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TxDOT representative Ray Brandy and Marcus Sandifer are greeted by Lion Dudley Swofford.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Nov. 26 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston.

A luncheon beef and chicken fajitas and all the fixin’s’ was served Jose Tequila Catering. Vice-President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions. Lion Robert asked Lion Kent Reeves to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Tim Young.

“Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” and “America, the Beautiful” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Dare Westmoreland, and accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed all to the meeting. Guests included Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane; Kelly Bowen, spouse of Lion Stacy Bowen; Shay Thompson, spouse of Lion James Thompson; Bobby Hoffman, who lives in Costa Rica, son of Lion Ed Hoffman and Angela Parker, spouse of Lion Heath Parker. The count for the day in the Den is 26. The Thought for the Day is: “Wisdom is the comb that life gives you after you have lost your hair!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied several fines and told a couple of jokes, which brought a lot of laughter. He accepted praise for his efforts to rehab the sign on Highway 80 West, and said that Lion Heath Parker is taking care of painting the backboard at the top. He suggested that we all drive by and look at it.

He also thanked Lion Dorthie Craig for getting the area bush hogged to take care of the foliage. Lion Chris told Lions that Lion Stacy Bowen celebrated his birthday on the Nov. 24 and Donna Lane, spouse of Lion Stephen Lane will celebrated her birthday on Nov. 27. He appointed Lion P. A. Almquist to lead the club in our “Happy Song” to them!

VP Wood called on Lion Dudley Swofford to introduce the speakers, Marcus Sandifer with Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), has worked there for 23 years and is a graduate of Sam Houston State University. Ray Brady is an engineer and has been with the TXDOT for 27 years, and is a UT graduate.

Sandifer explained that they had last spoken to Lions in June, but would be giving an update. First was a rehab of FM 451, close to Elysian Fields. There will be a rehab of State Hwy. 43 from Haggerty Creek to US Hwy. 59. There will also be a rebuilding of the frontage road on the south side of Interstate 20 on the west side of the county. Work should start in March, 2020, on U. S. Hwy. 59 on all four lanes.

No. 5 on the list is the rehab of the Kansas City Southern bridge at Karnack to start in January, 2020. (6) Work will be done on Loop 390 from U. A. Hwy. 59 to U. S. Hwy. 43. When asked about this stretch, both men explained that the underlayment has not proven satisfactory, and is being redone. (7) On Hwy 43 again, from Haggerty Creek to Karnack will have a rehab. (8) U. S. Hwy.80 will be rehabbed from Loop 390 to the Texas/Louisiana line. (9 & 10) on I-20, two bridges will be rebuilt; one at Lansing Switch and one at the U. S. 59 intersection.

Number 11 is resurfacing Loop 390 to I-20 and is to begin in November, 2021. (12) There will be acceleration and turn lanes on U. S. Hwy.59 North of Marshall to begin in 2022. In September 2024, there is to be a widening project on I-20 to be 6 lanes instead of the four lanes, and will eventually go all the way to Dallas.

Marcus gave a statistic — November 7, 2000, was the last day that no one died on Texas roads. Since then, there has been at least one fatal crash or traffic fatality somewhere in the state. The state is 791 weeks into this sad streak. Perhaps it should come as no surprise. Texas has more than 675,000 miles of road, far more than any other state (California comes in second with under 400,000). Some 5 million people live in just three Texas cities (Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas), and these and other Texas towns are the fastest growing parts of the country. Texas speed limits are some of the highest in the country. Texans drive more miles than anybody but Californians. Sandifer and Brady admonished Lions to drive extra carefully and drive defensively! TXDOT would love to the end the streak and get another day with no fatalities.

When asked why Texas has such better roads than most states, Brady and Sandifer answered that we have more funding than other states, with good planning on the part of the Texas Legislature. They said it is a “good system!”

Lion Wood thanked Ray and Marcus for their interesting and informative program and presented them with a Lions writing pen. He adjourned the meeting after a closing prayer by Lion James Thompson.