Keene Chamber of Commerce  
Christmas Light Parade & Fireworks Show is Dec. 8
November 05, 2019

A local church pastor and his staff and a longtime postal employee will lead Keene's annual Christmas parade.

Keene Church Senior Pastor James Winegardner and his administrative team are grand marahals and retired postal clerk June Hollis is the parade marshal for the 24th annual Keene Christmas Light Parade and Fireworks Show that begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 in Keene.

Parade staging is at the Leiske-Pultar Gymnasium parking lot at Old Betsy Road and Magnolia Street on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University.

Anything with wheels or feet, adorned with Christmas lights and is consistent with the theme, “The Reason We Celebrate This Season,” is welcome to participate.

Winegardner received the 2019 Keene Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award that recognizes an individual who has been a model citizen and given dedicated and extensive service to individuals, organizations and the community on a continued basis. The 3,000-member Keene Adventist Church operates the Keene Community Food Bank, Kids Eat Free backpack program with Keene ISD, a clothing outlet for needy families, senior health programs, a program that provides a car shuttle anywhere within 10 miles of Keene for those who need to be transported to a doctors visit or grocery store, family campouts, countless Bible studies, water giveaways in needy areas, all organized by volunteers and attended by hundreds who have a new positive, can-do, outlook.

Hollis received the Keene chamber's Pioneer Award that recognizes an individual or organization whose long-ago contributions and influence helped make Keene what it is today.Hollis moved to Keene in 1956 and served 37 years with the Keene Post Office, serving five postmasters and training all of them, to the extent that Keene residents considered her the postmaster. 

Parade registration

Parade registration deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Registration forms are available at: Keene City Hall, 1000 N, Old Betsy Road; General Insurance Service, 100 S. Old Betsy Road; City Station Cafe, 108 S. Old Betsy Road, or the Keene chamber office at 110 S. Old Betsy Road.

Parade entry fee is any two sets of the following items:

Ramen Noodles (Box of 6), Fruit Juice (Box of 4-6), Fruit Cups (4-6 pack), Apple Sauce (4-6 pack), Oatmeal (instant) - 1 box, Mac and Cheese 1 box, Ravioli/Spahettios - 2 cans, Cereal - box of 6 (individual), Cereal/Fruit Boxes - Box of 6, and Mixed Veggies - 2 cans.

The food items should be turned in at the registration desk.

The fireworks show will immediately follow the parade. The show will be presented west of the Duck Pond at Callicott Student Park. The best place to watch the fireworks is from the Leiske-Pultar parking lot or the embankment along Old Betsy Road between Magnolia and Campus Drive.

Judging of entries

Parade Entrants who want to be judged and be eligible for prizes should meet at 5 p.m. in the Leiske-Pultar parking lot. Judging begins at 5:15 p.m.

All entrants should enter the gymnasium parking lot at the north entrance, not on Magnolia Street.

Parade route

The parade starts at the Leiske-Pultar parking lot and goes west on Magnolia to Old Betsy Road, south on Old Betsy to Hillcrest, east on Hillcrest to Mockingbird, south on Mockingbird to Fourth, west on Fourth to Old Betsy, and north on Old Betsy back to the Leiske-Pultar parking lot.

 Entry awards

 First-place trophies will be awarded in the following categories:

■  Best lighted vehicle, ■  Best lighted float, ■  Best animal entry, ■  Best business entry, ■  Best children’s entry

■  Best Pathfinder club, ■  Best Adventurer club, ■  Best antique entry, ■  Most unique entry

One entry will be awarded Best Overall and will receive a trophy.

The parade is presented by the Keene Chamber of Commerce. 

In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, the parade will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

For parade entry information, call the chamber office at 817-556-2995.

James Winegardner and Keene Church staff team named Citizen of the Year
October 27, 2019

A local pastor, a longtime postal worker, a fire chief and a police chief were among those honored at the 26th annual Keene Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Oct. 24 at the Keene Community Center.

