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Local News

October 31, 2012

Early voting in county up 15 percent since ‘08

BEAUMONT — Participation for the first week of early voting in Jefferson County increased by 15 percent from 2008, according to Count Clerk Carolyn Guidry.

More than 41,000 people have cast a ballot so far for early voting, including returned absentee forms, according to the county website. There are 147,227 registered voters in Jefferson County.

“This is a big election,” she said. “We’re trying to survive the last five days. I don’t see it slowing up anytime soon.”

The county commissioners, who usually pass all items unanimously, drew a 3-2 decision in favor of hiring a new employee relations/compensations manager.

Commissioners Michael Sinegal, precinct 3, and Everette Alfred, precinct 4, voted against the hire, claiming the county needs to make a better effort to employ people within its own borders.

County Judge Jeff Branick inquired about the applicant’s qualifications and the number of people interviewed, and the decision then passed.

After announcing the deal with American Airlines last week, the county is now refurbishing Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

The county approved $236,000 toward security improvements at the airport. All of the money would be provided by the passenger facility charge, a federal program.

The commissioners also approved a $8,000 grant application for the county’s Historic Preservation Office. The money, which requires a 50 percent match for volunteer hours by the county, will help conduct a historic and cultural resource survey.

“I’m looking forward to letting people know the story of Jefferson County,” said Ramona Hutchinson, who is applying for the grant.

The last piece of business for the commissioners court was recognizing to deputies who are retiring. Daniel Duhon and Mark Frederick served the county for 29 and 30 years, respectively, received thanks and handshakes from the commissioners.

E-mail: jbrown@panews.com

Twitter: @joshnathanbrown

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