By Jennifer Phonexayphova

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON – Bell County commissioners approved an order prohibiting the sale and use of skyrocket fireworks with sticks and missiles with fins for all parts of the unincorporated area of Bell County during their Monday weekly meeting.

Fire Marshal Steve Casey was present to discuss the issue and stated that the order is necessary due to Bell County presently facing severe to extreme drought conditions.

"We don't know where (these fireworks) land, and with a dry county, a fire can start anywhere, and no one may discover it until it's too late," Burrows said.

He also noted this is something that has to be passed by Friday to give businesses ample time to pull these products off of their shelves. Otherwise, he said, they will be at an economic disadvantage.

Casey said that all fire chiefs were in agreement that the order should be placed in effect, and that other counties will most likely follow suit if weather conditions don't improve.

He said that if there isn't a substantial amount of rain, the county may be looking at another burn ban to be implemented in January.

The sale or use of any such type of firework will be classified as a Class C misdemeanor.

The commissioners also approved a certificate of appreciation for County Court at Law Judge John Barina and commended him on his outstanding work ethic.

After 23 years of dedicated public service, Barina will be retiring, but not without best wishes from his peers and acknowledgment of their gratitude for his work.

"You have been an inspiration to us all, and have been the steadiness to the ship," County Judge Jon Burrows said. "The impression that everyone has of Judge Barina is that he is wise, he is efficient, and he is always there."

Present in the audience to say a few words were Judge Rick Morris of the 146th Judicial District, District Attorney Henry Garza, and the newly-elected county clerk, Shelley Coston.

"He is a true scholar and a credit to the legal profession and the judiciary," Morris said.

Garza agreed, stating that Barina was a mentor to him in his early days, and as it was obvious to everyone, the judge was always present whenever he was needed, no matter the hour.

"What's not seen is his dedication to detail and the dedication to cases on behalf of the victims of this county," Garza said.

Burrows presented Barina with a letter of appreciation and a proclamation, commending him for his "innumerable contributions made to Bell County and for the leadership, mentoring, and wisdom provided as City Court at Law Judge."

Bell County commissioners also approved:

n The donation of a Bell County lever voting machine to the office of the Texas Secretary of State, to be put on historic display at the state capitol in early January of 2007.

n The interlocal agreement with the City of Temple, which allows the city to use Bell County's election software and fiber optic network to process and maintain records regarding early voting in the city of Temple elections.

Contact Jennifer Phonexayphova at

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