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No burn ban, county defender’s office expansion, more at commissioners meeting

Burnet County proclaims September Hunger Awareness Month

Jaelyn Nelson (left), an AmeriCorps VISTA member working with the Burnet County Hunger Alliance, and the alliance's Pam Rogers were at the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14, for the reading of a resolution proclaiming September Hunger Awareness Month. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

No burn ban for Burnet County — at least not yet — commissioners decided at their meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14. Commissioners also passed several resolutions, and heard about an upcoming expansion of the Public Defender’s Office. 

“Briggs and Oakalla are the driest,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Damon Beierle regarding the burn ban discussion. “I’m hoping things improve with this week’s rain chances, but it’s looking like that hurricane is moving further east.” 

Beierle was referring to Tropical Storm Nicholas, which hit the Texas Gulf Coast the day before. It was expected to bring rain and cooler temperatures to the Highland Lakes, but so far, only a drop to 84 degrees has materialized. 

Llano, Lampasas, and San Saba counties all passed burn bans in the past week. 

“South of town is pretty crispy,” said Herb Darling, head of Burnet County Development Services. “Let’s keep a close eye on it.” 

In other business, J.B. Bennet was praised for his work as a Precinct 4 road hand employed through the Intermediate Sanction Facility. Commissioners approved a letter of recommendation for the young man, who recently finished his 90-day stint on the crew. 

“This program is fantastic,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. “Every once in a while, we find an exceptional young man, and I wanted to recognize him and the program in general. I’ve seen many young men come through this system who have turned their lives around.” 

The ISF is a work program for those “serving a debt to society,” Dockery said.  

Pam Rogers from the Burnet County Hunger Alliance came for the reading of a resolution proclaiming September Hunger Awareness Month. Jaelyn Nelson, an AmeriCorps VISTA member working with the alliance, was introduced to commissioners as the group’s first employee in its five years in existence. 

Nelson gave each commissioner a list of food pantries and meal programs in the county, which will be posted on the county website.

Rogers also announced the opening of a new food pantry in Cottonwood Shores called The Cupboard. 

“I hope you will get to know the food pantries and community kitchens in your neighborhood,” she said. 

Another resolution was read proclaiming Sept 17-23 as Constitution Week. Cindy Brown, a representative of the Daughters of the American Revolution was on hand for the reading. 

In other news from the meeting, the Burnet County Public Defender’s Office will become the North Hill Country Public Defender’s Office as of Oct. 1 when it expands to include Blanco County for felonies and juveniles and Llano County across the board for felonies, juveniles, and misdemeanors. 

Chief Public Defender Michelle Moore told commissioners to expect an interlocal agreement for their approval in the future. The change comes because of a recent grant award that will pay for 66 percent of the cost for Burnet County.

“We are the really big winners in this,” she said. “We are really excited that we are expanding.”

The office at 1008 N. Water St. in Burnet will make room for additional employees, and a satellite office will open soon in Llano County.