Measure would gives workers’ comp judges a raise Jan 23, 2020 Top Stories Judges of compensation claims would receive a $35,000 pay hike under a bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 21.Committee Chair Sen. David Simmons, R-Longwood, introduced SB 1298, which he said was intended to restore the parity, which existed until 1994, between the salaries of workers’ compensation judges and circuit court judges.Since that time, workers’ comp judges have received only pay raises given to all state employees and now earn $124.564.20 annually, while circuit court judges are paid $160,688.04.(According to the staff analysis of the bill, worker’s compensation judges are paid about the same as administrative law judges, who earn between $123,070 and $124,320 per year.)The almost $1.2 million for the raises would not come from general state revenues, but rather the Division of Administrative Hearings’ Operating Trust Fund, which Simmons said has plenty of money.“The workers’ compensation system is incredibly complex and is becoming more complex,” said Richard Chait, legislation co-chair for the Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Section, speaking for the bill. “The problem that the system is having in general is that the salary structure, which has not been increased in over 20 years, is so de minimis that we are having a difficult time recruiting competent judges who are willing to leave their viable law practices and accept a position on the bench.”The bill passed the Judiciary Committee 5-0 and next goes to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government and then the full Appropriations Committee.No companion bill has been introduced in the House. Even if the bill passes, funds would still have to be designated as part of the annual appropriations bill.
Share By LARRY GAGESpecial to the PRESSThis 2015 edition of the Port Isabel High Lady Tarpons volleyball team has a good mixture of upper and lower-classmen players. Actually, 75 percent of this squad of 16 members is made up of upperclassmen, but the three sophomores and a single freshman that fill out the roster have very much become contributing parts of the whole.“These girls want to win and they’re going to do what they have to do to get that win,” Port Isabel head volleyball coach Julie Breedlove said this week. “They’re going to work hard and they’re going to push themselves.”Celia Garza is the team’s only freshman and she admitted to some early-season jitters. “At first it was very nerve-wracking and very fast-paced. It was a whole different pace for me because I went straight to JV and then they moved me up to varsity.”“Celia’s one of those little ones that come in and she wants the ball,” Coach Breedlove said Tuesday. “If you hit the ball at her and she shanks it, she’s going to say, ‘Come at me again because this time I’m going to get it.’ It’s nice to have that on the court and she’s that kind of kid.”Sophomores Olivia Soliz and Madison Bickerton form the center of the team’s ‘Tall Girls’ front line. “We ran her (Madison) off the right side for a while – wanted her to get used to the blocking. Her hitting wasn’t quite coming around but, since she’s been in the middle, she’s hitting a whole lot better. A lot of that is the confidence in … knowing that she can hang with these other kids.”“I feel like I’m getting more confidence as the season goes on,” Bickerton said. “In the beginning I was a little shy because we were the sophomores – we were the youngest ones. Of course, we all play together as a team, so I’ve gotten to know them as teammates. And a lot of them are my friends, too.”Olivia Soliz seems to be constantly improving. “Olivia, every game she plays, gets a little bit better,” Breedlove said. “She’s really been working hard and improving. She’s always asking questions; ‘What can I do different, what can I do better?’ She’s really made a turn-around in her play.”“Once I got on the court it was hard at first, because I didn’t know most of the girls,” Soliz told the Press. “But once we bonded and (began to) work as a team, it became a lot easier to push ourselves to the next level.”Soliz gives full credit to the upper-classmen for helping her along in this, her first full season as a varsity player. “The upperclassmen have made (us) more confident in ourselves. I was intimidated to get on the court with all those girls. They really taught us how to play as a team, how to work together.”The third sophomore in this group is Carolina Guevara and she is one of those bench players who is ready to go in at a moment’s notice. “She’s coming in off the bench as one of our setters, and we’re able to pull her right off the bench and hardly miss a beat. She’s doing a really good job of coming off the bench … giving the other girls some rest. She’s a good server and she plays good defense.”