Keene Chamber of Commerce  
Keene's sales tax revenue remains positive
May 15, 2019

As the Texas Rangers continue to sink further and further under .500, Keene's sales tax revenue continues to stay positive.

The city received $$87,978 in sales tax revenue for May, an increase of 3 percent more than the $85,090 it received in May of last year, according to figures released last week by State Comptroller Glenn Hagar.

The allocation is based on sales made in March by businesses that report tax monthly, and January, February and March by businesses that file quarterly. The monies are collected in March, counted in April and distributed in May, according to Hagar’s report.

Keene was one of seven Johnson County cities to receive an increase compared to May 2018, Hagar’s figurers indicate. 

As regards Keene’s immediate neighbors compared to May of last year, Cleburne is barely in the positive by 0.12 percent on revenue of $1,137,686 versus $1,136,271 in May 2018. Joshua is ahead 9 percent on sales tax revenue of $154,665 compared to $141,415 in May 2018. Rio Vista is up by a healthy 23 percent on revenue of $16,736 compared to $13,565 in May 2018, and Venus is up 6 percent on revenue of $68,991 compared to $65,326 last May.

On the negative side of the ledger are Alvarado, Godley and Grandview. Alvarado is down 24 percent on sales tax revenue of $212,688, compared to $278,501 in May 2018. Godley experienced a decline of 25 percent on sales tax revenue of $90,174 compared to $120,772 last May, and Grandview is down 4 percent, receiving $83,153 compared to $86,241 in May 2018.

Keene’s sales tax is 2 percent. The city retains 1 percent and the other 1 percent is divided by the Keene Economic Development Corporation (Type A board) and the Keene Business Development Corporation (Type B board).

Keene pioneer James Bothe passes away
May 14, 2019

James (Jim) Bothe, founder of General Insurance Service in Keene and one of the charter organizers of First State Bank (now Pinnacle Bank) of Keene, passed away in the wee hours of Saturday, May 11.

Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 16, at Rosser Funeral Home in Cleburne.

Mr. Bothe always had his charming smile to share with all those that came within his presence and a kind word to say.

A charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, he received the chamber's Pioneer Award in 2004 and 2017. The award is presented to a person whose contributions and commitment to Keene helped make it grow and prosper.

Mr. Bothe would have been 95 on July 10.

Donations in Mr. Bothe's name can be made to Mission Hospice.

Harlee Owen is Miss Teen of Johnson County
May 10, 2019

Harlee Owen has been named Miss Teen of Johnson County. 

Harlee is the daughter of Christa and Jeremy Owen, owners of Owen's Body Works Paint & Body at 122 E. Hwy. 67 in Keene.

Harlee will the the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Teen of Texas 2020. 

Owen's Body Works Paint & Body is a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

United Cooperative Services achieves safety milestone
April 24, 2019

United Cooperative Services employees have shared many safety highlights in the eight years it has taken to amass a recent company record of more than 2.5 million work hours without a lost-time accident.

Hitting the 2.5 million-hour benchmark puts United’s 158 employees in a league nearly all their own when compared with similarly-sized utility employee groups across the state and nation. The rare achievement is especially significant when considering the business United is in—delivering electric power to more than 57,000 member-owners across the co-op’s 14-county service territory.

Assuring the reliability of United’s electric distribution system often requires employees to work in some of the harshest conditions when restoring power or simply performing day-to-day maintenance. Some of the challenges faced by employees include tornadoes, wildfires, raging winds, lightning and heavy downpours. Despite these hurdles, United employees perform their jobs professionally and, more importantly, safely.

“Safety practices are not just for our lineworkers,” UCS CEO Cameron Smallwood said. “No employee is immune to factors that can contribute to an injury or a lost-time accident, and every employee is trained to observe safety not only for themselves, but for their fellow workers, too. That was emphasized recently when our employee group collectively pledged its support for adopting a more inclusive employee safety campaign we call ‘Commitment to Zero’—zero contacts, zero accidents and zero incidents.

