Court Addresses Bats in the Attic

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – During a meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court, the Houston County Historical Commission (HCHC) was recognized for its efforts in preserving the history of the oldest county in the Republic of Texas.

As the court session began, County Judge Jim Lovell informed the gallery the HCHC had been honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Historical Commission.

The judge requested HCHC representatives Wanda Jordan and Cynthia Kennedy to come forward and receive the award.

“The reason we got this award is because of people like her (Cynthia Kennedy),” Jordan said. “She fills in whenever I need her. She keeps that office (the HCHC office) open more than she keeps her house open. It’s people like her that allow us to do what we do.”

She added the HCHC was indebted to the county for the use of the office space, internet usage, electricity and its support.

“We have three things coming up. This month we will go over to the Methodist Church (in Crockett) and they will tell us about the stained glass windows. It will be on June 28 at 5:30 p.m. We will serve some food, so come over and have dinner with us,” she said.

The second thing the HCHC was involved with was a program with SFA concerning oral history which would show members of the HCHC how to correctly acquire and preserve the information. Jordan said the HCHC would be working with graduate students who were pursuing advanced degrees in history.

The third area concerned the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“The next big thing will be the Armistice in November. We are going to cooperate with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and veterans’ groups and try and do one event. We want to do it on a Sunday on the steps of the courthouse. That is still in the planning stage and it will be nationwide,” she said.

As the meeting neared its conclusion, the matter of bats in the Houston County Courthouse Annex attic was addressed.

“We have a bat problem. They have voluntarily removed themselves because cones were placed around the building where they could fly out, but couldn’t fly back in. In a couple of weeks, the Critter Team will come back and remove the cones and seal up the building,” Lovell said.

The issue, the judge continued, was what the bats left behind. He said the bat guano has covered the building’s insulation “… and the odor will live on for a long time.”

“It is a health hazard and it’s an embarrassment when people visit our building,” Lovell said.

He said he had received two estimates for removal of the insulation and disinfecting the attic. The first estimate was from The Critter Team for $20,149 while the second estimate was from the Wildlife X Team for $35,719.

A motion was made seconded and unanimously approved to employ The Critter Team.

In other matters brought before the court:

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county were approved.
  • The Houston County Environmental and Community Service Reports were received as information by the commissioners.
  • William Money was appointed as a member of the board of directors for ESD 2 replacing John Morgan.
  • A 140M motor grader was declared as surplus while the court also gave its approval to advertise for bids.
  • The court authorized the sale of fireworks in the county for the Fourth of July holiday.
  • Approval was given by the court for a subscription agreement with Lexis Nexis for user access to an on-line law library through Sept. 30, 2019.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.