The event that recognizes local businesses and educators was attended by 296 people who enjoyed a meal prepared by Southwestern Adventist University food service director Chef Sualua Tupolo and a non-stop routine of laughter presented by Christian comedian Dr. Dennis Swanberg.

Keene Adventist Church Senior Pastor James Winegardner and the administrative staff team at the Keene Church were honored at Citizen of the Year.

Other honorees included: 

• Community Improvement Award: Keene Adventist Elementary School

• Community Service Award: Keene Police Chief Emmitt Jackson and Keene Fire Chief Dan Warner

• Educator of the Year Awards:

• Pioneer Award: June Hollis

• Young Entrepreneur Award: Matt Gillin

• Phillip Sparks Helping Hands Award: Judy Miles

The Citizen of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has been a model citizen and given dedicated and extensive service to individuals, organizations and the community on a continued basis.

The 3,000-member Keene Adventist Church operates the Keene Community Food Bank, Kids Eat Free backpack program with Keene ISD, a clothing outlet for needy families, a senior exercise class, a program that provides transportation anywhere within 10 miles of Keene for those who need to be transported to a doctors visit or grocery store, family campouts, countless Bible studies, water giveaways in needy areas, all organized by volunteers and attended by hundreds who have a new positive, can-do, outlook.

The Community Improvement Award honors businesses for contributing to the beautification of the city through new buildings and/or well-manicured grounds and landscaping, thus presenting a positive image and improving the quality of life in Keene.

KAES was honored for transforming itself from a 1980s rundown to a beautiful and up-to-date campus with actual grass on the front lawn, new exterior paint job, and a complete overhaul of the interiors of two buildings, with a new much-needed gymnasium on the way.

KAES Principal Todd Coulter accepted the award.

The Community Service Award is given to an individual and/or organization who has given extensive and continued service to the community.

Jackson and Warner were recognized for being actively involved in myriad community activities while leading organizations of first responders that keep residents safe. 

The Educator of the Year Award honors one who demonstrates excellence in the classroom and goes the extra mile by being involved in the lives of students outside the classroom. This award is selected by campus educators and administrators. One educator from the each of the four public schools and one from the each of the four private schools are honored each year. 

The award is accompanied by a cash honorarium of $100 and tonight these honorariums. The awards, presented for the public schools by Keene ISD Supt. Ricky Stephens, for KAES by Principal Todd Coulter, for Chisholm Trail Academy by Principal Tommy Simons and for SWAU by Vice President for Spiritual Development Russ Laughlin were:

Keene ISD Alternative School — Wallace Sullivan

Keene High School — Tommy Kennedy

Keene Junior High School — Caitlyn Fellers

Keene Elementary School — Mari Maldonado 

Keene Adventist Elementary School — Josh Samaniego

Keene Adventist Junior High School — Cheryl Blackburn

Chisholm Trail Academy is Debera Hall

Southwestern Adventist University is Jared Wood

The Pioneer Award recognizes an individual or organization whose long-ago contributions and influence helped make Keene what it is today.

The award was presented to June Hollis, who moved to Keene in 1956 and served 37 years with the Keene Post Office, serving five postmasters and training all of them, to the extent that Keene residents considered her the postmaster. During this time she was also appointed to the City Council to fulfill an unexpected opening.

The Young Entrepreneur Award is presented to a young business person who has made a commitment to Keene.

This year’s honoree,Matt Gillin, grew up in Keene and graduated from Chisholm Trail Academy and then from Hill College Fire Training Academy, joining the fire department in Keene, where he became chief in 2008. 

Medical challenges caused him to resign in 2017 but he accepted a business challenge when he purchased Zimmerman’s Paint & Supply, a company that had been in business in Cleburne since 1913, and relocated it to Keene in what was unproductive space next to Hoops Automotive, thus putting a new business on the tax rolls and providing a new service.

Phillip Sparks Helping Hands Award, honors an individual who provides continued assistance without seeking compensation or recognition.

