A proclamation was read on Monday at the Orange County Commissioners’ Court that named April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

Shari Pulliam, Public Information for the Child Protection Services Agency, spoke on behalf of CPS. She said “Child abuse tears at the very fabric of our society but every community and every individual can play an important role in preventing child abuse. During April, the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is teaming with local governments and community groups in a call to action to fight child abuse.”

Pulliam went on to explain that last year, 227 Texas children died because of abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents or guardians (53 less than the previous year). Two of those children were from Orange County. Three hundred and twelve confirmed victims of child abuse or neglect from Orange County.

Two hundred and twenty seven balloons were released shortly after the Commissioners’ approved of the proclamation. Each balloon recognized the 227 children that died due to child abuse or neglect. Two orange balloons stood out in a sea of blue ones to remember the two children from Orange County. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux called a recess so that all who attended could join in.

“We can all fight child abuse and reduce its terrible toll by listening to what children are saying, recognizing the signs of child abuse, and never assuming someone else will do something about it,” Pulliam said. “It is every citizen’s responsibility to report suspected abuse or neglect to the Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or online at www.txabusehotline.org.”

April 13 will be recognized as “Go Blue Day,” and will be recognized across the entire state of Texas. Everyone is encouraged to wear blue on that day.

The Court also named April as “Confederate History and Heritage Month.”

“This is the ninth year that we’ve done this and I thank ya’ll for that,” Granvel Block, Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veteran, said. “It’s special and it’s something we ought to do to honor our ancestors. To educate people on the true history of the war is always a good thing.”

Jeff Kelley, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator, brought the county up to speed on projects currently being worked on in his department.

The Drinking Water Survey has begun at the old Road and Bridge Annex 2 Building, soon to be the new Adult Probation site. “They are doing the survey and we have enough justification to get [Texas Commission of Environmental Quality] to at least reconsider their requirements for a monitoring well,” Kelley said.

Last week, Kelley went to Texas Department of Rural Affairs workshop to learn that the TDRA has been shut down. He was informed on a few changes that would occur that could potentially affect Orange County. The TDRA has been one of the main sources of Ike Recovery.

“I don’t know how it might affect us, but they told us straight up that until we have a construction contract in hand on those funds, our funding is not secure,” Kelley said. “They are pulling funding in a lot of programs. We’re a little further along that a lot of folks are.”

Orange County Sheriff, Keith Merritt, asked the Court to record in the minutes of the adoption of policy No. 9.12: Protective Vest/Body Armor policy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. This mandatory policy will be added to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office policy manual to meet the mandatory requirements to apply for a Bullet Proof Vest Grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.

“In order to even apply for the Bullet Proof Vest Grant [from the Justice Department], you have to prove that you have a mandatory vest policy in effect,” Sheriff Merritt said. “We sat down and put a good policy together. If they’re going to give the money out, they want to make sure the people are utilizing them.”

The life of a bullet proof vest is five years. Thirty five to thirty six vests are needed (one for each officer) and the vests cost $700 a piece. The county will pay for half of the cost ($24,000-$25,000) and the grant will pay the remainder. It will be a budgeted item for next year’s budget.

Cassidy asked and received approval from the Court to reject of all bids received and allow herself to re-bid on the County’s annual requirements for Prescription Pharmacy Services. She also asked and received approval from the Court to reject of all bids received and allow herself to re-bid on the County’s annual requirements for Bulk Prescription Drugs for Inmates.

Pct. 1 Commissioner David Dubose explained that each of these were based on the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) of prescription. He said that the AWP was manipulated too much and he asked Cassidy to go out and use the Warehouse Acquisition Cost (WAC) for the prescriptions.

The Court approved of extending the bid due date for the Orange County Community Shelter Disaster Recovery Project Contract No. DRS10214, Project ID No. P00693. Upon approval, the original bid due date will be extended from April 5 to April 12 at 10 a.m.

Connie Cassidy, Orange County Purchasing Agent, asked and received approval from the Court to the Buy Board Energy Saving Lighting Product Contract No. 368-10 and authorize the County Judge, Carl Thibodeaux, to sign the proposal from In Line Electric Solution of Texas, LLC. This project will be funded by the SECO Stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant.

The total amount for bills paid this week is $234,530.57 including $1,150 to Sparrow Funeral Home from the general fund for indigent funeral expenses and $3,250 to Memorial Funeral Home from the general fund for indigent funeral expenses (two cases at $1,150 each and one case at $950).

There will be a redistricting workshop on Monday, April 25 during the Commissioners’ Court meeting at 2 p.m.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5 at 10 a.m. for the Granting  of a Mass Gathering Permit to the Mauriceville Crawfish Festival for Thursday, April 15, 2011 through Sunday, April 17, 2011. This public hearing will take place in the Commissioners’ Court room in the Orange County Adminstration building.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers