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Abbott Details Federally Funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

Apr 1, 2020
Federal funds will reach Texas workers affected by the pandemic through the state's existing unemployment compensation system, operated by the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin.
provided image

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a statement regarding the recently passed $2 trillion federal stimulus package intended to relieve the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on unemployed workers and the state’s hardest-hit businesses.

KETR

Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams says he is concerned that some young people, with school not in session because of the coronavirus threat, are congregating in groups and not observing the social-distancing recommendations to stop the spread of the virus.  Also, the mayor says Commerce citizens are lagging behind the state average in completing the 2020 Census, and he's

Texas A&M Agrilife

Cynthia Beacom, Hunt County Master Gardener, says gardening is an excellent activity for people who are forced to stay home because of the coronavirus.  Gardening can burn up to 300 calories an hour.  On another topic, Cynthia says crepe myrtle bark scale is becoming a problem.  It is not fatal to the trees, but reduces their blooms and covers the trunks with a dark scaly substance.

An undated photo of Whitley Hall on the campus of A&M-Commerce. Like much of Northeast Texas, the campus is quieter than usual.
Texas A&M University-Commerce / Marketing and Communications

In an effort to keep up with coronavirus and COVID-19 developments around the region, this blog will be kept during the crisis. A statistical account of COVID-19 cases in the KETR listening area and local restrictions in place can be found here. This blog will be kept in reverse chronological order, with newest entries at the top.

Last updated, April 15, 3:09 p.m.

Commerce Chamber of Commerce, Facebook

Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss says the chamber has a Facebook page called "Commerce To Go" that provides information on take-out food services offered by Commerce restaurants. Paul says the city's businesses have risen to the occasion during the coronavirus crisis.

  

 Elaborating on the new Louisiana travel restrictions, Abbott said they will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety "at and near entry points from Louisiana."
Eddie Gaspar / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday ratcheted up travel restrictions into Texas during the new coronavirus pandemic, while announcing the state's first pop-up hospital to deal with the crisis. He also said he was moving to "stop the release of dangerous felons" amid the outbreak.

Luke "social distancing" from a remote creek above lake Fork.
Luke Clayton

A campfire visit with Luke this week. We're talking about the white bass run in creeks  and rivers i the area as well as the upcoming turkey season.

Commerce ISD, Facebook

Commerce ISD superintendent Charlie Alderman says the cancellation of school due to the threat of the coronavirus was accompanied by the cancellation of many events involving students, including the Commerce High School robotics team, coached by Earvin Larry, going to Iowa to compete in a national contest.  The superintendent says students will not be required to take the STAAR test this year because of the virus situation.

http://www.huntcounty.net/

From the official website for Hunt County:

From: Hunt County Judge

Date:3/27/2020

Re: Second COVID-19 Positive Result in Hunt County

Dallas Morning News

By John Kanelis

If I were sitting in Collin County Judge Chris Hill's chair at this moment I might be inclined to tell Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins to mind his own bee's wax.

Then again, were I occupying Jenkins' chair, I might respond with, "Hey, Chris, we're all in this together. I'm looking out for everyone in the region. That includes the residents of Collin County."

Each year, radio and television stations across the state of Texas submit their very best work for consideration by the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters. Generally in April, an awards ceremony is held in Austin and journalists, videographers, producers, and anchors flock to 6th Street to learn who's work topped each category. This year, concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the ceremony planned for April 4. As a result, the winners have been announced in a release - and 88.9 KETR is among the top-awarded stations in its division.

Texas Tribune

Dr. Dale Funderburk, Texas A&M-Commerce economics professor, discusses the effect of the coronavirus on the economy.  Dr.

Texas A&M Agrilife

Kaylie Daniels, Texas A&M-Commerce Athletics nutitionist, says most of the tips she provides to Lion athletes would also be helpful to average people.  Kaylie says it's important not to try to make too many changes at once.  Making steady, gradual changes works best.  March is National Nutrition Month.

Comptroller Warns, Texas Unemployment Rate Headed Toward The Double Digits

Mar 24, 2020
Texas reported a record low unemployment rate of 3.5% in January. The historic high was 9.2% in 1986.
State of Texas

Up from the state’s recent record low unemployment rate of 3.5% in January, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday the unemployment rate in Texas is now around 9% as the new coronavirus spreads. Hegar said projections as recently as mid-March had unemployment rates rising to 6%.

Texas Grocery Workers At Risk Want Better Pay, Protections

Mar 24, 2020
Grocery Stores Are Among the Businesses that Will Remain Open During Stay-at-Home Orders
Provided Image

Lately, Logan is doing his best to suppress his panic attacks while restocking the constantly dwindling shelves at his job at H-E-B. While people across the state are being told to stay home and avoid gathering in large groups in an attempt to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Logan regularly finds himself surrounded by hoards of anxious shoppers frantically stocking up on beans and toilet paper.