United Cooperative Services is a longtime member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Established in 1938 and headquartered in Burleson, United Cooperative Services is an electric distribution cooperative serving nearly 85,000 meters and more than 57,000 members. United plays a key role in the economic development of its communities and unlike a private utility, the cooperative is a not-for-profit business owned by the members it serves.  Maintaining more than 10,500 miles of energized line, United serves all or parts of Johnson, Erath, Hood, Bosque, Somervell, Palo Pinto, Coryell, Eastland, Comanche, Stephens, Young, Hamilton, Tarrant and Ellis counties.

Owens Paint & Body has new name
April 22, 2019

Owen's Paint & Body is now Owen's Body Works Paint & Body.

The complete auto repair and pant and body shop is located at 122 E. Hwy. 67 in Keene, just east of S. College Drive.

Owen's Body Works Paint & Body has been at that location since 2015.

Prior to that, the shop was on County Road 318 since 1997, owner Jeremy Owen said. 

Owen's Body Works (817-517-2338, specializes in collision repair, auto body repair, auto paint repair and restoration.

Owen's Body Works is a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce. 

Rooted Life Montessori hosts Brain Games
April 18, 2019

Rooted Life Montessori will host its Brain Games Summer Enrichment Program for the summer of 2019.

Brain Games will be 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. June 10 through July 3 at Rooted Life Montessori, 3437 CR 807 in Egan.

This program is designed to teach valuable learning skills while also providing a fun and interactive place for children to spend the summer. Our program is centered around the Interactive Metronome learning strategy.

Extended Care is available before 7 a.m. and 12:30-5:30 p.m.

Learn more about Brain Games at

Rooted Life Montessori (817-578-6556), a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, is directed by Kathy Machalica, assisted by De Ann Mitchell.

Keene's sales tax revenue stays strong
April 11, 2019

As the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki dribbles off into the sunset, Keene’s sales tax revenue continues to score in double digits.

The city received $72,776 in sales tax revenue for April, an increase of 36 percent more than the $53,116 it received in April of last year, according to figures released Tuesday by State Comptroller Glenn Hagar.

The allocation is based on sales made in February by businesses that report tax monthly. The monies are collected in February, counted in March and distributed in April, according to Hagar’s report.

Keene was one of eight Johnson County cities to receive an increase compared to April 2018, Hagar’s figurers indicate. 

As regards Keene’s immediate neighbors compared to April of last year, Cleburne is up 10 percent on sales tax revenue of $921,641, Alvarado is up 12 percent on revenue of $149,236, and Joshua is up 28 percent on sales tax revenue of $119,334.

For the calendar year, Keene ahead of April 2018 by 18 percent, with sales tax revenue of $295,851 compared to $250,142 last April, Hagar’s report indicates.

Keene’s sales tax is 2 percent. The city retains 1 percent and the other 1 percent is divided by the Keene Economic Development Corporation (Type A board) and the Keene Business Development Corporation (Type B board).

Statewide, Hagar send cities $454 million in sales tax revenue, an increase of 8 percent more than April of last year, Hagar’s report indicated.

Gaither Texas Homecoming is May 3-4 in Grand Prairie
April 11, 2019

Many many members of the Keene Chamber of Commerce like the Gaither Homecomings.

After years and years of performing from one side of the Metroplex or the other, one of the most popular Gospel concerts in America has found a home right in the middle.

Songwriters of the Century Bill and Gloria Gaither have scheduled their annual Texas Homecoming for May 3 and 4 at the Theatre in Grand Prairie.

The Gaithers have been hosting the Texas Homecoming for more than two decades, bouncing back and forth from the old Reunion Arena in Dallas to the Fort Worth Convention Center to Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano before landing last year in Grand Prairie. The 2019 Texas Homecoming returns to the elaborate Theatre at Grand Prairie, one of the most advanced indoor performance facilities in the U.S. Featuring comfortable, spacious seating and convenient parking, the venue sets a new standard for the concert-goer.

