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Holding down the fort
Many Crossroads workers continue to serve on Labor Day

Being on the clock this holiday weekend, or any other, is a given for many Crossroads workers who are ready to serve you this Labor Day.

First responders, plant workers, those in the service industry and plenty of others are working on the Labor Day holiday this year. For many of them, they are happy to serve us on a day most people don’t have to work.

In the United States, the first Monday in September is a federal holiday dedicated to what the U.S. Department of Labor says is “the social and economic achievements of American workers.”

The holiday expanded from a municipal to nationwide holiday in 1894, the same year as the Pullman Strike, which was ultimately a loss for workers but still pointed the trajectory of the labor movement forward, according to Indiana State University.

Victoria has also seen its own bouts regarding labor.

The Victoria Advocate reported a “short-lived” picketing at the Southern Pacific railroad yards occurring on Sept. 15, 1970, in Victoria — just over a week after that year’s Labor Day.

While the convergence of major news events in 2020 has resulted in some calling for similar work stoppages in the U.S., many workers are still serving the Crossroads during the holiday.

Lattes on Labor Day

Ashley Yaws is working Labor Day as the assistant manager and barista at Kahve Coffee’s new location at 5402 N. Navarro St. in Victoria.

“If it means making someone else’s day, that’s special,” Yaws said.

Duy Vu / Duy Vu | dvu@vicad.com 

Reagan Sherwood pours froth milk into a cappuccino.

“This is my second home. They’re my family,” said Yaws, who then turned to the others working in the new location. “But, hey, it’s all about y’all.”

Labor Day weekend isn’t the only time she will miss out on important days in September.

Her father and brother have birthdays two days apart on Sept. 2 and 4. But like many other holidays in the coffee business, those can be hard to be a part of in person.

Duy Vu / Duy Vu | dvu@vicad.com 

Barista Ariana Felder, left, takes an order from the drive-thru.

“It’s no sacrifice,” Yaws said. “It’s great seeing regulars come through. These are great people.”

On the job many days straight

Working a holiday is not unfamiliar to Ronnie Gonzalez either.

Contributed photo by Ronnie Gonzalez 

Ronnie Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is co-owner of Bluestar I/E Automation, a contracted company in Port Lavaca for Formosa Plastics that deals with plant maintenance.

When the plastic manufacturer’s plant has a shutdown, scheduled or not, Gonzalez and his team install, maintain or demolish some of the plant’s technical instruments. Shutdowns can occur any day of the year and last from two weeks to six months.

Bluestar rarely goes more than four days without at least checking on something at the plant, Gonzalez said. But often times he or his crew work during a plant shutdown for more than five days straight, which could fall on any day of the year.

“It gets a little heavy on the heart,” Gonzalez said.” I’ve worked Christmas Day. I’ve worked New Years Day. I’ve worked all of Thanksgiving before. It is what it is.”

Missing out on other important days like birthdays, weddings or graduations is something Gonzalez said comes with the job as well.

“And we’re not the only ones. There’s instrumentation. There’s electricians. There’s mechanical people. There’s operators. They’re all working the holidays,” Gonzalez said. “You do feel a sense of responsibility to do it, and everybody’s gotta make a living.”

‘The gratification of the job’

“I don’t really know any other way,” said Kevin Allen, a Victoria Fire Department battalion chief. “I’ve done this since I was 19 years old.”

Contributed photo from the City of Victoria 

Kevin Allen, Victoria Fire Department battalion chief.

Like many other first responders, Allen often has missed holidays and special occasions because of his career. Sometimes, he and his family can celebrate before or after he has work on a birthday or holiday, but he said it’s still tough to schedule around it.

One aspect of being ready to respond to a fire at a moment’s notice is the closeness, or “brotherhood,” Allen said that he and the other firefighters share.

The sense of service is something he, the other firefighters and many workers in the Crossroads share on Labor Day and other holidays.

“A lot of businesses are closed during holidays,” Allen said. “But emergency services, we remain the same.”

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Victoria County commissioners to talk 2021 budget, tax rate

Members of the public will be able to comment on Victoria County’s proposed 2021 budget and tax rate during the commissioners court meeting Tuesday.

The commissioners’ weekly meeting will be held Tuesday rather than Monday in observance of Labor Day.

Despite seeing several revenue shortfalls this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the county is planning a balanced budget for 2021 that doesn’t increase the property tax rate.

The proposed tax rate is 39.59 cents per $100 of assessed taxable valuation, the same rate since 2016.

The proposed budget will raise more revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by about $312,000, according to the budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is about $275,000.

The commissioners will conduct public hearings on the proposed budget and tax rate during Tuesday’s meeting.

The tax rate and budget are set to be adopted on Sept. 14. The county’s 2021 budget year begins Jan. 1.

Also on Tuesday, the court will consider approval of resolutions regarding the Community Action Committee of Victoria and Meals on Wheels Victoria. Both groups intend to apply for the Texans Feeding Texans: Home Delivered Meal Grant Program through the Texas Department of Agriculture, according to a memo from Robin Knipling, the county’s grant administrator.

To be eligible for the grants, the organizations must receive a certain amount of funding from Victoria County. The commissioners will consider resolutions granting the funding Tuesday.

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Matagorda County reports 6 new cases, 40 recoveries

The Matagorda Regional Medical Center reported six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

The medical center also reported 40 new recoveries and no new deaths. No additional information was released about the new cases.

This increases the total confirmed case count in the county to 946, total recoveries to 764 and total deaths related to COVID-19 to 39.

This table shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in each Crossroads county for each week ending on the indicated date. This table was last updated Tuesday.

.Victoria CountyCalhoun CountyGoliad CountyJackson CountyLavaca CountyDeWitt CountyRefugio CountyWharton CountyMatagorda County
March 15000010002
March 22000001012
March 296521010413
April 5 35712150824
April 1240311220158
April 191461004075
April 262681212019
May 3 2141810131
May 10 830000020
May 17 600122212
May 24 150210021
May 31400140093
June 712101610191
June 14279013102139
June 2111110115913028
June 2824617115931947067
July 572029211042401635124
July 12573471632816322114225
July 19786936711331643111064
July 2632814233471641785954110
Aug. 232580261265510371138101
Aug. 92107626802568149085
Aug. 1611223181517412032291
Aug. 30701201915492010645
Aug. 2310727362203839528
Sept. 6932309184573043
Sept. 13674512842285529
Sept. 207073210192814825
Sept. 2751197079266222568
Oct. 43994823032014
Oct. 115329019317402320
The week ending on Oct. 1842202362431816