Hopkins, Hunt Counties Confirm First COVID-19 Cases

Mar 24, 2020
An illustration created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the structure of the coronavirus now named COVID-19.
NPR

In Northeast Texas, Hopkins County's and Hunt County's first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were both announced late Tuesday morning. Each county has reported one case so far.

Commerce Community Action Program (C-CAP), Facebook

Dr. Bob Johnson, founder of the Commerce Community Action Program and a retired professor of social work at Texas A&M-Commerce, says C-CAP has distributed a fact sheet on ways to maintain good mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.

Piece of Mind: Counties Are Stepping Up

Mar 23, 2020
Hunt County issues a shelter in place order for residents.
Huntcounty.net

By John Kanelis

Hunt County commissioners have joined a growing list of counties that have done what needs to be done: mandating "shelter in place" for residents.

They are reacting as they should in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has circled the globe. 

Hunt County won't be the final county. You can take that to the bank.

Shelter in place isn't anything approaching house arrest. It means we can still venture out, run essential errands, such as going to grocery store for food and other necessary goods. 

http://www.huntcounty.net/

The Hunt County Commisioner's Court has issued a disaster declaration for the county that details a shelter-in-place, or "stay at home" order. The order goes into effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. and directs all non-essential employees and businesses to cease activity or stay at home except for essential activities and business. 

Creek fishing often produces a ‘mixed creel’. Luke landed white and yellow bass, crappie and catfish this past week on a fishing trip above Lake Fork.
Luke Clayton

CREEKS PROVIDING GOOD FISHING IN TRANQUIL SETTING

by Luke Clayton

As I sloshed along the muddy trail leading to the secluded section of creek I planned to fish, I found myself stopping occasionally not only for a short ‘breather’ but also to admire the sights and smells of early spring. Buds were swelling on the trees, tiny leaves were beginning to appear. Birds were voicing their joy that they had survived yet another winter and it was time to go about their work of procreating.

Laid Off? Here's How To Apply For Unemployment In Texas

Mar 21, 2020
Texas has waived some requirements for receiving unemployment benefits.
NPR

With much of Texas’ service sectors shut down and the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic being felt across the local, state and national economy, people are being laid off.

Creative Commons, gurneyh

Jeremy Gamez, our personal technology commentor, discusses the demands placed on computers when we are required to work from home.  Jeremy is employed by the Division of Business and Administration at Texas A&M-Commerce.

 Elaborating on the new Louisiana travel restrictions, Abbott said they will be enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety "at and near entry points from Louisiana."
Eddie Gaspar / Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued an executive order that will close many Texas restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses this weekend, as governments across the U.S. move to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The order takes effect at 12 a.m. Saturday morning and continues through April 3, Abbott said in a briefing from the Texas Capitol.

KETR

Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams says when the City Council meets next month on April 15, they expect to meet by video if the coronavirus situation is still the same.  The city is developing the capability to conduct a video-conference meeting, which is permissable by law if the public can participate, the mayor says.  The council met this week and received a report on how Hunt Regional Healthcare is dealing with the disease outbreak.  The mayor says

Commerce ISD, Facebook

Charlie Alderman, Commerce ISD superintendent, says while school is closed because of the coronavirus threat, food packets are being distributed in a drive-thru fashion from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. for breakfast and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch at the A.C.

Piece of Mind: This GOP Runoff Is a Head-Scratcher

Mar 17, 2020
Public Domain

By John Kanelis

It’s fair to wonder about the upcoming runoff election for a Northeast Texas legislative district seat: How does someone as conservative as state Rep. Dan Flynn face a primary challenge from the right?

Flynn, a Van Republican, is running against Bryan Slaton, a businessman from Royse City. The two are running for the House District 2 seat that Flynn has occupied since 2003.

Special Programming from 88.9 KETR: Texas A&M University-Commerce president Dr. Mark Rudin, Dean of Students Dr. Thomas Newsom, and Student Health Services Director Maxine Mendoza-Welch joined KETR's Jerrod Knight on the air Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. to answer call-in and submitted questions regarding the university's actions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and how those actions are impacting students and the campus community. 

Texas A&M-Commerce Athletics

Tim McMurray, Texas A&M-Commerce athletic director, says the Lions will open the 2020 football season at home at 6 p.m., Saturday, September 5 against Simon Fraser, an NCAA Division 2 team from British Columbia, Canada.   The Lions will host perennial Division 2 playoff team Bowie State from Maryland, at 6 p.m. Saturday, September 19.  The homecoming game will be at 4 p.m., Saturday, October 24 vs. West Texas A&M.  The Lions host six home games during the 2020 season.

The NCAA has allowed Division II institutions to self-apply extension of eligibility waivers for student-athletes whose 2019-20 spring season was canceled, provided, among other things, that the student-athlete’s season was ultimately canceled for reasons related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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