Five candidates for position being interviewed

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Orange Grove City Council members interviewed two police chief candidates earlier this month, as part of their search for a new leader for the Orange Grove Police Department, which has been without a chief for several weeks after the retirement of former police chief Arthur Rogers.

The department currently has three full-time patrol officers, and has maintained a consistent presence in the community, officials said.

The two candidates, Jim Long of the Mathis Police Department and Daniel Jaramillo with OGPD, were interviewed in closed session on Nov. 14, before the regularly scheduled meeting.

Long met with council members for nearly 20 minutes, while Jaramillo was interviewed for about half an hour. Council members would not discuss what was discussed during the closed session interview.

Both candidates also chose not to speak on their individual interview sessions.

The remaining three candidates, Rogelio Mendez from the Kleberg County Sheriff's Department, Carl Van Slooten, formerly of the Victoria County Sheriff's Department, and Gary Graham, former OGPD police chief, were scheduled to be interviewed Wednesday night, after the Orange Grove Journal's press deadline.

City Administrator Rick Lopez said he was unaware of when the council would make its decision on a new police chief.

During the regularly scheduled meeting, students from the Orange Grove High School Agriculture Issues Forum made their presentation in front of the city council.

Team co-sponsor Steven Atzenhoffer said that with so many students wanting to participate this year, the team decided to branch out into the Ag Issues competition for the first time.

Although they are new to this particular event, the students exceeded all expectations, winning first in district, second in area, and headed to state competition this weekend at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville.

Overall, the local FFA chapter had a record year, with five teams qualifying for state competition. The four other teams include Greenhand FFA Skills, Senior FFA Skills, Senior Parliamentary Procedure and Greenhand Parliamentary Procedure. Under agenda items, the council approved the request from the Hartzers to conduct the Smiles for Child Christmas Parade on Dec. 8.

The council also approved the city's new Animal Control Ordinance, and approved a resolution authorizing the filling of a grant application with the Coastal Bend Council of Government for a Regional Solid Waste Program Grant.

City council members also approved an employee Christmas Bonus of $200 for all city employees, except new hires.