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Wilco Officials and Employees Share Family Holiday Traditions Oped by Commissioner Cook

I thank our Wilco family members for these wonderful stories, and I wish every Wilco official and staff, and you the reader and your loved ones, a blessed and wonderful Holiday Season!

  • 19 December 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2649

The Christmas Village assembled annually at home by Assistant Financial Director with the Wilco Auditor's Office Pam Navarette's Father.

I reached out to our county departments to see if anyone would share a warm, holiday tradition, and a few did. Enjoy!

For Christmas, 425th Judicial District Court Judge Betsy Lambeth said that as children, she and her three siblings would take turns playing the piano and singing carols for the family. “I think we probably sounded like the Salvation Army band, but my parents and grandparents loved it!”

Besides the piano, Lambeth and her siblings played several other instruments. Oftentimes, they went to her grandparents’ dairy farm on Onion Creek to play and sing for them. Her grandfather would join in, playing his French harp or harmonica.

Cortney Husband said that she, her mother and sister have been attending Christmas at the Caswell in Austin for 25 years. They make it a fun “girls” day by dressing up and partaking of the three-course champagne brunch, while listening to live Christmas music.

The accountant with the County Auditor and her husband will welcome their first baby next spring—a girl. One day she too will dress up and join the girls at the Caswell House.

For the last 16 years, Pam Navarrette, Assistant Financial Director with the Auditor, said her stepfather assembles his miniature Christmas village annually. His collection started as a window seat display at home and has grown to a garage-sized village with an airport resembling the Georgetown Airport.

Since he was a boy, her stepfather collected match cars that are part of the village. Every holiday, parked in front of what looks like the Wilco Historic Courthouse, is a tiny replica of her first car, a 1969 blue Camaro.

Navarrette called his collection the “most fabulous decoration tradition” of her family’s holidays. (CLICK on Read More for the rest of the oped and more photos of our Wilco families.)

425th Judicial District Judge Betsy Lambeth gathers with her family at Christmas. Lf to Rt: sister-in-law Pam Figer; brother Donald Figer; sister Bonnie Harmon; brother Mike Figer; sister-in-law Cindy Figer; Mom Billie Figer; Judge Lambeth and her husband Brad Curlee.

Guiding Employers and Training their Workforce

by Commissioner Cook

  • 21 November 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2783

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area team members (lf to rt) Robert Alexander, Vocational Rehabilitation Services Manager; Brian Hernandez, Communications Director; Diane Tackett, Chief Operations Officer; Paul Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer; and Carl Braun, Business Services Manager, met with Commissioner Terry Cook in October to discuss their plans and goals for Williamson County’s workforce needs.

With a state unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, employers are having trouble finding qualified workers.

Additionally, many job seekers need training and guidance to qualify for these jobs.

Apple and Kalahari will be adding many jobs to our area, increasing the demand for IT, retail and all types of customer service jobs.

Workforce Solutions is the answer to our prayers. They expanded their office in Round Rock to create a co-located career center that includes Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services staff to serve Wilco.

Williamson County is part of the Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area region that includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee and Llano counties.

WSRCA career centers offer businesses recruiting, hiring and training assistance free of charge. Their business consultants maintain the WorkInTexas.com database with thousands of job seekers’ resumes for approved employers.

WSRCA empowers employers to utilize their interview rooms and meeting areas, computers, copiers, fax machines and phones.

This center helps businesses sponsor job fairs and seminars and provides updated labor market information tailored for specific business requirements.

 “We look at the employer as our customer,” said WSRCA CEO Paul Fletcher. “Will they buy our product? And what can we do to improve the caliber of the workforce they need.”

Elsa England Elementary and Pearson Ranch Middle School Get Long-Awaited Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons on Pearson Ranch Road

Photo was taken on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 in front of the PHBs and other safety improvements.

  • 18 November 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2816

Standing alongside Dist. 6 Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan, Commissioner Cook tosses her hat into the air to celebrate the new PHBs and improved safety for students.District 6 Austin Council Member Jimmy Flannigan and Commissioner Cook raise their hands into the air to showcase the new PHBs.

The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) and other safety improvements on Pearson Ranch Rd. are the result of the cooperation between different local government entities – Williamson County, City of Austin, and Round Rock Independent School District. It all started with the parents of students at Elsa England Elementary and Pearson Ranch Middle Schools letting their elected representatives know what the situation was like on the ground. Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook and Austin City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan continue their pledge to assist parents and school leaders with any future issues that may arise.

Similar relief is also coming soon for Patsy Sommer Elementary students and PRMS students who utilize routes around Pearson Ranch Middle School. Again, City of Austin and Williamson County are working together to do the right thing: the long-awaited signal lights at Pearson Ranch Road and Avery Ranch Blvd. should be in play by late November.

Commissioner Cook Accepts National Family Caregivers Month Proclamation for Citizens of Round Rock

The City Proclamation was presented at the Round Rock City Council on Nov. 14, 2019.

  • 14 November 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2699

Standing lf to rt are Round Rock City Council Member Tammy Young and Commissioner Cook. Both are holding the Proclamation from the City of Round Rock. The Round Rock City Council approved November 2019 as National Family Caregivers Month in Round Rock to honor the more than 40 million caregivers across the country who support agining parents, ill spouses or other loved one with disabilities who remain at home.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton proclaimed November to be National Family Caregivers Month for the first time.

Commissioner Cook Announces New Bridge Now Connects Another Section of Brushy Creek Regional Trail (Photo Video Included)

The bridge was lowered over Brushy Creek on Round Rock Avenue behind the former 620 Cafe area near I-35 on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019

  • 22 October 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2785

Brushy Creek Regional Trail, Phase 5

Oh, the saga, cheers for the progress. BCRT expansion from Round Rock to Fern Bluff was only partially funded with the 2013 Park Bonds program. It took acquiring a CAMPO grant (thru TxDOT) to complete the funding; however, there was a catch. The grant funding was by the mile of trail land the county owned by an early TxDOT deadline in February 2018.

This section of the BCRT was the trickiest with 24 parcels of property, much of them with commercial owners. Our right-of-way team from Sheets and Crossfield worked long hard days – they acquired 18 of the parcels and closed on them by early February. I was working with Randy Bell, our former Park Director, on negotiating with a Faith Missionary Baptist Church deacon on possible passageways across the property when the hammer fell on the deadline. We had six parcels with two property owners to go, so, between the cost of the ROW and the length of the fully funded, owned-by-the-county trail ROW, the length of the trail was reduced from 2.7 miles to .931 miles. Fern Bluff would remain a distant vision.

Then an intern writer from Community Impact wrote an ever-so brief article and included the phrase “the project will begin ….and end just before reaching Faith Missionary Baptist Church …” Well, all heck broke loose on social media with the Church being publicly condemned. It wasn’t their fault – we hadn’t finished negotiations; certainly couldn’t go to closing prior to the TxDOT deadline. Furthermore, the Church owned both sides of Brushy Creek. This trail expansion was going to greatly change their pastoral setting, and we wanted to be careful and thoughtful about a route across their property. Click on READ MORE!



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