A complete schedule of artists, as well as additional information, including ticket prices, is available at Tickets are also available by calling 1-888-929-7849. Group tickets are available by calling 972-854-5076. Groups of 15 or more will receive 2 complimentary tickets.

Quality Brakes & Alignment moves to new location
April 10, 2019

Quality Brakes & Alignment has moved to a new location in Cleburne.

After operating for 25 years on East Henderson, QB&A is now at 210 W. Smith Street.

(Head south on Main Street from the Courthouse and turn right on Smith Street.)

The expanded facility features six bays served by three ASE certified technicians.

"Our goal is to repair your vehicle’s problem the right way the first time at a fair price without making unnecessary repairs," said Cleburne native Joel Henslee, who has owned and operated QB&A since 1994. "Our specialty is honesty."

From the brake pedal to hydraulic brake fluid, brake master cylinder to power brake booster, drum brakes to disc brakes and electronic anti-lock brake sensors, QB&A technicians know every part of your brake system inside and out, Henslee said. 

QB&A also provides air conditioning repair, front end alignment, chassis repair, and trailer brakes and bearings. 

"We specialize in brakes, alignments, air conditioning, and shocks and struts," Henslee said. "At Qualtiy Brakes and Alignment, we offer complete car care for all vehicle makes and models. Our Multi-point inspection provides a clear picture of what you need to extend the life of your vehicle."

Joel probably won't be standing outside as he is in the photo below, but you can't miss the refurbished building. 

Quality Brakes & Alignment (817-556-2455) is a longtime member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Rick Bailey recognized for 10 years of service
April 10, 2019

Johnson County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rick Bailey was honored April 8 for 10 years of service to the county.

Bailey was one of 30 employees to receive years-of-service pins during the Commissioners Court meeting at the Johnson County Courthouse.

Bailey, elected to office in 2008, received a 10-year pin from County Judge Roger Harmon, third from left.

Precinct 1 is in the southwest quadrant of the county and includes Cleburne, Rio Vista, The Retreat, Bono, parts of Pecan Plantation and Hamm Creek State Park. The precinct has 300 road miles.

Bailey also serves as president of the North & East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association.

In the photo below, Bailey, second from left, receives his 10-year pin from Harmon. Looking on, from left, are commissioners Kenny Howell, Jerry Stringer and Larry Woolley. 

Bailey, Harmon and Woolley are members of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Ribbon cut to open renovated Shady Oak
April 07, 2019

Keene elected officials and happy residents were on hand April 5 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Shady Oak Street.

The portion of the street from Greenbriar to Hillcrest was completely rebuilt, including widening and a new road bed.

The $645,000 project closed the street for 11 months and included new sewer lines and utilities.

Presiding at the ceremony in the photo below are, from left, City Councilman Robert Cooper, Mayor Gary Heinrich, former Mayor Frank Peterson, former Mayor James Chapline, former Mayor Roy Robinson, Councilwoman Gwen Beeson and Councilwoman Cheryl Schram.

The city of Keene is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce. (Photo courtesy Wes Schram) 

Ground broken for new gym as KAES
March 31, 2019

Ground was broken for a new gymnasium/auditorium March 31 on the campus of Keene Adventist Elementary School.

About 150 people, including administrators of the Adventist Southwestern Union, Texas Adventist Conference, city elected officials, Keene Adventist Church pastoral staff, alumni and parents braved chilly Sunday morning temperatures to attend.

"This building will be destroyed someday, but the lessons learned here will last forever," KAES Principal Todd Coulter told the crowd

Work on the $1.5 million building will start when permitting is completed, Coulter said. Fifty percent of the funds have been raised and the school board does not want to take out a commercial loan to finish the work, he said.

Construction is expected to be finished toward the end of the 2020 school year, Coulter said. 

