Community garden plots fill up

The Harker Heights community garden is seeing a flurry of activity as gardeners prepare their plots for spring bounties.

On Tuesday, Sarah Chapman held a sprinkler over a community garden plot in Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights, watering the small broccoli and cabbage seedlings she planted there last weekend.

Chapman is one of many residents who have rented plots in the garden since the Heights parks and recreation department first opened it last May. She and her husband David, an Army chaplain, moved to Harker Heights in August and were unable to put a garden in the yard of their rental house. So when Chapman noticed the community garden when she was exercising at the park, she decided to try it out.

“I pretty much have gardened all my life,” she said. “My parents were huge gardeners. When I was growing up, that’s what we did at night when my dad got home from work; we had two big gardens as a family.”

Heather Cox, parks and recreation activities coordinator, said the garden was popular last year but not all the plots were rented during the main growing season. Now, all the plots but one have been rented.

Teen courts help juvenile offenders

The majority of criminal offenses most recently committed by teenagers in Heights are traffic violations, according to Harker Heights Municipal Court records.

To some, these offenses may seem minor but they could lead to the loss of lives, presiding Judge Antonio Kosta Jr. said. That’s why Heights and other cities offer teen court programs to help juvenile offenders work out their cases without convictions going on their records.

Kosta receives about a dozen juveniles a month in the Heights teen court program.

“I’d say 90 percent of the offenses charged in court are traffic related in some form or the other,” he said, offering this advice to young drivers: “Pay more attention when you’re driving, don’t text and drive or use the cellphone when you drive, and pay attention to what you are doing.”

Code enforcement progress is slow

The city is making slow progress in its effort to improve code enforcement, a neglected area that building officials put at the top of the Heights “to do” list for 2013.

A recent mobile home park survey was the first step in the city’s enhanced code enforcement efforts, and code enforcement officers are moving towards operating in a “more proactive mode,” said Fred Morris, planning and development director.

But changes will not be obvious to the community for quite some time. “We haven’t been real proactive in going out and looking for problems,” Morris said. “It’s a real change to go proactive and to go out looking for things; we’re moving into a more proactive mode but we’re doing it very, very slowly.”

Nolanville water rates discussed

NOLANVILLE — Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3 board members Tuesday discussed raising tap rates for water and sewer to match the higher rates of other entities in the area.

Currently, landowners who want to tap into the WCID-3 water and sewer lines are charged $835 plus an inspection fee, a lower rate than any other surrounding city, Board President Rick Williams said.

“It makes no sense for other districts to charge anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 for a tap fee while we charge so much less,” Williams said, adding that he was curious how the rates were chosen.

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