County issues 30 day burn ban
On Monday, the Orange County Commissioners issued a 30 day burn ban.
Jeff Kelley, Emergency Management director said “we went from bad to worse over the weekend. We’re moving into an extreme drought.”
Kelley said the good thing is that the fire weather hasn’t been an issue but it can occur at any time.
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux signed a Proclamation of Disaster Declaration and a burn ban order. The proclamation would be turned into the state and if it becomes federally declared, it may open up some funding for the fire departments to get reimbursed for their expenses.
“It is looking like that’s going to occur,” Kelley. “The fire that burned up in the panhandle was the size of the state of Rhode Island. We are using [the largest air tankers] in the world and there are nine [of them] flying over the state of Texas. That’s unheard of. Everything you can imagine has been deployed. Most jurisdictions don’t have anything left to send out. It’s just a matter of time. If the fire weather just happens to be right, we could see one of those kind of fires at the drop of a hat.”
Kelley further explained that the forecast for the next two months is not looking any better for Orange County.
“With July 4 coming up, we may have a pretty serious problem here,” Kelley said.
Even though the burn ban is a thirty day order, the county will reexamine this issue at each Commissioners’ Court meeting to further assess the county’s burn ban status.
The County issued two proclamations that recognize April as “Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month” and that designate April 10 through the 16 as “National Crime Victims’ Right Week.”
“The State of Texas has a plan to end sexual violence,” Cindy Fertitta, primary prevention specialist/education coordinator for the Rape and Suicide Crisis Center said.
The plan is to take place between 2010 to 2018.
“We were the pilot program in the area to implement the program,” Fertitta said. “It’s about continuing to respond to sexual assault. We always want to look for a cure. We are implementing that in your middle school students: to decrease bullying and end harassment.”
By starting the program while the students are in middle school, they can monitor the program until 2018 when these students will be in college. They are one of sixty agencies that will implement the state plan to end sexual violence that has been approved by the federal government.
The Commissioners also declared May as “Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.”
Doug Manning, assistant county attorney asked the Court to take action regarding the execution of a contract between Health and Human Services Commissioner and Orange County for the provision of certain prosecutorial services to the Department.
Manning explained that this is regarding the same contract previously discussed but there was a clerical error. The error has been corrected but just needs to be approved by the Court.
The Commissioners approved the acceptance of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshall Service. The purpose of this agreement is to form a task force to investigate and arrest, as part of a joint law enforcement operations, person(s) who have active state and federal warrants for their arrest.
The Commissioners approved for Jennifer Blankenship, Orange County Social Services director, to execute an agreement between Orange County and the TALX for provision of certain employment data verification to Orange County Social Services. The agreement is necessary so the Social Services can verify employment related information for those applying for benefits.
Joel Ardoin, director of Environmental Health and Code Compliance, received approval from the Commissioners to form a committee to choose a Registered Sanitarian/Professional Engineer for the FY-2007 Coastal Impact Assistance Program On-Site Sewer Project. Ardoin, Pct. 3 Commissioner John Dubose, and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jody Crump will make up that committee.
Deborah Rawls, Orange County auditior, received approval regarding the payment of bills totaling: $234,588.70, including $1,150 to Memorial Funeral Home from the general fund for indigent funeral expenses.