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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: 2911

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!


WGU Honors Veterans, Military Personnel, and their Families with $3,000 Scholarships

Top military-friendly university announces offering in celebration of Veterans Day

  • 21 October 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2820

(October 16, 2019) – In recognition of the commitment and sacrifice of America’s military personnel and their families, Western Governors University (WGU) is offering the Salute to the Armed Forces Scholarship at http://tinyurl.com/y2q3afxd. The scholarship is worth up to $3,000 toward a bachelor’s or master’s degree in IT, business, K–12 education, or healthcare. Applications are now being accepted through December 31, 2019.

Open to U.S. military veterans, active-duty servicemembers, reservists, and military family members newly enrolling in a WGU degree program, scholarships will be awarded at the rate of $750 per six-month term, for up to two years. For most programs, that means a reduction in tuition cost of approximately 20 percent. This is a competitive program, and scholarships will be awarded based on a candidate’s academic record, financial need, readiness for online study at WGU, and current competency, plus other considerations.

Nonprofit, competency-based WGU is consistently ranked among the nation’s most military-friendly colleges and universities, offering online degree programs that provide the flexibility, portability, and job relevance our nation’s military personnel, veterans, and their families need. In addition, WGU’s affordability and financial aid opportunities—including military tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits—put a high-quality WGU education well within reach.

At WGU, students can take advantage of their existing knowledge and experience to move quickly through material they already know, so they can focus on what they still need to learn. 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 or to apply, visit http://tinyurl.com/y2q3afxd.


About WGU

Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 119,000 students nationwide and has more than 158,000 graduates. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 22 years, the university has become a leading influence in the development of innovative workforce-focused approaches to education. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and has been featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at .

Central Texas’ Aging Population and Caregivers Need More Services

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 17 October 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3029

Members of the AGE Thrive Social and Wellness Center in Williamson County enjoy a day of socializing and creativity with art projects.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the second fastest growing population of adults 65 and older and the fastest growing population of adults 55 to 64 are in the Central Texas region.

The Aging Services Council of Central Texas reports that by 2040 more than half a million (517,772) adults ages 65 and older will live in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties and comprise nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of the Central Texas population.

Many seniors already do or will rely on adult caregivers, often family members.

AGE of Central Texas, a non-profit organization, operates licensed, non-residential activity and health service centers for seniors, one in Round Rock and one in Austin.

Called Thrive Social and Wellness Centers, these facilities provide daytime care for older adults with physical or cognitive needs, with 90 percent of them suffering from memory loss or dementia.

These centers also provide caregivers who are still in the workforce a place that is safe, engaging and active for their senior loved ones, and they provide respite for other caregivers.

Community Impact Newspaper Shows Voters Four Steps in Using New Voting Machines

Williamson County voters will be using new voting machines for this Nov. 5 Election and early voting (See Graphic Below)

  • 15 October 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3082

Learn how to use the new voting machines. For all voting information, log onto http://www.wilco.org/Departments/Elections

Graphic of new voting machines and how to use them.

The Williamson County commissioners approved purchasing new voting machines for $4.41 million during their April 30 meeting.

The new machines move away from paperless machines to a system in which voters print their ballots on one machine and walk to a second machine that will tabulate results. (via Source: Williamson County/Community Impact Newspaper)

Story by Ali Linan, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2019 


Commissioner Cook Encourages Wilco Residents to Consider WGU Scholarships for Teaching and Nursing Careers

  • 9 October 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3153

WGU Offers Scholarships to Address Teacher Shortage

(October, 2019) – With the nationwide teacher shortage projected to nearly double in less than a decade, Western Governors University (WGU) hopes to help more prospective teachers find their passion in the classroom with the $2,500 Become a Teacher Scholarship.

According to the Economic Policy Institution, the U.S. teacher shortage could reach 200,000 by 2025, up from 110,000 in 2018. WGU’s innovative approach to higher education is a highly effective way for paraprofessionals, career changers, stay-at-home parents, and others looking to become full-time teachers to fit a teacher licensure program into their lives.

Competency-based, nonprofit WGU offers 16 programs that lead to teacher licensure: 10 bachelor’s degrees, five master’s degrees, and one post-baccalaureate certification. Accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) and recognized in all 50 states, the WGU Teachers College is the nation’s top producer of STEM teachers and an active partner of school districts and states around the country looking to increase the number of qualified educators. The Become a Teacher Scholarship will help more aspiring teachers earn their license and answer the call of the classroom.

The scholarship, worth up to $2,500 per student, launched this week and will accept applications through Dec. 31, 2019. Recipients will be awarded $625 per six-month term—renewable up to four terms—toward any program leading to a teacher certification. That comes out to more than 15 percent off WGU’s already-low tuition.

To learn more or to apply, visit the http://tinyurl.com/yxftkotg.


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