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Are we ready for another natural disaster?

Column by Commissioner Cook

  • 20 January 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 797
  • 0 Comments

A long procession of motorists flee from a fire raging close to the town of Granby, Colo. in October 2020. Central Texas also has its share of fires, along with flooding, tornadoes, hailstorms and droughts, and last year a historic and deadly severe winter freeze. Commissioner Cook asks how well prepared Central Texans are for the next natural disaster. Photo by Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

This stint of cold weather has brought with it lots of media stories and projections concerning a possible repeat of last year's deadly winter freeze in Texas and the possibility and warnings to get ready. Well, are you?

Not only a bout with seriously low temps again, but what about flooding or sweeping grass fires? I watched on Dec. 30 the live coverage of Boulder (Colorado) County’s fire as it swept through the area of my former home, which still is standing while homes in front of it and behind it were reduced to ash. This fire was burning a football field-size area and all its contents in seconds with the hurricane-force wind gusts of 115 mph. All but one person was able to evacuate, but everything they possessed is gone for thousands of families, including many pets.

Central Texas leads the nation in the variety and the frequency of natural disasters: tornadoes, flooding (remember 2015 in Taylor?), hailstorms, fires (usually caused by humans), and droughts (we're just in serious drought – thank goodness for some, but not enough, rain on Jan. 11). That 2021 winter storm was a new experience and caught many of us off guard and unprepared.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

from Commissioner Cook, Garry & Doris!!

  • 17 December 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 987
  • 0 Comments

Caricature by local Round Rock ISD teacher and artist Zachary Jackson of Commissioner Cook, Garry and Doris on ice skates in front of a white Christmas tree with ornaments throughout and on the tree and 2 partridges on Garry.

Who's Watching the Jail

Commissioner Cook's Column -- The photo was provided by the Williamson County Public Information Office.

  • 16 December 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1445
  • 0 Comments

Jails are like living organisms, breathing and moving 24/7/365 days a year.The Williamson County jail in Georgetown houses approximately 600 inmates daily and has bed space for 1,104. Officers and civilian personnel provide 24-hour a day security, transport inmates to and from court, pick up inmates from other counties and states, and supervise inmate recreation, visitation and other activities.

Needing constant care and feeding, a jail requires a committed community to provide safety both to county residents and inmates.

The Texas Legislature created the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in 1975 to implement a statewide policy for all county jail facilities to conform to minimum standards of construction, maintenance, and operation. Its nine diverse members are appointed to staggered six-year terms by the governor with concurrence by the Texas Senate. This commission establishes, revises, and documents these minimum standards, including jail inspection procedures, enforcement policies and technical assistance.

The standards have been established for:

  1. Construction, equipment, maintenance, and operation of the jail
  2. Custody, care, and treatment of inmates
  3. Programs of rehabilitation, education, and recreation for inmates.

Inspections may be scheduled or unannounced and may require most of a week to accomplish; written reports are received by the sheriff after the review. Recently, after three days of scrutiny, the inspector announced to our County Judge, Sheriff Mike Gleason, and in the presence of Chief Deputy Ken Evans, that our Williamson County jail is the one in the state he would recommend anyone tasked with oversight and administration of a medium to large jail to visit.

Wow – another department showcasing the best in staff, strategy and administration joins our many departments such as EMS, the Juvenile Justice Center, Purchasing, and Budget offices as being recommended to other counties to study and emulate.

So how has this turnaround occurred?  The County Sheriff is ultimately responsible for the county jail.  Sharing this responsibility with Sheriff Gleason is Evans and the heavily recruited Assistant Chief Deputy Kathleen Pokluda.  Our Sheriff started with Williamson County as a corrections officer and wound up as the Chief Jail Administrator before advancing to other leadership positions in the Sheriff’s department.  

Commissioner Cook Honored Dec. 9 by the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District Board

The ceremony was held during the MUD Board's meeting/townhall at their community center.

  • 10 December 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 807
  • 0 Comments

After redistricting, Commissioner Cook will no longer represent the Brushy Creek MUD area in her redrawn precinct. Last night was her farewell to the BCMUD and theirs to her.The Brushy Creek MUD Board presents a plaque of recognition and appreciation to Commissioner Cook for her service to them. The plaque with an inscription of recognition and appreciation to Commissioner Cook for her service and dedication to the Brushy Creek MUD now hangs in her office.

Commissioner Cook's newly redistricted Precinct 1 Map

  • 17 November 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1042
  • 0 Comments

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