Economic development commission working on major fishing events at Lake Fork during 2022

By Larry Tucker
editor@wood.cm
Posted 11/25/21

The Wood County Economic Development Commission last week discussed the upcoming BassMasters Event and Major League Fishing Tournaments at Lake Fork. 

Commission Chairman Tom Keenan reported the WCEDC is gearing up for the BassMasters event May 19-22 at the Sabine River Authority (SRA) headquarters at Lake Fork.

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Economic development commission working on major fishing events at Lake Fork during 2022

Posted

The Wood County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC) last week discussed the upcoming BassMasters Event and Major League Fishing (MLF) Tournaments at Lake Fork. 

Commission Chairman Tom Keenan reported the WCEDC is gearing up for the BassMasters event May 19-22 at the Sabine River Authority (SRA) headquarters at Lake Fork. There will be many activities open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Bobby Irwin, recent FFA National Talent champion, will be entertaining on Saturday, May 21. On Sunday, a major country music act will be in concert. The name of the group is being withheld until some scheduling matters have been worked out.

There will also be a car show and plenty for the kids to do including fishing, a bicycle rodeo and a bounce house. There will be a dunking booth, cornhole tournament, beer garden, the Berkley bass tank, and a 5K dam run has been added. 

WCEDC Executive Director Christophe Trahan has been busy with ongoing projects. Trahan has been working with Wood County Judge Lucy Hebron on a strategy for enforcing compliance from short-term rental sites in remitting local hotel occupancy taxes (HOT funds).

New promotional items, such as tee-shirts, polo shirts and wind breakers were displayed for commission members. 

Trahan also participated in retention site visits with XTO Energy in Hawkins, Christus Mother Frances in Winnsboro and UT Health-Quitman.   

In a retention meeting with UT Health-Quitman, it was reported the hospital has 183 employees with some marginal staff planned in the near future. Staffing has stabilized after the shortage of healthcare workers during the pandemic. It was reported that at the Quitman facility job openings seldom lasted long because it is viewed as an attractive facility for employment.

Its five-year plan includes a greater focus on primary care provider recruitment, placing a greater emphasis on health-screening outreach and community health education and increased coordination among local providers to improve healthcare outcomes. In another expansion project the UT Mineola Clinic will be increasing from nine to 19 exam rooms.

Christus Mother Frances-Winnsboro employs 101 employees. Overall employee retention in the last two years has significantly improved, however high turnover was indicated in primary care providers. They also indicated that the attraction of younger families to Wood County would be a significant asset to their recruitment efforts. 

The Christus five-year plan involves expanding their available services through greater investment in telemedicine while retaining their emergency room services. No pressing facility maintenance needs were expressed, and all public infrastructure needs were indicated to be fulfilled.

Christus did indicate a need for assistance with raising community awareness regarding the capabilities of their facilities.

The business retention visit to XTO Energy in Hawkins found 46 full-time staffers, and they are anticipating two new additions to the staff.  XTO indicated employee retention issues in prior years, but the turnover rate has reduced and no longer poses a problem for the Hawkins facility.

XTO reported pay is merit-based and most positions such as plant operators, field technicians and skilled technicians tend to stay in the $80,000 to $100,000 range.

XTO indicated a need for greater communication with the city of Hawkins and local public safety officials. WCEDC staff is facilitating connections between the city and XTO.