Firefighters Awarded Green Cross

Several Georgetown firefighters were awarded the green cross this week for their efforts to extract two injured drivers from their vehicles after a wreck on Texas 195. The two-vehicle head-on collision happened on the morning of March 21. The green cross is an award for firefighters involved in a vehicle extrication or rescue. Fire Chief John Sullivan presented the awards.

In the March incident, two off-duty firefighters from Fort Hood were the first on the scene. They began to assist and let 9-1-1 operators know that two people were pinned in their vehicles, which were about 75 yards apart. Georgetown firefighters responded and worked as a team to use jaws-of-life tools to open the doors on each vehicle and gain access to each driver. Both patients were successfully removed from their vehicles within 30 minutes and transported by Williamson County EMS to local hospitals. The two persons injured in the wreck have since been released from the hospital and are recovering.

Seven Georgetown firefighters were given the green cross at the Georgetown City council meeting this week. Four Williamson County EMS medics and an off-duty Fort Hood firefighter were presented with letters of appreciation for their actions at the meeting.

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Pictured in the above photo in the front row (left to right) are Driver Engineer Josh Ratliff, Firefighters Jamison Humprhes and Trey Lockwood and Lt. Jason Fryer. In the back row (left to right) are Assistant Chief Clay Shell, Firefighter Benton Coker, Capt. David England, Firefighter Wesley Sigmund, Fort Hood firefighter Capt. Scott Rose, and Georgetown Fire Chief John Sullivan. (Click on photos to see larger version.)

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Pictured in the above photo in the front row (left to right) are Williamson County Emergency Medical Services Paramedic Chris Howell, Director Kenny Schnell, Commander Kevin Krienke, and Paramedic Jeff Fishel.

Not pictured, but also awarded the green cross for his role in the rescue, is Georgetown Battalion Chief Ray Cummings. Not pictured, but also receiving letters of appreciation, were Williamson County EMS Paramedic Adam Johnson and Fort Hood Firefighter Shawn Charbonneau.

Chase the Chief 5K photos

Hundreds participated in the inaugural Chase the Chief 5k and Fun Run in San Gabriel Park on Sunday. The family fitness event was sponsored by the Georgetown Police Department and the Georgetown ISD Council PTA. (Click on photos for larger version.) The photos were taken by Amanda Chron with the Georgetown Police Department.

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Assistant Police Chief Cory Tchida takes an “early lead” in the fun run.

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Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero with kids at the starting line of the 5k run.

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Nearly 500 participated in the event at San Gabriel Park.

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Chief Nero congratulated runners at the finish line.

The event included a kid-friendly version of the Police Academy Obstacle Course, a kids’ activities area, and community health fair. The event encouraged a fit and healthy lifestyle and was a fundraiser for the Georgetown ISD PTA.

One Amazing Thing Featured for Georgetown Reads!

Chitra Divakaruni-250The Georgetown Public Library’s one-book, one-community program—Georgetown Reads!—kicks off this year on May 14. One Amazing Thing, by Chitra Divakaruni, is this year’s book selection. Copies of the book are now available for checkout at the library.

The plot of One Amazing Thing revolves around nine individuals who have been trapped by an earthquake in an Indian visa office in an American city. Conflicts are inevitable as they work together to survive. To defuse tensions that rise to the breaking point, each person tells a story—one amazing thing—that sets each character apart and brings them closer together.

In May, the Georgetown Public Library is sponsoring a series of free public events related to and inspired by One Amazing Thing.

A Visit with the Author: Author Chitra Divakaruni will join the audience by Skype for a question and answer session on Tuesday, May 14, at 3 p.m. in the Friends Room at the library. Divakaruni also will read from One Amazing Thing.

OneAmazing PBcover-400A Williamson County Emergency Services Vehicle will be parked on the Eighth Street side of the library on Wednesday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for people to tour and ask questions.

Emergency personnel who responded to the Jarrell tornado, Hurricane Katrina, and Bastrop fires will talk about their experiences in a special panel on Thursday, May 16 at 1 p.m. in the Hewlett Room on the second floor of the library.

One Amazing Meal: Shagufta Rafique will prepare a delicious dish from the Indian/Pakistan region at noon on Friday, May 17 on the library’s second floor mezzanine area known as the bridge. There will be samples after the presentation so bring your appetite!

