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Courts and Public Well-Served by Wilco District Clerk

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 16 January 2020
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3692

District Clerk Lisa David holds up a historical court file that has not yet been preserved and Commissioner Cook is holding a preserved record of the Ku Klux Klan Trials prosecuted by then District Attorney Dan Moody from 1923-24, who later became Texas’ youngest Governor. When Williamson County District Clerk Bonnie Wolbrueck announced she would retire in 2006, Lisa David ran for that office to ensure the transition would be positive and cause little disruption to the courts.

Hired in 1981 to work in the district clerk’s office, David later served as deputy district clerk and assistant chief deputy. She said, “I could hit the ground running and already knew what to expect in this position.”

David was elected Wilco’s next district clerk on Nov. 7, 2006.

Every Texas county has a district clerk who serves as the official record keeper and custodian of all its district courts’ pleadings. In counties with populations fewer than 8,000, the county clerk can also serve as the district clerk.

Although district courts are state offices, they form an integral part of county government. District courts hear felony criminal cases, divorce cases, land title disputes and election contests, as well as civil matters in which at least $200 is disputed or claimed in damages.

Additionally, David is responsible for family filings in the county courts-at-law, which have family law jurisdictions. Family law includes cases of divorce, child custody, child support and adoption, among others.

Commissioner Cook Shares Announcement: WGU Kicks Off 2020 with $1.5 Million in Scholarships

New Year Scholarship will enable 750 working adults to go back to school

  • 8 January 2020
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3404

WGU 2020 –In its largest scholarship offering to date, Western Governors University (WGU) will award $1.5 million ($1,500,000.00) in scholarships to busy adults who would like to earn a college degree on a schedule that fits their lives. 

The New Year Scholarship, valued at up to $2,000 per student and open to new students enrolling in any of the more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at WGU, is designed to help more Americans build better lives for themselves and their families through higher education. Degree tracks include programs in business, information technology, education, and health professions. The application deadline is March 31, 2020

The scholarships will be applied at the rate of $500 per six-month term, reducing already-low tuition by about 15% for the average undergraduate degree. Recipients may renew their award up to four terms. Multiple scholarships will be awarded through a competitive program based on a candidate’s academic record, financial need, readiness for online study, current competency, and other considerations.

Designed to meet the needs of adult learners, WGU’s competency-based education allows students to take advantage of their knowledge and experience to move quickly through material they already know, so they can focus on what they still need to learn. Students complete their programs by studying on schedules that fit their lives and advancing as soon as they demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. WGU faculty members work one-on-one with students as mentors, offering guidance, support, and individualized instruction. While WGU’s degree programs are rigorous and challenging, competency-based learning makes it possible for students to accelerate their progress, saving both time and money.

To learn more about WGU’s New Year Scholarship or to apply, visit  http://wgu.edu/NY2020

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: 3786

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: 3998

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: 3928

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.


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