This year’s honoree, Judy Miles, joined the Southwestern Adventist University family in July of 1979 and formally retired in 2014 after 35 years of teaching in the Business and Computer Science Departments; however, her love for the University and its students keeps her teaching in the classroom to this day.    

Understanding the financial struggles of students living off campus, she launched a student food bank two years ago, volunteering her time and energy to keeping University students well-fed.

In the photos below, courtesy of Jessica Pounds and the Cleburne Times Review, from top to bottom, are:

• Fire Chief Dan Warner and Police Chief Emmitt Jackson with the Community Service Award

• Pioneer Award recipient June Hollis receives the award from Bugger Putnam

• Kevin Sellers, left, presents the Young Entrepreneur Award to Matt Gillin

• James Winegardner received the Citizen of the Year Award from past honoree Gwen Beeson

Rosser Funeral Home foursome wins golf tournament
September 09, 2019

The foursome representing Rosser Funeral Home carded an 18-under-par 54 to win the 3rd annual Texas Health Huguley Hospital and Keene Chamber of Commerce Golf Invitational tournament held Sept. 6 at Southern Oaks Golf & Tennis Club in Burleson. 

The event was also financially supported by Ulrich Barn Builders, Callahan & Freeman Architects, Pinnacle Bank, Speed FabCrete, General Insurance Service, Town Hall Estates and Cleburne Ford.

The Rosser quartet was Perry Rosser, Chad Johnson, Shane Kimberling and Jason Williams. Johnson also won one of the four closest-to-the-pin contests.

The team of Jason Nash, Ricky Neiman, Kenneth Rose and Zeeshawn Siddiqui, one of two teams representing Texas Health Huguley Hospital, won second place with a 15-under-par 57. Nash also won the longest drive contest.

The foursome representing United Cooperative Services — Ryan Jamison, Kade Kincannon, Jeff Pannell and Chris White, finished in third place with a 59, 13 shots under par. Pannell also won a closest-to-the-pin contest, as did Zane Hackler and Jonathan Kerby.

Seventeen teams participated. They were: Ag Texas Farm Credit Services, Callahan & Freeman Architects/Speed FabCrete, City of Keene, Classic of Cleburne, Cleburne Ford, Cleburne Railroaders Baseball Club, General Insurance Service, Johnson County Sheriff's Office, KTH Transportation, Keene Economic Development, Pinnacle Bank, Rosser Funeral Home, Southwestern Union Conference, Texas Conference, Texas Health Huguley Hospital and United Cooperative Services.

Om the photos below are the Rosser Funeral Home team of, from left, Shane Kimberling, Jason Williams, Chad Johnson and Perry Rosser.

The other photo is Jeff Pannell of United Cooperative Services, one of four closest-to-the-pin winners.

 

Eva Campbell
September 03, 2019

A memorial service for longtime Keene Chamber of Commerce office volunteer Eva Campbell was held Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Keene Adventist Church Chapel.

Eva, 74, passed away Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, as a result of a heart attack at her home in Keene.

Eva was an ever-present presence in the Keene chamber office, always pleasant and professional.

Attendees at the chamber's monthly luncheons and annual business expo and banquet could count on being greeted by Eva at check-in.

She was a golf fan and looked forward to greeting players at the annual golf invitational.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Eva's hometown. 

In the photo below are Ken and Eva Campbell.

Sales tax revenue down a little from July 2018
July 29, 2019

As Ezekiel Elliott holds out of Cowboys training camp, Keene's sales tax revenue is thrown for a loss.

Keene is one of three Johnson County cities to receive a decrease in sales tax revenue in July compared to the same month last year, according to figures released recently by State Comptroller Glen Hagar.

Keene is down 6 percent on revenue of $64,834 versus $68,917 last July, Godley is down 4 percent, receiving $97,777 compared to $101,593 in July 2018, and Venus is down 4 percent on revenue of $45,694 compared to $47,449 last July, Hagar's figurers indicate. 

