Rep. Cecil Bell - District 3

Rep. Cecil Bell – District 3

State Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, held a press conference in Magnolia July 6 to announce the rollout of his PACT for Constitutional Restoration of State Sovereignty. The PACT is a response to a number of rulings imposed by the Supreme Court of the U.S. over the past few years, including the June 26 legalization of same-sex marriage, Bell said.

“Among my constituents and through my business dealings across the country, there’s this perception that a band of justices have acted politically outside of their constitutional authority by taking on the role of lawmakers and usurping the proper process of legislative authority inherent to the legislature and different branches of government,” Bell said.

Within the PACT, Bell said he has detailed an action plan for residents to advocate for the constitutional restoration of state sovereignty and support the dissent of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in the same-sex marriage ruling. Bell said he plans to pull other legislators on board as well as residents to advocate for the PACT’s ideals.

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Residents in Tomball and Magnolia can celebrate America’s independence with two city-sponsored events this Saturday, which include food, games and aerial fireworks shows.

Courtesy Mike Baxter

Courtesy Mike Baxter


The city of Tomball will host a Fourth of July celebration with an evening of live music, family-friendly activities and a fireworks display. A portion of Business 249 north of FM 2920 near the Tomball Town Center retail area will be closed July 4 to make room for the event.

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Tomball leaders have made significant strides to ramp up community events designed to brand the city as a destination for tourism and family-oriented fun with 51,000 people attending city-sponsored festivals in 2014. Festival attendance in the city of Tomball increased by more than 6,200 visitors since 2013, Tomball Marketing Director Mike Baxter said.

Likewise, Magnolia officials have begun this year to market the city as a hub for healthy living and continue to embrace its designation as an official host city of the Texas Renaissance Festival since 2011.

In Magnolia, attendance has increased by about 17 percent at all city and chamber events during the past few years, including the Magnolia Showdown Barbecue Cookoff, Hometown Christmas at Unity Park and various Stroll events, Magnolia Economic Development Coordinator Tana Ross said.

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Texas Senate and House of Representatives legislators approved a bill June 1 that would significantly increase state transportation funding starting in 2018.

The bill—Senate Joint Resolution 5—would amend the state constitution to dedicate $2.5 billion of the general sales tax to the State Highway Fund (SHF) beginning in 2018 and then 35 percent from motor vehicle sales tax revenue after the first $5 billion beginning in 2020. Transportation funding from motor vehicle sales tax revenue is expected to be about $500 million to $600 million in 2020, said Scott Haywood, president of the nonprofit transportation advocacy group Move Texas Forward.

The funding mechanisms of the bill have strings attached to them in the event of a downturn in the state economy. The dedication of funds from the general sales tax could be halted if sales tax revenue comes in lower than $28 billion in a fiscal year. However, Haywood said, the state is above those numbers and is not expected to fall that far.

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Aidan Grace

Aidan Grace offers a mix of customized and brand name children’s clothing and gifts. Photo courtesy Aidan Grace

With unique finds, such as ruffled leggings and giraffe teething toys, Aidan Grace has set out to bring a close-knit, local experience to shoppers in need of baby items. Owner Esther Murphy said she carefully curates the shop to ensure items are timeless instead of following new trends.

“I try to shop for my customers as opposed to just going to market and picking out things that pique my interest or are hot sellers,” Murphy said. “I spend a lot of time getting to know my customers. Many of them have shopped with me since expecting their first child. I get to know their wants.”

In 2014, Murphy opened her first brick-and-mortar retail location on Main Street after seven years of running her online, home-based store, Diaper Diva Boutique. She said Aidan Grace was named for her children, who also serve as an inspiration for many of the product lines carried in the store.

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