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New jail named for McCollum

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WAXAHACHIE - Ellis County's yet-to-be-built detention center was named for former sheriff Wayne McCollum in a dedication ceremony Monday during the Commissioners Court meeting.

McCollum, who served for 20 years starting in 1956, was on hand for the honor before a packed audience.

Except for a demand for 30 percent raises for Sheriff's Department employees, the court breezed through its agenda with little or no discussion.

The court approved three agenda items for modifications to the county's tax abatement agreement with Toys R Us Delaware, Inc. The commissioners had okayed the deal during their previous meeting, pending action by the City of Midlothian on a reinvestment zone and other stipulations.

The Toys R Us facility, located on a 60-acre tract, is expected to employ at least 25 people on a permanent basis. Stipulations include a minimum salary of $15.73 per hour with 80 percent coverage of health insurance costs. The facility's expected completion date is July, 2001.

The court okayed Toys R Us agreements with both the City of Midlothian and the Midlothian Water District.

Commissioners also heard - but didn't seem pleased with - an update on North America's Superhighway Coalition, Inc. from Ken Miller.

Mentioning traffic and safety concerns, commissioners Jerry Holland and Hallie Robinson both questioned how increased use of I-35 will be beneficial for Ellis County and the Dallas area.

Commissioner Charlie Waller pointed out increased use of I-35 would add to air pollution, and Judge Cornelius raised the issue of safety.

'The solution isn't going to be just adding more lanes to I-35,' Miller said in response. 'We've got to look to other solutions.'

Miller mentioned alternative fuels and increased use of railways along the corridor.

'We're going to have to add lanes,' he said. 'Part of it will be taking away right of way from people who don't want to give it up.'

The bottom-line benefit, Miller said, will be a better economy from increased use of Ellis County's motels, gas stations and businesses. 

In other actions last Monday, the commissioners:

• Authorized County Judge Al Cornelius to submit an application to the Federal Communication Commission for a county-wide radio frequency and repeater station for fire and police purposes.

• Approved an agreement with the Waxahachie Police Department for a two-year experiment that will put a computer in an Ellis County Sheriff's Department patrol car to access data on the move. The cost to the county will be $50.

• Okayed Tim F. Glendening & Associates to administer the $350,000 Emergency Fund Grant for road and bridge improvements.

• Approved sale of slate tiles and glass blocks previously removed from the Ellis County Courthouse as a fund-raising effort. 

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Nelson Propane

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