The allocations are based on sales made in May by businesses that report tax monthly, according to Hagar’s release. The monies are collected in May, counted in June and distributed in July.
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).

County-wide for July, Alvarado is up 16 percent on revenue of $185,652 compared to $159,999 in July of last year. Briaroaks is up 91 percent on revenue of $2,975 versus $1,556 last July. Cleburne is in the positive by 2 percent on revenue of $1,073,958 versus $1,049,420 in July 2018. 

Grandview is ahead by 2 percent on revenue of $75,738 compared to $74,084 in July 2018, and Joshua is ahead 14 percent on sales tax revenue of $119,320 compared to $104,414 in July 2018. Rio Vista is up by a whopping 48 percent on revenue of $16,713 compared to $11,291 in July 2018.

Fire destroys shed behind General Insurance Service
July 11, 2019

A fire caused by downed power lines Wednesday evening destroyed a 30-year-old shed behind the office of General Insurance Service at 100 S. Old Betsy Road at the southwest corner of Old Betsy and Hillcrest Street. 

Strong winds blew down a tree that fell onto power lines, according to longtime GIS owner Richard Bothe. The power lines began arcing and a fire started before Oncore could turn off the power, Bothe said. No one was injured in the incident and there was no damage to the GIS office building. 

The shed was 25-30 years old and contained old files, outdated records and Christmas decorations, Bothe said.

General Insurance Service has been in business at its current location since 1978 and is a charter member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

Roberts, Pinnacle Bank win parade honors
June 30, 2019

A longtime Keene businesswoman and a longtime employee of Southwestern Adventist University were marshals for the 30th annual Keene Fourth of July Parade.
Amy Lingo, former manager of the Keene branch of Pinnacle Bank, was the grand marshal. Lingo has been with Pinnacle for 27 years. She currently serves as treasurer of the Keene Chamber of Commerce. 

Dale Hainey, director of plant engineering at SWAU was the parade marshal. Hainey has been with SWAU for 42 years, the last 25 as director of plant engineering. He is a member of the Keene Business Expo and Health Fair planning committee and the Keene July 4 Celebration committee.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office color guard led the parade.

Keene resident Dan Roberts won Best Overall category with his refurbished vintage Dr Pepper delivery truck. Pinnacle Bank won in the Best Business category. 

Pinnacle Bank calendar photo contest opens
June 25, 2019

Pinnacle Bank is now looking for new images to showcase in 2020.

From now through July 15, the bank is accepting images of Texas landscapes. A selection committee will select photographs from all submissions to be placed on the bank's Facebook page. The 12 photos receiving the most likes on the Facebook page will be featured in the 2020 wall calendar.

Submit your best landscape images now through July 15 to moc.knabnnip@tsetnocotohpxt.

Visit www.pinnbanktx.com for complete contest rules. 

Keene's sales tax revenue continues to climb
June 13, 2019

As summer temperatures climb, so, too, does Keene’s sales tax revenue.
The city received $73,534 in sales tax revenue for June, an increase of 5.74 percent more than the $69,540 it received in June of last year, according to figures released June 13 by State Comptroller Glenn Hagar.
The allocation is based on sales made in April by businesses that report tax monthly. The monies are collected in April, counted in May and distributed in June, according to Hagar’s report.
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).
The June allocation continues a positive trend for Keene, which was up 3 percent in May on revenue of $87,978, compared to $85,090 in May of last year.
For the calendar year, Keene has received $457,363 in sales tax revenue, a 13 percent increase more than the $404,772 it received in the same time period in 2018, according to Hagar’s report.

Team of chamber members wins golf tourney
June 11, 2019

A foursome of members of the Keene Chamber of Commerce has a won a golf tournament that helps provides specialized wheelchairs for children with severe physical disabilities.