One Amazing Evening: A night of Indian culture and fun on Saturday, May 18 at 6 p.m. on the bridge in the library. There will be snacks, live music, henna, and a traditional dance performance and lesson provided by Anuradha Naimpally from Austin Dance India. Sanjeet Millennium will perform Indian music on sitar and tabla.

Other events also are planned. See the Georgetown Reads! website at georgetownreads.georgetown.org for full details. The Georgetown Public Library is located at 402 W. Eighth Street.

Good Neighbor Fund Helps Families Through Difficult Times

Each month, families facing a serious crisis like a job loss or medical emergency seek help from local nonprofits like The Caring Place. That support, including assistance with utility bill payments, can make a crucial difference when it seems as though there is no place to turn.

Recently one family of eight was helped by the Good Neighbor Fund, a program sponsored by Georgetown Utility Systems and administered by The Caring Place.

When the father lost his job, suddenly the parents had no means to provide for their six children, ranging in age from 4 to 16. During the father’s two-month period of looking for work, The Caring Place helped with assistance for food, clothes, and utility bills. After this difficult time, both parents were able to find work again. The kids are doing fine as well.

The father of that family says the assistance from The Caring Place “made a huge impact upon helping out our family in a time of need. This also helped minimize the stress put upon my family and me on trying to feed the family while I looked for a new job. We are all very grateful to the genuine concern your organization showed towards my family in a time of need.”

Each month, a similar story plays out for many families in Georgetown. Your donation to the Good Neighbor Fund can help The Caring Place meet the daily need for emergency assistance.

City of Georgetown utility customers can make a monthly pledge online to The Good Neighbor Fund and change or discontinue that pledge at any time. It only takes a minute to fill out the online pledge form at billing.georgetown.org/gnf. Call Customer Care at (512) 930-3640, or email billing@georgetown.org for details.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Survey

The City of Georgetown is currently in the process of completing a Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Input from the community is needed for the project team to identify and analyze potential hazards affecting residents and recommend possible actions to reduce their impact. Hazards can include droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and other major disasters.

A public participation survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CityofGeorgetown.

The goal of the Hazard Mitigation Plan is to minimize or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from known hazards by identifying and implementing cost-effective mitigation actions. Mitigation is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as sustained actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards and their effects.

Questions about the Hazard Mitigation Plan should be addressed to H2O Partners, planning consultants for the project. Contact Cathy Meek with H2O Partners at (888) 328-4151, ext. 2, or by email at cathy@h2opartnersusa.com.

Airport Tower Funding From TXDOT and City Approved

Update: Today the FAA has delayed tower closures until June 15th.  So the City contracts and funding of the tower will not begin until June 16th if TxDOT allows the grant to be extended to that date.

The Georgetown city council voted this morning to accept an emergency short-term grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to help fund staffing of the control tower at the Georgetown Municipal Airport. The TXDOT grant provides 90 percent of the funding for tower staffing by air traffic controllers. The City will fund the remaining 10 percent of the staffing cost. The city council approved the funding arrangement in a special meeting to address the tower funding issue.

The 90/10 funding arrangement is on an emergency basis for 90 days. The state and local money replaces federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration that ends on April 7. Funding was cut for FAA contract employees at airport control towers as a result of sequestration federal budget cuts that took effect in March.

Yesterday, the Texas Transportation Commission approved the emergency state funding program for control towers at 14 airports in Texas. The TXDOT funding program is a reimbursement grant in which the City of Georgetown will pay the expected $158,687 cost to staff the tower for 90 days and will later be reimbursed by TXDOT for 90 percent of the cost. The City’s portion of the 90-day cost is projected to be $15,868.70. City funding will come from the Airport Fund or General Fund programs that have experienced cost saving in the 2013 Budget.  Staff will present those options to City Council at the April 23rd regular meeting.

The city council also approved a contract with Robinson Aviation to provide the air traffic controllers to staff the control tower. Controllers with Robinson Aviation have worked under an FAA contract to staff the Georgetown control tower since it opened in 2007.

If FAA funding for tower operations is restored before the 90-day period, then the TXDOT and City funding for tower operations would be discontinued.

Semi-Wild Cats Are Ready for Farm Life

BarnCat1-400Several semi-wild cats at the City of Georgetown Animal Shelter are still looking for a ticket to their next chapter as a barn or ranch cat. These cats are not fully acclimated to life indoors as a house pet, but can still have a good life and earn their keep on a farm or ranch.

There are currently eight semi-wild cats at the shelter that need homes in a barn or outbuilding says Jackie Carey, animal services manager.

