Hot Topics

Learn and Preserve History by Joining Our Williamson Museum

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 19 September 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2984

Williamson Museum Director Mickie Ross shows Commissioner Cook a popular area for young visitors with historical markings on a Wilco map above.

If you’re looking for a place to put your money where your history is, look no more.

The Williamson Museum, housed in the historic limestone building on the Square in Georgetown that was once Farmers State Bank, is seeking more members.

Opened to the public in 2003, the museum is a non-profit corporation established in 1997 that today boasts of 16,000 donated artifacts.

Their total budget for Fiscal Year (Sept. to Oct.) 2018-19 was $550,000. However, the biggest misconception is that the museum is entirely county funded.

While the Commissioners Court budgets $237,000 annually for the museum, Director Mickie Ross says that the rest must be raised, including an additional $70,000 for staff salaries.

Although the four full-time and two part-time employees are considered county employees, the museum pays for the county’s portion of benefits, like health insurance and retirement.

The museum’s store and grants provide additional funds, as well as its summer camps, company matches, the Cattleman’s Ball (an annual fundraiser held every third weekend in October) and membership dues.

Yet membership is not growing as it should in our blossoming county. Ross can’t pinpoint the cause since visitors continue to increase to more than 18,000 a year and virtual visitors to its websites, newsletters and social media number more than 70,000.

Unfortunately, lack of funding is also impacting the Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail in Round Rock, as it will be closing this fall despite its popular community programs.

Commissioner Cook Encourages Wilco Residents to Take Advantage of WGU's $800,000 in Back to School Scholarships for Adults

The online, competency-based university will award 400 new students with scholarships

  • 22 August 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3182

WGU Texas (August 22, 2019) – Western Governors University (WGU) will award $800,000 in scholarships to busy adults who would like to earn a college degree on a schedule that fits their lives. The Back to School Scholarship is WGU’s largest scholarship offering to date.


The Back to School Scholarship is valued at up to $2,000 per student and is open to new students in any of the more than 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at WGU including programs in business, information technology, education, and health professions. New students must apply for the scholarship by Sept. 30, 2019.


The scholarships will be applied at the rate of $500 per six-month term, renewable for up to four terms. Multiple scholarships will be awarded through a competitive program. Scholarships will be granted based on a candidate’s academic record, financial need, readiness for online study, current competency, and other considerations.


“The scholarship changed my life,” said Amanda Ogle, a recent WGU scholarship recipient. “It allowed me to get my teaching degree, and inspire my children, current students, and future students to follow their dreams, persevere, and experience the success that comes from determination.”


Designed to meet the needs of 21st century students, 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 n

Reducing Misconduct Among Youth by Building Resiliency

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 15 August 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3099

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: 3013

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: 2822

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.


Theme picker