Playing as representatives of the Burleson Star newspaper, the team of Dan Mertz, Ken Shaw, Jonathan Wall and Paul Gnadt won the 7th annual Marine Corps League Longhorn Detachment 1069 Charity Golf Tournament June 7 at Hidden Creek Golf Course in Burleson. The foursome carded a 16-under-par 56 to win by one stroke. 

The event raised $5,500 for Wheelchairs 4 Kids, a Tarpon Springs, Florida,-based organization that provides wheelchairs and other mobile devices for handicapped children. 

Nineteen teams were registered for the four-person best-ball scramble. 

Mertz is owner of Mertz Family Dentistry in Keene, Shaw is president of Southwestern Adventist University, Wall is assistant professor of music at SWAU, and Gnadt is a reporter/columnist for the Burleson Star. All entities are member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

In the photo below, Wall, Shaw, Gnadt and Mertz receive their first place trophies from Bill Carver, past commandant of the Marine Corps League Longhorn Detachment. 

Keene has a new economic development director
June 11, 2019

A former professional soccer player has been hired by Keene to kick economic development to the next level.

Landis Adams is the city’s new economic development director, according to a media release from the city. Adams has been serving as the economic development chairman for the Brazoria County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and as CEO of Platinum Marketing, a nationwide advertising and marketing agency. 

He is currently the vice president of the Sweeny Chamber of Commerce, president of the Citizens Police Academy for the Freeport Police Department, vice president of the Freeport Host Lions Club, and sits on the board for the Education Foundation and Community Leadership Team for Brazosport ISD, and is a board member for the city of Jones Creek Planning and Zoning Commission. 

In 2017 Adams was presented the Lions Club International Melvin Jones Fellow Humanitarian Service Award, and in 2013 he received the Brazoria County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year Award.

A graduate of Brazosport High school and a veteran of the U.S. Army (where he served in the Gulf War in 1991), Adams also played professional soccer. He has been married to his wife, Gina, for the past 26 years and has two adult children and three grandchildren. He enjoys officiating basketball, playing golf and spending time with his family.

GasBuddy ranks top gas station restrooms
June 03, 2019

Hundreds of Keene Chamber of Commerce members will be hitting the road this summer and can now find at a clean pit stop.

GasBuddy has published its ratings of gas station restroom cleanliness. Texas-based Buc-ee’s clenches the top spot with the highest-rated gas station restrooms in the nation.

Clean, quality restrooms continue to be a concern for motorists on the road, according to information provided by GasBuddy. According to GB's 2019 summer travel survey, 40 percent of travelers fear needing to use the restroom but not knowing where to find a clean one.

GasBuddies have written millions of reviews covering more than 150,000 retail locations where gasoline is sold. 

Here, according to GasBuddy, are the cleanest restrooms.

U.S. Congressman Roger Williams visits Keene
June 02, 2019

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, visited Keene May 29 with stops at Southwestern Adventist University and Chisholm Trail Estates Senior Living Center.

At SWAU, Williams was hosted by President Dr. Ken Shaw at the new Larry R. Moore Nursing and Administration Building. Williams toured the facility and spoke for about 20 minutes in the lobby. He also answered questions from the crowd of approximately 100 people and posed for selfies with most of them. Those attending included Mayor Gary Heinrich and City Councilwoman Gwen Beeson.

Speaking on the important role of education, Williams expressed admiration of Southwestern Adventist University’s newest structure, whose primary purpose is to train nurses. “We need nurses more than ever in this country,” he said, adding that there is currently a “huge shortage.”

“We have 100,000 kids dropping out of school right here in Texas," Williams continued. "They are losing hope because they say ‘I can’t be a doctor, I can’t be a businessman, I can’t be a lawyer.’ For a long time I have been a big proponent… of saying, ‘It is okay to be a carpenter, it is okay to be a welder, it is okay to be a nurse.’”

Williams himself can relate to going into a field he did not initially plan for. “I don’t ever remember thinking ‘I want to be a congressman,’” Williams said, “but life takes us in directions we don’t always expect.”

