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Reducing Misconduct Among Youth by Building Resiliency

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 15 August 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1002
  • 0 Comments

Commissioner Cook arrives at the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Center in Georgetown to meet with Wilco Juvenile Services Assistant Executive Director Matt Smith (left) and Director Scott Matthew (right).

Instead of continuing military-style discipline as the primary policy to correct errant youth under age 18, the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Center in Georgetown went rogue.

The traditional correctional and military-style discipline didn’t result in lasting change for most of these juveniles.

Matt Smith, assistant executive director and mental health services director for Wilco’s Juvenile Services, explained why.

From 1995 to 1997, a CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study of 17,00 participants in the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan in California confirmed through scientific evidence that traumatic experiences in the first 18 years of life lead to physical, mental and behavioral problems later in life. 

The 10 ACEs identified in the study included emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Others involved witnessing a mother treated violently, substance abuse or mental illness in the household, parental separation or divorce, or an incarcerated household member.

Emotional and physical neglect were also identified ACEs.

Two thirds of the study participants showed an ACE score of at least one, and 87 percent had more than one.

Recent neuroscience research revealed through brain scans the developmental difference between brains that had experienced toxic stress in youth and those who had experienced only one or two ACEs.

ACEs can profoundly harm children’s developing brains. Experiences that cause stress chemicals to be continuously produced greatly impact development of brain cells and connections among cells.

Commissioner Cook Announces Pearson Ranch Road School Safety Improvement Project Underway

The Wilco Commissioners Court approved the Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with the City of Austin for the project.

  • 14 August 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1033
  • 0 Comments

Today the power pole was drilled and installed to allow Pedernales Electric Cooperative to power the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. Wilco staff dug new post holes for a 40-MPH sign north of Neenah,  a new "School Zone” sign for northbound traffic, "School Zone" signs across from Elsa England Elementary, and another "School Zone" sign for the southbound lane farther down past Elsa England. They will install temporary signage while the concrete cures for the new locations of the signs.  Then they’ll return and move the  signs to their permanent poles.

 

Mastec is installing the power pole and the pedestrian "flashing" beacon.

 Commissioner Cook, wearing an orange vest, holds up a School Speed Limit 25 sign on Pearson Ranch Road.Machinery is drilling for the power pole on Pearson Ranch Road.

Commissioner Cook becomes familiar with Wilco's new voting system and encourages voters to do so

One of several Open Houses was held Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 at the J.B. & Hallier Jester Annex in Round Rock

  • 13 August 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 959
  • 0 Comments

To help voters become acquainted with the new system, the Willialmson County Elections Department has been hosting open houses where voters can stop by and use the new system to cast votes for a fictional election in the Land of Oz.  For more information on the new voting system, log onto http://www.wilco.org/Departments/Elections

To test drive online, go tohttp://tinyurl.com/y2hpc69z

Commissioner Cook joins Elections Administrator Chris Davis at the Jester Annex Open House where the new voting machines were demonstrated.

Commissioner Cook uses a headset for the hearing impaired as she reviews her paper ballot she receives after voting on one of the new machines.

Commissioner Cook Encourages Community to Donate School Supplies for Local Kids

Commissioner Cook delivered school supplies to the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Center today

  • 23 July 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1058
  • 0 Comments

Commissioner Cook holds up one of the school packets she donated to the Juvenile Justice Center. Today Commissioner Cook delivered several packets of school supplies to the Williamson County Juvenile Services for their high school students in preparation for the 2019-2020 school year.

If you are interested in helping out local students this school year, the Juvenile Justice Center is still accepting school supply donations! Contact 512-943-3202 for more information.

Or select a school to donate school supplies to help all children be adequately prepared for a successful school year.

Contact your school district for information.

She wants every school child to succeed, and school supplies are one of the tools to encourage children to do well academically.

Ensuring All Wilco Residents Fire and Emergency Services

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 18 July 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1117
  • 0 Comments

Participating in the traditional fire hose uncoupling during the ESD 2 grand opening were left to right Bob Steinmann, Former Chief, Sam Bass Fire Department; Darryl Pool, ESD2 Secretary; Russel Strahan, ESD2, Vice President; Commissioner Cook; Thomas Nanninga, ESD2 President; and Sam Bass Fire Department Chief David Kieschnick, Assistant Chief Keith Farris, Captain James Shofner and Captain Amber Jordan.

Emergency Services Districts fill a critical need for adequate and fast responses to fires and other emergencies.

ESDs are political subdivisions of the state created by voters to provide or support local emergency medical services, ambulance services and rural fire prevention and control services.

Texas has more than 300 ESDs covering 89 counties, with 12 in Williamson County. They can serve both incorporated portions of cities and unincorporated areas of counties.

A Commissioners Court appoints five members to an ESD Board (also called Commissioners) to serve staggered, two-year terms.

ESD boards report their district’s administration and financial condition to their Commissioners Court. Under the Texas Constitution, ESDs may levy a tax rate of no more than 10 cents per $100 of property value but they may also levy a sales and use tax for additional funding.

ESDs follow one of three models: they contract with a fire or ambulance service provider, provide services directly, or contract with a municipality to provide services.

Texas citizens can petition their county to hold an election to create an ESD. The petition must describe the boundaries of the proposed ESD and the services it will provide, among other requirements.

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