“I love my team, the way we bond,” Guevara said this week. “When we practice, of course, we have fun, but at the same time we do what we have to do. It just all collects together.”The group’s next chance to get better and come together even more under game conditions will be this Saturday, when the Hidalgo Lady Pirates will visit Tarpon Gym for this Saturday’s afternoon matches.Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. RelatedFreshman Mata Ready for Varsity VolleyballBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS Not many freshmen get moved up to Varsity at the very start of the high school volleyball season. Layli Mata is one of the few to get the nod since Julie Breedlove took the Port Isabel head coaching job. “I needed a setter,…August 30, 2019In “News”Volleyball Practice Starts MondayBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS There’s another Port Isabel High athletic program that will start practice next Monday and that would be the volleyball team. The Press found head coach Julie Breedlove at the athletic offices this week to find out how preparations for the new season are…August 4, 2015In “News”Lady Tarpons Take Rio Hondo in FourBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS The Port Isabel Lady Tarpons volleyball team took Rio Hondo in four sets on the road Tuesday night in their second district match of the season. They evened their league record at 1-1 after last Saturday’s loss at Zapata. Port Isabel won the…September 18, 2015In “News”
E-mail: [email protected] When he came to the University of Utah in 1994, he was a shy, slightly overweight point guard who had to pay his way through school his first year. He still remembers walking on to campus his first day and feeling “nervous.”Andre Miller eventually got his degree on time, became an All-American and helped lead the Utes to the national championship game in 1998. Since joining the NBA in 1999, Miller has been one of the NBA’s top point guards and now plays for the Denver Nuggets.On Tuesday, Miller donated $500,000 back to his alma mater’s athletic department. Of the money, $300,000 has been earmarked for an endowed scholarship and $200,000 will go to help fund the basketball team room renovation.Miller said he’s always wanted to give back to the university and met with U. officials last fall to discuss the options. With all the details being ironed out and the Nuggets in Utah for a game tonight, the announcement was made Tuesday.”I am very fortunate to be in a position where I can give back and help others,” Miller said. “I’ve been trying to prepare myself to be able to give back and help other people, whether it’s the university or kids, and see them benefit. The University of Utah opened a lot of doors for me and hopefully this scholarship will do the same for someone else.”Utah athletic director Chris Hill was emotional as he talked about Miller and how far he’s come since first coming to Utah. He called it “a very special day for the University of Utah” and said the contribution was “one of the top things I’ve experienced since I’ve been here.”Hill read a letter he received from Miller, thanking the university for “changing my life,” and said he cherishes it so much he had it laminated.”It is the ultimate compliment for a student-athlete to give money at such a young age back to his university,” Hill said. “All of our contributions are valuable and this one’s especially valuable because of who it’s from and what it means to him endorsing his experience at the University of Utah.”Miller thanked everyone from the ski team to the media and also paid tribute to former Utah coach Rick Majerus, who he said was a big part of his development.”He prepared me for basketball and how to live my life and always made sure I was going to get my education,” Miller said.Utah coach Ray Giacoletti said he wished he had a chance to coach Miller and has appreciated getting to know him the last two summers when Miller came back to help with the Utah basketball camp.”To give back to the university like that is unbelievable,” Giacoletti said.Last year, another Ute basketball player, Andrew Bogut, donated $125,000 to the university to help upgrade the Ute basketball locker rooms, and the money from Miller will help complete the project.Hill explained the scholarship, called the Andre Miller Point Guard Scholarship, is a permanent one and is the 16th endowed scholarship overall for athletics.”This solidifies one portion of our program and allows us to expand and fund other parts of our program,” he said.Miller came to Utah in 1995 as a non-qualifier academically and had to sit out his first year. He became a starter his freshman season and eventually earned All-American honors and helped lead Utah to the 1998 national championship game against Kentucky.He graduated that year and was able to gain an extra year of eligibility, and in 1999 he was the runner-up for the John R. Wooden Award. Miller said he still follows Utah basketball and keeps in touch with his former teammates. He also said he tries to steer kids toward the university and even has a cousin, Shyra Porter, “a regular student” who is a freshman at the U.