Later, Williams visited CTE and met with residents.

In the photo below, SWAU President Dr. Ken Shaw, left, presents Williams with a gift.

Williams is a member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce and SWAU is a charter member. 

Cleburne Ford presents scholarship to daughter of Keene chamber member
June 02, 2019

Bobby de la Garza, president of Cleburne Ford, presented scholarships to some of Johnson County’s top students including Emily Weaver of Keene High School, daughter of T'resa and Rick Weaver. Rick is pastor for administration at the Keene Adventist Church.

The scholarships were presented at the Ford Driving For Your Dreams award banquet in Dallas.

In addition to Emily, the other Johnson County recipients were Ryan Geddie from Joshua High School and Tarek Arouse from Cleburne High School.

Cleburne Ford is a longtime member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce and the Keene Adventist Church is a charter member.

In the photo below are, from left, Emily Weaver, Bobby de la Garza, Ryan Geddie and Tarek Arouse. 

Ribbon cut at Universe Tea
May 30, 2019

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held May 23 to formally open Universe Tea at 101 S Old Betsy Road in Keene.

Owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Victor and Elgina Parilla, Universe Tea features Boba Tea served via Universal (or common) teas, milky tea and slushes.

Boba is a chewable, brown-sugar flavored ball-like item that can be added to any order.

There are a variety of flavors for all regular teas, milky teas and slushes, such as caramel latte, red bean, strawberry, mango, avocado, honey dew, red guava, honey roasted oolong and many, many more. 

Universe Tea (817-526-5171) is the newest member of the Keene Chamber of Commerce.

In the photo below, Victor Parilla is holding the scissors with Elgina at his right.

Thomsen Observatory is renovated and updated
May 30, 2019

The Eugene V. Thomsen Observatory at Southwestern Adventist University has been renovated and updated to meet increasing levels of community interest. Now, with a new 10-inch Thomas Back APO Chromatic telescope, mount, lenses, and cameras, and the options of either astrophotography or eyepiece viewing, the experience at the Thomsen Observatory is bigger and better than ever. In the spring of 2018, SWAU reopened the observatory with its first of many “star parties” where guests view planets, nebula, star clusters, and the lunar landscape. 

State-of-the-Art Equipment
The Thomsen-Hall telescope, an imposing 10-inch TMB apochromatic refractor (254 mm lens), grants exceptional deep-space vision, using all the light that enters to provide direct views of planets, stars, and nebulae. A CMOS camera, lenses, filters, and viewing screen support the refractor’s capability. 
Additional portable telescopes, including the Dickerson Meade 178-ED APO refractor and the Bo Walker Coronado Max- 70 H-alpha sun telescope, extend viewing during star parties and other special events. 

Recent History
In 2000, the observatory closed to the public due to a void of leadership and management. However, various faculty, alumni, community volunteers, and donors rallied around the cause over the years to bring the observatory back to life.
“The university is grateful for the dedication and generosity of the many individuals and groups that have allowed the observatory to flourish once again,” University President Dr. Ken Shaw said. 

Going Forward
In the spirit of the observatory’s namesake, Eugene Thomsen, a much-loved language professor who “was passionate about learning of all kinds,” the observatory is for anyone who loves to learn new things, see new sights, and “reach out to something bigger than oneself,” said his daughter, Cristina Thomsen. 
Potential observers are reminded that all events are free, and visitors are welcome to bring their own telescopes and chairs. For more information on upcoming events, or to view a gallery of photos including the Orion Nebula and the M3 star cluster visit www.swau.edu/observatory. To become a Friend of the Thomsen Observatory, visit swau.edu/give or contact the Development Office at 817-202-6231. You may also make observatory inquiries or donations by email or phone at ude.uaws@yrotavresbo or 817-202-6573.

Southwestern Adventist University is a charter member of the 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, www.owensautoworks.com) 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. 

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.

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.

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, www.zimpaint.com 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
 
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