The building site is west of the Elementary School building. The KAES campus also includes a Middle School building. A large outdoor playground was relocated to the the north side of the Elementary School to create room for the gymnasium.

KAES is a longtime member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Wielding shovels in the photo below are, from left, KAES Principal Todd Coulter, Kindergarten teacher Ruth Just, Keene Mayor Gary Heinrich, Texas Conference President Carlos Craig, eighth-grade class President Dominique Thomas, Kindergarten student Serena Bowyer, school board President Doug Bowyer, construction manager Ronnie Foust, Keene Adventist Church Senior Pastor James Winegardner and Texas Adventist Conference Superintendent of Education John Hopps.

SWAU hosts "Voices of Conscience" exhibit
March 31, 2019

Southwestern Adventist University is hosting "Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War" exhibit from April 8 to May 19. The exhibit will be open to the public at the Meadows Gallery in the Chan Shun Centennial Library.

Voices of Conscience is a traveling exhibit that remembers the witness of peace-minded people against the First World War (1914-1918). This witness included men and women, religious believers and secular humanitarians, political protesters and sectarian separatists. They resisted U.S. involvement in the war, the enactment of military conscription, the war bond drives, and the denial of freedom of speech under the Espionage and Sedition Acts. For this resistance many suffered community humiliation, federal imprisonment, and mob violence at the hands of a war-crusading American public. This exhibit lifts up the prophetic insights and the personal courage of World War I peace protesters, and suggests parallels to the culture of war and violence in our world today.

The exhibit is organized in ten themes that encourage exploration and reflection. The theme modules surround a recreation of an Alcatraz Prison cell, the site where Hutterite conscientious objectors were punished for refusing military participation. Text and quotes provide interpretation and raise provocative questions for viewers while large-scale graphics and photomurals immerse visitors in the historical experience of witnessing for peace during “total war.”

Southwestern Adventist University received support for the exhibit from Humanities Texas in Austin, the Walmart Distribution Center based in Cleburne, and Ulrich Barns Builders, LLC based in Cleburne. Self-guided tours will be available during the normal operating hours of the Chan Shun Centennial Library. 

Voices of Conscience was developed by a collaborative team of historians and museum professionals from the Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas. The exhibit is based on Kauffman Museum’s 30 years of experience in designing and building award-winning projects with a specific focus on innovative approaches to traveling exhibits. For more information about the exhibit, visit

Southwestern Adventist University is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Zimmerman's Paint & Supply opens at 316 S. Old Betsy Road
March 27, 2019

Zimmerman’s Paint & Supply is the newest member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Owned and operated by Matt Gillin, Zimmerman's is the one-stop shop for auto body professionals and do-it-yourselfers, alike. It is located at 316 S. Old Betsy Road, immediately north of Hopps Automotive & Towing Service and across the street from Pinnacle Bank.

Zimmerman’s has the ability to mix any auto or industrial paint colors that you may need. They also carry all the necessary supplies to get the job done from start to finish, Gillin said.

Inventory includes custom mixed paint, sand paper, primer, sealer, tools, solvents, masking tape, body filler, and more.

Zimmerman’s Paint & Supply (817-645-2428, or Facebook) is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Gillin, a graduate of Chisholm Trail Academy who attended Hill College, worked from age 5 - 22 with his father, Wayne Gillin, at Wayne & Son Auto Repair.

Gillin also served 16 years with the Keene Fire Rescue Department, retiring in 2017 after 10 years as Fire Chief.

New employee at Hopps Automotive
March 25, 2019

Ron Roye has joined Hopps Automotive and Towing Service (817-645-7732) as an auto technician.

He joins a Hopps team that includes five other automotive professions who serve at 318 S. Old Betsy Road at the intersection of Old Betsy and Fourth Street.

Justin Hopps purchased the business in May 2011, the same year he was recognized with the Young Entrepreneur Award by the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Hopps Automotive and Towing Service has been a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce for eight years.

