publishers.

Agenda: Italy ISD called meeting addresses surplus property

Image: Italy ISD agenda — Agenda for September 22, 2008 called meeting of the Italy Independent School Board.

Monday, September 22, the Italy ISD board will hold a called meeting. A public forum will be followed by administrative and financial reports. Two surplus vehicles will be discussed and insurance through the TASB will be up for approval. The last item of business on the agenda is personnel considerations. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. in High School Band Hall at 300 South College Street. All are welcome to attend.

Facing life head-on isn’t easy

Image: Suzzy Crowell takes phone order

When Suzzy Crowell met her husband, Steven, several years ago, she had no idea that one day they would marry and eventually build a home in Italy, Texas much less start her own home business, Suzzett’s Fabrics, Quilts and More LLC. But that is the end of the story to this point. What happened in between is another saga in itself.

Italy Ministerial Alliance does good for many families

Image: Italy Ministerial Alliance helps — Rev. Beverly Hamilton, pastor of  First United Methodist Church, and Rev. Preston Dixon, pastor of Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, work side by side with the Italy Ministerial Alliance.

According to the President of Ministerial Alliance, Rev. Beverly Hamilton, there are 68 different families served from the Italy/Milford areas by the local Food Pantry. Since January 2008, she has kept a running total and observed, “These are all different families.” Hamilton said they are a wide range of families visiting at different times of the year.

State registration and why it matters

Last week we published several stories about Italy organizations losing their state charters. The Texas Secretary of State used terrible words like “dissolved” and “forfeited” which sounds like the end of the world. It’s not. It’s paperwork. But what does it mean? That’s what we wanted to find out.

Fill the Boot fundraiser

Image: Chambers and Mathiowetz prepare — Brad Chambers and Brian Mathiowetz prepare for the “Fill the Boot” fundraiser.

Friday, September 12, at 4:30 p.m. members of Italy Relay for Life team and members of the Italy Volunteer Fire Department could be seen out on Main Street asking for help to “Fill the Boot.” Everyone was out on the street holding signs and holding out the “Boot” for donations to the American Cancer Society.

Amanda Pustejovsky new Second Grade Teacher for Avalon ISD

Image: Amanda Pustejovsky — “I found my niche in the second grade at Avalon ISD,” Amanda Pustejovsky.

Amanada Pustejovsky originally started out going to college to be an orthodontist. She began substitute teaching during a college break and realized that teaching was for her. “I did some subbing and the kids won my heart.” Pustejovsky continued, “I saw how eager the kids were to learn, they got so excited. Just to see that you are part of what helped to ‘turn the light bulb on’ is amazing and so worth while.”

Italy city council approves grant submission

Image: EDC 2008-2009 budget — The proposed Economic Development Corporation (EDC) budget for 2008-2009 fiscal year. The EDC budget was approved by the Italy city council in their called meeting Tuesday, September 16, 2008.

In a called meeting Tuesday night, the Italy City Council approved an upcoming project to be submitted by Grant Works for public improvements in the city. “We have come up with possible water routing,” stated Don Chambers. Jesse Whitten of the Brannon Corporation and Chris Metz, Interim Public Works Administrator, presented possible projects the grant funding could be used for.  [%{color:green; font-weight:bold}1 comment%]

Firefighters “Do not take their calling lightly”

Image: Italy firefighters honored — First Baptist of Italy honored our local firefighters on Sunday.

First Baptist Church of Italy honored our local volunteer fire department on Sunday. Pastor Ronnie Dabney opened the service by welcoming all firefighters, family and friends. A video was shown to honor the fallen of Sept. 11, 2001. A heartwarming chorus of “The Star Bangled Banner” could be heard outside the church as everyone lifted their voices with pride.

What happened to the Neotribune?

I’m sure it came as a surprise when the Italy Neotribune suddenly changed on September 6. One person wrote that they were worried we were bought out or taken over. Of course that hasn’t happened. It’s just a long over due change. When we started the Neotribune six years ago, we wanted it to be an online newspaper for the community. Over 4000 stories and nearly 25,000 photographs later, we’ve built something powerful and useful. But not the software it runs on.

Thank you Italy Fire Department and Italy community

If anyone or someone in their family has ever heard a doctor say “you have cancer”, they know how important finding a cure for cancer can be. There are so many people in the Italy community that have experienced this first hand. That is why the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life are so important.

Italy High School Gladiators for 2008

Image: Italy Varsity Football Team — Back Row: 48 Darrin Moore, 85 Oscar Gonzalez, 32 Jonathan Nash, 76 Jeff Claxton, 66 Trent Morgan, 10 John Isaac, 30 Curtis Cole, 72 Tyler Boyd.
Middle Row: 36 Justin Hayes, 28 Desmond Anderson, 7 Jasenio Anderson, 63 Zach Hernandez, 55 Ross Enriquez, 60 Ivan Roldan, 24 Heath Clemons, 88 Aaron Thomas, 44 Kyle Wilkins, 56 Ryan Ashcraft.
Front Row: 50 Ethan Simon, 58 Roy Glaspy, 20 Clay Major, 9 Dontavus Clemons, 25 Diamond Rodgers, 65 Bobby Wilson, 6 Anthony Johnson.

The 2008 football season has begun. These team photos and the schedules below introduce this year’s IHS Gladiators and the times and places they will do battle. Come out and support them — the strength of faithful fans can be felt on the field.