Each cat is spayed or neutered and given their rabies vaccination. There is no adoption fee.

To introduce a semi-feral cat to your property, keep it in a barn, outbuilding, garage, or laundry room for a few weeks until the cat realizes that the new place is a safe home. Even though these cats are skittish around people, they do still need regular food and water.

For more information about a barn cat for your property, contact the Georgetown Animal Shelter at (512) 930-3592 or animalsvc@georgetown.org. The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive next to the McMaster Athletic Complex. The shelter website is pets.georgetown.org.

 

Georgetown in the Healthiest County in Texas

Georgetown is the county seat of the healthiest county in the state, according to a national ranking released yesterday. Williamson County is the #1 healthiest county in Texas in the 2013 County Health Rankings, an annual report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Williamson County was ranked the #2 healthiest county in Texas in the 2012 report.

The annual ranking is a quality of life report card that grades counties on a wide variety of factors such as community safety, employment rates, graduation rates, healthcare access, health care quality, longevity, and health behaviors.

One of the factors considered in the County Health Rankings was recreational programs and facilities. “The evidence for the effectiveness of improving access to recreational facilities is so strong that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend it as one of the 24 environmental- and policy-level strategies to reduce obesity,” according to the report.

The positive effects of strong public safety and low crime rates in Williamson County were also key factors in the ranking, with community safety contributing to outcomes such as birth weight, diet and exercise, and family and social support.

Many organizations and businesses in the county play a role in contributing to the quality of life ranking, including schools and universities, parks and recreation programs, hospitals, health clinics, nonprofit organizations, workplace wellness programs, law enforcement, and economic development efforts.

The rankings are available online at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Fire Station 2 Dedication Photos

The Georgetown Fire Department dedicated the new Fire Station 2 on Williams Drive this morning. (Click on photos for a larger version.)

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Elected officials and community members joined the Fire Department to open the new station. The facility was open for tours after the ceremony.

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The Georgetown Fire Department Pipes and Drums Band played at the ceremony.

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A ceremonial hose uncoupling, the fire service version of the ribbon cutting, officially opened the new station. Pictured left to right are Council Member Jerry Hammerlun, City Manager Paul Brandenburg, Mayor George Garver, Fire Chief John Sullivan, City Council Member Bill Sattler, Mayor Pro Tem Danny Meigs, and Assistant Fire Chief Clay Shell.

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At the dedication, Fire Chief John Sullivan inducted three new firefighters who took the oath of office: Clint Gray, Aubrey Reeves, and Chad Roberts.

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In the new station, each firefighter working on a shift has a dorm room with a bed and locker.

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The station has a fitness room with free weights and machines.

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Battalion Chief Jeff Davis tells people on the tour about a custom wood dining table made by the firefighters. Two fire hydrants serve as pedestals for the table.

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After the ceremony, Assistant Fire Chief Clay Shell picks up a piece of masonry from the old Fire Station 2, which is being demolished. Shell worked as a firefighter in the old station for several years in the 1990s.

The old Fire Station 2 behind the new station was only 1,600 square feet compared to 8,300 square feet for the new station. After the old building is torn down, the area will become green space.

The new fire station was built on property the City acquired next to the old station, which allows fire trucks to exit directly onto Williams Drive, improving visibility for cross traffic. The new Fire Station 2 has three truck bays and houses an engine company as well a hazardous-materials unit. The station provides coverage for much of the central part of the city and downtown.

The new Fire Station 2 was designed by KAH Architecture from Round Rock and built by Chasco Constructors from Round Rock.

Wild Cats Need New Life on the Ranch

The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is looking for good homes for some semi-wild cats. They are not really suited to indoor living, but can earn their keep and be perfectly happy as barn cats.

BarnCat1-400Jackie Carey, animal services manager, says 19 cats were recently taken from a home in Georgetown. “They’re pretty cats. They’re seal point and lynx point,” says Carey.

Each cat is spayed or neutered and given their rabies vaccination. There is no adoption fee.

To introduce a semi-feral cat to your property, keep them in a barn, garage, or laundry room for a couple of weeks until they realize that the new place is a safe home. Even though these cats are skittish around people, they do still need regular food and water.

For more information about a barn cat for your property, contact the Georgetown Animal Shelter at (512) 930-3592 or animalsvc@georgetown.org. The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Drive next to the McMaster Athletic Complex. The shelter website is pets.georgetown.org.