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Keven Todd joins Lufkin Daily News as publisher

LUFKIN – Keven Todd is the new publisher of the Lufkin Daily News.
Southern Newspapers Inc. President Dolph Tillotson noted that “Todd is a very experienced newspaper man who has run newspapers that are similar in size and mission to The Lufkin News.”
Todd has more than 40 years experience in the newspaper industry. 

A homecoming tale

Kari Lynn Collins’ powerful column in the Iowa Park Leader is not only a beautiful tribute to that publication’s 50th anniversary—it is also a loving tribute to its founder and publisher, and her mother, Dolores Hamilton. 
Kari’s words struck many familiar chords with me this week, as I remembered the September 22 birthday of my mother and co-publisher, Nancy Ezzell, whose quiet wisdom and strength guided The Canadian Record for over six decades until her death in 2013. Truth be told, it still does.

Government agency minutes are public in whatever form they exist

Q: One of the city councils we cover came out of executive session after one hour behind closed doors. A member then made a motion “to discuss what was discussed” in executive session. Another member seconded the motion. The question was put to a vote. It passed unanimously. But curiously, there was no further discussion. 
And to top it off, we asked for documents related to the matter and were told no such documents existed. However, as we eventually found out, the documents we requested did exist but we got them too late to include any details in our story. 

Lawmakers warn more open government battles ahead

Open government successes of the 86th Texas Legislature were reviewed with an eye toward future battles during a legislative panel at the Freedom of information Foundation of Texas annual FOI conference.
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and First Amendment attorney J.T. Richards were on the panel moderated by FOIFT Vice President Arif Panju.

Brisendine to lead Brownfield economic development efforts

BROWNFIELD – Brian Brisendine is the new executive director of the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp.
His late father was among the founders of the  organization, which serves as the city’s driver of economic development, funded by a half-cent sales tax.
Brisendine had been editor of the Brownfield News since 2008 and publisher since 2017. He resigned Sept. 25 to assume his new position Oct. 1.

Watson calls for more transparency in redistricting process

Sen. Kirk Watson, delivering the keynote address at the FOI Foundation of Texas conference, warned of efforts by some lawmakers to block access to redistricting information and urged Texans to demand more transparency.
Watson, D-Austin, said that while many strides were made in the 2019 legislative session, there are still hurdles to overcome.
He said House Bill 4181 makes more government records subject to legislative privilege, thus shielding them from public access. He said the bill “blew through the House without a hearing” in May and ended up passing the Legislature.

Madison Awards celebrate work by key capitol staff in restoring transparency

James Madison Awards were presented to Katy Aldredge, capitol director for Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and Kelsey Erickson, general counsel to Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, during the John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon at the Information Foundation of Texas conference. Shown are (from left) Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas Vice President Arif Panju, Aldredge, Erickson and Sen. Watson.

In recognition of their behind-the-scenes work in helping pass legislation restoring open government in Texas, two Texas Capitol aides were honored with James Madison Awards by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.
Kelsey Erickson, general counsel to Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and Katy Aldredge, Capitol director for Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, received the awards at the foundation’s annual state conference.

Newspapers: A keystone species

Nearly a century ago, the gray wolves were eliminated from Yellowstone National Park – the result of the federal government’s early failure to provide for their protection from the human predators that the newly established national park attracted, and of government-subsidized predator control programs that later sped their demise. 
The last wolf kills were reported in 1926. Sporadic reports of wolf sightings followed, but their numbers were no longer sustainable.