Members of the Hopps team in the photo below are, from left, manager Tony Belz, auto technicians, Ron Roye and Edwin Rivera, towing manager Johnny Shaw, auto technician Julio Uribe and owner Justin Hopps.

Olivia's Cafe celebrates third anniversary
March 19, 2019

Olivia's Cafe & Catering celebrated its third anniversary March 9.

The popular restaurant (817-933-6239) that features a daily lunch special is located at 108 S. Old Betsy Road. It's open from 6:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Owned and operated by Olivia Hall, the restaurant is also the site for numerous business lunches.

Olivia also operates That Catering Company, which provides off-site catering for all occasions.

Hall was the recipient of the 2016 Young Entrepreneur Award from the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Olivia's Cafe and Catering is a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

In the photo below are restaurant personnel, from left, Pam Ford, Olivia Hall, Hannah Peterson, Amber Barron and Alicia Yudho.

Pinnacle Bank welcomes two new tellers
March 18, 2019

The Keene Branch of Pinnacle Bank has two new tellers.

Shelby Charles and Phillip Vasquez are now greeting customers at the teller windows in the lobby and at the drive-thru.

Charles is a graduate of Joshua High School, attend Hill College and resides in Joshua.

Vasquez is a graduate of Cleburne High School and resides in Cleburne. He graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree focusing on finance. 

"We invite everyone to stop by a meet Shelby and Phillip," Branch President Amy Lingo said. 

Pinnacle Bank is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Coin counting machine open at Pinnacle Bank
March 14, 2019

The Keene branch of Pinnacle Bank has a machine you can count on.

A self-service coin-counting machine is now open in the bank's entrance. The machine counts coins and produces a receipt that customers present to a teller for paper currency.

"The machine is fun and saves time," Branch President Amy Lingo said. "Previously, our tellers had to leave their station to count coins at a different machine."

A small container is available for machine users to sort through their coins, making sure there are no objects such as paper clips, nails or foreign coins,  Lingo said.  

The coin machine is free for customers. Non-customers pay a transaction fee equal to 10 percent of the total.

In the photo below, Lingo prepares to pour a bucket of coins in the machine.

The machine is available during the bank's lobby hours: 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and until 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Pinnacle Bank is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Keene Pharmacy will take back drugs
March 14, 2019

A local business that sells drugs now takes them back.

Keene Pharmacy is participating the Oinmar Consumer Drug Take-Back program.

Keene residents can bring unused or expired prescription medication (including Schedule II-V controlled substances) to the pharmacy for deposit in a large safe-type receptacle.

Also accepted are unused or expired over-the-counter medications and pet medications.

Drugs and medications that cannot be accepted are Schedule I controlled substances and illegal drugs.

The Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle is open during pharmacy hours, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 5 p.m. Friday. 

In the photo below, Keene Pharmacy Technician Jenny Brown deposits prescription drugs in the take-back container.

Keene Pharmacy, 114 S. Old Betsy Road (817-558-3341) is a longtime member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Crystal Sparkman joins General Insurance Service
March 12, 2019

Crystal Sparkman has joined General Insurance Service as professional administrative assistant.

The announcement was made by GIS owner Richard Bothe. General Insurance Service, 100 S. Old Betsy Road in Keene, is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Sparkman returns to GIS after working there from 1999-2000. She left to join the Farmers Insurance office of George Williams, her brother, for 16 years. 

A graduate of Cleburne High School and resident of Godley, Sparkman has two adult children, two grandchildren and one on the way.

Sparkman fills the vacancy created by the unexpected Jan. 27 death of Maylene Jeffress, who was entering her 37th year with GIS.

Kelli Jamison will continue to serve in the GIS office on a part-time basis.  

Contact Us
Keene Chamber of Commerce
110 S. Old Betsy Road
Keene, Texas 76059
(817) 556-2995
Upcoming Events
Paul Spraggins speaks at May 23 luncheon
May 23, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.

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