The Orange County Commissioners’ Court issued a proclamation recognizing Friday, February 11, 2011 as 2-1-1 Day and to give special recognition to the 2-1-1 Area Information Center of Southeast Texas.

Liz Bergman, 2-1-1 operations manager said that “the focus of Feb. 11 is to promoted our services at 2-1-1. We are a network of 25 different area information centers across the state of Texas.”

The in house office received 28,310 requests for help (food, clothing, shelter, homeless needs and utility assistance) and the afterhours office brought the amount of calls up to 38,261 calls for assistance. They are part of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission.
“We are here to serve the citizens of Southeast Texas: Hardin, Jefferson and Orange Counties,” Bergman said.

“We use 2-1-1 a lot whenever there’s potential disaster in Orange County to make sure that all the special needs are registered,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.

AED Procurements

A few months ago, the commissioners directed the office of Emergency Management to look into an Automated External defibrillator (AED) program to install in all of the county buildings.
“It’s taken quite a while to get this all nailed down and find out what all of the perimeters are,” said Jeff Kelly, director of Emergency Management. “There is some specific training requirements that are associated with the program.”

It would cost the County about $5,000 per AED plus $700 to install them and yearly expenses and $350 per unit for a maintenance contract. If the County was to purchase one for each of the county buildings, they would need to buy 20 of them, which would total $40,000. At this time, there is not a grant available to cover the costs of purchasing them.

Thibodeaux suggested to proceed forward with the maximum amount. If it becomes too much, the county will cut back to something they can afford and will a gradually buy more AEDs as they can afford them.

“We’re not quite sure, right now, where the funding will come from, we’re not quite sure how we’re going to handle the finances of it,” Thibodeaux said. “The point is that we need some very solid numbers.”

According to, an automated external defibrillator or AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia in a patient, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia, allowing the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton was concerned if there would be any legal issues with not having an AED in every county building. Assistant District Attorney and County Attorney Doug Manning explained that the county has immunity on them because the acquiring of and placement of the AEDS is considered a policy decision. The county does, however, have an obligation to train the county employees on how to use the AED.

Manning went on to explain that that it has become industry standard to have AEDs on site.

Vidor Loop

The County Commissioners agreed to submit an application for FM 299 Loop to the Pass Through Toll Program of the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). This is just the first step in securing Federal Funds to initiated the project planning but does not finalize the project.

While is full support of this new road, the Commissioners were all in agreement, again, that they do not want to start a project that would cause the county to owe a large amount of money over a large period of time. Furthermore, they did not want to agree to this project if it would cost any money upfront.

The Commissioners were assured that this $38 million to $42 million project wouldn’t cost the county anything. Judge Thibodeaux asked Dwayne Gordy with Cherokee Development to develop a plan that would abide by their wishes and they’ll work something out.

Other Business

Total bills paid this week are $189,831.95
Kelly explained that the airport has an FCC UNICOM license that is expired in 2008. The airport staff has been informed to not use the UNICOM until the issue has been resolved.

Commissioners’ Court on Monday Feb. 14 has been rescheduled. They will meet at 10 a.m. due to some of the commissioners continuing education courses.

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