Italy loses home opener to Palmer

Image: Palmer vs Italy — Italy Pride and the Varsity Cheerleaders mixed the spirit up and came up with this awesome group. Way to go IHS!

ITALY, Texas — The Palmer Bulldogs (2-1) traveled to Italy (0-3) Friday night and chalked up their first win of the season by defeating the Gladiators 19-7. Palmer kept Italy scoreless until late in the fourth quarter when Jasenio Anderson hit Desmond Anderson with a 14 yard touchdown pass.

Agenda: EDC and CDBG are the topics for called council meeting

Tuesday, September 16, Italy’s city council will hold a called meeting. Economic Development Council (EDC) concerns and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project funding are the topics on the agenda. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the Italy Municipal Building, 101 W. Main Street. All are welcome to attend.

Bethany Matous Avalon ISD’s new fifth grade teacher

Image: Bethany Matous

This is Bethany Matous’s first year to teach school. She teaches fifth grade for Avalon ISD. Matous graduated from Ennis High School, continued her education at Navarro Jr. College for two years and graduated in 2007 from A&M Commerce at Navarro with her degree in education. She pursued education as her career field because she loves kids, “I just bond with kids and I love them.”

Grandparents Day at Stafford Elementary

Image: Thomas Crowell with grandparents

Monday, August 8, Stafford Elementary celebrated Grandparents Day by inviting grandparents to eat lunch with their grandchildren. It was quite the success. There were many smiling students with their grandparents chatting and enjoying their lunch together.

Your Right To Vote

Image: American Flags — American flags line the drive to the Veteran’s Hospital in Kerrville, Texas.  A sight to behold.

Election time for a new president is coming closer, in fact it is November 4. And the registration deadline for the October 11 Italy ISD Tax Rollback Election is today. If you haven’t registered to vote yet, keep reading!

Chamber Involuntarily Dissolved in August 2007

Image: Involuntary Dissolution letter — Letter from the Texas Secretary of State dissolving the Italy Chamber of Commerce incorporation.

Several interested citizens recently attended a meeting held in the Italy City Council chambers for those wanting to learn more about the Italy Chamber of Commerce. Susan Delephimne, chamber director, answered numerous questions regarding the local chamber. It was never disclosed any time during the meeting, however, that the chamber had been Involuntary Dissolved by the Texas Secretary of State.

No Legal Charter for Italy EDC

Image: Schwab informs Italy EDC — Carlton Schwab, President and CEO of Texas Economic Development Council provided information to the Italy EDC.

In a meeting Tuesday night, it was reported that the Italy Economic Development Corporation had not had a legal charter since 1999. This was brought to their attention this week. According to the Texas Secretary of State, the Italy EDC filed Articles of Incorporation on November 8, 1996 and had a tax forfeiture on February 12, 1999.

Are You Ready For The Weekend

Football? You bet! The Italy Gladiators are hosting Palmer at home on Friday night beginning at 7:30. This should be a great game. Go Gladiators!

Stafford Elementary Teacher’s Cookie Sale

Image: Jennifer Dickerson  — Miss Dickerson is in charge of this cookie fundraiser.

This cookie sale is a little different than most. Every time a student sells cookie dough, the profit goes 100% to that student’s teacher for use in their class, it is not shared. For instance, last year the fourth grade made enough money to purchase some recess equipment. The grades that are involved in this sale are Pre-K through the 6th grade.

IYAA Shows Their Talents Against Hubbard

Image: Fighting Equipment — This image was borrowed from the IYAA website which can be accessed at

The IYAA (Italy Youth Athletic Association) Football program kicked-off with its season opener against the Hubbard Jaguars on Saturday. Three games were played with the Italy teams A, B and C. The A team consists of 5th and 6th graders and coached by Randy Boyd and Jason Escamillia. The B team has 3rd and 4th graders and is coached by Jared Esselman, Stephen Mott and Edwin Wallace. The C team has Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders and is coached by Gary Wood and Barry Byers.

Italy City Council adopts tax rate for 2008/2009

The Italy City Council adopted a tax rate of .936728 per hundred-dollar valuation for the 2008/2009 tax year at its monthly meeting held Monday, Sept. 8. The $2 million-plus budget breaks down to $1,247,700 for water and wastewater and $1,163,983 for the general operating fund.

Doris Mitchell and her Uptown Cafe

Image: Doris Mitchell — Doris Mitchell and her Uptown Cafe.

Back in the day when Uptown Cafe was open on Friday nights, this was the hot spot for the Italy teenagers to go and “hang out.” If you visit the Uptown, you will see the walls covered with pictures of teenagers in their youth playing football, cheering at the games, kids showing their FFA animals and winning awards. A small town cafe loaded with memories.

ECEYA Fundraiser and Fun Horse Show

The Ellis County Equine Youth Association invites all area horse kids to ride in the ECEYA Fundraiser and Fun Horse Show on Saturday, September 20, at the Flying Dollar Ranch in Italy, Texas. The show begins at 9 a.m. and includes halter, western, English, leadline and speed events.

Grandparents are Celebrated on Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day is a family day. Schools, churches, and senior organizations honor grandparents with special events and programs. Grandchildren love to give gifts and cards on this day to their grandparents showing them how much they love them.

Foundation Supports Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Joe Barton Family Foundation is proud to announce that it will provide financial support to the Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties in their $3 million capital campaign to build a regional kitchen facility to serve the elderly and disabled citizens of both counties. The Foundation has pledged to raise $500,000 in support of the Meals-on-Wheels campaign.